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Comment Re:Why not both? (Score 1) 239

Inverters are typically warranted for 10-15 years, with the majority of the market's volume in the 10-12 year range. Enphase has a very controversial 25 year limited warranty on some of their inverters; user reports are all over the map on these units and the warranty claims service, so I wouldn't take them as any indication of what to expect on inverter life expectancies. Get rid of or mitigate the load handled by inverters in your solar power system design, and your inverter component cost goes down, but that is offset by the lack of selection in DC-based devices and for larger setups, the complexity of a safer DC power distribution design; there is no free lunch here going to straight DC, unfortunately. Definitely do not make your inverter installation permanent or even semi-permanent; it must be easily serviceable and removable.

Comment Re:Of course not. (Score 1) 307

I remember as a very young kid in the 70's hearing about the Lunar Laser Ranging experiment and wondering how they managed to aim and point the laser correctly and get it to return properly and all that. It still blows my mind today when I understand much more than I did back then, when I delve into even a cursory overview of the techniques the ongoing experiment uses to aim, point, and collect the photons to generate the experimental results.

Comment Re:And if they really want to make nice (Score 1) 229

If Tilak Mandadi (LinkedIn profile not updated yet to reflect his Disney CIO/Parks position) did not actually orchestrate the restructuring himself (perhaps he was instructed from further up the executive chain), then he certainly did himself no favors by how he executed it (at least the announcement if not the actual restructuring logistics itself), oversaw the execution of it, and responded to it. If he's being muzzled by Disney from getting out in front of this story now with some spin control, then it is possible Disney has done so to keep him in their back pocket to throw under the bus if the legal and/or financial blow back from the story gets too hot.

So even if you see a "direct the termination of the executive responsible", it is entirely possible that the real architect(s) of the in-all-but-name layoff remain untouched, and you are only seeing the sacking of a scapegoat, even if they have a "CIO" in their title (he's CIO of a large division, but not over all of Disney). If instead something happened along the lines of Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services and HCL America (the contractors identified in the story) get their H1-B allotments catastrophically cut back (like 75-80%) with a maximum absolute cap set to the cut back level based on the 2014 allotment, for 7 years, then you would see very extreme avoidance of these kinds of restructurings in the future. Even if the H1-B program continues to exist, and even if American companies solicit for this kind of restructuring, there isn't a sales manager in the world who would allow that kind of deal through. Also effective would be to change the H1-B legislation so allotments become a granted privilege served at the pleasure of politics, not a protected right enjoying contractual legal protection, to nullify legal challenges to allotment changes, and let the executive (agency or President) or legislative branches alter the allotments by company. This would give the contracting companies a much greater incentive to solicit for more creatively value-added business, rather than extractive displacement-heavy business, as the political optics for any displacements (real or perceived) are just too much of a headache to deal with.

Comment Re:TFA (Score 1) 229

What I haven't seen commented upon is the combined form factor and upgradeable, maximum RAM capacity.

There isn't another laptop I'm aware of on the current market with similar physical dimensions and is upgradeable to 32 GB RAM. For those who run VMs on the road and want to cram as much as possible into a small footprint, the Librem is a unique solution in more ways than the free software/hardware aspects. It could be more free with respect to the BIOS, but incremental baby steps will get us there; we first need to convince manufacturers a viable market for freedom-oriented products exists.

Comment Re:What if there isn't any truth out there? (Score 1) 93

The numbers work out for habitat-stealing if interstellar travel involved some quirk of technology that made dropping back into a gravity well somehow attractive at the end of the trip.

From what we can extrapolate given our current rudimentary state of technology, we think that if you can work out interstellar travel, then Iain Banks' popularized Culture series take on the matter is probably correct: that is, interstellar travel necessarily solves space habitat issues as a precondition. And once you have an interstellar-travel-grade space habitat, it is only the eccentrics who want to drop back down a gravity well.

Comment School Missed An Opportunity Here (Score 1) 1010

The school could have stepped in and said they have informally allowed it (thus graciously letting this guy off the hook), but now that it has become a big deal, they'll print up $30 per year tags to hang on the rear view mirror that gives parents the right to charge during school operating hours. Win for the school: they get to tap a small revenue source (but every little bit helps), and get to look progressive with parents that have the disposable income to choose EV's. Win for the parents: they get to top off during school events that they attend.

Comment Re:The key to consumer based gear (Score 1) 241

Are you talking about something like a bench top supply, or just a high quality AC wall wart adapter replacement? If the former, sure they'll supply clean power for the price, but if the latter, please post some brands that you have had good experience with over the years. These days if I'm lazy I'll just order one from adafruit, or just grab the first switching wall wart adapter that meets my specs from mouser or digikey; are there specific brands that are known for high quality, reliability, and durability?

