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Toyota Names Upcoming Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car

allquixotic Re:Hydrogen is a nice alternative (194 comments)

The biggest challenge with this tech, as with most emerging tech these days, is to mass-produce it, and do so cheaply. People simply cannot afford to pay the prices that are normally slapped on next-generation vehicles like this. That, and they only tend to produce about 1500 of them per year. Not enough to even make a dent in the market.

I'm pessimistic, but I hope they prove me wrong. If the relatively successful mass deployment of gas hybrids is a baby learning to walk, this new fuel system is going to be as difficult to roll out as asking that baby who just took their first steps, to immediately get themselves down to the race track and win a mile race against Usain Bolt.

Good luck.

about two weeks ago
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Report: Federal Workers, Contractors Behind Half of Government Cyber Breaches

allquixotic Re:CyberThis, CyberThat, CyberCommand (61 comments)

Actually, the "US military and federal contracting wanker-sphere" were among the few organizations that spent big bucks on the foundational concepts of networking that eventually led to the Internet. Look up the history of DARPA sometimes. The first letter in the acronym, D, stands for Defense.

Their reasons for using "Cyber" in front of everything are for completely different reasons. Beancounters in the massive federal bureaucracy system need distinctive search keywords for disparate efforts. If they just called everything "security", you would end up with hiring security guards with pistols who've never touched a computer, whose job description says they're supposed to do penetration testing on mainframes.

Sure, their terminology seems a little out there (especially because much of the world doesn't feel the need to assign such specific, clumsy terms to everything), and I'm not defending their practice, nor am I claiming that they're up to date with the latest trends and technologies now that the Internet has flourished.

But it is a complete fabrication to say that the military-industrial complex / the US DoD / the US military is "30 years late discovering this whole internet thing". They BUILT it.

Al Gore didn't invent the Internet. DARPA did.

about two weeks ago
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FTC Sues AT&T For Throttling 'Unlimited' Data Plan Customers Up To 90%

allquixotic Re:All based on a false-to-fact payment model (179 comments)

But Verizon is perfectly happy billing customers at $10 per GB. They will only change if they are forced to by law. And I guarantee you that they will sue the FCC, the courts, and even their own mothers again and again until the Supreme Court has to make a decision, in case the FCC does actually strike against them and declare Internet service (including mobile) a public utility.

about a month ago
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Debate Over Systemd Exposes the Two Factions Tugging At Modern-day Linux

allquixotic Re:How about we hackers? (863 comments)

I consider myself part of the "hacker culture", and I'm sick and tired of this blind adherence to an operating system architecture from the 70s. AT&T UNIX is dead, and its ancestors only mimicked it chiefly for compatibility reasons (otherwise you'd have a rough time compiling any software that was written for UNIX on your new OS, and you'd never gain market traction).

I find very little value in the UNIX philosophy, and in fact I find that it adds a lot of needless overhead and puts MORE work on system administrators for no reason at all except that "we've been doing it that way since the 70s". I'm so tired of hearing this "criticism" of systemd.

More seriously though, if that's the best you can come up with -- that it's not "UNIXy enough" -- then systemd is well on its way to universal adoption. No serious maintainer of any distro except perhaps Slackware is going to take that argument seriously, because it's a strawman that should've died before many of us in the current incarnation of the hacker culture were even born. Now it's properly dying, and all the people who are stuck in the 70s are coming out of the woodwork to pitch a fit as their set-in-stone view of system architecture is rendered obsolete.

The UNIX philosophy had a time and a place, but just like any other design decision, it had major drawbacks. It worked well in the type of environment it was running in at the time, and continues to have some relevance today, but it is high time that we retire it. The new system architecture proposed by systemd may not be the best possible one, but I think it's a step forward from the old ways.

I would very broadly describe systemd's architecture as "service-based" -- you have one or more daemons that offer some kind of service over IPC, then wake up and process requests as they receive them from processes on the system. The kernel mediates the enforcement of access control, while the daemon(s) themselves mediate authentication (if required). It is a design that is pretty close to how we do web services in an enterprise environment.

