* Posts by Orv

154 posts • joined 13 Aug 2007

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Petrol cars are dead in the water, says Tesla CTO waving numbers on the back of an envelope

Orv

Re: Some facts on cost...

I'll be very surprised if Tesla ever puts out an inexpensive car. They've got a good thing going pitching "Tesla" as an exclusive luxury brand; they're not going to slap that name on an econobox.

Right now Nissan pretty much owns the inexpensive (relatively) electric car market.

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Orv

Re: "...power plants can be fitted with scrubbers much more easily than moving vehicles."

"Reportedly the 15 largest ships in the world combined emit more air pollution than all the cars on Earth combined. Perhaps somebody should look into that..."

Thing is, those 15 largest ships are going to be oil tankers. Which means, if we're talking about accounting for the full energy cycle of a vehicle, most of that pollution ends up counting against the cars and trucks that will be burning that oil...

It really isn't apples-to-apples to ask where the electricity for an electric car comes from, but pretend that gasoline spontaneously generates itself in the fuel tanks of the cars we have now.

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Orv

Re: Is it really cheaper?

Sending 70%-80% of the energy out into the atmosphere as heat via the radiator and tailpipe is the big fly in the ointment for internal-combustion engines.

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Orv

36% of US households rent; I think that's a more interesting statistic than population percentage. It's really not just apartments and condos that are the issue, but any rental location -- a landlord is not going to let you have electrical work done on their property to install a charger.

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Orv

That's true, but these days vapor loss is very very small; environmental regs forced car companies to move to sealed fuel systems with vapor recovery canisters. You can smell the difference; walk past a car from the 1960s on a hot day and it will smell like gasoline vapor, but a (properly maintained) modern car won't.

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Orv

Re: "...power plants can be fitted with scrubbers much more easily than moving vehicles."

Considering the newest 2-stroke Detroit Diesel would be 20 years old at this point, my guess is most of the 2-strokes that were put in transit buses are either already off the road or will be soon.

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Orv

Re: @Graham Dawson

Many of the raw materials are probably imported, but that's not really an argument against electric cars specifically; it's true of all cars (and pretty much anything manufactured.)

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Orv

Re: @Derpity Still a bit confused

BTW, I *do* have an old car running on biodiesel, but I can't honestly say with a straight face that it's environmentally friendly. Sure biodiesel reduces the carbon footprint somewhat, but it still uses half again as much fuel as modern car would. It emits more particulates than a modern car, thus contributing a bit to the respiratory problems of everyone around it. And, being old, it seeps oil that will inevitably end up polluting a river somewhere.

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Orv

Re: @Orv @Derpity Still a bit confused

In that case, I see no reason to believe electric cars will become socially unacceptable any faster than gasoline cars do.

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Orv

Re: @Graham Dawson

That applies equally to imported engine-driven cars, though; they don't magically materialize here. Of course, most "imports" in the US are actually manufactured on this continent (and so is the Tesla.)

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Orv

Re: @Orv @Derpity Still a bit confused

The reference was to 20 year old cars; the first Prius's rolled off the assembly line in 1997, so they're getting close. The average car in the US is 11.5 years old.

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Orv

I could almost see that scheme working, if not for the fact that modern high-capacity batteries have a pretty quick self-discharge rate. If you parked it for more than a few days it'd probably go dead right there in your driveway. It'd be like having a car with a gas leak.

I will say that having driven both the electric and gasoline versions of Car2Go's Smart cars, the electric ones are far superior. Putting an engine in that car ruins it.

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Orv

How many long road trip vacations do people really take, though? I'd think it'd be cheaper to rent a car for those occasions than to maintain a whole second vehicle with insurance, depreciation, and maintenance.

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Orv

Re: @Derpity Still a bit confused

There are 1st-gen Priuses still running fine, so I wouldn't count out a long lifespan from an electric. I wouldn't expect that kind of reliability from a niche manufacturer like Tesla, though, any more than I'd expect a Ferrari to hold up if I drove it to work every day.

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Orv

I'm sure we could install a subwoofer-equipped sound system to make all the vroom vroom noises you need.

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Orv

The biggest problem I see with electric cars, at this point, is you really have to be a homeowner to use one. Your average rental complex with a parking lot or street parking is not going to provide any way to charge a car. In much of the U.S. that makes them an upper-class proposition only.

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Orv

There are two real arguments to that point that EV advocates will cite:

1. Pollution from point sources is much easier to deal with; power plants can be fitted with scrubbers much more easily than moving vehicles. They're also more thermally efficient, so even with power transmission losses, charging losses, etc. the overall efficiency is as good or better than a gasoline powered car.

2. The mix really depends on where you live. On the west coast (probably the most natural place for EVs to be adopted, due to mild weather and persistent smog problems) fossil fuels are less than half of the total electricity production. A big chunk of it is hydroelectric power.

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Google turns cookie monster on AdSense, DoubleClick clients

Orv

Re: Cookies now non negotiable...

Among other things, cookies are the normal way of doing session tracking for sites that require logins, so you don't have to log in on every page. There are other ways to do it (like passing the session key as a parameter in the URL) but they're uglier and sometimes less secure.

