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NFT Trading Volumes Collapse 97 Percent From Peak Earlier This Year

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Sidhartha Shukla, reporting for Bloomberg:

Trading volumes in nonfungible tokens — digital art and collectibles recorded on blockchains — have tumbled 97% from a record high in January this year. They slid to just $466 million in September from $17 billion at the start of 2022, according to data from Dune Analytics. The fading NFT mania is part of a wider, $2 trillion wipeout in the crypto sector as rapidly tightening monetary policy starves speculative assets of investment flows.

I’m tempted to say this is the least surprising market collapse in memory, but it’s obviously coming as an unpleasant surprise to some people.

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mxm23
1 day ago
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All those numbers are fiction because of wash trading?
West Coast
mxm23
1 day ago
Or whatever you call selling to yourself to pump the price.
joelowrance
3 days ago
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My chimpanzee with a train conductor hat jpeg isn't worth millions?
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Cross Country Checkup: Who should lead the Conservative Party of Canada?

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FedElxn Conservatives 20210831

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mxm23
28 days ago
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Me.
West Coast
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USB hub

jwz
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Lazyweb, what's a good 10 data port USB hub that puts out a ludicrous amount of juice on each port? I have an Orico 10 port USB 3 12v/3A but lately things are wonky in a way that smells like "your USB-powered drives are sometimes underpowered."

Wasn't USB 3 supposed to come with high enough amperage to make these problems a thing of the past?

(Fun fact, a 10 port USB hub seems to actually be three 4-port hubs in a triangle and/or wearing a trench coat.)

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mxm23
53 days ago
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I realize I’m tilting at windmills, but please don’t use “amperage.” We have a word for this: Current.
West Coast
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You won’t be confused about electric vehicle charging after reading this

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You won’t be confused about electric vehicle charging after reading this

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

A significant factor that scares people away from electric vehicles is confusion around charging. Every gas station in the land is fitted with nozzles that will fill any gasoline-powered car's fuel tank. But not all EVs use the same plug, and then there's the matter of alternating current (AC) versus direct current (DC) systems. And what do the different levels of charging mean?

The good news is that it's not that complicated, and we're here to explain everything you need to know.

EVs require electricity to charge, as the "E" in EV suggests. But that electricity can be AC, like the appliances in your home, or DC, like a USB device, only many times more powerful.

First, a quick note on charging times. Many factors can affect how long charging takes, including the capacity of the battery, its state of charge at the start of the session, the battery's temperature at the start of the session, the actual cell chemistry, and, of course, how much power can be drawn by the EV's battery. Charges can range from a few miles of range added every hour, if you're relying on a household 120 V socket, to as much as 100 miles of range in 10 minutes if you're charging from a powerful DC charger.

It's also worth noting that an EV's battery has a gross capacity that is larger than the useable capacity. Automakers build some overhead into the pack that never gets fully depleted, and we have seen some car companies increase the net capacity with software updates as they become more comfortable with monitoring battery life.

On that topic, remember that any EV sold in the US must have an eight-year/100,000-mile battery warranty. And despite any scary stories you may have heard, there is no reason to think an EV's battery will have to be replaced any sooner than a gasoline-powered car needs a new engine. Finally, since Ars is a US-based site for a primarily US-based audience, this article is focused on US EVs and chargers.

Level 1

Let's start with AC charging, the least-powerful option that takes the longest time to recharge a battery. Most EV owners can charge at home, and at-home charging means using AC. AC charging is also more kind to a lithium-ion EV battery than fast charging, although, again, the myth of deteriorating EV batteries is a misconception; your battery should last the lifetime of the car, just as an engine or fuel tank does.

The cheapest way to do AC charging, and the slowest, is to use a normal 120 V outlet. That's unlikely to supply the car's battery with much more than 1.5 kW, and since EV batteries are mostly in the range of 60–120 kWh, you can see you'll be in for an impractically long wait if you want to take a battery from a low state of charge back to 100 percent. In fact, many OEMs have stopped listing level 1 charge times in their press kits.

But AC charging will add between two to four miles of range each hour, and plenty of EV owners do use level 1 charging, particularly on older EVs with smaller batteries, like the Chevrolet Bolt or Nissan Leaf. And while a full charge might take several days to charge starting from empty if it has a big battery (like a Hummer EV), an EV primarily used for short trips is much easier to keep topped off so that each morning starts with a full battery.

Level 2

The next option still uses AC electricity but at a higher voltage and amperage—240 V and as much as 80 A, although more likely somewhere closer to half of that. How much power an EV can draw from a level 2 supply depends on that car's onboard charger and the amperage of the outlet that the EV supply equipment (EVSE) is connected to. Some might be as low as 3.3 kW in the case of a plug-in hybrid EV, but 7.7 kW or 9.6 kW are common for battery EVs, with a handful able to charge at 19.2 kW.

