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* Posts by James Micallef

1824 posts • joined 12 Jul 2007

Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch

James Micallef
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Re: "a battery life of up to two days"

"Why not charge as you move using Seiko Kinetic or Citizen Eco-Drive?"

Because a Seiko Kinetic or Citizen Eco-Drive uses much less power than a 'smart' watch. By at least an order of magnitude and maybe even 2 orders. WiFi and colour display are both hogs for battery life.

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'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder

James Micallef
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Re: G00gle is

" ultimately, if somebody is paying you, you can't publicly slag them off and expect the relationship to continue"

Well, that's not what Code Club is saying though. Their blog post claims that they are free to say anything they want about their sponsors*. Someone is telling porkies.

*Of course their sponsors are equally free to withdraw their funding, so seeing what motivations are involved, my money is on Code Club being the party telling porkies

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Euro banks will rip out EVERYTHING and buy proper backend systems ... LOL, fooled ya

James Micallef
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Re: Financial IT spending

Thumbup Steve Todd.

I would also add that since banks want to minimise risk, even if they do upgrade their legacy core systems to something more modern, they wouldn't touch 'cloud' with a bargepole. They'll still use their own data centres and VPNs

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MEN WANTED to satisfy town full of yearning BRAZILIAN HOTNESS

James Micallef
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Re: spiders

"the idea that women without men..."

It's clear from one of the quotes that the women do not live without men, just that the men there are either married or closely related.

"...live in harmony"

In a small closed community, there is going to be more resentment under the surface than is apparent because of the necessity to keep good relations with people you depend on. Not sure whether this would be more the case with all-women (or all-men), or whether it's not gender-specific at all.

Adding a few eligible bachelors to a community with a lot of single women could increase that (accusations of 'you're stealing my boyfriend' etc), especially if their stated aim is marriage i.e. exclusivity. On the other hand, there might be just the right proportion that women learn to live together without jealousy, 'sharing' the men among them, or else getting nothing at all - A bit like 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress', but with genders reversed

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Super Cali signs a kill-switch, campaigners say it's atrocious

James Micallef
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you're right - i stand corrected

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James Micallef
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As far as I know, smartphones need a SIM to work. You can switch off the radio to airplane mode, but if SIM is not there you can't use camera, WiFi etc. So burning out physical SIM connections WILL brick the phone

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James Micallef
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But how does the kill switch actually work? Is it done by the user, requiring not only the device ID but also some sort of password*? Or can authorities simply brick phones based on device ID, at their own whim?

*and what happens if user forgets password? And if it requires the user to go through an operator or police, who is checking that the user actually owns the phone they're asking to be bricked?

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Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM

James Micallef
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Re: Sub-heads

@PhilipN

Bohemian Rhapsody... I like it, but if you don't rate it, fine.

Dissing Led Zeppelin: Burn the heretic!!

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China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE

James Micallef
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Re: Bovine

Getting anything to travel at the speed of sound though air (over 300 m/s) underwater would be a massive technological achievement. I wouldn't sniff at it just because they aren't going at the speed of sound through water.

Besides, breaking the sound barrier underwater might not be desirable, sonic booms underwater could cause all sorts of havoc

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Facebook needs to defend Austrian privacy violation case

James Micallef
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"he has to show firstly that he had a reasonable expectation the data would be stored/processed in the EU, and then secondly, that the data was transferred outside the EU without his permission?"

No not really. EU law allows transfer to US if US offers equivalent protection to EU. FB taking data to US, saying US offers equal protection when clearly US does not protect privacy at all,let alone to EU-required standard. So, in EU at least, he has a case.

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Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?

James Micallef
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Re: "Like any other manufacturer/service provider, they sell what the punters buy"

I wonder if a constitutional* change could be in order - Political parties need to present in their electoral manifesto not just 'blah-blah' but proposed legislation. Parliament procedure is run by civil service and by constitutional law, only laws in the manifesto can be proposed.

