Category Archives: General

Tesla: First Long Distance Trip

Since purchasing my Model 3 Tesla earlier this year, I’ve been really eager to take her out on a longish trip. We’re talking a trip that requires at least one -possibly more- use of Tesla’s Superchargers.

However, month after month passed and there simply was no point at which I could do such a longish trip. That is, until the past week.

My youngest daughter, heading back to her University in North Florida, needed some help taking stuff up there and it proved a perfect time to test the ability of my Model 3’s long range trip along with the navigational computer.

The later proved to be a dream: You tap the Navigation button, put in the address to where you’re going, and the Navigational computer not only gives you the trip laid out, it tells you where to go to charge your vehicle once it gets low of charge.

That turned out to be almost exactly half-way from home to North Florida, in the West Melbourne area…

West Melbourne Supercharger
West Melbourne’s Tesla Supercharger station (not my car!)

I have to admit, I was nervous. The trip estimated I would have but 15% of charge left in the car once arriving at West Melbourne, a very small amount of miles (in the neighborhood of 50-60) left within the vehicle.

As I drove, I realized it was true what they say about Tesla’s: They use up far less charge when in stop/start city traffic and are able to use their “regenerative” braking, which allows the car to create small electric charges as the car stops itself. On the highway the vehicle’s electric charge goes away much quicker as you’re using pure charge with your movement and no/little regenerative braking.

And the faster you go, the more charge is used up.

So as I was driving a few miles ahead of my daughter, I was watching the range go down and down and down and, because it was the very first time I did this, I was indeed worried about the range and how close to empty I’d be once I got to West Melbourne.

Welp, as it turned out I didn’t have much to worry about at all.

The Navigation system measured the progress of the car as it moved along, giving me a very accurate estimate of what time we’d arrive at the charger as well as a mile by mile countdown to that arrival. The Navigator also showed me the exit number and, on the map in the Model 3’s central panel, my path.

The above photograph is not from my vehicle but it could easily be. This is the standard Model 3 interior, very sparse (I happen to like this, though others do not) and all your information is presented on that central screen. In the large area that covers roughly 3/4ths of the monitor, you see a Google Map which displays where your car is and, if you’ve entered a Navigation destination, a nice clear blue line shows your path to your destination.

Anyhow, getting to West Melbourne was fine. How was using the Supercharger?

It was fine as well but here is something that gas powered vehicles have an advantage over the Tesla electric vehicle: To recharge my car to 80% (which is where I usually charge it to), required roughly 30 minutes. If you’re filling a gas tank, obviously, this requires usually not more than 10 minutes, if that.

We were in a bit of a rush because my daughter was taking her two pet cats and didn’t want to stay too long, so we charged for a little less than the full half hour and arrived in North Florida with something like 40 miles left in my “tank”.

Again I was nervous about the range but, again, it turned out I didn’t have to be. The car knows how far it can go and, looking around online, I discovered if you’re approaching the point where you might reach 0, the car suggests your speed (the lower, the less you use) and/or a closer Supercharger to use.

In North Florida and some ten minutes max away from my daughter’s apartment is another Tesla Supercharger so after unpacking everything, I headed to it and in some 40 minutes (again, the car was very low) I had the car fully charged.

We used it for the few days we were up there and the day before the wife and I returned home we charged it up to 80% and the next morning were off.

The trip back turned out to be exactly the same as the trip up, only in reverse. We again stopped at the West Melbourne Supercharger station but this time around we weren’t in a huge rush to leave. The Supercharger is in a nice mall area and we were able to take a bathroom break and get ourselves a sandwich then eat it in the car while it was charging.

Once done, it was off again, using the car’s autopilot feature to essentially drive us back home. When we got there, I pulled out my charging cables and with the much slower 240V charger at my house got the car charged overnight (nearly 7 hours of charging versus 30-40 minutes) and was able to use the car the next day to head out to work.

My ultimate impression of the trip was very positive. Yeah, it takes a little longer to charge your car versus pouring gas in it, but Tesla is already at work with their version 3 of the Supercharger and I suspect it’ll soon make its way to all Superchargers. If nothing else, this company is looking at making all aspects of driving an electric car at the very least compatible if not much better than using a gas powered car.

