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   Technology StocksThe *NEW* Frank Coluccio Technology Forum


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To: pltodms who wrote (41246)8/11/2012 12:03:45 AM
From: mistermj
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It operates when the winds of mars are nice enough to blow the dust off the solar panels.Otherwise not so much.

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To: mistermj who wrote (41245)8/11/2012 12:32:57 PM
From: Frank A. Coluccio
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Hi mistermj,

I agree, PV is not the optimal solution for the application at hand, i.e., powering Mars rovers, but to call the technology a failure in space ignores decades of success that made the satellite age possible, not to mention myriad other apps.

On earth? Let's be real. I agree wholeheartedly that, to date, pv's use by utilities for base load generation is a joke, as is the case when it's used to supplement large installations, such as Internet data centers, where I tend to view it as an opportunistic, gratuitous solution, at best. What price PR, and its growth agent, social corporate responsibility?

But let's not ignore it's success, and the promise it holds, for billions of inhabitants on the planet whose abodes do not align with current (or even planned) gross national grid transmission and distribution networks. In such situations a small local collector that feeds a battery (and perhaps an inverter) can make the difference between basic electrical needs, including a single light bulb; communicating with the rest if the globe, and utter darkness, both literally and figuratively.

As for the dust storms on Mars, good point. The problem has been recognized for decades, as the abstract below, taken from an IEEE paper written in 1990 demonstrates:

Paper: Design considerations for Mars photovoltaic systems: tinyurl.com

ABSTRACT

Considerations for operation of a photovoltaic power system on Mars are discussed with reference to Viking Lander data. The average solar insolation on Mars is 590 W/m2, which is reduced yet further by atmospheric dust. Of major concern are dust storms, which have been observed to occur on local as well as on global scales, and their effect on solar array output. While atmospheric opacity may rise to values ranging from three to nine, depending on storm severity, there is still an appreciable large diffuse illumination, even at high opacities so that photovoltaic operation is still possible. If the power system is to continue to generate power even on high-optical-opacity (i.e. dusty atmosphere) days, it is important that the photovoltaic system be designed to collect diffuse irradiance as well as direct. Energy storage will be required for operation during the night. Temperature and wind provide additional considerations for array design.
--

I've not researched this further, but I would imagine that ultrasonics might be used here to dislodge, or prevent, buildup when dust is detected. Then again, doing so would detract from the existing power budget. Tradeoffs.

A similar problem has existed with the design of free space optical systems following snowfalls, which most vendors now address with heating elements to melt the snow.

FAC

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To: Frank A. Coluccio who wrote (41248)8/11/2012 12:49:03 PM
From: pltodms
2 Recommendations   of 46820
 
MARS PROBE TECH KEEPS WINDOWS DUST-FREE

If applied to solar panels, this technology could transform the world's deserts into massive power plants.

news.discovery.com

[Quick search pointed me to this link. This goverment sponsored technology has been discussed for a few years. Has anyone pickup any new information as to its cost effectiveness? Is it in use today?]

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To: pltodms who wrote (41246)8/11/2012 1:35:31 PM
From: Frank A. Coluccio
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Hi pltodms, and deeno,

re: the effects of automation on job rolls

In my earlier reply I took measures to clarify that I was referring to intrinsic jobs (same-type jobs), not those created or engendered by offshoots of automation. This is a hugely broad topic, so I'll limit my reply here to the types of venues previously discussed.

Truck rolls are being replaced by drive-by pickups and overnight deliveries of terminal gear. The cable guy will compete with eBay and Amazon, not to mention Best Buy, for the next SetTopBox.

If a utility installs a AMI meter, it's not from altruism or a sense of green spirited benevolence (despite what their communications departments tell you), it's because they're trying to improve net operating income. And the way they do this is by cutting jobs and streamlining and improving workflow processes and field operations through automation.

When FiOS was on a roll, do you think Verizon went out and hired an army of installers who now remain on their books as liabilities? No, they went to outside contractors, in the main, who install FTTH for numerous providers, even those that compete with Verizon. It's an outsourced, plug-in society we live in today, leaning towards one that is increasingly point and click.

When the gas company sent someone to implement a smart meter in my home three years ago, it wasn't a gas company employee, it was a contractor. That was the last time I've had to admit anyone from the gas company into my home. The city, in kind, installed a wireless meter on my water main, and I wasn't even aware that they'd done it. And to suggest that there would be a need to provide a network to every home for every type of utility ignores the fact that every home is already connected to numerous networks, including the very wires over which the power company delivers electricity.

Net : Net :: Same-type jobs are eliminated, and the majority of those who are dismissed, who usually fall under the heading of limited skills categories, are left to learn new skills or face the consequences. Cross-training for other positions within the existing employ, as a prelude to, or substitute to layoffs, is something I've given a fair amount of attention to, in relation to potential employment ramifications that will befall workers in my own line of work. But we don't see very much of this today.

