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Comment Re:potentially worth... (Score 1) 361

I use both.

Over time, I use microsoft office less and less.

And I was able to legally get a copy through a work program for $10 bucks (complete package too- not just the student version).

I started back with version Openoffice 1.04... which sucked.and then went to 2.0 which sucked and then went to 3.0 which was kind of painful and then 3.1 came out and it wasn't too bad and then 3.2 came out and it was good. By the time i finished converting documents to it, I found it easier to use than the latest version of Microsoft office (which broke ALL the menu's I was used to).

Then 3.4 came out and it wouldn't PRINT some of the drawings I made. I could still export them to PDF and then print them- but it's annoying. And it's STILL not completely fixed in 4.0. Basically if you have transparency + bezier curves, you are screwed.

So I use 3.2 to print the drawings. I still find microsoft to be too annoying since they broke everything.

And it looks like they doubled down with Windows 8, breaking things even more.

Comment Re:265 miles vs 300 miles (Score 1) 419

I have to make a special effort to get gasoline. Every pump has "up to 10%".

But what started this curiosity was that back around 2003, after a couple years of getting 245-265 miles per tank, I suddenly got a little over 300 miles per tank. And the tank after that got over 265 miles.

I tried various ways to get back the mileage and none worked. Then I tried pure gasoline and the mileage was back over 300. We only have about 20-30 pure gasoline stations in this very big state however.

If they gave me a choice tho, it would be worth 30 cents more per gallon.

Comment Re:Not good for vehicles! (Score 1) 419

"accurate to the hundredth of a gallon" ?

No. I said, "X" miles per tank and "Y.Y" gallons of gasoline.
That's accuracy to a tenth of a gallon.

It's not wild ass guesses. You are overstating the imprecision.
It's a series of measurements.
The data set for the ethanol fuel is large and consistent (245-265, 600 events).
The data set for the gasoline tanks is small but dramatic (~300, 4 events).
The mileage changed from 22mpg to 25mpg in each of the 4 tests.
The 22mpg is consistent with the rated mileage of the car.

You have a good point- from the leftover fuel in the tank, there was still some ethanol in the mix.

If you wanted to do this formally...
1) You need to empty the tank completely.
2) You have to drive the car exactly the same- so you are talking a closed track.
3) You need a lot more data points.
4) You would probably install a device to precisely measure gas usage.

In other words- it's not possible for a normal person to perform that level of testing you require.

So for you, let's just say there was no data collected.

Comment Re:Not good for vehicles! (Score 1) 419

I can say that I get 245 to 265 miles for the average refill and that when I refill with pure gasoline from the same level, the mileage jumps to 300+ miles per tank.

I'm not going to run the car to empty. I just ran it until the fuel light came on and recorded how many gallons I put back into the tank.

Listen... I really don't care. It's a minor interest.

If you really care- go to pure gasoline station and check it out for your own car.

You'll get something between the 3%-7% the government reports, the 10% some others here posted and elsewhere and the 12% I found in my cars.

Love to hear the values you get.

Comment Re:Not good for vehicles! (Score 1) 419

My 2003, never got over a 12.6 gallon refill and usually was about 12.4.
My 2008, never got over a 12.2 gallon refill and usually was about 11.7.
My 2010, never had over 11.8 gallon refill and is usually about 11.5 so far.

Not sure how big the tank is. I had a big spreadsheet at one point but lost it. I was comparing mileage from different brands and grades and recording the gps location of the stations.

I know 10% isn't gasoline. But the ethanol appears to cut my mileage by slightly over 10%.

I'll be doing another "pure gasoline" experiment on new car this spring and/or summer.
I would have done it sooner but they were working us 70+ hours a week until quite recently (and then they laid most of us off on January 5th after saying no layoffs were planned. Something to keep in mind if you are on an SAP project).

I was living on half of what I made since 2001 so I'm fine.

Comment Re:Not good for vehicles! (Score 1) 419

The ethanol mileage of 245 miles per tank to 265 miles per tank is based on 7 years in the first car and 2 years in the second car with a fill up every 5 to 7 days. So a very large sample size. Driving conditions very similar.

The gasoline tests were in the spring and summer. My test on my new car will be this summer when I drive to one of the pure gasoline stations.

The gasoline fillups each slightly over 300 miles per tank. 30?, 302, 300, and 305.

The first was not technically known to be pure gasoline. It just got my attention. Why the heck did my mileage suddenly increase so dramatically (I got something like 275 on the tank after and then back to 245-265 after that).

