• Greg Baker

This Week in Tek

Tesla Scores Again – Have you read any of the reviews for the new Tesla Model X?  It’s the latest entry in Tesla’s line of 100% electric vehicles.  The Model X is officially listed as an SUV with seating for up to 7 adults.  However, this car contains a few non-SUV like features.  For example, this electric beast has 762 horsepower and can move from 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds.  (Are you kidding me?)  Keep in mind that at 5,300 lbs., the Model X is roughly the same mass as an Imperial AT-ST, so we’re talking about an engine equivalent to Anakin’s pod racer.  

As impressive as that sounds, the real beauty of this car lies within its electronics.  When equipped with the Tesla’s Autopilot package, the Model X performs a number of automatic and driver assist functionality.   The Model X is not the fully autonomous system we all want.   The driver must stay awake and alert.  However, under good driving conditions the Model X will happily take over steering as you watch and (eventually) relax.  Very cool.

The Model X has one big downside…well, two downsides if you consider the price.  I have not read a single positive review of the rear doors, a.k.a., the Falcon wings.  The rear door swing up to open, a la Doc Brown’s DeLorean.  Most reviewers think they are completely impractical and not suitable for everyday use.  Well, duh.  If practicality is your primary concern, you’re probably should not be looking to spend $100K+ for an SUV that can keep pace with a Ferrari Enzo, should you?

Note:  Tesla’s closest supercharging station is over 100 miles away, so it’s unlikely we’ll see Tesla’s in Augusta anytime soon.  (insert sad face here)

Bloodline – Leading up to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Lucasfilms released a series of novels to fill the gaps between the original trilogy and The Force Awakens.  Of these novels, Claudia Gray’s Lost Stars emerged as a clear fan favorite.  This story of two childhood friends growing up on a planet under Empire control puts a heart-warming, human face on the Empire, and more importantly, explains why Star Destroyers liter the landscape of Jakku.

Claudia Gray’s new and highly anticipated Star Wars novel, Bloodline, is now released.  The story takes place six years prior to The Force Awakens and centers on Princess Leia Organa.  Essentially, Bloodline provides the backstory for all the major questions in The Force Awakens.  Why doesn’t Leia trust the New Republic?  What is the First Order?  How did the Resistance begin?

Bloodline provides all the answers and adds a new dimension to The Force Awakens as you watch the DVD  for the 14th time.  We still have several months before Rogue One is released, so go download Bloodline now.  Really, what do you have to lose?

In Case Your Forgot Mother’s Day – Do you remember the first digital picture frame you purchased?  I bought my wife one about 10 years ago.  We thought it was such a great idea!  At the time we only had a few thousand pictures, and the digital frame seemed like a great way to move those pictures from the computer to the living room.  We spent an entire Friday evening selecting the 20 or so best pictures to display.  It was a lovely, newlywed-like experience journeying through the memories of our early relationship and the birth of our children.  We talked about how we would update the pictures regularly as our life together continued to evolve.

Ten years later, those same pictures still rotate through that same digital frame, sitting in an unused room in the attic.  While a great idea, the digital picture frame suffers a single fatal flaw.  Updating images via USB is highly susceptible to fail.

Nixplay’s Seed Wi-Fi Digital Photo Frame may be the affordable solution to the picture frame fail.  Instead of transferring pictures via USB or other media, Nixplay provides a mobile app that transfers pictures directly to the frame over Wi-Fi.  Multiple frames can be fully managed from the Nixplay web apps, and up to 1000 pictures can be presented on a frame at any one time.

We bought one for my Grandmother for Mother’s Day.  We thought this would be a nice alternative to downloading pictures from the iPad.  The Nixplay turns out to be a very nice system.  With a sub-$150 price tag, this is a present that all Moms would love.

But since Father’s Day is up next, get one for Dad.  He’ll like it, too.

@gregory_a_baker

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