Thursday, March 01, 2012

Ford Focus RS in the US

In search of a 'hot hatch' in America, you find yourself limited to very few good options. It seems the UK gets the best smaller performance cars while the US gets tuned down grocery getters. The decision for Ford not to bring the RS series to the US is speculated all over the web. Ford says Americans wont pay a premium for a sporty hatch, others say it's because it would compete with their Mazda "warm hatches" here in the US. Sure, they will offer the 2012 Focus ST to the US - the first supercharged focus for America, however it lacks in style and power as well as only appearing in a four door version. I'm sure it will be for a "premium" but what is the market for a "four door, warm hatch" over the standard focus? Who knows.

We do know that you cannot register a focus RS in the US due to our horrendous emission laws and the RS hasn't gone through our "safety crash test". It's sad when you see tons of American, hill-billy tucks pumping out black smoke and taking up space on the roads - but hey, politics are entertainment.
After some research the only places you can buy the clean burning hot hatch is the UK, Mexico and Australia.

So just what is the focus RS? Well, here it is: The Volvo C30. That's right, Ford took the turbocharged, 2.5 litre, 5 cylinder, Duratech engine with a 6speed manual and did a few tweaks. Then made the cosmetics of the volvo much more manly and snarly. When the 2009 RS came out in the UK, Ford owned Volvo - thus the new look.
Apart from some body panles, wheels, slight tuning this IS the Focus RS. Luckily, the Volvo C30 (2008 Volvo C30 R-Design) is approved for the big trucked, yet conservative roads of America.

If you search on ebay you will find Ford Focus RS body kit / panles. Also some very nice 19in alloy rims. As far as I can tell the only issue may be the rear of the car - volvos are ugly in the boot and the RS hatch is closer to a two door 2001 ford focus zts.

Focus RS: 3,227lb (1,467kg) curb weight
volvo c30: 2,970lb (1,331kg) curb weight

To make this happen in the US, you may need:
-'08-'12 Volvo C30 R-Design
-'01 02 Ford Focus ZTS (for the hatch)
- RS body panles or kit from ebay
- 19in rims and tires
- paint job
- steering wheel, roll cage, seats, seat belts, emblems if you choose
- tune the engine to get an extra 70hp (easy)
- breaks
- suspension?

This sounds expensive but keep in mind the 2009 RS came out for $51,000 when it hit the show floor.

Another option is to find a company that can import a UK Focus or Mexico Focus to the US. I'm really not sure how to go about getting one registered however.

I'd like to know if anyone has every done this conversion. We know there are at least 3 RSs' running around the US. Ken Block is one of the lucky ones. A gift from Ford.

Here is a build log of the older version of the RS.

It's awkward when your dream car is a Ford and you aren't allowed to have one living in the US.
If there are other ideas, someone custom building, options - I'd like to hear about it.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Adventures: From iPhone to Android

I've been an iphone user for a long time. I've owned every version of the iphone and know the product well. I'm use to syncing it with iTunes on the mac and love how simple it is. However I do jailbreak so I can do whatever I want with it. The primary use of the iphone for me is : texting, email, facebook, twitter, podcasts, music and random apps (games and tools). I use it for TomTom GPS while driving and sometimes as a remote control for the home theater PC. Sometimes I use the 3G for wifi tethering too. I like this device and the iphone4 is the best device i've ever used next to the 13in Macbook Pro.
I know of Android. I know it's openess and feature sets. I know it's GPS turn-by-turn is better than iphones. However I also know there is no centralized management system like that of iTunes. How do you subscribe to podcasts? How do you mange music on it? What is the best app store (there seems to be many)?. There are a lot of questions, all of which I'm about to find out.

This will be a log of me coming from the iphone and going to android for a full month.

I've ordered a mico-SIM adapter so I can take the SIM from the iphone4 and just put it into the NexusOne. I already have a grandfathered account for AT&T on unlimited data plane. I'm already full "google" - meaning that on my iphone all my contacts, Voice, docs, calendar, Reader and mail are already setup with Google and synced. This was kind of a foresight a while ago when I set this up so I could move back and forth from iphone to android at any given time, so the transition will be simple (i assume). So obviously Google ownz my ass (let's hope they always like me).

