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Comment Re:Why not both? (Score 1) 212 212

I didn't make it suitably clear; but the 'complexity' is really more of a historical issue. The fact that you can get power transistors, digital logic, and similar solid-state goodness for peanuts, possibly even less than the carbon brushes or other electromechanical alternatives, is a comparatively recent thing in historical terms.

Now that you can, doing so is pretty compelling for any but the highest-power tasks; but it has not always been the case that you can throw semiconductors at a problem for astonishingly tiny amounts of money. Today it is; but a lot of very clever electromechanical, inductive, and similar tricks were developed during the time that it was not.

Comment someone trying to unload lackluster tesla stocks? (Score 1) 712 712

Ridiculous. Yet another "world changing vision" brought to you by an entitled, elitist cadre of the Bay Area who fail to understand that the rest of the world doesn't live like they do.

The opening premise "well, a lot of people adopted smartphones rapidly, so they'll adopt this too" already smells like snake oil: people adopted smartphones because they were BETTER in almost every conceivable way to the previous generation of phones.*
*would they have done so, if one had to charge the phone for 12 minutes for every 1 you talked? I doubt it.

Let me debunk the list of putative "improvements" individually: (I apologize to /. users for the stupid format characters, but /. still doesn't understand pasted quotes/apostrophes.)

"It's more fun to drive, with smooth, transmission-less acceleration. For most of us it is the fastest car we have ever owned."
- Maybe it's more fun to drive. A vanishingly tiny % of people in this world buy cars primarily based on their "fun". Nobody gives a flying hoot about 'transmissionless' acceleration, nor does 'fastest' really matter in a world with speed limits.

"Itâ(TM)s quieter at all times and nearly silent at low speeds."
- I've never once heard someone buying a new car based on how quiet it is. Never. (OK, I *have* heard of motorheads not buying a car because it's not loud enough.) Considering some of the instant off/on tech in the newest cars, they're exactly as quiet as the Magical Tesla while idling, ie silent/off. And aside from older cars which will naturally phase out of the system, the bulk of noise from a highway is tires, not engines.

"It is always âoefullâ every morning one drives it and you never need to go to a gas station."
- Simply, completely, thoroughly wrong. Well, unless you sleep 3 days at a stretch.Further, I don't know about you, but I drive more than once just in the morning.
According to (https://www.cars.com/articles/2013/11/how-quickly-does-the-tesla-model-s-battery-charge/) the nominal charge for a non-special installation (ie a normal outlet) is FIVE MILES PER HOUR OF CHARGE. That's ridiculous - 60 hours to "fill the tank" to the full range, or (roughly) needing to charge 5x the driving duration.
The average commute in the US is 25 minutes. Assuming highway speeds, that's 25 miles. That means to stay 'level' in terms of range, the car will need to charge 5 hours for each leg of the commute. Go to visit a friend in a city 250 miles away? Sorry, we can't go to a movie, my car needs to charge *four hours* for us to get to the cinema and back.

"It has a user interface - including, notably, its navigation system - as superior to that of other cars as the iPhone was to earlier phones."
- I can't really refute iphone-zealotry, that's religion, not fact. It probably does have a better UI than most other firms, as they really made the most of the newest touch-screens and systems (and had no aesthetic legacy to maintain), but this is likely to be adopted relatively soon by other automakers. Nothing particularly special here, except indeed being a little ahead of the likely curve.

"It is connected to the Internet."
Christ. You know that you should really be paying attention to the road, right? 4g works well enough for map updates, which is really all the driver should care about. And personally I find the modern paradigm of everyone sitting in the car watching their own movies, playing their own games, reading their own narcissistic social media addiction reprehensible. We already suffer from an atomized society generally, you're saying it's laudable to encourage this? I have an alternative entertainment that is perfect for trips in the car with your kids or friends: "conversation".

"It continuously gets better with automatic updates and software improvements."
The Tesla is comparable to a fixed-hardware console. Ever bricked your Xbox360? In any case, electronic systems in petro-cars also get better with updates and software. Nothing new there at all.

"Itâ(TM)s more roomy and has a trunk in the front (the âoefrunkâ) AND a spacious back."
Now you're just trying to be silly. Who gives a crap where the trunk is? It has ample storage space, indeed. But then again, so does a minivan. By that logic, minivan sales should be skyrocketing?

