Archive for the 'reviews' Category

by mkeefe on Aug 5th, 2015

One Year With a BMW M3

train
Photo Credit: B.Davis Photography

Time certainly flies, i’ve now owned the M3 for a little over one year. In that year i’ve spent money on track days, autocross events, rallies, car shows, repairs, mods, ticket :( and insurance. I figured I would take a moment and go over my experiences with each category.

Taking the M3 to it’s natural habitat… the track!

Earlier this year I was invited to a Porsche sponsored track day at Thompson Speedway in Connecticut. This was my first time going to a track (besides NASCAR) and naturally the first time i’d be taking my car on the track. After a quick classroom session, we strapped on our helmets, got in and did some follow the leader style track driving. The amount of knowledge I gathered in a few short runs was mind-melting. I recommend anyone interested in sports cars to attend at least one track day in their life.


Photo Credit: Porsche of Westwood

Autocross took a back seat

Here we are in August and i’ve only attended one autocross event. This is due in part to work obligations, family trips and attending more community driven events (car shows and rides) that in previous years. I did manage to get my only ticket on the way to that autocross event though, so that will be a memorable event, for all the wrong reasons.

Rallies and Car Shows

Something about cars, octane, coffee (which I do not drink) and great people makes Cars & Coffee a great way to spend a Saturday morning. I’m very fortunate to live about 15 minutes from Larz Anderson Auto Museum which hosts the greatest C&C in the area. Over the year i’ve made some great friends, contacts and even landed a few clients.

In addition to C&C, i’ve also attended a few car rallies, which is basically an event that car folks gather, drive to a destination and grab some food. It’s not a race or a timed event, once again great people and nice cars. What’s not to love?

3 Day Rally Upcoming

Next week my wife and I will be attending our first multi-day rally to Canada. It will be quite the adventure, once again awesome cars and great people. One thing cars has created is a bond with other owners that no other hobby i’ve had seemed to.

Cost of Ownership

Aside from the track day and other car events, the TCO (total cost of ownership) on the M3 has been much higher than any of my other cars. However its all relative. Here is a short list of what i’ve had to do maintenance wise:

– Flush the differential fluid
– Replace side skirt
– 3x oil changes
– Repair adaptive headlights
– Replace inside trim pieces
– Wiper blades
– Tires (these go quick!)

As you can see, more than a typical family sedan, but the SPG (smiles per gallon) far outweigh the TCO for the past year.

Planned to Mod the M3 Over Time

Well I had planned to slowly mod the car over a few years of ownership, but that didn’t really work so well. In the past year i’ve changed the lights, intake, ECU tune, exhaust, tint and exterior trim pieces… to name a few. Part of the reason for modding was because i’m impatient, but it also allowed me to spend time looking over the car, working on it myself and just enjoying ownership more. I think i’m done modding for this season, but have already started a list for 2016.

What’s Next?

I’m at a crossroads right now, I want to keep the M3 a few more years, however the warranty expires in late 2016. Which of course means the cost for the years following will be much higher. I’d also like to try other cars, so far I have my eye on a few Porsches, Mercedes and even some older Lamborghini’s and Ferrari’s. I guess time will tell on how long the M3 will be in the garage.

Bonus item: Washing, waxing and detailing is quite a lot of fun. Especially because I just learned about Chemical Guys products and all their gadgets. Here is a photo after hitting the car with a soap cannon.

by mkeefe on Feb 2nd, 2010

1Password 3 – An amazing update

Agile Software has recently released version 3 of their popular password manager, 1Password. Its no surprise I am a huge fan of this application, but with all that packed into this new version I love it more.

The feature list for 1Password 3 is about 50+ but some of them really stand out. Especially the custom keychain, mobile syncing, software licensing management and even the new design.

64 Bit, check!
Starting at the core the new version runs natively on Snow Leopard in 64bit mode. This of course means more responsive and faster performance overall.

