Asus Eee Pad Transformer (TF101) – First week with the Android Honeycomb tablet

Asus Eee Pad Transformer

Asus Eee Pad Transformer

Ever since the first videos of the Motorola Xoom started appearing online, I knew that a Honeycomb tablet would be the perfect device for comfort computering. When the Xoom finally came to market, it turned out to be both pretty expensive and only available in the US. So I started looking at the alternatives. Here the Asus Eee Pad Transformer (TF101) looked like a great compromise between price, design and size/weight. That release kept being delayed in Europe, but it arrived for sale in the beginning of June, and I ordered the 16GB version with keyboard dock from Amazon.co.uk.

I’ve now been using the tablet for a week, and the experience has been very positive even though it’s apparent that Honeycomb is a work in progress. First of all, it really is great for comfort computering, sitting in the sofa, browsing the web. It’s also a pretty neat ebook reader, it comes with the Zinio magazine app, which includes a bunch of free magazines, and I regulary use it to read the PDF version of the newspaper.

F1 on the Asus EeePad Transformer on BBC iPlayer via VPN and 24h Le Mans on the tv

F1 on the Asus EeePad Transformer on BBC iPlayer via VPN and 24h Le Mans on the tv

The hardware is very nice, especially considering the price point. The metal bezel feels nice to the touch, the plastic back has a nice texture and the (IPS) screen just looks fantastic. The cutouts in the metal bezel for microSD card and miniHDIM can feel a bit sharp though. The keyboard dock has metal top with island / Sony Vaio (no, Apple wasn’t first with that design) style keys, they’re nice enough to type on, but nothing spectacular. The multitouch touchpad is responsive, though the mouse buttons can feel a bit hard to press down. The keyboard dock includes an extra battery which keeps the tablet charged, so it’s always ready for use. The keyboard dock also has two full size USB ports and a full size SD slot. While the keyboard dock protects the screen like a laptop would, I’ve ordered a case for the tablet so I can use it out and about without the keyboard attached (Acase Leather Folio Case Cover for Asus Eee Pad Transformer).

Plume for Twitter

Plume for Twitter

While the Android OS is fully usable with the mouse and keyboard, it’s clear that it’s with the touch screen interface it shines. Everything is very smooth and slowdowns are a very rare experience. The stock Android browser is great, it looks and works like the Chrome desktop version, with tabs and everything. Flash works well, but it’s nice to be able to choose when it should be enabled. There are still a lack of tablet (/Honeycomb) optimized apps, and the market (here) doesn’t yet include such a category to make it easier to find the once that are there. I currently use Plume as my Twitter client, it has a nice set up with a couple of windows for different kinds of messages.

F1.com Android app

F1.com Android app

The TF101 has really shined during the 24h Le Mans qualifying, where it handles both live timing, news and Twitter feeds perfectly, and it’s very comfortable to hold and use while keeping an eye on the TV. The battery will last for at least 8 hours with tasks like this (probably double that when connected to the dock), the charging cable is very short though, so it’s wise to charge it whenever you’re not using it to avoid having to use it while it’s plugged in. The F1.com app looks even better on the larger tablet screen, than on phones, and can show all the drivers / lap / sector times on one screen.

One great build in app is the Asus branded Splashtop (free version). This works like most remote desktop apps (like VNC), where you get full control over a computer over the network. Where Splashtop excels is in the impressive handling of video, I can play any video on my desktop and Splashtop will stream it to the Transformer(!), it even works for live TV which the desktop shows in GB-PVR. When it’s running, it looks and feels like you have a wireless, 10″ TV with build in PVR functions, not to mention full access to Netflix, Hulu and so on (these doesn’t currently run natively on the Transformer, but they can run on a network attached computer and be streamed to the tablet).

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Alfa Romeo 4C, making the concept

Alfa Romeo 4C - Making the Concept

Alfa Romeo 4C - Making the Concept

We’ve previously looked at the rumors leading up to the presentation of the Alfa Romeo 4C concept.

Now Alfa Romeo Centro Stile has made a time lapse video of how the Geneva concept car was build:

Via TopGear.com.

