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Comment Re:How can this be competitive? (Score 2) 121

"2/3rds of the satellites will always be over water and have their bandwidth utterly wasted. " Internet on vessels sucks. Buoys at sea observing weather, all those unmanned vehicles need to provide camera feeds to operators in Topeka. upside of global warming? Ships can now take a shortcut from asia to Europe by the Canadian North... where there is little to no civilisation and very limited weather info available. Think Titanic... yes, ships in ice-prone waters... Above 75 degrees north, geo-stationary is below the horizon, so good luck with that. The choice today is iridium, which is tech designed 30 years ago, lofted 20 years ago, and good only for telemetry (really, really slow.) More choice (and especially more bandwidth) would be really helpful.

Comment Re:The course is clear (Score 1) 165

The issue isn't government vs. private, it's an issue of monopolies/oligopoly. In a lot of cases, government services have no "competition" because, frankly, there is no money to be made. competition is good, it brings focus.

When a public service fails, and there are private alternatives, it is compared to them and eventually de-funded.

When a private oligopoly fails, or is wasteful, what happens? "We'll just raise prices" ...

Hello PSTN & Cable Co's. I

Comment Re: Where will the additional electricity come fro (Score 1) 155

The energy content in the fuel is irrelevant unless it can be harnessed to perform useful work. If you want to dig a 6 foot hole, using a nuclear weapon will work, there will just some energy wasted.

Similarly, since 85% of the energy in gasoline is turned into heat, it isn't helping. At 15% efficiency that is typical of internal combustion engines, you are down to about 5 kwh actually used to move the car, versus an electric motor which is over 90% efficiency. If you add that ICE has no regenerative braking, no means of storing kinetic energy for re-use, you have a further disadvantage for ICE.

Comment Re:Where will the additional electricity come from (Score 2) 155

There isn't any additional net electricity. It takes more than 4 KWh to refine a gallon of gasoline. 4 is the lowest number you will hear. Some say 6, some say 8 if they add more elements in the chain than just refining. An average car will go further on the 4KWh than the gallon of gas. So the more electric cars we have the less electricity we will be using. best explanation:

Comment Re:Where will the additional electricity come from (Score 1) 155

Canadians don't hate you, and we have lots of oil, but our oil is more expensive (tar sands and offshore), so you don't have to pay people that hate you... just more to friends. We were in Afghanistan, helped in Libya, and we're in Iraq now... but Friendship/Alliances are not worth anything apparently. Heck you don't even pay us 'world price'... It would make it a lot easier if you would have approved keystone.

Comment Its unmanned, they should just do a tail-sitter! (Score 1) 53

It seems pointless to have two tilting wings. tail sitters are kind of inconvenient when there are people on-board, in something like an Osprey but un-manned? probably a lot lighter to replace the wing tilting with landing legs like a SpaceX booster, a really long nose wheel that pushes the whole plane into a vertical position, a lot less moving parts, and the ones that move deal with a lot less strength and mass. Stick the camera in a bulb under the tail instead of the nose, and you can hover with it just the same, as with the tilt wing... doesnt matter much because these things spend most of their time orbiting anyways. you could get away with just a little thrust vectoring, and completely fixed engines.

Comment Re:What the doctor ordered... (Score 1) 699

I don't want to be that guy, but this is why you 1. Don't type fast when your command starts with rm -rf;

I typed this slowly: rm -rf /;

2. Never rm -rf by absolute path at all;

cd /; rm -rf .

3. Never start typing rm -rf at all, but type the rest of the command first and then edit in the rm; and

/<^H><^H>rm -rf ? how does this help ?

4. Don't use root shells, but sudo, and edit in the sudo last on potentially destructive commands.

sudo rm -rf / ? sudo /<^H><^H>rm -rf ?

There may be good reason to break one or more of these rules at one time, but never all four.

There is no substitute for just knowing what you are doing, and not doing the bad thing. I've seen people complicate their lives with incantations, and all it usually does is make it fail in a more complicated way. Simplicity is easier to remember.

Comment Joanna Rutkowska is right: read-only BIOS sticks. (Score 1) 699

you need for the BIOS to be a read-only thing that can only be written from another computer. Yes, it can be rather inconvenient to have to have a removable BIOS stick, but it would be simple to recover from this by just removing the stick and re-writing it on another machine. Having a read-only BIOS is great against hacking also. It also makes bios upgrades safer. You just have two sticks and always keep your old one as a backup.

Comment there are some good people still in this business. (Score 5, Informative) 244

Full disclosure: my relationship with these people is as a happy customer for... I dunno around a decade for a mid-size organization of about 6000 mailboxes. Sorry if this reads like a commercial, I really am just that happy with these guys. they provide and support CANIT PRO, which is basically mimedefang and spamassassin on a debian base, with dynamically updated blacklists and filtering rules. It works really well. David is one of the guys behind behind mimedefang, so you are also helping open source by going with these guys. The pricing for us was really decent.

