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Friday, October 31, 2014

Some Graphic Content Ahead

I spent the morning hanging out at a body shop recently (ooo... yes... that IS a teaser, but you'll have to wait to find out why-- but my Twitter followers know already). The guys there spend their days fiddling and finicking as they sort out cars that have been "modified" in accordance with the laws of physics. Their ultimate goal, of course, is to recreate a car so perfectly that even its owner can't tell where it was previously damaged. Ah... but there's a dark art to this far deeper than you might realize. The art of knowing when to stop trying to make something better-- or, as one of fellows said (quoting someone else I wasn't attentive enough to recall): "The enemy of good, is great."
 I think Tesla tried for great when they developed Version 6.0 firmware, but I'm reluctantly going to say that after all the build up and hype, so far, it is merely good. GASP!! What?? How dare I!! Let me show you what happens when the "the clock" popped up next to my "T".

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Winter War - Equipment Check - Part 2

My son is greatly amused at the title I gave to Part 1.  But as a midnight road warrior for years now, thanks to my "day job" in TV news, I'm constantly battling home on the lonely, dark, unplowed streets and highways of Pittsburgh in my trusty Subarus.  Arriving home safely, with many an appreciative grin at my faithful AWD vehicle du jour, I'd convinced myself that I'd never buy a car without AWD.
The Tesla blew that notion all to hell.
When I was in high school in Stuttgart, Germany, I was a very active skier.  Being out in the snow was a natural place and I spent many hours on ski slopes and traversing countries to get to/from ski slopes.  More often than not I was on a bus (definitely the way to travel when exhausted from a week of skiing) but sometimes not.  As every skier knows, packing for a trip is more than just shoving extra turtlenecks and socks into a bag, it's about preparing your equipment and getting repairs done before discovering at the top of the ski lift that your binding won't catch.

Back in those days I often found myself behind a '70s era BMW 7-series, a car so malevolent in snow that its attempts at homicide were only tempered by the application of snow tires.  The steering wheel was a completely optional accessory in Winter driving as most directional changes could be made with the gas pedal alone.  Little did I know it, but a lesson was learned, combining those two activities...  and here we are.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Spouse Stalking on the App

I recently came into an iPhone through work and it was a massive upgrade from my humble Tracfone.  Yes, a Tracfone.  I can hear the snickering and chuckles from here, thank you.  I'll have you know the Tracfone was $7 a month and over the life of my teenager (I first bought the phone shortly before his birth)and that amounts to nearly $20,000 less in cell phone bills compared to a smartphone.  And I survived.  And so did my family. Meanwhile, guess where I spent that savings!
I've finally been able to experience the Tesla App as intended and... how can I say this diplomatically...  YOU PEOPLE have been holding out on me!  I've used the Chrome browser extension since we bought the car and thought the ability to see where it was on a map was pretty cool, but the app has REAL-TIME tracking overlaid on a Google Earth image!!  What, the WHAT??

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Model S(teppenwolf)

My favorite car commercial-- FOR YEARS-- was one for the Dodge Viper.   It was spectacularly cool, with Steppenwolf blaring and really innovative video color effects (for the time).   Check it out... then I'll explain:
Everyone always compares the ride of the Tesla Model S (with the air suspension-- which I don't have, actually) to a "Magic Carpet Ride" as you whoosh about silently.  And I have wanted to recreate that commercial using a Tesla ever since my first ride.  One quiet night at work.... I found a few minutes to make one...  Wanna see??

Friday, October 10, 2014

Getting Big Brother On YOUR Side

There is no doubt that when the first cat video was posted on YouTube it was a watershed moment for mankind.  Prior to that the internet was merely a way of sharing chain letters from Nigerian businessmen, Chuck Norris jokes and dirty pictures.  It's since become so ingrained in our daily life it is hard to believe that YouTube was created in just 2005; both of my children are actually OLDER than YouTube!

While no other single clip can match Psy's "Gangnam Style" view count, as a group the subculture of Russian dashcam videos garners a huge slice of this digital pie.  I'll admit they're my own guilty pleasure (VodkaVideo in particular)....  Nothing makes me smile at the end of a long day quite like a Russian sawing at the wheel to avoid an errant tire flung off a fellow motorist's poorly maintained car as he rockets through a tight snowy urban street at night going a reasonable 85mph.  Watch out for that bus!
The Russian obsession with dashcams may have started a means of warding off insurance scams but the insanity they've since captured puts them up there on the same pedestal as Rick Rolling.  Ever wished you could share the meteor shower you saw while driving?  Or brag about your rescue of a wayward kitten by preserving it for future generations?  Get a dashcam!   I did.  And a decent dashcam is a lot less expensive than you'd think.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Winter War - Preparing for Battle - Part 1

You know it can't last, right?  The beautiful sunny days of your youth will fade into the cold and dark nights of old age... or maybe that's just the beginning of a seasonal depression kicking in.  It did rain today, after all.   Yes, WINTER is coming.  Bright glints of green and blue on my Model S will soon be replaced with a crushing sense of Belgian-greyness.  In my preemptive defense-- I lived in Belgium for several years and that's where they store the fog when London isn't using it.
I knew going into this car purchase that I was eschewing my self-imposed declaration (after multiple Subarus) that all ours cars would now and forever all be AWD.  Sigh.  But I couldn't resist the Tesla's pull.   So here we are... what to do, what to do, what to DO?