We're getting away from "edit this file" and moving towards "call this service API" (or run a command that calls it for you, if you want to map the service architecture onto a model closer to UNIX). We are getting away from the rampant race conditions that come from file editing (look at the number of programs that try to touch/manage `/etc/fstab`, `/etc/resolv.conf`, etc. and end up stepping on one anothers' toes, and trying to parse comments like "#FooProgram edited this; leave it alone!" as interoperability hacks). When you have a daemon offering a service, you get parallelism safety by design: the program can just mutex the critical section, and make sure only its user and root have access to its (ultimately) file-based backend. And root has no business touching the backend directly.

"But what if there are bugs?" you ask. Well, if everything is in a bunch of text files, you can just edit those text files as a workaround, thus avoiding the actual problem. But it's much better to get the actual bug fixed in the program itself, so that you AND all other users do not have to trip over the same bug again and again. A text-based configuration architecture just encourages lazy sysadmin practices and hacks that make a system brittle, unportable, and difficult to maintain.

If you read this and you would still rather have the UNIX philosophy, just remember: even though the service-oriented system architecture is gaining the upper hand in terms of mindshare and adoption in most GNU/Linux distros these days, there is absolutely nothing stopping you and a group of friends from starting a new distro, or contributing to an existing one, that insists on remaining on the old UNIX design. It is physically impossible for anyone making any kind of policy decision in the free software community to force you to do or run anything. The only potential threat would be if a liberally-licensed software (e.g. BSD) development team decided to take their future contributions proprietary and shut down the code repos, thus stopping development (with all the existing bugs, etc remaining unfixed) unless you pay a license fee. That's a far greater threat than the existence of any free software could potentially pose.

Kind of ironic that the people who are the most emotionally uncontrollable about this whole systemd thing are the ones that are flocking in droves to BSD. I would actively encourage the OpenBSD, NetBSD and FreeBSD dev teams to seriously consider taking their future contributions proprietary, just to show these people how silly they're being. A much better solution long term is to continue using a GPL-based ecosystem (Linux, GNU userspace, etc.) and simply run the init system that you choose, and host forks of any packages that seem to have a "hard dependency" on systemd. Yeah, it's a lot of work, but there seem to be about a million of you who hate systemd, so if only 10 or 15 of you got motivated enough, we'd see "Old Hand Linux" or something get shipped 1.0 by Q4 2015, to the applause of 999,995 people over 50 and about 5 people under 50.

And not a single person would oppose you for releasing Old Hand Linux 1.0. It's completely your prerogative. Just as it is the prerogative of current distro maintainers to adopt (or not adopt) systemd. Start contributing, or get used to it.

about a month ago
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Will Fiber-To-the-Home Create a New Digital Divide?

allquixotic Re:No. (291 comments)

While I agree with most of what you said, I think the more important issue to address is that many people don't even have the opportunity to purchase a fast Internet connection, even if they desperately want one, can afford it, and are willing to pay top dollar for it. Even if they live in a fairly densely-populated suburban area. Pointless political posturing and bureaucracy at the state, county and local levels is preventing access to viable connectivity to people who need it due to their choice of livelihood. For example, it's not far-fetched to believe that people who work with software -- programmers, system administrators, etc -- will tend to need more bandwidth than people who work as HVAC repair technicians. If you work with software, you're naturally going to be interested in much more software that's available out there, and want to download it -- IDEs, alternative operating systems, high-end content editing software, games, and so on.

But the current regulatory landscape pretty much dictates a small number of very specific locations where people who actually need high speeds to grow their knowledge and career, are able to live happily. For no reason other than politics or a whimsical decision by a bean counter at an ISP, houses 1/8th of a mile away might have 100 Mbps fiber to the home, while you might be stuck with 7 Mbps ADSL. The reasons for this may not even be related to expected revenue in your area: it may just be that the company didn't want to shell out any more money to have the fiber rolled out. So if you have a paid-off house from before the economy went to crap, and are not interested in buying a new or used house that costs 10x more and paying for a second mortgage, your choices are either to move and vastly curtail your expenses to pay for your new shack, or stay where you are and live with a 20th-century version of the Internet.

