Feature Friday: Brights At Night

The best features are the ones that you discover on your own and say “wow, that’s amazing.”

That happened to me last weekend.

We were coming back from dinner at night and the Gotham Gal was driving our Tesla.

She had the brights on and as another car came into view coming toward us, the Tesla automatically switched the brights to normal.

Then as the car passed, the Tesla switched back to bright.

I don’t know how long Tesla has had this feature on its cars. But I noticed it for the first time last weekend.

It’s such a simple thing. It’s not that hard to swap the brights on and off as you drive at night.

But having your car do it for you is better.

It is a great feature.

#Random Posts

Comments (Archived):

  1. sigmaalgebra

    Google some:Athttp://www.popularmechanics…isDec 23, 2013Carchaeology: 1952 Oldsmobile and the First Headlight DimmerAlong with Cadillac, Oldsmobile introduced the idea of an automatic headlight dimmer back in the early 50s, when GM called it the Autronic Eye.Gee, good to see that Musk’s highly advanced 21st Century Tesla has finally caught up with a 1952 Olds. Amazing. Will really advanced wonders never cease? I’m semi-, pseudo-, quasi-amazed.I wonder why GM, etc. no longer offer the option? Could it be that just a simple photocell aimed in roughly the right direction is not really enough to do a good job on headlight dimming?Now if Musk can only find a way to charge the Tesla battery in five minutes using 115 V through a two conductor AWG 20 lamp cord!Sure, a series wound electric motor has, taking the basic E&M math literally, infinite torque at 0 RPM. So, right, especially with four wheel drive can get ludicrous standing start and low speed acceleration.But for that battery, a good way to charge it would be an on-board engine. One of the most efficient and reliable is a gas turbine; one with a centrifugal compressor and turbine can be plenty efficient and can be nicely reliable and relatively inexpensive if use ceramic parts instead of high end metals.A problem with such an engine is that it works well at essentially only one power setting, but if use it only to charge a battery, that’s not bad. So, a 200 HP turbine should be fine — let it charge the battery.For any Tesla owners who want to pull a long trailer up the Rockies at 80 MPH, maybe offer a 500 HP turbine, plus a 30 HP turbine for city driving!And wouldn’t need such a big battery.But, then, would be burning fossil fuels, and that’s politically incorrect and evil, would cause global something or other, right?So, right, better to charge from the grid fed by coal and natural gas — oops. Fed by nuclear fission? No way! The US de facto Secretary of Energy, Miss China Syndrome herself, Jane Fonda says that nukes are evil.So, it’s hydro-power from Canada or wind and solar? But for feeding the grid, wind and solar need storage, and so far that’s expensive. Oh, oh, how difficult it is not to be evil!

    1. LE

      But for that battery, a good way to charge it would be an on-board engine. One of the most efficient and reliable is a gas turbine; one with a centrifugal compressor and turbine can be plenty efficient and can be nicely reliable and relatively inexpensive if use ceramic parts instead of high end metals.I’ve often wondered why there aren’t mobile charging stations. That is the charger comes to you. Not for everyday cost effective situations but for outlier needs where somebody will pay more in a pinch. All could be summoned on a smartphone.For example someone is at a mall shopping (where there are no chargers or they are in use) and a roving truck comes and hooks ups and charges you. The charging device doesn’t have to be tied to the truck either. One truck could offload multiple pod chargers and service many people (1 labor unit). Pod chargers are charged overnight or by a generator on the truck. Very kluge but it would work.Higher cost but a way to deal with the anxiety of “what if I can’t charge and need a charge”. People will pay for relief from anxiety.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        Sure, a small charge for a Tesla could be easy.For a big charge, I don’t have all the arithmetic on KWh for a Tesla in front of me, but for driving a Tesla two hours, say, with power steering, A/C, that’s ballpark 70 HP for 120 minutes.So, to charge in 12 minutes that would be at least 10 * 70 = 700 HP. So, need more than a portable battery pack — instead need a Chevy big block, 454 or 572 cubic inches at 5000 RPM with inter-cooling and 20 PSI of boost or, say, need a gas turbine.Maybe I’m off by a factor of 2 too big — so, it’s 350 HP, and that’s still a standard Corvette engine, full power, for 12 minutes. Again, it’s no battery pack.Or, just rent the stranded Tesla owner a special trailer with, say, a 100 HP engine driving an electric generator; let that take the Tesla owner to the next charging station where then they can draw megawatts from the grid and return the trailer. right, to the trailer rental office near the charging station.Lesson 1: Mother Nature has a law, the law of conservation of energy. Don’t try to violate it!Lesson 2: There’s a lot of energy in a 20 gallon tank of gasoline. An electric car needs ballpark the same amount of energy.Lesson 3: It’s much easier for emergency road service to pour in, say, five gallons of gasoline than the equivalent in battery charging.

