Thursday/ Cybertruck deliveries start

The first Tesla Cybertrucks were delivered today at an event at the company’s factory in Austin, Texas.

Production is still ramping up slowly, and only time will tell what the true demand out there is.
Some observers even speculate that this is somewhat of a ‘halo’ product— one designed to draw attention to the brand’s more mainstream products: the Model Y, Model S, Model 3.

Here is some of what Andrew J. Hawkins wrote for technology website The Verge:
The event was uncharacteristically short for a Tesla party. There appeared to be far fewer attendees than were at the original Cybertruck debut back in 2019. After Musk went through some the features, including the truck’s bulletproof exterior and some of its performance capabilities, he quickly announced it was over — and then helped about a dozen or so of the first customers drive off in their trucks.

Not mentioning the price may have been a deliberate choice, because clearly those numbers were much less attractive than the prices we saw back in 2019. That said, customers are sure to be happy with the towing and acceleration capabilities.

The angular, stainless steel electric truck has long fascinated fans of Tesla, but its many delays have led some to question whether the truck would ever actually arrive. The production has reportedly been extremely challenging for the company, mostly due to the choice to use ultra-hard stainless steel for the exterior. Musk insisted the truck be bulletproof, which further complicated the process.

Cybertruck ModelBase PriceRange (miles)0-60 mphTop SpeedHorsepower
Rear-wheel Drive (2025)$60,9902506.5sTBDTBD
All-wheel Drive$79,9903404.1s112 mph600 hp
Cyberbeast$99,9903202.6s130 mph845 hp

Cybertruck Tuesday ⚙️

Three amigos made a trip out to Bellevue Square Mall on the Eastside today, to go and check out this Tesla Cybertruck on display there.
There was a rope line around the machine, so no touching, and no sitting inside was allowed.

The first production line models will be handed over to their owners this Thursday— four years since Elon Musk first announced it. Details about the model options and pricing will also be announced then.

In terms of power, the Cybertruck can tow more than 14,000 pounds and it can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than 3 seconds, according to Tesla. The interior seats six passengers and has a 17-inch touchscreen navigation for the driver. The windows are made of shatter-proof ‘armor glass’ and the vehicle’s trapezoid-like body is made of stainless steel alloy, making the entire vehicle look like something from a futuristic cyberpunk film.

Wednesday/ no longer stuffed 🦃

It seems that the company called OpenAI is no longer a stuffed turkey.
Altman was reinstated as CEO early Wednesday morning.
Co-founder Greg Brockman will return as well.
The directors on the board have been fired, instead— after demonstrating last Friday how profoundly out of touch they had been with the employees, and the investors of the company.

Cartoon by Michael de Adder, Editorial Cartoonist for The Washington Post, that was published on Tuesday.

Monday/ you’re fired 🔥

The problem’s plain to see
Too much technology
Machines to save our lives
Machines dehumanize
– From the song Mr. Roboto by Styx (1983)

There continues to be a lot of drama around the abrupt firing of Sam Altman on Friday, CEO of Open AI, by the Open AI board of directors.
(The board says Altman had lied to them and lost their trust, but as of Monday night that is all that is all we know).

Altman was a beloved and popular CEO and more than 90% of the 700-some employees at OpenAI are now threatening to quit.
Microsoft is a part of all the drama with a 49% stake in the company, a $13B investment to date and the supplier of critical cloud infrastructure.
Late on Sunday it was announced that Microsoft would hire Altman and Greg Brockman (OpenAI’s president and a company co-founder who quit in solidarity with Altman).

This tweet from Ilya Sutskever was sent this morning. He is an Open AI board member and the Chief Scientist of OpenAI.
By all accounts he has a moral compass— and must have had valid concerns about what Altman did.
But why did the board double down on their decision when approached by Altman and Satya Nadella (Microsoft CEO) to see if Altman could be reinstated as CEO?

Some Background
By all accounts OpenAI is (was, now?) the 800-lb gorilla in the race for building artificial intelligence models such as GPT-4.

Released in March, Generative Pre-trained Transformer 4 (GPT-4) is a multimodal large language model.
Unlike its predecessors, GPT-4 is a multimodal model: it can take images as well as text as input.
This gives it the ability to describe the humor in unusual images, summarize text from screenshots, and answer exam questions that contain diagrams.
[Source: Wikipedia]

For further down the road, there is the concept of AGI: Artificial General Intelligence.
An artificial general intelligence is a hypothetical type of intelligent agent.
If realized, an AGI could learn to accomplish any intellectual task that human beings or animals can perform.
Some argue that it may be possible in years or decades; others maintain it might take a century or longer; and a minority believe it may never be achieved.
[Source: Wikipedia]

