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10 Tech Concepts You Should Know for 2007

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the wrapped-my-data-cloud-around-my-ban-with-my-smart-pill dept.

Technology 195

mattnyc99 writes "Popular Mechanics has a new list of wide-ranging technology terms it claims will be big in 2007. From PRAM to BAN and SmartPills to data clouds, it's a pretty nice summary of upcoming and in-the-works trends across the board (with a podcast embedded). Though these aren't technologies they expect to be in everyone's homes next year, they're sure this tech will be in the headlines. How do their predictions from a year ago stack up now?" From the article: "Printed Solar Panels - Tomorrow's solar panels may not need to be produced in high-vacuum conditions in billion-dollar fabrication facilities. If California-based Nanosolar has its way, plants will use a nanostructured "ink" to form semiconductors, which would be printed on flexible sheets. Nanosolar is currently building a plant that will print 430 megawatts' worth of solar cells annually--more than triple the current solar output of the entire country."

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First tech concept (0, Offtopic)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 7 years ago | (#17244718)

is that oist... obviously... always post instead of masturbating!

data cloud (1)

rojebrio (997893) | more than 7 years ago | (#17244760)

Data Cloud?? Isn't it cheaper to just put up an ftp server on your machine?? You can access your data from anywhere in the world

Re:data cloud (4, Informative)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245028)

Data Cloud is a silly name for online file storage, but it is something that will be exceedingly useful. There are files storage services now, but many of them charge ten times what it would cost to back up your files locally. The innovation is that these services will finally become cheap and/or free, even for data in the hundreds of GB.

This gives you countless advantages: You can get away without buying extra drives and implementing RAID. You are protected against fire, theft, and (possibly) accidental deletions. You don't have to open up an FTP channel on your local router. You aren't required to have a static IP for your home machine, and you don't have to always keep it running. You can take apart your local machine, rebuild it, and move things around without worrying about your files. You can backup things which were previously impractical to back up, such as ripping your entire DVD collection and storing it without extra compression. Sounds pretty darn good to me.

What's the business model (3, Insightful)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245314)

What exactly is the business model of giving people unlimited free storage? Hard disks cost money, bandwidth costs money, and most people block ads anyway, so where is the profit? I find it difficult to believe that a company can run a business like that, with the exception of those companies, like Google, who can run it at a loss and support that loss with some other line of revenue. I suppose the service would have some prestige points, but I really see no way to make money that way.

Re:data cloud (1)

rojebrio (997893) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245334)

Well yes, it sounds good, but it will open a lot of scenarios in which users upload vital information to a data cloud and get screwed by hackers. Important information should still be stored in a physical drive, and be unaccessible from the outside, even if this innovation means that it will no longer be important to have huge drives. It would also suck being unable to access some file because the data cloud server is too loaded or under maintenance..

Re:data cloud (3, Insightful)

Jerf (17166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245390)

I just did a backup of my laptop. It took 6 single-layer DVDs, which were nearly full. At 20KB/s upstream, which is about what I get (and yes that's kilobytes not bits), that's a minimum of 17 days of continuous uploading, and that's assuming Comcast doesn't shut me down first.

Consumer bandwidth is the problem for those services, really.

Re:data cloud (5, Interesting)

throx (42621) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245418)

The problem with the whole "Data Cloud" thing is that the network bandwidth just isn't there yet. I get impatient enough waiting for my files from my LOCAL hard drive (which has a peak transfer of around a gigabit per second) and yet the best broadband access you can get at the moment is lucky to exceed ten megabits peak transfer (and forget sustained). It's the same issue with network backups - you just can't transfer the terabyte of information I have on my home machine to anywhere on the internet fast enough for it to be called anything even approaching useful. I'll just keep the RAID setup for now, thanks.

Sorry, but I've been hearing about the wonders of storing all my data on some network drive for a long time now, but the storage requirements of "all my data" have been growing faster than the network bandwidth has. Until that trend is reversed, local storage is here to stay.

Re:data cloud (1)

Inmatarian (814090) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245514)

Actually, if you stopped for a moment to think about what's actually *your* data, in terms of original creation, a gigabyte is overkill. Individual people have a My Documents directory, containing text files and word documents, their program profiles, bookmarks, and emails (received and sent). I'm sure some extremophiles would contest me on the size, but for the average person, I don't think there is that much there.

MP3s is an entirely different subject.

Re:data cloud (3, Informative)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245790)

Large user created data: photos and home movies.

A high percentage of people will have high resolution digital photos. Some users will have digital camcorders. A few will have 300 hours of their kids filmed on HD digital camcorders, which would be terabytes of data.

And practically, there is a need to back up one's CDs and DVDs, since if something happens to them, there's no other way to get them back short of repurchasing.

An example: Amazon S3 (5, Informative)

Gordo_1 (256312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246740)

Amazon's simple storage service (S3) basically gives you access to a virtually unlimited supply of highly redundant data storage for pennies a month ($.20/gig transferred, $.15/gig stored... I believe). There is no minimum or fixed start-up costs and you only pay for what you use. This is much cheaper to startup than buying HDs for performance-insensitive large blobs of data, since you don't have to pay for power supply, case, drives, motherboards, cpu, memory or ongoing electrical costs. It's also a 100% quieter than running an extra storage server in your apartment. Sure, you can't stream HD video off of this thing, but it definitely has its uses.

