Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:Reduced revenues != lost profit (Score 1) 280

Not flat and not growing as fast as before. Most estimates show 1-2% growth per year, depending on whose estimates you use and the future oil prices. The sad part is that the loss of US manufacturing to China is partly responsible. Demand in some regions and states like California continues to climb much faster than the US average, driving the higher rates in those areas.

I suspect you'll see co-ops and companies investing in and maintaining local solar farms once the pricing comes down enough. Much the same way you see wind farms popping up everywhere.

Comment Re:That day (Score 1) 280

"It's certainly not true for places like where I live that are running 6.5-cents/kwh."

Does that include all distribution fees and taxes? Because if it doesn't then your parity rate is likely closer to 10 to 15 cents, which is about the current going rate for large scale PV. Residential it's higher until you remove the price of a roof job. Still not parity, but not far.

Yeah, if you roll in the service delivery fee I'm at 7.9-cents/kwh.

I have trouble believing a estimate of 15 cents/kwh as the going rate for large scale PV. The lowest estimate I could come up with for lifetime cost per kwh on personal solar setups was 22-cents/kwh. I'm going by the calculations at and using a much lower panel cost of $2.50/watt (versus the 2013 cost numbers they have) and assuming similar costs for the install labor, batteries, etc. Those calculations leave out some important things though, such as 1 or 2 battery replacements over that lifespan, maintenance/repair, sales taxes, added homeowner insurance costs, and what the upfront cost would have earned if it had been invested instead. I'm not sure 25-years is a reasonable lifespan estimate for chinese made panels.

With efficiency improvements expected within the next few years, I feel people would be better off delaying and waiting for better panels to come on the market.

Too many people are focused on the panel cost per watt coming down, but not understanding that's like trying to use gas mileage to estimate cost per mile. You need to account for installation cost, insurance, maintenance, depreciation, lost interest by tying up the money, etc. So while the car might get 10-cents/mile based on the mileage,it might be closer to 30-cents per mile once you figure the true cost.

Comment Re:That day (Score 1) 280

The cost of rooftop solar-powered electricity will be on par with prices for common coal or oil-powered generation in two years

This is only true if you live in an area that current has ridiculously high electricity rates. Places like California and Long Island with rates hitting as high as 25-cent/kwh. It's certainly not true for places like where I live that are running 6.5-cents/kwh. Ironically the high rate places are so high because demand has increased and the utilities are having to recoup the cost of increasing capacity or buying outside power by raising their rates. Decreased daytime demand will probably _lower_ the rates in these areas.

Comment Re:Reduced revenues != lost profit (Score 3, Informative) 280

The graphs in the study are not scaled properly and are misleading. The middle US case, which even has some dubious assumptions, only represents a 5% drop in total demand. It doesn't include important things such as costs to increase capacity if demand actually continues to rise. Most predictions show a continued overall energy demand far greater than predicted to be generated by wind or solar. Status quo of a non-increasing demand is actually good for their profits as they just need to maintain what they have. Solar power which produces during the peak energy hours helps them as well since the peak surges are covered using gas turbines which are very expensive to run (hence the reason for tiered pricing based on time of usage)

Comment Re:If you think about goes beyond wearable (Score 1) 99

Note that this is HIS lawyer who is submitting the FitBit records, NOT the insurance company. The insurance company says his claim is fraudulent, and HE is saying no it isn't, my FitBit data proves it.

I think the insurance company will respond by asking him to prove the veracity of the data, and they it wasn't someone else wearing it. Usually the insurance company has valid reason when they legally challenge a claim, even if it's just a disgruntled boss claiming there is fraud. It'll be ironic isfthe insurance company pulls out the guys tweets or facebook posts, or cell phone tracking data - all things that most people don't even consider.

I'm waiting for the lawsuit where the insurance company produces cell phone tracking data showing the owner was traveling at 7 mph down this trail that is not passable by bike. They must have been jogging, but this claim says he has difficulty walking.

Comment Re:Obligatory (Score 1) 481

IIRC, you are required to identify yourself to a police officer. You are not legally required to show ID.

Depends on the situation and the particular state. Many states require that the officer have a reasonable suspicion for the stop, which just means being able to concoct one if challenged about it later. Typically it'll end up something like "there was a robbery the night before and he sort of matched the description." Obviously you can ask the officer why he wants you to identify yourself, but generally challenging him won't help. In the states and situations where you are not required to, so you can politely decline and ask if you are free to go.

As you pointed out, above all, be polite and non-threatening be assertive of your rights. Yelling at the cop or moving in a way that can be interpreted as threatening will escalate the situation, sometimes with deadly consequences. We saw this is Ferguson when he told the cop f-u and then took a swing at him. It happened in NY when he refused to be arrested and the officers responded by physically wrestling him to the ground (which caused a fatal asthma/heart attack. The drug dealer who ran and then tried to pull something out of his pocket while struggling spooked the officer who responded with deadly force.

