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Comment: Re:Gamechanger (Score 2) 514

by Slick_W1lly (#49597247) Attached to: Tesla Announces Home Battery System

Yeah.. Like a whole bunch of others say in this thread - this is bollocks.

I got into the solar game early. I had mine installed about six years back. I got 48 of the 180W panels (there are much better now) and they cover pretty much all of my electrical use (aswell as my south facing garage). Given that used to be around $250-300 ish a month, that's a fair ongoing savings.

Now, couple that with the Green tags / SREC's which I can sell for (depending on wether gub'ner Christie is being a nobhead this year or not) anywhere between $60 and $600. Five few years back I sold a bunch for $400ish, last year I sold some for $60.

Either way, my 'payoff' is about six years, give or take a couple.

Now - back ontopic. I have a battery backup system aswell! It cost me about $3500 ontop of my installation and consists of a unit which senses the grid and shunts power to the batteries, and 4 marine batteries of some particular type that I don't actually care about. They cover the electrical usage of my house overnight if the grid is down. Not if I'm watching some huge plasma telly all night, but lights.. radios, computers, intarwebs (which.. work for all of 4/8 hours into a regional power outage, it seems that Comcast have an 8 hour emergency generator). During the (summer) day, my panels will provide power to the house and also charge the batteries enough that they'll carry me through the night again. I don't have to turn off refridgerators, clocks, I can even microwave some noodles.

I haven't done numbers. I don't care. This is real world "I have done this.. experience."

The nice thing about battery backups though is that it's instant. I don't even get a flicker if the grid goes out, or there's a brownout. If I turn off my mains my batteries kick in quick enough that computers don't reboot... If I didn't have a little alert set up to tell me when it happens I'd never even notice.

I also get alot of power outages in my area. Stupid reasons like stapling power cables to telephone poles.. which then get hit by trees, etc etc etc.
Oh.. and a few hurricanes over the past few years aswell.. :)

Comment: Think of the children! (Score 3, Interesting) 413

There are many things Anonymous does which are morally dubious. But, I have to say, I can't really take issue with this vigilantism.

After all "think of the children!". But uh.. actually, don't. It's kinda disturbing. Or do.. since, it's disturbing, and one shouldn't bury one's head in the sand because.. it's hard to think about.

Comment: Re:Yes, but for specific reasons (Score 2, Interesting) 182

I cannot agree with this.

The programmers just set the thing up to 'buy whatever'. At the time, 'whatever' may have simply been a bunch of knockoff handbags. It's not illegal to buy those... the seller may get slapped for violating a trademark, or something - but no-one's going to come rip your handbag out of your hands or put you in jail.

And, quite honestly - the feckin' article tells the submitter 'who is responsible'. If the law says : 'knowingly violated' - they are not responsible. If the law says 'recklessly violated' then there is a case to be made.

But let me spin you this :

>The creator of a device that breaks the law because the creator either negligently or intentionally set up the device to break the law is responsible

If I father a child (creator) and raise it to be... less than respectful of the law... my child then robs a bank. Do they put *me* in jail? By your definition they should...

Comment: Re:No Custom Building? (Score 3, Informative) 68

by Slick_W1lly (#48691683) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Wireless LED Light Setup for 2015?

>which makes me think that there never will be a commercial solution

Quite the opposite. I've been 'thinking about' doing this for a couple of years now, and my research has led me to the conclusion that 'everyone' uses Light-o-rama commercial setup to do this.

It's not wireless, but I don't believe (other than the DMX solution DJ's use for their stage lighting) there's a wireless solution to be had. Even that 'solution' isn't actually wireless, since it uses wires for.. the power! Wireless dongles can be plugged into recievers at the light end - but to be honest, you're better off just going the light-o-rama route.

That solution works by giving you a 'squid' of power connectors, into which you plug your extension cords and it just.. turns them on and off. They give you some kind of application that you can use to sync the lights to your music - if you've ever made an animated thing in like Blender or Poser or Daz Studio you'd get right along with it - timeline.. flip this on at second 3, flip this off at second 5, turn the other on at second 10.. etc..

However, it's not cheap - by any standards. In controller hardware OR lights.

Comment: Re: Storage (Score 1) 516

by Slick_W1lly (#48471183) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

Yeah - so about that..

I live close-ish to some power lines. Some 4 or 5 years ago - I guess following that NorthEast USA blackout period which was unrelatedly due to some electricity surge from Canada.. or something - the power company came along and cut down a bunch of trees off 'my land' within 100 feet of the lines. I was pretty peeved. I like trees. I have a whole bunch of them on my land. Next year they returned and cut down more... This has happened for every year since..

Sandy comes along - all the trees which sheltered my 'other trees' have been cut down. Result - I lost 9 trees which were previously sheltered from the wind (and I guess hadn't grown the root structure to survive). 2 hit my house.

Elsewhere - where the utility company had not cut down trees to 'save the power lines' - all the trees survived.

While I appreciate that the utility company needs to protect their lines - there are *much worse* situaitons than where my trees border their lines - even just 1 mile down the road. And I'm convinced they opened up the nightmare that was Sandy.