Will I switch all the way and never use iphone again? I doubt it, but I'm going to full jump in to android and not touch my iphone4 for a whole month. I'll update this post as I go through the experience.

NexusOne - 2.2.1


Day One:
I received the Nexus One in the mail. It came with Android 2.2.1, 4GB Micro SD and no SIM. Just as I thought it would. I have already made a purchase of a Nexus One Otter box case, 16GB Class6 microSD. I am still waiting on these items.
So I booted up the N1, made my language selection, set it to connect to our wifi at work and am "playing".

First off, I notice the weight of the N1 vs iPhone4. The iphone4 has the bumper case on it, the N1 is naked. They feel really close to the same weight, but I'm pretty sure the IP4 is slightly heavier, but they are really close.

The iphone is faster and easier to spring awake than the N1 is from a sleep. Using one hand anyways. This is due to the iphone having the home button and slider next to the thumb you want to use ; the N1 makes you reach to the top edge, then back down to the bottom to slide and unlock. Sounds strange to say, but you notice it. As an iphone user, you attempt to use the little buttons or the little ball at the bottom to wake it up, but that wont work.

The N1 display is slightly larger than the iphone. The iphone4 is a higher rez screen, but the N1 looks so good, you don't notice it.

I logged into my google profile on the N1 and there was my life - brought down and put into place for me. My phone contacts, email and calendar where all there. I wont have a cell SIM in it until tonight, so I cannot make calls. But everything is working on wifi just fine. Knowing the Google Maps 5 just came out and caches maps for you (meaning you don't need to be connected to a cell tower once you plot a map), I installed this update and plotted from work to home. I want to see if I can use this turn-by-turn even without a cell signal. (ill update this once I know).

GPS and phone
Google Maps 5 worked as I thought it might. I didn't have a SIM in the phone so no cell service or was not online at all to get turn-by-turn directions. If you plot you course while on wifi, then you wont need to connect at all. Which is great. This tells me I could use the NexusOne as a standalone in-dash GPS/MP3 player with no service fees. Don't expect to be able to hit 'layers' and add Gas stations or anything new while driving with no connection however.
Although I must say, the TomTom on the iphone is a much better turn-by-turn GPS system. It's not built in and costs, but it's faster, smoother and more accurate. TomTom app is about 2GB. So it has all the maps locally - you don't need to have the iphone connected to a carrier either.

Got home, turned off both devices, pulled the microSIM from the iphone4, put it into the adapter and put this into the N1. Powered on the N1. It worked from the start for calls/SMS.

One major the N1 has over TomTom is the voice to address. Just speak where you want to go. That is much more efficient. Also Google GPS speech got some street names wrong.

Phone calls sounded fine. On speaker phone, this N1 sounds very 'tingy' and not very good. I think we all know though, you can buy the same iphone over and over again and the speakers always seem to be slightly differant. But for these two devices I have, the iphone on speaker phone sounds much better.

The call quality on the phone seems to sound a bit better on the N1 over the iphone4.

I am now noticing a blinking green light. I assume this is the magic "light button" that all BB owners get hard0ns for. Green must be for SMS, I thought I witnessed white earlier.. are there different colors or am I going crazy?
Anyways, moving on.

Of course having this pretty blinking notification light telling you to "get over here", you want to push this pretty button. When you push this flashing ball, nothing happens! (why is this thing here again?). You have to use the two-handed unlock to get the phone to be ready. Not only that but right after doing it I still don't know who sent me a message or what was said! So far I'm into many steps to get an SMS message.
Ok, it's not that bad, but hearing your phone and looking at the screen was too easy.. maybe I was spoiled.
Once android was awake and ready, you can now slide down the top of the screen to see your message. To reply, you have to hit another button. It's fine and works. I'm sure I've seen screenshots of people having messages on the lock screen. Maybe that's 3rd party software, maybe that's an app I need in the Market Place - not sure yet.

