Category Archives: Uncategorized

Electric vehicles may not be the *only* or *best* future

For the past several years, the government has been pushing Americans to convert to electric vehicles. Some people have done it, to varying degrees of success.

I have been (and continue to be) a proponent of electric vehicles, especially ones from Tesla, and the upcoming Aptera. For the plain and simple reason, the infrastructure is in place for those of us who like to take road trips. We can travel across the United States, to pretty much any locale, and have charging available to us during that trip.

It doesn’t take hours to recharge the batteries. They don’t explode.

The batteries do wear out, but I have never owned a car after putting more than 100,000 miles on it, and Tesla’s warranty covers the batteries up to 120,000 miles.

But beside the point, the grid can handle it, for now. But this video was put out today (01/24/2024) which explains that the electric grid is in for some challenges moving forward.

Electrical Grid challenges

So my belief, while I think electric vehicles CAN be part of our future, I think a date of 2030, or 2035, is too optimistic for a complete changeover to electrical vehicles completely. ESPECIALLY for trucks, which carry a large amount of our freight nationwide.

Would I still buy an electric car? Yes. But I would understand that there may be challenges ahead in the near term, and becoming a completely EV only family is unrealistic. At least in the near term.

End of 2023 Roundup

Well, today is New Year’s Eve. End of 2023.

Not a horrible year, not a great year.

Lost a few good friends.

Gained a few friends.

Sold our Chevrolet Spark. Ending mileage was 71,327.
Bought a 2024 Subaru Crosstrek. Ending mileage for that was 1,538 for 2023.
Ending mileage for the Civic was 50,301 .

We will see what 2024 holds.

Windows 11. An upgrade by necessity, not by choice

I have been running Windows 10 for a very, very long time. Since the early betas of Windows 10 came out, actually.

Windows 11 became available for my laptop a few months ago. I resisted, for numerous reasons, but mainly due to the fact that everything I have on my computer works just as well as it is going to work, and if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it by upgrading.

That’s almost always been my motto, especially with computers. Too many times, I’ve moved to a newer version of something, be it Office, or some other application, or even Windows in earlier versions, and it has broken something critical that I needed in order to do my job.

Alas, I had a customer call in and complain that the software that my company makes and sells didn’t work with Windows 11.

Not having any other willing (or able) guinea pigs, I decided I would take the plunge and update my computer to Windows 11 so that I could do testing to see if our software was working correctly.

So one evening, on a whim, I started the update process on my laptop. I thought, well, I have a desktop I can fall back on if things go sideways, and if the don’t, well, at least I have the most recent Windows update installed to do testing with.

Thankfully, the install went well. I had zero issues with compatibility,either with my hardware (a Dell Inspiron laptop) or any of the software I use to do my job.

Best part was, my VPN worked still, and lo and behold, our software works fine with Windows 11 as well. Two days later, I received a call from the customer that the issue that they had run into was due to a computer on their end, not our software……duh.

Oh well. I’m on the Windows 11 bus now. So far, it works as well as Windows 10 did. So far. We shall see.

The Tesla Model 3 Experience

I have always loved the Tesla cars. Have always wanted to buy one. Have always wanted to drive one. Have never had the chance. Recently, with my wife’s car getting in an accident (and being far in the future to being fixed), we occasionally need a second car.

I found a service called Turo, where normal, everyday people, rent out their cars to strangers, for a fee that they set.

I went on Turo, and found a Tesla that I could rent. I decided that I would rent the Tesla Model 3 (2020 edition, normal range), for six days.

Last Wednesday, I picked up the Tesla.

It was very sweet. The torque is instantaneous. It’s fast. Probably TOO fast, for me. It had self driving built in, which I did not use.
The driving range, because this was an older standard model, was about 200 miles per charge.

I drove it around for the time I had it. I charged it every day (mainly due to my own range anxiety), but it was not necessary to charge every day.

There are lots of things I like about the Tesla. There are a few things I don’t like, but some of those things can be fixed by add-ons that were not present on the rental Tesla.

Likes
——-
– Fast
– Easy to charge, convenient chargers that were quick to use
– Spacious inside
– Felt like a rocket ship on rails
– Easy to drive, easy to park

Cons
——-
– No CarPlay. – Since I bought my car in 2019, I’ve become accustomed to using CarPlay, which allows my phone to connect to my audio system in my car. I use it for navigation, to make phone calls (all hands free) and send and receive text messages (also all hands free). Tesla has built in navigation, but it’s not the same. There is an add-on available from a 3rd party company that would add CarPlay to the Tesla for about $100. Definitely a necessity if I bought a Tesla in the future.