I know parties will argue that this binds them to much, doesn't allow flexibility etc, however I would argue that this is exactly what is needed. A lot of legislation is knee-jerk reaction to current situation and poorly thought out / rushed through, and mostly unneeded and based on political posturing about the 'cause du jour'. If legislation is good, it will always be applicable. legislation made for special cases is usually super-crappy. And if they want 'more flexibility' that's easy - limit governments to 2 or 3 year terms

*yeah, I know UK hasn't one, but equivalent basic laws on governance that cannot be changed by the party currently in power, needs national referendum 2/3 majority to change type-of-thing

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TRANSMUTATION claims US LENR company

James Micallef
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It's not in el Reg article, but in the linked press release it says they got teh claimed volume of gas in 1hr of operation. So you are right, 4.6 volts * 90 amps = 414 watts, not watt hours, they need to clarify 414 watts X 1 hr = 414 watt hours

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James Micallef
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no transmutation at all

as the paragraph before last says: "200,000 litres should weigh 18 kg."

and from the 3rd paragraph "If the SHT barrel was equivalent to a 159 litre oil barrel, the starting water had only around 18 kg of hydrogen and 141 kg of oxygen"

So it's simple electrolysis, there was 18kg of hydrogen in the original water that's now been extracted to 18kg (200,000 l, or 2000 m^3) of H2. According to this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrolysis_of_water

current industrial electrolysis consumes 2.94 kWh/m^3 of hydrogen produced, so would require 5880 kWh.

This statement from the release: “the external energy needed to make these 208,678 litres of pure hydrogen ... averaged at 414 watt hour = 4.6 volts x 90 amps.” is missing an essential part of the release, which is that teh process was completed in 1 hr (without that qualification you just have 414W for an indeterminate time, adding teh 1hr qualifier brings us to the claimed 414Wh)

"[the performance of the test system] increased to 127 cfm or 215,800 liters per hour"

So they are basically saying that on an experimental / non-industrial test rig, they required 414Wh to do what the current best industria rigs requires 5880kWh to do.

That is an extraordinary claim, and as such requires extraordinary proof.

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Nuke regulator hacked three times in three years

James Micallef
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Re: Hahahahahah....

"Tell that to the management at Nantaz in Iran"

Erm... Nantaz was NOT connected to the Internet - Whoever took it down* developed a virus specifically for SCADA systems in Nantaz that was transmittable over USB keys, which is how Nantaz got infected

*Pretty much assumed it's CIA/Mossad

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Think crypto hides you from spooks on Facebook? THINK AGAIN

James Micallef
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Which makes it all the more important that privacy regulations extend to metadata not just data

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Take the shame: Microsofties ADMIT to playing Internet Explorer name-change game

James Micallef
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Re: Netmarketshare?

Given that the newset IE is meant to be the same across both desktop and mobile I think it's fair to measure it's share as a percentage of all platforms, not just desktop

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Google's so smart it's discovered SHARKS HAVE TEETH

James Micallef
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"Toe the line. Not tow."

Unless you're fishing for tuna :)

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YES YES YES! Apple patents mousy, pressure-sensing iVibrator

James Micallef
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Re: It's that featureless mouse thing again!

chas is 100% right that anyone complaining about how to use it is silly, RTFM and all that.

The other main point people above seem complaning about is that this mouse is unwanted/accidental input, and I agree the thing should NOT be too sensitive to the slightest pressure, or too sensitive to varying degrees of pressure, but otherwise what's teh problem? If you want to use it in traditional click/no-click on/off button clicks you still can. If you can use it for more advanced stuff, more power to you.

Lastly, the complaints about haptic feedback (assuming the 'haptic' in the article means feedback, the article is unclear). Current mice already give haptic feedback, you can feel the button depressing when clicked and return to the usual state when 'unclicked'. You ALREADY get a little nudge that indicates 'you've clicked something', but we're so used to it that it isn't even noticed. IF this is well implemented, it won't change a thing.

All in all, the idea seems quite sound to me, note that I am not making any comment on the applicability of a patent (for all I know could be tons of prior art etc), nor the ultimate implementation (which could be OK, great or crap, what is 100% sure with Apple is that it will look nice)

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Premier League wants to PURGE ALL FOOTIE GIFs from social media

James Micallef
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Re: copyright is for creative works

"So the guys kicking the ball are over paid actors and the entire event is scripted?"

