Category Archives: Emerging Technology

Bolt EV too: LGE’s battery design for Ford Mach-E, Chevy Bolt said to have weaknesses

As the Mach-E module section detail above illustrates, the Mach-E’s module architecture apparently contains a significant thermal design weakness – the plastic carrier bottoms. They block direct cell-to-plate heat conduction – the primary thermal path used in most other manufacturers’ current-generation pouch-cell-based packs. The only thermal path is through a long, thin passive aluminum thermal fin. With two cells heating it, this is too much heat for the skinny fin to efficiently conduct down to the cooling plate. It is literally a narrow thermal bottleneck.

Source: Mustang Mach-E Battery Charges Slowly, Overheats Quickly: Why?

For the Mach-E, high accelerations rates can exceed temperature requirements, causing the vehicle to reduce its power available. Probably the same for the Bolt EVs too (see EV Throttle Bottleneck Scorecard graphic at the linked article). These thermal issues might be why the maximum charge rate, which is just 55 KW for the Bolt EV while some EVs are now charge-able, in part, at 125 KW and higher.

Related: LG Energy batteries were also recalled, not just for the Bolt EV cars, but also for their home-based battery packs used for solar PV systems. They too had a defect that could cause them to catch fire.

Air travel may get much more expensive, or could be limited only to the elite

Aviation could face a historic rupture in its growth trajectory as it grapples with pressures to reduce its impact on climate change. The technology shifts proposed will require major investment with success uncertain.

For the flying public, all outcomes in the years ahead point to an increase in the cost of flying.

Yet that distant net-zero emissions target is so radical, and the proposed technology solutions so uncertain, that aviation risks falling far short.

Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury recently warned that if the industry’s new push for climate sustainability fails, governments could force a reduction in air travel by banning some of the flying that is routine today — a major step back after more than 100 years of passenger flights.

….

Elsewhere, particularly in Europe, flying is already being curbed by government policy. France in April banned domestic flights between cities with a train connection of less than 2.5 hours. Various government agencies and organizations around Europe have imposed similar bans on short-haul flights for employee business travel.

Source: As climate concerns threaten air travel, aviation industry banks on technology solutions | The Seattle Times

Additionally, some countries already charge carbon fees on airline tickets.

Costs of charging an EV

Study says EV charging can exceed costs of fueling costs:

The study has four major findings:

  • There are four additional costs to powering EVs beyond electricity: cost of a home charger, commercial charging, the EV tax and “deadhead” miles.
  • For now, EVs cost more to power than gasoline costs to fuel an internal combustion car that gets reasonable gas mileage.
  • Charging costs vary more widely than gasoline prices.
  • There are significant time costs to finding reliable public chargers – even then a charger could take 30 minutes to go from 20% to an 80% charge.

Source: Which is more expensive: charging an electric vehicle or fueling a car with gas?

Specifically, they have included the costs of adding charging stations at home, the costs of additional taxes on EVs (my state charges EVs several hundred dollars per year that is not charged to ICE vehicles, to make up for loss of gas taxes), and the costs and time of driving extra distances to find commercial charging stations, and then waiting for a suitable charge to complete.

Other studies have found that EV maintenance costs much less than ICE vehicles. There are no engine tune ups, oil changes, gasket changes, spark plug changes, and EV mechanical parts are simpler than ICE vehicles.

If I had an EV, my home and local charging cost would be zero since our solar PV array already produces sufficient power annually for all local driving activities.

With a few exceptions, most existing EVs would not be suitable for the type of cross country driving I am prone to do, but all would work well for local and regional travel. I live in the eastern half of Oregon where it can be 100+ miles between very limited charging stations, for example. A day’s drive to a common destination to our east is about 12 hours of ICE driving today – throw in a couple of EV charging stops (at least) and it likely becomes 14 hours of driving, putting it in the realm of not being safe due to fatigue.

Future EVs may have 400-500 mile ranges and faster charging options. Probably see these among more makers by about 2025.

How many workers on the job at a typical fast food restaurant?

While waiting for an order to be fulfilled, I count the number of staff working at fast food restaurants, espresso cafes, and so on.

In the past, there were usually 6 to 9 workers at typical fast food restaurants.

Currently, there is a staff shortage – yet no coherent and consistent explanation as to why.

During this, I’ve see as few as 3 workers in a fast food restaurant – which means long wait times for customers.

How will this get solved? With a lot more tech.

Wendy’s Just Struck a Deal That Will Drastically Change the Way It Operates

Fast-food chains are gearing up their tech capabilities and soon, the landscape of the industry will be changed forever.

Source: Wendy’s Just Struck a Deal That Will Drastically Change the Way It Operates

You’ve likely already seen self-order kiosks at McDonalds. There are also tablet ordering systems at some restaurants, and mobile apps for self orders are ubiquitous now. These reduce the staff needed for taking orders.