– Charging is (somewhat) inconvenient. Superchargers can charge the car fairly quickly, adding 100+ miles of range in about 45 minutes or so. Yes, it’s not as convenient as gas stations, but from where we currently live, there are four SuperCharger stations that are fairly close. They are adding more every week.
– Charging works well, BUT, it requires patience. On a road trip, you could spend 25-45 minutes charging the car every 150-180 miles. That’s normally fine, because you usually will want to get out of the car and stretch you legs, use the restroom, eat something every few hours anyway. But it can (and will) add time to your trip, and if your passengers are not patient, it could be a problem.
– Initial cost of a Tesla is somewhat higher than a regular car, but will pay you back in the long run due to lack of maintenance costs required.
– If you need to have your Tesla serviced, it can be expensive. And it’s really a dealer only option to get it serviced. That may be a pro or a con depending on your thoughts. Tesla’s don’t have dealers, but they do have authorized service centers.

When I returned the Tesla to the gentleman who rented it to me, I said “My wife loves this car. Now she wants one.” He said “Would you like to buy it?”

I was sorely tempted. But, at this juncture, I declined, even though the price that he offered was quite reasonable. For me, I just don’t drive enough to justify the expense. Maybe down the line, things will change, and it will become more of a possibility.

But it was a fun experience, and I would rent another Tesla in a heartbeat.

Tiny House on Wheels – Mount Hood Tiny House Village edition

We spent three nights and four days this past weekend/first part of the week staying in a (new to us) Tiny House Village in Welches, Oregon.

It was a small tiny house on wheels. Two upstairs lofts with queen size beds, and a basement bedroom with a single bed.
Small bathroom. Small kitchen.

We loved the park. We mostly loved the house.

One thing I think we figured out is that while we love tiny houses, a tiny house on wheels is not for us.

For the plain and simple reason that a tiny house on wheels is meant to be a mobile home on wheels. We don’t want to move it around.
We want to find a place, and plant, either as a home base we travel from, or as just a home base.

Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, bathroom with a walk in shower, and a living room. I think about 1,000 square feet.

We love the tiny houses as a vacation destination, but I think in the grand scheme of things long term, they really aren’t for us.

Travel dreams

For the last few weeks, I’ve occasionally had weird dreams about travel.

– A few weeks ago, I had a dream that Laurie and I somehow got on a flight to France. Where, when we landed, we did not have passports, and couldn’t get back to the United States. How did we get on the flight without a passport? Or tickets? Who knows….

– Last night, I had a dream that I was taking the train to Boston, to meet my brother. For some reason, I only had a carry on, which had a few clothes, my laptop and my camera. I stowed my carry on, but remembered I needed to go back to my car to make sure it was locked. So I left the train. While I was gone, the train left the station, with my clothes, my laptop, and my camera.

These dreams tell me a few things.

1) Travel only domestically.
2) Don’t travel by train, or plane.
or
3) I’m just crazy.

Ghost of Jerry Pournelle

A few years ago, there was a magazine called Byte. Which had a columnist whose name was Jerry Pournelle. Jerry wrote many science fiction books, but also wrote a column for Byte magazine.

Jerry had a saying “I do these things so you don’t have to.” Which referred to installing beta software, and playing with hardware before anyone else, to try them out so that he could tell people what he thought and experienced, so they didn’t have to do that.

I’m much the same way, although to a lesser extent. For probably the last four years, every year that Apple has released a new developer beta for their phone, I would install it on my main phone. Why? Well, two reasons. 1) I’m crazy, and I do these things so you don’t have to and 2) I have an Android phone that I can drop back to if things go too haywire.

Thankfully, they haven’t gone haywire for me.

This year, IOS 17 developer beta 1 has been released. Unlike previous years, you have to have a developer account with Apple to install it.

So, I signed up to be a developer with Apple. Paid my $99 for the privilege, and installed beta 1 on my main phone.

Very few glitches. I don’t see a lot new at this point, but, it’s pretty stable SO FAR.

I don’t recommend you do the same. Because, like I said, I’m crazy. You probably are not.

More as I see what I see.

2023 Car Show Season has begun

Cruising to Colby starts the car show season (at least for me) in Washington state. That was held yesterday and today in Everett, Washington.

Went out, took a few photos, saw a few people I’ve seen over the years, saw lots of cool cars and an Elvis impersonator. Accosted by a group of four women, which was interesting, but a story for another time.

Here are the photos. Enjoy!

Cruising to Colby 2023

Forty Three years ago today

Forty three years ago today, my brother and I were upstairs at my grandparents house in Edmonds. There had been a very loud boom, and my grandparents thought that one of us had fallen out of bed.

We were staying with my grandparents because my parents had been in Winston-Salem, North Carolina for a conference for my dad’s work. They were flying back from Atlanta that day.

That was the day that Mt. St. Helens exploded. My mom got some great photos of it from the plane as they flew back from Atlanta.

It is the year we learned about a crotchety old man name Harry S. Truman, who was an innkeeper on Mt. St. Helens who refused to leave “his mountain.” He died in the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. Along with a few others.

Ash spread far and wide and drifted (from what I understand) even to Japan.

It was a crazy day. Probably one of the biggest events of my early childhood that I remember.