marc b


Albuquerque, NM, USA

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  • 7 Comments
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  • "Can we talk for a sec about GVWR?  Nothing specific to Chewy, but as someone who's built out a couple of my own Sprinters (which I love) and spent a fair amount of time on the fantastic and informative self-build forums it's something that's rarely raised.  For the common T1N (lead image '02-06) and NCV3 ('07-18) Sprinter 2500 the GVWR is just over 8,500lb.  With a reasonably light build (light 1/8in interior paneling, CNC router relieved cabinets & doors, aluminum framing for cabinets & bed but no sink or shower) my 170in Sprinter 3500 dually weighs 7,700lb (against a 9,500ish-lb GVWR).When I see full t&g interiors, sinks with tile (!) backsplashes, butcher block countertops, and heavy aftermarket bumpers on the lighter-duty 2500 chassis it's hard not to believe that builders are well beyond what the vehicle and its tires are rated for.  I remember a particular thread in which a self-builder found himself tens of thousands of dollars and countless hours into a build only to come in *two thousand pounds* over weight.Legality aside, there's a personal responsibility aspect when self-builders risk other road users' safety with long braking distances, poor handling, and the risk of blowouts at speed.  And if your insurance company realizes that you're over GVWR, good luck with any claims that arise from an accident.I'm not in the build-out business but knowing what I do about my product liability coverage, I can't believe that an insurer would be anywhere to be found if a client is hurt (or hurts someone else) in a GVWR-exceeding build.The ratings may be conservative but at the end of the day it's easy and cheap to throw a build on a commercial scale to make sure that you're not left exposed if the worst should happen.  "
    on: Design/Build Firm Chewy Design Co.'s Van-to-Home Conversions
  • "Not my bag, but if we're going to have monster status trucks I'd rather see these than the plague of Ford Raptors that seems to have descended on the western US.Also, buttons & knobs!  To paraphrase The Usual Suspects: The greatest trick Tesla ever pulled was convincing drivers that touchscreens were appropriate for vehicle controls.  (When we all know that they're a dangerously distracting way to cut tooling & production costs.)"
    on: GMC Finally Unveils Their Electric Hummer, and It's a Doozy
  • "I dig 'em- not really my style, as Jason says they could look pretty amazing on the right vehicle.Meanwhile in cycling, the cross-branding is going in the opposite direction, with Northwave incorporating Michelin rubber and tread designs."
    on: Footwear-Design-Inspired Tires
  • "I believe it's CMC:http://www.cmcmt.it/cmcmt/english/cmc-home/index.html"
    on: Fast Work: Italian Boss on Motorized Contraption Sprays Road Markings With Blazing Speed and Accuracy
  • "I've long been a fan of Apple hardware, but this appears to be a nicer version of the feature that drove me up the wall on a previous Lenovo (work) laptop.  The absence of physical buttons makes touch-use all but impossible.  That, combined with the fact that they change with context means that the user must take their eyes from the screen and finger from the touchpad to do something that could be done... in an on-screen toolbar.  In my experience, re-focusing on the secondary screen, locating my desired function, and taking action would invariably break the flow of whatever task I was looking to complete.While these aren't a safety issue like in auto infotainment systems, I'm just not seeing the benefit of "buttons" that require the user to shift their focus.  Function-shifting buttons could be useful- but this feels more "because we can" than "because it's useful."  Combined with Apple's premature abandonment of the standard USB and SD card slots (and the Dongle Hell that choice brings), I don't see myself purchasing another Mac any time soon.But I'm not the billionaire in the room, so what do I know?"
    on: Apple's New Touch Bar for the MacBook Pro: Incremental, and Welcome, Design Innovation
  • "Thank you for finally calling the Mini out on its shockingly ill-considered interior.  When my now-wife bought a manual Cooper S a few years ago I was thrilled- I love the idea of a small, fun, efficient car.  But it didn't take long to find myself insulted by the interior designers' disregard for function.  A few points in no particular order:* Bottles or tall cups in cup holders restrict access to the window switches.  * Parallax in the center display meant that buttons never lined up with their menu options from a driver or passenger's perspective* Interior door pulls require uncomfortable external rotation of the wrist (hello, CAD-induced carpal tunnel!)* Any error/warning (ice warning, low tire, etc) would clear speed from steering column display leaving driver repeatedly clearing notifications on short drives searching for critical information on the awful center display.  See also parallax.I'm sure that there's more, but those came to mind.Hers was a hadchback, but speaking from experience with my own Mercedes Sprinter, the barn doors significantly impact rearward visibility too.  OK in a 10' tall work vehicle where a hatch would be impossible, less so in something less than half the height.Ultimately expensive repairs led to its replacement with a '17 Golf which feels a lot more honestly laid out and intuitive.  Fingers crossed on reliability but at least I don't curse it every time that I hop in."
    on: A Designer Buying a Car, Part 3: Mini Clubman, Aesthetics and Practical Considerations
  • "The contrasting colors aren't doing it for me, but if I was in the market for a dining  or coffee table, theirs would be in the running at those prices.I think that part of the problem might be that furniture isn't really an impulse buy in the way that so many Kickstarter projects are.  But I wish them luck- it's good to see domestically-made furniture for sensible money."
    on: Arrister Aims to Bring Custom-Sized Furniture to the Masses
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