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Comment More details on how they did it... (Score 1) 494 says " Emissions testers at a site in Westlake Village, California, evaluated all the cars involved... If any vehicle failed to meet emissions targets, a team of engineers from Volkswagen headquarters or luxury brand Audiâ(TM)s base in Ingolstadt was flown in, the person said. After the group had tinkered with the vehicle for about a week, the car would then pass the test. "

Comment CFL failure rate data: some vendors good, some bad (Score 1) 602

The Energy Star folks eventually did realize that there were a lot of shit CFLs out there, and started doing rigorous testing; see They now actually test bulbs before giving them the Energy Star seal.

When they started doing Energy Star ratings for LEDs, they tried really hard to avoid the CFL fiasco; see As a result, Energy Star rated LED bulbs are pretty reliable. I have about 60 (!) in my house, bought over the last 9 months. None of the Energy Star bulbs has failed yet. Two non-energy-star LED bulbs that were several years old (from vendors not around anymore?) did fail.

I'm now slowly converting the bulbs in the house I rent out to LEDs, with the tenant's cooperation. The only two bulbs she has liked so far are the Cree 40W TW (for bathrooms only - it hums too much for living room) and the Phillips 40W A15 ( ) for everywhere else. Her dimmers are old, and most LED bulbs flicker with them; I should get her newer dimmers. Haven't had that problem much at my house.

I'm quite happy with the LEDs so far, and am writing up my experiences at Your mileage may vary.

Comment US Energy Star and vaccuum cleaners (Score 3, Interesting) 338

The US doesn't have Energy Star standards for vacuum cleaners yet, but they're thinking about it. says
"[Assuming efficiency improvements of 16% to 33%...] Estimated per-unit annual savings for residential vacuums are on the order of 10-19 kWh/year... Considering there are approximately 28 million vacuums sold in the U.S. each year, the national energy savings opportunity would be on the order of 67,000-135,000 MWh per year if 25% of products sold were replaced with energy efficient models"

Contrast that the the document linked in TFA: says
"[Vaccuum cleaners sold per year in 2005 and 2020: 54 million and 92 million]... [Energy consumed by vacuum cleaners under business-as-usual by 2020: 29.7 TWH/year]... by 2020, the annual electricity consumption ... of vacuum cleaners will be reduced by 19 TWh"

So, 67 TWh annual savings in US vs. 19 TWh annual savings in EU in spite of twice as many vacuum cleaners sold per year in the EU. Is there just more dirt in the US? Or was the Energy Star scoping report just overoptimistic?

Comment Re:LED Lightbulbs Re:user error (Score 1) 710

Me, too. I get mine at Home Depot (they have Cree, which I like better than the ones at Lowe's). Replacing frequently-used incandescents with LEDs pays for itself in about 9 months (at $10/LED, 4 hr/day, and $0.15/kwh; your milage may vary, see )

Doing this (and a few other things) cut my power usage from 40KWH/day to 25KWH/day. Still too high... I need to dig some more to see where it's all going.

I'm blogging the experience at

Comment Nvidia's been doing this for a while on Linux (Score 5, Informative) 202

FWIW, the Nvidia proprietary drivers have had a shader cache on Linux since the 290.03 release in late 2011 (search for GLShaderDiskCache). It probably helps Mass Effect 2 under Wine somewhat (here's a bug report from before the cache was added to the driver: )

Comment Spot-checking (Score 3, Informative) 429

Just how broken is it? Let's find out.

I tried creating an account early Sunday morning and failed.
I tried again Sunday evening, and it worked... on Firefox, anyway. On Chrome, logging in took me to a blank screen.
( See )

If you try creating an account on, reply here with what happened. Let's see how broken it is.

Comment Re:I doubt the reports... (Score 2) 198

Are you talking about Google, or some other company? I don't remember anything like that going on at Google when I was there. The managers I observed were quite levelheaded and didn't assign too much work. The only real impatience I saw was when one product had too much latency visible to the end user. That resulted in a whole lot of impatience... and a new level of vigilence against latency creep. But that was a good thing.

Comment I doubt the reports... (Score 2, Interesting) 198

The original report of "For many employees, it has become too difficult to take time off from their day jobs to work on independent projects." can be explained well like this: people who are below average productivity in their team can't spare the time to work on 20% projects.

I don't think this is a harsh thing; it's just a fact of life.

By the way, the Google version of stack ranking (if I recall correctly from my time there) is something like "If you're a manager, and there's a guy on the team who isn't being very productive, make sure he knows about the problem, so he can do something about it."

Also not a harsh thing.

Google doesn't want to become a Cisco, where all the good ideas come from buying up little companies. I suspect that people of above average productivity at Google still have plenty of freedom to try experiments 20% time.

What has changed a bit is that since the mantra of the company became "Features, not products", those 20% experiments are almost always going to involve adding features or other improvements to existing products, not wholly new products.

And that's ok, too. There is a whole lot of room to add features and make things better under the hood.

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