Tesla solar in Hawaii is a sign of things to come

As Tesla expands beyond the realm of cars and deepens its experience and expertise in solar power and energy storage – an endeavor spurred by the SolarCity merger – the company has been landing projects of impressive scale. Certain locations are better candidates than others for projects like this. While installations in places like California and Nevada are convenient for Tesla, isolated locations (remote Pacific islands, for instance) have their own set of energy challenges. Combine a strong need for reliable energy with a whole lotta sunshine, and Tesla’s solar solutions can find a warm welcome in places like Hawaii, where Tesla and SolarCity have installed a 13 MW solar farm.

The installation also includes an impressive 52 MWh of storage capacity from 272 Tesla Powerpack 2 battery system units. That capacity allows customers to keep the lights on through the night while still using that cleaner solar power long after the sun has set. Tesla says this will save Kauai 1.6 million gallons of fossil fuels per year.

The island of Kawai relies on liquid fuels like diesel and naphtha for much of its energy needs, though efforts to shift to renewables have been underway for some time. The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KUIC) is working to get the island’s grid to 50-percent renewable by 2023. With its 20-year contract with Tesla, KUIC moves closer to its goal, and saves money on electricity in the process. The price of energy from this installation is 13.9 cents per kWh, undercutting diesel plants by 1.58 cents.

In addition to providing cleaner, more reliable energy to the residents of Kauai, the solar installation gives Tesla the opportunity to demonstrate the feasibility of its solar systems and the benefits of building grid scale energy storage. While places like Hawaii have plenty of opportunities for renewable energy, sources like solar, wind, and hydroelectric can be intermittent, making the storage part of the equation particularly important. Batteries are continuing to get better and cheaper, too. As companies like Tesla continue to improve and expand their offerings, we can expect more places with dirty or unreliable electricity and untapped renewable resources to look for similar solutions.

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Source: Tesla solar in Hawaii is a sign of things to come


Apple knows you keep losing your AirPods

Find My AirPods, an option inside the stock Find My iPhone app, shows you the last place the wireless earbuds were in range of your device. It also plays sounds to help you locate them (unless they’ve run out of battery, that is). Since it costs $69 to replace a single earbud, this could well be a handy feature that potentially saves you money when one of the pods inevitably rolls under the couch.

Apple is also adding some promised (and welcome) features to its other platforms. With today’s update, it’s bringing Night Shift to macOS. As a refresher, this feature changes your display settings after sunset, using warmer colors to make things easier to read and reduce your exposure to blue light, which can throw your circadian rhythms out of whack and disrupt your sleep. Meanwhile, Apple Watch owners get Theater Mode for watchOS, which lets you mute sound and keep the screen dark until you tap on it, so you can watch movies undisturbed by Facebook notifications, Twitter replies and emails.

Here’s a full list of changes in the iOS 10.3 update:

Find My iPhone

  • View the current or last known location of your AirPods
  • Play a sound on one or both AirPods to help you find them


  • Support for paying and checking status of bills with payment apps
  • Support for scheduling with ride booking apps
  • Support for checking car fuel level, lock status, turning on lights and activating horn with automaker apps
  • Cricket sports scores and statistics for Indian Premier League and International Cricket Council


  • Shortcuts in the status bar for easy access to last used apps
  • Apple Music Now Playing screen gives access to Up Next and the currently playing song’s album
  • Daily curated playlists and new music categories in Apple Music

Other improvements and fixes

  • Rent once and watch your iTunes movies across your devices
  • New Settings unified view for your Apple ID account information, settings and devices
  • Hourly weather in Maps using 3D Touch on the displayed current temperature
  • Support for searching “parked car” in Maps
  • Calendar adds the ability to delete an unwanted invite and report it as junk
  • Home app support to trigger scenes using accessories with switches and buttons
  • Home app support for accessory battery level status
  • Podcasts support for 3D Touch and Today widget to access recently updated shows
  • Podcast shows or episodes are shareable to Messages with full playback support
  • Fixes an issue that could prevent Maps from displaying your current location after resetting Location & Privacy
  • VoiceOver stability improvements for Phone, Safari and Mail

Source: Apple knows you keep losing your AirPods


Intel’s extra-fast 3D storage comes to your desktop PC

Compared to a PC with a conventional spinning hard drive, Intel claims that you should see a 28 percent overall performance boost, with storage up to 14 times faster. Common apps like the Chrome or Outlook should load five to six times faster, Intel says. And not surprisingly, Intel is making a big deal out of gaming performance. The company boasts that games can start up to 67 percent faster, and load levels up to 65 percent faster.

Intel expects both of these desktop modules to land on April 24th, and they’ll be very affordable at $44 for the 16GB module and $77 for its 32GB counterpart. Optane-equipped systems from PC makers like ASUS, Dell, HP and Lenovo will arrive throughout the second quarter of the year. Just don’t expect to update an older PC. You’ll need a system running a 7th-generation Core (i.e. Kaby Lake) processor and the chipset to match, so you’ll have to “settle” for an SSD or hybrid hard drive if you’re not quite on the cutting edge.

As for whether or not they’re worth it? That likely depends on your exact circumstances. While Intel believes you’ll see a speed boost even if you already have an SSD in your computer (it can eliminate the SATA bottleneck, for instance), AnandTech notes that you might be better off relying solely on an SSD if you can afford one that meets your storage needs. This is really for people stuck with conventional hard drives who want a speed boost without the expense of buying a high-capacity SSD.

Source: Intel’s extra-fast 3D storage comes to your desktop PC