Friday, October 25, 2013

The venerable Ford Model T


Here's a splendid presentation on the significance of the venerable Ford Model T, which remains on the all-time Top 10 models sold list.



This car was remarkably well-built and capable. From 4:29, watch it how it deftly handles fording a river, deep snow, muddy roads with deep ruts, and steep downgrades - how many SUVs today can perform as solidly?!

How a differential works


Here's a terrific video on how a differential works.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Emerald knows a legend when she sees one


You didn't think I'd post a picture of an Aztek, did you?
I've written about my son's engineering inclination (one article/video posted here, and others waiting to be posted). Something my daughter said recently made me chuckle and pause to recognizer her.

While we were driving the other day, she said "That's a weird-looking car? What the heck is that thing?" I looked to where she was pointing, and there was a Pontiac Aztek, legendary in that it finds itself on every "ugliest/worst cars list" that has likely ever been written. I'm pretty sure she hasn't read any of said lists, so her comment was no effort to be part of the gang, or to join the pile-on.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I could have prevented the Toyota recalls


I saw this article today and a particular quote jumped out:

"Toyota had a stellar reputation for quality until massive recalls that began in 2008.

"Executive Vice-President Atsushi Niimi said the recall fiasco showed that Toyota had neglected improvements in production while pursuing growth. [my emphasis].

"When production plunged, we could see big-scale production was a burden," he said. "We needed an assembly line that could respond to the ups and downs of production needs."

Why did they have to experience it to know it when I wrote, before it happened, not to go down the "volume road"?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

MyIdeas - Graduated Brake Lights




Of all MyIdeas of the past, I may be most proud of this one because it speaks not only to technology but also to human interaction as a critical component of the social phenomenon of driving in traffic.

The idea is this - when driving in traffic, when people just rest their foot on the brake pedal, their brake lights turn fully on, and when they remove their foot, the brake lights turn off. There's no in-between, even though there are several degrees of urgency between just coasting without slowing down significantly and jamming on the brakes to avoid an imminent collision.

MyIdeas - New Car Smell



The year was 2007. I was hanging out with J (the other half of J and  D's Auto Talk) at his place and somehow, for whatever reason (the inspiration escapes me right now), I said to him "wouldn't it be cool if you could get that 'new car smell' in a spray bottle? People would buy it, and get that new car smell in their not-so-new cars." J never said a word, he just smirked. We went on with whatever it was we were doing and ended up in the garage. He reached up on the shelf and handed me a bottle. I had no idea what he was doing and when I looked at the bottle, there it was - a sprayable bottle of "new car smell".

This is not the most compelling idea from a safety or technology stand point. This is more along the lines of the Pet Rock"; nonetheless, that harmless fun fad made money.

Sure, it's possible my eyes had etched an image of the bottle in my brain without my conscious mind being aware of it. But, at the time, we just chalked it up to another example of a "silly idea" I had that someone else, somewhere else, had run with and (presumably) made money. And, even if they didn't make money, they had come to market and could say they "did that."

I've got to learn how to "do that."


Previous - Airbag Seatbelts

MyIdeas - Airbag Seatbelts



"We're going backwards," I thought to myself, back in 2004.

We had two car seats in the back for our six year old and three year old, and I thought about giving my six year old the treat of "riding up front with dad," like my dad did with me when I was a kid.

But, I was cautioned that it was unsafe. Why? Airbags.

It's not "safe" for a child to sit in the front seat in a vehicle with airbags, because the deploying air bag could cause head trauma in a frontal collision. "But," I thought, "aren't cars today supposed to be safer?" And it got me to thinking.