The wifi works great so far. I turned it off and the phone went to Edge. This is a T-Mobile Nexus One so I wont get 3G on AT&T with this, only 2G and wifi. Nevertheless, I didn't have to call AT&T, just swap the SIM and it works.

TV Media:
I was installing applications. It then hit me. Android users always boasted about flash.. and how wonderful it was. I then tried to find the apps for Hulu and Netflix. Well, they don't exist. I have been enjoying Netflix and Hulu+ on the iphone4 in the past few weeks. We know it will come, but as of today these two main apps don't exist.

(no really, why do I have this little ball on the phone?)

2nd Day: (alarms, notifications, 2g streaming)

Woke up an hour late. The alarm went off at 8am as it should have, then I hit snooze. That's the last thing I remember. Not sure what the default snooze alarm is (someone told me 10min), but I need to make sure it's working.
I jumped in the car, hit the Pandora app (still no sync cable yet) and drove to work. Streaming Pandora over Edge was fine.

I'm noticing this little light ball. I've seen yellow, white, blue and green flashes. It seems it's a different color depending on what notification you are getting. This means I should be able to set certain applications to certain colors - which is cool, I'll look at that later.
However I'm still not sure why this is a "ball button". They could have just made this a flush LED. I wish the iphone had this LED. It would be nice to look across the room and know what notification you have depending on the color of the LED.

Day 3: (apps)

Got the Otter case. VERY nice case. I just use the rubber part, not the hard shell over it. I like the non-slippery feel.

I'm discovering most apps are the same on iphone and android. Although once I found out the little ≠ button at the bottom of the phone is the "settings" button for each app that is brought up front. I'm used to the app having a settings button on their own, but this is fine. Angry Birds is better on the NexusOne due to the slightly larger screen.

I do notice the apps on the iphone feel a bit more polished and fluid. It's not a difference in "what one should I buy", it's just something an iphone user notices.

There is a strange/quick vibration when you navigate around the phone. It almost has that feeling of when your hand gets near electricity and you can feel the vibration from almost getting a shock. It's cool.

Day 4: (music, podcasts and camera)

The 16GB microSD card and USB cables came. Turned off the phone and installed the SD card.
The N1 seen the card right away and it was ready.

Using the MarketPlace is pretty simple once you use it for a while. It took me a while to find the "top" lists (apps, all apps). I'm still not sure how to tell the apps to go to the SD card. It seems you can go into the N1 settings and tell some apps to "move to SD", but not all. What if there where an app that was 1GB in size that had to be downloaded?
Also, if apps are on the SD card, does that mean I can backup the SD card and it also backs up the data for that app as well?

What I like better on the android market is that the market doesn't kick you out of the store each time you acquire a new app, nor does it have you log in every time either (iphone picks the annoying choice in both cases).

In order to drag MP3s to the SD card, you have to plug in the phone, slide down the notification window, select USB sync. Then the drive mounts. I then had to create a folder on the SD manually labeled "music", drag MP3s into that. Apparently the phone knows what to do with this new directory.

This is not ready for "my mom".

To get podcasts pulled down to you, you need an app. It seems 'Google Listen' is the app of choice. I'm a person that can figure things out, but there is noway most people I know would be able to set these things up. You have to go into Google Reader on the desktop, subscribe to the podcast RSS, mark it as a "listen" device, then the app on the phone picks that up a few seconds later.

Can't we just have a "Google Podcast" app? Search, Subscribe, they get pulled over wifi or 3G. done. (would you like these to go to SD?)

The music player is quite horrendous as well. It's like playing music was an after thought (a much, much, much later thought) on android. Although, maybe it's cheating coming from an 'ipod phone' and being spoiled with the long-worked on music platform that is itunes.

Google Voice still does not allow MMS, this is not a comparison from the iphone to android, since it's the same on the iphone.

The N1 has a 5mp camera, so does the iphone4. The iphone4 camera is much better. It's fine, the N1 does take good pictures, but with the iphone4 I felt as though I didn't need to carry a standalone camera. With the N1, I would.

