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Does Less Feet of Wire Mean More of the Wire is Printed [Integrated]?

Does Less Feet of Wire Mean More of the Wire is Printed [Integrated]?

Parsing tweets is a core competency for this forum ... I see no better way to improve than to pitch in.

In the past, less wire length meant more integration.

This says HUD brain integration - With light being used to space information in the driver's field of view rather than wires.

dsvick | 3 mars 2017

It is probably also a factor of less stuff needing to be wired. No self presenting door handles, no auto folding mirrors, the car itself is smaller, and less bells and whistles over all. I don't think a HUD would use any less wires than the screens in the Model S, after all the HUD is just projecting what would normally be seen on the screen. The info still has to get to the projector.

topher | 3 mars 2017

The majority will come from bussing lights etc. I suspect.

Thank you kindly.

Red Sage ca us | 3 mars 2017

Maybe they used fibre optics instead of copper wire in some places. Also, some components may be operated by way of radio control instead of by wire now, in sort of a closed loop network within each car. That would probably be for non-critical systems, of course.

georgehawley.fl.us | 3 mars 2017

Wires are way cheaper than fiber. @dsvick probably has the right answer. Everything with a motor requires a connection to battery, ground via the fuse panel and a controller circuit. Most of the connections are likely point-point rather than busses. If so, for every motor removed, there is X feet less cabling. The car is smaller than the S or X so the existing cable runs for things like windshield wipers, rear window defroster, radio antennas, outside mirrors and so on are that much shorter. Pairs of lights that operate together could be bussed but not lights that turn on and off independently like directionals. Thinks like the rear trunk lid and charging port could be operated manually as a baseline option.

I noticed on a factory visit that there is a lot of manual labor required to wire up a car. Losing wires could be a handsome cost reduction because the the labor probably costs a lot more than a few feet of wire.

greg | 3 mars 2017

Halving the length of wires from 3 to 1.5 [km or was it miles?] means not just some sort of HUD/Dashboard integration funkiness is gong on.

It means a fundamental rethink of just how car components are powered and controlled [turned on/off etc].
Normally you rely on physical switches/relays with wiring to the dashboard/relay box then to the component.

If you instead send a control signal via a (separate, or "along-the-power-wire") control bus and the "power wire" as well and have the switching done electronically at the device itself, you reduce a lot of wiring complexity and amount of wires run.

And if make the relays/switches solid state they can be controlled electronically.
All of which in theory improves reliability.

The trade off would be that the components like lights HVAC tec are all "smart" or need to have a smart controller plugged into "dumb" standard versions.
Either which increases costs.

But if in doing so, you eliminate the inherent slow downs during building in running big looms of wires throughout the vehicle the efficiencies probably outweiht the costs. Especially in the numbers of cars and components being built gets up there.

Boeing and Airbus do the same with their planes now to - Copper wires add a lot of weight and take time to string inside the plane. So thats a big reason why they do it there.
They also run a lot of fibre optic cables in planes, maybe Tesla will do the same here but you still need power to run the components so fibre on its own doesn't solve much

teslu3 | 3 mars 2017

Some of the wiring may be an in-car network. Ethernet allows shared use of a cable so you don't need point2point wires.
There is now Ethernet over a single twisted pair that meets automotive standards at 33Mhz, allowing a lot of data users to share the thinner cable.

Red Sage ca us | 3 mars 2017

Well said, guys! That is the sort of thing I had in mind. In designing the car from the ground up, there is no need to use off-the-shelf components if there is a 'better way' to accomplish the same goal. Doing everything with fewer wire runs makes the operation to design for ease of manufacture come true.

gavinfaulkner | 3 mars 2017

Speaking of the proverbial HUD. The OP inspired me to think about what a HUD could mean in terms of making other components redundant. If a HUD used the side and rear mounted cameras to project images of the rear and side views on the windscreen then, if legal requirements are met, there would be no need to side mirrors or a rear view mirror. This would lower production costs and reduce the complexity of vehicle assembly. Not only that, but the absence of wing mirrors would further reduce the drag coefficient. After all, the headlights of the Leaf were designed to maximise airflow around the wing mirrors to enhance overall efficiency. Its a pity Nissan were not forward thinking enough to do away with the mirrors entirely (pending law changes) as this HUD technology would be an enabler and a real incentive for governments to re-regulate in favour of (arguably) safer technology.

