Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Friday, December 16, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
It is designed to look like a believable (but crazy) product, the iDrive, which is a suction cup and claw mount to mount iPads and other devices on your steering wheel or other unsafe places. Photos on the back show it being used in cars, on a factory runabout and also on a jet ski. I wonder, though, how the box maker gets away with using "iDrive", which is a real trademark for a number of different types of products, including data storage and surgical staplers.
The actual product is the prank box itself, one of many that are sold by Prank Pack.
I am going to use it on a friend, who is both a car nut and a Apple cultist.
Thursday, December 08, 2011
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Monday, December 05, 2011
To date, there are still no production-ready enclosed 3-wheelers for sale in the U.S. and I doubt there will ever be. The inherent safety and comfort trade-offs are too great for more than a few novelty-loving customers.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
To factory reset your Garmin:
- Power off the unit
- Press and hold the lower right corner of the screen
- Power on the unit.
I also found that if you do the same thing but press and hold the upper left of the touch screen, it will re-calibrate the touchscreen.
Monday, November 28, 2011
In an effort to recreate the May test, NHTSA conducted three tests last week on the Volt's lithium-ion battery packs that intentionally damaged the battery compartment and ruptured the vehicle's coolant line. Following a test on November 16 that did not result in a fire, a temporary increase in temperature was recorded in a test on November 17. During the test conducted on November 18 using similar protocols, the battery pack was rotated within hours after it was impacted and began to smoke and emit sparks shortly after rotation to 180 degrees. NHTSA's forensic analysis of the November 18 fire incident is continuing this week. Yesterday, the battery pack that was tested on November 17 and that had been continually monitored since the test caught fire at the testing facility. The agency is currently working with DOE, DOD, and GM to assess the cause and implications of yesterday's fire. In each of the battery tests conducted in the past two weeks, the Volt's battery was impacted and rotated to simulate a real-world, side-impact collision into a narrow object such as a tree or a pole followed by a rollover.
So in short, NHTSA is crashing Volts with very specific protocol--a narrow pole, which will cause severe deformation/penetration of the body structure, followed by a rotation to simulate a rollover.
The batteries aren't catching on fire right away, rather they seem to take some time to build up heat.
I don't think there is anything to worry about, yet. First, this is a very specific and severe type of crash, and second, it takes hours or days before the battery self-heats to the point of fire. As NHTSA and GM both point out, no on-the-road accidents are known to have caused battery fires.
However, GM apparently was late to the game, by not developing beforehand a procedure to discharge (and render safer) the Volt battery. They are now rolling this procedure out to first responders, who need to know how to neutralize a charged lithium ion battery after a severe accident.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
The CarChip is a small device which plugs into your vehicle's OBD-II port, and acts as a datalogger. It can record vehicle speed every second, and up to 4 other items at a slower rate of one sample every 5 seconds. Retail prices are around $80.
The device is simple to configure. Once you install the software (which worked fine on Windows 7), and plug the CarChip in with a mini-USB cable (included), a step-by-step configuration walks you through the initial setup.
For example, you can choose to record 4 parameters at every 5s, from a choice of several standard OBD-II parameters, including engine speed, throttle position, engine coolant temp, engine load, air flow rate, spark timing, air/fuel ratio, battery voltage, and oxygen sensor voltage. You can also set audible alarms, to have the device beep at you if you exceed a top speed, or a max accel/decel rate.
For my testing, I plugged it into my 2007 (which would be using CAN OBD-II), and drove a few trips. I also induced two powertrain diagnostic faults: I loosened my fuel cap, and for a short time, disconnected my intake air temp sensor (IAT).
After removing the device and downloading the data to my PC, I was able to use the software to plot the recorded channels, and the device properly logged two DTCs, one for evaporative emissions (P0456) and one for the IAT circuit test failure (P0113). By clicking on a menu choice, you can tell the CarChip to clear the codes next time you plug it into your vehicle.
Overall, I liked the CarChip, and I would recommended for several use cases. A hobbyist or fleet owner who wants a low-cost way to log mileage, driving style, fuel economy, etc. would do well with a CarChip if they don't mind plugging into it every so often to download the data. It could also be useful to someone who wanted to program it as a "trainer", to teach themselves (or their kids) not to accelerate too hard or brake too abruptly, to teach a high fuel economy driving style.
