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Comment: Apple is controlling and mercural (Score 1) 91

About their platforms, especially the iPhones. I would expect them to be as or more so with a watch. I wouldn't expect this port to remain usable, in the same configuration or even be there in the future. Because that's how they work.

Most of the time I sort of buy the benevolence in their designs (ie, the lighting port on phones) although generally speaking I think they're too controlling and they actually limit things you can use the devices for.

But if you discover something that hasn't been advertised as for a speciic function, don't be disappointed when they take it away.

Comment: Re:All aboard the FAIL train (Score 1) 473

by swb (#49613079) Attached to: Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina Announces Bid For White House

I'd be curious what would happen if a Republican would be:

* Pro-market but without slavish devotion to specific big money interests or backing crazy tax cuts

* "No stance" on abortion. "I wouldn't have one but I'm not telling anyone else what to do"

* Pro-pot legalization "I wouldn't use it, but let's be honest, banning it hasn't worked and jailing people really hasn't worked. Let the states do what they want, like booze"

And the rest basic, run of the mill Republic policies.

Would they get run out of town for not genuflecting on abortion and big money, or would the establishment shit their pants as somebody who violated the party line on pot suddenly got a lot of interest?

Comment: Re:wtf (Score 3, Insightful) 90

by swb (#49612877) Attached to: US Gov't Will Reveal More About Its Secret Cellphone Tracking Devices

1) Cops gather evidence via unconstitutional means.
2) Consulting attorney tells them what evidence is needed to get a conviction via constitutional means
3) Cops use unconstitutional evidence as a roadmap to gather constitutional evidence
4) Cops present case with just constitutionally gathered evidence to prosecutor, don't share unconstitutional evidence with prosecutor
5) Prosecutor in the clear, has no knowledge of unconstitutionally gathered evidence and nothing to share with defense regarding unconstitutional evidence gathering

I believe the general term is parallel construction.

Comment: Re:Another market overlooked (Score 1) 290

by swb (#49612811) Attached to: Tesla's Household Battery: Costs, Prices, and Tradeoffs

Maybe I wasn't clear -- most houses have a single panel with multiple circuit breakers. Each breaker services a separate circuit. Each circuit represents a single run (hot, neutral and ground) from the panel to the destination. Only really old houses that haven't been upgraded use fuses. The panel itself has two buses, one for each 110v leg, a common neutral bus and a ground bus, a main breaker which controls the entire panel. The legs aren't switchable.

The fuzzy part is the "destination". Since each circuit is usually breakered for 15A it can support more than a single outlet or light fixture. When an electrician wires the circuits, they commonly will run the cable from the panel to, say, a socket and then feed off the socket's secondary terminals (or via wirenut splice) to another close by socket or light fixture. And "close by" doesn't mean "in the same room" or "the same type of connection" -- if there was another socket on the other side of the wall installed at the same time, because the distance is close and it's easy for the electrician they will often connect that socket to the same circuit as the first one.

What you end up with is basically a parallel circuit of devices (light fixtures and sockets) that are close together "as the crow flies" but not necessarily in the same room or a common type of connection (socket or light fixture). This is especially true of remodels or small-scale room re-dos or where people have wanted additional outlets and rather than rip out a bunch of drywall, they will tap from the closest place they can.

Large draw devices (central AC, electric stove, hardwired electric heaters or furnaces) will have their own, dedicated high-current breaker at the panel and a dedicated run from the panel to the device. It used to be allowed years ago to even tap off one leg of a 240v circuit to get a 110v, but codes are tighter and these days a new install will require a dedicated run.

So what you usually end up with a single panel with a handful of dedicated breakers for high-current and 240v devices and then a bunch of other breakers which control the outlets and fixtures in a specific area, but which may also control other outlets/fixtures "nearby" often with no logic other than what made sense for the electrician when the wiring was done.