        1. LE

          Let’s just say: Price quality speed pick any two. So in this case leave out price and just focus on “quality and speed”. To me one way or the other, and strictly as a stop gap measure, this type of things is on the dartboard of possibilities.Think about travel size portions of common household toiletries. They are more expensive but solve a particular problem that people will gladly pay for. Again, it’s no battery pack.Maybe precharged blocks could be dropped off and picked up so that they don’t require installation. Not saying this is cost effective delivery of power just that it gives the same assurance that 4 wheel drive does in the sense that it removes a potential anxiety. Of course Charlie has already told me such anxiety doesn’t exist.

          1. sigmaalgebra

            IIRC, the battery pack on a Tesla is some really thick floorboards under all the passenger compartment and weights ballpark 1000 pounds — from Google, “the Model S battery will be about 535-556 kg” and that’s 2.2 pounds per kg or535 * 2.2 = 1,177to556 * 2.2 = 1,223.2pounds. For a battery pack with 25% of the energy of a fully charged battery pack, say, comparable to 5 gallons of gasoline for a car with a 20 gallon tank, we’re still talking about ballpark 300 pounds. Can’t just put that on the back seat or in the trunk. We’re talking at least a trailer of some sort.I still like the 700 HP Chevy 572 big block with turbocharging and inter-cooling with 20 PSI of boost, especially if it is in my car!Of course, some Tesla owners would see this emergency charging engine, notice that it was running on gasoline, a fossil fuel, and prefer to walk!The centrifugal turbine would look a lot like a present, standard turbo-charger, the larger unit in:https://www.himni-racing.co…So, the dark colored end, at the back, is the hot side and takes in high pressure, hot gasses, maybe 1500 F, of the engine exhaust, adds it to the outer rim of a centrifugal disk, which lets the cooler, lower pressure gasses exit from the center of the centrifugal disk and out the back.That effort spins the shaft of the centrifugal disk at maybe 30,000 RPM.Attached to the other end of that shaft is the cold side, an air compressor, a similar centrifugal disk, also spinning at 30,000 RPM, which pulls cool air, say, 90 F, in at its center and throws it, compressed and significantly hotter, say, 300 F, off the outer rim of the disk and into a tube leading to an inter-cooler heat exchanger and then, say, at 120 F, on to the engine intake.To make an engine out of this, take the output of the cold side, the compressor, feed it to the center of the hot side, add some fuel, let the fuel burn and create much greater volume, but at slightly less pressure, and let the exhaust leave the hot side off the rim of the hot disk.The shaft would rotate at, say, 30,000 RPM and have power enough to drive both the compressor and also an electric generator.Centrifugal is the cheap way; generally turbines, e.g., fancy versions of household electric fans, work better but are more expensive.

          2. sigmaalgebra

            Good news! I found just what you want!It’s athttp://www.turbinemarine.co…and looks likehttp://www.turbinemarine.co…This puppy is on wheels, portable, compact, 12’L x 5’W x 7.5’H, and light weight, only 9000 pounds!It will run on darned near anything that will pour and burn, maybe paint thinner, 150 proof vodka, etc.!I has a little 1,475 HP military Lycoming T-53 gas turbine engine, first version from about 1950, long used in helicopters and turbo-prop airplanes, e.g., nowhttp://www.cameronaircraft….As a portable electric generator, it puts out 1.1 MW, and that should wake up a run down Tesla fairly quickly!To tow the puppy, get a Chevy Silverado 3500 HD Diesel Big Dually:http://www.chevrolet.com/co…and sit beside the road with your iPhone waiting for calls from desperate Tesla owners, maybe some with trophy wives out alone and really afraid!Uber for Run Down Teslas!Or, sure, just get a helicopter with the same engine, modify it to drive an electric generator when it is not flying, and just fly to the run down Teslas!

