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Comment Re:Tesla is gonna take over - believe me folks... (Score 1, Interesting) 31

It's actually not all that expensive to add electric to the parking area, when it's properly planned. A new circuit would be run from the electric utility mains to a new transformer, which would run to a central charge controller that would in-turn supply power to receptacles or whatever at each parking space. If they have to run individual conduits to each stall or each pair of stalls they will, or they may rely on larger cables and intelligent devices on individual breakers at each spot, with some kind of data communication back to the central charge controller to log the energy drawn.

Obviously this works best where apartments have covered parking since the canopy structure acts as the mounting for the conduit and the whole system is at least partially out of the weather. Most apartments around where I live are like this, with assigned spots to given units.

Is there a security protocol for charging? It would be convenient to just be able to pull-in to one's spot and plug in and have the controller recognize the valid car, so that the person whose spot it is doesn't get billed if someone else parks and attempts to charge there while the rightful tenant is away.

Comment Re:Tesla is gonna take over - believe me folks... (Score 2) 31

It's going to be awhile before it's under $30,000. They're projecting $35,000 for the entry-level models, presumably with fairly short ranges and lower power output levels compared to what most electric car buyers will actually want.

If the Model 3 proves as successful as they're hoping then I expect other car manufacturers to look increasingly toward electrics, but I doubt that conventional internal combustion vehicles will be entirely out of production by the end of my lifetime. There are too many situations where a vehicle doesn't have access to the power grid when it needs fuel, or too many situations when a vehicle needs more range without recharge-delay to spell the complete end of the gasoline or diesel engine in passenger cars and light trucks, and then there's the cost factor. Right now it appears to cost more to manufacture an electric than a gasoline-burning veihlcle. This becomes especially important in the low-end, where buyers that want new cheap cars shop. Until that market is satisfied then I don't see the end of ICE powerplants on the horizon.

Comment Re:Ten Cent will rob them blind (Score 3, Informative) 31

It depends on what Tencent is allowed access to.

The company that my wife works for was bought by a foreign company and that foreign company is basically only allowed its share of the profits as an owner. For anything else it wants, it has to "buy" the information as part of a product transaction just like any other company, and even the executives of the foreign owners are not allowed uncontrolled access to the facility.

Comment Re:So to sum up (Score 1) 555

I look at the border smuggling as a different ball of wax, mostly because if the authorities chose to, they could search basically any vehicle crossing the border that they want to, suspicious or not. The border checkpoint itself acts as a pre-existing roadblock to make the burden to conduct the search or to find suspect vehicles much lower.

On the open road away from the frontier regions where the border patrol has no jurisdiction or at least no enforcement arm, you're reliant on FBI as a federal police force, and on the various state and local agencies. If a smuggler's vehicle looks like anyone else's vehicle and sticks to the interstates and avoids stopping at roadside places where it would be subject to a random dog sniff test then it should be pretty hard to find a smuggler without a tipoff, if the car is in good repair and the driver isn't stupid.

Comment Re:Good (Score 1) 288

Unfortunately that "mystery" has to have a good payoff. As much as I enjoyed most of the Ron Moore version of Battlestar Galactica I was rather let down by how it ended. Granted, the last season was marred by another strike (writers? Can't remember) and the whole premise got screwed up, but the end itself with how imaginary #6 and imaginary Baltar worked just didn't do it for me.

One of the strengths that a show like Star Trek and TNG enjoyed was that since the ship moved from place to place, the story could center around the events at whatever port they called upon. They did not have to build toward anything in particular as long as the writing and acting was good, and a regular viewer could take-in character development with the regular ensemble cast without having to see that it was going anywhere in particular.

When I look at DS9, and especially Voyager though, the problems with long-running arcs become clear, especially when they realize that an arc or a string of serials is not working out and gets aborted or changed. The show loses focus. In DS9's case they had enough syndicated ratings (remember it wasn't a UPN show) to keep going, and for Voyager, UPN itself was struggling and that show was its only even close to bright spot so it soldiered on even when it was bad.

Comment Re:The Real Question (Score 1) 229

Probably because of techniques to manufacture the raw materials for the core, techniques to wind the core, techniques to develop the material for the casing, techniques to actual extrude or cast that casing, and the design that went into the the dimple pattern itself.