They could argue that it's sort of improvisational theatre where the 'actors' have some general guidelines but act autonomously / spontaneously during the 'performance'. So, yes I would say that their official feed is legally copyrightable without having to refer to on-screen graphics.

Anything a fan shoots on their own camera though, is copyright to whoever films it, it highly pisses me off when for example FIFA were taking down World Cp videos shot by fans. There's also the news/public interest angle. If an event is newsworthy I don't see why a member of the public filming it should be restricted by copyright law.

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James Micallef
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Re: Good luck

I'm pretty sure that automated routines can pick out that a video is of a football game with decent success especially if it's the 'standard' pitch orientation in most feeds. But how do they know it's a Premier League match, not someone filming their local pub league? If it's the official live feed there's team names in the top corner but if it's someone filmig the TV with their phone, or getting the official feed and distorting the top corner before uploading, how to tell?

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James Micallef
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No fair use?

"With no fair-use provision in UK copyright law"

Wow, is that right? If so, that completely sucks. To be fair, a highlights reel of a single match is anyway difficult to shoehorn in as fair use, but some goals / actions + added comment on player positioning etc surely could count as educational use?

And what about Premier League footage that is broadcast, captured and uploaded in a country where fair use exemptions DO exist? Of course in that case, still accessible in UK. Can of worms!

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NetScout sues Gartner over magic quadrant placement

James Micallef
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Re: It may be libel if...

"Gartner's report isn't just some blogger in his mommie's basement; but is supposed to be a purchased professional evaluation report."

The problem with a "purchased professional evaluation report" is that if a company pays Gartner for an evaluation and Gartner says "it sucks", it's unlikely that this company will return to Gartner in the future. This is really stupid 'shoot the messenger' approach, but that's the way it is.

Same thing happening with credit rating agencies - hypothetical example: rating agency Foody's tell Investment Bank Soldman Bachs "these subprime mortgages/credit default swaps suck, we're not rating them", then Soldman went down the road to Mitch who happily slap on an AAA rating. Next time Soldman has a toxic investment wrapped up in a shiny bow, who are they going to pay to rate it?

In both cases the problem is that ratings are paid for by the supplier not by the consumer.

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James Micallef
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Re: Gartner says...

I think the point isn't whether Gartner reports are 'official' but whether or not they are 'unbiased' (as Gartner claims they are). If firms are paying Gartner for a study, and that study finds that the firms paying for it are the best, it's basically advertising in disguise.

To be fair, it's hardly like Gartner are alone in this. Any consulting company asked to do some research will come to the conclusion desired by the sponsoring company

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Anonymous threatens to name cop who shot dead unarmed Michael Brown

James Micallef
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And people who respond to injustice by going on a looting spree are also utter morons

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James Micallef
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"the %age of people in US who commit crime are black is many many times higher than the percentage of the US population who are black? "

I think it's more correct to say that the %age of people in US who who are arrested / prosecuted / jailed for commiting a crime are black is many many times higher than the percentage of the US population who are black. White guys smoke dope, no one gives a shit. Black guy - straight to the slammer.

Oh, and also, white teenager can and does walk down high street carrying a loaded shotgun. Police stop him, he claims he's perfectly entitled to do so under firearms laws, he refuses to show ID to prove he's over 18, gets away with a citation, weapon not confiscated.

http://kdvr.com/2014/08/01/aurora-teen-walks-on-busy-streets-with-shotgun-videotapes-encounters-with-police/

Black 22-year old at Walmart chatting on the phone while picking up a BB gun off the shelf in the toy gun section, gets the cops called in on him, he says 'it's not real' and they shoot him dead.

http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/news/man-police-shot-in-walmart-killed-over-fake-gun-fa/ngw77/

Unfortunately this is the reality in the US - if you're black, cops shoot first and ask questions later. As AC says above, a white guy would probably not have been shot, possibly not even stopped in the first place

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James Micallef
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"You do realise that's incredibly racist, right?"

