Notable Products

Two In One: The New BMW Motorad 1250cc Boxer Engine with ShiftCam


Here at the Bivouac, I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing the rugged reliability of BMW’s boxer engine in an R1100RT and the sheer sophistication and power of their inline six cylinder engine in their remarkable continent cruiser, the K1600GT. Now, BMW is offering a new boxer engine with ShiftCam technology. With this new technology, Available in the new R1250RT and R1250GS, one wonders if each will feel like more than one bike in one.

The new ShiftCam is designed to provide controllable power at low speeds and more on-demand power at open throttle. The K1600GT felt like several bikes in one thanks to its adjustable engine and suspension profiles. Will ShiftCam technology have the same dynamic effect on the new boxer engine equipped bikes? As motorcycle manufacturers strive to meet new emissions and fuel standards, we can hope that innovations like this bring more bikes with a wider range of characteristics and capabilities to single track trails and long stretches of open road. Good on BMW for continuing to innovate on a time-tested platform.

An Old Favorite: Danny Goodman's Macintosh Handbook


Many fond memories of shaping early interaction design courses way back in 1993 persist here at the bivouac. I was fortunate to enter the field at a time when computing had matured just enough to become accessible to a wider range of creatives. I was also lucky to teach both introductory and advanced courses in computer visualization.

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For the introductory course, I relied upon Danny Goodman’s excellent Macintosh Handbook Featuring System 7. Bringing together Danny Goodman and Richard Saul Wurman, this publication was and remains an exceptional example of accessible and visually delightful educational material. The illustrations are clear and inviting and they demystified the breakthrough technology on offer from Apple at the time.

The book is innovative in other ways as well. Information and terms are supplemented with hypertext-like cross-references to related content in other sections of the book. This is such a great reminder of the heady days of the dawn of the Macintosh and the promise of newly accessible computing for all creatives to enjoy.

For other inspirational publications check out the bivouac’s list of design related readings. Overall, Danny Goodman’s Macintosh Handbook remains an outstanding exemplar of clear and inspirational instructional reference material. It is one that passes the test of time in a fast moving technical context. For a first hand account of what went into creating the publication visit Nathan Shedroff’s site article.

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The publication visuals mimic the Macintosh operating system visuals including a “finder” menu along the top of many pages, to further demystify the new to world Apple technology.

The Audaciousness of Apollo


Still serving as an inspiration today for those hoping that the human race will someday venture beyond the orbit of our moon to other planets and beyond, the Apollo program is still unsurpassed in it scope and audaciousness. From its inception and from the very moment that President John F. Kennedy declared that America should set out on the grand adventure of setting a man on the moon and safely returning him to earth, the program was marked by boldness. Recently, the bivouac grew in appreciation of the effort after acquiring and putting together a lego version of the rocket. The size of the astronauts in comparison to the rocket reminds one of just how daunting the program must have felt at times for the tens of thousand of citizens who contributed to the accomplishment.

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It fantastic to see the challenge of space travel being taken up once again with the likes of Elon Musk's SpaceX group. Below is a nice clip showing various space vehicles all rendered on pad 39-A for side by side comparison.

 

Beyond Skin Deep


There is something very striking about viewing objects in an exploded or x-ray view. One has the sense that you are being invited into a secret world allowing for the way in which an object is made to be readily seen.

This "cutaway" mockup of a 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited four door model is a nice example of this. It gives viewer a sense of improvements made to the new model. This kind of transparency is interesting to see especially for objects as complicated to manufacture as automobiles.

Timeless Timekeeping


The Rolex GMT-Master II is a superlative time piece. This remarkable piece of human engineering and mechanical artistry inspires. Rolex has a time-honored tradition of honing their products, refining each subsequent edition with both subtle and dramatic technical advancements. Take a closer look at the bezel production process and one's appreciation for these masterpieces is sure to grow. Few products manage to balance technical appeal while blending in to formal contexts as well as this time piece does. Established in 1905, the bivouac is looking forward to what the next 113 years brings from the company. 