I know there are many out there who hate Teslas. In part, it might be related to antipathy toward Elon Musk, but as I’ve said many times before: You can hate the man but you can’t argue with the technology and the car itself.

I’m still very early into owning a Tesla/electric vehicle but I remain very impressed with it. Yeah, the range isn’t quite up there with gas powered vehicles. My daughter’s Mazda can make the trip on one gas tank -though she’ll be running on the proverbial “fumes”- versus my Tesla which will not reach that distance and does require a charge about halfway up the coast.

However, this is the only thing that I find superior about using a gas car versus a Tesla, and given the distance and need to stop for a bathroom break/food, it really isn’t that big an inconvenience to stop for about 30 minutes for a quick charge.

Here’s the thing, though: These Superchargers work only with the Tesla vehicles. I can’t help but wonder how other electric vehicles operate on long distance trips like this. First, I know that almost all of them do NOT have the range of Teslas. Further, the charging stations that are available -and there are many of them- likely don’t charge quite as quickly as the Tesla Superchargers do.

Are they comparable?

I dunno. I suppose I could do a Google search and figure it out, but my interest is in my Tesla and I couldn’t be happier.

Until the next time we take a longish trip!

Jury Duty… again?!?

Not quite five years ago and back in 2014 I was called in for Jury Duty. I do it, but let’s be clear: It ain’t fun to spend your day sitting around and -as has been the case in the three previous times I have done jury duty- not get called in and essentially waste your whole day.

What’s irritating is that I’m seeing myself, my wife, and my kids getting these Jury Duty notices more frequently than it seems anyone else in our circles, be they family or friends.

What gives?

Is my last name simply tagged more often? After marrying, my sisters no longer have the same last name so maybe it is something like that.

I know, I know: I shouldn’t whine. This is a civic duty. But, seriously, last time I got Jury Duty was a little less than five years ago and in all that time I haven’t seem/heard of any of my family/friends getting called in once, much less twice (and, counting my wife and daughters, four more times!).

So today was the big day. The wife and I spent Sunday morning heading downtown to see where the Court House was and where, in relation to it, the public parking was located. We needed to do this because the last Jury Duty I did was in a different location and not downtown.

I had the address of the parking lot nearest the Court House set and programmed into my car (A side note: Teslas have a truly wonderful navigation system) and this morning got up bright and early and headed out there.

The weather was good but severe rain/thunderstorms were predicted. I beat the major rush hour traffic into the city and got to the public parking closest to the Court House. I found myself a nice spot, parked, and headed down to the ground level.

So far so good.

I walked to the Court House some two/three blocks away, climbed the steps up, went through the metal detector, and was directed to the Jury waiting room on the second floor. There, my “badge” (it was part of the Jury Duty summons) was scanned and, along with the crowd there, sat down to wait.

I arrived a little before 8 A.M. and suspected we were given this hour so that stragglers would make it in before 9 A.M., when things really began in the courts. A judge eventually appeared, made sure we were American citizens and above the age of 18, then told us about the beauty of serving. It was clear, like the last time, that she knew full well no one here was happy about being in this place, yet tried to make us comfortable. Interestingly and unlike the last time I did jury duty (you can read up on that here, by the way), not once did she or anyone else working there apologize for having us here.

I was somewhat surprised by the sparse amount of people in the Jury room. Last time around there weren’t that many either but this time it seemed positively deserted, and the Jury waiting room, I believe, was smaller in this building than the other I went to last time.

When she was gone, the videos monitors showed The Greatest Showman and I settled in for a bright musical…

I hate musicals.

A little after 9 A.M, perhaps no later than 9:20, a group of jurors are selected and sent out of the room. I brought a book and my iPad but wound up spending my time reading the book.

At just a little after 10 A.M., a second group was called on. They do the calling by listing the last four digits of your Jury summons number, then calling out your name. They did apologize in advance if the pronunciation of the name wasn’t quite right.

They called one person after another, perhaps some twenty five or so people and then…

…they called me.

I was something like the third to the last person called. I put away my book and walked out of the waiting area and into the outside hallway. As I said, some three more people or so joined us and, once outside, the lady who did the initial calling appeared and said:

“I will call out your numbers now. Please announce you are present. Once you have done so, you are dismissed and may leave.”

