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I first heard of Consumer Energy Solutions from a non-profit's IT guy who was boasting about how he got them to lease him LED bulbs for their parking lot and the security lights at their equipment lot -- pretty much all their outdoor lighting -- for a lot less than their monthly savings on electricity from replacing most of their Halogen, fluorescent, and other less-efficient lights with LEDs. What made this a big deal to my friend was that no front money was required. It's one thing to tell a town council or non-profit board, "If we spend $180,000 on LEDs we'll save it all back in five years" (or whatever). It's another thing to say, "We can lease LEDs for all our outdoor lighting for $4,000 per month and save $8,000 on electricity right away." That gets officials to prick up their ears in a hurry.Then there are energy service contracts, essentially buying electricity one, two or three years in advance. This business got a bad name from Enron and their energy wholesaling business, but despite that single big blast of negative publicity, it grows a little each year. And the LED lease business? In many areas, governments and utility companies actually subsidize purchases of anything that cuts electricity use. Totally worth checking out.

But why, you might ask, is this on Slashdot? Because some of our readers own stacks of servers (or work for companies that own stacks of servers) and need to know they don't have to pay whatever their local electric utility demands, but can shop for better electricity prices in today's deregulated electricity market. And while this conversation was with one person in this business, we are not pushing his company. As interviewee Patrick Clouden says at the end of the interview, it's a competitive business. So if you want the best deal, you'd better shop around. One more thing: the deregulated utility market, with its multitude of suppliers, peak and off-peak pricing, and (often) minute-by-minute price changes, takes excellent software (possibly written by someone like you) to negotiate, so this business niche might be one an entrepreneurial software developer should explore.

Robin Miller (for Slashdot): This is Patrick Clouden. He is the CEO of Consumer Energy Solutions, but wait don’t you sell mostly to municipalities and such?

Patrick Clouden: No, actually we do sell to municipalities and they are customers of ours around the country, but we also sell to regular commercial businesses and we have a small residential program and of course non-profits, we do a lot of work with non-profits.

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Smelling Cat Urine Turns Baby Mice Into Willing Victims

The war between cats and mice just took a chilling turn, as a team of Russian researchers announces that early exposure to a chemical in cat urine can condition mice not to flee from an approaching cat. This can’t end well for the mice.

Cat urine contains a chemical compound called L-Felinine, and mice have evolved to react to it. When mice smell L-Felinine, their bodies produce a stress hormone called corticosterone, and they flee from the cat.

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Search and online ad rivals Yahoo and Google might be coming closer together, as Yahoo decides to test whether it should let the search engine giant onto its turf.
10 Astonishing Email Habits

10 Astonishing Email Habits

(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

One of Google's biggest rivals -- Yahoo -- has confirmed that it is running tests to see if it should use Google's search results on its websites, something that it previously limited to Microsoft's Bing search engine.

The testing follows a renegotiation in April of the contract between Microsoft and Yahoo, which allows 49% of Yahoo ads to come from other ad firms, such as Google.

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Top 10 Tips for Hosting the Perfect Get-Together

Whether you’re entertaining for a crowd or just having a last-minute get-together with close friends, the right supplies and tools can make your guests and yourself have a great time. Here are our top ten entertaining tips.

10. Tidy Up Quickly

Top 10 Tips for Hosting the Perfect Get-Together

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DFJ, the storied Silicon Valley venture capital firm, has built out a global presence not just through direct investments but through a network of firms that are affiliated with the mothership yet raising and investing from their own funds. Now that network is going through some changes, and with it comes a new role for one of the firm’s founders. The DFJ Network has rebranded to the Draper Network, and Tim Draper is stepping up his involvement and investments in the network’s largest member, London-based Draper Esprit (formerly called DFJ Esprit).

There are three different developments here: the rebranding is the latest stage of evolution in the Network, which was restructured in 2013 to give it more autonomy and remove DFJ’s carry in any deals. And Draper getting more interested in international is the latest stage in his own evolving investment career, after stepping away from an investing role in DFJ in 2013. Meanwhile, Draper Esprit, run by Simon Cook (below right with Draper, left), has seen a lot of personnel changes this year.

Tim Draper.Simon Cook

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 affirm

Get ready to supercharge your life. Let's get serious - everyone has desires and goals in life. You may have a desire to be the next great innovator, or a desire to win a sports game you are playing, or even the desire to find the soul mate of your dreams. Whatever that desire is, it all begins with affirming to yourself what it is you want and to pursue that desire and/or goal without any interruptions.

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Feature

This week's all-new AppleInsider podcast features Neil Hughes and Shane Cole as we discuss the Apple Music launch, Beats 1 going live, and leaked new iPod colors. Shane and Neil have a word to say on cloud services and the small storage of the entry-level iPhone, and we briefly reminisce about our first iPhones from 8 years ago.