If, however, legal requirements were not met initially but at some point in the future when the lack of wing or rear-view mirrors is not an infringement, then of course we would want an easy way to remove them without damaging the car or leaving big gaping holes or fixtures to deal with. Would Tesla then make these components "modular" in such a way that we could add or remove them as desired for cosmetic and/or practical reasons?

How many other components or features of a "normal" vehicle could be made redundant through the use of a HUD?

Red Sage ca us | 3 mars 2017

gavinfaulkner: I thought much the same... Then I remembered my Friends and Family members that always want to roll down the windows and hang their head out like a dog... Me? I'm fine with the windows up just about all the time.

clpx123 | 4 mars 2017

Greg...This is exactly what a shop teacher was talking about while I was in Automotive Tech in 90-92. He talked about one wire going to the tail lights and then one going to the turn signals etc. to save wire and costs. Are we finally seeing this 25 years later? Better late than never...LOL

greg | 4 mars 2017

@clpx123
"This is exactly what a shop teacher was talking about while I was in Automotive Tech in 90-92"

Yep, and has been talked about for building electrical wiring for even longer.

And yet the devices that allow this to be done for building electrical wiring cost more than the savings to be had in wires and labour in installing it the old way.

I guess the old problem is that if you put the latest and greatest tech like this in your building or car today, it will be obsolete in about 3 years, totally out of date in 7 and impossible to fix in 10, requiring complete replacement.

Maybe Tesla has solved that issue - I sure hope so, the rest of the planet does too.

Haggy | 7 mars 2017

He was referring to the wiring harness, not PCB traces, An HUD wouldn't add to the wiring. A projector would mount to a PCB that would likely be in place for the center console anyway, so there might be a short internal bus connector, not something that would impact the assembly process.

dd.micsol | 7 mars 2017

@greg-only if you're unhappy with your car. The car will get software updates and security updates forever.
Unlike your winblows or MAC Oshieett OS.

greg | 7 mars 2017

@dd.micsol

Yes model S and X get OTA updates still - but there will come a time when these older models don't. Just like Microsoft and others stop updating older OS's after a period of time.
I don't know when that will be for the S and X models but Tesla won't be able to support all its cars forever with updates.

Note: Lack of OTA updates generally doesn't make the car less safe than others of its same age band [unless its a critical safety issue like airbags or braking/steering systems], but just means its not as good/up to date as the newer Tesla models are. I part thats kind of expected (otherwise why upgrade from the older model you have right?)

But with aging electronc tech, the downstream costs are often hidden/not so well thought about, so that when something breaks, you may find that the headlight controller gadget that flips the headlights between high and low beam for example, has failed on your left hand head light. Could be it just failed through age, or maybe you grazed a deer on a drive in the country rendering the headlight unit irrepairable.

But that part is not available to Tesla or you from the original supplier anymore and the replacement alternative Tesla now use won't talk to the existing controller in your car that tells it to turn on/off or high to low beam etc.

So then you're left with a complete updating of the cars controllers and devices or (someone) having to scavenge parts of wrecked cars to keep the older ones going.

And yes that happens now with old ICE cars, but generally when they're over 15 years old, or even older if they predate the computerisation of cars.

Its simply a newer form of an old problem. But who in their right mind today expects to be able to have their iPhone 1.0 be able to fixed if it breaks and also work properly - 10 years on from being made?

Yet with Teslas, they are in every way just as, if not more complex than that original iPhone was, and also built on electronic tech thats aging just as rapidly as old iPhones do thanks to advancements in electronics, and yet it will still be required to keep on going 10 [or even 15] years from now. Whether thats going to actually be an option for early S, X and 3 owners 10+ years from now remains to be seen.

So could be the worry about "expensive" Lion batteries needing replacement in the life time of the car may be unfounded - its everything else around the car thats likely to need replacing.

Red Sage ca us | 7 mars 2017

greg: Most cars sold in the U.S. are used vehicles that are over ten years old. There aren't any ten-to-fifteen year old Tesla products to worry about yet. Sometime next year, perhaps Tesla Roadster owners can look into replacing the Alpine head unit with a nice Pioneer version that includes Bluetooth connectivity. And maybe, when 2027 rolls around, people that want to upgrade their vintage Model 3 can pick up a nice Haier 3D Hardlight Holographic display panel from AutoZone. Don't worry about it.

