Should Americans be worried that their offshore wind will be controlled by European companies?

The coastal waters of the United States have huge potential to provide wind energy for the East and West Coasts, the Great Lakes, the Western Gulf Coast and Western Hawaii, which are populated regions that often lack good sources of renewable energy. The U.S. Department of Energy calculates that there is potentially 2058 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind that can be exploited in American coastal waters, which would yield 7203 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity per year. The U.S. consumed 3930 TWh in 2021, so offshore wind could generate nearly twice as much electricity as Americans currently consume. That is a conservative estimate considering that it assumes a capacity factor of 40%, but the average capacity factor for the UK’s offshore wind farms is 42.2% and many of the recent farms with 6MW or larger turbines like Hornsea One, Dudgeon, Galloper and Highwind Scotland are seeing capacity factors over 45%.

Despite the enormous potential to develop wind energy in American coastal waters, the US only has two small offshore wind farms currently in operation. The US has so many excellent sources of terrestrial wind, that power companies and energy developers focused on easier spots to place wind farms like the central wind corridor running from the Dakotas down to Northwest Texas. Of the 135,886 MW of wind capacity installed in the US at the end of 2021, only 42 MW of that total came from offshore wind.

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Why the Tesla Semi will transform the trucking industry in North America

Back in November 2017, when Tesla first announced its all-electric class 8 semi-truck, many in the industry expressed doubt that Tesla could achieve the announced specs of its “Semi”. An electric class 8 truck with 500 miles of range that could go from 0 to 60 mph in 20 seconds when fully loaded seemed like bombastic claims at the time. Even more outlandish was the claim that the Tesla Semi would be able to charge 400 miles or 80% of its battery capacity in 30 minutes, meaning that there wouldn’t be much downtime while waiting for the truck to recharge.

A number of experts in the trucking industry expressed skepticism that Tesla could truly build a truck that could match the range of the class 8 diesel trucks that haul the majority of goods to market in North America, where distances are longer than in more populated parts of the world. Daimler’s head of trucks, Martin Daum, told Bloomberg in February 2018 that he has doubts about Tesla achieving the announced specs of the Semi:

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Cambio climático y los compromisos de Bolivia rumbo a la COP27 ¿Cuales son los hechos?

Para ver un video del evento:
https://www.facebook.com/events/482728363734047

Si alguien quiere la presentación:

http://illaa.org/…/CharlaBoliviaCambioClimatico_2022-09…

http://illaa.org/…/CharlaBoliviaCambioClimatico_2022-09…

Y la hoja de calculo con los datos:

http://illaa.org/reaccionclimatica/BoliviaINDCCalculos9.ods

Observaciones acerca del traductor de quechua, aymara y guaraní de Google Translate

Hay que reconocer el nuevo traductor de quechua, aymara y guaraní de Google Translate (https://translate.google.com) por valorar las lenguas indígenas. Sin embargo, el traductor tiene varios problemas todavía y es necesario mejorarlo para que sea útil para el público boliviano.

El traductor quechua es basado en el quechua chanka de Ayacucho. El traductor debería indicar que la lengua es “quechua chanka” en lugar de solo “quechua”, porque quechua es una familia de lenguas que contiene mucha variación. Para un quechua-hablante de Cuzco, Huancayo, Ancash, Bolivia, Ecuador o Argentina, el traductor de Google esta produciendo algo como catalán o gallego para un castellano-hablante. El traductor no es muy útil para los quechua-hablantes de Bolivia, que tienen 10 letras adicionales en su alfabeto (CH’, CHH, K’, KH, P’, PH, Q’, QH, T’, TH) que no existen en el quechua chanka. El traductor castellano→quechua produce texto en el dialecto chanka sin las letras glotalizadas y aspiradas del quechua boliviano, entonces no distingue palabras como tanta (juntos), t’anta (pan) y thanta (usado/viejo), porque todas esta palabras son representadas como tanta por el traductor.

