Make your time.
I never quite get over it. It is hard to describe. It is not driving exactly. It’s not really about transportation for me, though I do need to get from A to B periodically. In the software and hardware of online communications, we used to call it “juice.” It was the feeling you got when something worked and all of a sudden you were looped through six different machines around the world making packets spin at your command and realizing the distance covered. Today so old hat we don’t even think about it. One web site in China and another in Portugal is all in an instant’s work. But I remember being so excited I thought I was facing cranial detonation in a very immediate sense. My heart would actually race and my temples pound with a sense of “future-rush”.
I once logged into my BBS and dropped through a door to a TELNET command line. I telneted to a system at Case Western University, logged in there, and telnetted BACK to my BBS. Logged in and dropped to the TELNET command line and telnetted to another system in California. Logged in there and telnetted back to my BBS. Logged in and dropped to the telnet command line and telnetted University of Champaign-Urbanna and logged in. In this fashion I “looped” up about six different hosts on the Internet. Uselessly transmitting the same packets through all those loops with every keypress. An idiotic exercise to entertain the feeble minded. But it actually caused my vision to narrow and the blood to rush to my head. I thought I would lose consciousness I was so excited. All of this through the very first 28.8 kbps modem to link to the Internet, and Dennis Hayes standing right there next to me – suitably impressed. Just shoot me. It doesn’t get much better than that. A hacked up version of KA9Q, a modem, and thou. The perfect moment – all since mere denouement. An instant glimpse of the green flash of paradise. Juice.
I would rise and gird to fight at five A.M each and every day granted the remainder of my life, falling into bed exhausted at 10:00 PM and up several times during the night, just for another glimpse. And so I do. I don’t need money. I don’t need fame. I don’t need my family. I don’t even have a dog. I need a camel cigarette and just ONE MORE of those moments.
ONE MORE never quite does it. Venomously addictive – both the cigarettes and the juice. And if you combine it with an expressed focus on disenfranchising the powerful and the smug, who coyly victimize so many with such apparent delight, and in disregard for the good of any and all in pursuit of the holy ducat, I cannot adequately express either the pain or the joy of being Jack Rickard for a single day. I would neither wish it on, nor deny it to, any – friend or foe.
So perhaps you will understand my tone deafness to both strong praise from adherents and venomous personal attacks from the bitterly small and envious extant on the Internet in these strange days. They recede to background noise – a low thrum barely detectable.
The technology we so casually hold in our hands is essentially indistinguishable from magic. Try this. Take your electric car and drive it hard for an hour, then pull into the garage. Get out of the vehicle and place your hands on the batteries. Now visualize lithium ions seeking home – seething, almost hissing, a very slow controlled burn in thousands of pages of copper and aluminum with no moving parts at all. Enough power to move a ton of mass 100 miles and at speeds of 100 mph at your command. Sheaves of blackened copper and aluminum – pressed into a book and “cooking” both during charge and discharge. No moving parts. No sloshing chemicals. The closest physical analogue would be a book. Many pages bound into a square. But capable of immense power in an instant.
A similar moment this week while surrounding and dominating a stupid golf cart. I don’t even play golf. But on top, a piece of PLASTIC 3 mm thick weighing six pounds. Flopping around on top of the golf cart. Before me, silently and with no detectable activity lacking a multimeter, which we did not lack as it turns out. And it was converting feeble sunlight into electric potential and current flow, directly into one of those batteries. Silently. No moving parts. No smells. No indication at all. Just numbers ticking on a multimeter display. But again a head rush. The vision narrows and the temples pound. The meaning and the implications unfolding into the future in a time lapse view of a thermonuclear explosion. Billions of people. Billions of animals and plants. All interwoven and interconnected and changed forever, their destinies altered irrecoverably, by a flopping piece of cheap acrylic with black spots on it. Two dangling wires. Could it be? Am I imagining this? Delusional?
What to do with this? CAFE standards? ZEV credits? The holy business model of the Utility Companies? Moronic missives generated by eager writers who would write anything for cash from the oil companies. Auto dealers fearing a percentage decline in revenues. Government officials pondering and angling for how to get money out of it – for the good of the people of course. An army of wannabe journalists grappling with it vainly.
Brian and Julie. A presposterous dream of a solar road that simply can never be. And 50,000 willing to part with hard earned lucre to join in the dream if only for a few moments.
In the search for the magnet motor and the quest beyond unity, in a world of solar panels and lithium batteries, how to delineate real magic from improbable magic? With a background roar of these swarming noisy Luddites and opportunists. The frustration is spoiling my moment.
Is there no way to communicate this? Will I pass this earth with the secret locked?
