Pragmatic 58: I Want My Hovercar

20 February, 2015


The next disruption in transportation is coming to a car near you soon. We walk through the history and evolution of personal transportation and look to the future.

Transcript available
You messed with my head. Sorry. I did not mean to hang up on y'all. I got a fresh recording out of it. Well we got a fresh recording that's that's that's that's a bonus right there. Okay. Sorry. Don't be sorry I think that's going to make a great introduction. Welcome to Pragmatic. Pragmatic is a weekly discussion show contemplating the practical application of technology. Exploring the real world trade-offs, we look at how great ideas are transformed into products and services that can change our lives. Nothing is as simple as it seems. This episode is sponsored by is the easy and affordable way to learn where you can instantly stream thousands of courses created by experts in their fields of business software, web development, graphic design, and lots and lots more. Kickstart your new year and challenge yourself to learn something new. Visit to get a free 10-day trial. There's something for everyone in there and it's already February. So if you've ever wanted to learn something new, what are you waiting for. This episode is also sponsored by Extra Sensory Devices and their amazing Luxi4All, an incident light meter attachment for your smartphone or tablet. Visit for more information about their handy Luxi4All that no modern photographer should be without, and to take advantage of a special discount exclusively for Pragmatic listeners. We'll talk more about both of them during the show. I'm your host, John Fidgey, and I'm joined today by my co-host, Vic Hudson. How's it going, Vic? I'm good John. How are you? I am very well. Thanks for asking Before we get show notes, and I'm thinking it's gonna be a short show I'm not saying that I am definitely not saying that How many pages are there again refresh my memory? I'm counting four Okay, very good. Yes indeed there are four pages a night, so I spent a little bit time on this one. That's okay It's one I've been wanting to clear off the deck for a while So we'll see how we go before we get stuck into that I just want to say two things. First of all, a big, huge thank you to everybody that bought a Pragmatic t-shirt. They will be off in the mail to you shortly if they are not already, depending of course upon when you listen to this time shifting and podcast recordings and all that other blah, blah, blah. This is not live. So there you have it. So thank you so much to all of them. We sold a grand total of 28 t-shirts. Now that's actually about three times what I expected. So a huge thank you to everyone that did, to the guys and the girls. We had both kinds of shirts and they both sold in reasonable numbers so that's awesome. We're not an enormous podcast but I'm so grateful to have fans of the show that liked it that much they grabbed a shirt. It is by definition limited edition. Thanks again to everybody and another quick reminder that the stickers will remain up for sale for a while longer. The little stickers have proven to be the most popular and there have been a few sightings in the wild already. People have sent pictures in of them so if you'd like to send them in after you've got them and you've stuck them on something, feel free to do so. I'll probably retweet them because they're just such cute little stickers, the little ones. I'm rolling one between my fingers right now. It's about the size of a quarter actually the the two inch ones so anyway there you go and yes I know how big a quarter is because remember I visited North America anyway it's not two inches oh god well you're right it's not is this what it was that one point hang on it's the one no that's right because it's one two yeah that's right it's one inch to one inch one inch and three inch that's right because I'm I'm thinking 2.5 centimeters because 2.5 centimeters is one inch. Foiled by the metric system again. Foiled by the metric system. I can't win. Actually, I joke about that, but I really wish we embraced the metric system. Be careful. You may be lynched by your fellow Americans, sir. I may be lynched by my fellow Americans, but I don't care. I'm with you guys on that one. Base 10 math is so much simpler. Oh, God. Yeah, I know it is. I know it is very, very much so. Okay, but nevermind that. We can wish it all we like. It ain't changing anytime soon, so you better accept reality. Okay, go Imperial and go metric at the same time. That way I'm pleasing everybody whilst both sides hate me. Lovely, okay. I wanna talk about transportation evolution. At least that's the title I got written down. And the reason that I wanna talk about this is because I'm a big fan of another podcast called a SIM car. I'm also a big fan of Tesla. And there's also been a lot of talk lately about self driving cars like the Google self driving car and an Apple car, which I'm going to wait till my wrap up to you can get what I think about an Apple car. But for the moment, let's just leave that at how well you know me as to what I think. But anyhow, so here's what we'll do. I'd like to start with, as I always do, the basics, build up from the beginning, and then see what conclusions we can draw. And where I'm going with this is, I wanna talk about disruption. And I know that that's a word that I hate, but here we go. I'm gonna use it a few times in this episode. So you're free to either agree and nod and smile, or you can hate it along with me, either way, it doesn't matter. Point is that disruption, and it's funny because people have very different ideas about what actually a disruption to transport actually means. And I get frustrated and annoyed. So I'm, this is my take. I'm not saying it's absolutely right, but let's see how we go. How about I just stop trying to explain what I'm gonna say and I'll start saying it, what do you think? - That sounds good. - Sounds good, all right, fine. Okay. - You're telling me this is going somewhere? - It's going, no, that wasn't, that's why I had to stop and I need to start going somewhere. So without further ado, I'm now going to start talking in a straight direction. Not that you can talk in a direction. Actually, you can. Anyway, I need to move a physical object from point A to point B somehow. Hence, that is the problem. So I could be transporting cargo or I could be transporting a person, you know, either or whatever. So beyond the obvious, and that is kind of obvious, I mean, cargo can handle all sorts of extremes. so it can handle extremes of acceleration, orientation, that's in upside down, you know, inside out, maybe not inside out, but certainly any orientation in the X, Y, or Z or Z axes. It can handle much more extreme temperatures, generally speaking. The duration of the transit, again, it can be much longer for cargo, and it's probably gonna survive all of that abuse. So, you know, obviously there are exceptions, Things like lithium batteries, for example, which in some countries you can't take them on a plane unless it's pressurized cargo. So you can't carry as unpressurized cargo, it'll explode. Well, potentially catch fire, potentially. Perishable foodstuffs, like anything that's needs refrigeration, basically. You can't just carry that around however you like. That's just not gonna cut it at all. Yeah, so that's, again, that's kind of obvious, I guess. But what I learned not that long ago, a few years ago, is things like plasma TVs. So plasma TVs. - From what I understand, they need to stay vertical. - Yes, that's right. If you turn them upside down, it ruins them ever so slightly. And LCDs also can't lie flat, generally because the, especially the older LCDs, because the mass of the screen itself is too great for it to handle a deflection in that axis. So yeah, so like the weight of the screen in the center can cause it to crack around the edges. So I was told it makes sense because, you know, those things are getting lighter and thinner and more delicate. So, you know, if you lay it flat, then they're getting so much larger, the surface area. Yes, exactly. Yeah. So as the surface area increases, then the amount of mass in the center that's being supported by because the mass in the center will be growing at a faster rate than the circumference around the outside, the perimeter, I should say the perimeter. It's not a circle, circular TV. Anyway, so yeah, so I heard. So yeah, there are exceptions obviously to those in terms of cargo, but honestly, that's pretty much all that I wanna talk about, about cargo, because to me, that's not interesting. People and moving people around, that's a lot more interesting. And when it comes to disruptions to industries and so on, that's the one that most people are fixated on as well. So another point of order, We're talking about current physics, right? We're talking about current physics and what's currently possible. I'm not gonna talk about transporters, transmats, teleporters, converting matter to energy and energy to matter and transmitting energy. I mean, this is not Star Trek there. I know transporter Scotty, there is no Scotty. - No, I'm pouting. - I know, I'm sorry, but I know, I know, but no, we're not gonna, not gonna, no. Okay. So where do we begin? So let's start with five broad classifications of transportation. We've got land, water, rail, those three oddly called ground based, which kind of makes sense as a grouping. And then, of course, you have air and space. Space only being a new one in the last 60, 70 years. And air, of course, really been around for 120, 130 years, something like that. Rail, having only been around for about 250 years. Before that, of course, water and land have been around for forever. Well, actually, I didn't research how long it's been since we've had boats, but I guess the Vikings had boats. So there you go. And I'm sure someone built canoes and rafts a long time before that. So let's just say water's been around forever too, practically. Okay. Now, to further subcategorize these, And the reason that I wanna do this is I wanna lock down the boundaries of the discussion because otherwise we could go on forever, which is a real problem with me, so I need to do this. Okay, so we've got public, commercial and private. So just quickly, obviously, well, maybe it's not obvious or not, but so public is funded either partly or in whole by government or governing body. Commercial is something that's been funded partly or in whole by a commercial entity and you will pay to use their facility, their equipment, whatever it might be. And private is that the individual who operates it or the individual that can pay someone else to operate or call someone into it like a family member or a distant relative to drive in their car for them, either way, they own the vehicle in question. So those are the three broad categories. So what's of most interest to me is going to be the land-based stuff, at least initially. So let's cover the land-based stuff And of that, I'm not so interested in the boat angle because the problem with boats is that they're only really good when you ain't got water. You know, it's all well and good to say, let's talk about water travel and let's talk about revolutionizing water travel. Well, that's great till you live in the middle of the United States or the middle of Australia or the middle of Europe. And you look around you and you see a whole bunch of land and you're like, "Hmm, yeah, my boat's not gonna go very far right now." So, hmm, not really. Yeah, it's not gonna work. So, speaking of which, do you have any large bodies of water near where you live? No. Well, we have what we locally call lakes, but most people that have experience with like the bigger Great Lakes, look at our lakes and call them puddles, ponds. (laughing) My wife's from Michigan and she's very familiar with the quote, Great Lakes. That's not a lake. No, that's it's kind of like that. That's not a knife, huh? It's like, but that's not a lake. Yeah, pretty much. Cool. Excellent. Well, there you go. So, I mean, where I am, it's all well and good to say, "Oh, but Australia is surrounded by water." And it's like, yeah, but here's the problem, right? When you're in a place like Sydney, and Sydney is very much been built and evolved around the Sydney Harbour. that's great you've got ferries that go back and forth and they save you a lot of time but once they built the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Harbour Tunnel you know it's almost as fast not quite but almost as fast to drive or to from the Sydney CBD across to Manly as it is to take a standard ferry mind you if you go across on the on the catamaran it's faster but you know generally