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Author Topic: Why Starlink is doomed to fail  (Read 1583 times)

Alex Atkin UK

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Why Starlink is doomed to fail
« on: May 17, 2022, 12:31:03 AM »

Depressing, but it doesn't take much critical thinking to realise this is true.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vuMzGhc1cg

Been watching a lot of video about Elon Musk recently and its utterly alarming how much of a scam artist he is.
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Weaver

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Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2022, 02:03:50 PM »

Superb article. Starlink is grossly immoral and I will not be going there. The space junk and threat to astronomy problems are horrendous.
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2022, 04:51:35 PM »

I honestly didn't realise it performed WORSE than a three-satellite solution, I thought the whole point of low-earth orbit was because it could be faster.  I suppose it might be, with enough ground units, but then you might as well use 5G and fibre.

It seems he takes the Apple mentality "think different" to the extreme in that all he ever does is propose doing something the absolutely worst possible way, that will never be financially viable, in order to claim it as some breakthrough in technology that nobody else ever thought of.

His whole business model seems to be a kind of pyramid scheme, start a project, run into financial problems, get funding to prop up that business then funnel it into a new venture, rinse and repeat.  What possibly end goal could he have?  Does he honestly think if he keeps throwing stuff at the wall eventually something will stick?

It just boggles my mind he has been allowed to carry on like this.  He's not even a good speaker, stammering all the time, like he's trying to think up the next lie to proclaim to wow the audience.

I guess there's one thing he has done (yet somehow so many can't see it), he's shown just how flawed basing someones wealth on shares is, when those shares are artificially inflated.  The bubble has to burst eventually and he'll be left at best with nothing, at worst in jail.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91lxr3UD8ys
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Chunkers

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Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2022, 10:49:46 AM »

I think it might be worth suspending judgement on this, I mean he has built rocket ships and a lot of cars hasn't he?

I think Elon Musk has become even more of a political target since he starting messing with Twitter which apparently enraged a lot people who use it, if you listen to the mocking tone of the narrator its clearly a hit piece and not at all objective.

To me he is certainly no worse than the other billionaires who own everything and as an engineer I would say he has a lot of a great ideas and innovations (and no doubt a bunch of bad ones as well).

Isn't the whole point of Starlink to provide internet access to remote locations? My guess is that most of us in the UK are not really the target market.

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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2022, 03:28:35 PM »

You're missing the key point, he has done what he has through fraud and its not sustainable.  That would be bad enough if it just meant he ultimately wasted a bunch of money and were left back at square one, but its worse than that.

He made a fortune from PayPal through absolutely no skill of his own, merely holding onto his shares.  From then on he's used his influence to con people out of money to put into project after project that is not financially viable.  Look through some of the other videos, its absolutely astounding just how corrupt he is.  He makes solar roadways, free/wireless energy and other scams look like schoolyard pranks in comparison.

There's a lot of things we CAN do, if we throw unreasonable amounts of money at it with no hope of a return on that investment, but what do you do when the money runs out? At some point his entire empire has to come crashing down as its based entirely on smoke and mirrors, its just unfortunate that a lot of innocent people will get caught in the crossfire.

I'm not talking investors here, if you didn't bother to do your due diligence then its your own fault.  But people who come to rely on Starlink are going to be seriously screwed when it goes bankrupt and we could ALL be completely screwed if his stupidity takes out all satellites in orbit.

You can't give "the benefit of the doubt" to activities that literally are hindering our ability to detect asteroids heading for earth, may destroy our entire network of satellites and make space travel no longer possible.  Ironically what Starlink is doing is completely at odds with his supposed goals for SpaceX.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2022, 03:35:24 PM by Alex Atkin UK »
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Weaver

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Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2022, 03:49:03 PM »

Chunkers, did you watch the video? What do you think about the space junk and Kessler syndrome argument?

Moving off topic, it seems to me we urgently need a space hoover.
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Chunkers

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Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2022, 05:12:12 PM »

Chunkers, did you watch the video? What do you think about the space junk and Kessler syndrome argument?


I watched about half of it but it just seemed like a one-sided hit piece so I stopped ....

I didn't get to the Kessler piece so I googled it, not surprisingly some people think he is ruining space travel forever and others think its fine as low orbit satellites have to keep themselves in orbit and otherwise decay and burn up very fast (apparently over 80 starlink satellites have already done this)

I know you guys are all very aware of this, but in general I don't find YouTube a very good source of objective information anymore. Unless its on something very neutral e.g. how to unblock my toilet.  Most of the reviews are now extremely biased, 'sponsored' and the news content is both biased and heavily censored and you are rarely able to establish where the bias is coming from.

I am sure he is no saint, but since Elon Musk came out as a 'free speech absolutist' or whatever it was he said there are now parts of mainstream media who are desperate to discredit him

I currently work in North Africa, here people can't afford internet connections and those that are available are incredibly slow, heavily censored and unreliable. People here dream of fast, independent and affordable internet connections, maybe this might help.

Regarding his lack of speaking skills and charisma, this might be partly explained by the fact that I believe he has Aspergers ...

