Posts Tagged ‘1998’

Death of the Dust Trombone: Canon Replaces Legendary 100-400mm Telephoto Lens – Good-Bye Push-Pull Zoom

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

Canon’s aging beast, the Clinton-era EF 100–400mm f/4.5–5.6L IS USM lens is no more – after 16 years of production, it’s being replaced by the EF 100–400mm f/4.5–5.6L IS USM II, a more conventional design. 

Here are some “dust trombones*” right here, back about a decade ago, all extended to the 400mm telephoto setting, the better to see the Blue Angels over Fort Mason, my dear:

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The thing about the old lens is that it offered IMAGE STABILIZATION (IS) plus an “ULTRASONIC” MOTOR (USM) (for fast auto-focus) in the same package. At the time, Nikon couldn’t keep up, so it would make you choose betwixt one feature or the other, if you were lucky. Nikon lost a lot of customers during the Aughts for just this reason.

Read all about it.

I’m sure the updated lens will be better (and of course, lots pricier) in most respects.

Adieu, push-pull lens.

*Pull it in fast enough and you can feel the breeze on your face, since all that air inside needs to go somewhere…

Can Your Aging Mercedes Leave a Trail of Blue Smoke a Hundred Yards Long? Well, THIS One Can!

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

[UPDATE: This might be a gasoline-powered 230S, if that’s even possible. My bad. If anybody in town has an unusual euro-only Mercedes, it’s this guy. It might even have a manual transmission.]

Old Mercedes diesels* might be really slow, and they might emit more particulates than a fleet of new cars, and they might get converted to run on french fry grease, but…

The most cartoonish cloud of smoke coming from a car exhaust I’ve ever seen:

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…they will never die. 

And here’s the thing – old diesels are exempt from California’s annual smog check program.

That’s a giant loophole big enough that you could drive a big old honking Mercedes Benz diesel through.

Hurray!

I’ve only been a Benz owner for less than a year now. However, I’m beginning to think that stamping out smoke on these 616s is like trying to rid your yard comletely of dandelions – it’s a fool’s errand.

I’ve had my IP rebuilt, rolled in a new timing chain, and had the valve seals replaced all within the last 6 months. Injectors are also new and the valves were adjusted when the seals were replaced. Fuel filters and fuel lines are also new and all fluids are fresh. The only differences between mine and yours are that I have lower compression and I use perhaps a 1/2 quart of oil in 2,000 miles.

Despite this, I still have some smoke. There’s a hint of whitish smoke on cold idle at start up and a bit of black smoke when I get on the throttle or climb steep hills.

I have another set of injectors that I had rebuilt and will install them in due course. I’ll also rebuild the vacuum pump as a preventative measure. But after that, this game of “whack a mole” has to end.

There is one good thing to come from all this work, however. My engine sounds silky smooth. No knocking, no nailing, and no hicccups. The only underhood sounds you hear are the clickity click of fuel injectors popping and the combustion inside the engine. So long as this continues to be the case and my oil consumption doesn’t increase, I should consider everything else to be inconsequential.”

*Pray that this particular old Mercedes is a diesel. ‘Cause otherwise this rig prolly needs to get oil added on a daily basis…

Hey South San Francisco! Or Should I Say “Baden,” Your Real Name? Stop Trying to be Something You’re Not

Monday, November 8th, 2010

I don’t know, S.S.F. Your real name is Baden, right? So why do you try to attach yourself to San Francisco?

And you’re not even contigulous with us, you’re not connected to us – you’re about five miles south. So, using your absurd naming scheme as inspiration, what’s there to stop Inglewood, CA* from reincorporating as South Beverly Hills or South Bel Air? Wouldn’t that be equally as ridiculous?

How about SFO West as a new name on Sign Hill if you hate Baden so much? (And oh, BTW, Sign Hill is the very same mini-mountain that a United 747 almost crashed into back in 1998 because the Pilot in Command forgot what to do when an engine fails – he tried to compensate by turning with his hands instead of his feet – almost killed a bunch of people.)

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And another thing, Baden, what’s this “THE INDUSTRIAL CITY” stuff? Your average employed resident is in the service sector, non?

Baden Baden Baden!

*Always up to no good.

Recalling the Close Call United Flight 863 had with Mount San Bruno Back in 1998

Monday, July 6th, 2009

There wasn’t all that much coverage of the incident back in the day, so the time that a United Airlines Boeing 747-400 out of SFO with 300 people aboard came super close to crashing into 1,576-foot-high San Bruno Mountain is worth remembering.

Did the pilot at the controls really forget how to steer the plane after one of the engines failed and lots of vibration began? Pretty much. But everybody treated this near miss as if it were an actual accident and procedures for pilot training are now better because of it.

The proper way to clear San Bruno:

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Some of the locals of San Mateo and San Francisco living around the mountain won’t ever forget hearing and feeling that particular flight.

That’s something to think about when you’re out and about near the mountain, huh?