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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

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Tesla’s self-driving fleet of Robotaxis

Fred Lambert, writing for Electrek:

As part of Tesla’s presentations about their progress toward full self-driving, the automaker unveiled its ‘Robotaxi’ plan for a self-driving ride-sharing network with its electric cars to be activated as soon as next year with an over-the-air software update.

I called this in my prediction time capsule back in 2017. At that time, I wrote:

And I also believe there will be small fleets running in select cities for Lyft, Uber, and I believe Tesla will have a ride-share platform by this point. Also, don’t be surprised if Apple does too.

On-demand self-driving cars are the future of transportation in much of the US. The US simply isn’t investing heavily enough in mass public transit and much of the geography demands we have cars. I predicted this type of fleet would be in place by 2026 but it looks like it may have its first usage as early as next year.

It is worth watching Tesla’s presentation stream. It is information dense and, as with all presentations by Elon, very disjointed but exciting nonetheless. Especially their chip technology.

Xamarin videos, now on YouTube

Me, 17-minutes into an audio bit in 2017 (paraphrasing):

If you go onto YouTube search for a problem you’re having for Xcode and Swift you’ll find 15 well-produced videos to solve your problem. […] But you won’t find 15 well-produced videos with Visual Studio + C# (or Xamarin).

For the last few years I’ve thought that Microsoft needs a much larger presence on YouTube (in addition to Channel9). They also need other developers that make these sorts of videos to do them as well. I’ve long thought they should directly sponsor a series of videos from Lets Build That App’s Brian Voong.

But, perhaps this new channel will help.

I took a few minutes to watch some reactions to the teaser trailer for The Rise of Skywalker at lunch. I expected positive reactions but I’d say this teaser was off the charts.

My interpretations of announcements by Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter

Apple pre-announcing something: “We’re excited to get this in customer’s hands late next year”. My interpretation: “We never pre-announce things. Why are we doing this? We’re terrible at it. In fact, we make fun of other companies for doing it! Steve Jobs would never allow this! (mostly) We must be doing this because some group of people is really angry with us. Oh, and this product will likely never ship and we’ll tell you about it after the market closes on a Friday”

Apple reassuring their customer base of an upcoming update (read: late in whatever next year is) to a beloved product by a small set of people: “We love the Mac”. My interpretation: “Crickts.” (E key didn’t work)

Apple announcing something that is available today: “We think our customers will love it. Available today. $PremiumPrice”. My interpretation: “Yes, other companies have tried to build this. Yes, our’s is much better in nearly every way. We’ve perfected it. And it is made of diamond and leather and unobtainium. Hence the price. Enjoy.”

Facebook, calling a mea culpa: “We didn’t intend for this to happen. And it happened only to # of users.” My interpretation: “We totally intended for this to happen. We just didn’t intend to get caught. But I don’t know why because we ALWAYS get caught. Oh, and it actually happened to many multiples of # of users. You’ll find that out in a few days.”

Facebook announcing something: “We are connecting people all over the world.” My interpretation: “Our massive drones are really to collect even more information about people than we already collect and sell to that information to people we say we won’t sell information to. Oh, and to misinform people about just about every topic possible.”

Google announcing something: “Here is our brand new cloud-based service that is free to use” My interpretation: “Here is our thing. We consider it beta but it is actually pretty good. Go ahead and use it. Fall in love with it. The moment you come to depend on it we’ll shut it down because we only make money on Google Ads. But you knew that and you fell for it anyway!”

Bonus: Microsoft, announcing a new cloud-based service. “Containers! Buzzword acronym, buzzword seamless integration acronym, buzzword, Kubernetes Docker.” My interpretation: “There are organizations in the world that pay Microsoft incredible amounts of money to license Windows on sub-par hardware, to use Windows Server to manage web applications and services that use far too much RAM, and to use Azure (which is actually quite amazing) to do literally anything they ask it to do.”

Bonus: Twitter announcing a much needed feature. Wait, Twitter hasn’t built any much needed features since 2008.

Repost: Brent Simmons on RSS readers

👉 Brent Simmons:

Any time someone writes that they “still use an RSS reader,” I think to myself: I still use a web browser. I still use email and still send text messages. I still make sentences out of words. I still wear shoes.

No need for the “still” word.

See other reposts.

Lots of vitriol spewed at the Samsung Galaxy Fold. Yes, they should have just called it a working prototype. But I applaud them for pushing into new areas rather than simply copying others.

On blog search engines

Brent Simmons has been reminiscing about blog search engines and writing down some ideas for how one could be made today.

Something he wrote sparked a memory.

Instead of having it crawl blogs, I’d have it download and index RSS feeds. This should be cheaper than crawling pages, and it ensures that it skips indexing page junk (navigation and so on).

In 2005 or so, for 9rules I had built this exact feature. I scheduled a script to run every hour or so to poll all of the blogs in the 9rules Network (which, at its peak was hundreds of web sites). I did so before ever knowing about scaling something like this. Today it would be so much easier and cost effective to build something like this that could scale to hundreds of thousands of feeds without much effort or funding.

Like Brent I miss the days of Technorati and its ilk. It gave us a window into what people were writing about. It gave us a back channel to people’s thoughts on topics we enjoyed. These days, I suppose, you can search for “Star Wars” on Twitter to see what people are saying about last week’s announcements. But it doesn’t feel the same.

Also, these days, I don’t even know what a blog is! Is The Verge not a blog? Is the WSJ not kinda-sorta a blog? Perhaps that is why even Google removed the blog-only search. Because so many things are blogs now.

It is fun to think about. But, like Brent I too am busy with side projects.

Chris Coleman breaks down The Rise of Skywalker teaser trailer

Chris Coleman, on precedent for Darth Sidious making an appearance in Episode IX:

That doesn’t mean that Dark Side users are completely out of luck. The Dark Side is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural. There are at least two recent examples where followers of the Dark Side were able to have some limited form of life after death.

A good read and breakdown. Glad Chris’s blog is back for this last-go-round in the Skywalker saga.

My happy place lately. Learning to fish is more nuanced than first glance but I’ve been enjoying every frustrating lesson.

Lackawanna River at sunset.