Otto Barten and Joep Meindertsma wrote in July in Time Magazine of a ‘godlike, superintelligent AI computer or agent’:
A superintelligent AI could therefore likely execute any goal it is given.
Such a goal would be initially introduced by humans, but might come from a malicious actor, or not have been thought through carefully, or might get corrupted during training or deployment.
If the resulting goal conflicts with what is in the best interest of humanity, a superintelligence would aim to execute it regardless.
To do so, it could first hack large parts of the internet and then use any hardware connected to it.
Or it could use its intelligence to construct narratives that are extremely convincing to us.
Combined with hacked access to our social media timelines, it could create a fake reality on a massive scale.
As Yuval Harari recently put it: “If we are not careful, we might be trapped behind a curtain of illusions, which we could not tear away—or even realise is there.”
As a third option, after either legally making money or hacking our financial system, a superintelligence could simply pay us to perform any actions it needs from us.
And these are just some of the strategies a superintelligent AI could use in order to achieve its goals.
There are likely many more.
Like playing chess against grandmaster Magnus Carlsen, we cannot predict the moves he will play, but we can predict the outcome: we lose.

Friday/ do better next time 😉

It’s cold outside (44°F / 6°C)— and here’s my car chiding me for pulling up at the Ellensburg supercharger station without giving it a heads up.

The message on the screen says ‘Next Time – Navigate to Supercharger: Battery will precondition for faster charging’. Precondition simply means the battery is warmed up to the ideal temperature for faster charging.
Charging at 79 kW, well below what the supercharger is capable of with a warmer battery, but that’s OK. I was only adding 50 miles or so to the 180 miles I still had on the battery.
The 90% charge limit on the battery (by the green line on the display) is what I had charged the battery to last night, which got me to about 320 miles.
For everyday use I put the charge limit down to just 60%, about 200 miles. I don’t need more than that for driving around the city in one day. Then at night, the charger at home put the miles I had used, back.

Sunday/ black and shiny 🖤

The sun came out late this afternoon, and I chased myself out of the house.
I was rewarded with spotting this beautiful 2023 Rivian R1S all-electric SUV here on Capitol Hill’s 15th Avenue.

Monday/ a Cybertruck spotting ⚡️

A Tesla Cybertruck was spotted here in the city yesterday, at Pike Place Market.
It is not known if it will stick around for a while, or move on. This one was spotted in Northern California and in Oregon as well.

The picture is a still from a 6-second clip posted by S.E. Robinson, Jr. @SERobinsonJr on X on Oct 15.

Friday/ pinball machines 🚨

It was a lovely day here in Seattle (71 °F/ 22 °C).
Four of the amigos played a little pickleball this morning.
Afterwards we had something to eat and drink, on the patio of the dive bar called Twilight Exit, in Central District.

The pinball machines in Twilight are very cool.

Tuesday/ Canoe Pass bridge 🛶

Two two-lane bridges (Canoe Pass Bridge and Deception Pass Bridge) on Washington State Route 20, connect Whidbey Island in Island County, to Fidalgo Island in Skagit County in Washington State.
The bridges opened on July 31, 1935.
[Source: Wikipedia]

These pictures of the Canoe Pass Bridge were all taken from Pass Island, looking south. The pictures were taken around 4.15 pm. The Salish Sea is to the west, and with high tide at about 6.48 pm today, the tide from the Pacific Ocean was still coming in.


Sunday/ it’s a wrap 🪲

The US Open tennis tournament is a wrap*— and I believe this coat with a green sheen, on a Tesla Model Y, is a wrap as well.

*Novak Djokovic (Serbia, 36) beat Danill Medvedev (27) in straight sets in today’s Men’s Singles final. I pay my respects to Djokovic begrudgingly.  I am not a fan of his.

Thursday/ shopping for electronics 📺

I ran out to Best Buy today to pick up one more Google Chromecast*, for the TV in my guest room.

*A device that plugs into the HDMI port of a TV and then creates an on-screen user interface with a range of TV services, for watching shows or movies (such as Netflix, Hulu, or YouTube TV), listening to music (like Spotify or YouTube Music), and more.

Here’s a Jurassic World indoraptor on the shelf, that I made to pose with my Google Chromecast before I walked over to the cash register.
(A metaphor for me? A dinosaur that can still install a little bit of technology in his house 🤗 . )
And here is the mythical, unicorn of a compact camera, the FujiFilm X100V.
It has gotten rave reviews and gold star ratings from camera experts, but has forever been sold out in stores, and online. (Forever= for more than three years).
I never did get to see one on the shelf in any of the camera stores in Tokyo.
Best Buy does not have any in stock either (of course not), but hey, at least one can hold it and fiddle with the buttons and settings.

Caturday 😼

I found this feline at the West Exit of Shinjuku Station in Tokyo during my recent visit there (stills from a giant video screen).

