Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pursuit MINI @ SEMA 2007, by Team Fireballed®

Most die-hard MINI fans have already seen the results of Team Fireballed's entry for the 2007 Street Tuner Challenge on the Speed Channel, unofficially dubbed the "Pursuit MINI" or, the "World's Fastest Show MINI". However, as a diehard MINI fan, I couldn't NOT blog it too, now could I?




Check the official Fireball Tim blog for the inside scoop and a slew of "behind the scenes" clips of the making of yet another one-of-a-kind Team Fireballed® showstopper.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

TOP TEN* things my GPS device doesn't do!

I've had my TomTom Go300 for a little over a year now, and as I am finally starting to use it more and more, I'm discovering many things it doesn't do, that I really wish it did.

I was messing with my friend's $2000 on-board Navigation system in her shiny new 2007 Lexxus recently, and it wasn't that much better than my $300 device. Add the random 5- minutes on various, crippled in-store demo models, thus sums up my personal hands-on experience with navigation devices. If the one in the Lexxus doesn't do it, then I assume no GPS devices have these features. I'd love to get my hands on an upscale portable GPS system for comparison purposes (hint hint!).


For now, I've decided to start my "Top 10 things my GPS device doesn't do!", a work in progress, and in no special order:

1. Remember my Search! When I look up "Claim Jumper" and it shows me the wrong location, to look up another location, I should be able to go back to "Find > POIs..." type a C and it brings up recent searches. I shouldn't have to start all over. Alas, I get to fumble with spelling C-L-I-A.. delete, delete... you get the picture...

2. More U.S. POIs please! While the TomTom comes in $100 less than it's Garmin counterparts, has a cooler name and funnier commercials, the only real differences I've seen in the two brands is that Garmin is quite U.S.-centric while the UK/EU-oriented TomTom brand is a late comer to good ol' USA, and it shows. I was with a friend and he was looking for his bank, the second largest bank in the U.S. My bank is *the* largest U.S. bank. Yet, when I'm looking for an ATM, neither of them show up on the list of 40 banks I've never heard of. Isa this what I get for opting for the TomTom over the Garmin?

3. (Semi) Automatic POI updates. When I look up a POI ("point of interest")- namely an establishment with multiple locations (i.e. a chain store) like, say, "Claim Jumper"; The magic POI genie should notice I like Claim Jumper, and when I connect my device to my computer, it should check the non-existent POI database and download all the Claim Jumpers in the U.S. to my device. Asking first of course...

4. "Current Direction" option. When looking up a POI it defaults to "closest" location; You can change it, but for instance, the other day, the closest location was in the opposite direction I was headed. If the device were smart enough to notice, that'd be awesome. If it were dumb, but knew to ask "... in the direction you're going right now?" that would be nice too (of course, we never mess with our devices while the car is moving, right?)

5. Wifi/integration/access. After I gave up on finding my friend's bank on the TomTom, I pulled out my entry-level cellphone, accessed Yahoo, and found the address in about two minutes. Then I entered in the address in the GPS and was on my way. Wouldn't it be awesome to not have to use my cellphone for that? The TomTom GO300 does allow Bluetooth integration, but having read the manual a dozen times, I already know this is not a feature!


After proofreading a few times, I guess I wish the TomTom Go300 worked more like an iPhone. Then again, I didn't spend $600 on it. Then again, if I had an iPhone, would I need a GPS device? (I mean, once you hack it and install the 3rd party app).

This on-going list (and I promise I'll stop when I get to ten) brings up a few related questions I'll have to search the InterTube for answers:
- How does an establishment get their location in the POI database anyway?
- Can a user recommend POIs to the manufacturer? If so, how?
- Just how much can I hack my GPS device before it stops working?

What are your peeves of your GPS device?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Newsflash: Women Want Cupholders!

Okay, so perhaps it's not an exclusive...


Making the rounds through my favorite websites (a.k.a. procrastination) I came across a recent article at MyRide.com. The topic: "Top Ten Things Women Like About Cars". Among the list are things you'd expect like Safety and Comfort, Efficiency and Safety, and Convenience. A good read for those who hope to one day proclaim they've figured out women. I for one wasn't entirely enlightened. I mean, except for the cupholders, that is. That blew my mind.

