More on Technology
2 months ago
The World Will Change With MIT's New Battery
It's cheaper, faster charging, longer lasting, safer, and better for the environment.
Batteries are the future. Next-gen and planet-saving technology, including solar power and EVs, require batteries. As these smart technologies become more popular, we find that our batteries can't keep up. Lithium-ion batteries are expensive, slow to charge, big, fast to decay, flammable, and not environmentally friendly. MIT just created a new battery that eliminates all of these problems. So, is this the battery of the future? Or is there a catch?
When I say entirely new, I mean it. This battery employs no currently available materials. Its electrodes are constructed of aluminium and pure sulfur instead of lithium-complicated ion's metals and graphite. Its electrolyte is formed of molten chloro-aluminate salts, not an organic solution with lithium salts like lithium-ion batteries.
How does this change in materials help?
Aluminum, sulfur, and chloro-aluminate salts are abundant, easy to acquire, and cheap. This battery might be six times cheaper than a lithium-ion battery and use less hazardous mining. The world and our wallets will benefit.
But don’t go thinking this means it lacks performance.
This battery charged in under a minute in tests. At 25 degrees Celsius, the battery will charge 25 times slower than at 110 degrees Celsius. This is because the salt, which has a very low melting point, is in an ideal state at 110 degrees and can carry a charge incredibly quickly. Unlike lithium-ion, this battery self-heats when charging and discharging, therefore no external heating is needed.
Anyone who's seen a lithium-ion battery burst might be surprised. Unlike lithium-ion batteries, none of the components in this new battery can catch fire. Thus, high-temperature charging and discharging speeds pose no concern.
These batteries are long-lasting. Lithium-ion batteries don't last long, as any iPhone owner can attest. During charging, metal forms a dendrite on the electrode. This metal spike will keep growing until it reaches the other end of the battery, short-circuiting it. This is why phone batteries only last a few years and why electric car range decreases over time. This new battery's molten salt slows deposition, extending its life. This helps the environment and our wallets.
These batteries are also energy dense. Some lithium-ion batteries have 270 Wh/kg energy density (volume and mass). Aluminum-sulfur batteries could have 1392 Wh/kg, according to calculations. They'd be 5x more energy dense. Tesla's Model 3 battery would weigh 96 kg instead of 480 kg if this battery were used. This would improve the car's efficiency and handling.
These calculations were for batteries without molten salt electrolyte. Because they don't reflect the exact battery chemistry, they aren't a surefire prediction.
This battery seems great. It will take years, maybe decades, before it reaches the market and makes a difference. Right?
Nope. The project's scientists founded Avanti to develop and market this technology.
So we'll soon be driving cheap, durable, eco-friendly, lightweight, and ultra-safe EVs? Nope.
This battery must be kept hot to keep the salt molten; otherwise, it won't work and will expand and contract, causing damage. This issue could be solved by packs that can rapidly pre-heat, but that project is far off.
Rapid and constant charge-discharge cycles make these batteries ideal for solar farms, homes, and EV charging stations. The battery is constantly being charged or discharged, allowing it to self-heat and maintain an ideal temperature.
These batteries aren't as sexy as those making EVs faster, more efficient, and cheaper. Grid batteries are crucial to our net-zero transition because they allow us to use more low-carbon energy. As we move away from fossil fuels, we'll need millions of these batteries, so the fact that they're cheap, safe, long-lasting, and environmentally friendly will be huge. Who knows, maybe EVs will use this technology one day. MIT has created another world-changing technology.
2 months ago
The Pyramid of Coding Principles
A completely operating application requires many processes and technical challenges. Implementing coding standards can make apps right, work, and faster.
With years of experience working in software houses. Many client apps are scarcely maintained.
Why are these programs "barely maintainable"? If we're used to coding concepts, we can probably tell if an app is awful or good from its codebase.
This is how I coded much of my app.
Make It Work
Before adopting any concept, make sure the apps are completely functional. Why have a fully maintained codebase if the app can't be used?
The user doesn't care if the app is created on a super server or uses the greatest coding practices. The user just cares if the program helps them.
After the application is working, we may implement coding principles.
You Aren’t Gonna Need It
As a junior software engineer, I kept unneeded code, components, comments, etc., thinking I'd need them later.
In reality, I never use that code for weeks or months.
