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.