The real problem, as I see it, isn't about raising the bar for the average or typical expected speeds. The speeds that people get in the 50th percentile are fine. The problem is about bringing the bottom 20% of the speeds up to what the current average is, so that there aren't as many people left behind -- or AT LEAST making it so that people who are living in areas with these bottom 20% offerings can, at their option, purchase higher speeds, if they so choose.

I mean, there is always going to be *someone* left behind; if you own all the land around your house for 30 miles in all directions, you probably are going to have to pay a lot out of pocket to get any Internet faster than dial-up. But this should not be happening for people who live in areas with a population density that fits very well into the definition of "urban".

It's a tremendous loss of potential, both in terms of the company (they're not getting higher revenues because they aren't offering these willing customers the higher end service), and in terms of the individuals (they have legitimate non-entertainment reasons for wanting 50Mbps+ speeds but are physically unable to get them without bribing a Verizon executive with a couple million bucks or moving their entire livelihood to another place and starting the mortgage-induced poverty all over again). How many kids interested in programming went to download the Qt SDK or Eclipse or Netbeans or Ruby on Rails, only to see the download estimated time say "3 days" and give up? How many gaming enthusiasts interested in starting a career as a games critic on Youtube have been unable to do so because they only get 128 Kbps upstream? Or if you don't have any love for gamers, replace "gaming" with any other product space where being a critic/reviewer would get you enough views on youtube to pull in a decent ad revenue.

So yeah, there are plenty of potential uses for high bandwidth, but the distribution of bandwidth is pretty much like the distribution of wealth right now: you have the elite ruling class with (usually symmetrical or nearly symmetrical) 100 Mbps - 1 Gbps and up; you have the enormous preponderance of users -- the middle class -- with between 10 Mbps and 50 Mbps; and you have the lower class with dial-up to 7 Mbps ADSL. What I'd like to see is the shrinking of the number of people who are stuck being in the "lower class" of the bandwidth spectrum.

The problem is that there is no correlation between your income status, professional need for bandwidth, and the actual bandwidth you're capable of getting. You could be a member of the (income) ruling class, a software developer, and only be able to purchase ADSL, in an urban area. You could be a member of the (income) lower class, living in poverty and unable to afford any Internet at all, and not even own a computer, and have 3 companies competing to offer you 50Mbps+ at prices starting at $9.99 per month. The politics and financials of bandwidth availability are completely nonsensical. I am not advocating aligning the two so that only the rich can get high bandwidth and the poor can only get dial-up; rather, I am advocating that fewer people *overall* would be unable to get anything faster than ADSL, irrespective of their income or profession.

about a month ago
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Google Adds USB Security Keys To 2-Factor Authentication Options

allquixotic Re:USB Device Recommendation (121 comments)

I have a Yubikey NEO. The U2F device they're selling now is the same form factor so I would assume it will work. It's a hardy little device -- it frequently clanks up against my other keys, but it still works in both USB and NFC modes. Not sure if the U2F model supports NFC, though. You'd have to check.

Still, good build quality. And there's no battery; the unit has no moving parts (completely discrete); so they can be expected to last a very long time. Basically the limiting factor is how much damage you will accidentally do to the physical housing of the chip and/or the USB connector by dragging it with you everywhere. So far that amount is "0" for mine as far as I can detect.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: LTE Hotspot As Sole Cellular Connection?

allquixotic Just use the keyboard...! (107 comments)

The keyboard?! How quaint!

In all seriousness: if you don't have an unlimited data plan, you're probably going to blow your data allowance, unless by some miracle you've found a provider that values 1 GB of LTE at an order of magnitude (or more) less than $10 per GB.

If you had an unlimited data plan, you would ideally be able to use the Hotspot feature that's built into nearly every smartphone these days, and forego the hotspot. On Verizon it's an extra $30/mo for hotspot tethering on a stock firmware for phones that aren't rooted, but totally worth it for the benefit you get. This is my primary (only) Internet connection. You could make yours the same if you had unlimited data. It's not new or far-fetched at all.

