Author Archive

Let's confirm Carlton Ching

March 18th, 2015

Here's a ThinkTech commentary by Jay Fidell on the confirmation of Carlton Ching.

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FCC should deny hotel application to block guest Wi-Fi

January 7th, 2015


The Sunday New York Times editorial page talked about “brazen” attempts by certain hotels to block guest Wi-Fi. They want to block guests from using their own cell phone connectivity and thus force them to buy hotel Internet instead.

Marriott is asking the FCC to give them the right to block Wi-Fi devices like cellphones that allow guests to get the Internet on their laptops and tablets, requiring guests to buy hotel Wi-Fi which is ridiculously more expensive.

Last October, the FCC fined Marriott $600,000 for preventing customers from using their own connectivity at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville. The hotel was charging attendees at a conference up to $1,000 for hotel Wi-Fi.

Marriott says they want to do this to protect guests from rogue Wi-Fi networks that hack into guest computers. That sounds like bunk. Their motivation is to squeeze guests for more money. We should see it for what it is.

Some hospitality. It’s a grab right out of the 19th Century.

The Internet should be as free as we can make it, especially in hotels where we pay to stay. That considered, we should say no to hotels that create artificial monopolies to force us into electronic submission. Let’s fight back and walk out.

The FCC should not empower them to do this. It should summarily deny these brazen attempts to manipulate us into paying for things we don’t need or want. We should express our displeasure by reserving somewhere else.

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How about putting PV on my EV?

November 24th, 2014


My neighborhood is wet so we don’t have as much PV as other neighborhoods. When I count the panels on an average house, it seems to run between 10 and 15.

I keep thinking that one standard or slightly smaller size panel would fit on top of a car. Two could probably fit on a van.

How much trouble would it be, actually, to fit a panel or two on the top of your electric or hybrid car or van and use it to trickle charge the battery.

That sounds pretty easy, and doing that might help you keep your battery topped off, even without a nearby charging station.

If you could get enough panels up there, and if you left your car or van out in the sun enough, you might be able to run it simply on the charge from the roof.

Why not? After all, this is Hawaii.

Entrepreneur Alex Tiller is building Auto Watts, an Energy Excelerator cohort with software that enables car dealers to design rooftop PV on their homes to charge their electric cars.

In a world hopefully migrating to electric vehicles, software like this might also be helpful for electric car owners to put PV directly on their cars.

Given the growing efficiency of PV, why not put the PV on the car itself. Many researchers and inventors on the mainland are trying to do that. Can’t we do that here?

How about a Hawaii energy startup that can find a way to attach smaller panels on the roof of your electric car and charge it whenever it’s outside.

If we can find PV panels that are small and efficient enough, this could give electric cars a new hedge against range anxiety and a new appeal in the marketplace.

Are you qualified in PV and electrical engineering? Could you find a way to install panels on the roof of an electric vehicle? Could you connect them to the battery to charge it all day?

It doesn’t sound that hard and it does sound like it’s worth a shot. If you have the skill, why not try? If you succeed, you could change the future of electric vehicles and transportation, and that would be big.

If you succeed, buyers and manufacturers will beat a path to your door and you’ll be in clover. If not, well, what a great experience in trying.

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Voting the best you can

September 10th, 2014

Here's a ThinkTech commentary by Jay Fidell on voting the best you can.

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Thoughts versus Feelings

August 15th, 2014

Here's a ThinkTech commentary by Donna Blanchard on Thoughts versus Feelings.

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