Twenty years ago, Ford took aim at European sports sedans and fired a tweaked-out Taurus across their bows. By the time the Europeans stopped laughing, that Taurus was over the horizon and gone. Now, the SHO is returning. But who’s laughing this time?
The 2010 Ford Taurus SHO reprises a work order first issued in 1989: an austere midsize car outfitted with a hotter engine and stiff suspension, which can carve canyons like an upmarket luxury sled and costs thousands less than such cars from, ahem, Those German Brands. This go-round, Ford's added bold styling, a comfortable and attractive interior, tons of usable space, a twin-turbo V6, even more lateral grip and quicker responses. The result is a machine greater than the sum of its parts, and the best car Ford's ever built.
Taking Brammo's whisper-quiet, all-electric Enertia for a spin in Manhattan
By Matthew CokeleyPosted 06.10.2009 at 2:57 pm 27 Comments
Yesterday I seized the chance to throw a leg over the incredibly svelte Brammo Enertia--280 pounds of mean, green technology. Powered by six lithium-ion batteries stacked in a patented frame, the Enertia cuts a futuristic profile but it's not merely a prototype: a racing version will take part in this weekend's all-electric TTXGP race, and as of July 5th, anyone with a motorcycle license in Portland, Oregon can walk into Best Buy and purchase one. Try doing that with a Vespa.
Imagine the laughter, back in 1965, if Ford had crossed the kid-friendly Country Squire station wagon with the stately Lincoln Continental. A car shopper would have spit-launched his Lucky Strike right into the salesman's shirt pocket. These days, luxurious motoring and conveying a large brood to Chuck E. Cheese or the World's Largest Ball of Twine aren't as mutually exclusive as they once were. Take as exhibit, well probably O at this point, the Lincoln MKT.
On the heels of the Obama administration’s announcement that it will move away from hydrogen fuel cell funding came an invitation from Volkswagen to visit the California Fuel Cell Partnership in Sacramento, CA and test drive one of their fuel cell prototypes.
Well, why not?
Reporting on a test drive of a new car is generally pretty simple. How does the car look? How does it feel? Does it hang with its competitive set? How many parking-garage attendants told you it was awesome?
Assessing a pre-prototype version of the Chevy Volt is, um, different. To start, it's not a production car. Then there's the context. The Volt lies at the intersection of some of the most contentious issues of the day—electric cars vs. next-generation gas or diesel engines, CAFE standards, greenhouse-gas restrictions, the federal bailout of the American auto industry. Some people still refuse to believe that the Volt is actually a production-intent project. But after driving the car earlier this week, I can testify that the Volt is definitely real.
If you've done a fair amount of electronics circuit building, then you probably dread prototyping. You know prototyping: that point where you take your "perfect" circuit design from paper and transfer it to an initial hardware mockup. Typically, you have three basic choices in this matter, each with its own problem.
Your first choice in circuit prototyping is to lay out your design on a modular breadboard. The strongest virtue of this choice is the elimination of soldering -- all connections are built into the breadboard. Unfortunately, breadboards are bulky and unable to handle surface-mount device (SMD) designs.
Following closely on the heels of breadboard prototyping, your second choice is perfboard layout. Once again, most perfboards are unable to accommodate SMD circuit designs. Plus, the point-to-point wiring needed for connecting the components can be a daunting task.
Which leads us to your final choice for circuit prototyping: custom printed circuit board (PCB) fabrication. Whether you roll your own PCB with DIY masks and etch kits, or hire a fab house to create a custom PCB, time will be your enemy. Fab houses can take upwards of one month for delivery of a finished board (unless you're willing to pay extra for faster service), and making your own PCB can be fraught with frustrating failures and delays which can take days to weeks to solve.
No matter whether you felt that Earth Hour was a terrific conservation tactic or an overhyped PR stunt, energy on our planet is in peril. Our daily juice (be it electric, gasoline combustion, atomic, or carbon-based), has become a precious commodity with at least one guaranteed effect: to elicit an instantaneous hot-button opinion from just about everybody.
What can you do about it? Well, one great proactive demonstration would be to stop your regular consumption of dry-cell batteries. Yes, there are numerous substitutes, ranging from rechargeable varieties to alternative energy replacements, but each of these substitutions has a debit that few of us are willing to pay. You know, "costs" like always hunting for an outlet to power a battery recharging station, or getting rid of a clean, slim-line AA battery for a gargantuan solar-driven bat-winged monstrosity.
Are you looking for a gift for that special someone, that will also have some great practical worth when it's dumped back in your lap on February 15th? The I Love ST microcontroller evaluation board combines touching sentiment with touch capacitance, all wrapped up in a cute little red heart-shaped PCB ringed with red LEDs.
OK, you don't have to actually throw away your Arduino, but you might wish to consider this slick alternative the next time you're going to build a temperature-sensing microcontroller project. Or, for that matter, a light-sensing project, or a proximity-sensing project, or a capacitance-sensing project.
This "alternative" is a relatively new kid on the embedded design block called PSoC® FirstTouch, from Cypress Semiconductor Corporation. The Cypress PSoC is better known as a programmable mixed signal array or Programmable System-on-Chip (PSoC). While sporting an 8-bit microcontroller clocking in at a maximum 24MHz and supporting 512 bytes of SRAM, 8KB flash, these rather lackluster specs are offset by four analog and four digital customizable advanced peripheral building blocks (known as PSoC Blocks), and the ability to build a crazy-small microcontroller project.
How small, you ask?