managerialslime writes: The renewable energy future will arrive when installing a new solar panels is cheaper than a comparable investment in coal, natural gas or other options. If you ask the World Economic Forum (WEF), the day has arrived.
Solar and wind is now the same price or cheaper than fossil fuels in more than 30 countries, the WEF reported in December (pdf). As prices for solar and wind power continue their precipitous fall, two-thirds of all nations will reach the point known as “grid parity” within a few years, even without subsidies. “Renewable energy has reached a tipping point,” Michael Drexler, who leads infrastructure and development investing at the WEF, said in a statement. “It is not only a commercially viable option, but an outright compelling investment opportunity with long-term, stable, inflation-protected returns.”
managerialslime writes: University of Illinois at Chicago researchers have developed a way to mimic plants’ ability to convert carbon dioxide into fuel, a way to decrease the amounts of harmful gas in the atmosphere and produce clean energy. The artificial leaf essentially recycles carbon dioxide. And it’s powered entirely by the sun, mimicking the real photosynthesis process.
managerialslime writes: In India, "this year, solar energy prices in the country dropped to around parity with coal for the first time ever, hitting 4.34 rupees (about 6 US cents) a kilowatt-hour (kWh), while coal tariffs range usually range in between 3–5 rupees/kWh (about 5–8 US cents)." At this rate, solar should be cheaper than coal within 12 to 18 months.
managerialslime writes: A federal judge in Illinois has recently taken the unusual step of issuing three new stringent requirements for the government when it wants to deploy cell-site simulators. The move aims to protect the Fourth Amendment rights of innocent bystanders against unreasonable search and seizure.
Of course, for now, this order only applies to this one judge in the Northern District of Illinois.
managerialslime writes: Forget about printing in 3D; it turns out that scientists are looking forward to printing in 4D. They've successfully added a fourth dimension to their printing technology, opening up exciting possibilities for the creation and use of adaptive, composite materials in manufacturing, packing and biomedical applications.
managerialslime writes: "My client is a consumer technology company (Mac and Windows software) with a video conundrum. We have produced some great training videos on how to use our products in both high and (somewhat) low resolution that most of our customers love. (We can't go too low as the videos include animated screen activity.) But customers with lower bandwidth connections are flooding our help desk/call center with complaints about training video resolution and jerkiness. We use both Jplayer and jwplayer and the results are pretty much the same. Is there a combination of some video file format and player that provides a better streaming video experience? (Yes, we're doing lots of Google searches on the topic, but advice from this community is often a better starting point.)"
managerialslime writes: "The Verizon iCripplePhone (slower network speeds than AT&T and no simultaneous voice and data connections) may be thought of as a Generation 1.0 product.
It was introduced only weeks after Verizon started selling cellular modems on their 4G network, with the promise of phones later in the year.
I wonder how many people might have purchased an iPhone but are holding off to see if the yet-to-be-released iPhone 5: (a) resolves the aforementioned technical issues and (b) actually works on the Verizon 4G network.
This is a topic I haven't seen covered on any of the usual phone gossip sites (CNET, Ars Technica, Computer World, etc.)."
managerialslime writes: Web and cell phone recommendations for international travelers?
I support employees and customers who infrequently travel outside of the United States for both work and pleasure for one to three weeks at a time.
The destinations can be almost any country in the world.
Invariably, they need my staff to find them (a) rental of a "mi-fi" like device so they can get web access for their laptops, iPads, Android, and iPod Touch devices (without onerous surcharges), and (b ) find them short-term cell phone rentals where the per-minute rates won't empty their wallets.
In the last year alone, countries involved included Nicaragua, China, Chile, Finland, and Russia. A trip to India is pending.
I feel like every time someone plans a trip, we need to start over looking for rental vendors.
Is there a web site that keeps travelers up to date on web and cell phone options for short-term trips?
Sites like TripAdvisor.com do a great job of keeping travelers up to date on hotel cleanliness and transportation, but I have yet to find a site to help with voice and data communications for travelers.
(If you don't know of such a site, how about just advice for India?)
managerialslime writes: U.S. appeals court on Tuesday struck down rules that restrict Comcast Corp. from dictating how customers can use its Internet network.
In a 3-0 vote, the U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the Federal Communications Commission lacked the statutory authority to set and enforce such rules.
The decision could reignite a simmering debate in Congress over whether new laws are needed to guarantee "Net Neutrality" — the right of Internet customers to use the Web for almost any purpose they want.
The lawsuit stems from several incidents in 2007 in which Comcast blocked some subscribers from sharing large video and audio files over the Internet in what are known as peer-to-peer transactions.
The purpose for this letter is to present a suggestion for an additional path toward developing features for Slash Dot while also generating some additional revenue.
Several of my clients over the years have been small and medium software companies where the ideas for new features were endless and the programming resources always too limited.
In one, we would develop a cost estimate to develop a particular new feature and then mark it up 30% to account for both cost-overruns and a bonus pool for the programmers. We would then post a "Shared Dutch Auction." Under this scenario, each customer would bid the amount they were willing to pay for a feature. Customers who really wanted a feature badly might bid a quarter or half the cost. Many other customers might submit bids of a couple percent of the cost. (In that situation, 2% was the minimum bid.)
At any point where the bids covered the development cost, we charged credit cards for little customers and started sending invoices to the big ones. As soon as we escrowed the development cost, the programming race was on. (Coming in under the estimate triggered bonus distribution. Blowing the cost estimates meant we ate the loss. Theoretically, failure to deliver a feature meant giving back the money â" we never needed to.)
Under this approach, we knew that the features being developed were truly important to the customer base. (At least enough for payment.) The decision to which project to work on was easy. While at any time we took bids for many features, we only worked on one-at-a-time. The first task to be fully funded was the next project to be attempted.
I know the current path for Slash Dot improvement is through Source Forge. But as I work 70+ hours per week and also volunteer as a geek for the neighborhood recreation association, all I can offer Slash Dot at this point is a small donation here and there.
If my small donations were for features I wanted instead of "early reading," I might be tempted to make them, and make them more frequently. (Big point. Really big point. Yes, I am not kidding.)
I guess I could end the letter here, but while I'm at it, I'll list one of the many features I wish for that may or may not be important enough for your personal attention.
While I read a great many Slash Dot posts, I am hesitant in my replies. I develop every response in Word, check my spelling and grammar, and then usually wait one to four hours. I then re-read and re-edit most responses before posting via cut-and-paste. That is where the aggravation begins.
Even after all these years, (and with a comfort with HTML tags), my formatting is different enough from what I want to see that I spend too much time messing with tags (paragraph, break, list, ec.) and other spacing until my text is suitable for the reader.
While I don't mind carefully thinking about my post content, this fighting over formatting has always been annoying. (Annoying enough to think about how to incent Slash Dot to fund an add-in that would accept and interpret either MS Word cut-and-paste or RTF file importing.) (OK. Now you know. AN old fart with Attention Deficit Disorder and the/. editing skills of a moron. But we count too.)
For my part, I bid $50 toward such a feature. Not a princely sum. But allow a few hundred (or a few thousand) people to contribute to features THEY want to see and Slash Dot might benefit in becoming a better service. Once someone actually gets what they pay for, the reward might incent some to become repeat contributors in "virtuous cycles" of improvement.
Leon Roomberg Site: www.roomberg.com
Slash Dot ID: managerialslime (739286).
Reader since 1998. Posting since at least 2004. (Sometimes it takes me a while before I have something useful to contribute.)"