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Comment Re:In our vision of the "new" connected world: (Score 1) 422

So basically like most people's phones then.

For me the issue is that it wastes energy and that sometimes things go wrong and I need to hold down the power button to force the device off. It's especially handy when the police demand you hand your devices over and you want to ensure they are fully encrypted and not vulnerable to Thunderbolt/DMA attacks.

Comment Re:Ah, minimialism (Score 1) 422

Apple has a history of removing essential buttons from its hardware. Remember when they started using slot loading CD drives with no eject button? Must have been around 15 years ago now. Of course, it immediately caused problems, the computer would crash and refuse to eject discs. I recall that certain copy protected music discs would get jammed in too.

Not having a physical power button, combined with a non-removable battery, seems like a great way to get a crashed machine stuck on until the battery runs flat. Hopefully you didn't need to do any work for the next 8 hours, and the power management is still working to protect the battery from over-discharge.

Comment Spoofing? (Score 1) 11

If the messages are unencrypted, are they not authenticated either? What's to stop someone spoofing messages that induce the operators to shut the plant down? Or even worse to take some course of action that damages the plant with the wrong action, or by ignoring warnings they think were cancelled?

I'm sure the regulations say they should check, but we know how often those are ignored in this industry.

Comment Re:where is your brain? (Score 1) 97

Are you actually asserting that demand is level 24 hours a day?

It can come very close.

In California, for example, a very large part of the demand is pumping water through aquaducts. By placing reservoirs along the way and doing most of the pumping during times of low electrical demand, California electrical utilities used to be able to keep the power demand nearly constant - and can still keep it much more level than in many other places.

Also: Coal plants can provide baseload, while wind and solar together do a great job of shaving peaks: Higher wind corresponds to higher HVAC load as well as higher generation. Solar not only tracks the air conditioning requirements but also comes close to tracking the daily load peaking - and solar plus wind tracks it even better, since the lake effect makes an afternoon-through-evening hump in wind generation.

at a power output proportional to the CUBE of the windspeed.

is this relevant somehow?

Yes, very. The steeply up-bending curve means that wind generators that are able to make use of high winds - which only happen for a tiny fraction of the time - have a peak power rating far above the average power they are able to produce in normal winds. So the peak power vastly overstates their average contribution.

Comment Re:Let me know when ... (Score 4, Insightful) 97

The power can be stored,

The issue is not that the power can be stored.

The issue is that power capacity comparisons overstate the total amount of energy you get out of the renewable generation equipment over the long haul because coal generation can run near capacity all the time and renewables (excluding water power) only a small part of the time.

I'm quite supportive of renewable energy. (I'm a major participant on one of the renewable energy tech discussion boards, too.) But while it's very GOOD that renewable power has passed coal in power capacity, even with near-ideal load-levelling storage, it will take about another factor of three before it surpasses coal in providing usable energy to the loads.

Comment Let me know when ... (Score 3, Insightful) 97

... they overtake coal for amount generated per unit time.

Renewables may have higher total peak, but coal plants have level output and can run 24/7, while sun is only about a third of the day and wind varies with the weather - at a power output proportional to the CUBE of the windspeed.

Comment Re: Wifi replace fixed cabled systems no way! (Score 1) 64

Wireless charging works surprisingly well; but its efficiency is pretty atrocious compared to the resistive losses you would see with any remotely appropriate cable and connector. Losses to heat in battery charging are the same either way; and AC/DC conversion losses are somewhat higher with wireless charging(conversion efficiency will be the same; but the losses in wireless transmission mean that you will need more power at the wall to deliver the same amount of power to the device).

It certainly has its uses, where the absolute power levels are low enough that the losses just don't matter much; or where specific considerations make exposed electrical connections a no-go; but the losses are substantial if you need to deliver significant power.

Comment Re:Why not just keep using Esc then? (Score 1) 422

Depends on the size of your hands to some degree. I find that Ctrl-C Ctrl-V for example requires twisting the left wrist outward so the hand is angled to the left, and also requires stretching the fingers apart. The natural resting positions of hands which are together in front of you on a keyboard is for the hands to be pointed inward (left hand angled slightly to the right) with fingers not stretched in tendon tension apart.

Comment Re:How is everyone supposed to use Emacs? (Score 3, Interesting) 422

Ctrl+Anything is not ergonomic.

If you spend serious hours and days and weeks and months and years programming or doing IT admin, your hands will get damaged with the repeated stretches and twists needed to do Ctrl+whatever. You might say there are two-handed alternatives to the twisty-stretchy ones, but two handed gestures are prone to failure by reversed order of press.

These are all small details, yes, but ergonomic details make the difference when you have to do things thousands and thousands of times.

Esc is a single key action.

Comment Re:poor vim users (Score 3, Insightful) 422

No. We just won't be using macbooks for development any more. Shame really. I'm waiting for someone to make the ultimate linux-based software development laptop now. And it would be nice if it had some of the design cohesion and just-works features of apple products.

Before someone rants, of course developers use many other editor tools, but proper support of the terminal and vi is essential for a serious server-software (back end software, or IT admin) development box.

Comment Re:Skype Doesn't Claim Otherwise (Score 2) 43

While I would very much like to see improvements in the security of these services; it's also worth remembering that the 'alternative' is usually either POTS or cellular, provided by the local monopoly and/or cozy-cooperator-with-the-state.

That doesn't diminsh the fact that, when doing communications software on a global scale, something that counts as 'eh, bug' in silicon valley may involve a one-way trip to the basement of the interior ministry for a bunch of users somewhere; but secure communications is something where the 'default' option is somewhere between 'completely useless' and 'actively hostile'. Phone networks were never built with privacy or security(aside from anything needed for billing purposes) in mind; and they've since sprouted all manner of surveillance tools.

Just shrugging and saying 'Meh, the other guy is worse." isn't a good excuse; but it is worth remembering that people considering it to be a bug or vulnerability when eavesdropping succeeds is a pretty new feature.

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