The entrance to the Studio Alta building right next door is one of world’s famous rendezvous points.
Some 3.6 million people pass through Shinjuku Station every single day.

Saturday/ good-bye to Tokyo 😘

I am at Haneda airport— ready for the flight back to Vanouver (9 hours), and then on to Seattle (45 mins). I had a wonderful time, but I am looking forward to the cooler weather that seems to persist this summer in the Pacific Northwest.

Here’s a view from the little driverless train on the Yurikamome Line (it opened in 1995) that runs across Odeiba, an artificial island close to the shoreline in Tokyo Bay. The 6-car train runs on a double track and 600 V 50 Hz 3-phase alternating current.
Look for the little Statue of Liberty in the second picture (on Odeiba). In the background is the Rainbow Bridge that opened in August 1993, so just about 30 years old.

Thursday/ built for speed 🚅

We did a quickie return trip today on the shinkansen from Shinagawa Station to Shin-Yokohama Station, and back.
It took all of 11 minutes to get there.
It would easily take twice that amount of time with the regular train— or by car.

This is the Nozomi N700— the ‘New 700’ series that had gradually replaced the 300, 500 and 700 series sets.
(The N700S entered service in 2020 with plans to eventually replace all N700-series trains).
This train is operated with 8 cars per train set, and it has a maximum speed of 300 km/h (186 mph). The N700 also accelerates more quickly than the older 700 series trains, with a maximum acceleration rate of 2.6 km/h/s.
That means it could attain its top speed of 300 km/h in just under two minutes.

Thursday/ Yodobashi camera 📸

I checked in at the Yodobashi Camera store in Akihabara today.
(No, I have not bought a new camera yet).
The store is a giant department store for all things technology, office, home appliances, home decor, toys & games, entertainment, and even more.

There it is, the technology and toy emporium (my view of it, at least) that goes by Yodobashi-Akiba, in Tokyo’s buzzing shopping hub for geeks— Akihabara.
Fans of all shapes and sizes on the main entrance display board— today was still hot, but bearable at 31 °C (88 °F).
Nice .. a kit for brewing one’s own beer and ciders and other fermented concoctions. Kirin is a Japanese beverage company.
These colored LED lighting tubes look almost neon tubes. (The iPhone camera sensor could not quite capture the colors from the tubes).
Back at the hotel and a check of the parking lot reveals the first Tesla that I have spotted in the city. There are not many Teslas in Tokyo, or even in all of Japan (only some 5,000 were sold last year). EV sales are still only 2% of the domestic market here, and the top seller is a little Nissan microcar called the Sakura. I looked in vain for a little Tesla toy model in Yodobashi, but there was none.
Another view from my hotel room window: the construction cranes used for erecting the Takanawa Gateway City apartment and office blocks.
Just an interesting gate on my walkabout near the hotel in Shinagawa.
No smoking and no flicking of cigarette butts. I wonder if the sign actually stops any scofflaws from doing that. If you go out early in the morning, you are sure to see people (volunteers in many cases, I’m sure) picking up anything down to cigarette butts from the streets.
A parking lot with exactly two parking bays. I love it.

Tuesday/ where is Titan? 🚁

The craft submerged Sunday morning, and its support vessel lost contact with it about an hour and 45 minutes later, according to the Coast Guard.
The vessel was reported overdue about 435 miles (700 kilometers) south of St. John’s, Newfoundland, according to Canada’s Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The Titan was launched from an icebreaker that was hired by OceanGate and formerly operated by the Canadian Coast Guard. The ship has ferried dozens of people and the submersible craft to the North Atlantic wreck site, where the Titan has made multiple dives.
The U.S. Coast Guard said Tuesday afternoon that the submersible had about 40 hours of oxygen remaining, meaning the supply could run out Thursday morning.
– Reported by AP News

There are five people on the vessel: OceanGate Inc. founder Stockton Rush, British businessman Hamish Harding, father-and-son Shahzada Dawood & Suleman Dawood from Pakistan, and former French navy officer Paul-Henry Nargeolet.

Update Thu 6/22:
Headlines from the New York Times—
After days of searching, no hope of finding survivors remains.
Debris suggests 5 aboard submersible were lost in ‘catastrophic implosion’.

Map and reporting from the New York Times.
Pictures from the New York Times.

Friday/ the glow of neon 🌈

These pictures are all from inside the National Neon Sign Museum in the former Elks Building in the heart of The Dalles downtown historic district.
The museum narrates the evolution of the electric sign, from pre-electric and gold leaf signage to the invention and widespread use of neon signs.
It houses one of the largest collections of neon storefront signs in the world.
Yes, neon signage has been in decline the last few decades, but many cities are now concerned with preserving and restoring their antique neon signs.