FAC

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To: Frank A. Coluccio who wrote (41250)8/11/2012 7:09:58 PM
From: deeno
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Apreciate your thoughts and don't really disagree, but...

" it's because they're trying to improve net operating income"

why?

"And the way they do this is by cutting jobs and streamlining and improving workflow processes and field operations through automation."

cant make to much money or the PUC really frowns. Perhaps the efficiencies make for MORE employees so everyone can increase the size of thier kingdoms. Thus warrant a raise.....My orginal point being that perhaps effeciancies and automation do create more jobs.

"And to suggest that there would be a need to provide a network to every home for every type of utility ignores the fact that every home is already connected to numerous networks, including the very wires over which the power company delivers electricity."

You certianly no more about than I, but in my case I only have DSL and that had to be split out to work. How does the utility now deal with my new smart meter?

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To: Frank A. Coluccio who wrote (41248)8/11/2012 7:14:49 PM
From: deeno
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Well its truly amazing to me that a neuclear powered engine is so small it can fit on a rover the size of a car. Wonder if they had to file an environmental impact report on the plan for the was plutonium? Or do we just dump all that crap on Mars. Perhaps with that little help life can again begin on Mars.

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To: deeno who wrote (41251)8/11/2012 8:38:33 PM
From: Frank A. Coluccio
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Old PUC tariff guidelines are yielding to new calculi that determine IOC (investor-owned utility) profit & loss outcomes. It gets complicated, owing to new requirements to meet carbon mitigation and renewable portfolio goals, for which sizable federal tax incentives are granted.

Concomitantly, the grow-the-empire-to-achieve-greater-revenues mentality is yielding to the need for greater efficiency, which is another driver ostensibly behind smart grid (AMI metering) deployments and other forms of energy reduction through time of day metering and other forms of demand side management techniques.

I emphasized "ostensibly" above because I'm of the belief that smart metering for the average residence (as opposed to industrial and commercial energy accounts) isn't ready for prime time yet, either philosophically or from genuine benefits derived. I feel that many meter deployments are merely a result of herd instincts and very-effective, over-hyped vendor marketing and lobbying efforts. Peer pressure and FUD at work. It's pervasive.

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From: ftth8/11/2012 10:22:50 PM
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[OT] Olympics: different ways of looking at medal counts and statistics:
medalspercapita.com

Pretty interesting. Has historic olympic data as well.

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To: Frank A. Coluccio who wrote (41253)8/11/2012 10:56:07 PM
From: pltodms
   of 46820
 
Hi Frank, I hope I am not straying to far afield with this reply.

"Cross-training for other positions within the existing employ, as a prelude to, or substitute to layoffs, is something I've given a fair amount of attention to, ... But we don't see very much of this today."

This is where social policy has to play a role to protect the citizen from predatory interests. The rational for government is to provide a fair and just system with a judiciary, police force and an army that upholds and enforces the rule of law to protect the citizen from internal and external predators. The question, is maximizing his/hers freedom to live a fulfilled life happening today under current policies?

It appears to me that the policy over the past number of decades has been to atomize the citizen, let them fend for themselves in an unfettered global market, and leave it to the discretion of powerfully global (not national) business interests whose goal us to maximize short term profits. Every thing else will take care of its self, so the story goes.

The direction to atomize can be a positive evolutionary direction (with the right policies) of a healthy market economy with the help of ICT, the catalyst. A more efficient marketplace where opportunities for the majority of citizens to migrate from working for the owners of capital to that of becoming independent entrepreneurs may be one direction the future will take. Think of the artisan of the past only in much more interconnected world, not a small locality, i.e. village, town. [this not an original thought.]

What will it take to change the policy in place today that has taken the mantra of unfettered capitalism and small government to where we are at a point where we have an unprecedented open door policy for lobbyist to write our laws? [and government is not getting any smaller] For example, is the Greenspan/Bernanke put** helping our economy or just helping the special interests that our politicians are beholden to for their next job?

This issue is too complex to address in a few words, only a small part of the whole. And that part may be incorrectly seen based on biases. Certainly I do not have the breadth of expertise to think that I have answers. I can only say with confidence that things can get better only through civil discussion. Not polarized camps shouting at each other, which unfortunately is the situation we find ourselves in. We, coming from a science perspective, should be more resistance to that kind of behavior.

** This is not the only factor that exemplifies the policy in question. Even if it plays a minor role, it is on the table as potentially one of the influencing factors with some nuanced underpinnings.

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From: Frank A. Coluccio8/12/2012 10:27:43 AM
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Another explanation of Cloud Computing (yes, oh hum, but) with interesting side notes:
--

What is cloud computing? Amazon, Google Drive, iCloud, Dropbox explained
C|NET | August 10, 2012

m.cbsnews.com

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