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Comment: Re:Thirty minutes is ridiculous. Swap out the pack (Score 1) 190

by itsdapead (#47727905) Attached to: How Does Tesla Build a Supercharger Charging Site?

Thirty minutes is ridiculous. That is not "rapid" ANYTHING.

To be fair, the electric model is that most of the time you'll top up overnight (OK, that raises its own issues), and the only time you'll need a charging station is if you're on a road trip, in which case a 30 minute refreshment and potty break every couple of hundred miles isn't such a bad thing.

If, however, there is widespread uptake of electric cars, then it will start to become apparent that, even with demand reduced by home charging, you need one hell of a lot of 6-bay superchargers to match the throughput of a 6-bay gas station (especially since people who e.g. head off for a meal are going to leave their cars plugged in for more than 30 mins). You'd need entire parking lots kitted out with chargers - which, in turn, is going to start needing extra infrastructure to get the power to the site (...perhaps they could run a generator off those nice big tanks at the gas station? :-) ). The trick for the e-car industry is going to be to avoid the crunch point when people start to roll up at the supercharger and find all the bays in use (and no owners in sight) and don't have enough juice to get to the next one.

I know Tesla has a battery pack replacement service, but it really needs to be affordable and streamlined and not require expensive robotics.

I saw the video of Tesla's battery changer, and it certainly seems preferable to a 30 minute recharge. With the weight of battery packs, and the need to build them in to the chassis to save space, I think robotics is probably the only way. Also, its probably too soon in the development of battery technology to introduce a 'standard' pack - maybe a split system whereby part of the battery capacity is in a replaceable, standardised, pack, and the rest is built into the chassis...

NOBODY wants to wait thirty minutes for "rapid recharge." The money spent on this infrastructure should, instead, be spent on optimizing the use of hydrogen fuel cells. They are the ultimate battery and they don't wear out.

Except you can't refill your hydrogen fuel cell at home - so you're going to be straight in to the chicken-and-egg problem of needing the full refueling infrastructure in place before people buy the cars. Unless maybe you have a plug-in/fuel cell hybrid?

Lets face it - the ideal use-case for an electric car is as a and still need another one for long trips. I quite like the look of the BMW i3 (it would probably suit my purposes, as the UK range-extender version hasn't been gimped to suit CA law) but, again, you could buy 3 small city cars, or a fully tricked-out Mini with gold-plated hubcaps and unicorn-fur upholstery for the price of the basic model.

Meanwhile, I've done my bit for the promotion of electric vehicles and bought one of these.

Comment: Re:Better to starve I guess? (Score 3, Interesting) 152

by itsdapead (#47719295) Attached to: China Pulls Plug On Genetically Modified Rice and Corn

It produces Bt, which is toxic to certain orders of insects, not to humans.

The problem isn't killing off a few humans. Plenty more where they came from. Disrupting ecosystems due to unintended consequences could be far more destructive.

E.g. Transfer natural insecticide "X" from plant Q to plant P, insect A (that had never encountered plant Q) eats P and accumulates X; insect B eats insect A and dies from X, is no longer around to eat insect C, which swarms and displaces insect D, which had an essential role in pollenating crop S...

Of course, X could get transferred from plant Q to P naturally or by old-fangled horticulture - but this will happen gradually, even horticulture will probably take decades, giving ecosystems time to adapt, but GM can make the transfer and roll out the GMO around the world within a few years. Plus, with GM, X might come from a plant from another continent, a seaweed, a jellyfish...

Now, if we could only be sure that the firms making GMO crops were painstakingly exploring all possible ecological side effects, and would scrap a new product at the first hint of any possible problem on a "better safe than sorry" basis, then the benefits of GMO might outweigh the risks. Unfortunately, these are probably the same people who thought that putting diseased sheeps' brains into cattle feed was a good idea, who are resisting attempts to ban neonicatinoids until its absolutely 100% proven beyond all doubt that they're killing bees, and think a 1m strip of ploughed land around a GMO trial field will prevent cross-pollenation.

Plus, as others have pointed out, the problems of food supply are caused by poor infrastructure, overpopulation, growing high-value crops for 1st-world markets instead of food and over-reliance on single crops. These are not generally helped by increasing yields in the already-overproducing rich nations who can afford to buy GMOs.

Comment: Re:one thing i don't get (Score 1) 171

by itsdapead (#47589659) Attached to: Critics To FTC: Why Do You Hate In-App Purchasing Freedom?

Why would anyone give their credit card info to some random app?