She spoke really softly and I was at the end of the group and only caught the “dismissed and may leave” part. I had to ask her to repeat what she said.

“I will call out your number and, once you have announced you are present, you are dismissed and may leave. Tomorrow you can log on to the Jury selection website to obtain your certificate stating you have performed your Jury Duty.”

I could have cried.

For most of my life it seems I’ve been living under a dark cloud. Don’t get me wrong: A lot great things have happened to me in my life. But there are these things that happen, these burst of bad luck… it seems like I step into it more often than I wish.

Not so this time around.

The lady read off number after number and finally, toward the end, got to mine (she read off the same numbers in the same order as she did in the waiting room, so I was near the bottom in both cases). When my number was read out, I told her I was “present” and she nodded and I said “Thank you” and she said “You’re welcome” and I headed out.

Come to think of it, I think I was the only one to say that to her. The others that were called before me said they were present and spun around and left so quickly all that remained were tumbleweeds and dust.

(Lest you think otherwise, I probably did the very same!).

So in total, I was there from a little before 8 A.M. to about 10:20 A.M., two hours and twenty minutes, and my Jury Duty was done.

I can only guess today happened to be one of those days when there were few cases before the court. Perhaps most of those that were on the docket were resolved or delayed until another day. Perhaps, as we’re in the last days of summer vacation, many lawyers and judges are not around and fewer cases are being dealt with.

Given the small amount of people in the Jury waiting room to begin with and very few people I saw as I headed downstairs and back out to the street, it did look like things were very slow this day at the Court House.

I don’t know if the others in the waiting room or that first group that was called up remained behind. For all I know and while I write this in the early afternoon, they might still be there. Jury Duty, one of the announcers said, officially lasts from 8 to 5 P.M.

Perhaps the people in my group just happened to get lucky and there were simply too many people there today and we were the ones that weren’t needed.

Regardless, at least for today and for once, it looks like I wasn’t stuck under that all too familiar dark cloud.

Wow… just… wow.

Yesterday it was revealed that President Trump, while delivering a speech for Turning Point USA, a college Republican group, a doctored Presidential Seal appeared behind him…

For those who can’t see the Seal very well and are unfamiliar as to how the real one, here ya go. The fake seal is on the left:

Image result for presidential seal altered

A closer look at the fake:

President seal fake.jpg

Among the things to note: The two-headed bird at the center of the fake seal is a Russian Imperial symbol. The bird holds golf clubs (!) in its left claw while grasping money in the other. “45 es un titere” is Spanish and, translated, states “45 is a puppet”.

You can read more in this article by Hayley Miller and published at Huffingtonpost.com…

Trump stood in front of Presidential Seal doctored with Russian symbol, golf clubs

At first Turning Point USA tried to brush this off by saying that someone simply made an error and took a picture off the internet and didn’t realize it was a fake and slapped it on the screen behind Trump.

Yeah, right.

Later on it was stated the one responsible for this “error” was fired.

This was no error. No how no way. You have to search quite a bit online to stumble upon this image and, along the way, you’ll find plenty of high quality graphics showing the actual Presidential Seal.

No, this was someone sticking it to Trump in front of a welcoming crowd. It also shows why Trump, IMHO, is in trouble as a candidate: Now people who supposedly are with him are mocking him.

It’s one thing to be feared. It’s quite another to be ridiculed.

More Tesla stuff…

…so turn away if it doesn’t interest you!

Today and for the first time since getting my car several months ago I finally wound up using one of Tesla’s “superchargers”…

Related image
Not a photo of the place I went but close enough…

Located in a garage in a nearby mall, I wound up using the supercharger because a) it was rainy and I don’t like to use my own charging system when the weather is inclement (I’ll explain below) and b) My Tesla’s range was running low and why the hell not give the supercharger a try already?

I have to say, it worked out smooth as can be.

First off, I put the supercharger station in my navigation map (a very easy process) and the car automatically started to “prepare” my batteries for the supercharger. My understanding is that this involves heating the batteries up a bit (I’m not a battery technobrain so I could be completely wrong!) so that when the supercharger is employed, the batteries charge up that much quicker.

