Art and stuff

2ashlandtownhall

I’ve always been something of a frustrated artist. Such ‘frivolous’ activities were discouraged when I was a kid. As far as the family and teachers were concerned, if you had time to waste paper by doodling like that, you had time to do real work. For whatever reason, an interest in sketching began to emerge again some years ago. I think it’s linked with my fascination for the old buildings I find when I’m traveling around the country.

I picked up a Wacom Cintiq a couple of years ago and while it’s been frustrating trying to adapt from pen or pencil on paper to drawing on an LCD screen, I think I’m finally starting to adapt.

Drawing is, in a way, like meditation for me. I find myself doing it when I’m stressed, frustrated, angry, sad. I think that’s why I focus on buildings… Clean lines, arches, logic. Simple yet complex.

The Future of Tumblr

You may not be aware of it, but I’ve had a blog over at Tumblr for years now, and I’m far more active over there than I am here for a variety of reasons. But that is probably going to be changing in the near future.

Tumblr was bought up by Yahoo a while back, and they have not exactly been kind to their new toy. They’ve made a number of questionable decisions that have seriously annoyed many of it’s long time users. Advertising has become far more intrusive, paid, commercial blogs are being injected into our feeds over there. They’ve tampered with the user interface, adding features that no one seems to want, while removing features that people liked.

A few months ago they removed the “Reply” function, replacing it with some kind of messaging function so you can send a message to the author of the blog, but not make a public comment. They really hyped up the message function. And hype was exactly what it was. We always could send messages to the author of a blog if we wished to. It was already part of the system. All their “new” version did was add an icon to the bottom of each post to make it easier to do.

Meanwhile, the Reply function, which was widely used and widely liked, was eliminated, causing such a storm of protest that they’ve been promising to bring it back RSN (Real Soon Now).

The biggest problem with Tumblr, though, is it’s parent company, Yahoo. Yahoo hasn’t had a very good track record. It’s been losing money for years. It’s only really profitable venture is Alibaba, and there is ever increasing pressure on the company to reorganize itself, shed it’s unprofitable ventures and try to become something it hasn’t been in a long, long time, a profitable business. It’s CEO is under fire constantly, with increasing pressure to either resign, or attempts to force the board of directors to fire her. There is even pressure now from some of the bigger stockholders to fire the entire board. And to be perfectly honest, there seems to be considerable justification for both of those actions.

Shortly after buying Tumblr, Yahoo announced some sweeping changes. There would be new terms of service which would regulate what content could be posted to try to eliminate ‘offensive’ material in an effort to make the service more attractive to advertisers. Censorship/filtering software to weed out ‘unsuitable’ content would be installed. Advertising would be injected into people’s dashboards. Paid blogs would be injected into people’s dashboards. Etc. etc. etc…

There was such an enormous outrage over these new policies that they were forced to back off. While the injection of advertising into the service did take place, they backed off on the threats of censorship and other types of content restrictions. I won’t go into all of the other attempts they’ve made to “improve” the service that have irritated and alienated it’s users. While they’ve backed off on some of the more potentially destructive changes they wanted to make, they’ve continued to do things that have irritated it’s users.

But to return to Yahoo and it’s problems…

Right now Yahoo has announced it’s drastically cutting staff, firing people left and right. It’s trying to either sell off or spin off different units of the company in order to shed it’s unprofitable ventures. One of the ideas the CEO put forward was that they’d spin off everything except Alibaba. Basically Yahoo would become Alibaba, and everything else would be dumped into a company that would immediately go bankrupt because all of Yahoo’s less than successful ventures would be rolled up into that new business.

That plan got shot down. Now they’re trying to sell off various parts of the business. If they can find buyers for the stuff. In any case, the handwriting is on the wall. Yahoo, as it is known today, is not going to exist for much longer. 

What’s going to happen to Tumblr? I have no idea. Tumblr isn’t all that profitable, to be honest. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to monetize it to the extent they would like because doing so would drive away the people who create the content that draws viewers to the site in the first place, as Yahoo quickly discovered when it took over the service.

I think it’s highly likely that Tumblr will not remain the property of Yahoo for much longer. Whether they sell the service or spin it off into an independent company is something I don’t know. (Frankly, from what I’ve been reading in the financial press, I don’t think anyone at Yahoo knows what the hell they’re doing.)

My dissatisfaction with what’s going on at Tumblr and the uncertainty about the future of the service means I’m going to try to move more content over to grouchyfarmer.com in the future. Over here I don’t have to worry about injected advertising, dealing with the ridiculous way they keep changing the user interface, etc. 

2017 Bolt EV: All-Electric Vehicle | Chevrolet

Introducing the 2017 Bolt EV: an affordable all-electric vehicle with over 200 miles per charge. Learn more about Bolt EV at Chevrolet.com.

Source: 2017 Bolt EV: All-Electric Vehicle | Chevrolet

It looks like Tesla is finally going to get some serious competition in the electric vehicle market. GM’s Bolt is going to get about the same driving range and be in the same price category as the Tesla III which is supposed to be coming real soon now.

But I look at all of this hype as being just that — hype. The numbers both companies are putting out are based on ideal conditions, not on real world driving.

Right now it’s about 6 degrees outside with a -15 degree wind chill. I’d be curious to see how the Bolt, or the Tesla, for that matter, would react. All of these range tests are done under ideal conditions, in warm weather. In the cold that much of the US experiences during winter, what will these things do? Just heating the cabin of the vehicle up to a bearable temperature is going to be a significant drain on the electrical system. Add to that the fact that in extreme cold battery efficiency drops, electronics begin to have problems, etc, struggling through 5 inches of wet slushy snow… I’d be willing to bet that the 200 mile range rather rapidly drops to 100 or less.

Forget about taking it on a long trip, not with it requiring nine hours to recharge, even with the optional 240 volt charging station.

And you can forget about that $31,000 price tag right away. The actual cost is about $37,000 for the base unit. The extra $7K comes from ‘tax credits’ which you may or may not qualify for. Eliminate the tax credit, add in all of the options, the “optional” 240 volt charging station and all the rest, and the real price of this car is approaching $50K.