speaking the ferries aren't any quicker than driving all the trains generally speaking even in Sydney and in Brisbane it's definitely not the case because all the ferries we've got have got CityCats and we've got old style monohull ferries and they'll take you up and down the river but the problem is the reaches around the city that it weaves in and out like a like a confused snake and it's like well okay I could actually walk quicker well maybe not walk but I could probably run and beat the ferry in some cases and that's over a reasonable distance simply because I can cut out about five kilometers or three miles that that boat has to travel to get around the corner and I could just run that far. Well, I mean, I could now I've lost the weight anyway. Okay, so yeah, not interested in boats really, not in terms of that. So let's stick with land. Okay. Public transport. Do you like public transport, Vic? I don't actually have a whole lot of public transport experience Okay, because I mean, as a consumer In North America, that's actually been an ongoing issue in a lot of parts of North America. And I'll be honest in Australia as well, because both of our countries have evolved in the last 50 to 75 years surrounded by the automobile. So there's lots of roads and there's not so much public transport, unless, of course, you live in an older city and an older city that's kept that infrastructure, you know, like obviously like New York, you know, the subways. And, you know, in cities like London as well, you know, you've got the Tube and, you know, British Rail and a few other different ones. Anyway, I know I'm not going out of my depth there, but, you know, and it's my point is that cities like I grew up in like Rockhampton, we had a tram system that was around for a while and it just got too expensive to run. They switched to buses and ripped up the tram lines. That was the end of that. Too expensive to retrofit them now. So, you know, and the buses barely ran. So there was bugger all of the public transport system in Rockhampton. So mind you, in a city that's about 70,000 people, maybe that doesn't matter too much. So that's what I wanted to start with is the size. So what, how big roughly is the town you live in? I think you've said it before, but just for the listeners? There's 14,000 people total and it covers about nine square miles. Okay, cool. So where I live is in just outside of Brisbane, just north of Brisbane. I say just north, it's about 30 miles north. So the area that I live in Greater Brisbane in the southeast corner of Queensland, it's about three million people and one and a half million people live within Brisbane's city limits. So there's a reasonable number of people and that means that it's more it's possible to do a public transport system and the reason is that and I guess before I'm getting ahead of myself so public transport I guess the classification is very broad but let's just say any public transport will generally have a carriage of some description whether it be a bus or a train or a tram that can carry a a large number of passengers, and that's usually more than 10 people. So anything less than that, you're looking at, it's a cab or it's too small to be considered high capacity and therefore it's not economical for public transport. So the idea is that the public transport gives you an alternative to private individual methods of getting around, because the private individual methods of getting around are more expensive and more difficult. So the most typical models that have succeeded so far trains and buses. And I've sort of, underneath the trains, trains typically, I'll sort of, we'll split it in two pieces. And I guess some of this applies to buses, but more so for trains. And that is externally powered, and that's usually electric, although not always, and internally powered, which is they carry their own fuel with them, like, you know, like diesel. Now, as a subcomponent under trains, subheading under trains, we've also got light rail transit, heavy rail and trams. Now the cutoffs for each of these vary depending upon definition. But heavy rail is you know, multiple tons. They're generally for longer distance travel. And they're generally considered to be harder wearing but of course, they're more expensive to build. Oh, yeah, and they can usually go faster as well. Light rail trains, light rail transit or light rail trains are designed to be not obviously you know not go as fast, be made out of lighter materials, perhaps not as strong but they're meant for covering shorter smaller areas more in with more coverage but not quite as much as a tram. Typically light rail transit will not share the road so that'll be essentially in their own travel corridor which we'll get to in a minute. So trams though is where that all sort of really around towns and this is where we're focusing on is around towns for the moment is trams actually start out being horse drawn, which is something that I didn't realize until I was much older and when I was doing, was looking into trams, the history of trams in Melbourne and subsequently in San Francisco when I was visiting. And it's funny, I have a hard time picturing a horse pulling a tram around on a bunch of rails but that's kind of what they did. So anyway, they then moved to steam powered in some cases, but electric was really the winner and that sort of transformed the tram industry if you can call it that I guess. In Sydney, in Australia, electric trams, they came in about 1898, so just before the turn of the last century. And having said that though, the most amazing trams that I've personally ridden on are not actually called trams, not colloquially, they're called cable cars and that's there of course in San Francisco. And the thing I found amazing about the cable cars is of course there's no overhead power lines, right? They're not they're not electric. Well I mean they are electric but they're not electric. That's confusing. Cable cars are called cable cars if you haven't heard of them you don't know how they work, is that they actually have a powerhouse and the powerhouse is some ways away from the actual lines and it pulls a really, really long set of cables. And those cables constantly move through an underground duct system underneath the street, just underneath street level. And the cable car has a gripper that basically clamps it and attaches itself to the cable underneath the ground. And then the cable drags it along with it. It's a fascinating idea. It has a couple of advantages, 'cause what it does is it keeps that, the motive power out of the cable car, just like electric does, but it has no overhead power lines and it keeps a lot of that mess off the street. Of course, the downside is, for the longest time, it took them a while to figure out how to actually cross lines. So one cable car is going on one line, the other one intersects and crossing over, they had to come up with a mechanism to handle that and individual patents and so on, but it had one massive advantage which we'll get to in a minute, But the first cable car opened in 1877 and it gradually replaced the horse-drawn trams. But when electric trams were introduced in 1892 in San Francisco, they started to erode into that. And mainly because cable cars were estimated to cost nearly six times as much money to operate than electric. Originally, those, as I said, cable cars, they weren't electric powered. Well, and originally they weren't, they were steam powered. these powerhouses that would pull the cables, they were steam powered, they convert them across to electric eventually 'cause it was cheaper and cheaper to maintain. But the six times as much was a real problem. So eventually cable cars started to lose and electric trams started to take over the routes because they're just so much cheaper. But there was one area where the cable cars won and they still win. And that's over really, really steep hills because electric trams simply could not climb them. So when I went to San Francisco, I went for a joy ride, I guess you could call that, on the cable cars. It was an absolutely amazing experience, loved it. Occupational health and safety dramas, seriously, I can't believe they let people hang out the side like that, but that's just what they do. - Yeah. - Have you been to San Francisco? I have not. No. Okay, cool. Well, if you ever do go on the cable car, I know that they are mainly there now for the tourist population, but they are so much, so much fun and they're not cheap, but they're so much fun. But anyway, so, yeah, the ones that remain, I think there's only three lines left now. But, you know, anyway, so then the electric trams, you might say, okay, well, there's only cable cars left and the electric trams, They, you know, a lot of people in San Francisco didn't like them. They were trying to push more electric trams to cover more routes. And people were fighting it because they're like, why can I be more like the cable cars? I don't want all the overhead power lines. I get it. They visually look terrible. People, you know, I don't know. Did they climb up on top of trains and grab onto them? Some people might. I don't know. I would imagine there was a segment that did. Yeah, well, I probably was. I mean, I don't know. All I know is that. Some of those guys that climb a hill and put their hand in front of a microwave dish, maybe. I don't know who you're talking about. Anyway, so in the early, eventually, I'm going to move on now and whistle. OK, I can't whistle. Eventually, diesel powered buses just won because they could go up the steep hills pretty much and, you know, they didn't require the overhead power lines. And despite the fact they spewed out horrible exhaust everywhere, once they gone and dissipated people got over it. So buses eventually won. So as I said now, buses pretty much cover everything else. There are some parts when I was there where they had some trolley buses which I'll like on the outskirts of San Francisco. I don't know if they still got them but they did when I was visiting back in 1997. So maybe someone will correct me on that. But anyway, so buses. Funny thing is, I had never seen a trolley bus till I went to San Francisco. I was staying in Candlestick RV Park when I was there. That's the RV park overlooking Candlestick Stadium. And it was an interesting experience because I had a slab of dirt that had grass on it and I was putting the tent peg in. So when I went around North America, I camped out because I didn't have much money. I was, you know, I was an intern. I did not have much money. So I was driving the tent peg in and it would go in maybe an inch. And then I was going clink, clink, clink against the concrete underneath the it was the token piece of turf. So, yeah, you can pitch a tent. I mean, well, you can you can put you can place a tent on it. but pitching it and holding it down, best of luck with that. Anyway, that was interesting. 'Cause I was there one night when there was a game on and man, that was loud. Anyway, so yeah, I caught a trolley bus into the outskirts of the CBD in Frisco. The first time I actually went on trolley bus and the poles came off and the driver came out and ran. What am I talking about? For people that don't know what a trolley bus is, it is a bus that drives on the road like a bus, but it's got two big, long, flexible poles out the back. I think they're made out of fiberglass these days, but in any case, and these things are on big springs and they connect to a set of power lines that go overhead power lines. And that's what powers the bus. The one I was on was particularly smelly and it smelled bad because of the, it was clear they were getting a lot of arcing and they needed to do some maintenance on the circuit breakers and on the electric motors. there were just, it just, ventilation was not that great. So the whole thing just stank of that electric burning smell. I don't know how else to describe it. If you've smelt it, you know exactly what I'm talking about. But, you know, but so a very distinct memory for me. And it was a banana bus too, right? So it was a three axle with the squishy xylophone bit in the middle. Well, you know, it's not the middle, it's more like two thirds of the way down, you know. So anyway, so trolley buses, but the majority of buses are diesel. So of course disadvantage of trolleybuses is they're stuck with the power lines. They can't go anywhere without the power lines. And if the poles come off like they did on my very first trip on one, well, that's just slows everybody down. But there's no diesel, so it doesn't cost anything to refuel. It's just the electricity, if you don't mind the power lines. OK, so we've talked about the different methods of public transport, but there's a further sub classification that we've got to talk about that's a big deal and it's all about the route, fixed routes, variable routes that are restricted, variable routes that are unrestricted. But before we do talk about that, I'd like to talk about our first sponsor and that is Now is an easy and affordable way to learn. You can instantly stream thousands of courses created by experts in their fields of business, software, web development, graphic design, audio, and lots and lots more. Wait to meet a list here. 