February 14, 2013

A Most Peculiar Test Drive

Tesla responds to the NYT:

“After a negative experience several years ago with Top Gear, a popular automotive show, where they pretended that our car ran out of energy and had to be pushed back to the garage, we always carefully data log media drives. While the vast majority of journalists are honest, some believe the facts shouldn’t get in the way of a salacious story.”

The NYT’s John Broder authored a recent piece in which he described his negative experience test-driving a Tesla Model S. He claimed the car was unable to make the distances between Tesla’s own charging stations along the east coast, particularly after a night of winter cold weather.

Turns out Tesla logged a great volume of data from that trip, giving them proof that Broder’s words were inaccurate at best. Click through for their rebuttal, including several annotated charts of the data logged refuting Broder's claims.

I think I see a black eye forming at the NYT.

February 9, 2013

Human-factors Pioneer Dies at 94

The father of human-factors engineering, the guy who first interfaced industrial products to humans, has died. Margalit Fox, writing for The NYT:

“Mr. Karlin, associated from 1945 until his retirement in 1977 with Bell Labs, headquartered in Murray Hill, N.J., was widely considered the father of human-factors engineering in American industry.”

(Via DF.)

Human-factors engineering is the primary reason technology has so thoroughly become a part of global lifestyles. Products now live or die by how well they fit their owner’s hand, rather than by mere usefulness.

Electric Vehicles: We Ain't There Yet

John M. Broder, writing for The NYT:

“I drove a state-of-the-art electric vehicle past a lot of gas stations. I wasn’t smiling.”

We're at that point with electric cars where a century ago, when travel in a gasoline-powered automobile was fine within a local area, cross-country driving was still a crap shoot. It's worth considering if you live anywhere but the west coast and really want that $100,000 Tesla sedan.

Or you could move to California.

February 6, 2013

Postal Service to Say Goodbye to Mail Delivery on Saturdays


“It’s been debated for months and months, but on Wednesday the United States Postal Service finally will announce it’s not going to deliver first-class mail on Saturdays anymore.”

We wouldn't be here if we allowed the US Postal Service to charge a market-based rate for their services.

Seriously, does ANYONE believe that 46-cents is a reasonable fee for carrying a letter-sized package anywhere in the US (including far-flung Hawaii and Alaskan ZIP codes)? For comparison, both UPS and Fedex, both well-respected courier services, charge over $9 to carry the smallest "letter" sized package, and they vary their rates by distance.

Wake up, America. We get what we pay for. If we want Saturday delivery, conveniently placed Post Offices and the like, we need to pay for it. 46-cents isn't paying. It's a giveaway.

February 4, 2013

About Damn Time

USA Today:

Credit rating giant Standard & Poor's Ratings Services expects to be the first major credit rating firm hit with civil fraud charges by the government over its rating of mortgage-backed bonds that keyed the national financial meltdown, the company said Monday.

Moody's and Fitch may want to consider external counsel, as well.

Recall that the bond ratings given CDO products during the heyday of no-document mortgages were all the assurance investment banks needed to buy, buy, buy. Taxpayers got the bill.

February 3, 2013

My Bloody Valentine Release "MBV," First Album in Two Decades

Xeni Jardin, writing for Boing Boing:

“The two-decade wait is over for fans of My Bloody Valentine: finally, a new album.

‘MBV,’ out today, is their first since 1991’s critically-acclaimed ‘Loveless.’”

Downloads and album purchase here. Videos here.

I wore out MBV’s last, second album, Loveless during alternative music’s middle age twenty years ago. Kevin Shields’ tracks on the Lost in Translation soundtrack were instantly recognizable ten years later.

Now I have another nine tracks of shoe-gazing aural splendor. Cool.