I got to the supercharger, backed my car in (I still haven’t used its auto parking feature… I wonder if I ever will?), then as I do at home opened up the charging port and plugged the supercharger in…

Image result for charging a tesla 3
Again, not a photo of my car being charged but close enough… if you ignore the fact this takes place outside and I did the charging in a large parking garage and my car is black. Otherwise, spot-freaking-on…!

…and was delighted to see the charge time listed at something like 40 minutes for nearly 200 miles of range!

My vehicle has a range, if I were to charge it to 100%, of something like 310 miles and when I began the charge, I was down to something like 89 miles left. A not insignificant amount (I could have easily made it back to the house and charged up later on) but the weather, as I said, was rainy and I don’t like to charge my car in such weather.

See, I don’t have a garage but I do have a carport which covers the vehicle. Thing is, the plug, a 240 Volt plug, is at the side of the house. Parts of it, therefore, can get wet even though they have covers. I know the plugs and cables are meant to take some weather but at an (over, perhaps) abundance of caution, I prefer to charge up when the weather is clear, day or night, rather than risk anything happening to my car (my baby, at this point!).

So we left the car charging and entered the mall. My wife needed to get her newest glasses adjusted (they were too tight so we had them loosened but over a few days of use my wife realized they were a little too loose so she had to get them tightened up a little bit) and we were done and finished with something like 20 minutes left of charging to go.

We decided to walk the mall at it was while doing so I received an alert from the Tesla app on my phone.

The alert stated the car was nearing its full charge and I should get to it and unplug it. Should I not do so, any time over 5 minutes left with the car plugged in would incur additional fees.

Which made total sense.

After all, one doesn’t go to a gas station, park before a pump, fill your tank, and leave your car there all day. There are others who may want to use the pump or, in this case, charger and its just plain rude to leave your car there when its done charging.

We returned to the car and it had ten or so minutes to go until it reached its “full” charge . Tesla advises you to not use the 100% charge level unless you are going on a long journey. Mine is set at 90% or about 284 miles of range.

While waiting another 10 minutes wasn’t a crippling inconvenience, we decided to stop the charging and head home. Little time had passed but already things outside were looking a little brighter and with the car currently showing a 250 miles or so range (all done in 30 minutes!) there was little worry about getting stuck anywhere.

So, yeah, I’ve finally experienced Tesla’s supercharger system and its easy as can be.

Since getting my Tesla, I’ve been eager to take a long trip in it but, unfortunately, simply haven’t had the ability to do so. Regardless, I’ve checked out the Tesla supercharger maps (they are available in your car and its easy to get the car to find and offer a navigated path to the nearest one to you) and know if I should take a longish trip there are plenty of places to stop and get charged at.

Yet until today, I didn’t know how the process would play out.

It does so very easily.

I can’t wait to take that first long trip!

Why such hate…?

Perhaps that’s too strong a word. Perhaps instead of “hate” one could use “dismissal” or perhaps “antipathy”.

Yes folks, this is another Tesla entry.

Yesterday we went to the car dealership which is taking care of my younger daughter’s car so we could get a loaner vehicle. She drives a small sedan and the fuel injection problem it has requires parts which won’t come in until Tuesday. Since we need a car for Monday and Tuesday, they offered us the loaner.

My daughter hoped to get this particular company’s SUVs as a loaner. She likes the look of the car and, one day, might consider it when she decides to trade in her car. As good fortune would have it, we were offered the SUV model as a loaner. It was a brand new 2019 edition, to boot.

Because it was a loaner we didn’t expect to get a top of the line all-bells-and-whistles version and, indeed, what we got was a very bare-bones SUV. I drove my car home and my wife and youngest daughter drove the SUV so it wasn’t until later on, when we decided to go grocery shopping, that I had a chance to try the car out.

I… didn’t like the vehicle much. Not much at all.

Again, we were given a bare bones loaner. The car’s interior looked quite cheap, with cheap cloth seats that were only manually movable to a not very impressive dashboard and monitor. But I could look past those things, knowing that if in some future date we entertained trading her car for one of the SUVs we’d get one with a better interior.