First, we must remove useless code from our primary codebase. If you insist on keeping it because "you'll need it later," employ version control.
If we remove code from our codebase, we can quickly roll back or copy-paste the previous code without preserving it permanently.
The larger the codebase, the more maintenance required.
Keep It Simple Stupid
Indeed. Keep things simple.
Why complicate something if we can make it simpler?
Our code improvements should lessen the server load and be manageable by others.
If our code didn't pass those benchmarks, it's too convoluted and needs restructuring. Using an open-source code critic or code smell library, we can quickly rewrite the code.
Simpler codebases and processes utilize fewer server resources.
Don't Repeat Yourself
Have you ever needed an action or process before every action, such as ensuring the user is logged in before accessing user pages?
As you can see from the above code, I try to call is user login? in every controller action, and it should be optimized, because if we need to rename the method or change the logic, etc. We can improve this method's efficiency.
We can write a constructor/middleware/before action that calls is_user_login?
The code is more maintainable and readable after refactoring.
Each programming language or framework handles this issue differently, so be adaptable.
Clean code is a broad notion that you've probably heard of before.
When creating a function, method, module, or variable name, the first rule of clean code is to be precise and simple.
The name should express its value or logic as a whole, and follow code rules because every programming language is distinct.
If you want to learn more about this topic, I recommend reading https://www.amazon.com/Clean-Code-Handbook-Software-Craftsmanship/dp/0132350882.
Standing On The Shoulder of Giants
Use industry standards and mature technologies, not your own(s).
There are several resources that explain how to build boilerplate code with tools, how to code with best practices, etc.
I propose following current conventions, best practices, and standardization since we shouldn't innovate on top of them until it gives us a competitive edge.
Boy Scout Rule
What reduces programmers' productivity?
When we have to maintain or build a project with messy code, our productivity decreases.
Having to cope with sloppy code will slow us down (shame of us).
How to cope? Uncle Bob's book says, "Always leave the campground cleaner than you found it."
When developing new features or maintaining current ones, we must improve our codebase. We can fix minor issues too. Renaming variables, deleting whitespace, standardizing indentation, etc.
Make It Fast
After making our code more maintainable, efficient, and understandable, we can speed up our app.
Whether it's database indexing, architecture, caching, etc.
A smart craftsman understands that refactoring takes time and it's preferable to balance all the principles simultaneously. Don't YAGNI phase 1.
Using these ideas in each iteration/milestone, while giving the bottom items less time/care.
You can check one of my articles for further information. https://medium.com/life-at-mekari/why-does-my-website-run-very-slowly-and-how-do-i-optimize-it-for-free-b21f8a2f0162
2 months ago
The Apple iPhone 14 Pill is Easier to Swallow
Is iPhone's Dynamic Island invention or a marketing ploy?
First of all, why the notch?
When Apple debuted the iPhone X with the notch, some were surprised, confused, and amused by the goof. Let the Brits keep the new meaning of top-notch.
Apple removed the bottom home button to enhance screen space. The tides couldn't overtake part of the top. This section contained sensors, a speaker, a microphone, and cameras for facial recognition. A town resisted Apple's new iPhone design.
From iPhone X to 13, the notch has gotten smaller. We expected this as technology and engineering progressed, but we hated the notch. Apple approved. They attached it to their other gadgets.
Apple accepted, owned, and ran with the iPhone notch, it has become iconic (or infamous); and that’s intentional.
The Island Where Apple Is
Apple needs to separate itself, but they know how to do it well. The iPhone 14 Pro finally has us oohing and aahing. Life-changing, not just higher pixel density or longer battery.
Dynamic Island turned a visual differentiation into great usefulness, which may not be life-changing. Apple always welcomes the controversy, whether it's $700 for iMac wheels, no charging block with a new phone, or removing the headphone jack.
Apple knows its customers will be loyal, even if they're irritated. Their odd design choices often cause controversy. It's calculated that people blog, review, and criticize Apple's products. We accept what works for them.
While the competition zigs, Apple zags. Sometimes they zag too hard and smash into a wall, but we talk about it anyways, and that’s great publicity for them.
Getting Dependent on the drug
The notch became a crop. Dynamic Island's design is helpful, intuitive, elegant, and useful. It increases iPhone usability, productivity (slightly), and joy. No longer unsightly.
