Archive

Idiosyncratic thoughts on cars

I've been thinking about cars a lot lately.

I'm going to put down my thoughts on what matters and what does not when it comes to a car, in terms of how much most people will like owning it, and what it will cost.

What doesn't matter

Fuel costs often don't matter. A Prius is (surprise) the most efficient vehicle sold in Canada. According to that metric, it would cost about $760 to drive 20,000 km, using a locally optimistic $1/l gas price. By comparison, the best full-size car would cost $1600 (Hyundai Sonata with a manual transmission).

One of the worst cars, economy-wise, is a Chrysler 300 SRT-8. It's a shade under $3000/year. Money well spent, I say, considering that car can carry five in comfort plus a good load of luggage and has more horsepower than every car I've ever owned, COMBINED. And I've owned four cars.

A tiny footnote to the Internet, EV edition

So, in the midst of a long discussion on a particular electric car publicity run, someone posted this:120kW is huge by residential standards but not unusual for industrial/commercial. Your average 50kW radio station would have electric service that big.

Now if you want to replace gas stations with fast charging stations you would have to put 2-12 or so of these 120kW chargers in your facility. Then you have your customers vehicles occupy the premises for 20 minutes each. After this wait they pay you $4 (at 10 cents per kW-hr). Does this sound like a good business to anyone?

The List

You have a List, don't you? Names, incidents, the stuff that you want fixed. The stuff that makes your life worse.

Here's the start of mine:

Office Suite (and nearly every other major spreadsheet and mainstream text editor), for not including the functionality that regex offers, you've made manipulating data worse, not better. I had an actual case, here in October 2010, where the easiest way to de-munge a bad spreadsheet was to export it as a CSV, open it in vi, and run a few googled-up regex substitutions to get all the data into a usable shape. So often, the best data-manipulation tools are still ancient Unix routines.

Youtube Advanced Uploader, you've successfully mis-reinvented FTP, because your sessions can't really be suspended and resumed, so multi-GB uploads, which take hours, tend not to make it. The real question is why you reinvented FTP in the first place? Alternatively, why don't you offer FTP (or SFTP, or FTPS) upload?

World Tuesday Night Cyclocross

World Tuesday Night Cyclocross, since 2010.
Tuesday night at 6:30pm, September-whenever.
Vancouver Public Library, corner of Robson and Homer.

This is an undersupervised, lights-mandatory cyclocross ride (because it gets dark before the ride stops). CX or MTB recommended. If it rains, we will get wet.

General "plan" is to warm up briefly on the road, then ride a local park or trail (Stanley, Pacific Spirit, Vanier, Jericho, etc.) That's it.

Questions? Join the mailing list, or contact the instigator, Ryan Cousineau: rcousine@gmail.com

Video Games Playday this weekend

And as long as I'm updating you, here's the rest of the days I've been seriously underpromoting.

The History of Video Games exhibit is on from now until mid-December, showing at the Surrey Museum in Cloverdale (17710-56A Avenue).

Recent quotidian vignettes too long-form for a status update

Today I did something I cheerfully call The Death Ride:

  1. Ride from Port Moody to New Westminster for work
  2. After work, ride from New Westminster to south Richmond
  3. 35-minute bike race
  4. ride back to Port Moody

The name is a misnomer. You only wish you were dead. The morning ride is about 30 minutes, the evening ride is 3-4 hours, depending on how you figure it.

Failure's Virtues

I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. - Thomas Alva Edison.

I have been thinking about the utility of failure, especially its importance to institutional quality.

Axe contest winners!

Yes, at long last I got around to judging these entries. And I picked a winner.

Actually, I picked two. And an honorable mention, who didn't win anything.

HONORABLE MENTION: Bill Asher. He evoked the spirit of "friendly" riding very well and punctuated it with a "Hell yeah! I love riding a damn bike." Very anthemic.

SPECIAL JURY PRIZE: Bob Schwartz. His meditative story of perseverance and effort and simple, agonizing riding with his daughter, was worthy of note. TLO picked it as the winner, and I said it was powerful enough, but not anthemic enough. We're going to award Bob, or maybe his daughter, a nice new cycling toque from my club.

WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER: Dave the skiier.

The Worst Journey in the World, The Good Parts Version

At the recommendation of a friend, I read The Worst Journey in the World (Vol. 1 & Vol. 2 available via the Gutenberg Project), an account of Scott's fatal Antarctic expedition. It's an amazing story, told adequately.

There are no spoilers in this review. Or rather, the book assumes from the start that the reader knows how this story turns out: Scott, with four companions (and many more in support teams) makes an attempt to become the first man to reach the South Pole. They make it, but Norwegian explorer Roald Admunsen has beaten them by a mere month, and Scott and his party die on the return trip.

Enormously impressive cave found on nearby island, locals unimpressed

[Yet another reminder: if you post your best "power anthem" (i.e., a sort of personal-best moment) in the comments on my "win a video camera" post, you could win a Flip MinoHD, courtesy AXE, makers of fine tools for manly stink reduction. No need to read the entirety of that page: just post a good story. Contest wraps shortly after June 8, so enter now.]

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Why doesn't anyone tell me these things?!