Day 5: (hacing/unlocking)

This is who I am. Play for a while, then hack it.
Decided to root the N1, then install custom ROMs. A ROM is basically like an OS version of the phone. I've heard lots of good things about Cyanogen, so I wanted to get his ROM fist.

So to root android (for the nexus one anyways) I had to play for a while. Decent instructions here. Although.. it was more of a pain than jailbreaking an iphone. Don't worry about "ABD", I found after fighting with it, I really didn't need it.
After downloading the full Android SDK, Fastboot and rooting the N1, I decided to first do CyanogenMod 6.1.1. Once I got through a few snags, I really liked this ROM over the stock 2.2! Tons of tweaks including Trackball wake (like iphone!), bakcup ROMs, install ROMS from SD, etc.

But I still really wanted 2.3 Gingerbread. So I found MicroMod777 Nexus One 2.3 ROM.
The things I liked about Cyanogen ROM where here, but lots more! The N1 looks better, it's more fluid and faster. MUCH improved over 2.2.

Gingerbread is good and getting closer to replacing the iphone.

Day 6:

I had to turn my iphone on. Only for 'TV Forecast' app. I use this all the time and as of now, there is nothing that compares to it on android.

Otherwise, I think android has a ways to go. It's new compared to iOS, but it seems promising. I could get away with only using android, most apps are there it's solid and works well. It's not quite as fluid nor does it really have that integrated feeling, but I think the the things that pull me back most is the lack of a quality camera of that on the iphone4 (tap to focus for one), music organisation and player feel, and podcast integration. If these are not on the top of your list, then either are just fine. If these are what are most important to you, then it's the iphone you want.

For now, I'll hang on to both platforms so I can test and play with either. I like to use custom software and hack them. I can easily say, you cannot come from android to iphone without jailbreaking the iphone - and why not, it's so easy to do on iphone.

My perfect iphone:
- If the iphone quit wasting screen real estate and made the display larger.
- The iphone gets a blinky LED for notifications. (color by type)
- The iOS app store didn't kick you out for each "buy".

My perfect google phone:
- Make the OS and key functionality of a portable computer platform more integrated.
- Get some camera geeks there and wip out something great. Your MP is fine, get software.
- I don't think "the ball" is coming back, but let's not do that again.
- Made rooting android an "on switch". why not. just add disclaimer/warnings.

Winner Winners:
Camera +iphone4
Call quality +NexusOne
Display +NexusOne (larger>rez to me)
Music +iphone4
Podcasts +iphone4
wallpaper +NexusOne (live wallpapers rule)
GPS TbyT +NexusOne (although add $50 for TomTom on iphone, then iphone wins)
App store +NexusOne (less annoying /faster)
App choices +iphone4
App management +iphone4
Speaker phone +iphone4
Jailbreak/root +iphone4 (just easier)
Alarm clock +NexusOne (set multiple day "sets")

Friday, August 06, 2010

Jailbreaking i-Devices

Break in, do it.
DO NOT upgrade to 4.0.2 - or this wont work.
(read below for iphone4 with 4.1 - how too)

It appears the media has made it a big "to-do" that it is now legal to jailbreak your iphone. Don't get me wrong, it's a great achievement by the EFF and open community. This news however doesn't really apply to us who do jailbreaking because it has always been "our device" to do what we wish with it anyways.

Whether or not you think you need somebody to allow you to do something to something you bought, jailbreaking is something everyone should do. There is no reason not to at this point and there has never been an issue in jailbreaking iphones. Even at the worst case scenario, something goes wrong and your phone wont boot, all you have to do is plug it into iTunes and do a restore. It's just software, so it can be cleaned as a new device at anytime.

