Stuff I want but do not need — gear edition

* Fujifilm Professional Photography – Products – Cameras – Digital Cameras: Fujifilm IS Pro — UV and IR photography, awesome.
* Blaupunkt car stereo accepts flash media — this seems pretty cool.
* Infolink GE phone — landlines start to catch up finally with cell phones for data services
* Car power strip — pretty handy. And plug one of these flashlights into one of the sockets.
* Sliding bolt combo lock. No more keys for the shed.
* Red One digital videocamera. Clearly overkill for anything I will ever do in my life.
* One headset to rule them all — skype, landline, cell. I am actually confused how this really works but seems cool.
* A bizarre little lamp from philips
* Night vision monocular

Tires

I’m not really a car guy, but need new tires and wanted good ones. J turned me onto Tire Rack — they do an awesome job of summarizing all the choices for your car model, including review and real usage data for the tires. Painless ordering.

Formula D Saturday

Formula Drift – Professional Drifting Championship — great event. The sport is in its infancy here so you can easily get into the pits, up close to the track, meet the drivers, etc. The races are exciting although a little repetitive. They need to think about how to get more cars on the track at once, and to add some uncertainty to the event.

Oh yeah, attending Formula D does not contribute to good driving behaviour. The parking lot was a showcase of amateur drifting and the highway home was a sequence of race vignettes featuring a variety of souped-up ricers, including some really nice imports. I’ve been known to drive fast at times but I was background noise.

Ford, GM, Mazda add ipod support

Ford, GM, Mazda add ipod support — about time. Is there any reason 5 years from now the entire entertainment center of a car won’t be replaced by an ipod? basically the manufacturer will install speakers and an amp and a connector for inserting ipods. all that expensive multidisc player hoo-ha will be gone. similar thing happening to home entertainment systems. it’s an ipod world.

Car shopping

Looking at some cars to add to the household — the sweet spot is the $32K sedan.

The Volvo S60, Subaru Legacy, and vw passat all seem like great choices. Good interior styling, good safety, good handling and performance. And all seem like good values, you get a lot for your dollar.

We wanted to like the Toyota Avalon but the handling just wasn’t there — this thing wallows thru the turns. Styling and features are decent but not handling. We wanted to like the Chrysler 300 also and it handles nicely, has a great powertrain, and looks good on the outside, but the interior styling and fit-and-finish are 10 years behind.

And the Cadillac CTS — what an embarrassment. A salesperson who hasn’t heard yet that Cadillac no longer is the pacesetter; overpriced, and underfeatured. I would feel stupid buying this car.

Automotive Education

I’m doing some research on automotive engineering education for high school and undergrad students. Wonder if anyone has any tips. The things I’ve found so far:

* The SAE student site is a fine place to look for information. Competitions, awards, internships — more college student focused. This supermileage contest looks fun. I wonder if there is an opportunity to create some biodiesel version of this project.
* The SAE website for college selection has some good tips about programs.
* Kettering University — formerly GMI — a highly regarded school, but Flint is tough duty. OK I haven’t been to Flint in 17 years, maybe it has improved.
* Of course UM has all kinds of programs — Transportation Research, ARC — but you have to cheer for the Wolverines and there are some lines I just can’t cross. OK full disclosure — I spent my freshman year in college at UM, I was a traitor to the state of Ohio, but I finally saw the light.
* Down in NASCAR country, Clemson has a program. There must be other NASCAR state schools that have programs?
* Colorado State from the SAE site is supposed to have a program of some sort.
* The art center college of design in Pasadena has a program, more focused on aesthetics.