Also BURY YOUR FUCKING POWER LINES.

Comment: Re:They Hadn't Already? (Score 1) 116

by Slick_W1lly (#48012841) Attached to: Yahoo Shuttering Its Web Directory

Google was also a winner for me because of its clean single line text input for search. No images, no clutter, no links on the page - in the age of a 9600 baud modem the less clutter on the page the better. That was why *I* swapped from alta-vista to google. Alta-vista had started presenting a 'portal page' which was all the rage back then, and I preferred the quick, efficient search from google.

Comment: Re:Until we learn how to use less ... (Score 5, Interesting) 502

Got an anecdote for you.. :)

I live not altogether too distant from you. ( weather-wise). I have solar panels on my roof. Had 'em since like.. 2008.

Snow isn't that big of an issue. Sometimes they get covered, sure. But wierdly they *still* work, even when covered with snow. Not enough to generate anything much worthwhile, but *enough to heat the panels*. I find the snow melts from the underside up, causing a slick undermelt which then causes all the snow to slough off and fall off the panels. Bingo! Panels are working again.

Even in cloudy weather and winter weather - they still produce a significant amount. I was surprised.

And I've never had to clean them. In summer any bird crap on them simply 'burns off' and the rain keeps them clean enough that I've *never* had to go up with a brush, and I've certainly never had to go up with a rake.

Might wanna watch out on the snow days though, in case you get dumped on when the snow falls off - but that's no worse than standing by my front door and getting the ( other, non-solar covered) roof dump its contents onto you.

Comment: Re:Or, you could... (Score 2) 405

This.

I started boycotting Amazon after the (admittedly *very long time ago*) change in their policies from 'We will never sell your information!!!' to 'We'll give it who we damn please' and refused to 'delete' my account. This was in the late 90's...

I take some consolation in the failed pairing of Amazon and Borders, and hope to see the same for Amazon within the next decade.
Simply don't buy from them. Or distribute through them. The two combined would eventually mean they atrophy into nothing.

I'm doing my part!

Comment: No bluetooth? (Score 5, Interesting) 182

I'm wondering how much it costs to add bluetooth to a device. I mean... them bluetooth headsets have it in, hell even the dinky little $12 'bluetooth speakers' you can park next to your iThing have it in...

What in the world possessed them to release a device that doesn't have bleutooth?

Comment: Re:How convenient for him... (Score 1) 196

by Slick_W1lly (#46973123) Attached to: Anti-Surveillance Mask Lets You Pass As Someone Else

Plausible deniability.

If a bunch of others are wandering around with your face, you can reasonably say 'It wasn't me Guv, it were one o' them folks wearin' my mask..."

In techy terms - It's a bit like having an open hotspot. "It weren't *my* computer guv, it were one o' my neighbours connecting to my freely accessible SSID."

Comment: Re:Ivy League = theroy loaded classes with skill g (Score 2) 197

by Slick_W1lly (#46443693) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Online, Free Equivalent To a CompSci BS?

This is what *school* is for, not University.

I hear Americans laud the 'breadth' of their university system with arguments such as the above, but frankly this kind of stuff should be taught *before* university, not during it. I, for instance, learned the 'History of the Roman Empire' when I was 18. Likewise a bunch of other history stuff that I later dropped in favour of the sciences.

School should be for your 'broad education'
It should funnel into your chosen subjects which then funnels into
University - which should be your *specialisation*. Not a continuation of generalities. If by that time you don't consider yourself a 'well rounded individual' then take up some evening classes on your own, rather than watering down the education you *should* be getting in your specialist, chosen subject.

This, frankly is why I consider american degrees to be nothing more than watered down bollocks. If I go to uni to study 'comp sci' then I want my degree to be 'comp sci' not 'some comp sci classes, plus some bullshit yoga / tennis / geology' stuffed in with it when I could be learning *more specialist comp sci' stuff instead.

-- did his degree in Artificial Intelligence and didn't suffer a single non-degree related course and is proud of it.

Comment: Re:Insurance? (Score 3, Informative) 248

by Slick_W1lly (#45864209) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: State of the Art In DIY Security Systems?

Perfectly understood. For my insurance premium reduction they simply require that an alarm be installed which is monitored - ie: automatic calls to police, fire etc. And I test my install regularly. They're quite happy with what I provide them.

I also understand an insurance company's policy is to attempt to pay the minimum, or not pay at all, or other methods of reducing outgoings. I have to say though, that the company I have now - and I'll be quite forthright: It's Amica - were exceptionally good with Hurricane Sandy damage. They sent out an appraiser, gave me what I considered to be more than reasonable recompense. I have 10 computers in an office which got mashed by two trees. Normally they'd not pay out on 'large numbers of household items'. Like.. say you claimed for 10 toasters you said got ruined? They'd pay for only one, since that is 'normal' for a household.

I had called them the year before to explain: I have all these computers in my house, do I need to increase my premium to cover them? They said 'no', you're fine. They made a note of it in my file, and come time to claim? They paid for 10 computers.

I could not be happier with my insurance company. :P

Aren't you glad you're not getting all the government you pay for now?

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