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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  1. nyelvmark

    “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.

    1. dr2chase

      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%".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >"Lol - middle-class anarchists."

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

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        So are you

    3. Steve Evans

      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.

      1. Kay Burley ate my hamster
        Thumb Up

        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.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Steve Evans

          @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.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            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.

      3. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
        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.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          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.

        2. byrresheim
          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.

      4. A J Stiles
        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.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          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.)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Global Corporate Apple products, then?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      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.

  2. Martin Summers Silver badge

    "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.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
      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... :-)

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    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!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. James Micallef Silver badge
        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

        1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

          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...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            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.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            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!

  4. 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...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

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

      Just a guess.

      1. 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.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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?

      1. James Micallef Silver badge

        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

        1. perlcat
          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?

        2. Ohb1knewbie
          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

        3. Frank Ch. Eigler

          "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.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            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.

  5. Flybert

    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]

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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)

    2. John G Imrie Silver badge

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Protests get ignored do they??

          What about this one?

          Poll tax

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

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Flybert - you're an idiot

      ^^^^^ see title

  6. Black Betty
    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.

  7. Herby

    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!

    1. Trygve Henriksen

      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.

  8. Plainclothes Man
    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)

    1. Ru
      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.

  9. paulc
    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.

    1. Trygve Henriksen
      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... ;-)

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        Can't use automobile chargers

        Automobiles are symbols of corporate greed.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  11. The Vociferous Time Waster
    FAIL

    haha

    haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha haha

    How is this even slightly impressive? A bunch of middle class tools are running commercial products that were either donated or paid for by Daddy. Not a lot of ingenuity here, if there was they would have rigged up a series of battery powered wifi relays disguised as street furniture that route their traffic back to the free wifi at the local vegan lesbian bean bar.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      You, Sir, have made my day.

      Although I don't quite agree with your stance, your view and choice of words is so exquisite you're quite forgiven..

      :-)

    2. James Micallef Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      you're missing the point

      which is that they're not generally protesting large corporate enterprises, they're specifically protesting large FINANCIAL corporate enterprises. You know, the ones who lobbied/bribed lawmakers to deregulate them, then invented financial instruments so complicated that even they could not understand them, messed up completely and threw the global economy into the crapper.... and then went cap in hand to their bought-and-paid-for lawmakers to bail them out and THEN used the bailout money to award themselves huge bonuses at the first possible opportunity.

      Clear now?

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        The point is missed by you

        Complicated derivative instruments did not cause the crisis. Overborrowing by governments and by the public, encouraged by those very governments, did. Plus the general structural degradation of Western economies caused by the spoiled population no longer willing to work but demanding "living standards" and by lack of any new enterprising ideas.

        Not bailing out banks, regardless of who or what caused the crises (as there were more than one and they are not over yet), would have collapsed our economies completely but that apparently is too difficult for average protester to comprehend...

        1. Trygve Henriksen

          What 'broke the bubble' is that the banks were lending out more money than they had.

          and that they were 'selling' bad loans everywhere.

          A lot of the bad loans were from the American housing market, where they had the grand idea that anyone, no matter how poor should be able to buy a house, even if they couldn't afford to pay down the mortgage.

          Lending out money...

          Traditionally, banks lend out the money belonging to account holders.

          If you put $100 into your savings account, they would lend out part of that sum, maybe $85 or $90. This worked because most customers doesn't show up at the same time to withdraw all their money... And also, when people take out a loan, they don't get a bag of cash they ide under the bed. They buy something for the money, and the seller, of course puts the money in the bank, or pay down some debt, buy more goods for resale os something. When the money ends up in the bank again, another part of it is lent out and so on...

          The bit that is lent out is alway smaller than the amount deposited. Having that reserve makes sense, right?

          So, what happens when a bank issues loans for more money than they get in?

          and that money is circulated, and loaned on again and again?

          That is an extreme simplification of what was going on...

          There was 'selling short' when trading(selling something you didn't have, in the hope that the goods would fall in price so that you could buy and deliver the goods before the deadline)

          And 'Naked short selling'(the same as short, except that yuo had no intention of getting hold of the goods at all)

          Personally, I think a lot of the bankers should be nailed to a wall, upside down, with a nailgun...

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Tell me... does GDP and all the other indicators of a wealth areas performance include the banking and finance sector? If it does, then surely when an economy derives a significant part of its wealth from the financial sector, then you will get unregulated feedback which will result in cycles of boom and bust.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @Trygve Henriksen

            You've described Fractional Reserve Banking.

            If you google it you'll see why it's the worlds biggest pyramid scheme and is destined to come crashing down eventually...And the 99% will be the ones left holding the begging bowls.

            1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

              @AC re: Fractional Reserve Banking.

              Can you estimate the level of commercial interest rates and inflation which will exist if you force 100% reserved lending on banks?

          3. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

            @Trygve Henriksen

            Er, you're getting me confused...

