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  1. Dakar Cancelled over Terror Concerns

    brian on 2008.01.08 at 01:26 am

    This really saddened an otherwise happy day, when I learned the 30th running of the Dakar Rally has been cancelled. The event, formerly known as the Paris-Dakar (but now begins in Portugal instead) is run by the same French organization that conducts le Tour de France and many other major French sports events.
    Map of Dakar Rally 2008
    The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly encouraged the cancellation of the even after the Christmas Eve murder of four French tourists east of the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott. This attack was allegedly perpetrated by “Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghrebin.” Additionally, direct threats to the race itself have been issued by terrorist organizations.

    Sadly, this punishes the fragile economies of the African nations the race passes through greatly. Perhaps this will encourage the citizens of these nations to see how dangerous these organizations are, and will organize against them.

    Posted in: Auto · Politics · Sports

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  2. Almost Famous

    brian on 2007.04.03 at 10:19 pm

    Today, General Motors selected one of my pictures of a classic late 50s Saab 96 as their “Picture of the Day” on their FYI blog.

    DSC_0153.jpg

    Cool. I’m flattered.

    Here’s the full Flickr Set, Saab 96

    For those of you who don’t know, I’ve owned Saabs since I was 17, and even attended the 1997 50th Jubilee Owner’s Convention in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire. (Best link I could find on the 97 convention, sorry)

    Posted in: Auto · Photography

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  3. Idea for MP3 Car Stereo Listeners

    brian on 2006.12.28 at 08:31 pm

    Something occurred to me tonight, it may be obvious to any one in this situation, but bear with me, I needed a test post from MarsEdit to see if our XMLRPC is finally working.

    Normally, if I’m not listing to my iPod, I do enjoy a number of quality radio stations in the Boston area. WBUR, WGBH, WERS to name a few. However, my ’07 VW Rabbit has an in-dash 6-CD player, which can read mp3 files. Today I tested it for the first time, and it worked as expected. It also has the nice touch of displaying the artist and song names from the MP3’s ID 3 tags. I also loaded in an audio CD. It worked as well, but of course, audio CDs don’t have ID tags.

    So, considering the advantages of ID3 tags, and that you can get considerably more music onto an MP3 CD (between 2 and 10 times more) it would behoove you to burn your favorite CDs to MP3… if you’re into high fidelity, burn your MP3s at 256 or 320kbps. 320 is nearly indistinguishable from CDs to the vast, vast majority of people, and yet a CD track runs 1400kbps… you can see the space savings. Then multiply, in my case, by 6 CD capacity. That’s a lot of music you can hold without ever ejecting a CD.

    The added bonus is that if your in-dash disc changer ever croaks, you’ve only lost CD-R copies of your discs, no big loss. Always head the golden rule, backup, backup, backup.

    Posted in: Auto · Music · Technology

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  4. The Saab Performace Team

    brian on 2005.12.08 at 01:43 am

    Speaking of remakes.

    The Original.

    The Remake.

    Enjoy both.

    Oh, and they make/made fighter jets too.

    Posted in: Auto

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  5. Popemobile

    jake on 2005.05.02 at 07:26 pm

    Sweet, the pope drives used to drive the same type of car as me.

    Posted in: Auto

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  6. I can dream can't I?

    jake on 2005.04.22 at 02:46 pm

    Mini Cooper ConvertibleGabe at Motoring File has sold his Mini to get a new one. And he’s got some really nice specs listed. I wouldn’t want to wait either, but I think I could to get the Harmon Kardon system. And I recall just the other day I noticed a Black on Black Mini and thought, oooo… evil…

    Black/Black – The Darth Vader of MINIs. In many ways the opposite of what I had before.

    I guess I’m forced to sit back and drool though. As this friend of a friend discusses watching people go on lots of vacations I enjoy watching all the toys go by while I pay off debt. But at least I’m paying the debt, that makes me feel a little better. And all the waiting will help me decide on whether I should get a convertible or not.

