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Comment Re:The network for your one friend who hates Faceb (Score 1) 179 179

I'll have you know, we Facebook refuseniks have equal scorn for Google+.

Speak for yourself. I refuse to use Facebook, but quite like Google+. I also have a Twitter account, which I never use. But I dumped Facebook the second or third time they changed my privacy settings without asking me, and have no intention of every going back.

Comment Re:Google did it (Score 1) 55 55

Apple is innovating by bringing this to cellphones and screwing carries out of voicemail minutes.

Assuming anyone even cares about minutes any more, Google Voice does the same. When GV answers your phone and takes voicemail it doesn't use your cell minutes. And users of GV rarely dial in to listen to their voicemails either; the transcription is so good they just glance at the e-mail/SMS/Hangout message and get what they need to from it.

Apple may indeed be able to find some way to innovate in this space, but simply transcribing voicemails isn't going to do it.

Comment Re:Smart (Score 1) 258 258

No it doesn't. A 30 min supercharge only gives you a 50% charge, which is about 140 miles, which is a bit over 2 hours at highway speeds. Nobody I know stops to eat every 2.5 hours while on a long trip.

Well, my experience with my kids is that we stop every two hours. Not necessarily to eat. Granted that it's often for 15-20 minutes rather than 30, but it wouldn't be difficult to wait a few minutes more before heading out.

Comment Re:Smart (Score 1) 258 258

currently the battery packs alone are $8k - $12k

LEAF batteries are $6K.

getting people to give up a major factor of anything (in this case Range/"Refueling" time) requires a significant incentive

There is no "refueling time" issue to "give up". Refueling time is a major advantage of EVs for everyday use... refueling my EV takes ten seconds. Five when I get out of the car and plug it in at night, and five more when I unplug it in the morning. I find my ICEV much, much more of a bother to keep fueled.

This is only true in the exceptional case of long-distance, non-stop travel. And even there, all it takes is enough range and fast-enough recharging to ensure that the car doens't need to spend any more time refueling than the people do.

Comment Re:Core subjetc my a$$.... (Score 1) 97 97

But I get the feeling what theses clowns are aiming to do is get people to learn basic coding in order to flood the market with code monkeys that know how to write an if-then-else statement in order to deflate CS salaries......Make it so that anybody with a high school diploma can apply for entry-level coding jobs.

Right, because what Microsoft and Facebook are looking for is entry-level coders for jobs that don't require much more than an if-then-else statement. I suppose it's remotely possible that flooding the entry-level market could reduce pressure on the higher end, but I highly doubt that the effect would be noticeable. The skills gap is just too large and the productivity difference between the top and bottom ends too large.

What's more likely is that they realize that good programmers are as much born as made, and that there is a percentage of the population who could be good but currently are never even exposed to it enough to find out how much they would like it. In other words, they aren't looking to pull in lots of little fish, they're looking to trawl a bigger part of the ocean for the big fish that they're trying to find.

I suspect there's also an element of "mainstreaming" involved. The programming culture can be offputting to many people, so by making it more normal they hope to interest more of the potentially-great software engineers who currently look at the culture and stay far away. Like women.

Comment Re: Piss off systemd (Score 1) 359 359

Can you explain why this is a bad thing?

Because we all watched Windows nearly go down in flames with their monolithic registry architecture. Trivially easy to attack when adding any compromised service requires write access and can just play havoc in there. And even after that fiasco, all the Windows admins moving over to Linux systems blubbered about why Linux doesn't have a registry.

Well, folks. Here it is.

Comment Wife calls, gets Siri (Score 1, Funny) 55 55

Wife: Who was that answering your phone?
Me: That was Siri.
Wife: Who is Siri? Some hot new intern at your company?
Me: No, dear. Siri is a computer.
Wife: Sure she is. Why does she sound so sexy?
Me: I don't know. That's just how they programmed her.
Wife: Well, it had better be a computer. Or you are in big trouble.

