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Comment: Re:So there is a problem... (Score 1) 174

by patniemeyer (#47685073) Attached to: Tesla Removes Mileage Limits On Drive Unit Warranty Program

Why do you assume there is a problem? It sounds to me like their analysis shows that the drive units are performing so well that they can offer a less conservative warranty now. The impact that Musk mentions is about increasing the cash they need to have on hand to cover warranties for something unexpected. None of this implies that there is a problem...

BTW, this is the second time that Tesla has increased the warranty coverage on the vehicles after they've been sold - When was the last time you heard of an auto company doing that?

Comment: Microsoft killed Java in the browser... (Score 1) 371

by patniemeyer (#47642011) Attached to: Oracle Hasn't Killed Java -- But There's Still Time

We might live in a much different world today if Microsoft had not *deliberately* set out to kill Java in the browser in the mid 90s. MS saw Java and Netscape as a threat to their business model so they licensed the technology from Sun, put it in their browsers and then made sure that it would remain slightly broken and never be updated. Everyone in the industry saw this coming and at the time Sun talked about how great their lawyers were and how they had compatibility clauses in the contract, etc.... Microsoft's lawyers were better apparently.

Microsoft left a slightly broken and very early 1.x release of Java in their browsers for years and years. The motivation was clear in court documents during the antitrust litigation with quotes from people inside Microsoft saying things like: we have to ''pollute'' Java in the browser to keep it from being truly cross platform.

Imagine what the world would be like today if, instead of edging ever closer to a full fledged programming model in the browsers based on JavaScript (which was created to be glue to put Java into HTML, not to be a programming language) - if instead we had 20 years of browsers with native Java VMs, written in and extensible by Java... There is no doubt we would have had the kind of applications we take for granted today (AJAXy things like gmail and maps) 15 years ago... and a generation of developers would not have grown up with this mess that we left them in HTML and JS.

- Pat Niemeyer (Author of Learning Java, O'Reilly & Associates)

Comment: Re:What about a coal powered Tesla? (Score 1) 122

by patniemeyer (#47595957) Attached to: Elon Musk Promises 100,000 Electric Cars Per Year

1) Your analysis accounts for losses in transmitting the electricity but does not account for getting the gasoline to the consumer. Gasoline is heavy and in the final leg is distributed in trucks that burn a lot of fuel.

2) Your guess at 80% efficiency of the charging devices is low. Tesla claims 90%+ depending on the voltage and Tesla charging stations can charge the cars with DC at 120kW with presumably much lower losses. (If they were losing 20% of that to heat they'd all be on fire :) )

Comment: Re:weird choice (Score 0) 156

by patniemeyer (#47489777) Attached to: Japan To Offer $20,000 Subsidy For Fuel-Cell Cars

The only reason that I can come up with for this focus on fuel cells is that Toyota and the other existing car manufacturers want to see a hydrogen distribution system put in place so that they can continue producing internal combustion engines using hydrogen instead of the fuel cells themselves. I think these car companies see their long term intellectual property investment as being in the internal combustion engines and drive train technology. My guess is that they fear the drive trains becoming commodity parts (how many ways are there to make an A/C electric motor) and then they are left simply styling auto bodies and being fashion statements...

I think that fear is unwarranted, as Tesla has shown just how differentiated an electric car can be and how much innovation there can be in the car cabin and features themselves... But history has shown that old companies cannot always change even when they recognize that a disruption is coming. And oh boy is one coming...

Tesla = iPhone
Gas cars = Blackberry at best

Comment: Why fuel cells? (Score 1) 216

by patniemeyer (#47325341) Attached to: Toyota's Fuel Cell Car To Launch In Japan Next March

I don't understand why Toyota would pursue this technology when we have batteries that are competitive with it currently and they get better every day... and battery technology is just manifestly better in that we already have electricity distributed to every location on earth... Why build a completely new, energy inefficient, liquid transportation industry just to add a middle-man to electricity distribution and make life less convenient for the the drivers?

It just seems to me like an attempt to keep hydrocarbon fuels relevant... or perhaps to see hydrogen deployed so that Toyota can keep their ICE engines relevant... It just doesn't make sense otherwise.

Yes, I'm sure there are special applications one could point to where hydrogen may make sense in some niche under some circumstances... but... for general automobile usage? I just don't get it...

Comment: Re:Nice to see. (Score 1) 216

by patniemeyer (#47325263) Attached to: Toyota's Fuel Cell Car To Launch In Japan Next March

Tesla has demonstrated that they can swap the battery on the Model S in 90 seconds... It weighs 1000 lbs. But they have also said that they will eventually get the charging time on their superchargers down from (currently about 20 min for half charge) to 5-10 minutes... If they can do that then not sure why anyone would care about swapping batteries...

There is a misconception among people who have not used electric vehicles that you need to go somewhere to charge your vehicle, like one would with a gas station. Imagine that you had a gas station at your house and somebody topped off the car for you every morning - how often would you stop for gas? probably never...

Comment: Re:Dead on arrival (not) (Score 1) 345

by patniemeyer (#47278965) Attached to: Harley-Davidson Unveils Their First Electric Motorcycle

Your thinking about the engine noise will totally change after you drive an electric bike that is faster and better performing than any gas bike could ever be... You'll pull up next to someone with an old fashioned gas bike roaring and making noise and fumes and you'll just effortlessly smoke them while they are roaring and straining to keep up with you.... and you'll start to think of the noise not as power but as "poser"... like a fake strong man groaning to lift a tiny weight or a rock guitar player making that strained face as if it it takes physical effort to play. It will happen to you...

Comment: Re:Progenitors? (Score 1) 686

by patniemeyer (#47269437) Attached to: Aliens and the Fermi Paradox

Exactly - and not only are we directing less power into space but our leakage is heavily compressed and frequency shared / hopped to the point where our communications look more and more like background noise... And this evolution in communication from "blast to space" to super low power, compressed, and know where to find it terrestrial sources has happened in the span of one or two generations... What do you think communications will look like in another 100 years? How much energy will be wasted to space and how much signal will stand out over the compression to even be noticed?

This - the power and compression factors - is what gives me hope that there is no paradox... We just need another way to look for life other than to expect it to blast us with radio waves.

Comment: re: "Helicopter parenting" (Score 1) 207

by patniemeyer (#47260923) Attached to: Century-Old Drug Reverses Signs of Autism In Mice

I had always misinterpreted the term "helicopter parenting" to mean the exact opposite of what it means: To me the thing that characterizes a helicopter is the fact that it can land and take off at arbitrary places... So I assumed that this mean a parent who drops in on their child (out of the blue) and then disappears... i.e. intermittent parenting. But apparently people think that helicopters can hover in one place for long periods of time and use it to mean the opposite - a parent who hangs around / hovers around their child too much. I have never gotten used to the term... It just strikes me as the wrong way to think about helicopters :)

Comment: Electric cars will always perform better... (Score 1) 659

by patniemeyer (#47012785) Attached to: Future of Cars: Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Or Electric?

Energy density doesn't matter... Once people experience what an electric car can be like they just won't want anything else. Instant torque, faster and better handling than anything else on the road, roomier, safer, basically maintenance free, always has a "full tank" when you leave the house, costs almost nothing to drive, single-foot driving with regen braking...

They'll get cheaper soon and they will be everywhere.

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