Monday, 31 October 2016

Droning On Even More

I had trouble believing the story I reported two weeks ago.

I have more trouble believing this Autocar one.

Maybe it's just a Halloween story designed to put the wind up us.

It is another Uber drones story.  Except these ones are big enough to carry people around. Full marks to their marketing department for all this coverage.

But it couldn't actually happen could it?

Then again - Uber does mean "above".

Friday, 21 October 2016

Barnacle Bill... what you have to pay to get one of these off your car:
The L.A.Times seem to have got this story first.  They use the word "scofflaws" which is excellent.  The scofflaws in question are people who park their cars illegally and would previously have experienced a Denver Boot (or wheel-clamp as we tend to call them on this side of the Pond)

The new device is being trialled in a couple of U.S. cities and basically uses a strong suction force to obscure enough of the the windscreen to prevent driving.

It is safer for the enforcement officers because they aren't spending a long time kneeling at the side of the road and it is less hassle for the victim because it can be released wirelessly as soon as they pay. got the story next and also used the word "scofflaws" proving how good that word actually is.

New York Post came next.  They quoted the first two articles but dropped the word "scofflaws" in favour of calling the device "a yellow monstrosity."  Fox News then came along and just republished the NY Post story.  I guess the NY Post is another Murdoch mouthpiece.

Meanwhile, somewhere in Britain, and sorry if you don't like the language - I think it's funny:

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Droning On

I'm not sure I believe this story from Car+Driver.

It comes with this picture:
And it is reported by several sites so I'm going with it's true.

Apparently Uber (the taxi people) are using Drones in Mexico to display messages to drivers stuck in traffic jams.  The one in this picture translates to, "The city is for you, not for 5.5 million cars."

They seem to be nagging messages - I'd have gone with one of the following:
  • money generating advertising messages like "Cheap power tools at Home Depot - this week only"
  • pro-Uber messages like "Share an Uber to cut down on the number of cars here"
  • useful messages like "This tailback lasts for 2km and is due to an idiot driving into a lamp-post"
It doesn't say who creates the messages or where the drones take off from.  Do Uber drivers carry a drone, a piece of card and a marker pen with them?

Local take-aways could use them to get food orders, deliver the food and take the money - if you're stuck in a jam, you don't want to go hungry now, do you?

Or, if you're just bored in the jam, you could always do some shopping:

Sunday, 9 October 2016

A Crushing Blow

If you happen to use the underground car-park in a certain block of flats in S.E.London, you'll have had a shock when you came to get to your car today.

I say "today"- I read this BBC report from today but it doesn't actually say when the event happened.

It's a strange one.  A water pipe has burst causing polystyrene insulation under the floor to expand, raising the cars until they were damaged by the car-park roof:
You wouldn't think polystyrene would be that strong.

I spent ages trying to work out what this car actually is.  It's obvious from the badge that it's a Ford and I've finally decided that it's an Explorer.  It was particularly unfortunate that it was a tall car parked under some pipework - the Fiat 500 next to it looks like it might have got away with it.

The article goes on to say that if any of the cars were removed too hastily it could result in a gas explosion.

An interesting engineering problem.

I wonder who will be paying for this damage - I bet there's no wording in motor insurance policies about vehicles being crushed by rising polystyrene.

Meanwhile, this chart shows rising polystyrene prices:
It is the bit at the end - and it is just Chinese polystyrene prices.  Following plant closures in April, production of polystyrene has been reduced, tightening supply and causing prices to rise. Increased demand for high impact polystyrene (HIPS) and expandable polystyrene (EPS) in particular further supported the price rise. However, despite lower production rates and rising production costs, coupled with high demand, prices still remained down 20% year-on-year.

It's amazing what you learn when you put "rising polystrene" into Google.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Car+Driver Feature Something I Own One Of.

Is it a Renault Alaskan?
No. While a tough Renault pick-up is slightly intriguing, it wouldn't inspire me to buy one.  I don't think they are on sale yet anyway.

So, is it the Mercedes GLC43?
Nope, I can honestly say I have no interest in that whatsoever.

No, what it is that I own one of, is a Commodore 64 - like this one:
Only less grubby.  But I have the cassette player rather than the more sophisticated Disk Drive that this one boasts.  Car+Driver feature it in this story about a Polish car workshop where they claim it is still being used to assist in balancing driveshafts.

I would like to believe that it is a true story and that it is a recent photo - the mobile phone in the picture looks quite old but if they are still using a Commodore 64, why would they bother with a 21st Century phone?

Plus the glasses look like an old-person's spectacles.

I enlarged the picture and put some of the screen text into Google Translate - it came up with the following phrases:
  • keep the number of influential blanking vibrations
  • measurements of the masses without trial
  • The test mass plane
So I reckon it is legit.

Not that I even know the basics about aligning Polish driveshafts.

But I could help them with the BASIC.