The Auto Industry Needs to Change

The auto industry is ripe for a total upheval. If you don't believe it, read this article that was originally on Quora and then picked up by Forbes about industries in general, then check it off against the auto industry: Four signs an industry is ripe for upheaval. 

Tesla's just the vanguard, the tip of the iceberg. For what wll really revolutionize the industry, see Laminack's Law of Technology

Once Telsa becomes successful, it will leave behind a wake of n-1 generation technologies that will suddenly become a LOT cheaper. Here's some other factors that will be contributing:

The nascent open hardware movement. There are several open source automotive platforms, but they haven't gained traction yet because they haven't reached scale. 

Next: Auto manufacturers (OEMs) hate their distributors and vice-versa. There is no economic reason for car dealers to exist anymore. These need to be replaced by distributors, not dealers. 

The manufacturing of drivetrains and bodies needs to be distributed, done by smaller manufacturers in many places. This eliminated huge start-up costs and eliminates single-point-of-failure supply chains.

Cars can be assembled on-site and built-to-order. Car bodies will be stocked in one color: primer. They'll be painted to order on-site. Why not? There are a number of national paint-and-body chains that can do this. But can a car really be built while-you-wait? Yes. If properly designed, a car can be easily assembled and disassembled. The advantage of this is greater flexibility for the customer and substanstanial cost savings for the distributor, since they don't have to floorplan 100s of different styles and colors. 

The drivetrain will be the n-1 generation of electric drives. The console can be a generic android touch-screen tablet that 3rd parties can write software for. 


Laminack's Law of Technology

The primary use of the Nth generation technology is that is pushes down the price of the N-1 generation technology.

Acceleration in Star Trek

Just watched episode 1 of Star Trek Discovery. Commander Burnham takes a jet-pack to an unknown ship 2,000 km away. She has to go and return in 20 minutes. So she has to cover the 2,000 km in less than 10 minutes. That's a long way, over 1,200 miles in 10 minutes from a dead start. Is the acceleration reasonable? Let's assume linear acceleration to 1,000 km in 5 minutes, then linear deceleration the rest of the way. I decided to use a new website I found to solve such things, fxsolver. Plugging into the linear acceleration forumla 1,000,000 meters in 300 seconds from V0 =0 and X0 = 0 gives an acceleration of 22.22 m/s^2. Since 1G = 9.8 m/s^2, that's a sustained push of 2.2G forward then back for the 20 minute ride. That's uncomfortable, but looks like humans can probably tolerate up to 4G sustained. So though the top speed is around 15,000 mph, it's still within the range of possibility. I doubt she could dodge asteroids at top speed, but that's another question.

How Much Larger is the New TV?

We bought a new 50" TV this week. The kids said they didn't see any difference between it and the old 37". So how much bigger is it?

TVs have always been measured along the diagnoal. This gives the marketers the largest possible number to advertise.

Modern HD screens have an aspect ratio of 16:9, that is for every 16 units wide the screen is, it's 9 units high. (old analog TVs were 4:3).

So some algebra later, we find that to get the height of an HD screen, multiply the diagonal by 0.49. To get the width, multiply the diagonal by 0.87.

To get the area, multiply width by height, or to save a step, square the diagonal size and multiply by 0.4263.

So the 37" screen has and area of about 583 square inches, the new 50" is about 1065.75 square inches, or 180% the size.

Don't know how much larger it has to be for kids to notice.

Why FitBit Failed

Fitness trackers, like Fitbit, been shown in several studies, like this one, to be ineffective helping with weight loss or fitness, and may have negative effects. Why? Several theories have been advanced, here's one of my own.. First, let me say that I'm speaking from experience. We have a couple of these things around our house and nobody knows where they are now.

Excercising with a Fitbit goes something like this:

I'm ready to go for a walk. 

Where's the Fitbit?

I thought it was on the nightstand.

Maybe I left it in the car.

Or the bathroom.

(looking... looking... 5 minutes later...)

Here it is! 

Oh, rats, I need to charge it.

I'll charge it up and walk tomorrow. 

There's an old adage that says "The hardest part of any journey is the first step". Fitbit fails because it takes the hardest part of working out (getting started) and makes it even harder


How Many Letters Does a Postman Deliver a Day?

Marla just entered a contest where she had to guess how many letters a given letter carrier (postman, actually post-woman?) was going to deliver that day. In googling, I didn't find an answer to that question. So here's my guess, based on the most authoritative sources I can find.

So it's pieces of mail per carrier per day. The number of pieces of mail delivered per day by the United States Postal Service is about 509 million, according to the USPS. Now we need to know the number of letter carriers in the US. This number is about 315,950, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Dividing, we get that the average letter carrier delivers about 1,611 pieces of mail per day in the United States. You're welcome.

Social Media Talk at Joomla Users' Group

Here's a link to the outline of the talk I gave on August 10, 2015 at the Atlanta Joomla Users' Group about Joomla and Social Media. It seemed well received.

I'm on the Internet At...

This blog

My Twitter Feed: @iblamm

Which is powered by my Delicious Bookmarks

My Web Design Company: OpenFace Systems

My Amazon Author Page

My underutilized Facebook Page

Websites I've Stumbled Upon

I'm putting together the Website Owners' Guidebook

My YouTube Channel

Google Plus's Brent+ posts

Every now and then I comment on Reddit

My LinkedIn Profile

My Instructables

Me on GitHub




Electric Car Names

Chevrolet has followed up on it's all-electric Chevy Volt with a new model, the Chevy Bolt. I think they're on to something. There's a lot of possibilities here:

  • The small electric Pony Car: The Chevy Colt
  • For the 20th anniversary model: The Chevy Re-Volt
  • The convertable electric car: the Chevy Molt
  • For the person who buys a Chevy Electric when they could've had a Tesla: The Chevy Dolt
  • The model that will have the huge recall for shocking drivers: The Chevy Jolt

Yep, we're on to something!



A New Virtue Name

The other day I was eating lunch at the Arby's off North Druid Road near Emory. There was a young lady behind the counter with a name I'd never heard before. Her name was Tenacity. I was going to dismiss it as eccentricity, but then I realized it belongs to a group of female names that we used to call Virtue Names. Names like Faith, Hope, Charity, Joy, Patience, Prudence, etc. Tenacity fits in well with these Puritain-era monikers.

Wrong Color

I was in Home Depot today and saw their referral program advertised: Is this a riff on K-Mart's old Blue Light Special? But the color's all wrong. Home Depot's color is orange, not red. What's the deal?


Remember when we were kids and started to dig a hole in the ground? We were told we'd dig straight through to China. Actually, for those living near Atlanta, the opposite side of the globe from us is about a thousand miles out into the Indian Ocean from Perth, Australia. In other words, the area where they're looking for Malayasia Air flight 370. Today's word for today is Antipodes, which means the opposite side of the earth. "The search for flight 370 is taking place in the antipodes of where I'm sitting. "


The iPod attached to my car stereo lists around 4,000 tracks. Some podcasts, some American Songbook, but mostly Classical. The other day instdead of listening by album or playlist, I selected track. It was fascinating to hear all the Adagio movements together. I'm now going through the Allegros and their children: Allegro con brio, Allegro con carne, and now Allegro non troppo (not the Italian animated movie of the '70s). In between, I heard three versions of All of Me by Billie Holliday, Louis Armstrong and Willie Nelson. I can highly recommend it for the novelty. Give it a try.