When is more horsepower too much?

I ran across this article yesterday on Yahoo finance about the problem of people who buy super expensive sports cars, and then wrecking them.  On one hand, I’m glad to see people actually DRIVING these cars (what’s the point if you DON’T drive them?), but I’m beginning to question the point.

WHAT!?!  A Corvette driver questioning the point of driving a sports car?  Am I insane?  (well, that’s probably true)

One of the things that many people like to do when driving a sports car is to ‘push the limits’ of the car.  That is actually where the fun is.  What has happened, though, is that the cars’ limits have been increased by orders of magnitude.  It still amazes me that the current BASE Corvette has more horsepower than the 90’s ZR-1 and the C5 Z06!  And Chevrolet is going to be bringing out a ‘super-vette’ that is rumored to have around 700 horsepower.  Speed IS what kills.  What is truly scary is that in the newer sports cars, doing 150 mph is nothing.  The cars are stable, quiet, and well-mannered.  Ok, where’s the fun in that?  It’s like driving a Rolls.  No matter what you are doing, it is comfortable.  All they do is go really fast, and it doesn’t take much knowledge of driving to keep it going really fast.

Sorry, but I want a car that is FUN!  Think 80’s and 90’s MR2s.  The original Miata.  The new Lotus Elise captures part of that spirit.  What people are wanting is a sports car that feels like a sports car.  That’s what is getting these guys into trouble.  If you are pushing the limits of a current sports car, you are WAY outside the bounds of even remotely decent driving.  I’ve turned the traction control off ONCE! on the ‘vette, just to see how much it helped/hurt.  Let me just say, I’m not doing THAT ever again!

Guys, we really do drive race cars.  Heck, last year at the Daytona 500, the STOCK Z06 pace car had more horsepower than the cars it was leading around the track (it is restrictor plate race).  Still, those are cars that are doing 200 mph with trained drivers.  What chance does an amateur have keeping these supercars under control?

Maybe I’m just getting old and crotchety… smile_regular

Finally, Windows Vista 32-bit drivers from M-Audio for the Firewire 1814

One thing I’ve noticed a lot on my blog logs is people searching for information about the M-Audio Firewire 1814 and the Windows Vista drivers.  I had gotten the original XP drivers to work (sort of) with Vista.  Well, one other nice thing that happened this weekend was the release of beta Vista drivers for the entire M-Audio Firewire line.

I’ve dogged M-Audio really hard about being 5 months late with these drivers.  But, they are finally out, albeit with the beta moniker.  One thing M-Audio really needs to work on is the setup process.  Once I got everything figured out, though, the drivers installed, updated the firmware, and have so far preformed flawlessly.  (knock on wood!)  These new drivers certainly make the M-Audio Project I/O seem FAR more interesting than before.

Now, if M-Audio would just come out with Vista 64-bit drivers, I’d be a VERY happy camper!

Had a good weekend for once!

Wow, usually I’m a pretty ‘gloomy gus’ on the weekends.  The plans in my head just never seem to work the way that I want them too.

This weekend was totally different!  Friday started off with me making a decision that was probably not the smartest move to make, but will be interesting.  I’ll blog more about that as things work out. 

After that, it was time to take my first ever Microsoft Exam.  I am working towards an MCTS for Web Design.  It is two tests on Microsoft’s .NET technologies.  I took the first one Friday morning.  My expectations were rather low, as the offer to take the test came out of the blue, and had a deadline of being taken by June 30th.  I have been studying, and working with the material for quite some time, but I was not as prepared as I would have like to have been.  To my complete surprise (shock, horror, etc…), I actually passed!  Probably by only one question, but nevertheless, a passing grade was earned!smile_regular

The rest of the day was spent focusing on our projects that are in progress.  These seemed to go very well, and gave some clarification to the direction that I need to focus on at work.

Saturday turned into something interesting.  I was able to spend some quality time typing code in from a wonderful book, Beginning ASP.NET 2.0 E-Commerce in C# 2005, by Cristian Darie and Karli Watson.  It’s a great book for learning the concepts of an e-commerce site in .NET 2.0.  Unlike many other books, this one walks you through every step of the way in putting together a project.  Plus, they use many of the technologies and code available, rather than just focusing on a very narrow scope.  I’ve always felt the best way to learn programming is to type stuff in and see if/how/why it works.

After that, it was time for a quick trip to the music store.  Fortunately, it turned out not to be so quick, as it poured down rain for almost two hours.  I had nowhere else to go, so I was able to hang out and catch up with some people I know.

Finally, on Saturday evening, I went to see Ratatouille.  Great movie.  One of the best that Pixar has produced.  After a little while, you forget that it’s an ‘animated’ movie.  The CGI is incredible, the voices fit perfectly, and the story was top-notch.  I think ‘The Incredibles’ is still the best movie that Pixar has done, but Ratatouille is definite up there with all of the other great stories that they have done.

And finally, today was spent lounging around and napping with the race on.  It was definitely a good way to end the weekend.

This makes me want my Mac back…

No, it’s not an iPhone!  (Ok, obligatory iPhone reference is done now).  It is the latest version of NetNewsWire.  This is one of the pieces of software that got me to buy my friend Rick’s Mac Mini.  NetNewsWire is the best feed reader out there.  Period.  NOTHING comes close.  I liked it enough that I bought it.  For me to invest my own money in a program is a BIG deal.  I’ve tried almost everything to get the same functionality on the Windows side, but nothing came close.  Omea Reader was close, but the company stopped actively developing it.  What is scary is that Microsoft’s Window’s Live Mail for the Desktop is pretty darn close, too.  At least, that was with NetNewsWire 2.1.  With 3.0 being out now, all bets are off.

Dang, and I just got over my Apple fixation!