Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Despite all the technology going into engine and engine research these days, there seems to be very little progress in turbocharging for whatever lame reasons. FINALLY, an auto manufacturer is going to try some new technology to enhance turbochargers on their production cars.

This isn't the same as the old Garrett aerochargers which had a variable size for the compressor housing. It seems they're changing the actual angle of attack of the compressor wheels blades. My hope is that it really works well to allow high RPM flow and greater top-end power that is typically sacrificed as much of the low and mid-range punch of smaller turbos. My worry is that it isn't nearly as efficient aerodynamically and you have reduced power and torque in comparison your high-tech non-variable solutions.

Basically the way it should work is that as you change the angle on the compressor blades, it's effectively like how tuners and the aftermarket clip the blades, removing material from the blades to allow greater airflow rates at high engine speeds and compressor speeds.

Why would this work? Well, what happens on a typical small or medium-sized turbo? The compressor (essentially a giant fan) speeds up more and more from increased exhaust flow to try and supply that constant pressure in the intake stream. That means more and more air must flow through the turbocompressor quickly to be pressurized.

You now encounter either or both of two possible problems that limit turbochargers. Heat from pressurization or limit of airflow capacity. Heat from pressurization is always going to be present which is why intercoolers are so crucial for high pressure turbocharger or supercharger systems since there is a limit to which you can minimize heat increase from pressurization, that's just simple science.

While change the angle of the compressor blades does somewhat change the aerodynamic compression efficiencies of the fan, Porsche's VTG isn't directly addressing this. Rather, it seems to be addressing flow issues. By changing the angle, you change the maximum airflow capacity through the compressor housing. Less angle and thus less restriction and greater airflow thus greater capacity to maintain that pressure at high engine speeds = better top-end.

So, Borg Warner isn't making big turbos spin up that much quicker. It's making smaller turbos more efficient at the top-end. I think if this could be implemented at a reasonable price for the massive automotive aftermarket, it would be a boon. I see so many tuner cars out there that are simply built for top-end power... "I put down 500 wheel horsepower dawg!" but when you're doing anything other than wangan (top speed) or drag racing, top end is of limited use.

Opening up good mid-range punch into the top-end means better overall balance... this means the car is easier to drive on the street and on the circuit. You don't have to constantly be in the exact proper gearing and drive to maintain engine rpms in a small range... shifting down, shifting up, shifting down, etc. Just hit the gas and you'll get acceleration.

If you've never had the joy of experiencing a high power turbocharged car, you're missing out... if you know me, pester me, maybe I'll finish fixing up my 400hp monster and give you a ride :)

Monday, November 21, 2005

I smell rubber

This story is talking about how some savvy people managed to "figure" out how to disable the anti-skid safety systems for the new Lexus IS sedan. Basically all new cars are starting to have some sort of anti-skid or stability control system to prevent spins and skids.

Basically, you'll be able to drive the car as a raw car. You, no committee of computers to determine what happens to the car. This is great for enthusiasts who want to participate in amateur motorsports or take car control classes. You'll still be able to spin the car and feel what it's like to be a passenger while sitting in the driver's seat.

As I eluded to before in the Mercedes pileup post, car manufacturers know that today's driver sucks at driving. Most people think they're great drivers due to years of experience etc but nope... sorry to break it to ya but you're nowhere near good. That's called average with experience. With many manufacturers switching back to rear wheel drive cars which are much more prone to spinning, I think it's definitely a CYA move since I doubt that the US will ever have more stringent driver licensing and education as in Europe and Asia.

Also, Lexus isn't the only manufacturer that has hidden methods to fully disable vehicle stability systems. I'm sure all car manufacturers either have disabling it either fully available right off the bat or through a "secret" method. I know at least Mercedes and BMW do.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Slamming Mercedes

Yesterday on German TV news, Mercedes reps were demoing the new Distronic radar cruise control and safety system with three of their brand new award-winning S-class sedans. Popular Science I think gave them an innovation award. They borked them... slammajamma 3 car smackatola.

After the first car stopped the second was supposed to stop short of the first and the third would stop short of the second. Well... the pics tell the story. OMGBSODESP!!! (Translation for the non-l337, "Oh My Gawd, Blue Screen of Death, Electronic Stability Program")

You gotta remember this is new technology. And what people also forget is that you're still driving the car. Even with all these fancypants electronic aids like stability control, ABS, traction control, etcetc YOU are still responsible for driving the car and the laws of physics still apply.

That's why they say put your foot on the brake just in case. I think it gives some people a false sense of security and overconfidence... that leads to bonehead manuevers and accidents.

I think new car technology is great... but definitely some of it is more gadgety than useful. I wonder... is it even worthwhile to impress chicks with? "Hey baby, check out my infrared camera"

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Attack of the whut??

