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Comment Power Source? (Score 1) 119

I like being able to charge that rapidly. However it does not seem to be practical for widespread installations. The numbers just don't add up.

A cheap (Leaf, eGolf) EV has about 20-30KW battery (giving 80-130 miles range).

The current widespread commercial chargers are generally 6KW (the kind you find at parking lots, offices, etc). They will charge the car in about 4 hours from a depleted state. (The home chargers are 3KW or even 1KW but let's ignore them for the moment). To get 6KW, the charger supplies 204V @ 30A. (For a comparison, the only other device at your home would be the oven or the dryer that is using the same level of power).

The "superchargers" provide about 100KW (they range from 30KW - 120KW). To do this they use 408V @ 100+A. However they require commercial installation, since this is more power than several houses combined together. They allow charging 80% of battery under 30 minutes for the smaller cars. Teslas are at the high en of the spectrum (120KW), and they can charge the 60KW versions in just above one hour.

To get 5 minutes charging we would need to jump to 1,200A @ 408V, or 100A @ 4080V. The first choice is not practical. (At 1m this requires a cable width of 50cm! / 20in). The second one requires larger electric components in the car. Also even with 1% loss due to heat (which is wishful thinking), the excess heat would be 10KW, which is in the commercial oven range (i.e.: standing near the cable / car would easily roast a chicken, or make kabobs).

Overall it is nice to think about these technologies, however there are limits in physics that make this very impractical in the short future.

Comment Re:tl;dr (Score 2) 261

Windows etc was flawed. However they were less bad compared to their competition.

- For example, with all hype and features, OS/2 would crash on 3rd party hardware.

- Novell, while working great for DOS systems, was unusable for Windows. And their push for IPX was not scaling well for multi-site networks. And don't get me started for the newer Java based monstrosities.

- The office alternatives took a very long while to switch to Windows. By that time all new typesetters were pretty much used to Office.

Basically people underestimated Windows. It had flaws, it would get blue screens, connecting to the Internet would crash it. However it was the only consumer OS viable at the time (I was using Linux of course, however I was a minority).

Submission + - Ex-Valve writer reveals what might have been Half-Life 2: Episode 3's story

stikves writes: From:

http://www.eurogamer.net/artic...

Ex-Valve writer Marc Laidlaw, who worked on Half-Life, Half-Life 2 and its episodic expansions, has published a summary of the series' next chapter on his blog. Titled, 'Epistle 3', it details Gordon Freeman's next adventure.

Except, likely for copyright issues, the whole story has been genderswapped. So Laidlaw's tale speaks of Gertrude Fremont, Alex instead of Alyx, Elly instead of Eli, and so on

Naturally, Laidlaw's blog is currently down due to traffic, although you can read a backup of the page on Archive.org https://web.archive.org/web/20..., or on Pastebin https://pastebin.com/q9DMFa7c , where the names have been corrected.

Comment Lithium batteries are not to be taken lightly (Score 4, Informative) 157

They are very power efficient, and also very dangerous:

- Overcharge it too much: boom
- Drain it completely, and then try to charge: boom
- Puncture: boom
- Overheat: boom
- Make your own battery with cells you found around, and not use a good controller: boom, boom, boom

Of course it is possible to use lots of cheap batteries, with a very good controller system. This is what Tesla does for its current cars. However the system needs to monitor each cell and pack, and have safety precautions to disconnect them if them become faulty.

Basically, do not try this at home.

Submission + - Yesterday's Plex Saga Reached a Customer Friendly Conclusion

stikves writes: This weekend Plex had announced they were implementing a new privacy policy, including removing the ability for opting out of data collection and sharing. https://entertainment.slashdot...

Fortunately the backlash here, on their forums, Reddit, and other placed allowed them to offer a more sensible state, including bringing back opt-out, and anonymity of some of the data.

from https://www.plex.tv/about/priv...:

We definitely hear and understand your concerns and really appreciate all the thoughtful feedback we’ve received over the last 24 hours. We’ve been working on this for weeks and many of us who use Plex every day have had to work through this carefully to get ourselves comfortable. That said, many of you have raised good points that (somehow!) we didn’t consider, so we are going to make some important changes to address those.

Comment Re:I'm pretty sure nuclear beats them all (Score 1) 432

There is a stigma in nuclear. People don't do long term thinking but look at single isolated incident. And the media is helping a lot in that department.

They want "fair" discussions. So if there is a topic where 90% of the people would agree, and 10% would be ignorant, they would bring in two guests, one from each side. And unfortunately even if one of them is an expert, and the other person is a nutjob, they would present them to be at the same level of authenticity. And the public become more and more divided, the 10% quickly becomes much larger without new scientific findings or any other kind of reasonable proof.

So if you're going to support nuclear in a public debate, they will need to bring people who are opposing the view. That's fair, but the people they would bring in will not be persuaded by numbers, science, or proof.

Comment Sounds fair (Score 1) 245

If they are going to invest $3 billion in a $10 billion venture, then they should receive 30% equity stake there as well. This will both be fair, and probably a reasonable investment that will bring long term capital to the state.

