Comments Enabled

I have enabled comments on the site for all new posts (including this one). I have some posts currently in draft that I want to encourage discussion on and I feel it would be best to have it centralized on the post itself, as opposed to scattered on social media.

If you have a moment, please leave a comment on this post so that I can ensure the comment system is working. You should be able to comment without an account, or use your or social media account to post.

If you encounter any issues, please let me know.

2017 Tesla Model S P100D: Fastest Accelerating Car


We all understand acceleration. It’s the rate of change of velocity. This 4,891-pound Tesla Model S P100D does it best, reaching 30, 40, 50, and 60 mph from a standstill more quickly than any other production vehicle we’ve ever tested, full stop. In our testing, no production car has ever cracked 2.3 seconds from 0 to 60 mph. But Tesla has, in 2.275507139 seconds.

The Tesla does not hold the advantage forever, though, because higher speeds give the advantage to horsepower over instant torque. The Ferrari LaFerrari hits 70 mph a tenth of a second quicker; the Porsche 918 and McLaren P1 pull ahead at 80 mph, and these hypercars all continue to pull away at higher speeds. But around town, everybody has long since lifted off the accelerator pedal.

When it comes to performance bang for the buck, you simply can’t do better than the Tesla as a daily driver. If you’re going to the track, there are better options. Congratulations to Elon Musk and the engineers at Tesla; that acceleration truly is ludicrous.

The Largest Trust Experiment

Think of the times you have had to put your life in someone else’s hands; trusted them completely. How many times can you think of? A few? Maybe a dozen?

What if I told you that nearly every day you trusted your life to others?

Driving is the largest trust experiment humanity has ever conducted.

Everytime we drive our vehicles on public roads, we are piloting a multi-thousand pound, motorized, steel missile, frequently at 60+ MPH. As we do this, there are often other cars with human drivers just a few feet (sometimes inches) away and you must trust your life to the fact that they wish to avoid harm by following the rules of the road.

Of course, this experiment isn’t perfect. There are accidents every day. In fact, driving is statistically the most dangerous form of transportation. Yet, when the accident and death rates are looked at from the perspective of how many vehicles come so close together at speed every day, I consider them remarkably low.

I’ve written previously about how I believe strangers are generally good. I think modern-day driving is the perfect example of that. Of course there are some who express visible road rage and more who make mistakes due to inattention, but when compared with the sheer number of vehicles one encounters on the road, they truly are few and far between.

The Need for an Exception Process Under Last Week’s Executive Order

Brad Smith, Microsoft’s President and Chief Legal Officer:

In last Friday’s executive order, the President expressly gave to the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security the authority to grant exceptions on a case-by-case basis, consistent with the national interest, to issue visas and other immigration benefits. Today Microsoft is filing a formal request asking these cabinet officers to create a process to grant exceptions that will permit “Responsible Known Travelers with Pressing Needs” to re-enter the country while protecting the nation’s security. The important details for this proposal are included in our formal requestand are outlined below.

At the outset, we recognize that this proposal will not and should not end the broader debate and deliberations regarding last week’s executive order. Our company is one among many that has expressed its views, and we will continue to participate energetically and constructively in the public discussions that help define our democratic processes.

I’m proud to work for Microsoft for many reasons, but Brad Smith and Satya Nadella’s reasoned and actionable responses to legal issues is a big one.


Watching Engine Combustion

Destin, at Smarter Every Day, managed to find some guys who made a transparent, acrylic cylinder head for an old one cylinder Briggs and Stratton engine. Combined with his high speed camera to slow things down, he shows exactly what engine combustion looks like.


APFS in Detail

In June of 2016, Apple announced the file system that would be replacing HFS+: Apple File System (APFS). Adam Leventhal wrote a detailed series of posts about what’s coming in the new file system:

Apple announced a new file system that will make its way into all of its OS variants (macOS, tvOS, iOS, watchOS) in the coming years. Media coverage to this point has been mostly breathless elongations of Apple’s developer documentation. With a dearth of detail I decided to attend the presentation and Q&A with the APFS team at WWDC. Dominic Giampaolo and Eric Tamura, two members of the APFS team, gave an overview to a packed room; along with other members of the team, they patiently answered questions later in the day. With those data points and some first hand usage I wanted to provide an overview and analysis both as a user of Apple-ecosystem products and as a long-time operating system and file system developer.

