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Comment: Re:8X cost increase up front (Score 1) 495

by hackertourist (#48473205) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

but you lose some reliability if your undergrounds flood/overheat/catch fire.

That's why over here usually, only the cables are underground. Equipment ends up in an above-ground cabinet. Power cables usually aren't in conduits so they're cooled by the surrounding soil and not prone to overheating.

Comment: Re:Not a jet pack (Score 1) 54

by hackertourist (#48424671) Attached to: Martin Jetpack Closer To Takeoff In First Responder Applications

You can get various fun cars powered by motorbike engines these days. Several based on the old Lotus 7 (e.g. Westfield, Tiger) are in your 200 bhp/1000 lbs ballpark. Tiger do or did 2-engine versions (2WD, with one driving each rear wheel or 4WD, one per axle). You can even get a 2.8 litre V8 which is 2 Hayabusa blocks on a common crankshaft; with a supercharger if you wish. Hartley builds the engine, used by Radical and Ariel.


Space Tourism Isn't Worth Dying For 594

Posted by timothy
from the all-worked-up-about-a-false-dichotomy dept.
rudy_wayne writes with this opinion piece at Wired published in the wake of the crash of SpaceShipTwo, which calls the project nothing more than a "millionaire boondoggle thrill ride." A selection: SpaceShipTwo is not a Federation starship. It's not a vehicle for the exploration of frontiers. Virgin Galactic is building the world's most expensive roller coaster, the aerospace version of Beluga caviar. It's a thing for rich people to do. Testing new aircraft takes a level of courage and ability beyond most humans. Those engineers and pilots are at the peak of human achievement. What they're doing is amazing. Why Virgin is doing it is not. When various corporate representatives eulogize those two pilots as pioneers who were helping to cross the Final Frontier, that should make you angry. That pilot died not for space but for a luxury service provider. His death doesn't get us closer to Mars; it just keeps rich people further away from weightlessness and a beautiful view.

Why CurrentC Will Beat Out Apple Pay 631

Posted by timothy
from the some-downsides-might-strike-your-mind dept.
itwbennett writes Working closely with VISA, Apple solved many complex security issues making in-person payments safer than ever. But it's that close relationship with the credit card companies that may be Apple Pay's downfall. A competing solution called CurrentC has recently gained a lot of press as backers of the project moved to block NFC payments (Apple Pay, Google Wallet, etc.) at their retail terminals. The merchants designing or backing CurrentC reads like a greatest hits list of retail outfits and leading the way is the biggest of them all, Walmart. The retailers have joined together to create a platform that is independent of the credit card companies and their profit-robbing transaction fees. Hooking directly to your bank account rather than a credit or debit card, CurrentC will use good old ACH to transfer money from your account to the merchant's bank account at little to no cost.

Comment: Can you imagine working with a 10 GB Word file? (Score 2) 145

At a file size of 100 Mb, Word is barely usable (especially if you have Autosave on [1]). I still have nightmares about a job a couple years ago that involved such files.

1: and the larger the file, the more likely you'll need it at some point.

Comment: Re:This'll end up in court... (Score 1) 558

by hackertourist (#48238963) Attached to: Rite Aid and CVS Block Apple Pay and Google Wallet

That is exactly how markets work in cases where you don't want to end up with multiple competing systems. We've seen this with the Bluray/HD-DVD debacle, with VHS vs. Beta vs. V2000, and in the financial sector with credit cards.

The end goal of all participants is a monopoly, and the quickest way to get there is by forming alliances or buying out the competition. The largest alliance benefits from network effects and soon can offer lower prices than the competition. The majority of consumers vote based on price, not on technical merits, and we end up with the largest alliance/best-networked player as the monopolist.

All I'm saying is that this isn't the best way to decide which system should be used for important, big-impact items such as payment systems. There should be standardization, not a commercial free-for-all.

Comment: Re:This'll end up in court... (Score 2) 558

by hackertourist (#48238637) Attached to: Rite Aid and CVS Block Apple Pay and Google Wallet

No, I'm saying there should be ONE contactless pay system, not several competing systems. Because if the market decides, you just get the biggest player, not the best system. This was worked out long ago for money, it's not called "legal tender" for nothing; companies aren't free to come up with their own coins and bills. Why should abstractions of coins and bills be any different?

Comment: Re:This'll end up in court... (Score 1) 558

by hackertourist (#48235475) Attached to: Rite Aid and CVS Block Apple Pay and Google Wallet

Why can't the market decide this?

I know why the market shouldn't decide this. Having multiple incompatible payment schemes would be bloody annoying. It's like the credit card market before all the players consolidated into Visa and MasterCard: tons of money will be invested in the losing solution, that's a lot of money down the drain that could have been put to better use.

The reason that every major university maintains a department of mathematics is that it's cheaper than institutionalizing all those people.