Well, in this time of severe FCC fascism, it seems pretty much impossible for a show to have some fun with itself and truly poke fun. It seems after the firing of the former founder of the G4 network, G4TV is finally getting some decent guests, interesting information and making a good effort at attracting and keeping their audience.

All of those of you that like tech, gadgets, computers, internet, and games... This was supposed to be the cable network for you. Unfortunately, it had so much suck for so long after they "absorbed" (it wasn't a merger really) that I think concoct finally decided to pump some effort and $$ into it. They're airing shows like Call for Help again (the new girl is cute!) and Attack of the Show is finally becoming a bit more hip and fun rather than just posing.

This Tuesday's episode was friggin great... Probably gave people at the FCC and Comcast heart attacks right there. One of the opening segments was "the Lush" where it was pretty much an excuse for the hosts to drink. I recall that for some reason earlier, hosts including former host Kevin Rose weren't allowed to drink on air. WTF? So this ep, Sarah and Kevin are slamming Irish car bombs (Bailey's & Jameson in Guiness, it's actually pretty good) and Sarah shows Kevin a drinking game where you're supposed to not sink the beer glass in a pitcher of beer. Well, Kevin P just sank it on purpose and started chugging from the whole pitcher.

Another segment was this parody by the Bing Bong Brothers. They're mocking "The Whisper Song" by the Ying Yang Twins(?). No, that link is not work safe... it says the word "penis" a whole lot. Heck, the original song isn't work safe either.

Still friggin hilarious. I think I might use the line next time we play, "I dare you to use this horrible pickup line!" Or maybe not, that'd either be an amazing icebreaker that gets a huge laugh or a giant punch in the face.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I SO NY-d this

Well, more news about the Sony "rootkit" software is out there lately, including some more stuff regarding Sony's official stance as well as consumer and industry reactions.

For those of you not in the know, a Windows software expert as well as FServ, a major anti-virus company have both confirmed that playing a SonyBMG copy-protected music CD on your Windows PC will forcibly install damaging software on your PC without your knowledge or ability to remove it without borking Windows.

Basically, it gets itself into the very guts Windows and was hidden from anti-virus, anti-spyware, and most security programs. It's pretty much undetectable outside of using a rootkit detector software and you had no idea you even loaded the software! Computer Associates blacklists the "crippleware" and lists it as a trojan horse as does Sophos. Articles with more details and links at VNU and The Register.

Now, news is that the Sophos anti-virus corporation has found a new virus 'in the wild' that takes advantage of Sony's "rootkit" hiding files to hide the virus. This is following news of the remarks of President of Sony BMG's global digital business division, Thomas Hesse. He said, "Most people, I think, don't even know what a rootkit is, so why should they care about it?" Umm... yeah, I think I care about my computer working properly and not have stuff installed on it that I don't know about nor can't remove. So a lawyer suddenly sees an opportunity to make lots of money here and files a class action lawsuit on behalf of consumers in California.
UPDATE: Apparently there's also a class action coming out of New York as well.

Honestly, most recording artists are appalled when they were told what their CDs have done and many of them apologize even though they aren't responsible for the actions of their publishers. So do you still support the record industry? If you do, go join Jack Thompson in his idiotic crusade against video games. Maybe you too will be disbarred for your stupidity! Bing Jordan, co-founder of Electronic Arts said something very interesting on this week. He compared video games to jazz, movies, and TV. They weren't seen as art forms originally, but those people that grew up with them definitely appreciated them. I definitely see his point.

Some people have suggested that we boycott Sony electronics. Personally, it's fairly easy for me to boycott Sony electronics products, its the media that's difficult. They don't really have anything compelling to purchase... their consumer electronics products aren't standouts compared their competitors and I don't want a PSP. I already own a PSTwo but they lose money on those. I'm probably going to end up with an XBOX360 anywho. They do have their hands in a lot of the movie industry and they're pushing Blu-ray which again will stop you from copying/ripping your DVDs for your own use.

Fill 'er up

Well, ULI has recently released the results of a survey detailing consumer attitudes and driving habits. It basically tells you crap that you probably could have figured out with common sense and some experience if you've lived or talked to people that have lived in other areas of the country.

Basically, ULI's survey says a bunch of things like, more people in the East (Northeast is more accurate) are less reliant on cars and thus less likely to buy a fuel efficient vehicle. If you're one of the millions of people that have ever commuted to work a job in NYC, you know you want to avoid driving around New York if you want to get to work on time consistently. The mass transit systems in other areas, like Atlanta are pretty much sucky, so people will see a car of their own as the only way to get around. It especially makes sense if you're in a rural or suburban area... DUH!!!

