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Comment: Re:Still ugly (Score 1) 164

by Tugrik (#46339649) Attached to: Electric Bikes Get More Elegant Every Year (Video)

Racing bikes / drop bars are for the spandex clad assassins who'd view any EV assist modes as 'cheating' and the batteries/motor as unnecessary weight. Normal humans who happen to ride bicycles (instead of 'bicyclists') are quite happy with sit-up-comfortably-and-be-able-to-see postures. This is why the Electra Townies and their ilk are so popular with the casual bike commuter set. The SRS BZNS bike commuter types who want the monkey-humping-a-football position aren't the target market here.

Comment: Three, not six (Score 1) 489

by Tugrik (#45756485) Attached to: Goodbye, California? Tim Draper Proposes a 6-Way Split

NorCali -- SF Bay Area (starting from about Monterey/Salinas as its southern border), Humbolt, Lassen, all the way up to the OR border.
SoCali -- Coast south of Monterey all the way down to Mexico border, including all of the LA basin, San Diego and the Mojave area
Joquain -- The central valley from Redding to Bakersfield, and the Sierra Nevadas along the NV state line

Tech biz/hippies/redwoods, hollywood/flakes/deserts, then agriculture/rednecks/mountains. Each one would have its own special economy to live on and is a much better social/attitude split.

Comment: Range. That's #1. (Score 5, Informative) 810

by Tugrik (#45498099) Attached to: Electric Cars: Drivers Love 'Em, So Why Are Sales Still Low?

The three year lease on my Nissan Leaf is over in a few months. I absolutely adore the car. It's been the best commuter vehicle I've had in all ways but one -- range. This is the biggest complaint of all those I've shown it to, as well. Many of the co-workers and friends who have ridden in my car over the years want one! Then they hear what the range is like and they lose interest.

My daily round trip (+lunch) comes in at just under 50 miles. With the highway speeds in my area (75 and up) and putting slightly better tires on it instead of the no-traction-in-rain stocks that I went through all too quickly, my real-world run-until-empty range is about 65 miles (When new with the super-eco tires and driving 65 on the freeway, I could get closer to 80-85 miles of range). This means that by the time I get home I can go back out to shop and return, and that's about it. I cannot use the Leaf for longer weekend runs, road trips, or even for the once every three weeks that I have to commute from San Jose to San Fran (about 120mi round trip). Therefore I have to have a second gas-powered car.

Being that I work in Silicon Valley, owning one gas car and leasing an electric car alongside is feasible. With how much I save on gas the lease is nearly 75% covered anyway. With my office soon installing chargers at work my range will extend considerably. But for most of my friends having more than one car is out of the question, budgetary-wise, and the limitations of a car that can only go about 65 miles before it has to charge for 5 hours (my usual L2 charge is 4h:40m or so, overnight) are just too restrictive. With L3 chargers being few and far between, and often having a cost associated with their use, they don't help much. So, no EV for them.

When my lease is up I'll probably try to get a Toyota RAV-4 EV. It supposedly has a real-world range of over 110mi - nearly double my Leaf. It's more affordable than the Tesla models, and more important to me, I can fit in it (I'm very tall-torso and short-legged; I simply can't get in the sports-car-low roof line of the Model S, and no Model X's exist that they will let a consumer sit in to see if they fit!). I'm bummed that Nissan hasn't found a way to 2x the range of the Leaf, or I'd gladly stick with that model. The Tesla-drivetrain RAV4 is still more expensive than I like, but it'll fit my EV driving needs far better.

When battery technology increases enough that 150+mi range EVs are Leaf-level affordable _then_ you will see sales take off in the urban areas. Any advancements in fast-rate (L3 or better) charging will help that too. Until then, for all of their benefits and wonderfulness to drive, they'll remain a niche for packed-urban-area dwellers who can afford to have a second, dedicated commute car.

Comment: Re:OUCH (Score 2) 479

by Tugrik (#44777897) Attached to: Man Killed By His Own Radio-Controlled Helicopter In Brooklyn

In the linked video he's flying a QAV400 -- a small quadrotor that uses anything from 7" to 11" props, in a hand-held sized frame. While the propellers can still cause lacerations, they're far smaller and lighter than a full RC helicopter (especially the kind mentioned that killed him). Landing a few feet from your face is still not wise, though.

There's definitely a question of scale to be considered in all this debate. Someone screwing up and dropping a lightweight A.R.Drone atop someone's head is a world of difference from that idiot covering the bull run with the monster octo-rotor dangling 20k of video equipment. I fly some of the ultralight models that can barely hoist up a tiny GoPro camera. While the prop tips can still cause some road rash they're not going to be lopping anybody's head off. Yet I'm sure I'm going to get regulated against / yelled at / sued etc just for owning it, thanks to the flying-lawnmower "look at how much money and power I can put in the air" mega-aerial-video types.

