What If? – Zune Edition

If you’ve seen Guardians of The Galaxy 2, you may have seen the end seen, when Quill gets a “Zune” to replace the Walkman is father/god/main villain smashed to bits. A lot of you, myself included, probably wondered “What’s a Zune?” 

Well, even though Kraglin may have said “it’s what everyone on Earth is listening to now”, or something along the lines of that, it wasn’t some product placement. The Zune lived from 2006-2015, before Microsoft killed it off. But in some ways, it was quite ahead of its time.

For example, the Zune had a colour screen, that could record and play videos at 240p. While this may seem quite boring and outdated now, it was quite revolutionary in 2006. It could also download songs and video via wifi connectivity, a feature the iPod did not have. The Zune had superior audio and video quality. You could even share songs and play multiplayer games, yet more features the iPod did not have. The iPod with as many features as the Zune did not even appear until 2009, with the introduction of the iPod Touch. Even today, the Zune could keep up with some of the iPod touches. Even the design has aged well. The Zune’s OS could easily pass for one designed recently. For reference, here is a comparison between Zunes and their iPod equivalents.

 

zunehd_buttons
Zune HD (2009)
microsoft-zune-biz-2015-billboard-650
Zune 120GB (2006)
originalzune
Original Zune (2006)
ipod-mini-1st-gen
iPod 4th Gen (2006)
ipod_touch_3rdgen-783088
iPod Touch 1st Gen (2009)

Look at these, and tell me which design has aged better.

With so many innovative features and a nice design, why was the Zune a commercial failure?

 

Well, only a few months after the Zune’s release, Apple raised the bar with the Gen5 iPod and a few years later, the iPhone and iPod touch. With that, Microsoft just gave up hope, and all but stopped innovating on the Zune. Pretty soon, the Zune became obsolete, and Microsoft killed it. But what if they hadn’t gave up? What if the Zune had became the iPod-slayer Microsoft had intended it to be?

The Zune, like many other great products, was a victim of bad timing. With it’s release just before the new iPod, and for the Zune HD, Just before the iPod Touch, it had a terrible launch time. If they had launched it earlier, Zune would’ve had a larger market share, prompting Executives to let them innovate the Zune further. Or if they had done it later, they’d have more time to improve the Zune.

The Zune’s legacy, aside from being a joke in the second Guardians of The Galaxy movie, is one big What If. And What If products are alwasy the most interesting.

Advertisements

Top 5 Cars Coming in 2017

Many cars came out in 2016, and many will this year, in 2017 as well! Here are 5 of my personal favorites.

5. Honda NSX

2017-acura-nsx-first-drive-review-car-and-driver-photo-662653-s-450x274

After a 12 year hiatus, the Honda’s legendary supercar will be coming back! Only this time in Hybrid form… But, the addition of the electric motors means it now produces 573 bhp, compared to a measly 270 bhp in the old model. Styling…well, that depends on personal taste. Some hate it, some love it. Me personally, I think that the new NSX looks stunning in the right color and right angle. While it may be much more expensive at $156,000 even, it has Ferrari 458 matching acceleration, while being much more efficient.

4. Porsche 718 Cayman/Boxster

03

The Porsche 981 Cayman/Boxster has not just got a facelift for 2017. Nearly everything has changed. It now uses a 4 Cylinder turbo, rather than the old NA 2.7 Litre Flat-six, and has an updated interior, upgraded chassis, new drivetrain, better gearboxes, and steering rack. All these changes even warranted a new chassis code. Instead of the 981, it is now the 982! While the absence of the Flat-6 means that it doesn’t sound as sexy, it does have 35 more BHP than the old model.

3. Hyundai Ioniq

160114_ioniq20hybrid20breaking20hybrid20stereotypes2028229

If you’re a hardcore environmentalist who isn’t a multi-millionaire, you couldn’t quite afford a Tesla, and electric car conversions are time consuming and expensive. So, your only option was the dreaded Toyota Prius, which handled like a blancmange, accelerates slower than a G-WIZ, and you would be considered bottom of the totem pole by all others on the road. However, there is now an alternative. The Hyundai Ioniq! The Ioniq does not use a CVT, it uses a dual clutch gearbox, it’s somewhat agile, and the performance is adequate. It also is much better to drive, thanks to having a proper gearbox. Having the dual clutch also means there is less friction, which means it’s more efficient. It actually has better thermal efficiency than an F1 car. That’s something you can say to the guys at the pub! The Ioniq also comes in EV form.

2. Genesis EQ900

genesis-eq900-highlight2

I know what you’re thinking. “A luxury car? From Korea?” The Genesis EQ900 is the successor to the obscure Hyundai Equus. However, this could be the next Lexus LS, as it, like the original LS, is liberally packed with technology, most of it standard, undercuts it’s German rivals by quite a lot, and also looks a bit like them, especially with the Audi-style front end. Whether Genesis will succeed or not, only time will tell.

1. Alfa Romeo Giulia

v1c6823

After reintroducing the brand to the US with the sexy, flawed, but still almost perfect 4C, it’s time to introduce a more mainstream option. The Giulia is a 4 door saloon that is not only important for Alfa, but for FCA. The Giulia’s platform will underpin many future Alfas, as well as the next generation Dodge Challenger! In looks, the Giulia beats out it’s BMW and Audi competitors. This could be the car that creates momentum for Alfa in the US!

 

 

MAKE SCHOOL LUNCH GREAT AGAIN

Dear Mr. Trump,

 

I know you’re focused on making us pay for walls, putting tariffs on German cars, and playing Battlefield with Kim Jong-un and Putin, but I have an issue that is close to my heart to present to you today: Making School Lunch Great Again.


