New Video: Is Tesla Autopilot Safe?

The media went haywire over a recent government report on crashes involving Level 2 driving technologies like Tesla’s autopilot.

I took a deep dive into the report to see what was (and was not) in it.

The report covered 392 incidents and said Tesla’s vehicles were involved in 273 of them. By comparison there were an estimated 6.7 million car accidents and almost 43,000 highway deaths nationwide during the period of time the report covers.

Having used this technology for the past four years I believe it is safer when used appropriately. Tesla’s own data backs that up.

About half of the report’s narrative is spent telling readers how inclusive the data is. This includes the fact that the only cars that actually report telematics data on crashes are Tesla’s. So for other brands the driver would have to explicitly report that the car was under automated control to a police officer or the government. Tesla is also shipping far more cars with this technology than any other automotive brand.

But that didn’t stop the media from jumping to conclusions as I spell out in my latest Weekly Wrapup video. I also give a short demo of Tesla’s full self driving in action.

Incidentally the same radar cruise and lane keeping technology that Tesla started with was installed in many other cars but those manufacturers dialed it back out of fear of government regulators.

It’s astounding that with only 392 incidents to investigate the government report does not indicate who was at fault in these accidents.

Tesla isn’t guilt-free in this either – as I point out in the video they didn’t counter-message against influencers who were using the system inappropriately beyond what it was designed to do. The name autopilot also suggests a capability that goes beyond what it could actually do. This was especially true with their first generation technology that relied on radars that don’t detect stationary objects at highway speeds.

NATO Official Says Telegram is Insecure

According to the Washington Examiner, a NATO official has stated the obvious when it comes to Telegram’s security:

“Telegram is not really as it used to be,” Janis Sarts, the director of NATO’s Strategic Communications Center of Excellence in Riga, Latvia, told the Washington Examiner. “I do have reasons to believe that there is not full integrity. … Certainly, I would not see it as a secure platform.”

I covered this topic a few months ago when I did a deep dive into the popular messaging and social media platform. I suspect that it’s insecure by design – governments won’t need to ask for user data when they can very easily pluck it off the wire.

Contacted a Packet Radio BBS!

My amateur radio adventure continues. This evening I finally managed to get my gear connected to a packet radio BBS! These are simple bulletin board systems that have been around since the 80’s.

What’s cool about packet BBSes is that they do not require any type of communications infrastructure other than the radios on both ends.

The Week Ahead for June 20, 2022

Another week is upon us! Today will be the first real video I shoot at 4k so I’m eager to see how it all comes together and where things might fall apart. I got some great feedback from all of you on the visual quality and will be making some adjustments to cut down on the motion blur some of you noticed.

The big issue I see right now are file sizes. My raw 4k files are significantly larger so I may need to upgrade the SSD I use in the production machine for recording. The main clip from Saturday’s video is over 11.48 GB in size yet is only 2 minutes and 45 seconds in length!

I use Vmix’s lossless codec which offers the highest quality for the lowest amount of system resources. It’s pretty crazy how little CPU it uses during the production. At 1080p30 (what I used to record at ) it consumed about 55GB an hour. At 4k30 (my new format) it uses a whopping 175GB an hour!

On tonight’s Weekly Wrapup I’m going to talk about the recent government safety report on self driving cars. The media jumped to some conclusions without actually reading it so we’re going to look at what the report ACTUALLY says.

Later this week I’ll have a review of the new Synology RT6600ax router (affiliate link). This one is (hopefully) my last 1080p video. Following that we’ll have a review of a couple of new mini PCs (one of them fanless) and if I have time I’d like to do a new MoCA explainer based on some feedback I’ve been getting from folks as to how it works.

A little later in the week I’ll be attending a Pepcom event to get a preview from a few major brands on their new releases. If there’s enough to talk about from the show I’ll do a dispatch video too.

Stay Tuned!

Upgrading to 4k!

This weekend I had some time to see if switching to a 4k workflow was feasible. Before doing this I had to upgrade the GPU in my production machine, fix a network problem that you’ll see in another video I uploaded this week, and of course ensure that our editing workflow could handle larger files and resolutions.

Let me know how everything works in today’s video.

As many of you know I shoot my videos the same way livestreamers work in that I shoot everything live to disk vs having to edit everything together later. So while I own cameras that can do 4k, processing and recording multiple 4k streams in realtime with no frame drops needed some additional hardware. I was also reluctant to throw a wrench in a very smooth and efficient workflow – especially one that likely won’t result in increased viewership.

But the stars aligned this weekend – I was ahead on content and had a good runway of opportunity now that all of the hardware upgrades were done to the production machine.

The best part is that because I use the same workflow for live and recorded productions I am now able to livestream in 4k too! Check out what it looks like here on YouTube. Right now I’m sending YouTube a 4k 30fps stream at 30 megabits per second. I will continue to stream to Amazon too but they are limited to 720p at 2.5 megabits per second. Still I think the Amazon stream looks better downscaling from 4k vs. 1080. Check out the Amazon version here.

There is still one 1080p video left in the hopper. I’ll be going 4k from now on provided I don’t have any deal breaking gotchya’s in the week ahead.

New Video: Using Fiber Optic Patch Cables & NICs vs. RJ45 Ethernet

My latest video was initially going to be something for the Extra’s channel but when I put it together it was clear it would do well on the main channel. You all love networking!

Last year I upgraded my network to a 10 gigabit backbone. This was to support the Comcast Gigabit Pro service I had installed at my house which at the time ran at 2 gigabits per second symmetrical but has now been upgraded to 6. The only problem was that me the cheapskate installed only Cat 5e wiring in the studio and throughout my home.

