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Comments

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Why Tesla Really Needs a Gigafactory

Powercntrl Is this really a problem? (180 comments)

So, you're telling me someone who can afford to drop $70,000 on a car is going to want to be seen driving it 8 years later? Sure, there's probably a handful of people who scraped together their pennies to buy their Model S, but by and large it's a toy for the rich who will trade in and replace it for a newer model long before the battery is ever a problem. Hey, it works for Apple with their iDevices.

I'm not entirely convinced "economy of scale" even applies much to Lithium Ion batteries. Their cost these days is largely related to mining and processing the materials that go into them. Sure, Tesla will be able to stabilize their supply of batteries and squeeze out profit that would've went to a middleman, but unless they've developed Star Trek-style replicator technology, they're not getting the prices out of the "WTF?!" zone anytime soon.

yesterday
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AMD Unveils the Liquid-Cooled, Dual-GPU Radeon R9 295X2 At $1,500

Powercntrl It's for gamers (146 comments)

I really hope for AMD's sake that gamers are looking to snatch these things up, because GPU-based cryptocurrency mining is looking pretty abysmal at the moment. Assuming this card can do about 2MH/s, that's 0.0108 of a Bitcoin each day (by CleverMining's pump-and-dump pool). Of course, you aren't mining Bitcoins, you're mining altcoins that are being dumped onto exchanges where fools buy them with Bitcoins, in the (most likely false) hope that one day they'll be worth more than they paid. As the supply of fools dries up, profitability goes down.

Altcoins only have what little value they currently carry because not everyone who mines them, immediately sells. High end Scrypt ASICs will concentrate the distribution of coins to people who are only interested in cashing out. If a larger proportion of coins are dumped onto exchanges rather than held, well... Supply and demand - you do the math.

about two weeks ago
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Square Market Now Accepts Bitcoin

Powercntrl That'll be, uh, can you just pay in USD? (94 comments)

Between the new IRS rules and the supposed drama in China, Bitcoin has been on something of a downtrend the last few days. I've personally tried to accept Bitcoin as payment for some electronics I sold online, but by the time the buyer paid, I actually lost about $5. I would've actually come out ahead by accepting PayPal, fees and all.

I've come to the conclusion that cryptocoins are more-or-less a stock market fantasy game being played with real money. This isn't to say the concept of cryptocurrency can't work, but I don't think stability can be achieved if you're relying on a decentralized approach where people are only willing to run the a coin's P2P network when there's something in it for them.

about three weeks ago
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How interested are you in Virtual Reality tech?

Powercntrl Re:Oculus is the real deal, the others are hype (202 comments)

If you actually payed attention to Oculus at all before Facebook bought them you would know it isn't a pump and dump, but all you need to know is that John Carmack and Michael Abrash are working on it. They aren't pump and dump people.

I'm sure Mt. Gox didn't start trading cryptocurrencies with the intention of screwing people out of their of Bitcoins, either. How a company starts and where they end up isn't always about their initial intentions. The Facebook deal was an insane amount of money for a company working on a product that, quite frankly, has been unproven in the marketplace because people simply don't want to wear bulky VR goggles. It's not a stretch to imagine they sold out to Facebook to cash in on something that may have not sold very well (outside of the vocal minority of hardcore gamers who do actually want VR goggles).

about three weeks ago
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Smartphone Kill-Switch Could Save Consumers $2.6 Billion

Powercntrl Not this shit again (218 comments)

It seems every other week some genius thinks he can solve the stolen phone epidemic with a magical "kill switch". These people need to be slapped repeatedly with a clue-by-four, because as long as phones have value as parts or can be resold to fools, they will still be stolen.

But okay, let's imagine for a moment that all cell phones are suddenly equipped with a kill switch that makes them disappear upon being reported stolen. So, you believe desperate criminal types who are mugging people for valuable electronics are simply going to throw their hands up and shout "Curses! Foiled again!"?

This kinda reminds me how Bitcoin fans can go on and on about how secure the blockchain is and how amazingly difficult it would be to game the system. So, of course, the criminals simply resort to good old fashioned scams and schemes to nefariously obtain Bitcoins.

about three weeks ago
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How interested are you in Virtual Reality tech?