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Premium plan members can also download project files and practice along with the instructor. Now I've been talking with now for a while and they've been a long time supporter of the show. And I've enjoyed their content on and off for years. So I'm really happy to be able to provide pragmatic listeners with a special offer to access all their courses for free for 10 days. Visit to try it out for 10 days. That's Thank you once again to for sponsoring Pragmatic. Okay, so I was going to talk about routes. Or would you pronounce them routes or roots? That's about a 50/50 here. Okay, cool. So there we go. Going to go with routes. Okay, so fixed routes. And it all started before the car where you had the train because you know, a steam engine was simply very, very heavy and it needed rails to support it with good sleepers and good ballast to hold it all together. But as engines became lighter, the internal combustion engine we had cars, we could get away from that. You still need to have formed roads because the cars are still very heavy and the cars would still sink in in the mud when it rained. But irrespective, the idea is it all started with rails. So the problem of course that rails create, whether it's a train or a tram, and besides if you're going with electric power that's not carrying your fuel with you, your overhead power lines, well they're going to essentially restrict the movement of the bus or the train or the tram. They're going to restrict it to a very narrow fixed route. And that's a problem. Because what it means is that you can't visit anywhere you would like. You can only visit a fixed number of points. You can only stop at a fixed number of points along those routes. So there is a sort of twist on this, because there's also been a more recent development in the last 30 or 40 years called the busway. Which, when I first heard of busway, I shook my head and I thought, that's ridiculous. you're taking a bus that can go on any public road and you're making a road specifically just for the bus. Okay. Seemed a bit weird to me. More I thought about the more it made sense because buses have the think of a busway like a train line, except the train can leave the tracks and go to wherever else it might like, but it gets the advantage of having a highly available, highly efficient transit corridor. so it can bypass all of the problems of traffic congestion. - Yeah. - So I kind of get the busway, but I still think that it cost effectively, it's a bit dubious. But anyway, it's an interesting compromise. So the idea is though that, you know, you can't stop in the corridor, you can't move into or out of it if you're a train or a tram or a trolley bus. If it's a busway, yes, you can, but only a certain number of exit and entry points. Otherwise it wouldn't be a busway, it'd just be a road. So the problem with that of course means that, although, okay, the plus sides, it's more efficient because you're the only traffic on that route, which means you can fully control and fully manage the traffic. So if you've got trains and train, yeah, you can figure out how many trains are ahead of you, how many behind you, and you have full control. You can operate all that as however you like as the government or whoever's controlling, you know, the trains, the trams, whatever else. If it's a fixed corridor and a fixed route, right? So that's a big plus. But that higher efficiency, that's all great. That allows faster travel between the stops in theory. But the problem is of course, you know, it's more expensive because what you've done is you've taken something that used to be land you could have turned into a road that anyone could use and you're locking it down and saying now only a fixed kind of vehicle is allowed to use this route. It's now fixed. No one else can touch it. Just my trains, just my buses. That's it. So that makes it more expensive because where you've got a thousand people using one road, you can spread the cost of each of those users wearing that road out over those thousand users. Whereas if you've got a train, it's going to be far more expensive just to have that and maintain it exclusively for a small number. And this is the problem though, because right, this is where it gets confusing is the reason I say that is because you pay for your own vehicle. You don't pay for your own train carriage. So, you know, it's kind of like, I can't say to you, well, I'm going to pay a fixed registration cost that's going to fund the roads that you drive your car on. or I'm going to have an excise on your petrol or gasoline, I should say, diesel, whichever, you know, fossil fuel of choice or electrons in the case of electricity, I suppose, it will become increasingly the case with an electricity excise for electric vehicles, who knows? I'm sure they'll find out a way of taxing it. And that's going to pay for upkeep of the roads. So bottom line is that you shoulder the majority of the cost in the vehicle, the carriage, if you will, whereas on public transport, you don't. So that makes it far more expensive. So you have to then have much higher numbers in order to spread that cost. So to have high numbers, you have to have higher volumes, which is one of the problems with busways. You can't fit as many people on a bus. All the tradeoffs. It's a tough problem, right? So ultimately, ultimately, that's the definition of, I suppose, a fixed route, something that's stuck on a route, a variable route that's restricted. It's kind of like a bus in a busway, sort of a compromise. But cars as well also have the ability to follow variable routes, but they're still restricted. So if I build myself a vehicle and it's a high performance Ferrari, You know, it's going to go really, really fast on a freeway that's straight and flat and level, maybe with a few bends. Some would argue that's the fun part. Either way, it's designed to go fast. Now, put on a beach, see how far you get. It's not designed for that. You know, put on a dirt road, see how far you get. You know, it's like and people say, well, duh, obviously it's not designed to go on those roads. and that's fine. Of course you need a four-wheel drive or an off-road vehicle. Some would say you need a sports utility vehicle. Mind you some people would say an SUV is more for you know mummies and days to drop their kids off at school in these days. I don't even know if that's fair or not but you know I hear that people say that. So either way you want to think about it you need a vehicle that's designed to go off-road and the vast majority of vehicles aren't. They're designed for sealed roads or at the very least well maintained well graded dirt roads, gravel roads. So that means that they are still by that definition although you can have variable routes they are still restricted vehicles. Okay so the only true vehicles that are variable route unrestricted vehicles are four-wheel drives and even then if you really want to be picky you still need to knock the trees down right you can't just drive a four-wheel drive through a forest I mean if there's not enough gaps between the trees you're out of luck so you still have to forge a path somehow so the whole idea of being completely unrestricted it's not it's kind of like a it's a spectrum a scale if you will where you're stuck on the rails you're a completely fixed route to a bus on a busway that has partially a fixed route but then can leave that travel on on sealed roads to get to other places. And then we're going to vehicles, individual vehicles that are capable of driving on those roads but can't go on busways. Mind you, you could argue freeways are a form of that, but anyway. And then of course that then goes further down the scale to four-wheel drives that can travel on unformed roads. So if you want to go and travel anywhere you like, you need to go in an aerial travel, which we'll get to later. So oh yeah, the other thing of course with four-wheel drives is they're not particularly with cliffs either just you know and they get bogged and you know so on and so forth. Another point as well is that I'm not sure what you've got in North America I never went experienced this but in Australia if I want to drive a four-wheel drive on a beach I can't just do it I need a special permit to do that so I you know especially on the popular beaches. I think that depends on the beach is here. Yeah, okay. So, at Bri, because I live near Bribey, I say near, 20 minute drive from here, I live near Bribey Island and the Bribey Islands have a, you can get a day sticker, a month sticker or a, an annual sticker and you put that sticker on the inside of your windscreen, it creates an annoying round blind spot and you're then allowed to drive on the beach. And what that money pays for is there's an access road from the bitumen across onto the actual hard sand and the beach and right beyond that roads about one and a half kilometres long something like that and that has to be graded like with with a grater so it needs to be flattened and leveled off otherwise eventually the ruts will get so deep that cars will not even a good four-wheel driver will be able to actually use the road yeah but it's not just for grading the roads it's also so for patrolling the beach and you know and so on and so forth and then campsites you may stop at and so on and so forth which also sometimes attract additional fees if you're staying overnight. So you know it's not like it's a and that's on top of your normal registration for the vehicle so you pay once at a registration to drive it on sealed roads and you pay another set of registration to drive it specifically on other beaches so you know and people say "Oh yeah, it's terrible, the government put their hand out and everything." It's like, "Well, no." If no one paid that licensing and it wasn't maintained, it would all fall apart. Yeah, it would all fall apart, you know, because then you just end up with people making their own roads and they would just drive over sand dunes and tear them up and the sand dunes would blow away and it would erode the coastline. And then before you know it, you've lost, you know, 100 yards of coastline and everyone with their four-wheel drive saying, "It wasn't me." Anyway, so, yeah, hmm, never mind that. Fraser Island's the same too. Okay, and I've driven on both Bribie and Fraser and North Straddy, North Stradbroke Island. So yeah, Fraser's beautiful too. It's awesome, but anyway. Okay. Do, do, do, do. Okay, so let's talk a little bit more about cars. So as I was saying before, The great thing about roads is that they can carry many, many different kinds of transport and carriage, if you like. And obviously things like freeways and motorways, they have to restrict. So they say, well, we don't want bicycles on there. We don't want pedestrians on there. And we don't want mopeds on there. And all of those things can interfere and slow down traffic. So that's a bad thing. So we're gonna ban them. You got to take the non-motorway roads, normal roads. And the funny thing is that a lot of the roads, a lot of freeways in Los Angeles, I picked up this lingo, people say "surface streets". You heard that expression before? Yeah. Yeah. And it's kind of meant as an expression to denote that it's not a freeway or not a motorway. And it's something that in Australia we don't say. And I've come back here and I've said a few times that people looked at me like I'm insane. And I'm like, oh, sorry, all the streets are on the surface. OK, so saying surface streets is kind of like saying, yeah, on the ground. Anyway, whatever, you know what I'm talking about, right? So, yes. So the other ways, of course, with licensing is you've got publicly funded roads, which are maintained by the government, that your car licensing pays for. and you've got toll roads. And you've got, you know, and those private toll roads are maintained usually by companies, corporations, whatever. And you pay to use them. So you don't go through a toll booth, toll plaza, used to throw money in through the little, through the air, touch tag, hand money to a person, whatever, now it's all free flow tolling these days. And we've