The medication helps with multitasking. It's a compact version of the iPhone's Live Activities lock screen function. Dynamic Island enhances apps and activities with visual effects and animations whether you engage with it or not. As you use the pill, its usefulness lessens. It lowers user notifications and consolidates them with live and permanent feeds, delivering quick app statuses. It uses the black pixels on the iPhone 14's display, which looked like a poor haircut.
The pill may be a gimmick to entice customers to use more Apple products and services. Apps may promote to their users like a live billboard.
Be prepared to get a huge dose of Dynamic Island’s “pill” like you never had before with the notch. It might become so satisfying and addicting to use, that every interaction with it will become habit-forming, and you’re going to forget that it ever existed.
WARNING: A Few Potential Side Effects
Vision blurred Dynamic Island's proximity to the front-facing camera may leave behind grease that blurs photos. Before taking a selfie, wipe the camera clean.
Strained thumb To fully use Dynamic Island, extend your thumb's reach 6.7 inches beyond your typical, comfortable range.
Happiness, contentment The Dynamic Island may enhance Endorphins and Dopamine. Multitasking, interactions, animations, and haptic feedback make you want to use this function again and again.
Motion-sickness Dynamic Island's motions and effects may make some people dizzy. If you can disable animations, you can avoid motion sickness.
I'm not a doctor, therefore they aren't established adverse effects.
Does Dynamic Island Include Multiple Tasks?
Dynamic Islands is a placebo for multitasking. Apple might have compromised on iPhone multitasking. It won't make you super productive, but it's a step up.
iPhone is primarily for personal use, like watching videos, messaging friends, sending money to friends, calling friends about the money you were supposed to send them, taking 50 photos of the same leaf, investing in crypto, driving for Uber because you lost all your money investing in crypto, listening to music and hailing an Uber from a deserted crop field because while you were driving for Uber your passenger stole your car and left you stranded, so you used Apple’s new SOS satellite feature to message your friend, who still didn’t receive their money, to hail you an Uber; now you owe them more money… karma?
We won't be watching videos on iPhones while perusing 10,000-row spreadsheets anytime soon. True multitasking and productivity aren't priorities for Apple's iPhone. Apple doesn't to preserve the iPhone's experience. Like why there's no iPad calculator. Apple doesn't want iPad users to do math, but isn't essential for productivity?
Apple will block certain functions so you must buy and use their gadgets and services, immersing yourself in their ecosystem and dictating how to use their goods.
Dynamic Island is a poor man’s multi-task for iPhone, and that’s fine it works for most iPhone users. For substantial productivity Apple prefers you to get an iPad or a MacBook. That’s part of the reason for restrictive features on certain Apple devices, but sometimes it’s based on principles to preserve the integrity of the product, according to Apple’s definition.
Is Apple using deception?
Dynamic Island may be distracting you from a design decision. The answer is kind of. Elegant distraction
When you pull down a smartphone webpage to refresh it or minimize an app, you get seamless animations. It's not simply because it appears better; it's due to iPhone and smartphone processing speeds. Such limits reduce the system's response to your activity, slowing the experience. Designers and developers use animations and effects to distract us from the time lag (most of the time) and sometimes because it looks cooler and smoother.
Dynamic Island makes apps more useable and interactive. It shows system states visually. Turn signal audio and visual cues, voice assistance, physical and digital haptic feedbacks, heads-up displays, fuel and battery level gauges, and gear shift indicators helped us overcome vehicle design problems.
Dynamic Island is a wonderfully delightful (and temporary) solution to a design “problem” until Apple or other companies can figure out a way to sink the cameras under the smartphone screen.
Apple Has Returned to Being an Innovative & Exciting Company
Now Apple's products are exciting. Next, bring back real Apple events, not pre-recorded demos.
Dynamic Island integrates hardware and software. What will this new tech do? How would this affect device use? Or is it just hype?
Dynamic Island may be an insignificant improvement to the iPhone, but it sure is promising for the future of bridging the human and computer interaction gap.
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Aaron Dinin, PhD
2 months ago
I'll Never Forget the Day a Venture Capitalist Made Me Feel Like a Dunce
Are you an idiot at fundraising?
Humans undervalue what they don't grasp. Consider NASCAR. How is that a sport? ask uneducated observers. Circular traffic. Driving near a car's physical limits is different from daily driving. When driving at 200 mph, seemingly simple things like changing gas weight or asphalt temperature might be life-or-death.
