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Comment: Re:misleading (Score 1) 462

by Steffan (#47080005) Attached to: Fiat Chrysler CEO: Please Don't Buy Our Electric Car

I think some of the other posters are probably correct in that a nontrivial portion of that 'subsidy' is accounting for R&D costs. I think every major manufacturer either has or is considering electric cars, so it makes sense to start building them to work out engineering issues. Perhaps it is helpful from an accounting standpoint to attribute this to the requirement to sell these in California. I think even if they weren't, there would be similar development expenses for the inevitable introduction of these cars in another country or state.

Comment: Re:Wouldn't be worth it anyways (Score 1) 462

by Steffan (#47079923) Attached to: Fiat Chrysler CEO: Please Don't Buy Our Electric Car

I have the 500e. I love it, although I'm inclined to agree about it not being competitive in the 30K+ range. It has a lot to gain from the lease / state / federal subsidies currently in effect. I can't really think of anything that annoys me in this car after nine months. I'll probably get another one in 2 or 3 years. (Or a Tesla if there is one in the $30-40K range or if I decide I want a larger car.)

Comment: Re:Fixed costs & whining (Score 3, Interesting) 462

by Steffan (#47079815) Attached to: Fiat Chrysler CEO: Please Don't Buy Our Electric Car

It may not have a huge range (I get ~ 100 miles on full charge), but it is absolutely a serious attempt at an electric car. It appears to be well-engineered, and not an afterthought of tacked-on parts. It is based on the same chassis as the gas-powered Fiat. Doubtless it could be even more efficient if they were to optimize it more for the drivetrain it has.

I think the engineers did a commendable job of creating a practical electric car within their budget / time / materials constraints. Pathetic it absolutely is not. In my opinion, until Tesla takes on this market segment, there is nothing that will touch it.

I do find it curious that Marchionne is publicly trying to dissuade people from purchasing it. A weird reverse-psychology attempt?

Comment: He'll have his work cut out for him (Score 5, Informative) 462

by Steffan (#47079771) Attached to: Fiat Chrysler CEO: Please Don't Buy Our Electric Car

It's a fantastic car. I've had mine for about nine months and after having owned an number of rather expensive (and inexpensive) cars, this is probably my favorite.

I've never driven a gas-powered Fiat 500, but I imagine the build quality is similar. It's surprisingly comfortable and well built for a car in its price range. I'm pretty particular about the noise levels in my cars and the electric model is reported to have more sound dampening than the standard model; external noise is probably more obvious when there's no engine to mask it. Quiet, fantastic acceleration, and virtually no maintenance. There's a lot to like about this car.

I hope they continue selling them. I've leased mine since the technology changes quickly enough that I expect better range / faster charging, or both within 3-4 years (plus competition from Tesla in that market segment), but if there were no other option I would definitely purchase mine at the end of the lease.

This is my first electric car, but I can say unequivocally that I will never purchase another gas-powered car (unless it's an exotic / sports car). It really is that much of an improvement over internal combustion.*

*For me. Obviously electric cars are not for _everyone_(yet). If you need to haul bales of hay up a mountainside four times a week, buy a truck.

Comment: Legalization debate will probably be irrelevant (Score 1) 518

by Steffan (#46007525) Attached to: Nobel Prize Winning Economist: Legalize Sale of Human Organs

One thing missed in all of this is that we are close (relatively speaking)[1][2][3] to being able to grow a number of organs. It's entirely likely that this entire debate will a be a footnote in a future wikipedia article.

By the time infrastructure to support organ sales, the associated legislation, and oversight could be put in place, we would probably be well on the way to therapeutic use of many these advances. In the meantime, it could detract from funding and research efforts if there were an inexpensive (in a strictly financial sense) alternative to synthetic organs, which will likely be expensive initially.

1. http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/07/04/198110553/scientists-grow-simple-human-liver-in-a-petri-dish
2. http://www.nature.com/news/2006/060403/full/news060403-3.html
3. http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-08/scientists-engineer-lab-grown-heart-tissue-beats-its-own

Comment: Why you *should* buy a 4k Monitor this year (Score 1, Interesting) 271

by Steffan (#45543125) Attached to: Why You Shouldn't Buy a UHD 4K TV This Year

After a number of years in the desolate wasteland that is 1080P, we are finally at a convergence of the television and monitor markets with 4K televisions. Based on the ability of Seiki to sell a 4K 39" panel for less the $500, it's likely that 2014 will usher in a series of relatively-inexpensive monitors delivering this resolution. Similar 1080p panels are selling for $300, and since the manufacturing isn't significantly more difficult, it's likely that in 12-18 months that pricepoint will be reached for 4K monitors as well.

Worth noting - the Seiki does all of this while including a remote, tuners, and multiple connectors unnecessary for strictly computer-use monitor. It's likely the costs (and prices) could drop even more in that sort of an implementation given enough volume. (Since the TV market is much bigger it may still make sense to make a one-size-fits-all model)

I purchased the 4K 39" Seiki TV about two weeks ago for use as a monitor. The 30Hz refresh rate is lower than I would like, but for software dev, still images, and watching the tiny amount of 4K video content it is completely fine. 39" is a little bit larger than I would have normally considered, but it offers a nice amount of screen real estate (less than 2 30" monitors though) and slightly higher dot pitch than a standard 2560x1600 30" display.

tl;dr It's completely worthwhile to get a 4K display now at this price.

Comment: Re:Linux after Linus (Score 1) 1501

by Steffan (#44291847) Attached to: Kernel Dev Tells Linus Torvalds To Stop Using Abusive Language
I haven't seen any evidence of "hundreds of thousands of great developers that would love to contribute if they were not being bullied down" The LKML may occasionally exchange civility for productivity and transparency. I'd prefer to have it this way and have a stable kernel than a wishy-washy maintainer using corporate-speak and making excuses for people who aren't delivering to the standards required by the project. There are literally thousands of Free / OSS projects in need of developers. Many of those projects have friendlier maintainers and environments. There is ample opportunity to be involved with Free Software in a place that matches a developer's temperament. The LKML is not for for the thin-skinned.

Comment: Re:Why does linux get this? (Score 2, Informative) 240

by Steffan (#33600414) Attached to: Adobe Releases New 64-Bit Flash Plugin For Linux

You may wish to try Minefield, (4.0 beta) if you can stomach using a beta. I've actually been using the nightlies for months and they're generally stable. You may want to try a release beta, however. (4.0b6 is good). There are 64-bit linux, Mac, and Windows versions.

Keep in mind that it's a beta, though and not intended for general consumption quite yet.

http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/all-beta.html

Because I hate Flash, I have a separate Firefox profile specifically for using the plugin. (Yes, there are other ways to block flash, but that isn't helpful if you're trying to find which of 200 tabs started autoplaying on startup)

Comment: Airline analogy? (Score 1) 390

by Steffan (#33435828) Attached to: AT&T Says Net Rules Must Allow 'Paid Prioritization'

Another analogy would be airlines. "Some corporations are proposing to build a network of things called 'airplanes' that'll let people travel without the existing roads. And they'll get to decide what prices to charge and what routes to offer. No fair!"

Perhaps a better analogy would be:

An airline owns the airport in your city. They wish to charge a "Prioritization Fee" for airlines to get preferential treatment at the airport. Their aircraft will of course not have to pay this fee.

Coincidentally, all of their competitors' aircraft fares just increased, and the flight times became longer.

Of course, you are still free to choose any airline you wish (provided you don't mind paying more and having slower transit).

There's got to be more to life than compile-and-go.

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