Fun fact— Argon is much more versatile than neon for creating colors, and some 75% of ‘neon’ signs actually has argon in the tubes and not neon. ‘Neon’ is the name that stuck for all signs that use either neon or argon.

That’s David Benko himself in one of the pictures, telling us about the history of neon signs. He established the museum in 2018, and is the curator— with a lifelong passion for collecting neon signs.
The museum has displays that show inventors and their experimentation with electricity in the 1700s and 1800s, the discovery of the noble gases argon (1894) and neon (1898) and a model of the patent for the first neon sign tubes that were created in 1910 by French engineer and inventor Georges Claude (the third picture).
By the end of the Roaring ’20s, most American cities were electrified. Illuminated streets and storefronts lured people into the streets at night time. The commercialization of neon signs took off in the 1930s after the Great Depression.

Thursday/ driving back 🚘

It’s about a 4 hour drive without stops and without heavy traffic. There was a lot of traffic north of Olympia and around Tacoma, and with the stops we made the total trip time was closer to 6 hours.

We drove back to Seattle via Interstate 5 on Thursday, and stopped at two superchargers on the way: the one at Hood River and the one at Chehalis.

Interstate 84 out of The Dalles runs through the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic area, offering beautiful views of the cliffs and forests along the river.

The Dalles is one of Oregon’s most historical cities and was known earlier in its history as the town at the end of the Oregon Trail. This is The Dalles City Hall building. The two-story structure with basement on a stone foundation was built in 1908 at a cost of about $30,000.
At the Hood River supercharger station off Interstate 84. There are 8 superchargers, available 24/7, charging at up to 250 kW.  The Hood River Waterfront Park is close by. We saw a few food trucks in an adjacent parking lot, and there is a microbrewery close by.  There are toilets by the windsurfing spot on the banks of the Columbia river.
Charging time of 11 mins remaining (of 20 mins or so) to continue the trip. Charging at 86 kW to add 149 miles of range. Current range is 218 miles. The charge limit is still set to the 92% I had set at home when I left, but it is unnecessary and unproductive to charge up to that level at this charger. The battery is not a gas tank that you fill up to the brim with gas. After 2 hours of driving from here we are going to make another stop (at a charger), and and add more miles again, there.
A bit of a walk from the Hood River supercharger, there is a famous (world-famous?) wind-surfing spot on the banks of the Columbia River. We are still on the Oregon side.
Here’s the new-ish (less than 6 months old, I think) supercharger at Chehalis off Interstate 5, also with 8 superchargers, available 24/7, up to 250 kW. There are several restaurants and stores across the street, within walking distance, which is great. It’s just not a closed lot, and one has to watch for other cars that come by, driving through.
Across from the Tesla chargers is a row of chargers from EVgo— one of several other EV charging station operators in North America. Tesla is still ‘leading the charge’, with its installed network of superchargers. Beginning in early 2024, owners of Ford and G.M. electric vehicles will be able to buy adapters to connect to Tesla fast chargers. In 2025, both companies plan to sell vehicles designed to use Tesla’s North American plug.

Wednesday/ road trip to Oregon 🚘

It’s over 4 hours’ driving to The Dalles— make it 5 hours, if 2 or 3 stops are made en route.


Three amigos in two Teslas drove down to The Dalles in Oregon on Wednesday.
(Two more amigos were in The Dalles already).

We made stops at Snoqualmie Pass, in Ellensburg, and at the Tesla supercharger station in Yakima.


At the Yakima Tesla Supercharger off Interstate 82.
The supercharger can charge at a rate of up to 250 kW. If I recall correctly— I forgot to take a screen shot of the control panel— my car’s battery was at about 50% of full charge at the start of charging, and the average charging rate achieved was 80 kW. We stayed for no more than 20 minutes, and my bill for the charging came to $13.34 ($0.44c/ kWh).
The blue Tesla Model 3 and the gray Model Y (further back) made the trip to The Dalles, Oregon. There are 8 charging bays at the Yakima supercharger station.
Our lodging for the overnight stay: Cousin’s Country Inn in The Dalles, Oregon.
A giant weather vane at the entrance of Bargeway Pub on the banks of the Columbia River in The Dalles, Oregon.
Hollyhocks (Alcea rosea) in the flower garden by the entrance of Bargeway Pub.
The patio at the Bargeway Pub offers a panoramic view of the mighty Columbia River. That’s Washington State on the other side. The ship is the American Jazz* from river cruise ship operator American Cruise Lines, making her way to Portland, Oregon.
*Built in 2020 by Chesapeake Shipbuilding (Salisbury, Maryland, USA) for US$45m. She has 6 decks and 99 cabins.
A view of the cliffs on the opposing river bank. Look for the blue jay perched on the sign.