Volvo to sign death warrant for the combustion engine. To introduce electric car by 2019.

In the past years, there have been a lot of talks about Elon Musk’s Tesla. How it revolutionizes the auto-industry by introducing the fully electric Tesla models to the market. Despite making fewer cars than its counterparts behemoths Ford and GM, Tesla appears to have a bright future. As Elon Musk’s company market share value soars up, outsmarting and surpassing both Ford and GM in their own ground, leading up to believe about the investor’s clear idea of “what’s next” in term of more efficient energy alternative.

And now, it’s turn to Volvo to take a major part in making history.

A Volvo XC 90 car is seen during an interview with CEO Hakan Samuelsson at the Volvo Cars Showroom in Stockholm

Volvo, the Swedish automaker is now betting on the electric engine and phasing the combustion one by 2019. They plan to introduce the first model in the next two years.

While major automakers are still producing combustion-powered engines, none of them are taking risks to bet on the electric cars. An example in the United States, where cars produced still run in gasoline partly due to a cheap fuel price tag.

Volvo’s battery-powered car  will be produced first China, before moving to Europe and at a new factory the company is building near Charleston, South Caroline.

Hybrids which combine battery power with gasoline or diesel engines, accounted for about 2 percent of passenger car sales in the United States last year, a figure declines due to low fuel price tag.

And cars that run solely on battery power, like Tesla  are still rare in most countries because of high purchase prices, lengthy charging times and limited ranges. Elon Musk promises an entry level for Tesla.

Many carmakers believe that the share of electric cars will grow quickly in the next decade as the technology would improve efficiency, public charging become commonplace. Rapid advances in self-driving cars will also encourage a shift to battery power: It is simpler to link self-driving software to an electric motor than to a conventional engine.

Although no other traditional carmakers have declared their intention to bury the internal combustion engine, virtually all of them are investing in hybrid and battery technology.

Daimler, the maker of Mercedes-Benz cars and trucks would invest $735 million, in a new battery factory it will build in Beijing with its Chinese partner, BAIC Motor.

The major American automakers are moving forward with their own electrification strategies, albeit on a much smaller scale than Tesla and now Volvo.

General Motors, for example, this year introduced the Chevrolet Bolt — a battery-powered model that sells for about $35,000 before government incentives are applied. The Bolt can travel 238 miles on a single charge and will be the basis for other electric models that G.M. expects to add to its lineup.

Ford has sold electric versions of a few mainstream models, but it has not yet developed an all-electric vehicle from the ground up. That is changing, however. The company has said it will introduce a battery-powered S.U.V. by 2020 and will add other electric models thereafter.

The third big domestic automaker, Fiat Chrysler, has lagged. It sells an electric version of its Fiat 500 subcompact car and a hybrid gas-electric variation of its Chrysler Pacifica minivan. But the company has yet to announce any plans to build a new vehicle that is available only as an electric model.

Volvo’s transition will be gradual. It plans to still produce existing models with conventional engines after 2019, but it will no longer introduce new models with the older technology. Depending on demand, Volvo will completely phase out cars powered solely by gasoline or diesel by around 2024.

But by focusing on electrification, Volvo can concentrate its limited research and development resources on new technologies rather than continuing to invest in fuel-powered motors that may become obsolete. With sales of 534,000 cars last year, Volvo is dwarfed by companies like Toyota, Volkswagen and General Motors, each of which sold about 10 million vehicles in 2016.

So, let see how Volvo will perform with its own combustion-alternative strategy in the next two years.

Sofiane MEROUANI

Read X-Files “Flight 180”. The spec script that would become Final Destination.

Unless you have been living under the rock, Final Destination is a huge financial success that started back in 2000, spanning four sequels that concluded in 2011. Not to mention movie tie-ins and other related medias. (Final Destination 5 is a  prequel whose final scene was directly connected with the events of the first movie that sets off the franchise)

The story resolves around a teenager who must cheat death in order to survive. Using his premonition of the upcoming calamity, he or she tries to save life of those who were supposed to perish on a particular accident.  Final Destination was first conceived as a spec script for X-Files TV Show entitled : “Flight 180” , written by Jeffrey Reddick.

