Technical thoughts

April 7, 2014

Technology is a wonderful thing, but at times it can
be scary. A friend sent a link to a website and said
to type slowly, one space at a time.

I was amazed as I typed in our address one space at
a time and almost every time the screen lit up with
a map from a different spot on the globe. The site
went to France, India, Laos, and various locations
around the USA.

But what shocked me is when I finally typed in the
last of our address, which was the first four letters
of our city. I was looking at a screen shot of my
garage!

As I moved the cursor around the screen filled with
the driveway, then the back to the front of the house,
and even the neighbors houses. I did notice it wasn’t
current as a portable garage on our driveway
extension was in the picture.

It was still scary in that such a complete tour of
our property could be done online. Not that we do
anything illegal. Still I wouldn’t want to get caught
scratching my butt.

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And if you infrequently use a multimeter so you need
a refresher course, this video will explain “How To
Use a Multimeter”.

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Just when you think we’re done, an entertaining
video showing the difference between burnouts in
America, Europe, and Iraq. We have shown this one
before but needed a laugh.

That is more information than a single mind should
be legally able to possess. Use it wisely.
Comments are always welcome.


Everything old is new again

March 31, 2014

Today it seems all the automakers are talking gas
mileage. They all think their solution to the mpg
problem is the right one and clearly state the EPA
estimated mpg in their ads.

Would you believe us if we told you this has been
going on for almost 100 years? If you answered no,
you probably haven’t heard of Frank J. Enger. Mr.
Enger was a carriage maker who was known for the
quality of his work and in 1908 decided to build
automobiles.

enger

The Enger Motor Car Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, put
out an ad in 1917 that stated the Enger Twin-Unit
Twelve model got 35 mpg. It actually averaged 36.8 on
the track at Indianapolis.

100_1694

The Enger Twin-Unit was powered by a 60 degree V-12
that displaced 227.3 cubic inches and was rated at 55 hp.
But the amazing thing about this vehicle was when you
pulled a lever on the steering column you deactivated
the exhaust valves and fuel supply to one bank of the
engine making it a 6 cylinder.

Yes, it was the 1916 version of GM’s Displacement on
Demand technology in use today. The problem Mr. Enger
had was that the Twin-Unit Twelve sold for $1,095 in
1917 which was 4 times the cost of a new Ford Model
T.

Mr. Enger committed suicide in 1917 and left
instructions that the family keep the company going.
Being a married man this didn’t happen of course.

And thus ends the tale of first use of “displacement
on demand” technology.

A few more items you probably didn’t think go back
as far as they do is the tilt steering wheel (1916),
and the locking steering column (1913).
Comments are always welcome.


Goblin stories

March 27, 2014

We read an interesting blurb about a custom that
will be at this weekends World of Wheels show in
Boston. Said custom was different enough that it
caught our eye even though it was green.

The first thing that came to mind was the Dodge
Deora show vehicle from years past.

deora

Or the Ford Explorer concept from 1973.

explorer

The new iteration on the cab forward idea is
called the Green Goblin.

goblin

It all started with 1962 Chrysler Newport that Chad
Hiltz got for free. The car was stripped with no
interior or drive-train but he is a ‘because I can
do it’ kind of guy.

Thinking outside the box, he spied a 1974 Olds
Cutlas he owned and thought the top would make an
excellent roof for his Goblin.

gg1

When it came to power, he decided a Cadillac
Eldorado front-wheel-drive set up was what the
custom needed. He just mounted it to the back
wheels instead of up front.

You wouldn’t find another one like it in the
parking lot.

To see more on this strange vehicle, go here.

Comments are always welcome.


Tweaking the tweel

March 25, 2014

Some time ago we did a post about about a strange
new tire Michelin was working on. Some call it a
tweel, or perhaps even a Whire, but it combines the
wheel and tire into one component.

This new tire has no need for air valves, or air
for that matter, and cannot be punctured.

tweel

We believe these tires would take some getting used
to as they look almost invisible going down the
road.

The prototype is within 5% of the rolling
resistance of a current pneumatic tire which could
mean that it would be within 1% of the fuel
economy of a conventional tire.

Having been around for almost a decade, the tweel
tires can be seen on the Segway Concept Centaur,
skid steer loaders, and even the military is looking
into them.

It must be working because Bridgestone and other
tire companies are also working with the idea. No
matter what you call it, there should be a market
for a tire that never goes flat.

And if you hadn’t heard of this before you have
now. I was asked if I would put a set on my car and
replied more information was needed. The big issues
with us would be cost and ride quality.
Thanks ET.

————————

We may be doing a guest post soon from someone who
we think has a new twist on an old problem. When we
do it will be in their own words.
Comments are always welcome.


Interesting home

March 22, 2014

What you do if you were living in Thailand and a
friend gave you some land on his mango plantation?
Pitch a tent? Pull in a travel trailer?

If your name is Steve Areen and you had six weeks
and around $9,000 you would build a dream home.

I don’t know much about dome homes, but I know I
could live in one like this. I also don’t know much
about the cost of things in Thailand but don’t
believe one could beat the price.

