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Archive for April, 2014

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Fun in the Sun

Well I competed in the DC Pro Solo this weekend.  I was DFL in my class, but I knew that was probably to be my fate going in.  You have to start somewhere and my last pro event was in 2007.  I had not felt those kind of butterflies in the stomach since my first few auto crosses many many years ago.

I was not driving the car as hard as it needed to be driven, but that was ok with me.  Its not my car but I did have a really good time doing it.

LeesBMW

The funny thing about this photo is it is really the first photo I have of me driving a car at a pro and its my buddies car.  When I look at all of the other photos of my old 350Z which was my last autocross car, it always had my buddy driving it, so it all evens out in the end.  I will be purchasing this photo from Perry when he makes them available…

You know there is a lot of grip when you have two wheels off the ground.

Now I really really want to get my car finished.  This little taste this weekend reminded me just how much I missed autocross…

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Spanked

Got my ass handed to me last night at darts…  Wednesday night is league night and this is my first season playing in a league since 2006.  I am on a team in the B Division.  I was about that level when I stopped playing in 06.  Now I am still getting back up to speed so maybe a high C level.  So needless to say I am bringing up the rear on my team.

Well after feeling pretty down last night after getting home I decided to take a look at the opposite team stats this morning.  Seems I was playing against their best shooters, so I don’t feel so bad now.  I did manage to make it close but made a tactical error and I should have know better.  Col. Mark beat it into my head, but my head is hard.

Kind of sucks for me, but you play the hand you are dealt.  I feel sorry for their worst player who got stuck playing against our best player, hopefully he can take it with the same grain of salt I did…

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Dear old Dad

Well in the process of building my race car I have been having long talks with my dad about the build, giving him progress updates and such.  Most recently it was about relays.  I know what they do and have replaced them before but have never needed to wire one into a system before.  We talked about relays for a while and I got that all straitened out in my mind.

Discussions then went on to the TPS and just how to figure out which pin is which on the TPS, as most manufacturers won’t tell you which one is which for fear of a lawsuit no doubt.  My dad has forgotten more about how electronics and such than I even knew.  We just need to get the old meter on the contacts and take a look.  I will have him on FaceTime for that exercise, it should be fun.

Next we went into the Megasquirt ECU that I will be using and talking about how to get things wired most easily.  Dad was very interested in how that part of the project will work.  The last time he rebuilt a car or changed a motor they all still used points.  Sequential Fuel injection and Spark are a long way from that.   Its getting to a fun point now.

Intakemanifold5

The custom intake is now bolted in place, more wiring has been done on sensors as the water temp sensor is in, and the air temp sensor is in the intake just behind the air filter.  The Cam sensor is an optical distributor without the distributor cap as its not needed.  The Crank sensor is all the way down at the bottom and is a hall effect sensor reading a trigger wheel bolted to the back of the Damper.  I would show you a pic of the other side but it is just a mess of loose wires right now…

I can still sit in the front seat and make vroom vroom sounds for now.

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Spam…

It is amazing how much spam starts to show up as soon as you start blogging again.  For weeks I had not gotten any spam.  Now after posting for a few days I have 30 spam messages.  But thanks to Akismet I don’t have to touch any of them.

Some of them are pretty funny.

 

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March 6th 2009

Was the last time I bought a dead tree book1.  Its not because I don’t like the dead tree format, it is more because I like the ease of acquiring new books, ease of storage, ease of reading as I consume a lot of books quickly.  When I was traveling extensively it really sucked to be a heavy reader, as you can only bring so many books when you are headed out for 6 ~ 8 weeks to a non english speaking country.  Dead tree is heavy and takes up a lot of space unfortunately, also since 9/11 airlines have these crazy bag fees and kill you with them if your bag is one kilogram overweight.

Then came the Kindle 1 and I was meh… no real selection in Science Fiction.   Along came the Kindle II and I got one a lot more books, but it was not without its problems.  I had a mysterious battery drain issue when out of the country (yes I had the wireless turned off) where the battery life would diminish after I had finished reading books it got worse after every book, it got so bad at one point I had to recharge the thing every other day.  Then came the iPad.

