Game-Changing Consumer Tech

Cooking with gas can probably be very cool, but carrying propane tanks or requiring gas pipelines are a little bit more awkward for general use in modern cities. But sure, for the good chef who knows the art I can fully understand that gas is desireable.

Disclaimer: I am NOT a chef, just an ordinary dinner preparer. We have a home in the Mojave desert in which we installed an induction cook top when we remodeled our kitchen; and we recently purchased a home in Colorado that has a gas range. These are my opinions:

Induction is MUCH faster than gas when heating a mugs worth of water, and I don’t have to be careful that the rotating handle of the tea pot is perfectly above the pot. If the handle is to the side, the flame from the gas burner gets it very hot. Ordinary cooks often do things “wrong”; induction cook tops are forgiving; they even turn themselves OFF if you remove the pot.

The flame of the gas burner is always the same temperature, the way to control the amount of heat (energy) is to reduce the size of the flame. This means that your pot has to spread the heat across the pot from the flame location and if the flame is too big, it just heats the sides and handles of the pot. Turning down the flame to just heat the bottom of the pot reduces the energy transferred significantly. Induction heats the whole bottom of the pot evenly. My induction stove can be turned down to way less than a simmer (just barely boiling with a lid on the pot); so control is better than gas. If I turn the flame really low, it is in danger of going out.

The thermal response of induction is the same as gas. In both cases, the thermal response depends on the change in energy delivered to the pot. Turning down induction is as “instantaneous” as gas.

Induction burners are MUCH easier to clean. The smooth glass top is easy to wipe, and since it doesn’t get very hot, food doesn’t burn on. Our gas range has grates and burners that are difficult to clean well.

If the “fire” goes out or doesn’t ignite with an induction burner, no dangerous gases are produced.

I just use my “heat vision”!

Rberenguel - while it’s natural to perceive the open flame differently, and you have long life experience with gas, it is now objectively well-establshed that induction is far faster than gas.

Good chef’s discussion of it here -

Gas is versatile, since it can heat any material - glass, ceramic, metal. And if you use non-induction cookware, you might think induction is slow - because there’s little induction actually occurring. But with the correct cookware, it’s not even close.

If you study the physics - beaming energy straight to the cooking surface embedded in an induction pan -this transfers energy at the speed of light, vs. thermal conduction through a material where one side has a flame, and there’s a temperature gradient in the cross section of the pan wall, which eventually makes it to the inside cooking surface.

Quantitatively, Induction is actually much faster, and twice as efficient.

We use Demeyere induction pans, made in Belgium, which are the best in the world. They have a 7 layer composite of different metals, and are clad in stainless steel. The layers include silver and copper to maximize heat spreading and the eddy currents under the high frequency inductive energy transfer. They are insanely good.

Here’s an example of one we use -

Here’s some tech drill-down on induction heating, and the multilayer composite technology -

Below is the product line we like most - industrial design by British architect John Pawson.

You also want to make sure you have a high output induction range, of around 3 kilowatts. Small plug-in hotplates are power-limited vs a hardwired cooktop.

Here’s a reasonably priced one we use -

Great surface of high temp mineral glass - super hard and scratch-resist, easy clean, and high dielectric insulation so it stays pretty cool, and does not wick heat from the pan base - further enhancing efficiency and safety.

We have many friends that initially said “no way can this be as good as gas!” And now they use induction exclusively.

It’s like electric cars vs.gas … or TextBlade vs legacy keys, once you experience something better, you don’t want to go back.

To be sure, tradition begets formidable inertia. But induction is increasingly winning over professional chefs, despite it being so different from their long experience. The advantages are hard to ignore.

Quote from above link sums up the adoption inertia phenomenon -

“Though the benefits make for a lengthy list, An says the major drawback is that people aren’t used to the technology, so there is a learning curve. “Traditionally, when cooking over a gas flame, the fire is still nearby and the chef can control the heat by lifting the pan up and away from the flame.” Meaning, cooking with induction often means rethinking the subtle routines of cooking with gas.”

This is precisely what we see with all disruptive new technologies - at first, there’s a learning curve for even subtle differences from what we used to do. Then there’s the aha! moment, when it all just clicks, and the advantages are palpably clear, and they never want to go back.

The induction case study illustrates how disruptors must methodically overcome traditional psychology by providing bridge elements, to help users experience the benefits early in their use, so they can enthusiastically embrace the advantages of new technology.

Boy, you better save a lot of energy - and time (Time is money - at least sometimes) based on the prices for that induction cookware. The price for the actual cooking surface for a 36 version at your link was $819, I think. But some of that cookware items were over $400!!!

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There’s $29 induction pans too. They’re almost as good in function.

The Demeyeres are simply the best tech, very well made, with laser welds instead of rivets.

And they’re very beautiful, if you’re into the style of your kitchen, or want to serve from the pan.

But any cast iron or other ferrous pan works great on induction, like this classic from Lodge for $7.99

I almost never cook, but I do have that skillet (or one very much like it but a different size perhaps). My other cookware is Allclad.

