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New Zealand ISP's Anti-Geoblocking Service Makes Waves

ukoda Re:There is a fixed cost per country (153 comments)

Without numbers I don't think our argment holds water. How many copies of a game are sold in NZ and how much does the compliance cost? My guess, without numbers to back it up, is it is around 1% of the retail sale price and therefore not a valid justification for over charging.

about three weeks ago
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Toyota's Fuel Cell Car To Launch In Japan Next March

ukoda I though the hydrogen distraction was history (216 comments)

It's pretty clear the pure EVs won the race against hydrogen options so I though the days of news reports such as these was history. Looking back at the history of hydrogen offerings I can't help but think they were promoted by the oil industry as a way to slow pure EV development and as was fall back plan should someone actually work how to make a cost effective hydrogen vehicle. Lets hope that news sites such as Slashdot don't waste space on such rubbish in future.

about a month ago
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Tiniest Linux COM Yet?

ukoda Re:TL-WR703N (76 comments)

That Taobao option is about USD $14, call it $15 shipped if you are in China. Amazon is convenient but seldom cheapest for Chinese products, this is http://www.aliexpress.com/item... with free worldwide shipping for USD $21.55.

about 2 months ago
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Future of Cars: Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Or Electric?

ukoda Re:Electric. (659 comments)

My last employer (in China) put power strips in the the scooter park to give all employees free charging at work. I would guess around 50% of the employees use it to to charge for free and if they live within 10km, as most do, they would not need to charge at home. So free commuting for an outlay of USD $400 to buy a new 500W electric scooter. While the rest of the world discusses range limits a very large percentage of the Chinese population use EVs everyday.

about 3 months ago
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Future of Cars: Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Or Electric?

ukoda Re:Electric. (659 comments)

Yes, these are the break thoroughs that will make the range issue mute. Take the 270 mile range already mentioned, multiply by 5 and you get 1350 miles, or 2160km as I prefer to think it. I can drive 600km in a day but not a lot more. So the limit is then the driver. With such technologies I doubt the would make such long range packs but instead reduce cost and size. I may be when you go to the dealer you pay for the size battery pack you need. This is already how some laptops are sold, different battery packs to meet different needs on the same base model.

about 3 months ago
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Future of Cars: Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Or Electric?

ukoda Re: Electric. (659 comments)

Depends on the country and supplier. Here in New Zealand we are over 70% green energy, typically hydro and geothermal. I can chose my supply company and I chose one that is 100% green energy for a very modest additional cost.

To me it's simple, ignore hydrogen, it full EV for the future. Ignoring batteries they are simpler, cheaper and more fun to drive. Look at battery performance and cost over the last couple of decades and the trend is clear, with enough demand the cost will drop and performance rise such that all other options will be a footnote in history.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Professional Journaling/Notes Software?

ukoda A wiki (170 comments)

Several years ago I started to use PMWiki and was surprised to find it replaced my use of notebooks. There is probably better wiki software out there but it does what I need.

The search feature makes it easy to find old notes just by remebering one word specfic to the info I want. This was the key short coming of my paper notes, after a while finding stuff was no longer pratical.

The other thing was being html on a server meant I always have access from any PC or from my phone. When my job started including international travel this remote access to my notes was great.

about 3 months ago
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Kim Dotcom Launches Political Party In New Zealand

ukoda Could do well (133 comments)

Kimmy has picked a good time to launch a political party in NZ. In the past the traditional voter split was the low paid and beneficiaries on the left voting Labor and higher paid on the right voting National. The current, and normal Labor voter pitch has been to blame the rich for not paying enough taxes which is idea that appeals to low income groups. The problem is that it has created a a situation where once you earn 44% above the average salary your are classed as mega rich and taxed at the top possible rate. This see a large portion of the population paying the top tax rate and they tend to gravitate right. A gross over simplification of the status quo, but gives non-kiwis the general picture.

The National party has been in power for two terms and seeks a third. The catch is, like many second term governments, they appear to have stopped listening to their traditional voters and have been pursing policies that appear to serve US corporations more than the people who voted them in. So people such as myself who were worried about being overtaxed for working harder are now worrying about our disappearing freedoms. I don't want to vote labor as I don't want to pay more taxes and if I vote national it's like I am telling them I think is is ok to sell out my freedoms on the promise of a US free trade agreement that will never come. The USA will never sign a free trade agreement with NZ because the US farmers have too much lobbying power and will never allow NZ primary produce to compete on US soil on equal terms. That's fine, the US has every right to protect their farmers, we can simply compete with them on the world market. So with nothing to gain then giving away our freedoms through secret deals such as TAPA does not appeal.

