Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I'm Back!

It's been a while since my last post. I haven't received any comments on my previous so I abandoned my blog for a while. Anyway, I'm back.
Recently, I have been drawn to the "green tech" world, following and reading about all the new technologies being developed to wean our economy off oil. There are a lot of exciting developments in renewable energy and I can't wait to see the next great thing.
Another one of my interest, which goes hand-in-hand with green tech, is the auto industry. This is where I get very frustrated. I think the auto industry needs to pull its head out and re-think the way they make cars. For years, everyone knew that gas prices were going to skyrocket and what do they do? they "fuel the flame" (no pun intended) of the American public's love for the SUV and proceed to make millions of them. Not only that, they bring back the big-block V8 and the HUMMER. I guess the public is to blame also. I remember a friend of mine about ten years ago who bought a brand new, fully loaded Suburban. Back then, prices were already on the rise. I remember telling him that it was nice but what happens when gas sells for $3.00 a gallon? He said that would never happen. Well, surprise, surprise! The weird part about all of this is that people are still buying them. If you don't believe me, next time you are out on the road, count the number of cars vs. trucks/SUVs and you will see that the large vehicles win it 4 to 1. These vehicle are not only heavy and have big engines, they are aerodynamically stupid. I can understand a family needing a vehicle that can seat all of them comfortably and I believe that was the initial purpose for what SUVs were meant. But look around during rush hour and you'll see most of these vehicles with single passengers. I, personally, own an F-150 but I also own two other vehicles that give me better than 25 mpgs. I only use the truck on weekends, mostly to go to the hardware store. I actually bought it because I needed it to tow my boat. I hate driving it any other time because the gas cost is killing me. Enough on that rant.
I guess my point is: Why have American auto makers taken so long to design efficient vehicles? The average increase in fuel efficiency from the 57 Chevy days is about 10-15 mpgs! In other words, it's taken 50 years for US automakers to come up with a vehicle that gets over 30 mpgs. Considering that 1950's room-size computers fit in a pen now, that's some serious slacking.
One answer to this might be that internal combustion engines are extremely inefficient (about 20%). In contrast, electric motors are closer to 75-85%. The efficiency is there, the torque is there (power) so, what's the problem? Yes, battery technology is not there yet, but there's been plenty of time to develop it. Electric cars are not new; they've been around since the 1890s. If auto maker would have invested in battery technologies even as late as the energy crisis of the 1970s, batteries wouldn't be an issue. I think the bigger issue is changing peoples attitude about electrics. Everyone expects EVs to be as fast as sports cars and drive for 12 hours on a charge. The reality is that most people travel 25-40 miles to work and in most big cities, at speeds of 45mph or less. These are perfect conditions for electric cars.
I think the technology is there now for EVs. The problem is that no major automakers want to take the leap because of the financial risk due to the uncertainty of people's reception of the EVs. If people embraced the EV and accepted it as the standard mode of transport, then the supply and demand will come into effect and battery technology would flourish and prices would go down and everyone could breathe a little easier. That's all for now.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

To sue or not to sue...

Personally, I'm tired of everyone picking a fight with Microsoft. It's just a lot easier to hire a lawyer to "steal" the money from them than to actually develop a superior product. This whole business in the EU, making Microsoft ship Windows without Media Player is asinine! Even Windows 3.11 came with a media player and now, after 10 years of offering this feature in all their versions, you're going to tell me that they are trying to monopolize that portion of the market? Also, now Googgle is upset because the IE 7 beta has the MSN search as its default. Well, duhhhhh! Every piece of software you buy now days, opens their company's web page as part of the setup. Should we penalize them for not advertising their competitor's wares instead? Lets face it: How hard is it to change you home page? Goggle has been mine for over 7 years (started out with Hotbot).

