Monday, June 5, 2017

2016 / 2017 Toyota Avalon Review

I figured I should write a review on the 2017 Toyota Avalon because it includes Lane Keep Assist and autonomous Forward Braking standard and also because I like cars.  So I figure I will add some car reviews here but may start a Cliff's Car Review, to add reviews about other cars other than the Range Rover which are under

Alright down to brass tacks.  Like almost all big sedans the depreciation on the Avalon is horrific.  Truly nightmarish.  But that also makes it a smart pre-owned buy.  At about 20k the Avalon is an incredible value with some flaws that can be fixed.  Here is a bullet point overview of the Avalon.

  1. The Avalon comes loaded.  Even in standard XLE trim it comes with leather, real leather not Toyota faux leather that comes on the 42k TRD Pro 4Runner or the Lexus ES350. The only other toyota that comes with standard, real, leather on this side of the world to my knowledge is the $84k Range Rover class Land Cruiser.  The other packages add to it, but for me I need leather in my car, if it doesn't have leather I'm not buying it.  After all the hides of the steaks we eat should be used.
  2. The Avalon comes standard with a 7" screen and a color 3.5" dashboard screen.  The radio comes standard with XM.  I updated the speakers to infinity speakers, and with my experience with my last toyota with JBL sound, I found the standard stereo easier to upgrade partially because each of the 8 speakers gets full signal so you can just add nice speakers with crossovers.  There is also an aftermarket android headunit available.  The stock sources is not bad but is certainly compressed.  The EQ is best on Bass +3, midbass+2, treble +0 but you may run into rattles. I will do a whole article on the sound system in the future, I think it applies to many common era Toyotas.  
  3. The drive is ok.  There is actually a somewhat built in front tower strut (I added another one and then realized there was somewhat a strut brace built in).  You can actually take corners in the car without feeling like the car is about to roll over as you would in a Generation 2/3 Prius. The hard bumps do transmit in plastic rattles but overall it is a fairly good ride with a combination of sporty grand tourer.  
  4. The car rattles like it was made to rattle.  The two biggest offenders are the dash end caps and the rear c pillars which if you remove them there is an area where a clip could be used but isn't if you add high strength velcro here it eliminates much of the rear rattle.  The dash end rattles can be mitigated with a combination of velcro on the inside and some foam on the far side near the rubber trim. There is a TSB for Avalons with memory seats. 
  5. The style is akin to an Audi since the Audi designer designed it.  The paint is quite an upgrade from Toyotas from a decade ago.  The wheels too are upgraded with very intricate paint finish. 
  6. The oil burns but not at a great rate.  However a 10k OCI is insufficient, I would certainly check the oil level every 3k miles (and change at 7500 or so but that is a different post I would also argue for full synthetic 5w-20 or 0w-30 vs the 0w-20 CAFE driven recommended weight.) 
I may write a small book on the Avalon.  Comment if you think I should.  If not I will add some about the stereo and oil changes for the 2gr-fe

Monday, January 25, 2016

2016 Basel Preview: Rolex... CERAMIC DAYTONA, DaytonaC

There are perhaps real pictures of two new Rolex' intended to be released at Basel 2016.  Both of which are highly anticipated.  I believe with more customer sought upgrades in the future Rolex should sell many watches in the future as well.  Just one example, a platinum GMT Master II Coke with white dial.

Without further prologue, the two models are:

  • Blue, Light Blue GMT Master II "Blueberry"
  • Stainless Steel Daytona with Ceramic Bezel.  True 40mm case likely vs current 38.6mm.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Rolex Price Increase 2/1/16 Confirmed for Germany

After much speculation about a Canadian price increase there is confirmation that Germany will increase Rolex prices approximately 5-6 percent across the board.

This is likely a move to deal with FX as it has long been held that world wide price increases are private.

Canada will likely see a similar increase on 2/1 but it isn't yet confirmed.

A few quick takeaways:
-Rolexes are collected and held as hard assets by many celebrities, millionaires, and billionaires.
-Rolex will raise it's price approximately 5% in Germany
-Rolex has raised it's entry price significantly in it's history but not much recently
-Rolex is likely going to release a new movement in the sub and gmt, upgrade them and significantly raise prices on the upgraded pieces.

Source and More information:

Monday, March 30, 2015

Apple Watch Buying Procedure is Outlined. Forgoes Research.