Just pointing out facts here. Is it racist to point out that the %age of people in US prisons who are black is many many times higher than the percentage of the US population who are black? Is it racist to point out that according to one article I saw, the town where the shooting occurred, which is majority black, has 80-odd police officers of whom 3 are black?

I don't think it's racist, any more than I think it's racist to point out that the reality in the US is that among public officials, and especially among law enforcement officials, black people are heavily under-represented.

"If you turned it around and put "black" in there..."

That's a straw man if I ever saw one, and BS to boot.

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James Micallef
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Re: You just need to look to NYC

"All we know for sure is there is a dead teenager and a cop who says he tried to grab his gun from him"

We also know that the kid got shot at least 4 times, possibly as much as 8, and his body ended up 35 yards from the police car. We do not know whether the kid actually went for the gun, or the officer thought he was going for the gun, or indeed if the officer is making up the whole 'went for the gun' thing, but in none of those scenarios would shooting an unarmed kid in the back be warranted.

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James Micallef
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"waiting for due process", as has been repeatedly shown in the cases of Rodney King, Trayvon Martin etc, will go something like this:

Investigation* will find 2 different versions, that of police and that of witnesses. Any evidence that corraborates any version different from police's will disappear. Investigation will conclude that the officer involved acted within procedure, investigators are saddened by a tragic, avoidable accident that no doubt happened because of the victim's actions (no doubt implying in hidden subtext that it was his fault anyway)

Sadly, for all the due processes in the world, the police will protect their own. If this was a civilian suspected of shooting a policeman no doubt that his name would have been splashed all over the papers together with various leaks and anonymous 'sources' dishing dirt on him. The police are probably right to withhold the officers' name for the moment, for the sake of his and his family's safety to prevent a lynch mob. And Anonymous are right to firstly be 100% sure of any name, and secondly to keep the name to themselves FOR THE MOMENT.

If it looks like the investigation is going to end in a whitewash they should release the name immediately

*No doubt formed of all-white or majority-white team headed by a white boss reporting to white superiors

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Dead Steve Jobs sued by own shareholders in no-poach pact brouhaha

James Micallef
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Re: How does this make sense??

"So you're a shareholder, and you want the company to pay you… Thus diminishing the value of the company you partly own…"

Given Apple's notorious reluctance to pay dividends to shareholders even with the enormous cash pile it's sitting on, I think it's a fair call for shareholders. A payout by court order, just like a dividend, is cash in the bank.

Share price is only theoretical value unless/until you sell.

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Govt control? Hah! It's IMPOSSIBLE to have a successful command economy

James Micallef
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Re: yeah but what about the jobs...?

"When everyone's job is automated away, we can probably be said to have achieved a post-scarcity condition where every demand can be instantly met at no cost."

Ideally yes at the 'end result' although the problem is the road to get there. What happens when half the people's jobs have been made redundant, and the other half plus roboty are the only producers? Current capitalist theory precludes taking the surplus from second group to give to the first... even though ultimately what is implied by the 'end result' is that robots are a universally or collectively owned resource rather than individually owned by the richest 1% which would be the case right now.

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Naughty NSA was so drunk on data it forgot collection rules

James Micallef
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didn't know the limits?

"shows that even the NSA didn't know the limits of what it was supposed to collect, and overstepped its authorisations for years."

The only thing that is 100% sure is that NSA "overstepped its authorisations for years". Where does the conclusion that NSA "didn't know the limits" come from? I find it far more likely that they knew teh limits but carried on regardless, knowing full well that the worst possible consequence was being told to stop.

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Hollywood star Robin Williams dies of 'suspected suicide' at 63

James Micallef
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Re: When will we take mental health seriously?

"society really needs to remove the stigma attached to mental health disorders"

Exactly this. Society at lareg treats mentally ill people as lepers. We're still in the middle ages acting as if mentally ill people are possessed by the devil. It requires a lot more understanding. Where are the large-scale educational campaigns such as the HIV ones in the 90s?

