Another “failed to proceed…” photo

This photo was taken at the 2003 Mille Autunno rally/tour. On the very first day we left Marin County, up through the Napa valley, and would our way through hills and along the Sacramento River north towards Chico for lunch. Midmorning we spotted a rally participant in a FRESHLY restored post war British car wounded on the side of the road. We pulled over and it looked as if I saved the day for them by puling out my tools/spares box (the yellow thing on the ground on the left… it is now painted hammertone silver to match my air intake plenum, but I digress!) and producing some spare wire and crimp-on ring terminals. It seemed their generator wiring disintegrated after 100 miles or so.

Once again able to proceed under their own power, they sped off while I played Tetris to get all my bits back into the mail slot that Sir William Lyons laughably called a “boot” on the Jaguar. Unfortunately we caught up to them later, off again on the side of the road, this time with a fatal engine issue. It was a shame as this LBC was in perfect post-restoration shape cosmetically and looked like a hoot to drive. They obviously needed more shake-down cruise time before it would be ready for a 1200 mile tour through the Sierra and NorCal! Oh well.

(As it is far too easy for them, Paul & Roger are disqualified from participation!) Any guesses as to the marque and model of this pretty green car?

Muscle Car Madness

Russian roulette with a semi-auto and a full clip.

I have to agree with this. In fact I read it in the “dead tree” version of SCM… AS I was watching the opening night of the Barrett-Jackson Arizona auctions last night. The muscle car market baffles me completely. I do not understand how two essentially identical cars, can be valued so differently. I can not fathom how one, optioned just a bit different from another can somehow raise its value from $12,000 to $250,000.

That. Is. Insane.

The temptation to create a fakey-do is so high, and the ability to pull it off is SO easy. Hell, most of the parts are available at your local NAPA! In fact people even SELL them AS fakey-dos… calling them “recreations”, “continuations”, or “tributes”. It makes no sense.

I can fully understand six or seven digit values of machines that were made in Maranello in numbers fewer than 100… but six figures for machines that were mamde in Detroit by the hundreds of thousands??? It does not compute.

I can understand six figure values for cars that have a rich history on the famous circuits of the world… but six figures for cars that were used as commuters??? I don’t get it.

I’ll tune into the Speed Channel again this week and see how far the insanity goes, but it would not surprise me in the least to see this market bubble pop on live TV either.

San Francisco to Seattle in under 10 minutes

I picked this still above not for any scenic value, beyond that of the sunlight illuminating the speedometer at a few ticks below “the Ton.”

I drove back from San Francisco on Saturday, having spent the week at Macworld Expo. I love long-distance driving and try to drive rather than fly down to SF once every few years. My record door to door was made back in 2002 with Chris Kilbourn when we made the southbound run just under 11 hours. I was not so lucky this time as southbound I was plagued by a 40+ MPH headwind on the first half and way too much traffic and speed control patrols during the second half.

My northbound run started well.

I left SF around 4pm, and headed for the East Bay. I stoped in Emeryville first to pick up a load of network equipment stored at a friends place. Craig worked for me at The Bon Marché years ago, and now lives down there. He graciously assisted me by picking up some equipment of ours from a decommissioned network site in San Rafael last year. I stopped, chatted for a while. He is also running his vehicle (an old Ford Diesel pickup) on a veggie oil blend. We loaded my Jetta TDI with the DSLAM, routers, UPS, etc and I headed off to Berkeley. There I stopped at Bill Woodcock’s house. It was interesting to finally see the famous “basement NOC in Berkeley.” I got the tour, picked up a server that Woody is dropping in our datacenter, chatted for a bit, and got directions over the Berkeley Hills over to my next destination, Lafayette. It has become tradition now to spend the Friday night after Expo at Michael Swan’s house, eating takeout BBQ with his wife Sharon Doi and my co-presenter at Expo, Shaun Redmond. The BBQ was awesome, and afterwards I dropped Shaun off at the BART station and accepted Michael’s hospitality and offer of a bed for the night. I had imagined I’d drive a few hundred miles Friday night, but realized how tired I was, and decided some sleep would be better. I left Lafayette before dawn, and blazed north.

I managed to fly along in the early morning hours. From 7:30 to 8:30 AM I travelled ninety miles. Yes, that is an average speed of 90 MPH. I stopped in Corning CA at 9 am, and filled my tank (more on that later), bought some local Olives and Olive oil stuff, and some cheap low-tax California liquor for Sue. My next few hourly average speeds were: 77, 83, and 68. The last being through the Siskyou mountains. So I basically flew along for the first 450 miles, and ended up crawling for the last 450.

In Corning I grabbed the wrong can of home-brewed Diesel from the trunk. It was the 100% veggie oil can instead of the 40% VO one. All these gas cans nowadays have these stupid air inlets in the nozzle and pour so damn slow that I didn’t note the appreciably thicker fuel. I spent the rest of the trip fighting dropping temps and gelling fuel. You can read the details here.

