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Comment: Re:lettice under LED grow lights? (Score 1) 210 210

I don't know what you can and can't grow with this technique (grains, corn, soybeans may be an issue), but doesn't the lack of shipping (ie, using what you grow within a 10 mile radius) factor into the larger aspect of energy efficiency?

It would seem that shipping produce thousands of miles, often in refrigerated shipping systems, would use more energy than LED lighting.

The problem of course is competing against the ship there-eat--elsewhere economic model now.

Comment: Re:Unchanging UIs? Not just for old people (Score 2) 214 214

My father-in-law tried to get a reservation to trim his beard in SF a couple of months ago. He's 62 and reasonably tech-savvy, but just can't wrap his head around the idea that some places won't let you book an appointment except via web. His entire life has been call, ask, see what's available. That no longer works. And my wife and I are totally comfortable with that, but it drives him up a wall. So, what happened? A half dozen boutique places lost his business, and he got a shave at The Art of Shaving on Union Square, solely because they would take a phone reservation. This is a guy who uses Uber like it's crack,

It's not tech hatred, it's the lack of redundancy.

Comment: VMS on x86_64 with full POSIX (Score 1) 426 426

So I'm not biased or anything. But VMS (real VMS) with the full POSIX support, X Window Systen, running on commodity hardware with source, well, that would be pretty cool.

If I have to make a Franken-OS, I'd like to take the concept of logical names from VMS and bake that in.

For those of you that don't know what that is, you DEFINE a name, to another name, or list of names. You can use that new name like any other name in the system, including the name of a file system. This seems useless on the surface, but the real power is that you can define a name to a list. This could be compared to your unix shell PATH on steroids that have been taking steroids. It is one of the key concepts that lets VAXcluster work. It makes a file system location work like a search path.

I'm a little rusty (is has been almost 25 years) but as I recall, on a cluster node, the logical name SYS$SYSROOT mapped to a list of SYS$SPECIFIC, SYS$COMMON, which allowed the system to have local configuration files that overlayed the cluster's common files. You could set up a logical name for anything that could be named, devices, queues, users, whatever. Very powerful.

Comment: Re:Brand/product persistance seems dead anyway (Score 1) 289 289

The setup costs don't disappear, but when you have a system dominated by contract manufacturing the competition forces manufacturers to basically eat a lot of setup costs in order to compete against each other. The costs don't go away, but become reduced profit margins for manufacturers.

Comment: Re:Hipster tactics (Score 1) 289 289

Aside from maybe some tshirts I really cannot think of any "ironic embrace of vintage" that resulted in a meaningful resurgence of a product. I've seen some legitimate attempts to bring back old products or aspects of them but the successful ones are pretty much never ironic.

1970s fashions? I think this got embraced by hipsters early and became very mainstream. I have a friend who was in the vintage clothing business and he can define where he could buy 1970s fashion clothes in bales by the pound one month and the next he was having to negotiate prices by the item from his suppliers. Not long after that they become unobtainable except as yard sale or Goodwill finds and new iterations of the same fashions were showing up new in department stores.

Beer also seemed to be kind of like this. 10-15 years ago, there weren't many craft beers -- you had a bunch of mainstream domestics, some well-known imports like Heineken or Becks. Hipster bars of the era tended to focus on "vintage" brands like PBR or Rolling Rock and this embrace of older, niche products seem to have something to do with the rise of craft alternatives (well, and quality, too..).

Comment: Re:Keep the VMS Help system (Score 1) 426 426

Is that an operating system feature, or just a historical case of a system modern enough to have online help but old school enough to have decent, comprehensive documentation of functionality and error messages?

The long term trend definitely seems to be that documentation is an afterthought at best, with a lot of things, especially errors, being totally undocumented. You might get lucky and find a decent O'Reilly-type book or roll the dice with some 900 page Sybex monster that's 80% screenshots of obvious GUI tasks.

Comment: Re:Prediction after the fact. (Score 1) 289 289

I think your analysis is insightful (...and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter).

I feel like I either have very strong preferences or none at all. Things that I like I tend to have a kind of complex rationale for why I like them. Cost enters the picture, but only as a tail-end constraint, and usually if the cost is extreme. Generally I'm willing to pay more -- or not buy at all -- because the less expensive products fails my preference rationale.

This being said, I'm always surprised at the people who always seem to prefer lowest cost first, even when the price difference is negligible. I'm always struck by people who buy cheap first and then are disappointed/frustrated when their choices end up inadequate.

I'm even more surprised with people who seem to be cost only driven -- seeming to have no preference and seeing all choices as equal and only differentiated by price.

With regard to harbingers, I wonder if some of them just have unusual tastes that differ from average. They may just be buying new products more often because new products almost by definition differ from current popular products as vendors seek niches. As old niche products "fail" and disappear, these people just end up buying whatever is new because they want what's different. It's not a failure prediction as much as it is a market failure to provide consistent alternatives to mainstream tastes.

Comment: Re:"Harbinger of Failure" = Hipsters? (Score 1) 289 289

I think you have the concept of hipster exactly backwards. Usually hipsters seem to cluster around emerging trends and often seem to be influential enough that an ironic embrace of vintage/past products often produces a resurgence of that product.

It's debatable whether hipsters even exist, or whether it's a group that identifies products before they become popular or whether it's a group that's defined as clustering around products that became popular.

Comment: Brand/product persistance seems dead anyway (Score 1) 289 289

I don't know if its my perception or not, but it seems to me that very few products anymore have any persistence. It's not just a question of picking a loser -- it seems like so many products have an initial run and then disappear to be replaced by something else.

I suspect it's a byproduct of easier product design using computer aided design and the heavy use of contract manufacturing overseas. CAD makes it easy to tweak a design to create the new-car-model kinds of changes or just something different. Contract manufacturing lets vendors shop designs around for the best production cost and it wouldn't surprise me if the tooling/setup costs get eaten by the manufacturer.

Comment: Re:The reason is more simple (Score 1) 657 657

He also says he had to install a 240V socket it in his garage because apparently though you can charge it on 120V in a pinch, apparently it can cause damage to the batteries. That's according to Nissan.

I have never heard this and am considering a Leaf (time frame is next year). I was planning to 120v charge so I did a little googling and still can't find it. Not saying it's incorrect, but it seems odd I haven't heard of it. I actually heard rumors of the opposite... fast charging was worse.

Comment: Re:I have wondered about doing 'leasing' for .... (Score 1) 52 52

HVAC is too mechanical and homeowners are too persnickety. You'd get killed on break fix and maintenance overhead and labor. If you tried not to, your service would suck and people would quit paying the leases or deduct out of pocket repair costs from lease payments.

Plus, what happens when you want to move? "Oh there's this weird lease on the HVAC..." could make it harder to sell.

There is very little future in being right when your boss is wrong.