Monday, June 29, 2009

best GPS, you bet.

Auto world bits and bites

Why is it some companies do well and some don't?
For years I have been claiming that some do well because of Car People, those who are part of the culture. Note how well Ford is doing, why Ford family member is still helping to run the place.
I was just reading Automotive News, yes I do that first thing every day, with morning coffee.
Seems Toyota, has a Car Guy at the top too. Ariko Toyoda, grandson of the founder of Toyota, and the president of Toyota loves to race. Last month he took part in the 24-hour endurance race on Germany's Nurburgring track for the third consecutive year, as part of the Gazoo Racing team. He is known on the circuit as Morizo.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Indy Racing Snore

Indy racing has become the definition of BORING...
And I don't mean drilling holes, this race series has become one of the best ways to cure insomnia.
Don't get me wrong there is a few moments of excitement. Unfortunately that is right at the start, when the cars are still double file, then they string out into one long line and the race is won or lost in the pits. This is not racing it's rush hour at speed, with none of the excitement.
The reason, well even to the casual observer that should be obvious; Far Too Many Rules.
These cars are ALL the same with the exception of paint and sponsor stickers.
Everything is so regulated that this follow the leader event has lost relevance. Last night at Richmond, only one third of the seats where even used, only those on the front stretch. Interesting thing about high definition television, you get to see if anyone who attended actually paid attention. When the cameras were focusing on the front stretch, just in case someone had passed, you may have noticed the spectators were in constant motion. Looked like half of the people were out of their seats, probably moving around so as not to fall asleep.
With all the chassis from one manufacturer, and all the motors arriving sealed, a single tire supplier, what does that leave to tweek? Nothing that matters, as is deviant by the poor showing.
I ask again what to do? Maybe take the NASCAR lead and mandate a double file re-start after yellow flags. At least that would create a tiny bit more excitement and some actual racing.
Here is a radical thought, let them build their own engines maybe. Fewer people in the pits, make a wheel changer change more than one wheel? No more on-board jacking? These are just pit changes, and they will not have much effect on actually racing.
Perhaps Indy as an organization should revisit their own history, back before the breakup into two boring series, look at what was the status then and how it can be changed, or rather slightly massaged to fit today. Will that help? Who knows, however history does tend to point out past mistakes and if not learned, they are destine to be repeated.
How long do you think it will be before someone from the brain trust figures a separate series is the solution...
Notice the F1 drivers association haven't learned from history. Ever talk to a driver? People with that much ego should never be let alone to run anything.

Something else the teams might want to do to retain the few fans they have left. I went to an Indy race with my wife a while back, and we had as part of the package a pass to an autograph session. the drivers were the rudest bunch of people I have ever had the misfortune to watch. Not all of them, just most, some of the younger drivers seemed genuinely interested in the fans questions, and provided relevant answers. After all there was no press present. The other however were best described as true pricks, they could care a less about the people who made their profession possible. Offering stupid childless answers, mocking the fans, talking amongst then selves rather than paying attention to the fans in front of them. Sad state indeed.

So the series is at the point of loosing attendance because it is no longer really racing, and the drivers are alienating the few fans they have left. One has to wonder how long the Indy series will last when added to all this is the interesting economic times we are living in.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Smart 4/2

Ever consider that ugly cars sell?
Gremlin, Pacer, Scoin, that Toyota mini van that looked like a hand vac?

Well it seems that the Smart is following that trend, with a bonus, they retain their value.
Copied from the Daimler media site;
The smart fortwo recently received the Canadian Black Book award for “Best Retained Value”. Designed to identify specific models that outperform their competitors, the awards are based on real performance and measure actual value retained after a four year period.
Kathy Ward, President & CEO of Canadian Black Book, presented Marcus Breitschwerdt, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Canada, with the award at smart Canada’s head office in Toronto. The awards determine a vehicle's ability to retain its value from its original MSRP, and are based on data gathered from four-year old passenger cars and light-trucks under $70,000.
"Receiving the Canadian Black Book residual value award provides further validation of the extraordinary and innovative concept of the smart fortwo," said Marcus Breitschwerdt, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Canada.
"We are grateful to all of the loyal smart fortwo owners for placing their confidence in our brand, and we are very happy to provide strong residual values as an additional benefit of ownership. The unique smart fortwo continues to be an intelligent choice for mobility because it provides class-leading fuel efficiency and versatility in a safe and fun-to-drive package. These are the trademark characteristics that have allowed us to expand the smart family to more than 15,000 strong in Canada since the vehicle’s introduction five years ago."

So the question is, why is there no aftermarket add-on bits for this car?
OK, so the total numbers are relatively low, however, once these catch in the US market, combined with the cost of fuel raising, these little ugly cars will sell like hot cakes.
Might even be the next street racer type car for the current younger generation. Why Not?
These things are relatively inexpensive to buy, get fantastic mileage on a cup of diesel, and retain their value. Seems like a no brainer?
Maybe I should get one and drive it to Vegas when I attend the SEMA show, would that be a fun trip? You bet. I have wanted to drive to Vegas on nothing but secondary roads for years, maybe even following route 66. Even cooler!!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Fridays are fun days

Fridays have always been one of the best days of the week. I wonder why? 8-)
So what to do, simple question for me, I really need to work on my Land Rover.

Funny thing about Land Rovers, you love them or hate them. It has become a status vehicle, one of those look at me, I am driving a Land Rover, I must be successful. That applies for the modern vehicles since the off road capability, while still superior, is all electronically controlled, just not right. Seems someone has decided that the gentry must not have a bumpy ride no matter where they happen to be driving. Sad!

