Sunday, March 29, 2009

1934 DeSoto Airflow

Seen at Sears Point Raceway today:

The DeSoto brand was introduced by Chrysler in 1928 to fill the gap between between high-priced Chryslers and low-priced Plymouths.

This Car is the six-lite four-door saloon. 241.5 cubic inch side valve 100hp six. It has a modern monocoque frame, but old fashioned front beam axle and externally mounted spare wheel. The rounded styling was not a hit, and competitors questioned the Airflow's lack of a separate chassis.

Production of the DeSoto Airflow stopped in 1937. The DeSoto name was killed off in 1960.


Saturday, March 28, 2009


Pogoplug combined with an external HDD behaves like a server and a NAS (Network-attached storage).

Pogoplug just finished manufacturing the first batch and they're available now for $79 if you order before March 31st. $99 after then.

The device plugs into a power outlet and connects to your router. You then connect your USB 2.0 external hard drive to the device and then you can access your HDD files from any browser (Windows),Finder (Mac), or iPhone anywhere in the world. It does all this by cramming a computer brain in with the power brick.

Not a pretty design, but cheap and useful.

Read the Engadget review.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Where the Rubber Sticks to the Road

'R' compound tyres are not what they used to be.

Twenty years ago I competed in the CSP class of SCCA AutoX with a 1800lb Honda CRX. A set of 13" Yokahama 008R tyres would last a season and then go on to do 20,000 miles on the street as the compound heat-cycled and hardened.

These 16" Kumho V700 tyres lasted only 2 AutoX's on my 2800lb MINI before one front tyre corded, and the other front tyre got tread separation. I really miss those Yokahama tyres.

In the photo you can see the line where the two ends of the tread are joined together during manufacture.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sniffing Packets and Throttling Bandwidth

"Sniffing Packets" is such a catchy little term that I had to find out what it meant so I could then use it in a conversation:

For transmission over the Internet, digital information is broken down into small chunks called data packets. They are sent from server to server until they are recombined at the destination to make a file, web page, email, picture, document, etc.

Sniffing Packets refers to the ISP practise of inspecting the information inside these Packets to weed out Torrents that might be sucking up bandwidth. But would you know if your ISP was Sniffing your Packets or throttling your bandwidth because you're using BitTorrent?

Glasnost is an application from Measurement Lab that can tell you if your ISP is Sniffing your Packets or throttling your bandwidth.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I've seen 'seven' written as 'se7en' before, but I never realized that 7 was supposed to be a sideways v. That's clever.

The use started in 1959 with the introduction of a new small car by BMC. BMC was Austin/Morris, and the Austin version of new small car was launched as the Austin Seven (The name referenced a very popular small car made by Austin from 1922 until 1939).

Early marketing brochures made a game of the name:

The Morris version of the car was called the Mini-Minor, and the public soon began calling both cars 'Mini'. The Seven name was dropped after 1961. From 1969 onward the two models were consolidated under the Mini brand name.

Today, 'Se7en' is a popularly used name for the Lotus 7.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Test Pattern Cushion

"When you see the test pattern it's time to go to sleep" -Unplggd, which would be clever if this was a pillowcase and not a cushion.

Monday, March 02, 2009

∏ Day and √ Day are in the Same Month

I knew you'd be excited! This won't happen again for 100 years!

In an attempt to create popular interest in Mathematics, some educators are promoting the observance of these two dates:

March 14th has been designated Pi Day. Using the American Month/Day format, March 14th is written 3.14, and pi is observed every year on this date. And one day we'll get a parade.

March 3rd is being called Square Root day. Written as 3.3.09 in most countries.