          3. sigmaalgebra

            That generator put out only 20 KW, i.e., about 27 HP. So to charge the battery pack on a Tesla enough for the Tesla to drive for, say, an hour, using 54 HP, might need to charge a Tesla with this little 20 KW thing for 2-3 hours.That time of 2-3 hours is why my posts keep talking hundreds of HP for charging a Tesla before the spouse files a missing persons report or the police insist that the car be towed from the side of the road.Without more arithmetic, the 1400 HP 1.1 MW puppy really is likely not overkill.Again, it’s the basic lesson of conservation of energy: A Tesla is a heavy car, with likely power steering and A/C. A car that heavy could make good use of the energy in a 20 gallon tank of gasoline, and that means that to charge a Tesla with a generator driven by a gasoline engine need to burn ballpark 20 gallons of gasoline. So, if want to charge a Tesla in 10 minutes, need a generator driven by a gasoline engine that can burn ballpark 20 gallons of gasoline in 10 minutes. That’s a powerful engine. Or, IIRC, a Veyron at full throttle, about 250 MPH, and about 1000 HP can go through its whole tank of gasoline in about 15 minutes.If want to give a full charge to a Tesla in, say, five minutes, then first-cut, intuitively, ballpark need an engine of 1000 HP plus or minus some.Or, what does a Tesla charging station provide? one MW? If so, then for equivalent roadside service need that 1400 HP, 9000 pound puppy I mentioned.Energy and PowerI will try to be more clear:There are positive electrical charges and negative electrical charges. Positive and negative charges attract each other. Positive charges repel each other; negative charges repel each other.The usual positive charges in our part of the galaxy are just protons in the nuclei of atoms, and the usual negative charges are the electrons that orbit around those nuclei. So, the electrons are attracted to the nuclei. The electrons don’t easily actually contact or combine with the nuclei because of some fundamental issues of that small scale in quantum mechanics.A lightening bolt is moving electrons. Electric current down a wire is also moving electrons. For a wire, push some electrons in one end, and some electrons will want to pop out the other end.If you accelerate an electron, in a straight line or in a circle, then it will give off radio waves, microwaves, visible light, X-rays, or gamma rays — all just photons of, call it, light.There is fundamental stuff called energy. It is conserved which means that go into a lab, add up all the forms of energy, do something, add again, and, presto, bingo, the before and after amounts of energy will be the same — conserved.Energy comes in many forms: Hit a baseball, and it has kinetic energy. Have the baseball hit a wall, and kinetic energy gets converted into heat energy in the wall and baseball.Push some electrons down a thin wire of tungsten, and the pushing will take energy, and that energy will be converted into heat in the tungsten. If the tungsten gets hot enough, then it will give up some of that heat energy as light — the wire will glow. Actually everything with temperature above absolute zero is radiating energy, and cooling off, all the time.The basic unit of energy is the Joule.If you transfer some energy in one second, then you have generated some of what is called power. If you move one Joule of energy in one second, then you have generated one Watt of power.Pushing on electrons in a wire is analogous to pressure on water in a pipe. The unit of such pressure is the Volt — electromagnetic force.The unit of number of electrons is the Coulomb, that is one Avogadro’s number of electrons. Of course, Avogadro’s number, 6.0221413e+23, is from chemistry. Then one Ampere is a flow of one Coulomb electrons in one second. So, if regard electric current as analogous to the flow of water, then an Ampere is analogous to the flow rate of water, say, in gallons per second.Generally in electricity,Watts = Volts times AmperesSo, since one Watt is one Joule per second, one Ampere of current flowing for one second with one Volt generates one Joule of energy.So, a 100 W light bulb on a 115 V circuit draws100/115 = 0.869,565Amperes.Horsepower is also a unit of power, like the Watt. Google says that one HP = 745.699872 Watts.A KW is a kilowatt or 1000 Watts.A MW is a megawatt or one million Watts.Commonly a house is connected to the grid at 240 Volts and at most 100 Amperes. So, the house would be able to use at most 24,000 Watts. So if you want to charge your Tesla with one MW, then can’t do that at home.Or the house can provide at most24,000 / 745.699872 = 32.184HP. So, if a Tesla uses about 32.184 HP and can run for two hours, then to charge the battery would take at least two hours with all the power in the house.If want to get the charging time from two hours down to five minutes, then would need( 120 / 5 ) * 24,000 = 576,000Watts of power, that is, the power of 24 houses, that is, a little over half that 9000 pound, 10 feet long, 1.1 MW puppy I mentioned.It’s a lot easier just to pump 20 gallons of gasoline. Yes, I believe that cars powered with gasoline or Diesel oil will win out over all electric cars.If we want to make gasoline, all it takes is carbon, water, and electric power. We can get the electric power from nukes, or, really, wind and solar (finally a good use for those two). I suspect that the US should plan to do this.

          4. LE

            Check out the video on the towable by the owner of the company:http://www.turbinemarine.co…I love things like this. And one of the unsung entrepreneurs with tremendous knowledge who has built a business that nobody ever gives any attention to.

  2. Donna Brewington White

    What, no question at the end?Will be fun to see what the gang does with this.

    1. Mac

      Donna, you do realize what time it is there?

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Well, as a matter of fact, Mac, I do. πŸ˜‰

        1. Mac

          Ok. Now I am concerned about you.

  3. Salt Shaker

    Friday Night Lights

  4. awaldstein

    The greatest advantage of starting simple and focused with design is that you have the opportunity to discover what the market wants.With cars this is harder as they are complex by nature. With online and physical design this is key.

    1. Jess Bachman

      Yeah.. there is a world of difference from hitting a bullseye with a car, and hitting a bullseye with some software you can constantly A/B test.

      1. LE

        Software features don’t require retooling and dies. The other thing is software companies are able to turn out shit (and let’s just put ass on table that is what they do) that doesn’t work or breaks down and/or gets hacked and it’s an accepted practice. Car makers, who provide an actual warranty (for 3 to 5 years) and incur costs when they make the mistakes are in an entirely different ball game.Notice when you buy software you sign away your rights to do anything if it doesn’t work as described. When you buy a car that doesn’t happen.

  5. Michael R. Pratt

    As some have already noted on this string, Cadillac had this feature in the 50’s (my dad had one with that feature). What goes around comes around I guess.