This whole legal action buffoonery is out of control and, if you ask me, is a bad example for our future leaders. They are growing up in a litigious society and being taught that it's always someone else's fault. No one wants to take responsibility for his or her actions anymore. Prime example: I am almost 40 years old and I grew up with people telling me that smoking is bad for me since I can remember so I can attest that people knew smoking is bad for you for at least that long. If I opted to ignore those warnings and still smoke and end up with lung cancer or emphysema, it's my own fault! I'm not going to sue the tobacco companies for my own disregard of my health. How about suing McDonald's for making you fat or because you're a vegetarian and they have meat products in the oil they use to fry? Are you kidding me with this? Not to mention the coffee burn incident. I don't think people are that stupid, they just don't want to admit they messed up and when they talk to someone less than honest, they refer them to a lawyer and, of course, see money signs everywhere. Have you seen some of the warning labels on products now days? Don't take hemorrhoid cream orally; don't blow-dry your hair in the tub or shower and so on. Most of them are just a way for the company to cover their behinds and not leave themselves open to a lawsuit.
I'm not going to place all the blame on the people and the lawyers. I think the courts are to blame also. Some of these cases are no-brainers and the judge should be fined for letting them go on. All they do is waste my tax dollars and impose an unnecessary financial burden on companies.

The invincible Mac is gone?

Everybody is in a panic! It's like the world is coming to an end! Am I the only one that knew this day was coming? I've been in the IT business for a long time and I can tell you that no system is impenetrable. The reality is that Mac security was not entirely attributed to the OS's code. The Macs have always been a small part of the marked share. In 2002 their market share was a mere 2.3%. Now, if I was a hacker, would I spend countless hors trying to exploit systems only 2.3% of the world is using or would I try and take down 96% of the world PCs? Hmmmmm. Recently, the Mac has gained popularity and more people are using ipods so all of a sudden, it just became a target rich environment. Now it's worth a hacker's time to try and exploit those systems. Pretty soon, Linux will also fall under the same category. More and more people are using, and learning, these non-Windows platforms and this breeds new hackers looking to make their mark.
People try to blame the increase in the Mac's vulnerability to the fact that it can also run Windows and that opens it up to those vulnerabilities. It's always easy to blame Microsoft! Everybody does it! To me, it's just a cop out. I think Apple should take this as a compliment and as an indication that their market share is on a rise. I also hope they didn't rest on their laurels and made sure they have competent security specialists to deal with these new threats.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

I Hate CNN!

Here's a topic that has been bothering me for a while now. I hate CNN! Actually, I hate most of the news networks. They take their Freedom of speech for what's it worth and then some. Does anyone else think that lately the news media have taken control of everything that happens in the US? I mean, they are out of control! So what if the Vice-president accidentally shoots a fellow hunter! I could see the newscast on TV trying to make it more than what it was, an accident! Questions during the White House press conferences alluding to some kind of foul play or comments from newscasters insinuating some kind of conspiracy, wondering why the new was not released to the media sooner. I think that they were just pissed off because some small town newspaper got to scoop them all on a story of national interest. They could not stand the fact that someone else knew before them. Did anyone stop and think that the person that was shot is a private citizen and that he has a right to privacy? Did anyone ask him if they could release that information? The Privacy Act is supposed to protect people from that sort of thing. If you accidentally shot your best friend while hunting, would you want everyone to know? Mr. Cheney must have felt terrible when it happened and I'm sure he was more worried about his friend's health than making sure the news media got their story.

I'm just saying that the news media has way to much power in this country. Their broadcasts sway elections, public opinion and decision making however, there's no check and balances! Our government has checks and balances, major corporations do too but the media has free reign over everything with the Freedom of Speech "blanket" in which to wrap themselves. These are the same guys that air our dirty laundry to the rest of the world. In a time when the US is not at the top of anyone's "buddy list", these people condemn our government's world politics, broadcast countless scandals for the world to see but do nothing to elevate our status in the world's view. Every day you watch the news and hear how the President is failing at his job, or how bad his decisions are but news such as how much aid we contribute to disaster relief in other countries only gets an honorable mention of less than a minute as the third story of the day. In most countries, the news is all they know about the US. If you ask me, they are doing a terrible job at advocating democracy. Nobody wants to live in a society where the government is in constant bickering and never accomplishes a thing. I'm not saying that is the case but that's what the rest of the world sees through the eyes of CNN.

Welcome to my world!

Welcome! I created this Blog because I feel I have a different view of the world and wanted to find out if anyone out there shares my thoughts on different issues. To start, I must declare that whatever views I publish are in no way ethnically, politically, economically or racially biased. These are just my thoughts about the world in general. Posting them helps me get them off my chest and allows me to see if I'm alone or if someone else feels the same way. Please take whatever I post with a grain of salt and just consider it food for thought. I look forward to reading other's views on the subjects I discuss and to use this forum as a learning experience. Thanks for reading.