We are all interconnected. Hard-wired together in a vast and beautiful tapestry that exceeds and escapes the event horizon in all directions. We have magic bricks and magic straw in our hands already. Furiously searching for them won’t help. Like ruby slippers. They were here all along. The challenge is learning to use them. There’s no place like home… there’s no place like home… there’s no place….
So protect your IP. Clench your “secrets” to your quaivering grasping chest. Hoard your ducats. Be careful where you step. It’s important to get funding. We only sell to OEMs. There are liability concerns. What about safety? Well to wheels. Carbon tax. Melting icecrap. Global whining…
It’s true, I don’t know what Elon Musk REALLY means or intends. He said they were open sourcing the car. But he has been given to grandiose statements and even demonstrations (90 second battery swap anyone) that don’t quite pan out. In practice, they’ve been the most secretive automaker ever. They are still the only one that doesn’t even report their monthly sales figures. What did he mean? All Our Patents Are Belong to You? Open source? Kind of hard to tell. He got a lot of people excited, a lot of press, and bumped the stock price. Mission accomplished.
The Tesla has at least FOUR CAN bus’s to deal with. It is quite complicated. There is NO published information. On the other hand…I have one in the garage and Otmar is actually probing at the physics level on his. So a systematic program for US to open source the car should of course be applauded and even encouraged by Herr Musk, N’est ce pas? We can only dream he might throw us a frigging bone now and again. Don’t hold your breath….
Yesterday afternoon another ONE MORE moment. Both Mark Weisheimer and myself achieved controlled shaft turn on the UQM Powerphase 100 motor. As Mark says, smooth as buttah… My thanks to Brian Hall, Collin Kidder, and all who participated in the quest. I’m still reeling and dazed. Cranial detonation. Another cigarette. I’ll be ok. Steady there big guy. Stay with us for the long term…
We approach EVCCON 2014. I have been remiss in preparations and specifically in promoting this event. I’m busy. You should come. I have to hope that covers it. Mr. Collin Kidder, the Alan Turing of the UQM hack project, will be presenting a session on REVERSE ENGINEERING OEM EV HARDWARE FOR FUN OR PROFIT. Hopefully this will lead to some birds of a feather side sessions to map future attack strategies to OUT the OEMs and their suppliers. EV Hackerthon to wit..
Brian Noto, preoccupied with his finger, has nonetheless come up with a fascinating idea. We have a “kit” for the Smart car and a build we’ve never done. WE have new batteries that might even fit in the included battery box. And we have a bunch of attendees that don’t really care about the sessions. They like the shop time. So we are considering just putting the car and components in a pile and turning them loose on it. The event opens up on Tuesday evening with a meet and greet ice breaker reception at 5:00 PM with drinks and appetizers. That never seems to faze the group that starts trickling in on the SUNDAY before the event. So it might give em something to do anyway. We can’t count on Jason breaking his car every year. Sooner or later it is just going to work for him.
In this week’s episode we discuss Toyota’s fascination with fuel cell cars, but advertising in Japan of plug-in hybrids. Little mystery here actually. For some absurd reason, California awards a multiple of ZEV credits to hydrogen powered cars to those awarded battery electric vehicles. Hydrogen has such heroic logistic and economic hurdles that I guess it’s another one of those things I just don’t understand. But I gather Toyota doesn’t care. THey get about $130,000 in ZEV credits for each fuel cell car they sell or lease. But in Japan they are touting the plug-in nature of their hybrids. And apparently dozens of teenage mutant ninja girls are buying into this. It looks like thousands of them are singing, dancing, and plugging in.
Al Gore resurfaces in the Rolling Stone with a fascinating manifesto on the encouraging increase in alternative energy, and a looming battle with the government and utility companies over your right to make your own electricity.
Anne Kloopenborg of EVTV.EU invents the Beer Cooler battery and shows us how frog gigging is done in Amsterdam, which I’ve always been curious about. It appears a phone call from mama cut his session short. But we also get a glimpse of the U.S. bound version of Delta which we will hopefully incorporate a UQM Powerphase motor and the new CAM series of smaller, lighter, more powerful cells to produce a boat of never before seen electric nature.
I fawn over a Harley Davidson belt drive for the Atlanta Boat Works Aristocraft runabout that even with the pieces of a brand new drive in front of me, I clearly have no idea how it even works. Mechanical things being a bit beyond my pay grade apparently. Anyone care to come to Cape and figure out how to drive this thing? Jeff?
I really believe we have an opportunity here to plow new ground with the Aristocraft and Delta. It’s the batteries. It’s always the batteries. We have 200 of the first CAM series received in May – ok some have already been sold but we have more on the way. I think they are a game changer and the boats are how to demonstrate that. I think we’ll see unheard of range and performance for an electric boat, simply by increasing the power and reducing the weight and volume of the battery packs. The UQM motor is already pretty much the driver of choice in electric boating. But no one has a done a boat with these cells.