The other issue in jailbreaking an iphone that you WILL have to deal with is the fact that Apple puts out new software versions of the iPhone OS (right now we are at 4.0.1 of iOS). After you jailbreak 4.0.1, you will not be able to upgrade to "4.1" unless you are willing to do a restore and start over. Also, I wouldn't upgrade until the new "4.1" has a jailbreak out and has been hacked. So starting over is really the biggest annoyance of jailbreaking each time there is a new version of the iOS. However, I typically don't upgrade to every update. You have that choice of not doing it. I look at the changes in each new version and make a judgment call to see if it's going to be worth it - ' are these new changes good enough to justify me starting over?'. Typically no. However right now if they have a fix for the proximity sensor, that would be worth re-jailbreaking.

With that out of the way. Why would you jailbreak? How do you jailbreak?

As of right now, any iphone, iPad, Touch can be jailbroken by opening Safari and going to . Just swipe the bar and let it do it's magic. It will take a bit and will reboot your device. Once done, you will notice a new icon on your springboard. Cydia.
Cydia is basically like the iTunes store, with free and paid apps.
Inside of Cydia, I like to go to "manage", "sources". In sources, do Edit, Add. I'll add the new repository:
Once added do a search for AppSync for OS 4.0.(or 4.1) I'll install this so basically I can "try before I buy apps". I do buy the apps that I use. However, I'm not going to give TomTom $50 without trying it first. For finding apps, there's an appCake for that.

NEW: For iphone4 with 4.1 software:

Other apps inside of Cydia that are worth buying/getting:
- 3G Unrestrictor. ($1.99) This app allows you to trick a list of apps to make them think your always on Wifi and not 3G - such as FaceTime, Skype, Pandora, YouTube, etc.
- MyWi. ($19.99) This app allows me to tether my iphone and make a wifi hotspot for the laptop. I'm glad AT&T allows tethering now, but they want way to much for yet another internet connection when I'm already paying $30 a month for "unlimited". I justify myself as being in the right.
- flashlight. (free) If you have an iphone4, just buy the $0.99 app on the app store that allows you to use the LED. But if your on a 3G/3GS, get the flashlight app on Cydia. No screen flashlight app in the app store allows the LCD screen to be very bright. However this one is Cydia is VERY bright and free.
- Poof. (free) This app allows you to hide those annoying apps that Apple doen't let you get rid of from the springboard. ('Stocks' for instance).
- GV Mobile. (free) This is basically Google Voice app. Works very slick

If you buy any app from Cydia (or Rock, which is like Cydia), you can come back after another jailbreak and login to re-acquire these apps. No worries.

Typically I stay away from "themes". If you going to break your phone and have to do a restore, it's most likely going to be from themes or large GUI changes.

Have fun.
Right now my iphone4 can do FaceTime over 3G, used as a wifi hotspot for laptops/iPads, try before I buy, native google voice, skype over 3G, etc. It just feels like MY phone again.


4.0.2 just came out today. The only thing is does, is kill this happiness. Don't do it.
Same with your iPad, don't go to 3.2.2.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Google could do better with minor changes

Gmail, Docs and Chrome. If a few tweaks where made, it would be on top.

My mail was flowing nicely into my OSX for three domains. Nice, however I was tired of relying on one computer where my email resides. I'm a super geek, but never really have ventured out much - even though I recommend these services everyday - I myself was still doing it the old way. Firefox and where my "men".
Now all three domains get "poped" right into Gmail, color coded as to what domain, easy to filter and skin. Setup the iphone to pop Gmail and I'm done. My Macbook could explode but all my email/settings/contacts are still in the cloud. What makes this sing even more is the Gmail extension notifier.

Recently I decided to jump in with both feet and go all "google". I know Chrome is fast by means of webkit. I know gmail is solid and has many customizations. I've setup Gcal for many clients and businesses. It just works. Realistically if your using a pop client, your behind the times (we know, your 'corporation' requires it.. and they are behind too).

Now that Chrome has extensions like firefox, there is no reason not to use Chrome. The Mozilla foundation is seeming a bit lazy these days. Firefox is getting slow, logging out of sites that I tell it to keep me in for no reason and wont be HTML5 compliant anytime soon.
Chrome out of the box syncs and backs up all of your favorites right into docs so any computer you sign into Chrome with - bam, there is "your world".

