Tesla Tech

The MIT Technology Review has a look under the hood of the electric Tesla Roadster.

Some the interesting things found there include the alternating-current induction motor and the lithium-ion battery cells.

The motor is of the type advocated in the late 19th century by Nikola Tesla, and has several mechanical advantages over a DC motor.  The lithium-ion battery cells give more power for the volume than  nickel-metal hydride batteries.  The nickel-metal hydrides are what are typically used in gas-electric hybrids, such as the Pious.

Unlike the gas-electric hybrids, the Tesla roadster can go from 0-60 mph in 4 seconds, without putting a dime the pocket of Middle Eastern oil tyrants or Central American Socialists.

No Bluetooth support in Android 1.0

According to the Android Developers Blog, Bluetooth support has been dropped from the upcoming Android 1.0 release.

The reason is that we plain ran out of time. The Android Bluetooth API was pretty far along, but needs some clean-up before we can commit to it for the SDK. Keep in mind that putting it in the 1.0 SDK would have locked us into that API for years to come.

The honesty is refreshing, but that is a major chunk of basic functionality missing.

Keep in mind, that Android plans on doing a lot more with Bluetooth than supporting wireless headsets. So I’m expecting a 1.1 release to follow up pretty quick with Bluetooth and GTalk functionality.

Prices dropping on small notebook computers

The NY Times calls them “netbooks”, which is what probably what one of their reporters heard someone call one at a Starbucks while he was trying to think of what to write to meet his deadline.

Small systems, typically running UNIX, and in some cases XP, and have been selling for around $400.  Now, the prices are dropping to the mid $300 range and will probably be flirting with $300 or or even $250 soon.

About the price of a SmartPhone, and in some cases, less.

I’ve been on the road for the past week, and yes, I did bring a laptop with me.  I really didn’t need to.  I just wanted something to back my pictures up on and do a limited amount of editing of both photos and text.

My gen one iPhone has been able to handle most of my short term Internet needs. I don’t need to find an Internet connection for it, which I would need for my laptop.

An Acer EEE PC would have fit the bill as well as the larger laptop I’m lugging.  Being lighter and smaller is a big plus.  Even with an 80 or 120 gig mini harddrive for backups, it still would have been smaller and lighter than the larger laptop running XP.

The NetShare app that Apple pulled from the iTunes store would have been a perfect fit with a small WiFi enabled laptop as well.

Another good iPhone etext reader

I’ve tried Stanza, which has the advantage of being free. 🙂

It takes advantage of the nice big screen on the iPhone nicely.  Easy to read and page back and forth.

They have a large number of public domain books to download, including ERB  and H. Beam Piper. Two of my favorites.

I haven’t looked into what other libraries are available, but what they have is sufficient to keep many voracious readers busy.  It makes a good replacement for the dog eared paperback in the back pocket.

A Good etext reader for the iPhone

It’s called Bookshelf, and yes, it costs money. I found it worth the $10

It supports a wide range of formats including ASCII text, HTML, AportisDoc, unencrypted Mobipocket, rft & Word Docs (not docx).

I can access my Baen webscription account from it and download books directly as well as tapping their free etext library.

There is also a Java app that you can load on your computer in order to load books you already have from other sources.

So far, I’m really pleased.  A good move by Baen to support this, since Mobipocket has been very quiet about exactly when they were going to produce an iPhone app.

Posting without power

Power is out, but I’m still online with my iPhone.

It’s good to be a geek.

Previous thought on etext

From a post on another blog originally made November 27, 2007.

Here is my geek punditry for the day. The Amazon Kindle etext reader is going to sell well. It will succeed for the same reason the iPod did. The iPod did not dominate the mp3 player market by creating a better mp3 player, they did it by greatly expanding the market through its iTunes service. People who had no idea of what an mp3 was or how to create/find them now had a way to purchase digital music easily and for less money than they paid for to get the music on CD.

The Kindle has Amazon shopping built in and thus a way to purchase etext at a reasonable cost. Amazon is attempting to follow the highly successful model Apple used, and it will probably work.

I’ve been doing the etext thing for years on my Palm based PDAs. There is an amazing amount of material available, including Edgar Rice Burroughs and H. Beam Piper, and a good chunk of the Baen Books catalog. I am, however, a lot more geeky than the general public. I was not part of the Apple model because I knew about mp3s and the problems with overly restrictive copy protection.

Apple’s “Kindle format” is an encrypted version of the Mobipocket format common on PDAs such a Palm OS based devices. It does support non-encrypted Mobipocket, as well as text files and a few other open formats.

The Kindle’s biggest competitor will be the iPhone, once decent reader format is available (and either iTunes supports loading it or there is some third party software you could use without having Apple brick your phone), but I think the Kindle will hold its own, for the reasons stated.

Android rumors

Perhaps the Google Android team is getting a bit nervous, with actual working LINUX based smart phones on the horizon.  Or it could be that iPhones are still selling like they were coated with crack and that Best Buy is going to start selling them as well.

Whatever the reason, the rumors of Android not being available to consumers until 2009 are getting competition from rumors that Android based phones may be availiable sooner.  The word is T-Mobile will have the device.

Update: T-Mobile uses a GSM network.

HT to Morgan Webb.

Interesting article

Robin Bloor writes about  Educating the CEO in the ways of IT. Great idea.

She then points out a major problem with implementing that concept:

An executive of an organisation I know that specialises in educating CEOs in a variety of areas, including IT, told us that he had once suggested organising IT brainstorming sessions where the CEOs could bring their CIOs along with them. However, every CEO to whom he suggested this rejected the idea immediately. None of them wished to expose their IT ignorance to their own CIO, especially not among a group of other CEOs and CIOs.

That’s not so bad, at least they are aware of their failings.  First step in correcting them and all that.

When they don’t understand IT and don’t know that they don’t…that is where you run into serious problems.

GSM vs. CDMA

Comment wise, one of the most popular posts here is about Cell Phone technology.  The comments have drifted in to cell phone protocols.

There are two main protocols, CDMA and GSM. CDMA is a legacy protocol only used here in the US. The rest of the world uses GSM.  This is an issue for hardware manufacturers, since the phone has to be built to support one or the other.

At least two of the major US carriers, Sprint and Verizon, still use CDMA.  So there still is a fairly large market for phones designed to use CDMA.

AT&T bit the bullet years back and coverted their network to GSM.  This probably gives them a slight advantage in pricing when buying phone in bulk from manufactures.  It also allows them to compete in the International market, since their phones will operate outside the CONUS.

Another advantage to GSM is the SIM card.  The part of the phone that identifies it to the network is designed to be an enduser replaceable device.  This makes the actual phone independent of the network (something that gives Verizon execs and Steve Jobs nightmares).

My iPhone, and my previous phone are both GSM devices, so I was able to take then SIM from my iPhone (Apple bricked it for about 12 hours) and put in my RAZR phone.  You can’t do that with a CDMA device.

Just from a technical, networking engineer viewpoint, my vote goes for GSM.