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Comment: Re: Are they really that scared? (Score 1) 460

by rocket rancher (#48538273) Attached to: Why Elon Musk's Batteries Frighten Electric Companies

Can you really not distinguish between sellers and buyers? Electric companies have no love for any particular means of generating power, they just want it cheap, and for most of them their primary concern in life is the NIMBY problem.

Electric companies, at least in some latitudes, are certainly worried about practical rooftop solar eating into their business, but for reasons that have nothing at all to do with love of fossil fuel.

As you say, electric companies just want to buy their energy cheap and sell it dear. Nothing inherently wrong with that. But they actually do have a love for a particular distribution model, if not a particular means of generating power. They are scared of the decentralization of power production, which smart grids coupled with residential rooftop solar installations represent. Koch Industries is the largest player in domestic energy production in the US. They have billions and billions of dollars invested in the centralized production of energy, so they are fucking scared of decentralization, and rightly so. Sadly, instead of embracing decentralization and adjusting their business model, they are successfully lobbying state legislatures and publicly-run utilities to create laws and regulations that make it damn near impossible to get a residential smart grid up and running.

Comment: Re:clock speeds yes (Score 1) 197

Spending money because something is advertised as new is foolish without determining if one will actually benefit from that new thing.

Hmmm. If everybody adopted your approach, the world economy would collapse. Capitalism doesn't work in a rational market space, which is what you would create if everybody actually considered the value of an item, and not just its price, before acquiring it. Fortunately for our global economy, hardly anybody understands the difference between value and price. As long as businesses can continue to successfully exploit that ignorance, the global economy will survive.

Comment: Re:SlashDot Is Watching You (Score 1) 76

by rocket rancher (#48180855) Attached to: Kickstarter Cancels Anonabox Funding Campaign

16 Companies Tracking This Page

This isn't what the Internet was designed to be, its not the outpost of freedom we wanted. I am trully disappointed.

wtf...? Dude, the internet was designed to allow American nuclear weapons research facilities (both private and governmental) to distribute their data so that they could survive a Soviet first-strike and continue to develop weapons. This was back in the early 1970's, and it was called DARPANet, after the US government think tank that funded its development, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency. Seriously, it wasn't until the late 1980's and early 1990's that "the outpost of freedom" you are talking about began to take shape. Ironically, it wasn't on DARPANet that the whole subversive aspect of anonymous information exchange got governments noticing computer networks. It was the crude dial-up serial connections between PC hobbyists and their bulletin board networks. But it didn't take long for US government-funded researchers to scale up the hobbyists' point-to-point protocols with a couple of powerful tools that made distributed applications way easier to write -- network news transport protocol and unix-to-unix encoding - culminating in a store-and-forward distributed database nicknamed USENET which hitched a ride on the government-funded DARPANet. Thanks to USENET, developed after the dial-up BBS days but sharing the same spirit of information freedom, did the real power of network anonymity begin to manifest. This power was suddenly available to anybody who actually paid attention in their undergraduate CS courses. By the end of the 1990's HTML pretty much took over for NNTP and UUencoding, and the power of anonymity was available to anybody, not just engineers, scientists, and geek hobbyists. Look up Endless September for what happens when millions of middle-class American morons obtain cheap and easy access to a planetary information network -- that is what happened to your outpost of freedom -- people noticed it and turned it into a cesspool.

Comment: Re:I now know what age Russell Edwards is (Score 1) 135

This is slightly off-topic, but why this?

...businessman Russell Edwards, 48, bought the shawl...

Why do they throw his age in there? Why does it matter? Is that in any possible way related to the story? I'm not calling out this story in particular, I see this all the time. I'd like to know the motivation behind the trend.

I'm going to speculate that you probably don't get much dead-tree journalism in your diet, which is why you seem to think this is some kind of trend. This was Journalism 101 prior to the advent of HTTP. Journalists used the 5 W's -- who, what, when, where, and why -- to establish a consistent framework for their audience. Including the individual's age helps establish the who and (possibly) the why part of the context for the audience. Unfortunately, the context-free environment made possible by HTTP has pretty much rendered conventional journalism protocols moot; establishing a consistent framework for the audience is kinda pointless, if the audience can switch contexts by simply clicking on a link. You can occasionally see some journalism online that still uses pre-HTTP conventions, but it is getting rarer, not more common.

Comment: Re:More "elite" players? (Score 1) 170

If they require all these cheats (let's call them what they are) to play, how in the name of Hell are they "more elite"?

hmmmm...interesting definition of cheat there. rocket jumping and jump strafing are possible within the rules of any quake game, including the single-player campaign. If the rules don't forbid it, how is it cheating? Being elite means (among other things) being able to recognize and exploit useful emergent behavior. That is one of the things that made the quake engine great -- it was complex enough that interesting (read: novel) phenomenon like rocket jumps could emerge from the fixed and extremely limited physics of that engine.