talked about that before on previous episodes and how that all works. So, okay. do do do do do I think I've pretty much said all I want to say about that for the minute. So all of this is really really important that we understand all the restrictions about why people then fantasize about air travel because it's like air will solve all the problems right because it's completely unrestricted. Seems like a great idea? No. Yes. I'm looking for something here. My initial thought is it's not completely unrestricted. There's two very important places involved with air travel that are pretty restricted. And that would be where you can take off and where you can land. Yeah, that's it. But every now and then I see these articles about this person is designing the world's first awesome flying car and it's like hmm and 20 years ago it was personal helicopters hmm okay and every so often people have this this dream in it seems to be an apparently a popular recurring dream that flying will just save all the world but I'll go around all these problems because think you know if I'm flying I don't have to worry about having a four-wheel drive, I can just go wherever I need to and I can just take off and land and whatever. A helicopter would be perfect for that or a flying car that's capable of taking off and landing without a runway, same kind of idea. Obviously, you need a flat space to land but apart from that, no other restrictions. Useless in a forest necessarily but beyond that, if you had a car that could fly, you could fly to the edge of the forest and then drive the rest of the way, I suppose, I don't know. So the problem with air is it's all about being... It's all about capacity and landing. So air travel, you have to have a large, flat, clear area to land. And if you've got a plane that requires a runway, because the end of course, the reason that we do that is because planes are far cheaper to fit a lot of people on. And helicopters sound like a great idea, but you just can't have big helicopters. And I know the Chinook is a huge helicopter, but that thing's also got a huge fuel bill. And it really is not a very efficient way of carrying a lot of people. The more efficient way is a plane, because planes don't- Planes sit on a cushion of air, whereas helicopters make their own cushion, in a sense. And the airfoils on a helicopter are less efficient for carrying heavy loads than planes are. That's just that's just the way the physics works out. So I'm not going to go there. Speed is an issue too. What's that, sorry? Speed's an issue too, isn't it? Planes can travel much, much faster. Yes, exactly right. And because of that, and that's because of the that's because of the problem with the leading edge of the blades. So it's quite it's because the leading edge of the blades slow. I'm not going to go there. I'm not a mechanical engineer and I hated flow dynamics. So let's just leave it alone. Okay. So, right, yes, you're right though. Speed is a big problem. So planes are cheaper and faster and therefore, you know, more popular. So the problem is of course, then if you've got a fixed number of places that you can actually put an airport in terms of I've got flat straight area to land these things that means I have a finite number of airports. So, okay. So that means that if I've got a finite number of airports, and of course there's only a fixed number of places in the world that I want to visit on a plane. So obviously the bigger places like, you know, big cities, you know, New York or Los Angeles or Sydney or Brisbane, London, doesn't matter, pick a big city, you name it, they'll have a big airport or several big airports and maybe some smaller airports, so-called regional airports. But the idea is that, you know, the high capacity planes go to the bigger airports. Why? 'Cause it's, you know, faster it's cheaper. So the problem with that of course then is that creates congestion because everyone then from all the different places flying from wherever they are around the world all want to land in one place. So then you got to take a number. You can't just land planes one after the other because the turbulence created by the plane in front affects the plane behind it. And I remember watching a video that in the 60s or 70s they were testing with some commercial test pilots just how close they could land one plane after the other. I think it's something like 90 seconds I think is the buffer I didn't look it up exactly but I think it was about that. Any closer in time and the vortices created by the plane in front have caused too much turbulence such that the wings of the plane following it there's too much turbulence for the lift and essentially the plane will start to stall and obviously that's a bad thing, you want to avoid that so that's a problem. Another problem is flight levels and flight levels is essentially a series of virtual flight bands if you will and they occur every 1000 feet feet. So eastbound in North America, eastbound odd levels, westbound even levels. Now, I'm not sure if this slightly varies globally, I think there are some countries might be slightly different, but in airspace around different countries, you got to follow their rules. Anyway, what that does is it keeps planes in different directions from crashing into each other. So if everyone going eastbound is on an odd level, and everyone westbound is on an even level, then you're far less likely to crash into them, basically. In theory, everybody at the same height should be going the same direction. That's right. Maybe at different speeds, but at least be going in the same direction or similar directions, then you'll have more warning, right? You'll see them, you'll pick them up sooner. Anyway, now what you're going to do is imagine all the people have all got their own private airplanes. Everyone's got their own private airplane, well airplane car or private helicopter. Apart from teaching all these people, registering all these people, logging flight hours for these people and them learning how to fly safely and everything, they have to follow all of that. Imagine how congested those flight levels are going to get if everyone who had a car was up in the air, you know, a la Back to the Future and the Skyway. You know, that was supposed to happen this year, man. We got gypped bad. Anyway, I want my hover car. I want my hover board, damn it. Yeah. Start with a hover board. Screw the car, give me a hover board. Anyway, so the bottom line is that that's the sort of chaos that is far more difficult to manage. If you're on a road, you have set bounds and the boundaries suddenly become a benefit because it means that there's a restriction, there's a limit. People don't drive up the curb on their vehicle because it's going to damage the tires because their cars aren't designed to do that. Unless it's a four-wheel drive, they might go up the curb. But most normal vehicles, they don't drive up the curb because it's going to damage their car. So they'll stay on the road, in the confines of the road. That restricts the issues that they can cause, they can create by not following the rules. Simple rules like stay in your lane, stay on the road, don't drive up the footpath, sidewalk, because that's generally a bad thing. That's where pedestrians are and they'll get angry and they may yell at you as you run them over Which is not advisable and we do not recommend you do such things Anyhow, so it never really took off for a lot of those reasons Notwithstanding the expense, notwithstanding all the training It just doesn't seem to work economically either, right? So on a smaller scale, having your own car can work It's affordable. You can drive it most places that you want to go. You want to spend a bit more you can get a four-wheel drive to take you more places you might want to go. But flying? No. The only way that's going to work is on mass transit routes between large cities through airports. It's the only way that that makes any real sense. I'm not even going to touch on space because I don't see the point but space is big really big anyway. Hitchhiker's Guide. So, yes, right. So, yeah, 747s, A380s, Dreamliners flying in and out to a limited number of major airports. Those are that's evidence of where the market has pushed it. That's where that's where everything is gone. And the 747 if you want to bring back the D word again, the 747 was disruptive big time. It reduced the cost per seat significantly in the 60s. It was it was transformative in the airline industry. The A380, they hoped, Airbus hoped that that would help them as well. But it turns out that it didn't help them enough. And they've had terrible sales. And they're writing back how much they're making and the Dreamliners are paying off because the Dreamliners have taken the economy route. Why? Because the world has changed. It's no longer about necessarily the lowest cost per seat. In terms of moving a huge number of people at once, it's about reducing the cost per seat by cutting other costs that keep going up like petrol, like fuel, airline fuel, aviation fuel, I should call it which is kerosene derivative, I believe. So that that is where the Dreamliner wins because it's made out of a lot of composites. It's got a lot of fly by wire in it. It's you know, they use lithium batteries on board, which caused them no end of problems. But despite those problems, and the measures they've had to take the expense, it's cost them to rectify those issues. Well, the Dreamliners are winning. They've got they're getting more orders, despite the fact that that was multiple years late, and they had all sorts of teething problems. So Dreamliner orders are much, much more than like two to three times more. I was reading an article in the paper a few weeks ago about this. So you know, so the whole capacity and the cost capacity and long haul routes is the only way that air wins. It never wins on the personal level, it just doesn't. So, and that's what I want to focus on. So that's that's the focus of this this whole discussion. Okay, so disruption to the travel industry. Now that we've covered all of this, it's time to finally get to the point of setting all this ground this ground information. Are you ready? I am ready. Fantastic. Which means it's time for our second sponsor. All right. Extra Sensory Devices. They are an innovative company based in Palo Alto, California and they've recently released their all-new Luxi4All. It's an instant light meter attachment for your smartphone or your tablet. Now if you're a photographer and you like to take the best possible shot or even if you aspire to be a better photographer, precise control of your exposure is critical and to figure that out you need a reliable and accurate light meter. 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It's it's really easy to use So there's a nice little touch also when the with the Luxi app when you have the Luxi app Luxi app open and you put the Luxi for all on your device On my iPhones it detects that the Luxi has been attached and it switches the mode of the app across to light monitoring for you So nice little touch anyway, so I suggested before that it's not as expensive as a standalone meter It's only $29.95 and if you'd like to check one out just head over to to learn some more and enter the coupon code TECHDISTORTION for 15% off your Luxie for all. Photographers always want to take better pictures and taking better pictures starts with your Luxie. So thank you once again to Extrasensory Devices for sponsoring Pragmatic. Okay, disruption to the travel industry. So I guess I need to frame this with what do I mean by disruption to the travel industry? So the industries I'm talking about are public transport and private transport for individuals. And I mean, within cities, not within, not between big cities. So the first and most obvious thing is take the pressure points and break them down. And that is, why do I have to travel? So can I remove the requirement to travel? So it only really works obviously for people because if you're shipping products back and forth, that doesn't work. It's like, okay, here's the coffee cup you ordered on Amazon wave to it through the computer screen, that's all you're ever gonna see. Doesn't really work, but for people it does if you're just transferring information. And that's fine. Although I do sometimes wonder if you'll pay with 3D printing technology and 3D model technology, whether or not there'll be things like coffee cups, you'll be able to buy a specifically designed coffee cup design, you know, and you can say, buy 3.99 now on Amazon, and then you click buy, and then it spits out a printed copy of your coffee mug right next to you. - The Star Trek Replicator. - Yeah, a