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Comment: Re:Talk about creating a demand (Score 3, Interesting) 329

by dwywit (#49567007) Attached to: Why Our Antiquated Power Grid Needs Battery Storage

Well, yes, even the sun will run out one day - but I hope we as a species will have taken appropriate steps well before that happens.

Seriously, yes, even fissile material is finite, but it's a step in the right direction.

I use lead-acid batteries, 1320ah of them, and I'm off-grid, so I don't know very much about grid-tie systems and the issues they raise. I'm just saying it's possible to live with batteries, and there are even some advantages. They do need periodic replacement (every 8-9 years in my case), but much of it is recycleable, so it isn't just dumped in a landfill. I believe the price of lead in the last few years makes it much more attractive to recycle lead-acid batteries.

Comment: Re:Talk about creating a demand (Score 3, Interesting) 329

by dwywit (#49566833) Attached to: Why Our Antiquated Power Grid Needs Battery Storage

Not sure I understood you - did you mean that $13K is roughly equivalent to your conventional electricity bills over the lifespan of a Tesla battery?

It's not just about cost, either upfront or total costs over the lifespan of panels/batteries/whatever.

You could even step back from the issues about pollution, CO2, global climate change, and look at it this way:

Fossil fuels are a FINITE resource. Even coal will run out, and eventually oil and then coal will become very expensive to extract. Doesn't it make sense to take steps to transition to nuclear and renewable energy sources while conventional fossil fuels are cheap?

We should build nuclear stations with the very best and safest technology - they can handle the large-scale demands of industry, and be a backup for domestic baseloads. It's possible to supply great gobs of electrical energy via PV when the sun is shining - we have to manage that energy, sure, and it's going to cost more than we already pay, but with smart enough controllers, your domestic battery will supply you with a reduced but adequate supply during grid outages. Wouldn't it be great to have lights and refrigeration when the grid goes down? Put it another way: when the grid goes down, sometimes it's for long enough that the contents of your refrigerator and freezer have to be dumped. How much does that cost to replace, and how many times would it need to happen to make a $13K battery worth the cost? Doesn't have to match $13K in actual foodstuffs - what about the convenience factor?

Comment: Re:Protect the income of the creators or they can' (Score 1) 302

Yep - copyright can only be owned by a human - not a corporation or a government. A human can licence reproduction of his/her works to another human for a period of time NOT TO EXCEED the lifespan of the creator. Might need to to have a catch-all there to cope with early death - see Hendrix, Joplin, Morrison, etc. Perhaps the copyright will expire at the time of expected human lifespan at the time of the work's creation. But then the creator might live longer than that. Well, the licence to reproduce is for the lifespan of the creator, so birthdate+expected lifespan years, or the death of the creator, whichever happens later. But then that tends to discriminate in favour of creators from countries/races with longer expected lifespans - bad luck for Australian aboriginal artists.

It's complicated, isn't it? I suspect that's what drives the somewhat more simple "x years" or "creator's death plus x years" formulas. Fairer (or least unfair) for everyone, except that the value of 'X' can easily be extended with enough lobbying $$$.

I think the only way to pull back the influence of the "industry" and their lobbying $$$ is strenuous and sustained pressure on politicians. "If you vote for another copyright extension, I will not vote for you".

Comment: Re:Their software cost an arm and both legs yet... (Score 1) 35

by dwywit (#49523453) Attached to: OSGeo Foundation Up In Arms Over ESRI LAS Lock-In Plans

Sounds very similar to my own situation 10 years ago.

ArcGIS, while expensive, produced useful output, even to the point of other councils licencing our work.

Along comes a new IT Manager (my direct superior). Wanted to know why we were using BSD and not Windows for our internet-facing servers. Seriously, his question was "What's BSD?". He didn't trust anything without a gui, and was deeply suspicious of the Unix server running ArcGIS.

Comment: Re:Help me out here a little... (Score 2) 533

by dwywit (#49507609) Attached to: Utilities Battle Homeowners Over Solar Power

Solar PV generates DC, which gets inverted to AC. Cheap inverters generate square-wave AC, less cheap inverters generate stepped or modified square wave AC, and even less cheap inverters synthesize sine-wave AC, just like you're supposed to get from the grid. What I've seen on an oscilloscope of the output from my "sine-wave" inverter looks more like a *lot* of tiny steps, but it looks more like a sine wave than stepped square wave inverter output.

Not that you're allowed to attach a square wave inverter to the grid here - it's got to match phase to begin with, and disconnect when it detects the grid has gone down.