Beyond losing the mass of technical debt accumulated in HFS+, the feature that appeals to me most is encryption becoming a first class citizen. This will be seamless to the end user, but provide for greater security going forward.

Multi-key encryption is particularly relevant for portables where all data might be encrypted, but unlocking your phone provides access to an additional key and therefore additional data.


APFS (apparently) supports constant time cryptographic file system erase, called “effaceable” in the diskutil output. This presumably builds a secret key that cannot be extracted from APFS and encrypts the file system with it. A secure erase then need only delete the key rather than needing to scramble and re-scramble the full disk to ensure total eradication.

Quite interestingly, APFS will be adding I/O QoS:

APFS also focuses on latency; Apple’s number one goal is to avoid the beachball of doom. APFS addresses this with I/O QoS (quality of service) to prioritize accesses that are immediately visible to the user over background activity that doesn’t have the same time-constraints. This is inarguably a benefit to users and a sophisticated file system capability.

I’m curious to see how much impact this will have in the real world, but conceptually it makes a lot of sense.

I also learned from Adam’s posts that if you want to experiment with prerelease APFS now, there is a bit of humor in avoiding interactive confirmation of the risks associated:

[diskutil] prompts you for interactive confirmation of the destructive power of APFS unless this is added to the command-line: -IHaveBeenWarnedThatAPFSIsPreReleaseAndThatIMayLoseData; I’m not making this up

The Fallen of World War II

72 years ago the bloodiest war of human history came to an end. Since then a lot has changed, including communication. Today we can communicate faster and more widely than ever before, leading to bad news spreading significantly farther and faster. This easily creates the perception that the world is more violent and dangerous than in the past - we hear about violence not just in our town, but around the word.

The Fallen of World War II is a sobering reminder of how far the world has come in such a short period of time. The violence happening today should not and cannot be ignored if we are to continue to improve, but neither should the progress humanity has made.

Never forget.

Ford Bronco and Ranger Return to US Market

Expedition Portal:

Ford just made some big waves at the Detroit Auto Show by announcing that two legendary platforms will be added back to the North American lineup. In 2019 showrooms will once again be graced by the mid-size Ford Ranger Pickup, followed closely by the legendary Bronco in 2020. Although we had suspected this might be the case after a United Automobile Workers representative let a rumor slip last year, we’re excited to see the formal announcement by Ford in Detroit.

I believe this is a smart, if not a bit late, move for Ford. While I don’t foresee the Bronco having large sales volume, I expect it to have a halo effect for the brand. As for the Ranger, Ford has the potential to greatly increase their overall truck sales.

While Ford still owns the half-ton truck market with the F-150, the midsize market has been growing significantly in the past few years. GM is making solid headway into the Toyota Tacoma’s significant sales lead with the Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon, despite Toyota’s sales not decreasing meaningfully year of year. This shows a growing market.

A final tantalizing thought from Expedition Portal: can only hope that they will step up to meet the challenge of Chevrolet’s new ZR-2. After all, with the international success of their diesel Ranger platform, and the popularity of their existing Raptor, it would only make sense.

I’m hoping for a Ranger-sized version of the Raptor.

The Mill Blackbird

Have you ever wondered how they make car commercials today? One way is The Mill Blackbird1. It’s amazing how far CGI has come.

  1. No, I will not put “Blackbird” in all capitals. I’m not an animal. ↩︎

Canada: Internet is a Fundamental Communications Service

From my perspective this is overdue, but it is great to see Canada making internet a fundamental communications service:

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today declared that broadband access Internet service is now considered a basic telecommunications service for all Canadians.

It is frequently expected now, including by universities, that you will have access to internet at your home. This will help ensure that is the case for all Canadians, even if they live in rural or remote areas.

Additionally, speed targets were set at “50 megabits per second (Mbps) download/10 Mbps upload for fixed broadband Internet access services”, which seems quite reasonable to me.