The main protagonist is supposed to be Dana Scully’s brother who has some sort of premonition, an asset that would be essentially used by the protagonists of the franchise to cheat death.

Capture

Dated all a way back in 1994, Jeffrey Reddick wrote Flight 180, using Word processor instead of Final Draft. The spec script is available right here.

“I decided to use the basic concept of people cheating Death as the catalyst,” said Reddick, “But when you write a spec for a series, you want to follow the framework of the show and go deeper. So, I had Scully’s brother have the premonition, which made the story more personal. I won’t spoil the rest, but for the spec script, the concept isn’t front and center, it’s more about Scully, Mulder and her relationship with her brother.

“But when I decided to write it as a feature [Final Destination], I made the story all about the concept. And tweaked it.”

Reddick continues :

I think fans will be most interested in seeing how the kernel of the concept started in 1994. Death worked differently in this version. Since Mulder and Scully had the believer/skeptic relationship, I had to keep Death vague enough, but clear enough, to fit the concept and investigation in to a one-hour show.

“But it’s interesting to see how this kernel evolved in to the original draft of Flight 180 in 1997 – and finally the finished version of the 2000 Final Destination.”

Reddick revealed he’s been carrying some frustration for the past 15 years. Here, he clears the air about rumors that Final Destination was inspired by the real life crash of TWA Flight 800 in 1996.

“The biggest misconception about the original spec script is the one that has bothered me the most… When the movie came out in 2000, a lot of reviewers said the story was inspired by the real life crash of TWA Flight 800 in 1996. I got flack for that,”

Sofiane MEROUANI

Windows Vista. The End of an Era

It’s an end of an era that started in summer 2001.

Microsoft finally bids a farewell to Windows Vista, an operating system that was released ten years ago and ended up being targeted by a ton criticisms from both consumers and professionals alike.

Microsoft ended support for Windows Vista (“You will remember it as Longhorn”).

Microsoft Launches Vista Operating System

Windows Vista is an operating system that could have been a revolution for Microsoft is they were listening to the consumers instead of being obsessed of keeping hold of Windows’s monopoly that the company was enjoying for more than ten years.

Originally code-named Windows Longhorn, Windows Vista breathed life all a way back in July 2001, a month before Microsoft would wrap up Windows XP.  It was an ambition product that spiraled out of control. The operating system would have included a WinFS storage system that would search for your files on your ever-increasing hard drive and retrieve them up as quickly as possible.  WinFS was scrapped midway through the development process.

Windows Vista was so resource hog that you current 2005 era computer would experience difficulties and program crashes. You really needed to buy a new Windows Vista capable PC to enjoy a better experience.

Windows Vista arrived at the moment when Apple was poised to take the world by storm with the release of the iPhone. As a result, Microsoft missed the chance to enter the smartphone arena and compete with iOS and Android in time.

While it’s easy to point out the bad parts of Windows Vista, its release did many good things for Windows. A new search interface provided a strong foundation for Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10, and many of the Start menu changes and design choices that still exist in Windows 10 today. Microsoft had much bigger ambitions with Vista that failed, but the fundamentals certainly pushed Windows forward in design, functionality, and security.

So long Windows Vista.

This is an updated copy to correct some typos.

Sofiane MEROUANI

 

 

 

A look back to the original iPhone Prototypes. Circa 2005/2006

June 29. The 10th anniversary of the iPhone.

June 29 marked the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone. Introduced by Steve Jobs in January 2007, iPhone went on sale and changed the smartphone landscape forever.

While the hype is building up around the upcoming iPhone 8, let’s take a trip  down a memory lane with the original iPhone prototypes. Apple employee Ken Kocienda took to Twitter to offer a look back at the first Apple smartphone, that quite frankly looked like a Palm devices.

iphones

As you can see in the pictures above, the devices are far cry from anything we’d see from the today’s smartphones. It’s a hint that how technology was dancing forward.

