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Comment: Re:LOL ... (Score 1) 350

by aaarrrgggh (#46829123) Attached to: Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance

I don't know... My little cabana on a small island in the gulf of Thailand was a pretty nice place to work from. My hourly rate might have been cut nearly in half, but at 8am local time I would say I needed to leave the conference call because the long tail boat was too loud taking me out for scuba diving...

I lived on about $1,000 per month, and if they wanted me back in the states for a week it was entirely on their dime.

Cost of living adjusted I still do better today, but I don't get to go diving every day.

Comment: Re:Everyone is going make sure they have enough (Score 1) 452

by aaarrrgggh (#46812535) Attached to: Oklahoma Moves To Discourage Solar and Wind Power

Batteries are unrealistic, but supply responsive controls, thermal storage, etc can help a home to use as much of the electricity when they generate it, rather than selling it back. Batteries cost about $0.10/kWh over their useful life in capital terms. When you add in the inefficiencies and the cost of the solar panels, you are around $0.25/kWh total for an off-grid system (cost of capital = 0).

The problem the utilities are having is that for residential customers they don't break out demand charges and energy charges. In practical terms, your demand charge should be based on magnitude and not direction of power flow. The energy portion then becomes more time sensitive as well, with the peak pricing around 4-6PM rather than 12-2PM, and subject to change on overcast days.

Distributed generation is hard to make work well when the generation is not consumed locally.

Comment: Re:victorian clerks.. (Score 4, Interesting) 312

by aaarrrgggh (#46778845) Attached to: Switching From Sitting To Standing At Your Desk

I'm 42 and I have been using a balance ball at my desk for 5 years. Love it; by its nature you are always doing small movements, posture is better, and my back problems have pretty much gone away. The pièce de résistance is that I can bounce on it to stay awake during boring conference calls.

The only times I have problems with it is when I am doing high-intensity focused work on the computer and start to lean and cheat support by leaning over desk and resting more of my arms on the desk.

Comment: Re:get rid of salary pay / make it have a high lev (Score 1) 477

by aaarrrgggh (#46714571) Attached to: New French Law Prohibits After-Hours Work Emails

Are you kidding?! Salary offers much better protection than hourly work. Hourly wages are for non-thinking/production positions, and salary is for professional/management. A salary (exempt status) provides flexibility for how and when you do your work as should be done for a professional.

Now, if you are help desk or spend your life doing TPS reports in a small cube, you really should be non-exempt... But nobody should aspire to non-exempt status career in the tech world.

There are abuses on both sides, but it really comes down to find a different job if you don't like the balance of hours, responsibility, and pay.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 1) 223

by aaarrrgggh (#46682875) Attached to: Why There Are So Few ISP Start-Ups In the U.S.

To become an ISP in an area that requires underground utilities you need a good stash of money, as it will take at least two years from start of negotiations with the city to providing service to your first customer. Call this about $2,000/customer passed for bridge funding. You also need to be able to spread your investment out over ~10 years to make good use of resources.

That comes to about $2MM cash in order to serve your first 500 customers with 50% penetration, plus access to about $4-6MM in financing after your network is operational.

Above ground utilities are much easier, as there is only about a 6-month lead time for stringing a new cable. $2MM should be able to get you a build-out that can serve 2,000 customers with much lower risks, and no need for financing unless you really want to grow from there.

But in the end, you really need something that gives you an edge in the market, especially something that the incumbents cannot replicate quickly.

Comment: Re:For God's Sake, Internet is a LUXURY not a UTIL (Score 1) 223

by aaarrrgggh (#46682729) Attached to: Why There Are So Few ISP Start-Ups In the U.S.

Not sure why I am feeding a troll here, but your arguments are akin to "let them eat cake." Things that consume time for no real value are a tax; Internet service helps you avoid that tax so you can spend your time doing things that are economically, socially, or emotionally productive.

Comment: Re:Ah, Crony-Capitalism! (Score 1) 223

by aaarrrgggh (#46682677) Attached to: Why There Are So Few ISP Start-Ups In the U.S.