Powercntrl Re:Oculus is the real deal, the others are hype (202 comments)

The reason it isn't out yet is because the technology isn't there yet, and they are working on getting it there.

Or, it could just be a pump-and-dump scheme where they get a prototype working just well enough to woo some rich investors and then they take the money and run.
Not that that's never happened before in gaming hardware, no siree!

VR sucks because until it works like this, you still just feel like an idiot with a glorified 3D TV strapped to your face. The future of gaming is likely more of this, not this.

about three weeks ago
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Daylight Saving Time Linked To Heart Attacks

Powercntrl Fuck DST in the ass (240 comments)

Why is it that something that actually would save electricity, forcing people to upgrade to more efficient lightbulbs, got shot down, but the government still insists on fucking with our clocks twice a year?

You want more daylight at the "end of the day"? You get up earlier. If businesses want to change their operating hours, (like many do each weekend anyway, for somewhat ambiguous religious reasons) nothing is stopping them.

I'm sure DST does wonders to reduce the energy use of mining cryptocoins, though. Oh, no, wait, it doesn't. Mining rigs suck down juice 24/7 and imaginary currency could care less about an imaginary time change. I think the moral here is that if people have a financial incentive to waste electricity (such as light bulbs with a cheaper initial purchase cost), they will - regardless of what the clock says.

about three weeks ago
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Brazil Blocks Foreign Mobile Phones

Powercntrl Oh no, what will the Chinese do??! (97 comments)

So, this is to prevent cheap Chinese knock-off phones from being usable? Well guess-a-what, most of them already include a helpful utility to set the IMEI to whatever you want. All the fix will be is a couple of lines of whatever the Portuguese equivalent of "Engrish" is called, instructing the buyer:

Much enjoy new DroidPhone Galaxy 5!
For luck of happiness, user set IMEI copy basicphone
Please IMEI set application WRITE IMEI
Excellent signal received all times!

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Can I Prepare For the Theft of My Android Phone?

Powercntrl Replace the logic board (374 comments)

The only laughing is being done by the people who are getting a cheap source of replacement parts thanks to Apple's iCloud lock feature. Everything but the logic board (motherboard) is still fully usable.

Ironically, even the locked logic boards still seem to have value on eBay. I can only assume there's some recyclers in China where they're swapping out the flash memory chips with ones from logic boards that were water damaged.

about a month ago
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New VR Game Makes You a "Hollywood Hacker"

Powercntrl Re:hmm (38 comments)

I always imagined it looked more like this.

about a month and a half ago
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Study: Half of In-App Purchases Come From Only 0.15% of Players

Powercntrl Re:I'm not suprised. (144 comments)

I consider playing the game without doing in-game purchases part of the game. It's a good challenge and if you work it right, you can use it to teach children about economics. No, I'm not kidding. It's all about allocation of resources and also setting goals and priorities (and sticking to them). You just need to show them how to do it properly in the game.

Except most of these pay-to-win games are specifically designed to require a significant amount of grinding to generate in-game currency (Plants vs Zombies 2, Subway Surfers, as examples) or won't let you progress at all after a certain point, unless you buy power ups (Deer Hunter Reloaded, Candy Crush).

Or, in other words, most of the top "free" games are simply crap designed to extract money from people.

about 1 month ago
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Tesla Used A Third of All Electric-Car Batteries Last Year

Powercntrl How about the price? (236 comments)

Mainstream acceptance implies the car will actually be affordable to the average car buyer at some point in the future. According to a quick Google search, that's $31,252. The question is, can they really shave enough off the cost of batteries (keep in mind a lithium battery is made from materials that must be mined and processed, it's not really about recouping R&D at this point) and still turn a profit at that price?

Or, maybe if they're implying I can use a cryptocoin generator and convince Elon Musk my OMGPoniesCoins are worth at least three Model S cars. Yeah, that's the kind of "mainstream acceptance" I'm down for.

about 2 months ago
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Consumer Reports Says Tesla Model S Is Best Overall Vehicle

Powercntrl It's good to be the king (318 comments)

So, the best car overall is a $100,000 luxury vehicle that can drive, at most, 4 hours and then needs to recharge for 5 hours??? Obviously Consumer Reports has a different set of standards than 99% of people who live in North America. Most of us are lucky if we afford one car worth $30K, let alone two (Tesla for city driving and another one for long distance).