The RC community needs to work on smaller, lighter and safer models for purposes of filming. The flying dSLR cranes and high-power-acro-but-it-can-film-too models need to stop being near people.

Comment: Own the Hue setup. (Score 1) 235

by Tugrik (#43194671) Attached to: Smartest Light Bulbs Ever, Dumbest Idea Ever?

I've had the Hue system in my bedroom for the last six months. Were they worth the price? Probably not, considering the starter pack price. Even so, I like them and I'm glad I bought them. Buying overpriced gadgets is a bad habit of mine anyways, so they weren't out of my norm.

The three bulbs are set up with one in the master bath overhead, one in a torchiere base by the bedside table, and the third in another torchiere on the far side of the room. The bulk of the lights in the master bath are on a separate switch (and are all LED, just single color white on/off instead of 'smart' bulbs). So when you're in there doing your morning thing and need lots of white light, flick a lightswitch for the regular bulbs.

As normal lights the Hue work just fine. The only annoyance is if you enter the room and don't want to have your phone out to switch things, you have to turn the main lightswitch in the room off then on again. This brings up the main bulb on that switch in a normal, soft-white mode, just like turning on a regular lamp. To toggle to a color-scene you have to pull out your phone, which isn't too much of a problem since like most modern geeks mine is always with me or nearby (usually on the nightstand charging), but is still slightly annoying. When they release the standalone controller they show in TFA's slideshow that will be a huge improvement.

The color scenes are surprisingly handy. I only have a few basic ones: Bright warm light for doing work at the desk (biased so the room light is brighter than the bedside), soft warm white for reading in bed (biased so the bedside light is brighter than the room), a blue/red/orange soft color combo for when I'm brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed (very relaxing), a "aaugh, the pain, I'm up dammit" super-white (they call it 'energize' mode in the app) which turns on automatically in time with my workday morning alarm, and the "gotta pee" mode where only the master bathroom light turns on to gentle, kind-to-the-night-vision red. The rest of the modes are all the usual "ooo lookit I can make the whole room /blue/" type of goofing off which almost never get used.

I thought the novelty would wear off after a while, and it did... for the 'goofing off' modes. But after refining into the work/read/go-to-bed/get-up/night-pee modes (which took a month or so) I really don't want to do without them. They're something I'm used to and actually miss when staying away from home. Having a room only be 'very bright' or 'no light' isn't enough of a choice any more. Yeah, I'm spoiled. But isn't that what this kind of gadget is for?

For those who are very particular about how warm/cool your normal light should be, Philips chose a good color engine for that; you'll be happy. The downside is that it can't do true green. Outside of goofing off, though, it's not often I'd need a solid green lit room.

If they'd come down notably in price I'd install them all over the house. All my house interior lighting is LED already, but it'd be nice to have similar 'color dimming' abilities throughout the abode instead of just in my room. But at $50 a bulb? Naaaah, one room is enough.

Wish list: The aforementioned controller (in various tabletop and wall-switch-mount formats). Higher maximum brightness. Slightly more green hue -- just a little. Lower cost.

Comment: We run them in-switch (Score 1) 320

by Tugrik (#41848475) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Little Boxes Around the Edge of the Data Center?

My datacenter uses Arista gear for top-of-rack and core switching. It's a large cloud-style environment with each rack acting as its own "pod" with self-contained services, so any one pod can be moved to any zone of any of our datacenters with minimal fuss.

Small services like NTP, in-pod DNS, sFlow relay, monitoring, puppet (some of it anyways) and small unixy management tools we just run in the Aristas themselves. They're Fedora-core linux based switches that will run those things happily and do a great job feeding those services to their pods.

As far as NTP, the core pair on the main backbone gets their own GPS inputs, then all the top-of-racks sync to the core pair. Works out quite nicely.

Comment: Re:Can the car control the cable if the battery di (Score 1) 212

by Tugrik (#41708779) Attached to: Standard For Electric Car Charging Announced

Don't forget: on the Leaf, not only does it have the 12v battery, but it has a small solar cell (on the SV model) located on the rear spoiler. So if even the 12v 'control' battery was dead, just leave it in the sun for a bit. Then it'd have enough juice to control the main charger and activate it once plugged in.

Comment: Re:This isn't really new, (Score 1) 67

by Tugrik (#39022621) Attached to: Twitter Gets Satellite Access

Downside to the SPOT solution: It only allows for 41 character on-the-fly tweets (you can do longer if they're pre-defined but those are much less useful). It also goes through their custom gateway and slaps extra formatting and geo-tagging to your tweet that you may not want. So while functional it's of less value than a native 140-character tweet-via-shortcode like TFA talks about. Globalstar (and their SPOT division) need to step up and provide the same functionality, IMHO.

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