"It comes with an app that allows you to manage the car from your phone.
It allows you to drive in the carpool lane and to sign up for a cheaper energy usage plan at home (obviously these incentives wonâ(TM)t last, but they will help get us to the tipping point described below)."
I tend to prefer sitting IN my car when 'managing' it, so the convenience of a smartphone app is moot (how secure is that, by the way?).

Setting all that aside, the Model S is $70,000. The current US new vehicle average purchase price (and let's remember that the US is pretty much the wealthiest country on the planet, ever) is $31k. As Car and Driver noted: "Logging 630 miles and conducting performance tests in this 70D required 14 plug connections versus three or four stops at the pump for the most fuel-thirsty luxury sedan driven the same distance. In exchange for the loss of convenience, you do reap substantial savings in operating costs. We spent less than $30 for the Teslaâ(TM)s electricity versus the $100 in premium gasoline a conventional luxury sedan would have consumed driving 630 miles."
FOURTEEN fill-up stops (they politely didn't mention how long those took) and an average upcharge of $40,000 ....to save $70? Woo.

Not to mention ongoing and - as far as I can see - unanswered concerns about performance, longevity, and resale PARTICULARLY in climates less benign than Palo Alto...ie everywhere. (I LOL'd at Tesla blogs talking about the bitter cold of below-freezing temps. I live in MN where winters routinely hit -40F. Ever try to turn on a flashlight left outside at that temp? Further, Car & Driver noted some troubling cooldown-demand in relatively mild warm conditions while driving aggressively as well.)

The Teslas service such a tiny, boutique market (you know, the 1%), it's hard to understand these bigger-picture items that will come to the fore when the market for them scales up to real numbers. (Tesla's monthly sales are in the 3k units range; real car sales are in the 600k (and light trucks/suvs, etc are around 800k). Tesla might as well be hand-building them for as fast as they're selling.

To suggest from this Pollyanna view that somehow electric cars are going to suddenly take off? Nah, it smells more like someone bought some Tesla stock recently and is hoping to generate enough buzz to unload it without taking a bath.

On it's own merits? It's a decent car, certainly, if you live in a benign climate and idle enough that you can live 'around' its charging-time demands. But no, I don't see consumers DEMANDING this at all.

Comment Re:Low cost chip, high cost support (Score 3, Interesting) 70 70

What I find a bit weird about SPARC's near-total obscurity is that(please correct me if I'm wrong on the details; but to the best of my understanding from what I've read) the ISA is available for use on a royalty-free basis, and there are even a few BSD or GPL verilog implementations out there. That's even less encumbered than MIPS(which has some patents that the owners like to wave around on a couple of useful instructions).

My naive expectation would have been that SPARC on such liberal terms would show up a bit more often embedded in various chips that need some sort of CPU to do housekeeping, as the ISA of security and/or nationalism driven 'indigenous technology' efforts, and potentially even as the cheaper-than-ARM option for application processors.

Clearly that hasn't actually happened, and it's mostly ARM in SoCs and application processors(with PPC holding out in certain automotive and networking niches for some reason; and MIPS in router SoCs and the occasional Chinese vanity project); so ARM's license fees must just not sting that much.

Building SPARC parts that go toe to toe with Xeons would obviously be a much more ambitious project(as well as an act of directly fucking with Intel's juciest margins, which they probably won't take very kindly); but I am surprised by the fact that SPARC is so rare among the zillions of devices that have no need for x86 compatibility and are mostly about delivering performance in the gap between beefy microcontrollers and weak desktops for as little money as possible.

Comment Re:Disappointed (Score 2) 212 212

The competition for good DC-DC conversion is reasonably fierce(given the existence of DC telco and datacenter operations, and the fact that even 'AC' shops are really just doing the conversion in each chassis(and unlike the old AT PSU days, an ever larger chunk of the output power is 12v going directly to a DC-DC converter on the motherboard to feed the CPU and RAM, with fewer and fewer components, aside from HDD motors, being sufficiently high voltage to feed directly from the PSU); so even modest improvements in DC-DC efficiency would make you quite wealthy indeed.

I haven't kept a close eye; but I think that the present standard for DC-DC modules still uses a number of off-chip components(whether because the needed capacitance and such simply can't be done in silicon, or are cheaper as discretes, I don't know); but you can get some very, very, dense little modules.

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.

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