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Robert Byrne
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Robert Byrne

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Whatever about Powerwall, switching from fossils to renewables is coming to a planet near you, thankfully.
 
Here Elon Musk announces his new battery technology.  For a skeptical take on the economics, see:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/05/01/403529202/tesla-ceo-elon-musk-unveils-home-battery-is-3-000-cheap-enough

Quoting:

"The Powerwall's price ranges from $3,000 for a 7 kilowatt-hour model and $3,500 for the 10 kwh version. Those prices don't include an AC-to-DC power inverter or installation, but they're still far lower than the $20,000 estimate that one analyst gave to NPR's Steve Henn in the days leading up to Tesla's announcement."

[...]

"Forbes writer Christopher Helman says that with configurations that supply either 7 kwh or 10 kwh, "the implication is that a 10 kwh system could supply 1,000 watts of current to your home for 10 hours.""

"But after analyzing the costs and benefits of the system, Helman adds, "If you do not have a big enough solar system to get your home entirely off the grid, then there is simply no point whatsoever in paying 30 cents per kwh to get electricity via the Powerwall.""

"It remains to be seen whether, for many people, Tesla's starting price of more than $3,000 will be low enough to make the economics of solar energy add up."

(posted by +John Baez)
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Robert Byrne

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A one day photo project I did across Toronto. The photos are mostly taken in:
 - Korea Town
 - The Beach (a.k.a. "Beaches")
 - The Honest Ed's store

The Leslieville shots were taken on the streetcar journey out to the Beach. The shot of a pile of books is an example of the chaotic style of Honest Ed's, a sprawling, multi-storey, multi-building bric-a-brac superstore - with lots of showbiz posters and photos - that will close forever in a couple of years. The bar called "Hitch" is named in honour of Christopher Hitchens. I have no explanation for the nostril shop.
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Thanks +Pat Byrne and +Paul Byrne!
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Mount Sinai hospital, each shot taken a couple of seconds apart as I walked out of the shadow of the building and the sun peeked over the top.
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Great light out today.
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Some good shots this weekend.
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Recent jumble of good shots, including aquarium.
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Robert Byrne

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iPhone 6

I set up my new iPhone 6 today and switched carrier from Koodo back to Wind. It's time to post about first impressions.

Positives
 - Performance, performance, performance. I like rapidly using a touchscreen and getting results I expect. This is why I tend towards iPhones, and the 6 has produced convincing results so far.
 - Screen size. 4S to 6 is a massive jump, so I don't have to be so envious of Linda's Nexus 5 any more! BBC news app and G+ are nice, but so of course is web browsing and even using the phone's OS UI.
 - Touch ID. This seems to be a mature feature. A few presses of my thumb and the phone had learned my print. I can now unlock the phone by placing my thumb at crazy angles on the home button. The solidity of this feature actually makes me think of Google's sophisticated engineering in web apps, and the way Netflix apps impressed me when they were new.
 - iOS 8. I was never brave enough to try iOS 8 on my 4S, which meant no Swype keyboard for me. I'm enjoying Swype and the "recents" feature of the multi-tasking screen.

Intriguing features to try
 - Digital image stabilization (the 6 doesn't have the fancier version in the 6 Plus) is going to be worth playing with.
 - Apple Pay. I like the idea of using Touch ID and NFC for this, and we're rumoured to be getting a roll out in Canada in 2015...

Negatives
 - Price. I'm trying to balance this against having a model that works with Wind (saving $120 per year on mobile fees by switching) or giving up Vonage (netting a gain of $250 per year in this scenario, by getting free U.S. calls from Wind). Wind's radio bands don't support iPhone 4S.
 - Price again. Man, it hurts. But the Nexus 6 wasn't dramatically cheaper...
 - No fast charge. The Nexus 6 has this nice feature (15 minute super-charge? At least for partial re-charge?) The iPhone 6 is looking like about 90 minutes for a full charge. Not a deal-breaker, but hardware features like that aren't going to appear via a new iOS version, and it may not be possible to supply a fast charger for iPhone 6, I'd guess.
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At the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner Saturday night in DC, President Obama used devastating humor to express rare passion and anger over climate science denial. The video is must-see.

#ClimateChangeDenial #Obama
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Robert Byrne

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+5 now, +22 on Monday. Southern Ontario never stops weirding me out.
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Ah! so that's it I see your point now Robert, if it were me I would stay north of the border too in that case.
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Well-put argument against Ireland being in the euro.
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This article echoes my current sentiments which is why I posted. I think he takes a couple of cheap shots though. In the 1990s, and before, it looked like Britain could head towards joining the euro (hard to believe now). Meanwhile, Ireland became a victim of its success in attracting U.S. investment -- investment was less back in the day, and having the euro versus the Irish pound probably didn't seem like a crucial distinction.

These days though, it may be that Ireland should leave the euro. That said, I think a repaired eurozone without Germany calling the shots, with proper democratic oversight of the ECB, with leaders that actually care about the "regions" (like Ireland and Greece) could still work. In the meantime, it would be lovely to leave :)
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Have them in circles
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"One cannot be just a little bit heretical." - Christopher Hitchens. "Solemnity, on the other hand… I don't know what it's for. [...] It serves pomposity" - John Cleese.