I have visions of this culminating in an ANNUAL English Channel crossing with EVCCONS at both ends in Calais and in Dover. Or perhaps one in Dover. And the next year in Calais. Or something. I know we have a lot of viewers in Europe – nearly 40% of our viewership in fact. And the interest in electric boating is intense.
And Harley Davidson chimes in with a concept bike road show that actually looks like an electric motorcycle to my eye, and sounds remarkably like an F-18 Hornet. Again, we view motorcycle riding as a selfless act of public service and encourage everyone to get a motorcycle and ride electric – preferably with the wind in your hair and no helmet. Organ donations desparately needed.
I got a lot of juice out of watching that shaft turn in a very smooth controlled fashion yesterday. I have to tell you it was a LOT of juice. And I’m furiously noodling a small course correction for EVTV. What would it look like if we actually officially formed a HACK TEAM and attacked an electric vehicle with a focused purpose. To make it actually BE open source like it or not. I tossed out the concept of a LEAF vehicle and it is an attractive notion in that it would be relatively easy and it will offer the largest quantity of components at the least expense in the salvage world.
The problem is, I don’t feel the first stirrings of the blood rush when pondering the Leaf. It’s actually a nice little electric car. And we could actually benefit it. I can see an add-on pack to take it to 120 mile range. It already has CHADEMO. There’s a lot to recommend it.
I was at one time a golfer. Not a very good one. But in a past life, on hiatus and trying to enjoy new found wealth I found myself on a sunny afternoon at the eighth hole of the Pebble Beach Golf Course This is a longish 427 yard par 4 high up next to the ocean. Breathtaking view. I pushed a nice 240 yard drive slightly right and found myself at the edge of a precipice next to the ocean cliff, looking over a huge yawning chasm of broken rock and ocean at a tiny green far below. Brain was with me along with an ad salesman from Boardwatch named Bill. We were walking the course with caddies. My caddy strongly insisted that the appropriate shot was a well placed iron layup to the left safe side of the course and then up to the green. Brian and Bill both agreed it was the only sane shot.
I yanked a Tailormade 3-wood out of the bag, stepped up to the ball to hit it straight over the cliff toward the green. They all scrambled to stop me. “Don’t do it! Take the layup”. I shook them off, stiffed it on a line and layed it right in front of the green.
“You ain’t that good.” Brain said. “You just aren’t that good. How did you know you could make that shot?”
“I didn’t know a damn thing Brain. All I know is I didn’t come all the way to Pebble Freaking Beach to LAY FREAKIN UP.”
Now lets see. Who makes the BEST electric car in the world circa June 2014? I suppose that argument could be had in a lot of different ways. As George Carlin says, “Consider the average intelligence of the average person in the United States. Now consider that half the population isnt’ that smart.” Morons aside it would probably be the TESLA MODEL S at this point. And if you WERE to devote any of YOUR time and treasure to joining a reverse engineering team, wearing the shirt and walking the walk, which team would YOU want to be on? The layup team? Or the shot at the green.
What if there were a book – an actual paper published book – updated annually and available in print and PDF. This book is not how cool a car the Tesla is. Or how to get the most out of your Tesla. Or where to get cupholders from your Tesla. But actually diagrammed the air conditioning system and published both CAN data logs and sample code to CONTROL the a/c in the Tesla Model S. With chapters on the charging system, the BMS, the inverter/motor, Navigation Display, the entertainment system, down to the door handles and door locks. EPAS steering. Ride height adjustment. Etc. Hackers Guide to the Tesla Model S.
It would be an immense amount of work. I get kind of a weakness in the knees considering it. A chill actually. But in all modesty, I am absolutely best technical writer in the world. And Collin Kidder is NOT alright. He has a peculiar ability to obsess on a coding puzzle that is just not ok. He needs some serious help. Mark Weisheimer is nearing retirement. And Jeff Southern really doesn’t have enough to do either actually. Otmar is already on point. And we have many many other viewers who have a tendency to sit on the fence and watch with a lot of talent ill used or partially used.
But if we DID pull it off, even mostly, wouldn’t it be cool to wear THAT freaking T-shirt. TESLA MODEL S HACK TEAM
We would of course do it in good faith and using proper reverse-engineering principles.
Anyway, just something to think about. I could sure use ONE MORE MOMENT IN TIME. And maybe a Camel.
ALL YOUR HARDWARE ARE BELONG TO US. YOU HAVE NO CHANCE TO SURVIVE… MAKE YOUR TIME.