I'd like to see the police force get similar training, so they are fully aware of the rights they are supposed to protect. There is obviously an issue where some officers don't fully appreciate the concept of continuum of force, or the difference between reasonable force and justifiable force. For example you don't tase a 78-yr old wheelchair bound women over a noise complaint. Or participate in a high-speed pursuit and run the guy off the road at 100mph (you let him go and pick him up later since you have his license plate).

Comment Re:Oh BS (Score 1) 461

Germany is cloudier than Seattle and yet they're the global leader in solar power. Go figure.

Have you looked at the price of Solar these days? In bulk it's down to less than $2/watt and that includes the inverter. You can install 800w of capacity for $1200 these days (plus batteries) so you're looking at $3000-4000 for 1KW professionally installed with lead acid battery backup. I pay about $1500-1800 a year for electricity in Texas and that would cover about 70% of my peak usage and would pay for itself after the third year. Solar is good for about 18-20 years and drops below 80% of it's nameplate rating after about 25 years. After year 5 you can just take your savings and roll it in to buying additional capacity/maintenance.

Seattle still has a less average incident solar power.

I'm guessing that 800w rating is daytime peak output? You have to figure out the KWH/day output if you're trying to make any useful comparisons or calculate paybacks. Could still be a good deal, just have to work all the math.

Comment Re:Oh BS (Score 1) 461

This stinks of another all-or-nothing argument. I would guess that EVERY house will still use mains power. If you can make your own electricity at a decent enough cost it's a net gain, even if you are still connected to the grid. It doesn't solve ALL power problems, but no single system solves all problems.

Only if you can produce that power cheaper than what it costs to buy it off the grid. Possible if you live somewhere like Long Island with really high energy costs. At 6.5 cents/kwh there is nothing on the market that I can buy right now that would have a positive long term payback. I could get a wood/pellet stove, but even then I'm not saving that much over the heat pump and then I'm investing the cost of my time to keep it fueled and I get poor temperature control.

Comment Re: Are they really that scared? (Score 1) 461

How much money they spend on protecting their status quo.

Their status quo is serving up power at the current demand levels. They don't want demand to continue to rise beyond their current generating capacity because that means building expensive new plants with very long payback times. Adding local power generation during the day actually helps the power plants even out their demand profiles, lessening their need to use high-cost generation methods like gas turbines to meet peak daytime demands. Peak solar power generation also happens to be about the same time as peak a/c power demands.

Comment Re:Propagation delay ??? (Score 1) 720

High-quality conductors can improve performance, but only a bit, in this case; when it comes to length the problem isn't resistance, it's the capacitance of the wire (which is a function purely of length). The longer the run length the higher the current needs to be to achieve the same voltage. Ethernet's run length limits are based on calculations to determine the point at which the signal in dB is too low to be reliably received. The latency he experienced probably wasn't to do with the length itself, but with the fact the packets had to be retransmitted multiple times before they were successfully received.

The USB spec on the limit is actually based on timing, not a capacitance spec as is RS-232. Resistance isn't much of an issue for the data signaling, as it's done by switching in/out fairly high resistance pull-up/-pull-down resistors at each end. Resistance can be an issue if you're using USB power though. Cheap extension cables with undersized conductors can drop the voltage at the device enough to cause problems.

Funny you should mention the ethernet spec, as it's pretty common place to exceed that limit using at least half-way decent cable. My original assertion was that he needs better cables, ideally one with an active repeater (ie 1-port hub) if he's going beyond 5 meters.

Comment Re:I'd rather see less cursive, more art, music, a (Score 1) 523

, I'd say there are more important things that kids can be doing with their study time. It's not that I don't think it has any value, but to me it's less valuable than things that are already lacking.

Indeed, this is the most common reason cited by the schools for not teaching cursive anymore (or making it an elective later on). Teaching cursive is taking time away from more important things like reading comprehension or even learning the ability to write something coherent in the first place.

Comment Re:Wait (Score 1) 52

I think they demonstrated that Tor can be beaten, but that doesn't necessarily imply that defeating it is simple or cost-effective for most cases.

My point was that it's much simpler when you have direct control over the node.

Yeah. If only there was a way to disable cookies and javascript in a web browser. You know, like the Tor browser does by default?

Cookies and javascript are not the only ways to track you. Doesn't Facebook require cookies to be enabled?

As much as Tor can help, there is no such thing as being perfectly anonymous on the internet. I certainly don't trust Facebook to protect it any more than I trust Google who also makes money by tracking and targeting me.

Slashdot Top Deals

"You stay here, Audrey -- this is between me and the vegetable!" -- Seymour, from _Little Shop Of Horrors_