A few restaurants are using automatic burger frying systems, reducing  kitchen staff. Some restaurants have automated as many processes as they can and customers may have no human interaction with staff at all!

These changes were going to occur pre-pandemic – eventually. But a combination of issues – labor demands, then labor shortages, and rapidly falling prices for tech – mean automation and customer self service is here to stay.

A lot fewer workers will be needed in future fast food outlets.

What ever happened to “clip on” sunglasses for prescription eye wear?

I am fortunate to have good eyesight. However, I do have a distance vision set of eye glasses; I am told I have a very minimal correction and I am not required to wear glasses while driving.

When my eyes are tired, or when driving at night, I prefer to wear the prescription eye glasses, and find them helpful during many activities. Today I was hiking without wearing glasses, for example, but when driving for hours, it is easier on my eyes to wear the prescription glasses.

On a recent trip, the “clip on” dark shades I have been using, broke. I thought it would be easy to find a replacement at a drug store, grocery store or even an eye glass store.

Nope.

I visited 9 stores! Not one had clip on shades for prescription glasses!

Continue reading What ever happened to “clip on” sunglasses for prescription eye wear?

Should you get rid of Windows 10 passwords?

Microsoft’s new approach is to rely (mostly) upon an Authenticator app on your phone.

Whether this is important depends on what type of passwords you use now. The Authenticator app model is useful to those who have secure access to their phone and currently use simple (not complex) passwordsand have access to cell phone service when needing to use your Windows 10 computer.

…it’s still a win-win for most people, most of the time. That’s because most people don’t have unique, long, complex, random passwords for every account and use a password manager to, well, manage them. That said, if you do, then there’s no real rush to dump your password access route to be honest.

The problem, though, is ensuring those users who would benefit both know the option is available and encouraging them to take it.

Source: Delete Your Windows 10 Password Now: Microsoft Suddenly Issues Security Update For Millions

You do not want to rely on the Authenticator app to log in to your Windows 10 notebook computer when traveling in areas without cell or Internet access.

You can set up an alternative PIN or facial recognition (if your device has a camera) or finger print recognition (if your device has a fingerprint reader) as alternatives. A PIN can contain numbers – or be the same as an alphanumeric password. The only difference between a PIN and a password is the PIN is unique to your device, not your Microsoft account.

For example, I use a notebook computer to read Kindle books when in campgrounds having no cell phone service. The new Microsoft Windows 10 “passwordless” model would require I set up a PIN as an alternate, putting me right back in to the password model. I use complex passwords anyway so the Authenticator app mostly adds complexity to basic Windows desktop login without adding much additional security.

An easy way to create and remember a complex password is to remember a sentence or phrase from a movie – or some other phrase that is important to you.

To illustrate, consider the famous line “May the Force be with you” from Star Wars (I do not recommend you use this). Make your password be the first letters of each word:

MtFbwy

Now, make some obvious substitution like changing “Force” to the number 4.

Mt4bwy

Perhaps add some non-numeric characters such as

Mt4bwy#?

Again, do not use an obvious phrase like this one but pick a sentence that is meaningful to you. Then change some values such as converting the word “to” to 2, or the letter I to 1, and so on.

A phrase or sentence that is meaningful to you will make it easy to remember a complex password that otherwise looks like a sequence or random letters.

Also consider choosing a longer phrase than the example above. For example, “My mama always said life was like a box of chocolates.”

Mmaslwlaboc

Then look for simple substitutions to add numbers and symbols.

As long as you do not re-use your password on multiple accounts and services, you do not actually need to periodically change your password. If you use the same or similar passwords elsewhere, then you should periodically change passwords in case those accounts are compromised in a security breach.

For critical accounts – including those with access to your email, or access to financial accounts (banks, brokerages), or to retailers where you have saved a credit card, you should set up 2-factor Authentication that relies (ideally) on an authentication app or SMS confirmation (less secure). Additionally, if your telephone service provider enables you to set up a separate PIN for account modifications, do that. Some hackers figured out ways to change your cellular service provider account to redirect SMS messages – but the additional account PIN can stop that too.

Probably not: iPhone 13 video calls while at sea?

If the latest speculation from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is true, it means you could make calls from the mountain or do video chats while at sea.

Source: Analyst: iPhone 13 may be a satellite phone | Computerworld

Current service plans range up to $200/month for sat phone service, and offer voice capabilities. And currently, GlobalStar does not really service ocean coverage.

Perhaps a limited text message service, via iPhone 13, similar to how Garmin InReach communicators work over the Iridium network. But “video chats while at sea” from a handheld iPhone 13? Doubt it.