Comment: Re:Should void warranty (Score 1) 208

If you jailbreak your car, however, and inadvertently change something that impairs reliability, you're compromising the safety of everybody else on the road. Everything (including braking) in Tesla cars is tied into the software, and this is not something you should mess around with.

Compromising safety and reliability in the name of performance is a tradition in car culture. "Jailbreaking" is a relatively new term; but functionally, I don't think it is all that different from what we called "hot rodding" back in the day.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 1) 769

by rocket rancher (#46462129) Attached to: The Next Keurig Will Make Your Coffee With a Dash of "DRM"

Is it really so hard to just grind the beans and brew it yourself? I do this every morning.

Yes, it is hard to grind the beans, because it wakes up everybody in the house. If you are living alone, it's not an issue, but when you are sharing your life with somebody (especially somebody who likes to sleep late) It's hard to ignore the convenience factor of a Keurig. My wife brought a Keurig into my life when I first met her. The coffee tastes like boiled dirt, of course, but the ease (and silence) with which you can produce a cuppa is stunning.

Comment: Re:"Not Reproduclibe" (Score 1) 618

Science paid for by the public, or science used to make government regulations at public expense, should be available to the public. Period.

If science isn't "reproducible", it isn't science. If you want to call that a "loophole", so be it. But if the truth is a loophole, learn to live with it.

No. You are wrong on both counts.

First, not all science is useful to the public, and in fact some science has the potential to harm it greatly, if it were furnished to the wrong people. I certainly don't want the science gained by government bio-warfare researchers, atomic weapons specialists, and neuroscientists studying torture methodologies to be readily available to anybody who wants it.

Second, climatology is not reproducible. It is a strictly observational science, like astronomy -- you can't do reproducible experiments on the climate, anymore than you can do reproducible experiments on a galaxy a billion light years away. It is still science, but it can never produce reproducible results. By demanding reproducible results as a matter of law, Schweikert is making it impossible for the EPA to cite climate models to support regulations aimed at curbing emissions. It will also make it possible for industries to challenge and overturn existing regulations that were supported by these now-illegal climate models.

Comment: Re:Cable Cutters don't care (Score 1) 169

by rocket rancher (#45852051) Attached to: ABC Kills Next-Day Streaming For Non-Subscribers make a great point. But the change in viewing habits that you refer to has to be countered because it is eating into broadcast TV's primary revenue stream. The national broadcast companies can sit back and watch their profits get time- and/or format-shifted to oblivion, or they can do something about it. The writing is on the wall -- it seems pretty clear that people would rather pay a subscription to avoid commercials. As long as consumers can control how the content is presented to them at their end, they are going to continue to lose advertisers. Tivo's 30 second skip pretty much was the first nail in that coffin -- I haven't seen a broadcast commercial since I bought a Tivo a decade ago. Companies are not going to continue to waste their advertising dollars on broadcast ads. Pretty much the only option for broadcasters is to adopt a streaming model ala Netflix/Amazon Prime/Hulu+. Broadcasters are going to have to control the pipe from end-to-end for their revenue model to work -- they have to eliminate a consumer's ability to avoid commercials.

Comment: Re:Jailbreakingg (Score 0) 210

by rocket rancher (#45777125) Attached to: The iOS 7 Jailbreak Fiasco
Hmmm. I'm not calling you a hypocrite (at least, not yet) but you'd be up in fucking arms if somebody violated the GPL, right? But not Apple's ToS -- that doesn't apply to criminals. It's just words on a page that a criminal has to scroll past to get to the "I Accept" button so that he can start cracking the device that he just agreed not to crack. You make some (weak) rationalizations for why it's ok for criminals to break the ToS, but you just highlight the real problem. Here's a clue: You can't maintain one ethical standard for hackers and a different standard for everybody else, dude. Not if you want to be taken seriously, anyway.

Comment: Re:will be interesting to see what they do with it (Score 1) 104

by rocket rancher (#45695423) Attached to: Google Acquires Boston Dynamics

But defense contracting would be a bit of a shift in how they like to do business, and I'm not sure a positive one. Alternately, they could just repurpose the acquired tech and expertise towards Google's own robotics projects, and dump the military clients. That would be leaving quite a bit of money and existing business on the table, though, not to mention possibly annoying some politically powerful folks.

Boston Dynamics *is* a defense contractor, so by extension Google is one too, now. I am going to try to remain optimistic about the positive effects that Google can have on human advancement. Science and engineering seem to leap forward much farther and much, much faster when they are deployed in the service of armed conflict. Companies like Planetary Resources, Armadillo Aerospace, and SpaceX are going to have to be able to defend their extra-terrestial ventures, and NASA has demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that robotic missions in space are far more cost-effective in terms of results than manned missions. The minute Planetary Resources starts exploiting the asteroid belt, they are likely going to need a way to defend against claim jumpers, and I'm hoping that by hoovering up all these robotic companies,Google is positioning itself to defend these companies in their (hopefully) peaceful occupation and exploitation of the solar system.

Nobody's gonna believe that computers are intelligent until they start coming in late and lying about it.