C
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2022, 01:29:45 AM »

Its a debunking channel using facts, figures and Musks own claims vs reality.  There are other channels not focused on debunking that also do the odd debunking video on stuff like that, such as EEVBlog.  You don't have to rely on one source, just look at the many scientists and engineers.

You don't have to believe everything they said is true (though I'm sure you can Google the figures to confirm them), they include video of him actually saying things that were downright lies, period. Full self driving, hyperloop, electric trucks, all things he can claimed he could do but has completely failed.  Even one of his own AI employees was highlighting how flawed the self driving is, so he fired them.

The problem with Starlink is even if it works, more lower earth satellites means you need more base stations to bounce the signal off, and if you have those base stations then just take broadband over land from them for a far more efficient and reliable service.  It never seemed plausible to me that there could be enough bandwidth to just bounce the signal between satellites to a few base stations.  The whole reason StarLink is so slow to roll out is the cost and the fact many areas CAN be served right now, but everyone would suddenly be on dialup speeds due to the lack of capacity.

The problem with the things he has done is its not financially sustainable.  Starlink/SpaceX is being propped up by government funding, when they finally realise its just a never ending cash sink, its dead.

Its a short term solution when by their own admission, the satellites need replacing every 5 years + any that fail early or never make it to orbit in the first place.

I can absolutely believe he has Aspergers (though were not supposed to call it that any more), I had a friend who also had it and he also stole things from school without asking because he thought it was okay as he was only "borrowing" them, plus many times I absolutely denied things he had done that I knew for a fact he HAD done.  But my point wasn't about that, it was about the confusion that anyone would think his arguments and lies were convincing.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2022, 01:39:52 AM by Alex Atkin UK »
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celso

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Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2022, 10:52:43 AM »

I don't really give a s... about Elon Musk. I think he made electric cars attractive and main stream, and I also think that developing a cheaper rocket that can land, engines, and space capsule that can actually fly is a nice achievement. Impossible stuff for some, but they did it. This doesn't mean that the state of Tesla self driving is acceptable, that I agree with Musk's behaviour, what he says, what he claims, his promises, the way he treats his employees, how he names his kids ( :lol: ), etc. I also don't own stock or anything like that.

With this said, I like space stuff. I skimmed through the video (edit: the one from the main post) and I think it's a bit one sided. Parts of it are also outdated. I can't talk about the financial aspect of it (if it will work as a business), but he's taking some facts and presenting them in a negative and sometimes even misleading way.

As we know now, there will be more than one service (to get faster speeds, business, backhaul for remote areas, financial services wanting something faster than fibre connections for high frequency trading, etc) that cost way more than $99 (and prices have increased recently). Not to mention military applications... Russia took down Viasat in Europe because Ukraine used it for their GIS Arta system, that's why they quickly received 15k Starlink terminals (resulting in them being attacked and jammed). And what does the US Army knows that we don't? Can you imagine the things one could do remotely if low latency, high speeds are available (with the new satellite)? Maybe it's all a scam, but then even the Chinese are falling for it?

He starts by talking about terminals (the first gen). Yes, the cable should be removable, but sadly it's how some companies do things. Anyway, it's just a RJ45 cable. It's not that hard to add a connector to it (as explained in the thread he took that picture from) and I'd argue that you have to expect problems if you decide to leave cables exposed in the wild.

Then there's the hardware cost. It's public that they're selling terminals at a loss. There was an article in ArsTechnica(?) 1 or 2 years ago and they said the cost was higher than $599 and that they were trying to reduce costs. There's a new "dummer" terminal which costs less, but I believe it still costs more than $599? In any case, it's public that they're doing this.

Later on the video he mentions the warranty. Maybe it's a problem in the US, but in the UK and EU they have to replace your terminal if it arrives broken. The comment about extreme temperature, yes, it's a problem if you live in an extremely cold (rated up to -30ºC, there's a built-in heater) or hot place (+40ºC, can be a problem), but looking at feedback over at the /r/Starlink sub, they seem to have improved thermal management? I'm not sure if it's only improved only on the new gen or if the first gen was also improved (power reduction, less heat). Early adopter problems, I guess (not defending it, but it's the reality... eg: early 5G modems aren't as capable as the latest ones).

I don't think there's public information on the real costs of a Falcon 9 launch, but there are reports that it costs 37 million, not 50. Not to mention that they seem to be ok with the extra risks of reusing old boosters. We know two things: 1) with the alternatives charging 2 or 3 times more for the same service, there's no good reason for them to drop their prices; and 2), the main deployment is supposed to be done by Starship (not Falcon 9) and the satellites are also different: more capacity and with laser communication between them, reducing the need of ground stations and allowing for over water service.

Now, the the satellites. I think he's misleading people here (maybe I misunderstood him...) because the old satellites don't stay in orbit forever. First he shows a screenshot of a news article(?) with a claim from SpaceX saying that they stay in orbit (if they lose control) between 1 and 5 years, and then shows an image from ULA's Tori Bruno to prove that it's wrong... but it says right there: it takes years, not decades (edit: for that altitude). When a geomagnetic storm affected their launch back in Feb 2022, apparently the 40 satellites de-orbited in a week (lower than the operational orbit and according to SpaceX, but I haven't seen anyone contradicting them).

