Uber’s Chickens Are Coming Home to Roost


Uber appears to be stepping into a steaming pile. First came revelations from Sarah Fowler that forced out apparent uber-harrasser Amit Singhal. Next it was revealed that they refused to pay a $150 permit to test self-driving cars in California (really, who DOESN’T want to cover their ass over something that could go horribly, horribly wrong?), and the self-driving technology itself is the subject of a lawsuit filed against them by Alphabet-owned Waymo.

I think Lyft heard the rumors, and moved on it with their commercial that was released this past December.

Alison Griswald at Quartz also sums it up nicely: “Corporate values were always an afterthought for Uber.”


Tesla’s Grandiose Plans

If a problem cannot be solved, enlarge it. – Dwight D. Eisenhower

In the Tesla analyst’s call yesterday, Musk spent time discussing future plans. Underpinning these plans, and something I have been pondering for quite some time, is Elon’s conviction of concentrating efforts on “building the machines that builds the machines”.

Teslerati’s Kyle has a good rundown on the plans. A few excerpts:

The addition of newly minted Tesla Solar production to the Gigafactory model means Tesla will be producing all three of its core product families – Motors, Energy and Solar – in a single factory footprint. Vetting this concept out in Gigafactory 2 will provide a nice blueprint for future Gigafactories as Tesla looks beyond the borders of the U.S. towards international expansion.

Can these devices be designed and built to be so flexible as to be able to build anything? Musk thinks there are orders of magnitude of improvement yet to come from automation and robotics.

Gigafactories 3, 4, and 5:

Tesla casually dropped news that the locations of Gigafactory 3, 4 and possibly 5 would be finalized later this year. The obvious location for #3 is Europe with strong Tesla vehicle sales in the region supported by an ever growing fleet of Superchargers in the area.

To put a final point on the ability to think big, Kyle sums up with this:

Building on just the core need for batteries, a modular Gigafactory allows Tesla to move its production into a region in a single step, establishing local supply chains for raw materials while also cutting costs on shipping batteries, vehicles and solar products at the same time. Batteries and cars are not cheap to ship and this move makes sense on many levels.

Great summary.

I’m thinking at this point, Elon Musk is the machine that builds the machines that builds the machines.

SpaceX to Launch Today from Vandenberg, 11:54:34am CST

In it’s first attempt to launch since the catastrophic launchpad explosion at Canaveral on September 1, 2016, SpaceX is set to launch today from Vandenberg AFB.

The Falcon 9 rocket is lifting and placing 10 (each the size of a Mini Cooper) Iridium satellites into low-Earth orbit. This is the first of 7 launches to eventually place at least 70 Iridium satellites into orbit, updating the original satellites from 20 years ago. From SpaceX’s press kit, “The process of replacing the satellites one-by-one in a constellation of this size and scale has never been completed before.”

SpaceX has another objective as well: returning the first stage to Earth intact by landing it on “Just Read the Instructions”, a droneship in the Pacific Ocean.


The launch can be watched on the official SpaceX site,


Apple Moves Into TV and Movies

From Business Insider, from a Wall Street Journal report (paywall):

Apple is preparing for a major push into original video content, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal — a move that could ultimately set it on a collision course with the likes of Netflix and Amazon.

What a terrific strategic move by Apple. With their enormous cash reserves, Apple can easily have a few misses and be very profitable in this niche. Apple’s unique culture should lend itself very well to entertainment production.

Add in improvements to Siri, Apple TV, and the rumored Echo/Alexa competitor, and Apple will be able to catch-up and challenge Amazon in the space.

This has me more excited about Apple than anything else in the rumor mill.


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Fixing LastPass with Safari Binary Install

Speaking of annoying tech problems, LastPass has been thwarting me ever since I received a new MacBook. It was unusable with Safari. LastPass worked fine with Chrome (eats too much battery) and Firefox (leaks too much memory), but no matter how many times I uninstalled and re-installed it, the binary component failed to load.