Last month I backed up all my important financial and other data completely encrypted and lot more secure than I could have doen it locally. I conveniently mapped S3 to a drive letter on my local system so most programs can access it without even knowing what's going on. I mapped my Roboform password data to the drive, so I can access the same set of data files from multiple places without having to remember to always carry along a USB key. I even tried storing my Firefox profile there... though it technically worked, the problem is that Firefox accesses like a hundred files every time it starts up, and file access latency was too high to make this workable. What you use it for is really left up to your imagination. Anyway, all told, it cost me $.12 for the month.

You need three things to make this work for you:
1. An amazon S3 account
2. An online storage client that supports S3 (I use the free Jungledisk program, but there are several free clients available for Win/Mac/Linux)
3. Optionally (for Win32 users), a utility that can map webDAV drives to a physical drive letter. I use Webdrive.

#11 (1)

Ridgelift (228977) | more than 7 years ago | (#17244798)

#11 = Web 2.0

#12 (2, Funny)

FiveDollarYoBet (956765) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245374)

Duke Nukem

#13 (0, Redundant)

KillerCow (213458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245776)

Flying cars

a future Ask Slashdot... (5, Funny)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 7 years ago | (#17244804)

I tripled the size of my Body Area Network using the Twinkie Expansion Method so I could have enough bandwidth to access my whole personal Data Cloud.

Now my bed is made of Bendable Concrete and my girlfriend has left me, complaining about my Plasma Arc Gasification.

Now who is going to mend my Printed Solar Panel shirts?

Re:a future Ask Slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17245298)

thank you for a hilarious end to the day :)

Re:a future Ask Slashdot... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17246862)

...and my girlfriend has left me...

So in your vision of the future, Slashdotters will be able to get girlfriends? Seems a bit optimistic to me.

2006's predictions were kind of accurate.... (4, Informative)

8127972 (73495) | more than 7 years ago | (#17244820)

For example:

"Pedestrian Protection System (PPS)
Radar sensors and computer-controlled braking will keep drivers safer than ever, but what about pedestrians? In case your adaptive cruise control fails to spot someone darting into the road, TRW Automotive is introducing the PPS system: if you smack a pedestrian, the hood is automatically raised to cushion his landing on the engine block. The system is already being tested, part of a drive to meet new European and Japanese regulations on pedestrian safety which are being phased in, starting with 2006 models."

Jaguar's new XK coupe has this: http://www.jaguarusa.com/us/en/xk/highlights/highl ights/performance.htm [jaguarusa.com]

Not to mention FTTH (via Verizon), Perpendicular Storage (via Hitachi Global Storage Technologies), Mobile WiMAX (Rogers and Bell in Canada have this).

Re:2006's predictions were kind of accurate.... (1)

orim (583920) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245720)

Right. So they can not only have fractures, but horrible burns from the hot engine.
Sounds like a plan.

Re:2006's predictions were kind of accurate.... (3, Informative)

exspecto (513607) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245968)

I think it means that it will "pop" the hood up just a little so that when they land on it, there is some "give". I don't believe it means that the hood will open so wide that they'll be *eaten* by the car.

See here: http://www.popsci.com/popsci/whatsnew/3ded9ee77c5d 9010vgnvcm1000004eecbccdrcrd.html [popsci.com]

Re:2006's predictions were kind of accurate.... (5, Informative)

Moofie (22272) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246086)

You really didn't get that right at all. The hood rises up and forward, not opening like Herbie's mouth. New European pedestrian impact standards require there to be (I think) 6" of air space between the surface skin of the car and any big, heavy component like an engine or a structural member. This system allows compliance with that requirement, and a low hood line.

Re:2006's predictions were kind of accurate.... (1)

CowardWithAName (679157) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246788)

Huh? Maybe you misunderstood.

The hood doesn't open fully, it just pops a bit right before impact. The idea is that it will "give" more if it's partially open than if the pedestrian smacks into the closed hood and the hard engine block right beneath it. Think of it sort of like an external airbag... only made of metal... so not quite as good...

Re:2006's predictions were kind of accurate.... (4, Funny)

bitt3n (941736) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246398)

screw that.. if I'm buying some fancy Jaguar I want a system that cushions my hood against flying pedestrians.

Re:2006's predictions were kind of accurate.... (1)

JCondon (1029908) | more than 7 years ago | (#17247052)

What ever happened to teaching your children to "look both ways" before crossing the street?

Re:2006's predictions were kind of accurate.... (1)

Yartrebo (690383) | more than 7 years ago | (#17247382)

Have you ever heard of redundant safety systems?

Teaching kids to look both ways before crossing might reduce impacts by 25%, but it won't eliminate them. There are still vehicles that will jump the curb onto the sidewalk, or do 40 mph before pulling a hard turn around a blind corner, or hit a person while going into a driveway (often the car owner's own kids).

Extra safety features can only help reduce the pedestrian death and injury toll further.

units? (0, Troll)

N3TW4LK3R (841526) | more than 7 years ago | (#17244830)

430 megawatts' worth of solar cells annually
ugh.... who writes this shit anyway?

Re:units? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17244870)

Editors'?

