Categories
Cars

It was a 1952 Plymouth painted Crystal Turquoise

The car was big enough for a barn dance but was not cool at all for a seventeen-year-old boy. Nor was the car a chick magnet. And since I didn’t play football, that was strike two.

Trading Up?

When the transmission went out of the 1960 Ford Station Wagon, my Dad traded it and $100 for a 1952 Plymouth Cranbrook. It was the definition of ugly. It was a large four-door car with some of the original green paint showing through the rust. It was not attractive in any way.

Under the hood was a mealy flat-head six cylinder engine backed by a three-speed column shifter. Oh, and it ran on 6-volts so my four-track tape deck wouldn’t work. No, this was not my ideal car, but still, it beat walking to school or taking the school bus.

All Ready a Geek

My High School was like most in the late sixties. There were the haves and the have nots. There were the cool kids and those from the South Side of Amarillo. There were football players and the rest of us geeks.

I was in the band and liked it. I started in the fifth or sixth grade and enjoyed the camaraderie of like-minded kids. I even tried out for Drum Major my Junior year and beat out the competition. That was an enjoyable year for me.

Back to Cars

The school parking lot was full of neat cars. Mustangs, Z-28s, Barracudas, Road Runners, Corvettes, Camero SSs, Chevelle SSs. Then there was my 1952 Plymouth. Wow!

But it gets even better. Mom and Dad decided they would give me a paint job for my birthday that year. Not just a paint job but a $29.95 Earl Scheib Special. The Special, as you can imagine, was not a super duper paint job. It didn’t include any sanding, priming, or bodywork. They rolled the car into the booth and shot it one of two color choices. Crystal Turquoise and a color that escapes me today. Let’s just say it was worse than the Crystal Turquoise.

When I got the car back the only good part was it was all one color. But that color looked much better on the paint chip than on the car. It almost glowed in the dark. It was so bright.

Then there was the 6-volt system

As a teenager, music was everything in the ’60s. I liked bands like CCR, Steppenwolf, and Iron Butterfly. The type of music the radio did not play. We all listened to 1440 AM KPUR. It was a Top 40 station, so my listening preference was missing. I had to get my tunes back.

I still had my 4-track tape deck, but how to get it working in a 6-volt system. I talked to Dad and he gave me several options.

  • Install and wire a separate battery just to run the tape deck. Charging would be the issue with this option.
  • Convert the Plymouth’s electrical system to 12-volt from the existing 6-volt.

The second alternative was my choice. The hardest part was tracking down everything needed for the conversion. I replaced every bulb in the car: headlights, taillights, and even the dash lights. Hardest was finding a newer generator to keep the 12-volt system charged. With Dad’s help, I accomplished that, too.

I don’t remember how I handled the windshield wipers and heater motor, but the starter motor stayed 6-volt. Dad thought it could handle the extra juice and it was still cranking when I traded the car off.

Once done, I installed the tape deck and I had tunes once again.

Mechanicals

Late in my Senior year, the Plymouth developed a cracked block and leaked water faster than you could pour it in. No problem. Since Dad was a welder by trade, he took it to his shop on a Saturday and welded to block up. The weld was visible but looked like it belonged. I never had any further issues with water.

The car was reliable for the time I drove it. It only left me stranded on the side of the road a few times. Back then that was good.

Categories
Tech Web Applications WordPress

Can an Android Tablet Replace a Laptop?

Can a tablet replace a laptop? This is a question asked every day by many people. And if so, which tablet? And how do you get it to work like your laptop? I am always looking for a lighter bag when traveling. One caveat: I have never used an Apple device, so I can’t speak to them. I am an Android and Windows guy.

My Path

In March of 2017, I purchased a small, Bluetooth Logitech keyboard to accompany my 7″ Nexus tablet. In June, I upgraded the tablet to an ASUS Zenpad 3S 9.7″ tablet and paired it with the keyboard. That was when it became clear the future had arrived. The 7″ tablet worked but was a little small on for my eyes. Moving up to the larger tablet made a huge difference.

Full disclosure, I am typing this on my laptop since I’m at my desk. When traveling, the tablet keyboard combo works great.

Using the tablet keyboard combination does post challenges. Some automated tasks don’t work. Some software applications were not available in the app store. And the keyboard and screen are smaller.

I found workarounds for some automated tasks, I used available apps, and the size was an easy one for me. My laptop for seven years was a 12.1″ Dell computer named Baby Dell. I found the smaller keyboard easier and faster to type on than the big, clunky desktop keyboards. But that may just be me.

My Experience with Limitations

The limitations depend on what you regularly do on your computer. My primary functions are writing and research.

Here is a list from my experience.