New details are coming out about the method to purchase an iWatch apple watch.  Yes, there is a specified methodology, and perhaps most importantly mandatory time-limits to see a watch in person. mentions that aluminum and steel buyers will have up to 15 minutes to look at watches while those opting to buy a gold cased initial release apple watch will have up to an hour to look at up to 2 gold watches.  Watch Edition buyers will have a "private area" to view watches.  All watch buyers will have access to video chat to set up the watch. Reservations are suggested.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015



COSC in-house movement with Reserve De Marche complication & 70 hour power reserve!!!!

login and see it here:

Canadian Rolex & Breitling Price Increase

Today ADs received notice that Breitling and Rolex prices will increase approximately 6-8% for the Canadian marketplace.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Apple Watch is Broken: A Look at the Hardware

What is it about
They seem to need to point out all the issues with the apple watch including reports of only 3 hours of on screen time telling and painfully slow charging and then suggest its acceptable.  They write about how they think it may be a flop that will change the world.

Let's call a spade a spade, the apple watch won't replace a watch for the purposes of telling time in real life. I get on a plane or go out for the night, the apple watch isn't coming because in its current form it fails as a useful life tool.

Here's a what's wrong with the apple watch:
  1. The architecture is borderline stupid
    1. I don't know who thought not having a ninja core was smart
      1. Running the S1 is a battery draining configuration with little thought to power saving whilst being used for its intended purposes.
        1. You can't replace a watch if you can't tell time.
    2. It would have been very easy to have a separate watch IC and low power negative LCD screen on-top of the black screen
      1. It would allow you to tell time for more than a few hours and save the battery for high compute tasks
      2. It would also make the black screen look less stupid.
  2. The screen apparently takes a lot of battery
    1. but why?
    2. its just 17% more resolution than the LG G watch, but only has 1/10 of the battery life. 
  3. Apparently Apple thinks people want to wear blank screens
    1. Personally I think wearables are meant to be worn, not having the screen on all the time will look, black, and not Rolex Submariner black, iphone screen off black...
      1. Is this what the fuck apple thinks "form" is? 
        1. Go back and study tiffany's more.
  4. Apple attempted to innovate and failed
    1. Many of the top design features of the watch will not even make it to market in the stock skihill form 
    2. They focused on things that weren't needed and then failed to implement them
    3. You're paying for failed R&D
  5. Apple failed to innovate where it mattered
    1. Instead of featuring a new way to combat the battery life issue they sucked when they had to innovate
  6. The battery life makes it unreliable as a tool
    1. Who in their right mind would leave their keys at home if their apple watch may not unlock their hotel rooms or etc because it is dead.
      1. e.g. you still need to carry cash or credit cards, and can't just use apple pay via apple watch
    2. If you can't rely on the apple watch it isn't indispensable is it?
Things the apple watch should have had:
  1. Ninja Core
    1. The S1 doesn't do a good job at offering low power performance a second fail safe timing system could or should have been employed.
      1. People may need to tell the time for more than 3 hours.  
      2. People may have wanted to wear their apple watch for a day and night on the town. 
      3. The structure is basically not designed in an innovative way, i.e. splitting out the low power task to low power components.
  2. Ninja Screen
    1. A second low power screen could have been layered on top of the "incredible apple watch display" used for time telling. 
    2. seriously it isn't difficult to layer a simple negative LCD on top of the full color screen, you'd have let people tell time for months at a time, versus hours. 
  3. A fully discrete time telling system, which would run the low power applications that a watch needs, telling time!
    1. Again I would have argued for a separate time telling system with dedicate IC, power and screen.
    2. keeping the watch separate would have enabled sufficient battery life. 
  4. Hybrid Power
    1. The battery life is unacceptable, heck I'd argue 2 weeks is likely unacceptably low. but combined with proprietary slow charging and a 3-4 hour screen time low compute is stupid and needed to be addressed.
    2. Apple should have used caps for quick charges
    3. Apple should have used a separate battery for timing
    4. Apple should have introduced an interesting way to recharge
      1. Rolex and Seiko recharges based on movement
      2. Citizen and Casio recharges on sunlight
      3. Apple should have recharged using mid-range wireless charging. 
        1. Either way a 3-4 hour battery life is significantly less than their competitors, not to mention actual watches. 
  5. Should be water proof
    1. Rolex figured it out quickly watches need to be perpetual and they need to be waterproof.
    2. I just don't see how living with this watch makes sense.  It won't replace a watch or a set of keys.