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Comment Re:Why roads? (Score 1) 405

They even said that the solar roads would be easier to repair - have a busted hexagonal panel? Pull up with a truck that has a robot arm that automatically unbolts and lifts the damaged panel and locks a replacement in. Each panel is supposed to be cheap because it's made in an automated factory.

This kind of thing comes up a lot, and seems to come from people with no clue how roads work. Repairing the surface is the easy part. Repairing the subsurface is hard, and putting some glass on top isn't going to change the fact that you've got a major repair involving a lot of earth moving equipment if the subsurface of a road is compromised. Just throwing a new piece of glass over a sinkhole isn't an option.

Comment Re:What could go wrong (Score 1) 405

The problem with roof mounted solar is that people get upset when the government lends people money to pay for it, and each installation is unique. With a road the government (or in France's case often a private company) owns the road, and can lay large stretches of it using a standard process in a well understood and mapped environment.

Real estate management companies can do to the same thing for enormous square footage of basically identical industrial flat roofs, and already are.

Comment Re:What could go wrong (Score 1) 405

Maybe in the US it does, but here it definitely does not. Possibly because we use an earth leakage system with three cables for AC. Earth leakage is much safer - almost all electrocutions have the ground as the return part of the circuit so an earth leakage system means those are virtually impossible. The US I understand uses fuse boxes but we use circuit-breakers and earth leakage. On the other hand, our home power is twice the voltage of US systems so that is probably what justifies using more expensive safety systems - the risk when you get shocked is much higher at 220V.

The US has used circuit breakers for decades. You may be thinking of "earth leakage circuit breakers" (ELCB) but those are pretty obsolete at this point. Current US code requires ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) extensively, which are equivalent to the residual current devices (RCD) which replaced ELCBs and have been required for quite some time in most countries, regardless of how the circuits are wired. (And arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCI) are increasingly required in habitable locations.)

None of that has anything to do with power distribution. In the US (and most places) AC is typically distributed multi-wire. Single wire is used in very isolated areas (especially, e.g., Australia). Single wire in the context of this thread refers to distribution, not household service. (Pretty much every place in the world now uses a hot/neutral/ground scheme for lighting service, with additional phases possibly utilized for high-power applications.) The economics of AC vs DC for long distance transmission have more to do with power loss and equipment costs than number of conductors.

Comment Re:Why not a roof? (Score 1) 405

Wouldn't it be more effective to build a "solar roof" over the highway, shading motorists during the hottest parts of the day, angling the panels to maximize insolation at the latitude, and for f's sake: not having to make them sturdy enough and grippy enough to safely drive trucks on them?

And wouldn't it be even more effective to build solar panels on all of the "roofs" that already exist, before building new roofs just for solar panels? There are a whole heck of a lot of really big buildings with flat roofs around the world, only a small fraction of which have panels at this point. Pick the low hanging fruit before trying the kool-aid.

Comment Re:Not Routing (Score 1) 154

Oh, my, it's not even routing. The script just tries a speedtest service without concern for whatever else might be competing with the Pi for transfer.

The usefulness and appropriateness of complaining like this can be debated, but when he connects to a big torrent and his Pi starts complaining that Comcast is being slow - well, that's just an asshole move.

Yeah, it seems pretty pointless/lame. Using a speed test at all for this is kinda sketchy. A better implementation would watch for signs of network congestion (retransmits, etc) and look at the bandwidth consumption at that time, preferably checking that there are multiple congested destinations. (To try to avoid blaming the ISP for a problem on the remote side.)

Comment Re:Yeah, automated tweeting to PR mouthpiece... (Score 3, Interesting) 154

Yes, and there are better tools for the job. If you're doing something network intensive, the beaglebone black has capabilities similar to the pi, but an ethernet interface that doesn't go through USB and which can max out 100Mbps for about the same price as the pi. (It's also more open, but the pi is better for graphics-intensive applications. Pick the right tool for the job.)

