Archive Page 2

29
Sep
12

electric cars and the CBO

Via hotair.com comes a report from the CBO that for a mere $7,500,000,000 through 2019, we can subsidize the purchase of cars that are over-priced under-performers compared to their internal combustion counterparts, and will have no net effect on vehicle emissions.

Bonus – another article on hotair.com applies (gasp) common sense to the costs (monetary and environmental) over the lifetime of the Chevy Volt (or as it ought to be known, the obamacar).

Ah, reality – the concrete wall in the crash test facility that is government-directed industry.

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29
Sep
12

Adventures in dev – part I

More time to sit around, with a hobby project on my mind. I want to write an android app (points for originality!) that could occupy my boys. I’ve dabbled a little in android dev, but the bulid-deploy-test process with the android emulators was so slow it would kill momentum, or make me try to add too much between runs on the emulator.

My “why wouldn’t this work” notion for solving this is to write the app as a plain java SWT app, hopefully successfully separating UI-specific code from app code such that I can develop the app itself less painfully, and then only have to deal with SWT-to-android UI changes during final development on the emulator.

The other part of this exercise will be to attempt to follow the development methodology described in “Code Complete” to give myself some structure I might not otherwise use for a project like this.

So today, I’ll get through the first chapters of the book, until I get to I get to something actionable, and then use that. My goal is to get through one part of the book each day. Much like my January 02 post where I planned to post something every day, we’ll see how this goes.

end-of-day report
Got through chapter 3 today, and added some revisions to the app “requirements”, and ran across some good guidelines for the high-level design.

15
Jan
12

Lewis, Tolkien, Whedon?

I’ve had time to sit around lately, and thanks to netflix streaming, I managed to watch the Firefly series and the follow-up movie Serenity.

Apart from being being completely engrossed in the series and movie, when I finished Serenity, I got a real C. S. Lewis vibe. Without giving too much away (hopefully), the series centers around a universe dominated by “the Alliance”, a technocracy that seeks to make life safe by controlling all aspects of it. This brought to mind Lewis’s description of free will in “The Problem of Pain”. To grossly oversimplify, what I remember of Lewis’s premise is that to create a world without pain necessarily means a world without free will. That’s and the “really scientific era” of Lewis’s “That Hideous Strength” seem to capture the nature of the Alliance, and the loss of free will seems to drive Malcolm Reynolds.

There’s also a clear parallel with Tolkien in the Serenity movie, and a small group forging ahead against an implacable and overwhelming enemy to attempt to fix a horrible wrong.

Finally (speaking only for me, that is), Whedon shares their skill in compelling story telling. If it’s not clear yet, I highly recommend the series.

05
Jan
12

red barchetta – a little too realistic?

Fantastic song, but too much a far-fetched dystopian sci-fi story to really happen, right?

And yet here we are, with our dear leader telling us to buy the government motors Volt (while former government officials drive the $100,000, made-possible-by-YOUR-tax-dollars Fisker Karmas to their dachas). The other “correct” cars to drive while you’re pining for high speed rail to relieve you of the onerous duty of deciding for yourself where to go and how to get there? The Prius, Insight, and Leaf – all as underpowered and soul-sucking to drive as they are affronts to the eye. As a bonus with the Leaf, its range is limited so that the proletariat can’t roam far enough from home to get ideas of independence. At least its power doesn’t come from some filthy source like coal … oh. Guess our government betters didn’t really think that whole “electricity – it’s clean energy” thing through.

Ah well – I’ll see if I can’t come up with some lighter thoughts tomorrow. In the mean time, they can have my keys when they pry them from my grease-and-brake-dust-blackened fingers!

02
Jan
12

So, it’s 2012

It had been on my mind anyway, but I ran across this (ht instapundit), so my goal is to post something every day this year.

Today was an adventure in DIY – I changed the front brake rotors and pads, and also changed the spark plugs in my hemi-powered station wagon. Surprisingly, the brake work went really well, although I had the same reaction when I changed the fronts on the Cobra – it’s not until I’m done that I remember that brakes are a service item, and therefore have been engineered for ease of replacement. The spark plug swap was a little more involved – 2 plugs per cylinder, and the hemi center-of-the-chamber design made for a deep hole to reach them. It went slowly but well up until the last one, and in my haste to start the car and see if everything was working, I forgot to plug in the coil pack (no so-last-century distributor here), so I got a check engine light. Spotted the problem quickly, but even though the idle definitely smoothed out with all 8 cylinders firing, the light stayed on. Thanks to lxforums (where I also found excellent how-tos on brakes and plugs), it looks like the light should sort itself out with a couple of trips, so here’s hoping.

15
Sep
11

Attack watch!!!

Sure, he’s working to end the private sector as we know it with obamacare, EPA regulations, tax uncertainty, and demonizing “the rich” (the Emmanuel Goldstein of our time), and sure, he’s brought back Carter-era malaise (complete with miserable designed-by-regs cars that no one wants to drive), but how can you hate the guy who brought us the endless fun that is #attackwatch?

19
Aug
11

It’s not global warming, it’s global torque!

I heard about the snow hitting New Zealand, while the U. S. is seeing almost record heat, and it dawned on me that we’re not dealing with global warming at all, although blame can still be laid at the feet of evil western society’s addiction to big vehicles.

Clearly, that we’re seeing extreme heat, while the other hemisphere is experiencing extreme cold, there can be only one explanation – global torque. Because of the large cars and SUVs we drive, we’ve thrown the earth off its axis, leaving us closer to the sun, and the other side farther away.