File this one under: Cool Motorcycles Americans Won’t Buy
A couple of years ago I took a spin on a motorcycle called an Aprilia Mana. It’s an 850cc V-twin that looks like a spiffy sort of bike- no fairings or leather tassels. Just a sit-upright standard with tons of storage and a comfortable seat.
Omigod! That’s right. The Mana uses a constantly variable transmission (CVT) which in layman’s terms means “automatic.” And there’s no quicker way to emasculate the average motorcycle riding dude than to suggest he ride a motorcycle with an automatic. So this perfectly capable bike, dare I say versatile, sits in dealer showrooms across this country unwanted.
So the Mana will join the ranks of fine motorcycles, like the Honda Transalp and the Yamaha TDM 850, that have landed on our shores and promptly flopped.
But the good news is if you’re looking for a deal on a brand new motorcycle with a full warranty, you’re in luck. Aprilia is offering 2009 Manas for damn near half the original sticker. For details visit our local Aprilia dealer: Brookside Motorcycle Company.
I had the Space Needle on my mind last night after perusing the souvenir edition of the Seattle Times from April 1962. I dropped in on eBay to see what sort of Seattle memorabilia might be available. Turns out ephemera from the worldly fairs actually has a category on eBay. Who knew!
Cool Stuff on eBay
Check it out- a 50 year old towel.
But not just any towel- it’s a souvenir from the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle! Very cool graphic featuring the space needle and the monorail.
This year happens to be the 50th anniversary of the “Century 21 Exposition.” Check out this classic space-age towel here…
I haven’t had cable in more than a decade. That fact used to make me a fringe element- but now it means I’m hip.
But we knew that all along.
A recent Wall Street Journal article chronicled this rise in over-the-air viewing (link below). Web-enabled devices are changing the way TV works. And people are realizing they don’t have to pay someone to make them a slave to their boob tube.
Favorite shows can now be watched when you want to watch them. Those willing to wait a little can enjoy their favorite series en masse instead of waiting a week to see the next episode. All while pocketing the cash usually budgeted for the monthly cable bill.
Eventually the real winners in all this will be local broadcasters. Assuming there are any left. Ironic when you consider just a few years ago the Internet was predicted to bury television as we know it.
Over the years regional and local content has been virtually annihilated by the propagation of satellite and cable TV. And most locals are doing their best to use the new digital channels as mini-cable networks, or at worst weather displays. The smart stations will stop trying to mimic Oprah and leverage digital channels for targeted, local content.
It takes a sheet of heavy paper, some aluminum foil and a few minutes of your time. So let’s just say insanely cheap.
Our wi-fi router is centrally located within our office. But the conference room, where the wi-fi is most often required, is separated from the router by multiple walls and lots of fluorescent light fixtures. A signal is obtainable- but the strength is meager at best.
Repositioning the router wasn’t really feasible so I started investigating wi-fi signal boosters and such. There are several options available ranging from add-on antennas to signal relays that attempt to extend the signal- supposedly up to 1 mile.
Then I came across this idea from Free Antennas.com. Using a simple cardboard parabola covered with foil it promised a 9 dBi gain. For free!
It took about 10 minutes to cut out a copy and place it on one of the antennas of our D-Link router. Just adding the one increased my signal in the conference room from Poor to Fair and 11 meg to 36 meg of bandwidth. I haven’t even got around to making one for the second antenna!
Of course I had to tweak their design just a smidge- see what you think…
Click the image to view the full-size version. Print it in heavy stock or acetate. You can even scale it up to increase the gain!
All you do is cut it out, cover the rectangle with foil then do the insert tab A into slots B. A little tape on the back side helps keep it all together. Poke holes through the X and slide it over your wi-fi antenna. For more details and specs check the page on Free Antennas.com.