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Comment Re:Uber supporters (Score 0) 215

I can get an Uber any time of the day or night to take me where I want to go. An Uber shows up within 5 minutes - always. If I call the taxi company for a cab, one may or may not show up between 45 minutes and an hour - if one shows up at all. Uber drivers are held accountable for the condition of their cars, their appearance, their personality. Taxi drivers stink, are rude and their cars are always a mess. I would never use a taxi. I always use uber.
Better yet, for the world traveler, Uber works in pretty much all major cities, tied to the same account. No messing around with local vs foreigner rates, tipping, blah blah blah. Just get in and GO. Then get OUT when you arrive. I HATE arguing with cabbies over fares, rates etc etc. it's absurd. Uber gets rid of all that and gives me a simple interface and one point of billing. If Uber was forced out of my city, I'd go buy a car rather than use Taxis.

Comment Re:will they "cost no more to" buy? (Score 1) 182

Well it's down to 55c/ kWh over an entire year. Over 11 years it's actually cheaper than electricity. Assuming 50% utilization and a 25 year service life (rated, real world is expected to be 30) they are in fact both cheaper than grid electricity and by quite a bit! Especially if you are living on an island. Which about a billion humans are right now.

Comment Re:It's even worse as an international merchant :- (Score 1) 344

Running a simple on-line service with a small monthly subscription fee and a fair proportion of international customers, we literally lose more subscriptions because of unexplained card failures than all other causes put together ...

This one is easy, as I do something similar. Peoples cards expire, and they don't update their user data if they've been subscribed for a while.

Comment Re:will they "cost no more to" buy? (Score 1) 182

Solar's pretty close to being cheaper than buying it from the local power company. Like, really, really close. Google's got a big fat bounty for reducing the transformer/inverter down in cost and size, that's the last step. Lithium battery tech is about to make a huge generational leap, solar panels are very nearly free (they pay for themselves in the first year), it's just the controller/inverters.
Hell if someone would sell a 2-Ton DC-powered Air Conditioning unit wired directly to some solar panels and an ultra capacitor, that alone would drop your power bill by 70% in the summer here in Texas and 30-60% during the rest of the year. Trickle charge some small batteries for daily stuff. Electronics just absolutely sip power these days. My 40" HDTV uses just 40 watts - that's one third of the power my 2.1 "home theater" system uses.
It might sound fanatical but other than my dish washer, washing machine, air conditioning and dryer, I don't think there's any one device that uses more than 100w of power in my house any more.


EU Probes TVs Over Energy Test Scores 92

joesreviewss writes: The European Commission says it will follow up on evidence that Samsung and another TV-maker use software that alters their screens' power use during tests. The BBC reports: "One study indicates that some Samsung TVs nearly halve their power consumption when a standardised test is carried out. Another accuses a different unnamed manufacturer of adjusting the brightness of its sets when they "recognise" the test film involved. Samsung has denied any wrongdoing. It acknowledged that it used software that altered its televisions' performance during tests, but said this was the effect of a general energy efficiency feature that came into effect during normal use and had nothing to do with the testing process."

Comment Re:Offline mode on reinstall? (Score 1) 230

I'm not super worried about it, they are rolling in money, have no public shareholders to be accountable to, and almost completely hold a monopoly on the PC digital download market. And every time they fuck up with the community they backpedal as hard as they can. It's possible they will go under in the next decade, but that's longer than the lifespan of a console, so I'm ok with that. When Gabe Newell dies some day (he's what, 65?) then it could take a turn for the worse but right now they seem be headed on the same upward vector that they've been headed on since about 2004 or so. I will continue feeding them a few bucks a month in terms of game sales for the foreseeable future. If their health becomes questionable, I'll reconsider it, but I've been an extremely satisfied customer since at least 2007.

Comment Re:Toilet paper and timber? (Score 2) 269

Thanks yeah I came here to post this. Not only are trees farm-grown for paper/wood products, but importantly there are more trees now in North America than in 1850 thanks to more efficent planting and better resource planning.
It's very likely that due to deforestation for agricultural purposes, there are fewer trees. But paper products are a 100% renewable resource and the wood products industry is actually on top of keeping things replanted etc for a long term crop/resource point of view. So the western world need not worry, it's all the literal dirt-poor farmers in the Amazon who are burning up forest land to plant crops and graze cattle on notoriously nutrient-poor soil. You can help with this by stop eating McDonald's beef products most of which come from that region. The box and bag your Big Mac came in however, were probably made in the USA with renewable materials.