  6. Anne Libby

    During a meeting, I sent a Slack DM to a colleague I thought could help the guy I was meeting with on a career-related question. At the same time, my companion sent me his resume. I left the Slack DM conversation, picked up the email on my iPhone.I expected a klugey set of 3-4 transactions to DM the resume to my colleague. Instead, when I hit “share” and selected Slack, the first option that popped up was to share the document into the DM conversation I had left.So simple, so delightful — and so rare — to have two apps talk to one another like this. And I really did feel a brief delight.

    1. Jess Bachman

      They have raised the bar for sure.

    2. LE

      If startups are adding nifty features (that traditional businesses won’t or don’t) one of the reasons is that they are sitting on a pile of funny money that allows them to add things w/o regard to profit since profit is not something they have to deal with in the short term. So they can and do throw much stuff at the fan and can end up with an actual good product in the end (from what you are relating, I don’t use slack..)http://bits.blogs.nytimes.c…

      1. Jess Bachman

        There is a blurry line between nifty features and innovation. Some of these nifty features are eating other peoples lunch.

      2. Anne Libby

        Slack keeps getting better and better. (I’ve been using it for about a year. LOVE.)

        1. Sam

          “Feel a brief delight” and “LOVE.” Those are great phrases, Anne, words top consumer marketers use to describe brand loyalty.I often joke with my wife (a consumer packaged goods food marketer) that I know why her industry is stocked with some of the best marketers in the world… because it’s such a shitty industry. Meaning, there’s no technology there, no market growth there; brand is the only lever they have to win.Happy that we live in a maturing IT world where user experience is becoming increasingly important.My personal favorite: the Hotel Tonight “trace the bed” to book your room. So sensual, so fun. And no surprise that the founder has design and UX in his DNA.

    3. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Slack is fascinating to me. They have an uncanny feel for the perfect mix of feature set and fun. It’s a great case study.

    4. abn

      Slack is something I could not live without.

  7. Mac

    My Dad had that on his old Buick Electra. But, it was the hidden, foot-controlled search feature, for the radio, that really impressed my dates.

    1. William Mougayar

      I wonder over what distance did the lights react vs. now?

      1. Mac

        Don’t recall. I was a teen. Had to be disconnected when it started confusing bright from dim. Nearly blinded several motorist.

    2. pointsnfigures

      I had a 1972 Delta 88 Royale convertible with a 454hp in it. Fast, got me a lot of tickets (no Waze then). Had similar features.

      1. Mac

        pnf, that car didn’t need features. I can see Dana Mecum Auctions rolling it out now. I suspect it got you more than tickets.

      2. LE

        Remember that car actually I think my mother drove that. Awesome sound when the carburetor opened up and the fuel got gulped down. Wop Wah…

        1. Mac

          Good times when you could fill that monster up for $10.

    3. sigmaalgebra

      Not the back seat? Aw, come on!

      1. Mac

        I wasn’t going to expand on that any further. But, now that you brought it up…..

  8. Rob Underwood

    It was just these type of little, intuitive – “simple” – features and refinements that made Apple products enticing and I feel is what they’ve started to lose a bit.

  9. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    As a kid – I complained to my mother that I didn’t have a “Magic floor”, like my friends had.They could come home, drop dirty clothes on the floor and they would reappear a couple of days later, fresh. pressed and folded in their drawers.My Mum has pointed out that since she was a Mum that ran a home, not a slave who runs a hotel, it was never going to happen.Seeing her next week – she is still the best, and as a man’s man type of guy I am proud that I learned to cook, sew, knit, macrame, do pottery and basket making, swim and all the other neat things my superior model Mum taught me as a child.(My wife is great, looks after me like crazy but loves that I cook for her and visitors sometimes)

    1. Twain Twain

      OMG, James!!!Putting macrame on my “Twain must learn” list!

      1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

        Its pretty easy (and strengthens your fingers no end) – I made a couple of those hanging baskets you put trailing pot plants in for my grandmothers -I guess it was because Mum was an Occupational Therapist – So if I got ill enough to stay home from school she figured a bit of learning something else could only get me back there sooner – call it aversion healthcare !

        1. ShanaC

          I put herbs in mine. Hopefully I’m going to hang peppermint and lemon balm soon. Previously it was parsley and basil

          1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            At the risk of going all Pinterest on youWe use Peppermint and Lemon Balm from the garden as infusions in chilled water – really refreshing (works with rum / vodka too)basil is perfect with tomatoes – yummy (not that Im a foodie at all πŸ™‚

      2. ShanaC

        It’s really easy. I made my own plant hangers!

  10. William Mougayar

    Sensors everywhere! Speaking of lights, another interesting feature is headlights that turn (around 30 degrees) in either direction when you steer. I had that on my 2008 Volvo, and it helps you see better ahead of turning.

    1. JimHirshfield

      Ooh, seeing around corners! I like that.

      1. William Mougayar

        I loved it entering the driveway. You appreciate it better at slower speeds.

        1. LE

          My wife noticed it when I pulled out of the garage and said “the lights have eyeballs that’s cool”.

      2. pointsnfigures

        A VC car.

    2. LE

      Yeah I have that feature it’s pretty cool. Plus when you start up the headlights level themselves. Something that only a man could love and notice usually.

