By a Tesla Model S, Save $1000

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

Here’s an email I received from Elon today reviewing the virtues of the Tesla Model S.  He also said you can save $1000 by using this link, (expires on Oct 31, 2015).

The first thing to mention is that you can buy a Tesla online, just like ordering a computer or a book. No need to go to a store. Moreover, if you lease it, the Model S comes with a happiness guarantee. If you don’t like the car for any reason, you can just give it back.

A survey of Tesla customers by Consumer Reports found that 98% expected that their next car purchase would also be a Tesla, much higher than for any other car. I feel the same way about my Tesla, which is why I’m recommending one for you.

Here is some background from Tesla about why you might want to buy a Model S:

Starting at $575/month after gas savings, the Model S is still a relatively expensive car, but here is what makes it worth the price:

Maximum Safety

The single most important thing to know about the Model S is that it is literally the safest car on the road bar none. It didn’t just receive five stars in every category and subcategory of safety (including for pedestrians), which about 1% of other cars do—the Model S recorded the lowest probability of injury of any car ever tested by the U.S. government across all passenger vehicles, including minivans and SUVs.

In addition, every Model S comes standard with automatic emergency braking, as well as blind-spot and forward- and side-collision warning systems to prevent accidents in the first place.

Speed and cool features are nice, but nothing is more important than the safety of you, your family and your friends. For more info, check out this blog:


Since the Model S doesn’t need a big combustion engine, radiators, exhausts or catalytic converters, it has tremendous cargo capacity. With both a trunk in the front and a trunk in the rear, it has more storage space than any other sedan and more than most SUVs.

There is so much space in the back that you can have an optional fold-flat, rear-facing third seat, allowing you to carry five adults, two children and luggage in the front trunk. Tesla installs a high strength steel bumper to enable the car to take highway-speed impacts in the rear without permanent injury to the third row.

You can also carry several sets of skis, bikes and other equipment using the built-in attachments for the roof rack.

Other features that improve utility are a dynamic air suspension that remembers where it needs to raise itself, based on when you last pressed it. With this, you can raise the car above the snow and get through anything SUVs can handle. Tesla’s biggest per capita sales are above the Arctic Circle in Norway.


Tesla received the highest customer feedback rating for service of any car brand in production:

A big reason for this is that Tesla intentionally operates its service centers at break-even. We don’t believe in profiting off our product if it is not working.

Our service centers are located throughout North America and Canada, with Mexico coming soon:

If there isn’t one near you, no problem: our Tesla ranger service will take care of you wherever you are.


Even the basic Model S has great acceleration and handling. This goes all the way up to the P90D version, which does a record-breaking 0 to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds and a 10.9-second quarter mile, far beyond the capabilities of any other four-door car and faster than a Porsche 911 Turbo. The P90D in ludicrous mode can accelerate at 1.1 g’s, which is faster than falling.

What makes our handling superior to gasoline cars is that the center of gravity (cg) is extremely low, because the battery pack is in the floor pan, centered between the axles. This also means that a key engineering measure of handling, the polar moment of inertia, is almost perfect. No other production car in the world has a more ideal placement of mass for optimal handling. The Model S has Newton on its side.

With Tesla’s dual motor all-wheel drive, the traction and handling in every kind of weather are a step change better than gasoline all-wheel drive. Instead of having a simple mechanical shaft connecting front and rear, a Tesla actually has a motor in the front and a motor in the rear, so it can dynamically shift torque front to rear at the millisecond level, effectively providing digital traction control an order of magnitude more precise than mechanical linkages.

Like an airliner, it also enables motor redundancy. If one motor encounters a fault, you can simply drive with the other one, rather than being stuck on the side of the road.

Cool features

The Model S has an easy-to-use 17-inch touchscreen computer that is always improving itself and the rest of the car via free over-the-air updates.

The car learns your habits and will automatically set the cabin temperature to your preference when it thinks you are about to use the car. If you enable the calendar function, the car will show you your appointments on a big, easy-to-read screen, and you can just tap an address to navigate there. No more fumbling with a tiny phone.

Navigation includes real-time traffic data from the car’s cell connection, and it will dynamically adjust your route as traffic conditions change. In the morning and evening, it will alert you and offer an alternate route if your normal route is congested.

You can also ask the car to play any song or favorite band at any time just by holding down the voice button. It also has lots of comedy sketches available, ranging from Monty Python to Jim Gaffigan.

Coming in a few weeks via an over-the-air update are the highway autosteer and parallel autopark functions. When asked, the car will automatically control steering going down the freeway, dramatically reducing driver workload. It will also automatically parallel park with precision.

