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back to article OccupySF BOFH runs protest network on pedal power

Since the end of September, a small – but growing – group of protestors has set up camp outside the Federal Reserve Bank building on San Francisco’s Market Street to demonstrate against corporate greed, government inaction, and the squeezing of the middle and lower classes. The Occupy movement currently claims encampments in …

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“We’d love to get an Apple, because a lot of the software we’re used to is on the Mac,”

Lol - middle-class anarchists.

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I think you're missing the point

They're not anarchists, since they tend to want more government intervention (bankers in jail, higher taxes on wealthy, more regulations on banks, "something" to fix underwater mortgages), not no government. And "middle class" is completely consistent with "we're the 99%".

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Anonymous Coward

>"Lol - middle-class anarchists."

Lol - you are making assumptions based on your own prejudices and then projecting them on other people.

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Silver badge

You're copping the down-votes a bit there, but I think I know what you're trying to say (beyond the humour).

The truth is they probably are middle-class, the lower class can't be squeezed anymore, and now the middle-class are feeling it and they don't like it.

Odd that if they are so energy starved they are using such large machines. Surely an Atom based netbook would be a far better idea.

Also no sign of solar, which is very odd given the off-the-shelf availability of solar phone chargers.

Last, but no least, if you have a 12v charger, and need 5 volts for phones, the easy route is to connect the 12v to a pair of 6v lead acid batteries as used in some UPS's, motorbikes and alarm systems, then you can use the centre tap between the batteries and have two 6volt sources, far easier to work with.

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Anonymous Coward

So are you

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Car Charger

The 12v to 5v problem solved, use a car kit.

Despite that oversight, I'm well impressed at how they have taken tech to the front line, I've watched live streams from NY and SF, they are uploading high quality video within an hour or so of big events.

This is now the future of protest, it's easy to ignore a two hour demo outside an office building but a continuing 24hr media event is more noticeable.

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Anonymous Coward

Global Corporate Apple products, then?

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Anonymous Coward

Far better to use a switching converter, you can get 90+ percent efficiency off the modern crop of DC-DC switchers if you're a bit careful with the design.

Center tapping a pair of batteries is a recipe for tears, you'll kill whichever battery you use the most current from in fairly short order, it's a common problem with truckers attaching 12V gear to the centre tap of their truck batteries.

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Megaphone

@AC 09:47

Re: Switching regulator. They should use the bike to cycle to Caltrain, get off at Santa Clara, and ask a passing engineer for something they'll probably have lying on their desk. Better still, use a Honda petrol powered generator. Wait...

http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/DownWithEvilCorporations.jpg

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Headmaster

"middle-class are feeling it and they don't like it"

This is when most revolutions start - nothing much happens until the middle class start feeling the pain. See France, 1789 or Russia, 1917 for examples.

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Anonymous Coward

"This is when most revolutions start - nothing much happens until the middle class start feeling the pain."

+1.

The poorest in society are perpetually downtrodden, voiceless and hopeless, and always have been. Historically, revolutions come and go and the poorest stay poor.

The middle classes do have a voice and may even have power.

Such a shame that so many are easily duped because they're gullible enough to trust the media. Sad how we each have more access to current information than all of our ancestors combined, yet I believe we're less well-informed than we've ever been since Johannes Gutenberg built his first printing press.

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@A/C 09:47 GMT

If you continually charged from one battery of the pair, then sure, it would upset things, but they have multiple phones requiring charge, so allow hookup to both sides of the centre tap and things will even out.

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Anonymous Coward

@Steve Evans

In theory, yes, it's possible to balance it out but it's something that'd need monitoring, far better just to 'do it right' in the first place for a few quid. Of course, as a quick and dirty hack it's very do-able.

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Black Helicopters

Hope your indicators are too sensitive

Sir, what we are witnessing luckily is a diversion. The middle class luckily is too well mannered to do revolutions. Trouble starts when the lower end of the upper class gets cheeky or starts feeling the pain.

As examples to the point look at HRH Prince Philippe Orléans, the man culpable of starting the trouble in France, and the traitors who killed Rasputin, dukes to a man, and a bit lower on the scale, Uljanow.

Let's hope this won't happen to us, as even upper class greed usually is a lot less lethal than what those criminals let loose.

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Linux

It is somewhat funny since Apple is more of a walled garden type of computing system. A windows box is more free in the sense of what you can hack hardware/software wise and variety of available software.

Though Linux is simply where it's at if we're talking about the openness of systems here.