The good news is that I’ve found my 5e runs are relatively short and can support multigigabit speeds reliably. The only problem I’ve had so far is with my main Vmix production machine that on rare occasions errors out and locks up my entire network when I’m pushing large volumes of data in or out of it. I initially thought it was a problem with NDI video and my Unifi switches but it also recently triggered itself when I was running an Internet speed test.

I am not known for my cable management or wiring skills but the run to my production machine is very short to my equipment closet and there’s also a drop ceiling. This made it really easy to wire up a new connection. Rather than stay on copper I instead ran a short fiber run and purchased a new networking card with an SFP+ connector vs. RJ45.

It was a very simple installation and so far (knock on wood) everything is working great.

The problem could have been due to the inexpensive non-Intel based 10 gig NIC I was using but I didn’t want to bother troubleshooting more ethernet solutions when I am not using the recommended cabling.

You can see the parts I used in the video here!

Interesting Nugget from the NHTSA Report on Automated Driving

The National Highway Transportation Safety Agency (NHTSA) put out a much talked about study on crashes involving cars equipped with driver assist and self driving automation technologies. One of the reports shows that an Apple vehicle was involved with an accident over the time period the report looked at:

Apple has long been rumored to be developing a vehicle of its own. Surprising that nobody seems to be talking about this item in the NHTSA report.

New Livestream: Checking out TMNT Shredder’s Revenge!

Here’s the deal: if you were a fan of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game you’re going to love the new reincarnation called Shredder’s Revenge. It captures the original’s vibe perfectly yet adds modern gameplay elements. It has beautiful retro graphics that are true to the original but new at the same time. The best part is that it’s already on Xbox Game Pass on the console and PC.

On the PC the system specifications are pretty minimal and the game itself takes up less than a gigabyte on your hard drive. It ran great on the Surface Laptop Go 2 we reviewed the other day.

Check out the livestream I did playing through the first five or six levels here.

The game supports couch co-op and online co-op, allowing six players in at a time. With a full complement it gets pretty crazy and I’ll admit it’s hard to keep track of where your character is when that many people are playing at once. During the stream I opened my game up to the world and we had quite a brawl going on with Shredder’s agents.

The game adds some new moves and each character has unique attributes. And like the console version there are skateboard levels to break up the repetitive nature of the gameplay a bit.

It’s not overly difficult. I played it on the middle difficulty setting and I breezed through the first third of the game in about an hour. It was even easier when other players came in to help. If you die in a co-op game there’s a short window where your teammates can revive your character. Losing all of your lives will take you back to the beginning of the level similar to other modern beat ’em ups.

My favorite recent beat ’em up by far is River City Girls. My daughters and I had a blast playing through the game. TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge is a close second to it.

Why Aren’t NFTs Being Used for Software Licenses?

I am surprised that the most obvious, legitimate and profitable use for NFTs is not currently being explored : transferrable and resellable media licenses with royalties.

One of the more interesting features of NFTs is the ability for the original artist to receive a share of future re-sells of the token.

This would be a real winner for indie game developers in particular who I think would like to offer gamers the flexibility of re-selling their licenses when they’re done with a game – something that none of the major platforms allow for now.

I covered this topic last year.

Today’s Links

“Chili’s Baby Back Ribs” behind-the-scenes recording session from 1998. – Todd Spence, Twitter

Convicted scammer Anna Sorokin says she is now selling NFTs – NBC News

Prime Day 2022 will be July 12 & 13, with deals starting as early as June 21 – AFTVNews

Elon Musk Tells Staff Twitter Should Allow ‘Pretty Outrageous’ Tweets but that the platform doesn’t have to give those posts reach. – Bloomberg

The Media’s Tesla Hit Job

I am annoyed by all of the negative headlines about Tesla’s autopilot crash numbers. This comes after a government report was issued about accidents involving vehicles that were driving autonomously before a crash. 

Tesla has the most number of autonomous vehicles on the road by far so of course they will have a higher number of reported incidents vs. other manufacturers. The data does not indicate who was at fault in those incidents, the attention level of the driver, etc.

Meanwhile Tesla’s data shows that vehicles running with their autonomous features are far less likely to crash vs. a human controlled vehicle. 

I’ll talk more about this on Monday’s wrapup. 

New Video: Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 Review

Full confession: I have a thing for 12″ laptops. I was a huge fan of Apple’s 12″ Macbook that remains one of my favorite laptops of all time. The fact that Apple hasn’t made an M1/M2 version of it is downright malpractice at this point.

I liked that Mac for its convenience. It wasn’t pretty slow and didn’t have the best keyboard, but it made up for those shortfalls in its extremely light weight, portability and battery life.

I have not found many computers on the Windows side that come close to that Macbook except the Microsoft Surface Go laptops. I bought it for review a year or so ago and ended up keeping it because it’s become my go-to Windows device for the times when I need a Windows device. Like the Macbook it comes with some compromises: The Surface Go has relatively short battery life, no backlit keyboard, lackluster graphics performance, a low resolution display and a noisy cooling fan.

But the convenience and utility of an affordable fully featured (and well built) Windows laptop outweighed all of it for me.

The second iteration of the Surface Laptop Go, called the Go 2, brings a substantial performance boost in its graphical performance. While not a gaming powerhouse by any means it is able to run many modern games at 720p at or around 30 fps. In my review we were able to get Red Dead Redemption 2, No Man’s Sky, and the Witcher 3 running at decent frame rates. The cooling fan is also noticeably quieter vs. the original too.

Physically it’s the same high quality piece of hardware as before, right down to the non-backlit keyboard and low res display. But it has a fit and finish that few laptops at this price point have – it is engineered with the same attention to detail as Microsoft’s considerably more expensive devices in the Surface lineup.

Bottom line it’s not for everyone. But for those looking for a full featured Windows PC that’s small, lightweight, and functional there are not many other choices at this price point.