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Comment We have until 2063 (Score 1) 388

In 2063 the Unification Council outlaws manually operated vehicles...

The steering wheels functioned only under emergency conditions. Manually operable vehicles were outlawed inside TransCon's ever-growing Automated Traffic Control Regions, and had been since the Speedfreak revolution in the summer of 2063.

"All we did, Trent, was we wanted to drive our own cars. And the fuckers went and outlawed them." Even after all the time, the amazement was still there in the man's voice. "So my reaction time isn't as fast as a chip's. My judgement's a hell of a lot better."

He was silent a moment, then shook his head.

"Water over the bridge. The argument's done, we lost it. But we attempted civil disobedience, Trent, almost two million of us set out from San Diego in a convoy, set out to do the Long Run. That's what we called them, the Long Runs, all the way around the world without stopping, without ever touching down on the goddamn dirt. We'd done thousands of Long Runs by '63, as individuals and in convoys. Speedfreak chapters used to pay to send members on the Long Run as presents, or rewards. In '63 two million Speedfreaks set out to do the biggest damn Long Run ever. Out of San Diego, to Hawaii, to Australia, over India, through Israel, through France, and then into the Atlantic for the trip to Capitol City."

Nathan's voice had grown harsh, strident. "The Unification Council called it treason, and we died, Trent. The Bureau of Weather Control hit us with a goddamn typhoon and eighty-five percent of us died and the ones who didn't were mostly picked up and tried for treason, they executed two hundred and thirty Speedfreaks and sent fifteen thousand into Public Labor for the rest of their lives."

The fierce glare did not leave Trent for an instant. "I was there. I was on the Long Run and I survived."

It took Trent a moment to find his voice.

"Faster, faster, faster," he said softly, "until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death."

Comment Re:odd that most people ignore the point of batter (Score 1) 311


One of the major issues here is weight.

If we go with your model, and centralize the combustion to electricity generation at the traditional pumping station, then we can attach much heavier fixed catalytic converters and smokestack filters than would be practical to haul around on individual vehicles. Right now we make a compromise between effective emissions filtration vs vehicle exhaust system weight.

Let me provide a real world anecdote here. For a few years, I worked on an island in the Caribbean where the local governement had decided to boost the local economy by making transportation cheaper. They did this by allowing heavy heating oil (normally used to heat furnaces in countries with cold winters) to be sold as diesel fuel. In the Northern countries I grew up in, home oil furnaces burned relatively clean because they burned at an optimal temperature with a predicatable work cycle In the diesel vehicles on this Caribbean island, the work cycle was much more varied, and the combustion was portable with minimal exhaust filtration on a fuel that is much dirtier than what used in diesel vehicles in the States and Europe. Each diesel vehicle was identifiable from a distance due to the back being black with oil soot and from the black particulate clouds coming out the tailpipe. After the 15 minute bike ride to work, I would cough up black phlegm. I soon took to riding with a respirator, and changing filters on a quarterly basis.

Anecdote aside, vehicle battery technology is getting lighter, no doubt about that. We're steadily improving battery energy density to the point where we will one day pass the liquid petroleum product energy density. My money is that this is further off than the low hanging fruit of being able to centralize emissions control at the neighbourhood generation/pumping station, but either way, both contribute greatly to the goal of making an electric vehicle lighter than a combustion one.

So I think the issues of rolling equipment weight and distributed vs centralized pollution are two factors that support his idea of neighbourhood filling stations fueled by modular energy sources.

Comment Opt in to send in pre-programmed times (Score 1) 331

If the end user has programmed their charging to begin at 2am every night, maybe the power company can offer a slight incentive to have people opt in to send their schedules in advance.

This way the utility will know in advance that a ramp up in demand will occur at 2am and in turn schedule their equipment to start up in time.

Not everyone may elect to send in their schedules, but enough may be motivated by the incentives to be able to indicate a general trend which can be extrapolated to the whole user base.

It seems like it would be a reasonable feature for the power meters to incorporate.

Comment Re:I've seen something like that recently... (Score 1) 295

Think game client and server model. The OSS game The Mana World lets you play with older clients. Some of the newer functionality in the latest clients will be unavailable to those using older or forked clients, but the communication protocol still allows game play. I don't think it would be as big a deal unless there was a major change in the messaging format.

Comment I've been using one for the last year (Score 2, Informative) 211

I initially bought one of these as a joke.

At first I hated it, but it really grew on me. Having an unlocked iPhone form-factor phone, that I can transfer anything I want to it, pictures, music, movies, all over usb, is really nice. I took it traveling and really liked having two batteries, especially after I started reading books on it. Say what you want about the new eBook readers, but I love having a backlit screen that can fit in my pocket, fit hundreds of books on microSD cards, and has a backup battery. I could read clearly at night in bed or waiting for the subway in poorly lit areas.

It's really funny to watch an iPhone user try to use my phone, because even though it looks nearly the same, the screen handles way differently, needing more of a tap than a slide.

I wouldn't buy one of these for running apps on, I would just use it for an eBook reader and phone. That's all I wanted out of it and it exceeded my initial expectations.

This is the one I have:

If all you want is a unlocked phone and eBook reader with awesome battery life, give it a try. But the article is right that it can't compare to an iPhone. The user interface sucks compared to Apple's product, especially when you move into the submenus.

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