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Comment: Re:IOT (Score 1) 115

by TheRaven64 (#48025969) Attached to: World's Smallest 3G Module Will Connect Everything To the Internet

One use case that's often touted for this kind of thing is having appliances that can work on spot pricing for electricity. Over the course of the day, you get spikes from solar and wind (and tidal and so on) production when electricity is cheap. You get periods when power plants need to reduce capacity for maintenance when it is expensive. There are massive power storage facilities that profit from this: there is one near where I used to live that pumps water up a hill into a reservoir when electricity is cheap and then lets it flow down again and generate power when it's expensive. Now imagine if your fridge or freezer could get this information in real time and could run the compressor a bit more when electricity is very cheap, then use the cooled coolant to keep your food cold when the price goes up.

Almost 50% of the electricity generated in the USA is wasted because the supply can't adapt to demand fast enough. There are some very big savings to be made by having demand adapt to supply.

Comment: Re: It's sad (Score 1) 339

It's not abusing anything Google apps work better and use less resources than the competitors which is 1 reason why they are doing this.

Really? About the only Google app that I haven't replaced with something better (and open source, so money / distribution rights are not an issue) is Google Play, and that's only because my bank and a few other companies only make their app available via Google Play.

Comment: Re:OEMs cannot write software (Score 1) 339

A few of the HTC apps were nicer than the AOSP versions and the same is true of the Motorola ones. The problem for people who don't drink the Google kool-aid is that hardly anyone is working on the AOSP versions of most apps. If you buy a new Android device, there's no calendar app that can talk to a CalDav server (which, for example, any iOS device and most open source calendar apps for desktop can do out of the box). F-Droid has one that is designed to, but it has a terrible UI and doesn't integrate nicely with the rest of the system. There are a couple of sync adaptors, but Google has increasingly broken the sync APIs for things that are not Google.

Comment: Re:Can this peer-to-peer like Bittorrent (Score 1) 72

by timeOday (#48025033) Attached to: LTE Upgrade Will Let Phones Connect To Nearby Devices Without Towers
Dunno about latency, but it doesn't matter because the power requirement would be astronomical. 2500 miles in (at most) 500 meters per hop is about 10,000 hops, so 10,000x the battery power, total.

Granted that's without agglomerating any messages, but it's also assuming zero overhead for routing or reliability.

Of course short of nuclear holocaust, power outages are local so you only need to get out of the impacted zone before you hit the backbone.

Comment: Re:Statistical Literature (Score 1) 115

Oh, god. Mel Gibson's 1990 Hamlet was awful. It was the most asinine thing I've ever seen. Shakespeare for people who really *are* dummies. Reportedly it was director Franco Zeffirelli's attempt to make Shakespeare "less cerebral" and more accessible to the masses. What a choice to try that with! The whole point of Hamlet is that he's so damned smart the only person who can really stand in his way is him.

My point was that you've got to find an actor who can give a knowledgeable performance. Not some meat-head action star stunt cast miles out of his depth. I'd rather watch Arnold Schwarzenegger Hamlet.

I think the best film adaptation of Hamlet I've seen was Kenneth Branaugh's 1996 version, although it is long, long, long at 242 minutes (to Gibsons' 134 minutes). Olivier's 1948 Hamlet is generally highly regarded, but it's too sentimental for my taste. Haven't seen Derek Jacobi's 1980 BBC performance, but I've heard good things about it. I've seen snippets of the David Tennant Hamlet, and it looks promising, although it's hard to shake the impression that it's Dr. Who playing Hamlet.

Comment: Re:They will move to a different charging model (Score 3) 252

by radtea (#48024551) Attached to: Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

If the amount of money made from the actual electricity falls too far then the cost will be transferred to a network connection costs.

It doesn't really matter how the accounting is done, utilities are going to have to charge more for power as they sell less of it, because their fixed costs are such a large proportion of their total costs. Fixed costs account for anywhere from 75 to 100% of plant costs: http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/c... (the data in table 1 appear to mean "fuel cost" when they say "variable cost").

The utilities model is based on the notion that you can recover your capital costs (and more) over the lifetime of the plant. The rapid rise of solar in particular is putting that at risk, and utilities are caught between a rock and a hard place. They can fight by keeping power costs low, and lose, or they can fight by raising their power costs--however they want to do the accounting--and also lose.

