Updated: 5/16/2006; 11:33:02 AM.

Ken Novak's Weblog
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daily link  Monday, February 16, 2004


SpamProbe - A Fast Bayesian Spam Filter: "SpamProbe relies on a Bayesian analysis of the frequency of words used in spam and non-spam emails received by an individual person. The process is completely automatic and tailors itself to the kinds of emails that each person receives.. SpamProbe is open source software and anyone is free to use it on their computers without any fees."  11:57:51 PM  permalink  

Why Nerds are Unpopular: Long essay about high schools: excellent, twisted, very perceptive.  11:53:45 PM  permalink  

Jeroen Bekkers' Groove Weblog: I discovered many sources of Groove tools and extensions today, thanks to this weblog from Suite75, a developer of Groove and Flash tools.

  • SUITELAB, Suite75's collection (some of which are highlighted below), including shared Visio viewer, 3D molecule viewer, and shared blogger tool
  • CodeWeavers - Run Groove under Linux with other Windows apps
  • do-hyki: "dohyki is a simple experimental collaborative note-taking application. It's kinda like a small private wiki, and shares some of wiki's free-form ethos. .. Notes (pages) are stored in a Groove "files" tool which you choose. If there are other members of the Groove shared space, you can all work together at the same time."
  • Tim Knip's FlashHyki version of hyki in Flash
  • PowerTools for Groove, with improvements in Files and Chat, many in the free version
  • FileSyncWiz: Sync disk files with Groove spaces.  "Very useful in situations where all members do not use Groove, but must share files with other Groove users. This tool will pick up local changes and update into Groove or take new files that have been changed in Groove and update the local folders, so other members instantly get changed documents."  Could be used for web site production, esp with a CMS like Radio.  Rumored to be in v3 of Groove.
  • Groove Interop Tool for Radio, recently upgraded
  • GForce.Time time billing tool, costs between $50 and $75
  11:32:17 PM  permalink  

Smartmoney.com Map of the Market: Great way to visualize the market.  Have seen references to this sort of thing for looking at the contents of a disk drive, which would be very useful.  Wish it was as easy to load and run as this map!  Related:

  11:19:44 PM  permalink  

You Can Take It With You: "With a few gigabytes of stage, a mobile phone becomes a multipurpose information appliance. For businesspeople, it becomes the tool for carrying Powerpoint presentations and word-processing files, rather than lugging around a laptop. For the consumer, it becomes the repository for photos, movies and music. You'll send copies of that content to a network server for backup or to share it with your friends, but you'll still carry copies with you everywhere. .. We'll also see much more powerful location-based services. A two-gigabyte microdrive can hold an entire continent worth of mapping data. The phone's wireless connection would only have to come into play for telemetry and occasional updates.

Projects in the lab today could make today's mobile storage look puny. For example, an IBM research project called Millipede uses micromechanical systems to burn massive numbers of tiny depressions onto a medium, supporting storage densities in the hundreds of gigabytes per square inch. "

  10:38:07 PM  permalink  

Study: Wind power lowers Colorado electricity costs: "Requiring wind power in Colorado’s energy supply would probably lower electricity costs over the next 20 years, according to a report released Thursday by a utility expert.

Ron Binz, former Consumer Counsel for the State of Colorado for 11 years, studied the effects of proposed renewable-energy-standard legislation on the price of electricity. His study, which he calls a “straight from the shoulder analysis,” examined standards imposed by House Bill 1273, which would require the state’s investor-owned utilities to acquire or generate renewable energy by certain deadlines, and it compared the renewable energy costs to fossil-fuels costs.

He found consumers would likely save money, a total of 20 cents per monthly bill on average by 2023. His worst-case assumptions, which Binz said are not likely, would raise consumer electric rates by 8 cents per month over a 20-year period.  “A slightly more favorable scenario for rates, which is still in my view a likely scenario ... would have a benefit of about 31 cents per month over the 20-year period,” Binz said.

Binz said introducing renewable energy would guard against spikes in natural-gas prices in the future. He predicted wind energy could result in consumer savings of 52 to 75 cents per monthly bill in years when prices for fossil fuels spike like they did in 2000 and 2003. "

  10:20:59 PM  permalink  

Lights Go Out for South Africa Off-Grid Energy Projects: "[The SA] government is reviewing its off-grid renewable energy programme after finding that it does not meet targets; the technology is too costly and it lacks acceptance among intended users.   This means that the provision of electricity to remote areas, especially using solar energy technology, will be halted while government seeks other sources of power.

