I got 20 inches too. The storm shifted east, spared NYC somewhat, and still dumped a lot of snow in the NY metropolitan area. It means luck was on most people's side during the late night hours, though Not mine.
Hodejo1 writes: Tesla has already put over 25,000 cars on the road with more to come and, presumably, most will still be running well past the 8-year battery warranty. What would happen if it is time to replace the battery pack on an old Model S or X and the cost is $25K? Simple, it would destroy the resale value of said cars, which would negatively affect the lease value of new Tesla automobiles. That’s a big part of the real reason why Tesla is building its own battery factory. They not only need to ensure enough supply for new cars, but they have to dramatically bring down the price of the replacement batteries low enough so owners of otherwise perfectly running old Teslas don’t just junk them. The Tesla Roadster was not a mass produced vehicle, so the cost of replacing its battery is $40K. The economies of scale of a gigafactory alone will drop battery costs dramatically. Heavy research could drop it further over the next decade or so. The good news is that if they do it right Tesla will have the replacement battery business to itself — without a gigafactory of their own non-OEM battery suppliers won’t be able to compete — which will bring more profits rather than headaches.
Hodejo1 writes: On July 1 Amazon started to charge sales tax to NJ residents, which is 7% in the state. But something was not right when I attempted to buy a book for my daughter. Just as I was about to finalize the order I noticed the charges were way off. The book cost $8.09. The tax I was to be levied was $0.85. That's a 10.5% tax rate! Why am I being charged 10.5%? It turns out that Amazon is also charging me tax on the $3.99 cost of shipping and handling. That's a problem, because New Jersey does not tax shipping and handling as I confirmed on the state's web site. I then checked a purchase I made from Amazon on October 7th of this year. Guess what? I was taxed on the $13.50 shipping and handling charge for that order. Now it is very possible — probable most likely — that this is nothing more than a coding error on Amazon's site. But it's a whopper! Just consider the hundreds-of-millions of dollars in sales Amazon makes in New Jersey each year. These extra dimes add up very quickly. Has Amazon been overcharging NJ residents’ sales tax since July? If so, why haven’t they picked it up by now?
Hodejo1 writes: Apple traditionally has big product announcements in the early spring, so around February both the mainstream press and the tech blogs began to circulate their favorite rumors (the iWatch, iTV). They also announced the date of the next Apple event, which this year was in March — except it didn’t happen. “Reliable sources” then confirmed it would be in April, then May and then — nothing. In withdrawal and with a notoriously secretive Apple offering no relief the tech journalists started to get cranky. The end result is a rash of petulant stories that insist Apple is desperate for new products, in trouble (with $150 BILLION dollars in the bank I should be in such trouble) and in decline. The only ones desperate seem to be editors addicted to traffic-generating Apple announcements. Good news is on the horizon, though, as the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference starts June 10th.
Hodejo1 writes: Cocooning is used to describe people who hide from the angst of the outside world by sequestering themselves in their living rooms. Modern media technology, from tablets to huge flat screens, has taken it all up to a new level, allowing people to work and entertain themselves without ever leaving the warm comfort of home. In what some now describe as super cocooning, consumers in 2012 spent sharply less on hotels (-21%), car rentals (-26%), restaurants (-16%) and tolls (-8%) than in 2011, while consumer spending on electronics exploded by 65% during the same period. "It does not take a brilliant intuition to figure out that super cocooning equals chunky couch potato. If super cocooning indeed adds to an already significant obesity crisis in this nation and if media devices feed super cocooning...well, you know what's going to come in the near future. Alarming little teasers on your favorite television news program along the lines of Is the iPad Making You FAT?"
Hodejo1 writes: Why has Apple made it's new lightning connector waterproof? The aswer may be found in the fact that the toilet is a leading killer of mobile devices. Let's face it, who reads newspapers in there anymore. Granted, prematurely ruined iPhones and iPods were good for business for Apple as it spurred replacements. But now that Android devices have taken the market lead over iOS devices those customers with damaged iPods are exploring their options. One way Apple could slow this potential market erosion of user base is to reduce the early fatality rate of existing units. A big way to reduce premature perishibility is to make is next gen iPhones, iPods, and iPads waterproof.
Hodejo1 writes: In 2007, James Taylor initiated an audit of his royalty payments dating back to 2004. In that three-year span, Taylor and his accounting firm, Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman, LLC, found underpayments totaling $1,692,726. His label, Warner Brothers deftly accomplished this via 52 alleged ways all listed here. This includes such dubious tactics as applying royalty rates lower than the contract stipulates and charging manufacturing costs as 'recording costs' so they can be applied against royalties. Taylor's auditors also found a 'suspense account' at Warner Music that held an unspecified amount of Taylor's royalties. When pressed for its purpose, Warner denied the account existed, and declined to offer any details on which products or payments were included in this alleged account. As one reader posted on Digital Music News "Wow, what are the chances they didn't do exactly the same thing to all their artists?" Of course, labels still continue to claim they serve the artists when they call every new technical innovation in music theft.