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Comparando celulares de Linux (y como ellos pueden enfrentar los problemas de la industria móvil)

Aca es una presentación que hice con el Nucleo Linux Bolivia (telegram: NucleoLinuxBolivia) el día 3 de marzo de 2022:

La presentación incluye varios fotos de mi artículo “Comparing the Librem 5 USA and PinePhone Beta” y aca son los dispositivos en ODP (LibreOffice) y PDF de esta presentación:

American imperialism in Ukraine should be condemned just like Russian imperialism

I get disgusted reading the news coverage about the war in the Ukraine. I fully agree with the media’s talking heads that the actions of Russia are reprehensible. Vladimir Putin’s aggression and his long-term goal of expanding Russia’s borders should be condemned, but I believe that the imperialist actions of the US also should be condemned in similar terms, and the repression of minority (i.e. Russian) rights inside of Ukraine also needs to be condemned. Russia, the US and Ukraine all had a role in provoking the current crisis, and anyone who truly cares about human rights and democracy should be criticizing all three countries, and not be pretending that this is just a war of Russian aggression, because that is only part of the story.

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Amount of code developed by Purism for the Librem 5 phone

I was curious how much code Purism has developed for the Librem 5 phone, so I wrote a little Python script that downloads the source code from the projects that Purism started, runs the code through cloc to count lines of code, and then sums the total.

Here is what I get:

$ python3 locPurism.py
Lines of code in Purism projects for the Librem 5:
	libhandy: 47730
	libadwaita: 51270
	calls: 20745
	chatty: 49661
	squeekboard: 17993
	libcall-ui: 4426
	phoc: 15277
	phosh: 48301
	feedbackd: 5970
	feedbackd-device-themes: 603
	gtherm: 1734
	haegtesse: 2105
	wys: 2442
Total lines of code: 268257
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Comparing the Librem 5 USA and PinePhone Beta

Contents:
Look and feel, Branding and custom design, Extra accessories and box, Protection of hardware, Hardware kill switches, Extension ports, Flashlight / Flash, Charging, Display, Performance, Heat, Power Management, Haptics, Audio, Disassembly, Longevity, Tech support and community

I have been avidly following the development of the Librem 5 and PinePhone since they were first announced in August 2017 and in October 2018, respectively. One of the reasons why I’m so excited by these Linux phones is the fact that I can look at their schematics. The Librem 5 and Librem 5 USA are the first phones with free/open source schematics for its printed circuit boards, since the Golden Delicious GTA04 in 2012. PINE64 also releases the PinePhone schematics to the public, but they are proprietary so no one can reuse or modify them.

At one point last year, I got so obsessed by these two phones, that I went through the schematics of both models, and looked up the manufacturer and documentation for every named component with a model number in the phones and posted that information on the wiki for the Librem 5 and PinePhone. I also wrote a script to count the number of each type of component in the two phones’ schematics, in order to find out how many resistors, transistors, inductors, crystal oscillators, ICs, etc. were in each phone. My only excuse for this nerdy fascination with the two phones is that I had a lot of free time last year to obsess over the two phones due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Tutorial to get started using Github

I got tripped up the first time I tried to publish my own code on Github, so I thought I would write up a short tutorial for other newbies like me. I am going to explain how I use Github from the command line of your computer, and I recommend sticking to this method, since using the graphical interface through the Github web site or the Github app will hobble your abilities. In contrast, learning how to use git from the command line will empower you

The first thing to do is to follow these instructions to create your account on Github. After you have an account, go to https://github.com and login. Then, click on the green “New” button in the upper left hand corner of the screen to create a new repository:

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What can be learned by taking apart a Huawei smartphone


The modern smartphone is an incredibly complex device, and sadly it has a very short lifespan due to it being designed for planned obsolescence. I saw this problem first hand when my girlfriend bought a used Huawei G play mini (CHC-U23) smartphone. Her previous smartphone had been stolen and she needed something cheap to replace it. After a year and a half of usage, the battery swelled up and was unable to hold a charge for more than 15 minutes.

Unfortunately, it was only possible to buy replacement batteries from China, and it would take over 4 weeks in shipping, so my girlfriend bought a new phone. After several years of sitting in a drawer, I decided to tear the phone apart and see what was inside.

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Reflections about rebranded and unbranded electronics

We have gotten to a point where the brand name on a product has little relation to who actually manufactured the device. Even the term “manufacturer” is becoming hard to define, since it is often separate companies which design, assemble and market devices. We now use confusing terms like Original Brand Manufacturer (OBM), Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), Original Design Manufacturer (ODM), Joint Design Manufacturer (JDM), Independent Design House (IDH) and Electronics Manufacturing Service (EMS) to keep it all straight. With companies like Apple, Huawei, Samsung and Google doing a lot of their own chip design, even the traditional divide between chip companies and ICT products companies is breaking down.