Now, I'm not saying that all of these kinds of patents should be valid, but I can see how work went into each of these steps, and how a company that has spent the time and money developing these steps would want to do what they could to protect their interest in what they've paid to develop.

There may be some latitude for another manufacturer though. If you look at automotive design you can see how most cars tend to follow trends. Boxy versus curvaceous, certain kinds of bulges in fenders and quarter panels, certain kinds of wheel opening arches, windshield angles, C-pillar design, etc. Most cars tend to be similar to other cars in a given class for a given year range, and historically this has not been too problematical. It could well be that Costco's design is similar to Titleist, but not identical enough to be a problem, but if Titleist chooses to sue then it'll be up to the court and the appeals process to decide.

Comment Re:So to sum up (Score 1) 555

I've always had the attitude that if one is to break the law, break only one law at a time.

Your drug runners example, with the money involved in the illegal drug trade there's no excuse to use a moron with a poorly-maintained car to transport the drugs, unless there's a specific reason to do so. Makes one wonder if there was an ulterior motive for a choice so stupid and blatant as someone that's going to get high while driving a car that has a legitimate excuse for being pulled over while carrying possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of drugs. Wouldn't it just be safer concoct a reason to be in the destination city, then rent a car for the trip? Makes me wonder if there was a problem with the deal and one party needed it to fall through, or if party-C needed party-B (the runner) who normally works for party-A to get busted to help put more heat on party-A.

Comment Re:So to sum up (Score 1) 555

There was a gorean fellow a few years ago who had a tendency to leave bodies in sealed drums in storage lockers... apparently un-willing participants

Sometimes it is best to leave things in the closet and not chat it up in the workplace

Uh, I'm not quite sure how to parse your post.

On the one hand it sounds like you think that it's a good idea for people's sex-lives to remain private. On the other hand it almost seems like you're implying that the bodies sealed in drums thing just should remain undisclosed.

Comment Re:Good (Score 5, Interesting) 288

TV has changed though. TV seemed to have mostly avoided the serialized nature of shows from the movie houses and radio programs ending on a cliff-hanger, "Tune in next time to find out what happens!" to an episodic format where each individual program told a whole story that was reasonably self-contained. One could enjoy the show without having to know too much about what happened previously, so the threshold for new viewers was low. Unfortunately for the studio this also meant that it was easy for viewers to stop watching the show if the quality took a dip, as there was no need to find out where the plot or arc was going. Obviously not all TV followed this model (thinking of soap operas in particular) but if you look at shows like M*A*S*H or The Honeymooners or Star Trek or The Odd Couple you find most episodes are self-contained, and that it's fairly rare for most stories to directly span more than one episode. Even if characters change out it doesn't affect the ability to start watching.

Sometime in the nineties this shifted, and TV became serialized like those old radio shows and old movie house pre-movie filler shows. There were some elements introduced and resolved in a single episode but a lot more of the plot, if not most of the plot, directly tied into a long-term direction that the season or the whole show was building toward. It's a lot harder to just pick up a show like this, but if the studio manages to attract an audience then that audience might stick around for more episodes even if some are subpar along the way because they want that conclusion that appears to be coming. PVRs and streaming the existing episodes helps make it easier for the viewer to get into the show in the first place.

I prefer the episodic model, as I don't feel compelled to watch if I don't want to, and I don't worry if I miss an episode or if I watch them out of original order. Unfortunately this model is increasingly relegated to half-hour sitcoms, and anything with dramatic content is now serialized whether it needs to be or not.

Comment Re:Cost (Score 1) 54

Of course. No one ever likes to do the long-term math.

I'm contending with a group wanting to move our main server facility and ISP connection to an offsite hosting location and to just make us one of the links on the private WAN like any other facility, even though we have the generator and environmental already paid-for. They were really gung-ho until a final tally on the costs came back from the provider and somehow some price doubled or was otherwise misinterpreted from the initial talks, and it appears that these plans are being reconsidered. I'm hopeful since it's much easier to walk down to the server farm to fix a broken device and if I missed a tool I can walk back to my office to get it, as opposed to having to drive across town and hope that I grabbed everything that I needed.

Comment Re:Robot Arms (Not the Hotel) Take Men's Jobs (Score 1) 54

I thought it was for penis grabbing, at least that's what I saw on this long-running documentary about the initial formation of the Universe that's been on TV every week.

The science on this documentary is very weak, they seem to go for several episodes between discussing actual science and even then they only hint at it.

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