            Why do you mix unsecured (intentionally or not) lending with short-selling?

            When you sell short you make money when the market falls. Those banks whose proprietary desks shorted their books before the collapse(s) would have done great. No need for bailout or anything else...

            The lending - yes.

            "A lot of the bad loans were from the American housing market, where they had the grand idea that anyone, no matter how poor should be able to buy a house, even if they couldn't afford to pay down the mortgage."

            In that quote you've nailed it. But who got the grand idea? To blame banks alone is criminally stupid because it will guarantee a repeat of this whole mess again and again.

            Everyone must admit their role in it - Governments who saw it as an easy way of bribing voters, voters who let themselves be bribed, banks who knew where it's all going but still did it...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who voted for these people?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Keep it up

    Shame the UK media has been issued a D notice (or whatever they call it now) so that they cannot report on this event. It just shows how controlled our society is and these guys are showing inginuity with their power generation which would put our government to shame with its dirty nuclear power contracts.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Oh

      I can give up dirty nuclear power, alright. You're welcome to pedal a generator at my house all day (and night) long.

    2. Chris007
      WTF?

      D Notice

      Is this right - any URL's showing this?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Unlikely...

        ..judging by the number of stories with this simple search: http://bit.ly/oDSVNX

  14. cs94njw
    Thumb Up

    Yep, square mile is a ghost town at the weekend. But, if you were preparing for a long stint, setting up on Saturday/Sunday is a good idea.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How to get 5v while powering a laptop

    USB power is already downstepped to 5v. Is there a reason they can't just cut into a USB cable and take phone power from there?

  16. stucs201
    Unhappy

    Don't taunt us!

    its cruel to put BOFH in an article title on a Friday unless its actually a BOFH episode.

    There better be a proper one along later...

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
      Joke

      Yes, I vote for a better filter..

      I get all sorts of BOFH alerts, where all I want is a heads-up for the *proper* BOFH. Scandalous!

    2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Yes, power limits

      USB ports are limited output power providers. If you want more you need to use intelligent devices that talk the USB controller into upping the feed. It also preserved the PCB in between :-).

  17. mark 63 Silver badge

    "However, one bright spark managed to cobble together a new converter that downstepped the 12 volt supply directly to five volts much more efficiently, using mail-order parts and a bit of ingenuity."

    These things have been available off the shelf for years , and more recently stepping up too

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: How is the bailout working for you?

    "MORE government inaction please!"

    You seem to think that the US Government controls the US Federal Reserve. It has no control whatsoever.

  19. b166er

    Black Betty

    Thing is, running a generator in a public street is likely to get you busted for noise pollution or some such.

    Bam ba lam

  20. byrresheim
    FAIL

    Peddle != Pedal for heaven's sake.

    Just saying.

    & by the way: If you run a 50 KW car engine to get 500 mW to power a phone, power efficiency generation and conversion is (within reason) not your problem. If you use a 100 W human being, to deliver roughly 80 W in total, power efficiency is very much your problem. Therefore have a good look at what the thingy you plug into your cigarette lighter socket really does.

  21. TeeCee Gold badge

    Power generation.

    That looks to me like a conventional bike with its arse end propped in a frame so the rear wheel turns a roller.

    Easy answer, replace the pedalling bit with a moped.

    1. Drew V.
      Thumb Down

      I think they want the people to provide the power...NOT the Saudi oil sheiks or the Texas oil barons.

  22. Spikey
    WTF?

    End the FED

    According to Ron Paul, the solution would be to go back to 'Sound Money' and stop the Government and Banks from enjoying their 'elastic' supply of money. Imagine how much LESS the government could/would do if they had to use 'real' money to pay for things!

  23. Rick Giles
    Trollface

    Get job you hippies!

    And take a bath!

  24. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Go Slacktivists! Go!

    With you all the way. Send me a tweet when you've won and we can have a virtual meetup to congratulate each other...

    On a serious note, nice to see America developing any form of political culture and a reasonable counterpoint to the Tea Party Luddites. This feels a bit like some of the enthusiasm that Obama was able to conjure up that soon led to disillusionment.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    Rotating Supply of Charged Lead Acid Batteries

    Why don't the have Lead Acid Batteries charged daily at addresses of sympathisers locally, delivering them in a group daily, to improve the available power, and limit the impact of immediate vulnerabilities if things (such as the bike for example) are taken.

    In addition there is no need to have a Mac, in fact its almost offensive, tools or no tools, single core lower power laptops and netbooks are dirt cheap, and can be configured in advance to replace almost immediately a lost device, as well as run on less power.

    On top of that having a single hub is a single point of failure, carefully located batteries with a single device and a phone could make any police action completely ineffective in the short term.

    Very impressive engineering, but in terms of Management of IT resources, there is a clear lack of skill. Centralised hubs are especially vulnerable.