      1. William Mougayar

        and as you pointed out, my wife too was quite impressed with that feature.

    3. Matt Zagaja

      Will have to keep that one in mind next time I rent a car in California. When I went last month they gave me a Dodge Charger. Drove to Woodside from San Francisco for the first time and wow those roads are windy.

      1. William Mougayar

        yup, it’s great for windy roads πŸ™‚

  11. Mario Cantin

    You are describing world-class UX design: Tesla, Apple, Uber., and unfortunately too few others at that same level in the Tech sector.If a startup can’t afford or find that level of talent, at least they can use these examples as the benchmark against which they can strive to execute using “sheer obsession” as their secret weapon.Powerful UX is to be ignored at one’s perils.

    1. Jess Bachman

      Apple can bring the world class UX when they want to… and somehow leave iTunes to be a UX torture chamber.

      1. Mario Cantin

        They have no role model of their own to look up to — it’s an empty throne, ha ha!Seriously, I wouldn’t be qualified to speculate on the exact cause for this; but you are quite right. My other peeve is how IOS manages to massacre my contacts. Recently I have received a phone call which displayed the name of one contact but it was another who called! They’ve f**’ed up a fair percentage of my contacts and that’s serious s**t. It’ll take me hours to fix this mess and it may happen again which will cause me to have a backup plan — not good. They’ve set the bar too high to put up with this level of poor execution IMO. On the other hand, overall they’re more right than wrong when it comes to UX by a long shot.

        1. Jess Bachman

          I think it comes down to competition. With the phone and the watch, they have to be at top of their game. With iTunes, they can sit tight behind their wall, why waste money innovating. might be the same with contacts.

    2. Richard

      Uber is no Tesla

      1. Mario Cantin

        It is nonetheless at the cutting edge of world class design / UX.

  12. LIAD

    I’d be pissed if my car starts making unrequested driving ‘style’ choices.If I want the brights on, I want the goddamn brights on. If I want to drive like an aggressive punk thats my business. I don’t want no smart ass car messing with my shit.What’s next! Limiting my speed to under 150mp/h, turning down my sub woofer so i cant blow house windows as I cruise past, not letting me pull donuts on the freeway?whatever happened to freedom to be a douche!

    1. Anne Libby

      “Freedom” is still alive and kicking on the internet.

      1. Richard

        With oversight!

    2. Jess Bachman

      Ha!… It’s all fun an games until you start getting speeding tickets in the mail because your car ratted you out to the cops.

    3. JamesHRH

      The slippery slope of douche freedom – if I defend you I end up defending anti-vaxxers, sigh.

      1. kidmercury

        i wish we had the vax beef here in fredland. it’d be a lot of fun.

    4. mikenolan99


    5. Nick Grossman

      i still feel that way about automatic transmissions

      1. LE

        On Porsche’s 911 Turbo you can’t even get a manual anymore you are stuck with a PDK which you can shift manually but with no clutch.

        1. Richard

          Lame, another reason why Porsche will soon be irrelevant. Amazing how tesla literally passed virtually all high end cars as the must have vehicle. I dont remember reading too many analysts calls predicting this.

          1. LE

            Right. A “slush” so to speak. Keep in mind that people who own a Tesla and brag about the acceleration not only don’t have gears to shift either (part of the fun) but also don’t have any engine noise or turbochargers kicking in with resulting “boost”. My god it’s almost like having sex with earplugs!

        2. Nick Grossman


          1. LE

            I got an invitation in the mail to test drive the Cadillac CTS-V at a race track that includes track time in the vehicle. Nice that they are buying mailing lists of likely prospects just like the credit card companies do. From what I am reading it can do 0 to 60 in about 3.7 seconds which makes it 0.2 quicker than an 911 S with the PDK in sport mode (roughly). The problem is a) It’s a Cadillac and b) It’s got an automatic and c) It’s a large car not a small car. d) See “a” again.The major factor is “a” of course can’t wrap my brain and get excited over a Cadillac. Consequently as much as I would like to test drive one to me since my brain has already decided it’s a bad idea I will not even go there (the thing that kept me out of drugs in the past so there you have it..)

          2. Nick Grossman

            My new favorite thing to do is rent a Porsche on RelayRides when I visit SF When I was there two weeks ago I rented a 2005 911 convertible (6spd) for $100/dayTotally awesome and worth it

        3. sigmaalgebra

          As I understand PDK, it’s basicallyjust a double clutch that permits very fast shifting of basically a standard stick shift non-automatic gear box. IIRC the even numbered gears are connected to one of the two clutches, and the odd numbered gears to the other one. So, pick the new gear with the old gear still with a full load and then swap which clutch has the power and, boom, are in the new gear.IIRC Bendix in the US has such a clutch, too.It permits paddle shifters and darned near instantly fast shifts with basically just a non-automatic gear box.

