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Comment Re:MOOC = Massive Open Online Course (Score 1) 110

Even if one has heard the acronym before and has an inkling of what it means, it can be handy to have the acronym fully stated from time to both confirm that it's still an abbreviation for the same topic and not an alternate use of the letters, and to help remind the audience of some of the particulars that might be glossed-over.

Comment Just based on the impact of the subject... (Score 4, Insightful) 47

...I don't see it wrong to consider the duration of the research effort plus the historical record it leaves (ie, so future generations have a harder time making contrary claims in hindsight) s not being valid criteria for a lifetime body of work. Indeed, after the period of speculative hysteria in the news is over, immediate documentation is the best way to ensure that the legacy and history is realistically preserved. The era of photography began to help this (though is subject to manipulation) but getting the narrative of the participants recorded before they have an opportunity to retroactively change their opinions too much is helpful in honestly understanding what happened.

Comment Re:Battery Life (Score 5, Interesting) 256

I've found that battery life on standby is very much dependent on carrier accessibility. My employer's campus has a power distribution station on the East side and is ringed on the North, South, and West sides by power lines that reach the station. We get very poor signal strength and my old Galaxy SII is lucky to survive the eight hour shift on battery if I'm at the office all day, even on standby.

Contrast to at home, where that city mandated all infrastructure be buried, and the power lines are only for neighborhood final distribution as opposed to regional distribution, and my phone can go a whole weekend on standby.

Comment Re:Just (Score 1) 186

Get yourself a Tesla Powerwall, and the utility doesn't even have to know you have solar. Instead of using the grid as your battery, you use you own battery as the battery.

I have considered on-site batteries. I even have a climate controlled storage room that they could be installed in if being out of the heat would help with their longevity.

My biggest worry is that under absolute peak demand I would exceed production. Being able to pull from the grid in those circumstances is necessary, especially in the winter when the days are shorter and I would reasonably expect to be working in my shop when I'd have to be on-battery instead of on-panel.

Comment Re:Monopoly on what exactly (Score 1) 215

Which is why, "escorts," can get busted for prostitution- they claim they're being paid in a fashion similar to paying for the date with a random other consenting person, but in-fact the courts find that the sexual aspect is a paid service even if it was not discussed in-advance.

Uber's arrangement isn't even as informal as that of the escort's position on sex. The fee for the ride is determined in-advance, as a commercial transaction. This isn't some known-associate being nice and giving a ride, for the passenger to volunteer to reimburse the driver unexpectedly.

Comment Re: Monopoly on what exactly (Score 1) 215

And that is the same technicality that taxi drivers have. You are giving money to the company they drive for, not to them. They get paid by the company. Only the tip (which you presumably also give an Uber driver) goes directly to the driver.

That's not always true. Cab companies around here rent the cab to the driver, the driver keeps all of the money sans rental-fee. The cab driver can use company-dispatch and can also select his or her own fares. The rental fee covers everything so that the cab is turn-key to the driver, the company worries about insurance, maintenance, registration and vehicle inspection, etc. The driver might be on-the-hook for keeping the car clean enough for the next driver, but the bulk of the car itself falls on the company.

Comment Re:Just (Score 4, Interesting) 186

Just get solar inexpensive enough and I'll be perfectly happy. It sure isn't there yet.

For me it would be, if the goddamn electric utility would set fair rules.

If the utility is going to charge me a grid-tie fee, make that fee the same as all of the subscribers. IE, any house with approximately the same service type (200A 240V Single Phase with Neutral) should have the same grid-tie fee as I as a solar user would have.

As a power producer, they should pay a reasonable amount of money for my power to them during peak hours. They should not be allowed to only reimburse me the rate they charge for middle-of-the-night lowest-demand time, which is something like 10% of what they charge during peak hours. I understand that I'm not going to get 100%, that's not the issue. I do expect to get more like 50%, especially if they itemize all power customers' grid-tie separate from their usage fees.

As they want it now, they want to benefit from my power production when they have the most demand, and to charge me for the privilege of supplying them with that power.

My argument in favor of my position is that during peak hours (I live in a hot desert climate) my production means that they do not have to supply as much power from on-demand power stations that are more costly to operate than their base-load power plants. They don't have to burn natural gas or propane or diesel to keep up with all of the air conditioners if enough solar customers are selling power back to the grid. The solar customers also put power back on to the grid locally, which reduces amperage across the higher current distribution portion as local power in a local section is being produced.

As they have it now it's a racket, and there is no reason for it to be so.

And yes, I am well aware of danger to linemen if there's a general outage and a residence is still supplying power. I would put in a transfer switch capable of intentional islanding and some form of intelligent grid AC resync and reconnect if I were to do this.

Comment Re:Emissions testing needs to be fool proof (Score 1) 104

I don't think that we'll return to the late seventies and eighties. It appears that American car manufacturers have perfected the two valve per cylinder pushrod V8 and the four valve per cylinder overhead cam V6, GM, Chrysler, and Ford designs are all getting gobs of power on-demand and excellent fuel economy when driven cautiously- the 3.6L V6 available in nearly every Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram is absolutely fantastic.

Comment If the black cabs have a legal monopoly... (Score 5, Informative) 215

...then what uber drivers are doing, by not being licensed black-cab operators, is against the law.

If I understand it correctly, London is a lot stricter with their drivers than most other cities, such that to simply drive a cab one must pass a fairly difficult testing process before being able to obtain a license.

At this point I'm not really sure why this is a Slashdot story anymore. It's about a livery company whose legally questionable practices and claims have drivers that are picking up hailed fares. There isn't even a technological angle on this aspect of the story, not that cell-phone dispatch is anything especially novel.

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.