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Comment Re:NIMBY (Score 1) 436

Would you support imposing these things upon others, involuntarily if necessary? You see, that's where I draw the line. If you want to voluntarily do these things or take an offer of lower rates in exchange for doing these things or whatever that's fine as long as it's voluntary. If rates need to be higher for people who want power on demand then that's fine too, charge them what it costs to deliver what they demand. If that's hard to do without a smart meter then charge them for the privilege of not using one. Charge what it costs to deliver the good or service in the quantity demanded to those who want it. However, I'm very skeptical of the government forcing people to participate in a conservation or rationing program against their wishes. Choices have prices and that's fine, but we should let those who are willing to a pay a premium to crank their AC whenever they feel like it do that and use the money to improve the grid and build the infrastructure that's necessary to deliver that supply.

Comment Re:NIMBY (Score 1) 436

It tells me that you're going to get smart meters anyway, but that the power companies will have to get legislation mandating them first.

Here in California, that's far from a sure thing. The power companies here haven't always been on the winning side over the decades when the dust from the ballot initiatives and lawsuits clears. Whether that's a good or bad thing depends upon your point of view, but here in California that's simply the way that the chips fall.

Comment Re:As a Technical Interviewer... (Score 1) 358

The pursuit of quality is a worthy goal, but it cannot come at the expense of finishing the project on time and on budget. I think that most people I've worked with in the software development business over the years genuinely wanted to do good work, but unreasonable schedules and demanding clients don't always allow for that. We do the best we can with what we've been given and realize that sometimes our priorities as developers are not the same as those of the business. Perhaps there is a first mover advantage to be gained by getting to market first, even if the quality suffers somewhat. That's a business decision and it's the right of those paying the bills to make that call and unlike some of my peers I do understand that the requirements of the business sometimes necessitate compromise on what I might like to build as an engineer were I given more time and budget.

As for training there's only so much that companies can reasonably expect will be done off the clock. If companies want to improve the quality of their workers then they have to invest paid time in training or allow workers time to practice and learn new things. Do you see professional sports teams refusing to pay people except for time spent playing in actual games? Some wiser companies, like Google, do allow for this sort of thing, but unfortunately not every manager understands the value of long term planning and worker self improvement. I generally prefer to read technical books and work on personal projects, where mistakes or trying new things cannot put things behind schedule, rather than going to conferences or attending meetups, but to each his own.

it's about giving back to the community that has given you so much

I do that by mentoring and teaching younger developers some of what I've learned over the years from others. I don't lay claim to any great original work on a well know open source project, but I do have a thing or two to teach from my years of work and experience as a software developer and I'm always willing to help junior developers who ask me with a desire to learn and benefit from that knowledge and experience.

but if you're going to work with me I want to see that you're active and you give a shit.

Maybe I already do :D, but rest assured that I do care about the work, as a professional, and give a shit about getting things done. I wouldn't still be working in this industry after all these years if that wasn't the case.

but I also know that nobody, noboby owes me a free ride

There was never a suggestion of that I think or at least not from me.

Clients almost never pay me to learn on their dime

The only time that I would ask them to is if they insisted upon using a specific and uncommon technology or integration with an obscure piece of software or hardware that I'm never likely to see again. It's all about supply and demand and the price has to reflect that because I'm either going to have to spend extra time learning something completely obscure or find someone to subcontract that part of the job (which is isn't always possible or feasible).

I want to work with developers who are on that wave length and do more than clock in, write their 500 LOC/day, clock out and promptly forget about programming until 9AM the next day.

I think that it's pretty easy to tell after working with them a few months. If you don't like their work then fire them and get somebody else, but even somebody who just works 9 to 5 can still be useful if they can be had at the right price. Not everyone can become a ninja after all.

Comment Re:NIMBY (Score 1) 436

Why would seniors program their smart meters to turn their air conditioners down so far during a scorcher that it gives them heat stroke?