Mobile Syncing
With the 1Password iPhone app you can travel with your passwords and even use the app to login to MobileSafari web pages without ever having to enter a password.

Faster search
1Password 3 now features much better and robust searching. You can quickly drill down on your passwords and find the correct one with ease.

Accounts
This is a lesser known feature but extremely useful. It gives you the ability to store account passwords, such as those for Airport, FTP, IM and the iTunes store, for example.

Attach files
You can now attach files (licenses, order receipts, keys) to any item in 1Password. This is especially useful for digital purchases, which normally have a simple email key that you often times misplace over the years.

Closing thoughts
I would like to see Chrome supported in a dot release soon, but I suspect that feature is held on the limitation of plug-ins with Chrome on the Mac.

In the end, the peace of mind with having all of my passwords stored safely really is priceless but the low price of $39.95 or $24.95 for the upgrade is a drop in the bucket. Stop remembering all those passwords and use 1Password.

Pick up a copy today, over at the Agile Online Store.

by mkeefe on Mar 13th, 2008

Hulu goes live

HuluAfter many months of a public and private beta programs Hulu the premier video service where you can watch your favorite TV shows has gone public. I have been using this service since last October when I had the opportunity to sign up to one of the private beta programs. From that time I have been watching the features expand while being extremely impressed with the delivery method.

One of the coolest features of Hulu is the fact its uses HD Flash video on some of the collections and uses standard Flash for the remainder of the site.

The non-technical amazement is how many partners and content providers Hulu has acquired since the start of the development process. You will find a lot of your favorite shows that you watch on live TV to be included.

by mkeefe on Jan 11th, 2008

1Password – Password Management for OS X

1Password LogoI have always been looking for ways to manage all my password, across multiple browsers and even systems. Originally I started writing them down (worst idea) and then started using only a few passwords, but that was just as bad. After that I began to use the Keychain that ships with every Mac, but this became a problem when I purchased a new MacBook Pro because I had to transfer all of the keychain data to that new machine.

Another problem with relying on the keychain is it only really works for some applications because not all browsers and programs support it.

Well, the issue is now in the past because I have been using 1Password which allows me to share my login information across browsers and manage it all within one powerful application.

1password_interface.png

Getting Started
You start off by setting a master password so you don’t have to be bothered with many passwords. This feature alone is enough for me, but it goes beyond that. 1Password allows me to choose, random, strong passwords any time I register for a site. Whenever a new form is encountered 1Password asks me to save that password for future use, or you can enable 1Password to automatically store new forms.

1password_login.png

Phishing Prevention
Another great feature of 1Password is phishing prevention. Let’s say you visit a site and attempt to retrieve the login information but its not there, you would now be concerned and confused, but at the same time you know the site isn’t the correct one. This means your identity isn’t stolen and your login information is stored safely from prying eyes.

1password_restore.png

Password Management Made Easy
Managing your passwords from the easy-to-use application is seamless and quick, and of course you can lock down this application, requiring your admin password in order to modify the settings.

Sync with .Mac
1Password has the ability to sync with your .mac account which means you can have all of your logins synced across your computers. This was especially important for me because I need to have access to my clients systems no matter which machine I am on and now I have this.

Leopard Support
As a bonus, it works on Leopard too!

Overall I found this application to do exactly what it was advertised and that is a great thing.

You can download a demo here and a full license will set you back about $29.95, which can be purchased at AgileOnline. (discount code added to bring price down a bit)

by mkeefe on Nov 20th, 2007

Review: FDT 3 for Eclipse

FDT Professional BoxI have published a review on FDT 3 for Eclipse. This application is a wonderful ActionScript editor that when paired with the Flash code library makes it very painless to develop Flash applications.

The latest release has support for ActionScript 2 and 3 which is great considering even the latest version of Flash still has an integrated editor that needs help.

Once I get a few moments I will be writing up a few tutorials for FDT.. this of course will be after I have completed my Flash and PHP Bible.

Here is the full review

Update: FDT has linked to this review, pretty cool!

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