It is even getting hard to define where something is made. When Purism launched its Librem 5 USA with “made in the USA electronics,” there were a number of critics that noted that most of its components were not from the United States. To be more accurate, Purism should have said “circuit boards made in the USA,” however, I was struck by how hard it is to define where its main processor, the NXP i.MX 8M Quad, was actually made. The processor was designed in Austin, Texas by an engineering team that used to work for Motorola, until it was spun off in 2004 as Freescale Semiconductor, and then later acquired in 2015 by the Dutch company, NXP, which was the old semiconductor division of Phillips that was spun off in 2006. The electronic design automation (EDA) software and many parts of the i.MX 8M’s System on a Chip (SoC), such as its DDR4 DRAM interface, are provided by Synopsys, which is headquartered in Mountain View, California. The 28nm chip itself was originally fabbed by TSMC in Taiwan, but then NXP switched to Samsung and it is now fabbed in South Korea.

By the standard definition, the i.MX 8M Quad is made in South Korea, since that is the place where the chip was physically manufactured. However, 83% of the semiconductor foundry market (i.e., contract chip fabbing) is controlled by Taiwanese companies (TSMC, UMC, PowerChip (PSMC) and Vanguard (VIS)) and S. Korean companies (Samsung and DB HiTek), yet semiconductor fabbing is highly automated work that employs relatively few people. The majority of the people employed to work on the i.MX 8M Quad are located in Texas and California, even though NXP is a Dutch company and the chip was fabbed in S. Korea. Depending on your point of view, you can argue that the i.MX 8M Quad is more American than S. Korean, especially in terms of labor and economic benefits, but European and Asian partisans can also lay claims to the chip.

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El precio de vivir en Bolivia como un extranjero

Acabo de pasar la última semana recolectando los documentos necesarios para obtener una visa de residencia definitiva de Bolivia. He obtenido visas en varios países en América Latina (Guatemala, El Salvador, Brasil y Perú), pero Bolivia es el país más difícil en mi experiencia. Por lo general se requiere más tiempo y frustración para realizar tramites en Bolivia que en otros países americanos.

En la mayoría del mundo, no es necesario tener un memorial firmado por un abogado para realizar tramites normales, pero en Bolivia, es un requisito. Por ejemplo, para obtener mis antecedentes de la FELCN, yo necesitaba un memorial de un abogado, y el abogado hizo mal el memorial, entonces tuve que volver para pedirle reescribirlo. La oficina de la FELCN se queda lejos de los abogados, entonces malgasté dos horas porque la FELCN no tiene un formulario sencillo para obtener los antecedentes. Tuve que obtener reportes de mis antecedentes de 3 instituciones (FELCC, FELCN y REJAP), porque la policia de Bolivia no puede unir todos su datos en solo un sistema como en otros países.

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Questions about how to add a new language to GNOME

I recently posted some questions to GNOME’s i18n mailing list <gnome-i18n@gnome.org> and I think that they raise some interesting questions about the difficulties of using minority languages in Linux. I am reposting them here to see if anyone has any comments/suggestions:


We are creating a new distro called PluriOS, which is focused on users in Bolivia, and one of our goals is to offer the interface in Aymara, Quechua and Guaraní, which are native languages spoken in Bolivia. Our distro is a derivative of Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix, so we are mainly focused on translating Cinnamon, but there are some elements that we need to translate in GNOME, such as the menus. Our goal is to translate about 10K words for each language and create a glossary of common terms (like “file”, “directory”, “user”, “menu”, “window”, etc.) and then try to recruit volunteers to translate the rest using our glossary.

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Propuesta para traducir Firefox en quechua y aymara

Actualmente estamos creando una distribución boliviana de Linux llamada PluriOS. Este proyecto es una iniciativa de OpenIT, que es una empresa de software libre basada en Santa Cruz. Una de nuestras metas es ofrecer PluriOS en las lenguas originarias de quechua, aymara y guaraní, que tiene aproximadamente 2,2 millones, 1,5 millones y 60 mil hablantes en Bolivia, respectivamente.

