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Tesla Aims For $30,000 Price, 2017 Launch For Model E

maz2331 Re:Not Aluminum? Not a good sign. (247 comments)

Steel can be a quite good material if it is properly protected. And there is no excuse for a vehicle exhaust system to not be made from stainless steel that doesn't easily corrode. Hell, I had a Chevy Cavalier in 1992 that was built that way.

about three weeks ago

Tesla Aims For $30,000 Price, 2017 Launch For Model E

maz2331 Re:Profit before subsidy? (247 comments)

It does compare quite nicely to my $45k BMW, though. I'd be a potential buyer at the $30k price point in a couple of years, once my current ride is paid off.

about three weeks ago

Judge Frees "Cannibal Cop" Who Shared His Fantasies Online

maz2331 Re:First "OMG the common sense" post (185 comments)

The arrests for terrorism only happen when there is an overt act taken in the real world (aka "meatspace") where an actual attempt is made to do damage. The cops just ensure that the damage isn't actually possible, but the target of their investigation doesn't know that.

That said, those cases do need to be very carefully reviewed for entrapment concerns. If the cops are coercing or near-brainwashing someone with a weak personality into doing something that they wouldn't otherwise do then there is a big problem, whereas if they are only playing along with a pre-existing plot or tendency then it is not entrapment.

This is a case where there is plenty of probable cause to have initiated an investigation and termination of employment, and any appropriate punishment for misuse of public records, but until the acts discussed were actually acted upon in some way in the real world it wasn't yet a crime.

about a month ago

CDC: 1 In 10 Adult Deaths In US Caused By Excessive Drinking

maz2331 No Such Thing (454 comments)

There is no such thing as a "preventable death", at least until we develop some form of immortality. It can only be delayed or accelerated, and the cause can be shifted. Everyone is going to die at some point in time.

about a month ago

New Chemical Process Could Make Ammonia a Practical Car Fuel

maz2331 Re:waste of time (380 comments)

Ammonia has an energy density of 22.5 MJ/kg and gasoline's is 42.4 MJ/kg - roughly 53%. The physical density is also lower, with gasoline coming in at an average of 0.75 kg/L and the ammonia at 0.68 kg/l. If you want to look at energy per volume, then the results are about 15.3 MJ/l for ammonia, and 31.8 MJ/l for gasoline (or about 48%).

Assuming that the conversion efficiency is the same, then your fuel tank would need to be double the size for the same range, however fuel cells and electric propulsion is generally in the 80% range whereas an internal combustion engine is around 25%.

As a fuel for a conventional engine, ammonia has the downside of needing more physical storage space, and its cost has to be less than half that of gasoline per volume unit (gallons or liters) to be economical - especially since it requires modification to existing engines to be used, and tends to not produce nearly the same power output. In a fuel-cell hybrid that has higher efficiency, it would be quite viable, though that would depend on the retail cost of the stuff along with the cost delta of the vehicle itself.

about a month ago

EU High Court To Review US-EU Data Safe Harbor Agreement

maz2331 At what point (60 comments)

When are the US-based companies going to simply shut down their satellite offices in the EU, keep all personnel in the USA, and change their TOS such that any use is under US and California law? They could simply outsource their sales operations to a third-party in foreign jurisdictions.

about a month and a half ago

House Majority Leader Defeated In Primary

maz2331 Re:Democrats voted (932 comments)

There is no Dem to run against in the general election in that district - nobody bothered to run, just as no Republicans ran in the 8th District. Some areas are so solidly one-party that the other doesn't even bother to run.

about a month and a half ago

Seattle Approves $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage

maz2331 Re:Even higher! (1040 comments)

In the absence of inflation, it is a valid measurement. With any inflation, though, the number of dollars needs to grow as fast or faster than the inflation of the currency, or one is losing wealth.

about 2 months ago

Congress Unhappy With FCC's Proposed Changes To Net Neutrality

maz2331 Re:The FCC has no right to dictate terms (208 comments)

Even all but the most insane Libertarians understand that some regulation is necessary to prevent bad outcomes. I once heard a speech by Ron Paul, of all people, defend environmental regulations on the grounds that one doesn't have the right to pollute their neighbor's air or water.

Network neutrality is that sort of regulation.

There do exist other sort of "gotcha" regulations like HIPAA that are so detailed as to be nothing more than a paperwork minefield designed to crank the costs of compliance through the roof for smaller players, while adding maybe the paperclip budget to the cost of the bigger ones, while generally serving little to no real-world purpose.

about 2 months ago

Why Lavabit Shut Down

maz2331 Re:USA, the land of freedom (304 comments)

Even today, China's manufacturing is still mostly in the low-value parts of the market. Assembling circuit boards or making PC cases isn't quite like our still vast superiority in real heavy industry. The problem is that our productivity is off the charts via automation instead of labor - we just don't need a big enough labor force in manufacturing to support a large middle class based on those industries.

about 2 months ago

AMD Preparing To Give Intel a Run For Its Money

maz2331 Re:I'm Still Rooting for AMD (345 comments)

AMD has historically made huge gains in a stair-step fashion where they are flat or declining for a long period, then leapfrog way ahead of Intel, who then catch up and pass them in a more linear fashion.