They don't. "In-App purchases" are charged to your Apple Store/ Google Play/Amazon/whatever account. There are APIs to enable this.

You usually have to give your password for this to happen... but there are various gotchas such as a 15-minute window during which you don't have to re-enter your password and other design flaws e.g. asking for your password even for free apps.

So, scenario: Little Johnny asks Daddy to enter password to install free, or maybe 50c game. Daddy checks that game is, indeed $0.50 and enters password, 10 minutes later, Daddy has left the room and little Johnny is asked if he wants to buy 1000 magic berries for $10... and doesn't need a password.

Then, you've got games which mix in-app purchases with real money and an in-app imaginary currency just for good measure...

Comment: Re:Car analogy? (Score 2) 317

by itsdapead (#47566021) Attached to: Ford, GM Sued Over Vehicles' Ability To Rip CD Music To Hard Drive

Could someone explain this to me with a car analogy?

Someone invents the Star Trek Matter Replicator.

So, rather than take your new car out and get it dirty, you run it through the replicator to make a working copy for day-to-day driving and keep the original in the garage. While your at it, you make another copy for your Significant Other so that they can (according to their inclination) fill up the footwells with high-heeled shoes and/or dismantle it and leave bits strewn around the house without bothering you, and one for each of your 3 kids, and one for your mate Bob (in return for the speedboat that they let you copy last month).

Ford then sues the replicator manufacturer, basing their damages on the theory that obviously if you hadn't had the replicator you'd have bought seven cars off them instead of one.

Meanwhile, Paramount reveals that it applied for patents for everything in Star Trek in 1969 and, by continually updating the applications to involve more sex and lens flare, they're still valid, so they're suing as well.

This is why we can't haz post-scarcity utopia.

Comment: Re:RPi? That overhyped underdimensioned joke alive (Score 1) 202

by itsdapead (#47448247) Attached to: New Raspberry Pi Model B+

Really guys, you update it but you do nothing about the processor or amount of RAM?!

Seriously, what do you expect for $35? They've done well to add the extra USB without raising the price (and, hopefully, removed the need to buy a powered USB hub which was the real dealbreaker with the old Pi).

The stated aim of the Pi was to always encourage people to muck around with programming and electronics without the risk of bricking an expensive PC. Its quite deliberately built down to a price, so letting the magic smoke out is never a big deal.

Devices like the Hummingboard and the BeagleBone Black (which probably wouldn't have existed without the success of the Pi) look great, but they already cost ~30% more.

Comment: Re:The Amazon AppStore Auto-consent (Score 5, Insightful) 137

by itsdapead (#47389629) Attached to: Amazon Fighting FTC Over In-App Purchases Fine

What is next, blame Ford because your kid was able to steal your keys off your dresser and wreck the car while you are sleeping?

...if Ford made the key fob in the shape of a cartoon character with a voice chip that kept saying "Hey kids! Pick me up and lets go for a drive" then, maybe.

Yes, parents should take responsibility for their kids - but that doesn't give businesses the right to exploit their slightest lapse.

Comment: Re:many are missing something important. (Score 1) 247

by itsdapead (#47387507) Attached to: Tesla Aims For $30,000 Price, 2017 Launch For Model E

If you actually had one, you'd be aware where the superchargers within 100 miles of you are

I've looked. There isn't one.

To be fair, I live in the UK and they're only just starting to roll out. Last time I looked, the nearest one was in the Netherlands, but now there's one in London, which is about 125 miles away. However, the problem is that it is in London. With London traffic, even if your home or destination is in another part of London, that's not a lot of use. According to the Tesla site they'll have about 10 stations around England by the end of the year - but if they are likewise in the middle of major cities rather than motorway service areas they will be of limited use.

Looking at the US map, there are plenty of states with no chargers.

I've also looked at what I could do with a Leaf or something: there is actually a pretty comprehensive network of 'fast' chargers at motorway service areas, hotels etc. so in theory I could make my most common ~200 mile journey with a mid-way recharge and lunch break... except there's one small problem: these stations typically have one "fast" charger (go and have lunch) and one "slow" charger (check in to the nearest hotel). If you arrived for your charge and somebody had already plugged in and buggered off for a 4-course meal, you'd better hope that you've got enough juice to get to the next one - which means you're going to end up stopping for a top up ad every single bloody charger you pass 'just in case'.

The BMW i3 with range extender looks interesting - especially as the UK/EU version has a bigger petrol tank than the US one (which has been gimped to qualify as an EV in California) - but it costs a fortune compared with other small cars.

Forty two.

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