Re:units? (0)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#17244894)

Wake me up when it's 1.21 jigawatts.

Re:units? (3, Funny)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245130)

Thats the equivalent of powering 1.3 Libraries of Congress. Or a string of AA batteries that would wrap around the library of congress 3 times!

Re:units? (3, Funny)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245454)

How many times do I have to tell you people? Hogsheads!

Re:units? (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246290)

<obligatory>"My car gets forty rods to the hogshead, and that's the way I likes it!"</obligatory>

Salor Power is not yet viable (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17244846)

Even if they make theoretically impossible 100% efficient solar panel. That's not enough for me to buy a solar panel.

However, if they can make a 5% efficient solar panel. I will buy it.

Why? It all comes down to cost. Solar power is too expensive for me. It takes over 5 years for a solar panel to pay for itself. Also, a solar panel only lasts (the efficiency declines over time) about 20 years. The capital cost is too high.

So companies should focus on reducing the per watt cost of solar panels. Not on improving the efficiency. If you can make solar panels for $5 per 100 watt panel .. you can bet I'll be off grid. I don't care about efficiency, I only care about cost.

A 100% efficiency solar panel can take up 1 m^2 and generate a kilowatt, a 10% efficiency solar panel would need 10 m^2 to match that up .. but if you think about it .. the sides of the square are only 3 meters wide versus the 1 meter wide sides of the 100% efficiency panels. That's not a huge land area to sacrifice.

Re:Salor Power is not yet viable (1)

Itchyeyes (908311) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245126)

Or... we could try to make them more efficient and cheaper! It's not like it's and either/or problem.

It sort of is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17245896)

If making them more efficient means doping them with very expensive rare metals, or if creating the required crystalline structure requires heat/energy.

So researching efficiency can compromise researching cheap. I do agree that science needs to find out the theories and make as efficient a solar cell as possible. But given current R&D resource constraints that can be a longer term goal in comparison to making a cheaper cell. After all the economic boost resulting from the cheaper solar cells may make it cost effective to fund people to do the research on efficiency aspects.

Who is your financial advisor? (2, Interesting)

Ogemaniac (841129) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245144)

A five year payback is great, roughly the equivalent of 15% interest. That's far better than stocks, with far less risk. Ignoring risks and commissions, the stock market can be expected to have a 8-10 "payback time".

You are right, though. The answer is dollars per watt. Solar is still not there yet, though it is getting close to matching peak prices in some markets (California, Japan, Germany). However, the "printed" thin-film versions are still highly inefficient compared to normal silicon-crystal systems. Their cost advantage does not make up for this.

Re:Who is your financial advisor? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17245388)

No. That just means you get your money back in five years. Investments compounding at 15% double their value in five years, not merely maintain it.

Re:Who is your financial advisor? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17245864)

Thanks, that guy must not have had econ101.

Re:Who is your financial advisor? (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246490)

Well, for the sake of argument, if you say that the solar panel is still worth what you originally paid for it 5 years ago, actually, you did double your money because you could just sell the solar panel for what you paid for it. However, if you take the money you have not paying electric bills and buy another identical solar panel, in another 5 years, you will have saved twice as much so adding that to the value of both solar panels, you now have 4 times your original investment.

So, if at the end of 10 years, you have the money in your pocket that you saved on electricity and you go and sell your solar panels for what you originally paid for them (I know that's probably unrealistic, just bear with me here), you will end up with roughly the same amount of money had you invested it in stocks and just let the interest compound. I don't really see the difference from that and the good stock investment that is averaging 15 percent per year. Just a little extra work.

Re:Who is your financial advisor? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17246698)

>> Well, for the sake of argument, if you say that the solar panel is still worth what you originally paid for it 5 years ago

No. I don't think so.

Re:Who is your financial advisor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17246904)

Wasn't the saying attributed to P.T. Barnum "There's a sucker born every minute."?

You'd be amazed what some people will pay for something if you have the gift of gab to talk them into it. This coming from a successful former used car and door to door frozen meat salesman.

Besides, I think the GP wasn't saying you would literally get all of your money back but for the sake of the discussion, assume that you will get a very good percentage of it back.

Re:Who is your financial advisor? (3, Insightful)

Yartrebo (690383) | more than 7 years ago | (#17247430)

"Well, for the sake of argument, if you say that the solar panel is still worth what you originally paid for it 5 years ago"

The problem is that it is now worth a small fraction of what it was worth when you bought it. Just like a car (which also has about a 20 year lifespan), it loses value quite rapidly as it becomes less efficient and closer to being a pile of junk that you have to pay to get rid of.

Re:Salor Power is not yet viable (5, Informative)

DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245212)

? moderation?

So in 20 years the solar panel just stops working?

I think not. actually it's an asymptotic curve which levels out over time. Yes their peak is at teh begining, but they still produce Usable power for a long time.

From Wiki ". (Normally, photovoltaic modules have 25 years' warranty, but they should be fully functional even after 30-40 years.)"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photovoltaics [wikipedia.org]

Also, your economics are slightly skewed
your not paying for 100W of e-. Your paying for a system to manufacture a peak of 100W of e- during daylight hours (avg probably 50W (just guessing?))

If it was $5 for 100W panel, e- would be close to free anyway because everyone would produce their own.

