Friday, 13 January 2017

Covonia nights, Austrian fans, Nena and the impending discovery of the grand tour hoax

Noctua Fan
I decided to watch an episode of that Grand Tour. Truth is, I've been under the weather for a few days and wanted something mindless. The episode I picked was set in Stuttgart, which is somewhere I use to live.

Actually, although superficially similar to the main square in Stuttgart, the actual setting they used was a castle at Ludwigsburg, which is way to the north of central Stuttgart.

Now Stuttgart is also the home of Daimler-Benz, Porsche and even Smart, so I thought they'd have something to say about the great car companies on their theoretical doorstep. Admittedly Mercedes and Porsche did get a superficial mention, but nothing about the Mercedes factory test track, the Porsche museum, the refined customer collection experience where new vehicles can be handed over personally or even a couple of the futuristic cars sketched onto the walls of one of the restaurants. Instead they cut to film to look at a Honda and a botched up Clarkson ego vehicle which fell to pieces and was worth far less than he paid for it. At least they got that last part right.

For my Lemsip fuelled viewing the show was barely tolerable, being like a bad episode of the old programme with half of the features missing. A somewhat predictable red balloon failure prevented 1980s pop star Nena from appearing in the studio.

To my viewing the programme is now just about as contemptuous of its viewers as it can be whilst still churning out episodes. I shudder to think where all the money is being spent and wonder when someone will point out to the American paymasters that this series is really a gigantic hoax.

As a comparison, I found a newly aired 30 minute BBC4 programme by James May about re-assembling a 1960s Kenwood Food mixer comparatively entertaining.

This had been shot in a fake Barry Bucknell style shed with about £10,000 of artistically arranged tools and showed all the main stages of putting the pristine vintage mixer back into working order to then mix a cake. A curious form of television, I'm sure, but highly suitable when under the influence of Covonia cough syrup.

To the extent that I ordered the parts to replace the fans in my own Drobo disk drives.

The original fans have progressively become noisy, so I decided to swap them out for some high tech industrial ones from Austria. Inexpensive non PWM fans that can operate from 5.5v to 12 volts such that my Drobo devices are once again almost silent. 30 minutes per unit, and in my case with real soldering of the needed cable joints.

But, like replacing The Grand Tour with a food mixer re-assembly, I suspect this recent Nena live performance of 99 Luftballons is far more interesting than a picture of me soldering.

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