Photo courtesy of MyRide.com
"As a woman with children, cupholders are a must…the kind that adjusts to keep spills to a minimum."
Get the full story at MyRide.com. Then come back and tell us your thoughts!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

How To: Rear Badge Removal [PICS]

In a fit of boredom inspiration, I decided to remove the rear badging from my beloved MINI (To take photos of the process was an afterthought. Sorry for the crappy cellphone quality).


The rear badge we know and love...

Step One: Tape off with Painter's Tape (optional but recommended)...

Dental Floss (The cheap kind. Don't use this.)

Step Two: Floss Gently.


Trivia: Floss goes through fingernails better than double-sided tape...

The process continues...

Badge Removed. But you're not done yet!...

The aftermath... Rear Badge, preserved for future use; and about 3 feet of (cheap) dental floss...

Back to work on the tape... Don't use this! (duh)

Plastic scraper from "goo-gone" kit. Better? (note the question mark)

Step Three: Wet & Scrape, repeat as needed...


Looking good! (but only because you can't see the scratches left behind! Grrrr!)...

Step Four: Cut & Polish... (this did not remove the scratches completely!) :(


Wax on, wax off... (Meguiar's NXT Tech Wax, not shown)

The result:




Estimated time: 15-30 minutes.


Supplies used:
  • Blue Painter's Tape
  • Dental Floss
  • Goo-gone® kit (liquid & scraper)
  • Meguiar's Speed Glaze + applicator
  • Meguiar's NXT Tech Wax (not shown) + microfiber
Tips I learned: If you have all the correct supplies BEFORE you begin, you can probably crank it out in about 15 minutes.

Things I wish I knew before I started: How the heck do you remove the double-sided tape remnants without leaving scratches?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mission Zero starring Uma Thurman

That's right folks, it's the second* Pirelli Film production, featuring Ms. Uma Thurman...
and the Pirelli PZERO, of course!



*Yes, that's right- there was a first one!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Alex Roy's BMW M5... drool...

Long before I had any interest in cars, I was the biggest technology fan and gadget freak I know. That has only subsided a bit in favor of the occasional go-fast mod and a penchant for a spotless and shiny MINI!

Imagine my excitement this morning as I read the Wired.com article about Alex Roy (who I now classify as "some crazy Manhattan-ite"), hellbent on beating the U.S. coast to coast speed travel record. Straight out of the movies (Cannonball Run), inspired by a movie (C'├ętait un Rendez-vous), it became a movie, "32 Hours, 7 Minutes." And now I can't wait it to own it- and a couple "road-friendly" gadgets I never knew I wanted. Until now.



If you don't agree this is the the coolest BMW M5 ever, then you're probably not a gadget freak. Enjoy the full-length article anyway, and more video clips at Wired.com and 32Hours7Minutes.com.

(How does one obtain a bumper-mounted, thermal imaging night-vision camera, anyway?)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Dead Key Fix. Best MINI Tip Ever! (so far)

A NAM* member writes:

"...my key stopped working in that the remote lock/unlock feature is not working... Can I fix this myself, or must I take the key to the dealer?"

Now of course, if you ask the dealer, he might say "...and that's $200 for the new key, $50 for re-programming, and you can pay the girl at the desk."

Thankfully we've got InterWeb®, with the power to connect like-minded people(s). And we all know by now there is never a problem someone has not already experienced and written about. And this is where "Steve" comes in (if that is his real name).

Steve responds with:
"The problem is that one of your keys lost it's association with the car. It is not a dead or defective battery. It has happened to me twice in the past year. You need to have all the keys with you when you get in the car. Step 1..."
Sure I could copy, paste, and repost the whole breakdown here, but that would be a) rude, b) stealing (sort of), and c) not giving our buddy Steve his "props" (my staff make me say that).

*Go read the 4 minute solution yourself over at NorthAmericanMotoring.com. You'll be glad you did. And when you need to use it, tell Steve "thanks"!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

MOTOR-TOBER 2007!



What a novel concept- October as "National Get Out and do Something Fun with Your MINI Month?", sponsored by "your local MINI dealer"? Sheer Genius! Of course, I already knew about the Mountain Rally going on in my vicinity like, three months ago. Alas the pesky day job... :(


Oh yeah, and don't forget to sign "The Waiver"
(Click for closer view.)

Waiver and MOTOR-Tober event listing, available at your local MINI Dealer and MINIUSA.com)