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A few weeks ago, one of TTAC’s Best and Brightest asked for my thoughts on driving in Japan. It’s not the first time the topic has come up. There were several comments in response to the series that documented the importation of my Town & Country, but I’ve been content to avoid the subject up ’til now.
I’d like to say I’ve abstained explaining driving in Japan because I believe my silence fosters discussion. But there’s a truer reason: I dread the scrutiny that follows any article about Japan. I know from hard experience that every westerner who has ever set foot in the country is an expert on every subject, and they will come out of the woodwork to dispute everything I say.
Don’t believe me? Wait and see. Read More >
Since the last installment in this series, my attempt to get the family Town & Country officially licensed here in Japan has slogged relentlessly forward.
After a week of such little progress that I saw no need to report upon it (action was limited to the receipt of my official approval from the recycle bureau), I can begin this by saying that over the past week important things are once again happening. Notice that I didn’t write: “Important progress has been made…” Read More >
In a few weeks, at WOOT (the USENIX Workshop on Offensive Technologies — an academic conference where security researchers demonstrate broken stuff), a team from the University of Michigan will be presenting a lovely paper, Green Lights Forever: Analyzing the Security of Traffic Infrastructure. It’s a short and fun read. In summary, it’s common for traffic light controllers to speak to each other over a 5.8GHz wireless channel (much like WiFi, but a dedicated frequency) with no cryptography, default usernames and passwords, and well-known and exploitable bugs. Oh boy. And what can we do with that?
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I was browsing the internet the other day and came across a website that purports to be “A guy’s post-college guide to growing up.” Normally I avoid websites like this. I learned about the manly arts the old fashioned way, dangerous experimentation, but since I have been wrestling with an especially verdant crop of nose hair recently I thought I might find some grooming tips and so I decided to check it out. Amongst all the articles on slick, greasy-looking haircuts, sensual massage techniques and the power of positive self-development, I found this handy beginners’ guide on how to drive a stick shift. Since it was one of the only things on the site I had any real experience with, I looked it over and decided it was pretty good. Naturally, I thought I would share it.
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A tailgater is a bully par excellence and his weapon is the “I’m not touching you” game. You remember that game, don’t you? It’s the one where your older brother tries to hit you as hard as he can but always manages to miss by a fraction of an inch. When you flinch or complain to your mom the refrain is always the same: “I never even touched you.” Of course, to keep things interesting, sometimes he does actually hit you – if he always missed you’d have nothing to fear, right? On the road the game is almost exactly the same and nine times out of ten the bully never hits you. But once in a while – once in a great while – it’s “metal up your ass.” Read More >
Image Courtesy of: Crushable.com
My dad freaked out. We weren’t going that fast when the old dump truck struggled out onto the road some distance ahead of us and it was a simple matter to just let off the gas and coast for a bit while the old truck worked its way up through the gears to the posted 35mph limit. The road in front of the construction site was a mess of mud and gravel and although I am sure my father didn’t appreciate the muddy spray on the otherwise clean flanks of his Delta 88, he seemed rather unbothered about the whole event – at least until we finally closed the distance and drew up behind the big truck. It was then he read the scene in front of him and jumped hard on the brakes. As the old truck rumbled away he turned to me and asked “Did you see that?” Read More >
The car business can be a pain for three distinct reasons.
The first comes from the cars that you sell. Botched repairs. Unhappy customers. Surprises that just seem to spring up and bite you in the ass. I can deal with that.
The second comes from people in the industry. Employees and contractors with productivity issues. The unending myriad of regulations and paperwork. Continuing ed classes with little relevance to reality. I can deal with that too.
What I can’t deal with is…
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It can be murder out there!
I am always hesitant to write a “how to” article. I learned a long time ago that no matter how good I am at something, there is always someone better right around the corner. For every bad-ass black belt you meet, there is a Chuck Norris looking to teach him some humility. Still, when I know something it’s hard to keep it under my hat so I am going to risk drawing your ire in order to start a conversation. Let’s keep it congenial, mkay?
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Yesterday, Clemens Gleich brought you Part 1 of his authoritative guide to the Autobahn, due to overwhelming success, today Part 2. If you ask how Clemens became Minister of High-Speed Transport Propaganda – stranger things happened in Deutschland. A formerly leather-clad radical was made Secretary of State, and the province of Daimler and Porsche has a green governor. Expect to be surprised! – BS
2. The Location
Many foreigners think that every Autobahn is basically the same, which can lead to a very unsatisfactory motor vacation, because it is easily possible to spend the whole length of it in absurdly limited sections and road works which means you might as well have stayed at home. There are some passages that not only are unlimited, but also have curvature radii that feel like a straight at 70 mph but tear your face off your skull (or your tires off the asphalt) at 170 mph. The A95 from Munich to Garmisch is a nice example (don’t go there on the weekends, when everybody and their mother will).
You could race down BMWs very own prototype test track: Enter the A92 leaving Munich, turn on the A3 towards Regensburg, at Regensburg go down the A93 towards Ingolstadt and Munich (A9). Rinse, repeat. You will see all those disguised next-gen BMWs and perhaps a few such Audis, too.
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Let me welcome you to Germany, English-speaking traveler. I know the two reasons you come here for, because I often meet you at the usual places for going fast: There is a) the Nordschleife of the Nürburgring which to you is the only thing interesting about the Ring, and there is b) the Autobahn. Read More >