    Posted in: Auto

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  7. Don't Drive Like My Brother

    brian on 2005.01.12 at 11:46 pm

    I love Car Talk. I wish they had a PodCast, but I think they’re going to stick with selling episodes through Audible/iTunes. It bums me to pay for something I can get for free on Public Radio…

    Posted in: Auto

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  8. Non-moving Hub Caps

    jake on 2004.09.14 at 04:52 pm

    Taxicab with no-spin hubcapsI'm sure some of you have seen the hubcaps that spin even when the car isn't moving. Well being the overly complicated person that I am, I said to my bro one time (as well as to others afterward) wouldn't it be nifty if they made hub caps that spun backwards at the perfect RPM to velocity ratio to make it look like the car wasn't moving. Well apparenlty this almost beats out that idea. They have hubcaps with what I assume are ball bearings and weights so that the are mostly stationary, though I understand they sway a little bit. I guess my absolutely useless invention is still safe to be cooked up. From engadget

    Posted in: Auto

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  9. Mini could be expanded to include different models

    jake on 2004.07.15 at 03:17 pm

    The next generation could include a MINI-van, station wagon, and a 2-seater coup. Mostly I still just want a regular old Mini Cooper S. I probably won't get one till the end of 2005 at the earliest. So I'd be in line if I waited a little longer to get anything I wanted in the 2007 line. Maybe I'll just get lucky and they'll be a little easier on the wallet along with me making a little more money in about 2.5 years.

    From: Autoblog

    Posted in: Auto

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  10. More about Used Car Salesmen

    jake on 2004.06.21 at 04:35 pm

    Autoblog also links to an interview related to something we posted on a while ago. It doean’t really add a whole lot to the story. But it’s something more people should know about. The undercover work is also part of a book published from Edmunds.com called Strategies for Smart Car Buyers.

    Posted in: Auto · Service Announcement

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  11. UK Speed Traps

    jake on 2004.06.21 at 04:11 pm

    Autoblog found a story about how attendees of this year’s British Motor Show can a cd containing locations of all the speed traps in the area. Why isn't this done more? Is it not obvious that people who know about a speed trap will not speed and thus be much safer?

    Posted in: Auto

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  12. ProRally - Where's the support?

    brian on 2004.06.15 at 10:39 pm

    Most motorsports fans in America like to watch cars drive in circles like a dog chasing its tail. However, for most of the world, the most popular motorsports aren't circular, and the second most popular sport, Rallye doesn't even have a closed circuit, it's a point-to-point. Automakers (including the US's Ford) drop millions into the WRC, on par with what the "big three" drop on America's fiercely popular NASCAR.

    It may surprise you to know that same world's favorite motorsport is actually raced in the US, as well. It's highest level "ProRally" is run by the SCCA. It's only known to the most hardcore of US motor sport fans. There are no WRC-sanctioned rallye events in the US. No auto manufacturer has a factory team racing in ProRally. (Subaru comes closest by supporting Vermont SportsCar)

    However, Rally video games are quiet popular in the United States. What does this hold for the future of the sport?

    If you think small 300 horsepower, all-wheel drive cars going 60-100 miles an hour inches from trees, cliffs, with jumps and kicking-out-the read hairpin turns sounds exciting, you might be right. You should check out rally racing... the ProRally or the WRC variety.

    Motor Trend has a good article on this whole US versus Rally racing. Check it out. By the way, noticed I've spelled the sport's name two different ways: in most of the world, the sport has an "e" at the end of the word (its the British spelling). In the US, the SCCA has dropped the "e."

    The word comes from the French "rallier", from Old French "ralier" : re-, re- + alier, to unite, ally.

    From dictionary.com,

    A competition in which automobiles are driven over public roads and under normal traffic regulations but with specified rules as to speed, time, and route.

    Posted in: Auto · Sports

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  13. AutoBlog

    brian on 2004.06.06 at 07:30 pm

    I've been enjoying AutoBlog for the last week or so.

    Posted in: Auto · Web

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  14. Saabaru

    brian on 2004.05.25 at 03:59 pm

    I may have noted before that my favorite car company, Saab, and my favorite car model, a Subaru WRX, have been merged together as one in the new Saab 9-2X. It's true and there's two truths: 1) I can't afford to buy one right now. 2) It'd only be better if it were a hybrid.

    Anyhow. The Independent has a good overview of the new Saab. It's written by someone who clearly understands Saab's history, and unique place as an automaker.

    Posted in: Auto

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  15. GreaseCar!

    brian on 2004.05.25 at 01:20 pm

    I saw this company in a small news tidbit on the news today, check them out! GreaseCar.

    GreaseCar is a company that sells vegetable oil conversion kits for diesel powered automobiles. It's a dual fuel system, that uses regular diesel along side regular vegetable oil to power the car. Where do you get the oil to run on? Most restaurants will give it to you for free, since waste frying oil usually costs them money to remove. You simply collect it, filter it, and put it in your veggie-tank. Regular diesel fuel is still used to start the vehicle, and to shut it down. The car can also run exclusively on regular diesel when vegetable oil is unavailable.

    If I had a diesel powered car, I'd be getting in contact with them right now!

    Note from Jake: Drivers Eye Vegetable Oil As Cheap Fuel - Article from Associated Press, references to GreaseCar and Weston, CT, the state Brian and I grew up in.

    Posted in: Auto · Technology

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  16. Mini Cooper gets Bluetooth

    jake on 2004.04.02 at 07:07 pm

    Mini ConvertibleI just had to post that Mini's are getting Bluetooth as Peanut Butter has given me a new affinity for Bluetooth. Many higher end cars have Bluetooth already but this particular brand is at the top of my list for future car.

    I like the use of Bluetooth for hands free calling (besides the fact my phone does not include it) but I'd like to see more uses of it. Like wirelessly streaming music from an mp3 player or something over the stereo.

    Image found at car.kak.net. Many more available.

    Posted in: Auto · Technology

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  17. Truth, Perspective on the SUV

    brian on 2004.02.20 at 04:01 am

    I won't sound off on the SUV. Simply read what I consider the objective truth.

    [It could do without the jab at the Macintosh, especially since the point is invalid: the iMac is not just the Mac that came before it repackaged. It was a revolutionary design setting the tone for computers for the next ten years. Not comparible to adding two more doors to a pickup.]

    Posted in: Auto

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  18. New Wheels

    brian on 2003.08.16 at 12:22 am

    Today we took delivery of a (new to us) Saab 9-3 5 door sedan. It's black, turbo-charged, has five doors (for the uninitiated, that means it has four normal doors, and a hatchback) and 5-spoke alloys. We're very happy with it.

    Posted in: Auto

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  19. Audio player in your Volkswagen

    jake on 2003.06.24 at 06:50 pm

    I read about this when I brought my Golf in for its last oil change. Volkswagen has licensed the Phatnoise system to bring various audio formats to your car. You get 20 gigabyte (per cartridge) of storage space and it works with the already present head unit.

    I'm having a hard time deciding over this product. It would be nice to have my entire music collection at my fingertips. But it also costs money (same as others? $859.00,) which I don't have coming out of my ears...

    Volkswagen Phatnoise Digital Audio System [from Gizmodo]

    Posted in: Auto · Technology

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  20. Minis in Italian Job

    jake on 2003.06.05 at 07:18 pm

    The new movie The Italian Job (original) is rampant with Mini Coopers. I'm a fan of the little cars and had to post this article.

    I'm interested in seeing this movie, but it delayed the release of the original on DVD last year. err...

    Posted in: Auto · Movies

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  21. Saab meets WRX

    brian on 2003.04.22 at 03:35 pm

    Saab announces its new small and sporty 9-2 model, based on Subaru's legendary WRX.

    Anyone who knows me, knows why I'm posting this. My favorite all-time mark is Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebologat, or SAAB for short. My favorite all-time car model however is the rallye-bred Subaru WRX. Now since GM wholly owns Saab and partially owns Subaru (they own 20% of Fuji Heavy Industries, Subaru's parent company), cool mixtures of cars that were meant to be (both Saab and Subaru share a lot of innovative ideas, and a rich rallye racing heritage) can now come to light.

    In turbo and AWD, we trust.

    So when's the electric hybrid motor going to become available in this model? ;-)

    Posted in: Auto

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