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Easy-To-Use Alternative To MS Access For a Charity's Database?

maz2331 DB vs Front-End (281 comments)

I have done extensive work with Access, but almost never used it as the actual storage. Instead, the back-end was on a MySQL, MSSQL, or Postgres server and Access just used as a quick-development environment in the same manner as VB6 would have been.

Nowadays, I usually use MSSQL or Postgres as the backend, and build the front-end in VB.NET or C#. Once your tables are designed, just add a function that has the appropriate bunch of CREATE TABLE statements and initial INSERTs to set up a default schema, and the deployment is pretty easy.

Telling a client how to reach the backend only requires a server name (or IP), database username, database password, and database name. These are variables that are easily set in a simple "setup form" then stored in the registry. Heck, if you want to get fancy, just encode that into a structure and write it to a binary file that they can then load after setup.

You can also roll out an MS Access solution that uses Access Runtime. That doesn't require an MS Office license.

about 2 months ago

Did the Ignition Key Just Die?

maz2331 Re:I don't like the control it takes away from you (865 comments)

Pushing the button with the fob in the dash and foot off the brake will turn on ignition and not crank the engine. Pressing it a second time will put the car in ACC mode. Pushing it with a foot on the brake starts the engine. At least that is how BMW does it.

about 3 months ago

"Smart" Gun Seller Gets the Wrong Kind of Online Attention

maz2331 Re:Gun nuts (1374 comments)

Then get 2/3 of Congress and 3/4 of the state legislatures to go along with removing it.

about 3 months ago

XP Systems Getting Emergency IE Zero Day Patch

maz2331 Re:If you're gonna keep running XP (179 comments)

Except, of course, that some business-critical sites will ONLY work with IE. It sucks, but until the vendors fix them, it is what it is.

about 3 months ago

US Should Use Trampolines To Get Astronauts To the ISS Suggests Russian Official

maz2331 Re:So what? (272 comments)

6.2 GJ is also the heat content of a whopping 51 US gallons of gasoline. I use that much per month commuting to and from work.

about 3 months ago

Really, Why Are Smartphones Still Tied To Contracts?

maz2331 Convenience Factor (482 comments)

For some people, it's likely that a single payment per month that includes the phone and the service is a nice and convenient way to make the purchase, especially if they are likely to upgrade the phone every couple of years anyway. For others, the a-la-carte purchase of phone and service is more appealing.

about 3 months ago

Distracted Driving: All Lip Service With No Legit Solution

maz2331 Obligatory (184 comments)

Your post advocates a

(x) technical ( ) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante

approach to fighting distracted driving. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work.
(One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws
which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

(x) It blocks calling the cops on other drivers who pose a real threat
(x) Telling a passenger from a driver isn't possible
( ) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
(x) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
( ) It will stop distractions for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
( ) Users of phones will not put up with it
( ) Google & Apple will not put up with it
( ) The police will not put up with it
(x) Requires too much cooperation from drivers
( ) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
( ) Many users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
( ) Drivers don't care about crashing
( ) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

( ) Laws expressly prohibiting it
( ) Lack of centrally controlling authority
(x) Affecting non-drivers
(x) Asshats
( ) Jurisdictional problems
(x) Other forms of distraction that are even more dangerous
( ) Unpopularity of weird new laws
( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
(x) Willingness of users to install inconvencing apps
(x) Bluetooth tethering to the car's audio for handsfree use
( ) Technically illiterate politicians
(x) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who text while driving
(x) Dishonesty on the part of drivers themselves
( ) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
(x) Using a power button works better

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

(x) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever
been shown practical
( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
( ) Phone use should not be the subject of legislation
( ) Blacklists suck
( ) Whitelists suck
( ) We should be able to drive however we want
( ) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
( ) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
( ) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
( ) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
( ) Incompatibility with open source or open source licenses
(x) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
( ) I don't want the government tracking my phone
( ) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

(x) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
( ) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your
house down!

about 2 months ago

The Ways Programming Is Hard

maz2331 Better Analogy (278 comments)

Actually, it is more like solving a huge jigsaw puzzle, but without an actual picture of how it is supposed to look when it is completed, and with a picture that changes while trying to put it together.

about 2 months ago

Apple, Google Agree To Settle Lawsuit Alleging Hiring Conspiracy

maz2331 Re:Misleading headline (108 comments)

My question is: where the HELL is the Labor Department and the Commerce Department on all this? The small company I work at went through a month of poking, prodding, audits, etc. by the Dept. of Labor looking for overtime violations or miscategorizing employees as salary vs. hourly, and all they found was $2000 over 3 years, and even that was questionable.

about 3 months ago


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