Comment First Find an HSM System (Score 1) 268

There are a lot of naysayers on here, but since you did not specify the capacities you are handling I'm going to assume that you are working with hundreds of terabytes, the scale at which using a tape library starts to really make economic sense. Any kind of "use tape to complement hard disk storage" scheme will use a robot-driven tape library. If you aren't in this class of solution, then the other posters are right, do not even consider going down this path, the expense ($10K USD entry level) is not worth it.

What you are looking for is called a Hierarchical Storage Management solution. They are all proprietary software (the hardware part of the solution is pretty much functionally interchangeable), there is no production-grade open source offering, which is unfortunate. The proprietary ones I know of don't allow hooks to programmatically customize inject/retrieval policies and operations, the primary reason to want an open source alternative (though Tivoli Storage Manager has an extensive API that someone could use to roll their own HSM with its own API complete with programmatic hooks).

If you find these financial requirements too onerous, then as a middle ground solution I recommend you get commercial-grade hard disks like Western Digital Black with 5-year warranties to hold everything you have, a single tape drive for traditional backups, some software that supports incremental backups, and climate controlled storage for tapes.

HP

Submission + - HP offer help migration from itanium to x86 platfo->

lpaseen writes: HP announced Odyssey (Press release), a project intended to create mission critical computing env on x86 platform. According to this blog
"Over the next two years, H-P will work with members of the Linux community to develop a version of that operating system with reliability features like those that come with the version of the Unix operating system that powers some of its Itanium-based machines. That will run on servers powered by x86 chips, such as Intel's Xeon or AMD's Opteron line."

Link to Original Source
Unix

Submission + - Time-zone Database Down->

tyen writes: The time-zone database source and mailing list were shut down due to a complaint filed by a company over the use of historical pre-1991 time-zone data from a book the company holds the copyright upon. A blog article discusses the context and the wide-ranging impact upon the (mainly Unix and Linux) computing world, and gives a call for action to commercial OS vendors who have benefitted over the years from the database for legal and financial assistance.
Link to Original Source

Comment Re:Follow the cash (Score 1) 651

It is not social skills per se, but negotiation skills that engineers need. There are plenty of people with great social skills but fold at the negotiating table. I've seen some great negotiators who were not sociable, though that is less common. You don't ask for a better compensation package (to limit yourself to just the wage already disadvantages your negotiating position), you negotiate it. Fortunately, with the right resources negotiation and social skills are amenable to the problem solving nature of engineers.

Comment Re:Here is how you handle this (Score 1) 785

Before a rookie who takes this seriously mouths off to management that they've done this, here is how this tactic works out in my prior life as an employee, before I started my own business. YMMV.

After I had stacked up three years of living expenses, on top of zero debt of any kind, I found that my demeanor in negotiations changed. Not obviously, and not obnoxiously. This, I found by accident, was far more effective than simply blurting out that I could give a damn because I was debt free. The other side of the negotiating table can sense the subtle shift, likely because without that debt clouding my judgement in the back of my mind, I could think without emotion about the negotiation itself. This business-like focus on the merits of my contributions to the bottom line were effective in securing what I wanted.

Years later, I appended additional rules to the two shown above, which other US-based Slashdotters might find even more effective after securing the first two rules.

  • Research your health insurance plan options available as a private entity, and be sure to set aside enough in your contingency budget to accomodate that amount. Speak to the billing staff of medical professionals you use today, and ask them which insurance plans (not companies) are the easiest to work with, and ask insurance brokers which plans they use for their own family.
  • Especially if you have family to look after, secure a long-term disability insurance policy and term life policy on your own. Read up on these insurance products at Consumer Reports.

After this point, as long as you focus on keeping yourself sharp and relevant to the market (when I was an employee I did this by continuously updating my resume on the job sites with each project I finished, comparing against skill sets listed in open positions I would be interested in if I was looking, and staying on friendly terms with the recruiters that kept calling me), you pretty much call the shots in compensation negotiations as long as you stay within market range.

Comment Re:Re-couple Market Access With Market Making (Score 1) 216

They are called mini flash crashes, but only because of new circuit breakers put in place after the big one. I am a more old school, Graham-style market participant so I don't use GTC's. Most of my exits are measured in multiple years from my entries, and I'm switching over more to bonds instead of participating in secondary markets as a response to the principal agent problem. Even so, the vig HFTs and other participants take out of my trades is buried in the rounding error on those duration scales, unless it is a losing trade of course. As long as my participation helps me stay even with inflation, I'm content to focus upon my business and make money the old fashioned way.

"The identical is equal to itself, since it is different." -- Franco Spisani

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