The iPad brought me not just the Amazon store2, but the Nook store, and Apple’s hot mess3 that is iBooks.  It also allowed me to go to my favorite purveyor of books who are putting out ebooks in the Baen’s eBook website and I was finally able to put it in a format I could read on something other than my computer.  Life was good for a voracious reader.

Yes life was good for the consumer but it killed competition which is bad for the consumer.

Borders: Gone.

The mall book store: Gone.

Barns and Noble: just about gone nearest one is half an hour away.

Books-a-million: Meh never liked it as the section for Science Fiction sucked.

I really never ordered a dead tree book off of Amazon except for a couple out of print really hard to find books.  But I usually always went into Borders and the mall book stores when I was in the mall, and frequently bought books especially hard backs from authors I loved and could not wait for paperback at the local book stores.

Where am I going with this ramble???

Well upon hearing that some new books were out from authors I have read in the past I went to go order them, but I was appalled at the prices I am seeing on Amazon.  I will not pay 12 dollars for an eBook of something that I would have typically waited till it was in paperback and pay 8 dollars or less.  I am just not going to do it.  Worse is that the prices just don’t come down for months or even years for some authors.  I have purchased Baen4 eARC books for 15 dollars before, but they were mostly the “Oh John Ringo no” series, Michael Z Williamson books, and a few David Webber books.

Now I am spending a lot of time buying the $3.99 and under selections in the science fiction section of Amazon .  I have found a lot of good to great authors that have self published, most of the misses have been in the less than 2 dollar range but there have been some real gems there also.  But the big names (Jim Butcher. Patricia Briggs, Terry Prachett, etc) who bring their ebooks to the market at above 10 dollars will just be placed on the wish list and maybe purchased in a few years when the price is reasonable, or maybe I forget about the story and why I liked it so much and don’t bother buying it at all, which is what I have done with Jim Butcher books.

I don’t mind paying 6 ~ 8 dollars for a known quantity but that is my maximum, except for Sci-Fi from L.E. Modesitt.

There is just is not the expense behind the eBooks that there was behind the dead tree format,  Yes amazon takes their cut but so did Borders.  But eBooks  do not have to be printed, shipped, stored, or stocked5

It would be interesting to hear from some authors on eBook pricing, but that is my take.

 

 

  1. besides special books and first editions of something I really really like or something I read in the 80s that is out of print and I really want to read it again
  2. which is verging on if not already a monopoly
  3. yes it is a mess, finding a book to read is a horrible and slow experience and unless you know an authors name you are really shit out of luck.  A three year old could make a better interface to buy book than Apple did with iBooks.  One of their rare fail moments.
  4. Baen has always been special for me as a Science Fiction fan, as almost everything coming out of Baen is a home run or damn close.
  5. other than putting it up on a website and I am sure that is mostly automated by now
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Wheels

Well here is a photo of the Z with its shiny race wheels.

It is rolling on 18X10s on all corners.  Will be doing the fender flares on the car in the next weekend or two…

 

CCW wheels
CCW wheels

Oh and a shiny motor is in there now too…

Intakemanifold3

Still have to finish up the wiring but if the Z gods smile on me I should have it running shortly…

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Really….

Yes its been a long time since my last post.  Much progress has been made on the 240Z, though old man winter has harshed my mellow on the time frame.  I might have it running in two weeks but there is no way my shake down event will be the DC Pro too much to go wrong.

The 2.8 liter motor from a 280Z is in the car and I have the shiny custom intake and headers bolted up to the block.  I have the LS1 coil packs also bolted in the bracket and the bracket attached to the block.  I have all the cabling to the injectors done and the fuel rail ready to bolt on.  I have the first coil pack wiring harness done and have five left to build, which should take a few hours with all the crimping and soldering to be done.

After that I have to wire in the Crank and Cam sensors, the water and air temp sensors, and the MAP sensor.  Then wire up the Megasquirt ECU and it will be time to crank the beast over an make sure the timing is correct (coils firing and injectors firing) and the cam and crank sensors are configured correctly.  Then add fuel (after I bolt in a fuel tank and fuel pump) and see how things go…  I will probably have my buddy Alberto over for this as he has gotten cars running and tuned before…

All of my writing lately has been on facecock but I am thinking I am going to curtail almost all facecock activity, as it is a time suck and I really don’t like it other than updates from my racer buddies.  So I will try and post here more frequently.