There are many useful, productive, interesting things I was going to do today. I was going to send out sponsorship letters, arrange my Oct-Dec itinerary, edit my Atlantic videos into a 3-minute promo. How many of these things did I get done? Precisely none, nada, diddly-squat. Instead, I spent my entire day to-ing and fro-ing from the Apple Store in Palo Alto, trying to get some customer satisfaction and failing.
I haven't slept properly for two nights - nightmares about melting MacBooks keep waking me up. I feel depressed, stressed and anxious. A tight knot of tension has lodged in my chest. It seems that my ailing laptop has to go to hospital in Memphis, a journey that will take up to 7 working days and could potentially return my laptop to factory settings - no data, no post-purchase software installations. All my software disks, of course, are in England.
I hate to bad-mouth Apple because I am a huge fan of their products. So I won't. But how can it be right that here I am, overseas, trying to run a business, with only one computer at my disposal, and there is nothing that can be done to speed up the process or lend me a replacement while mine is in for repair?
On the Atlantic I learned to my anger and frustration through yell therapy, hollering and screaming at the waves until the veins stood out on my temples. It made me feel a lot better. But I suspect that this would be unseemly behaviour in a technology store in downtown Palo Alto.
On other Atlantic days I started to learn to be philosophical and to accept that **it happens. I started to adopt a serene indifference to high winds or no winds, communications or no communications, progress or no progress.
I am trying to maintain that equanimity now, but failing dismally.
Having said that, I do now feel a lot better for having shared. Thanks for listening.
As laughter is the best medicine, here's a video that made me giggle - watch the teeth, and enjoy!
I love my new Google homepage. I feel like the pilot of an aircraft with a glorious dashboard of data laid out in front of me, but instead of speedometers, odometers, this that and the other-ometers, I've got quotes of the day, technology updates, headlines, moonphases and weather. I've got an all-dancing, all-singing life-ometer. Here's how you can create your own customized overview of the world....
1. Choose Google as your homepage in your browser, if it isn't already. How you do this will vary depending on what operating system and browser you use. I use a Mac and Firefox, and I go into Firefox/Preferences and set my home page there to http://www.google.com/ig?hl=en
2. From the Google home page, click on the link top right that takes you to 'Personalized Home'.
3. Then click on the link top left to 'Add Content'. You'll be presented with a dazzling array of possibilities. You can filter them according to the categories on the left if you want, or just wander at will through the wonderful world of the internet, clicking on the ones that catch your eye. You can easily remove them later.
4. My laptop died while I was doing this exercise, and I swore loudly, thinking that I'd lost all my selections, but luckily Google updates your home page as you make your choices, so system crashes are not a problem. (Well, obviously they ARE, but not for the purposes of setting up your homepage.)
5. Once you've finished your selection, you can remove any items you decide you don't want simply by clicking on the cross on the top right of each item. And you can drag and drop them so you have your favourites at the top, with less frequently used ones below.
These are the ones I chose:
How to of the Day
Wired News: Gadgets and Gizmos
Quotes of the Day
Quotes 4 All: HIGHLY recommended
Quote of the Moment
Date and Time
Current Moon Phase
This Day in History
My laptop has to go back to Mac this week. The interface from the hi-lo-triple-conflabdabricator to the thingummywingummywotsit is overheating, so it keeps shutting down without a moment's warning. It's going to be a nightmare for me - so much to do, and without my third arm. I should be able to carry on blogging using the computer up at the main house, but it's all desperately inconvenient. How will I manage without my dashboard to give me an inspiring quote or tell me what phase of the moon we're in?
General Motors must be worried about the adverse PR they get in the film I saw tonight - worried enough to buy an ad that appears at the top of the page if you Google on "Who Killed The Electric Car?" Try it. For EV afficionados (EVicionados?) the film must make distressing viewing. An EV snuff movie. Pristine, shiny GM EV1's are repossessed, shredded and crushed (see above).
Chris Paine, the director and writer, clearly has an axe to grind, but the case for the prosecution is presented in an entertaining and informative way, much as Bowling For Columbine did. It helps his cause that he has some surprising statistics at his disposal.
Did you know that 100 years ago there were more electric cars on the road than gas cars?
Or that a gallon of gas releases 19 pounds of carbon into the atmosphere?
Or that the US consumes almost 9 million barrels of gasoline daily, representing 43% of the total global daily gasoline consumption?
By switching to the most efficient models in each vehicle class, Americans could save 13.1 billion gallons of gasoline annually.
And as for flying, the amount of fuel that a Jumbo Jet can carry would drive an average car four times around the world.
Click here for more facts from the film.
It makes thought-provoking viewing, and is well worth seeing. It contains some marvellous quotes: [The American consumer says] "You're asking me to drive a small car. You're asking me to keep my house cold. Basically, you want me to live like" [pause for shocked expression] "a European".
And Mel Gibson's startling beard (see below) deserves a title credit all to itself.
The film concludes on an optimistic note. As one of the interviewees says: 'This was David against Goliath, in a big way. But if you get lots of Davids, you can beat Goliath.' Public awareness is the key to gathering those Davids, and this film does its bit to enlighten as well as entertain.
Click here for reviews
Alexandra Paul, Baywatch actress, drives an EV
Movie trailers available on the Apple site
The official movie site
THAT beard: Mel Gibson
This morning about 9am I picked up an email from a friend, marked URGENT. 'There is a meeting TODAY 10-12am in Palo Alto of the East (SF) Bay Electric Auto Association featuring Tesla Motors'. My eyes popped - my dream car! Cute, curvy, convertible, and totally electric. So after a double-quick dash around Wunderlich Park (even dream cars don't get to interfere with my new exercise program) I hopped into the Mini Cooper and zipped down to Palo Alto to check it out.
[For a better quality version of the video click here]
The conference room was packed - about 200 people - sandals and facial hair abounded, but there were some normal people there too. By the time I got there JB Straubel, Chief Technical Officer of Tesla Motors, had finished his presentation was taking questions. A forest of hands waved in the air. Yes, the car could do 250 miles between recharges. Yes, it only takes 3.5 hours to fully recharge the batteries. And yes, yes, yes, it can do 0 to 60mph in 4 seconds.
The questions were getting increasingly geeky so an EBEAA officer stood up to rescue JB and to make the announcement seemingly everyone had been waiting for: 'The car is here'. The hall emptied in only a few seconds more than it takes the Tesla to reach 60.
And there it was, crouched alongside the curb outside, like a sleek black panther. Electric cars used to look like this:
A quirky oddity, but hardly practical, having a range of only 20-40 miles between recharges and a trunk the size of a briefcase. The Tesla is taking the electric car in a new and exciting direction. It looks as if rumours of the death of electric vehicles (I'm off to see the movie Who Killed The Electric Car? tonight - review to follow) may have been much exaggerated.
Links to further info:
- LA Weekly
- LA Times
- USA Today