Association of Personal Computer User Groups

Arizona Alliance of Computer Clubs


Useful Websites and Products
October 2010

Web Tour is a monthly feature where we travel the internet to find interesting sites and programs. Web Tour appears in the group's newsletter as well as here on our website. Just click the links below to visit the sites.

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Only in America
by Bill Aulepp
Publisher - Phoenix PC Users Group

As regular readers know Web Tour appears in the newsletter almost every month. Most, if not all, readers know that Michael Bishop has taken over as Editor and I have become Newsletter Publisher.

When I worked at NBC TV in New York City, such a move was known as being "kicked upstairs". You knew too much about the company to be fired so you were given an office overlooking the plaza, and forgotten. Well, not forgotten, exactly. At Christmas time all your old friends stopped by to say hello and watch the lighting of the plaza's Christmas tree.

I do not have an office overlooking anything, and do not intend to be forgotten. This month I beg your indulgence and ask that you travel with me on the web. I am a news geek so I spend hours reading the UK, French, and German periodicals. All have English editions.

I have come across something that illustrates why America differs from all other countries on this earth. Only here could the following narrative take place.

To begin with, Mercedes plans to have in production an all-electric car within the next few months. Toyota is planning to have an all-electric car but not that soon. Many of the other car manufacturers are planning electric cars for the future. How is it that Mercedes can beat them all?

A small Silicon Valley company has been making and selling all-electric sports cars since 2006. To date, they have sold more than 1200 roadsters in more than 28 countries. At a sticker price of over $100,000, it appeals to a limited few. But those few own a sports car that leaves all other sports cars in the dust. And I mean all!! It goes from 0 t0 60 in 3.7 seconds. As we know, an electric motor starts at full torque; combustion engines do not. Why do you think we use a transmission that shifts several gears? Best of all, the new sports car goes over 200 miles on a charge and that charge can be accomplished in your garage using a 90 amp 240 volt electric service. Recharge time? About four hours.

You may think I am writing this for "Motor Trend". But wait, there's more. How has an upstart American company been able to do what the major car companies have failed to do?

Without any aid from Washington, adhering to voluminous government mandated forms and regulations, they dreamed an electric sports car, then took the route American entrepreneurs have always taken. "Build a better mousetrap". In this case a sports car that outclasses all others. For the cheese - do not spend years of research on building a suitable battery. Look for it in the cupboard and use what is already there!

This car is called the Tesla and uses what the new Mercedes E-car will use - laptop batteries configured by Tesla. Over 6000 cells sandwiched on the car floor in a configuration that separates batteries so that if a cell goes out, or shorts, it will not compromise the whole grid. Tesla also has pioneered a drive transmission that can take and use the tremendous torque the electric motor produces. With four years of experience building a profitable and reliable electric car, no wonder Mercedes has decided to go with the Tesla plan for their first E-car. If you wish to read further, go to the websites below.

This could only happen in the US. I spent a year in Germany after WWII. I also worked on news stories and documentaries in Europe during the 60s and 70s. So I can say with some authority the chances of a socialist country, and they all are, spawning anyone who could imagine building an upscale sports car using laptop batteries as power, and turning it into a viable commercial venture, is nil.

Thumbs up, America!

Tesla Roadster

The car was officially unveiled to the public on July 19, 2006

Jump-Starting the E-Car Revolution

New Mercedes has Tesla technology under the hood


All of the Web Tour sites in the newsletter are archived and instantly available right here on our website. Don't waste time-consuming typing of the site addresses. Just click, and you are there.

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If you have favorite sites and products,
drop them in the Tip Jar:  
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