I bet if other cities had the need and resources to build a similar mass transit system to the one in NYC, they would to reduce congestion. I can't imagine what it'd be like if even a quarter of the people that commute into the city suddenly all drove in. NYC is space-limited so it is a bit easier to develop a transit system so that's the other hurdle to overcome. A city like LA or Chicago with their spread out urban and suburban area, a cohesive transit system would be very difficult to create. At this point, urban planners just give up... sad really.

It's also obvious that with recent surge in gas prices people are a lot more conscious of fuel efficency when buying a new car. And because many of them drive alone to work because they pretty much have to (a car pool isn't exactly easy when you live in the middle of nowhere) it's a big concern. I know a lot of people at Mercedes USA that drive 60+ miles just to get to work.

One thing that they don't mention is the lack of sense a lot of people have when choosing their new "fuel-efficent" cars. Many people think that buying a gas-electric hybrid makes great sense since they're using less fuel. I think maybe they forgot to factor in the added cost of the hybrid model? I guess the same goes for the diesels but that's much less severe usually.

You generally pay at least $5k more for a hybrid versus your standard gasoline car. The math just doesn't add up. You'll have to spend quite a lot on gas for very long time (well over 10 years!) to come out on top. So, not really worth it to save money on fuel costs.

Instead, it does make sense to sell it for the other reasons, like the new technology in most hybrid cars and the trim package with the extra power that some hybrids offer. I wouldn't buy a Honda Civic Hybrid at all over a fully-loaded regular Civic since there's no incentive other than being "green." However, the Toyota Prius would be a tougher choice since it does have a very nice nav screen and good space layout etc over a Corolla or Matrix. A RX400h luxury SUV hybrid with the benefit of extra power and performance makes sense in the luxury market where people are willing to drop ~$5k over the fully-loaded gas model for 'all the bells and whistles.'

Like I mentioned before, motorcycles are insanely fuel efficient when compared with cars, even the most gas-guzzling Harley gets better gas mileage than your Civic. If it wasn't so dangerous with many idiot drivers here in Jersey, I'd think about taking a nice Ducati mini-Monster to work during the spring and summer with there's no rain. If I do move down to Florida, I'm definitely going to get a license and buy a nice Monster when I have the money saved up for it. My AWD Talon would still be a great weekend car and for rainy days.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

At the Copa... copacabana

It's been a while since I've been back from Brasil only to return to a bad head cold which is still lingering. However, I still haven't really posted pictures or blogged about it yet.

I noticed a variety of very interesting things down there. Well, can't say there's a lack of cars... traffic was horrendous on many occassions. Though the cars and trucks are small in general, VW and GM cars minicars being the most popular, the lack of roadway and mass amounts of vehicles made traffic jams commonplace. It's no wonder why people typically eat late (9pm-ish). It takes them friggin forever to get home usually. It's not like they have too much of a choice in their commutes.

My uncle wants to get together with a motorcycle supplier in Taiwan and start importing them. I can definitely see a potential to it... but I think the window may be small. If mass transit infrastructure is established, opportunities may drop severely. Then again, it may not... Taiwan still sees a very high demand for scooters and motorcycles. It may end up in a similar situation in the larger cities of Brasil.

The majority of cars and trucks are either flex-fuel (Alcohol & gas) or diesel. Fuel was indeed expensive even though alcohol was significantly cheaper than gasoline. And of course, a motorcycle or scooter is great on gas (even those crotch-rockets get insane mpg). Also due to the warmer temperatures even in the south of Brasil in Foz du Iguacu, it doesn't really get that cold to really hinder use of alcohol as a main source of fuel.

Well, I did visit a few places and was able to try out my new Panasonic digicam. Unfortunately, I suck at teh photography so, but I got off my lazy butt and put a small gallery up. I definitely need to doctor the brightness and contrast on some pics so bear with me for now and you'll see updates... for now my crap photos are there.

EDIT 11/6: I've updated my web gallery so it should be pretty good considering I can't keep my hand steady... even with image stabilization on my camera!

All love to my family down there for taking care of me during my visit.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

DRMdependence NOW!

Well, I just wrote to my Congresspeoples. One of the few times I've ever done so. It seems in the wake of Sony's DRM rootkit fiasco covered in Mark's blog here :
Link to Mark's blog at Sysinternals

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) aka the entertainment industry, is trying to once again take your Tivo, VCR, and TV tuner cards away from you as well as killing the video iPod or PMP, among other things.

Link to BoingBoing's article on more Hollywood shenanigans.

Friggin bastards won't stop until the ruin the tech industry for their own gain. Funny thing is, all these laws and regulations do nothing to hurt actual pirates. They'll continue to find workarounds and hacks. I know some people out there listen to the commericials and news from the entertainment industry that say that people are criminals and are stealing their content. Thing is the reason why it's illegal is wholly debatable... these people they're holding up as examples are not criminals! They're victims of an unholy crusade of a dying business model to cling to life.