Oh well, so much for setting a record. It was fun though… really.

You can click the image above to watch the video, or click here Be patient while it loads, and don’t click unless you have a nice wide Internet pipe… it is 50 megabytes in size.

Note about the video: I wanted the music to fade in better, and have re-rendered it a couple of times with the correct fade-in, but each time it comes out HUGE (well over 100 megs)… I can’t figure out how to get the magic encoder to give me the same output as before (480px wide h.264, AAC audio, ~50 megs size)… oh well. I’m definitely NOT a video pro.

I used iStopMotion software from Boinx to capture the timelapse, with my G4 powerbook and my iSight camera.

iPhone v2.0 is the Real Weapon at Nyquist Capital

iPhone v2.0 is the Real Weapon at Nyquist Capital

OK, this is the only coherent, logical analysis I’ve read to date about what I saw first hand at the Macworld Expo keynote last week.

I actually have an immunity to the Reality Distortion Field, and spend most of every keynote with a smirk on my face and skeptical thoughts running through my head. One of them was “it will cost too much” and that was proven correct. It beat my high estimate by a fair margin. Mr. Schmitt agrees with me that $299 is the price point that most consider to be the pain threshold.

I have a three year old Palm Treo, that I’m looking to replace sometime soon. I may wait for a Apple Phone, or maybe not. I actually like the Palm PDA side of my Treo and the phone is passable. It isn’t as cool as the Apple toy, but at least I KNOW I can ssh into my servers, or run all the software I’ve bought for my various PalmOS devices over the years. Schmitt is right in that “existing mobile phone interfaces suck” but I’ve grown accustomed to the Palm/Treo.

My beefs about the Apple Phone come down to two things:

1. You would have to drag me kicking and screaming back into the clutches of AT&T’s abysmal customer torture system. My loathing for their vindictive billing practices and truly awful network coverage in my part of the world (I had to drive 6 miles from my house to get a signal) knows no bounds. I don’t care if Cingular were made up of drunken generous Leprechauns, once they get assimilated by the Orcs that operate AT&T they’ll be just as evil and just as disinterested in keeping my business. No thank you.

2. Apple seems all too willing to bend over and accept the business terms of the carriers and cripple this device. No VOIP, no iChat, no ring tones from your iTunes library. Of course the latter is useless to me since “vibrate” is the only ring I EVER use… but you understand what I’m talking about here. They have taken what could be a TRULY revolutionary device and intentionally stunted its capabilities based solely upon the rapacious desires of their carrier “partner”. Jobs said it himself that software is what truly makes the hardware useful and what elevates this product above the field. But instead of flying into orbit, Apple has agreed to merely hover a few inches above the ground. You would think, that with their history in the recording biz, where Apple successfully held their ground to deliver what consumers wanted over what their partners desired, that this device would be more free.

Perhaps it will be someday, and that is the day I’ll buy one. I want to be able to make and receive calls from my home 802.11 network, since no cell signal will penetrate the woods that surround my house. Apple’s phone can do that, but will it?

Back in Seattle again…

I just had to share this. Dawn over the digital.forest offices.

Mt. Rainier is in the background, the waning crescent moon hangs over digital.forest world headquarters. The chillers for the 1st floor datacenter have transformed the driveway into a frozen lake. I meant to take the train into work today, but missed it at Everett by about 1 minute. Good thing though as I would have missed this sunrise. Traffic was very light due to the holiday, so I breezed in. I arrived about 30 minutes before the van from the train station. I stood outside in the cold taking photos. I fully expected Rainier to (pardon the pun) erupt into full golden alpinelgow, but due to the geometry of sunrise at this latitude in January it stayed cold and blue through the dawn. Oh well. I’ll have to capture the same come springtime. It will be cloudy tomorrow… and likely for the next few months.

I even grabbed the laptop out and made a timelapse.

Car Photo Of The Day… “failed to proceed week”

I figured I’d have to commemorate my “eventful” drive home from San Francisco with a new CPotD theme: “Failed to proceed.”

In this photo my father forgot to replace the oil filler cap on the 450sl. He had topped off the “710” in Houston prior to my arrival, and we had put a few hundred miles behind us when I noticed a drop in oil pressure just as he was pondering the sheen of oil on the passenger side windshield. We pulled off the freeway to find the engine bay bathed in Mobil1. Thankfully the filler cap had stayed right where my father left it! We topped it up again and were on our way swiftly.

This was the drive from Houston to Amelia Island for the Forza Amelia Vintage Rally in 2004.

UPDATE: New version of the southbound timelapse

I re-rendered the timelapse footage from the trip south. It is higher-res and better video quality. It is also 30 megs, twice the size of the original. Be patient while it downloads. Click the image above (or here) to watch.

You can also right/control click and download it to view in QT player.