OpenIT tiene fondos para traducir en estas tres lenguas 10.300 palabras en Cinnamon, que es la interface de PluriOS, pero sólo consiste del menú principal y la opciones del sistema. Hasta ahora hemos traducido aproximadamente 9000 palabras en aymara de la interfaz de Cinnamon, pero todavia no hemos empezado las traducciones en quechua y guaraní. Aca es una comparación de la configuración del sistema en castellano y aymara:

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Unboxing the Librem 5 USA

I was very surprised when I got an email on July 20, 2021 that my Librem 5 USA had just shipped out of Purism’s Fulfillment Center in Carlsbad, California. The Linux geek inside me has been lusting for the Librem 5, ever since it was first announced in August 2017, and I was delighted that I would finally be able to play with the “made in the USA” version of the phone.

Sadly, I’m in Bolivia and the phone was delivered to my parents’ house in the middle of the USA, so I haven’t been able to physically touch the phone. However, there is a lot that I can do with ssh to play with the phone remotely until I can convince a friend who is traveling from the US to bring me the phone.

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Corporate Dems are not the same as Republicans when it comes to the environment

There is a tendency on the left to equate corporate Democrats and Republicans, and to say that they are all the same. In some regards, they do cater to the same interests and have the same foreign policy, but it is important to not overstate the case. One of the areas where I do see a real difference is in terms of the environment.

I don’t care for commentators on the left who seem to just be on team blue, which is what the Young Turks have become. However, I find myself increasingly at odds with the other extreme, which equates the corporate Dems and Republicans as being the same. One of the commentators who often makes this mistake is Kim Iversen. I appreciate Iversen, because she is independent in her thinking and willing to buck conventional wisdom, but she often opines on subjects where she doesn’t know much and that is clear in her recent YouTube video, where she says that there is no difference between carbon emissions between Democratic and Republican administrations.

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Using LibreOffice’s Draw to edit a PDF ballot to vote by email

I just wanted to share my solution to voting by email. When I signed up to vote by email, I got a PDF file in my email box. PDF may be a free/open format, but there are remarkably few programs available to edit PDF files. I am not prepared to pay $12.99 per month just to use Adobe’s Acrobat Standard DC and it doesn’t even run in Linux, which is my operating system of choice. I can install an ancient version of Acrobat Reader for Linux, but it doesn’t allow editing of PDF files.

Sadly, all the PDF editors for Linux have their drawbacks compared to Adobe Acrobat. The solution that I found was to open the PDF file in LibreOffice‘s Draw program. Then, edit the PDF as an image file. Inserting text boxes is a bit dodgy with LibreOffice Draw. The easiest way I found is to write the text in LibreOffice Writer, then copy and paste it into the image in Draw. Then, I was able to move the text to the location where I wanted it inside the image.

For my signature, I took a photo of my signature with my smartphone, then transferred the JPEG file to my laptop via Bluetooth. Then I opened the file with GIMP and selected the part of the image containing my signature. I copied it and pasted the signature into Draw. The signature can also be obtained by opening the JPEG file in Draw, but I find GIMP more convenient.

When I finished editing my ballot in LibreOffice Draw, I was able to export the images as a PDF file under File > Export As > Export as PDF. Then, I sent that file as an attachment in my email.

Since LibreOffice runs on every major OS (Windows, Linux, BSD and MacOS) and is gratis, this solution should work for everyone. Of course, this isn’t the ideal solution, since the PDF file contains images rather than text that can be processed, but it is effectively the same as faxing in your ballot, which is also an image. I imagine that all email ballots are being processed manually anyway, so it doesn’t really matter what is the underlying format.

The questions that mobile phone reviewers never ask

One of the fundamental problems with the mobile phone industry is that most of the people who review phones only focus on the superficial aspects and don’t ask the right questions about the phones. It is hard to find a mobile phone reviewer who is even worth reading/watching.

The typical mobile phone review doesn’t provide much information beyond what can be gleaned by simply glancing at the phone’s spec sheet. The only real value they add in my opinion are their comments about each phone maker’s modifications to Android and their evaluation of how well the cameras work.

