Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Obligatoriness Extraordinaire (Score 1) 236

by dwywit (#48145557) Attached to: Can the Sun Realistically Power Datacenters?

My installer said that tracking systems aren't really worth it for domestic situations. They cost about the same as 2 extra panels, and provide roughly the same amount of energy - so why not buy 2 extra panels and not have to deal with maintenance of motors, etc.

I thought that a tracking system could be set up to forego motors and use bi-metallic strips to drive the panel movement throughout the day - have the panels point east when "cold", i.e. in the morning, then bimetallic strips would warm with the sun, do their "bendy" thing and push the panels to point west throughout the day as they get warmer. Then overnight, as they cool off, they'd revert to their "cold" state and the panels would move to point east again, ready for the next day. I asked an engineer about this once but he thought bimetallic strips wouldn't be powerful enough to do the job.

Comment: Re:Obligatoriness Extraordinaire (Score 1) 236

by dwywit (#48145163) Attached to: Can the Sun Realistically Power Datacenters?

Ni-Fe batteries have a long life and more tolerance for discharge levels, but poor efficiency compared to lead-acid. Doesn't mean they wouldn't be useful, but you'll need LOTS more panels to replace what you take out.

My last set of lead-acid cells (12 x BPSolar 2-volt 1100ah) lasted 8 years of domestic use before the first one failed.

You're right about the controller - a good controller makes all the difference.

Comment: Re:Obligatoriness Extraordinaire (Score 4, Informative) 236

by dwywit (#48145101) Attached to: Can the Sun Realistically Power Datacenters?

Read the post again - it's insOlation, which is correct, not insUlation, which was your assumption.

Solar PV capacity planning, at least in domestic situations, is based on the amount of energy captured/generated by a panel at its PEAK capacity, and is generally calculated at 5 hours/day in temperate zones, less in frigid, more in tropical, with modifiers for local conditions and climate. Panel output throughout, for example, a clear sunny day in the mid latitudes corresponds closely to a steep-ish bell curve (more like a sine wave, though). Low output at either end of the day because the incidence of the sun's rays to the panel are more oblique.

Panels are getting better at "catching" oblique insolation, but obviously they're much better between the hours of 9-10am and 2-3pm. There is a significant amount of energy captured outside these times, but it's not really useful when calculating the number of panels needed. It's better to state that you'll capture a minimum of x on sunny days, rather than a maximum.

Comment: Re:Claim is BS. (Score 1) 155

by dwywit (#48116871) Attached to: Liking Analog Meters Doesn't Make You a Luddite (Video)

Eh? "Fastest-revving cars"?

Perhaps you could explain why analogue tachos on pre-computerised motorcycles were able to cope with 2K powerbands and redlines in excess of 10K RPM. You know, the tacho driven by a cable from the engine.

People used to win races with those "slow" tachos.

In any case, if you're driving a high-performance vehicle anywhere approaching its peak performance, you won't really be watching the dials very much.

Comment: Re:Start Button ? (Score 1) 210

by dwywit (#47894269) Attached to: Turning the Tables On "Phone Tech Support" Scammers

"This is a silent did you get it? I'm in witness protection and my calls are monitored by the {NSA/CIA/GCHQ/AFP}."

Or, when you get to the point where you've opened the windows event log and they ask you to read the warnings and errors (to prove their claim that your computer has errors), just say "there are no errors or warnings". This usually results in a short wait while they search their script for an appropriate reply, or a transfer to a "supervisor" to continue the fun.

Comment: Re:Rife in the UK (Score 2) 210

by dwywit (#47894145) Attached to: Turning the Tables On "Phone Tech Support" Scammers

My record was 16 minutes, the sucker on the other end got more and more frustrated and eventually swore at me and hung up.

I've told them I can't go to my computer because I had a broken leg and couldn't get out of bed.

I've told them I don't have a keyboard, I use a touchscreen.

Most recently, I let the operator get through to the stage where they wanted to connect, then I told her I knew it was a scam, she should be ashamed of herself for telling lies, and what would her mother think? That one got 3 seconds of silence, "shit", then she hung up.

Comment: Re:Define technology (Score 1) 231

by dwywit (#47844691) Attached to: Did you use technology to get into mischief as a child?

Yup - found the formula for gunpowder in the family encyclopedia, managed to "acquire" the ingredients in quantity (a pound or two of each), and started with small batches. Ended up supplying home-made firecrackers to other people at school - never got caught, but I was lectured once or twice - I think they realised they couldn't prove I was the supplier.

I experimented with calcium, copper and strontium salts in home-made roman candles for pretty colours.

Then I moved on to nitroglycerine - I never got an explosion, as such, the best I managed was a vigorous reaction visually similar to a mentos-in-the-coke-bottle thing. I think, on reflection, that the sulphuric acid wasn't concentrated enough. I was only able to buy school-lab grade acids, so they probably weren't the best.

\ conc. H2SO4, evil stuff
\\ not as evil as fuming HNO3
\\\ yep, you could walk into a school supplies shop and buy them

Comment: Re:Cinelerra or Creative Cloud (Score 1) 163

by dwywit (#47811311) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: the State of Free Video Editing Tools?

You might find that Premiere Elements will do what you want. It's about AUD$120 here.

Although (as I mentioned above), Creative Suite/Creative Cloud is a bargain at academic pricing. Are you, or do you know anyone who is a student or teacher?

My children bought Creative Suite for me......

Comment: Re: What about Lightworks? (Score 2) 163

by dwywit (#47811243) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: the State of Free Video Editing Tools?

Don't know about Cinelerra, but you're right about Kdenlive vs. Premiere.

Kdenlive wouldn't talk to my tape camera (miniDV tapes), so I couldn't capture footage. This was using Ubuntu Studio. The computer recognised the firewire card, Ubuntu could see it, but kdenlive (after 4 hours troubleshooting) just wouldn't talk to the camera.

Premiere Pro can be had for about a third of retail - if you qualify for the academic pricing. I bought the entire Creative Suite 5.5 for AUD$450.

Comment: Re:That ship has already sailed. (Score 1) 113

by dwywit (#47760999) Attached to: IBM Gearing Up Mega Power 8 Servers For October Launch

Neat! I wish there were more second-hand AS400 boxes in Oz. It's a small market with limited vendors, so prices are out of my reach. Would you mind sharing the cost of the hardware and the licence? Ballpark figures are fine.

I'd buy an entry-level machine just for the chance to play with OS400 again.

Comment: I subscribe to live365 (Score 1) 71

by dwywit (#47707651) Attached to: YouTube Music Subscription Details Leak

~USD70 per annum for ad-free listening. I'd be happy to pay double that if and ONLY if the extra went straight to artists, i.e. not via licencing/royalty agents.

You can listen to most of the stations for free, if you're happy to hear the ads.

Unfortunately, their recent website re-design is dreadful. I play it via an eeePC, and the website does not scale very well to a small screen. The standalone player for Windows is OK, but the android app doesn't behave - long connect times, lots of dropouts and crashes. It keeps playing after you tap the "stop" button, and won't terminate until you force stop the app. I can cope with that because there's lots of great music across dozens of genres and thousands of stations.

Comment: Re:Pending Restart.. (Score 1) 304

There were some posts in one of the microsoft support forums that indicated removing %system%\FNTCACHE.DAT resolved the problem. That led to discussions that it might have been systems with a large number of installed fonts that were vulnerable.

Windows will automatically replace FNTCACHE.DAT, so removing it won't hurt.

The relative importance of files depends on their cost in terms of the human effort needed to regenerate them. -- T.A. Dolotta