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Comment: Re:Market changer (Score 1) 318

by crow (#49645883) Attached to: Tesla To Unveil Its $35,000 Model 3 In March 2016

If you think the battery will last long enough that when it needs to be replaced, the prices will have come down and the capacities will have gone up, it's not a bad idea. The risks are certainly different.

I wouldn't even be surprised if a company that found itself with a large number of used cars decided to offer them with new batteries, possibly even longer-range batteries than they originally came with. The downside for the company would be that they would compete with their own new market, so it probably won't happen.

Comment: Re:Counting your chickens (Score 1) 318

by crow (#49643727) Attached to: Tesla To Unveil Its $35,000 Model 3 In March 2016

To some extent, even if they fail, they will still drive the market. They've said they'll do it, and the other car companies believe them. That means they're going to gear up to compete. Tesla has set the bar at 200 mile range for $35K in 2017 or 2018. The other companies are undoubtedly aiming to have their own offering in the same class, and several will probably succeed. At this point, Tesla could fail, and probably still happen without them.

Comment: Market changer (Score 4, Interesting) 318

by crow (#49641987) Attached to: Tesla To Unveil Its $35,000 Model 3 In March 2016

The 3 will be a market changer for the low-end of electric vehicles. If they hit $35K with 200+ mile range, it means all the other electric vehicles in that range, such as the Nissan Leaf, will also have to hit 200+ miles or drop below $25K.

Right now there are a number of cars with 80-100 mile ranges in the $30K-$35K range. They won't be able to compete with the 3 without some major improvements.

This also will shake up the used market. Right now 80%+ of Leafs are leased, so about the time the Model 3 comes online all the Leafs on the road today will be for sale. That's a lot of cars, all with 80-mile-ish ranges. Now if new cars at $35K have over double the range, the price of the used cars will be much lower. So if a 80-mile range is sufficient (perhaps for your second or third car in the family), then you'll be able to go electric at a fairly reasonable price in two or three years.

I think the long-term impact will be that most people who have a good place to charge their cars at home will consider electric cars after the Model 3 has had a couple of years to shake up the market. I would guess in five years it will be typical for families with more than one car to have at least one electric, and in ten years the majority of new cars will be electric.

Comment: Re:Any stats on how it will cope with -20 C temps? (Score 2) 318

by crow (#49641837) Attached to: Tesla To Unveil Its $35,000 Model 3 In March 2016

I have a friend who raced in the Iditarod this year. (For the clueless, that's a 1000+ mile dog sled race in Alaska.) Temperatures were consistently -50F (-43C), and his Lithium Ion batteries for his light worked flawlessly. I would be more worried with the 12v lead acid battery (yes, it still has one for accessories) than the L-ion battery pack.

Oh, and one of his dogs was named Tesla.

Comment: Re:Even 200 miles of range means that you... (Score 1) 318

by crow (#49640999) Attached to: Tesla To Unveil Its $35,000 Model 3 In March 2016

Everyone's usage is different. The longest road trip we take in a typical year is under 200 miles. If we were to go farther, having to stop for half an hour at a Supercharger station isn't terrible.

For my family, having a Model S for trips and a second car for around town such as a Nissan Leaf would be ideal. We have no need for a gas vehicle.

Comment: Nice, missing new features, limited filtering (Score 3, Informative) 65

by crow (#49606927) Attached to: Tesla Adds Used Models To Its Inventory, For Online Purchase

Thanks to the person who posted the link:


Some of these cars are great deals.

You won't find the dual-motor versions, so they're all rear-wheel drive.

I don't think you'll find the autopilot feature on any of them.

And the real frustrating part of the experience is that the filters are very limited. You can't filter on particular features, such as panoramic roof, subzero package, or rear-facing seats.

I expect they'll improve the filtering when they have more than 20 cars to look at.

Comment: Confirmed! (Score 5, Informative) 82

by crow (#49389417) Attached to: Verizon Subscribers Can Now Opt Out of "Supercookies"


I just checked this. My phone is on a corporate account, so it shouldn't be eligible for the advertising program they're talking about in the first place. The cookie is gone.

I still hope they get sued out of business over this. Of course, they'll probably settle for something in the low millions that won't impact their profits.

Comment: DVD patents expiring (Score 3, Informative) 68

by crow (#49361821) Attached to: Another Patent Pool Forms For HEVC

At least the patents on DVDs are expiring if not already expired. The first DVD player was sold in 1996, and patents can be good for up to 20 years from the filing date, so it would seem that by late next year, all necessary patents should have expired. (Patents are only 17 years from the issue date, so any patents that were actually issued at the time of the first players would have expired.)

I'm sure that they've added on patents for various RW formats, and probably for some new tricks in encoding, but that wouldn't impact playback.

MP3 patents have mostly expired, though one US patent expires later this year.

So for any application using MPEG-2 or MP3, you shouldn't be facing a big patent hurdle. If you want the lower bitrates found with newer codecs, the pain will be with us for a while to come.

Comment: Re:Why bother with Windows? Or a PC at all? (Score 1) 253

by crow (#49288569) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Building a Home Media Center/Small Server In a Crawlspace?

If you run NAS4Free or FreeNAS, then they're based on FreeBSD.

The suggestions to run something like that are spot on. I do that with a MythTV system connected to my TV. Depending on video formats and what you get, it's getting easier to find a HDMI stick that will handle the media playback on the TV side, so all you need to hide elsewhere is a NAS.

Comment: Babylon 5 (Score 2) 104

by crow (#49235371) Attached to: Some of the Greatest Science Fiction Novels Are Fix-Ups

I was just scanning the comments to see if this point had already been made. Thanks!

Perhaps the most obvious example of this was Babylon 5. In many ways that woke up television producers to the option of strong story arcs across seasons or even the entire show instead of the old rule that everything had to end back in the same state where it started. Sure, there are plenty of other examples, even before B5, but I think that is what really changed the market.

Now it's standard practice for lots of shows: 24, Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who, and many others.

Of course, other factors now support this model that weren't really a factor with Babylon 5. Namely streaming video, DVRs, and DVDs. It's no longer a big obstacle to expect fans to not miss any episodes. Fans will stream the old episodes to catch up, record them, or buy the DVDs. In fact, the DVD market encourages strong arcs; I think people are more likely to want to own a complete story than a collection of independent episodes.