September 16th, 2005

sleepy

(no subject)

Mark Morford rants about fuel economy.

Badly.

There's this curious assumption people have that everything can be improved significantly with technology. I imagine it stems from computers, because, hey, computers have been getting frighteningly faster over time. Funny thing is, mechanical devices just don't seem to have the same research curve.

With a car, you've got this minor problem called "physics". A car is a ton and a half of metal and plastics. Accelerating that thing up to 75mph uses a significant amount of energy. Keeping it at 75mph against wind resistance uses quite a lot also. There's simply no way to avoid this. Not only that, but internal combustion engines aren't perfectly efficient. They can't be. I'm told it's possible to calculate the maximum efficiency, and it's around 40%. And we're approaching it. Good ol' second law of thermodynamics, eh?

But here's the sad thing. Here he is ranting about how his car gets less fuel efficiency than his old car, and how it's impossible to get a car with good fuel efficiency, and you know what?

My car gets 35mpg easy. Often more.

Of course, it's a little two-door sedan. And it doesn't have an automatic transmission, or air conditioning, or, for that matter, power steering. But I'd bet you his does. Hell, his is even a 4-door. And he's talking about how it's impossible to find an efficient car? Sure . . . if you want a car that big, with that many features, yeah, you're not going to get great mileage.

But apparently - judging by the car he purchased - he doesn't consider mileage that important either, so why is he telling us we should?
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sleepy

(no subject)

It's always kind of nice when you work on a new fascinating problem for about a week, just for fun, and then suddenly realize that this is actually *really useful* and in fact will save you quite an amazing amount of work.

'Course, it'd be nicer if I'd managed to *solve* the problem.

. . . It'd even be acceptable if I was entirely certain it was solvable.

Oh well. Back to thinking about it.
sleepy

(no subject)

A very strange interview with Ballmer.

Notice how many times he's asked about bureaucracy. Notice how many times he dodges the question. (I count, respectively, eight and eight.)

Notice the following gem:

" But [Vista] had been delayed?"
"Vista will be out next year. Vista has never been delayed. I mean, we had earlier conceptualizations, but the thing that is Vista is on its track."

I suppose that's *technically* true. I mean, it wasn't named Vista until just recently. As far as I know, it hasn't been delayed since they gave it a new name.

What the hell is going on over there? I *know* there are good people working at MS. I know there are good teams, I know there are good products. What the fuck is happening to the management?