What I couldn’t look past was the driving.

The engine felt puny. The sound of it running was loud. It barely had any pickup. In all ways, and in my opinion, driving it was not much fun.

Which brings us to Tesla and my Model 3.

I’m spoiled.

There’s no two ways around it.

I’ve been driving since 1982 and from that point until early this year I’ve driven a large number of internal combustion engine (ICE) cars. There’s some I loved. There’s some I hated. There are some I barely remember.

It wasn’t until early this year, when I traded in my Mustang convertible (a lovely retro looking vehicle) that I had my first -and thus far only- prolonged experience with a Tesla/electric vehicle.

Since getting my Model 3, I’ve driven five ICE cars: My wife’s, my eldest daughter’s car followed by the one we traded it in for (the later being a hybrid), my youngest daughter’s car, and now this loaner.

I’ve come to realize that my Tesla drives better than any of those ICE cars, no question about it.

As good as the Tesla 3 is, I nonetheless cannot say the same for all electric vehicles. I haven’t driven the Volt or Bolt. I haven’t driven the Leaf or Kona. I cannot say how or even if those vehicles also drive better than, or at least comparably with, my Model 3.

What’s so great about my Model 3?

The drive is so smooth. The silence is incredible. The sudden acceleration, when you need it, is amazing. Even though I don’t have a performance model, the acceleration in my Model 3 is beyond anything I’ve experienced in any ICE car I’ve previously driven.

Then there’s these factors: You don’t have to go to gas stations anymore. You don’t have to worry about fuel injector problems (which is what my youngest daughter’s car seems to have a problem with). You’re done with oil changes.

I noted to my wife my disappointment with the loaner car and that a large part of the disappointment is related to my being spoiled with the Model 3. I told her getting the Model 3 was not unlike moving from a Nokia flip phone to an Apple iPhone.

The differences are that stark.

The other day, Motor Trend awarded the Tesla Model S (the sedan) the “Ultimate Car of the Year”, an award given out of consideration of 70 years of vehicles (you can read the full article here). Meanwhile in the UK, Autoexpress.com.uk gave Tesla’s Model 3 the “Car of the Year 2019” award (you can read the article here).

The point is this: It seems people are becoming more and more aware of Tesla vehicles and those who experience them are converting. This has certainly happened to me.

I can’t see myself going back to a ICE vehicle. The Tesla is that much better.

But I’m not everyone.

The Tesla’s are expensive cars versus many other vehicles out there. Though the most basic Model 3 goes for around $37,000 and as such is not super expensive, getting other options will bring the price up and maybe out of many people’s budgets.

So all is good, right?

Not quite and it does, in a very roundabout way, bring me to the point I was alluding to way up at the start of this post.

Why the hate?

I frequent many boards, some of which focus on Automobiles. I love the umbrella of websites tied in with Gizmodo.com. I’m a sci-fi fan/writer so naturally I like hanging around websites that focus on all things sci-fi, from TV to movies to books and games.

If you go to the site and look at the upper bar, you’ll find the other websites associated with Gizmodo. One of them, Jalopnick, is devoted to cars.

Clearly the writers on this site love vehicles of all kinds and its a blast to read information on vehicles old and new. That love, however, doesn’t seem to flow quite as well toward Tesla.

To date, I haven’t seen any articles from them noting the awards Tesla cars received. To be fair, maybe such an article is about to show up, but it seems odd they wouldn’t note a publication like Motor Trend giving the Tesla S a best of 70 years award. Seems to me its a fairly significant piece of automotive news, no?

Worse, at times, are some of the comments left by readers.

I’ve long felt that in many matters, opinions are just that: Options. What to you is great may to someone else be terrible and vice versa. In that respect I can understand people who have tried driving Tesla vehicles and coming away not as impressed with the cars as I am.

To each their own!

But I’ve seen people write as if they have an axe to grind. Understand: This is not unique to Tesla vehicles nor am I naive enough to believe that’s the case.

There are those who seem to go out of their way to expound on what they see as Tesla’s failures. A couple of years ago there were articles about how Tesla cars had misaligned parts. They were relatively minor, but they were worrisome. There were also articles about bad paint jobs. In the time between originally seeing these articles and now, I haven’t “new” stories that state this is a continuing problem with Tesla vehicles. I suspect Tesla addressed the problem and, perhaps, it is now not so much a problem.