On top of this, it's important to keep in mind that they're not the only ones talking about big numbers. The UK's OneWeb asked for permission to launch 48k satellites. Amazon's Project Kuiper will start with 3k. And then you have countries like China planing their own constellations.

I think everyone doing things the old way will need to adapt to having more satellites in space. Automation is needed and we probably need to stop panicking because a satellite will pass 500 meters away from another satellite. Maybe I'm wrong, I don't know...

The point about the Kessler syndrome: it's a concern. I guess that's why different countries/space agencies/private business are investing in solutions to clear space debris. SpaceX is one of the contributors to this problem, but not the only one. An even bigger problem is when China, Russia, India, the US, etc, blow up satellites in orbit... he mentioned the space station, well, guess why they had to move it late last year.

There's also a mention of the satellites affecting space observations. That's indeed a problem, especially at dawn/sunset. It was already a problem before SpaceX (see Iridium Flares, for example), but obviously more satellites makes the problem worse. The main difference between 2020 when people started to complain and now is that there's software to deal with that. In any case, it's a problem... but it's not going to get better even if SpaceX goes away. We have to find ways to deal with it.

Finally... speeds. I mean, it's hard to take it seriously when satellite internet isn't for cities and he uses numbers from cities. Two paragraphs from this ArsTechnica article, during beta:

> Musk has repeatedly said he does not view Starlink as a replacement for fast wireline Internet service. "You can think of Starlink as filling in the gaps between 5G and fiber, and really getting to the hardest, most difficult-to-reach 3 percent, possibly 5 percent [of Internet users," he said yesterday. "It quite nicely complements fiber and 5G."

[...]

> Still, Starlink can't provide enough capacity to serve a huge number of customers in high-density areas. Musk has stated that several times, and he said again yesterday, "We're well-suited to low- and medium-density areas but not high-density areas. In high-density areas, we'll be able to serve a limited number of customers."

So, why are we looking at speeds for cities like Seattle where fibre is available and during the beta (the video is from July 2021)? This is not for cities or aimed at customers that have fibre or gigabit 5G. Maybe it doesn't make sense for us Europeans because our countries are small compared to others, but places like Canada, US, Australia, etc (the ones that can afford Starlink) have lots of areas without any good coverage or coverage at all. And no, they won't get fibre any time soon... that's why terrible services like HughesNet had a business (at least until now).

I suggest checking out /r/Starlink to see who and where people are using this service, the speeds and pings they get, how fast or expensive it was before, and so on. It's not a service for someone like me because I live in a city, have FTTC, good 5G from at least one provider, don't have an RV, don't live in a farm in a large country, etc. This doesn't mean that there are no customers for services like Starlink.

From my limited point of view, Starlink will fail if the new satellites don't have enough capacity (we need to wait and see) or the inter-satellite connection fails to work and/or if they fail to capture enough customers (keeping in mind that they're not all paying £110/month and that the price can be lower in other countries in the future). I think it's too early to say that they're going to fail, but yeah, it can happen. I can see the risk. From a space access point of view, having so many satellites is a problem, but the problem is bigger than SpaceX/Musk.

To end, I'll just say that personally I wouldn't be affected if Starlink failed and that I'm rooting for SpaceX only because we need more affordable space access and more innovation to a space that has become a bit stagnant. Maybe this video is right and it's all a scam and they'll fail. I guess time will say.

On a side note, I don't really care about Musk (or famous people in general). I don't understand why there are so many people crazy about him (both pro and against)... but for some reason his name and his companies attract clicks. Fires on petrol cars are not uncommon, but no one talks about it... but if a Tesla catches fire everyone knows about it. A few months ago it was a SpaceX rocket that was going to hit the moon... tabloids went crazy with that... but they were quiet when someone noticed the mistake. And this video is from a YouTube channel that only talks/debunks him/his companies. I find it all a bit... weird.

(Sorry for any mistakes in this wall of text... I'm tired.)

---

Edit: Just to add, Adrian Kennard from AAISP seems to be happy with the service:

- https://www.revk.uk/2022/06/starlink-2.html
- https://nitter.net/TheRealRevK/status/1535337295380873217
- https://nitter.net/TheRealRevK/status/1535550468985966592

There are some issues and happy customers don't invalidate some of the things mentioned in this thread, but it works better than the video suggests.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2022, 12:32:10 PM by celso »
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2022, 02:12:23 PM »

I don't really give a s... about Elon Musk. I think he made electric cars attractive and main stream, and I also think that developing a cheaper rocket that can land, engines, and space capsule that can actually fly is a nice achievement. Impossible stuff for some, but they did it.

But that's exactly the problem, he "claims" to have these things but in reality, they don't exist or at the very least do not work how he describes.  His entire empire is based on bold claims, pipe dreams and throwing good money after bad.

