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NHTSA opens investigation into 6-speed manual transmission on 2011-2012 Ford Mustangs

Over the weekend, the NHTSA announced that it was opening an investigation after receiving 32 complaints from owners of 2011-2012 Ford Mustangs with the 6-speed manual transmission. The transmission used in the cars is made by a joint venture of Ford and Getrag with assembly in China and is called the MT-82. The reports filed with the NHTSA allege several different issues with the transmission.

The complaints center on the inability to shift into gears when driving the car normally and crunching or grinding on shifts. The investigation is looking at the transmission on both 6-cylinder Mustangs and the 5.0-liter Mustang GT as well as the 2012 Boss 302. Ford has previously issued a technical service bulletin or TSB that offered a proposed fix for the crunching and grinding by replacing the fluid inside the transmission with a different weight. Many users reported no change in shifting after having the TSB fix applied.

I happen to own a 2012 Boss 302 and my car is affected by the shifting issue often referred to as lockout. The first time the issue occurred on my car was at a road course event. Not expecting issues with the car, I was recording the laps with a windshield-mounted camera, so you can’t see hands or the shifter in the video. You can though hear that at the start of the session in part one of the video below I was able to shift without any issues.

Towards the 7:30 mark in part one the car suddenly refuses to go from third to fourth gear smoothly and starting in part two the inability to shift into fourth gear happens with almost every shift at high RPM. The transmission goes from third to sixth rather than fourth gear typically in my case. If you just want to hear the shift issue, skip to video two. I put the first video up simply for reference to show the car was shifting normally to start with.

What you can see in the video is that the clutch pedal started feeling very spongy and was not returning to the fully disengaged position when I removed my foot from the pedal. The clutch pedal was only releasing about an inch before becoming stuck and it would only fully disengage after the RPMs dropped. The shifts on the front straight where you can see the paddock building in the background are at about 7500 RPM at roughly 80 mph-100 mph.

It’s worth noting that the instructor in the car with me is baffled by the shift issue as well, at one point he thinks I am making a shift error hitting the gates and I tell him that the pedal feels weird. This shift issue also happens on the street as well. There may be some language on the video, the instructor drops the f-bomb at times so be warned.

[via Fox News]

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The Great Arctic Melt Opens Up A Lot Of Questions

The Great Melt: This animation of images taken over time by NASA satellites shows Arctic sea ice declining for the past 30 years. The year to year rate of decline 11.5 percent per decade. Via The Bridge. Image Credit: NASA/Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio

Global warming is remaking the Arctic, with changes like ice-free sea lanes across the Arctic Ocean in summer, or no-longer-so-eternal permafrost on land, unprecedented in human history.

How much one laments or celebrates these changes probably depends on where one’s values fall across a scale extending from “untouched wilderness” at one end to “lucrative oil field” at the other. But it’s indisputable that they’re creating new opportunities for scientists to learn more about the region than they’ve been able to in the past–and a new sense of urgency.

“The Arctic in the Anthropocene: Emerging Research Questions,” is a report by the National Research Council that tries to identify the questions brought on by the Great Arctic Melt. It was released last month in pre-publication form.

The Arctic is changing so fast, we’re unlikely to have many second chances at fixing mistakes.

I’ve only skimmed the surface of this report so far, but already can tell it has a lot to offer. Stephanie Pfirman, an environmental scientist at Barnard College, Columbia University, who co-chaired the committee that created the report, spoke with me briefly about it as well.

If you haven’t heard the word “Anthropocene” before, it is a recently-coined name for the current period in Earth’s history, when human actions are having a planet-scale impact. Putting the word “Anthropocene” in the report’s title, Pfirman told me, was a way to expand its scope beyond the typical confines of scientific reports about global warming and the Arctic. “Anthropocene is about more than just human influence on the planet,” she said. “It’s also about human interactions, ingenuity, and capacity to solve problems.”

New questions

The sections on the “evolving Arctic” and the “connected Arctic” cover relatively well-identified questions, known unknowns that include: How do and will the new levels of heat in the Far North change weather patterns in other parts of the world? And as the region’s geopolitical importance increases, can Arctic native peoples gain greater political power, and a new degree of self-determination?

More novel are the sections that ask questions about the “hidden Arctic,” as in “what we may find now that we have access to new areas, new technologies,” says Pfirman, “but also what we may lose forever”; the “managed Arctic” of unprecedented expansion in the land and other resources available to human inhabitants of the region; and the “undetermined Arctic” of uneven research funding, spotty monitoring tools, and other barriers that complicate efforts to study and understand the changes.

The Arctic’s own special qualities seem to have propelled the report’s cross-disciplinary framing of the questions. Breaking through old boundaries that have divided disciplines may be more important than ever, because the Arctic is changing so fast, we’re unlikely to have many second chances at fixing mistakes.

“The need for actionable Arctic information has never been greater,” said Pfirman. “Whether or not they have the information, people are making decisions now.”