Most of the mobile phone reviewers such as Marques Brownlee (MKBHD), Lewis Hilsenteger (Unbox Therapy and Lew Later), Mrwhosetheboss, Verge, CNET, Engadget, etc. don’t have much technical knowledge. Only a couple reviewers like Anandtech and Android Authority bother to delve into the tech underlying the phone. Most of them blather on about style, how it feels in the hand, bezels and the screen notch/bullet-hole. They focus on the superficial aspects that anyone can figure out just by picking up the phone and looking at it, rather than informing the public about the unobvious aspects that truly matter for the long-term ownership of the phone.

Here are the questions that reviewers should ask when evaluating a mobile phone:

  • How long is it likely to receive security updates?
    Reviewers can provide the OEM’s history with previous phone models in the same market segment to tell people how long they can expect security updates.
  • How long is it likely to receive operating system upgrades?
    Again, most OEMs don’t tell you, but reviewers can provide the OEM’s history with previous phone models in the same market segment.
  • How likely is the phone to break if dropped?
    Reviewers should be conducting drop tests, but even if they don’t want to destroy the phone, they can look at the engineering and make some assessment of its durability. If it has a glass back, a curved screen or little bezel or casing to protect the screen, the phone is more likely to be damaged in a drop and reviewers should inform the public about those aspects of the phone, rather than focusing on its style.
  • How easy is the phone to fix if it gets damaged?
    Reviewers should open the darn thing and tell us how hard it is to replace the screen and the battery, because those are the two components that are most likely to need replacing. Reviewers should also tell us whether the parts can be bought and roughly how much a replacement screen and battery will cost.
  • How hard is it to root or jailbreak the phone, so preinstalled apps can be deleted and the configuration changed?
    It drives me bonkers that phone reviewers never cover the fundamental question of how to root/jailbreak a phone. They expect people to just accept whatever comes preconfigured and preinstalled in the phone and seem to believe that people should have no right to change it.
  • How hard is it to unlock bootloader?
    Reviewers never tell us what is the OEM’s policy toward unlocking the bootloader, so we have no idea whether it is possible to install another bootloader program like TWRP that allows complete device backups or install another OS, like LineageOS or another AOSP derivative.
  • How likely are TWRP and AOSP derivatives to be ported to the phone?
    Reviewers need to spend some time on the phone’s XDA-Developers forums and give us some idea of how likely it will be possible to keep using the phone after the OEM stops providing software updates. You usually can make an assessment even if porting work hasn’t started just by looking at the processor and the history of that OEM’s other phone models. OnePlus and Google phones always have good TWRP and LineageOS ports because they provide a lot of info to the community, they use Snapdragon SoC’s, and they have active users to do the ports, but it is hard for people to know when buying phones from other OEMs. Reviewers should let us know whether a phone has hardware that allows for porting, whether porting work has already started, and tell us whether similar models from the OEM got ports in the past.
  • What’s inside the phone?
    Reviewers should crack open the case and tell us what they think of the components they find. If they don’t have the tech knowledge to talk about what is inside a mobile phone, then they have no business being phone reviewers.

I have never read a mobile phone review that covers all these questions, which are fundamental to determining what will be the long-term utility of a phone. Every time I buy a new mobile phone, I have to spend hours investigating the phone at different sites such as iFixit and XDA-Developers forums to find the information that phone reviewers should be covering, but they don’t.

I see two fundamental problems with how mobile phones are reviewed. The first is that many phone reviewers don’t know much about the tech that they are reviewing. The second is that reviewers don’t seem to care about the total cost of ownership and the longevity of phones, so they don’t inform the public about the aspects of phones that matter for maintaining them over the long term. Tech reviewers seem to think that most people want to throw away their phones every two years.

Because mobile phone reviewers don’t focus on the questions that I listed above, people make poor choices when buying phones, because they aren’t informed about the total cost of ownership of different phone models. The longer a mobile phone lasts, the lower the annual cost of the phone. Because reviewers don’t cover these questions, the public doesn’t look to buy phones with a lower total cost of ownership and OEMs have little incentive to make phones that are less likely to break, easier to fix, are supported for longer and have longer lifespans. Phone reviewers are helping drive an industry that is based on planned obsolescence and locked-down devices that afford the user few rights.