We’re also hearing from The Detroit News that deliveries for the 4C will begin late 2012 in Europe and early 2013 in the USA.

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Boxee running on AppleTV through a VPN to access BBC iPlayer

Okay, I admit this is quite an intricate setup, but it works great and the different parts of it will work by themselves so hopefully this can be of use for others too.

Boxee running on AppleTV through a VPN to access BBC iPlayer

Boxee running on AppleTV through a VPN to access BBC iPlayer


First a little background for the setup. I use a 1st gen (aluminium) AppleTV as a “TV” in the bedroom connected to a pair of speakers and an old monitor. I like the design of the box and the remote is neat, but the software is just way too restrictive. So I run Boxee on it, which both looks very nice and handles both local and online media well.

Installing Boxee on the AppleTV is pretty easy, you just need to boot it off a USB stick (“patchstick”) which has been prepared on a computer. This can either be done by following this guide (free): Boxee AppleTV installation or by using FireCores aTV Flash (not free): Firecore.com/aTVflash. aTV Flash gives you some other features aside from Boxe, but if you just want Boxee then it’s not necessary.

I like to watch Top Gear and F1 on BBC’s iPlayer, and there is a plugin for it in Boxee, but it only works if you’re in the UK, or if the BBC thinks you’re in the UK. This can be solved by using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service. There are loads of them out there, some free, some not, and one can be as good as the other, but I use ibVPN (not free) so you can try that if nothing else works.

The problem now is to make the AppleTV connect to the internet through the VPN, this can’t be done directly and I haven’t had any success by using FireCores VPN tools. I do have a spare WiFi card in my desktop computer (Windows 7) though, so I login to the VPN on that and then use Virtualrouter (free) to create a WiFi accesspoint that the AppleTV can connect to.

Voila, it works, iPlayer streams perfectly on the AppleTV via the VPN connection on the desktop computer :)

The last part of the guide can also be used if you have a Boxee Box, instead of a AppleTV running Boxee.

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Home Theater PC

My HTPC with Twinhan DVB-C card installed My first HTPC in 2003 was based around a VIA M10000 “Nehemiah” mini-itx motherboard and a Hauppauge WinTV PVR-350 tv tuner. After trying some different media center software I found GB-PVR which was the only one that could use the hardware MPEG2 decoder on the PVR-350 without crashing every other minute. This turned out to be a perfect match, the VIA mini-itx motherboard was power efficient and silent, the PVR-350 made nice recordings (hardware MPEG2 encoder too) and it looked very nice when outputted to my Sony CRT. GB-PVR took care of all the recordings and made et easy to control it all on the TV with a remote.

However after a couple of years I decided that it would be nice to be able to play games on the machine too, and be able to play back other formats than what the PVR-350 could output (MPEG and MPEG2). So I build a new machine around an Asus micro-atx motherboard (Asus N4L-VM/DH). The tv tuner was soon upgraded to a DVB-C (digital cabel tv) tuner, ‘cos I didn’t need the hardware decoding on the PVR-350 anymore and I wanted to improve the quality of the recordings. The DVB-C tuner was a cheap Twinhan DVB-C (Mantis 2033) which I found on an auction site (it turned out that at the time people had a lot of trouble with the DVB-C cards, so they were selling them cheaply…). This worked perfectly in GB-PVR and was soon joined by a Terratec Cinergy DVB-C 1200, bought the same way.

Phoenix/Smartmouse interface with a Viaccess smartcard and Seriel to usb interfaceAt this time (2008), most channels on digital cabel from YouSee was encryptet. So I had to get a smart card reader and I spend a lot of time making it work. In the end it worked though :) I made a couple of posts about it on my old blog:

After that the encryption was lifted on most channels, and I didn’t bother moving the smart card reader to the next build.

In 2010 I build my current HTPC, which is based around another Asus motherboard (P7Q57-M DO). This is using the same “old” Twinhan and Terratec DVB-C cards, but where the two first machines ran Windows XP, this one is running Windows 7, and GB-PVR has been upgraded to NextPVR (newest version of GB-PVR). I also run Boxee on it, which is perfect for navigating my DVDs and online content.