Venture investors do something similar in entrepreneurship. Most entrepreneurs don't realize how complex venture finance is.
In my early startup days, I didn't comprehend venture capital's intricacy. I thought VCs were rich folks looking for the next Mark Zuckerberg. I was meant to be a sleek, enthusiastic young entrepreneur who could razzle-dazzle investors.
Finally, one of the VCs I was trying to woo set me straight. He insulted me.
How I learned that I was approaching the wrong investor
I was constructing a consumer-facing, pre-revenue marketplace firm. I looked for investors in my old university's alumni database. My city had one. After some research, I learned he was a partner at a growth-stage, energy-focused VC company with billions under management.
Billions? I thought. Surely he can write a million-dollar cheque. He'd hardly notice.
I emailed the VC about our shared alumni status, explaining that I was building a startup in the area and wanted advice. When he agreed to meet the next week, I prepared my pitch deck.
The meeting seemed like a funding request. Imagine the awkwardness.
His assistant walked me to the firm's conference room and told me her boss was running late. While waiting, I prepared my pitch. I connected my computer to the projector, queued up my PowerPoint slides, and waited for the VC.
He didn't say hello or apologize when he entered a few minutes later. What are you doing?
Hi! I said, Confused but confident. Dinin Aaron. My startup's pitch.
Who? Suspicious, he replied. Your email says otherwise. You wanted help.
I said, "Isn't that a euphemism for contacting investors?" Fundraising I figured I should pitch you.
As he sat down, he smiled and said, "Put away your computer." You need to study venture capital.
Recognizing the business aspects of venture capital
The VC taught me venture capital in an hour. Young entrepreneur me needed this lesson. I assume you need it, so I'm sharing it.
Most people view venture money from an entrepreneur's perspective, he said. They envision a world where venture capital serves entrepreneurs and startups.
As my VC indicated, VCs perceive their work differently. Venture investors don't serve entrepreneurs. Instead, they run businesses. Their product doesn't look like most products. Instead, the VCs you're proposing have recognized an undervalued market segment. By investing in undervalued companies, they hope to profit. It's their investment thesis.
Your company doesn't fit my investment thesis, the venture capitalist told me. Your pitch won't beat my investing theory. I invest in multimillion-dollar clean energy companies. Asking me to invest in you is like ordering a breakfast burrito at a fancy steakhouse. They could, but why? They don't do that.
Yeah, I’m not a fine steak yet, I laughed, feeling like a fool for pitching a growth-stage VC used to looking at energy businesses with millions in revenues on my pre-revenue, consumer startup.
He stressed that it's not necessary. There are investors targeting your company. Not me. Find investors and pitch them.
Remember this when fundraising. Your investors aren't philanthropists who want to help entrepreneurs realize their company goals. Venture capital is a sophisticated investment strategy, and VC firm managers are industry experts. They're looking for companies that meet their investment criteria. As a young entrepreneur, I didn't grasp this, which is why I struggled to raise money. In retrospect, I probably seemed like an idiot. Hopefully, you won't after reading this.
3 months ago
The Entrepreneurial Chicken and Egg
University entrepreneurship is like a Willy Wonka Factory of ideas. Classes, roommates, discussions, and the cafeteria all inspire new ideas. I've seen people establish a business without knowing its roots.
Chicken or egg? On my mind: I've asked university founders around the world whether the problem or solution came first.
One African team I met started with the “instant noodles” problem in their academic ecosystem. Many of us have had money issues in college, which may have led to poor nutritional choices.
Many university students in a war-torn country ate quick noodles or pasta for dinner.
Noodles required heat, water, and preparation in the boarding house. Unreliable power from one hot plate per blue moon. What's healthier, easier, and tastier than sodium-filled instant pots?
BOOM. They were fixing that. East African kids need affordable, nutritious food.
This is a real difficulty the founders faced every day with hundreds of comrades.
This sparked their serendipitous entrepreneurial journey and became their business's cornerstone.
I asked a UK team about their company idea. They said the solution fascinated them.
The crew was fiddling with social media algorithms. Why are some people more popular? They were studying platforms and social networks, which offered a way for them.