Secondly not many man made conversions happen at 100% efficiency.

I am not a huge alternative energy freek, but economics dictate that solar panels are allready a smart choice for home use. Admittedly, if demand for them suddenly increased, that would not be so. But assuming e- prices continue to go up, (they will, you can bet on it in the long term for at least another 20-40 years) Then you have an even more economicaly strong position. Now, it's probably not going to net you the hugest gains, but it pays for itself, and then more. It's a solid return, that lasts a long time, and is scalable, upgradeable, and virtually maintenance free.

P.S. talking about grid tied, inverted system here. None of that silly battery stuff.

Re:Salor Power is not yet viable (1)

AdmiralWeirdbeard (832807) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245282)

Uh... Printable solar panels, by negating the need for extensive/expensive fabrications processes will do both, make them more efficient and less expensive. Isnt that the whole point?

Re:Salor Power is not yet viable (1)

firemangreg (964292) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245590)

Aren't those notoriously inefficient?

Re:Salor Power is not yet viable (2)

h2_plus_O (976551) | more than 7 years ago | (#17247080)

Aren't those notoriously inefficient?
compared to what's already on your roof (probably an asphalt tile, which converts 0% of that energy to electricity) they're... well, infinitely more efficient.

What if the cost is almost nothing? (1)

bigtrike (904535) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245324)

I think the point is that they're about to get much cheaper if this company succeeds. If those solar panels were only marginally more expensive than roofing shingles and could pay for themselves within 6 months, would you still not buy them?

Home owners Associations (2, Insightful)

StupidMBA (1039062) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245446)

Even if solar becomes cheap enough, what will prevent me is my home owners association. They don't allow solar panels. Move to a neighborhood that doesn't have that rule? I would have to move to a neighborhood that doesn't have a home owners association. Yeah, good luck in finding one! Folks are so afraid of their property values being hurt, they turn into housing fascists.

There was an article in the WSJ a couple of years ago where a guy in TX had to move out into the country so he could put solar panels on a house.

Now, having a solar generating station out in the country would help me greatly.

Re:Home owners Associations (1)

rahvin112 (446269) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245564)

It's not difficult for the Fed's to pass a law banning such restrictions. They did it with small satellite dish's after all.

Re:Home owners Associations (1)

onepoint (301486) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245830)

well, I don't know what fed rule you are citing, but in NJ the rules were that Satellite dishes had to be enclosed and or not viewable from the homeowners roads. basically you placed a hedge around them.

Onepoint

Re:Home owners Associations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17246156)

See the FCC Fact Sheet on Placement of Antennas [fcc.gov] . In particular, restrictions cannot require that expensive landscaping screen relatively unobtrusive DBS antennas

Re:Home owners Associations (4, Interesting)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245712)

Even if solar becomes cheap enough, what will prevent me is my home owners association. They don't allow solar panels. Move to a neighborhood that doesn't have that rule? I would have to move to a neighborhood that doesn't have a home owners association. Yeah, good luck in finding one! Folks are so afraid of their property values being hurt, they turn into housing fascists.

Yes, this is a real problem. However, if cells become reasonably priced, and can be "printed", what would it take to "print" them onto an attractive subsurface so that it blends in nicely?

And, lest you think this is a NEW idea, an "I'm feeling lucky" Google search led me to somebody else who already had the same idea. [premierpower.com]

More expensive? Sure! Why else would they go to the extra effort? But it's at least POSSIBLE.

Re:Home owners Associations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17246562)

Solar Curtains! Oh wait, that makes your house dark...

Re:Home owners Associations (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246218)

Yeah, good luck in finding one!


It's not that hard if you get out of WASP-ville, USA. All us work-a-day slobs that don't live in a "planned community" can put up solar panels.

Re:Home owners Associations (1)

njh (24312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246626)

Take the HOA to court?

Re:Home owners Associations (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246708)

There are several companies manufacturing roofing shingles, faux slate and metal roofing panels which are coated with PV material. Unless they're picky about the color of the shingles (or it's a historical area which insists on Real Slate (tm) ) then you CAN get a solar roof put on.

I should mention that these do tend to be a little more expensive. Hopefully the printable solar stuff will bring the price down considerably and offset this.

Re:Sailor Power is not yet viable (2, Funny)

coldsleep (1037374) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245722)

Are you kidding me? There's no way they can make sailor power more efficient. It's been in use for thousands of years, and it's not going away any time soon.

Re:Salor Power is not yet viable (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17245844)

Huh? What if the $5/watt cells are not powerful enough to power your A/C during peak hours, but the $10/watt cells are? There are a lot of factors here. You've only got so much roof space, and most people won't put them out on the lawn, even if community standards allowed that. For the A/C scenario, the 20 years during which the cells become less powerful is 20 years during which you could be growing trees to shade your house. Deciduous trees will reduce the power from the cells, but they'll reduce your cooling bill and add value to your property (assuming you live in an area where trees can grow). I think there are way too many factors you aren't taking into account. As others have pointed out, what if the cells are more efficient *and* less costly?

FWIW, I think the cells will make more sense on the roofs of low-rise "flex office space" initially. You can't grow trees tall enough to shade a low-rise office, and nobody cares what the roof of a sprawling low-rise looks like anyway.