Carl Thompson | 7 mars 2017

Are we certain that the Model 3 will get over-the-air updates even when new? It's possible that Tesla could cut costs for the car by leaving that feature from its other cars out.

Carl

akgolf | 7 mars 2017

Since the hardware for autonomous driving is included on all Tesla vehicles now and the software will need updated, I think it's safe to assume OTA updates will be there.

Red Sage ca us | 7 mars 2017

Carl Thompson: Sure. It's possible that Tesla will abandon one of the most significant advantages they offer over traditional automobile manufacturers by getting rid of over-the-air updates and forcing their Customers to undergo the inconvenience of going to a Service Center to do system updates putting even more strain on overworked personnel that every Naysayer under the sun swears won't be able to manage the onslaught of new Customers anyway and that maybe they should have gone with the 'franchised dealership system' instead 'like every one else' just so a human being can connect a cable to the diagnostic port on the car to do something they already figured out how to do remotely five years ago just to save a buck on hardware and data transmission fees in the short term. And, maybe Elon Musk has an IQ lower than his sneaker size -- like you do.

mntlvr23 | 7 mars 2017

Longest sentence of the day

Carl Thompson | 7 mars 2017

@akgolf

The software could easily be updated manually at the dealer or by the consumer just like every other car maker.

@Red Sage ca us

Who said Tesla would abandon it? I want over-the-air updates in my 3 too! But there _must_ be differentiators between Tesla's low priced product and their high priced product. There absolutely _will_ be desirable features that will _only_ be available on the S and X and not on the 3. Just because Tesla wants to make the world a better place (they do) doesn't mean they don't need to maximize value for their shareholders too. They could decide that over-the-air updates are one of the not-strictly-necessary features for which customers will have to buy the more expensive product. I'm just wondering if Tesla has ever said that the 3 definitely will get them or whether that could be one of the things we sacrifice to buy the low priced Tesla. I don't know.

"And, maybe Elon Musk has an IQ lower than his sneaker size -- like you do."

I'm just wondering. No need to go for the _ad hominem_.

Carl

johnse | 7 mars 2017

The analogy that iPhones and computers "age" and become obsolete so quickly and thus the systems in the car must follow the same pattern is flawed. The "degradation" of consumer electronics has much less to do with the electronics in them than with the ever changing expectations we have concerning them.

Handheld phones become unusable for one of several reasons:
1: they break...as in they are dropped in water, or the screen breaks, etc. Since they are not easily repaired, that often ends their useful life.
2: batteries...either they no longer hold a charge...or they explode (looking at you, Samsung). Even without user-replaceable batteries, most can be replaced (except when they explode :) )
3: changing radio technologies. Carriers migrate to systems that use radio spectrum more efficiently, allowing them to support more callers and higher data rates. This sometimes means that support is dropped for older modes, at which point the phones that depended on those services effectively become bricks. Most people have upgraded long before this, but I have a friend who was recently hit by it.
4: something goes wrong with the electronics. This is the least likely occurrence.

Most people use any of the above occurrences as an excuse to upgrade. The cost difference between fixing the device and buying a new one that has all the latest features is small, and you can get the new one without waiting. Many (most?) people upgrade without their old phone dying.

In most cases, the electronics will still function the same as they did when new. If there were not the relentless march of apps being upgraded to take advantage the latest models, those apps would run as well today as they did when the phone was new. Similar arguments can be made about computers, though with computers there are more cases where repairing them is cost effective.

These arguments make much less sense when talking about the closed ecosystem of a car. We are not yet downloading apps to the consoles. The console in your car will likely respond just the same in two or five years as it does today. If it breaks, it will make sense to repair it. Even when Tesla stops making frequent changes for early models, the cars will continue to be as good as they were when they reached their final upgrade.

You've no doubt heard of Microsoft stopping support for Windows XP. XP was released in 2001 and Microsoft supported it with patches until 2014. This didn't mean that those systems still running it stopped working...only that they were no longer being updated. Not being updated is bad if the system is connected to the internet since they will remain vulnerable to newly-discovered hacks, but they will still run the programs they were running at that time. Wikipedia points out that a number of medical devices still run XP because the devices are not compatible with later versions of Windows.

