I've never understood why there's such a big price difference between potatoes and those bags of frozen french fries in the freezer aisle. Frozen fries are the same thing as plain potatoes--they've just been sliced and frozen. But why can you get 10 pounds of potatoes for about the same price as one pound of french fries? Rather than worry too much about it, I've started making my own french fries at home. All you need is a vegetable cutter to help crank out the cut potatoes and a pan full of hot oil.
If you're planning to travel overseas and want to use your iPhone for data transfer with AT&T's international data plan, don't count on canceling the add-on plan as soon as you get back. Readers report that canceling the plan before 90 days after the transfer has occurred will trigger charges for data at the full, non-international-plan rate.
One iPhone Atlas reader writes:
"After receiving a huge international data roaming bill for my iPhone account -- even though I had added a sufficiently large International Data Roaming Plan before my trip -- I was informed … Read more
SAN DIEGO--People in the solar industry are hopeful that the sun is a good place to put money these days.
To be sure, the financial crunch is rippling through even the fast-growing solar business: With falling house prices and general belt-tightening, consumers may be more reluctant to purchase solar panels, even if they want renewable electricity. And less available capital makes it difficult to finance large-scale projects, like corporate rooftop arrays or solar power plants.
But even with the gloomy economic outlook, the mood at this week's Solar Power International 2008 conference was decidedly upbeat.
The solar industry scored … Read more
SAN DIEGO--A walk around the conference floor at the Solar Power International conference will quickly teach you that solar energy comes in more shapes than the flat rooftop panels you see on people's homes.
At the conference, there were a number of companies that do solar concentrators of various types, which use lenses and mirrors to concentrate sunlight onto solar cells.
These new-fangled devices are aimed at either businesses with rooftop space or utilities, many of which have to meet state mandates to purchase renewable energy.
The flat-panel business is very active as well. Manufacturers are ramping up operations … Read more
I just got my hands on the Seagate Barracuda 7200.11, which at 1.5TB is the largest consumer hard drive you can get presently, and now I realize just how big it really is.
If you bought a new computer in the last two years, chances are it came with a hard drive somewhere between 250GB and 500GB. This is already a huge amount of storage considering that just four years ago, most hard drives offered 100GB or less.
A 250GB hard drive offers about 16 times more storage space than the 16GB version of the iPhone 3G. For … Read more
SAN DIEGO--Two very different companies are developing ways to track energy usage in homes equipped with solar panels.
SolarCity, a company that leases solar panels to households, introduced on Wednesday a new version of its SolarGuard software that displays panels' production alongside a home's electricity usage.
In many states, people pay a higher rate for electricity during peak times in the middle of the day and early evening. By tracking usage--and solar panels' production--people can decide to run a washing machine at night, for example.
"The biggest energy-efficiency challenge in every house is not changing light bulbs. It'… Read more
If we were going to award a proprietary software vendor for the "Worst Open Source FUD of 2008," TeleSoft International, not Microsoft, would take the prize. Indeed, in a year that has seen Microsoft embrace open source to an increased degree, TeleSoft has gone on a full-frontal assault, claiming in a video that open source is poorly tailored to customer needs, ruins their profitability, and delays their time to market.
In other words, TeleSoft is claiming that open source will do precisely the opposite of what companies normally find that it delivers.
Perhaps recognizing that not everyone will buy into its FUD, TeleSoft claims to support the popular Linux operating system, but with a kernel-loadable module approach that keeps its IP safe from that voracious appetite of IP-stealing Linux. Nice. TeleSoft wants to have its cake ("open source is terrible!") and eat it, too ("but our open source is not so terrible!").… Read more
SAN DIGEO--Former U.S. general and presidential candidate Wesley Clark said that solar energy is part of a larger "tent" of different energy sources that should wean the United States from imported oil.
Clark gave a keynote address at the Solar Power International conference here Tuesday, where he focused on the role of renewable energies in national security.
"Everything we can do to reduce our carbon footprint and slow down climate change, which is upon us, is very important to energy security," Clark said. "Energy security is crucial to national security."
He said that … Read more
SAN DIEGO--The Solar Power International conference kicked off in a buoyant mood.
Despite concerns about the economy overall, the primary subsidy for the solar industry--a renewable energy federal tax credit--was extended for eight years, which solar industry experts say ensure the continued pace of fast growth.
Announcements from solar vendors at the conference reflect that optimism and the growing diversity of solar technologies.
Soliant Energy's devices concentrate sunlight … Read more
SAN DIEGO--Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger delivered a surprise speech at the Solar Power International conference here Monday night, saying that a sustained commitment to clean technologies can aid the country's economic recovery.
After touring the conference floor, Schwarzenegger spoke to solar industry professionals at what organizers are calling a "historic" solar power conference, which has shot in attendance from 6,000 people last year to an expected 20,000 this year.