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Charge Rage: Electric Cars Are Making People Meaner In California 524

HughPickens.com writes: Matt Richtel reports that the push to make the state greener with electric cars is having an unintended side effect: It is making some people meaner. The bad moods stem from the challenges drivers face finding recharging spots for their battery-powered cars. Unlike gas stations, charging stations are not yet in great supply, and that has led to sharp-elbowed competition. According to Richtel, electric-vehicle owners are unplugging one another's cars, trading insults, and creating black markets and side deals to trade spots in corporate parking lots. The too-few-outlets problem is a familiar one in crowded cafes and airports, where people want to charge their phones or laptops. But the need can be more acute with cars — will their owners have enough juice to make it home? — and manners often go out the window. "Cars are getting unplugged while they are actively charging, and that's a problem," says Peter Graf. "Employees are calling and messaging each other, saying, 'I see you're fully charged, can you please move your car?'"

The problem is that installation of electric vehicle charging ports at some companies has not kept pace with soaring demand, creating thorny etiquette issues in the workplace. German software company SAP installed 16 electric vehicle charging ports in 2010 at its Palo Alto campus for the handful of employees who owned electric vehicles. Now there are far more electric cars than chargers. Sixty-one of the roughly 1,800 employees on the campus now drive a plug-in vehicle, overwhelming the 16 available chargers. And as demand for chargers exceeds supply, there have been notorious incidents of "charge rage." Companies are finding that they need one charging port for every two of their employees' electric vehicles. "If you don't maintain a 2-to-1 ratio, you are dead," said ChargePoint CEO Pat Romano. "Having two chargers and 20 electric cars is worse than having no chargers and 20 electric cars. If you are going to do this, you have to be willing to continue to scale it."

Comment Awww, c'mon guys - I know that we hate MS here... (Score 1) 133

...but isn't this the equivalent of going over to a bunch of kids on the playground and saying "That new kid over there said he could beat up each and every one of you! With one hand tied behind his back!"

What I'm wondering is: who paid to have this on /.'s front page so that armies of geekdom are mobilized to find all the new, Edgy exploits?

Comment Is this why they always fix things in Star Trek? (Score 0) 49

I always wondered why 'Star Trek' characters seemed to spend a good fraction of the episodes rebuilding critical parts of their spaceship/gun/etc on the fly, under duress, and with a limited amount of time. I mean yes, obviously, some of it was just good (suspenseful) TV, but it's interesting to hear that there was actually an era when the person doing the engineering work would later be the one to actually go on the mission. Maybe they modeled Star Trek off people like this guy.

Comment Why doesn't this happen more? (Score 1) 355

So aside from the details of this particular incident, why doesn't this happen more?

I want to be clear that I don't want this to happen, it's clearly a bad, bad thing when it does, but think of it this way: Each term (semester, quarter) millions of people enroll in classes. Tens of thousands of classes. Business 101, Advanced Operating System Design, Underwater Basket Weaving, whatever. Statistically it's very unlikely that any given class will fail (there's probably at least one person who's going to do the work well enough to pass) but over the whole set of classes, term after term, year after year, shouldn't we expect to see this happen at least once every so often?

Comment Cost = Labor, not tech (Score 3, Insightful) 87

The cost of producing a large amount of well-thought out, cohesive, modular, high-visual-quality video is in the labor, not the cost of the tech. What the professor is saying is that she doesn't have the time to write 200 hours of script (or even write out 200 hours worth of detailed notes), record the 200 hours (which'll take more than that to record - no-one can do 200 hours of high-quality video on the first take), go back and edit stuff (even just cutting out uhms & ahs takes long than you think - step 1 will be to re-watch the 200 hours of video to find them :) ), etc, etc.

The $100,000 figure struck me as being weird, as well, but the professor's point is that producing 10 hours of video for each of 20 lessons in addition to all the other course materials is way, way too much to just demand that someone do.

Besides, for stuff like this you mostly want a good book anyways. Something that you can read a short paragraph of, stop and think about for a bit, come back and re-read in order to make sure that you got it, read another paragraph the same way, maybe work through a problem or two. Videos of this would be nice, but they're window-dressing around the main event.

Comment Microsoft Spartan? (Score 5, Interesting) 317

Isn't this how the XBox became the XBox? They released the code name of their internal project, people kept using the name, and then they just stuck with it?

On the one hand "Microsoft Spartan" doesn't seem corporate enough. On the other hand it'll fit right in with Firefox & Chrome, which also have non-descriptive names that are pan-inoffensive yet interesting...

Comment Single Service, or open/data-portable? (Score 1) 150

Reading this my first thought was "What if that single-service company goes out of business?" Is it really any different for a single-focus company to go out of business than for a Google (etc) product to be discontinued?

I loved Google Reader too, and was happy to be able to move over to Feedly pretty easily because Reader allowed me to export my data.

Maybe what we really want is not companies that have a single focus, but rather companies that allow us to move our data/patronage elsewhere?


What Would Minecraft 2 Look Like Under Microsoft? 208

An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft spent billions purchasing Mojang, the studio behind the game Minecraft, and while it's unlikely to start work on a sequel anytime soon, rather than continue development of the game, it's worth considering what a Minecraft 2 will look like. After all, as a public company with revenues to justify, it doesn't seem beyond unreasonable a few years down the line, especially since a Minecraft-like game was one of the stand-out tech demos shown for the software giant's HoloLens augmented reality headset. As the author points out, Microsoft will have to tread carefully, tackling issues like whether greater graphical fidelity is actually what players will want ever — and whether to continue to support Minecraft on PlayStation."

Comment I love /. clickbait (Score 4, Funny) 553

Y'know, for all it's flaws, warts, and Dice-y-ness, I think it's a good sign that the clickbait here is stuff about systemd.
Seriously - on other websites they'll drive up pageviews by posting something like "This just in: politicians you disagree with are EVIL!! EEEEEEVIIIIIL!".

What whips up the /. crowd into a frothy frenzy?
Systemd :)

"I never let my schooling get in the way of my education." -- Mark Twain