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Comment: Re:Interesting, but... (Score 2) 230

by ehud42 (#47197341) Attached to: Musk Will Open Up Tesla Supercharger Patents To Spur Development

I doubt that you could use a Tesla-like Supercharger to charge a battery other than one made by Tesla. I'm not talking about DRM, I'm talking about the architecture of the battery pack itself - its charging characteristics, its safety features, its cooling system, and so on down to the level of the individual 18650 cells.

Disclaimer: I know nothing about the Tesla Supercharger.

But I do know generally how chargers work - specifically multi-cell lithium chargers. Each cell requires a charge management circuit. I don't think the Supercharger actively manages the cell level charging. It is highly unlikely that given 10s or 100s of cells in a Tesla pack that there is going to be anything other than voltage, current and maybe a serial data line for that can be used for metering and financial charging.

As long as my car can handle the voltage, draws an appropriate amount of current and (possibly) provides some identification for payment or statistics, I can take that power and charge 18650's, NiCds, SLAs, caps or just run a big stereo for a block party. At some point there may be a $/kWh bill in the mail, but otherwise, the charging station is most likely battery tech agnostic.

Comment: Re:meet the new Bus, same as the old bus (Score 4, Interesting) 51

this is what bus planners have always done with the best available data, in setting routes.

And therein lies the rub. Well that at and just general bureaucratic inertia. In our city, route changes tend not to keep up with road construction, destination changes, etc. We have major roads that are full of cars during rush hour, but hardly any buses and empty buses touring residential areas.

An example of an empty major road is Kenaston Blvd & Bishop Grandin Blvd (Note: Zoom in on the map - there's lots of route "close by"). Not a single bus route travels that stretch and yet this road is one of our "inner perimeters" where 42,000 vehicles drive it every day (PDF warning).

Another example is our 98 and 82. These are "feeder" routes. They collect residents and bring them to major routes where they can go downtown. However, if you live on one side of the river and wish to go to a business or school on the other side of the river, you need to take BOTH buses which only run every 1/2 hour. It would seem to me that the logical thing to do would be to combine them into a single loop. That way you aren't stuck in -30C weather waiting 29 minutes for your transfer because the first bus was running late.

+ - Questionable Patents From MakerBot-> 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "OpenBeam USA is a Kickstarted company that builds open source aluminum construction systems (think erector sets). One of the main uses for the system is building 3D printers, and creator Terence Tam is heavily involved in the 3D-printing community. He's now put up a blog post about some disturbing patents filed by MakerBot. In particular, he notes a patent for auto-levelling on a 3D printer. Not only is this an important upcoming technology for 3D printers, the restriction of which would be a huge blow to progress, it seems the patent was filed just a few short weeks after Steve Graber posted a video demonstrating such auto-levelling. There had also been a Kickstarter campaign for similar tech a few months earlier. Tam gives this warning: 'Considering the Stratasys — Afinia lawsuit, and the fact that Makerbot is now a subsidiary of Stratasys, it's not a stretch to imagine Makerbot coming after other open source 3D manufacturers that threaten their sales. After all, nobody acquires a patent warchest just to invite their competitors to sit around the campfire to sing Kumbaya. It is therefore vitally important that community developed improvements do not fall under Makerbot's (or any other company's) patent portfolio to be used at a later date to clobber the little guys.'"
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Search poisoning (Score 1) 187

by ehud42 (#46482099) Attached to: Google Blurring Distinction Between Ads and Organic Search Results

If they start poisoning search with for-profit results Google will be quickly reminded that they are not the only search engine in town.

And other search engines (that matter) are?

Bing?

My point being, google's dominance in the search space, while not guaranteed, will certainly offer them a fair bit of buffer to experiment.