The key is modularity (1)

CrazedWalrus (901897) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246008)

Yeah - what you said, PLUS the ability to buy pieces at a time. The systems need to be very modular, so I can buy them as I have the resources. I'll probably never go out and buy $X,000 of solar panels in one shot, but I could probably afford a few hundred dollars' worth every few months. If you make it so you need to buy the whole system at once, and replace the whole thing at once should it die, it will always be prohibitively expensive.

The nice thing about the incremental purchase approach is that they probably won't all die at once, either. If the system is designed to be fault tolerant, it's much easier for me to replace one small subunit than to replace the whole kit-n-kaboodle.

-Walrus

Re:The key is modularity (1)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246796)

If you make it so you need to buy the whole system at once, and replace the whole thing at once should it die, it will always be prohibitively expensive.

It's called a home-improvement loan. Look into it.

Re:The key is modularity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17247100)

Not everyone wants to pay interest, smartass, and not everyone has equity to do so. Some want to pay as they go, as they can afford, for things that are not 100% necessity. I think those people are called "responsible".

Re:The key is modularity (0, Troll)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17247264)

Not everyone wants to pay interest, smartass, and not everyone has equity to do so.

So what happened to always be prohibitively expensive now? Make up your mind. Either it is an absolute, or it is not.

Some want to pay as they go, as they can afford, for things that are not 100% necessity. I think those people are called "responsible".

If you have the equity then by definition you can afford it. Possessing poor home-ec skills does not make someone responsible, not by a long-shot.

Re:Salor Power is not yet viable (2, Interesting)

rrhal (88665) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246448)

If you can make solar panels for $5 per 100 watt panel .. you can bet I'll be off grid. I don't care about efficiency, I only care about cost
You paid ~ $10,000 to have a licenced electrician (time and materials) wire your fuse box to the grid. For that kind of money you could buy a solar system that would keep you in electricity for a long time. There would be thousands of dollars left over. If you invested that along with your monthly electric payments you would have a fund that would replace anything that failed in your home system for much of the rest of your life.

Re:Salor Power is not yet viable (3, Informative)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 7 years ago | (#17247272)

Who paid $10k for an electrian to wire you to the grid?!?

The power company runs the power to your house for free in every state I have lived in. They will even upgrade the service from 100 amps to 200 amps for free. The only "tie in to the grid" is the connection from the meter to the mains, which are less than a meter away from each other, as required by code.

This is a $200 job, not a $10,000 job. Everything else you are paying for, from the mains to the socket, has to be done regardless of where the power comes from. AND you can wire a brand new 2400 sq ft house for less than half of what you are claiming, sockets and switches included.

Now, to hook your DC powered solar panels up to use in your home, you will need to either wire new DC circuits to everything or use an inverter system. To connect YOUR power to the grid to sell back/use off time, and sync the phasing, etc. you are going to spend several thousand for autoswithing, inversion, etc. It's worthwhile, but it isn't cheap to connect your OWN power source to the grid.

Your numbers are simply out of whack and (with all due respect) not based on real world scenarios.

Why? (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246564)

"That's not a huge land area to sacrifice."

Why would you sacrifice any land at all. How about just sacrificing some roof area instead?

you have zero proof (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17247144)

What's the cost of your electricity in 20 years? Oh, you have no idea? Correct. So how do you know whether or not it's cost effective?

When you can show the lads-point to a link-with your local electricity supplier that offers a 20 year pricing contract, then you can make such a statement. Until then, you have absolutely no data to assert your assumption and cult-like belief system, ie, it's time to dump "junk economic science".

  Now, I can't assert anything either, but I can say that solar bought today has a verifiable fixed price, you can get ten year warranties on batteries and 20-30 years on panels, and odds are the normal electric bill will always be going up in cost,by the charged kilowatt hour. See, I admit I don't actually know, but run the odds around in your brain, do you really believe it is going to be either exactly the same as you pay now or actually get cheaper from your local electrico? Or do you think "energy" in all its forms will just be rising dramatically in cost?

    Now I read a lot of energy news, and I'll tell you this, you ain't seen nuthin yet like the demands coming from the developing world within the next decade, and, if it is fuel derived-any brand fuel-costs are going to be going up, from sheer market pressures. There just slap doesn't exist the reserves in the next 20 years to fit that demand coming, especially from reserves that are already gone now, and even nuclear power has never been any way close to being as cheap as they always claimed, in fact, just check the rates anyplace where it is used extensively now, barely better cost-wise than coal, and actually more expensive than natural gas.

Solar is our only practical fusion power, something that joe sixpack to joe big company can actually get their hands on and *use*, and it will be that way for decades to come. Coal has giant environmental and health impacts, which if you add those into what electricity costs, would probably double it right today, just like if you add in what having to have some huge military keep the oil flowing from ovewrseas (and that barely) really means your gallon of gas is a lot higher, they just hide it with more junk economic science and astroturfing FUD..

    We just don't have a lot more in the way of practical, deployable options right now,solar and wind power are at the top of the "we got it-let's use it" pile of the alternatives, so the sooner we start adopting, the faster we can get economies of scale going. Waiting until it is cheap enough by some vague junk economic science forumla is the same as waiting for cars to achieve 250 MPG before you buy one, you'll be a pedestrian for a long long time. It's better to support what we have now, with our wallet voting, if we want that tech to get better in the future.