In a few months, you will be able to press a button on your Tesla phone app and the car will open your garage and put itself to bed. You will also be able to summon it from your garage if it isn’t plugged in. It needs the Tesla Snakebot for that!

What about charging?

The Model S has a charger built-in, so most owners just plug into a wall socket at their home or office. It can use anything from a standard 110V outlet at 1.5 kW all the way to the Wall Connector at 20 kW. Most customers just install a simple 240 V dryer socket in their garage, which all electricians can do, and it works perfectly.

For long distance, you get to use the free Tesla long-distance Supercharger network, located near restaurants and amenities. Typically the time spent on recharging is about 25 to 30 minutes after three hours of driving, which is about right. If you start a trip at 9am, by noon most people want to stop to use the restroom, have lunch or coffee and be on their way. By the time you come back your car is ready to go.

The Supercharger network covers the lower 48 continental states in the U.S. and parts of southern Canada, soon to include Mexico. As mentioned above, the Tesla Superchargers really are free to use for life. You could go on a road trip (rear seats fold flat into a great bed), pack some food and leave your wallet at home. Map:

Expert opinions

The Model S has won almost every award offered for a vehicle, including Motor Trend Car of the Year, Automobile Car of the Year and Consumer Reports’ best car in the world (two years running).

Moreover, Consumer Reports gave Model S the highest rating of any car in its long history: 99/100. The reason CR is the most trusted source for buyers is that they don’t take advertising, they buy a car secretly and at random (so they know it is a normal car) and they test it rigorously for months before reaching a rating. There is no more objective source.

Environmental Impact

Building a Model S produces roughly the same CO2 as a gasoline car of similar weight, however it is far more CO2-efficient in driving, which is what really matters over the lifetime of the car.

The EPA rates the efficiency of Model S as equivalent to 90 mpg—making it twice as energy-efficient as a compact hybrid even when factoring in power plant emissions. The current Model S number will steadily improve over time as older power plants are phased out in favor of clean, renewable energy.

However, if you install even a small solar panel on your house or garage, you will actually produce more electricity during the week than you consume with your car, making your automotive carbon footprint unequivocally zero or better. And, in the unlikely event of a zombie apocalypse, you will still be able to charge and drive your car!!

Vayama is a scam

Update (June 26, 2018):

Well, I ran into more trouble with Vayama.  It just isn’t worth it to use them anymore.

They will grovel until they are blue in the face so that they can keep a semblance of legitimacy as they rip off one customer after another.  I’m not going to bore you with my story this time, but I left a small review over at Trustpilot.  The site is simply an email address grabber and upsell outfit.

Original Article ():

I recently had an experience with Vayama (and antecedently Kayak) that, along with a search for Vayama, temporarily had me thinking they were scam artists.  However, after I sent the following email of my experience to both Vayama and Kayak, David from Vayama completely resolved my issue.

The email that I sent to Vayama, which describes my experience, was:


I fly quite a bit and usually use Kayak to find a travel service through which to purchase my ticket.  I recently purchased a ticket from Vayama via its partnership with Kayak (for which Kayak receives monetary compensation) on April 17th for $1488.65.  In all previous cases, from services other than Vayama, when I purchased tickets online I quickly received an e-ticket.  So when I received an email from Vayama stating the trip ID and flight numbers and times I thought I had booked my flights.  Unfortunately that was not the case.  Looking again at this email I see that it states, “…we will issue your ticket(s) and you will receive an “E-ticket Confirmation” email within one business day.”  Furthermore I see that I received an email from Kayak stating, among other misleading statements, “Vayama will email your ticket number within one business day.”

This morning, April 21st – four days later – I received a call from a Vayama representative.  He said that one of the airlines flying a leg of my itinerary, Swiss Air, raised the price of its leg, and that now the price of my trip is $1685.00.  This has never happened to me before, so I am under the impression that Vayama negligently did not reserve my seat with the airline immediately after I submitted my information as other services do.  Instead they attempted to purchase my ticket much later than is expected (or agreed upon) by the industry.  Therefore the price that the airline had quoted them had expired.

Since prices for my flight itinerary in general have gone up over the past 4 days I cannot purchase an equivalent ticket for an equivalent fare.  I feel blackmailed by Vayama.  Due to Vayama’s negligence I am asking that you reimburse me for the difference of the flight prices, i.e. book my flight at the price you originally quoted me.  Please let me know your response immediately so that I may take appropriate actions.



The next morning I received an email from Kayak and very soon thereafter from Vayama. The Vayama response was:

Dear Roel –

Your communication to KAYAK regarding your recent booking experience was forwarded to me by my contacts at KAYAK.

Let me first start with an apology for this less than satisfactory experience.

