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Comment No it's actually expensive (Score 1) 211

No. Power is not cheap. That's deceptive. They have a lot of wind capacity that is idle most of the time, so not even worth the cost of building interlinks to it. Overall their power is expensive.

It's a ridiculous system. The grid gets flooded faster than they can shut down generators and they're basically fighting negative torque on them.

This is what poor planning and massive subsidies look like. Build a wind farm? Sure. Is it near demand? is it near transmission lines? Hell if I care. I get money no matter what.

If you want an analogy: You live in a desert. Water is very expensive. But one day you have a flash flood so bad your neighbor will pay you to pump them out/

Comment Re:Multiple formats (Score 1) 251

The drives will be available. It might be expensive, but they will be available.

One of the big concerns people have is that the media will die and they won't be able to read it. They will end up with a format for which no drive exists that can be used to read the data.

That is not as likely as it might seem. This is especially true if it is something that is widely deployed, such as CD or DVD. Even magneto optical is pretty common and has been deployed fairly widely in the medical field. There are MO archives that are very large.

Firms exist that specialize in recovery of data from obsolete media. If you have nine-track data tapes, there are firms that can read and transfer them. If you have quad video tape, there are firms that can transfer it. 8-inch disks, mini tape data storage from a commodore, Sinclair ZX Microdrive etc. Believe it or not, there are companies out there who have the capability of reading it. Even those weird formats that were failures, like the Castlewood Orb or Sony HiFD or the Pocket Zip. yeah, there are data recovery places that maintain the equipment to read them.

It might be expensive, though. Sending out some of those disks to one of the few places that has the equipment could be more than one hundred dollars per cartridge.

Comment How much are you storing? (Score 1) 251

I would generally lean toward hard drives. Definitely the cheapest per gigabyte to store data. They are so cheap these days, that you can get multiple ones. One hard drive might fail. Two might. Four are unlikely to. If the data is important, then considering how cheap they are, three or four is not unreasonable.

Personally, I have my regular backups and then I have my truly irreplaceable stuff. the stuff I really want to be sure I have forever is kept on hard drives and on optical media (as yet another backup, against mechanical failure). I keep it in multiple places. One copy at my home. One at my parents home. One at my family's summer home. Redundancy: one location might burn down. All three probably won't.

Also, for optical media, I use these:

Comment Do not confuse simple and low tech with unreliable (Score 1) 481

So old, simple, basic is not secure or reliable? The opposite is often true.

It's not antiquated if it works and gets the job done. It might lack features. It might not be the newest. That can be a good thing.

Imagine you have a light you want to turn on and off. You have two ways of doing this: one is a simple switch. You flip it, and electrical contacts come together. Flip it again, they move apart. There is no software, no operating system, no storage.

The other option is a "smart control module" which has a solid state relay that is triggered by a software-defined interface. You can turn the light on and off by giving it voice commands or you can go onto a web interface which lets you send commands to the module via wifi.

Which one of these light switches is more likely to not work properly? Which one presents a security risk? The one that is century old technology or the cutting edge one?

Comment Is this a proposal to make things worse? (Score 1) 338

When it says "We must own the means of distribution" is actually means "The government." The government may be of the people and may be influenced by the people, but it is not the people. This is a representative democracy, and it is imperfect. The government does things that most people dislike all the time. Simply put: We are not the government.

Right now, internet infrastructure is controlled by a limited number of companies. The internet backbones, for example, being extremely critical, are run by companies like Verizon, Quest AT&T, GTE.

Admittedly, that's a bad thing. But it would be even worse to monopolize them under government control. Then you have one and only one party running it and zero incentive to do so well.

Yes, the government is responsible for roads and bridges. That might explain why there have been a deadly bridge collapses in the past years. I mean, the roads in general are not monuments to excellent maintenance and management.

If you actually want to fix it, you need to increase competition, not decrease it. Allow more parties to more easily get into the market. But this is made very difficult by the regulatory structure... By the government. Yes, the government. Partially because they are being heavily lobbied by the existing network operators, but that's the thing about government: it does not tend to make fair decisions when there is a lot of money involved. It's inherently corrupt. 'Tis the nature of the beast.