Personally, I hope they raise the costs. It will make low-carbon alternatives like wind and solar more attractive.

Comment: Re:No he didn't (Score 4, Interesting) 127

by hey! (#48024477) Attached to: Man Walks Past Security Screening Staring At iPad Causing Airport Evacuation

Exactly. Security screwed up, and then they HAD to deal with it. It's not mere security theater to have a security checkpoint. Those checkpoints are demonstrably important.

Not many of us remember, but until 1973 there was no baggage screening, no metal detectors, and no id requirements for getting on a commercial flight. The number of skyjackings had climbed rapidly since the mid-50s so that in 1972 there were 11 skyjackings of commercial flights around the world, seven in the US.

After security checkpoints were introduced in the US, there wasn't another skyjacking in the US for three years. Then an occasional one now and then, as people found loopholes. There was one passenger airliner hijacking of a flight FROM the US in all the 1980s and none in the 1990s.

My conclusion is that the security measures put in place by 1990 were highly effective. 9/11 fit the pattern of the early dribs-and-drabs hijackings, the difference is Al Qaeda made an effort to do multiple simultaneous exploitations of the vulnerability they'd found. There hasn't been a hijacking of a US flight since then, but given that the last passenger hijacking BEFORE 9/11 was in 1987, it's likely that this long dry spell is mostly if not entirely due to banning blades from carry on luggage. That's not to say that EVERY other change since then is security theater. I think reinforcing cockpit doors and changing pilot training was a reasonable response. But a lot of the enhanced pat-downs, magic scanners, no-fly list shennanigans and such are no doubt bogus.

Comment: Re:net metering != solar and 10% needs new physics (Score 1) 252

by hey! (#48024379) Attached to: Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

Your analysis depends on two assumptions. First, that at the daily peak the amount of solar produced exceeds the total demand for electricity. That's actually quite likely to happen in the long term in certain locations -- sunny, densely developed residential neighborhoods for example -- but not in others -- in a neighborhood that has a steel mill. Maybe in the short term in a few places if the adoption of rooftop solar accelerates even more.

One of the ways to alleviate this would be to improve the distribution grid so that the excess supply could be sold further away. But lets say the day comes that the peak solar production exceeds the total electricity demand. That brings us to the second assumption.

The second assumption is that electricity is charged at a flat rate all day long. Clearly if lots of excess solar is being produced at noontime, you could easily reduce the cost you charge to electricity consumers (or pay back to electricity). We already do peak vs. off peak rates for industrial users.

This combination of grid improvements and reduced peak rates will encourage people and businesses to concentrate their power usage around noon. Maybe you'll charge our electric car at a higher rate, or maybe even charge large industrial or household batteries. The losses hardly matter, since we were throwing away the sunshine anyway. Increased noon usage will offset the tendency for electricity rates to fall during peak generation periods.

Am I saying the utilities won't lose a little money in a few isolated spots in the short term? No. What I'm saying is that we're hardly facing some kind of insurmountable singularity. Certainly not any time soon, nor in the long term if we can bring ourselves to prepare for it.

Comment: Re:Hodor (Score 2) 115

Martin will kill off an important character because he has no idea how to write a character arc out of a wet paper bag.

I actually don't think that's true. I think what you're reacting to comes with the epic scale of the novel (SoI&F really is just one, long, continuous work) -- both in word count and the enormous cast of characters. It's a kind of literary clutter. If you boiled Game of Thrones down to the story of Ned Stark's rise and downfall, that would be quite a satisfying (although grim) story arc. The fact that the story goes on and on after that dissipates the emotional impact of that one story line.

At over 1.7 million words currently, Song of Ice and Fire is more than six times as long as typical English translations of the Illiad and Odyssey combined. Think about that. In the time it took you to read just the first volume of Song of Ice and Fire, you could have read BOTH the Illiad and the Odyssey. And as a bonus you'd have read BOTH the Illiad and the Odyssey.

As works go further and further north of 200,000 words, they almost inevitably lose the tight, clockwork structure you expect in a 2 hour stage play or 70,000 word novel. Stories stop feeling like they have a beginning, middle, and end and start to feel more episodic. That happens to some stories well before they hit the 200,000 word mark (American Gods, 183 KWords).

