Friday, September 19, 2008

the world according to Arno

If you've worn the same glasses for years and think your vision is just fine thank you, then it's time for an upgrade. Perhaps your vision has degraded and you've gotten use to it. I was thinking of GM and the announcement of the Volt. It really looks sharp and engineered to the hilt. But wait, there are problems afoot that shorten my praise. In this country we like to argue the extremes, then pick the lessor of two evils. We bash the middle ground as being too much or not enough. Then with great fanfare and apologies we reluctantly accept a somewhat more viable solution from the middle.

Batteries suck, always have, always will and putting more than one in a car is a portable environmental disaster in a neighborhood near you. Can you imagine the impact of millions of car batteries needing to be recharged/recycled, talk about hazardous waste!! And I thought old tires were bad. I guess we can bury them next door to the nuke waste. And can the present power grid handle all the electric only cars recharging or will we all have to buy not so green gas powered generators to charge up our car batteries? How to charge your car after a storm knocks out the power will be a best seller book.

We have had diesel electric trains for years now. The systems are not that complex and they haul much of our country's resources. A diesel engine, an alternator for the accessories and one for the drive motors, and the drive motors and drive electronics. You mean we can't put similar in trucks and cars. The hybrid is the best solution. An alternative fueled and efficient power generating unit and electric motor combo is a wise/less costly solution. We won't have to rebuild infrastructure or change personal driving habits or give financial institutions more means to enslave us. Personally I don't like poop scooping for my dog/cat or plugging in my car, daily.

Dear GM, even you can't afford this car, the Volt. There are not enough upper middle class folk who can or will buy your car so you can recoup your investment and I, average American car buyer, can buy 3 gas guzzlers (from you) for what the Volt would sell for.
Here's what you can do to save us and you:
1. Develop an auto recycling industry that reclaims materials for new uses instead of maintaining old cars, (old steel mills will do). Quit building the present gas guzzling cars. Watch the movie, "Who killed the Electric Car?" and deliver the same fate to the gas guzzler, boy would that be ironic!!
2. Develop programs to trade our gas guzzlers in for a greener alternative, and don't resell or export. Did I say recall?
3. Develop incentives, discounts, tax credits, insurance cuts, in other words, lower the cost of living to own a hybrid vehicle.
4. Gas guzzling car commercials have got to stop. Can't imagine green if we don't see green on TV. Popular faces should drive green on TV.
5. Let your workers get them, drive them, show them off and post their unscripted opinions on the web.
6. Lose the trickle down game plan. Build for a targeted tad lower than middle-class market as the basic standard affordable product. Fuel the amenities and accessories after-market. If affluent folks (a smaller market) want more car, build it later. Build up don't dumb down.

What has this got to do with Linux and open source. In principle we have been life long consumers who leave it to the pros to design and deliver products, yet they keep an eye on us to see what we do with their products. Some very innovative ideas have come out the back yards of car owners. The race tracks and car shows are full of them. Then they borrow, buy or steal the ideas and decide if they should be shelved or marketed. Why patent an idea not to use it or keep others from using it? I am glad there is Linux and open source, not owned by a company, I have rights to tweak and play with. And if I discover a new use or process, I have opportunity to do something new and different. Will car technology become so sophisticated that dealers will lock the hood? Will cars become so expensive that leasing is the only option? Will we become paying users of home, car and software, instead of owners? Has the market accessed our potential life time worth and priced ownership just out of our reach to fuel the market? There are more questions to ponder while sitting here at the Linuxville desk................

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