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+ - Tesla Claims Its New $3,000 Battery Will Let Homes Go Off Grid->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 writes: Tesla CEO Elon Musk last night announced a new business line and three new lithium-ion batteries it will sell for residential and commercial use. The wall-hung residential battery — called the Powerwall — has a starting price of $3,000 and holds 7kWh of capacity. A 10kWh model retails for $3,500. The batteries can be ordered today and will be shipping in three to four months. The stylized home batteries come in different colors and protrude just 7.5-in a wall. Up to nine Powerwall battery units can be daisy-chained together on a wall to provide homes with up to 90kWh of power. The new commercial-grade battery, called the Powerpack, is a monolithic tower that will sell in 100kWh modules for $25,000. Musk said the Powerpack can scale infinitely, even powering small cities. The new batteries are being sold to supplement intermittent power like solar and wind, but Musk said the technology, which will be open sourced for other companies to use, can take homes and businesses of the grid. The average U.S. household uses about 20 kWh to 25 kWh of power every day, according to GTM Research." You can take your solar panels, charge the battery packs and that's all you use," said Musk, who is also chairman of SolarCity, the largest installer of solar panels in the U.S. Residential households and companies with a solar power systems can charge the batteries during the day and use them in off peak hours or supplement power use during peak hours to avoid time-of-use tariffs imposed by utilities. Tesla is already manufacturing the batteries in its current facilities, but it will soon turn that operation over to its Gigafactories, the first of which is under construction outside Reno, Nevada and will go online next year. Like the batteries, the Gigafactory process will also be open for other companies to emulate in the hope that renewable power combined with battery storage will someday eliminate the need for fossil fuel production of energy. "This is not something we think Tesla will do alone," Musk said. "There's going to need to be many other companies building Gigafactory-class operations of their own. We hope they do."
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+ - Disney replaces longtime IT staff with H-1B workers->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 writes: Disney CEO Bob Iger is one of eight co-chairs of the Partnership for a New American Economy, a leading group advocating for an increase in the H-1B visa cap. Last Friday, the partnership was a sponsor of an H-1B briefing at the U.S. Capitol for congressional staffers. The briefing was closed to the press. One of the briefing documents obtained after the meeting stated, "H-1B workers complement — instead of displace — U.S. Workers." Last October, however, Disney laid off at least 135 IT staff (though employees say it was hundreds more), many of them longtime workers. Disney then replaced them with H-1B contractors that company said could better "focus on future innovation and new capabilities." The fired workers believe the primary motivation behind Disney's action was cost-cutting. "Some of these folks were literally flown in the day before to take over the exact same job I was doing," one former employee said. Disney officials promised new job opportunities as a result of the restructuring, but the former staff interviewed by Computerworld said they knew of few co-workers who had landed one of the new jobs. Use of visa workers in a layoff is a public policy issue, particularly for Disney. Ten U.S. senators are currently seeking a federal investigation into displacement of IT workers by H-1B-using contractors. Kim Berry, president of the Programmer's Guild, said Congress should protect American workers by mandating that positions can only be filled by H-1B workers when no qualified American — at any wage — can be found to fill the position."
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+ - LG G4 And Qualcomm's Snapdragon 808 Benchmarked->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid writes: LG officially lifted the veil on its new G4 flagship Android phone this week and the buzz has been fairly strong. LG's display prowess is well known, along with their ability to pack a ton of screen real estate into a smaller frame with very little bezel, as they did with the previous generation G3. However, what's under the hood of the new LG G4 is probably just as interesting as the build quality and display, for some. On board the LG G4 is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808, the six-core little brother of the powerful and power-hungry Snapdragon 810 that's found in HTC's One M9. The One M9 is currently one of the fastest Android handsets out there, but its battery life suffers as a result. So with a six-core Snapdragon and a slightly tamer Adreno 418 graphics engine on board, but also with 3GB of RAM, it's interesting to see where the G4 lands performance-wise. It's basically somewhere between the HTC One M9 (Snapdragon 810) and the Snapdragon 805 in the Nexus 6 in CPU bound workloads, besting even the iPhone 6, but much more middle of the pack in terms of graphics and gaming.
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Comment: Minimum age of 21 (Score 1) 192

by Lucas123 (#49578059) Attached to: Massachusetts Governor Introduces Bill To Regulate Uber, Lyft

That always gets me. At 17, you're old enough to enlist in the military, be issued deadly weapons and get shipped over seas to enforce U.S. foreign policy, which may involve killing lots and lots of people.

"What's that you say? You want to be an Uber driver and have a beer when you get home? Sorry, son, you're just not mature enough for that."

