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Comment Re:Already been done in China for a while (Score 1) 235 235

I've been saying for a few years that if you just had a few solar panels in your back yard, and didn't want to go through the expense of all the inverter stuff, you could just use it to charge a small battery and power a DC air conditioner.

The big advantage of the DC air conditioner is that you can run it in parallel to a traditional air conditioner and don't have to worry about the grid connection. This will take load off of the main air conditioner and save money. No special controllers needed, just set the target temperature on the DC unit below the target of the traditional system. That way the traditional system should only run when it's both hot and dark/cloudy.

Comment Slow Response? (Score 1) 157 157

As an automotive engineer, I'm frightened by the rapid response to this issue. This isn't Facebook. When an auto manufacturer "moves fast and breaks things" people get hurt. Every change should go through months of validation before being released to the customer.

I realize this exploit is a concern. However, is Chrysler sure they haven't introduced a bug with far worse consequences by implementing this change?

Comment Re:I hate it already! (Score 1) 118 118

I too am an engineer, and I optimize things for a living. However, you have to exercise some level of restraint. There are plenty of projects that can be marginally better, but the customer won't notice or care. At some point a project is "good enough" and you ship it. If you obsess over making everything perfect you will either end up making vaporware or annoying your customers with seemingly pointless changes (e.g. Google Maps).

This has taken me years to realize. As an engineer I want to optimize everything. However, optimization for optimization's sake is a waste. Focus on what will really improve the experience for the end user. If the end user thinks it's perfect, LEAVE IT ALONE!

Grandpa was an engineer too. Learn from his years of experience.

Comment Re:Holy Jebus (Score 1) 220 220

Most of those outsourced parts are electronic, because Elon Musk doesn't own a semiconductor factory (yet).

I doubt he owns his own bauxite mine or aluminum refinery either. The rabbit hole goes much deeper than just shaping raw materials. The quality of the material was the root cause in this case.

Comment Re:Holy Jebus (Score 2) 220 220

Also, maybe it's just because I've never worked in that industry before, maybe it's common practice in rocketry, but is anyone else impressed with the use of sound triangulation to figure out which part broke? I've never heard of that being done before.

*camperdave raises his hand.
I am impressed that they were able to do this. I imagine that this would be difficult under the best of circumstances, but inside a rocket during a launch? That's not the type of environment I would expect to hear anything apart from the roar of the engines. I'm picturing 3D renderings showing simulated sound waves, experts trying to line up similar sonic wave-fronts to compute timings, and lots of computer time.

Comment Re:Transparency (Score 1) 220 220

Random testing can only pick up systemic faults within an entire product line not random ones.

Statistics is your friend in this case. Random testing should show a large standard deviation (assuming they test to failure). You should then be able to calculate the probability of failure.

This may not be so random. ...Or some shlub forgot to heat treat two of the struts.

The more data I punch in this card, the lighter it becomes, and the lower the mailing cost. -- S. Kelly-Bootle, "The Devil's DP Dictionary"