It wouldn’t be for everybody and we think it is one
of those love it or hate it deals, we we like it.
Throw in a radio we could watch and it would be just
about perfect.
Comments are always welcome.


Multiple diversions

March 13, 2014

Once in while we just like to cruise the
information highway, check our emails, and
see what is out there.

You may have heard of the sinkhole that ate
the Corvette museum, so here is a video of
getting the Corvettes back out of said
sinkhole.

Speaking of Corvettes, this video shows a
Hennessey C7 Corvette pass a trooper at 200
mph!

Ever seen a 1939 Super Sonic?

How long do you think it takes a pit crew to
change four tires on an F1 Ferrari?

During our short intermission, be sure to
watch these now offensive vintage ads.

Enough intermission, on with the diversions.
This one is about a guy having fun in his
1934 hotrod pickup.

To show we just don’t look for fast car
videos, this one includes sonic booms.

We have two songs this time. In this one
people at the Seattle Childrens Hospital have
fun with Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger”.

This one features 9 year old Amira
Willighagen, and she is amazing.

Those are our diversions we’ve received
from friends, found on the internet, or came
across by accident.
Comments are always welcome.


Sound thoughts

March 9, 2014

Since I hooked up our HDTV we have been
getting used to the technology. While I was
quick to point out that the new TV didn’t
turn the top one-quarter of the screen upside
down, the wife noticed the sound quality.

And when I listened with my one good ear I
had to agree. But I also wondered how sound
quality so good could come from speakers that
had to fit in such a narrow space.

Speakers have been around since the 1880s
and in all that time only 6 different kinds
of speakers saw common use. The horn was the
first and was popular for about 20 years.

The next five followed the horn and we will
present in no particular order.

The electrodynamic loudspeaker is still the
most common type of speaker in the world.
It consists of a metal frame,an
electromagnetic coil (magnet), a paper cone,
and some flex wire.

electrodynamic

The flat panel speakers use voice coils
mounted to flat panels made of everything
from vinyl to Styrofoam.

flat

The diaphragm speaker is the step-child of
the electrodynamic speaker but has a
different shape. This speaker has copper coils
wrapped around clear plastic bulges.
The clear plastic vibrates to make sound.

diaphragm

Plasma arc speakers are not very reliable.
These send an electric current through the
plazma to create sound.

Finally, we come to piezoelectric speakers
which have limited frequency response. Made
only as tweeters or in devices that only need
simple sounds.

So even though speakers have been around for
over 130 years, changes have been slow. And
that concludes our quest to learn a little
more about the speakers that are so much a
part of daily lives.

This post is based on my knowledge of the
subject and I know just enough to be
dangerous. Any mistakes made were not
intentional.
Comments are always welcome.


Snow on the slick diversions

March 4, 2014

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Since we may have no snow left to appreciate
by the end of the week we offer these little
diversions for all to enjoy.

Walmart makes the news a lot for various
reasons both good and bad. In what we
consider good news, Walmart has unveiled a
new concept tractor and trailer in their
effort to double their fleet efficiency.

If you enjoy watching paint dry, or like
daring deeds done with heavy equipment
this video of a Cat 319D LN loading itself
into a rail car is for you.

If you like old warbirds and haven’t seen
this one you are in for treat. Just the sound
of those engines is enough to make my day.

We can’t stop thinking about cars either, so
here is some footage of last years Grand
National Roadster Show.

Everything you may have wanted to know about
the ‘Hands of God’ found by NASA lately.

Since we mentioned planes we thought the
movie should be about our military.

And the song is dedicated to all the married
guys out there who know the feeling.

We thank those who shared we us so we can
share with you and hope you enjoy the post.
Comments are always welcome.


An interactive tale

March 3, 2014

For something a little different, we decided
to try interactive writing. If you will bear
with us, and watch the videos, the story may
actually make sense.

A friend sent an email that stated he had
booked us on a bus trip complete with a link
to a video. After watching the video we
believe we go a different route.

Since we like to cruise perhaps a nice
drive would be better. Then we remembered it
is winter in the mid-west and another friend
sent us this video.

Not needing that much excitement, we decided
to tone it down a bit.

Then we remembered the warnings from various
concerned members of law enforcement who told
us not to race on roads and thought a plane
trip would be nice.

But of course we found out that our chosen
destination was under siege.

So much for seeing that part of the world.
After much thought we decided the world might
be a better place if we just stayed home and
watched funny commercials on TV.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Comments are always welcome.


Weekend diversions

February 22, 2014

We felt our post on concept cars didn’t go
quite far enough so we looked until we found
some appropriate videos that we hope fill in
the blanks. We’ll even toss in a hot rodded
tractor, a car show, a movie, and a song.

This video show what our cars may look like
in the not too distant future.

A longer look at concept cars and thier
purpose for being.

Going back in time, this one looks at the
1955 Ghia Streamline X concept car.

Another old video and this time of a Corvair
truck that you may have never seen.

From Norway come this short video starring
a V-12 powered Massey Ferguson tractor
towing a snowblower.

Footage from the 2013 Rust Revival show.

For a movie we turn to Andy Hardy.

And for music, a little ZZ Top.

Enjoy the diversions, we’re going to
get some popcorn and a Coke.
Comments are always welcome.


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