Hodejo1 writes: Are mobile devices speeding the ascent of man? According to a Princeton University researcher it has spawned nothing less than a true evolution of the Human Species. Dubbed Homo Pollexis – the thumb people to you and me – the new species has physically adapted to handle the tiny buttons and numb touch screens of today’s iOS and Android gadgets. “In the few years since Fox cancelled Firefly our appendages have evolved from tools that merely grasp into tools that are full rapid input devices”.
Hodejo1 writes: "I finally cracked it," Steve Jobs told his biographer Walter Isaacson just months before his death. He was referring to the design and functionality of television, something Jobs had long wanted his company to reimagine.
In the official biography of the late Apple founder that came out today, one of the last topics discussed before Isaacson touches on Jobs' summer 2011 resignation is how he had hoped to revolutionize the television set.
"I'd like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use," Jobs said. "It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine."
Apple is believed to already be building prototypes of such a television set, according to an analyst at Piper Jaffray. The TV is expected to hit the market sometimes next year, although probably a bit later than previous estimates. The idea that an Apple-branded HDTV set is in the product pipeline has been the subject of rumors for a few years. Apple patents and sources at some of the company's suppliers have fueled speculation since at least 2008. In August, one Wall Street Analyst predicted that three Apple HDTVs would be on the market as soon as March 2012. Does this also mean the emergence of the Apple Broadcast Network as posed here last year?
Hodejo1 writes: With the demise of LimeWire it's splinter app, FrostWire, became the keeper of the Gnutella flame as it took over as the leading app for that network. Those days are numbered. The FrostWire team just announced that with its upcoming 5.0 update it will drop Gnutella support and become a Bittorrent-only client.The team cited spam as the reason for leaving the Gnutella network. “We decided to go all out with BitTorrent and spend our time making FrostWire the best BitTorrent client out there, and not fighting the endless spam battle. The Gnutella Protocol is an amazing piece of technology, but one which the team is no longer interested in or capable of developing further.” Three years ago research on P2P applications pegged Gnutella as the most popular file sharing network followed by BitTorrent. With today's news it looks like Gnutella may soon join the likes of of FastTrack, AudioGalaxy, iMesh, eDonkey, ad infinitum, ad Gloriam.
Hodejo1 writes: "Zune died because, as a device, Microsoft designed the unit to please record industry execs over the consumer", says Richard Menta of MP3 Newswire. "With Zune and it's mated music store we watched a lost opportunity by Microsoft descend into a lost cause." This opinion was echoed by Jon C. OGG at 24/7 Wall St. who said "Yours truly was one of the first adopters of the Zune, but became frustrated with updates that changed music rights for many play-list songs". This strategic miscue manifested itself all too clearly in what should have been the unit's groundbreaking feature, Zune-to-Zune wireless. Zune-to-Zune wireless allowed Zune users to share tracks player-to-player via Wi-Fi, a compelling consumer feature with the added tint of social media just as social media was taking off. Unfortunately, free player-to-player sharing played like a nightmare scenario to the record labels who viewed it as a building block to the construction of an open-air bazaar of piracy. Catering to those fears Microsoft crippled Zune-to-Zune by limiting files shared in this manner to only three plays before the unit disabled them permanently. Potential Zune customers bought iPods instead. Four years later Microsoft Zune is left with the epitaph "could have been a contender".
Hodejo1 writes: Back in October the principals behind the music search engine SkreemR decided it was time to pull the plug. Unlike SeeqPod, which was besieged by major label lawsuits, the decision to kill SkreemR was based on simple economics. "We had a good run of 3 and a half years", James Gagan wrote in his email, "but everyone involved has other interests and ultimately it was not a hugely profitable enterprise". Normally, that would be that, but it looks like the folks behind SkreemR have had a change of heart. The search engine has been quietly revived and even added improvements such as voice activated search for Chrome users.
Hodejo1 writes: Yesterday, Citigroup foreclosed on EMI Group, ending the 80 year run of the smallest of the major labels. With no desire to run a record company Citigroup will presumably sell off the assets piecemeal with the labels vast array of publishing rights being the most valuable prize. As ex-Creation Records head Alan McGee told NME "Their publishing catalogue is still worth a lot of money, but unfortunately these days no f**ker wants to buy a record company". With the other major labels facing financial issues themselves some see this as a ripe opportunity for Apple to snare the publishing rights for iTunes at distressed prices and keep the checks it now sends to EMI. Google Music might have similar thoughts.