I'd call his empire a Ponzi scheme but its even worse, as he doesn't even pay off investors.  He just moves money between his various companies to prop each other up.  His empire is a a bunch of dominoes, as one starts to teeter he props it up with another, but once one finally goes the whole thing will collapse.

eg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XIVjfRix_8

From my limited point of view, Starlink will fail if the new satellites don't have enough capacity (we need to wait and see) or the inter-satellite connection fails to work and/or if they fail to capture enough customers (keeping in mind that they're not all paying £110/month and that the price can be lower in other countries in the future). I think it's too early to say that they're going to fail, but yeah, it can happen. I can see the risk. From a space access point of view, having so many satellites is a problem, but the problem is bigger than SpaceX/Musk.

To end, I'll just say that personally I wouldn't be affected if Starlink failed and that I'm rooting for SpaceX only because we need more affordable space access and more innovation to a space that has become a bit stagnant. Maybe this video is right and it's all a scam and they'll fail. I guess time will say.

You seem to be glossing over the calculations that show Starlink WILL FAIL, because even in a best-case scenario if SpaceX delivered everything they need, its still not remotely economically viable to launch that many satellites while also replacing them every 5 years, not to mention the environmental impact of that many launches.  Plus the space junk problem it causes will have already have killed off any possibility of space travel, as once again he lied about how quickly those satellites de-orbit and break up in the atmosphere.

This isn't just about people losing out when the network fails, its about the long-term damage it will cause in the process.  The absolutely bizarre situation that Starlink is detrimental to not only the claimed goals of SpaceX, but every industry that uses satellites or space travel, including early warning detection of asteroids which I think is a bit more important than rural broadband.
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celso

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Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2022, 08:33:14 PM »

I don't see how Musk's bold claims affect your Tesla. Isn't it fast? Doesn't it have the range? The charging network isn't better than the alternatives? How does a car being late to production affects your ability to drive your car?

The only way I could see someone being "scammed" is if they bought the self driving hardware early on. If they do it now, I find it a bit harder to be sad for them because even I know their self driving isn't ready... and I don't even drive. Be it a car, computer, phone, etc, buy it for what it is, not what it may become in the future.

What's left? So Musk made a bad business decision for Tesla by buying SolarCity to save his cousins(?) rear and now doesn't sell enough solar panels? I don't own Tesla shares though. If I did, I'd probably look into this stuff before investing. This may say a lot about Elon Musk the person, but again, it doesn't affect the performance of your car or home battery.

Regarding SpaceX, you must understand that they said similar things about early versions of Falcon. There's no way a small private company can create a rocket. There's no way they can make their own engine. There's no way you can land parts of it! Transporting cargo and people to and from the ISS? No way! Yet, they're doing it. They seem to deliver their contracts on time or at least faster (and cheaper) than Boeing. And refurbishment times keep dropping (slowly). For example, recently one of the boosters was used 21 days after it landed (which means that they do it in less than 21 days). Again, keep in mind that people had doubts that this could be done. That's why I give them the benefit of doubt.

Starship... look, maybe it's a scam, but those videos pick the wrong things to "prove" it's going to fail. Things change? Of course they do. Why are people surprised that it looks different from the computer rendering? Not only it's still in early development, but anyone that pays attention to these new rocket companies knows that SpaceX doesn't work like the old space companies. They iterate fast, test often, and blow up a lot of stuff. You don't have to like it, but that's how Falcon, Merlin, and Dragon were developed and... it works. Is it late? Yes, but late doesn't mean ponzi scheme and prioritising launch and landing on land doesn't mean that they'll never land on some old oil rig (and plans can't change?).

While skipping parts of that video, I landed where he says something about engine melting (not a secret, Musk said it himself). Obviously a problem, but they developed engines before, it's not like they don't know how to do it. And they're still developing this one... v1 and v2 are not the final design. Look at this video from last year. The first minutes don't make it clear that it's not the final version? If this is a scam, then they're being very public about it.

Regarding Starlink, the calculations are guesses. We can guess about satellite costs or how much a Falcon 9 launch cost, but we don't know for sure. How can you make a proper prediction, when you don't know how many users the version 1 and v2 of their satellites can handle? How much more capable are the new v2 (larger, heavier, apparently big improvements in capacity)? And economically, how many millions will some stock trading company in the City of London pay for something that can make information travel the Atlantic a few milliseconds faster than the alternatives? If the reports coming from Ukraine are true, how much money will they make from military contracts? We need to take this into consideration when guessing. He doesn't and even if he did... he would still be guessing. We don't know their real costs, we don't really know how much certain users are willing to pay, and there are things we can't predict. I wouldn't trust his (or anyone else outside SpaceX) calculations that much.

The number of satellites is a problem, but singling one company out when others are or will do the same doesn't look good. Why is Starlink bad, but OneWeb or Kuiper okay? And why are you both assuming most of those satellites can't be de-orbited at end-of-life? Do they have a flaw I'm not aware of? Looking at some of the satellites on sites like https://satellitemap.space/, they seem to be able to change altitudes fairly quickly. What am I missing?

