Planet Xdroop

January 28, 2015

Ferrari Blog

Taking My Lumps: 2014 Predictions Revisited

So it is a little later than November, but still enough time to revisit my predictions for 2014 so that people can get on with the requisite pointing and laughing.

Your Manufacturer's Champion: I said: Mercedes. Score: +1.

Your World Champion: I said: Jenson Button. Score: +0. Mercedes had their act together and McLaren didn't, to the point where Williams was the Mercedes B-team.

I said:Ferrari might be third in the manufacturer's title. While I could hang my hat on might, I'm going to be honest and say when you score 60% of what the team ahead of you scored, you were not close. So score +0 for that one.

I said: Alonso if the car is fast and reliable, and Raikonnen if it isn't. Well I was right about Alonso but wrong about the circumstance. Alonso kept showing up and getting the job done, while Raikkonen seemed constantly mystified as to why his car didn't change direction in a timely manner. So I'll score myself +1 here because I'm falling behind.

I said I think Lotus will start the best, but Red Bull will overtake them by year's end. I'll count that as +3/4, since I was right about Red Bull at the end, and that Lotus would be scrabbling for finance all year.

I said: [...]the 2013 champion will be conspicuous by his absence at the sharp end for much of the year. Nailed it. +1.

I said: Williams will enjoy (relative) success for the first third of the year, then the bigger teams will improve faster than they do and they will fade down the stretch. Had that upside down. Williams came on strong at the end of the year as other Mercedes cars faded. Score +0.

The Mid-Field: I said: Williams, Force India, Lotus, and Sauber -- in that order at the end of the year. I got the order right, but Williams was higher up, and I didn't slot STR in anywhere. Still, I'm going to score myself +3/4.

I said: Force India might actually see a change of ownership this year -- wrong, this owner somehow keeps holding on with his fingernails, I really don't know why. Score +0.

I said: for Catarham and Marussia it is a pure lottery, one that will be driven by random unreliability between them and ahead of them on the road. That's a non-prediction, but still kind of true. I score myself +1/2.

I said: The FIA will go through all kinds of contortions to avoid granting the proposed entry for 2015 to the Haas team, perhaps even going to the extent of pushing the entry back to 2016. Haas isn't showing up until 2016, and the Romanians have vanished from the news. Score +1.

I said: With Ecclestone finally gone [...] yeah stop it right there, Ecclestone is still here. Damn it. Score +0.

Your 2014 Deadpool predictions:

  • Bernie Ecclestone no.
  • Force India ownership -- no.
  • Lotus ownership -- this one is trickier, since there was a large cash infusion. 1/2.
  • Marussia -- nailed it. Caterham is probably done, but they showed up for the last race and that counts at this point.
So our grand total: 6/12 for predictions, and 1 of 4 for the deadpool.

I know next year I don't put Ecclestone in the deadpool and he'll be gone. Just my luck.

So tune in again in the next forty days or so when we do this again for some reason.

by David Mackintosh ( at January 28, 2015 08:00 AM

January 27, 2015

Ferrari Blog

Vettel: A Downgrade

I think when you line them up one to one, in equal cars, the driver you are always going to take is Alonso over Vettel.

I have not seen Vettel work in a struggling car, trying to get the most out of a car which can't win. Now he's clearly very tallented and has been well suited to the cars that Red Bull have provided him with over the last few years (excepting 2014, of course). But those cars have been winners.

Meanwhile you can't claim that Ferrari's offerings have been championship-winners-in-waiting. The engine in 2014 was a disappointment, the F138 looked gorgeous but couldn't deliver. A couple of cars have taken the championship to the end, but we can all agree that this was Alonso and not the car that was the foundation.

Alonso never looks like he's just circulating, he's always got his head down and his turn-in sharp.

There was a meme circulating around the beginning of the year which showed Vettel sitting in the 2012 car, and he had this look on his face like Alonso almost beat me in this piece of shit?! Surely taken out of context, but funny to think about. But probably not that far from the truth.

All in all, this driver swap is a downgrade for Ferrari.

by David Mackintosh ( at January 27, 2015 06:00 PM

Blather Blog

Rancid 3


What I'm not seeing in the FAQ is a note that if you've been using 
rancid 2.x the router.db separator character changed from : to ;

2.3.8 router.db:

3.0 router.db:;cisco;up

Guys. Guys. Guys.