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Chomp that sausage: Brits just LOVE scoffing a Full Monty

James Micallef
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Re: Carbs are the killers

Simply categorising food as 'carbs' or 'fats' etc is misleading. There are good carbs (rice, fruit & veg etc) and bad carbs (high fructose corn syrup, highly processed grains). There are good fats (omega 3 & 6 oils, most nut oils) and bad fats (hydrogenated / saturated oils)

If you're getting quality ingredients cooked in unprocessed oil or even real butter, there's nothing unhealthy about bacon, eggs, beans etc. If you're getting bacon / eggs from pigs / chickens that have been stuffed with growth hormones and antibiotics, cured with a bunch of toxic preservatives all of it fried in the cheapest available oil, arteries will start to clog

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James Micallef
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Happy

Re: And you think a fry up is bad for you?

Re "http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/7543507/Fried-breakfast-is-healthiest-start-to-day-say-scientists.html"

- have you seen the timestamp on the article?

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James Micallef
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Re: So basiclly,

"recent EU changes to standardise Europe to Bulgarian meat hygiene standards (that the spineless British government have kow-towed to) "

Unfortunately standards are useless if they are not kept.

<cough>horsemeat<cough>

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James Micallef
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@LarsG

"It is a relief to be back on porridge."

Your arteries say Thank You!

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Intel forced to shoot down viral 'Israeli boycott' whopper

James Micallef
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Re: Anon Cluetard

"The origins of Israel were the historic Jewish kingdoms that were the thousands of years before Islam even existed"

and as stated in the Bible, the Israelis conquered that land from others living there at the time, who themselves moved in after Jewish exodus to Egypt, before which there were some other tribes, also partly Jewish who had been exiled to Mesopotamia and back etc etc.

Just as in the UK the native Britons and Celts were pushed west and North by teh Anglo-Saxons, who weer conquered and then mixed in with teh Normans, who were themsleves descendants of vikings who were anyway sort of cousins to the Anglo-Saxons... and I'm sure many bits of land around the world have a messy history with lots of people who could lay some sort of claim.

At some point we need to forget history and look at current facts. There are millions of Palestinians living in Gaza (a de facto prison) and West Bank (de facto controlled by Israel), who have next to no control over their lives. There's only 2 long-term solutions, either these areas become a fully-fledged (hopefully peaceful, democratic) Palestinian state, both in law and in fact controlled by Palestinians, or else Israel in law take full control over these areas which they currently control in practice (the Greater Israel much loved by the Israeli right wing). In the latter case either Palestinians get full citizenship like the current Israeli arabs (which might see Israel eroding it's majority-Jewish identity) or else they'll be like blacks in Apartheid South Africa (or worse, full-scale ethnic cleansing).

Israel currently cannot conceive of a long-term 2-state solution, but it's path is currently leading it towards a 1-state solution that in whatever guise it might take will ultimately destroy Israel's Jewish soul.

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James Micallef
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" when Hamas kidnap and murder kids, you have to be expecting Israel to react."

Israel reacted to 3 Israeli kids being murdered by a local group that had nothing to do with Hamas and was acting alone. Israel used the incident to blame hamas and start the fighting even though they knew full well that Hamas had nothing to do with it. They captured and tortured suspects hoping to give themselves a shred of a fig-leaf for their aggression and still haven't turned up anything. The kidnap-murder was just an excuse to drop a few tonnes of explosive of Gaza.

Hamas are still scum of the earth, but this at least is one thing that cannot be pinned on them.

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James Micallef
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Let's be clear about a few things here -

1) Hamas are among the scum of the earth. They divert resources meant for civilian infrastructure to digging tunnels they can attack Israel from, and to build bunkers they can hide in while civilians fend for themselves, and hide their armaments in among civilians / use children as human shields etc. They are evil and a waste of oxygen.

2) Palestine / Palestinians and Hamas are NOT the same thing most Palestinians just want to live in peace, but showers of artillery and rockets every 5-10 years, living in what is basically a huge prison and not having any control over their lives, plus being anti-Israel brainwashed by their political and religious leaders mean that they tend not to like Israel. However considering all of the above I am absolutely amazed that less than 100% of Palestinians are members of Hamas, and for these people, I wish the best of luck because they surely need it by the ton.

