Monthly Archives: June 2013

The Fiat 500 that wasn’t at NYICS 2013

Reported by autoblog the Fiat 500 Cattiva is coming to the United States.  TPKoC was all up and down the New York International Car Show in 2013 and this car wasn’t there.

In the end, though the only Fiat in the United States worth having is an Abarth, or the Abarth Convertible.  So, the Fiat 500 Cattiva is really much ado about nothing.

CFCharities – Super Car Show

TPKoC (The Pirate King of Cars) and TPPoC (The Pirate Price of Cars – age 10) journeyed out to Pennsylvania to see Super Cars.

Unfortunately, there is a proper horde of children at the old Pirate Ship and the journey didn’t begin until late.  Arriving at 2PM for a car show that ends at 4PM isn’t optimal.  Alast, hopes to see the elusive Bugatti Veyron have been dashed, yet there was still plenty to be seen.  Plenty that can’t be seen on a daily basis.  Doing things and seeing things that you don’t see on a daily basis is the heart of being a pirate.

Driver’s were even getting in to their cars and driving away as we arrived.  Twin Lotus supercar’s left as we arrived.  Well, a supercar TPKoC could potentially afford isn’t really a supercar.  Supercars should be like supermodels – utterly fascinating to look at and utterly unattainable.

$5 fee is certainly reasonable.  We even bought a t-shirt.  TPKoC hopes that the monies aren’t being taken by erm, pirates, and go to good causes.

TPKoC and TPPoC spent about an hour looking at the last of the Super Cars and taking pictures.  TPPoC will be making his own post with his own pictures and thoughts sometime soon!

We then took in some of the sights at the Warminster park, including a 2+ mile trail.  There was a large centrifuge there that apparently would still astronauts out of ordinary human beings.  A number of signs about the solar system and one of the largest play grounds we’ve ever seen.

In another bit of the parking lot we saw a bloke attempting to windsurf on roller blades.  It wasn’t going so well while we were there.

This area, which turns out to be the birthplace of the steamboat, is very picturesque and seems like a nice area to hang out.

Enjoy the pictures!

Ford Returns to Buttons

In this Motor Trend article the concept is about Ford returning to the usage of buttons – with continued use of touch screens.

The problem is that the rapid changes coming to cars are trends – as the name of the magazine is stated – Motortrend.  It isn’t about design and ensuring high customer satisfaction.

Touch screens are great – in handheld devices where your eyes are on the device.  TPKoC used the buttons in his old 1992 Honda Civic as markers as to what to touch and where to touch it.

The touch screen integrated cars – you have to take your eyes off the road to ensure that you are touching the right item on the screen.  Bad design and unsafe for drivers.

Ford is doing the right thing by returning to buttons.  The tactile response of reaching for a button and feeling it without ever taking your eyes off the road is far more efficient and safe than reaching and then looking to see if you touched the right thing on a touch screen.

Touch screens have been a boon for car manufacturers.  They charge more – and their costs have gone down because they removed a large number of buttons from the command consoles of cars.

Now, to go back to the drawing board and do it right.

The Disappearance of 6 Passenger Cars

In this modern era of cars – there is no passenger car that can hold 6 passengers.  The last major model to hold 6 passengers has lost the front center seat – the Chevy Impala.

Two station wagons remain that can transport 6 passengers – the Mercedes E-class station wagon and the Mazda5.

Inherently, in the design of a sedan there are advantages that should result in a high-passenger capacity vehicle that gets great gas mileage, handles well and Arg, isn’t a minivan.  For instance, sedans have less weight, lower center of gravity, lower coefficient of drag and typically have a smaller physical footprint than most minivans and SUVs.  All of these factors should create a great handling vehicle (compared to an SUV or minivan)  that gets great gas mileage.

The major problem with car manufacturers pursuing profits is that they design, build and sell to the average size family is that people who lie outside the average size family have reduced choices.  Those reduced choices result in large families only being able to choose poor handling, heavy vehicles with bad gas mileage.

For example, TPKoC has been fruitful and has four children.  Due to changes in car seat laws you can no longer have a Civic with 4 kids crammed in with two adults in the front.  In fact, your only choices for 6 passengers are heavy, poor handling gas guzzling SUVs and Minivans.

Perhaps you would say that the gas mileage doesn’t look that bad.  The Honda Odyssey has a highway mileage of 27 mpg and a city mpg of 18.  The real-world has been less-kind than the EPA estimates.  Routinely, our 2007 Honda Odyssey gets between 13 and 14 mpg.

Perhaps, people would argue that a Honda Accord is too small for three passengers in the front seat.  Americans are big people!

While I don’t question that Americans are big people and that we’ve gotten bigger in the past decades, I do question the absence of variety in the car buying market.  The premise of a free market is that everything that people are willing to pay for can be available.  Someone, somewhere will find a profitable way to create and fill the needs of the market.

However, with the limited number of auto manufacturers combined with the fact that few of these manufacturers are not beholden to each other (such as Ford/Mazda, Chevy/Buick/Cadillac, Toyota/Scion) means that there are even fewer choices.  We shouldn’t be confused with the number of models available in 2014 (around 1000) with actual different choices.

It can’t be all that hard to design a front seat that can accommodate three people.  Cars that had this option used to be prevalent everywhere.  Perhaps we could have a 40mpg car, that can fit 6 people?

Paint.NET

Another excellent (free) still image graphics program is Paint.net .  (www.getpaint.net – NOT paint.net).

This far exceeds the functionality in Paint in Microsoft Windows, but is still a free program created by an educational group.

Unlike Pixlr – you have to install this on your local machine and as it is called Paint.NET – it is written in Microsoft oriented Visual Studio.  So, it may not work for you pirates that live in Apple/Mac or Linux land.

Pixlr – Wonderful Graphics Editor Page

There are many useful tools in order to get a website going – creating icons and graphics in general. TPKoC knows, that the default software is Photoshop. Not all of us have the money to spend on incredible tools at an incredible price.
Pixlr is a graphics editor – which operates through your web browser. A zero install impact to your PC – other than tools and add-ins that you need to in browser to run the website itself.
TPKoC has only used this software a little, but found it to be mighty impressive. Depending on your needs it may be a quick solution to your static graphic needs.