In touch with the tech…

My friend Pilgrim Beart publishes a monthly email newsletter covering topics from IoT, electric vehicles, clean and smart energy.

I like the format: generally just a list of one-sentence bullet points with links to relevant articles elsewhere. Very easy to skim and find items of interest. You can see back issues here to give you an idea, and sign up here to have it in your inbox each month.

Amongst the many things I learned over breakfast today:

  • In the UK, electric vehicles are now estimated to have one-third of the carbon footprint of their combustion-powered equivalents over their lifetime. (This is partly because of the ever-greener UK power network, one of the few recent national achievements we can be proud of at present!)

  • There’s a new Raspberry Pi designed for embedding in things: the Pico W. It addresses the issue I’ve always had with devices like the Arduino and the earlier Pico: no built-in network connectivity. For me, devices are usually only interesting if they’re networked, and much of my home automation depends on devices containing the wifi-enabled ESP8266 and ESP32 devices – smart plugs & relays, energy monitors etc. At $6, the Pi team are clearly aiming at this market with the new device. They’ll need to enable its Bluetooth capabilities soon, though, if they want people to build devices supporting the new Matter protocols, which I think has a good chance of being a very important cross-vendor standard in the near future.

  • Bloomberg predicts that VW’s EV sales will overtake Tesla’s in 18 months’ time. This can only be a good thing. Much as I love my Tesla, I’ve also been a big fan of VW for decades, and am delighted to see them reborn, Gandalf-like, in whiter raiment than they had before. They (and all car manufacturers) do need major work on their software, though: when I tried the ID-3 a couple of years ago, I found significant bugs even in my 15-min test-drive. Perhaps it has improved since then. If they don’t get a good handle on this, a lot of manufacturers are going to have to buy their software from Apple. I have to say that a VW with Apple software is something I would find very tempting…

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