bit like a replicator, yeah. That'd be pretty awesome. But yeah, I don't know. I don't know. I think technology still got a ways to go before we're there yet. And besides which, can you imagine the DRM and the... Yeah. Yeah. I don't know. It's like, if you crack the DRM, maybe the coffee cup that it makes for you has a leak in the bottom. All the muck from the handle falls off. Keep all the ice in this cup for half an hour. That's it. The handle falls off. It dissolves after half an hour. I'm terrible, never put me in charge of that. I have too many bad ideas. I mean, rather good ideas that are bad ideas. Anyhow, okay. So getting back on track, personal interaction, can you live without personal interaction with other people in the same physical space? You take it to that extreme, why go anywhere? Live in your box, have everything physically delivered to you and you have just changed the travel industry for individuals. But the thing is, Vic, I'm thinking about it. This technology has been around for a while, you know, with telecommuting, this is not a new thing. People have been able to do this for a long time and it hasn't really taken off, you know. The vast majority of people that I see still go to a job in a physical location. They don't work from home and the problem with the tech bubble and the tech sphere that we sort of circulate in at times is that it's predominated by people that do actually that are the niche that do stay at home that do work from home predominantly that have that and therefore have time and flexibility and can create blog posts and and you know podcasts and so on right yeah so I think that a lot of it the the perception is skewed yeah somewhat it definitely makes it appear more prevalent than it really is is. Yeah, exactly. It comes back to the thing I always go on about the drugstore, right? Go to the drugstore and ask someone if they're there to buy medicine. So anyway, I guess my point is that I actually wrote an article about this a long time ago. It was around the time that Marissa Mayer came on as CEO, I think, of Yahoo and started clipping back and said, "You're not allowed to work from home anymore." and people saying, "Oh, that's really mean, "and she's mean, and I don't like it," and cry, cry, cry. And it's like, I totally get why she did it. And I see working from home as a privilege. And in every company that I've worked for, it's a privilege that I try very hard not to abuse. And it's the sort of thing that I do maybe once every two to three weeks at most for maybe a day or a half a day. And it's a privilege. It's not something that most people get to do. So, and the reason is, and feel free to read the article, there's a link in the show notes from Tech Disorder. I wrote this back in March, 2013. So predates Pragmatic by a fair bit. Well, a little bit anyway, six months or so, I guess. Anyway, and bottom line is, yeah, working from home, yeah, it hasn't taken off. And it's because people want to see you. And whether or not you like to think so or not, even though there's a lot of geeks amongst the ranks that are listening to this, The truth is that, you know, we still yearn for some degree of interaction in person with other people because we're animals, we are social animals, we are social creatures. And yes, there are hermits and yes, there are people that want to be alone. That's fine. But the vast majority of people don't. That's just reality. So I think that people choose not to, you know. That said, it'd be kind of nice if people did like to stay in a box because Just think of all the improvements with health, you know, the lack of the spread of disease, control the spread of illness, you know, that instead of 100 people using a doorknob to open the meeting room door at work, well, you wouldn't need to do that. But, you know, how can you draw the line? How far do you push it? How far do you extend it? If you have children, does that mean your children are homeschooled? They always stay at home. They don't interact with other kids because they don't ever go to a school. Any schooling or learning is done online. It's all completely insular. And it's like, okay, well, you still got to get food and provisions. You're going to grow your own food. And it's like, okay, so you're going to go down this road. You're going down the isolationist road, which is okay. Well, I'm going to grow my own food because I don't want people delivering food because they deliver food that they could have an illness and I could pick that up from them. Yeah. Where do you draw the line? So, yeah, people have just decided that after having this technology for decades and even with the newly advanced and vitality presence stuff, which is super creepy. I mean robots going around really with a person's face on it. I know they're rare, but really telepresence anyway. So the people have voted. It just it doesn't work. They're not interested. Maybe the technology needs to get better for them to become interested, but I don't think so. I think it's against our human desires whether we believe it or not. So I'm happy to be wrong, but I'm not sure that I am. I think there's enough evidence to suggest that remote work is just not, just never going to take off to the level that which the vast majority of people do it. And therefore it's an actual disruption. You know, a handful of people choosing to do something because it's convenient for them does not equal disruption. Okay. Let's just be clear on that point. So if 1% of the listeners come back and say, I work from home and it totally works for me, that's great. I'm happy for you. And in some respects, I'm a little jealous, but let's just be honest, you're the minority. Okay, that's the reality. So, okay. So we're gonna take that off the table. So that is not really a disruption that's likely to happen. I just can't see it happening. People are just too sociable. So what's next? If we're gonna limit ourselves to the fact that we have to move from point A to point B, how do we do it? How do we relieve the pressure points for that? So let's just flesh out public transport pressure points on public transport. So what is it about public transport? And you say you haven't had too many experiences with public transport? How many times have you how many times you've been on public transport in your life? Large scale public transport, like buses and stuff, maybe once or twice. Holy she's Wow. Okay. Fair amount in taxi cabs and stuff. Okay. All right. Fair enough. Well, taxis will get to spend some time in my youth driving a taxi cab for a while. Seriously? - Yeah. - That sounds like an interesting story. When we get to talk about taxes in a minute, then we'll definitely gonna talk about that. I'm gonna make a note about that. So I catch the train every day. Well, I say every day, five days a week, usually. And I've been doing that now for the last seven years. Prior to that, I drove, mainly 'cause I was doing a lot of site work. And I say last seven years, there was a good year and a half of that that was predominantly site and not continuously. So it's been a variety, but vast majority of the last decade, I've been on a train five days a week for an hour at a time. And as Anger said, that's insane. I can't do his accent. It's I can't I can't do the Bela Lugosi thing. Anyhow, so I sidetracked myself thinking about Bela Lugosi. OK, and that that was Dracula, too, by the way, way back. Old Dracula dude with a funny voice accent thing. - Sorry, I'll share, I didn't mean to say, I'll share. Okay, good. So, you know half the listeners have no idea who the hell I'm talking about, probably. Okay, I've lost my train of thought, I'm sorry. Oh yes, okay, right. So I take trains every day. And what are my pressure points? First and obvious pressure point is cleanliness or lack thereof. Now, I get on a train and it's a crap shoot. I could show up and sit down and there's bubble gum on my seat. Generally, that doesn't happen. There could be, if it's raining, there could be water sloshing all around the train carriage. And I say sloshing, it's not sloshing. But when the doors open and there's heavy rain, rain gets into the carriage. And a lot of carriages on the trains that I travel on, and frankly, I've traveled in trains all around the world, so they're all very similarly designed. And drainage on them is not particularly great because what they'll do is they'll hose them out. These people don't realize this, but they'll typically will hose them out. and which means that you have a good seal on the floor. And anyway, bottom line is that when the train speeds up, the water puddle will flow backwards because obviously, you know, momentum, not momentum, inertia, I should say. And when the train slows down to stop, it'll slide back the other way. So you get this puddle of water, this trail of water going back and forth up and down the train carriage, you know, going past your feet every now and then. It's gonna be pretty heavy rain, I'm just saying, that's another pressure point. Yeah. Then, of course, you got graffiti, you know, and you got people that spill food and you know, people you're not supposed to bring food and drink on the train, people. Yes, of course. But people do, don't they? Yeah. And it's not a rubbish bin or trash can. Yeah, it is for some people, you know, and I'm not pointing fingers at specific age demographics or kinds of people that would be, you know, generalisations. It doesn't matter. The point is that it happens. So it's a crapshoot. I could wander into a train and it could be the pristine, perfectly polished, marble, diamond and gold, gold encrusted, diamond encrusted, gold, whatever way around you want to do that. Looking like an Apple watch, sapphire coated, doesn't matter. Beautiful, polished, beautiful train. But let's be honest. It's not going to be. And it's rarely ever going to be even close to that. So variable quality. So if I have my own personal vehicle that I control, I control its cleanliness. Mind you, that can be a bad thing considering how often I don't clean my car and I probably should. But, you know, the truth is I know what I'm getting myself into, you know? Yeah. So all the food that is in my car, I brought into it, all my kids did and then crunched in the seat and then made me clean it. And now it smells funny. Talking about trains, John. So trains, trains, trains, planes and trains, just trains. So, okay, next thing is, next pressure point with trains is regularity. I can jump in my vehicle and go where I want, when I want, whenever I want. And here's the caveat, traffic permitting. But if you take traffic off the table and assume that traffic is not an issue and there's always a route to get you to point A to point B, what happens with a train? Well, trains are never gonna be more regular than their capacity can permit or the available marriage of carriages can permit. Therefore, it will be fixed to a maximum duration. You cannot reduce it beyond a certain point based on your investment. Now, one of the things that frustrates me is that the Queensland Rail was merging to a company called TransLink in Brisbane several years ago. And what they did is they tried to integrate their timetable between ferries, buses and trains. You can argue whether or not they were very successful or not, but one of the optimizations they do and even did back in the Queensland rail days was that they will put on more trains and more staff in terms of drivers and guards on those trains during the peak periods. During north peak periods, the trains only run every 30 minutes. So if I miss a train, if I am five seconds late for a train, the door's shut and it takes off and you're standing on the platform and you're shaking your fist and making rude gestures perhaps, swearing at yourself or kicking yourself. I take it this happened a few times. Never happened. Totally never happened. I'm not speaking from experience at all. Point is that, you know, what happens if maybe someday you miss your train? OK, you got to wait another 29 minutes and 55 seconds for the next damn train. That's assuming it shows up on time. And admittedly, it's gotten better locally anyway. But, you know, so and that's the other thing, running on time. If you have a car, you can get to the car and leave at that point. You know, there is no waiting again, traffic notwithstanding. But for trains, it's terrible, right? Half an hour between them, seriously. And I know European listeners that are listening to this, I'm going to shake it ahead. And they say, "That's terrible!" You know, some of their trains in Germany run every two to three minutes, you know, same with Japan. You know, they run super regular. And I've told some of my mates from Germany and I've