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Comment Re: Nonsense (Score 1) 380

And what do you think the hydroelectric plant was doing with that power before the data center showed up? Dumping it in the ocean?

Of course not. It was going to homes and industries. Every watt of smug power that Google uses for their datacenters is a watt of hydrocarbon or nuclear generated power next door.

A datacenter with 10,000 servers may be more efficient because of scale than 10,000 homes with one server each. But if you are on grid power, each watt that you use comes from a combination of coal, nuclear and smug sources, in the ratio of your grid and the grids your grid is tied to.

Just because your local power utility company is willing to sell you the fiction that you are exclusively on one source or another doesn't make it so.

Comment The BIGGEST thing they could do... (Score 1) 505

The government could best encourage solar by streamlining regulations,

The biggest thing they could do is change the regulations on their subsidies, tax breaks, and the like to replace the requirement "installed by a licensed contractor" to "installed in conformance with the applicable electrical code, permitted and inspected where applicable". This would allow do-it-yourself installations, where done properly, to receive the same benefits as professional installations.

The price difference between a homeowner-installed and a contractor-installed system is typically larger than the subsidies. So the current programs amount to welfare for the government-approved contractors rather than the homeowners.

Comment Re:"there was no acknowledgment that ..." (Score 1) 277

Everything done in the past looks easier once you see it done.

An analogy with Windows:

People don't give a shit about Windows. Or, really, their programs. What they care about are:
(1) their data (which requires their existing software, which requires Windows), and
(2) the ability to do something (which means software, which -- on PCs -- is essentially only written for Windows.

That, and that alone is what maintains Microsoft's dominance.

Think: how popular would Firefox, Thunderbird & LibreOffice be if they only ran on Linux? And if LibreOffice only understood it's own file formats?

Google Docs is breaking the lock that MS Office has on people, but only because it can read and write .doc and .xls files. The ability to manipulate your data anywhere is only useful if you can access the tons of documents that you've already created.

It's also the reason that "we" who see monoculture a threat push so hard for open standards.

Who knows what the next generation will prefer?

That's the pertinent question. My kids don't voluntarily use Facebook. But if they want to share something with adult ("hey, look at our vacation pics!"), they do.

Is there a Facebook API that allows users to access their pictures, tags, comment threads, everything posted on their walls, etc?

If so, then there's an opening for the competition. If not, it'll take a generation for Facebook to die, and a lot of memories will die with it.

Comment Re:"there was no acknowledgment that ..." (Score 1) 277

many might have thought they could never be displaced.

Sure we thought that they'd always be the market *leader*. But the thing is that replacing an IBM PC AT with a Compaq DeskPro isn't traumatic *at all*. In fact, it was quite easy.

What was (and still is) impossible was replacing the h/w and s/w compatibility.

It's why the computer that I'm typing this on is the direct descendant of that 1981 IBM Model 5150 instead of on an Alpha, SPARC or MIPS workstation, or an ARM-powered PC, and 90% of PCs still run the direct descendant on MS-DOS 1.0.

Remember what Andy Tanenbaum wrote in 1992: "Of course 5 years from now, everyone will be running free GNU on their 200 MIPS, 64M SPARCstation-5."

Comment Re:"there was no acknowledgment that ..." (Score 1) 277

You forget that the PC market -- for all the units sold each year, making Compaq the fastest company to $1Bn in sales -- was still t-i-n-y, with *lots* of room for clone competitors.

(I was there, too, and remember Compaq, Leading Edge, KayPro, Gateway 2000, an all the other brands sold in Computer Shopper.)

Comment Re:"there was no acknowledgment that ..." (Score 1) 277

IBM had a customer base in large systems and global infrastructure matched by no one.


34 years ago, the personal computer industry was t-i-n-y. Therefore, it was ripe for exploitation and expansion by *lots* of companies when IBM "validated" that single-user computers were worthy of use by the masses.

Social media was in (almost) the same situation 10 years ago: MySpace was used by a relatively small, but dedicated group, and there were competitors, one of which was Facebook.

It wound up dominating, and has locked up that domination of "the masses" just like Microsoft has.

Comment Re:"there was no acknowledgment that ..." (Score 1) 277

Does that mean they should not have tried to compete?

It's easy enough to "clone" hardware and relatively software like MS-DOS, Lotus 1-2-3, etc.

Much more so to clone Windows, it's gargantuan API and wide range of end-user (Office), developer (Visual Studio) and Enterprise software (Exchange, SharePoint, SQL Server, etc).

Similarly, cloning those petabytes of user data in Facebook, plus it's API, plus convincing users that there's a reason to change is well nigh hopeless.

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972