In fact, if the carriers *did* reduce the amortized cost of 1 GB of data transfer on LTE by a factor of 10 or more, I'd be willing to bet that we would see many millions of people signing up for *limited* data plans on the order of 100 - 150 GB and tethering through their phones or using a hotspot as their primary internet connection. Right now it's simply too much money to get "limited" data plans -- on Verizon XLTE with the MORE plan, you can get like 100 GB for $700/month. It's still way too much money for too little data. Until and unless the prices become somewhat reasonable, so it "only" costs you $2 to watch that Netflix video instead of $20, we will mostly see unlimited data plans as the only users of LTE as their primary connection.

about a month ago
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Belkin Router Owners Suffering Massive Outages

allquixotic Re:One rule comes to mind... (191 comments)

My complaint is less about absolute cost than comparative cost.

The mid-grade model of Intel NUC, Core i3, is going to ring up a bill close to $450 USD once you've purchased the core NUC unit plus all necessary parts under the hood. For that, you get USB 3.0, a dual-core processor with hyperthreading that runs circles around any router's, and dual-band 2x2 802.11ac.

To get a device that's labeled as a router or gateway or router+gateway that has comparative specs, just in terms of I/O throughput and total wifi bandwidth (nevermind computation power, since that doesn't come into play very much), you have to venture into "enterprise-grade" equipment, which is intentionally overpriced to be "as expensive as the market can bear" (and corporations can bear a lot). You'll easily spend $1500 to $2000. The only benefit is that you'll hopefully get a nice and stodgy, well-tested but very utilitarian web interface that lets you customize everything you could possibly want. Is a web interface worth $1000 or more? I don't really think so.

My next project is to stick some really nice antennae on a NUC and build a router based on Debian with better everything -- and cheaper -- than the enterprisey routers, while being much more featureful and customizable than a consumer router. Heck, I am tempted to put X and a lightweight desktop on it, so it can be used as a web browser in a pinch (like when you bork your main desktop's OS).

about 1 month ago
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Belkin Router Owners Suffering Massive Outages

allquixotic Re:One rule comes to mind... (191 comments)

It's very hard to find affordable routers, with the latest-gen tech (802.11ac, USB 3.0, etc) which support flashing and have decent driver support on Linux or *WRT, though. Many routers have such anemic SoCs that they barely run with the built-in firmware, let alone something custom that isn't hand-optimized for the device.

I'm close to resigning to the fact that every router I have going forward is gonna have to be an Intel NUC. Even a Celery processor is many times faster than those MIPS pieces of crap they ship in most routers that cost under $1000.

about 1 month ago
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Lennart Poettering: Open Source Community "Quite a Sick Place To Be In"

allquixotic Re: Critics should take positive action (993 comments)

Please stop linking to that website. I have taken in all the information on it, and yet I find systemd to be significantly easier to use than almost every other init system except Solaris' SMF (which has significant tradeoffs compared to systemd, so I'd consider it neither better nor worse). In both the RHEL7 and Debian Testing implementations, I find my system easier to diagnose, and I find it easier to set up new services when installing stuff (both from the package manager and from source).

I use GNU/Linux both as a desktop/laptop distro and for (headless) dedicated servers, and systemd has never once stood in the way of me getting shit done. In fact, it is better at that than any other init system I've ever used, and I distro shopped for a decade before I started to settle on Debian and CentOS as my main two (I also tried out all three main BSD variants -- Free, Open and Net -- and OpenSolaris).

Most of the criticisms on that site are completely immaterial to me because they're either philosophical, or the typical crybabying of "what about BSD?????". Well, now even the BSD folks can shut up, because uselessd is bcoming an actually useful piece of software that hopefully will maintain some degree of compatibility with systemd, as far as the integration points to systemd that other packages have to support. This should at least fix upstream GNOME3 on BSD.

The few valid technical arguments go along the lines of, "there are too many GNUisms in the code". Compiler and libc compatibility matters, so I can get behind that. But really, if you solely use GNU/Linux like I do, (and it's not even a "Red Hat" thing anymore with so many distros on the uptake), it's hard to consider this a priority. I'm glad that some people do, and have created uselessd as a result. Uselessd is the opposite of a parody, in my opinion: it's a confirmation that systemd is fundamentally useful and innovative; is here to stay; and is so useful that people want to implement at least some pieces of it on other OSes. More power to them!