Indeed, why would anybody do that? Don't you see the point? Almost nobody will voluntarily turn down their AC on a hot day and especially not in states like Arizona, New Mexico and Texas or indeed anywhere in the American Southeast. You're asking people to take one for the team, but I don't think that you'll have too many volunteers. Asking Americans to make do with less just doesn't work, I mean look at at our budget deficits, that alone proves the point.

Comment Re:NIMBY (Score 3, Insightful) 436

Yeah, because the utilities haven't thought about *any* of these problems.

If they have they don't seem to care. Consider their initial rollout strategy here in California: move fast and install as many meters as possible before people realize what's going on or have a chance to respond. Naturally, this sort of rough shod approach led to considerable backlash in California where the people have fought numerous political battles with the public utilities over the years. So no, I don't think that they thought about any of those potential problems. I think that they saw an opportunity to cut their costs and increase profits and rushed to get as many smart meters installed as possible, with or without the knowledge of the property owners, before opt-out regulations could be passed by state and local governments.

How about a neighbourhood with AC 'rolling blackouts'?

We tried rolling blackouts here in California during the electricity crisis brought on by ill considered deregulation of the power market. The people of California didn't much care for them, but hey the people in your state might love them, right?

Each house is told to turn off their AC for 15 minutes every 2 hours.

Oh, that's just perfect. The all powerful government, that reads your emails and listens to your phone calls, and in whose wisdom you trust completely asks you to turn of your AC for 15 minutes every 2 hours. So of course you will just do what they ask, I mean who could possibly have a problem with that, right? Please.

nobody actually cares since AC off for 15 minutes is barely noticable.

You've never lived in Arizona have you?

Lather, rinse, repeat for other appliances. Car? Home owner decides how much 'expensive' electricity VS cheap overnight electricy to use, say "charge to 50%, but contimue only if rates fall below X".

Or they could just continue driving their used fossil fuel burning car, you know the one that's fully depreciated and still runs great, and not worry about any of that.

This actually isn't rocket science, and your naysaying is part of the problem.

If you want people to change their ways then you'll have to figure out how to offer them something better than the stick. Asking people to make do with less "for the good of all" and then forcing them to obey with government mandates and decrees is not the way to achieve energy savings or social peace. In fact, it often has the opposite effect, particularly in red states, as people use more energy on purpose to spit in the eye of big government and meddling busybodies who propose such things. You might not like that, but that's reality.

Comment Re:NIMBY (Score 4, Insightful) 436

Citation needed.

Oh please, really? Do you honestly believe that environmentalists don't deliberately delay power plant construction (especially nuclear) in the United States? Give me a break. Also, I said that it was a substantial cost, not the only cost. The problem is legal and economic, so it cannot be solved by a new reactor design because it wouldn't matter what design was proposed to the environmentalists, they'd still be against it. The legal problems require political not technical solutions and the economic problems are largely caused by the legal and political problems. Dragging out engineering projects, in the courts and through political maneuvering, is expensive and that's were the delays deal economic damage. The environmentalists wouldn't use those tactics if they weren't effective.

please explain how the failure of WPPSS in the late 70's and early 80's was the result of this versus economic, technical, and competency factors.

Are you going to tell me that there wasn't a single lawsuit filed or political agitation conducted by environmental groups opposed to a new reactor? I don't believe that the problem is entirely caused by technology or lack of engineering competency.

Then please explain how the new designs will escape this fate. After all, since there must be places which don't have this problem, these new designs must be operating successfully in large numbers. Where are these places?