          1. LE

            That sounds correct.As it happens on my brand new 911 a few years ago they had to replace the manual transmission (a factory defect) and I was there after they put a new one in. The mechanic explained and showed me how it worked (the old one). And it was pointed out that it was the same transmission used by the PDK and the gear swap as you described.Here is what happened though after I left. The mechanic had failed to attach a small clip holding in a cable and about 20 miles away I lost the use of one set of the gears. So I didn’t have 1st I had 2nd no third but fourth.Of course I didn’t know that I just knew I had no first and assumed all gears were dead! Luckily I was in a side street and not a major road going fast when this happened. Who expects that to happen?The towed the car back to the dealer and called the mechanic in from home to fix it on the spot at night. I felt bad for him actually. Other than the danger it was kind of adventurous (but annoying). He was very rattled by what happened.That new transmission (this car was 2 weeks old) had been flown in from Germany (by Fedex) and it was the first time they had to do this (was a new model 2012 of 911 at the time). Apparently it wasn’t supposed to go by air (fluids) but Porsche managed to pull it off. Cost them about 10k to fly it in that way.The reason it needed a new transmission was I was getting grinding when going from 1st to 2nd that was annoying.

          2. sigmaalgebra

            Impressive response by Porsche.Looks like the mechanic was expected to ‘sign his work’ in a significant sense.My transmission story is not nearly so special: I was working on the linkage and had it all apart, needed to drive to get a part, tool, or something, so, at the transmission moved the levers to put the transmission in second, and just drove it that way for the trip and back. Sure, made sure I didn’t have to use reverse. Likely got the car out of the driveway by letting it roll backwards.This was when I was in college.At times, in the morning, the battery was dead. So, how the heck to get to class on time? Okay, just roll the car backwards down the driveway into the street and stop it headed in the downhill direction. Put the transmission in neutral with the ignition on. Get out, stand next to the driver’s side with that door open, just push the car and get it going 3-4 MPH. While pushing, reach in and swat the transmission into third –NOT first! Keep pushing. Once the engine was trying to start but was fighting third gear, jump in, push on the clutch and gas, and get the engine going. Close the door, drive to class, and let the generator charge the battery.Why third instead of first or second? I just wanted to get the engine to turn over enough to fire a few cylinders and barely get started. First would have had me turning the engine over about 3.5 times faster than third and, thus, needing about 3.5 times more push from me which I didn’t have. Third was enough to get a few rotations of the engine, and that was enough to get it going until I could push in the clutch.When my project works, then I’ll consider something with a dual clutch. But I will likely buy American, if only because of more dealers, more mechanics who can do the work, more parts in the parts stores, etc.

      2. Richard

        Anyone who missed out on this missed out on one of the great features of cars.

      3. Cam MacRae

        A key difference is that if you are only licensed for an automatic transmission there is no failure mode that results in you having to operate a manual transmission. Not the case if you are only licensed for automagical dimmers: Enter a failure mode and you’ll just drive around dazzling people.

    6. Richard

      Douche proof technology

    7. ShanaC

      The theoretical state of nature collapsed from douchey people murdering each other. So we decided on government and policing douchey behavior en mass?

    8. LE

      If I want to drive like an aggressive punk thats my business.When I bought a Mercedes many years ago the salesman (who was kind of blue collar) said to me “and you can turn that stability off if you want to impress your girlfriend” (he was talking about some stability management system iirc). Imagine that. “Impress your girlfriend”.

    9. David Semeria

      “Goddam”, “punk”, “freeway”, “douche” ….Talk proper, lad.

  13. Twain Twain

    Any design and functionality where it’s “more than meets the eye” and adaptive is genius.Elon Musk is my favorite modern-day founder bar none. Listen to him talk at Khan Academy:* https://youtu.be/vDwzmJpI4i…”If you’re CEO of a company you actually have a distillation of the worst problems. There’s no point on spending your time on things that are going right…And there are things going wrong that other people can’t take care of…So you have a filter for the CRAPPEST THINGS IN THE COMPANY. The most pernicious and painful problems…You have to feel quite prepared to do it and have a very high pain threshold.”That is so true. CEOs have reserves of painkillers other people don’t.Also love how he explains “First Principles” problem-solving:* https://www.youtube.com/wat…The greatest leaps in our evolution have been from “First Principles” thinkers and doers.

  14. Twain Twain

    Time permitting, I’m submitting a design for Musk’s Hyperloop competition.Do “me too” app for social media or push myself beyond my own limitations?If we don’t go beyond our own limitations, we’re existing not living.

    1. LE

      I find it a bit scary that Musk is so addicted to being great and going down in the history books that he spreads himself over so many different projects, companies and ideas. Any one of the things that he is doing is obviously a full time endeavor that should take one’s full attention. Musk can be as smart as he apparently is but there are still so many hours in a day. His life is like one big “man cave”.

