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Comment: Re:Why Silevo didn't aim to be biggest? (Score 1) 262

by wilson_c (#47266985) Attached to: Elon Musk's Solar City Is Ramping Up Solar Panel Production

That's a ridiculous argument you can throw at any company that the founders want to sell. Maybe the company needs funding to grow their market or as captial investment so they can fabricate the high efficiency panels. Maybe investors actually want to see a cash return. Maybe the founders are tired of the constant stress and 100 hour weeks and would just like to enjoy the fruits of their success. The sale of a company does not in any way indicate that their business is somehow flawed.

Comment: Re:Tie this in with the battery tech from Tesla... (Score 1) 262

by wilson_c (#47266799) Attached to: Elon Musk's Solar City Is Ramping Up Solar Panel Production

That right there is my biggest problem with SolarCity. They are using solar efficiency as a hedge. You're not buying free power, you're buying a contract for a particular amount of power at a guaranteed cost for the term. It's a much better deal if you can finance your own solar power installation, but people get sucked into the no-money-down sales spiel that SolarCity has. The contract is transferred with the property and can be difficult to price into the property value since that value, based on the remaining portion of the contract term, diminishes as time passes. To say nothing of the difficult of getting buyer attention for a property that seems to be priced high for the market.

"So the house costs more because I'd be buying a solar system?" "No, it costs more because there are 18 years left on a contract for solar power from SolarCity, who have installed their equipment on the house." "So I wouldn't *own* the solar panels if I bought the house?" "No, it's more like you're buying an option to short electricity prices backed by the advantage of SolarCity's equipment, so it will almost certainly be a better deal for you over the remaining term of the contract."

You have to dig around on SolarCity's site to even find info about the option to purchase. The one thing I think they do right - and anyone purchasing their own solar system would be well advised to copy - is to plan in the cost of long term maintenance and repair when financing a system.

Comment: Re:Three Weeks in ISP Hell (Score 1) 210

I spend about $2k/month in a dense Los Angeles business area for a symmetric 50Mbps fibre ethernet connection from AT&T.

My father-in-law pays about $65/month for symmetric 1Gbps+ fiber (we were unable to get a max number on the connection since his router was limited to 1Gbps max port speed) to his house in a remote rural Norwegian mountain town. His prices will be going down in a couple years after the town co-op behind his connection has paid off their initial infrastructure investments, which they managed without government subsidy or corporate investment. They delivered buried fibre to the exterior of every single house in the town whether the resident had committed to being a subscriber or not.

I'd say there's plenty of room for improvement in the US. We have a handful of providers who deliver overpriced, bad service with even worse support. They are allowed to do this with almost no regulation because it has been decreed that an unfettered free market will deliver the best product for the lowest cost and that is why the US is the greatest something or other. We will not let clear evidence to the contrary sway our opinion.

Comment: Re:OSS to the rescue! (Score 1) 241

by wilson_c (#46360525) Attached to: Apple Drops Snow Leopard Security Updates, Doesn't Tell Anyone

How long is "the life of the hardware"? I'm sure there's a functional TRS-80 somewhere. Should that still be actively supported?

Every computer that is limited to Snow Leopard is at least 7 years old. Businesses usually fully depreciate computer equipment over 3 years, with actually utilization being only slightly longer.

There is no absolutely no precedent for forcing businesses to support a product beyond what is required by contracts they may have entered into with their clients. There is no reason to believe that such a law could ever come into being. There are good business reasons why such a law will never be. While it might be nice for consumers if things worked that way, it would have little practical impact on them because we're talking about supporting old equipment for people who don't care enough to invest in upgrades. They're not going to be on top of applying open-source patches to their 7 year old security vulnerabilities.

Comment: Re:All right, then (Score 1) 241

by wilson_c (#46360303) Attached to: Apple Drops Snow Leopard Security Updates, Doesn't Tell Anyone

It was. It had been widely used by those of us testing Mavericks deployment options during the beta and was there on day 1 of the release version. Apple isn't going to publicize things like this, given the opportunity for huge error in the hands of people who shouldn't be using sudo to format volumes.

Comment: Your boss is just being cheap (Score 1) 716

by wilson_c (#46225093) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should Developers Fix Bugs They Cause On Their Own Time?

This is a settled matter as far as the law is concerned. If the work is performed as warrantied work by a wholly independent contractor, then the entity (company or individual) which created the bug is responsible for addressing it without additional compensation. If an individual employed directly by a company makes the mistake then there is no obligation of the employee to fix that error without further payment. Do you have a contract with your employer stipulating delivery goals rather than simply being paid for your time? Are you paid higher than standard individual wages the way that a contracting company is because there's an expectation of ongoing responsibility beyond the time you are working for them? Unless you failed to mention important contractual obligations in your post, you don't owe him squat.

Comment: An inefficient exchange (Score 5, Insightful) 240

by wilson_c (#46215893) Attached to: How To Hack Subway Fares Using Fare Arbitrage

Though these arbitrage opportunities may exist, the act of exchange would render them worthless. Even with a hypothetically perfect market established, the amount of effort required by two parties to submit ticket info, match needs, and go through an exchange outweighs the efficiencies gained by the transaction.

Comment: Re:Don't they have an fiber to the node cable netw (Score 1) 229

by wilson_c (#45614153) Attached to: Australia's $44B Broadband Network May Settle For Fiber Near the Home

U-verse did include FTTP at one point: I had fiber to my router in an apartment I lived in 3 years ago. However, U-verse is now nothing in particular since AT&T have rolled all of their residential data offerings under the U-verse banner, including sub-1Mbps DSL that they will still sell as U-verse service.

Comment: They are not "bearing all responsibility". (Score 1) 225

by wilson_c (#45610639) Attached to: eBay Founder Pleads For Leniency For the PayPal 14

Criminal punishment is not shared. If 10 people are convicted of a crime, they don't each get 1/10th the sentence that a single individual would. Just because some perpetrators go unpunished, doesn't meant that the convicted are doing their time. Likewise, the money is a fine, not recompensation, so the value isn't determined by distributing restitution across all of the convicted.

Comment: Re:Lucky you (Score 1) 250

by wilson_c (#45590231) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Recommendations For Beautiful Network Cable Trays?

Yeah, that's cool. But some companies, once they are successful, like to create pleasant environments for their employees to work in. It helps to retain top staff. In fact, building a great environment is often more effective per dollar spent than giving out raises when it comes to staff retention. This goes beyond just architecture and decor, but it's part of a holistic approach to making a place that people want to work at.

Pixar, for one example, has always placed a lot of emphasis on environment and lifestyle over salary and have a workforce that has been very loyal because of it. They prioritize benefits, workspace conditions, and try hard to respect personal time, but if you want to earn more money there are many better-paying alternatives.

Comment: This isn't a current car (Score 1) 961

by wilson_c (#45590121) Attached to: Is the Porsche Carrera GT Too Dangerous?

This is posed as as if it were questioning the safety of a regularly available car. The Carerra GT is a very limited production run vehicle (limited to 1,000 or so) that hasn't been made in 7 years. It's not even fair to compare it to any other street-legal Porsche every made because it was such a rare, expensive, and powerfully tuned vehicle. It was a 600hp car in its stock version, and a fairly light car at that. I believe that the car Paul Walker was in was more powerful than stock.

As far as we know, our computer has never had an undetected error. -- Weisert

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