You said above that the channel debunks things using facts, but those facts are sometimes twisted to fit a narrative. The point I made about the speeds, for example. The fact he presented about the speeds being bad is probably true, but he's comparing it to fibre in cities when Musk - which makes bold claims - says it's not competing with that (as quoted on my previous comment). Not only that, but those aren't the speeds most users are seeing (see the Starlink reddit sub, Adrian's blog post, etc). Knowing this, it's hard for me to believe the narrative because clearly he's cherry picking facts to fit his narrative.

All this makes me question the intentions of the person making those videos. I mean, any neutral person can see that Tesla had failures (maybe solar roof doesn't work!) and that they are strong in some areas (charging network, casting of parts for their cars, developing their own battery cells, etc). Starship may be late, but Falcon 9 works, they can land anywhere, Dragon works, refurbishment times are dropping, etc. Does Starlink success depends on if Musk really cares about Mars? And why is this guy focusing only on the negatives and ignoring anything that works? Has he shorted Tesla stocks or something like that?

Some of the points made on those videos are valid, but some are wrong and some are misleading, and that makes me raise my eyebrow. Then it seems that there are two groups when it comes to Musk: one thinks that everything he does is bad and that he's a con artist while the other thinks Lord Elon is a genius that can do no wrong and will defend him no matter what. This guy is in the later group and I personally think both groups are wrong. The truth is somewhere between the two.

The headlines I see on my news feed makes me believe that Musk sometimes is like a train without brakes... it can end badly. I'm somewhat aware of SpaceX risks. I also know that Tesla is about to experience competition from legacy car manufacturers, so there's a lot of risk for the company. And I'm happy to change my view if there's some new information. Until then, Musk's companies track record is to deliver some things, fail to deliver other things, they're often behind schedule, etc. Nothing has changed recently for me to change my mind about them.

(edit: I linked to the wrong YouTube video. It's fixed now. The forum is embedding it for some reason though...)
« Last Edit: June 11, 2022, 10:03:05 PM by celso »
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2022, 10:22:35 PM »

I don't see how Musk's bold claims affect your Tesla. Isn't it fast? Doesn't it have the range? The charging network isn't better than the alternatives? How does a car being late to production affects your ability to drive your car?

Again, its not about if it delivers, its about can it deliver long-term?  They forbid you from making any modifications to the car and repairs are not economically viable.
The only way I could see someone being "scammed" is if they bought the self driving hardware early on. If they do it now, I find it a bit harder to be sad for them because even I know their self driving isn't ready... and I don't even drive. Be it a car, computer, phone, etc, buy it for what it is, not what it may become in the future.

Its literally called Self Driving, but they admitted its Level 1, which is advanced cruise control at best.

Any system that self-drives "some of the time" but will randomly fail, has no business being used on public roads.  It increases rather than decreases the chance of accidents as it flies in the face of hazard perception, how can you react to a hazard developing if you don't know its a hazard until the self driving system fails?  I haven't driven much, but enough to understand how that's just a terrible situation.  If you're relying on the car to drive itself the majority of the time, you're not going to react as quickly when something goes wrong which can be the difference between life and death.

What about Tesla trucks that never were manufactured?  What about faulty battery management controllers but they just wrote software to hide the error messages?

Also Tesla aren't good at making battery cells, they buy them from Panasonic and forbid you from replacing the cells or repairing a bad battery management controller, making a new battery pack rather uneconomical.

As for Starlink vs other services:
Quote
The OneWeb satellites fly at higher altitudes than the Starlink spacecraft. The difference in architecture means OneWeb can reach global internet coverage with 648 satellites, a significantly smaller constellation than Starlink.

Kuiper definitely sounds just as bad as Starlink however.

I still think that is bad mind you, when competitors can achieve global coverage with THREE satellites.  When you're dealing with something as risky as space junk, minimalism is a must.  Its not a case of if we'll no longer be able to launch satellites, but when.  The more go up, the sooner that day will come.

Overall when it comes to "what about the stuff Musk has done that works", again, its not about if it works or not - you can make a lot of things work with brute force, throwing pots of cash at the problem.  That's no good if you can't cover the running costs without constantly begging for government hand-outs and conning investors, which is how he is supporting everything right now and the numbers just don't add up for that changing, ever.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2022, 10:27:04 PM by Alex Atkin UK »
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2022, 01:50:44 AM »

Just stumbled onto this one from someone who used to believe the hype that basically goes over everything.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iC3pnJmYaxA
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celso

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Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2022, 03:27:05 AM »

Again, its not about if it delivers, its about can it deliver long-term?  They forbid you from making any modifications to the car and repairs are not economically viable.

From a customer point of view, Tesla is selling cars, battery packs for homes, charging stations, etc, and things seem to work. So they're delivering in that regard. Will they keep delivering when Toyota, Volkswagen, etc, all go electric and start releasing affordable EVs? I don't know, but that seems to be a problem for investors and Elon's pockets, not the consumer.