That first Apple phone boasted some impressive specs for its time, but today seems almost laughable. A 3.5-inch display at just 320×480, 128 MB of memory, and a 2.0 MP camera — not to mention a default storage size of just 4 GB.

“I kept those devices in my desk drawer for years,” . “When I left Apple, returning this hardware was tough, like saying goodbye to old friends.”

— Ken Kocienda

Kocienda, who just left Apple in early May, was with the company for an impressive 16 years, working on human interface design and (according to his own tweets) was involved in the development of the software keyboard that the iPhone became so well known for.

Sofiane MEROUANI

Movie tie-in : My name’s Bond. James Bond. The World is Not Enough

I’ve been collecting movie tie-in since 2013. I’m lucky to have a friend living in the United States who ships me a lot of movie tie-in periodically. Right now, I own + 100 movie tie-ins. And here is one of my favorites.

My name’s Bond. James Bond. The World is Not Enough is by far one of my favorite James Bond’s movie. Released in 1999, the movie was followed by a movie tie-in. Written by Raymond Benson, the World is Not Enough is the fifth in the James Bond’ saga.

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The World Is Not Enough was adapted by then-current Bond novelist Raymond Benson from the screenplay by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Bruce Feirstein. It was Benson’s fourth James Bond novel and followed the story closely, except in some details. For example, Elektra does not die immediately after Bond shoots her; instead, she begins quietly to sing. The novel also gave the Cigar Girl a name: Giulietta da Vinci, and retained a scene between her and Renard that was cut from theatrical release. Also, Bond is still carrying his Walther PPK instead of the newer P99.

The movie tie-in is also available as an audiobook at audible.com

Sofiane MEROUANI

Paint. NET is coming to Windows Store

Paint. NET is one of the world’s most popular easy-to use-imaging manipulation software for the hobbyists and the pro alike. It has been around the web for decades. And for the people who uses Windows 10, good news folks, Paint. NET is coming to Windows Store.

Paint. NET is one of the world’s most popular easy-to use-imaging manipulation software for the hobbyists and the pro alike. It has been around the web for decades. And for the people who uses Windows 10, good news folks, Paint. NET is coming to Windows Store.

Zoom1

Touted as the best imaging software, Paint. NET was seen as the alternative to the standard paint that ships with Windows for more than two decades.

The current version of 4.0.17 and it arrived on April. The Windows Store version is likely to be pushed pretty soon. Stay tuned.

Sofiane MEROUANI

You can download the iOS 11 Public Beta but at your own risk!

Earlier this month, Apple announced a major revamp of its popular operating system. For the iPhone, it’s the brand new iOS 11. For the Mac, it’s the High Sierra in its 10.13 iteration.

While the focus is not on the Mac as the High Sierra is still listed as “coming soon”, Apple right now begin seeding the next version of iOS 11 in its beta form. Just as a reminder, the beta is at your own risk. You can download it, tinker with it and sends bug reports to Apple.

apple-wwdc-2017-ios11-control-center

Last year, I began moving away from my Android and Windows devices with acquisition of iPod Touch 5th generation (which I bought back in 2016) and a second-hand iPad 2 mini back in March 2017.  Apple has a very bright future and I thought it was a time to move on. (Even Mondi Ess jumped into the Apple bandwagon), so another reason to get an iPhone 6 S as quickly as possible.

iOS 11 is certainly more feature-heavy. It contains an all-new Control Center, notifications work differently, drag and drop, and there’s a new Files app. There are also a number of iPad-specific improvements, such as a new dock that allows you to fit many more apps on it, and a new way of implementing Slideover and Split View. In fact, you can now combine Split View and Slideover to show three apps on the screen at once.

There are also some photo editing improvements. You can now trim live photos, and when you take a screenshot, you’ll be able to tap a thumbnail to go to a screen where you can crop it or write on it.

You can sign up for Apple’s Public Beta Program here, or if it’s still too early for you, you can wait a couple of weeks until the next build is out. The updates will be generally available this fall, likely at the end of September.

Sofiane MEROUANI