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Comment: Simple Solutions (Score 1) 1

by aaarrrgggh (#48023859) Attached to: Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

The issue is that the energy and distribution costs are bundled, primarily for residential customers. Un-bundle the two, and have a specific demand charge (max kW power flow, either direction). The demand charge covers distribution, and you continue to net-meter energy.

The problem today is essentially that a residential user produces 4x their peak demand for a few hours a day, which forces the utility to have 4x the distribution capacity but they end up with zero revenue.

For the end user, if you aren't happy with it, go off-grid and provide a sufficient battery to make it work. As long as the utility is charging less than about $10/kW demand charge, it is cheaper to connect to the grid than provide your own batteries. The balance stops working when the peak PV component of production exceeds some magic number, but that should be over 40%.

Comment: Re:The Government also ruined my washer and dryer (Score 1) 595

by aaarrrgggh (#48007019) Attached to: The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy

The secret is that you have to open the door and detergent tray on the washer, and the heat exchanger and lint tray need to be removed on the dryer, also with the door open.

We had a nightmare with our washer when first installed due to bad controller boards, but it has been working reliably for several years now. Not sure if I would go Bosch again, but it does the job pretty well.

Comment: Re:Training Budget (Score 1) 182

by aaarrrgggh (#47980649) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Who Should Pay Costs To Attend Conferences?

Forcing someone to train without paying them is illegal in most states. If someone like the OP wants to go to a conference for fun, professional development, networking, etc., that is all well and good; it is a shared benefit. Threats of being fired if you don't have certification X is unacceptable, but denial of future benefits is more fuzzy.

The real problem is some people want to be life long students and milk professional development funds, and policies need to protect employers from that.

Comment: Training Budget (Score 1) 182

by aaarrrgggh (#47965003) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Who Should Pay Costs To Attend Conferences?

Public and companies with government contracts are different than the private sector, and selling taxpayers on a conference in Las Vegas can be difficult.

In the private sector, companies should budget about 5% of annual salary for training. That includes time and expenses. Usually our approach is to make sure the employee has some skin in the game-- either pay part of the cost or take PTO to attend if it isn't after-hours.

As an employer, I am generally torn on the matter though; much of the benefit is to the employee rather than the employer; I care that you can do your job not that you have a piece of paper that says you can do your job. New technologies, keeping skills sharp, networking... all of those things have a split benefit.

Comment: Re:Junk quality; why bother? (Score 1) 111

by aaarrrgggh (#47861281) Attached to: Home Depot Confirms Breach of Its Payment Systems

Most local family-owned shops are effectively Ace or one of the other franchises. While not all the inventory comes from the franchiser, it's quality is usually lower to be at the same retail price. Lowes seems to have higher quality, higher-priced products consistently, but it seems to miss the balance on the value scale.

I bought a Husky tool cabinet last year for under $300, where the comparable product from Lowes was $700. Lowes was hands-down better in terms of construction quality, design, and features... but for my needs the cost wasn't warranted.

Know when you want/need quality, and know when you need to get the job done. The product is the key though, not the merchant.

Comment: Re:CC system is flawed (Score 1) 111

by aaarrrgggh (#47861193) Attached to: Home Depot Confirms Breach of Its Payment Systems

It is easier than that; the token needs to have merchant, amount, date/time hashed in; you approve that information before entering your pin.

There are hard issues... like what to do with credit reports that rely on a non-random 9-digit social security number as keys to the kingdom, but securing the transaction between consumer, merchant, and bank isn't that hard.

I use technology in order to hate it more properly. -- Nam June Paik