      1. Twain Twain

        Musk is a science polymath (materials science, industrial engineering, electronics, astrophysics, biochemistry).The thing about polymaths is their brains are QUANTUM REACTORS. They fission+fusion knowhow for problem-solving like nobody’s business.For them to work linearly and in discrete processes on only one project is…impossible.Their thinking+doing is constantly simultaneous. They map across (literally and laterally) from one data point to another and connect the dots in completely different ways from norms.It may seem they’re unfocussed and “spread out” but they’re actually hyper-solving multiple moving atoms of a UNIFIED & CONNECTED BIG HARD PROBLEM.Judit Polgar, the best female chess player of all time, is an example of a polymath.Most investors can’t understand it; they see it as a “lack of focus” when really what polymaths do is different from what those investors are used to…From the gray nuances of information (nothing’s ever only black+white to polymaths), polymaths see an abnormal spectrum of light.And they chase that light relentlessly because the Quantum Reactor of their brains NEED the energy of that light.

        1. LE

          Well the gist of my comment relates to “only so many hours in a day” and unfortunately running businesses, no matter how smart or whether someone is a polymath or not, takes time. Period. One reason in addition to the obvious reasons is that the rest of the world doesn’t operate at the speed that you do. [1]Plus Judit’s primary focus is chess, right? I am not seeing her as appearing to do anything other than chess at least not anywhere near the extent that Musk is (that’s from reading the wikipedia page on her).[1] In my first business I would add capabilities and machines that I could comprehend instantly. My employees unfortunately (these were not Stanford Grads, eh?) lagged behind and that was a big limiting factor in what we were able to do. Certainly you have had the same experience, right?

          1. Twain Twain

            Judit subsequently worked in finance (investment strategy where the PhD rocket scientists tend to build neural network systems that replicate chess moves).Yes, when limitations arise it’s to do with laggards and Luddites.That’s fine because then, when a person makes time to show+tell, it helps recalibrate collective knowhow.

          2. Vasudev Ram

            >LudditesI was just thinking about them yesterday in connection with a conversation with someone, and remembered this great cartoon I’d seen earlier, so blogged about it briefly:http://jugad2.blogspot.in/2

          3. Joaquin

            I’m polyloving this thread…

        2. Matt A. Myers

          That’s the way my brain works too – just need to figure out the chronic pain I have that is quite disruptive and then my productivity will jump a fair amount; right now there’s this annoying ying-yang cycle of pushing through pains to get stuff done and then needing some recovery time – I perhaps still get more done than others but I have no real reference point, so that’s just me trying to convince myself everything will be alright..I have constantly run into the “lacking focus” when I share my broader plans, so now I mostly just mention the current project/first part of roadmap that has priority.P.S. I think you are really AI.. such great fluid answers.

          1. Twain Twain

            I’d change “man” to “Humankind” but otherwise JFK’s right.The “Human kind” part’s vital and the missing code DNA in all existing AI.So the question as we design nextgen AI that can not only do heavy power-lifting of “Big Data” is…”How do we ensure the machines are kind to humans and foster Humankind?”

          2. Matt A. Myers

            The real question is, and I lean towards believing this is how it is, is will we ever know if AI actually does get created – perhaps the ‘spark’ that creates a soul – it’s just whatever object we create doesn’t have the feedback loop in order to then respond or communicate.Also in reality, every part of the universe is connected to every other part of the universe – so you can go into any part of it (think fractals) and arrive anywhere else.That essentially is what life and our human DNA has eventually evolved to doing – from animal to human … creating a viable vessel through variations in genetic structure which influences our body and brain on how it can read energy – and then allows the soul and thus consciousness in.

          3. Matt A. Myers

            E.g. The way to create AI is create a way for a soul to interact with an interface … maybe that is all AI would be – however that means connecting with very specific frequencies that would only exist on very specific lines/paths.

          4. Twain Twain

            A-HA…well…The Quantum Physicists haven’t modeled for all the frequencies yet…

          5. Richard

            Physical Pain is Kryptonite to the creative.

          6. Matt A. Myers

            I feel ya..

        3. Richard

          And he has nerves of steel (or should I say carbon fiber which has a tensile strength 10x of steel)

          1. Twain Twain

            Musk = nerves of carbon nanotubes.I got my first Yonex badminton racket when I was 12. The carbon fiber shaft completely changed my game.

          2. Richard

            Yep, I spent 4 years as a material scientist in the stealth aircraft space.

        4. ShanaC

          Yup. They’re…interesting

      2. Richard

        Tesla has fewer employees than Twitter, think about that.

      3. Richard

        Read his biography.

  15. pointsnfigures

    That’s pretty cool! Not the light thing but the fact that Fred drives around with family chauffeur’s all the time! (Josh, then Gotham Gal)

  16. OurielOhayon

    cool feature but nothing new. a few SUV have had this for years (Jeep for eg)

    1. Richard

      Adaptive high beam technology is deployed across most high end autos

  17. Richard B. McConkie

    When I moved from Salt Lake City where the roads are well-lit and mostly “new” (as in, postwar) to the DC area (where street lighting is hit or miss), I noticed everyone drove with their brights on. This has driven me and my wife crazy. We even bought some cheesy as-seen-on-tv night vision “sun”glasses. If only everyone in our area had Teslas that made decisions for them!

  18. Douglas Crets

    I believe that Mercedes once boasted of having a powerful feature — forward looking infrared radar and “cameras that could see around vehicles” and figure out the traffic ahead through some kind of algorithm. In fact, Tesla may have something like this, too.