I don't write blog posts much. However I am enjoying my two feet-jump into Google but a few things need to be said. It's amazing all of this is "free", so nobody can really complain too much. After jumping I did come across a few things that don't make since to me as to why they are.

Lets just hit the points:

Chrome: (updated below)
- Spell check. Why is that I cannot right-click a misspelled word, get suggestions and fix the misspelled with two clicks? Google has the best dictionary in existence and we know this can/is being done with Firefox. Why not? This is actually something many of us geeks rely on.

- Standard RSS. Try to look at your standard RSS feed. It's all gibberish. Now go look at it under any other web browser - it looks like it should. WHY!?

- 1-by-1. Docs is awesome and now Google allows us to upload any file type for online storage. You receive 1GB of storage for free, however you can buy larger storage starting off at $5 a year for 20GB - which I immediately did. But if I would have known the main limitation, I would have not. This being that you can only upload a file - one -by - one. No, don't try to upload those files from your dropbox account that are all organized in folders the way you want them. You must only upload a file - 1-by-1. Ugg. It wont replace my dropbox account for now and I will not renew my $5 a year account. It's not really meant to replace dropbox I guess, but it could very easily bring people over if they just allowed folder uploads. Google doesn't even have to make it "sync" and it would still be a winner.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a fanboy otherwise I wouldn't be writing this blog post. As Google grows and people really learn the power that they could have in a cloud/mobile arena, there is almost no reason not to do it. But as with anything, there are a few things that could use improvement. Using Google Voice, Docs, Cal, Mail all together is almost the mothers milk.

It's not like Microsoft or Yahoo are even close to catching up and maybe that's why some of these smaller issues are not ironed out quit yet. Once HTML5 is rolling, the functionality and customizations is going to be crazy (or it could be...).

What other items do you find in your googlevers that makes you say "wtf, really google? Why?"


Found the issue with "two click spell check fix".
- Instead of highlighting the word first as we did in firefox, just right-click the red/underlined word without highlighting.. it works! weird..

Found the fix for RSS feed pages. Install this extension.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Dell Offers Linux tutorials

You heard right!

Dell's Linux tutorials.

The ClearWire truth.

Is Clearwire good for gaming online?
A. No. It's accually quite slow since Jan 1 06. Since this date the company decided to throttle connection speeds which made a huge impact on online gaming.

Is Clearwire good for bittorrent or P2P app's?
A. No. Since Jan 1 06, Clearwire decided to block many (or all) P2P and torrent ports on there end. This means you cannot download the latest linux distro torrents. You can get around the port's by changing the torrent ports - but this only helps minimally. (see question 1).

Is Clearwire unlimited bandwidth monthly?
A. No. Clearwire decided to limit each client to 200GB a month data usage. Now, for most this wont be a problem (it's not like you can use torrents, or use that amount in a month because it's too slow)

Who is Clearwire good for?
A. Clearwire is good for the small family or the individuals who want to be "mobile" and doesn't care about online gaming or P2P applications. It's "fast" for - email, web surfing, photo sharing, site building etc. However I did have issues with FTP'n. The concept and ease is great for Clearwire, just not for the "g33k".

Does Clearwire offer any NNTP?
A. lol

I have detached my Cable to test Clearwire at my house for a week.. I'm a power user and gamer. Back to a non-restrictive fat pipe for me.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

uTorrent VS ClearWire

Ok, CableOne was killer for torrenting. Testing out clearwire now. They used to not block the default port of uTorrent ( 32459) - however now they do. So I have found that using port 3000, setting Protocol Encryption to "endabled" , "UPnP port mapping "unchecked" and "allow incoming legacy" checked = work pretty good on Clearwire. Not like CableOne.. nor is there any NNTP... but it's ok.

Be sure to only be using one PC per one port on the netowrk. (HTPC is port 3300, gaming PC is port 3000 etc)

I'll keep testing and update this when I find anything new.
If anybody els has some experiance with torrent and clearwire.. let me know.