*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Monday 9 January 2017

Ford Transit Connect Wagon: the car for a family to do it all.

The car I should have bought, not the CRV I did: they cost about the same.  The thing about SUVs is that they are too big to drive well, but too small to be useful.  You should either get a wagon or a hatchback, because they are pretty useful, but small enough to drive well; or you should get a truck or a van, because they are big enough to be useful, if too big to drive well.

A note on drive-wheels, best to worst: AWD oriented to the rear, AWD oriented to the front, RWD, FWD.  I am hoping the AWD version they sell overseas comes here.  God, Americans don't like the right cars (and Canada is the same market).

This van fixes all my problems, except driving sporty: family van, low-cost stealth camper, cargo van, and more.  Let me explain:

- Fits more than four people well

- Fits in a standard parking space and is short enough to enter parking garages.  Is narrower, shorter, and not as long as the Dodge/Mercedes Sprinter, and isn't made by those unreliable companies, nor Fiat/Chrysler.  

- Unlike any other van in N America, the second and third rows fold flat!  Whether left in the car, or removed!  Look how they put a flat backing on the third row!  Bed space for tall people, like me.  Also long and wide enough to take 4'x8' plywood flat, which is the sign of a long enough truck bed.

I'd get dual sliding doors, because kids are clueless with swinging doors, and to encourage my kids to play door gunner... where it's safe enough.

Think I'd get a lift-gate, not barn-doors, because it keeps you out of the wet.

My stealth-camper modifications, that allow me to hold onto warranty and resale, and keep plumbing out of the vehicle?  I wouldn't want the smell of cooking or shitting inside of it.  

Cheap, to not very expensive:
- screen window covers
- insulated blackout window covers
- a huge black tarp and poles to make my own shade
- heated carpet and electric space heaters for when I have 'shore power', so I never worry about carbon-monoxide
- a second battery, isolated so that if used up never runs down the main
- small fans to move around air when sleeping, and maybe some reading lights and charging points
- a double mattress on the floor, and a removable double bunk above it, made from a couple of folding tables

Now I can park it anywhere and sleep for free.  But what if I wanted to turn it into a family camper for longer road trips?

All of the above, and some of:
- bike rack
- trailer-hitch
- hitch box, carrying a portable kitchen, privacy tent and an outdoor shower (toilet?)
- roof racks
- a canoe!
- a hard-sided roof tent

These modifications cost only $1000 to $5000 (CAD).  Sure beats $10000 to infinity for a camper-conversion.

Friday 11 March 2016

Kindle: 'read everywhere'?

Any question from a headline may be answered, 'No.' You cannot always, much less easily, read Kindle content once you've moved abroad.

Wherein Antisthenes buys a Kindle Paperwhite
Whereat Antisthenes comments on a year of its use
Wherein Antisthenes' Paperwhite breaks just after warranty
Wherein Antisthenes has his first frustrations with transferring Kindle content abroad

There are three basic problems:
- E-readers are cheaply built
- you do not own E-books from retailers, only gain rights to them
- every bloody country has different rules on the content, making it troublesome to transfer

The results are:
- it's better to read E-books on your phone, blackscreen, than buy a dubious device
- OTH, real books are much more satisfying and memorable
- better you choose one commercial E-book source in one country and stick to it than try much to transfer
- or, as there are precious few left standing, use Amazon in one country, and Google Books in another

This applies to paid-for e-books only, of course.

There's little point explaining how I transferred my e-books initially from Amazon Japan, as they have changed the rules since, in a way neither better nor worse but nonsensical.  Nor is there much point in complaining that the sensible thing for Amazon to do with its app is allow multiple sign-ins, so that no matter which country content is paid for, the user can access it indefinitely without having to strip DRM (a process both illegal and troublesome) attempt to transfer it, or sign-out/in each time they want to access books bought from the other Amazon location.  In the end, Kindle loses any further business.

Sunday 20 September 2015

Crossover: CRV or Forester

Tried the Outback: too fucking big for the city.  It's down to the CRV or Forester now.  In short, the Honda's more reliable, but the Forester comes with better options at the price.  Also everyone has a CRV, and I do not like its few colour choices.

Here's what I'm comparing.

CRV LX $27678
- red or one in the greyscale
- cargo cover not included
- rack not included

Forester Convenience Automatic $27731
- multiple colours
- heated mirrors
- rack included
- automatic lights
- fog lights included
- power front seat
- hill descent
- cargo cover
- more mats included
- 17" better wheels