So, please, these cars are not iPhones on wheels, and analogies with such devices are strained, to say the least.

akgolf | 7 mars 2017

If you believe that Tesla will drop OTA updates and that will make their life simpler I can't argue with that.

johnse | 7 mars 2017

@Carl Thompson
OTA updates are a given. The only reason being argued that they would not have them is the cost of the networking hardware and data costs. However, the cost of the hardware, and the vast bulk of the data transmissions are being incurred for a separate, very important reason: data collection from the fleet for Autopilot learning.

We know every Model 3 will be collecting data from their sensors and reporting back to Tesla even on cars that do not enable the features. The networking is a drop in the bucket compared to the value they get from this data.

Carl Thompson | 7 mars 2017

@johnse

You make excellent points. However, I disagree with

" The only reason being argued that they would not have them is the cost of the networking hardware and data costs."

Another reason they might not have them is that they need differentiators between their low priced model and their high priced models.

Let's stick with your software analogy. When you buy Microsoft Windows 10 Home, you get an install medium (thumb drive or DVD ROM) with the OS on it. When you install it you put in your license key and the OS is installed on your computer. But that thumb drive actually has all the files needed to install Windows 10 Pro too. It's just not installed because your license key is for Windows 10 Home and not for Pro. They've already made the software medium and delivered it to you. Windows 10 Pro has a lot of desirable features that aren't in Windows 10 Home. It would not cost Microsoft anything more to deliver those Windows 10 Pro features to you. But they don't. They hold back and don't give you those Windows 10 Pro features for the Windows 10 Home price. Why? Because those features aren't needed by everyone and the people that do need those features are willing to pay a lot more for them. So Microsoft charges more. Microsoft has done an analysis and decided that they'd make more money that way. And there's nothing wrong with that.

"We know every Model 3 will be collecting data from their sensors and reporting back to Tesla even on cars that do not enable the features."

Absolutely. And you just partially made my point for me with the "even on cars that do not enable the features" part. Just because over-the-air updates aren't enabled doesn't mean they couldn't still collect, transmit, analyze, use and sell all the data from your car!

Carl

Red Sage ca us | 7 mars 2017

Carl Thompson: I answered YOUR query in a manner I deemed appropriate. Heavily laced with acidic sarcasm. Your ridiculous insistence that there must be some random, amorphous, arbitrarily chosen means to differentiate Model S from Model 3 is an opinion I firmly disagree with. But even if I agreed in principle, fact of the matter is that there no way in bloody [HECK] that would be done by removing, eliminating, forgetting, excluding, or abandoning OTA updates with Tesla Generation III vehicles. Because that would be DUMB. Like you. Damn.

akgolf | 7 mars 2017

Are we sure Eagles hasn't just changed his name?

mntlvr23 | 7 mars 2017

I think I get it now, Windows 10 Home cost $119 but has all the software on it equivalent to Windows 10 Pro which costs $199. Which means Windows 10 Home really costs $199. And the people who try to order Windows 10 Home will probably never get theirs delivered, because Windows has to sell the Windows 10 Pro so that they don't lose money and that is why they are trying to upsell the people who are interested in the stripped down Windows 10 Home. It all makes sense now

Carl Thompson | 7 mars 2017

Red Sage ca us:
"Your ridiculous insistence that there must be some random, amorphous, arbitrarily chosen means to differentiate Model S from Model 3 is an opinion I firmly disagree with."

Differentiators among a company's products are rarely "random" or "arbitrarily chosen." But they are a way to make more profit while still giving the largest number of people the opportunity to buy and benefit from your products. It's just good business sense. If you have examples of a company that has a more expensive version of a product and a less expensive expensive version and the company offers the same features in the less expensive version then I'd like to hear them.

"But even if I agreed in principle, fact of the matter is that there no way in bloody [HECK] that would be done by removing, eliminating, forgetting, excluding, or abandoning OTA updates with Tesla Generation III vehicles."

Evidence? Reasoning? I'm not sure what exactly you mean by "Generation III" but I'm talking about the Model 3 specifically. You may be right and Tesla decides that OTA update are a basic feature they put in all of their cars. I don't know and that's why I'm asking.

"Because that would be DUMB. Like you. Damn."

I'm just asking a question. There's no need for that kind of nastiness.

