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Transportation

Are We Reaching the Electric Car Tipping Point? 686 686

HughPickens.com writes: Geoff Ralston has an interesting essay explaining why is likely that electric car penetration in the US will take off at an exponential rate over the next 5-10 years rendering laughable the paltry predictions of future electric car sales being made today. Present projections assume that electric car sales will slowly increase as the technology gets marginally better, and as more and more customers choose to forsake a better product (the gasoline car) for a worse, yet "greener" version. According to Ralston this view of the future is, simply, wrong. — electric cars will take over our roads because consumers will demand them. "Electric cars will be better than any alternative, including the loud, inconvenient, gas-powered jalopy," says Ralston. "The Tesla Model S has demonstrated that a well made, well designed electric car is far superior to anything else on the road. This has changed everything."

The Tesla Model S has sold so well because, compared to old-fashioned gasoline cars it is more fun to drive, quieter, always "full" every morning, more roomy, and it continuously gets better with automatic updates and software improvements. According to Ralston the tipping point will come when gas stations, not a massively profitable business, start to go out of business as many more electric cars are sold, making gasoline powered vehicles even more inconvenient. When that happens even more gasoline car owners will be convinced to switch. Rapidly a tipping point will be reached, at which point finding a convenient gas station will be nearly impossible and owning a gasoline powered car will positively suck. "Elon Musk has ushered in the age of the electric car, and whether or not it, too, was inevitable, it has certainly begun," concludes Ralston. "The future of automotive transportation is an electric one and you can expect that future to be here soon."

Comment Re:I don't want to 'feel' it, I want it to be real (Score 1) 251 251

Wow, someone got out the wrong side of bed this morning...

I think it's pretty clear that by "feel" he means "is" in every practical sense. I mean... How do you make it "feel" fast without actually being fast? Paint go faster stripes on the side perhaps?

The "personal" bit was a little less clear, but he is referring to plug-in support. IE had it but it was shit, and other browsers all have it. Edge will get it soon. Personally I won't be using it until there is a port of uBlock and Privacy Badger or some similar tool, so I'd say it's a pretty important feature.

Comment Re:I found this bit quite funny (Score 1) 251 251

To be fair I do forget the names of apps some times, particularly these days where all the good ones are taken and we have to rely on stupid abbreviations and faux URLs. Developers also have a habit of giving odd names to sub-apps in a suite, e.g. you might have an electronics cad program with separate schematic capture and PCB layout apps. Fortunately Windows 10 is good at figuring that stuff out and showing it when you search for the app suite name.

Comment Re:Um... (Score 1) 251 251

Don't forget the LGBT mafia who chased out one of the founders because he donated a small amount on his own money on his own time several years ago for a cause they disagreed with.

Are you seriously suggesting that his leaving contributed significantly to the downfall of Firefox?

Are you also suggesting that people who feel they could not support a company he was head of should force themselves to use Firefox anyway, or perhaps be mandated to do so by law? I imagine a lot of companies would employ bigots if that were the case, just to force people to use their products.

Look, I don't buy Sony stuff because they are a shitty company. I don't eat at certain restaurants because they serve halal meat. And I don't read books by authors who use the profits to fund causes I find abhorrent and immoral. Sorry, that's just the way the world is, you can't completely separate your private actions and beliefs from your professional life.

Comment Re: Is it still integrated with the shell? (Score 1) 251 251

They have moved to the Chrome model of bundling Flash and running it in a heavily sandboxed environment. It has worked well for Google; I don't recall a single Flash vulnerability that was critical for Chrome users.

It also means you don't need the exceptionally shitty Adobe Updater to keep it up to date either. Presumably Microsoft will update it via Windows Update too.

Comment Re:Well, sure, but... (Score 1) 275 275

You wouldn't even need to append a URL to the barcode, you just need an online database of barcodes that the manufacturers contribute data to.

Having said that, I think it would be a good idea to have all the information encoding in a QR code as well. No mobile signal/wifi required, and easy for apps to work with.

Comment Re:Classified Data (Score 1) 211 211

We can be fairly sure that the NSA has some serial dedicated hardware for cracking common encryption systems like AES. They will still be reliant on things like dictionary attacks because brute-forcing the entire keyspace is impractical (unless they have quantum computers).

How should we react to that? Well, obviously we need a good password that can resist dictionary attacks. Beyond that, unless you are a big enough perceived threat to warrant time on an expensive computer you probably don't have to worry too much. They certainly won't be using it to help out the FBI, risking its existence coming to light.

Comment Re:DC power? (Score 5, Interesting) 209 209

That's it exactly. Back then things like frequency conversion and DC level switching had to be done mechanically. To change frequency you ran a motor that drove a gear that drove a generator at the new frequency, and did something similar for switching DC voltage levels.

Nowadays high voltage DC is used widely for transmission. Everything is solid state and highly efficient.

Comment Re:Why not both? (Score 1) 209 209

It would, and some specialist devices do support that. It's not clear if that is what Sharp intends to offer, or if they are going to be DC only. It might make more sense to do the latter use an inverter that can run in "reverse", i.e. using the mains AC to provide central DC when solar energy is not available.

AC made a lot of sense when solid state switching regulators didn't exist, but nowadays having a central DC supply in a home that also generates its own DC isn't a bad idea.

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