3) Israel's far right wing and current governemnt are right up alongside Hamas in the 'scum of the earth' category. They pretend to want peace but continue building settlements. They claim to be using precision weaponry then blame Hamas when they shell UN refugee camps. They claim to be victime but they are the ones who started the current round of hostilities, using an excuse that they knew to be fake.

4) Many Israelis are not right-wingers however unfortunately a majority support the ultra-right's policies. Unless a large majority of Israelis vote for a government that will rein in the hardliners, disband settlements and really work for peace, Israel will simply continue to build an apartheid state with Palestinians as 2nd class citizens. I used to have a lot more sympathy to the Israeli cause, but now I see that it's ultimately a majority of their citizens who by their votes have determined the current outcome. I just feel sorry for the sane ones who are tarred with the same brush.

Re boycott, I wouldn't knowingly buy anything made in Israel, but as others said, the way the world is interconnected it is unreasonable to think that it is at all possible that none of the money I spend will ever end up in Israel.

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Stalwart hatchback gets a plug-in: Volkswagen e-Golf

James Micallef
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Re: No spare wheel?

"What happens when you get a puncture then?

I suppose you use a canister of foam they provide"

Simple question from an ignorant layman... if teh hole is small enough to be sealed by teh foam spray, how do you find it? If the hole is big enough to be easily spotted, foam spray won't work.

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James Micallef
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Unhappy

Re: No spare wheel?

"When was the last time you had a puncture? "

Unfortunately, less than a year ago when, in the middle of an election campaign where a local right-wing party was stirring up a lot of xenophobia, I found one of my car's tires stabbed. Another foreign-registered car in th eopposite bay had met a similair fate.

Unfortunately a can of gunk stands no chance of fixing an inch-wide tear.

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James Micallef
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Re: How long is the battery warranty

"99,360 mile (159,904km) guarantee"

Smells of conversion using an approximation followed by reconversion with an exact ratio

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Simian selfie stupidity: Macaque snap sparks Wikipedia copyright row

James Micallef
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Re: Ah, but you see

Wikipedia's argument is all wrong

Either the monkey has no agency, can be considered the same as an automatic trigger, therefore copyright belongs to the photographer, or else the monkey has agency, in which case the copyright 'could' belong to the monkey... except that just as in practice, a stranger who takes my holiday snaps holds copyright of the picture legally but to all intents and purposes has granted me a license to use that pic, so it's the same with the monkey who by simply taking the snap and going on its way has conferred an implied license to the photographer.

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James Micallef
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Re: Good article.

" If the monkey is too stupid to have any legal standing, why should it be smart enough to trump my IP rights? Where do you draw the line, and are you trying to stand with one leg on either side of it?"

Monkeys' legal standing has nothing to do with their stupidity or otherwise, it has to do with their not being human, and human laws being species-ist. Sure, the photographer can argue that he 'set up' the photo, but unlike your time-lapse camera, (or as someone mentioned above, cameras in robots, satellites etc that are ultimately controlled by a human agency) the monkey DID have a choice of whether or not to take the photo, requiring an active decision on the part of an intelligent sentient being.

Fast-forward a bit to the future, when you can possibly have AI 'beings' that can and do choose to compose and take their own snaps, can they own copyright simply because they are as intelligent as humans? Or is any non-human automatically excluded irrespective of intelligence? And if non-humans are excluded from owning IP, where do we leave companies, who in many respects currently have the same* legal status as persons?

These aren't simple questions and don't have easy answers, and the answers we arrive at will certainly have far-reaching consequences.

*more advantageous, actually

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James Micallef
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Re: Good article.

"Will requires intent. Are you suggesting the monkey knew it was taking a photograph? "

It didn't know it was taking a photo, but it certainly knew it was pressing the shutter button, presumably because it had just seen the photographer press the same button.