Hopefully the uselessd developers will take their project in a direction that is pragmatic, resulting in a better overall init system. If they pull it off, the systemd developers might consider merging their work upstream, which is the ultimate compliment -- this happened with gcc, and now the gcc community is one big happy family. Mostly. Or at least a lot happier than before.

The work they're doing on uselessd is infinity percent better and more constructive than all you imbeciles sitting around complaining about something being "forced down your throat". FOSS, where forced obsolescence doesn't exist and licenses are free as in beer, and you talk about things being *forced* upon you? Fuck me. Go live in an actually oppressive society for a decade or so, and THEN you'll know the true definition of having something forced upon you. Everyone who thinks there is any sort of enforcement going on about using systemd needs to live in North Korea until they actually understand the words that come out of their own mouths.

about 1 month ago
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Lennart Poettering: Open Source Community "Quite a Sick Place To Be In"

allquixotic Re:Who? (993 comments)

Yeah, and dmix is as compatible with most ALSA apps (even before pulseaudio came along) as a minnow and an oak tree trying to get it on with each other.

It's not great.

about 1 month ago
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Lennart Poettering: Open Source Community "Quite a Sick Place To Be In"

allquixotic Re: Critics should take positive action (993 comments)

[citation needed]

This sounds like more bandwagoning just because it's fun to hate something.

about 2 months ago
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Lennart Poettering: Open Source Community "Quite a Sick Place To Be In"

allquixotic Re:Who? (993 comments)

He's the developer of Avahi, Pulseaudio, and Systemd, most prominently. These components are standard middleware (userspace programs, usually that run in the background, which provide useful services to make a Linux distro more useful than just providing a terminal). The first two were accepted mostly uncontroversially; I mean, pulseaudio did have some pushback, but systemd has had orders of magnitude more pushback than pulseaudio. Now that the most popular distros ship systemd by default, people who don't like it are railing against both the program and its author(s).

People need to get a life.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is It Worth Being Grandfathered On Verizon's Unlimited Data Plan?

allquixotic Yes, since they won't bring me FiOS (209 comments)

Addendum to what I said here -- http://slashdot.org/comments.p...

My main beef is that Verizon won't bring FiOS to my neighborhood. No amount of little people money (i.e., short of offering to bribe them with several million dollars) is going to convince them to bring FiOS to my suburban neighborhood. There's FiOS 1/8th of a mile down the road; in fact, my community is surrounded by people who have FiOS. But Verizon stopped expanding FiOS, and Comcast hasn't installed replacement copper cables in our area despite us being their customer for a decade and complaining about it on a bi-weekly basis.

So the copper sucks (it's unreliable); the ADSL sucks (the speeds are just too slow, AND it's unreliable); and the amount of money it would take to move Verizon to install FiOS simply isn't available.

Sprint in my area is extremely marginal. I'd have to find a Yagi LTE antenna and point it exactly in the direction of the tower -- and then I'd only have LTE through the house's wifi, but if I were out and about in town, I probably wouldn't have any data. The tower is several miles away and just barely registers as a signal at all, but usually we get no data. So I returned my Sprint device after trying this for several days.

What's left? Well, either live in the 20th century without access to the global economy; or use Verizon Wireless LTE. Verizon's refusal to expand FiOS has left me with no options.

Moving is not an option due to the immense cost of housing. Our house is paid off, and we spend the money we'd be paying on a mortgage, on other things. We would have to severely curtail online spending, luxury spending, penny pinch on utility use, etc. if we were to move. Having a paid-off house in a world where everything is expensive and everyone is living beyond their means, is the difference between being able to afford stuff and always being broke.

Unlimited data on LTE is really a lifesaver. But it's ultimately Verizon Wireless' parent company, Verizon, that is to blame for any undue congestion we may cause by using a combined 200 GB or so per month of LTE data. It's their greedy refusal to expand FiOS to neighborhoods that might take more than a few years to make ROI, despite receiving vast amounts of public funding that were earmarked for FiOS, then turning around and spending that money on LTE instead.

Hey. If they want to offer me a great service, at a great price, and live within the restrictions the FCC has placed on the airwaves, they can kindly shut up. Verizon Wireless has no right to complain about my usage of their service. I am acting entirely within the ToS and the law. I value that service and will continue to use it as long as they offer it. If they ever stop offering it, I'll have to see about bribing Comcast to replace the damaged copper that gives us about 50% uptime on a modern cable modem.

