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Comment Re:Efficiency VS Cost (Score 1) 133

There is a reason that we don't use people pedaling on bicycles to produce electricity; because of the cost.

Wait, I see the problem with this. Try this approach:

1. Open a facility with lots of stationary exercise bikes connected to generators.
2. Advertise your facility as a new kind of fat farm.
3. Charge people a competitive rate, in relation to other weight loss facilities, to come lose weight.
4. Profit! (For you, and for the no longer fat people.)

(Sorry for the lack of the obligatory "???")

Comment Re:Dear Sony (Score 1) 460

Actually, being able to get a firmware update completely 'cuts it'. You could consider the player 'broken' if it won't play some disks.

I disagree wholeheartedly.

VHS, DVD, Blue-ray Players, etc., are viewed as appliances to the majority of consumers. That is, they have a distinct purpose, and their function does not change. Unless something breaks, or wears out, the appliance should still function as sold.

I think you would be more correct to consider the disk that won't play broken, and not suited for the intended application.

Expecting unwary consumers to go through hoops, and jumps, to re-enable functionality that worked previously on the appliance, and now does not work (due to the whim of some entity they have no control over), is just unethical (IMO).

The only way to make this acceptable (again, IMO) would be to require the manufacturer/distributor/retailer to verify that the purchaser fully understands that their device may not work at some time in the future, due to the whim of the entity deciding how the encryption works, prior to making the sale.

Then it is simply up to the consumer to decide if they want that appliance, now that they are aware of the risk. If they are willing to put up with it, great.

It could happen, but I would think the manufacturers would hesitate to do it, because it would be harder to make the sale, and quite a few would be driven away by the potential issues they may face.

Comment Re:The summary is missing something... (Score 3, Interesting) 460

If the kids want to watch a blu-ray movie, the parents get relegated to the small screen in the kitchen...

That sure wasn't the way things worked in my family growing up.

We kids only got control of the main boob-tube when our parents didn't have anything they would prefer to watch.

There was no argument allowed, and our parents certainly wouldn't go for being relegated to anything, unless they wished to be.

Sure, we could lobby, but only until the lobbying became tiresome, or annoying.

If we pushed the lobbying bit too hard, we would be made to sit through some (boring at the time, now, quite interesting) public broadcasting show, like Nature, and were not given the option to go watch something else on the little television.

My late father's most frequent turn of phrase in situations like this was, "Sit down and pay attention, you might learn something!"

A lot of truth to that.

Comment Re:MythTV is awesome (Score 1) 112

Same here, pretty much. I use MythBuntu.

If I'm watching live television, and I know the length of a show, say an hour long show, I'll just start the channel, immediately hit pause, then go do something else for about 20 minutes, then come back, and watch the show.

(There's always something productive I could be doing for that first 20 minutes, dishes, laundry, whatever.)

When I get to the commercials I just use the fast-forward function, since the commercial detection isn't running. The only trouble I have is that if I try to get through them too fast, I'll miss the end of the commercials, and have to back up a bit. So, it's not to hard to keep the advertising to a minimum.

If I had a bitch about MythTV, it's that sometimes the commercial detection is too aggressive (even on the non-aggressive setting), and I'll miss chunks of the shows I've previously recorded, and will end-up turning off the automatic commercial skip, and use my fast-forward method to get through the ads.

I expect that there is probably a way to tune the detection, but, I haven't figured it out yet. (Meaning - I haven't really tried.)

Another bitch of mine would be the steep learning curve when first getting started with it, but, that's true with most things. There are so many things to configure that I had never heard of, or thought about, before (and I still don't know what a lot of the settings are for).

For a newbie, It was very intimidating, and RTFM'ing wasn't very helpful at the time, but, I slogged through it.

All-in-all, I'm really happy with it though. I have one hauppage analog card*, and two Avermedia A180's recording OTA HDTV, and the system is connected (DVI to HDMI) to an overhead DLP projector (16:9 format). (*This card handles the remote control, otherwise I'd ditch it.)

The projector screen on the wall is 8' wide, and the picture is pretty sharp. It makes for a great setup for sporting events.

I get a lot of WOWs when the neighbors come over to watch the games.

