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Comment: Re:Blaming the cables? (Score 1) 476

by ari_j (#46096527) Attached to: Tesla's Having Issues Charging In the Cold

My experience with solid-state batteries differs significantly from yours. Maybe it's just colder here in North Dakota. :)

Also, the Prius's heater uses engine coolant. It apparently has an auxiliary electric heat source and water pump to keep the cabin heated when the gasoline engine is shut off, but if they put the car together in a remotely sane manner that should result in redundancy rather than an additional point of failure. If the batteries or the gas engine fails you in the Prius, you still should not freeze to death.

In a Tesla, though, if the batteries fail you then you will freeze to death. While the same is true for the fuel line and pump on a gasoline car or, much greater risk because of fuel gelling, on a diesel car, I have not personally witnessed a properly maintained gasoline car that started and reached operating temperature fail because of fuel delivery issues, in a climate where -40C happens at least annually and for roughly three consecutive months each year the temperature does not exceed -10C on more than a small handful of days.

And that's what I mean about the Tesla being unproven. We have a century of gasoline and diesel engine experience so we know how to keep them working in extreme cold and the risk of problems is a known quantity. We also have a solid understanding of how to survive in the event of various problems that can arise. (As an example, if you are stuck in the snow but the engine is running, you ensure that the exhaust is clear so it can escape to atmosphere and then you stay in the car for warmth and safety.) For a hybrid like the Prius, the risks should be both similar to those in a gas car and also mitigated by intelligent engineering of redundant systems. They are still uncommon here, but that is likely more because they have low ground clearance than because they are hybrid. For a purely electric car, though, we have no experience keeping them running in extreme cold and the risk of problems is an unknown quantity. We also do not have a good understanding of how to survive if a problem arises. What do you do if you are stranded in cold weather by a dead battery and help will not arrive until morning?

Everything I have identified as a risk of electric cars can surely be quantified and likely be mitigated. But with gas cars we have a century of experience to draw on. It will be a long time before the same can be said for electric cars. And during that time, I will let people in populated areas where help or alternative transportation is within a 5-minute walk at all times learn and fix the problems before I incur the risk of a frozen battery leading to my own freezing to death.

Comment: Re:Blaming the cables? (Score 1) 476

by ari_j (#46094979) Attached to: Tesla's Having Issues Charging In the Cold
I have found that batteries fare very poorly in general in the cold. That includes the starting battery on my car, the battery in my phone, the battery in my camera, and every other battery of any chemistry that I have exposed to the cold. The difference is that an internal combustion engine warms up as you get farther down the road, reducing the risk of failure due to the cold. In other words, cold-related failure of a gasoline car is most likely to occur in your driveway where you can walk inside and survive. It seems that electric cars increase the risk of failure as you drive away in the cold. People who become stranded in a gasoline powered car with adequate fuel and do the right thing by staying with the car tend to survive. Electric cars that accomplish the same results are certainly possible, but not yet proven.

Comment: Re:Blaming the cables? (Score 1) 476

by ari_j (#46093335) Attached to: Tesla's Having Issues Charging In the Cold

This has always been my concern with electric cars. Batteries do not work well in the cold. I live in the part of the USA where Norwegians settled because it reminded them of home. Except we were having a heat wave at the time, and now it's colder. A warm gasoline or diesel engine will generally keep running no matter how cold it gets, so by the time you are any distance from the safety of your home, you have the safety of a running car with a working heater until you run out of fuel (assuming you have not filled with #2 diesel, which turns to gel in the cold). An electric car that relies entirely on batteries will get you just far enough from home to be in danger when the batteries have, due to temperature, become unable to move the car or to provide heat for the occupants.

I think an electric car would be great for the summer months. Maybe they should market electric motorcycles. But in the winter, living in a rural area where the ambient daytime temperatures are often -15C and occasionally -45C or worse, electric vehicles have a long battle to prove that they are as safe as their gasoline and diesel powered counterparts.

Comment: Seagate suuucks (Score 1) 444

by TheDarkener (#46031131) Attached to: Who Makes the Best Hard Disk Drives?

I have had so many Seagate drives fail on me in the past 10 years it's not even funny. One client of mine had a Seagate fail in their server's RAID-1 array, then not more than a month later, the other one failed. Musta been a(nother?) bad batch.

