Blogs

Podcast featuring the future of cities

I don't do a lot of podcasts, though am curious as to whether people prefer to hear them compared to reading things. They make more sense for debates or being interactive.

Nonetheless, here's one I did recently, hosted by a new organization called Pivot Factory. We covered some history and a lot of my favourite topics, and had a particular focus on the future of the city, which I write about here but haven't done a recent cohesive essay on.

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Is there safety theatre among robocar developers?

A recent essay by Robbie Miller, who blew the whistle at Uber about their bad practices, accuses the industry at large of "safety theater" and driving too many unsafe miles. He's not wrong about some of his accusations, but there does need to be some risk taken. I outline the reasoning in this new Forbes.com article:

Are Robocar teams doing safety theater?

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Why should first run movies at home cost $3,000?

A new service called Red Carpet was announced, which will offer first-run movies in the homes of the very wealthy. You need a $15,000 DRM box and movie rentals are $1,500 to $3,000 per rental. That price is not a typo.

So I wrote an article pondering why that is, and why this could not be done at a price that ordinary people could afford, similar to the price of going to the movies.

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Would a rental battery pack be a better choice than a super-long-range electric car?

When you buy an electric car, you can often choose among various battery sizes. The larger your battery, the more range you have -- and you may get some extra performance -- and the longer your pack lasts, but the extra capacity is very expensive and adds weight to the car. The truth is, most people only need the extra capacity of a long range car when doing road trips. A modest 150 to 200 mile range car is sufficient for driving around a town, depending on the town.

Teslas keep changing prices and frustrating buyers

What price are you today?

There have been ten different prices changes to Tesla Model 3s since I got mine just over 4 months ago. While one expects electric computerized vehicles to go down in price over time, most buyers didn't count on anything like this, and people who rushed out to buy "before the price goes up" are not happy.

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Report from first person to give up their car for a robotaxi

A family riding in a Waymo One Robotaxi

I'm back from another electric car road trip -- more later on that -- but here's a story where I provide a report from a Waymo One user on how he sold one of his family's two cars and replaced it with robotaxi service. He's an early adopter, but he helps us examine just what some of the issues are around getting people to do that.

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Review of the LG OLEDs -- it's time for a 4K HDR TV, but it still thinks it's a TV

A decent impression of an impressionist

I recently purchased an LG 4K OLED HDR TV. In spite of the high price, I am pleased with it, and it's made old HDTV look somewhat dull. There is now enough content to upgrade.

Read my review and also my comments on how the TV hasn't yet figured out that many of us just want it for streaming.

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Tales of an Electric Car Road Trip and Supercharging strategy

I digitally removed a score of instagrammers trampling these lovely flowers.

This month we took an electric car road trip in the California desert to see the flowers. The idea of a road trip in the desert with an electric car would have been crazy not too long ago. Now it's becoming possible, soon it will be easy, but there's still lots to learn.

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A taxonomy of the many choices in flying cars

Hoverbikes are their own special category

There are over 100 companies out there developing small VTOL "flying cars." And they're all making different decisions on several important design choices. I've written a breakdown of the key design decisions and what they mean, which forms a sort of taxonomy.

Nvidia simulator and Safety Force Field and other news from GTC

This week I am at the Nvidia GPU Technology Conference, which has become a significant conference for machine learning, robots and robocars.

Here is my writeup on a couple of significant announcements from Nvidia -- a new simulation platform and a "safety force field" minder for robocar software, along with radar localization and Volvo parking projects.

News from Nvidia GTC

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Visit to Lake Berryessa "Glory Hole" spillway gallery

A minor local spot of interest here is the spillway for the Lake Berryessa reservoir. Unlike most spillways, this one drains from the top on the interior of the lake. It is called a "Morning Glory" or "Glory Hole" spillway. From time to time, the lake level gets above that spillway, sometimes far above, and it creates something that looks completely wrong, like a hole in the fabric of space time. So we went up to photograph it.

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