6/17/14 Update: Don’t have time to read the whole report? Here’s the official video:

Grovemade Iphone 6/6 Plus Wooden Cases

You can’t get enough of your latest iPhones i.e. 6 and 6 Plus. Similarly, you will never get enough of accessories that enhance the performance of your smartphone. Listed below is an array of excellent iPhone cases especially for those who value creative design, solid material and chic colours. If you admire your coveted phone, you would certainly go to any extent to protect it against any possible damage.

These Grovemade wooden cases are made in USA and can be shipped to your doorstep perhaps in a week. Check out the best option for your iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

1. Walnut & Leather iPhone Case

This walnut & leather iPhone 6 and 6 Plus case is made from Oregon Claro Walnut and premium vegetable-tanned leather. It is conceptualized, fabricated and constructed by Grovemade in Portland, Oregon. The case boasts all wood construction using the strength of grain direction. Its precisely crafted joints ensure that your phone doesn’t get damaged by scratches, dents, and creases. The craftsmanship has also benefited to gain access to all phone functions without any hassle. At the same time, you can easily snap in and out your iPhone 6 and 6 Plus of the case. The case nicely works as a stand.

2. Walnut iPhone Case

If you want to see how rigorous research and development can do wonders, take a look at this Walnut iPhone case. After five years of non-stop research, product improvements and innovations, Grovemade has launched this beautiful case that includes its unparalleled joint design to create the slimmest wood case possible. Though the case is ultra-thin, it boasts increased frame strength and durability. Its walnut back flip easily sticks to your phone and gives you a strong grip.

3. Walnut iPhone Bumper Case

For your love of curves, here is a sexy-looking Walnut iPhone Bumper that flaunts minimalistic design to give your iPhone 6 and 6 Plus a classic look. Handcrafted from Oregon Claro walnut, this bumper case features uniquely accurate joints for extra strength and durability. Moreover, its comfortable design allows you to push in and pull out your smartphone without any pain. Its solid built doesn’t compromise on style, and hence, your smartphone looks elegant while it is wrapped inside this bumper case.

4. Maple & Leather iPhone Case

5. Maple iPhone Case

Like other Grovemade iPhone cases, this maple case is made after years of product improvements and innovations. This good-looking case of Eastern Hardrock maple showcases extraordinary exactitude and durability; though it is made to flaunt its thinner built, this case has got sturdy character. This maple case easily sticks to your smartphone giving you a firm control even while you are on the go.

6. Maple Bumper Case

Add oomph factor to your personality with this maple iPhone bumper case. Its subtle design is bolstered by minimalist construction giving it an edge over other ordinary cases. It can easily gel well with existing style and grace. This case is also handmade from eastern hardrock maple with its signature accuracy at curves, holes and other openings. And this ensures quick functions of attaching charging cables, hands-free plug and headphones on your iPhone. The all-round performance includes smart engineering and easy snap-in and snap-out.

Author Profile

Dhvanesh

The founder of iGeeksBlog, Dhvanesh, is an Apple aficionado, who cannot stand even a slight innuendo about Apple products. He dons the cap of editor-in-chief to make sure that articles match the quality standard before they are published.

Turning Data Teams Into Superheroes

Today’s data teams need a direct path from data to insights without a complicated, months-long data-modeling process. That’s why Periscope Data is designed to start providing value immediately. All it takes is a simple connection between the data sources and Periscope Data’s platform and one can begin building dashboards and generating insights. The setup process takes less than an hour and runs on universal languages like SQL that data professionals know and love.

With Periscope’s Unified Data Platform, businesses can create a data-driven culture by combining a single source of truth with deep analytics capabilities, empowering data teams to collaborate and be more productive and efficient.

An Industry Standard to Drive Deep Business Insights

Periscope Data’s mission is to help turn data teams into superheroes. The company believes data teams will drive the future of businesses. Periscope Data’s analytics solution started as a side project for another startup idea but quickly became a valuable product that data teams needed for deeper data analysis. Today, Periscope has become an industry standard for data analytics, used by nearly 1000 companies worldwide, including Adobe, CrunchBase, EY, Flexport, New Relic, Supercell, Tinder, ZipRecruiter and many more.

The company’s customers spend more than 20 hours per week within the platform on average, with more than 90 percent of them logging in every day. Those customers are creating more than 7000 new charts every day, with more and more customers joining every day.

The Dynamic Leaders Behind Periscope Data

Periscope Data was co-founded by CEO, Harry Glaser and CTO, Tom O’Neill in 2012 to address an urgent need from data analysts for lightning-fast investigative analytics.

The company is very passionate about the growth of data teams and empowering them with the tools they need to grow their businesses. Enterprises are increasingly bringing data teams together under one roof and challenging them to provide instant insight to the entire company based on an exponentially increasing amount of data. Periscope Data built their Unified Data Platform to make data teams more collaborative, and ultimately more productive.

Prior to Periscope Data, Glaser was a product manager at Google. In addition to his work at Periscope Data, Glaser is an active member of “Project Include”, a community for accelerating meaningful, enduring diversity and inclusion in the tech industry.

