Archive for July, 2011
This guest post is by venture capitalist David Cowan. David has recently purchased a Nissan Leaf after going car-less for two year.
After 3.5 years, I’ve finally re-joined the community of car owners.
Between February 2008 and last week, I was car-less. I borrowed and rented cars, took taxis and Zip cars, and occasionally biked. I also bummed a lot of rides (thank you very much – you know who you are). It had started when the warranty on my fancy German gas guzzler expired; I sold the thing, and never really found the time to shop around for a replacement – Who Has Time For This?
I felt a lot more excited about the prospect of driving an electric sedan, which should be greener, potentially faster, simpler to operate, and cheaper to fuel. Most importantly, I’d never have to kill ten minutes stopping for gas – Who Has Time For This? So I put my name down on the lists for a Tesla Model S, Fisker Karma, Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt, deciding to wait for one to be built. Three years later, I got calls from Fisker, Nissan and Chevy, and it was time to decide.
After examining the options and driving the cars, it was a pretty easy decision to buy the Leaf for these eight reasons:
1. Compared to the others, the Leaf gets twice the range from a battery charge: 100 miles, or 85 miles with the AC cranking. (Plugging the car in and out adds about 15 seconds a day to your daily routine, or 5 minutes a month – about half the time we spend at gas pumps.)
2. With a pure electric motor (not a hybrid gasoline engine) the Leaf is nimbler, less fragile, and legal to drive in California’s carpool lanes so I can bypass the Highway 101 traffic jams – WHTFT?
3. Driving in electric mode (without the help of a hybrid gasoline engine) is wonderfully quiet and smooth (no transmission). Even at 80 miles per hour the acceleration is immediate and impressive.
4. The Leaf steers as smoothly as a Lexus, and the small wheels turn on a dime.
5. Only the Leaf has open, comfortable seats with ample head room in front and leg room in back (a must if you have kids)
6. Only the Leaf carries 5 passengers (a must if you have THREE kids!)
7. The Leaf has the largest trunk, and the back seats fold down for more cargo space.
8. The Leaf costs 3/4 as much as the Volt, and 1/3 as much as the Karma. You get at least $ 7500 in tax credits, offset by the $ 2,000 expense of a home 220 volt charging station.
These reasons explain why the Nissan Leaf now the outsells the pack. I can think of only three good reasons why you might wish to buy one of the other cars:
1. The Leaf’s pure electric motor is not a problem for two car families – on that rare day once a month when you drive more than 100 miles, you can always take the gas guzzler instead (Honda Odysseys are awesome). But without that fallback, one-car households will find the Volt more practical (albeit expensive and cramped).
2. If you love driving enormous, heavy sports cars that sit low to the ground and you’ve got $ 100k to burn (like these guys), then you might prefer the gorgeous design of the Karma. It has the look and feel of a luxury muscle car with a growling engine, bucket seats, and beautiful wood/leather interiors. (The Leaf is all plastic.) Having said that, the Karma performs like a sports car at lower speeds but on the highway I found it downright sluggish compared to the Leaf. The Karma handled highway acceleration nearly as well as the Leaf only when in Stealth Mode which means that the gasoline engine is off. (You may be as disappointed as I was to learn that people can still see you in Stealth Mode.)
3. Stephen Colbert will mock you for driving a Leaf.
All three cars come chock full of gizmos we all love (rear view camera, navigation, keyless entry, XM radio, Bluetooth, heated seats…) so there’s no reason to stick with gasoline. The Leaf even comes with a cool iPhone app for remote operation of the charger and climate control.
So I’ve been zipping around in my Leaf for a week now and absolutely loving it. Even after three years, it was worth the wait.
Cilantro might be the most polarizing thing on this planet. Some people can’t eat a fish taco without it, others cry frothy tears of dishsoap at its mere mention. The same may well be true of the LG Optimus 3D (known as the Thrill 4G in the US). We already felt a little torn about the device when we first got our hands on it back in February. Sure, it packed some extra heft and, ahem, Android 2.2.2. But its stupor-inducing, 3D display (combined with some truly poignant marketing) was just enough to whet our appetites. Plus, after having already scarfed down a bowl of HTC’s EVO 3D, we were more than a little keen on tasting LG’s take on the glasses-free 3D recipe – a young and intriguing smartphone genre. Now that we finally have, we’re ready to tackle a question for the ages: dishsoap or delicacy?