  19. LE

    I don’t know how long Tesla has had this feature on its cars. But I noticed it for the first time last weekend.That statement, in a nutshell, explains at least one of the reasons that auto makers typically build their version of what might be called an MVP. They don’t add anything that will increase costs, comprehension, service, maintenance, or safety that isn’t core or won’t move the needle in sales unless it’s been proven out and is necessary to keep up with the competition. Or required by the government. Unless they have something to prove or they are the underdogs. Years ago (the 70’s) when the Honda Accord came out it had a place to put your change. Honda was breaking into the market and actually added some nifty never seen before little tweaks like that to make the car appealing. But that wasn’t why people bought the Honda Accord although it was a nice touch. And Honda was the underdog with a completely new product.Nobody buys a Tesla for that feature obviously although in the case of Tesla breaking into the market it’s quite possible that people who know about those and similar features use it to rationalize and feel that they are smart for buying a Tesla. But they’ve already decided to buy a Tesla for completely different reasons.If you shop for luxury cars you might notice that many of the nifty features that are on lower priced brands often don’t appear in the higher priced cars or if they do they are expensive extras. The brain candy and cache of having a luxury make is not displaced by the features and benefits that come with a model w/o brand cache. At a certain point the “nifty” become so ubiquitous that the luxury brands are forced to add them of course since lack of them can cause cognitive dissonance and retard the purchase.

  20. abn

    You have no idea Fred. This is something India needs on every car and truck very badly. This is one example of how technology can help India improve its quality of life by miles. There is just no need for so many people to die on the roads there every day.The main feature of driving in India is the lack of understanding on when to use the vehicle headlights. Often drivers don’t use any lights even when it is dark, on other hand, some use the high beam even in built up urban areas.Most drivers either paid for their license and never took a test, most can’t read. Especially the truck drivers. I can not tell you how dangerous it is driving on the highway over there, at night time.. your chances of survival are cut in half.I never complain about driving in America ever :)http://timesofindia.indiati…

    1. Joaquin

      Be careful when you’re down in Puerto Rico, though. Most people are clueless about that here, they never turn the high beam off

      1. abn

        i still bet it’s better than india πŸ™‚

  21. LE

    It is a great feature.One of the great pleasures in life that I have is the mental reward that I get from having a basic level of programming skill and being able to add features that I want to some of the “software” that I use in order to solve a problem or make something easier without having to rely on someone else to do it for me and to clearly define a specification in advance. I can just think of something that would be helpful and dive right in. (And it really is fun to do this type of thing….).

  22. ErikSchwartz

    This feature first show up on 1952 Oldsmobiles.GM’s Autronic Eye

  23. Matt Zagaja

    Recently I was impressed by the Passbook feature for airline boarding passes on my iPhone. I had always used paper boarding passes in the past because I didn’t “trust” the phone but decided to give it a shot. Great that it stayed front and center on the notification screen at the appropriate time for easy access and also dynamically updated information on the appropriate gate with boarding time, etc. Then having the boarding pass on the Apple Watch made it easy to scan boarding the plane while carrying all my carry on stuff without fumbling with the phone itself.

  24. JaredMermey

    Had this type of experience with RelateIQ. By far the best CRM I have ever used. Things just appear where they need to letting salespeople sell and managers manage.It is stupendous.

  25. bfeld

    While it’s easy to link this kind of thing with Tesla, it’s been around for a while. My Audi A8 has it. I think Mercedes have had it for a number of years.That’s not a ding on Tesla because their packaging of all of these various features is beautiful and generally flawless. The brand promise of Tesla is now attributing high end car feature innovations that others have had for many years to Tesla. That’s an interesting phenomenon.

    1. LE

      Fred is not a car guy from what I can tell. So it’s like me with sports or music.Actually here is a better example from when my kids were growing up.I didn’t spend much time with them and one day I met my wife at the deli. My kids were maybe 6 and 4 at the time. The deli immediately gives them crayons and a cartoon to drawn on to keep them busy. And it so impressed me! I was like “wow that is a great idea!!!!!”. As if that restaurant had invented that. I was really that naive. My ex wife just laughed like “where have you been?”.You remember Bush and the Supermarket scanner? We all have those moments. I didn’t know what 420 meant until a few years ago.

  26. creative group

    Driven a Tesla Model S 85 and can say when you don’t allow hype either pro or con filter through your mind the vehicle is a sedan with the power of a race car, nice leatherappointments and other conveniences expected when spending over 100K. I didn’t find theneed to go over 100 and didn’t engage the insane mode. We can honestly say thevehicle drives nice and is quietly fast. Didn’t understand the autopilot feature butwas explained that the vehicle parks itself among other functions.Fred you have arrived. A rhetorical comment because you realize you have arrived a long time ago.

  27. laude05

    I had a 1968 Caddy with this feature. I am amazed that car makers are putting backup cameras in yet this feature hasn’t been adapted in over 50 years. Actually longer since it was available on high end cars as a “standard” feature long before I could afford a Caddy.