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AppleInsider staff members Neil Hughes, Shane Cole, and Victor Marks discuss the top stories:Apple Music subscription service launches
Beats 1 radio station goes live
New iPod colors leak
Listener questions
The new trailer for Aaron Sorkin's "Steve Jobs" movie
The iPhone turns 8 years old
Apple loses $450 million appeal of the e-books antitrust caseThe show is available on iTunes and your favorite podcast apps by searching for "AppleInsider." Click here to listen, subscribe, and don't forget to rate our show.imageimageYou can also listen to it embedded via SoundCloud below:Show note links:Follow our hosts on Twitter: @thisisneil, @vmarks and @shanecole_.We'd appreciate your feedback and comments, as well as any questions that we can answer on future episodes. Send your responses to the AppleInsider podcast at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and follow or tweet at us @appleinsider.Finally, anyone interested in sponsoring the show can reach out to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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How Bigger Atoms Could Help Make Smaller “Lab-on-a-Chip” Devices

“Lab-on-a-chip” devices – which can carry out several laboratory functions on a single, micro-sized chip – are the result of a quiet scientific revolution over the past few years. For example, they enable doctors to make complex diagnoses instantly from a single drop of blood.

In the future, shrinking such devices to extremely small sizes, comparable to the liquid molecules themselves, will be a huge challenge; success will depend on our ability to understand how fluids behave under extreme confinement. In a recent study published in the journal Nature Communications, we came up with a new way of unveiling how fluids behave in such “superconfinement” using lumpy particles known as colloids to act as oversized atoms.

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The addition of a leap second to world clocks on Wednesday caused some networks to crash although most quickly recovered.

Some 2,000 networks stopped working just after midnight Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), said Doug Madory, director of Internet analysis with Dyn, a company studies global Internet traffic flows.

Nearly 50 percent of those networks were in Brazil, which may indicate that ISPs use a common type of router that may not have been prepared for the leap second, he said.

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"Unknown software has even more risks"

Except, people aren't talking about "unknown" software, they're talking about software that's known and can have its code fully audited.

"Does "open source" just blind you to the fact that real audits are impossible among tens of millions of lines of code?"

So, by your own standard NOBODY can effectively audit software. If it's "impossible" to audit Linux, then by your own definition it's also impossible to effectively audit Windows or Office or Photoshop or any other application used that has such levels of code.

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The opening minutes of MTV's Scream — based on the 1996 movie that was scary at the time — throw the viewer into the belly of the digital beast: a teenager's social (media) life.

It all starts with a salacious YouTube video that quickly spreads like an STD during prom season.

The video, which features a young girl named Audrey (Bex Taylor-Klaus, who was fantastic on CW's Arrow) making out with another girl, is meant to be cyber bullying. The person who filmed and shared the footage aimed to do some damage. And it sort of works.

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Here's Hillary Clinton Working Out How to Use a Fax Machine

This evening, the State Department released another trove of Hillary Clinton’s emails from her time as secretary of state. Among the gems being uncovered is this terse exchange, a wonderful insight into trying to use a fax machine in 2015. Anyone who’s tech-supported their parents over email can definitely relate.

Here's Hillary Clinton Working Out How to Use a Fax Machine

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Social media has so infiltrated the majority of our lives that it’s difficult to imagine a scenario in which posting to Facebook or tweeting would not be appropriate. Now, with the blessing of the SEC, startups can tweet information about their stock or debt offering in order to either create buzz around their company or determine how much interest there is among investors when it comes to funding. It may not seem like an exciting new development, but it’s yet another tool that small companies can use to attract interest and financial backing.

This green light mandates that companies must link to a disclaimer that states that they are not yet selling securities, and only applies to enterprises looking to raise less than $50 million a year. Still, this cap is a significant increase over the previous limit of $5 million. When this was maximum between 2012 and 2014, only 30 offerings were made to startups.

Related: Here are the new Twitter emojis you’ll need for Wimbledon

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An anonymous reader writes: We all celebrated back in May when a federal court ruled the NSA's phone surveillance illegal, and again at the beginning of June, when the Patriot Act expired, ending authorization for that surveillance. Unfortunately, the NY Times now reports on a ruling from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which concluded that the NSA may temporarily resume bulk collection of metadata about U.S. citizens's phone calls. From the article: "In a 26-page opinion (PDF) made public on Tuesday, Judge Michael W. Mosman of the surveillance court rejected the challenge by FreedomWorks, which was represented by a former Virginia attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, a Republican. And Judge Mosman said that the Second Circuit was wrong, too. 'Second Circuit rulings are not binding' on the surveillance court, he wrote, 'and this court respectfully disagrees with that court's analysis, especially in view of the intervening enactment of the U.S.A. Freedom Act.' When the Second Circuit issued its ruling that the program was illegal, it did not issue any injunction ordering the program halted, saying that it would be prudent to see what Congress did as Section 215 neared its June 1 expiration."
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Greece needs a hand, man. Remember that time it brought you the seeds of democracy? Remember that night you were going to order pizza again but instead you called some friends and ended up having a great time at that new Greek restaurant down the street? And need Greece remind you that those faux ionic columns outside of your dentist's office were invented by it? Well now, the banks are coming a-knocking, and it would be really cool if you could all chip in, like, €3 each. For Greece. Your buddy.