+ - Why Our Antiquated Power Grid Needs Battery Storage ->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 writes: Last year, renewable energy sources accounted for half of new installed electric-generation capacity (natural gas units made up most of the remainder). As more photovoltaic panels are installed on rooftops around the nation, an antiquated power grid is being overburdened by a bidirectional load its was never engineered to handle. The Hawaiian Electric Company, for example, said it's struggling with electricity "backflow" that could destabilize its system. Batteries for distributed renewable power has the potential to mitigate the load on the national grid by allowing a redistribution of power during peak hours. As such Tesla, which is expected to announce batteries for homes and utilities on Thursday, and others are targeting a market estimated to be $1.2B market by 2019. Along with taking up some of the load during peak house, battery capacity can be used when power isn't being generated by renewable systems, such as at night and during inclement weather. That also reduces grid demand.
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+ - NVIDIA Quadro M6000 12GB Maxwell Workstation Graphics Tested Showing Solid Gains->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid writes: NVIDIA's Maxwell GPU architecture has has been well-received in the gaming world, thanks to cards like the GeForce GTX Titan X and the GeForce GTX 980. NVIDIA recently took time to bring that same Maxwell goodness over the workstation market as well and the result is the new Quadro M6000, NVIDIA's new highest-end workstation platform. Like the Titan X, the M6000 is based on the full-fat version of the Maxwell GPU, the G200. Also, like the GeForce GTX Titan X, the Quadro M6000 has 12GB of GDDR5, 3072 GPU cores, 192 texture units (TMUs), and 96 render outputs (ROPs). NVIDIA has said that the M6000 will beat out their previous gen Quadro K6000 in a significant way in pro workstation applications as well as GPGPU or rendering and encoding applications that can be GPU-accelerated. One thing that's changed with the launch of the M6000 is that AMD no longer trades shots with NVIDIA for the top pro graphics performance spot. Last time around, there were some benchmarks that still favored team red. Now, the NVIDIA Quadro M6000 puts up pretty much a clean sweep.
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+ - Tesla To Unveil Its Gigafatory's Home/Utility-Scale Batteries->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 writes: Elon Musk is expected to announce batteries that will store power from renewable energy sources in homes and for utilities that will supplement their power supply in off hours at night and during inclement weather. The announcement will take place next Thursday (April 30) at 8 p.m. Musk is also chairman of SolarCity, the largest provider of residential solar systems in the U.S., which controls 30% to 40% of the U.S. market. Tesla plans to mass produce household- and utility-grade batteries in a $5 billion lithium-ion battery factory project it calls the "Gigafactory" — the first one of which is being constructed in Nevada. As battery technology evolves, it could pave the way to cost effectively store both wind and solar-generated energy and connect to electrical power grids. The technology also could be used by businesses and homes, which could virtually remain off the power grid except in emergencies. The grid, essentially, would be the backup. The company is currently beta-testing its batteries in about 330 homes, mainly in California. Those batteries can hold up to 10kWh of electricity. The utility-grade model is expected to have a 400kWh capacity.
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+ - Intel Compute Stick PC On HDMI Dongle Launched, Tested->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid writes: Intel first offered a sneak peek of their forthcoming Compute Stick HDMI dongle earlier this year at CES but today is officially announcing product availability and has lifted embargo on first tests with the device. The Compute Stick is essentially a fully-functional, low-power, Atom-based system with memory, storage, and an OS, crammed into a dongle much bigger than a USB Flash drive. There will initially be two compute sticks made available, one running Windows (model STCK1A32WFC) and another running Ubuntu (model STCK1A8LFC). The Windows 8.1 version of the Compute Stick is packing an Intel Atom Z3735F processor, with a single-channel of 2GB of DDR3L-1333 RAM and 32GB of internal storage, though out of the box only 19.2GB is usable. The Ubuntu version of the Compute Stick has as a similar CPU, but is packing only 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. All sticks have USB and MicroSD expansion capability.The device is packing a low-power Atom processor, Intel HD graphics and only a single-channel of DDR3L-1333 memory, so it's not going to burn through any benchmarks. For multi-media playback, basic computing tasks, web browsing, HD video, or remote access, the Compute Stick has enough muscle to get the job done and it's cheap too at $99 — $149.
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+ - NASA's Rocket Maker To Begin 3D Printing Flight-Ready Components ->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 writes: United Launch Alliance (ULA), the company that makes rockets for NASA and the U.S. Air Force, plans to 3D print more than 100 flight-ready components for its next-gen Vulcan rocket. The company also just printed its first flight-ready component, a new Environmental Control System for its current Atlas V rocket. The ECS assembly had previously contained 140 parts that were made by third party suppliers, but ULA was able to reduce the parts to just 16, resulting in a 57% part-cost reduction. Along with cost reduction, ULA said 3D printing frees it from contracts with parts providers who may or may not deliver on time depending on whether the deem the rocket maker a priority at any given time. The company, which launches 12 rockets each year, is also hoping to use 3D printing for a more traditional role — rapid prototyping of parts. "We have a long list of [parts] candidates to evaluate — over 100 polymer parts we're considering and another 50 or so metal parts we're considering," said Greg Arend, program manager for additive manufacturing at ULA.
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+ - Kingston HyperX Predator SSD Takes Gumstick M.2 PCIe Drives To 1.4GB/sec->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid writes: Kingston recently launched their HyperX Predator PCIe SSD that is targeted at performance-minded PC enthusiasts but is much less expensive than enterprise-class PCIe offerings that are currently in market. Kits are available in a couple of capacities and from factors at 240GB and 480GB. All of the drives adhere to the 80mm M.2 2280 "gumstick" form factor and have PCIe 2.0 x4 connections, but are sold both with and without a half-height, half-length adapter card if you'd like to drop it into a standard PCI Express slot. At the heart of the Kingston HyperX Predator in Marvel's latest Marvell 88SS9293 controller. The Marvell 88SS9293 is paired to a gigabyte of DDR3 memory and Toshiba A19 Toggle NAND. The drives are rated for read speeds up to 1.4GB/s and writes of 1GB/s and 130 – 160K random 4K IOPS. In the benchmarks, the 480GB model put up strong numbers. At roughly $1 per GiB, the HyperX Predator is about on par with Intel's faster SSD 750 but unlike Intel's new NVMe solution, the Kingston drive will work in all legacy platforms as well, not just Z97 and X99 boards with a compatible UEFI BIOS.
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The first rule of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Paul Erlich

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