For music I use iTunes, mostly because there are some great remote apps for the iPod Touch and Android (see My favorite Android apps right now). This lets me listen to music without having to turn on the TV.

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Moving website to a new VPS

I used to run my web server at home, but I decided that for traffic reasons it would be better to just rent a VPS (Virtual Private Server). The first one I tried was IT-staden (then called “serverconnect.se”), the best thing that can be said about it is that it was cheap…. I then decided to try something else, so I picked Blanye hosting, which is also cheap, but looks like it has better specification VPS’s, and it looked like it’d actually work reliably. These are my notes from the transfer from one VPS to another, it’s mostly for my own use, should I need to do it again sometime in the future, but maybe someone else can use it too.

1. Move files

This was pretty easy, I just copied everything under /var/www/ to the new server. And made a backup of everything on the server.

2. Move database

First I made copies of all the individual databases with this command:
mysqldump -u USERNAME -pPASSWORD DATABASENAME > FILENAME.sql

Then created the databases in phpmyadmin on the new server and importet the databases with this command:
mysql -u USERNAME -pPASSWORD DATABASENAME < FILENAME.sql

2b. Move user privileges

I have some different users set up for the MySQL database. Instead of creating them again I wanted to move them, luckily it’s pretty easy as described here: Copy export MySQL user priviledges

3. Web server setup

I run multiply websites on the server, so I set up some Virtual Hosts

For the WordPress blog I needed to use a .htaccess file to rewrite the urls (the Apache2 module “mod_rewrite”, this has to be enabled in the Apache2 web server:
a2enmod rewrite

This also has to be enabled in the virtual hosts we set up earlier, this change needs to be made:
“None” should be “All”, like it is here:

<Directory /var/www/www.smovs.dk/www/>
Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
AllowOverride All
Order allow,deny
allow from all
</Directory>

The last.fm widget I use on the pages use cURL, so I had to add that to PHP5 too:
apt-get install curl libcurl3 libcurl3-dev php5-curl php5-mcrypt

Now restart the web server and cross your fingers:
/etc/init.d/apache2 restart

4. FTP server

To enable automatic updates in WordPress, it needs to have access to an ftp server it can transfer the files to. So I installed ProFTPD on the VPS:

apt-get install proftpd

I choose to run the server in standalone mode, ‘cos somehow it doesn’t work if I choose the inetd mode…

Now add a new user:

adduser wordpress

Choose a password for the user and just accept [enter] the rest of the options.

Now we need to let the wordpress user access the blog, first goto the users home director and then make a symbolic link to the website dir:

cd /home/wordpress
ln -s /var/www/blog

And we’ll change the owner of the WordPress dir to the wordpress user:

chown wordpress -hR /var/www/blog/

Now WordPress should be able to update itself and its plugins, all you have to do is to input the credentials for the wordpress user we just set up in the WordPress admin panel.

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My favorite Android apps right now

These are my favorite Android apps currently (in a more or less random order):