Gallery: LG Optimus 3D review
Good old Radio Shack just can’t seem to keep its hands on internal memos. A little over a week ago, we were treated to a pair of leaked documents, slating an August 7th rollout for the LG Thrill 4G, and now another official looking missive has surfaced, pushing the release date back to August 21st. As per the document, customers will still be able to reserve their own 3D-enabled handset with the purchase of a $ 50 gift certificate before August 15th. Of course, we could still see this thrilling 4G phone pop up ahead of that date, perhaps from AT&T, but if you’ve already got a $ 50 gift certificate in hand, it looks like it’s time for another round of the waiting game.
A committee of 25 Icelanders submitted the first draft of a rewritten constitution to the country’s parliamentary speaker Friday, and despite our recommendations, Rebecca Black was conspicuously absent from the proceedings. The democratic experiment bravely asked citizens to log on to Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, and Twitter to engage with the committee in a discussion about the nation’s future. While the project’s Facebook page played host to pleads for free ice cream and more volcanoes, the constitution’s creators managed to stay on task, focusing on issues of decentralization and transparency in government. The draft is slated for review beginning October 1st.
www.oled-display.net Samsung explain in this video the new OLED Display technology Super-Amoled-PLUS. Super-Amoled-Plus has many advantages compared with normal IPS-LCD Display which Apple use. More Infos about OLEDs at http
Many simpler forms of life on this planet, including some of our earliest ancestors, don’t have proper brains. Instead they have networks of neurons that fire in response to stimuli, triggering reactions. Scientists from Caltech have actually figured out how to create such a primitive pre-brain using strands of DNA. Researchers, led by Lulu Qian, strung together DNA molecules to create bio-mechanical circuits. By sequencing the four bases of our genetic code in a particular way, they were able to program it to respond differently to various inputs. To prove their success the team quizzed the organic circuit, essentially playing 20 questions, feeding it clues to the identity of a particular scientist using more DNA strands. The artificial neural network nailed answer every time. Check out the PR and pair of videos that dig a little deeper into the experiment after the break.
Talk about swift justice. It’s been less than a week since we reported on Personal Audio’s second infringement suit against Apple, and an East Texas judge has already put an end to the litigation. In a statement regarding the company’s complaint that the iPad 2, iPhone 4, and latest generation iPods infringed on the same patents put forth in its initial suit, Judge Ron Clark said the $ 8 million already awarded to the plaintiff should do just fine. He went on to deny the company’s request for a second trial. It may not be the last we hear of Personal Audio, but it is a refreshing change of pace from the usual goings on in Eastern District courtrooms.
It’s not like anybody who’s ever blind taste-tested them alongside Crayolas would need any more evidence, but here’s a photo that helps explain why off-brand crayons suck so bad. Apparently they’re made with…I dunno, people? Yeah, plus they make me color outside the lines! “No they don’t GW, you just have zero hand-eye coordination.” OMG — ONE MORE WORD AND YOU’RE GONNA GET IT! “Bring it, Captain Uncoordinated!” OH THAT’S IT! *lays myself out with an uppercut*
Scientific Proof That Rose Art Crayons Suck [buzzfeed]
Thanks to Your Father, who apparently reads Geekologie. OMG — you guys should totally talk about me at the dinner table! “So, how about that Geekologie Writer today?” “Total wanker.” “Agreed, pass the Jell-O salad.”
When Google Chromebooks started arriving without the Netflix streaming we’d been promised we were predictably bummed, but that may be rectified soon. While Chromebook owners attuned to beta channel updates first noticed an entry for a Netflix plugin last month, it still couldn’t actually play movies and didn’t appear on older, single-core Atom powered Cr-48 laptops. Fast forward to the present, where one of our friendly comment moderators, masterofrandom has spotted this updated v1.0.2 plugin lurking in the depths of his murdered out 12-incher. There’s still no playback to be had, but we’re figuring Netflix didn’t update the version number past 1.0 because it’s finally figured out the perfect queue management system. Chromebook owners or prospective owners (and by extension, Linux users) still awaiting Watch Instantly streaming — your alert level is at Vermilion.
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