Or at least that's the pitch being made by Thom Feeney, a London shoe shop worker who started a campaign to raise €1.6 billion (that's US $1.78 billion). Feeney's IndieGoGo campaign, started just two days ago, has already raised an astonishing €478,575 (or $533,010) from more than 30,000 people.

“All this dithering over Greece is getting boring,” Feeney wrote on his IndieGoGo page. “Why don't we the people just sort it instead?” He added that to come up with the €1.6 billion, every member of the European would only have to give €3 each (well, technically you'd only need to collect from members of the European Union, that's not even counting any potentially generous Swiss or Norwegian people.)

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In May, Google unfurled its new Photos app as the crowning achievement of machine learning capabilities — a service that stores and catalogues your images with computing smarts that can pick out buildings, landscapes, animals, even abstract events like birthdays on its own.

As users get their hands on the app, though, it’s evident Photos is far from perfect. Two days ago, Jacky Alciné, an African-American programmer based in New York, flagged a flagrant error on Photos:  It had tagged him and his friend as “gorillas.”

Google Photos, y’all fucked up. My friend’s not a gorilla. pic.twitter.com/SMkMCsNVX4

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Posted by on in Tech Deals
$250.00
End Date: Thursday Jul-30-2015 17:52:48 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $250.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
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Apple's new warranty will replace your battery once it loses 20 percent of its capacity Apple Inc.

Is your laptop's life span just not what it used to be? Is your iPhone not making it through the day? You might be in luck.

Apple has added a new feature to its AppleCare+ warranty service, an added cost for people who buy an iPhone smartphone, MacBook laptop or iPad tablet device. Typically, the company said it would replace the battery on a device only if its capacity, or the amount of energy it's able to hold, fell to less than half of its original capability. Now, Apple says, it will replace the battery if it falls below 80 percent.

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A report on Tuesday claims Apple's secret automotive initiative is creating tension within the company's ranks as resource allotments are now gobbling up personnel from other divisions.

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According to a source familiar with the matter, Apple is reassigning workers to its car project at such a high rate that department heads are beginning to beomoan the loss of talent, reports The Register.The exact nature of Apple's car initiative, dubbed Project Titan, remains shrouded in mystery, with rumors ranging from work on a bespoke automotive operating system to a full-fledged branded vehicle. As the publication notes, a staffing drain of such proportions does suggest work on a significant scale, perhaps belying a move into a completely new sector like heavy industry.In March, AppleInsider uncovered a secret off-campus installation seemingly dedicated to Project Titan. A number of buildings leased by Apple, but bearing no signage, held car-related structures including a garage, room for repairsand various research and development facilities. The site's purpose remains unknown. Circumstantial evidence suggesting Apple's interest in electric vehicles came in a poaching suit leveled by battery technology company A123. The lawsuit alleged Apple illegally recruited top researchers at A123, leaving research of high-performance, large format battery applications at a standstill. Reports of road-going Apple vans equipped with advanced sensor hardware and cameras only added to the confusion. First spotted in February, over eager reports attributed the vehicles to work on an unannounced self-driving electric car, but Apple later laid those rumors to rest earlier this month, saying the vans are part of a worldwide initiative to enhance Apple Maps.

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It's cold on Mars, so heat is required to keep people alive. Not to mention necessary to melt ice for water, and process the air to make it breathable.

Any attempt to send humans to Mars will mean we'd better get serious about 4th generation nuclear power. There is simply no other way to keep humans alive on Mars. The current 3rd generation nuclear power plants are not up to the task, since they are water cooled, and Mars is not exactly overflowing with water. Plus generation 4 has the added advantage of consuming its own nuclear waste.

Other alternatives for energy on Mars? Almost nothing. Fossil fuels - even if they existed on Mars - would be useless given the lack of oxygen with which to burn them. Wind power...yes, Mars is windy, but with an atmosphere less than 1% of the density on Earth, a 100 mph wind on Mars is less powerful than a one mph wind on Earth.

There is solar. But given the super cold nights, it's unlikely that enough heat energy could be collected and stored during the daytime to survive the night. Storage of solar energy on Earth is barely doable (pumped storage is most feasible), but would be far more challenging on Mars where water cannot be stored on the surface in liquid form.

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