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The Almighty Buck

Leased LEDs and Energy Service Contracts can Cut Electric Bills (Video) 31 31

I first heard of Consumer Energy Solutions from a non-profit's IT guy who was boasting about how he got them to lease him LED bulbs for their parking lot and the security lights at their equipment lot -- pretty much all their outdoor lighting -- for a lot less than their monthly savings on electricity from replacing most of their Halogen, fluorescent, and other less-efficient lights with LEDs. What made this a big deal to my friend was that no front money was required. It's one thing to tell a town council or non-profit board, "If we spend $180,000 on LEDs we'll save it all back in five years" (or whatever). It's another thing to say, "We can lease LEDs for all our outdoor lighting for $4,000 per month and save $8,000 on electricity right away." That gets officials to prick up their ears in a hurry.Then there are energy service contracts, essentially buying electricity one, two or three years in advance. This business got a bad name from Enron and their energy wholesaling business, but despite that single big blast of negative publicity, it grows a little each year. And the LED lease business? In many areas, governments and utility companies actually subsidize purchases of anything that cuts electricity use. Totally worth checking out.

But why, you might ask, is this on Slashdot? Because some of our readers own stacks of servers (or work for companies that own stacks of servers) and need to know they don't have to pay whatever their local electric utility demands, but can shop for better electricity prices in today's deregulated electricity market. And while this conversation was with one person in this business, we are not pushing his company. As interviewee Patrick Clouden says at the end of the interview, it's a competitive business. So if you want the best deal, you'd better shop around. One more thing: the deregulated utility market, with its multitude of suppliers, peak and off-peak pricing, and (often) minute-by-minute price changes, takes excellent software (possibly written by someone like you) to negotiate, so this business niche might be one an entrepreneurial software developer should explore.
Earth

As Drought Worsens, California Orders Record Water Cuts 599 599

New submitter GordonShure.com writes: The State of California has made an unprecedented move by uniformly restricting water supplies across the entire state as demand outstrips supply. Farms are most affected, though food prices aren't anticipated to rise in any hurry: imports from out of state continue apace. Notably, this is a problem Silicon Valley hasn't much helped to solve.

Will this move induce meaningful modernization upon the infrastructure supporting the state's thirty-eight million residents? Or will things continue to be corn, corn, corn for the time being?

Comment: 64 digits from a password gener Re:Not for animals (Score 1) 186 186

Hello Mr. Meval you've contracted a bad case of Q9fPfmk2roBWZuQqjeCFf2xfInOWtzMeuXvyVP8PtSeq6sgDU60kkLY6bQ13MT4k and we will have to use antibiotic R1rMzq5rM6 for at least six weeks. Please make your check payable to the l18O5pQQDAQDAXAesU56 medical clinic of Medina

Hardware

Russian Company Unveils Homegrown PC Chips 268 268

Reader WheatGrass shares the news from Russia Insider that MCST, Moscow Center of SPARC Technologies, has begun taking orders for Russian-made computer chips, though at least one expert quoted warns that the technology lags five years behind that of western companies; that sounds about right, in that the chips are described as "comparable with Intel Corp’s Core i3 and Intel Core i5 processors." Also from the article: Besides the chips, MCST unveiled a new PC, the Elbrus ARM-401 which is powered by the Elbrus-4C chip and runs its own Linux-based Elbrus operating system. MCST said that other operating systems, including Microsoft’s Windows and other Linux distributions, can be installed on the Elbrus ARM-401. Finally, the company has built its own data center server rack, the Elbrus-4.4, which is powered by four Elbrus-4C microprocessors and supports up to 384GB of RAM.

Comment: Re:So what online storage is safe? (Score 1) 23 23

If you' are not encrypting the stuff before they get it. You're a fool.

I don't see the point when my NAS is available, I use Openvpn and it's trivial to setup securely. Changes are encrypted and stored on that miraculous thing called a server I own that is co-located on a remote island. It is cheap and I only store encrypted backups on it.

I am taking notes on what else I should do to protect that stuff further. ;)

Comment: Re:Heh. (Score 1) 143 143

It could be
done by
1) them
2) a fan without their knowledge to whip up the skeer or
      a) just as a prank
3) It could be done by a bewildering number of government, quasi-government, eiteh at the national, regional or local level.
4) A vigilante
5) their ex.
6) a crazy person targeting them for kidnapping because they know how well they will taste with carrots.

i.e. apropos of nothing

Comment: Re:Overstamp First? (Score 1) 133 133

The serial is usually in a non critical spot. Just drill it out and fill it with silver solder.

If you want a perfect solution, live in a state in the US which isn't a liberal distopia you can build your own firearm legally as long as it's not covered under the NFA.

If it's one of the cast zinc firearms have your cat pee on it. It will be destroyed within days. ;)

Comment: Re:planned? (Score 1) 577 577

They've been at the http://www.indy1500.com/ for years. The high tech method before all this newfangled automation was called a autonomous meat sack with a pen and paper. Now that they funnel participants in to buy a ticked they can just slap up a camera and record away.

Comment: Re:Do it yourself? (Score 1) 130 130

I used a video capture card with Svideo input. I found after many trials that VLC worked well in capture mode with a tape that had issues. I had to manually clean the video and audio heads in the thrift store VCR and used another tape to verify the VCR worked wel mechanically. It still took two attempts. I then transfered it from the Windows 7 box to a Linux box and had FFmpeg transcode it after bleeding the docs for a couple hours and fumbling with several attempts.

Education

Slashdot Asks: Should Schooling Be Year-Round? 421 421

Around the world, American schools' long summer break is viewed as an anomaly, and the long summer seems to be getting shorter. While most American primary and secondary schools used to start after Labor Day, more and more of them now open sometime in August (and that's not counting the ones that have gone to a year-round schedule). Some of my younger relatives started a new school year last week (in Indiana), while Baltimore schools start later this month. Both Seattle and Portland's kids have until after Labor Day (with start dates of the 3rd and 4th of September, respectively). The 4th is also the start date for students in New York City's public schools, the country's largest district. Colleges more often start in September, but some get a jump start in August, especially with required seminars or orientation programs for new students. Whether you're in school, out of school, or back in school by proxy (packing lunches or paying tuition), what time does (or did) your school-year start? Would you prefer that your local public schools run all year round, if they're of the long-summer variety? (And conversely, if your local schools give short shrift to summer, whether that's in the U.S. or anywhere else, do you think that's a good idea?)

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming

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