More funny; the original Defenders imported into North America are still selling for silly high prices. Unfortunate for Land Rover the original sales were so poor, but then again, they really did not advertise the fact they were available. The original Defenders just showed up on dealer lots, no fan fair, just another vehicle. I guess someone in the corporate brain trust figured the name would sell.
Nothing has really changed, no real advertising, but who would want one of the new vehicles loaded with electricery in any case?

Now the older vehicles, that is a different story. An older Land Rover will get you anywhere, and of more importance, it will get you home every time. Something to think about; 30 year old Land Rovers are still being used as daily drivers all around the world. Crazy people, why would someone want to drive a 30 year old vehicle? Because they can, and because they still run well, even after 30 years. Would a modern vehicle be able to do that?

OOH, a clunker, killing off the population... Bite Me. Cows cause 30% of the co2 load, but none of the tree huggers seem to have noticed that fact. Cows get a tad upset when you try to attach a catalytic converter to their emission system however. So lets not go there shall we, these classic vehicle have long ago paid for their carbon foot print.

I love my Land Rover, in fact I love all the classically styled Land Rovers. Over the years I have driven almost every example of the breed in some of the best places to feel their incredible capabilities.
One of the most memorable; driving a 101 on Dome Plateau at Moab Utah. I had flown into Colorado Springs and an independent Land Rover mechanic was waiting to drive me to the Solihull Society annual rally. The 90 he was driving belonged to another owner, he was just driving it to Moab for him, and was welcome to have the company for the drive. This is typical of Land Rover people, we tend to go out of our way for fellow enthusiasts.
After an all night drive we arrived in Moab, not quite sunrise, I even managed a 3 hour sleep before heading out to the morinig gathering. this is the point I was introduced to the owner of the 90, he had driven to Moab in his 101, and as luck would have it he had an open seat for a passenger, he had joined the Dome Plateau group for the days ride.
The 101 is one of the Land Rover breed I have always wanted, having the oppertunity to be a passenger in one for a day long trip was just like an early Christmass, and I was bubbling with excitment. In fact, with apologies to the owner, I talked the whole road trip to the trail head.
An amaizing thing happend at the trail head, he got out of the 101 and got into the drivers seat of his 90 which was along as well. being a bit confused I asked hoim who was going to be driving the 101, his responce as a simple; You are, and he pulled out on the trail.
After I picked up my jaw, panic set in, how the hell am I going to figure this one out?
I had a Lightweight at home, how different could this be?
Sitting out front of the wheels was an interesting position to be in, which became even more evidant at the first down hill.
Sufice it to say I had a grand time, I can remember the experience all these years later just like it was yesterday.
Land Rover owners, who are part of the culture, are fantastic people. Perhaps eveyone should have an oppertunity to experience the life.
One Life Live It...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

invisible disabled

Funny term that, invisible disabled, however thanks to modern pharmaceuticals those with brain disorders, can more or less function. So what am I on about? Depression, not just being bummed out, this incestuous bit of brain dysfunction can really mess up your life. Going back to work after a lengthy time away, not because I was ready, the insurance company decided I was cured. Depression is chronic, it doesn't just go away. My own physician was not convinced, however without insurance covering my salary, what option was there?
The Canadian Government only covers people for total disability, not the difference in pay from a job you had and a job you can do. I work for the Canadian Government, and there is a requirement to accommodate when people return to work, however they don't seem to understand an invisible disability. The people that are put in charge of these programs, also know as champions, got to have a title, just don't seem to understand, and most of them are too busy just keeping up with other tasks to find time to become educated. HR should be dealing with this, correct, except someone came up with the idea of centralized HR, so there are none at most divisions, in fact I have no idea where the HR people actually live. Not that they were any help in the past.
Nothing happens fast in the government, everyone is scared to make a decision, thanks to the self serving politicians. So nothing happens.
But I digress. The number of people I now see showing signs of depression, yes I am now able to pick them out having been diagnosed and self educated, if I am going to have to deal with something I am going to learn about it to the smallest detail, is quite scary.
The sad thing being, most people don't even realize why they feel the way they do, they sort of become drones, living in a gray, sad world, trudging on day in day out.
Me, well i only attend my government day job three days a week, it is about all I can stand, I sleep the forth day, and for the next three I create.
For those suffering I am here to tell you all is not lost, I have managed to create two patentable products in the last three months, not that I can afford the cost of a patent, but that is another rant.
Feeling bummed out, can't sleep, no concentration, is your world sort of gray, GET HELP! Go see your doctor and talk. There is help in the way of modern drug therapy, and it works, you might also want to find someone you are comfortable talking with, verbalizing the challenges seems to make them smaller and easier to deal with.

Stay tuned, the story about the large insurance company and the disability insurance lip service will follow shortly...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

a moment of silence please

Has digital killed the film star?
Kodak today announced the end of Kodachrome, their iconic brand.
The best color film, bar none, however difficult to produce, and in these days of common platform manufacturing, not to mention no-film cameras, it has met it's demise.
Yet another era comes to an end...

want to read more?,8599,1906143,00.html

Monday, June 22, 2009

It all starts someplace

Who knew?
Blogging a therapy.
We are all facing interesting times and the tend to do a 'poor me' is overwhelming.
There are some things that are beyond our control, and the act of getting upset only clouds your ability to search for even the smallest glimmering of light at the end of this interesting tunnel.
Try to keep in mind; there is no such thing as a problem, only challenges. Climb out of your box and look for a solution, you might even find that the finding is fun.