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Boffin

Bad idea

Unless the loading on the two 6V batteries is *exactly* equal, one of them will fail sooner than the other. Also, an appliance connected to one battery can't be connected to an appliance connected to the other battery without causing a short circuit.

Most car chargers use dissipative regulators, here wasting 7/12 of the energy being generated. A home-made version with a "simple switcher" IC would be more efficient.

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Anonymous Coward

Car chargers

"Most car chargers use dissipative regulators, here wasting 7/12 of the energy being generated. A home-made version with a "simple switcher" IC would be more efficient.

Not true. If they did, even a mediocre single USB charger would need to dissipate 4W which is not possible in the sort of compact non-ventilated enclosures normally encountered. Car phone chargers are almost always based on the venerable MC34063 or one of its many clones which is a switcher and perfectly capable of >80% efficiency when hard at work charging a phone, and will comfortably deliver up to one amp of current even when situated in a confined space.

I suggest to the protesters they simply go and retrieve any cigar lighter type chargers they might have already got free with their devices and wire those directly to their battery. (And possibly not bother with power guzzling large-screen equipped computers at all.)

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"More than a few IT administrators complaining about underfunding should pop down to their local protest and learn a thing or two."

That rings hollow when management expect a professional service to be run on a shoestring and expect everything to work properly. No comparison.

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Joke

"That rings hollow when management expect a professional service to be run on a shoestring and expect everything to work properly. No comparison."

Actually the opposite - I'd take management down there and show them what their IT department is going to look like with the amount of funding they give. As soon as they realize they may have to peddle to keep their pr0n flowing I'm sure a degree of flexibility will be found.

Clearly, you need to read more BOFH articles... :-)

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Big Brother

How is the bailout working for you?

"in front of the Federal Reserve Bank building on San Francisco’s Market Street to demonstrate against corporate greed, government inaction, and the squeezing of the middle and lower classes"

Really!

If they are hanging out in front of the Fed, they demonstrate against *Government Action* resulting in the squeezing of the middle and lower classes. Which I approve of.

"Corporate greed" is rather irrelevant to anything. And besides ill defined. Might as well protest against the greed of the Unitary Repubocrat Party of the United States.

Money printing at the say-so of economists and bankers whose ideas go back to some confused dude whose teachings can "be much easier adapted to the conditions of a totalitarian state" (quid google) is the real problem. MORE government inaction please!

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Anonymous Coward

"Corporate greed" and government bailouts are two sides of the same coin.

"Corporate greed" is what made bankers think that they could get away with fraudulently buying and selling worthless "collateralized debt obligations" and bankrupting their firms and then believe that they still deserve to be given all their bonuses only this time paid out of public funds taxed from the poorest in society. We bailed out their broken banks and they immediately went and awarded billions to themselves to spend on champagne and private jets. That's what "corporate greed" means, and that's why it's entirely relevant.

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Pirate

Re Corporate greed" and government bailouts are two sides of the same coin

Spot on! The way the system currently works is that financial conglomerates lobby governments to reduce their taxes, remove regulation, ignore insider trading and generally look the other way and whistle while the bankers stuff their pockets.

At any mention of more regulation, they start bleating about wanting to keep 'level playing-fields', when in reality they're secretly paying millions to lawmakers to tilt the playing field their way. They privatise the profits and nationalise the losses.

Worse than pirates

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Silver badge

You want more regulation?

So that only large corporations could afford compliance?

Your regulators happily missed the developing liquidity crisis in 2008. So you want to add more warm bodies in the hope that they will not notice something like that coming in the future? Do the same thing over and over again in the hope of achieving a different result - how is that called?

But, of course, it is likely that by "regulation" you mean an armed sailor assigned to watch bank CEOs expenses and bonuses or a leather-clad commissar who will tell the bankers who they must give money to and who they must not ask to repay this money back.

I looked at the website of that pathetic organisation to try find out what is it that they actually want, but all I could find is the ultra-left farce like "freedom for all from all", "freedom for students to teach teachers", "put a stop to greed once and for all" and other crap like that.

Revolution? More like a small fart in the park...

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Anonymous Coward

more regulation

How about just rolling back some of the deregulation?

Canada had it's banking crisis awhile back so didn't deregulate to the extent that other countries did and so didn't have to fund massive bailouts. I'm sure there are other examples.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: You want more regulation?

"Your regulators happily missed the developing liquidity crisis in 2008. So you want to add more warm bodies in the hope that they will not notice something like that coming in the future?"

No, what people want are regulators that aren't completely bought by the people they are supposed to regulate. Pay attention, please!