My eventual decision will be when I remodel. Also the possibility of remodeling prior to moving to another condo and renting this one out.

They own a top-of-the-line induction (best available for non-restaurants). Upper spec Mac Pro price range. And yes, I was using correct pans.

My assumption is that at least their pans, have a harder time cooling off, maybe they were thicker for some reason (my titanium pan is very thick and heavy, but has never given me any issues on gas though).

Also, bear in mind I can use induction or stove whenever I want, in comparison with typing on certain device. Not a fair comparison (and uncalled for)

The thermal mass of heavier pans will keep cooking the food even after you remove the heat source, regardless of which type of heat is provided, gas or induction. This is due to the thermal inertia.

So a very thin wall, lightweight pan will always respond faster to heat input changes, on or off. This is true regardless of heat source, gas or induction. The specific heat of the alloy also affects this inertia.

It’s analogous to the driving dynamics of a really lightweight sports car vs. a heavy sedan. With low mass, you can get much better twitch reflexes.

But it remains true that heat can be transferred faster, and modulated faster, with induction, vs. gas.

That’s wrong, as mentioned in the articles you linked. Heat will be transferred at similar rates. Given the higher efficiency of induction, it might transfer energy faster. I wouldn’t be sure on that one anyway. Also, impact on the world and your bills will depend enormously on gas price, gas generation cost vs electrical power cost and electrical power generation cost.

In any case, I don’t care that much. As an occasional cook (and having a very good cook as a partner), we both prefer gas, so we have gas, it’s our choice. In Spain (and Europe in general) gas is the standard, and home heating systems are gas as well, so it’s a sensible choice and in the end, it’s my choice. I don’t need pontification about what is better and game changing, and the future. At least, induction cooking is here already, available for purchase and could be installed in a few hours.

Well, here’s the data in the articles we linked.

We understand your affinity for gas, but to say “that’s wrong” directly clashes with the inarguable facts.

Citations posted below -

Tradition runs deep, and some folks resist even decisive new knowledge, when it conflicts with their preconceived beliefs.

FYI - from physics -

Heat transfer is a form of energy transfer. Temperature = the average kinetic energy of the molecules.

So transferring energy faster allows transferring heat faster.

Bigger Picture - what we learn about ourselves

The exchange above in this thread illustrates beautifully a very real phenomenon of disruptive change.

Dealing with the psychological inertia of consumers during disruptive change - is just as much a part of the job as superior circuits and software.

rberenguel - if you really believe what you said above, even after learning the scientific facts, why would you want to change anything about your traditional typing machine?

Early adopters, as a group, are intellectually open to new things.

If you’re not comfortable being open to new possibilities, why get a TextBlade?

How will you enjoy something new and better if it’s at all different from what you previously believed?

Right now in the EV market, today, 6 years after launch to amazing reviews, there are people still writing misinformation and even hate about electric cars.

There are even people doing physical violence, like smashing windows on Tesla cars, and cutting cords at superchargers, or parking big trucks across multiple stalls to block supercharger stations.

Yet at the very same time, the entire industry is now belatedly scrambling to follow Tesla’s example.

We are free to choose new things, or cling to tradition.

We are entitled to our own arguments, but not to our own facts.

No one owns truth, and everyone has the right to it.

I suspect that what drives early adopters more than openness to new possibilities is a dissatisfaction with the current options. Some people are perfectly happy with their current cooking options. Some are currently happy with their ICE cars. Without a perceived need for something better, it’s hard to get too excited about the expense, effort, and potential risks associated with being an early adopter.

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Taylor - yes, that’s a good point. We have that in our favor here.

There is pent-up demand for the unsatisfied needs of keyboard users.

We do get a boost here because we can surf that better in this industry than say, electric cars.

In our case, anyone who wants to be able to type to their phone, or has wrist pain, is already very motivated for better tech. TextBlade users who have RSI have already strongly validated the relief they get from TextBlade.

So, guess we should be grateful for the opportunities we are given.

Selling better keyboards for $99 is far, far easier than selling $50K EVs.

And despite resistance, at zero to $20 billion in 6 years, Tesla has done ok.

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At risk of extrapolating about human behaviour, I thought I’d share a brief reflection on change, levels of engagement, and how we personally communicate.

First there are levels of ability to change (cost, time, opportunity) and then there’s motivation (willingness, pain), and then there’s the internal response, and the external response.

I’ve long been dissatisfied with electric resistance ranges. Any cookware I’ve purchased in the last 10 years “works with induction.” And now I’m better informed thanks to the details and links provided.

But the mortgage comes first. When my electric resistance range kicks the bucket, you can guess what I’ll be buying.

Electric cars are totally the way of the future! But for now, I will bike as long as the roads are not icy. This reduces wear and tear on a well-maintained Corolla which really improves activities like Costco runs, camping, and road trips. But the best carbon reduction for my given circumstance is: walking and cycling more, driving infrequently, and delaying the need to manufacture one more car (I’m hoping to push that out by 20 years). But one day, I’ll be too old to bike, or, my Corolla will die (a sad day), and hopefully someone will be upgrading and post their old electric car on Craigslist!