      Now I will agree that "cheaper by the watt and who cares about the size" is a completely valid option,I would actually thow some cash at that (I have thrown cash at normal PV now) but here's something else-there's no law says you have to immediately go from grid suplied to totally solar powered in one step. You can start with just running a few things around your house, then work your way up as the tech gets better and more affordable. This way the solar companies make some money, keep doing research, more and better factories are built,stuff gets better, and etc.. That has worked with any number of other technologies, look at computers and just the last ten years for example, but the nice machines we have now with the much better pricing only happened because people bought computers on a large scale ten years ago.

We are part of the problem, or part of the solution, that's the only choices we have right now.

Okay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17244880)

Why exactly do I need to know about these things? Is there going to be a test?

Why should I know these? (1)

frieza79 (947618) | more than 7 years ago | (#17244970)

Most of these are rated "Low" for short term impact. So why do I need to know about them next year?
So when they finally do get well known and publicized, we can all say its a dupe, and post links to this story!

10 Tech Concepts You Should Know for 2007... (1)

pestario (781793) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245058)

... or you won't be allowed to enter?

based on last year's predictions... (3, Insightful)

deesine (722173) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245142)

I should just ignore the ones for 2007.

Re:based on last year's predictions... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17245542)

Amen Brother, Amen.

smart pills (1)

Random Destruction (866027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245208)

I'm amazed these things are just coming around now. I remember seeing them years ago on some disconvery channel show.

Pretty neat things though.. but I don't envy those who 'recover' the pills after theyve passed through someone.

Re:smart pills (2, Interesting)

EMeta (860558) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245528)

So large of a percentage of medical equipment is disposable (for hygine, of course, but man do they make a whole lot of waste), that I wouldn't be surprised at all if this was the same--at least in mostly developed nations. If you make them disposable you also needn't make them big enough to be recharged (or dissasembled for battery replacement, etc.) or carry any more charge than necessary for one trip.

Combine that with its makers being able to sell more & it still being a cheaper prospect for many HMO's than the invasive surgery--no way these things won't be disposable.

Re:smart pills (5, Funny)

whargoul (932206) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245726)

I'm amazed these things are just coming around now. I remember seeing them years ago on some disconvery channel show.

Pretty neat things though.. but I don't envy those who 'recover' the pills after theyve passed through someone.
I don't imagine these are "recovered", but can you imagine the conversation in the doctors office when presented with one of these?

Doctor: Well sir, you have 2 options.
Doctor: We can give you this brand new SmartPill for $500
Doctor: or you can take this recycled SmartPill we just "recovered" from an elderly gentleman with chronic diarrhea for $7.50
Patient: uh...I'll take the new one, thanks.

Re:smart pills (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17245772)

In the U.S. University of Texas football players this year were using a smart pill to monitor body temerature and some other metrics in an attempt to combat dehydration. Not sure how it all worked but it was pretty cool to see the 2 minute report on it during half-time.

I'm waiting for SmartDrugs (3, Insightful)

unformed (225214) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245214)

This way your dealer doesn't need to stock a variety of substances. You pop a pill, when it goes in, it connects with your system, and figures out what you really need to feel good, and then provides it.

Re:I'm waiting for SmartDrugs (1)

deanoaz (843940) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246760)

How about a capsule full of nanobots that bore their way into your brain and directly stimulate the pleasure center until their batteries run out?

I never though I'd see ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17245428)

PRAMS being talked about on slashdot!

Usually the talk here is about getting women, not about what happens afterwards.

What about 2006? (2, Interesting)

DaveWick79 (939388) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245556)

I didn't see anything on the 2006 list that became a buzzword in 2006 - maybe they will in 2007, who knows. Only two on the list, Fiber to Home and IP Television, have made much news. There's a few obscure technologies that people will never care to know the name of, and the rest simply haven't come about. For 2007, how long will we be waiting for these? And why is Body Area Network on the list, a mere repeat of things that didn't make it to prime time in 2006 and is admittedly something they don't think will become widely manufactured or even accepted. In other words, these lists are a total washout.

Re:What about 2006? (3, Insightful)

BuddyJesus (835123) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246032)

I didn't see anything on the 2006 list that became a buzzword in 2006 - maybe they will in 2007, who knows.

I dunno, Ajax [popularmechanics.com] was on that list, and it became pretty big.

Short Term Impacts? (3, Insightful)

pseudorand (603231) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245600)

So, while the US is facing terrorism that we fund ourselves via our addiction to foreign oil, the president is going on and on about switchgrass, and the entire world may be facing declining oil production while demand continues to increas, technologies that turn trash into power, cheaper solar pannels, and more secure passports will have a LOW impact? At the same time TV and file sharing over the internet, both problems we already have perfectly good solutions for (Cable, Satellite, movie rental stors, Netflicks, HTTP/FTP protocols) will have a HIGH impact? Something just doesn't add up.