Comment: What's wrong with good old TRS plugs? (Score 3, Interesting) 408

by ehud42 (#45594897) Attached to: Death to the Trapezoid... Next USB Connector Will Be Reversible

Tip-{ring,ring,...}-Sleeve. Easily handles the 3 or 4 connectors needs for just about any modern digital serial connector. Need power? why not modulate the signal on top of the power carrier? Easy to connect, proven reliable (can't count how many times I've broken a mini/micro USB or worse those umpteen pin pico/nano pin connectors that are only used for power or maybe a simple serial connection)

Comment: Garbage bags (Score 2) 470

by ehud42 (#45538357) Attached to: EU Plastic Bag Debate Highlights a Wider Global Problem

In Winnipeg (Canada), charging for bags - or even simply flat out not supplying them (MEC), has resulted in such a drop in small, convenient shopping bags that we (re)used for garbage bags, that we now have to explicitly buy garbage bags (for small waste bins like in the bathrooms).

Also, yard waste used to be dropped off at certain depots - and large plastic bags were king. Now, it is collected at the curb side - but only if in PAPER yard waste bags. We had stocked up on the large garbage bags for yard waste before the switch, and I fear we now have a lifetime supply of paint smocks, emergency rain coats, vapour barrier material, etc....

Comment: Different priorities - who you know vs who you see (Score 2) 453

by ehud42 (#45303637) Attached to: 20-Somethings Think It's OK To Text and Answer Calls In Business Meetings

I suspect (based on a loose study of my family), us older generation believes that the more important people to focus your attention on are the ones in your presence (at the table, in a meeting, etc) and that the person on the other end of the line can wait.

Our kids however, feel that certain people are more important than others regardless of where they are. Their friends are more important than any boss or family that is nearby.

And so, my wife and I will let the phone ring / answer machine take the call, ignore text messages / FB notifications, etc during supper.

And my kids are squirming as if in extreme pain if their phone buzzes and we don't let them immediately see who it's from and if it's a friend let them respond.

I'm not going to say it's a bad priority shift, but it certainly is an interesting one.

Comment: Bullet control (Score 3, Insightful) 656

by ehud42 (#43675073) Attached to: Printable Gun Downloads Top 100k In 2 Days, Thanks to Kim Dotcom

Not to say that DIY'ers can't get around this, but all them fancy guns need fancy bullets. Home made guns will also need decent bullets. So, why not tighten up bullet control:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZrFVtmRXrw

(It's Chris Rock)

I realize lots of hunters, etc reload their own, but I'm not aware of too many DIY'ers who are able to make reliable primers (might be wrong) - so maybe just control the sale and distribution of primers?

Comment: Point in time art / content (Score 1) 684

by ehud42 (#43569425) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are There <em>Any</em> Good Reasons For DRM?

Like ice sculptures, live performances, draft deals, verbal negotiations - there are things that need to be done that lead to better things, but in themselves have no value if kept and (sometimes) can only do harm.

These things would benefit from DRM that render them useless at the will & command of the creator.

Comment: Re:OSHA must be thrilled (Score 4, Insightful) 130

by ehud42 (#42216323) Attached to: How Peer1 Survived Sandy

OSHA must be thrilled

Getting OSHA / union / bubblewrap parents involved means that those who are capable of helping are not allowed to because of the risk that some idiot gets hurt or damages something.

They have their place and time when things are normal to try and minimize the impact of a disaster, but once that disaster is in full swing, they need to sit down, shut up and let people self-mobilize to get the job done.

In the spring of '97 guys were working heavy equipment for days straight, often by the light of military flares, to build a dike that saved Winnipeg from one of the biggest spring floods in our history (often "stealing" clay/dirt from nearby farms to get the dike to the heights needed, dragging and dumping scrap cars, buses, anything they could find to shore up the water front side from erosion, etc.). Ignoring the union rules, safety rules, land procurement rules, etc. they got it done in time.

After the flood waters receded, then all the compensating processes kicked in to address the shortcomings.

Although the moon is smaller than the earth, it is farther away.

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