How they did it: It is remarkable to see from viewing the video below just how much innovation goes into signature elements on the GMTII including a proprietary ceramic bezel manufacturing process.

Keeping up with the times. The "Batman" blue and black version of the timeless Rolex GMT II (Reference: 116710BLNR) strikes a dynamic balance between technical advancement and timeless elegance.

Just Ship It Series: Cadillac Cien


Although debuting way back in 2002, once the ELR starts shipping in January, kindly turn your attention back to the Cien please Cadillac. One in hybrid form would be an excellent "halo" for the brand. Stunning...just stunning. Keep up the Art and Science explorations and get more on the road.

 The Cadillac Cien powerfully demonstrated the capabilities of General Motors Design Studio.

The Cadillac Cien powerfully demonstrated the capabilities of General Motors Design Studio.

Trailing Trailers

This recent IIHS crash test footage is scary stuff and good to keep in mind the next time find yourself following a semi truck. Why not back off just a bit? Oh yeah, and while you are at it, write the makers of Manac/Trailmobile and thank them for desiging and producing proper trailer underride crash components.

 

 

 

Enlightened Signature Elements

The Cadillac ELRdesign has been getting a lot of attention at the bivouac lately. In addition to the striking design and progressive technologies both inside and out, various small details stand out in a good way as well. Cadillac logo placement within both headlamp and tail light elements is well executed. Each adds an elegant and refreshingly understated, yet dynamic signature touch. That's a tough middle ground to hit. Here's hoping such attention to detail lights the way to forward to continued impressive designs coming out of the Cadillac studio in 2013 and beyond.

Star Wars Figures Bring in a Large Figure on the Auction Block

Whether a fan of George Luca's Star Wars saga or not, one can only take in the image of this extra large Star Wars collection with awe. It is it laid out in a creative fashion, strangely evoking the impression of some sort of modern Bayeux Tapestry. And someone also laid out an impressive figure for the collection as it recently sold for over $11,000. That's an impressive amount for an equally impressive collection. Looking it over, it appears to be made up of the latest round of action figures, not the originals that launched in 1977. The tooling and detail on this latest generation of figures is superior the original series to be sure, but I am so thankful to have had some of the originals to lift the horizons of my imagination through countless hours of creative play. I can't help but think that those hours spent re-enacting Luca's masterpiece also taught me a thing or two about filming and storytelling. Thanks again for that and so much more George!

Cadillac ELR Officially Charges Up the Bivouac

With the release of the production version of the Cadillac ELR at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this past week, General Motors proved yet again that energy behind the resurgence of the American automotive industry remains high. Any time a vehicle manufacturer comes out with such a stunning concept car, as they did in 2009 with their Converj concept, and manages to stay so faithful to the original concept vision, that company certainly deserves high praise. Audi came close to this sort of effort when they introduced the production version of the TT in terms of staying true to a concept. However, with respect to the ELR, this may be one of those rare occasions where the actual shipping car looks better than the concept embodiment.

Can you spot the concept vehicle?

GM also deserves credit for moving into the luxury Extended Range Electric Vehicle luxury niche before other large-scale luxury vehicle manufacturers. They are also introducing some new driving affordances unique to this type of vehicle, such as steering wheel-mounted paddles that allow drivers to induce regenerative braking on demand. While we will have to wait and see how the ELR actually performs, on paper things look promising. And if you are a fan of Cadillac's "Art and Science" aesthetics, on the show room floor they are looking great.

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They Say the Eyes are the Window to the Soul

There have been some amazing things happening lately in the world of LED lighting for vehicles. More efficient and robust than traditional lighting solutions, they seem to adorn every new car model these days. Given their dynamic and robust qualities and the ability to light up even the darkest corners of the Serengeti, it seems appropriate to see them now on the 2013 R1200GS. The units look fantastic both in day and night running configurations providing an even more aggressive and determined look for the GS. Now that enlightenment at its best.