I am hopeful that, in the future, the spectral efficiency and tower density improvements can converge together sufficiently that Verizon will be able to offer a legitimate unlimited data plan to NEW customers, eliminating the fear that us grandfathered folks might soon be put out to pasture. If that's a pipe dream, then they better show up at the end of my street with a reel of fiber, or I'm going to see about taking public action to get my neighborhood some actually decent access to the 21st century economy.

The greatest tragedy of a capitalistic society is when nobody's selling what you're buying. Such wasted potential. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

about 2 months ago
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Verizon Wireless Caves To FCC Pressure, Says It Won't Throttle 4G Users

allquixotic Thanks Wheeler (46 comments)

While I still dislike most of the political rhetoric coming out of Verizon and Verizon Wireless, I have to concede that this is a huge benefit for me personally. I'm an unlimited 4G customer who uses my phone as my primary Internet connection (I pay an extra $30/month for the privilege of "legally" tethering via the built-in Mobile Hotspot app that comes standard with Android; the app is disabled if you don't pay up).

It's plenty fast enough for my needs, even when the network is congested. It's a perfectly viable primary Internet connection, with native IPv6, and can be shared with desktops, laptops, smart devices, tablets, and other phones using 802.11ac, Bluetooth, or USB RNDIS.

I'm perfectly fine with being temporarily slowed down if the tower I'm on is congested. All they have to do is use a fair queue algorithm, not too dissimilar to what the Linux kernel's I/O scheduler does. But what was being proposed was to single out unlimited data users who use more than a certain amount of data, and slow them down artificially even more than everyone else.

I think this brought me back from the brink of having to face the prospect of getting ADSL or cable again. The problem with these services, in my area at least, is that every time we've ever tried them, they prove to have about a 50% uptime. That is to say, they're very intermittently available. They may not go down for 2 weeks at a stretch every month, but you'll certainly experience 10, 20, or 30 different 2 or 3 minute dropout periods during the course of a single day; sometimes the dropouts are longer, and sometimes there are more or less of them. I experience nothing of the sort with LTE.

While it would take the construction of many more towers in suburban and urban areas to be able to offer *every* customer unlimited data on LTE (or even to increase the typical monthly cap from around 2 GB to around 200 GB), and some people think that it would require the construction of "too many" towers, I'm still glad that this decision benefits me.

I'm certainly not going to become a Verizon Wireless booster, singing their praises on high; but this gives me a little respite from the endless barrage of anti-consumer laws and corporate practices that have been coming down the pipe lately.

A little bit of sanity goes a long way, in this case. For me and thousands of others who still have unlimited data.

about 2 months ago
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Is the Tesla Model 3 Actually Going To Cost $50,000?

allquixotic PHEVs will be better til at least 2030 (393 comments)

Unless there is some enormous revolution in battery technology that makes state-of-the-art Lithium Ion / Lithium Polymer batteries look as antiquated as lead-acid, AND is cheaply and easily mass-manufactured, Plug-in Hybrids (PHEVs) are going to be a better option for most people through the 2010s and 2020s.

The reason is simple: When the range of your vehicle can be measured in a few hundred miles, you are going to need to refuel or recharge quite often. Problem is, the only place you can guarantee the availability of charging apparatus (and the permission to use it) is on your own personal property. If you're very very lucky, you might be able to secure access to this at your place of employment -- but if you switch jobs, all bets are off.

Since gasoline stations are omnipresent almost anywhere in the civilized world, not only in the U.S. but worldwide, having your vehicle ultimately rely on gasoline as a "fall-back" or "range extender" means that you could, in a pinch, get in your car that's out of battery juice and has 1 gallon of gas in the tank; go to the nearest refueling station; fill up; drive several hundred miles; and repeat that several times to get from one end of the country to the other. You'd only spend a total of about 30 minutes refueling throughout your long journey.