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Ogi
WTF?

Why are the protesting on Saturday?

The day that almost the entire financial sector is shut down (and those that are working, are doing so remotely from home). I'd understand if they did it during the week, but who on earth do they expect to hear them on a Saturday?

Seems a bit silly, but I am willing to be enlightened to the logic behind this...

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Anonymous Coward

A lot of them have jobs to attend to to avoid starving completely during the week?

Just a guess.

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Anonymous Coward

Continuity?

I would guess it has to do with continuity. Or else, simply to maintain their protest space against being reclaimed by “the man”.

I've read that the bottom 99% extends well into the $500k range so almost everyone who sees the protesters in passing on a daily basis are part of the 99%.

Considering that most of the corporate cogs who fall within the 99% do not like having it brought to their attention they are part of the problem because they're “just following orders” == doing their jobs, the will to see the protesters pushed out must hang in the air heavy enough to be tasted. The only way to impress is 24/7, can you really not hear the poo-pah'ing that would be sung were they to only maintain a M-F/9-5 protest schedule?

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Ogi
WTF?

RE: Why are the protesting on Saturday?

Fair point, people need to be able to eat.

However, from what I gather the point of the protest is to be seen and heard by those they are protesting against,no? As someone said earlier: "Better to hang in there like a boil on the neck of the moneyed interests".

How can you achieve that by not protesting when those very people are there? I mean, the city is probably totally empty of financial workers (and the "top 1%") on a Saturday. All you'll really get is tourists. I liken this idea to protesting in an empty room. It might make you feel like you are doing something about it, but fundamentally nobody can hear or care about what you say.

I don't know, perhaps they should try to get alternate days off work, so that at least the protest has people there during the week (like the US protests, they've been there for weeks now, not just the odd Saturday). I don't feel they will achieve anything with the current plan, but they are free to try.

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99%

Is more of a slogan really, as you say, the top part of the 99% make $500k a year. However the 1% are making gazillions a year, inequality in the US has been skyrocketing since the 80s

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Trollface

Why on Saturday?

Pick one:

a) Mom was home from work and told them to get out of the basement.

b) Studies have shown that Tier 5 Product placement for iCr@p a la BOFH are more effective on Saturday.

I personally am trying to get past the line "media blackout" of this anyway -- seems like they've been part of a NYT love-in since day one -- but maybe nobody reads the NYT anymore?

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Holmes

Re: 99%

@ James Micallef (Posted Friday 14th October 2011 13:37 GMT)

Indeed per Prof. G. Domhoff of the University of California at Santa Cruz who cites no less an authority than the CIA, the U.S. now ranks lower (#93) than Iran (90), Russia (82), and China (81), India (56) and Egypt (45) in income equality. See Table 7 Table 7: Income equality in selected countries at the link below.

http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html

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"inequality in the US has been skyrocketing since the 80s"

So bloody what. If they did something illegal, rage to law enforcement. If the government did something stupid or immoral to help them, de-elect the offenders at the next opportunity. If no one did anything wrong, except get rich, then your definition of "doing wrong" is stupid.

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Anonymous Coward

erm, pay law makers to change laws in their favour (de regulation of the banking industry etc),

get tax payer bail outs with which they pay themselves bonus after bankrupting their banks (and soon their countries) - while the rest of us lose jobs, income and savings values (not to mention then refuse to loan that money out so the economy gets going again)

as for someone earlier complaining the protesters are using apple laptops - and apple is a corporate giant. We'll most of these people are middle class - most likely they would have a mac as they personal laptop, so you would rather they bought a windows/linux machine just for the protests?

as as I remember it, corporate giants like MS/Apple didn't bankrupts themselves and ask for a bail out - instead they kept growing and kept people employed.

These protests are against corporate greed as in stealing our money greed, not as in over pricing their 'you want-but don't need-but have a choice' premium products greed.

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stupid way to do protests

the way do do protests is to apply for a permit, get 1000s if not 100,000s of people together for a weekend .. bands .. speakers .. make a definite statement

camping out for weeks in parks is just boring ..

all for public protest mind you .. was a anti-war and civil rights marcher in the 60s and early 70s

just saying it's a lot more effective to have an event .. get tear gassed .. get out .. make big news

oh .. and the banksters don't give a shit .. go after the politicians that enabled and are still enabling them .. follow the money .. [hint: .. Goldman-Sachs]

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Anonymous Coward

Sorry, but that technique might have worked during the 60s and 70s, but today, when the corporate media controls everything, they'll control the message of any "organized" event. Better to hang in there like a boil on the neck of the moneyed interests, as the Occupy folks are doing. (cf. Tahir Square)

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IIRC

"The way do do protests is to apply for a permit, get 1000s if not 100,000s of people together for a weekend"

The last time we, the people, did that, we where completely ignored and the Government took us into a War on the basis of faked, sexed up, Intelligence.