I love my Tivo and the ability to take control of my TV habits away from the schedule nazis. It's sad that DirecTV is no longer associating themselves with Tivo and the features that they bring. I actually waste less time on TV than ever, makes my life better for sure.

If I have a DVD and want to rip it to my hard drive to view on my iPod, I'd like not to be a "criminal" thankyouverymuch.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


I was surfing through the news today when I saw an article on PRNewswire talking about the new video iPod from Apple. It jogged my memory about a conversation I had with a few friends about it and other Personal Media Players that are on the market now.

The company basically stated a few things that Apple could do to improve their new product. They listed a bigger hard drive, a bigger screen, and make improvements on the video technology for the device itself. They also commented that Apple needs to make a greater effort to get on the good side of the movie industry.

Now, if you've ever heard Steve Jobs talk about the music industry, you know he pretty much despises them and the greed pervasive throughout the record industry. One of the reasons he started iTunes was to attempt to break it. I think he's still got a long ways to go and the road isn't getting easier now with the addition of the movie and TV industry on the bandwagon.

The level of greed and utter evil in the record industry is outright insane. If you think you're supporting your favorite artist by buying their records, you're not. You're feeding the fat record moguls. The record managers complain that the few cents that an artist see for each iTunes song sale is too much! They want to see the same percentages they get from CD sales, which would reduce the cut for the artists to a single cent in most cases. (Go see their concerts!)

And you can't forget the movie industry in all this. They're the new gorilla that Apple has to deal with. Jobs says he wants to use it to break the movie industry in a similar way that iTunes has changed the recording industry. And wouldn't you know it, as soon as Apple starts selling their videos on iTunes, the movie industry immediately comes back and says that the current pay structure for DVDs is too cheap to apply to iTunes video. Would that be greedy??? Heck yeah...

This brings me to my first issue with the video iPod. I know that Apple really isn't trying too hard to innovate with it, it's more of an evolutionary step for them. It is smart business sense as he probably knows it will take a while for the movie industry to buckle a bit as they see more and more people demand and pay for digital content when it's priced right.

Personally, I would love to see the iPod have the bigger screen and larger storage and better video implementation. I want to be able to take TV shows and movies that are on my computer and drop them right into my iPod with a big nice screen like the Sony PSP without having to use Quicktime or some other program alter the videos for playback.
I think that's a bit of wishful thinking, but I think it's a nice feature to have with the iPod, even if I don't use it frequently. Once podcasting becomes more video oriented, I think it'll make me more interested in buying. Especially if the price and looks and portability at least stay as good as they currently are.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

State of the unions

Well, it is probably obvious to a lot of people that the American... or rather the global auto industry (with a few notable exceptions) isn't doing so well. Especially in the face an energy crisis, GM and Ford are losing out big.

After hearing more news lately regarding the situations at German carmakers including Mercedes, it seems idiocy is the problem. I don't think you have to be an industry buff to know that lately, Benz sucks sour frog butt in quality. And considering my soon-to-be-deleted-position dealt with quality issues, well... you now know my position on my own company.

That's just my opinion but it's generally shared by many people including the consumer populace, well... that's not good. Sure, Daimler is better off than their cross-town rivals GM & Ford. But I think it's a matter of time before GM has to declare bankruptcy to restructure and all DaimlerChrysler has is a bit more time to fix their crap before they follow suit. So why do I think that we have this problem?

I'm not terribly sure if this is true in other industries or if it's generally true in the corporate world, but a lot of companies have no clue at all what their own employees do and contribute. The management is almost delusional in their perception of the state of matters. I'm sure that's part of the reason why the debacles with the United Auto Workers union is in the current state it is. Add this to the fact to inefficiency and unwillingness to listen to their own employees, well you can understand why failure is the only option. There's many paths to failure, and it seems only Toyota seems to be doing what it takes to reward their employees and make their company excel. Wonder of wonders... listening to your own workers!

Strangely enough, I think any corporate body including the U.S. encounters this lack of communication between leaders and consituents. Every single time it leads to problems. In the corporate world, political world, even the religious world with the Christian church, it still holds true. The foot can't say to the eye, that it doesn't need it... same analogy applies here and elsewhere. It doesn't take a Messiah to figure that one out.

Crappy thing is, in the world today, the leader doesn't pay the price. The people do.


Welcome to my blog, where I spout about whatever that is that's on my mind currently: news, auto industry happenings, new cars, new gadgets, new things in my life... whatever suits my fancy.

I'll try to update fairly often and usually nothing about me since I'm severely boring and wholly idiotic.