So a PHEV can be relied upon to have "virtually unlimited range" (assuming you have unlimited money to pay for the gas) if you have a sudden, pressing need to go a long distance. You cannot rely upon a pure EV because you have no idea where you'll be able to find a recharging station, and even if you do, assuming it's compatible, it will take at least 45 minutes to an hour to get a good charge going (until EV batteries are based on supercaps or something that can recharge in seconds, but that's yet to be commercialized, much less mass-manufactured).

200 miles isn't a lot. Back and forth to work; run some errands; drive across part of a mid-Atlantic state to visit a relative; and you've driven 200 miles. Better hope grandma can bring out a long extension cord to charge up your car on the 120V overnight (assuming the current draw doesn't pop her 1970s-era circuit breaker faster than an electric lawnmower will).

I want to see more PHEVs with a range long enough for your ordinary commute on pure EV, but with a range extender (basically a gasoline-powered electric generator) that can give you range competitive with traditional gasoline vehicles. The nice thing about PHEVs is that you can make the battery a little bit smaller than the enormous ones Tesla needs for a 200-mile EV, which cuts down the cost into the 30k range quite easily. Tack on a medium-sized government subsidy and you're looking at sub-30k prices for a vehicle that might only use gasoline weekly or bi-weekly if the driver can fit their round trip commute in on the EV.

This is possible TODAY. To avoid the appearance of a shill I am deliberately not mentioning any manufacturers or vehicle models. But I really don't think people will be able to buy pure EVs until there is an Earth-shattering revolution in battery technology that would enable 1000+ mile range OR near-instantaneous charging; and even then, we'll need to build up a near-omnipresent charging infrastructure before you'll see very much adoption.

Meanwhile, with PHEVs, smart owners can continue to demand that the infrastructure for EV charging will build up, while still having a fallback if absolutely needed. The fallback of gasoline gets about half the MPG (i.e., costs twice as much) as using electricity produced on the grid, so drivers have a financial motivation to ask their workplace, local convenience stores and gas stations, etc. to have advanced high-speed chargers. This demand and the resultant market response will help build up the infrastructure WHILE we are getting our ducks in a row to prepare for the full-on EV revolution. Therefore, we avoid the chicken and egg problem by phasing in the demand, and we don't inconvenience consumers in the near term by allowing them to fall back on 20th century fuel so they can get to where they're going.

I want a full EV future as much as most people do; I think virtually everyone agrees we have to stop using fossil fuels. The first step is to reduce our dependency on them for transportation, followed shortly by eliminating our dependency on them for transportation. Then we can continue to phase in higher and higher percentages of renewables into the electricity grid, without asking anyone to buy a new car to take advantage of the improved grid, since electricity from any source is compatible with all electrical vehicles by design.

Baby steps, guys. It'll happen. I severely doubt Tesla's introduction of a 200 mi EV in the 2010s is going to make a dent, though, as much as I wish it would. Affordable PHEVs will drive the demand to build the infrastructure that will then, in another decade or so, make the 200 mi EVs feasible for most people.

about 2 months ago
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Verizon Working On a La Carte Internet TV Service

allquixotic Re:Missing the point (108 comments)

What the fuck is wrong with *you*? Breaking the law is not a solution to social problems. It's a great way to land yourself in jail, where your "personal sanctity" will be mercilessly abused by homicidal men who actually *belong* in jail. Breaking the law just further validates the rhetoric being slung by the elite. Suddenly anyone who doesn't want to pay their $130 is a criminal, or a terrorist.

The solution is to make your voice heard. Join the Mayday SuperPAC. Write to your congress critters. Support the few companies out there that are offering content with sane licensing models, such as DRM-free, using open formats, "watch anywhere". You have to inflict positive change upon the system, which antagonizes and hurts the evil parts of it. Once they feel the burn, they start speaking out even more loudly in favor of their own positions, and their rhetoric can then be exposed to reason and it can be shown how ridiculous it is. If you instead choose to break the law, you are actively helping them dig in their heels, because now they can rally the ignorant public against a "rising threat"; they spin piracy as a common enemy of both the consumer and The Man, and use this as lube to get the public to agree to let them fuck them harder.

Pirating may appear to be the "best" short-term, self-interested solution to the problem of watching what you want without paying outlandish prices, but it creates a backswing that will hurt *every* consumer, whether they pirate or not, and helps ensure that the greedy actors who have put us in the position we're in now, will continue to wield enormous power over our society's decision-making systems.