An EV usually comes from the manufacturer with a portable EVSE, most often rated at 32 A. For level 2 charging at home at higher rates of power, an EV owner will need to install a hardwired EVSE, either from the OEM or a third party like Juicebox. Also, the free chargers you might find at a shopping mall or parking garage will almost certainly be level 2 chargers.

Again, it's impossible to give exact charging times to 100 percent without knowing the make and model of the EV and the EVSE's power, but a level 2 charger will typically be sufficient to recharge a battery EV overnight. You can expect a level 2 charger to add between 10 to 20 miles of range each hour, depending on the specifics of that EV.

Level 3

Using DC to recharge an EV is where things get much quicker—and more expensive. Between permits and upgraded electrical infrastructure and the actual cost of the DC charger, plus any battery storage, a DC fast charger can cost anywhere from $150,00 to $200,000, making them impractical for home use. But they're useful if you need to drive farther than your battery's range or if you don't have the ability to charge at home, as a level 3 charge—more commonly called a DC fast charge—will rarely take even an hour.

Unlike with AC charging, DC charge times are invariably only quoted to 80 percent. The line that describes a battery charging over time is not linear; it's S-shaped. That means the first few kWh are charged much more quickly than the last few, and it can take as long to fast-charge a battery from 80 to 100 percent as it can from 10 to 80 percent.

Level 3 chargers come in many different kW ratings. Older (or broken) chargers might offer as little as 50 kW—OK for older EVs like the Chevrolet Bolt—but that means more than an hour of waiting time for a newer EV with a larger battery.

As ever, actual charging times will depend on a multitude of factors. Between 30 to 40 minutes to 80 percent is quite common for new EVs, particularly if they're limited to lower power or have battery capacities on the large side. Most EV batteries operate at 400 V, but some use 800 V or even 920 V, and these EVs can charge much more rapidly if they're plugged into a 350 kW level 3 machine. This is how a Porsche Taycan can charge to 80 percent in 22.5 minutes or a Kia EV6 or Hyundai Ioniq 5 can charge to 80 percent in 18 minutes.

One thing worth bearing in mind is that many charging networks currently appear more focused on deploying new chargers than maintaining existing ones. Although many public level 3 chargers have credit card readers, they're often inoperable, and you may need to download the charging network's app (such as Electrify America, EVGo, ChargePoint, and so on) and create an account to use a charger with the least amount of hassle.

Plugs

Then there's the plug business. While it's true that not all EVs use the same plugs, the reality in 2022 is that there is, in fact, a de facto standard across the US that every new EV sold today uses, with one large and one small exception. This means that it doesn't matter if you drive a Volkswagen ID.4, a Mercedes-Benz EQS, a Nissan Ariya, or a Kia EV6 (to name but four)—all of them use the same plugs and can charge at the same chargers.

Level 1 and level 2 chargers both use the same plug, the SAE J1772. It's a relatively bulky thing with five pins and is rated for everything from 1.4 kW to 19.2 kW.

The de facto standard level 3 plug is the Combined Charging System (CCS) Type 1. It's a much bulkier plug since it combines the already big J1772 plug with two large DC pins below, all attached to a thick and heavy cable. If you buy a new EV today from almost any car maker, it will use CCS Type 1 to fast-charge.

The big exception is Tesla. The company deployed the first of its Superchargers—its brand name for level 3 chargers—in September 2012, while the rest of the auto industry was still getting its act together. So it went with a proprietary plug of its own, a much more elegant and much lighter design. However, even this may change.

The European Union isn't crazy about companies locking customers into proprietary plugs, and European Teslas actually use the European version of CCS, Type 2. Here in the US, federal funding for charging networks requires that the chargers adhere to industry standards, which has led Tesla to explore the idea of adding CCS Type 1 plugs to Superchargers at some point in the future.

The small exception is the Nissan Leaf, which used a rival Japanese charging standard called CHAdeMO. This offered an even bigger, even more cumbersome connector. What's more, it required an EV to have two separate sockets, one CHAdeMO and a second J1772, unlike CCS, which includes the J1772 port. CHAdeMO remains a thing in Japan, but the only EV on sale in the US that still uses CHAdeMO is the Nissan Leaf, and that model is reportedly not long for this world. Consequently, CHAdeMO chargers may be harder to find, but every Electrify America location should include at least one CHAdeMO plug.

Route planning

Of course, in order to charge an EV on the road, you have to be able to find a public charger. And unlike gas stations, charging stations don't often advertise themselves with large illuminated signs that are visible from miles away. That means a road trip requires an extra planning step. But don't worry—it's not nearly as difficult as having to print out MapQuest directions like we used to do, never mind the olden days of road atlases.

Odds are good that the EV you're driving will know where all the chargers are and will be happy to navigate you to them via its onboard navigation system. Depending on the car, it might even know the status of the actual chargers there and may even begin heating your battery to ensure the quickest fast charge once you plug in.