Me (later, talking to girlfriend): Good move imitating Siri when my wife called last night. But the next time I'm in the shower, just let it go to voicemail.

Comment Re:Casino Noise (Score 1) 128 128

Property tax is still an indirect tax on economic activity, as I pointed out above, since the value of property is defined by economic activity (whether the property is actually used or not), and since property tax directly affects the cost of all economic activity involving property which, ultimately, is all economic activity or so close to all as makes no difference. There may be some business, somewhere, which requires no capital expenditures and takes place entirely on public land, but it certainly isn't the norm. It's true that some economic activity is more capital intensive than other economic activity, but I don't see how that implies that economic activity which is less capital-intensive necessarily makes fewer claims on government or should be taxed less.

And I still don't see that the Broken Window Fallacy is a counterexample. Perhaps I'm dense. Or perhaps we disagree on the meaning of "counterexamples". At best it seems to highlight that economic activity and property value aren't the same thing, but I don't think that was ever in dispute.

Comment Re:Smart (Score 1) 258 258

So for those several times per year, rent a car.

I lived in Colorado for three years, and regularly (almost monthly) made the 8-hour drive to my parents' home. Most of that time I had two vehicles, a Dodge Durango (needed to tow the camp trailer or boat, and to haul the whole family), and a Nissan LEAF, which was my commuter and the around-the-town vehicle when the whole family wasn't going. Given the amount of gas the Durango consumes I found it more economical (when all the kids weren't going) to rent a Prius or similar for the trips home. It worked great. Some unanticipated benefits were that the car tends to get pretty dirty when you drive it a thousand-plus miles in a short stretch, cluttered up with fast food containers and whatnot -- and there's an increased risk of spills and stains. So it's nice to just let Hertz deal with all of that.

Anyway, the point is that it's perfectly reasonable to choose a vehicle that is optimized for 95% of your driving, and rent one that is optimized for the other 5%. It can actually be very cost-effective. I've been looking into getting rid of the Durango and renting when I need a toy hauler, but so far it looks like the premiums charged for those sorts of vehicles make it a non-starter vs my paid-off SUV. Also, I haul the boat or trailer almost weekly during the summer, so the frequency of rentals would get annoying.

Comment Re:Smart (Score 3, Insightful) 258 258

Any system which allows for refuelability/battery swapping has a much better chance of competing with current transportation fuel methods.

Nice assertion. I'll counter with one of my own: Battery swapping has negligible effect on the ability of EVs to compete with ICEVs for consumer travel. The only case where it's of use is in long-distance, non-stop travel, which is a miniscule percentage of road miles and which can in most cases be done with a rental vehicle. As long as the people in the car need to refuel every few hours, all you need is enough range to go as far as the people can, and a sufficiently-fast recharge time that by the time the people eat the car is ready to go again.

What's needed for EVs to compete isn't battery swapping, it's lower prices for vehicles with adequate range. The Model S has the range required, now. The Nissan LEAF and similar cars are in the ballpark on price. When we get a $25K (new) EV sedan with a 250-mile range, they'll sell like hotcakes in suburban middle-class America, and pollution levels in places like LA will decline dramatically in just a few years.

This isn't to say that battery swapping never makes sense, or that better highway and home charging infrastructure (particularly for apartment dwellers) doesn't matter, but solving the price/range problem will put EVs over the hump and the rest will follow naturally.

Comment Re:Smart Battery Swaps (Score 1) 258 258

Is there a possible benefit to getting a battery with fewer charge cycles in a swap ? I sort of saw this concept as a way to get a refurbished battery when yours is reaching end of life, or has a few dead cells.

That's a completely different issue. Even without quick-recharge swaps, it's certainly possible to replace an old battery. But you're going to have to pay for that new battery (less a rebate for the value of the old one, I'm sure).

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (10) Sorry, but that's too useful.