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Comment: Re:Geothermal Heat Pump (Score 1) 557 557

This is exactly what I found after getting a few quotes to replace my current system. And that's heating with propane, which is close in cost to literally burning cash for heat. Payback from propane to geo was 18+ years with a life expectancy of the unit of 20 years (after factoring in the tax rebate.) I am considering building a new and smaller house, and would get another quote, but I'd likely end up with a heat pump with propane. Natural gas is rather hard to get out where I live and/or would live.

Affecting to the cost is how you do the ground loop. Where I live they'd have to drill wells, which is expensive. In other places you can just scrape off the top 10' of soil, run a loop horizontally, and cover it back up. This assumes you have a lot of land that will be grass, not trees with invasive roots.

For a new house, I'd likely just super-insulate the place with an air-to-air heat exchanger to keep the air fresh. R-21 minimum or even higher for the walls, and R-60 or better for the ceiling. I'd then put sheeting over top that to keep dust down and allow for easy access and/or storage. I'm temped to have concrete exterior walls (or brick) for the thermal mass and noise reduction.

I like poured 9' foundations for future basement finishing with a very good water proofing system.

Solar would be nice, but a generator and transfer switch would likely be a must given the area's frequent storms. Some sort of UPS for critical electronic systems, too (alarm, security, phone. You can get older, larger commercial ones on eBay relatively cheaply. Batteries are expensive, though.) Definitely do a whole house surge suppression system. They are cheap and can save you lots of money later. You can almost never have too many circuit breaker spaces in your panels. I have two 200 amp panels and they are 3/4 full. Modern codes require dedicated circuits for many things, and I'd expand on that. A 15 amp breaker is dirty cheap.

I have dual cat-6 runs to each bedroom and most other rooms, and I'd probably expand that to 3 or 4 in new construction. A coax run is useful (all home run.) Pre-wire for speakers in areas you'd want an entertainment system. Conduit is nice for the cat-6 / RG6 stuff. I'd run a 3" PVC pipe from the basement to the attic, but not on an outside wall. You never know what you'd want to run there. I'd also plan for PoE networking for surveillance cameras looking at all entrances, in the garage, and places like the family room and kitchen.

Obvious things like very low-E windows, make sure you insulate the corners of the house (most builders don't!). I'd also write in the contract that I'd have the exterior assessed with an infra-red camera during winter for any heat leaks and require them to be fixed (within limits, of course.) One missed wall bay or something can seriously kill efficiency. My current house has a vent pipe in an exterior wall. That bay in the wall gets down to 45 degrees F in the winter! I'm guessing it's to provide air to the water heater, but I'd likely go tankless. Definitely nothing that uses air from inside the house for combustion.

Music to the rooms and/or intercoms can be nice, depending on home size. I'd likely opt for something PoE for the intercom, if possible.

Lots of exterior lights (don't forget switch outlets in the eaves if you like Christmas lights.) For lighting inside, LED strips are very neat (get high CRI ones.) Perhaps in hallways LED strips would be nice.

Easy access to plumbing fixtures for future replacement and upgrades. (It's amazing that builders don't do that now.) For outside, a number of waterproof electrical outlet boxes (we never seem have one where we want one) and several water bibs so you don't have to run 200' of hose every time you want to water something.

I'm sure there's more to be added...

Comment: Re:Smug Alert (Score 3, Insightful) 290 290

by nwf (#49464499) Attached to: Report: Apple Watch Preorders Almost 1 Million On First Day In the US

Question is, who is smuggiest.

Probably the people who post links to wikipedia or XKCD.

I'm just tired of all the people who buy or don't buy things based on how they think other people will think about them. If you want one, get one. If you don't, don't. Who cares either way? I'm sure Apple is laughing all the way to the bank with their meager $500M in online sales in a single day.

Comment: Re:It's not just the fragmentation (Score 4, Insightful) 136 136

by nwf (#49140755) Attached to: Who's Afraid of Android Fragmentation?

Indeed. This article seems to be from the Wizard of Oz camp. Pay no attention to the serious problems, look here at this non-problem! The serious problems being rampant piracy and overall lack of software sales.

I've developed for both and indeed iOS is getting more annoying to develop for. Android, well, it's basically the same as it's been. It looks nicer, but it appears to be designed (overall) by people on the theoretical side and not the practical side (activities and fragments come to mind.) Doing interesting UI stuff is too annoying. On the other hand, I've found that non-game apps work pretty well across devices, but not so much OS versions. Networking is still painfully slow compared to iOS.

Comment: Re:Do You Even Literate, Bro?! (Score 2) 376 376

by nwf (#48888399) Attached to: Behind the MOOC Harassment Charges That Stunned MIT

Slashdot: The place where the most "interesting" and "insightful" comments are completely made up fantasies about what actually happened.

No, this is really Slashdot, so we need to figure out how to blame the victim. Then we'll be good. Bonus points if you can spin it to appear plausible that it was her fault (which it wasn't, of course.)

Comment: Re:Please develop for my dying platform! (Score 1) 307 307

by nwf (#48879023) Attached to: Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps

I'm sure he knows what net neutrality is, be he rightly knows that 99% of people have no clue what it is. He's trying to get some free press from a current topic that has nothing to do with his near-death company. It's what we call a desperation move: they have nothing remaining except the ability to make comments to the press.

We had clients ask for a BB version of our app. No one asks anymore because almost everyone has dumped BB.

Comment: Re:No, it isn't. (Score 1) 222 222

by nwf (#48637437) Attached to: Marissa Mayer's Reinvention of Yahoo! Stumbles

Indeed, she's doing better than I thought possible. Merging with AOL is an absolutely brain dead moronic idea. There is nothing of value in AOL. That's like merging Tesla with a maker of horse buggies. Merging Yahoo and AOL has got to be the stupidest idea I've heard in corporate maneuvering. I guess the thinking goes, "lets take these two near death companies, merge them, sell our stock based on the excitement to cash out, then let them die." That's the only possible reason behind something so inane.

Comment: Re:Deals? (Score 1, Insightful) 191 191

by nwf (#48611717) Attached to: Apple Wins iTunes DRM Case

That's silly. Making products work with only your products is legal and has been going on for at least 100 years. If you get razors from company X you can't get blades from company Y. Like video games (that Apple mentioned in their argument) that work only in their console, if you get a DVD it won't play in your VCR, your AT&T phone won't work on Verizon, if you get HBO you can't record it without DRM in HD, only certain garbage cans fit into my cabinets trash drawer, etc. It's stupid to expect a company has to make their products universally compatible just because they have the industry-leading product. We have hand sanitizer dispensers and, guess what, they only let you use their packaged liquid. Only an idiot would think companies should be compelled to do otherwise.

And regarding the record companies, it was "use music with your DRM only or no music for you". So the alternative would be NO iPods or downloadable music. You'd be back having to buy a crappy album for a single good song.

Comment: Re:UPS (Score 3, Informative) 236 236

by nwf (#48436569) Attached to: What is your computer most often plugged into?

Every UPS I've used, from cheap home ones, to full rack APC units, I've found that the batteries last about 4-5 years. The home unit needed $40 for new batteries (same OEM, not APC-branded.) They lasted 8 years, which I thought was pretty good. (And, yes, I do test it every year or sooner.) It's pretty cheap insurance and you can use the power in an emergency for things like inflating an air mattress if you have to sleep in the basement due to tornado warnings (yes, I've don that!)

"Ninety percent of baseball is half mental." -- Yogi Berra

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