said, "Oh yeah, middle of the day, half an hour between trains, their eyes pop out of their skulls. Like it's like, why bother running a train at all? Why don't you walk?" It's like, well, just to remind them how big Australia is. But the point is that, you know, it's terrible, right? So the duration of the trains has to be regular enough such that people don't feel that it's easy to take their own vehicle. Okay, so that's the next pressure point is duration. And that varies based on the time of day, but still duration is an issue. Okay, next pressure point, and this is one where trains cannot win, and that in trains, trams and buses with poles, meaning they're electric driven, they all fail on this one. And that is, they cannot cover the same physical point to point area. So they can get you from terminus to terminus and multiple points in between. And if you add more cross connecting routes or routes that allow you to go in a circle around a large area to bypass, then essentially they force you to have more transfers to cover that greater physical ground, that physical area. And even then it's still not going to be as good as a car. A car can take you generally from door to door. And buses are better still because they can, well not better still, but buses are better because there are more buses carrying less people, but that means you can optimize it for covering more area, which is what they do. So the idea is you can get closer to your house and rather than walking 20 blocks from the train station to your house, you only have to walk five blocks from the nearest bus stop to your house. So those are arguments for the public transport, but it's also a pressure point if you're stuck with trains. And I'm stuck with trains 'cause buses don't run this far out to take me all the way into the city. And in fact, the only buses that run past my door, there's a handful of buses and they take forever to get to the train station. It's quick for me to drive. So I drive my car to the train station, catch a train into the city and then walk from the train station city to work. So I do a bit of everything. Except the bus, there's no bus in there. Anyway. Okay. So talk about buses and... Right, so personalized transport because it's clean, it's safe, it's on demand. You don't have to wait. And essentially, that is why people prefer it. OK, yes, it costs more money. If you take public transport for 10 years, it will cost you less money in total in pretty much any city I can think of. I've crunched the numbers on it. It's expensive to be a commuter in Brisbane, I can tell you. It's one of the most expensive places to park your car in the world as well. And there is no way I have run these numbers so many times it is not funny But driving a car will always cost you a lot more money than taking public transport That's just reality And in the vast majority of higher density cities, that is the case So, because you know, you got to factor in everything, right? You got to factor in your gasoline cost, your maintenance on the car The depreciation of the vehicle, you know, the moment you buy a car, it starts depreciating I don't care if a train depreciates, who cares? That's not your problem. You're just paying a fixed fare. You know, they can buy me a new train with all the money they're making off me in theory, right? Or you could put a fresh coat of paint on a 40 year old train and pretend that it's still good. And thank you TransLink for that. Anyway, so where are we up to? Right, okay, so we're at the point now where people will prefer their own private transport because it's customizable, it's on demand. They know where their transport is. They know it's available and it's in hand and they have control of it up to a point. Even though it costs more money, the car is always going to be more popular. And the question is, therefore, OK, now if we agree that all of this is true, where's the disruption going to happen? How can it happen? What can be disrupted? That's what I find interesting. And if you don't walk with me up to this point, the rest of it makes no sense. So thank you for sticking with me, dear listener, if you're still listening. Okay, so first thing is people say, okay, first disruption is kit cars, right? I can, where the acquisition technology is getting to the point where people will be able to print their own car designs and build their own cars, you know, in the not too distant future. I saw this on Twitter and kind of shook my head and didn't get it because they've been kit cars for years, you know, a long time. The problem with kit cars is, okay, here's some issues. One, people will not know how to build them. People want to walk in, buy a car, drive it out. They don't want to know how to assemble the car. Can you imagine walking into your local Dodge dealer, Chrysler or GM or... I'm thinking of American brands. How about some Aussie ones? Holden? Whatever. You walk into your local car dealer and say, "I would like the latest model blah." And they're like, "It's right here. Here's a spanner." No. "I'd like one assembled." Oh, that's extra. Sorry. Some assembly required. Oh yeah, that's right. Batteries not included. Pet gasoline not included. Well, here's actually funnily the first tank. Sometimes they throw that in, but sometimes they're stingy. There's enough to get you to the gas station. Anyhow, depending on if it's new or secondhand, it's what I found. All right, so people don't know how to build them. People don't want to actually build them either because they're lazy. They just want to drive it. They want to go from point A to point B. Having a kit does not imply that I want to actually assemble the damn thing. Next thing is, are you really going to trust that you've built it correctly? What if you missed a rack or a pinion or a rack and a pinion or a pinion? I worry more about the guy driving down the road next to me whether or not he built his correctly. That's another very good point. Do I trust that they built it correctly? So the thing is that people don't realize you buy a kit car, it still needs to be certified before it can be registered. It needs to be inspected. Right? You can't just build a kit car and drive it on the road. You got to go and have that thing inspected, certified and put out there before you can drive it on a public road. Those are the rules. Otherwise you're driving an unregistered vehicle. You want to do that, risk your own life on a race track, go for your life. I mean you'd be an idiot but you can. So you know what, yeah I just, I don't get it. I'm sorry, people don't want to go through all that certification BS. They just don't. They just want to buy a car and drive it. So I do not see kit cars, 3D printing of anything to be any kind of disruption in the future because that is not what people want. That's not a pressure point for people. People think about ways of reducing cost. Well maybe when it comes to manufacturing technology, that sort of thing, you know like modular vehicles. There's a whole bunch of other reasons why that's not really much of a disruption necessarily because if it was a disruption how long we've been making engines, plug and play engines. Why isn't that a thing? See companies will make an engine like a K-series engine, it'll go into multiple different vehicles But why not every damn vehicle? And the reason is because the power to weight is going to be different on different vehicles I want to have a bigger, heavier vehicle. I want a four-wheel drive. It's like I want an SUV that's lightweight. I want an electric car. I want all these different options because there's different trade-offs. I want to differentiate myself from my competition. Where's the incentive for me to have a common engine? Even the same manufacturer don't have common engines in all their own vehicles. There are too many optimizations to be made. Too many compromises are made in standardizing, which is why that doesn't happen. So that's not a disruption either. So, OK, getting sidetracked, I want to try and keep to the script. I say script, it's not really, it's more like four page random collection of ideas. Maybe I should publish this so people can get an idea of how bad my notes look. Actually, that'd be bad. That'd like ruin the illusion. Would that ruin the illusion? Is there an illusion? I think there is. I don't think you should let them look behind the curtain. Yeah, they'd be scared. Disappointed. No, they'd be disappointed. Yeah, I think so. Okay. Oh, they're gonna be disappointed soon enough, potentially. Anyway, okay. So, do-do-do-do-do, where are we up to? Sam did that better than I did. Okay, so let's talk about pressure points on a personal vehicle, since the pressure points on on public transport can be addressed with more money. So when I say that, I mean, if you had someone on every single carriage of every single train, whose job it was to pick up all of the rubbish after everyone left the train, or even after the dirty person left the train, or to clean up the graffiti the instant it was sprayed, or hopefully before it was sprayed, or the door was scratched, or the, you know, whatever, or to mop the floor as soon as the rain came in, you could have a pristinely maintained carriage, but you have to add a lot more money. And of course, if you do that, you'll make it less cost-effective, which then means that it's not going to be feasible. So I think it's generally accepted that after a hundred plus years of a lots of public transport, that ain't happening. Okay, you're not gonna disrupt that because economics prevents you. They're just, it's just not gonna happen. So the only frontier that is capable of being really disrupted is private transportation. So we just figured, we said, nah, kick cars, throw that away. That's not gonna help. So then what? 'Cause taxis, think about taxis, right? Taxis is like a, it's a cross between, it's commercial transport, it's not public. Although there may be somewhere, somewhere, someone somewhere that some country somewhere that has public taxis but I don't think so. Certainly part of government regulated but not necessarily you know. So I'm not talking about the whole what's that one that was in the news about it's an app and you can ask people to come around pick you up and they'll maybe take you somewhere without murdering you. What was that called again? The Uber. Uber yeah that one Uber, Uber whatever Uber however that's pronounced. So, so taxis, you know, it's like, it's the same problem. It's down to the taxi driver, how clean they keep their, their taxi. And how many taxis have you been in where bits and pieces have been falling off? You know, I mean, I'll regularly get into cabs. That would be several. Yeah, I mean, I'll get into cabs and I'll smell funny. I'll have I've been in the cabs where the door handles are loose. One of them, the door handle fell off when we were moving. Seriously, the window handle, sorry, the window handle fell off because it was an old wind up, wind down window. You know, so, you know, and you were saying before how you drove a taxi once. Now, that's an interesting story. You do some talking for a second. Well, I don't really have a whole lot to say about it. It was interesting. I met a lot of interesting people. I was annoyed by a lot of people. OK. It had its perks. OK. But it also had a lot of downsides. About a year, maybe two. How regularly? Somewhere between a year and a year. How regularly were you driving? At least four to five days a week. Wow, that's serious. Yeah. Was it your own taxi or was it a taxi company? No, it was a self-employment kind of deal. You're basically like an independent contractor and you lease the car from the taxi company. And they provide a dispatch service. Yeah, there's several models. That's one of the most popular ones. I just wanted to be sure. Okay, cool. What sort of a car was it? Most of the ones here and definitely in this area, and I think it's pretty common all over the US, the US. Most of them are typically around here we see Crown Victorious more than anything. They're usually typically old police cars that they've bought in bulk at auctions after the police put them out of service. Yeah, so you're saying it had cop shocks, cop motor? (laughing) Dear, okay, cool. Well, thanks for that. It's something I didn't know about you. Okay, so recognizing that taxis don't solve these problems and they're also quite expensive, especially for longer distances and they lack the immediacy. You have to call them and they have to come to you, which when you're in the CBD, the central business district, the middle of town, not so big a deal. Or if you're at large venues, not so big a deal, depending on the time of day if there's something going