Of course new designs cannot solve what amounts to a problem of politics. As for where nuclear power is widespread, how about France? I think that there are three basic reasons why France was able to build many reactors, using a modified US design (Westinghouse I think) no less, while things have been more problematic here in the US. First, France has almost no natural deposits of either coal, natural gas or petroleum and few rivers to be dammed so for the French it was pretty much nuclear or nothing. Second, the French have a much greater faith in their scientists and engineers than we do here in the United States. The French scientists and engineers in turn work hard to earn and sustain that trust by doing good work. I cannot recall there ever being a serious nuclear accident in France for example. Finally, it seems that the French legal system doesn't allow for NIMBYs to get in the way of projects that are deemed to be in the national interest whereas anyone with money for the filing fees can cause no end of legal trouble here in the United States.

In any case, it will still take decades for them to come on line in significant numbers at BEST (based on production estimates).

Wah, wah, wah it's too hard and it takes to long to get strated so why even try right? There's a productive attitude. You could use that argument against just about anything worth doing. Indeed, just imagine where we might be as a nation today if we allowed that objection to override all good sense. The difficulty of the task should inform our long term planning, but it shouldn't be taken as a reason to do nothing or not to get started. I could trot out that same argument for why we should do nothing about global warming, why bother to do anything now when the benefits won't be seen for decades, but I suspect that you wouldn't like the argument as much in that case.

Sure, it's not base load, but maybe we should be looking at a solution for that?

I don't claim to be omniscient, is there something else that we ought to be looking at? Something perhaps that all of the other scientists and engineers around the world have missed? I doubt it, but I'm willing to be surprised. Please tell us your brilliant plan for replacing all of the world's base load nuclear generation with fairy dust and unicorn farts (this ought to be good).

Comment Re:NIMBY (Score 2) 436

Smart meters can be programmed so that when supply is reduced, it will turn off your water heater, or turn down the heat or A/C, or stop charging your electric car, or recommend that you dry your laundry on the line instead of using the dryer.

Because people will just love it when their smart meter turns down their AC during a scorcher or stops charging their electric car so they don't have enough juice to get to work the next day or nagging them about how they should be drying their clothes on a laundry line during working hours. The belief that this will actually work in the real world is utterly obtuse. Can you imagine the political fallout from ACs being turned down in the sunbelt by smart meters and seniors being found dead in their homes from heat stroke? Even the liberals out in California want to opt out of smart meters. What does that tell you about the future of smart meters in the United States?

Comment Re:NIMBY (Score 5, Informative) 436

Nuclear reactors require huge capital investment and take a long time to build.

It's true that the capital costs of nuclear power are high, but in all fairness a substantial part of those costs and the time required to build are caused by anti-nuclear pressure groups and other NIMBYs who drag the process out for decades in courts and through environmental review boards as a delaying tactic to discourage development by artificially running up the cost. Meanwhile the world continues to burn ever more and dirtier fossil fuels to make up for lost nuclear generation capacity in national electric grids.

They also take a long time to turn on and off, so make an inflexible source of supply that integrates poorly with more variable sources

Which is why you don't turn them off and why the electric grid should never be entirely nuclear. Nuclear is for the portion of the demand that needs constant and consistent base load supply. Because the national energy grids never have zero energy demand at any time of day there will always be demand for some amount of base load power and nuclear fits that profile perfectly. The variable power sources, like wind and solar, can contribute as they're able with the remainder of variable demand being handled by natural gas turbines that can be turned on when necessary to fill in supply gaps and shutdown quickly and easily when not needed.

Natural gas, on the other hand, has a comparatively much lower capital investment and time to build for the same generation capacity.

Natural gas is also a valuable transportation, heating and cooking fuel. It's not just power plants that demand natural gas, so it would be unwise in the long run to replace base load nuclear with natural gas. We have many centuries of proven nuclear fuel, but natural gas supplies have waxed and waned over the years along with demand, depletion and development of new supplies. The lifespan of a power plant is measured in decades but nobody can tell you what the price will be for natural gas decades in the future.

The low price of natural gas also makes it extremely competitive with other power sources.