Starlink, I really have no idea how many users the 2nd gen of their satellites can support and if the satellite-to-satellite connection will work. And that's why I think we should be cautious when looking at overly negative or positive predictions. If we guess that one satellite can support 50 connections and it actually can support 200, then our calculations will be wrong.

Regarding repairs, both remind me of some Apple products. They're expensive, not the easiest to repair, and they're certainly not for everyone.

But you don't need Tesla to change your tires, fix your suspension, change bulbs, or to fix a small bump on your car. Check Bjørn Nyland's (from Norway) channel on YT, some of his maintenance is made on a regular shop that also works on electric cars. This change from ICE cars to electric means that those providing car services will have to learn and change... right now you have less options available, but it's not because it's impossible to fix the cars.

Now, some repairs are too expensive (maybe it's smarter to buy a cheaper car?) and need to be fixed by Tesla. But it's not like you can't salvage an electric motor, install a "refurbished" battery, replace a motherboard repaired by a 3rd party, etc. They won't take responsibility for it, but no brand does when we use after market parts. There are lots of videos of repair shops and "car guys" about this on YT too. Eg:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvlvNS9kQeU

Starlink terminals, I believe you only really need the antenna and the power-over-ethernet connector. Maybe their router is bad, but I using my own router too because I don't like the one PlusNet sent me.

I didn't know, but the cable I talked about on the previous post seems to be replaceable on the new terminal (Dishy v2). Proprietary connector, but at least you can change it.

Its literally called Self Driving, but they admitted its Level 1, which is advanced cruise control at best.

Any system that self-drives "some of the time" but will randomly fail, has no business being used on public roads.  It increases rather than decreases the chance of accidents as it flies in the face of hazard perception, how can you react to a hazard developing if you don't know its a hazard until the self driving system fails?  I haven't driven much, but enough to understand how that's just a terrible situation.  If you're relying on the car to drive itself the majority of the time, you're not going to react as quickly when something goes wrong which can be the difference between life and death.

I believe you're a bit wrong here, if I understand what you're saying correctly. They have the "free" Autopilot, which is essentially a fancy line keeping + adaptable cruise control. From here:

> Autopilot advanced safety and convenience features are designed to assist you with the most burdensome parts of driving. Autopilot introduces new features and improves existing functionality to make your Tesla safer and more capable over time.
> Autopilot enables your car to steer, accelerate and brake automatically within its lane.
> Current Autopilot features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.

And then they have paid upgrades that unlock the features you mentioned. This is from the UK website, while trying to order a Model 3:



So, I think there are a few criticisms we can make here.

The first is the name "Autopilot", which may be misleading, but I think it's widely known that the commercial planes we fly on has autopilot and 2 human pilots in the cockpit. If one is too dumb to know that, the car tells the driver to be ready to take over and if they ignore it, it will beep at them. If you try to trick the system and take a nap... is it really the car's fault? At some point we have to take responsibility for what we're doing with our car. It has some problems, but functionality wise, it's not that different from what many Toyotas (and other brands) have on cars released in the past 5/10 years.

Then there's the "advanced" stuff. This is what I was referring to when I wrote this in my previous comment:

> The only way I could see someone being "scammed" is if they bought the self driving hardware early on. If they do it now, I find it a bit harder to be sad for them because even I know their self driving isn't ready... and I don't even drive. Be it a car, computer, phone, etc, buy it for what it is, not what it may become in the future.

You're paying for something that isn't ready. If I had paid for this a few years ago, I'd be fuming. I mean, changing lines in the motorway should work fine, but there's no full self driving yet. People have been referring to autopilot as "self driving", but Self Driving was only available in 2020 with a restricted beta and expanded in September 2021.

Should you pay in advance before this is ready? I wouldn't. Should it be allowed to be tested in public roads by careless people trying to showoff? Yeah... probably not. Is the system as advanced as it needs to be? I don't think it is.

I think your criticism (edit: and points) are valid here.

What I won't do is side with morons that are not paying attention when using autopilot or similar systems. Be it a Tesla or a fancy Mercedes EV with their own level 2/3 system, they know what the system does, they learn its flaws as they use it, and yet they decide drunk drive, play angry birds, take a nap, check facebook while driving.

What about Tesla trucks that never were manufactured?  What about faulty battery management controllers but they just wrote software to hide the error messages?

The Tesla Semi announced in 2017? It seems to be delayed, I think. The Cybertruck announced in 2019 is also delayed. They're saying production is supposed to start in 2023 in their Texas factory, which - I believe - they only finished this year.

Is there a reason why you're doubting this? I remember the Model 3 and Y being delayed, but they're selling them now. Again, late... but late and scams are different things.

Regarding faulty BMS, what happens in practice? Are cars shutting down randomly, catching fire? Is the "fix" creating any problems? Honest question because I don't know.

Also Tesla aren't good at making battery cells, they buy them from Panasonic and forbid you from replacing the cells or repairing a bad battery management controller, making a new battery pack rather uneconomical.

