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Comment Re:A step in the right direction (Score 1) 99

Ships have a difficult time benefitting from batteries, due to being most vessels being weight limited (i.e., have to float that weight... and batteries are heavy); thus, owners must either accept lower income per trip (not competitive), or a reduction in performance, depending on the operating profile of the vessel. Typically, owners who do adopt hybrid vessels do so for a minority of their fleet, i.e. to project a green image or dip their toes in the future. Not as constrained as aircraft, but boats still will lag trains & cars with electrification... until there is either a serious fossil fuel crunch, market willingness to pay significantly more, or a massive leap in battery power density. Regulations could improve the situation but it's such a great leap between marine diesel and electric performance at this time, that a pro-environment regime is liable to carry unintended consequences - larger, less-efficient designs which end up more wasteful, or less safe in the end. We're not there ... yet.

Comment Re:Simplicity can only go so far (Score 1) 524

Unfortunately for capacitive screens, they do shatter (or at least crack in the corners). I've got 3 iPad's, 2 older iPhones & iPod's, and a iPhone 6+ around here which are on at-least their second screen, with a couple other cracked Android phones to boot. The resistive layer on a resistive screen provides some additional level of durability in that regard, are tolerant of rain drops, don't register input before contact, have reflection free non-gloss matte screens, can be used through light gloves, and - care of fingernails - can be extremely accurate without obscuring what you're trying to touch with the bulk of your finger. I imagine this is why I'm still signing for packages on resistive screens. I still hate capacitive screens, particularly for soft-keyboards.

Going with iOs for the tablets wasn't innovative (given the existance of netbooks as you mention), though it has been profitable. That the iPad would use iOs was no surprise, they like their long-tail app revenue, nor the gradual convergence of iOs and OS-X since... walled gardens et. al.; but the original iPad was oversized and underwhelming. Microsoft's courier project was arguably somewhat innovative, who knows, never happened. The original iPad though I have no love for. I have one, stuck on some old OS version which doesn't run Netflix, which means the kids don't even use it, so it hasn't aged well either.

What allowed the iPad to succeed was not innovation, or some form of foresight of where the world was going, it was marketting - they beat out the path they wanted with their marketting dollars and brand-fanciers followed it. I wouldn't attribute much of Apple's current success, really, to hardware nor software design - they are first and foremostly a marketting company and have excelled in this respect. Absent this, they would not be in the marketplace today, their markups would be wholely unsustainable and iPad's I suspect would have been a flash in the pan, rapidly forgotten in the face of convertible netbooks or similar. They make glossy hardware and software which shows well in print and commercials, with a few interesting bullet points suitable for a single-sheet, despite the mid-level build build quality and software which is either too simple or too fragile to truely be utilitarian.

For mechanical Apple keyboards, have a look at the Matias tactile line. Apple also used to make clicky alps-based keyboards. Can't stand the chicklet keyboards.

I don't care much for what Apple sells but the kids and wife don't hold the same opinion. I get to deal with all their gear when it inevitably stops working. I wish I could have a limited opinion thereof, but you're right, not practical. And mine is certainly both detailed, and cranky.

Comment Not worth the other issues (Score 4, Insightful) 75

Sucking thumbs won't make you immune to allergies.. but it does make it quite likely you'll need dental work, the upper teeth get pushed out, the lower teeth pushed back, and if done regularly can result in requiring a rickanator to correct the jaw position and speech pathology to correct speech. If at all possible, get a pile of similar soothers, rotate them to dissuade a preference, and wean off as the kid gets around 4. No problems then, probably get just as much dirt in their mouth as kids will be dropping them all the time anyway.

Comment Re:Small setup (Score 1) 287

There is a fellow below with 3 kids and grandparents visiting, I'm with him - a single AP can't handle the traffic, certainly not in a high RF area. I've wired as much as I can in.

I use an 8-port head switch to break off IP-TV & internet onto seperate VLAN's, an older quad-WAN router for routing/firewall/VPN/etc, and a 16 port switch which serves as the main hub for everything. There is a powerline network on a dedicated plug next to the powerbox, with cat6 cable runs off to a pair of branch 8-port switches which are now both full. There is another 5 port switch further down the line as well. I have 4 access points - 1xAC87U, 2xAC68U, and an older AC66U which covers a little dead spot in the library and give a few more ethernet sockets - all wired in, to cover the house with wifi.

For servers, I'm using an older PE2950 with 15 drives running FreeNAS and Plex. I have a newer 1U C1100 running ProxMox ~ for Active Directory, DNSMASQ, Squid, NTP, Zoneminder, Observium etc. I had an extensive setup for caching and ad-filtering from being on a slow and unstable satellite connection, now though on FTTH it's probably a bit overkill but all the same, no extra work to leave it running. It's all on a 1500VA 4U UPS. These are both wired in with bonded connections.