on but if you're at home out in the suburbs in sticks like I am well you can wait 20-30 minutes sometimes for a taxi. I've had taxis that don't show up. So it's the sort of thing that I yeah I don't see taxis as being any kind of and and Uber wasn't really much of it just it was more of a disruption to the taxi or an attempted disruption to the taxi industry more than it was actually a major disruption to the entire transportation industry for individuals. So okay pressure points back to pressure points private transport what are the pressure points and I'm not talking about cost although cost is obviously an issue cost will always be an issue make me a cheaper car that does the same job yes please of course that's kind of obvious that's not that's not going to be that's not the issue okay so let's talk about the niggling annoying things refueling that's a pressure point every so often I'm going to run out of fuel. I need to get out and I need to put a liquid, magic liquid into my vehicle that magically makes it go further until it runs out of fluid and then I have to go back and put more magic fluid in. And of course if you've got an electric car you've got to charge the damn thing don't you? So either of these options involve connecting a cable or a hose, usually attached to a pump. And honestly the only way around that is wireless charging methods and solar. So the idea is of course that if we can get solar panels to a point at which they have sufficient efficiency and of course you're not parking in an underground parking garage which would be less than ideal for that purpose, then you're really down to wireless charging or an inductive charging plate that you would drive to and top in your garage or in your car park, parking lot at the supermarket, shopping mall or your place of work. And that would mean you could almost forget about it, almost. Long distance travel you'd still have to deal with it. But the idea is technology eventually will get us to a point where we can get away from pumps, get away from hoses, get away from flammable stuff and that revolution will eventually happen. But for the moment, the technology that we've got, it's still very expensive and therefore it's off the table. But as costs come down in electric vehicles, battery packs, wireless charging technology gets a bit better. Yeah, I mean obviously we've talked about wireless charging previously and it's always going to be lossy but in the same way that underground power is now the preference rather than overhead power, same will be true of inductive charging. It's only a matter of time. So we're aware of the loss because of the convenience. Okay, at least the majority of people will and then they'll make me eat my words about the fact that cordless and wireless mice have no practical benefits. From an efficiency point of view they don't. That's what I meant by the way. Call that follow-up if you want and that's embedded. Oh well. Okay so user interface and this is the one that has been been kicking around recently and it's like you know the Apple car. The Apple Car. Now, how did this get started, Vic? Tell me the timeline as you understand it. I believe it started with a Wall Street Journal article, I think. Some publication somewhere claimed that it had been cited. There was a vehicle that was unmarked, I believe, and it had a bunch of cameras and sensors on it. and it was found to be leased by Apple. Yep. I believe. And now everyone's saying, "Oh, look at these facilities that Apple's building, will build, has built, knows someone who knows someone who's building, who has built, who might build, and they could be used to build cars." Yeah, I don't really see that. I don't either. And it's just... I'm not going to sell, I mean it's always possible, okay. I can't definitively say that they're not. But a far better question is why would they be? Because everyone says, well yeah it's a peripheral. Okay, yeah it's a peripheral, sort of. The car is a peripheral for your device, your personal internet communicator device, it's you know, whatever, smartphones and so on. I know that people like to say that. Do they like to say it because it sounds clever or because they're getting primary utility confused with secondary utility? The truth is the primary purpose of a vehicle is and always shall be to move persons or cargo from point A to point B. It's not to connect your iPhone into. Yeah, it just isn't. That is a secondary piece of functionality. Now, you look at something like the Apple Watch. Why are Apple developing a watch? They're doing it to extend the functionality of their iPhone to and to add new notification technologies. There is very little that Apple can gain by going to the trouble of building a vehicle just to extend the functionality of an iPhone or a watch or an iPad. Yeah. Very little. And people, I think, underestimate just how hard it is to build, design and build a car. I mean, look at how much Tesla has had to go through. Yeah. There's a lot of regulations, not just in the United States, around the world. And they're all different, you know, having a car that is certified, safety rated, environmentally rated, all of those things approved for use in all these different countries, left hand drive models, right hand drive models. You know, in Australia, you need to have side indicator lights on the damn things, right? When you indicate left and right, you're gonna have a side indicator on the side of the vehicle. So whenever cars come to Australia, this parts of Europe, you don't need those. Well, you got to have them here so they got to be retrofitted to the car. You know, all of that sort of local regulations and stuff. All those little details, the barrier to entry, the investment required is enormous. Yeah. And you got to ask yourself, what is the benefit? What is the feature that is so much better that makes it worthwhile? With the watch, I can kind of see it because of the Taptic Engine. We've talked about this before on episode 38. There's a sign tree. I suggest you go and listen to that if you're if you're curious, have a listen to it. So the truth is though that I cannot see that Apple's experience in building good user interfaces and everyone says "Oh the design is how it works" Okay, let's look at a car shall we? And how it works and its user interface Basically speaking, it's got a steering wheel for steering, okay? How do you make a steering wheel better? Well, the invention of power steering was a pretty significant addition to it Okay. Aside from that, I'm not really seeing a whole lot of... No, there's nothing. What can you do? It's a great analog to what's actually happening with the car. It's easily teachable, it's easily learnable. That's right. So the barrier frame... It has great haptic feedback. Yep. Well, good cars do. So, you know what I'm saying? It's like the steering wheel the pedals are simple and straightforward. Okay, they work and all the buttons, knobs and switches and indicator lights in the dashboard, they only show up when there's a problem. There's no advertising yet. God, I cannot I'm ruining the day. I'm dreading the day I should say. When we start getting ads on the damn display in our car you wait and see. I'd be more worried about the in-app purchase. You wish to break right now. That is an in-app purchase. Sorry, you've used all your breaks. You can't you can't purchase it now you have to enter your 32 character password. You can't use touch ID before you can break. Anyway, all right. So look, bottom line is, there's really only one thing that you can do that that makes any sense at all to improve the user interface of a vehicle. It's pretty much gone as far as it can go. And whoops, I forgot to mention the one big innovation recently that's heads up displays. Right? And they started out heads up displays, they started out on on fighter jets. And they gradually made their way into the tie in vehicles to the point at which now I'm driving around a Prius V. And it's got a little heads up display on it that shows you the speed. And it's got a nifty feature where you put your thumb over the controls and the steering wheel because the controls or steering wheel mounted and a slight pressure on your thumb not enough to push the button indicates on the heads up display which button you got your thumb on so you don't have to take your eyes off the road. So very cool little innovations. That's pretty nice. It is nice, it's a nice touch. The heads up display itself is rather small though, it's only a small area but it only needs to be small. And it shows you your current speed and when you turn the engine on if you happen to be looking at the first 3 or 4 seconds it says "Welcome to Prius and I'm like, yeah, thanks. Great to be here. Anyway, so heads up display, great. But look, here's the one thing, okay? The user interface currently isn't actually much of a problem that needs to be solved. When people say the user interface needs to be fixed, they're not talking about the user interface of driving the vehicle, they're talking about the user interface of I wanna be able to navigate, like setting an address on my sat nav. That's a bit of a pain in the neck, right? Setting, doing my, going through music and that, and in integrating my iPhone or my Android phone, whatever, into the steering wheel controls. Well, that's just a question of standardization. Is there really a user interface to be improved? And of course we've got CarPlay, right? It's what it is, it's called CarPlay, right? - Yep. - So that's gonna help. But the truth is that's not a disruption, right? It really isn't. So if we wanna talk about an actual disruption, the next big disruption really is gonna be a self-driving car. That's where the future lies. Next question from that is, well, would Apple be developing a self-driving car? And again, I go refer you back to, okay, Apple know nothing about that. So the Apple Watch is built on iOS, is built on iOS from the iPhone, which is built on OS 10, which is built on Next Step, which is comes from, you know, it's like Next Step is, God, I can't believe I've forgotten the name of the company. Oh, it was Next Step, it was Open Step, right? Wasn't it? Yeah. What was the name of the company? God damn it, I'm gonna sound so dumb if I don't cut that out. - Next. - Next, thank you. Next, Next Step. I just blanked. God. - I thought you were gonna get it. No, no, put me out the past you mate, I've had it. All right, so it's all been incremental and it's all based on a code platform that has evolved gradually over a long period of time. None of it has anything to do with automation based on sensory devices, all right? It's a massive learning curve. It's a totally different area of kinetic modeling of, it's just, you know, it's hard, okay? It takes years and years and years to get that right. And it's not something that you can do secretly, not easily. So I would think that then people would say, oh, well, maybe they'll partner with someone and they'll build like a kit. And it's like, oh, it'll have like self-drive by Apple or something like that. Well, who is gonna do that? You know, who's gonna do that? It's that, that's the sort of thing that, you know, There's so many holes in it, I just can't get my head around why that makes any sense at all. - And the biggest thing is that it doesn't even begin to fit most of Apple's current product strategies. They're making and they're marketing very high quality, mind you, so when I use this term, it's not meant to say that they're not good products by any means, but they're working on consumer, disposable, frequently upgradable items for the most part. - Yes. don't really fit that bill. No, no they do not. Okay so look I can't sit here and definitively tell you whether or not Apple is or isn't making a car that's self-driving but I would suggest that it is extremely unlikely. However, I don't want to talk anymore about the supposed Apple car. I want to instead talk about self-driving cars because that's actually worth talking about as a as a general topic. So why is that such a disruption? Well, think about it. I have now been freed from the requirement of the steering wheel and the pedals. I can now set a destination and go, and I can then essentially interact with other people. I no longer have to be sitting forward. I could sit sideways as a driver. I could sit backwards, which means I don't actually have to have fixed seating anymore. I could have variable seating. I could move around inside the vehicle if I had to, may be not advisable, there may be regulations against it, certainly in the early days of the technology, but eventually there will be like a warning indicator to get back in the seat. I don't know, maybe there'll