  • App 2 SD (free version)
    Helps free up the (often limited) internal memory, by identifying apps that can be moved to the SD card.
  • Barcode Scanner
    Does what the name says, and more, it also reads QR codes. Download it and try it on the QR code in the right bar on this page.
  • Battery Graph
    Plots the (de)charging of your battery.
  • Boxee Wifi Remote
    A great app that turns your phone into a WiFi remote for Boxee, it’s especially nice to be able to use the keyboard on the phone (press and hold [Menu] for a few seconds) when typing text, it’s much faster than the on screen keyboard in Boxee.
  • CamScanner
    I don’t have a scanner at home but this is a quick and dirty substitute. It takes a picture of your document, lets you crop it and then saves it as a PDF file.
  • Chrome to Phone
    Together with the Chrome (browser) app this’ll quickly send links from your browser on the computer to your phone. Neat if you’re looking up a place on Google Maps on the desktop and wants to navigate there on the phone.
  • Dropbox app
    Neatly gives you access to your Dropbox drive on your phone. It also has the upload function so it makes it easy to transfer pictures and videos from the phone to another computer.
  • ES File Explorer
    A nice file explorer that does what the name suggests.
  • eTilbudsavis (Danish)
    Lists supermarket offers in your area.
  • Pulse News Reader
    There are a lot of RSS readers, but Pulse does things a bit differently, it actually looks nice!
    It’s layout with a grid that scrolls both up and down (to select feeds) and sideways (to select items) just works. It’s especially good with feeds that have a picture linked to the news item, but it works with all RSS feeds. It’s a bit strange to set up (adding a new feed that isn’t in the Pulse database requires you to “search” for the url before adding it), but once it’s done it’s a very nice expirience to use.
  • QueueIt!
    When you select a video on the phone this app will ask you whether you want to watch it now or send it to your Boxee queue so you can view it later on the TV.
  • Remote for iTunes
    Works pretty much like Apples “Remote” app for iPhone/iPod Touch. It lets you control iTunes that’s running on your computer or an Apple TV.
  • SketchBook Mobile
    Neat drawing / sketching app from Autodesk (of AutoCAD fame), really easy to make nice looking drawings with lots of different brushes. Only needs to be able to import pictures to make it perfect.
  • Shazam
    Listens to the music thats around you and tells you what it is.
  • Tasker
    My Android phone just wouldn’t be the same without Tasker. It lets you set up simple or complex scripts. For example it turns on WiFi when I’m at home but turns it off when I’m out and about (to save power). It automatically turns on GPS when I open “Maps” and turns it off when I quit it. I’ve also used it to make a simple notification script that tells me when there’s an unread message on a homemade forum.
  • Transdriod
    I run the Transmission bittorrent client on my NAS. Transdriod is an interface for it (and uTorrent and other BT clients).
  • WordPress
    Manage your WordPress blog right from your phone, neat :)
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Alfa Romeo 4C GTA – the rumors

Alfa Romeo 4C Concept, on stage at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show

Alfa Romeo 4C Concept, on stage at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show

[Updated: 2011-03-01] – The rumors of Alfa Romeo presenting a small sportscar concept at the Geneva Motor Show keep growing stronger. Here is a track back through the news snippets of what started as a rumor of an Abarth coupe through to an Alfa concept which now is rumored to go into production in 2012.

Price rumors (Euros):
Alfa
2011-02-28 – €45.000 – ANE
2011-02-02 – €40.000 – ANE
2011-01-03 – €50.000 – auto.blog.rs
Abarth
2010-07-26 – €50.000 to €60.000 – Auto Express

Production rumors:
Alfa
2011-02-28 – 15.000 to 20.000 over 5 years (+ 5.000 to 10.000 Abarths) – ANE
2011-02-02 – 20.000 to 25.000 over 5 years – ANE
Abarth
2010-07-25 – 2.000 – Auto Express

The Alfa Romeo 4C Concept presentation

  • Alfa Romeo 4C Concept is now available as a nice 1:43 model
  • 2011-03-01 – Bilmagasinet – That’s what an Alfa should look like! (video)
  • Alfa Romeo 4C Concept (03/2011), Front

    Alfa Romeo 4C Concept (03/2011), Front

    Alfa Romeo 4C Concept (03/2011), Side

    Alfa Romeo 4C Concept (03/2011), Side

    Alfa Romeo 4C Concept (03/2011), Rear

    Alfa Romeo 4C Concept (03/2011), Rear

  • 2011-03-01 – Alfa Romeo press release: World Premiere: the Alfa Romeo 4C Concept
    Alfa Romeo has sent out the first press release confirming the Alfa 4C Concept at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, along with 3 pictures of the car. 

    At the 81st Geneva International Motor Show, the Alfa Romeo 4C Concept will make its debut, a compact “supercar” which represents the true essence of a sports car, according to the brand’s values: performance, Italian style and technical excellence aimed at maximum driving pleasure in total safety.

