August 24, 2004

Die Neue BMW 3'er

New 3-series spy shot Posted by Hello
Bimmer Skinny: We take the wraps off BMW's next-generation 3 Series [] "The basic form of the 3 Series is long established," said recently promoted design boss Chris Bangle. "It’s the proportions that are important; we have worked hard at getting them right. We want to make a new statement on an old theme."

Fresh off the heels of the new 6 Series and the European introduction of the 1 Series, comes word of the next iteration of BMW's 3 Series.

This is BMW's bread and butter, their volume leader and main bread winner. A car they can't afford to screw up. Spy photos of the 3 Series show a car that is firmly in the mold of the new Bangle design idiom, with many of the design vocabulary that is present in the new 5 Series and the Z4: The concave portion of the hood bulge from the 5, the flame surfacing of the side panels from the Z4, the relationship of rear deck treatment to the rear quarter panel is straight from the new 5. The kidney nacelle brows are from the new 7. And interestingly, from the rear quarter view the roofline and the character combine to give the new 3 a Jaguar-ish look.

Pages from a leaked brochure of the new 3 Series have interior shots that show the design themes continuing in the cockpit area: double binnacle dash, iDrive center display, and conventional HVAC controls.

Will the new 3 be capable of being the standard-bearing sports sedan that it has been the past 20 years? I like the exterior design. If the driving dynamics are well sorted out, then the only thing capable of holding it back will be iDrive. It seems BMW is sticking with it come hell or high water, and if unimproved from current iterations, could well mean the end of the road in terms of sport sedan dominance for the 3 Series.

Click here to read about the Performance Center Delivery of my 2005 M3.

August 22, 2004

Cold Brewing Coffee

My coffee is cold [MSNBC]: "I can serve hot or cold coffee at the same time, and I can serve a large group without standing in the kitchen for a good 30 minutes pouring hot water through a drip filter." - Kristin Yamaguchi

Think of brewing coffee and what do you think of? Usually it's some combination of coffee grounds, and bubbling hot boiling water. Intuitively, it seems as if hot water is necessary to the coffee brewing process. Even the dictionary entry for the word "brew" contains the word "boiling," although the definition does not indicate that it is required.

Now comes the idea of cold-brewing coffee, which, according to its proponents, preserves the full flavor of coffee, while reducing the acidity and caffeine content.

This seems to fly in the face of the opinions of many a coffee connoisseur, who maintain that precise temperature regulation of approx. 200 deg. F is the optimal water temperature with which to brew coffee.

To my knowledge I have not tasted a cold-brewed cup of coffee, nor am I obsessive about water temperature in the hot-brew method. But if a cold-brew concentrate can remain stable for up to a week after the brew, it might be something worth looking into.

August 18, 2004

Using Lake Ontario to cool Toronto

The Globe and Mail [] The water's cold will be extracted and used to lower the temperature in downtown buildings. The water will then be treated and enter the city's drinking supply.

From the Department of Why-Hasn't-Anyone-Thought-Of-This-Before, comes the idea of using near-freezing water from the depths of Lake Ontario to use as the cooling agent for air-conditioning in Toronto's office buildings.

Here's a site that explains how it works.

Basically, super cool water from Lake Ontario is pumped to a heat exchanger before entering Toronto's water supply system. The cold extracted from the heat exchanger is then pumped via water pipes to Toronto's buildings, and is used to cool the buildings' cooling systems via another heat exchanger.

Posters on Slashdot, known haven for geeks, then wondered if this heat exchange process would -- in obeying the laws of thermodynamics -- cause the temperature of the lake to rise, causing other unforeseen environmental effects.

I think it would not, since the water would be going through the water supply system anyway, the heat gain (cold loss?) probably would have occurred anyway, in the form of waste.

August 05, 2004

Party Like It's 1954

Popular Science | Tech '54, Where Are You? [] "As the final minutes ticked away until the start of my experiment, I had Piper hide my cellphone, kissed my Sharper Image CD shower radio good-bye, tried to ignore the fact that I would soon be sacrificing 242 TV channels, took a last peek at the Paris Hilton video, and tapped out the following e-mail autoreply:

'I will be offline from 1/1-1/10 ... because I am doing a story on living the low-tech life for a high-tech magazine.'"