I follow that Bjørn Nyland channel I mentioned above and the guy tests the different battery packs Tesla and other brands use. I'm working from memory here, but I believe Tesla uses Panasonic for their "performance" cars and LG for their "standard" cars. I don't know if it's all models, but the cheaper Model 3 also uses LFP batteries from CATL.

The batteries I was thinking of are the ones they talked about in 2020. They're using a new size (4680) and different process (from a company they acquired). This is made by Tesla, not Panasonic. (Search for Tesla Battery Day 2020 on YouTube to see the presentation.) Apparently Panasonic will also make their own bigger batteries for Tesla, but that seems to be the same deal as the current 18650 batteries they buy from Panasonic/LG.

Regarding repairs, I don't know how it will be with the new cars where the battery pack is part of the structure of the car, but at least until now you could remove the battery, replace modules, etc. If you'll find a company in the UK doing this, that's a different question, but they're not going to call the police on you. They just don't want to have anything to do with it if the car catches fire.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-B_8oMZNeI

To be clear, Tesla repairs are not easy. Your point is valid.

What I don't know is if they're better or worse than EVs from VW, Mercedes, Audi, Porche, Renault, Volvo, Polestar, etc. I'd be surprised if it was as easy as ICE cars.

As for Starlink vs other services:
Kuiper definitely sounds just as bad as Starlink however.

I still think that is bad mind you, when competitors can achieve global coverage with THREE satellites.  When you're dealing with something as risky as space junk, minimalism is a must.  Its not a case of if we'll no longer be able to launch satellites, but when.  The more go up, the sooner that day will come.

I agree that more satellites is worse.

There two things that we should keep in mind, though:

- Starlink, Kuiper, etc, are in Low Earth Orbit. Pings of 20/30ms if coverage is good.
- ViaSat, Hughes, are in Geostationary orbit. You'll find pings online between 400-600ms.

Now, that image from ULA's Tory Bruno is useful if we're worried about the Kessler syndrome.

We've been sending these big, heavy, and expensive satellites to GEO for years, and they'll be there "forever" (in the "graveyard" orbit) and I assume it's harder to reach them if we start cleaning up space because it's very far away. How good is this?

And then there's LEO where the drag eventually brings stuff down after just a few years. It seems we're about to witness an international commercial space race over the next few years... I could be wrong, but if we're going to have a Kessler syndrome, this seems the best place for a "wake up" call. The chances of me being wrong are high though :P



Then we have the quality of service. The alternatives with 3 or 4 satellites all have high latencies. Viasat seems to be the best option here, so I looked for speed tests on YouTube... and it's bad. 1-20Mbps and pings of 600ms. The best I could find was this result, which reached 74Mbps down under their 100GB "premium data". But the ping... almost 600ms:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADgdRJmow34

Searched online for ViaSat vs Starlink and the first result on DuckDuckGo is this blog post from someone in Arizona. I'd recommend reading it, but essentially the ping is around 700ms with ViaSat which causes problems with calls, SSH doesn't work well, etc. Starlink? Over 300Mbps down, 20Mbps up, ping 33ms, jitter 7ms. During the beta.

I also checked /r/ViaSat. This is what I see:



The first post is calling the service a scam (ha!). Paying 150 dollars a month (Starlink was 100, now 110) and it seems to be slow. There's a reply, which I find to be a bit... funny:

> When I had Viasat I had no problems streaming Youtube in at least 480p or occasionally streaming sports. I just had to be careful that i didn't go over priority data.

And here am I complaining about my FTTC connection which plays 1440p YouTube just fine (the default picked by them for this high dpi display). :D

There's also this post from someone asking if is actually that bad. I'll let you read the replies.

I think it's fair to say that ViaSat is way worse than Starlink. Some can get good speeds with ViaSat until a certain point, but there's no way around the latency. I've never used either, but LEO and GEO internet seem to be very different things.

The worse results I see from residential Starlink are like slow/average 4G (40Mbps/10Mbps) while the best ones are up there with good 4G (100-300Mbps/40Mbps). In some cases, even a "slow 4G-like" Starlink is still many times superior to ViaSat.

I don't mean to say with this that we should ignore the problem of so many satellites in space, but you can't do Starlink with 5 or 10 GEO satellites.

Overall when it comes to "what about the stuff Musk has done that works", again, its not about if it works or not - you can make a lot of things work with brute force, throwing pots of cash at the problem.  That's no good if you can't cover the running costs without constantly begging for government hand-outs and conning investors, which is how he is supporting everything right now and the numbers just don't add up for that changing, ever.

Do you mean government contracts? SpaceX seems to operate in the same way (but cheaper) that older space companies do in the US. I don't know enough about US politics to make a comment about that. I don't think SpaceX is making a profit and they're investing a lot in Starship and Starlink. It could be a problem, but I don't know if they're conning investors or running out of money.

If it's EV discounts, governments in the "west" support EVs in these early years because they are more expensive than ICE cars. But this is for everyone, not only Tesla.

If it's the money that Tesla received after the 2008 financial crisis, it was paid back already. I don't know if they received more since then.