    The press release goes on to confirm that the 4C Concept is a carbon fiber construction with the FPT 1750 TBi engine, here quoted as having “over 200 HP”, combined with the “Alfa TCT” twin dry clutch transmission. The weight is also quoted as being under 850 kg.

    Possibly the most interesting part of the press release is at the bottom:

    This car is not simply an exercise in style created for the Motor Show; it will be on sale in 2012 and is set to reinforce Alfa Romeo’s global growth.

  • Alfa 4C, covered before presentation at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show

    Alfa 4C, covered before presentation at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show

    Alfa 4C, covered before presentation at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show

    Alfa 4C, covered before presentation at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show

  • 2011-03-01 – Alfa Romeo 4c Concept on stage in Geneva
    Thanks to kappa amstadam on the Italiaspeed forum, we now have pictures of the Alfa Romeo 4C Concept under covers on the stage at the Geneva Motor Show.

The Alfa Romeo rumors:

  • 2011-02-28 – Alfa Romeo Ireland (Facebook) - Picture the lovechild of an Alfa 8C Competizione and a small, lightweight British sportscar
    The Facebook page of Alfa Romeo Ireland has once more been updated: 

    We’ve had a peek under the covers at the new Alfa concept and, unsurprisingly, the mid-engined beast does not disappoint. Picture the lovechild of an Alfa 8C Competizione and a small, lightweight British sportscar and you won’t go far wrong. We’ll have pictures very very soon so keep your eyes peeled…

    .. and it continues ..

    We’ve great news for potential Irish customers: proper weather protection and everyday usability are part of the package. There’s even more good news for performance enthusiasts at Geneva, but for that you’ll have to check out the Fiat stand…. Fiat has re-kindled its relationship with a long-time coachbuilder friend to produce a surprise concept. Tune in tomorrow morning for more details of both remarkable cars!

  • Alfa Romeo 4C, Photoshop from Quattroruote

    Alfa Romeo 4C GTA, Photoshop from Quattroruote

  • 2011-02-28 – Automotive News Europe – Alfa 4C concept draws inspiration from legendary Stradale
    The clearest version yet of the photoshop that is now confirmed as originating from Italian magazine Quattrotuote, has been posted in ANE’s latest article about the Alfa 4C. They claim that the photoshop closely matches the in-house styled concept that’ll appear on Alfa Romeos stand at the Geneva Motor Show tomorrow (Tuesday).
    ANE also repports that the 4C will enter production late next year, possibly at Mirafiori, and be priced at about €45.000. The plan should be to build 15.000 to 20.000 4C’s during a 5 year production run, with another 5.000 to 10.000 cars build as a Spider version for Abarth.
    Alfa Romeo are according to ANE targeting a curb weight of just 850 kg for the 4C, which combined with a 250 hp version of the FPT 1750 TBi which should give it better power to weight ration than the Porsche Cayman S.
  • 4C Dream Alfa

    4C Dream Alfa

  • 2011-02-25 – Better quality magazine scan
    We are now seeing a better version of the magazine scan that appeared online earlier today.
  • 2011-02-25 – Alfa Romeo Ireland (Facebook) – Our new concept car is SUPER!
    Alfa Romeo Ireland continues to put out bits of info: 

    Our new concept car is SUPER! So why not call it a “super car”?! Wait until you hear this- it’s a socially responsible supercar!! No more big V8s like you’d find in the 8C. It uses a four cylinder turbo engine + low kerb-weight to achieve the same levels of performance as the 8C but with perhaps considerably lower fuel consumption + emissions. You can theorise your own name for our new supercar from all that.

    .. and it continues ..

    The engine is familiar to hardcore Alfisti but the carbon fibre chassis is new and helps us achieve a total kerb-weight that makes a Fiat 500 look a bit porky. This is a new Alfa Romeo the likes of which we’ve never seen.

    What is taking 2012 so long to get here?