Comment Re:A theoretically practical solar-powered car (Score 1) 318

Hey Eclipse-now,

I will be the first to admit that I do not have enough data to determine the true urgency of this situation, and I'm not sure if I had all the data, that I would actually come to the correct conclusion. I'm a big enough micro-manager type that I would spend years trying to become comfortable enough with the data, and studying the procedures used to gather that data, before I felt that I could make a truly informed decision on it.

Long story short, I feel I have to trust the experts for their opinion, and hope to heck they are not interpreting the data incorrectly, misleading me in any way, or playing political games.

That being said, I think I might not be getting my points across as well as I'd hoped. So, let me try to clarify them:
(If any of this seems condescending, please don't take it that way.)

Concerning FUD
I don't doubt your feelings about any of the urgency you are trying to convey. My point was that the parts of your post I highlighted were counterproductive to your argument.

Your arguments contained verbiage which lead me to fear, uncertainty, or doubt. FUD scares people, and raises suspicion that you may be misleading them.

The message conveyed was "You NEED to be really AFRAID", instead of, "There are some serious problems here, and this is why".

I don't think it matters how good, and honest, your intentions were in the attempt to deliver the message. The damage was done by the verbiage, and it is hard to overcome.

The natural reaction to FUD is fight!, or flight!, instead of, "Let's discuss this rationally."

Calm, cool, and reserved communication tends to foster the trust relationship where you will be listened to, best.

(I am drawing on about 20 years of sales, and customer service experience, prior to my 10-year career solving pebkac issues to support this claim, so it is opinion.)

The old adage, "You catch more flies with honey, than you do vinegar" applies to a topic like this.

So does, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."

Sorry if I'm beating the dead horse here, the son-of-a-gun just wouldn't drink.

Electric Cars
It will be a huge undertaking to change the infrastructure to support electric cars properly.

However, I do disagree in the idea that it ain't gonna happen. I don't think we get a choice. It just won't happen until it hits us hard enough in the pocket-book, to take action.

When we build it, it will probably be done around metro areas first, then radiate out towards rural areas. I have no idea how long it will take to build it, but, I am confident it will happen.

Again, when I think this takes off is when oil becomes scarce enough, and it becomes less expensive to build out the new infrastructure, rather than continue buying the oil.

Hopefully, we will all be smart enough to start on it before it gets to be an impending doom situation. But, all it would take is to get caught with our shorts down for a year, or two, and you would see some no-kidding action from all-corners.

Rail (trains, trams, trolley buses)
I don't have any figures to support this, just anecdotal evidence, but a good friend is in the trucking business, and I have been picking his brain about this since I met him a few years ago.

(He's got roughly 20 years, or so, experience in the field driving, and lately, he has been more involved on the scheduling side. When I met him, his job was to make sure that local freight (local meaning a 200+- radius) got delivered to, and picked up from the railroad. This was mostly food products (fresh vegetables) with the occasional trailer load of consumer goods.)

The impression he gave me from our talks, was one that whenever possible, goods ship by train just because of the cost differential. However, since we live in a vast country, much like yours, the trains just don't run where they need to, or on a schedule that works for a lot of freight.

Thus, the trucking industry is big here, and so is rail freight, but you have to use both, or the freight won't get delivered where it needs to go. Still, infrastructure would go a long way towards workable solutions.

Village towns
Yeah, I don't see this as being reality anytime soon. Maybe in the currently unpopulated areas of the U.S., but we're going to have to wait a while for the next real estate boom/bubble before developers are going to buy people out of their homes to build them.

I guess the big questions that exist are, "Where are you going to put these village towns? And, what are you going to raize, to do it?", and of course the typical, "Why? We have a perfectly good town over here."

I think they will be a tough sell, unless you want to put them up in unpopulated areas, and hope people want to try them out.

Comment Re:Good... although (Score 1) 602

The subtleties of Wall St. are way beyond my scope of knowledge. I'm a newb investor, at best, so I'm not getting the whole meaning of your post.

Anyone who thinks this guy wasn't trading with every market making exemption he had is drinking government kool-aide.

So, are you implying Wall Street is behind it? Or, do you mean the SEC? Or, am I missing your point entirely?

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