But, many EV drivers rely on third-party smartphone apps, including PlugShare and A Better Route Planner (although this one requires a subscription). Usually, these apps let you plan routes, taking into account the battery capacity and efficiency of the EV you're driving, its starting state of charge, and how much charge you want remaining when you arrive at your destination.

It's also useful to download the apps for charging networks, as those apps will provide the real-time status of chargers—whether they're functional, in use, or broken. If you're in a pinch, especially if you're driving in rural areas, some dealerships will let you use their level 2 chargers. An app like PlugShare will list those, along with check-ins from users that have successfully charged there.

You can even use the US Department of Energy's database of EV charging stations website (or its smartphone apps), which as of press time contains 49,430 level 2 and 3 locations in total, of which 6,415 are level 3 fast chargers.

Expect those numbers to grow significantly in the next few years as the federal government spends $5 billion on fast chargers located roughly every 50 miles across the Interstate Highway System.

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mxm23
67 days ago
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Please stop using the word “amperage.” The word you want is “current.”
West Coast
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Facebook’s Quest 2 Headset Goes from $300 to $400

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Oculus Quest 2 debuted at $299 in 2020, $100 cheaper than Oculus Quest from 2019. In 2021, Facebook bumped the base Quest 2 headset’s storage from 64GB to 128GB while holding the suggested entry price firm at $299. Earlier this year, Meta changed the headset’s branding on the physical device to its new corporate identity — officially becoming Meta Quest 2.

The price change will kick in officially on August 1, with the 128GB model increasing to $399 and the 256GB model increasing to $499.

Zuckerberg, one year ago:

“Unlike some of the other companies in the space that basically charge premium prices as their business model, one of our core principles is we want to serve everyone. I’m very focused not only on how you can create a good VR and AR device, but how do you make it so it’s $300 instead of $1,000.”

Inflation, of course, is a real issue, but Zuckerberg’s the one who said he was focused on selling headsets for $300.

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mxm23
67 days ago
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What if it’s a ploy to boost sales temporarily? “Buy now before the price goes up!”
West Coast
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TikTok Suspicions

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Alex Hern, the Guardian:

So I was interested to read a report that attempts to look at the general suspicion of the service. Published on Monday by the Australian-US cybersecurity firm Internet 2.0, it is based on a teardown of TikTok’s Android and iOS apps.

And all you have to do to read a copy of this report about TikTok’s mysterious data collection and tracking practices is enter your name, email address, and phone number into an embedded form on Internet 2.0’s website. The form is provided by Salesforce’s Pardot marketing automation product, which might share the personal identifiers you provide to augment it with information available from any of these third-party databases, depending on Internet 2.0’s settings.

But go on.

The most alarming finding in the report is that unexplained connection to a server that Perkins locates in mainland China, run by Guizhou BaishanCloud Technology Co Ltd.

When the Guardian asked TikTok about the findings, it dismissed the report. The server connection it specifically rejected, with a spokesman saying that the IP address listed “is in Singapore, the network traffic does not leave the region, and it is categorically untrue to imply there is communication with China.“

Specifically, its authors claim a subdomain referenced in the app was resolving to an IP address with a location that kept changing but sometimes reported it was in China. The report says this server connection is only present in the iOS version of TikTok, but not the Android version. The Android app is home a whole world of other privacy concerns because it permits a more permissive “culture of ‘grab what you can’ in data harvesting”, in the words of this report. That is, as has been repeatedly pointed out, not unique to TikTok.

I again feel compelled to point out that focusing on TikTok’s data practices is the wrong approach when this trove of personal information is available elsewhere. Eradicating TikTok does not solve this fundamental problem, nor does it meaningfully impede data collection efforts by unscrupulous actors. The reason this keeps making headlines is because it is easy to figure out TikTok’s anti-privacy data collection practices — or, at least, easier than coming up with a coherent narrative of its political influence.

Hern:

It’s possible to draw up totally wild, action movie-style plot where TikTok’s data could pose a geopolitical risk to the west. What if, say, the prime minister’s son takes to posting private videos of his parents’ movements that can then be analysed by the People’s Liberation Army to set up a perfect cyberattack? In practice, though, the value of data harvesting to TikTok is the same as the value to Facebook, Google and all the other tech giants that it sits alongside: it makes the company money.

Others have suggested the real concern over TikTok is its hypothetical ability to sway public opinion in ways favourable to China. Evidence for this is more limited; a paper by Joanne E. Gray explored, in part, differences between moderation practices on TikTok and Douyin. The rhetoric around these concerns sometimes reminds me of American anti-communist propaganda during the Cold War. It may be as trite as it is true: history should not be forgotten or buried, and we should avoid repeating our worst instincts.

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mxm23
70 days ago
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How about the possibility that Facebook / Meta are paying for these studies to discredit TikTok?
West Coast
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