Carl

Carl Thompson | 7 mars 2017

@mntlvr23

I don't think I follow what you're trying to say. Can you clarify the point you're making?

Thanks,
Carl

mntlvr23 | 7 mars 2017

I would refer you to a linked post, but they have all been deleted. Just having some fun

Red Sage ca us | 7 mars 2017

akgolf: Possibly. Or, another member of The [IGNORED] Brigade has returned under yet another pseudonym... bb0tin, johndoeeyed, the Fake McLary, or some other guy I can't remember any longer, perhaps? Either way, he seems to sorely enjoy feigning innocence.

akgolf | 7 mars 2017

Thanks Red.

I haven't been around long enough to know the others you mentioned, but it sure would be nice to have actual Tesla moderators to keep the site from getting run over.

Carl Thompson | 7 mars 2017

Gang up all you want. I won't be bullied and intimidated by the wanna-be Tesla though-police into not asking my questions or not making my points. If you want to have intelligent discussions I'd be happy to have them with you. If not then keep doing what you're doing; silly insults just let everyone know who you are.

Carl

johnse | 8 mars 2017

@CarlT
It benefits Tesla to have the fleet running the latest versions of software. OTA updates are the most cost effective way to do that. It's an enabling platform feature.

That does not mean every new feature they come up with will be included free just because it's "only software delivered by OTA update." Suppose they came up with "Tesla Pole Position", a driving game played on the HUD (assuming a HUD and that the car is safely parked). They could deliver that via OTA but only enable it if you paid $19.99. But without OTA capability in the platform, they wouldn't be able to get your money.

More seriously, EAP and FSD are features just like the Home vs Pro example. Software to enable features that people pay for. Enabling those features happens over the network.

dsvick | 8 mars 2017

I have to agree with everyone else in that there will be enough other things that differentiate the Model S from the Model 3. Elon has already said the 3 will have less bells and whistles, the S is larger, has more of a prestige factor to it, and will usually have the latest, most cutting edge features. I don't see OTA updates as a bell or whistle they are more of a necessity and trying to force owners to take them to the service center to get the updates done would only ensure that the cars get updated more slowly and the service centers become even busier.

Carl Thompson | 8 mars 2017

@johnse , @dsvick

I'm inclined to agree with your reasoning. It makes sense that OTA updates would be standard on the Model 3. But I do still wonder what features on the S and X won't be available...

Carl

akgolf | 8 mars 2017

We know self presenting handles won't be on the Model 3.

Maybe bio defense mode is an option that doesn't make it.

Efontana | 8 mars 2017

Carl,

Microsoft has less goodwill than they should, based on what they have contributed. Short term business practices are a part of the reason.

Carl Thompson | 8 mars 2017

Efontana:
"Microsoft has less goodwill than they should, based on what they have contributed. Short term business practices are a part of the reason."

I guess. But it's not just Microsoft; that's just how business works in a capitalist society. Maybe some other system would be better. I don't know. But this is what we have and it seems to be working (sort of).

Carl

Red Sage ca us | 8 mars 2017

No. More like, using monopoly power to prevent competition is NOT the way business should be done, even in a capitalist society.

andy.connor.e | 8 mars 2017

Less feet of wire used means less stuff in the car. Im really confused as to what you are even asking.

Red Sage ca us | 8 mars 2017

I think he was asking if a new type of solid state wiring, perhaps with an embedded circuitry matrix (similar to an integrated circuit), were being used instead of basic copper wire.

andy.connor.e | 8 mars 2017

What kind of wiring is not considered solid state?

Carl Thompson | 8 mars 2017

Red Sage ca us:
"No. More like, using monopoly power to prevent competition is NOT the way business should be done, even in a capitalist society."

I'm not sure what you mean? Which monopoly is doing that?

Carl

Haggy | 8 mars 2017

Comparing it to Windows is a bad analogy. Windows never promised new features for an existing version. Most updates aren't for that reason. Microsoft gives updates for years after they stop selling a product, and in the case of Windows 7 and 8, they made the upgrade to Windows 10 free.

Tesla on the other hand told owners they could expect ongoing updates and new features. Most of the features are independent of Autopilot, and if they upgrade anything else, it might be relevant to AP1 cars and even pre AP1 cars. Autopilot (AP1) already has all the originally promised features, and now it's a matter of tuning and improving the functionality. It's obviously going to improve since Tesla has yet to remove "beta" status.