Comment Porable Laptop Solar Panels are a thing, now (Score 3, Informative) 146

There's an outfit on amazon/ebay that sells 18v "Allpower" solar panels with an array of adapters to use with whatever brand laptop you have for reasonable prices. They just unfold, and then plug right in to your laptop. On a modern laptop, you could probably get away with running/charging a laptop on a 21w array for $90, but they make up to a 28w array for $130. Modern Haswell/Broadwell laptops run at about 15w with the display at full brightness. There's a 14w array too for $60, but if you're seriously considering buying a device like this you probably want the ability to run and charge at the same time, and it's unlikely you'll find a place that allows you to put the panel in full sun and comfortably work on the laptop. With 18v, you'll never fully charge the battery (you need 19-19.5v to do that) but it'll satisfactorily charge your laptop to about 93% very reliably.

Of course, if you're stuck in a rainstorm for three or four days and you wear down your laptop battery, you might have trouble getting it charged back up until the sun comes back out. But with modern 15 hour batteries in laptops you should be able to squeak by for a day or two of normal office work.

Comment Re:Copyright in game streams (Score 1) 94

It's free advertising that has amazing marketing data generation, and customer interaction levels on par with the Victoria's Secret fashion show they televise every year. If they don't already directly address copyright issues in their EULA now, they will soon. All of the major publishing houses have been promoting e-sports for a while and there have been close to zero takedowns based on game streaming.
I see the potential for conflict here, but in the last four years it has been a non-issue, and Google's army of lawyers have vetted the project so I'm reasonably sure they're in the clear here for all but the smallest/out of touch developers.

Comment Re:"Investigation" doesn't mean "harrassment" (Score 1) 282

That's an excellent and relevant question.

There is a balance that needs to happen here - on one hand, an understanding that law enforcement will need to legitimately poke their noses into people's business from time to time. It is certainly to society's benefit that law enforcement be allowed to act with a degree of preemption rather than purely reactionary.

But at the same time, there must also be an understanding that law enforcement is composed of *people*, who are every bit as fallible and subject to moments of weakness, temptation, and corruption as any other people - and so accordingly must be required to act out in the open, subject to inspection. And when law enforcement *does* overstep their bounds, they must be held accountable.

We, as a society, have been lax on the latter. We've allowed some elements of law enforcement to run amok (motivated by mostly good intentions to be sure). Those transgressions are slowly being corrected, and constant vigilance is good practice.

By the same token though, assuming that *all* law enforcement activity is unjustified and harmful is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The pendulum cannot swing too far over in the other direction.

And most of the top comments in this thread are just mindless shoves at the pendulum. More balance and moderation is required.

Comment "Investigation" doesn't mean "harrassment" (Score 5, Insightful) 282

And as a corollary:

"Hello, Authorities? I think this man is up to No Good. I'm seeing behavior that leads me to think a Plot is Afoot.".

"Thank you Sir. We'll check it out."

[an Investigation is Conducted]

"Well, it turns out that there's nothing going on that contravenes the law. No Nefarious Plot. We'll file this in our archives and move on to something else."

The fact that an investigation was conducted in response to a complaint is *to be expected*. That's what the "I" in "FBI" is all about. The good news here was that when the investigation turned up nothing illegal, it was shelved.

Now it is certainly true that during the McCarthy Era, there *were* investigations that went too far, and innocent people suffered consequences even when they were never charged and convicted. There was much for law enforcement and government to learn during this time period. I'm certainly no fan of witch hunts - especially ones where the definition of "witch" is not well defined.

But it is also true that there *were* foreign agents about, and they *were* seeking to do harm. Investigating leads that might end up in a legitimate conviction is a good thing. Dropping an investigation that proves unfounded is also a good thing.

But Oh Noes! Government! Security! These things must be bad, right?

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