Comment Re:Why should? (Score 1) 397

if everyone on the road stopped when they didn't know wtf they were doing, we'd have a lot fewer dead people. the real problem is that people are asshats, so they speed up and drive worse when they're confused or upset. it may not be as emotionally satisfying to stop and think, but it's actually the most sensible thing to do.

Comment Re:How soon until x86 is dropped? (Score 1) 152

They're selling more chips for less profit--Intel still has them trounced in terms of the R&D budget regardless of how many units they ship. All you have as an argument is "ARM is better so eventually it will actually be better", but the instruction set frankly just doesn't matter very much.

Note that Intel is a fairly large ARM vendor, and had other RISC products in the past. They still design & build such chips for embedded controllers, so it's not like they don't know how to do it, but if they thought that was the best path forward for general purpose CPUs they probably wouldn't have sold that tech off to Marvell.

Comment Re:How soon until x86 is dropped? (Score 1) 152

Sure, if we imagine that vendor X comes up with something implausibly advanced (scaling software to 1024 cores is hard, which is why single thread performance still matters), and intel actually goes backwards (you can buy a 32 core intel blade today) instead of developing new tech, then sure, vendor X can win.

Though nobody would buy it if it were tied to a single-vendor version of linux. BTDT, it sucks.

Comment Re:How soon until x86 is dropped? (Score 1) 152

" Intel's least demand, lowest margin customers are ARM's high margin most demanding customers"

This is where I think you're wrong. The phones & the tablets are where the money is, the chromebooks are an uninteresting sideshow for the ARM vendors just as much as for Intel. There's no way they're making the same money on $200 netbooks as they are on $700 phones. They're also not putting any R&D into that segment, it just happens to move along with cobbled-together parts. It's not a path to anything.

"I can easily imagine a future generation of SOC for systems with keyboards as much as they are useful in today's tablets."

You seem to misunderstand. Of course systems are getting more integrated--the question is whether consumers are interested in buying a server whose hardware is completely different than the server they bought six months ago, which needs completely different core drivers, can't boot the same kernel, etc. It's not in the consumer's interest to have that degree of vendor customization in the desktop and server markets. I already pointed out that Intel actually derives a competitive advantage from standardized SOCs: their competitors have to be better engineered just to overcome intel's process advtantage. E.g., you need to have a singificantly better 28nm 10GBE implementation to be more power efficient than intel's 14nm implementation. Is that likely? Can the ARM server vendor outperform intel's CPU, and outperform intel's best in class networking, and outperform intel's fairly solid storage controllers, and outperform intel's pcie controllers, and outperform intel's memory controllers, etc.? That's a lot of R&D, and none of the competitors have that kind of head count.

Don't get me wrong--I'd love to see ARM as a strong competition to intel in the server space. But watching how fast intel has pivoted, how quickly and reliably they deliver on new tech, and how slow and underwhelming the ARM vendors have been, I just don't see it as likely.

Comment Re:How soon until x86 is dropped? (Score 1) 152

But the main reason they can sell anything in step iii is that intel doesn't care about those customers. It's not clear that ARM vendors are actually making much money on those products, and if intel cut its profit margin (i.e., if they cared enough about that particular market to actually go after it) then the ARM products would be economically untenable. There simply isn't a fundamental advantage there for the ARM vendors to take advantage of: their advantage is cost, and that's because intel has *decided* not to lower prices that much. Again, ARM's marginal power advantage simply doesn't matter on a typical laptop because the CPU isn't the most power-hungry part. (Unless you're crunching numbers, but then you probably want to have a faster chip even if it uses more power.) Even on phones the advantage of ARM is less about power consumption than the fact that you can configure an ARM SOC any way you want it--while intel has basically no interest in licensing its most advanced IP so that OEMs can build custom SOCs. The limitations of that strategy are clear--ARM hardware is basically disposable once the initial OS becomes obsolete, because nobody cares about engineering updates for old products--and I just don't see custom SOC being a driver for laptops/desktops/servers. Those markets demand more standardized hardware, and that brings us back to ARM competing toe-to-toe with intel. For the niches where hardware coprocessors really matter, intel has phi for HPC and quickassist for crypto/compression/DSP/etc.

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