So I was looking at not voting, a protest in it's own right, but a protest without voice. Along comes Kimmy with some issues dear to my heart and now I have somewhere to make my point. If he doesn't make the 5% threshold then I'm no worse off than not voting and if he does then his mob can stir things up a bit and under the NZ MMP voting system one seat parties can have an influence in coalition governments. They have been able to set policy to the bigger parties on minor issues that are important to them and can swap sides if the bigger party starts acting like a dick. Yes, this election has the potential to be interesting.

about 4 months ago
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Why Movie Streaming Services Are Unsatisfying — and Will Stay That Way

ukoda What fragmentation? (323 comments)

The "future of digital TV and movies is destined to be fragmented across several services" but right now there is one website that has the torrents for them all. I'm not advocating piracy but just saying there are reliable one stop options if you don't mind testing the copyright laws of where you live.

Of course if you happen to live in China, as I currently do, then there is approximately zero legal options for English language movies and TV. Fortunately I have found books are not region locked, yet...

about 4 months ago
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Mazda Says Its Upcoming Gas-Powered Cars Will Emit Less CO2 Than Electric Cars

ukoda One way to hide you lack of an EV (330 comments)

It would seem to me that Mazda are only peddling this BS because they don't have a viable EV. EVs are simpler than IC vehicles to manufacture so presumable use less CO2 to build and EVs produce zero CO2 when running so that only leaves the electricity source. Where I come from, New Zealand, pretty much all power generation is CO2 free, mainly hydro and geothermal, and I can chose a supplier with only green generation sources. Therefore if I use an EV I can do so CO2 free.

Sorry Mazda but this idea is about as credible as the hydrogen powered BS that used to make the media but never amounted to anything. I bet in a few years time nobody will even remember this distraction, and if Mazda doesn't pull finger in getting an EV to market then in a few more years no one will remember Mazda either.

about 4 months ago
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Alibaba Confirms Plans To Offer IPO In US

ukoda Re:Inside China Alibaba is not used (93 comments)

Yea, I would agree with that. I don't see any need for Taobao to change, it's for internal consumption so one language is fair. However general speaking I can't see any reason why Alibaba Express blocks internal sales, they had to go to the extra step of removing China from the long list of countries you can pick from. The only possible reason I could think of is because the Chinese government probably has different processing requirements for internal trade and exports and allowing Alibaba Express to do internal transactions would complicate things for very few sales.

about 4 months ago
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Alibaba Confirms Plans To Offer IPO In US

ukoda Inside China Alibaba is not used (93 comments)

I don't know what ratio of "Internet e-commerce market in China" is export vs internal consumption but the average Chinese person has little knowledge of Alibaba, they use Taobao. The basic point if the article is still valid as Taobao is part of the Alibaba group.

Making an online purchase is pain inside China if you don't speak Chinese. Alibaba Express is for export only, so blocks China as shipping destination. Inside China you are expected to use Taobao, but Taobao is Chinese language only.

about 4 months ago
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Goodbye, Google Voice

ukoda Re:Google Voice is following the trend of USA only (166 comments)

Wow, what flame bait, and you managed to get a score of 2 for that! Many of my fellow citizens are unhappy about recent law changes made by our government to support your government and our new laws give Google and other USA companies more rights to control our citizens than they have over US citizens. It looks like TAPA will make that worse.

I challenge you to put up or shut up! Name one single case where my government has ever harassed or extorted Google? Last year Google earned $6.8M here but only paid $165K in tax, does that sound like harassment? That's less than 3% while I'm taxed at 30%, who is extorting who?

I guess you didn't even know what I country I'm from when you posted. I will give you a clue, I'm from New Zealand. It is attitudes like your that lowers the world option of Americans. Fortunately I have spent some time in the USA and realise there are actually intelligent people there, it's just hard to tell it from posts like yours.

about 5 months ago
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Goodbye, Google Voice

ukoda Google Voice is following the trend of USA only (166 comments)

It is getting hard and harder to deal with Google outside the USA. In the old days you could buy Nexus phone using a VPN and a friend in the US as the shipping address. Now you have to have a USA issued credit card and many times they know you on a VPN. My Google Glass invite will expire in 2 days which pisses me off because is my $1500 not as good anyone else in the USA?

