The Smith's Journal - January 2012

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Ten years online!

Tags: Computers

WOW! Happy birthday to us! Today this website celebrates ten years online since I began hacking together these pages that comprise my vast web of quaint entanglement. That is considerably longer than most of the Internet, and certainly more consistent and error-free, offering a quality of service and signal-to-noise ratio others can only dream of. Our noble servers at Mythic Beasts have been tirelessly serving lovingly hand-crafted HTML to our millions of visitors, both humanoid and robotic, sentient and less so. Due to our infinite benevolence, all this content remarkably comes at no cost to you, unless you are one of The Beautiful Ones who donate to help keep this show on the road. We thank you all for reading, and wish you well on your path as you evolve.

UPDATE 2022-01-04: So here we are, another decade on, celebrating this website's 20th Anniversary! :-) Two decades of internet time is equivalent to many millennia of real life time! Still ad-free of course, because thankfully some of us haven't sold out. To mark this achievement more content will soon be added: (and linked from here once it is up)


Volvo V70 T

Tags: Misc

Cool! I got a new car :-)

This car destroys the olde pipe and slippers Volvo-driver image: it is a wolf in sheep's clothing! Despite looking like a sedate estate car, it somehow does 0-60 in 7.9s and 139mph (beats a Lotus Esprit Series 1!) auf der Autobahn due to its 200BHP 2395cc turbo engine! It wheelspins in 2nd gear, even fully laden with drums! And 3rd gear goes from 20mph to beyond 80! Traffic cops and ambulances use the even sicker 155mph 240BHP T5 model. Fuel consumption is... (*cough*) not a strong point compared to a modern/small car, but no worse than my old van and I can still lie down or fit forty drums in the vast boot.

Due to limited finances and urgent need for transport, my options were limited to either a rusty old van or this largest of all estate cars, and I'd much rather travel in style and not look like the builder's mate just turned up to teach in schools. Mine is a petrol model; the diesel ones get 30% more miles per gallon but cost more and are rarely seen for sale as nobody wants to sell them. I've test-driven quite a few cars recently in my search (some failed to start or even broke down during the test drive!) and this one definitely has the edge, and is in amazing condition for a 12-year old car, with low mileage and perfect bodywork. The sleek shape gives it a low centre of gravity, so (as well as being able to see under SUV's) it has excellent stability in cornering (below 100mph). It devours tarmac for breakfast and has reduced my journey times considerably; I've never enjoyed motoring so much. The stereo rocks and everything is so well designed - what a breath of fresh air after driving some new but nasty Vauxhall hire cars. I've never owned a luxury car before and it is so smooth and purrs along gracefully, stretching its long legs surprisingly when called upon.

OK, although it is fast, it's not quite this fast: Subaru WRX STI rice rocket = 320BHP and 0 to 62mph in 4.9seconds, 158mph! And comparing other car specs online during my car-buying research, I'm pleased to see that my childhood favourite car, the Porsche 928, nowadays sells for only £4000! 4957cc, 320BHP, 20mpg! I daren't think how crazy fast a tiny sports car with double my engine size goes! And I find modern supercars like a Pagani Zonda go even more insanely fast: 7291cc, 650BHP, 0 to 62mph in 3.2seconds, 214mph beating even Lamborghinis (albeit with insane cost to match). On the other hand, my girlfriend's much more practical (but also cool) Ford C-Max 1.6TDCi does 68mpg! (Maybe next time I buy a car I'll be able to afford to take this useful eco advice about cars.)

I took our drumming group folk out for a joyride (with champagne!) to the pub to celebrate my mobility again after months of borrowing cars since my beloved VW Tranceporter van sadly died. They reckoned the heated front seats made you feel like you've wet yourself! Or maybe that was down to a combination of the bubbly, the G-Forces and the fast-paced music (Theme From The Return Of The Saint! :-)

UPDATE 2018-07-26: After an astonishing six and a half years of high performance endurance driving, my beloved V70 T has now sadly become too expensive for me to repair :-( So I've bought a newer V70 D5 SE, a few years younger, but more mileage. This is a 2.4 litre turbo diesel engine so not quite as swift to drive (163BHP) but has good torque at low revs to pull away surprisingly well - another sleeper! As a Special Equipment model, it has more gadgets, best of which is the trip computer; fuel economy has so far been up to 50mpg, which is a great cost saving. Other gadgets that I never use include cruise control and motorised leather seats (cloth would be nicer). But it does look pretty cool in a dark green colour with tinted rear windows (I used to think these were to protect passers-by from ugly passengers within ;-) which will usefully hide the music gear I often carry.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike v3.0 Licence © The right to copy is left with the user copyleft Malcolm Smith 2011-01-03 - last updated 2018-09-04