Fast Forward/Fastback: Trepanier – eBay Motors project car

The Trepanier built, eBay Motors sponsored Ford Mustang project produced a very cool car. What is very interesting about his project is that all parts, including the original car, were purchased through eBay. The networks of enthusiasm that produce and maintain what I call the ‘trading-post economy’ of modified-car culture were explicitly incorporated into eBay’s online auction business.

The ‘trading-post economy’ is a term derived from the ubiquitous ‘Trading Post’ type community-based newspapers that have space for the advertisement of second hand goods. This is the second evolution of the enthusiast-based economy of modified-car culture. The first economy was based around scrap or wrecking yards and swap meets. The introduction of a shared mediated space (newspaper) that allowed buyers and sellers to come together for the first time was a massive jump. The shift towards online-based spaces of the enthusiast-based economy, either on websites or enthusiast forums, is another jump. The economies are no longer necessarily localised, that is, based around spatially determined communities, but can transcend spatial proximity. This is exactly one of the selling points eBay Motors is trying to hammer home with the Mustang project:

Q [eBay Motors]: How does eBay Motors benefit the guy building a car?

Troy [Trepanier]: Of course, first, being able to find a car. Second, lots of guys like to shop around for rare parts, or get a deal on parts. Third, being able to sell parts easily. In the past, if a guy was building say, a ’67 Mustang Fastback, and he had a lot of leftover parts, what could he have done with them? Now, he can put them on eBay Motors, and sell them, and make a lot more money on them, without heading out to a swap meet.

Rudy Koshar paper

Just found an essential article for anyone thinking of writing any scholarly work on cars:

Koshar, R. (2001). “On the History of the Automobile in Everyday Life.” Contemporary European History 10(1): 143-154.

It is a review article and it does a pretty bloody good job of introducing the scholarship on the history of the automobile in everyday life.

The Last Techno-Utopianist

A night in tonight, big day tomorrow, so I checked out whats on the boob-tube this evening. Return of the Jedi (awesome) and The Last Starfighter. Everyone may not be familiar with the second film. It is a pretty bad b-grade flick made to capitalise on the then-recent rise in popularity of video games and the smash hit success of the Star Wars movies. (Although it bugs the shit out of me that it is no longer called Return of the Jedi, but Episode VI. Get your hand off it, George Lucas…)

Anyway, The Last Starfighter is interesting for two main reasons.

1) It was the first film to do all special effects (bar the make-up) with a computer. All the spaceships, space fights, everything. It was done on a Cray supercomputer. That in itself is pretty awesome.

2) Plot: “A videogaming boy, seemingly doomed to stay at his trailer park home all his life, finds himself recruited as a gunner for an alien defense force.” It seems as if most reviewers at the time focused on the film quality, rather than the particular cultural context for which the film is an expression. Virilio would’ve gone nuts over such a plotline. The frontier of the sky and of electromagnetic domain are conquered through a literal upwards mobility by a trailer trash loser (whose girlfriend doesn’t even realise he has been replaced by a robot after he goes off to save the galaxy… very telling).

Playing a video game gets you out of your shitty life? Only in the movies. Along with Tron and War Games, this film captures something about the buzz around video games and computers in the early to mid-1980s.

Time for a new ISP?

Homer: Welcome to the internet my friend, how may I help you?

Comic Book Store Guy: I’m interested in upgrading my 28.8 kilobyte internet connection to a 1.5 megabyte fiber optic T1 line, will you be able to provide an IP router that’s compatible with my token ring Ethernet LAN configuration?

Homer: [Staring stupidly at Comic Book Store Guy]

Homer: Can I have some money now?

Did anyone else realise that the Comic Book Store Guy from the Simpsons has a Masters degree in folklore mythology. OMG!!!!!11 he must have lost some weight and be that big dude from Mythbusters. They even speak the same precise language – ‘nerd’ American.

Anyway, Dodo is shitting me. They do not have PHP support and I want to shift my blog to WordPress. I used to have a personal page up and running on the Dodo servers, but that has been much neglected since I started blogging and I took it down today.

Comic Book Store Guy: Last night’s ‘Itchy and Scratchy Show’ was, without a doubt, the worst episode ever. Rest assured, I was on the internet within minutes, registering my disgust throughout the world.

Yeah, bloody Dodo. I am looking at getting a 1.5mbps broadband account with TPG. I want broadband and they support PHP. It will only cost me another $20 per month compared to what I pay at Dodo (roughly $30). Set up costs are pretty killer (about $140). So it will take a few paychecks worth of saving. Plus I will need to get permission from the rental dudes or at least check to see if I need permission, but that shouldn’t be a problem as I don’t physically do anything to the property.

I normally have my computer running all the time. This annoys the hell out of my mum who has to ring my mobile first when she calls me. Even if I exceed my bandwidth allocation of 20 gigs with TPG I get throttled down to 64kbps, which is actually better than what I am currently getting with Dodo (30kbps up to 46 kbps on a good day). And my mum can call me whenever she wants. Oh dear. Love ya, mum.

Not good.

Today is a bad day.

A very very bad day.

My computer at home died and I may have killed it.

I have been having a recurring problem with it shutting down, so I figured out all the little Windows XP tricks for sussing out what the problem couldbe. I got a couple of blue screen error pages that told me either there wasa hardware/driver problem where something was setting up at infinite loop ofsome description and the other problem was a writing to the RAM which tellsme I have some bad RAM.

Anyway so this morning I decided to clean the bugger, all the fans andheatsinks had heaps of dust and shit on them. So I did.

This is not my actual computer, although it very well may be after I get a new one. Yep, I’ll fuckin burn it.

Now it doesn’t reboot. I am not sure what I have done. Because I don’t have real computer skills and I can’t afford to fix it I am going to be in at the CCR from now on.

Eventually I will have to buy another computer (minus DVDRW drive, Zip drive, peripherals which will all be taken over from this oldbusted one). My brother bought a pretty sick computer over Xmas for only $1500, so I will probably spend as little as possible to get something of similar quality tothe number I have now. Probably cost around $700-800.

Man this is fucked.

Doesn’t it know I have a fuckin thesis to write? !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!