  • WordPress App
  • Microsoft Word App
  • Microsoft Excel App
  • Google Docs and Sheets
  • Scrivener
  • Open Live Writer
  • WAMP for testing before updating a website
  • Grammarly
  • Hindenburg
  • Phrase Express
  • Evernote App
  • Onenote App
  • Misc. Notes apps

Blue = Good; Red = Bad; Green = Sometimes Sorta Maybe

The apps in Blue work as good and sometimes better on Andriod than Windows. The apps in Red have proven to be a challenge in Android. Grammarly does have the web application, but nothing native to Android for inline work. The apps in Green are a different story. Phrase Express and a few notes apps can sync through Dropbox if you want to work on that, but I’m not that motivated.

While my experience may not equal yours, I am interested in your stories. Have you tried this setup? Have you found a way to make it work? Has it been a disaster? Let me know below.

Categories
Life Lessons Musings Tech

Is Technology Good or Evil?

If you don’t know by now, I love technology. It can assist our productivity, automate routine tasks and make life easier. It can also enslave us and bring us under its spell. So is technology good or evil? This is such a good question.

Technology is Good

I love todoist, my todo app. It syncs with my phone and tablet, always keeping me in line with my priorities. I love Evernote for its ability to keep all types of information at my fingertips, no matter the device I have at hand. Technology is a way to make routine tasks take care of themselves. IFTTT and Zapier seem like magic when applied to repeat actions.

motorola-bag-phone.jpgThe beginning of my sales life was without a cell phone. I always had a roll of quarters in my car and knew where most of the pay phones were in my territory. Cell phones made communication faster and easier for people on the go. And laptop computers were a godsend for road warriors.

Technology is Bad

VOIP (Voice over Internet protocol) home phones are a downgrade from the older technology. Copper-line phones did not need electricity or a working internet connection.

The original AT&T (before the government forced breakup) had phone service perfected. The only way it did not work was a physical line cut. Electricity goes out and the phones continued to work. VOIP, on the other hand, is frequently down. It requires both electricity and an Internet connection to function.

Let’s talk modern washing machines and one-gallon toilets. Okay, I won’t, but I will say the new washing machines suck so much. Clothes don’t get clean and they don’t rinse the soap out.  What a terrible use of technology.

I witnessed technology enslaving someone over the weekend and it was an eye-opening experience. I was in the company of a six-year-old with an iPad. Throughout sixteen waking hours, I saw fifteen hours and fifty minutes of Mindcraft play. The ten minutes were bathroom breaks. On occasion he would look up, but only momentarily.

On the highway yesterday, driving at 75mph, a young man was texting on his cell phone. I don’t think I have to even talk about how dangerous and stupid that is. How do you get them to stop? Has the phone taken over their mind? No. Well, maybe.

Good or Evil?

So the question remains. Is technology good or evil?

The correct answer is “neither.” It has no soul and it does not make choices. However, it can control the human mind, if allowed.

I’m not going to get on my soapbox here, but everyone knows the solution to the above issues. Don’t we?

 

Categories
Cars

Second Gear was Gone and it was Green

I shifted into second gear, let out the clutch, and it kicked out into neutral. Oh no, not again. It seems the old Ford lost the ability to stay in second. That was a problem. It was a 3-speed on the column, and with second gone, it made driving difficult. And it was green.

Dad didn’t do me any favors when I got my driver’s license in 1967. He decided to give me Mom’s old car and buy her a newer one. What did Mom get? A 1964 Mercury Comet. And me? A green 1960 Ford Station Wagon. And it was green.

To top it off, we had an old mattress without a bed, so it was put in the back of the station wagon.

Try Explaining the Mattress

Now just think about it. I show up at a date’s house. She comes to answer the door with her father peering over her shoulder. He sees the car and comments about it being a station wagon. Then to make a really great impression, he notices something in the back and asks, “What’s that in the back of the station wagon?” And I have to answer, “It’s a mattress, sir.”

Yeah, that went over well. NOT! You can not imagine the difficulty in heading out on a date after that conversation. It put a big crimp in my social life. And it was green.

When the wagon was handed down to me, it was in fair shape and all the gears worked. Eventually, second gear became unusable and driving it was interesting. Rev it up high in first gear and shift straight to third, which was a highway gear. The car would chug and rattle and complain as if it was not happy with my driving. And it was green.

As some point, Dad decided to trade off the 1960 wagon and get me something else. Something else green.

Then the wagon wasn’t so bad, after all.

Talk about another story. Dad showed up with a rusted out 1952 Plymouth Cranbrook with four doors and a flat-head six cylinder engine. It also had a three-speed on the column. It was not an attractive car, and it did wonders for my reputation at school. I had gone from a station wagon to a big, bulky, unattractive … well, you get the idea. And it was green, too.

I have never enjoyed the color green on a car. I’m not sure why. Just one of those oddities, I guess. Later, when I found another car to trade in the 1952 Plymouth … yes, it was green, also. But it was the last green car. I promise.