MAX Update No. 36: Kinetic Vehicles Robbed!

| 10/23/2009 2:28:48 PM

Tags: MAX, 100 mpg, robbery,

This is more of a “downdate” than an update, but I thought you’d like to know what happened. We suffered a thrilling daylight burglary on Friday morning, October 9. OK, it wasn’t all that thrilling — we left Kinetic for breakfast at 9, came back at 10, and the door was open with the lock broken off. “Golly,” I said to my secretary, although not in those words, “I wonder if anything’s missing.”

Not much, actually: two laptop computers, two briefcases, and one external hard drive. It doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Well it was bad, because Friday is Backup Day, in which we back up our laptops with each other, and back them both up with a hard drive we keep at a secret location 10 miles from the shop ... except during work hours on Fridays when I watch that backup drive like a hawk and add the week’s work to its archives ... except during mealtimes, when we leave our work at the office.

So we were backed up solid, ready to restore from any computer crash, even ready to recover from any burglary, any fire less than 10 miles long (hey, we’re in the Oregon woods, we’ve seen worse) and most natural catastrophes, provided any of this didn’t happen on Friday between 9 and 10 a.m. (breakfast) or 1 and 2 p.m. (lunch). As you would guess, a whole lot of MAX data is (was) in electronic form, such as all MAX’s test results to date, and all the new body part drawings.

I’ve spent the last week looking for a silver lining to this cloud, and indeed I’ve found one: Now we get to work with a clean slate. For example, the “new” body (other than the roof) was designed over two years ago, and all the parts painstakingly rendered, ready for manufacturing. I’ve learned a bit more about automobile aerodynamics since then, but it was too much work to change the drawings if I didn’t have to. Now I have to. I may have even learned a thing or two about testing since MAX hit the road. Now I have to run those tests over again. And since I absolutely hate doing the same work over again the same way, I’m dang near guaranteed to do it better the second time.

Mind you, I’m not yet ready to send the burglars a thank you note. But chances are MAX will be slightly improved by this ordeal. And me? I’ll probably be slightly improved too, since I won’t be squandering my evenings in pool halls and movie theaters any more. I’ll be slaving away in my garret, drafting new MAX drawings on my replacement computer — the one handcuffed to my wrist, of course.


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laura _1
11/3/2009 7:32:57 PM

It's good that you can try to find a silver lining. Good luck - and I hope that karma comes around fast for the thief.

jack mccornack
11/2/2009 9:52:15 PM

Thanks Dennis, I think the clean slate will have some favorable effects, I've put a few notes on our web site and will have more soon--latest design project is new rear fenders. And Russell, I'll follow your advice and use off site backups for our backups (and I wish I'd done it sooner). Steve and Lisa, I got a look at that episode recently, and I think dimples are effective on objects that aren't well streamlined (eg I think dimples would help our current rear fenders) they hurt on objects that are closer to optimum, and I hope MAX will be one of those objects that works better without dimples or turbulators or spoilers.

lisa d.
10/31/2009 1:35:20 PM

I saw that episode of MythBusters too and thought about MAX. Like Steve said, 11% is a small increase, but it is worth consideration.

russell meyers
10/30/2009 12:57:27 PM

I'd find it highly advisable to back your data up off-site, which can be scheduled to be done automatically every night. Your ISP may offer some level of free data storage, while I believe Google offers more free storage. If you're worried about security and corporate espionage, encrypt the information first and don't store everything in one place. For encryption, look for "PGP" (Pretty Good Privacy) on or do an internet search for another encryption program more to your liking. One thing to know is encrypting/decrypting data can take a long time and the longer the encryption key, the longer the process. Good luck with the redesign!

dennis stanford
10/30/2009 11:28:01 AM

Being able to find a "Silver Lining" in this robbery say a lot about you Jack. I've been following the Max story and hope the clean slate does indeed make Max better in the long run. Good Luck, Dennis

steve w._4
10/28/2009 10:13:39 PM

I actually watched on Mythbusters recently that a dimpled car does exhibit better fuel efficiency then a smooth car. I'm not sure you'd want to make your body panels dimpled, but I'm wondering if you could mold diamond plate as an alternative. Granted, they only achieved about 11% increase in efficiency, but any little bit helps, right?

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