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What you missed at L.A Auto Show Press Days

November 22, 2015 in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, Events, News, Seasonal, Shopping, Technology

One the things you get in Press Days of the Los Angeles Auto Show that you don’t get in the public days is the grand reveals and Green Car Drives. It is physically impossible as a party of one to hit every press conference so I have to pick and choose which to attend so I can get in and see all the cars on display and photograph them.  Trust me its a lot of work and not all party and booze and great food.  There is some of that, but the thrust of the 2 day event is press conferences and not all are wowsers.

Audi was a real surprise.  Instead of the ususal hype and bluster, they started with an apology for the current diesel kerfuffle with fudged testing vs operation parameters.  They promised to earn their customers respect back.  Then they went into the discussion on the future of Audi relying on electric cars, first to come is the A3 E-tron and soon to follow an all electric SUV the E-tron Quattro in a few years.  By 2025 Audi expects 25% of all cars they sell to be electric. Read the rest of this entry →

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2015 L.A. Auto Show Highlights

November 21, 2015 in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, Events, News, Technology, Transportation

First up…Chevy’s Volt took the green car of the year award in a ceremony held Thursday Morning.  Later I got to drive it and was impressed.  Smoother ride, smoother transition back and forth between EV and gas mode, with much more time in pure EV mode than the prior version.  Add in a much more refined, high end materials and fit in finish inside this car is nothing like its hard edged predecessor.  I can see easily why it won “Green Car of the Year” for its technilogical and creature comfort advancements.  Nice job Chevy.

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Elio P5 best kept secret to be revealed at L.A Auto Show

November 6, 2015 in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, Events, News, Shopping, Technology, Transportation

We know little of this car other than an entry on the schedule of premieres during Press Days of the L.A. Auto Show coming up in 2 short weeks.  Elio is a new car company the P5 is their debut car.  Little is known.  Rumors abound.  Its a 3 wheel car, .9liter 3 cylnder, 80+mpg, 0-60 in under 10 seconds, top speed over 100. This is either going to be the greatest thing since the Tesla to make us change how we think about cars or will will be another blip on the radar that we snicker over like the Dale.  I fear the latter as with “cheap” gas again and a resurgance of guzzing SUV sales and falling hybrid sales, but we’ll see.  It may just wow us.

The L. A. Auto Show is open to the public 11/20-29 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.  Buy your tickets now and avoid the lines at the ticket booths.  While there judge for yourself if the Elio Motors P5 is the future or a blip.

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MHS Robotics has GoFundMe to get to World Championship

April 8, 2015 in Events, San Gabriel Valley, Science, Technology

MHS GoFundMe Flyer, click to embiggen

MHS GoFundMe Flyer, click to embiggen

The kids at MHS Robotics, have battled their way to the National Robotics Championship and need help to get the money raised to get them there.  The first ever Tech Challenge World Robotics Championships will be held in St Louis April 22-25 and they need to raise $12,000 to pay travel expenses and entry fee.  They have a GoFundMe set up to make the donating process easy and painless.  If you can help this great group of good kids realize a dream please donate!  They need just another 3K to get there!

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about he kids in MUSD and their Robotics…those kids in 5th grade all those eons ago when my son was doing robotics are part of this team.  Please make this happen for them!

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Call for entries at Los Angeles Center for Digital Art

November 6, 2014 in Art, Downtown, Entertainment, News, Photography, Technology

LACDA “Snap to Grid”- every entry shown

Snap to Grid show from the to embiggen

Snap to Grid show from the archives…click to embiggen

Yes, you read that right. Rex Bruce the owner of the LACDA prints and shows every single piece of digital art and digital photography that is submitted for this show. This is like close to its 10th year he is doing this. There is no jury you simply submit your work. There is no limit to subject matter or how many images you show. Just put your best foot forward as LACDA culls future artists for its big shows from these submissions.

I love this show as its a wonderful snap shot of the world as seen by digital artists and photographers at this moment in history.  There is no curation, but as a whole it tells a wonderful story of where we are artistically.

To enter there is a fee, up to $35 per image. Each image must be submitted with a registration form.  Once the registration form is complete and fee is paid you can upload your image HERE

Entry Deadline is December 1, 2014.  The opening of the show will be tied with the Downtown Los Angles Art Walk on December 11,2014.

DEETS:L.A. Center for Digital Art | 104 East Fourth Street | Los Angeles | CA | 90013  MAP HERE

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Solar powered cars – what will they think of next?

May 30, 2014 in Driving, environment, Social issues, Technology, Transportation, Utilities

While the rest of the city was chasing #hiddencash I was doing something a lot more entertaining yesterday. I learned about solar powered cars.  Then again, I nerd out on technology and cars so this was a double win for me.