be restrictions with restraints such that you are not allowed to actually get out of your seat, but the seat can physically like slide, turn, and reorient itself so that you're always still restrained in case of an unexpected accident, but you know, so on and so forth, right? So there's a whole bunch of different options build extra flexibility that was never previously possible. And then think about the things you can't do when you're driving right so I can't text on my phone at least not legally or safely you know I can't read a newspaper I can't type on a laptop or I can't do emails or do business or anything like that except if it's talking on the phone even that's considered to be dangerous. So think about all the accidents related to that that would then just be eliminated instantly. I think the attraction should be pretty obvious that that if we can get that right, self-driving cars, that is the next big disruption that's going to happen. So if you're looking to companies that are actually proven, definitively working on this, then Google is probably the most well-known. But there are others, and let's not pretend that Google was the first to this party. So the thing is that having a radar built into cars is actually like for emergency braking has actually been around for quite a while. So top of the line cars have actually got this semi-autonomous self-driving capability. I mean, it's well, self stopping capability, I guess. Anyway, and plus more recently, automatic parallel parking. That's become a thing. So about five years ago, I think about five, six years ago, first cars came out with that. And you could just pull up your car parallel and push a button and it would automatically reverse for you 'cause reverse parallel parking is widely considered be the most difficult kind of parking for a vehicle. And on my first driving test, yes, I did fail that. Second driving test, I aced it, but anyway, that's okay. They made me do it twice to make sure it wasn't a fluke though. He admitted to me after the test on the second time. So it's fine. Yeah, he did, he did. He said, "Can you pull that again and do that again?" And I'm like breaking out in a cold sweat and I'm looking at him through the side of my eyes and I'm like, "Um, yeah, sure. Did I mess something up?" I'm looking at my position and I'm like, No, it's good. Anyway, I want to make sure you didn't get lucky. Yeah, exactly. He was making sure because he was unfortunately the same guy that tested my driving six months previously. It's a long story and not one for this show. So anyhow, okay. So where are we up to? Right. We're up to wrapping up on self-driving cars, but there's more about self-driving that some people don't realize. Combine harvesters in the farming industry. They've been GPS tracked for years. They're self-driving, but obviously you don't have other combine harvesters, hopefully, that you're gonna run into, so that's less of an issue. Mining haul trucks, we talked about this previously as well, I think, on an episode, where the mining haul trucks are also GPS tracked. They're self-driving in and out of the pits because what was happening was they were getting minor issues where haul trucks were going, sometimes had an accident going over the side, sometimes it was considered to be too dangerous going around and around and around in circles, going down these enormous pits, going deep down to the ground, these diamond mines and so on that go down really deep. Well, they wanted to make that safer, so they put GPS in them and self-drove them and then found that they kept driving over their own tracks, they kept making deep, deep ruts, destroying the roads. So then they had to introduce random error into it so that it wouldn't form ruts, and it's a long story. Anyway, graders that grade the roads. So when you're building a road, those have got these big GPSs out the side of them now, so they actually track it so that the roads are graded, straight and level. So this is not new technology, it's only new technology in terms of being autonomous to a point at which you could take it out on a public road. And these refinements are far more complex 'cause you've got to deal with lane changing, other traffic, pedestrians, stop lights, all of those things are not problems for graders, haul trucks or combine harvesters. So we've come a long way, we've got a long way to go, but that is truly autonomous, no external assistance, using everything from GPS, radar, ultrasonics. That's only become possible more recently. The technology will continue to improve and that's where the next big thing is coming from. And it's gonna start out being a stumbling block because a lot of states and territories and countries don't permit autonomous vehicles to be driven on the roads at all. In fact, in America, only California, Michigan, Florida, and Nevada, yay Nevada, they allow it. In Australia, none, nowhere allows it yet. Although I read an article, there's a link in the show notes, South Australia is considering amending their laws. They're trying to, because South Australia's long known, South Australia and Victoria, the two major automobile manufacturing, or were they were, rather were, the major automobile manufacturing places in Australia. So anyway, we'll see. It's thinking about amending a law and actually amending a law are two different things. So we'll wait and see what happens there. And there's also other issues with litigation, test cases for injury sustained or damage to property through incorrect action of said self-driving vehicle. And that's gonna scare off a lot of insurance companies and gonna say, well, we're not gonna insure you, you know, sign a waiver. You know, I don't know how that's gonna be handled, but that needs to be dealt with somehow. Otherwise that'll be a showstopper. But technologically speaking, take the legalities off the table and legislative issues off the table, it's ultimately the outcome. That's where we're going. That's where it's going to be. And if you're making vehicles, that's where you need to be going to. That's the truth. Tesla are working on it. There's not very public about details. Google have been very public about the details and what they've shown so far is very impressive. Although it's probably very impressive in a very limited subset of streets. Yeah, that's, yeah. Although I did read a thing once that it had completed like many, many hours. I don't remember the figure, but, and it had only been involved in very few minor accidents and I think that they were mostly, I think most of them were attributed to the, to the person inside the vehicle had intervened in some way or another and caused it. I think I read about one incident where somebody else had hit the Google vehicle. Yeah. So ultimately, because electronics will always be fast, electronics and actuators will always react faster than the human brain and our muscle system, because our eyes have to see it. The signals have to go to the brain. The brain has to pass the information and then it needs to tell the muscle to react. The nerve endings got to get the signal to the muscle. The muscle has to contract in order to jump on the brake. all that takes time measurable time and that reaction time and that's assuming you're paying enough attention to notice exactly when you need to break exactly right so there are so many problems that this solves unfortunately people have oddly built up this belief that people are more trustworthy than machines well maybe trustworthy is the wrong word reliable i don't know we'll see I don't know. I look forward to it. I'm looking forward to that too. I think it'd be awesome. But, you know, this, you know, and I think maybe in 10 years, I'd say it's about a decade away, probably, based on how fast it's going before it's going to become something that you can get as an option for your vehicle. Like a commercial thing. Yeah. And there's going to be a bunch of, yeah, there's gonna be a bunch of caveats and exclusions and, you know, like, yeah. So I don't know. We'll see. I think it's good. I think we went places with this discussion. Yeah. Okay, cool. All right. Before we end the show, I have an announcement to make about Pragmatic. It's my intention now to, in a few episodes time, to end the show. My reasons for it are purely personal. It's a lot of time and a lot of effort for me to make Pragmatic. And whilst I because I organize sponsors, I do a lot of prep, as people know. I edit it all myself, host all myself. You know, also responding to feedback, there's been an ever increasing amount of feedback. I always try to respond. That takes time. All of that is personal time that up until recently has been more plentiful, shall we say. It's one of those things that work has gotten very busy and I've become very mindful of the fact that and I don't want to neglect my other responsibilities, my family responsibilities as well. And making a show like this is, it is a lot of work. This is not just you and I show up and we just, you know, shoot the breeze for an hour or two, post it. And we're done a bunch of stuff we've seen in the news for the last week. That's not what Pragmatic is. I specifically didn't want to make a podcast like that. I wanted to do something better. And unfortunately, better means more effort, more effort means more time, and more time is something that I don't have. So as of this episode is episode 58, I'm going to be doing another five more episodes. So the last episode will be put out in the last week of March this year, and that's gonna be it. It's my intention to wrap the show and it will not be back. So, yeah, I don't have too much else to add at this point. I'll be releasing an article on tech distortion and I will link to it in the show notes. There'll be a link in the show notes that goes into the detail about some of my other thinking. but I don't want to dwell on it too much. It's time to move on. With that, there's still five more episodes to go. So, in that vein, as always, thank you for listening. And if you want to talk more about this, you can reach me on Twitter @johnchidjee. And my site,, is where the podcast is hosted, along with my writing and other things that I've done. If you'd like to send me feedback, please use the feedback form on the website and that's where you'll also find show notes for this episode under podcasts pragmatic. You can follow Pragmatic Show on Twitter to see show announcements and other related stuff. I'd also like to thank my co-host Vic Hudson. Vic, what's the best way for people to get in touch with you, mate? They can find me on Twitter @vichudson1. Fantastic. I'd also like to thank two sponsors for this episode. Firstly, If there's anything you'd like to learn about and you're looking for an easy and affordable way to learn then can help you out. Instantly stream thousands of courses created by experts in their fields of business software, web development, graphic design and lots and lots and lots more. Kickstart your new year and challenge yourself to learn something new. Visit to get a free 10-day trial. There's something for everyone there, including you and it's already February so if you ever want to learn something new, what are you waiting for? I'd also like to thank extra sensory devices and their Luxi4All for sponsoring Pragmatic. The Luxi4All is a compact and lightweight incident light meter attachment for your smartphone or tablet. Visit for more information about their handy Luxi4All and use the coupon code techdistortion or one word for 15% off exclusively for Pragmatic listeners. Taking better pictures starts with your Luxi. Thanks again everyone for listening and as always, thank you Vic. Thank you John. mind. (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) ♪ ♪ [Music] you
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Vic Hudson

Vic Hudson

Vic is the host of the App Story Podcast and is the developer behind Money Pilot for iOS.

John Chidgey

John Chidgey

John is an Electrical, Instrumentation and Control Systems Engineer, software developer, podcaster, vocal actor and runs TechDistortion and the Engineered Network. John is a Chartered Professional Engineer in both Electrical Engineering and Information, Telecommunications and Electronics Engineering (ITEE) and a semi-regular conference speaker.

John has produced and appeared on many podcasts including Pragmatic and Causality and is available for hire for Vocal Acting or advertising. He has experience and interest in HMI Design, Alarm Management, Cyber-security and Root Cause Analysis.

Described as the David Attenborough of disasters, and a Dreamy Narrator with Great Pipes by the Podfather Adam Curry.

You can find him on the Fediverse and on Twitter.