If you have 70k to drop on a Model S, you'll get a tax rebate back because it's electric and it will save you money over the long run in "fuel" costs. Though, if you have that kind of disposable income, the cost of gas probably isn't stopping you from taking that vacation to Disney World. If you're like me and you cringe every time you stick your credit card into the pump, you probably view the Tesla as just another way that being rich helps the rich stay rich (okay, a game of Monopoly teaches that, too).

In the grand scheme of things, if you care absolutely nothing about being "green" and just want to drop a few grand on something that'll give you a return on your investment, a few computers stuffed with high end ATI video cards mining the crypto currency du jour (probably Dogecoin for the moment) will probably line your pockets way better than the fuel savings of a Tesla Model S. Which leads me to believe people are buying these cars not because of the fuel savings, but because it's a smug status symbol and a decent enough car for its price.

about 2 months ago
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Consumer Reports Says Tesla Model S Is Best Overall Vehicle

Powercntrl Re:Toyota Prius was named the Best Green Car. (318 comments)

If someone is opposed to "green technology," they just let their confirmation bias decide that statements that align with their beliefs are obviously true.

The problem is that Tesla promotes the car as a "0 emissions" vehicle, as if it runs on unicorn farts and pixie dust. While it certainly produces less CO2 than a gasoline vehicle, most of the coal plants in the US are notoriously filthy beasts and you can feel free to Google what other not-so-nice stuff comes out the business end of a coal plant.

about 2 months ago
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Why Nissan Is Talking To Tesla Model S Owners

Powercntrl Re:Target Audience (335 comments)

The Tesla cars are marketed towards higher end customers. The kind of people with disposable income to afford the extra pain that might be associated with early adoption of new tech.

Unless you're a tree hugger, the big selling point of an electric car is that it saves you money on gas. Right now, the Leaf is still too expensive and range-limited to attract the penny pinches, who will likely just gravitate towards an inexpensive gasoline car like the Nissan Versa, Hyundai Accent, Chevy Spark, etc.

The people who are buying the Tesla are doing so because it's a high-end boutique brand, as you said. It's a status symbol to show that you are successful enough to drop $50k on a car. Kinda like the same reason people pay $1.5k for Google Glass. Of course, if you do find yourself with a bunch of disposable income and can't decide between the two, I strongly recommend skipping Google Glass - the Model S is significantly more likely to get you laid.

about 2 months ago
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Why Nissan Is Talking To Tesla Model S Owners

Powercntrl It's the gas, silly (335 comments)

I can't fathom why anyone who can afford a Tesla Model S would buy something else.

Because, if you can afford a Tesla Model S, you can afford the gas for anything short of a Sherman tank (roughly 1.2 gallons per mile). Gas is still king for availability and speed of "recharging" your energy storage.

about 2 months ago
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US Carriers Said To Have Rejected Kill Switch Technology Last Year

Powercntrl Clue sticks in short supply (197 comments)

All the carriers have to do is to ban the IMEI number of the phone when it is reported stolen and the phone can't be activated on the network.

I realize people can't be bothered to do a Google search, but the USA has had a national IMEI blacklist since October 31st, 2012. See this CTIA press release. It's also not difficult to check if a phone is blacklisted, this site is one place that does ESN/IMEI checks for free.

We've lived with this situation long enough to know what the outcome has been. People still steal phones because they have value as parts. Also, they're bought up by scammers that re-sell them to people on Craigslist who don't know any better. It's also worth mentioning not all of these phones are stolen, it's generally a mix of phones that were lost, traded in without disabling the phone's lock, insurance fraud and some that are blocked by the carrier for a defaulted payment plan or wireless contract.