At 473 KWords, Lord of the Rings is one of the rare exceptions. From Rivendell onward it's a marvel of complex yet tightly interwoven structure. But it's a hot steaming mess of false starts up until Ford of Bruinen. Tom Bombadil anyone? I think that it could probably be edited down to 400,000 words without losing much artistically. That's still almost miraculously long for a story that feels like one story.

I have a theory about episodic megastories like Song of Ice and Fire, which is that they aren't catharsis you get from a tightly plotted play or novel. They're about transporting a reader to a world he finds interesting to visit again and again. If so that bodes ill for the the Game of Thrones TV series now that Emilia Clarke has sworn off nude scenes.

Comment: Re:Statistical Literature (Score 1) 115

I don't have to read Shakespeare in Klingon, reading him in the original english is enough to put me to sleep.

Some would say this doesn't deserved to be dignified with a response, but I disagree.

The best introduction to Shakespeares plays is to see them on stage, performed by actors who know how to perform Shakespeare. Because of the shift in language, there's special skill needed for presenting Shakespeare to modern audiences. You'll be amazed at how much you understand. Until you know the play's text you'll be missing a lot too, but in the performance you won't notice that.

I'd go so far as to say it's better to see a Shakespeare play performed first before attempting to read it. Then tackle the text with its footnotes on every line.

Comment: Re:Problem oriented (Score 1) 53

by hey! (#48022831) Attached to: How To Find the Right Open Source Project To Get Involved With

I tried this once. I installed a rather obscure open source app that that turned out to be quite useful to me. But it took me a couple days to get to the point where I could do anything useful with it. And I was only able to do that because I can read source code and have lots of software installation and configuration experience. And because I enjoy a puzzle.

After using the app for a month or two, I thought to myself, "There's got to be thousands and thousands of people who'd benefit from this app, but I bet 99% of the people who try it give up before they have any success. What this project needs is documentation." So I contacted the development team with an offer to write some. I explain that while I'm a developer, not a tech writer, I had written early-adopter oriented documentation for several successful commercial projects, so I knew how to get those people up to speed while the app was still something of a moving target. I also offer to maintain that documentation for at least a year.

I got back a quite haughty response from the project leader stating that he *might* let me write documentation if I became a regular code contributor to the project. Now I'd assumed that his ideas of what documentation was needed might be different from mine, but it turned out he didn't seem interested in documentation at all. Also the response had a weird, hostile vibe; it was as if I'd asked him for hundreds of hours of his time rather than offered him hundreds of mine. So I thanked him for *his* invitation and declined it.

I guess the point is that there are other, social dimensions to choosing a project to contribute to. One of them is whether the project even wants what you have to offer. Another is whether the team seems like people you'd enjoy working with. There are some projects, like the Linux kernel, which are so prestigious that you might well take a lot of crap to be a contributor. But most projects aren't like that.

If you do start our own project, watch the TED video How to Start a Movement.

Comment: Re:Best outcome (Score 1) 197

I know all about biodiesel, Ive made my own in the past. its not viable no matter how much I wanted it to be and I wasted a ton of money trying to make it so. I still love the concept, but it still isnt a replacement

To use dino-diesel, I go to a filling station, pull up to the pump, authorize payment with my credit card, pump, and drive off again.

To use biodiesel, I go to a [different] filling station, pull up to the pump, authorize payment with my credit card, pump, and drive off again.

It seems pretty damn viable to me!

Comment: Re:It's sad (Score 1) 339

One of my accounts which I've had for years is definitely not my own name.

Because I use it for different things.

I've been studiously avoiding Google+ because of that stupid real-name policy, because the interweb isn't always a place you want to use your real name.

I understand Google have relaxed the real name requirement for Google+, but I honestly have no idea of what the net benefit of it would be to me.

I'm not interested in Google's vision of social networking everywhere. In fact, I'm actively disinterested in it.

They may feel they've created the greatest social networking system on the planet. But I don't give a shit about it or most other forms of social networking. And certainly not in having it integrated with every damned thing I do on the internet.

16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone = 1 Rod Serling

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