Carl Thompson | 8 mars 2017

@Haggy

The Windows analogy wasn't about updates (either for Windows or for Teslas). It was about buying a product when the company selling it has two products that do largely the same thing... One more expensive and one less expensive. I was trying to make the point that when companies are in that situation they purposely have features in the more expensive product that aren't in the less expensive so that some people will choose to buy that more expensive product.

Carl

Efontana | 8 mars 2017

Hi Carl,

I think you just said, monopoly power.

If you deliver less, how can you be sure the customer will not go to a competitor? Are you sure the other product they buy will be yours? If you have monopoly power, like wintel you are pretty sure.

A different approach is to see the business function as a competition to serve society efficiently... Teaming with customers to serve well. This is the business model Ford used during the rapid sales expansion of the model T.

BMW works to extract every penny. I don't think they are growing.

Tesla lives off earned goodwill. If they focus on serving well, rather than extracting money, there will be goodwill momentum.

Manipulation kills goodwill momentum.

Carl Thompson | 8 mars 2017

Efontana:
"If you deliver less, how can you be sure the customer will not go to a competitor? Are you sure the other product they buy will be yours? If you have monopoly power, like wintel you are pretty sure."

"Wintel" doesn't have monopoly power these days. With the huge surge of Android and iOS devices most people are doing work and accessing the internet from devices that don't run Windows or run on Intel chips. Even on the desktop lots of people run MacOS and I myself run Linux on all of my desktops, laptops and servers. Since Windows is not nearly as dominant and people have real choices, Microsoft has quietly made Windows into a quality OS that doesn't suck. I'll still run Linux because that's what I'm used to but I can appreciate that Windows has gotten a lot better. So their business model isn't based on being a monopoly.

If you don't like the Windows example let's try Dell's laptops that they sell running Linux. You can get either the cheaper Inspiron line or their much more expensive Precision line. Their both laptop computers, and both run Linux. But if you want high end features like a Quadro graphics card or a Xeon CPU they make you buy the higher priced model. They could easily offer those same features in the low priced model, but they don't. Pretty much every company that sells similar products but different priced models uses the same strategy and Tesla will too.

Carl

Carl Thompson | 8 mars 2017

Efontana:
"A different approach is to see the business function as a competition to serve society efficiently... Teaming with customers to serve well. This is the business model Ford used during the rapid sales expansion of the model T."

That's the business model that Ford _claimed_ to use. The truth is the Ford was a shrewd business man that _portrayed_ himself as a rich person who was really just a regular guy who was on the side of all of the working people and wanted to make America better by fighting against those who took jobs and money from real working Americans. (Sound familiar?) However this image he cultivated was really calculated to benefit Ford. Even famous seemingly wonderful gestures like doubling worker salaries were done because he calculated it would improve his bottom line (it did) but more importantly because it would improve his brand image and allow him to sell more cars to people who believed in what he was saying.

Ford was a rabid anti-semite and often publicly espoused such nonsense. He controlled newspapers and regularly wrote articles and held interviews so he could spread his prejudice as far and as wide as possible.

Ford was also the king control-freak of all time and had to exert complete control over everything and everyone around him. His battles with investors who just wanted to have a say in how their money was spent are things of legend and led to the failure of his two previous companies. Ford had to control people so much he even sent inspectors into the homes of his workers to make sure they were living their personal lives in a way that he approved.

Ford's innovative assembly line technique revolutionized the way automobiles were made and truly did make cars more affordable for everyday people. But for the human being was in my opinion not the greatest and he's not anyone I would hold up as a role model.

I guess the moral is people (and companies) usually have deeper motivations than what's in the image they publicly present.

Carl

Red Sage ca us | 9 mars 2017

Carl Thompson: You wrote, "...that's just how business works in a capitalist society."

I disagreed. Because it wasn't capitalism that made Microsoft so big -- it was abuse of the monopoly power they once wielded.

You wrote, "...I myself run Linux on all of my desktops, laptops and servers. Since Windows is not nearly as dominant and people have real choices, Microsoft has quietly made Windows into a quality OS that doesn't suck. I'll still run Linux because that's what I'm used to but I can appreciate that Windows has gotten a lot better."

I agree.

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