    1. peter_dtm
      FAIL

      No engineering here at all; just demonstration of a total lack of ability to solve a problem. They stay in their comfort zone and use the wrong technology to try to power the ..... wrong technology.

      they have a problem - getting power for assorted bits of kit

      they have totally failed to achieve a workable (never mind reliable) solution.

      $deity help them if they ever have to resolve a real power crisis

  26. David Barrett Silver badge

    If there is any hope, it lies in the proles.

  27. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge
    Meh

    I could donate some kit...

    ... but I wonder how hard you'd have to pedal to keep an old DEC Alpha up and running?

    In any case, if they are really short on power a macbook is probably not the best choice. To keep the laptop form-factor they could use low-end netbooks and save more than half the power. If leccy is really an issue you can go barebones* and put together a good system, complete with a decent webserver, user accounts to check e-mail, browse the web and do some basic video editing etc, with about the same power needs as an average smartphone. Of course you'd have to give up all these fancy graphics...

    *REALLY barebones, not «Our main machine is a MacBook» "barebones".

  28. Callum

    a SIMPLER 3G hotspot

    just use one of these fabby Chinese 3G/WiFi hotspots - battery backed and charges from 12V too! Solwise have them but also available on tatbay. i use them at mountain bike races. http://www.solwise.co.uk/3g-routers-3g-etr-9360.htm

  29. HalHanson
    Linux

    Running any computers that are not Linux based completely debases their position

    They want an expensive Mac because "Dat's wut we used to..." and I am sure those machines I see that are not Apple computers are Winblows based. Crap, Microsoft is greedy evil central and Apple is catching up rapidly with their new litigate instead of innovate stance. To show they are not full of sh** they should run open source Linux systems. I GUARANTEE you that if the group states they are willing to wipe Winblows from every computer and go 100% freedom based open source an army of local open source computer experts who are truly interested in freedom will descend on the scene and totally transform their cobbled system into a top notch IT system. I have been running Linux only since 2003 and finding ways to do what I need with only open source tools. If I lived there I would have come down in person already and offered!

  30. This post has been deleted by its author

  31. Dennis Healey

    Help for Admins

    We the management are investing in IT - the bikes arrive tomorrow. Bikes cos you need redundancy.

    My work is done

  32. DogMan
    Alien

    As far as low power local servers go, they should look at DreamPlug. Less than 5 watt LAMP server. Looks like a large wall wart. Runs on 120V AC (not 150V per previous post) or 5V DC.

    And I agree with a couple of previous comments. Most are City Brand Daddy's Kids (TM) with no camping experience, hell, no life experience either. I'd be surprised if 10% ever have held a real job. They have no idea how paople could possibly survive without government help.

    "Morons. Incompetent morons. These people are morons. Dum di di di" Conan O'Brien

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My word, my wordity word word...

    There's more than a few posts here along the lines of "middle class morons"

    WTF are you smoking people?

    Think it makes you clever to diss this effort *just* because most of the participants are educated & middle class?

    So what would you do, eh? C'mon, lets have your amazing ideas - you going to rally the poorest in society to attempt to take on the financial status quo? Of you go then, get it rolling, then maybe we'll take you seriously.

    This *is* a middle class revolution - as indeed, most of them have been historically. The poorest are far too busy just trying to survive, they haven't the energy nor means to stage any kind of protest.

    I applaud what these guys are doing, because at the very least, they are taking a stand.

  34. DogMan

    So what are your plans? For the revolution part. You do understand that real revolutions always involve killing people. So what's your policy on that? Don't say you won't. That would be you misleading yourself.

    Moving on to what happens after you win. What sort of paradise do you have in mind? Because billionaires only live so long and you are going to eliminate them. Who do you leach off of then?

    Be specific, give examples.

    Dogman

  35. Andrew Oakley
    WTF?

    Anti-capitalism but PRO-sweatshop?

    So basically the anti-capitalism protesters are basing their campaign around mass-produced imported electronics made by sweatshop workers who have to pay their own employer for their mandatory food and accommodation?

    I wonder how much a netbook or a smartphone would cost if the factory workers were paid a Western minimum wage?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      use the tools of your "oppressor" against them

      protest 101

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    and while we're talking small footprints ...

    ,,, why a 2 Meg jpeg at the head of the article ?

    Never heard of compression ?

    It took AGES on my on my dial-up.

  37. Dodgy Dave

    A grumpy old man rants

    In my day protesters belonged to groups with names like "Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament" or "Save the Whale". The clue was in the title, you see.

    "Occupy San Francisco" has me a little fuddled. They are indeed occupying San Fransisco - was there something else they wanted? Does anyone know? You'll have to speak clearly, I'm a little deaf these days.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Dodgy Dave - You could google it

      Jeeesh - you might be a little deaf but you can use a computer (you wrote the comment above).

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        No he couldn't

        Because the "occupiers" themselves don't know what is it they want... Googling won't help.

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