For now, but much of the newly drilled glut of natural gas comes from horizontally drilled and fracked wells in tight shale formations where the long term depletion rates are still poorly understood. We might have centuries of gas left in these formations or they might be depleted in a matter of decades; nobody's sure yet because we don't have enough data on depletion rates and demand is also uncertain. For example, increased use of natural gas in commercial transportation may eventually put upward pressure on natural gas prices as an alternative to diesel in those applications.

Natural gas turbines can also come to full power from a dead stop in 20 minutes and partial power sooner than that, allowing it it integrate gracefully in a world with variable power demand and supply.

Which is why there will always be a role for natural gas in electricity generation. My point was that we shouldn't lean too heavily on any one technology, but rather seek to optimize the grid by tapping into the different strengths of different generation technologies. We need nuclear, solar, wind, natural gas and even niche sources, like geothermal or tidal, where available. The best solution utilizes a mix of all of these technologies, but as long as there are ignorant, biased and uneducated people we will continue to "debate" whether eliminating one or more of these technologies from the mix is a "good idea", as in the case of the "no nukes" crowd.

Comment Re:As a Technical Interviewer... (Score 2) 358

If you're in it purely for the money you're in it for purely the wrong reason.

If I was in it purely for the money, I would have gotten my securities license or gone to law school to become a certified professional asshole instead of a software developer. I do enjoy doing the work but I don't go around gushing emotional about how great my fucking job is. What I cannot stand is all of the patronizing bullshit from management as they try to turn work into a game and offer "non monetary" rewards for overtime spent working on their projects. We aren't children we're adults and it would be better for everyone involved if the relationship was kept businesslike and adult. When I'm working for hire I work hard and put in my best effort, as a point of professional pride, but don't think that I care more about your projects than my family or my personal obligations. And besides that, why should you care how I "feel" about it as long as the work gets done on time, it's up to standard and passes spec? If at any time either one of us isn't satisfied with the arrangement we can part ways and move on, it's not personal it's just business. That to me is the mark of a true professional, not faked passion and bullshit emotional games, so spare me your management theories on why I need to be passionate because the software business, or at least the development side, is not a service business. We aren't being paid for emotional labor but for finished product. If you want "passion" in addition to the finished product, that costs extra, but hey if you've got the money honey I've got the time.

Comment Re:That's not why Obama won (Score 1) 166

So to change their votes, we need to talk. Isn't that what we are doing?

The people who need to hear it aren't listening. Maybe a few more years of mounting debt and underemployment (or unemployment) will help convince them that the welfare state is not the utopia that they were promised. Maybe then they won't be taken in quite so easily next time by politicians offering them fiscal candy in exchange for their votes. The Millennials like to think of themselves as being smart, but their choice of political leadership thus far has been anything but. At this rate we will inherit the country just in time to spend the rest of our lives paying off the debts rung up by our parents and grandparents and all in exchange a few percentage points less on student loans. Young voters are chumps and they proved it by voting for four more years of Obama. If they have any sense left at all now they will think very carefully about whom they vote for in 2016. They will have already lost nearly a decade to Obama by then and their careers won't be able to wait any longer to get started. Maybe then they'll finally vote with their heads and pocketbooks instead of their hearts. That would be a welcome change, but for now it's just a dim hope.

Comment Re:Fantastic Analogy (Score 1) 166

to extract as much of money out of their customers^h^h^h^h^h^h suckers as possible.

The people who voted Obama in for a second term were most definitely suckers so it stands to reason that Ceasars would want a cut of their action because the fools and their money are soon parted as the saying goes. Between ObamaCare and Ceasars these people won't have two nickles left to rub together, perhaps then they'll ask themselves what happened to that hope and change./p>

Comment Re:That's not why Obama won (Score 1) 166

Objectively, based on his record and the contradictions between his promises and policies, he should have been kicked out and lost badly.

What does that say about all of the people who voted for him, especially the young idealists with stars in their eyes and rocks in the heads? They were fooled twice by the same smooth talker and his bag of dirty tricks.

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