Certainly I haven’t noticed any such problem in my vehicle!

And yet I see comments which state this remains a problem even though, again, I haven’t seen any new 3rd party articles saying this was the case. Quite the contrary, I’ve seen articles which note that these issues no longer seem to be the case.

Yet the slams against the company continue. Perhaps some are trolls and nothing more, getting a thrill out of stirring things up. Perhaps they simply cannot stomach the idea of gas powered vehicles being worse than (I’ve heard this one before) a “fancy golf cart”.

In the near future, say, 10 years from now, I’m certain not everyone will convert to electric, though I strongly suspect there will be a significant amount of such vehicles on the road versus today. If, and its a BIG if, demand for Teslas continue unabated while sales of ICE vehicles falter (as they have been doing of late), the other car companies will have no choice but to follow Tesla’s lead.

Before I finish this, let me be clear about one thing: I’m not committed to Tesla and Tesla vehicles alone. I’d love to see other electric vehicles make it to the market. There’s nothing better for a consumer than seeing competition in product. Usually that results in lower prices and better overall product.

So far, it feels like Tesla is blowing away the competition for electric vehicles yet I hope other companies join the fray.

I would love to see more options. I would love to see us move away from the old tech of ICE vehicles and their pollution and move into the cleaner energy afforded by electric vehicles.

Maybe soon.

This ‘n’ That, 7/12/19

I’ve been lagging behind ’round these parts as the summer grinds on…

Summer.

This has become the Summer of Repairs™ for me.

I mentioned before (oh, the pain!) of having to first redo all the water exit lines on the east side of my house, following which my central AC crapped out on me and I had to get a whole new unit, then we had to redo the guest bathroom where the original water exit line problem began because floor was drilled.

Welp, I forgot to mention another thing: Earlier in the summer my eldest daughter’s car was crapping out and we wound up trading that car in for another. Today, my younger daughter’s car is giving her trouble (though I think not nearly as bad as the elder’s much older vehicle) and we took it to the shop today to get it looked at. I suspect the problem it has is in the fuel line. We’ll see.

We also discovered, now that the rainy season has begun, a leak in a part of our roof which will have to be resolved… though I may be forced to wait for the rainy season to die out. Around these parts, roofers are in high demand during the rainy season and a repair job is looked upon as not worth pursuing when many people ask for their entire roof to be repaired.

Ugh.

The money flying out is… impressive. Acutally, depressive.

The only saving grace is that at this point we’re running out of things that can crap out and subsequently need repair! (I really hope I haven’t jinxed myself!)

****

Found this video the other day of the Tesla semi on the road…

People noted that a driver could not be seen behind the wheel of the vehicle and, thus, the reason the clip is pointing out that it’s a “self-driving” Tesla on the street.

I have to say, I was skeptical this was the case. Even if Tesla was testing their self-driving feature, they’d be crazy to let a vehicle like this one out on the road without anyone behind the wheel.

Nonetheless, I cannot make out anyone in the cabin. When reading the comments on the YouTube site this is presented on, people state there is someone in the cabin and they have dark sunglasses on.

I still don’t see it, but I tend to believe this must be the case.

Again: Why risk your Semi (I believe Tesla only has two of them built to this point) on something without having at least one person behind the wheel just in case something goes wrong?

*****

Jeffrey Epstein.

Holy shit.

I mean, if all the allegations are proven true (and he was convicted and given what amounted to a slap on the wrist) what a freaking sleaze of a guy.

I despair at the political situation these days in the US. We have a “news” network that is nothing more than a brainwashing service intent on getting people to love conservatives/Republicans and hate them-there libral scum and, sadly, the service is effective.

If day after day after day, year after year after year you’re presenting a slanted persistent message, eventually people start to buy into it.

With Mr. Epstein, (you can read about him and how his alleged dirty deeds have now cost Jim Acosta his job in the Trump administration), Fox “news” was only too happy to point out the fact that Bill Clinton knew the man and had flown a few times on his private jet in the past.