Long distances from existing power grids and the inaccessibility of some areas make connections to electricity supply an expensive exercise. This is why renewable energy was explored as an alternative. In 1999 about 300000 rural households were identified for a pilot solar system. The aim was to connect them over a 10-year period. The minerals and energy department says the failure of contractors to meet their targets and the failure of the technology to meet the needs of rural people "gives doubts about its sustainability".

Nelisiwe Magubane, the deputy director-general responsible for electricity and nuclear energy at the department, says the six companies contracted to install the solar systems managed to deliver only 8000 units in 18 months. The target was 60 000 units 10000 for each company. The companies were EDF/Total, Eskom/Shell, Nuon/Raps, Solar Vision, Renewable Energies Africa, and BP.

Magubane says that of the R105m allocated to the project, the contractors spent only R20m by August last year. The remaining R85m has been taken back by the treasury, which demands that all unspent funds be returned so that they can be allocated to better-performing projects.  [State power utility] Eskom is also considering withdrawing from the project because it believes it is not viable.

The power utility and other companies complained about nonpayment from users and vandalism of solar systems. High maintenance costs and the replacement of batteries every other three to years, at the company's cost, compounds the problem. ..

Minerals and Energy Minister Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka told Parliament last year that 1740 nongrid systems were installed in rural households in 2002. About 77000 grid connections were also made in these areas.

Mlambo-Ngcuka said her department, with the assistance of the World Bank and the Prototype Carbon Fund, would this year begin to promote [grid-connected] renewable energy electrification generation. "The target is an additional 1000gW- hours of energy consumed by 2013, which will be achieved through renewable energy generation and other sources such as biodiesel, solar water heating, solar photovoltaic, and solar design in housing."

The increasing demand for electricity and environmental imperatives also prompted Eskom to explore an energy mix of hydro power, natural gas, and other renewable energy sources.  Eskom says that by 2012 at least 5% of the power it generates will be from renewable sources. To this end, the company has budgeted about R60m on wind farming, R9m on solar power, R1m on biopower and R500000 in wave power."

  10:14:27 PM  permalink  

Solar energy's 50-year anniversary: ""Basically every three years, the overall industry volume doubles, and for every doubling of volume you reduce costs 18 percent, '' said Tim Woodward, a venture capitalist at Nth Power, a San Francisco firm that invests in energy technologies.  "Right now, this is a real industry that's growing 30 percent a year,'' said Woodward, whose firm has a stake in Evergreen Solar Inc., a Massachusetts company that is developing a new solar cell manufacturing technology..

Cypress Semiconductor bought 57 percent of SunPower in 2002 and is buying the rest and making it a wholly owned subsidiary. With Cypress' backing, SunPower is building a solar cell assembly plant in Manila. The ribbon- cutting will be held in March, and the factory is supposed to start shipping arrays by the end of the year.  "By the time we get everything done, we will have bet $100 million,'' said [Cypress CEO] Rodgers.."

  10:02:12 PM  permalink  

China link to Libya nuke design: "Investigators have identified China as the origin of some nuclear weapons designs found in Libya last year, the Washington Post newspaper reported. It said the international inquiry found that Chinese designs probably supplied to Pakistan in the 1980s were sold on to Libya by Pakistani-led smugglers.

It quoted officials as saying that some of Libya's documents were in Chinese. The findings raise questions as to whether similar Chinese designs were supplied to Iran and North Korea. ..

Government officials and arms experts said Libya's documents yielded "dramatic evidence" of China's long-suspected role in the transfers of nuclear know-how to Pakistan, according to the newspaper. It said the packet of documents contained detailed, step-by-step instructions for assembling an implosion-type 450-kilogram (1,000 pounds) nuclear bomb that could fit atop a large ballistic missiles. ..

"It was just what you'd have on the factory floor. It tells you what torque to use on the bolts and what glue to use on the parts," one arms expert who had reviewed the designs told the newspaper. He described the blueprints as "very, very old" but "very well engineered".

China's actions "were irresponsible and short-sighted, and raise questions about what else China provided to Pakistan's nuclear programme," Mr Albright told the Washington Post. "  If they were sold on to North Korea by Pakistan, it would be a classic case of 'blowback' on the Chinese.

  6:16:48 AM  permalink  

 

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Last update: 5/16/2006; 11:33:02 AM.