Body Area Networks (4, Interesting)

VoidEngineer (633446) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245640)

I work at a hospital, and I'll vouch that we're already investigating body area networks. Patient monitoring, obviously, is the big one; but we're also very interested in the cost savings of a good RFID sponge count system. After each surgery procedure, some poor shlep has to count through all the sponges and make sure that the count matches up with the number used. And if we're short a sponge or two, then we have to take an x-ray of that patient to see if something was left inside of them. And if something *was*, well, obviously it needs to be removed, necessitating more surgery, and another sponge count.... We're hoping that RFID/wireless chips are going to solve this problem. Also coming down the research pipe, as I understand, are a variety of wireless enabled surgical robots that can crawl the stomach and intestines and do various repair work, and RFID/wireless enabled aneurysm clips and pacemakers to warn against putting patients into MRI fields. Obviously, all vital sign monitoring equipment is getting ready to be put on the networks, which is going to be huge, especially with our associated nursing homes and the aging baby boomer population.

Re:Body Area Networks (1)

int21hex (923711) | more than 7 years ago | (#17247484)

If you need to count sponges because they are left behind sometimes, then what you should do is remedy the problem by developing sponges that will breakdown in the body. Not a system to count them.

pHp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17245646)

Did anyone else notice that the "smart pill" had pHp written on it?

I KNEW it was the better language! :)

I just love these feel good tech articles. (1, Offtopic)

John Sokol (109591) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245716)


    I wish the real world would really work out like that.

    Last night I watched the movie "Who killed the electric car?",
              (Everyone should see it, along with and "Hacking Democracy", "Fahrenheit 911" and "An Inconvenient Truth").

    In that movie, Texaco bought out the NiMH Electric car battery technology and killed it.
        Then GM and Toyota took back all the EV1's and crushed them.

    I wonder how long it will be before some Oil company buys up NanoSolar and kills them too.

    The same thing happen over and over. It's the same group of Big Oil, Bush and friends, that are holding us back from progress in almost the same way
  MA Bell had done 20 years ago before it's breakup. Most of you don't realize that the Internet, Unix and Video Confrencing was held back for decades by MA Bell.

    It's not technology that moves us forward but the decisions of the Rich and Powerful to allow us to move foward.

 

Re:I just love these feel good tech articles. (1)

scuba964 (711459) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245960)

Yeah! It's Bush's fault! I KNEW it!

Re:I just love these feel good tech articles. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17245980)

What fascinates me about the electric car issue is that noone seems to ask from where the electricity to power electric cars comes from... It's just cool, groovy and green to drive an electric car! Well yeah, less toxic emissions in densely populated areas is great. But from a global/greenhouse perspective, if the electricity is generated by burning fossil fuels like coal (as it is where I live), then the whole exercise is a waste of time wrt carbon emissions and reducing energy consumption. Adding an extra ( 100% efficient) conversion increases the energy required and coal is dirtier than petrol. Electric and hydrogen powered cars are a great idea but only if the electricity and hydrogen are not generated by combusting something! Read my lips kiddies, nuclear is inevitable! Invest now!

Re:I just love these feel good tech articles. (1)

bjohnson (3225) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246544)

Sigh. Just smart enough to bleat the words, not smart enough to actually think about them.

Yes, using electricity may involve burning coal. However it involves burning coal at non-moving, controllable locations where you can use relatively expensive scrubber technology and such to minimize pollution, instead of dispersing your emissions in millions of little boxes farting emissions out their backsides.

And a big bonus, you don't have to store coal byproducts for 10,000 years.

No need to store byproducts? (2, Informative)

DarthStrydre (685032) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246884)

Though of course the fly ash and the tons of debris produced by coal burners is more radioactive, per energy produced, than that from a nuclear plant. Nuke plants are just generally about a million times less entropic in their output of nuclear materials, allowing for convenient disposal, as soon as politicians remove heads from tails.

  - Strydre

Re:I just love these feel good tech articles. (3, Informative)

rujholla (823296) | more than 7 years ago | (#17247130)

Blah coal is relatively safe???
But the official figures on the cost of coal don't tell the whole story. Coal is a killer: a more profligate one than you would expect. And it maintains a lethal efficacy across its entire lifecycle. One of the main objections held against nuclear power is its potential to take lives in the event of a reactor meltdown, such as occurred at Chernobyl in 1986. While such threats are real for conventional reactors, the fact remains that nuclear power - over the 55 years since it first generated electricity in 1951 - has caused only a fraction of the deaths coal causes every week. Take coal mining, which kills more than 10,000 people a year. Admittedly, a startling proportion of these deaths occur in mines in China and the developing world, where safety conditions are reminiscent of the preunionised days of the early 20th century in the United States. But it still kills in wealthy countries; witness the death of 18 miners in West Virginia, USA, earlier this year. But coal deaths don't just come from mining; they come from burning it. The Earth Policy Institute in Washington DC - a nonprofit research group founded by influential environmental analyst Lester R. Brown - estimates that air pollution from coal-fired power plants causes 23,600 U.S. deaths per year. It's also responsible for 554,000 asthma attacks, 16,200 cases of chronic bronchitis, and 38,200 non-fatal heart attacks annually. The U.S. health bill from coal use could be up to US$160 billion annually, says the institute. Coal is also radioactive: most coal is laced with traces of a wide range of other elements, including radioactive isotopes such as uranium and thorium, and their decay products, radium and radon. Some of the lighter radioactive particles, such as radon gas, are shed into the atmosphere during combustion, but the majority remain in the waste product - coal ash. People can be exposed to its radiation when coal ash is stored or transported from the power plant or used in manufacture of concrete. And there are far less precautions taken to prevent radiation escaping from coal ash than from even low-level nuclear waste. In fact, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the U.S. estimates the amount of exposure to radiation from living near a coal-fired power plant could be several times higher than living a comparable distance from a nuclear reactor. Then there are the deaths that are likely to occur from falling crop yields, more intense flooding and the displacement of coastal communities which are all predicted to ensue from global warming and rising oceans. There's so much heat already trapped in the atmosphere from a century of greenhouse gases that some of these effects are likely to occur even if all coal-fired power plants were closed tomorrow. Whichever way you look at it, coal is not the smartest form of energy.
http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/node/348/ [cosmosmagazine.com]