The energy solution is fairly straightforward: focus on diverse sources of energy at the local scale. Electricity, natural gas, solar, wind, and in a pinch diesel can all be used for the same purpose, and you can "load balance" between them.

Unfortunately, at the residential ISP level it is much more cost conscious. You can easily have a land-line solution and mobile, or even multiple mobile solutions, but it is much like using the diesel as a backup for home electricity-- good in a pinch, but expensive. Having multiple land-line services just adds cost since they are not billed on a usage basis. Maybe if two networks each offered only 99.5% availability it would make sense, if costs were sufficiently low.

Google's investment is actually fairly small , especially if their network is transformative. At $600 for the wiring per house passed, 50% penetration, $500/subscriber in NRC, and a $50/month service charge you get a 14-15% 5-year rate of return. Add an extra $10/month to cover legal fees and it is a pretty solid investment. If you drop penetration to 25% though it is hard to make it work for less than $80/month, which is really why there is limited competition.

Comment: Re:If only.. (Score 1) 176

by aaarrrgggh (#46637859) Attached to: The Connected Home's Battle of the Bulbs

They are a product before their time, but there are other good reasons to go with this type of setup. Most of them come down to the complexity of dimming control.
-Daylight Harvesting: dim lights by the window while allowing lights further away to be brighter.
-Night lighting scenarios: ever want to just have the light by the toilet be dimly lit so you don't wake the wife when you pee in the middle of the night?
-Coordinated Scenes: while a Lutron Grafik Eye (or similar products) can provide scene control for a room, they were never designed for scenes across rooms.
-Demand Response control.
-Color moods. Harder sell for most, but colder color temperatures at night with the TV on, and warmer in the morning. More reds on a cloudy day or for dark adaptation, blues for less detail.

Personally, I prefer Insteon over Hue, but when you want individual lamp control Insteon gets very clunky. Hard wiring controls is tricky as well, especially when lights may only be 2-5W, and the controls don't work as reliably at low power.

My big problem with everything on the market now is that there is a good chance it will be obsolete within 5 years, and hard wiring things gets impossible.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 1) 491

by aaarrrgggh (#46569861) Attached to: How Satellite Company Inmarsat Tracked Down MH370

Regarding privacy... I was downmodded on another thread for stating the obvious, but it is the Pilot's union that does not want longer cockpit voice recordings. The logic is reasonable enough; two hours before an accident should be sufficient to give adequate information for crash investigators. The issue here is that it isn't an accident, it really should be a criminal investigation into the activity in the cockpit.

An airline pilot is a professional, and they don't want to work in an environment where every conversation can be analyzed later, independent of the outcomes.

Efficacy... "it's just metadata." The same reasons we dislike the NSA dragnet is the reason why it is a bad idea for every detail to be recorded and stored indefinitely.

Air transportation is traditionally extremely safe. A very substantial amount of money is put into it to get this outcome. The issue with trying to make marginal improvements is that the return on investment is extremely low.

And back to cost, at $2/message, a message broadcast every 60 seconds on a 6-hour flight with 300 passengers is a premium of $24 per passenger. That would roughly cover position, heading, altitude, and any alarms only. If you wanted to add voice data you are likely looking at something in the range of $60 more per passenger for the flight.

What was needed here was a detachable ELT that activates on impact/submersion and floats on the surface. The logistics of making this sufficiently robust are non trivial, but it would be substantially cheaper than 10 flights with real-time voice streaming from the cockpit, and provide substantially more useful information.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 1) 491

by aaarrrgggh (#46567053) Attached to: How Satellite Company Inmarsat Tracked Down MH370

Money, privacy, and efficacy. An Inmarsat message apparently costs $2-3 for the equivalent of a tweet. Recording every word said will likely prevent much from being said, which could reduce CRM. Sending all this data to the cloud for what purpose exactly? So that one CVR every 10-20 years that isn't recovered can be addressed?

More can be done, but it isn't as easy as just "putting it in the cloud."

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]

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