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Happy New Year As Life Throws A (Virtual) Curve

Nurburgring Nordschleife

Track side a little way up the hill from the town of Adenau.

Happy New Year! It’s been entirely too long since my last entry. I can give you a bunch of reasons why, but it really only boils down to only one, which I’ll get to later.

After celebrating a little bit last night, I woke up this morning eager to come out of the gate strong. The first thing that happened? My computer, a virtual machine I’ll write about soon, was experiencing a glitch where the audio wasn’t working. It was fine last night and all of a sudden there was no sound, which is lame when you’re trying to listen to music.

Since it’s a virtual machine (VM) I decided to just revert to a previous instance. If you’re not familiar with the concept of a VM, just think of it as a computer within a computer. In other words, I don’t really use the main Windows environment in the computer. I use a Windows environment inside a virtual box inside the main Windows environment.

The environment I use is virtual. I can revert back to a previous “snapshot” any time, allowing me to quickly reset any time I have a problem. However, every file in the environment is also only in that environment. Because of that I use a separate external thumb drives to store my files other than pictures and videos, which take a lot more space. Being fairly new to this I forgot and reverted without creating a snapshot of the current environment.
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Slaying the Garage Dragon, Part 1

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For ten years I had been dragging my feet, all talk and no walk, about finishing my garage. Yes, I watched the house get built and I dreamed about the garage but never did much to get going on it. Oh, I knew what I wanted but never really seemed to be able to take some definitive action toward the goal.

Two manual garage doors, each with a rope to pull it up and down, the bare, unfinished drywall, the lone 40 Watt bulb casting a dingy shadow over the concrete floor that absorbed and duly displayed every drop of oil or whatever else you could spill on it, all conspired to keep me down. Continue reading “Slaying the Garage Dragon, Part 1” »

F1 In Crisis – 2015 Season Preview

2015 Red Bull RB11 cars.

2015 Red Bull RB11 race car ready for testing…

Let’s not beat around the bush. Formula 1 is in crisis. One reason this season preview is so last minute is because there are so many stories of ongoing problems. I wanted to capture as much of it as possible.

F1 is becoming a less attractive business proposition for sponsors because they are not getting the ROI that they expect. Simply put the exposure F1 provides is declining while the costs continue to rise (alarmingly).

Not only are costs continuing to spiral out of control, the audience is decreasing. Part of the reason is because of pay TV. If people have to pay to watch it on television there will be fewer watching than if it were free. Since branding and exposure is the name of the game for sponsors, this is a worrying trend.

As a result we have more and more crises as more teams struggle to survive and have to take on pay drivers able to bring ridiculous amounts of money. There may be more driver contract disputes now than cars on the grid. Moreover the caliber of skill is not as high as it could be, with many underfunded yet exceptionally talented drivers not getting a shot at the sport. It’s sad.

The grid is also made up of less reliable, ugly, poor sounding cars. And they are slower than before. I believe this is all the result of greenwashing with hybrid technology and it has done nothing to improve the sport. Plus the environmental benefits are questionable at best.

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24 Hours of Le Mans Preview: Porsche, Audi or Toyota?

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The 82nd running of the French classic takes place this weekend, June 14th and 15th, at the Circuit de la Sarthe, a high speed track nearly 8.5 miles in length. Fifty-six cars are entered across four classes of prototype race cars and production-based GT cars.

One surprising fact: Fully half of the entries are powered by Ferrari and Nissan (14 cars each). However, it is unlikely either will take the overall win since the top LMP-1 class is composed primarily of seven manufacturer-backed hybrid-electric prototypes from Audi, Porsche and Toyota.

The LMP-2 class has largely privateer teams running prototypes (17 cars), while the GTE Pro class has nine cars entered and the GTE Amateur class has 19 entries. However, some of those entries are really stretching the definition of  “amateur” with several ex-F1 drivers and Ben Collins (formerly The Stig on BBC’s Top Gear) in their line ups.
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