However, I wouldn't necessarily recommend this as a primary diagnosis tool, for example to debug DTCs or do performance tuning, because of its offline nature. Someone who wanted to quickly determine why they have a Check Engine lamp, and perhaps check some of their engine control sensor values as part of the debug would be better off with an interactive scan tool. Also, the relatively slow 5s sampling rate may cause users to miss some aspects of the engine performance, such as sudden lean fuel excursions or speed fluctuations.
My advice to Davis, to improve this product, would be to add a "live mode" which pulls the OBD data in real-time via the USB, and to add some sort of wireless interface so that the data can be monitored and downloaded via bluetooth without having to plug into the unit directly.
- Simple to use software, easy setup
- Ability to set speed/accel/decel alarms
- Fault code logging and clearing
- Small, unobtrusive
- Data can be easily exported
- Slow sampling rate (5s) on user-configured data channels
- No apparent "live mode" to look at data interactively, while connected
- No wireless transfer mode (bluetooth or wifi).
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
To the extent that City law prohibits the erection of structures, the use of gas or other
combustible materials, and the accumulation of garbage and human waste in public places,
enforcement of the law and the owner's rules appears reasonable to permit the owner to maintain its
space in a hygienic, safe, and lawful condition, and to prevent it from being liable by the City or others
for violations of law, or in tort. It also permits public access by those who live and work in the area
who are the intended beneficiaries of this zoning bonus.
The movants have not demonst rated that they have a First Amendment right to remain in
Zuccotti Park, along with their tents, structures, generators, and other installations to the exclusion
of the owner's reasonable rights and duties to maintain Zuccotti Park, or to the rights to public access
of others who might wish to use the space safely. Neither have the applicants shown a right to a
temporary restraining order that would restrict the City's enforcement of law so as to promote public
health and safety.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Monday, November 07, 2011
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
Monday, October 31, 2011
Saturday, October 29, 2011
- Simple, effective
- Seems durable
- Unknown country of origin (not on packaging)
- $20+shipping is a little steep for what is basically a stuffed fabric tube
- Limited distribution (Can't buy it on Amazon, etc.)
- Adds firmness to right seat cushion side
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
"To my surprise, I found the In cord had a squeeze-handle like the safety grip on a Model 1911 A1 .45 pistol"
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Thursday, September 08, 2011
Friday, August 26, 2011
Friday, August 19, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Friday, August 12, 2011
Goodyear's Air Maintenance Technology (AMT) will enable tires to remain inflated at the optimum pressure without the need for any external pumps or electronics. All components of the AMT system, including the miniaturized pump, will be fully contained within the tire.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Why is this so bad that it is funny?
Well, for one thing, it isn't even remotely "safe". It blocks the drivers view of the vehicles instruments. It encourages fiddling with a touch screen while driving. It may interfere with good hand-to-hand steering. And, perhaps most dangerous of all, it is close to the deployment zone of the driver's airbag.
Can you imagine the damage that thing could do, if you are in an accident with airbag activation? As your body moves forward during the crash, the airbag flap opens violently, flinging a glass and metal smartphone up towards your forehead.
Or in a rear-end accident, your iPhone becomes a projectile, snapping out of its holder and flying towards your face.
This thing is so poorly thought out, I have to believe that they guy posting it is joking. Right?
The case is made of brushed aluminum, and is designed to look like an engine block, with cut0uts reminiscent of cylinder bores and cooling passages. In addition to the aluminum shell, the case comes with two clear protectors, for the back and for the front screen. The aluminum shell has a suede inner lining to cushion the phone.
I found the case to fit the phone snugly, and the screen protectors did their job without ruining the usability or feel of the touch screen. Installation was not too hard, though it does take some practice to attach the clear protective film (using the supplied squeegee) without leaving any dreaded air bubbles. Once I had it together, the case felt sturdy and substantial.
Overall, I found the case attractive and effective. I like the automotive inspired design. I would definitely buy one for myself, or as a gift for a fellow gear-head.