However given the history of "socialized loss, capitalized gains" of state - enterprise relations, I'm not keeping my hopes us. Look at what happened then feds bankrolled failing financial institutions during the last crisis. They gave them loans at reasonable rates, sometimes just huge rebates, however the public received nothing in return for taking the risk in these bailouts. We're still on the hook for the huge trillion dollars bill, while the financial institutions recovered.

Comment Inconsistent demands (Score 4, Insightful) 102

We want better connectivity, but less cell towers nearby. We want unlimited data, but no speed limits, We want the latest technology, but don't want to pay for it, etc. T-Mobile seems to have made some sensible compromises on these topics, and they finally have something to show for it.

They have unlimited 4G, but throttle video to "mobile optimized" speeds. If you want you can disable it, but by default they save data while you are using 5" screen to watch latest Netflix episodes.

They offer cheaper plans, but don't give free phones. If you want them you need to pay full price (or in installments, but you see what the actual costs are).

They try to suck up every bit of spectrum they can find. Of course it still does not work when we visit Yosemite or other parks, but it works very well in the city. I have a minor issue though. The plan to implement LTE-U, which will use WiFi spectrum for 4G. Which will make already bad home WiFi connections even worse (can your access point fight a fair battle against a cell tower)?

Anyways they made enough noise that both AT&T and Verizon started copying them. The competition actually worked (yay!), and I hope we see a similar situation for landline cable service as well. (That's a very long shot).

Comment Two things are missing (Score 1) 218

This lacks two properties to be useful, especially in the US.

1. Rich people do not need a "salary", even an "income". They already have "wealth", and "unrealized gains" from their investments. i.e.: they might have a mansion, and own stock in a large company, and receive zero salary but still sustain themselves, their heirs, and maybe three more generations without any additional "salary" (i.e: income tax). In addition to "income", "wealth" needs to be public as well. (But that will attract all kinds of thieves, literal ones, and also "long forgotten family members").

2. The real discrepancy is between companies, and job levels. Knowing another company in another town giving larges salaries will not help, if you do not properly calculate the cost of living, or the skills required to switch jobs. Of course knowing that the CEO has been paid a bonus, while people are taking a paycut is valuable, but even that will not be very useful. People need proper mobility, and access to education to switch jobs, and climb the job levels. Otherwise it will be idle gossip.

Comment Yay... I guess (Score 1) 156

Both PS4 and Xbox One are capable x86 machines, locked into proprietary operating systems. I'm not sure what will come out of this, but if they were to properly open up the device, say to be able to install a Linux distribution, we'll have a truly cheap and solid piece of hardware.

I'm not holding my breath though, this is only the first step, and a lot needs to happen before Linux on PS4 would be possible.

Comment It might be too late to stop this process (Score 3, Interesting) 330

There is already sufficient mass of people who believe encryption can have proper backdoors for police enforcement, or even worse that only criminals have something to hide. We have seen this discourse in recent political cycles, and given tendency to mark any expert opinion as "fake news" do not help either.

The "geek" image given on media always helps portray fake ability to overcome anything. Even Star Trek had this: "10 hours, you have 2". I would assume people are thinking "the experts are just lazy, they say it cannot be done, but in fact they are just avoiding the work".

I'm not sure it will be solved in a short while, once people understand why proper encryption is necessary (i.e: loss of online commerce, or even bank account contents) the sentiment might start to change.

Comment It goes both ways (Score 1) 167

Or at least it should go both ways. If the employer want to keep me, I should be compensated accordingly, and similarly if I want to stay I need to demonstrate sufficient utility for the company.

Here in California, we are a right to work state. They can terminate me tomorrow, and I reserve the right to leave anytime (with a customary two weeks notice, but that's not strictly necessary). This keeps the balance, so that I keep working, and they provide good benefits, as long as we want to continue the relationship.

Of course the situation is not perfect, but I think this was one of the drivers of Silicon Valley's success. People form, disband, join, and leave companies all the time. The ideas flow, and good products are generated.

Comment Tell me about it (Score 1) 324

And here I am paying up to 45c per KWh for the same energy, thanks to the same power grid. It is more then triple the national average, and I could use some extra power for my A/C during the hot days (we had several scorching heat waves in the recent weeks).

California seems to have very bad incentives in terms of public utility development, and we seem to be paying (literally) for it.

Comment Tough sell (Score 1) 105

One of the reasons GPU mining is preferable over ASIC (and up to a point FPGA) mining is that the leftover GPU can be resold at a used marketplace, keeping some of its value. This is more of a "hedge" against a probable market crash.

On the other hand dedicated cards have almost no resale value (maybe 10% compared to 50% of a one year old GPU), taking away a huge value from the initial investment.

Of course there will be some buyers, but I personally will stay away from them, unless they come with a 40% discount (which is very unlikely to happen).

Submission + - HBO, Netflix, other Hollywood companies join forces to fight piracy (theverge.com) 1

stikves writes: It looks like media and technology companies are forming a group to "fight piracy":

"The first-of-its-kind alliance is composed of digital media players, networks, and Hollywood outfits, and all recognize how the internet has paved the way to an explosion in quality online content. However, piracy has boomed as a result: ACE says that last year saw 5.4 billion downloads of pirated films and TV shows."

I'm not sure how these statistics hold against real revenue loss (or the imaginary one), however this might be a development to watch for.

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