What I think is needed is much stricter cabling standards and structured panels. One panel should control lighting with a dedicated breaker for each room and ONLY fixtures IN THAT ROOM connected to it. Another panel should control general purpose outlets by room. A third panel should control high load devices (electric stove, central AC, other major electric appliances). A fourth panel for "mandatory devices" you would always want priority given to, such as refrigerators, furnace blower motors for gas or oil furnances, etc, perhaps a few "emergency" outlets for computers or USB chargers).

With a properly structured panel system a transfer switch could then feed the lighting and mandatory device panels but leave the high power devices and general outlets off until mains power is restored without risking overload of the backup source or from vampire loads connected to standard outlets that aren't critical during a power outage. Of course this is a lot more expensive to install because you need much more cabling, more panels and more wall space to place the panels.

A better option, IMHO, would be a smart panel or maybe even smart breakers which could be individually controlled so that you can assign the basic panel "values" and determine which ones to run under specific non-grid scenarios. Such a control system tied into the backup system's monitoring and capacity could then switch off or on circuits as power was available or as loads were brought up/down.

Comment: Re:Another market overlooked (Score 1) 290

by swb (#49610263) Attached to: Tesla's Household Battery: Costs, Prices, and Tradeoffs

As is right now I just don't see the Tesla home battery as providing enough output to be meaningful for anyone who's not facing extremely high grid prices and using a large solar install with the battery to pull from at night.

The 2kW output isn't enough to serve as a whole-house backup unless you're already a fanatic about conservation or are willing to run around killing high loads when you lose grid power, and the 5 hours runtime you'd get from the battery @ 2kW isn't enough runtime.

In my mind, the inverter add-on is only part of the wiring issue. Most houses have a central breaker panel that terminate all the circuits and any whole-house system would have to feed this panel (risking overloading the backup source and requiring manual shut off of any automatic loads that might kick in). Or, more sanely, do some extensive restructuring of loads so that light/must-have loads are on one panel and high loads are on another so that when power transferred you'd kill heavy loads automatically.

What would be nice would be a smart panel that could be programmed with never/always/switchable values for each circuit and the ability to set priorities for them so you could maximize runtime and guarantee power.

Further, I think the wiring practices of residential electrical need to get a whole lot smarter. I'd like to see a dedicated panel for each of: wall sockets, lights, appliances, and "high load" appliances like central AC, electric stoves, and electric heat with a dedicated breaker for each room services by those individual panels.

Currently residential electrical wiring practices don't do this at all -- they run the shortest feed from whatever place they can, resulting in outlets sharing breakers with lights and often crossing rooms. When we remodeled I mandated some outlets be on dedicated breakers and in both instances found those "dedicated" circuits fed to other places because it was convenient for them. I made them change them but it was a fight.

Comment: Re:Assumptions (Score 2) 78

by DingerX (#49604845) Attached to: Hacking the US Prescription System
What do they have to sell here? All you need is a legitimate business case to be on the network, and you have access. That's the point here: PillPack immediately changed their procedures, but if they were able to call up a full prescrption record using only name and DOB, any number of other businesses with a medical component can too. All you need is to associate names and DOBs (Facebook anyone?), call up the prescription records, look for something chronic, desperate and lucrative, and fire off an automated, personalized email. Profit!

Comment: Re:2kW isn't enough power for a home (Score 1) 506

by swb (#49604739) Attached to: Tesla Announces Home Battery System

Why would you do that? Every single one of those things has an off switch. In all but extraordinarily rare cases, use of every one of those things is discretionary. You don't need to rewire your panel in order to keep the house running during quite a long power outage. Just don't use heavy draw appliances. If you are affluent enough to buy one or more of these battery packs in the first place, you can certainly afford to buy a few paper plates and an extra pair of underwear, if it comes to that.

What happens when you're not home and the base load goes away and the battery kicks in and your draw exceeds your output capacity? Maybe if you're actually home you can turn off anything high load or that's discretionary, but if you're not you'll overload the battery and I'm assuming it will either current-limit itself via voltage drop or just plain shut off output, which is probably the sanest/safest to prevent damage.