  • 4C Dream Alfa

    4C Dream Alfa

  • 2011-02-25 – Picture surfaces – “4C Dream Alfa”
    A picture of a magazine (Quattroruote?) showing what appears to be a picture of the Alfa 4C concept turns up online. The article is titled “4C, Il Sogno Alfa” / “4C, Dream Alfa”.
  • 2011-02-24 – Alfa Romeo Ireland (Facebook) – NEW CONCEPT CAR
    The Facebook page of Alfa Romeo Ireland confirms that Alfa Romeo will present a new concept car at the Geneva Motor Show next week: 

    Alfa Romeo is returning to its roots with a NEW CONCEPT CAR, which will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show next week. Alfa Romeo made its name building successful race cars that were lightweight, powerful and technically advanced and this new concept car revives that original philosophy in some style!!

    Want to know more??

    .. and it continues ..

    We can’t tell you too much just yet, but if you show that you’re interested we might reveal a little more every day until the car is finally uncovered…

    We’re NOT talking about a special edition model with nice alloys and new badges, and we’re definitely not wasting your time with some pie-in-the-sky concept car that will never make it to production. This is an all-new and exciting car that will create more of a stir than the stunning 8C Competizione!!! If you want to know more help us turn a few more people into Alfa Romeo fans by spreading the word.

    The Geneva Motor Show opens for the public on March the 3th (Wednesday next week), but is open for the press a couple of days earlier, so we can expect official photos of the concept early next week.

  • 2011-02-23 – Automotive News Europe – Automakers bounce back from recession with Geneva product fireworks
    ANE now includes the Alfa 4C GTA in their lineup for the Geneva Motor Show. 

    Alfa plans to unveil a rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive coupe. The lightweight two-seat model is to go on sale as the 4C GTA in Europe in late 2012, delighting Alfa enthusiasts who have dreamed of an affordable rwd Alfa since the Duetto Spider was discontinued in 1994. Alfa sources said the 4C GTA could be sold in the United States, but no decision has been made.

  • 2011-02-18 – Omniauto.it – Abarth e Alfa, due sorprese a Ginevra [Translated: Abarth and Alfa, two surprises in Geneva]
    Rumor that Alfa Romeo will show the 4C (a 235 hp coupé) and Abarth will show an “Abarth 1000″ (a 190 hp Spider), both based on the Dallara KTM X-Bow carbonfiber chassis with the FPT 1750 TBi. Omniauto suggest that there could be a 210 hp version of the Abarth for the North American market, badged as Abarth or Mopar Dodge
  • 2011-02-17 – Carscoop – Duped: Alleged Spy Video of Alfa Romeo 4C an MPCARDESIGN Project
    The “spy video” from the 11th turned out to be fake after all.
  • Alfa 4C photoshop from auto.it

    Alfa 4C photoshop from auto.it

  • 2011-02-15 – Auto.it – Alfa 4C, I Segreti Del Gioiello Del Biscione [Translated: ALFA 4C, The Secrets Of The Jewel Of The Alfa]
    Auto.it has a new photoshop and are repporting that the styling will take ques from the Giulietta Spider and Sprint. They predict that it’ll enter production in 2012 and that there’ll also be a Spider version and possibly an Abarth.
  • 2011-02-15 – autoevolution – 2011 Geneva: Alfa Romeo 4C Concept Will Definitely Be There!
    Quoting “Auto magazine” that the 4C GTA will be at Geneva, it’s just being kept secret until the event.
  • 2011-02-14 – Alfa Romeo Press – Alfa Romeo at the 81st Geneva International Motor Show
    Alfa Romeos press release for the Geneva motor show doesn’t mention the 4C GTA concept, only a new colour for the MiTo and the TCT transmission for the Giulietta.
  • 2011-02-11 – Autojunk.nl – Video: Alfa Romeo 4C GTA spyvid
    Apparently a spy video of the 4C GTA concept (coupé and spider) has surfaced on Autojunk.nl, it does however look more like a computer rendered video than something recorded in real life. So it’s either fake or a viral video from Alfa Romeo.
  • 2011-02-04 – Autoblog – Report: Dallara to build X-Bow-based Alfa Romeo 4C GTA
  • 2011-02-03 – Italiaspeed – Alfa Romeo prepares new lightweight showcar for Geneva
  • 2011-02-02 – Quattroruote – LA 4C PER SAN VALENTINO [Translated: 4C FOR THE VALENTINE]
    A recap of the ANE article, with the additional info that we could see a preview on February 14th (Valentines day).
  • KTM X-Bow in the snow