Listen, I'm not running a double blind scientific test. But the differences in mileage per tank were not minor. Between 35 and 55 extra miles per tank under similar (mixed usage) driving conditions.

I can usually explain the 245 mileage because I had some "safe your life" jack rabbit entrances onto freeways.

I could get 275 when I drove ideal freeway conditions on long trips (no stops or starts). So about 1.8 mpg higher freeway (but the element has the aerodynamics of a brick so that's understandable).

Why not try it yourself? Every state has a few pure gasoline stations where you can reliably get gasoline. And you can fill up some extra 5 gallon cans and test it yourself under normal driving conditions.

Comment Re:Ethanol from corn is height of stupidity (Score 1) 419

I would have expected for the ethanol to have produced some mileage.

If I had 10 gallons and 10% ethanol fuel, then I'd have 9 gallons of gasoline and 1 gallon of ethanol.

If I get 20 miles per gallon from gasoline, I have 180 mile range.

ANY miles over 180 miles, are from the ethanol. By government figures, I would expect the ethanol to produce about 90% of the mileage of gasoline. So that should be about 18 miles.

So my tank would give 198 miles.

My actual experience was something like 176 miles per tank.

I got something like 4 miles less per tankful that I would have if there was no ethanol in the fuel at all.

So that meant to go 180 miles, I would have to burn .2 EXTRA gallons of gasoline.

Crazy, no?

Comment Re:Not good for vehicles! (Score 4, Interesting) 419

Actually, in my experiece (based on two trials in a 2000 honda element and two trials in a 2008 honda element), fuel with 10% ethanol does literally waste gasoline.

I need 102% to 103% as much gasoline to go the same distance when up to 10% ethanol is added to it.

A tankful of 10% ethanol gets me about 265 miles
A tankful of gasoline gets me about 300 miles.

35 miles difference.

I need to use 1.45 more gallons of 10% ethanol fuel to go 300 miles.
So that's 1.3 more gallons of gasoline to go the same distance when ethanol is added.

The government says it should be 3-7% worse. And they've tested it. But apparently the fuel does much worse in some cars than others. In theory, you should get some mileage out of the ethanol. In practice, a lot of people seem to report a 10% difference in mileage.

Perhaps the government driving wasn't normal driving. Maybe they

a) didn't start and stop as much.
b) started and stopped more.
c) didn't idle as much.

Not sure what the difference but something is off.

Comment Re:Ethanol from corn is height of stupidity (Score 1) 419

Based on four test tanks of gasoline vs the normal 10% ethanol fuel, I found a mileage increase of about 30-35 miles per tank. This was between 12 and 13% more miles out of the same number of gallons of fuel.

This means that in 2000 and 2008 honda elements, ethanol fuel resulted in burning 2 to 3 % more actual gasoline to go the same miles. It's as if the 10% ethanol actually reduced mileage slightly.

The cars were both well tuned and in good repair. The 2008 was about 6 months old. I'll be doing a similar test this summer with a 2010 honda element.

Comment Re:Problem? (Score 1) 644

Actual metered electrical generation from a panel purchased and installed last march.

I had to know.

It looks like I need to periodically adjust the panel to keep maximum power generation because the light angle is different in the winter.

It was *very* hard to find a spot that had full sun most of the day. Shade from trees is really sneaky! Plus *one* leaf on the panel lowers generation a lot so you need to keep an eye on the thing.

You'll need a new inverter about every 7 years. More if you are in an area with lots of electrical storms.

Two costs they may not be mentioning...

1) the bracket to mount the panel cost about $100. And that's reasonable because it is a lot of aluminum.

2) taxes. About 8% of the purchase price.

If you are not handy--- additional installation costs.

The figures you are quoting are probably from a state which gives a substantial subsidy to solar power. Many states do. Mine does not. All I have is the federal tax credit.

Comment Re:It's official (Score 1) 365

More closely to the actual patent:

"My invention is a method for business, where I have a COMPUTER (instead of a human) that will listen to my customers, record what products they want regularly, and maintain an ongoing list for each customer. Whenever a product on the list needs to be ordered so it will arrive when the customer wants it, the COMPUTER (instead of a human) will alert me place the order on the customer's behalf... on a computer."

Or in other words, it's not really like a milkman, or even how a milkman operated, but let's not let that get in the way of our Slashdot-mandated rant against the USPTO.

Comment Re:How Does Germany Beat Chinese Pricing? (Score 1) 644

Which is great if you are willing to risk their various cost cutting measures (like lead paint on children's toys that shows up regularly every year on at least a few products)

If I got those glass lined reactors, I'd test each one of them before doing anything risky in them.

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