Nuclear is increasingly the only quickly viable alternative to fossil fuel generation of power. I'd encourage all to read the article its a very interesting breakdown of possible energy generation sources.

nuclear is inevitable! (2, Informative)

John Sokol (109591) | more than 7 years ago | (#17247240)


  No nuclear is not inevitable... Using things like the Nanosolar solar cells or one of many other promising alternate power systems.
    Solar, Wind, wave, geothermal, Bio-fuels etc, it possible to recharge your electric car without Coal, oil or Natural gas.

    Actually for $30K you can power your whole house just fine off the grid even sell back electricity to power your neighbors and make money from the power companies.

  So with an electric car, you'd just get that charged at home for free also without polution...

  Now with home prices at $500K for a shack here is California what's another $30K for Solar Panels.

Re:I just love these feel good tech articles. (1)

cybpunks3 (612218) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246502)

You want to stop "Big Oil" or just revel in victimhood? Do something besides being such a fatalist, otherwise you and the other knee-jerk "Big Oil conspiracy" blog posters should shut the F up.

Re:I just love these feel good tech articles. (1)

John Sokol (109591) | more than 7 years ago | (#17247168)


  I am hardly fatalistic, But until there is a change of the guard, we are stuck.
  It's not just Big Oil, is the Old wealthy monopolies.
  No one here blinks an eye when anyown critisizes Microsoft, but the Food companyies, and Oil companies and just about all monopolies start using the goverment, legal and other questionable tacktics to kill off any possible new competing technologies.

  The difference here is if Solar doesn't take off like it should, say because of Big oil, then we all pay a price with health problems, and global warming where with a company like Microsoft, we just have to put up with crappy software which is far less dangerous.

  And how can you guys mark my post as off topic anyhow???? It's not.

 

A Fraction of an Amp? (1)

aditi (707829) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245936)

A fraction of an amp? They'd better be talking about nanoamps, because anything higher would be hell of a lot to have coursing down your arms!

the PRAM mentioned there is already obsolete! (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 7 years ago | (#17245988)

There was an announcement earlier this week by IBM that they've come up with a PRAM that is 500x faster than Flash, with unlimited writes, using half the power. This blows away the PRAM mentioned in this article. The lesson: IBM's unreleased product will always be better than your unreleased product!

VTOL Personal Air Vehicle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17246030)

Bummer :( I was hoping a VTOL Personal Air Vehicle (PAV) would be on their list. I'm not talking about a hybrid "skycar" that can drive on the roads and fly. If I can fly VTOL then why would I need the roads. I just want a nice little 2-4 seater VTOL PAV. Is that too much to ask for in these modern times? I bet the Chinese will figure it out first.

PRAM (1)

conJunk (779958) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246182)

New? Anyone who's ever done anything with old Macs knows this is the Preferences RAM [wikipedia.org] , and when the clock starts acting funny, it's time to replace the PRAM battery.

10 Torture Tech Concepts You Should Know for 2007 (-1, Offtopic)

Ranger (1783) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246382)

10. tasers
9. rubber hose to the feet
8. strapped to a chair being forced to watch "American Idol" ala A Clockwork Orange [pbs.org]
7. millimeter wave device [boingboing.net]
6. extremely bright lights
5. sensory deprivation
4. At full volume playing Aqua's "Barbie Girl" [google.com] over and over and over and over again.
3. IRS audit
2. waterboarding

and the number one tortue tech concept for 2007:

1. the amazing electrical testicle machine

As a Mac user (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246902)

I've known about PRAM for many years now. I was hoping by 2007 I wouldn't have to know about it, as it would be made obsolete - and I would no longer have to "zap the PRAM" when things start acting funky. Sigh.

In Summary (3, Informative)

Shadyman (939863) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246940)

For those of us who don't want to RTFA [popularmechanics.com] , (in no particular order):

10) Bendable Concrete
9) PRAM (Phase-Change Random Access Memory)
8) Printed Solar Panels
7) Passport Hacking
6) Vehicle Infrastructure Integration
5) Body Area Network
4) Plasma Arc Gasification
3) VoN (Video on the Net)
2) Smart Pills
1) Data Cloud

I guess when #3 comes about, we will be living in the "VoN Age"?

2007? (1)

mattcoz (856085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17247152)

"Samsung ... expects PRAM-enabled devices to be available in 2008" So why do we need to know about it for 2007?
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