In reviewing your booking history I found that your booking request got stuck in our automation process which prevented our normal (and speedy) automated ticketing processes from completing the ticketing portion of your booking.  It remained stuck for a number of days until someone noticed.  By then the fare had been lost within the booked class of service.

Given that none of this was your fault, I have authorized the ticket to be issued to you at the original fare quoted ($1488.65) with Vayama absorbing the increased fare difference.

The ticket has now been issued and confirmation email sent to you.

If for any reason you no longer need this ticket, please respond to this email TODAY so I can void the transaction and have the fare charged to your account voided as well.

Again my apologies.  This was an isolated and unfortunate issue.



I’d say that is a very legitimate response to my issue.  I asked David whether he would have responded to my email if I hadn’t emailed Kayak.  He stated that he had received my email and would have responded to it but that he responded to the Kayak email first since that was presumably the more urgent one.

This kind of thing may happen infrequently at Vayama but since it happened to me I am going to dock them one star out of five and rate them 4 stars at Trustpilot.  At a minimum, Vayama appears to be a legitimate company that stands up to its word.

Here is a letter from Vayama that I received on April 26th.

Dear Roel,

First of all, please accept my most sincere apologies for this error having occured in your booking. I believe this issue has already been satisfactorily resolved with a full refund from Vayama, which was processed on April 22nd. The error that occured in your booking happens when availability is updated by the airline when you are actually in the booking process. We receive your payment, however the flights at the fare originally offered cannot be honoured by the airline, as there is no longer availability. We unfortunately have many bookings with this error, and need to manually process all of them as we aim to find flights for the same price. Our notification to you was not within a satisfactory time frame, this I do realise, once again please accept my most sincere apologies on behalf of my colleagues who deal with processing these errors.

Kind regards,

Proform Treadmill Support Is Excellent! (But the Equipment Is Not)


Frickin amazing.  I almost can’t believe it.

I purchased a demo Proform Performance 400 Treadmill at Sports Authority within the last year for a couple hundred bucks.  Recently its motor began making a lot of noise.  I considered tossing the whole treadmill in the garbage and getting a new one.  But after seeing that a high-end, secondhand Woodway was just as loud (louder actually), I investigated having a local repairman fix it.  As I surfed the web looking for a repairman I read that Proform treadmill motors have 25-year warranties.  “Hmm…”, I thought to myself, “that doesn’t sound right.”  But I decided to call Proform and see what they said about their warranty.  Sure enough their treadmill motors DO have a 25-year warranty.

After reading how treadmills and the companies that manufacture them are highly unreliable, I was surprised at how easy it was to receive a replacement motor.  The Proform support representative asked me to hold my phone near the motor so she could confirm that it was in fact the motor that was making the noise.  She asked me a couple questions about the serial number and where and when I purchased it, then told me I should have a replacement motor, with replacement instructions, within a week.

My newly refurbished treadmill is working like a charm, and more silently than ever.


Update 5/27/2014:  The new  motor became noisy too.  I may give up on this treadmill and get a different one.

FAQ for Contextual Ads Program


I, as a publisher, use to fill some of my advertising inventory.  If you are considering using, or have recently begun using them, the answers below may help you understand some of their payment processes.

1.       How can I discern if a particular wire transfer was from  My bank statement does not contain that information.

The payment we make is made via ‘SecureN1 transactions LLC’. This should help you identify payments from us.

2.       Do you charge me for wiring money to me?  If so, how much?  Do you charge for Paypal payouts?  If so, how much?

We do not charge you for the wire. However, the bank processing the wire may have charges. Again, we do not charge for Paypal payouts but Paypal may have charges in some cases.

3.       Why do you not offer ACH payouts?

We currently do not have this method of payout. However, it is being considered.

4.       How will I know what period of time was covered by a particular wire transfer?  Is there a page within my account that I can see such a correlation?

We make payments on a NET 30 basis. For example, you will receive the payment for the month of February on or around the 30th of March. You can see the previous months earnings on the dashboard. Additionally, the narration accompanying our payments also mentions the month for which the payment is made. Review: The Joke that Elto is

I recently was looking for someone to migrate my self-hosted WordPress site,, to one hosted by  The (one!) requirement was to make it look as similar to the self-hosted site as possible without incurring any fees.

I found on WordPress’s own site that they recommend

The short story is that Elto is not much better than the various (mainly) foreign freelancers that hold themselves out to be WordPress experts – in other words, they have NO idea what they are talking about.  If you want the long story (i.e. the transcript) leave me a comment.

I ended up having to do it myself.  Below is one screenshot of the self-hosted site and one of the hosted site.

Self-hosted self-hosted