Comment: Re:Help me out here a little... (Score 1) 533

by dwywit (#49507549) Attached to: Utilities Battle Homeowners Over Solar Power

From 0% in heavy rain, to ~10% under heavy cloud with no rain, to ~50% whenever a single cloud crosses the sun - so it's really too variable to make broad statements. There's some historical data available - my own charge controller keeps 30 days of data, and if I could be arsed, I'd regularly download it to a spreadsheet - that way I'd have years of daily datapoints, so detailed reports are do-able and could be correlated with daily weather observations, I just haven't bothered.

Comment: Re:Help me out here a little... (Score 1) 533

by dwywit (#49506729) Attached to: Utilities Battle Homeowners Over Solar Power

I'm off-grid, but my charge controller is capable of graduated supply, i.e. dump all the available current into the batteries until they reach 30 VDC, then moderate the current from the panels to maintain the a batteries at 28 VDC ("absorption" phase), for 2 hours, then further moderate the current to maintain the batteries at "float" - 27.4 VDC. I'm not sure how it does it, but it *doesn't* involve dumping the excess into a heat/energy sink.

I'm not an electrical engineer, but couldn't grid-tied houses use some technology to reduce input to the grid based on either a signal from the grid itself, or based on local factors such as overvoltage in the grid?

Comment: Re:Long View (Score 1) 482

by dwywit (#49489715) Attached to: Seattle CEO Cuts $1 Million Salary To $70K, Raises Employee Salaries

When you use the phrase "the reality is" in your argument, then your argument is weakened (I was going to reiterate "it's a crock", but that's a catchphrase). Catchphrases don't make your argument more compelling, rather the opposite.

So tell me this: why is the concept of "pay peanuts, get monkeys", and other arguments that are used to justify the excessive payments (salaries+bonuses+stock options, etc) to high-level management, not applicable to those employees lower down the ladder? Are you suggesting that paying your worker drones more - even significantly more - than the current market *won't* have a positive effect on the company?

1. Employees will now be less likely to leave - and require replacement, which is a cost to the company.
2. Most employees will return the benefit in increased productivity - acknowledging there will always be those at the ends of the bell curve who won't.
3. I get the impression that some see this as bad, or a failure of capitalism or a failure of the free market, or they're finding *some* reason to criticise it. If a CEO decides to pay his employees more, let the free market sort it out. Why does it bother you?
4. It's likely to drive pay rates up generally. There'll be more pressure to increase pay rates, and other companies will look at this company to assess whether it can be justified or rejected (amongst other reasons, of course). Isn't that one of the mechanisms of the market?

I think this is a great idea, not only for the employees and the company, but also to observe the effect it has on the market generally. I'd use the phrase "stirring up the hornet's nest", but that's a catchphrase, and it would weaken my argument.

Comment: Re:We have already figured most of this out. (Score 3, Interesting) 365

by dwywit (#49469173) Attached to: Can Civilization Reboot Without Fossil Fuels?

We've already got a lot of roads - where would we need to build new ones, if there's a collapse?

There are existing roads connecting our major centres - granted, they'll need maintenance, but that's mostly patching, as opposed to kilometres of new roads - so why would we need more than maintenance-level stocks of tar and asphalt?

Comment: Re:I knew! (Score 1) 187

by dwywit (#49456931) Attached to: LG Split Screen Software Compromises System Security

Well, I must be doing something wrong, then. Start, run, taskmgr, right-click, run as administrator, right-click {AVG/Trend Micro/McAfee/Symantec} whatever their core process is called, "end process". "access denied". Check again, the account for said process is SYSTEM. Click start, run, services.msc, right-click, run as administrator, locate service/s, right-click. properties, can't stop 'cause greyed out, select "logon" tab, service uses SYSTEM account.

Start, run, regedit, right-click, run as administrator, HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\{whatever}, lo and behold, the only permissions are for CREATOR OWNER and SYSTEM.

The software installs so that Administrator does not have permission to terminate the service (without tickling permissions in the registry beforehand). AVG, McAfee, Trend Micro and Symantec DO NOT inform the user that they or Administrator will not be able to start and stop the services.

Comment: Re:For when you're too cheap to buy two monitors! (Score 2) 187

by dwywit (#49456233) Attached to: LG Split Screen Software Compromises System Security

There are some situations where 2 monitors are necessary. I do a little video editing - 1 screen for the controls, and a second screen for the actual video. I can't afford a reference monitor, so I just use a good quality LED/LCD screen calibrated as best I can.

You can't edit video efficiently on a single screen, even a big one. There's just too much else on the screen to allow a decent sized window for the actual footage.

The greatest productive force is human selfishness. -- Robert Heinlein