They usually work with appliances, but we managed to use our own configuration to do some sweet stuff: we put the mail filtering cluster in the DMZ, along with the DB. but we put the customization interface is on an internal network. That way there is no firewall exception for the DMZ (ok except SMTP... can't avoid that one.) and the DMZ gateway doesn't need access to internal credentials at all (Active Directory in our case) It just knows that the interface machine on the inside is trustworthy. Even though the DB has no access to authentication services, the users can still customize their filtering to their desire.

I think for big companies, one concern is that I have never heard anyone rave about spam filtering. In terms of brand-awareness it is a completely one way street, Either people are satisfied with it, in which case they shrug, or they get irrationally violently abusive of the service, and have un-realistic expectations. It is a risk for any major brand to operate spam filtering, with literally no upside (ok, aside form revenue, but if it is a small part of a business, the reputation risk might outweigh the revenues.) Touching people's email brings out all the consipacy buffs you can imagine, and for some small but vociferous group they always have their own solution, and whatever the email admin does is crap. That's a thing that was great about Roaring Penguin's CanIT PRO when we rolled it out, it gave each user the ability to turn off the filtering entirely, if that's what they wanted.

It worked like a charm. Whenever we got some idiot (the truth hurts!) who thought they could do better, we just said fine, here is how to turn it off. Out of 6000 boxes, we had about 200 opt-out right away, most of them turned it back on within a few days, after a year it was down to 60 or so, and then when there were some malware infection episodes, it came out that their 'custom' solutions were not actually working that well, and everyone came back into the fold. Being able to let people opt-out saved us literally months of pointless arguments while letting us deploy good service for the co-operative many.

This was for about 7000 mailboxes, which is small as far as mail installations go these days. The real clients for this stuff is hosting providers and outsourcing companies (cloud based) I think the reason for large companies exiting the business is the huge trend of small companies to cloud, there just isn't much of a market for small email installs anymore... People are using huge hosted configurations. It's gradually getting dismantled now because of some organization move to a single outsourced solution with many hundreds of thousands of mailboxes...

Comment Re:Government should not pick winners and losers. (Score 1) 298

Economy of scale can drive costs down, and the same time it drives down competition, and makes the entire network less robust and reliable because of fewer reliable power sources. You have Hoover dam. Can you scale out hoover dam to get enough electricity for the entire country from Hydro? No. What are the other options? Most other central generation schemes involve nuclear or fossil fuels. While these methods may produce a lower cost grid at this time, this is because there are unpriced externalities: No price on carbon dumped in the atmosphere, or for facilities like Yucca Mountain. I'm all for market pricing, but markets need to reflect the real cost to all of us, and not subsidize certain technologies, as has been the case with these other technologies for many decades.

So long term, those other sources are likely going to have to go away or their costs will increase substantially, so redesigning the grid to deal with truly sustainable generation methods, like wind and solar, is going to need to be done sooner or later. If you are running a public utility, for the public good, you do not want to be prolonging environmental degradation by subsidizing incumbents at the expense of those who are doing the right thing for everyone's future.

In a Smart Grid world, Hoover Dam would sell at the price Hoover Dam wants to charge, and the price from Solar City at the price they want to charge... When you run out of cheap power, you buy the expensive stuff. When nuclear plants start paying for rent for 50,000 years of storage of their waste, and gas plants include carbon sequestration in their operations, perhaps their properly priced production cost will end up as 20 cents/KWh. Add in grid storage, and perhaps people will buy hoover dam power cheap at night, and use it during the day, when they need it. A lot of improvement becomes plausible (perhaps not easy, but at least plausible) with a smart grid.

Comment Re:Government should not pick winners and losers. (Score 4, Informative) 298

Great sentiment. How many utility grids can compete for customers? Five? Seven? So a cheaper grid made possible by local generation, reducing the cost of distribution because current has to move less distance competes with huge cables from Hoover Dam how exactly? oh... PUC stands for public utility commission, and there is only one grid. It is not a supply and demand issue when there is only 1 grid, and it is the public utility commission making rules that are lopsided in favour of the Hoover Dam proponents. What is power worth at the Hoover Dam ? about 2 cents/KW perhaps... but to get them to Las Vegas, it's probably going to lose half of them en route, so what does a KW cost in there? about 4 cents... why should the electric company be given power for half of their cost from other sources, why doesn't the electric company negotiate with each of the small scale producers? how is it more 'market' if the cost is set by the PUC down rather than up.

There is no market solution to this problem, right now. Pehaps smart grids will be able to address that someday, but right now, it's just who lobbies the regulator better. Given the reality that a monopoly grid currently in place, and is necessary, and given a monopoly, it must be regulated, and that regulation will perforce shape the market, the choice before people is what shape of market do you want? Distributed generation, as it reduces the amount of electricity that must be moved over long distances, is more efficient, and therefore cheaper, and so if we are going to fail in any direction it should be in favour of reducing costs for everyone. On that basis, a feed-in tarriff that encourages distributed generation is better for everyone except the incumbent electric generation and distribution organizations, as it reduces the amount of electricity they sell and ship.

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