To keep the connection low-latency, high speed, and always available, I had to start wiring things in and move to a dedicated router and additional AP's. For reference, one AP held up to about 15 devices, by 25 on wireless streaming video started to drop-out, now I'm looking at roughly 60 devices (excluding networking gear) - so the more on wired, the better, not just for my network but for my neighbors as well.

The servers ... I had the opportunity to buy a rack worth of equipment complete with some software licenses out of a data center for little more than the cost of picking it up, so had to make use of some of it. Makes the basement a bit noisy though.

Comment Re:What are you downloading? (Score 1) 355

I'm on FTTH which includes IPTV, I seperate the VLAN's on a headswitch and use my own gear over the wireless router they provide. Given a heavy use of Netflix for kid shows, I sort of figured that would be the biggest bandwidth driver, but turns out the IPTV traffic absolutely dominates by raw numbers. 830 GB in the last roughly month is just IPTV streams, and that's with just the one box/PVR and kids off on summer vacations. Total traffic is over 1 TB. (The IPTV traffic is multicast though).

A point of history, had a short-lived 4G connection on an external antenna to grab a signal from a distant and marginal tower. It connect, but do so slowly and frequently disconnect. Had a bill for what was an impossible amount of data, even if it could stay up and maxed out 24/7 at the best indicated rate. I believe they were counting errors, retransmissions, etc., all those failed packets they'd see from their side as part of the total data amount, which there was a lot of.

Comment Re:ex Mobil exec says fracking can't be done safel (Score 1) 95

One of the restraining forces to arctic oil exploration and drilling is actually the shale gas depressing energy prices to the point where it is, relatively, not worth the investment to go north. If the shale gas boom collapses, then it will be profitable to get the oil and we'll see more projects happening, but there will be no fast and dirty about it. There is simply no infrastructure to facilitate anything but massive long-term projects which can afford to build that out - not just to run an operation, but to get it set up in the first place. There is also a lack of commodity technology to facilitate willy-nilly expansion, it needs to be bespoke (today), which means long design/construction/testing timelines.

Comment Re:Still won't fix monopolies (Score 1) 153

I don't have much problem with Xpolorenet itself, though they do get raked over the coals by those who don't appreciate the nature of satellite service. This '4G Satellite' launched relatively recently with much greater capacity than what's been available before (one shot it doubled north america's total available bandwidth from space), but satellite availability is dependent on 'spot beams' and this 4G one aims mostly at people who will have other options. Most places in Canada where satellite is the only option altogether will be on the telestat satellite, whose traffic management policy is here:

The 3mpbs packages, all except the slowest, were upped to 5mbps in August. Based on the traffic policy link it seems they have also doubled the amount you can transfer before 'recovery mode'. It had actually been getting better, as they have switched as many people as possible onto the new ("4G") satellite, as well as to terrestrial wireless. I can't speak for the new satellite myself, it was never available here, but definitely I'd take reliable low-latency ~500-700kpbs connection with all the ATM overhead over the old-timey telesat 3-5mbps satellite connection which spends most of the time @ 3% (150kbps)!!!

One thing I will give to Xplorenet - despite throttling, there is no caps. That was enough to switch from Telus with their huge overage charges (had one bill in the $1000 range) or later the hard caps (service would cut out entirely at 5GB/mo); If you have a computer system or two with automatic OS updates (or other auto-updating software: i.e., chrome, firefox, flash, java...) and a cloud enabled cell-phone (Android, iOs) or two, a cap dwindles fast should a few updates coincide within a given month.

Comment Re:Still won't fix monopolies (Score 3, Informative) 153

It's not a deal, just switched to dsl from this. There is a $3-400 setup charge, contracts run typically 3 years, and it's $25/mo or so penalty to break early. Which probably would be okay if you saw those speeds. Have a look at their throttling policy, after 55mb you'll see about 3% of this for the next few hours. Also, many things are blocked or effectively blocked until 2 or 3 am ... Such as Apple authentication servers. If you have say, an Apple TV it won't be able to access iTunes libraries on your Mac due to this. That latency... For something like Slashdot, not an issue, but ads or media streams like Facebook will open hundreds of connections to CDNs to get images etc., which compounds the effect of delay, particularly where multiple DNS resolutions are required. I used an aggressive squid proxy and dnsmasq, both setup with ad filtering to make it useable. The service would be alright for those who live rurally and understand the limits of satellite, but the throttling and filtering of services makes it a viable option only for the most remote and desperate.

Comment Re:Wow! Just like ... (Score 1) 43

In the old days, yes, fuel tanks would be afterwards filled with water and used as ballast, with obvious environmental consequence. There will be a bit of water in ships which use residual fuel, it goes through a seperator before use. Some modern vesssels still mix use fuel and ballast in the same tank to maintain a constant displacement, i.e., naval vessels, though where still done they are seperated by a rubber bladder inside the tank.

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