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Bloke who tried to get journo killed by SWAT cops coughs to conspiracy charge

Orv

Re: The problem isn't Caller ID

I'm trying to decide which minority "huge largely un-civilized demographic group" is an elaborate euphemism for.

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Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo crackup verdict: PILOT ERROR

Orv

IMAP + multiple machines = headache

There's lots of precedent for that sort of thing, including a commercial jet crash in the 1970s (Air Canada 621) where the copilot accidentally deployed the spoilers during the landing flare when he intended to arm them to deploy automatically on touchdown.

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Got an Android phone? SMASH IT with a hammer – and do it NOW

Orv

Don't kid yourself -- the only reason vehicles have stricter standards is they're REQUIRED BY LAW to have stricter standards. Car companies would rather take the risk of lawsuits; they only do recalls on older models when forced to by the government. But things like mandatory recalls and lemon laws exist mostly because a car represents a significant investment in a way a phone doesn't, and so people pushed for those protections. Phones are considered disposable. Some, like Samsung's Galaxy offerings, arrive with so much crapware that after a couple years they can't even install app updates anymore.

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NSA: We'll move your metadata into /dev/null when you stop suing us

Orv
Coat

Sigh, I so hate to have to do this.

I don't like to defend the NSA, but they're correct -- the lawsuits mean that deleting the data now would be destruction of evidence, which is a serious crime.

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Your gadget batteries endanger planes, says Boeing

Orv

My understanding is the li-ion batteries in the 787 have more extensive safety features than typical consumer batteries, and are supposed to contain failures better. After one flight had a battery fire there was some talk of replacing them with safer, but heavier, NiMH batteries, but I don't know if they went through with that.

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Orv

Actually, most passenger jets *do* have a fireproof box available. It's called an oven. ;)

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Game of Thrones: Where to now for headless Nintendo?

Orv

Re: It's what you do with it that counts....

They're not striving for "realistic" graybrownland like Call of Duty, so "serious" gamers will always diss them. But I'm pretty impressed by the consistent frame rates they deliver at HD resolution.

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Mozilla's ‘Great or Dead’ philosophy may save bloated blimp Firefox

Orv

Re: XUL sub-sysetm

I think the reason for eliminating it is they don't want to be stuck maintaining it in the future. Breaking it out wouldn't achieve that goal, unless a new team appeared to work on it.

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Orv

Not to mention that Chromebooks get by pretty well on only 2 GB.

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Orv

Re: Firefox still the best choice for tabaholics

Many bugs have been filed about this behavior, but the Chrome devs can't understand why anyone would want more than 10 tabs open at a time. They actually seem kind of horrified by some users' workflows. ;)

Amusingly, part of the problem actually comes from the loading throbber. It seems that it's updated by a fixed, per-tab timer. So when you open 50 tabs you have 50 timers all firing off to update each tab's throbber, and everything slows to a crawl.

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Orv

Re: Agree - don't run scripts without permission. mMatrix and mBlock are good for chrome.

It's usually faster to load common libraries from a CDN than from your own domain, partly because the CDN will be using geographically close server, and partly because many users will already have the files cached from other sites using the same CDN.

Additionally, most browsers limit the number of simultaneous connections to any given domain. By loading from an external source, more stuff loads in parallel.

I agree that most sites use far too *many* libraries, though. A lot of the problem is frameworks that shove in things like trackers as a matter of course, without anyone ever asking if it's a good idea for a particular site.

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Orv

We have the right to support whatever political camp we want, yes. But we don't have the right to be protected from others exercising their right to complain about it.

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GOOGLE GMAIL ATE MY LINUX: Gobbled email enrages Torvalds

Orv

Developers rarely enjoy being system administrators, and they're rarely much good at it. The two skill sets are actually very different.

I *am* a system administrator, and I still started farming out my email after a while. There's a reason this was one of the first "cloud" services. Maintaining a mail server is a lot of work, and the work doesn't scale down much with size; if anything it gets worse, because many spam filtering techniques don't work as well without a large volume of mail to chew on. When I realized I was spending a couple hours a week tweaking spam filters and babysitting queues, I decided I had better uses for that time.

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Orv

Re: Unusual content

I think that's probably right. Gmail keeps throwing my logcheck messages in the Spam folder, too. Pro tip: If you make a rule that tags those messages, it will bypass the spam filter.

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Orv

Re: Bah!

I'm guessing the guys who build engines for F1 cars don't assemble the cars they drive to work every day, either.

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Orv

Re: Yes

How much of that bloat is device drivers? I get the impression the kernel core is still relatively compact, but keep in mind it's got drivers for every common desktop device since 1990 in there. Fortunately they made it modular so you don't have to load that stuff if you don't need it.

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Orv

Stallman doesn't believe in graphical email clients or attachments. He doesn't even use a graphical web browser. GUIs have no place in his free software utopia.

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SourceForge staggers to feet after lengthy STORAGE FAIL outage

Orv

I'll miss them if they go, if only because they're the one of the few remaining sites that doesn't try to force everyone into using git for everything.

