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Comment Re:No. (Score 1) 388

I'm a speed junkie and I own several german cars; one of which is stripped out and caged for track use.

I have never, ever been interested in a "Green" car.

I am very interested in Tesla. Elon Musk is the real-life Iron Man, and all of the Tesla products have amazing performance numbers. They are Doing It Right.

I think electric cars are the way of the future; the motors are absolutely and completely superior to combustion engines. We have way more ways of making electricity than we do petrochemical fuels (and many of those ways are clean and unlimited), making electricity a better refactoring and future-proof design point.

The problem is that petro fuels are a better battery than any other affordable battery technology.

But once we get that figured out, I look forward to retiring my combustion engine cars to antique or historic status. Tesla has convinced me that there will be non-lame EVs for me to choose from, and that's good enough for me.

Comment Re:Racism is racism (Score 1) 388

Fair enough.

My point wasn't to be specific about their race so much as it was the "trash" part. I was attempting to convey a stereotype of someone with limited funds, who doesn't visibly take pride in ownership of their belongings, and who is likely to be interested in filing a baseless lawsuit to cash-in at the expense of someone else.

This stereotype makes sense to me and fits my observations; it may not fit yours.

Comment No. (Score 5, Insightful) 388

Tesla has been very brilliant thus far in their product strategy.

They have made expensive, high end products that are tailored to affluent enthusiasts. They have been working their way down from "least practical" to "most practical".

Enthusiasts and early adopters are much more willing to put up with teething problems in new technologies.

These are not disposable cars that you will see filled with McDonalds wrappers.

So the typical tesla customer isn't stupid white trash looking to cash in on a lawsuit with the help of an ambulance chasing lawyer (yet).

Furthermore, consider the competition: If you believe the party line, A Mercedes Benz can randomly eject its drivetrain and burn itself to a crisp, killing the occupants.

Everyone (including the test data and real-world data) agrees that MB makes exceptionally survivable vehicles. So freak things may happen.

What we saw in this case was that the Tesla hit something, nobody was hurt, the vehicle didn't lose control, and after the driver safely stopped and exited the car, the firefighters had to deal with a slightly new type of fire situation then they are used to.

Comment Re:Very tech oriented (Score 1) 236

I still chuckle when I read the old Clancy books mentioning the super secret NavStar system, for targeting sub launched nukes to a cep of 164 feet, and reflecting that, nowadays, I use it so I don't have to tell my weather app my postal code just to get my local weather.

Comment Re:TL;DR Version (Score 1) 148

Disclaimer: I've been a Microsoft employee since 2000.

I can tell you that this is demonstrably false. I personally worked on an MSR technology transfer effort.

I won't go too much into the details, but a group at MSR had developed some tools that did some interesting binary instrumentation, and did some very interesting analysis on data you captured from using these instrumented binaries.

This toolchain needed to be integrated into the build process and test process for your codebase, but once you did that work, you could answer some highly interesting questions.

MSR had a team from their side that worked with all of the major product groups at Microsoft to educate us on what the tools did, how to use them, how to integrate them, etc. We found bugs in their code; we made suggestions based on production use of the tools; they fixed them for us during validation and deployment.

I helped integrate the tools into the process for how Visual Studio was built and tested, back in the 2001-2003 era. I know for a fact Windows and Office underwent similar efforts for their products.

This effort didn't immediately translate into a feature in a product; instead, it helped us build and test _all_ our products more effectively.

Much later, VS did ship some tooling to our customers that was superficially similar to what this stuff did, but I wasn't part of that effort, so I don't know if there was technology re-use or not.

The above account is what I had direct experience with.

Additionally, every year MSR holds an event called "tech fest" where researchers setup booths talking about what they've been working on. MS engineers are the target audience. The different research topics are in various different stages of the pipeline -- sometimes you'll see a booth where they show you the "research project" next to a real shipping product that is using it. Other times they'll show you something that Microsoft is probably never going to ship or make money from.

I've seen people run their research and demos from Linux boxes -- and not just because they were doing something Linux specific. The researchers in question appear to have a wide latitude to investigate what they want to investigate, and use the tools they feel most comfortable with (as it should be).

Obviously, not everything done at MSR directly translates into a tangible product. There is certainly a lot of stuff they do that I feel like SHOULD see the light of day but hasn't yet. For instance, of particular interest to me was some research on distributed file systems done by the SNR group. It's public, so you can look up the "Farsite" project.

http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/farsite/

Look how old those papers are. It's very aggravating to me that we don't just take this stuff for granted now, given how far along the research and demos were 10 years ago.

Comment Re:That's cool and everything, but... (Score 2) 183

Actually, do you know which country in Africa has the cheapest cell phone providers?

Somalia.

(ref: http://www.economist.com/node/5328015)

Somalia fascinates me from a free-society perspective. Usually Somalia is the punchline of some attempt to troll a libertarian, but if you actually look at what's happening there, it's quite fascinating.

This paper is one of my favorites. Take a look, you may be surprised:

http://www.peterleeson.com/Better_Off_Stateless.pdf

Comment Re:Statistical fallicies (Score 1) 351

I'm not missing the point.

Firstly, nobody who buys a Tesla cares what the battery is made of. Tesla is free to change the battery chemistry whenever they have a competing technology. They may have competing chemistries now that are not cost effective under current dynamics, but will become so when neodymium shortages change the economics of the game. But of course, rising neodymium costs will make additional mining and refining capacity profitable, and so new entrants will enter those games as well, and tend to dampen price rises.

Secondly, the analogy of computer prices shouldn't be overlooked. We have been shipping an increasing number of devices with increasing capabilities since the 1990s. No new additional raw materials have been created in that time, and yet costs have gone down.

Why?

Human ingenuity.

The battery chemistry in the Telsa wasn't relevant 20 years ago and will likely be irrelevant 20 years from now.

There is a reason that we no longer worry about "Peak Whale", even though at one time the majority of heat and light in the US came from the whale oil the rapidly diminishing supply of whales and there was no known answer to that problem. How many short years transpired between "Peak Whale" and Standard Oil?

Comment Re:D.A.R.E has no benefit (Score 3, Interesting) 440

I have issues with how teacherâ(TM)s pay is structured. The initial pay is low and most of the benefits are at the backend so it encourages marginal teachers to become entrenched and discourages middle aged people from making a career switch into the profession. (I think there is a rich vein of potential people who hold masters in math, science, or engineering who would make great teachers but donâ(TM)t want to deal with the initial low pay and would not qualify for some of the bigger retirement packages.)

I think this is pretty insightful.

I recently joined a team of other MS employees teaching Intro to CS at a local public highschool. We're bootstrapping the in-service teacher along with the students so that hopefully she can teach the class herself in the future.

htttp://www.tealsk12.org

People who have come up into CS in the "normal way" and who can do CS can make more money straight out of college in the industry than can ever be made in a lifetime of public K-12 education. And for software people who want to make the switch into K12 later in life when they are financially independent; there are a number of tiresome barriers that prevent them from really doing so.

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