What would be nice would be a smart panel that kept track of the load on all the breaker legs, each of which could be assigned a priority level. Loads could be assigned "always off on battery", "switchable", "always on" and the system could disable switchable loads to ensure that there was sufficient power for always on loads, and the priority setting could be used to switch off "always on" loads so that the highest priority loads could keep running as battery levels dropped.

Regardless of your individual situation, it's a gamechanging device for the vast majority of the world.

I'm not sure how gamechanging it really is.

Comment: Re:He's also an interesting candidate for this (Score 1) 386

by swb (#49604635) Attached to: Bernie Sanders, Presidential Candidate and H-1B Skeptic

What about actual markets in predominantly rural and agricultural economies?

People show up to buy and sell their commodities, nobody has a monopoly on supply, no purchaser is big enough to swing prices, information asymmetry is low -- you can walk around the market and check on the quality of commodities, determine prices and supply levels, etc.

Comment: What about hacking the system for drugs? (Score 1) 78

by swb (#49604595) Attached to: Hacking the US Prescription System

I always thought we'd hear about the prescription system hacked for drugs, not for personal information.

There's a ton of pharmacies out there, how do "they" know where to send shipments? How do "they" verify that a shipment is going to an actual pharmacy and not a shell entity, especially if its CVS store #1887?

What about actual prescriptions? Many are electronically transmitted to the pharmacy. The schedule II ones (at least when I've been given oxycodone) are printed on paper, but how is that data correlated with the prescribing doctor as legitimate?

Is every order printed out on paper and cross checked by somebody?

Comment: Re:2kW isn't enough power for a home (Score 2) 506

by swb (#49593175) Attached to: Tesla Announces Home Battery System

We're power pigs at this house due to all the DVRs, computers, etc, something like 33kWh per day based on the month's total consumption.

With some extensive re-wiring of the power panel to move high-load devices (AC, washer/dryer, dishwasher, possibly even the gas furnace blower motor) to another panel, the 10kW unit MIGHT be useful to keep the fridge and lights going during a short-term power outage. Sadly I think the computers would have to get shut off to even get 12 hours out of it.

With the rewiring necessary, I'm not sure it's even cost competitive with a natural gas generator. 16kW units with automatic transfer switches are around $3600 and will run the entire house, including high power stuff, indefinitely.

Where I live, it's all kind of moot. I can count on one hand the number of outages we've had in the last 16 years on one hand and only one was long enough to even justify a trip to the dry ice store to keep the fridge from melting.

If it was even remotely more common (1-2 times per year, 24 hours) one of the Honda suitcase generators would probably be more effective just to keep the fridge going or maybe the gas furnace blower. Beyond that level of frequency or duration I think a natural gas generator would be useful.

Comment: Re:Can't wait to get this installed in my house (Score 4, Insightful) 506

by swb (#49592775) Attached to: Tesla Announces Home Battery System

First, none of these things move forward without some enthusiast buy-in. Loads of things are stupid from a strict dollar-efficiency perspective but people still do them anyway. Computers held fairly low value in terms of dollar efficiency for decades, but enthusiasts found them worthwhile and helped move that industry forward.

Second, you confuse cost and value. You know the cost of the utility power and the off-grid generation and storage components but you don't know the value to the consumer of being off-grid. What you see as a splurge they may see as some kind of inherent value.

Comment: Re:Dodos are us! (Score 1) 55

by hawkfish (#49590071) Attached to: Ancient Megadrought Entombed Dodos In Poisonous Fecal Cocktail

I've heard that Dodos were delicious. I'm for getting them unextincted and setting up a fast food chain. Gotta think of a good name though, something catchy.

Actually, no they weren't! Apparently thy were killed by dogs more than people for meant. And we all know that dogs will eat just about anything...

The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives. -- Admiral William Leahy, U.S. Atomic Bomb Project

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