I spent a nice chunk of yesterday listening to Mike Tinskey at Fords Los Angeles Regional office talk about the future of electric cars.  Mike is the Global Director of Vehicle Electrification and Infrastructure so he knows a few things on the topic.   Read the rest of this entry →

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Press Days of the LA Auto Show

November 24, 2013 in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, environment, Events, Fashion, Food & Drink, Media, Technology

Beer truck dispensing Stone Brewing brews at the Nissan display

I can’t begin to tell you the fun I have at Press Days for the L.A. Auto Show.  Yes, its a lot of work but a lot of fun is interspersed during it too.  You get to meet some really interesting people from all over the world, both media and manufacturer types.  The reveals are 20 minutes long and 5 minutes apart.  You have two choices…hustle to each or pick and chose the ones you want to stake out and really see.  I always take the latter approach and have time to photo the exhibits with minimal people in the way.

Most of the manufacturers have some sort of refreshment set up.  Audi and Porsche each set up pop-up restaurants with free wifi.  Jaguar did a nice cafe this year too.  However, hands down my favorite was the food trucks AND beer truck at the Nissan stand.  Yes.   A beer truck dispensing ice cold beer, ipa and ale from Stone Brewing.  I had a nice cold glass of Arrogant Bastard thank you very much.

There are tons of other things going on during Press Days as well.  There are receptions and happy hours.  Notable ones were for the Design LA and Aftermarket Halls at the show. There is also the opportunity to get in and drive cars, mostly green cars on the last day (Thursday).   Read the rest of this entry →

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Is Comet Ison worth a road trip before the butt crack of dawn?

November 24, 2013 in Entertainment, environment, Photography, Science, Technology, Which Side?

I absolutely think so.  Who’s in with me?

The next three weeks are going to be prime, PRIME viewing of comet Ison.  Its crossed earth orbit and is racing to the sun for its closest approach on Thanksgiving Day.  With proper eye protection it may even be possible to see it as it circles around the sun that day.

Ison is billed as the comet of the century by some.  It may or may not depending on whom you talk to,  survive the trip around the sun on the 28th.

Griffith Park Observatory still says that most spectacular viewing will be Nov 30-December 14 in the pre-dawn hours.  I read earlier today that the best time to view will be about 1/2 hour before dawn. Read the rest of this entry →

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Is it too early to Geek out over Comet Ison?

October 14, 2013 in Entertainment, environment, News, Photography, Science, Technology

Griffith Observatory doesn’t think so.  Its still some 6 weeks to peak viewing which is expected around dawn November 30- December 14, but Griffith Observatory already has their viewing guide up.

Thanksgiving Day about 11am Ison will make its closest approach to the sun and may be visible, with the aid of special filters when it is close to the sun.  It should be visible most of the day that day.  Wow.  Am like a kid in a candy store over this one.

Now that prime viewing charts have been established it looks like a sunset view isn’t gonna happen with this comet.  Dawn and pre-dawn look to be the best during that peak viewing period.  I had thought about going up the 15 to Stoddard Wells for viewing if it was going to be sunset. Scratch that and now looking at points east, say Joshua Tree pre-dawn excursion and set up to capture the comet in its glory as the sun slowly illuminates the horizon?    Might as well start planning now before everyone else gets the bright idea to leave the city for best views without the encumberance of light pollution.  Who’s in for leaving LA early enough to be in the desert for that with me?  I’m thinking the weekend of 12/7-8 as it won’t have the mad hordes of Thanksgiving Traffic and be right in the middle of the best viewing period?


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First ever Snapcious iPhone safari in DTLA 9/28/2013

September 18, 2013 in Downtown, Entertainment, LA, News, People, Photography, Shopping, Technology

snapcious logo

I wrote about Snapcious when it launched earlier this year.  Its a fun game you play on your cell phone taking pictures then posting it to Snapcious for the other players to rate and comment on.  Snapcious even lets you cross post to FB, twitter, flickr, pinterest and a host of other social media.  You can download the app here for your iphone.   Enough of the nuts and bolts…the meet up details.

Snapcious is hosting a meet up Saturday 9/28/2013.  Any Snapcious player is welcome to attend.  It will be fun to meet with other like minded folks and geek out with the app documenting downtown L.A.  After the event is over a bunch of us will likely end up lunching somewhere in the area.  To attend the event you just need to sign up for it at  Meetup.  Wear your comfy shoes.

NOTE we are meeting at the Hill Street entrance to the Grand Central Market.

DEETS:Saturday, September 28, 2013 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM Grand Central Market, 317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA  MAP HERE

for the press release you need to make the jump. Read the rest of this entry →

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Driverless cars programmed for rude too?

September 18, 2013 in Driving, LA, Technology


Google Self Driving car, click to embiggen

Just about a year ago CA allowed driverless cars.  Google has a few out there, mostly in the Bay Area.  Or so I thought. Coming back from the desert yesterday I spotted this one on the 10 somewhere around the 15.  It was in the slower lanes and well, I wasn’t so I lost sight of it and continued my trek into the city.