There's absolutely nothing stopping a criminal from forcing the person they're mugging to sign out/disable a phone's locking feature. Apple even has a helpful guide (ostensibly for people looking to give away, trade-in or resell their old iDevice) explaining the process. Are you really going to tell a criminal "no" when they've got a gun pointed at you? If your city has a mugging problem, then something needs to be done about the crime. If it's not cell phones, it will be good, old fashioned wallets, purses and jewelry.

about 2 months ago
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Elon Musk Talks Tesla, Apple, Model X

Powercntrl Re:Dissimilar markets (99 comments)

Although there is a difference between a product warning you to pull over and get out versus just exploding on your lap.

Maybe they're just saving fire warnings for iOS 8.

about 2 months ago
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Elon Musk Talks Tesla, Apple, Model X

Powercntrl Re:Dissimilar markets (99 comments)

Electric cars are not yet a mature product. Just as computers weren't back in the early 1980s, when they either cost a fortune and didn't do much, or cost less and did much less. Electric cars are at that stage now, but whereas some people will be content to sit back and wait for it to mature, then jump on the bandwagon, others will be in the right place at the right time with the money and the vision to be the one to take it from expensive luxury that doesn't do much (in this case, range) to a mature product.

Unlike personal computing, cell phones or flat panel televisions, electric cars are not a new technology. They have been around in one form or another, since the 1880s. Vehicle body construction and electric motor design are both very well understood disciplines, as most advances in these areas had significant applications outside their use in electric cars.

The technological limitation that's holding back electric cars has always been a lack of energy density in the batteries. Fixing that would be a holy grail for a number of different industries (imagine a smartphone that can last an entire week of heavy usage before needing to be recharged). Now, maybe it would be admirable if Tesla was fleecing the rich and dumping all the money back into battery R&D - but they're not. Elon has even said they're not much interested in pursuing fuel cell technology. They're buying off-the-shelf batteries from the same suppliers that build batteries for the rest of the portable electronics industry. Since batteries are a resource intensive product (they're made from commodity materials that must be mined and processed), there is always going to be a fixed cost associated with their production. Here's a free hint: more electric cars being sold will only put more demand on battery manufacturers, and I don't have to explain how supply and demand works.

about 2 months ago
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Elon Musk Talks Tesla, Apple, Model X

Powercntrl Dissimilar markets (99 comments)

Apple's products are affordable to a family making an average middle class budget. The fact that anyone considers Apple to be a high-end manufacturer with products that are a status symbol is just clever marketing. It's not uncommon to go to Walmart (yeah, those of us who didn't make a fortune on Bitcoins still need to eat), and see someone paying with EBT while texting/yapping away on an iPhone. On the other hand, a Tesla model S is 1/3rd to 1/4th the cost of the average American home and about equally as expensive as a low-end manufactured home.

Tesla's cars actually are just a status symbol. They're truly only affordable to people who otherwise would have no trouble buying gasoline and want the warm fuzzy feeling (or the arrogant smugness) that comes from knowing your car is running on 32% less fossil fuel than everyone else's 100% dinosaur burners.

Also, per percentage of fires per number of units sold, Apple's products are significantly less likely to spontaneously catch fire. Hey don't flame me, it's actually true.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Cryptocurrency Exchange Vircurex to Freeze Customer Accounts

Powercntrl Powercntrl writes  |  about a month ago

Powercntrl (458442) writes "Vircurex, an online exchange for Bitcoin as well as other cryptocurrencies is freezing customer accounts as it battles insolvency. While opinions differ on whether cryptocurrency is the future of cash, a Dutch tulip bubble, ponzi scheme or some varying mixture of all three, the news of yet another exchange in turmoil does not bode well for those banking on the success of Bitcoin or its altcoin brethren, such as Litecoin and Dogecoin."
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YouTube Celebrity FPSRussia Dead, Shot In Apparent Homicide

Powercntrl Powercntrl writes  |  about a year ago

Powercntrl (458442) writes "Keith Ratliff, better known by his YouTube identity as FPSRussia, produced popular videos demonstrating various high-powered firearms and explosives, has been killed in what Georgia authorities believe to be a homicide. Keith Ratliff was an outspoken gun advocate and his YouTube channel was among the top ten most popular on the site."
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