What is tragic is that the version has not been updated since May 2016, and the problem is a very simple fix, and presumably, a very easy update to the LastPass Installer. Zero help from LastPass tech support, even though we are an Enterprise user. Fortunately, a user figured it out.

The symptoms: In Safari, the LastPass plugin would not display “Copy Password” or “Copy User” and it did not have the icons to do so. Here are some images and fix: http://imgur.com/gallery/40dv9

More details can be found here and here.

Once you have it all straightened out, if you go to More Option -> About LastPass, if should show the Binary Component: true (Helper App): 

Doesn’t require too much technical skill, but don’t expect help from LastPass.



Fix Pressing Twice in Safari to Search

This is very annoying. I decided to do a clean install for my new MacBook, so some other tweaks that I apparently had from years before were lost. I guess.

But, one of the things that was very annoying on the new MacBook was that when I searched from the address bar, Safari was requiring me to press Enter twice. I was used to pressing it once.

Here is the fix:

Go to Safari Preferences, Search and disable “Include search engine suggestions”.

Presto, fixo!


Cord to Enter Production?

From The Truth About Cars, comes a report that the Cord brand maybe be resurrected. The 810 and 812 (“coffin-nose”) models are arguably some of the most beautiful cars ever made.

“…Craig Corbell, a Houston oil industry consultant and Cord aficionado, hopes to start production of new Cords.”

“…it is the iconic 810 model of 1936 that most enthusiasts associate with the brand. Featuring a low-slung, running board-free body, “coffin nose” prow and flip-up headlamps, the 810 (and 812 of 1937) remains a standout in the world of automobile styling.”

“…Corbell wants to have a display vehicle ready for the fall of 2017.”

Must be yellow:


Cooper Clinic Blocks VPN Connections?

vpnbrokenSo I have two VPNs that i regularly use. A Kirkham Systems one that flows through our office, and PIA which serves me well.

Thought I might do a little work while getting a dose of rust juice, but no, the Guest WiFi blocks VPN connections. Since I cannot risk client data being exposed over an open connection, can’t use the network.

Can someone explain the business case for blocking VPNs on a guest network? Seriously. Would really like to know.

S1:E7, John Jeter, Fort Smith Symphony

johnjeterJohn is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the Hartt School of Music with a degree in Music Theory and Piano, and graduated with distinction from Butler University’s Jordan College of Fine Arts with a master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting.
John has been serving as the Music Director for the Fort Smith Symphony for 20 years, and along with the musicians, staff, board of directors and community, he has led a transformation of a small community symphony to a large fully professional regional orchestra.
John and the orchestra has received the League of American Orchestras’ Helen M. Thompson Award; the Mayor’s Achievement Award, and the Mayor’s Civic Center Award for the Performing Arts. John is the recipient of the 2012 Governor’s Arts Award “Individual Artist Award.”
Simply a great show. We talk music of course, but also the planning logistics of creating the shows, the travel of musicians, importance of attention to detail, how John got his start, and art. Some World War I & II stuff is thrown in as well.
Cleveland Orchestra: Website, Wikipedia
Berlin Philharmonic: Website, Wikipedia
League of American Orchestras: Website, Wikipedia

Music and Composers (this is just a few we discussed):

Stairway to Heaven, by Led Zeppelin
Moonlight Sonata, Ludwig von Beethoven: Wikipedia
Best of Verdi (150 minutes!), Giuseppe Verdi: Wikipedia
Carlo di Borgogna, Giovanni Pacini: Wikipedia
Flute Concerto, Christopher Rouse, Wikipedia
Sinfonietta, Jose Pablo Monkayo, Wikipedia
West Side Story, Leonard Bernstein, Wikipedia
Dog Day Blues, Byron Stripling, Wikipedia


Extreme Orchestra Opening Night – documentary (this is about John and the Fort Smith Symphony)



Mano Zeigler, Rocket Fighter, about the ME 163 Komet