Now there's a textbook case of "monkey see, monkey do"

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Who will kill power companies? TESLA, says Morgan Stanley

James Micallef
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Re: One solution for ledswinger

"the regulators and companies dance round their handbags to come up with an acceptable compromise"

hehe, seems like you have firsthand experience of the parties involved :)

"the idea sounds lovely, but you either have to accept much greater supply interruptions, or have the full-fat grid capability plus generation. If you want grid backup, renewables are not cost effective"

In fact what I had in mind was "full-fat grid capability plus generation", except with much less generation required. The bigger the grid, the more the supply can be smoothed and the less extra generation is required per household. Yes, renewables are rubbish for grid backup, ideally that would be nuclear. Of course the whole shebang would only be viable if PV+ battery initial costs divided by lifetime plus maintenance ever becomes less than CCGT initial costs divided by lifetime plus maintenance and fuel. And even if that won't happen in our lifetime with cheaper PVs and batteries, it will eventually happen as oil/gas supplies dwindle and extraction costs rise.

In any case, thumbs up for an interesting discussion

*ultimately and ideally worldwide, if that's even technically feasible

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James Micallef
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Re: One solution for ledswinger

ledswinger - some very good considerations. My thoughts:

"In practical terms that means that your standing charge becomes £400 a year instead of £60 a year"

If it's currently the case that utilities' grid-maintenance costs are not covered by the current annual connection fee (meaning that they over-charge on the power bills to make up for the shortfall), then yes that would be the case. I have absolutely no idea about what percentage of utilities' costs are from power generation vs grid maintenance, nor what percentage of their revenues are from annual fees vs 'for usage' bills.

However my feel of how utilities work is rather the other way round - they prefer to inflate the fixed annual cost and reduce your 'for usage' bills - so I suspect that the current grid connection fee is at least enough to cover all grid maintenance costs, provided that the number of connected people does not fall radically.

The difference between being grid-connected and having supply security, and being not-grid-connected meaning that you would need to have an extra weeks' battery supply just in case (though you would very rarely need the capacity) would probably make it more economically viable to be connected to the grid at £60/yr than spend £thousands on extra batteries - so I would not expect the number of grid-connected people to fall radically.

"But paid how much?"

If it is the case, as I argue above, that current grid connection fees are more than enough to maintain the grid, then feed-in/consumption payments/costs could be symmetrical. If current grid connection fees are just about enough, you could make the feed-in payment slightly less than the consumption costs so the difference would go to grid maintenence.

If grid maintenance costs are indeed far higher than current maintenance fees could support, then grid connection fees could still support higher prices than £60/yr if the alternative is to spend £thosands on batteries. However cheap batteries become, it will always be more economical to use a pooled shared supply where every household has, say 2-3 days independence than for every single household to be off-grid and having indefinte (realistically, 14+ days) supply.

As you mention, what really is screwing the utilities is the absurdly high (subsidised) feed-in tariffs which are killing their generation planning. Ideally the tariffs should already start being slashed as the cost of batteries/PV falls. Utilities could manage energy production better, and gradually their role would move from mostly generation + managing distribution, to almost completely that of distribution, with backup generation. The profile of solar energy would be less important, since households would not have only PV (dreadful profile, I agree), but enough PV+enough batteries to be mostly independent.

One other thing that occurs from reviewing my idea, this would need to start and grow in warmer areas where a household could generate more than it normally consumes even during the darkest winter days. In places such as UK, Scandinavia etc, there would be permanent generation capacity required. However millions of grid-connected, battery-buffered households with PV woul enable utilities to manage generation smoothly without sudden dips/peaks.

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African samba queen: Don't cut off pirates' net connections – cut off their FINGERS

James Micallef
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Joke

Re: So-called "piracy" high on the priority list in Nigeria?

"what do you get for kidnapping a large number of children in Nigeria?"

A large number of children

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Apple wins patent on charging iThings THROUGH THIN AIR

James Micallef
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Re: Prior art. Massive quantities of prior art.

"Prior art" is also what I thought... however prior art covers wireless charging of multiple devices at a very close range (or, I guess, very inefficiently at a greater range). If Apple have found a way to efficiently charge at a higher range that would definitely be worth a patent

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