Less inclined are they, though, to mention Trump’s relationships with him.

Google around. The stuff that’s written -and assuming there is truth to it- is absolutely disgusting.

If Bill Clinton is proven to have been involved in some of this level of sleaze, he deserves to be reviled.

I suppose that’s the difference between libral scum and the Fox “news” people: If illegal activities occurred, I’m more than happy to see those engaged in them get sent to jail.

Whoever they may be.

Tesla: Endgame Part Deux

A while back and in April I wrote about my thoughts on where Elon Musk wants to ultimately take Tesla and their electric vehicles (click here for the original post, Tesla: Endgame).

My feeling was that Mr. Musk is thinking farther ahead than most car makers in the sense that he feels we will eventually have self-driving vehicles and, because of that, we will have a version of the Uber/Lyft system where a company will have a fleet of self-driving vehicles roaming around a city (at first) and the company will make a lot more money on those vehicles while consumers will not need to actually buy cars. It will become more economical to order a self-driving vehicle, have it take you wherever you need to go, then when you’re done order another to take you back.

No more buying cars, no more insurance, no more monthly lease payments, and no more worrying about changing tires/servicing your vehicle.

A recent tweet over the weekend caused some consternation among folks when Mr. Musk was asked by “Disruption Research”:

Do consumers have limited time left to buy a Tesla car, since prices would have to go up severalfold to balance supply & demand once you solve FSD?

To which Mr. Musk replied curtly:

Yes

The consternation was due to the fact one could interpret Mr. Musk’s response to indicate Tesla might not sell cars at all once the self-driving thing was resolved. Mr. Musk, perhaps sensing a rising panic, offered the following elaboration:

To be clear, consumers will still be able to buy a Tesla, but the clearing price will rise significantly, as a fully autonomous car that can function as a robotaxi is several times more valuable than a non-autonomous car

In other words, once/if Tesla resolves self-driving and if you have a self-driving vehicle, you have a potential money maker, one that you could send out when not using it as a “robo-taxi” and make money off of it.

So Mr. Musk notes rather bluntly: Why sell a Model 3 for, say, $50,000 (or thereabouts) when you could make that much money on the vehicle -or more!- in a year by sending it out as a robo-taxi? If/when Tesla gets the self-driving realized, they aren’t going to be selling their vehicles at the current prices because they are now potential money makers.

And that dovetails nicely into what I wrote in my original Tesla: Endgame post.

Here’s the thing: Until full self-driving is realized, Tesla still has to sell vehicles and continue doing so to make money it needs to continue its research.

When I purchased my Tesla earlier this year, I invested in the “self-driving” feature. It was, I believe, something like $5000 or so and didn’t think about using the car as a “robo-taxi.” Frankly, I did so because I thought it would be fascinating to have a car that can drive itself.

Having said that, if there’s good money into making my car a “robo-taxi”, I might be tempted to let it be used as such!

Once again, this is something that depends entirely on when -and if– a fully functional self-driving feature becomes a reality.

Mr. Musk is optimistic it will happen, perhaps as soon as later this very year.

I don’t think it’ll happen that quickly, but in the next two or three years?

It’s certainly possible.

Too damn funny… July 4th, 2019 Edition

Last year there was this very funny (IMHO!) bit of news, now sadly forgotten, where right-wing “pundit” and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones stated liberals were going to use the 2018 Independence Day to launch a takeover/Civil War against the good ol’ conservatives. Much hilarity ensued as people wrote hilarious twitter comments about the so-called “second Civil War” (you can read about this here).

In what seems to be becoming an annual tradition …well, if twice in two years portends such things… there was something new which appeared this year which provoked some pretty funny comments.

I refer to Donald Trump’s Independence Day speech wherein he said the following…

Yep, you heard it right. When talking about the Revolutionary War, Donald Trump said:

Our Army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over airports, it did everything it had to do.

Oh boy.

I’ve made my feeling known before regarding Donald Trump: I have absolutely no love at all for him. Whether he stole the election with the help of Putin or not, in his time in office he has proved to be uniquely unqualified to be president. Further, he seems borderline illiterate and certainly uneducated. And that’s ignoring his obvious racism, sexism, and any other number of vindictive you want to give him.