You don't just arbitrarily change the config division symbol. Who the hell needs continuity? Your user community, that's who.

If you really, really, really want to change something so fundamental, maybe you should cover the change with some code which says "looks like you are using an out-of-date config file format" or even merely a "hey, this config line is bogus, maybe you wanna look into that?"

But no -- lets silently do nothing. The absolutely worst result you can possibly have. It took me a month of fucking around with this to notice that it was diligently recording all my routers as down, which finally gave me the magic string rancid marking all routers down to google to find out what had been changed.


by David Mackintosh ( at January 27, 2015 04:24 PM

Stir-The-Pot-Tuesdays: ISIS

So Canada is over in the middle east because ISIS wants to kill us or something. Thing is, there's no declaration of war, so this is what, a police action?

Thing is, if ISIS came over here and actually killed a Canadian, we would catch them and put them on trial and lock them up forever -- but we wouldn't be putting them to death.

So why is it OK to go over there and kill them (plus civilians and support people) without a trial? Isn't that basically what we're accusing them of wanting to do to us?

A little bit stir-the-pot, yes, but also a little serious.

by David Mackintosh ( at January 27, 2015 01:10 PM

January 26, 2015

Blather Blog

Boring Sunday: Ten Car Garage

As a wise man once said, everyone must have a perfect ten car garage. That wise man was Jeremy Clarkson, but moving on.
(From Jalopnik).

Well this Sunday is boring, so why not indulge in a little day dreaming? This is just off the top of my head, and in no particular order:

  • Toyota Sienna V6 AWD minivan customized to be a limousine inside, including drinks, TV, and internet. Sometimes you don't want to drive or you want someone else to drive so you can work, read, or sleep. And since I won't be driving it, I don't care that it has the handling characteristics of a shopping cart. But still AWD so it can go places I might reasonably want to go even in poor weather.
  • Subaru Impreza with CVT and the paddle shifters as a daily driver. I'm old and lazy now and can't be bothered to row my own gears any more. So no STi. The CVT paddle shifter is a nice compromise between play and work, and can be ignored completely when I am lazy. I'm not 100% sure about this car, really. The last Legacy and Imprezas I drove had really vague steering. Cars like the Mazda 3 have much more responsive steering and just feel more fun to drive, even if they are ultimately less capable in the bad weather.
  • BMW 325 xiT -- for things that don't fit in the Subaru.
  • Mazda Miata or Honda S2000 -- because convertible. I am told I probably wouldn't fit in the Miata so I would try them both. If I don't fit in either I might look at a Ferrari California or something even though that's more of a cruiser than a "sportscar".
  • 1992 Audi ur-Quattro -- both the first, and last, of the first generation of 4WD rally cars on the street. The Group-B monsters don't really count for me because they were not really offered for sale beyond the ridiculous homologation requirements.
  • 1985 Toyota Supra -- I have lusted after these cars since they were new.
  • Acura NSX -- if there is a mandatory super car requirement, we might as well have one at is easy to drive.
  • Ferrari 328 GTS -- one that is rough enough to be driven and won't have to be a garage queen. You have to have a Ferrari or Porsche on lists like this, but I would like one that I wouldn't have to treat like it was made out of porcelain or something.
Frankly after this point I'm padding. I might be padding with the BMW, even. Things like the Nissan GT-R might appeal to me in a visceral way, but I can't see any reason to have such a ridiculously overpowered car. I can probably have more fun, more safely, in something like a Miata than in a monster like the GT-R.

The one thing that strikes me about this list: only two garage queens, the Audi and the Supra. Everything else I would expect to drive regularly, normally, on every-day streets.

Probably the only other addition would be kind of bending the rules -- a specific 1960 Austin-Healy Bug-eye Sprite. My dad has this car in his garage and although it probably needs more "restore" than "repair" at this point I would love to get it fitted out and then put it back in his garage. If money was no object I would certainly offer to do that for him.

Okay, that's another Sunday killed.

by David Mackintosh ( at January 26, 2015 05:28 PM