    KTM X-Bow in the snow

  • 2011-02-02 – Automotive News Europe – Alfa Romeo plans ‘affordable’ halo car
    ANE reporting that the 4C GTA will be based on Dallaras chassis from the KTM X-Bow, incorporating aluminium subframes at the front and back and a 250 HP version of the FPT 1750 TBi engine.
  • 2011-01-28 – Autovise.nl – Geen rebadge-model van Alfa Romeo [Translated: No rebadge model Alfa Romeo]
    Autovise apparently have the 4c confirmed for Geneva by sales manager Andrea Formica.
  • 2011-01-25 – Auto Express – Alfa Romeo two-seater for Geneva
  • 2011-01-25 – Teaser pictures appear on other sites
    WorldCarFans, autoblog.gr and GT spirit all pick up on the pictures posted on auto.blog.rs 2011-01-03.
  • 2011-01-24 – autoevolution – Alfa Romeo 4C Concept Coming to Geneva
  • Alfa Romeo 4c concept teaser, from auto.blog.rs

    Alfa Romeo 4c concept teaser, from auto.blog.rs

    Alfa Romeo 4c concept teaser, here called 4c 1750ss, from auto.blog.rs

    Alfa Romeo 4c concept teaser, here called 4c 1750ss, from auto.blog.rs

  • 2011-01-03 – auto.blog.rs – Alfa Romeo 4C Concept na Salonu u Ženevi (dopunjeno) [Translated:Alfa Romeo 4C Concept at Geneva Motor Show (revised)]
    Auto.blog.rs post what’s apparently the first teaser pictures of the 4C concept, they later update the article with a new name “Alfa Romeo 1750SS” though none of the other sites seemed to pick up on that.
    The pictures show a front end with inspiration from the Alfa Romeo Junior Zagato (1969 – 1976) and the Bertone concept from 2010, Alfa Romeo Pandion. The rear end teaser has some similarity to the Alfetta GT (1974 – 1987) and Alfasud Sprint (1976 – 1989). The pictures haven’t been confirmed to be real, we’ll have to wait until the official unveiling, presumably at the Geneva motorshow.

The Abarth rumors:

    Abarth KTM X-Bow photoshop from AutoExpress

    Abarth KTM X-Bow photoshop from AutoExpress

  • 2010-07-26 – Auto Express – Abarth X-Bow has Exige in sights
    Coupé based on the KTM X-Bow, with a FPT 1.8 MultiAir turbo engine with “over 200 hp”. Speculation of a one-off production run of 2000 cars, or maybe a limited series production over 2 to 3 years. Price estimate between €50.000 and €60.000
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Posted in Auto, Road cars | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Linux the easy way

Linux Mint 10 (Julia), screen shot

Linux Mint 10 (Julia), screen shot

After having run Windows 7 on my netbook (Dell Mini10), because there weren’t good Linux support for the GMA500 graphics, I wanted to try it again. I found myself without any CDR or DVDR’s, so I had to do the install with a USB drive, luckily this is made easy with LinuxLive USB Creator. Just download the image of the Linux distribution you want and use the program to make a bootable USB stick. You can even enable a live mode that’ll let you try the OS without installing it to the harddrive. I choose to try out Linux Mint this time, having mainly used Ubuntu before (thanks to Brian).

Now, to make the GMA500 work so we can run the screen in the nice 1366×768 resolution, just follow the instructions from the PPARepository on Google Code, mainly this:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gma500/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install poulsbo-driver-2d poulsbo-driver-3d poulsbo-config

After a quick reboot it should work :)

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soNick records

It all started as a kind of a joke record label (*) back in high school around 1997 when I recorded a Legend Of Bob set @ Solrød Gymnasium and thought I should put a label name on the CDs. Later on I used the name when I put my own music online.