Don't do it.

about 2 months ago
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Hewlett-Packard Pleads Guilty To Bribing Officials in Russia, Poland, and Mexico

allquixotic Soo.... (110 comments)

Since corporations are people too, when can it be placed on the public record that Hewlett-Packard has been officially incarcerated?

about 2 months ago
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Students From States With Faster Internet Tend To Have Higher Test Scores

allquixotic Follow The Money (175 comments)

You can stop at "more $". That's the real reason why students in MA do better than students in MS.

Not money that's used to buy kids iPads or Surfaces, mind you. Money that's spent to modernize schools built in the 1960s, or tear them down entirely and put up new ones. Money that's spent to pay teachers more, and attract better teaching talent. Money that's spent on the community and infrastructure to make teachers want to live there.

Also, it's much more profitable for the private companies that "public" education relies on these days, when they have a higher density of students in schools. It's simply not practical to have as many students in a school in rural MS as it is in a school in urban MA. The urbanites get better educations because the private companies that do fund raisers, home and school internet connectivity, buses, general contracting on the buildings, etc. are making more money when they have more students in one place. It's the same reason why Verizon rolled out FiOS to the top 30% most densely populated suburbs and left the rest in the dark.

You can't trust private corporations to do anything other than act in their own self interest. The public sector as originally conceived was supposed to fill in the gaps, working under the assumption that all human citizens of the great USA deserve the same opportunity to have access to high quality education and thus high quality jobs. But such an assumption requires you to accept that each human being is meritorious of their own moral standing, just by virtue of the fact that they exist and are living and breathing. Corporations aren't people, and they don't assign any moral standing to anything except their bottom line.

We wanted nice things and we got exactly what we wanted. But you see, if you're not living in urban America, you aren't worthy of moral concern because you aren't worth enough money to our corporate benefactors.

The message is awfully clear. If you want a chance to prosper in today's economy, jam yourself in a tiny apartment and bleat through the herd of thousands through the doors of your local well-funded school. Welcome to The Haves Caste, USA, citizen. You are entity number 126,438,921.

about 3 months ago
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Groundwork Laid For Superfast Broadband Over Copper

allquixotic Re:Fibre optic is almost her (93 comments)

What world do you live in? I want some of what you're smoking. Fiber isn't "gaining traction"; major players in the fiber market, such as Verizon, are sitting on their hands, intentionally stopping their deployments. If you don't have Fiber today where you live, don't hold your breath for getting it any time in the future, unless there is a major regulatory upheaval that ousts the lobbyists from having a stranglehold over the organizations in government that are supposed to be regulating them.

Assholes. Verizon pocketed millions in public funding; spent it on executive bonuses and the rollout of their overpriced and extremely restrictive LTE that you can hardly use unless you're grandfathered unlimited; while talking out of both sides of their mouth that they are simultaneously a Title II carrier when it benefits them, and a Title I carrier when that benefits them more. Meanwhile they only paid token lip service to the folks who are actually demanding a fiber rollout, by serving about 20% of the customers that they currently offer ADSL to. And rather than at least upgrading their ADSL to something a wee bit faster than 7 Mbps, such as VDSL2, they've left the remaining 80% of their customers completely in the dark, stuck with an internet connection whose speed would be acceptable in about 2002.

Maybe things are better where you live, but I know Australia's telecoms are behaving the same way as Verizon and AT&T in the US. Fast access to the Internet is an on-ramp to the modern global economy; those without are basically living in the 20th century. And the term "fast" constantly changes; the bar is being raised year over year by increasingly large software downloads and media sizes. You can't simply sit on your laurels and reap the profits of the previous decade's investment; you have to constantly upgrade. But in many of the supposedly first-world countries with supposedly advanced industrial economies, lobbyists and lawyers have hamstrung the country's potential to participate in the global economy by making consumers' internet access options all but worthless. Fiber to the premises is a fantasy for the vast majority of the people on the planet, both those in industrialized countries and those in developing nations (though for different reasons). Hell, even 20 Mbps VDSL is a pipe dream for many people.

about 3 months ago

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