Internal response: My hope is that for every vocal climate change denier or Luddite, or person that I don’t agree with, there’s 9 others who quietly know what to change, and are on the constant watch for an opportunity to change. I’ve been watching solar panel and heat pump prices forever! Then a friend mentioned solar hot water preheating - one of those very efficient yet low cost ways to capture solar energy. I’m sure my Nepalese hosts in Kathmandu thought I was daft for poring over their rooftop hot water system!

Viewed this way, anything that breaks and can’t be repaired, is a great opportunity! Going to on-demand water heating was so much fun! Now that my roof has been repaired, I’ll look into evacuated double walled reflective glass water preheating.

External response: I live in a family where I get to appreciate the honesty of the people around me. Even cognitive dissonance gets discussed. Sometimes it’s painful to hear someone who wants to blow $2000 on a new laptop when their problem (from my point of view) is a battery that has worn out, or $88. And their external quip is “I’m not spending money on that piece of junk.” But I just roll with it, or tell them that one time I didn’t buy a new laptop, put $1200 into AAPL shares, and now I can pretty much buy any laptop I want. Or take a decade off my mortgage. Of course I tell them that the stock market isn’t going to guarantee everyone such returns, but the opportunity cost of not overspending on a laptop is very real, at least in my case.

I’m fortunate I don’t have to wait till my arms break, to go to TextBlade. I thank my lucky stars every day. I know that there are many who watch these forums, and they will be so delighted when GR comes.

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Colinng - if you can stretch the corolla and bike just few years longer, you may never need to blow the cash on a car, ever again.

Networks of self-driving EVs will become a thing. A very big thing.

You may never buy a Tesla Model 3, you might just summon one from your phone when you need it.

Why search for parking, or pay ridiculous metro parking rates, or insurance, or service, or gas, or give up 30% of your home frontage and square feet - to own a car - when you can get clean, self-managed transport by the hour at low cost?

Or beyond money, why waste your time and thought on fighting traffic?

You don’t build your own internet service to go places online. Why build your own matter-transport packet network?

Why manufacture a million machines when 100,000 could have intelligently served the same people just fine, in fact better. Think how much CO2 is saved.

Think about the renaissance of metro areas when columns of dreary structures for parking spaces get repurposed to living spaces. This will happen, and it will transform cities for the better. More greenery, more human-friendly, beautiful spaces.

Autonomous fleets don’t need to park, they just go to the next user that needs them. Look at the crazy percentage of expensive downtown real estate wasted on parking.

Car ownership and it’s headaches are a yoke that we hope our kids never need bear on their shoulders.

The world is getting better. Life is getting bettter.


It’s funny! When stuck behind traffic, I often wondered what it would be like if traffic followed packet-switching behaviour instead. That packs of cars would move in sync when a light changed, and leave gaps for other packs of cars to merge in, or for orthogonal traffic. Cars would rotate to differing positions on that pack as needed (i.e. upcoming left or right turn).

But then I thought, well, the internet works the way it does because packet switching is done by computers. It’s not that I disdain human ability, but computers don’t have road rage, get drowsy, or even make simple mistakes. And humans definitely can’t be counted on to follow the rules.

Maybe it’s a failing of our education system. Humans definitely have not learned to coordinate with each other. Imagine if there were packet-network based schools of driving, where on the road, the posting was the packet size (i.e. “10”) and so the first 10 drivers in a row (and all parallel lanes) knew to follow the exact same acceleration curve 1/2 a second before the light turned green - a gentle acceleration curve that maximized fuel economy and comfort. Then city lights could be timed differently waiting behind a red light would be a rare occurrence.

But alas, we’ve got that distracted driver on their phone so they don’t move until somebody honks them after the light has been green for 5 seconds. In Canada, the loss of efficiency is worse because we don’t even honk unless we’re having a bad day AND the other car has an offensive sticker or hitch ball nuts. So the impact of a distracted driver on morning traffic is insane.

So yeah, in spite of my hope that human behaviour could improve traffic (or car sharing), it’s up to our computer overlords to fix our problems. LOL. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

That organic life is variable and diverse, isn’t a failing of our human abilities, it is our nature. And it has fantastic upsides.

Our ideas, creative experiments, mutations, are what provoke the Mozart, DaVinci, Einstein, Jobs and Musk in each of us.

There are jobs we have done that needed doing, but were not our calling, nor the highest form of ourselves. We used to do them, but no more.

Would anyone ask for switchboard operators from 1920 to route data packets today? Would anyone want that job? Machines are far better doing that, and make people happier by doing it for them.

Getting all of us efficiently through the transport network is something machines can certainly do better than humans, no matter how well trained or skilled each human.

It is amazing how good we got at driving, just like the best switchboard operators. We are a very remarkable and capable species. But we needn’t keep doing grunt work to prove our worth.

There exists exactly one living species on earth capable of imagining and creating its successor.

We, humans, are that good.

If our hearts steer our intellect, it will go well.

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