The Gasket case can be purchasd from id America here for $30.
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
In all, survey respondents left 100 pages worth of comments.
"Consumers don't understand what this will cost, and environmental groups don't care," is a typical comment.
"Aerodynamic blobs on the way," another quips.
Monday, August 01, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
1) 60MPG will increase jobs and profitability of the Big 3. Apparently, Citibank looked into a crystal ball and decided that the Big 3 market share and margins would increase with higher fuel economy vehicles. But the Big 3 rely on large vehicles, even today, for a lot of their profits. And jobs? That depends. If free trade with China continues, I see batteries and other components coming from China, which is a powerhouse in rare earth mining and raw materials processing. Look at it this way--in the rise of Li-Ion batteries for tools and laptop computers, where are all the parts coming from? China and Korea.2) 60MPG will not cost much, and will pay for itself. True, at $4/gal, a 60MPG car will pay back a sizeable premium in 3-4 years. However, the cost estimates of some the technology are pie-in-the-sky. What happens to li-ion battery costs if we start making millions of relatively huge car batteries? Are the greens ready to strip-mine China for lithium? What about the supply of rare earth metals for the powerful magnets needed by the motor/generators?3) Americans want 60MPG cars. Sure they do--but they don't want to pay much for them. As many surveys have shown, when you attach costs to highly efficient cars, interest drops off rapidly. Today, there are numerous highly efficient small and medium cars available. However, trucks and SUVs are still hot sellers. What Americans really want is free efficiency. They want large cars and cheap gas. They want fat free french fries.4) 60MPG is within easy reach, with off the shelf tech. Sure, for small and mid-sized cars. Give me a B/C platform and let me add a couple of thousand dollars in engine upgrades, more transmission gears, aluminum and high strength steel components. You'll have a 60MPG small car that costs $25,000. Great. Now, how do you do it for a mid-sized SUV or minivan? Or the Texas workhorse, the 1-ton pickup? Not so easy.
So what is the answer?A) Reducing vehicle weight will reduce overall safety, or add cost due to expensive countermeasures like additional airbags. It's physics. In a two car crash, the heavier car does better. Until all the old heavy vehicles are off of the road, about 10 years after the lightweight ones are introduced, the new vehicles will be at a disadvantage.B) High CAFE standards will increase up-front costs, and reduce sales. Suppose CAFE adds $4,000 in today's money to a typical family vehicle. Some people will respond by buying used, some will buy smaller or cheaper, and some will defer their purchase. Yes, you will save money down the road. But you have to pay the down payment and the taxes now. I agree with the AAM that sales volumes will be decreased. Fewer new car sales means fewer jobs in sales and manufacturing. However, there may be a renaissance in the old car repair industry, as people keep their old beaters longer.C) High CAFE standards will reduce consumer choice. How do you make a pickup truck which can pull a 10,000lb trailer, or haul 2,000lbs of bricks in its bed, which gets close to 60MPG? I don't think it is possible. Batteries are heavy and reduce payload. Beefy suspensions and large engines all work against efficiency. Even with efficiency improvements, in order to be able to sell pickup trucks, the automakers will have to get people to buy smaller cars to offset them. That's how CAFE works. The only way to do this is through price manipulation--either lose money on small cars, or jack up margins in large trucks. Since method one nearly killed the Big 3 once already, I suspect the answer is going to be method two. People who want muscle cars or pickup trucks will have to pay a lot more for them or do without. Instead, there will be strong pressure on consumers to pick small cars and range limited EVs. Products like high-performance sports cars may be very different under a 60MPG regime--slower, more expensive.
Increase performance and gas mileage with a performance chip. Performance Chips Direct sells ECU chips for trucks and cars.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Sunday, July 24, 2011
One of their misions was propoganda. The would drive around in a truck with a huge amplifier to broadcast German language de-motivation. This was dangerous work, as the Germans would often shoot towards the sound, and they eventually learned to run wires to the speaker some distance away, to draw the fire from the truck.
My favorite part of the exhibit... they should have had more guns. They should have had a Colt 1911 and a Garand, at least.