NKH - Demos

Cover for NKH - Demos

The latest (and greatest) tune I put online is Insomnia, demo from 2003. I guess that date should tell me that it’s time for me to pick up the instruments again and get them plugged into the computer. I also still like the little demo I did around the same time, which just ended up being called Demo1-short. This recording was a bit special, as even though it’s layered keyboards and guitar (two keyboards and one guitar) it wasn’t recorded on the computer or on a multi track recorder. The setup was instead a VHS machine and a MiniDisc recorder, where I first recorded one track on to the MD, then plugged it into one channel on the VHS machine while I plugged the next instrument into the other channel, there by getting a two track recording. Then when adding the next recording I played the VHS tracks mixen in mono and recorded them onto one channel on the MD, while overdubbing on the other channel, that gave a new two track recording where one of the tracks was the two previous tracks mixed together.

Aside from various recordings of Legend Of Bob (later, Lobstarz), I also had Dj ImpreSSion on the label. This quite strange mix resultet in the tribute album Weltklasse 2000, which was released in seriously limited quantities (around 5 or 6 CDs were made). This included such hits as Helt vildt glad (feat. Jon, Kasper and the backing group known only as “3Z”), remix-dreamcastle-fastsantamix (originally a Dj ImpreSSion song, remixed by me, feat. Catsteen) and the Dj ImpreSSion song here:

* – it still is a joke record label ;)

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What is a touring car?

The STCC (Scandinavian Touring Car Championship) was formed for the 2011 season by merging the Danish Touring Car Championship (DTC) and Swedish Touring Car Championship (also STCC, confusingly enough), it was presided in 2010 by the Scandinavian Touring Car Cup (yet again STCC). Both the Danish and Swedish series used S2000 cars, and the STCC (which from now on refers to the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship) was a result of the dropping entry numbers in the national series.

James Thompson, Hartmann Honda Accord, ETCC, 2010, Braga.

James Thompson, Hartmann Honda Accord, ETCC, 2010, Braga.

S2000 has been FIAs touring car class for quite some time now, it spawned the rebirth of the ETCC which then turned into the WTCC, which at the start had quite good manufacture support. The S2000 regulations also proved successful in the national classes, which was helped by the fact that the privateers and importer supported teams there could get their hands on cars that had previously been running in the WTCC, along with allowing them to build their own cars. We’ve seen lots of manufactured comming and going over the years, currently there’s only Chevrolet left, though both BMW and SEAT provide some factory support and Volvo is doing a toe in the water project in 2011, with the potential for a full on effort in 2012.

Volvo, BTCS, 2010, Zolder

Volvo, BTCS, 2010, Zolder

S2000 has gotten expensive though, and the now the national series are looking at new cost-cutting regularions. BTCC has chosen NGTC, where the cars share a common front and rear subframe, thus making the build of the car and later on, spares cheaper. There’s also the option of leasing a spec NGTC engine which should further cut the costs of competing in the series. The S2000 and NGTC racing cars use a road car bodyshell and therefore look (and is) very much like a stripped out version of the cars you see on the street. Now TouringCarTimes are reporting that some STCC teams want to run silhouette based cars from 2012. These should be based on the BTCS (Belgian Touring Car Series), where you have a common frame with individual carbonfiber or glassfiber bodywork, these cars would have nothing in common with what you see on the street, except a similar “silhouette”. The reasoning is that this move would be less risky ‘cos the BTCS formula is proven and NGTC is new and unknown.

What’s interesting is that the BTCC seems to be in for a fine season in 2011, with a mix of S2000, NGTC and hybrids between the two, so it can’t be all bad. A move to silhouette cars would make it difficult to have a transition year like BTCC is having in 2011, because the cars would be vastly different and equalization would be almost impossible. It would force anyone who wants to participate in STCC to buy a new car for the 2012 season, and it would mean an end to bringing in former factory cars from WTCC.

It’ll be interesting to see how it’ll all work out. The sensible thing to do would be to stick with the S2000 formula for another year and see how NGTC and the WTCC gets on.

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