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Orv

Re: Malware

For me the egregious thing isn't malware in actual downloads, it's the ads with fake 'click here to download' buttons that try to shovel you malware. They have a lot more control over ads than they do over individual projects, and this suggests a disturbing level of not-giving-a-shit.

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Google robo-car in rear-end smash – but cack-handed human blamed

Orv

It's common practice in the U.S. to go to the hospital after just about any collision. If you turn out to have an injury and don't get it documented right away, the other driver's insurance might not pay, and you could get stuck with the bill. Health insurance will often shirk paying for things they think should have been covered by the other driver's liability insurance.

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Orv

Re: Room for improvement

Wouldn't taking the brake off make it worse? Seems to me whiplash would be proportionate to how much the car accelerates, and a car with the brake on is going to accelerate less than one rolling free. The car might take more damage, though.

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Orv

I've never heard of this in the U.S. In fact I was encouraged in driver's ed to keep my foot on the brake while stopped, so traffic coming up behind me would see the brake lights and realize at a glance I wasn't moving. The only handbrake use covered was for parking. (I later learned how to use it for hill starts in a stick shift car, but driving stick is not taught in driver's ed in the U.S. because most cars are automatic.)

Another benefit of keeping your foot on the brake is if you get smacked from behind, your car is less likely to shoot out into traffic.

In parts of the U.S. that get snow and use road salt the handbrake usually stops working after a few years anyway, due to the cables seizing up. Sometimes they set and then fail to release, which leads one to become wary of them. My dad once bought a Ford that had it already disabled at the factory. ;)

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Samsung's latest 2TB SSDs have big hats, but where's the cattle?

Orv

Pretty much. Even with server-class drives, I definitely notice an uptick in failure rates at around the 6 year mark.

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Orv

Man, I'd love to know what ISP lets you download 2+ TB of data. Comcast limits me to around 250 GB/month before they start to complain.

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We tried using Windows 10 for real work and ... oh, the horror

Orv

Re: So...

"Try dealing with lots of older and infirm PC users - they don't have 30inch screens - they have normal sized ones. They actually like tiles and like the PC being a helpful thing. and there are far more of them than there are IT geeks like us.... MS has to look at more than just us when they design their OS."

Except that elderly PC users don't upgrade, ever, because they don't see it as worth the bother of learning new stuff. My grandma died a couple years ago and was still using a computer running Windows 3.1. So I don't see this as a market for Windows 10.

I do agree that pretty much anyone who reads El Reg is not the primary target market for Windows, though. That would be the average new PC buyer who is still unclear on the distinction between "memory" and "hard disk," and who is increasingly gravitating toward tablets because they seem simpler.

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Reddit meltdown: Top chat boards hidden as rebellion breaks out

Orv

They'll have to add 16chan and 32chan to cover the overflow. Hope someone allocated enough bits!

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Let me PLUG that up there, love. It’s perfectly standaAAARGH!

Orv

Re: XML is so 1990's

I like JSON, but I'd like it better if it allowed comments. The lack of comments makes it unsuitable for configuration files, IMHO.

Mind you, for configuration files I really like INI format...

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North America down to its last ~130,000 IPv4 addresses

Orv

Re: Multiplexing

"At the web host farm several customer's web sites can share an internet facing IPv4 address. Each site's requests are differentiated by information other than the external dedicated IPv4 address on which it arrives."

Sadly this stops working if you want to use HTTPS. Which is increasingly required for new web technologies.

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Orv

NAT is the difference between being able to put more than one computer behind a firewall without any special upstream assistance, and having to ask your ISP for another routable block.

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F# earns Syme top Royal Academy of Engineering award

Orv

Where I work researchers use F# running on Linux to do natural language processing research. .NET in general is pretty cross platform if you don't need the GUI bits; bytecode compiled using .NET on Windows will run just fine under Mono on Linux or OS X. We have people using Visual Studio as an IDE to develop code that runs on our Linux-based HTCondor parallel computing cluster. That seems pretty cross-platform to me.

I don't think we'll ever see the next office suite or Guys Shooting Each Other In Graybrownland Game written in F#, but it fills a useful niche in data analysis type work -- as the article implied.

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VPNs are so insecure you might as well wear a KICK ME sign

Orv

Re: OpenVPN's IPv6 support is severely lacking…

That's essentially the problem, yeah. Most of the common solutions don't handle IPv6 well, or can't mix it with IPv4 traffic. For example, IPSEC can do IPv6 by design...but can't mix IPv6 and IPv4 on the same tunnel, making it useless in practice.

IPv6 also has a way of making a lot of easy problems hard. For example, any situation where you'd use static NAT in IPv4 -- e.g., machines behind a firewall -- requires a lot of head-scratching and possibly an additional routeable block of addresses in IPv6. Try explaining THAT to your ISP.

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UH OH: Windows 10 will share your Wi-Fi key with your friends' friends

Orv

myhouse_optout_nomap_dripdry_washwarm_nobleach

This steady overloading of a text field is starting to remind me a lot of SPF in its later incarnations.

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