In memory of Diane

Today I received the sad news that a wonderful friend and MINI owner, Diane, has passed away. Diane had been fighting cancer for some years, and while it appeared that she was winning when we saw her last year, in the end you can never win 😦

Before Diane’s struggle, she regularly attended MINI events, driving hundreds of miles from her home in Maine to attend events as far away as New York! Here are some pictures from events that both she and I attended …



(obituary can be found here)

[Years later], prompted by a Facebook post from Diane’s family, I put together this short video sequence of photos of her and her MINI …


More than a year ago, I installed MINI’s high end factory stereo DPSM system in GPMINI – it sounded very good but lacked the punch of good subwoofers (which I subsequently solved!)

A few weeks back, I noticed a slight background noise from the speakers, when music was silent – it sounded a little like the clicks & burbles of failing electronics.
This past week when I drove GPMINI again, my heart nearly stopped when the speakers suddenly started “exploding”, cracking with such a loud force that I felt the breeze on my legs! A scary deafening thudding noise!

I was pretty sure that the DPSM amplifier had failed – but to confirm it, I removed the Alpine head unit and temporarily re-connected the original … after a couple of minutes, the same explosive noises occurred (apparently the amp fails as it warms up).
With Josh’s help, I was able to confirm that the amp turns it’s “error” light on every time the speakers crack – it’s as if it realizes it just failed, and shuts itself down for a few seconds.

I bought the DPSM kit from MINI of Peabody and called them – it turns out happily that the kit has a two year warranty, so once I took the car in for them to confirm my diagnosis, they were able to order and install a replacement amplifier.

This morning I headed down and got the keys, then spent half an hour re-installing my Alpine head unit and putting the dash back together (including re-installing the glove box) … then a nice 100 mile drive to check that everything is once again working perfectly, which it is 🙂

Many thanks, Scott and everyone at MINI of Peabody, for getting my car back together so quickly!

Opening Pandora

Another in the occasional iPhone series!
Today I learned on Macrumors a way to get 2.0 software on my iPhone – successfully; then I downloaded a few apps to try …
There’s a lot of “imperfect” so far, with Mac iTunes failing to sync multiple times, needing to authorize the PC and Mac so that apps could be backed up (stupid!), and overall the many months of 2.0 hype result in an iPhone that’s hardly different to the one I had this morning.

Still, one app – Pandora – is mind-blowing incredible! You create a (free – for now?) account, and tell Pandora one or more music artists you like (I started with Electric Light Orchestra, Genesis, Phil Collins, Eric Clapton), then you let it play.
It’s cool enough on a PC/Mac, playing music from artists you specify and others that it thinks you’ll like (and so far in an hour, I’ve thumb-down’ed just one track) … but installed on the iPhone, it’s just EXCELLENT:

I shut down WiFi on my iPhone, and it happily streamed music using AT&T EDGE … great sound through the iPhone speakers!
I plan to hook it up via AUX input in the car tomorrow, and see how it handles playing during my journey to work (very unfair, since AT&T is basically awful in Essex) … if it works, it makes me wonder why I’d still pay $13/month for Sirius, when I could pay $36/year for Pandora …

The only disappointment (imposed by Apple) is that it doesn’t keep playing when you switch to a different app 😦

UPDATE: I’m not the only one that thinks this