Seeing this clip, he seems almost out of it. As if he’s under some kind of medication and having difficulties seeing/reading the teleprompter. Perhaps its because his reading skills aren’t great or perhaps the rain made it difficult for him to read the damn thing.

Regardless, I suspect he was adding in words here and there and the airport line, one would think, had to be an ad lib, right?

I mean, no one could have been stupid enough to write out that speech and actually put that line in there?!

Because if that line was in the actual written speech, then one can’t help but assume whoever put it there did so in the hopes he would read the line without thinking and make an ass out of himself as he’s done here.

And, continuing on that thought and continuing in the assumption that line was in the written speech, one has to wonder how much his own staff hates Mr. Trump and is willing to make him look absolutely ridiculous in a high profile speech!

Well, it didn’t take long for several smart asses to react to Mr. Trump’s latest verbal faux pas. Over on Huffington Post, Mary Papenfuss offers an article which examines how…

Trump Dive-Bombed in Tweets After Claiming Army Seized Revolutionary War Airports

There are some very funny tweets mentioned in the article above and I urge you to check them out. One of my favorites was this one by Jack W. Bower:

My Dearest Rose,

I’m afraid I must be the bearer of bad news. My flight has already been delayed a fortnight, and I fear it will be longer. The army has shut down the airport and the airplane will not be invented for 6 score and 7 years from now.#RevolutionaryWarAirportStories

The firing of Michael de Adder…

Not familiar with the above name?

Mr. De Adder is a political cartoonist whose work appears in Canadian newspapers and who, last week, was let go (ie fired) from four newspapers that presented his work.

He suspects this may have been the result of the following piece:

As Mr. de Adder puts it:

…in the past 2 weeks I drew 3 Trump cartoons. 2 went viral and the third went supernova and a day later I was let go. And not only let go, the cartoons they already had in the can were not used. Overnight it was like I never worked for the paper. Make your own conclusions.

I must admit, when I saw this piece, it was like receiving a gut punch. This piece, if you’re not aware of it, shows the two South American refugees, a father and his months’ old daughter, who drowned trying to cross into the United States.

The actual photograph of these two is heartbreaking and, frankly, I feel uncomfortable presenting it here, just as I find the above cartoon also very uncomfortable.

Here’s the thing: Mr. De Adder did his job.

Tremendously well.

He presented a scathing indictment of Donald Trump and his priorities as well as his lack of empathy for migrants -and active attempts to make their already difficult situation even more difficult- as well as the end results of many that do try to make this trek.

Granted, migrant deaths have occurred throughout many administrations, not just this one, but the animus shown by Trump and company to these people is on a league of its own.

And the fact that Mr. de Adder was fired so soon after presentation of this piece shows the intersection between businesses and politics. It would seem the owners of the four Canadian papers have other business interests, and it doesn’t pay to have an employee piss off a potential partner, or impediment, to their business world.

You can take hits at politicians, but sometimes the hits may land a little too hard.

it’s been a blur so far…

…at least for me.

I’m referring to the summer. Truly since the start of May, perhaps even the end of April, things have been on a whirl.

I mentioned a few of the things that have affected me already: The plumbing problems, followed by the AC problems, followed by moving my daughter, followed by getting the bathroom fixed up.

We’re still in the process of the later, but at least all the major stuff is done. There’s still painting to do and a shower door and cabinets to be made/installed but the dust is settling and my poor sinus is starting, at least a little, to relax.

Most importantly, in the last few days I’ve been able to devote more and more time -my regular time, stolen by the above- to writing.

The book I’m currently writing hasn’t quite gelled yet, though each day I can get to it (far too little since late April/early May), has proven a wonderful new adventure.

I’m adding in fascinating details and the overall plot, at least in general, is solid. But I’m a fussy guy and solid isn’t nearly strong enough for my taste.

I’ve mentioned it before but I’ve always tried to make every book I’ve written be as original as I can make it, with as intricate -but not overly complicated- story which will hopefuly shock as much as it entertains. I want people to feel the time they’ve given me was worth it, and I will not accept a work/plot that follows too many familiar or well-worn paths.

I’m not quite there yet but its coming along.

Stay tuned.