Western Digital has always been a solid drive and that's what I recommend to my clients. Can't say much for the others, because I normally only deal with them when I'm replacing them - either for upgraded storage or because they've failed/are failing.

Comment: ChunkVNC (Score 1) 408

by TheDarkener (#46031073) Attached to: Short Notice: LogMeIn To Discontinue Free Access

I'm very surprised nobody has mentioned Chunkvnc. It's just like UltraVNC Single-Click - requires no client installation, it's just a single .exe file you download (I provide mine on my support site's front page), double-click, and read a number to the tech connecting to you. The back-end repeater runs on Linux and Windows. Only thing is you have to use UltraVNC viewer to connect, which I use via Wine in Debian. Would be very nice to see ID# support for Linux-based VNC viewers so I could ditch having to use Wine. Also, some antivirus programs detect it as a malicious attempt for someone to gain access to your computer (VNC is an 31337 h4x0r util dontchaknow), but it's easy enough to add an exception in most cases. Also, since it's based on uVNC you can do file transfers, which is awesome.

Oh yeah, and it's F/OSS and free ($$). Donations are accepted on Chunk's website, however. (No, I am not affiliated with the project other than a happy user for about 8 years now, first with uVNC-sc and now Chunk).

Data Storage

Who Makes the Best Hard Disk Drives? 444

Posted by Soulskill
from the spoiler:-it's-not-mcdonald's dept.
Hamsterdan writes "Backblaze, the cloud backup company who open sourced their Storage Pod a few years ago, is now providing information on drive failure rates. They currently have over 27,000 consumer grade drives spinning in Backblaze storage pods. There are over 12,000 drives each from Seagate and Hitachi, and close to 3,000 from Western Digital (plus a too-small-for-statistical-reporting smattering of Toshiba and Samsung drives). One cool thing: Backblaze buys drives the way you and I do: they get the cheapest consumer-grade drives that will work. Their workload is almost one hundred percent write. Because they spread the incoming writes over several drives, their workload isn't overly performance intensive, either. Their results: Hitachi has the lowest overall failure rate (3.1% over three years). Western Digital has a slightly higher rate (5.2%), but the drives that fail tend to do so very early. Seagate drives fail much more often — 26.5% are dead by the three-year mark."

Comment: Re:Slashdot in Greek (Score 3, Insightful) 42

by ari_j (#45971889) Attached to: GNU Guile Scheme Gets a Register VM and CPS-Based IL

To those interested in the implementation of programming languages, it is immediately apparent that this is a fundamental change in the compiler behind the GNU Guile system which implements the Scheme programming language, inasmuch as it now has a virtual machine based on the register model instead of the implied stack model, along with an intermediate language in its compilation path that is based on continuation-passing style.

I think that the lesson here is for everyone: There are many segments of nerd culture, and it is very unlikely that any randomly-selected Slashdot reader understands and appreciates all of those segments. For example, the earlier headline today "Why Transivity Violations Can Be Rational" has no meaning to many readers, even after the title was corrected to spell transitivity correctly. After reading a little about that topic, I see that it is an area of of obvious interest to many nerds.

That being said, there are plenty of topics Slashdot poorly reports on which are not of interest to any segment of nerd culture, at least not beyond the overlap between nerd culture and the mainstream news where we already read the same information three days earlier except through the words of a literate, competent reporter with real editing before it hit the press.

Comment: News Headline (Score 1) 253

by TheDarkener (#45947963) Attached to: Using Nanotechnology To Build Thinner, Stronger Condoms

HEADLINE: "Bill Gates is giving $100,000 toward making a new kind of 'nanoparticle' condom. It is touted as being more secure, more fun and more sensitive than the current type of condoms in use today. "


Comment: All your accounts are belong to us. (Score 4, Insightful) 251

by TheDarkener (#45373927) Attached to: Feedly Forces Its Users To Create Google+ Profiles

I'm f***ing sick of Google and their integration of Google+ into Youtube (and obviously their other, and 3rd party services). I don't like Google+. I like Youtube (less and less these days, however). I don't use GMail, or any other Google service (besides search when DuckDuckGo doesn't find me what I want). It's like they're trying to force-feed us their horrible social network via proxy (no pun intended). NO I DO NOT WANT TO POST MY YOUTUBE COMMENTS ON MY DESOLATE GOOGLE+ ACCOUNT. Just keep them separate, they were never meant to be tied together.

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain