December 28, 2005

The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 makes no sense. I dare anyone to rationalize why it exists or why he/she needs to drop 1,000,000 on it. Do you need 1001 horsepower, 0-60 in 2.5 seconds or a 253 MPH top speed?

But I am delighted that the Volkswagen group had the audacity to dream it up and more importantly make it real. The fact that they're only planning to produce about 50 a year yet have gone to the trouble of certifying the Veyron for sale in the US doubles the fun. Hell, they've even crafted a delightful Bugatti site that's open to any and all.

I'd argue that the Veyron goes beyond mere transportation into the realm of mechanical art. Few devices strive for much less manage the transition. Concorde comes to mind as another example. I wish I could say that I appreciated the Veyron's significance when I saw the concept vehicle in Detroit several years ago. Instead I dismissed it as little more than an audacious fiberglass stunt. Hopefully I'll have the chance to take a more careful look at the production version in LA next month.

08:16 AM | Comment (0)

December 23, 2005

Just in time for the holiday. Free Happy Tree Friends video podcasts. I especially love the Dec 15 Kringle Caroling episode. Exactly what anyone who comes to your door uninvited and sings deserves. And even if you don't have a nifty new iPod that does video, you can watch them in iTunes. Ho ho ho.

10:24 PM | Comment (0)

December 20, 2005

I have generally stopped reading movie reviews because I find most reviewers little more than bombastic intellectual bullies. Besides, I hate having too many preconceived notions about a film before seeing it. Lately though, I've developed an extra-special loathing for David Edelstein, not that I've been reading him but he sadly shows up on two favored shows, Fresh Air and CBS News Sunday Morning. The man sets new standards for pompous cerebral gymnastics. He seems to thrill at employing obscure words and manufactured terms. In talking about the original version of The Producers he refers to Gene Wilder as having "sort of hysterical etherized delivery." Or describing the recent work of Woody Allen as "sinking into his own kind of insular misanthropy."

What the fuck?

Just because he get beat up too many times on the school yard playground do we really have to let him now intimidate us with erudite quips? He's so annoying that I delight in the fantasy of burying him up to his neck then running over his head, repeatedly, with a riding lawn mower. Sort of.

07:43 PM | Comment (2)

December 15, 2005

Shari turned me on to the Trunk Monkey spots from Suburban Auto Group. I keep watching them over and over, and giggling.

03:08 PM | Comment (1)

December 12, 2005

If I drove on freeways daily, the new handheld Traffic Gauge might be interesting. But I don't so I'll just settle for checking the website before setting out.

07:26 AM | Comment (0)

December 10, 2005

The new GTI looks like it's going to be hard to resist. Even better, the ad and linked site above seems to promise that VWoA just might get it again. Everything from the color scheme to the Mk nomenclature to the old Rabbit symbol seems aimed squarely at the faithful. Maybe they'll even do the 24 hour test drive thing again.

Slight tangent. Why did they drop the Rabbit nameplate? Yes, I know that Golf is the worldwide name. But corporate ego aside, Rabbit is just so much fun that it seems ashamed leave it in the dustbin.

08:52 PM | Comment (1)

December 09, 2005

Saw Brokeback Mountain tonight with Rich, Marc, Matt, Brendan and Shannon. Wasn't prepared for how desperately sad the ending is. Though given Ang Lee's track record, I should have guessed. More later, if anyone cares.

11:51 PM | Comment (0)

December 04, 2005

I tend to view most computer-related security concerns with a jaundiced eye. Not saying that malicious hackers and identity theft aren't very real problems. I just believe that the media in its never-ending quest for sensational headlines has made the average person hyper-aware of an issue the vast majority will never even see. The true threat is that paranoia allows corporate dolts to deploy so-called solutions that look great in PowerPpint presentations but in reality simply terrorize users and customers.

Come on, how many passwords do you need in a given day? One site requires four to six characters with a character being a number. That applet wants at least 8 characters with a mix of alpha and numeric and at least one special character. While that system needs six to 10 characters and the password has to be changed every third month but new ones can't be variations of your previous three.

Oy. It's no wonder many of us cope by writing the blasted things down.

Now apparently Bank of America is rolling out a new sign in system. A user name and password aren't good enough. Oh no. Now you need a sitekey. Whatever the hell that is. The instructions state that you enter your user name then press Sign In. If you recognize the sitekey, you know you're at a legitimate site and can safely enter your pasword. Bleh.

Yeah I can read between the lines. I recognize this as a PR-fueled attempt to provide the veneer of security against phishing schemes for all those poor souls who can't be bothered to look at much less interpret the information in their browser's address bar. But come on, Mr. Overpaid Security Expert, do we really need another number and code to keep track of?

Of course that's assuming your rube goldergian scheme worked in the first place. I tried to log in to BofA online banking tonight with Safari to dispatch the Visa bill that's due in two days. But instead of a prompt to create a sitekey as the instructions promise, I got a blank browser window and error messages in my status bar. I fired off a complaint email with a none-too-subtle threat to move my accounts and switched to Firefox, which allowed me to log in with the previous user name/password scheme.

End of story, right? If only. It just gets better.

As I'm composing the none-too-brief ditty you're currently savoring every word of, I get a reply to my message. Imagine. Less than an hour after sending. My hopes were dashed though when I opened it and started reading. 1053 words. 12 paragraphs, two distinct bulleted sections and two, yes again, distinct sets of numbered steps, the first with 11 and the second with nine. Obviously a cut and paste monstrosity from several canned responses.

Amusing aside: I did learn that a SiteKey (I'm surprised no one thought to stick a TM on that poor bastardized word.) "can be a minimum of six characters and a maximum of 30 characters long. No special characters are allowed. A special character is any character that requires you to use the Shift key on your PC keyboard before typing the character." A new arbitrary standard. Fun! Now back to the rant.

The gem though is waiting at the very end where I'm told that SiteKey is now a standard part of my online banking experience and can't be deactivated. Right. That explains why Firefox worked the old way.

Something tells me this little case study won't be showing up in a PowerPoint anytime soon.

11:23 PM | Comment (2)

December 03, 2005

Interesting geekery from the Nissan PR vault. Self-repairing paint. The so-called Scratch Guard Coat contains high elastic resin that allows a scratched surface to return to its original state somewhere between a day and a week, depending on temperature and scratch depth. Sounds as if the stuff oozes around the surface, maintaining an even keel so to speak. The press release goes on to say that the effect lasts for about three years.

I wonder what effect gravity has. After a few years will your car take on a subtle pyramidal effect, wider at the bottom and tapered at the top?

08:08 AM | Comment (0)

I love the Citroen C-Airplay. Except for maybe those odd windows in the lower door. But they inspired the comment on Autoblog about not being able to jerk off without being seen.

Yeah, that's exactly what I was thinking the moment I saw them.

12:25 AM | Comment (0)

This rumor about Apple's possible upcoming content distribution scheme and rev'd Mac mini cum media juke box makes the little tidbits I've been hearing about suddenly make sense.

12:11 AM | Comment (0)

December 01, 2005

How do you lose a coaster?

Actually, let me clarify that. How could a coaster possibly disappear in this house, where Richie puts things away even before I've finished using them?