Imagine my surprize as I was merging onto the 57 North when it suddenly appeared to my left and behind me.  It was coming fast and passed me with signal on and the damn thing cut me off.  I had to brake to keep a decent following distance, then it braked and moved over one more lane.  WTF.  Can’t they program it to keep decent following distances and not cut others off too?

Gawd as my witness,it happened. I even have a witness, my daughter Kari was with me and she grabbed the picture.  All I gotta say is watch for them. They have giant spinning thing on top and look kinda dorky.

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Did you get the rude awakening too with the statewide Amber Alert during the night?

August 6, 2013 in Law Enforcement, News, Social issues, Technology

screengrab of the rude awakening this morning - click to embiggen

Imagine my horror this AM when my phone started buzzing and ringing and I wasn’t even awake yet.  Didn’t know what was making my phone buzz, ring and vibrate so violently.  I stumbled out the kitchen and saw the Amber Alert.  Didn’t even know there was a Boulevard, CA until now.

This isn’t the first Amber Alert I’ve been rudely awakened too, but my first here In CA. The first was not quite 4 weeks ago while I was in Vegas and Nevada Highway Patrol saw fit to alert everyone, even non-residents of the alert.

I know from my FB feed that at some point during the night all of my friends got such a message to their phone.  I’m not sure what I think about being pushed Amber Alerts, especially at all hours of the day.  What’s your thought on the idea of 24/7 push notices on Amber Alerts?  Is it good use or abuse of technology?

Pondering The Transponder: Sell Your Soul, Pay The Toll

November 13, 2012 in Driving, LA, News, Politics, Rants, Technology, Transportation

Following Frazgo’s November 9 post announcing the somewhat chagrin-filled arrival of toll lanes that have now turned a stretch of the 110 Freeway (and soon part of the 10 Freeway) into a Costway, I whatthehell’d it and decided to drink the koolaid and go get myself outfitted with one of the required tracking devices so my vehicular movements and non-movements could be monitored by 24/7 by the MTA and Caltrans, AAA via a combination of roadway implant receivers and suborbital satellites. Oops! Sorry!! My inherent schizoid-based distrust of any transmitters forced upon us by the government is showing. Let me zip that up. What I really meant to call the technology was “The completely harmless and entirely loveable Metro Expresslane FasTrak Transponder.”

Anyway, it’s not like I really need one. I’m rarely on the 110 and even rarer in its HOV lanes so my initial reaction was basically “fuck that bullshit” followed by about eight exclamation points.

Then my resolve weakened when the doomsday scenario occurred to me that there might come that anxiety-ridden day when I’m stuck southbound on the gridlocked Harbor coming through Exposition Park, 149 hopeless minutes away from a flight at LAX that’s leaving in 91 minutes. At that moment somewhere in a bunker deeeeeeeep under the city an MTA operative monitoring my biometric activity being sent via the chip embedded in the TAP card in my wallet smiled and told a failsafe colleague “We’ve almost got another one!”

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In case you missed it, the Culver City “Grass Station” art installation!

August 16, 2012 in culver city, Driving, Events, Technology, Transportation, West Side

It happened at night when no one was looking.  A gas station was turned into a “grass station”, an urban oasis of sorts.  It was part of CODA Automotive’s campaign to bring about awareness of their all electric car that is on sale now.  So far CODA has set up an “Experience Center” in the Century City Mall, as well as an indy dealer, Martin Coda of Los Angeles on West Olympic in L.A.  I have to give these guys credit for bringing something fun to a L.A. neighborhood and getting me to notice.

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Hungry? I got a Food Truck App for that!

April 17, 2012 in Food & Drink, Shopping, Technology

pay dragon logo

pay dragon logo

It launched this morning.  PayDragon is a free app for your iphone or android.  It hooks you up with a participating food truck or restaurant, lets you order and prepay cutting down the hassle of lines and worry if you have cash on hand.  Actually it does quite a bit of nifty stuff for you…

  • QR reader: scan codes with participating PayDragon merchants to instantly begin a transaction
  • A discover tab: locate nearby participating merchants
  • A game layer: earn points toward incentives from merchants
  • Exclusive deals: take merchants up on sales and food deals
  • Facebook integration: tell your friends about the great meal you just enjoyed
  • Receipts for transactions: keep track of purchase activity
  • Notifications: receive alerts when an order or item is ready to pick up

Participating vendors include the sweets chain Beard Papa and a number of LA-based food trucks such as The Bun Truck, CambalaCHE’s,Auntie’s Fry Bread, Chunk n Chip, The Grill Sergeant, The Wien, and Rounds Premium Burgers.

You can get your free download for your iphone HERE and your Android HERE.  I’ve been told by the good folks that other formats…Blackberry and Windows are being worked on.