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Anonymous Coward

@Flybert - you're an idiot

^^^^^ see title

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Anonymous Coward

The last time we did an occupy protest

Long running protests have been done as well with equally poor success. Have you ever seen the protest against the war in parliament square. It has been running for about 10 years now, it got reduced significantly thanks to a law change, but it is still going.

Or how about the Greenham Common peace protestors. They had camps there for 19 years, and the only thing that moved the missiles was a treaty.

Protests get ignored, that is the way with protests. The only thing the governments will respond to are thing that might lose them an election. And even then, other things may make them ignore that as well.

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Anonymous Coward

Protests get ignored do they??

What about this one?

Poll tax

'nuff said. Now run along and stop being silly.

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Alert

Get a decent gennie and run it on cow farts.

Some gestures are just plain ridiculous.

Mounting a side cart to a couple of push bikes and dragging around a gennie powered by biogas or ethanol to recharge people's phones makes a lot more sense.

Even charging car batteries offsite with filthy coal and biking them in would make more sense.

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Silver badge

All they want is...

Just free Ice Cream, and it appears that they are throwing a collective tantrum when they don't get it (much like a small child).

As for power conversion from 12 volts to 5 volts, I can supply a resistor of proper value and a 5 volt regulator, it should work just fine. Simon would be proud. Pour me a beer!

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Resistor and regulator?

Would that be a 7805, then?

Congratulations, you just found an even worse way to downstep the voltage than what they've been using!

(you'd end up wasting 7/12 of the energy that way.)

Normal inverters are about 80% efficient when running under load. Cell-phone chargers are usually 80 - 85% efficient, which means that the step up/step down they've been doing is in the ballpark of 60% efficient.

Using good quality 12V 'cigarette lighter' type chargers would take them to 80 - 85% efficiency in one simple step.

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FAIL

“Linux machines are always nice, given Linux is having the same revolutionary effect on the industry as we are on society..."

So insofar as the desktop is concerned... none whatsoever?

(Desktop Linux user ever since '97 before anyone accuses me of trolling - just appreciated the irony)

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Trollface

Revolutionary?

Strangely, the first company to spring to mind when I think about linux and the industry is IBM, that well known hotbed of all things counterculture.

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FAIL

Whut???

"The group were having to run a 12 volt supply, convert it to 150 AC and then back down to five volts for phones and the portable radios used to maintain emergency contact." ==========================

unfscking believable...

I have a little plug in device that plugs into the cigar socket of my car that provides a nice 5 Volt supply with adaptors for all my gadgets that run off it.

I run my boat lighting and radio and my laptop etc. off 12 Volt DC using multi outlets that you get in Halfrauds or Maplins etc.. Have a solar panel that trickle charges the large "Leisure" type battery during the week...

These city idiots should have been speaking to campers and caravaners who use 12 volt supplies when camping up at sites that don't have mains hookup.

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Thumb Up

You can pick up the outlets in any well-stocked car accessory store, too.

And the chargers are cheap, too, unless you buy them at an Apple store.

I've used the same setup(12V battery, solar panel, chargers) when out kayaking, so it works fine in just about any scale... ;-)

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Silver badge

Can't use automobile chargers

Automobiles are symbols of corporate greed.

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Anonymous Coward

So lets get this straight.

These guys are running a bare-bones PC, fom a bare bones power supply.

This is to communicate via the mobile phone network (Large Corporate Enterprise) with their chosen ISP (Large Corporate Enterprise) into the Internet (Hugely reliant on Global Corporate Enterprise) and put their point of view over, using such as You Tube, Fartbook, Twitter, etc (All Bloody Great Global Enterprises) so that individuals can see what they are doing by accessing the Internet (Been there) via there ISPs (Again).

Everyone is using PCs and Laptops (Oh, dear, stuff which has to be products of more global enterprises).

All to protest about - er- global corporate enterprise.

I daresay there's not a few items of trendy Nike, Adidas etc clothing being worn (Really small scale local manufacturers, yes?).

And, after all that, what is the bike powered by? A human (?) and they are powered by what? - A nice Global McDonands? Corporate Fast food?

Kinda pathetic, really.

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