Tesla made a profit of "$3.3 billion" from "$18.7 billion in revenue" in Q1 2022... while everyone is struggling with a shortage of chips and other components. Considering that they finished 2 factories, are investing in their own battery tech, keep expanding their charger stations world wide, the work in AI/self driving/custom processors (doesn't sound "cheap"), and working on new cars, is it that bad? Since I don't follow companies and stocks, I don't know if 3.3B is good or bad in this business.

I think the main difference between us is that you're looking at this from an investor point of view and I'm looking at it as a possible customer. If I get what I pay for, I'm happy.

Just stumbled onto this one from someone who used to believe the hype that basically goes over everything.
watch?v=iC3pnJmYaxA

It's a long video, I didn't watch most of it, but why does it matter for you as a customer if the guy was poor or rich, if he was a school dropout or not, if he was the creator of Tesla or bought it early on, etc?

Windows doesn't crash more often just because Bill Gates dropped out from... Harvard University... was from a wealthy family, got lucky with IBM because his mom worked there, tried to control the internet, etc.

I can't afford a Tesla and Starlink isn't for me, but if I was going to buy anything from them, I'd look at the product. Musk's good PR doesn't lower Starlink's latency or increases a Tesla's range.

My suggestion: don't invest in his companies if you don't trust him, don't pay for self driving until it's ready, and look at their products like... products.

I don't know if I'll have the time to write another reply like this, so if I stop posing, it's not because I ran way :P
« Last Edit: June 12, 2022, 01:46:46 PM by celso »
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: Why Starlink is doomed to fail
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2022, 08:19:51 PM »

The first is the name "Autopilot", which may be misleading, but I think it's widely known that the commercial planes we fly on has autopilot and 2 human pilots in the cockpit. If one is too dumb to know that, the car tells the driver to be ready to take over and if they ignore it, it will beep at them.

Most people wont have a clue how Autopilot on a plane works whereas pilots will have had extensive training on EXACTLY how to use it, what it does and does not do.  Someone buying a car will not have the same knowledge, nor do you have the same amount of time to react to a problem when you're on a road compared to a plane.

Even if it tells you exactly what it does and does not do in the manual, it has to be to a higher standard as you cannot expect someone who is just making a trip to the shops, potentially with many distractions, to be aware of everything it does and does not do at all times.  I stand by my claim, its dangerous for ANY car to "partly" self drive, as it causes complacency by the driver if most of the time they do not have to steer.  At most it should be able to emergency brake, park, stay in lane, maintain speed on a motorway.  The driver should ALWAYS be the one changing lanes, turning corners, etc.  We have decades of proof that with the best intentions, people become complacent once a majority of the time they don't have to do something, making them slow to react when they are required to.  By its nature, by the time you realise its gone wrong, you may be too late to react.

Its risky to even expect a car to emergency brake:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7lp5f0aqzU
Had this been a real-world scenario with traffic coming in the other direction, things could have gone badly.

My point being, you shouldn't be promoting a system as able to do something unless it can do it 100% of the time.  The driver shouldn't just have their hands on the wheel, they should be steering, braking, etc, you should NEVER be relying on the car to react period.  But this is not how Tesla are promoting their tech however.

Quote
The Tesla Semi announced in 2017? It seems to be delayed, I think. The Cybertruck announced in 2019 is also delayed. They're saying production is supposed to start in 2023 in their Texas factory, which - I believe - they only finished this year.

Is there a reason why you're doubting this? I remember the Model 3 and Y being delayed, but they're selling them now. Again, late... but late and scams are different things.

I can't find the video right now, but this again comes down to economics.  The weight of the batteries required for a truck means the trucks can haul a tiny minority of what a diesel truck can.  Musk made claims about cost per distance, but didn't factor this in, making it appear cheaper and more efficient when its not.

In fact, a lot of the problems come down to energy storage.  We've pretty much peaked with battery storage, we can't make it much more efficient, the laws of physics dictate so.  The only way to make electric trucks work is this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3P_S7pL7Yg

Regarding faulty BMS, what happens in practice? Are cars shutting down randomly, catching fire? Is the "fix" creating any problems? Honest question because I don't know.

Inconsistent range due to improper charging, that's not a small issue especially for long distance travel in rural areas where you could get stuck in the middle of nowhere.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSOHzmqLWjU

As for Viasats negatives, the problem is you're looking at it from a "this is what we want" scenario, rather than "this is what we can do".

We all want perfect broadband that works for everything, but if its not economical or damaging the environment, then we absolutely should NOT be doing that.  The end does not justify the means.

Its the same kind of logic as "we need land for x, lets just cut down all the trees and kill off all the wildlife".  Sure, it will wipe out all life on earth eventually, but things will be fine for a short while.  Are you honestly advocating that we should just ignore all long-term problems in order for a quick fix today?

This is the crux of why I'm critical of Elon Musk, even though I wont be using any of his technology.  Because it WILL impact everyone in the long term.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2022, 08:55:57 PM by Alex Atkin UK »
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