You see, Michelle Obama’s plan to make school lunch “healthy”, was a good plan in theory, but completely flopped in reality. The food is subpar, not even that much more healthy, and sometimes doesn’t even look like food! That’s why I want you to make school lunch great again.

 

In 2015 alone, the cost of modifying the lunches to meet these regulations added $1.2B to preparing food. And not all of the lunches will even be purchased, which is even more money lost. This $1.2B could be used for more beneficial purposes, like raising the salaries of teachers, or adding/enhancing classes, new computers, textbooks, and other equipment, or I don’t know, raising our PISA scores so we’re NOT below the OECD average? Or we could have a revamped PE Program to lose the weight we gained.

 

Which sounds like a better use of $1.2B; making schools spend more to meet regulations for “healthier” lunches, or revamping our education system to turn around our PISA scores (we’re below the OECD average).

 

The food doesn’t even taste that good either.

 

My teacher, Mrs. Martin grew in the late 1980s, and she has fond memories of the hand prepared desserts, the creamy puddings, the Teuscher chocolates, etc. But those are now gone. A group of kids in Kentucky stated that the food “tasted like vomit”. I know for a fact that healthy food does not have to taste like vomit. (*Cough* KBBQ *Cough*)

 

If you don’t do something, an entire generation will go without eating real food. You must stop this influx of FAKE FOOD. Not alternative, it’s FAKE.  I hope you have a good day.

 

Sincerely,

 

Alex Choi

The Return of the Affordable Midengined Sportscar

alpine_celebration_2015

Porsche 914. Toyota MR2. Pontiac Fiero. These are very different brands, and they all make (or made, in the case of Pontiac) very different cars. The cars I mentioned were made in very different eras. However, these have the same concept: They’re all Midengined, affordable sportscars. The advantages to a midengined layout include the brilliant handling, the fact the engine is right behind you, and many more. However, the Affordable Midengined car died with the demise of the Toyota MR2 in 2007. The closest thing we’ve had now is the Porsche 718 Cayman, which starts at $53 900, or the JDM (yo!) Honda S660, which is 1 980 000 Yen. However, for the common man, the Porsche is out of reach with all the options you need to put on, and unless you’re Japanese, you won’t be seeing the Honda S660 anytime soon.

However, we might just see the return of this ultra-rare species. And better yet, we ‘Muricans might get them. Enter the Alpine A120 and the Hyundai RM16.

Now, to many of you, these might sound unusual. Some of you might be saying “What’s an Alpine? Is it a commie car?”. And I don’t blame you, seeing as how Alpine died in 1995. And Hyundai,  have a reputation for building cheap crapboxes. So, I’lll tell you about these cars.

First, let’s talk about the Alpine. Cos nobody likes Hyundai, right? (Just kidding)

Alpine was a French manufacturer of sportscars that used rear-mounted Renault engines. Their first cars were heavily modified Renault 4CVs.  Alpine are most famous for the legendary A110, which achieved a 1-2-3 win at the 1971 Monte Carlo rally. From there however, their story was much less successful. Due to the International Petrol crisis in 1973, which had an enormous impact on all specialist car Marques, Alpine had to be bailed out by Renault. After this, they started to go downhill, with few sales, possibly due to the fact it was sold at Renault dealers. The company died in 1995.

However, in 2015, Renault revived the brand with the Alpine Vision concept. It’s set for production in late 2017. The Alpine Vision is quite good looking too! With a Turbo 4-pot putting out around 300BHP, and weighing…well, quite little (no official figures given at time of writing), it’ll put the 718 Cayman to shame.

Now let’s talk about the Hyundai. The Hyundai may not reach production, so don’t hold your breath on this one. Now, some of you may know that Hyundai have been building mid-engined Velosters for a few years now. However, this one May, just MAY reach production. In October 2016, it was seen testing on the Nurburgring. The RM16 is quite unusual in that it is a Hatchback! This is a much more rare breed, made in the spirit of the Renault 5 Turbo.

Not too much is known about the Hyundai.

But even if we only see the Alpine, it’ll mean that a great breed of car will once again rise.

$1500 Craigslist Sportscars

When you think of sportscars, you often think of Porsche 911 GT4s, or Audi R8s. Unfortunately for common folk like you and me, we can’t afford the shell out $150 000 to buy those cars. But what if you could find a sporty car for about 1% of that? Well, today I am finding these cars on Craigslist. (This totally isn’t an excuse for me to browse cars! I promise!) Here are 3 examples of this rare breed!

 

1987 Nissan Pulsar EXA

00j0j_h0pjhpfhf5o_600x450

2001 Toyota Aristo/Lexus GS

00e0e_gccoyghvi4t_600x450

At first glance, this might seem like a leisurely, boring Lexus. However, look closer and you’ll find a lot more. It’s rear-wheel drive. It was crowned Motor Trend’s “Import of The Year”, and held a place in Car and Driver’s 10best from 1998 to 2000. It also could come with the legendary 2JZ-GTE. Yes, the 2JZ-GTE that was found in the Supra. So, for $1 500, you’re getting a lot of car, and a lot of potential.

1986 Toyota MR2

00606_h9fs015l0c_600x450

Yes. You are looking at a midengined, rear-wheel drive sportscar for $600. Just one drawback: it doesn’t have an engine. So, I found you a 4AGZE! http://www.ebay.com/itm/1988-1989-Toyota-MR2-Supercharged-Engine-Long-Block-Assembly-4AGZE-88-000mi-/122188111037?fits=Model%3AMR2

Once you do swap it in, this will cost around $1500, and it is well worth it. Happy swapping!