Category Archives: New Tech

Tesla may be bringing the solution to effective alternative power sooner than you think.

We hear so much about the growth of solar and wind power as alternative energy sources, but they both have a downside.  They aren’t always “on”.  When the wind does not blow or the sun sets, alternative sources of power must be brought online.  Sadly, in some areas, this mean coal fired power plants often negating the positive aspects of the wind or sun.  The problem is how to store electricity for times these power sources won’t work.  There have been some intersting solutions.  In one place, I’ve heard that the power from the windmills and solar panels is used to pump water up to a resevior at the top of a mountain.  Then, when they are not available, the water is allowed to flow down through pipes and generate electricity through turbines.  This is an interesting  but the scale and cost is such that it’s not that viable,

Enter our good friend, Elon Musk, creator of the Tesla electric car and Space X.   His latest effort is the creation of smaller battery systems designed to store electricity for a single house.  When the wind or sun aren’t available, just switch to the batteries.   This idea can work and it’s going to be with us very soon.  

The interesting difference on this is the scale.  If you wanted to use batteries to store enough electricity to power a  large city or even a smaller town, the cost would be prohibitive.  But, using what Musk has learned from the battery systems for his Tesla carts, building a smaller battery pack that would work for a house is very realistic.  Couple this with advances in fuel cells that would also work at this scale, and power companies should start getting very nervous.  

More reading:

  1. Why Tesla’s battery for home should terrify utilities
  2. Tesla home battery on the way
  3. Tesla home battery to drive millions of the grid soon

3 Weeks with the iPhone 6 Plus

I've now had my iPhone 6 Plus for almost 3 weeks. Do I have buyers remorse? NO WAY! Oh, its definitely NOT the phone for everybody. In fact, I'm surprised that it is so incredibly popular. I feal that ultimately a good number of those who rushed out to get one may end up having real doubts in the end. Let's take a look at where I stand on this beast.

The Bad

  1. First, the size. Yes, it does have a fabulous HUGE screen that is very high res. Yes, movies look great. But the damned thing is giant. It doesn't fit into regular pockets well. Put it in your shirt pocket and it sticks out. Put it in your front pant's pocket and it may also stick out but is definitely not comfortable to sit with. Put it in your rear pocket…well..though the “bendgate” was way overblown, it's still not a good idea. I'm lucky. I wear cargo pants (yes, I know I look like a geek…but I have no problem with that) but they work fine.
  2. Second, the size. OK, if what you use your phone for is making phone calls, and you don't have a headset or have the ability to use a speaker phone, putting this monster against your ear makes me feel a little like trying to make a phone call with the iPad. Unless your head the size of the Frankenstein monster, you will look pretty dorky.
  3. Third, the size. Unless you have big hands…and I mean BIG, using the phone with one hand is really tough. Apple has made a real effort to offer little tweaks to the display to compensate for the size of the screne but it's still inelegant. My hands are considered pretty large, and though I can reach most things, I usually use 2 hands.
  4. Fourth, the siz…GOT YA. Well, it is the the size of the memory. If you get the 128 Gig memory option, apparently there is a problem where the phone goes into eternal reboot. Now, I have this model and it's never happened to me, but Apple is concerned enough to have changed a chip in the phones being manufactered currently and, if your phone suddenly starts throwing fits, you can swap your phone for one with the new chip by visiting a Genius Bar near. It's not really a problem now, but something that shouldn't have happened in the first place.

OK, so what's to like?


  1. FIrst, the Size. OK…OK…I know I'm a big obcessive with the size of the damned thing, but as much as it's a negative, for the right user, it's a huge positive. Having all that real estate is really nice. And, as app makers start adapting their apps to this larger space, you'll find it more and more useful. I'm not ready to ditch my iPad, but this thing really is useful.
  2. The Camera. It is the same camera with pretty much all the same features as the smaller iPhone 6, but it has optical motion supression. The smaller one uses digital, which means it oversizes the image captured, then moves it DIGITALLY to compensate for movement. It works fine overall, but the oversizing means you end up losing information and resolution. With optical, there is actually a lens assembly that moves dynamically. This means you lose no information and you can get lower light pictures much better. In a real test, I drove around with the camera shooting out the window of my car. Normally, even on a smooth road, you'd end up with a pretty awful looking video. But with the optical suppression, it honestly looked like it was shot on a motion picture dolly. Couple that with slomo and WOW!
  3. The battery. The larger size means that there is a larger battery. Now, I'm going to be honest. I can drain this battery in a day on mine and so have a charge case for it, but I don't have to turn it on until VERY late. WIth my old iPhone 5, I used the case early in the afternoon and knew it would be touch and go in the evening.
  4. The screen. There is no doubt. The screen is AMAZING! I mean TRUE 1080p HDTV on par with anything you'd see on a big screen….accept the big screen. No, you can't dump you TV but it's still amazing for watching movies. The sound is good as well, though use the headphones (or get some really good ones) or you'll drive those sitting around you nuts. Oh, and be prepared for everbody to come up and want to see it.
In the end, FOR THE RIGHT USER, the iPhone 6 Plus is great. IF you use your phone more for running apps, surfing the net, shooting image/video, and watching movies, this is THE phonoe to have. On the other hand, if you use your phone as a phone (how BOOOORING!) get the regular iPhone 6. You won't be happy with this.