Comment Fast, yes, but also laggy (Score 1) 79

Yes, it has impressive speed. The unfortunate thing is that it's laggy. That's inherent to satellite internet. Very poor ping times are a result of the signal traveling to the satellite and back. Big downloads and streaming usually works well, but website surfing can be annoying because the browser has to wait after it requests to download every element for the data to be transferred. This can be made much less noticeable by pre-fetching some of the content before the last element is downloaded and by caching things like DNS communications. But for real time stuff like video conferencing, VOIP and gaming there is not much that can be done. I suppose it would depend on whether you will be doing that on a flight.

Comment Kissenger? (Score 2) 88

Uh... I actually met the dude once in an airport and shook his hand, just because it was interesting to meet him. I didn't do anything rude like blow up about the Vietnam War or anything, and he was nice enough and all.

I just can't see why anyone would want to lock lips with him. Sorry. It seems very unappealing.

Comment Re:What a (global) waste of money... (Score 1) 168

Yes. The US GPS system has never been the only game in town. If they want to add their own, fine, go ahead. I'd love to have more navigational systems that are publicly avaliable so that receivers could be more reliable and acurate. The European system is not going to be fully functional for some time. The Russian Glonas system has global coverage but is not nearly as acurate as the US system in most cases, but they are upgrading it now. They only started coming out consumer-level with combined GPS/Glonass systems a few years ago. If the EU, China and maybe india get in on this, we'll only have better navigation

Comment So? experts never see innovation coming (Score 1) 130

The thing about innovation is that it is, by definition, innovative, which means it's new and has not been done before. Hence, nobody sees it coming, because if they did, they would make it themselves.

I predict that in the next few years a product will come along which will change our lives, be enormously successful financially, spawn a whole subculture, become a cultural meme, result in a slew of spinoff products and accessories and make some people very rich. I should add that I don't actually know what this product may be, because if I did, I'd be patenting and selling it right now. However, it will happen, as it always has and will continue. Nobody will see it until it is here and then it will seem obvious.

This is as stupid as saying "I don't think there will be any surprises this coming year." There will be surprises, but if I knew what they were, they would not be surprising.

Comment Not A New Problem Or a Big Deal (Score 1) 129

Products are constantly being produced (including software products) that draw on previous research and development by other entities. These can include any number of research groups and organizations: Universities, government, private companies etc.

The iPhone's Siri is a recent example. It uses research from DARPA and from various universities as well as earlier work by apple and by various researchers in plain speech command. Actually, most software products are not entirely independently developed with zero previous research or concepts going into them.

So why is this any different?

If Google put together the end product then they own it. They own the final software. The only question is whether there are aspects of it which require royalties or licensing to third parties. Of course, this is not an uncommon thing to have with software. You might not even realize it, but when you buy a piece of software, there are often portions of it that are licensed from third parties, such as codecs, file format types and even interface elements.

It's an issue for Google's legal department. I'm sure they can handle it.

Comment Blast through it with high gain antennas (Score 1) 251

It's likely there's a lot of wifi and other traffic going around. You can probably overcome it with enough gain on the antennas. Directional antennas are best. You can send a beam out that is much higher power than the standard antennas that come with the router. You can go all the way up to dish-style antennas but that is probably going to be rather large and probably overkill.

If you can place routers and access points at multiple locations that would help too.

My advice would be this: Get multiple antennas and connect each to an independent router. Have them arranged in a circle to give full coverage - one facing north, one south, one east and one west etc, OR even do 8 in a circle. Make sure the beam width is good for this application. You can also add some dedicated (possibly even higher gain) antennas to cover areas of importance (like one pointed at a balcony area, one pointed toward the entrance area etc.

I'd recommend some good Yagi or directional panel antennas.

You can also put high gain external wifi antennas on the client side, like using high gain USB wifi adapters. That works okay for laptops, but for things like ipods, that is probably too cumbersome, so more focus on the infrastructure side.

Amplifiers can work too, but don't expect them to make the difference alone. Antennas matter more and amplifiers will boost your output signal but won't make as big a difference with the return signal. So I'd say use amplifiers but also lots of high gain antennas.

Oh, and this may, by the way, make it harder for others to get a good signal from their own wifi, but that's not your problem.

And a couple of important things to remember:
Trying to outpower everyone else's network may come down to being a pissing contest, but that doesn't mean you can't win.
Brute force works. If it doesn't work, that means you're not using enough of it.

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