Google Voice is simply another case in point. On May 15th they will block 3rd party apps, effectively disconnected people who uses Google Voice outside the USA. The native Google Voice app demands you verify against the USA phone number, which is fine while you are visiting the USA but once you leave it will stop working when you get a new phone or the app is updated. Groove IP was a great work around and allows you to join those US based work conference calls for free but would cost via Skype. Also handy to contact US based associates that don't have 24/7 VOIP app running and Skype has never work 100% on mobiles.

BTW I would love to hear suggestions for open source VOIP apps that would work as alternative to Skype? I can't say I seen any that can find peers without a commercial service or PSTN behind it.

about 5 months ago
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Daylight Saving Time ...

ukoda Really needed in China (310 comments)

It is crazy that a country as wide as China is a single time zone, and not having daylight savings just makes it worse in the east. Where I am, near Shanghai in the east, in summer it gets light at about 4:30am and starts getting dark at around 7:30pm. I guess it fits well with the other forms of craziness here.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Linux For Grandma?

ukoda Mint and tablets (287 comments)

My parents are in the 70's and on the other side of the world from where I work. I set up a new laptop with Mint Cinnamon and pre-set up their email accounts etc along with desktop icons to start email, Firefox . They have adapted quickly as the GUI is as close to XP as anything modern I can think of. At the same time I gave them an Android tablet.

Given the limited range of things they do, a tablet can also do the job and can simply be replaced and log back into to get them up in running if the tablet fails. They have got the hang of it reasonably well and it lessened the learning curve when they got their first smart phone, also running Android.

about 5 months ago
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Invention Makes Citibikes Electric

ukoda Re:Seriously? (166 comments)

Alibaba? That's for foreigners who want to pay too much! The locals use Taobao. Some listings are likely to be bogus but the $400 was the local street price, online there are some real cheap deals. The USD buys 6.13 RMB so you can see a bicycle form factor for under $200 at http://item.taobao.com/item.ht... or this more scooter style one starting from $85 http://item.taobao.com/item.ht... but there is probably a catch with that second one.

My original post was referring to the more popular traditional scooter style that appear to listed for $200 to $360 typified by this on http://item.taobao.com/item.ht.... These things are everywhere and are a lot of fun to ride, just too slow for my taste.

Can't afford a Tesla and don't want to wait for the cheaper model then this electric car can be yours for $1750 http://item.taobao.com/item.ht.... Note the fan on the dash, it includes air-con! Shame it is probably illegal in most countries. They are not common here as most people step from the e-bikes to a conventional car. Personally I drive the petrol BYD F0 which was so very cheap for a quality car and I have seen the BYD E6 which is a serious electric car that should make the Japanese manufactures nervous.

about 5 months ago
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Invention Makes Citibikes Electric

ukoda Re:Seriously? (166 comments)

The batteries are the major part of BOM cost of a Chinese e-bikes. I can't tell you the actual capacity from memory but they are more than 10Ah. Most use 4 x large 12V SLA to give 48V to a 500W brushless rear motor. They are in two removal packs with handles so they can be carried into your home for charging. Practical range is about 20 to 30km and we have free power for staff in the office bike park. Also the the scooter style construction is far more practical, able to carry a respectable load on it flat deck and I have often seen them haul a family of four, oldest child standing on the deck, dad driving, mum at the back with the youngest in between the parents. Contrast that with this bicycle add on with similar performance but far less carrying capacity.

My point is there probably 100M+ ebike in daily use that are a third of the price and more practical than this guy's add on. My question is why these ebikes are not used much in other countries and why overpriced bicycle solutions get press coverage?

about 5 months ago
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Invention Makes Citibikes Electric

ukoda Seriously? (166 comments)

Seriously am I the only person who has been to China? E-bikes are the most common form of transport in most cites in China and retail at about USD $400. His unit is $1200 and has less features that a $400 e-bike. Does no one do their homework anymore before launching a new product?

about 5 months ago

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