Solving a problem? Yes. Long nights of university research lead them to it. Is this like world hunger? Social media influencers confront this difficulty regularly.
It made me ponder something. Is there a correct response?
In my heart, yes, but in my head…maybe?
I believe you should lead with empathy and embrace the problem, not the solution. Big or small, businesses should solve problems. This should be your focus. This is especially true when building a social company with an audience in mind.
Philosophically, invention and innovation are occasionally accidental. Also not penalized. Think about bugs and the creation of Velcro, or the inception of Teflon. They tackle difficulties we overlook. The route to the problem may look different, but there is a path there.
There's no golden ticket to the Chicken-Egg debate, but I'll keep looking this summer.
1 month ago
Sam Altman, CEO of Open AI, foresees the next trillion-dollar AI company
“I think if I had time to do something else, I would be so excited to go after this company right now.”
Sam Altman, CEO of Open AI, recently discussed AI's present and future.
Open AI is important. They're creating the cyberpunk and sci-fi worlds.
They use the most advanced algorithms and data sets.
GPT-3...sound familiar? Open AI built most copyrighting software. Peppertype, Jasper AI, Rytr. If you've used any, you'll be shocked by the quality.
Open AI isn't only GPT-3. They created DallE-2 and Whisper (a speech recognition software released last week).
What will they do next? What's the next great chance?
Sam Altman, CEO of Open AI, recently gave a lecture about the next trillion-dollar AI opportunity.
Who is the organization behind Open AI?
Open AI first. If you know, skip it.
Open AI is one of the earliest private AI startups. Elon Musk, Greg Brockman, and Rebekah Mercer established OpenAI in December 2015.
OpenAI has helped its citizens and AI since its birth.
They have scary-good algorithms.
Their GPT-3 natural language processing program is excellent.
The algorithm's exponential growth is astounding. GPT-2 came out in November 2019. May 2020 brought GPT-3.
Massive computation and datasets improved the technique in just a year. New York Times said GPT-3 could write like a human.
Same for Dall-E. Dall-E 2 was announced in April 2022. Dall-E 2 won a Colorado art contest.
Open AI's algorithms challenge jobs we thought required human innovation.
So what does Sam Altman think?
The Present Situation and AI's Limitations
During the interview, Sam states that we are still at the tip of the iceberg.
So I think so far, we’ve been in the realm where you can do an incredible copywriting business or you can do an education service or whatever. But I don’t think we’ve yet seen the people go after the trillion dollar take on Google.
He's right that AI can't generate net new human knowledge. It can train and synthesize vast amounts of knowledge, but it simply reproduces human work.
“It’s not going to cure cancer. It’s not going to add to the sum total of human scientific knowledge.”
But the key word is yet.
And that is what I think will turn out to be wrong that most surprises the current experts in the field.
Reinforcing his point that massive innovations are yet to come.
The Next $1 Trillion AI Company
Sam predicts a bio or genomic breakthrough.
There’s been some promising work in genomics, but stuff on a bench top hasn’t really impacted it. I think that’s going to change. And I think this is one of these areas where there will be these new $100 billion to $1 trillion companies started, and those areas are rare.
Avoid human trials since they take time. Bio-materials or simulators are suitable beginning points.
AI may have a breakthrough. DeepMind, an OpenAI competitor, has developed AlphaFold to predict protein 3D structures.
It could change how we see proteins and their function. AlphaFold could provide fresh understanding into how proteins work and diseases originate by revealing their structure. This could lead to Alzheimer's and cancer treatments. AlphaFold could speed up medication development by revealing how proteins interact with medicines.
Deep Mind offered 200 million protein structures for scientists to download (including sustainability, food insecurity, and neglected diseases).
Being in AI for 4+ years, I'm amazed at the progress. We're past the hype cycle, as evidenced by the collapse of AI startups like C3 AI, and have entered a productive phase.
We'll see innovative enterprises that could replace Google and other trillion-dollar companies.
What happens after AI adoption is scary and unpredictable. How will AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) affect us? Highly autonomous systems that exceed humans at valuable work (Open AI)
My guess is that the things that we’ll have to figure out are how we think about fairly distributing wealth, access to AGI systems, which will be the commodity of the realm, and governance, how we collectively decide what they can do, what they don’t do, things like that. And I think figuring out the answer to those questions is going to just be huge. — Sam Altman CEO