April 19, 2005
New pulley...

This past Sunday I drove to Wichita, about 2 1/2 hours away, to have Randy Webb of Webb Motorsports install a 15% reduction pulley on my MINI. You see, if one reduces the size of the pulley that turns the supercharger on the Cooper S, one can increase the speed at which the supercharger spins yada-yada-yada, my MINI now goes really fast as you can see from the shot above.

I also had NGX Iridium IX spark plugs and Kingsbourne plug wires installed. Throttle response is wickedly improved.

It was great to get to meet Randy Webb and learn from his tech talk. He explained in pretty good detail how the MINI functions from the intake to the point where horsepower is applied at the wheels. Pretty much straight gear-head technical stuff but Randy has a way of explaining things that makes them fun and interesting. He’s kind of like the Mr. Science of MINIs.

On my way home about an hour outside of Wichita I called back to Randy, still finishing his last pulley install. Brian, who answered the phone, asked me what was wrong and I said, “Just let me talk to Randy.”

Randy grabbed the phone and asked what was up. I said, “Randy, what the hell did you do to my car!?! - long pause and then Randy, now a little confused, stutters to reply when I chime in, “It’s freaking AWESOME!” Randy, now audibly relieved, laughed and I thanked him for all the work and the incredibly informative tech talk he gave us.

There’s a gallery of my adventures here.

Posted by todd at 11:10 PM
April 12, 2005
Chili Red Everywhere

No, I’m not color blind. The above photo is really of an orange MCS Convertable on which I applied bonnet stripes but 9 out of the last 16 MINIs I’ve put stripes on have been Chili Red. I think the trend curve has finally caught up to me since my Chili Red MCS was a far rarer breed almost two years ago when I picked it up. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Chili Red MINI but I’m having lustful thoughts about a 2006 Hyper Blue MCS. I’m waiting until the 2006 models are released because I hear there will be special options offered for the last year of this particular model. Maybe even new colors.

The 2006 MINI Cooper S will also be the last supercharged MINI as the 2007 Cooper S will sport a new Peugeot Citroen turbocharged powerplant under the bonnet. I’m skeptical about this change but I trust that BMW won’t kill the MINI with this move. I think there might be a dip in sales for a year or two.The upside may be that those of us with supercharged Cooper Ss will possibly have more valued cars, at least for a short time until the new engine “proves” its worthiness as a MINI contender.

Posted by todd at 12:53 PM
April 01, 2005
iPod photo connector

The following entry contains my technical review of the new Apple iPod photo camera connector. If the thought of reading boring techno-babble makes you want to run screaming from the room, you may do so now.

Ok, for anyone remaining, the UPS man delivered my iPod photo cammera connector today. It didn't work right off the bat, but I discovered it was a bad USB cable. Baaaaad cable. Anyway, I found a different cable and connected the camera. The iPod photo display lets you know that a camera is connected and asks if you'd like to import "x" number of photos. I uploaded 17 photos rather quickly and efficiently. Once all the photos are on the iPod, the next time you sync the iPod with your computer, iPhoto 5 recognizes the iPod as a camera and asks if you want to import the photos. It basically treats the iPod like a camera giving you the option to keep the originals on the iPod or delete them. It transfers the photos pretty fast, since the connection is now Firewire or USB2 instead of the camera's native USB - not a big deal but pretty cool in my opinion.

The iPod photo then allows you to view any imported photos on the screen under the Import menu instead of your iPod photo library - probably because the imported photos are full size and the default library is compressed for viewing on the iPod or a television i.e. the full size photos are kept in a different place for later downloading to your desktop or laptop.

The cool thing about all this is that my camera never has to be left in my office next to the computer ever again. I have a bad habit of leaving my camera on my desk and then when I'm out and want to take a picture, I'm screwed. Now, as long as I have my iPod photo with me, I can download the photos to the iPod and then sync it all up later when I bring the iPod in to charge and download new tunes. I almost always remember to take the iPod with me *grin*.

I am impressed with this new accessory, like I had any doubt, and I highly recommend it if you are lucky enough to have an iPod photo rattling around in your pocket. That is because the new camera connector only works with the iPod photo. I would imagine that someday soon, the only "full size" iPod you'll be able to buy will be of the iPod photo variety or greater (ooooo! maybe a video iPod...) - meaning the old school monochrome display iPods will soon be antiques. Just my opinion, though.

Other photos of unpacking etc. can be viewed here.

Posted by todd at 08:37 PM