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Comment Poorly researched article (Score 5, Insightful) 597

This is a very poorly researched article. They talk about getting 12V from a solar panel. No modern home-scale solar system runs at 12V. The power loss due to resistance is much too high until you use wires that are much too large.

The real solution would be to standardize on some type of home HVDC distribution in the 150-300VDC range. This would help keep the DC/DC conversion in roughly the 2:1 voltage ration range, which helps efficiency. It would also help keep the wire gauge reasonable. I'm not sure how the article's author envisions running things like a modern HE washing machine with build in heater from, say, 12V. It would take about 100-150 amps and require about 2/0 gauge wire to keep the losses manageable.

Comment Check for backscatter (Score 1) 405

Have you checked to see if you are sending unintended backscatter? You can get blacklisted by many hosts very fast if you are sending non-delivery reports (NDRs). In this day and age, you need to either reject the email while the connection is active (eg, user not found) or silently drop mail (eg spam that is filtered after the connection is ended). If you send NDRs after the email is acknowledged as received and ok, you are contributing to a significant backscatter problem.

Comment Re: Quality? (Score 1) 195

It's because your vacuum lies. That giant "18A" (or whatever) printed on the side is mostly marketing fluff. Also, even if it really does draw 18A, the duty cycle plays a big roll in the safety. Heating is a function of current and time. That's (one reason) why a lot of appliances say "household use only" -- the cord isn't sized heavy enough for high duty cycle use. That's part of why a 15A hair dryer can use 18 gauge lamp cord.

Comment Buy an older business machine (Score 1) 381

If you're handy, you can get amazing deals on full size business machines. I currently use a Ricoh Afficio 2238c for my heavy use work. It was $1000 and only needed about $200 in parts. It is 38ppm, color, duplexing, and can handle 11x17. It has an ADF and 11x17 flatbed which would be nice for the sheet music. I pair that with an HP4100 dtn that is better for short runs and turns on faster. I have a 4600dn too, but don't really use it anymore. The older HPs are really a steal and have cheap aftermarket consumables.

Comment For a fairly drop-in relacement, tt-rss (Score 1) 335

I switched to tt-rss and couldn't be happier. It works almost exactly like Google Reader and even includes plugins to allow you to use the same navigation keys. It can import OPML for your feeds list and has a plugin to import your starred posts. The only downside is not being able to play flash video (youtube, et al) in the reader pane.

Comment Re:Finally somebody said it! (Score 1) 204

I had some fun with trying to mount some Crucial M4 drives in USB external enclosures. They kept getting unmounted and the SMART block remap count kept running up, and up, and up. One of the drives outright failed and the other was at 55% spare sectors remaining when I figured out the issue. When there was a write, the current consumption from programming the FLASH chip would cause a voltage sag and the write would fail but it wasn't usually enough of a drop to make the drive reset. Once I bought the "Y"-style USB cords (the kind with an extra power plug) and then modded that to run on a wall-wart, everything was fine. (Just for the record, this was a hack to add some faster storage to an aging server that only had SCA-hotswap bays).

Comment Re:Interesting failure mode for Crucial SSDs (Score 1) 204

I agree. The first time one of our engineer's laptops HD's did this, it was rather uncomfortable to say the least. I think a good compromise solution would be to have it enumerate with a "useful" drive textual model identifier like "M4 ERROR CHECKING, LEAVE ON 30 MIN" or some such. I'm sure it violates some standard, too, but it would at least give the user some indication of what is happening.

Comment Re:Interesting failure mode for Crucial SSDs (Score 1) 204

Overall, it is a good thing. The data isn't organized linearly for wear leveling purposes, so a power outage can leave the metadata in an inconsistent state. Also, make sure you have the latest firmware on the drive. They had a fun one earlier that caused a drive lockup hourly after the power on counter hit about 35k hrs (or some such). I've got about 2 dz M4 drives in service, so I've seen a lot of the bugs.

Comment Interesting failure mode for Crucial SSDs (Score 1) 204

There is a protection mechanism that I know exists in Crucial SSDs which makes the drive appear dead after some unclean shutdowns of the drive while it performs a firmware-level integrity check of the drive. It may exist in other brands as well. Sometimes it takes 2 runs of 30-60 minutes to get the drive to re-enumerate via SATA. I'd be curious to know if the "dead" drive was affected by this bug.

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