Under Glaser’s leadership, Periscope Data has built an incredibly experienced and diverse team that works closely with data teams to address their analytics needs. The company’s customer solutions team was recently recognized among the top customer service teams in the U.S. and Periscope Data has been named a “Best Place to Work” by several local media outlets.

Innovation Overloaded

Many companies struggle to bring together data from disparate sources, as they stitch together multiple products that only focus on a portion of their data. This combination of fragmented data and disconnected tools costs companies millions of dollars every year due to decisions based on bad, incomplete or stale data. Periscope Data unifies the data and the team, addressing the complete analytics lifecycle and providing one “single source of truth.”

Through Periscope Data’s native connectors and ecosystem of ETL partners, customers can easily connect to all of their data and bring it together on a single platform to power insightful analysis and insights.

Amazon Redshift is a core component of Periscope’s Unified Data Platform. With customers running millions of queries and creating thousands of charts on its platform each day, Periscope’s partnership with Amazon enables it to streamline analytics workflows for data teams.

The Road to Insight-Driven Future

Periscope Data believes that unsupervised machine learning may be the biggest story of big data in 2023. While not everyone will be using machine learning to make decisions, platforms that focus on flexibility and rapid iteration will outpace those based on rigid structures and processes. Visual-based data discovery tools should enable flexibility to quickly explore new types of questions — those that don’t will have serious problems in the future.

As an analytics provider, the company is seeing that BI measurement and reporting will be significantly refined with the growth of machine learning and AI. For humans, detecting anomalies in large volumes of data is time-consuming and difficult. When large amounts of data flow through a system, AI can make anomaly detection much easier. There’s a huge value in using AI for this detection, then adding humans to the final step.

Putting Technology Acquisitions Into Context

In my last column, I talked about the effect politics has on technology

decision making, and I got a lot of responses. Seems everyone relates to

politics and the impact it has on corporate behavior.

This time I’d like to expand the context discussion to include the rest

of the variables that influence the technology acquisition, deployment

and support processes… and, for that matter, all corporate behavior.

Politics is one part of the overall context that decisions are made in.

The others include the culture of the company, the quality and character

of the leadership, the financial condition of the company, and the

overall financial state of the industry, the national and global

economies.

The three most obvious pieces of the puzzle include the pursuit of

collaborative business models, technology integration and

interoperability, and, of course the management best practices around

business technology acquisition, deployment and support. Other pieces,

which round out the context that decisions are made in, include politics,

leadership, the economy and culture.

Let’s run through the variables.

As suggested last time, it’s important to assess the political quotient

of your company. Some companies are almost completely political. A few

people make decisions based only on what they think, who they like (and

dislike), and on what’s good for them personally (which may or may not be

good for the company).

Other companies are obsessive-compulsive about data, evidence and

analysis. In the middle, are most of the companies out there, with some

balance between analysis and politics.

Corporate culture is another key decision-making driver.

calculated risks? Crazy risks? Are you early — or late — technology

adopters? Does your culture reward or punish risk takers? When they tell

you to ”think outside the box”, is that code for ”I dare you to

challenge the status quo”? It’s important to assess your corporate

culture accurately. Technology investments must sync with the culture (as

well as the rest of the variables that comprise the total decision-making

context).

What about corporate leadership? Is it smart? Is it old to the point of

nearing retirement? Is everyone already rich? Is everyone still

struggling to get back to where they were in 1999? Is it embattled? Is

the senior management team mature or adolescent? Is it committed to

everyone’s success or just its own? Is it compassionate or unforgiving?

The key here is the overall leadership ability of the senior management

team. There are some really smart, skilled and honorable management teams

out there and there are some really awful ones, as well. Trying to sell a

long-term technology-based solution to a self-centered team with only

their personal wealth in mind simply won’t work. Trying to sell the same

solution to a team that embraces long-term approaches to the creation of

broad shareholder value usually works very well.

How well is the company really doing? Is it making money? More money than

last year? Is it tightening its belt? Has the CIO received yet another

memorandum about reducing technology costs? Is the company growing

Is your industry sector doing well? Are you the only defense contractor

losing money? Or is everyone in the same boat? Is the general economy

looking good or are there regional, national or global red flags? What’s

the confidence level for the sector and the economy? Where’s the smart

money going?

It’s essential to position your company within the larger economic forces

that define national and global bear and bull markets.

Be sure to touch all of these bases as you prepare to launch a new

technology effort. While the business case may be strong, there are other

factors that can dramatically influence the outcome of the process. Pay

very close attention to politics, culture, leadership, the company’s

financials and the overall national and global economies.

If the lights are all red, maybe it’s a bad time to propose any changes

or any large technology investments. But if there are some red, but

mostly yellow and green lights, then perhaps it’s time to work the

One thing is for sure: Ignoring any of the pieces will jeopardize your

chances of success.

The Challenges Of Moving Into E

Security

“Customer payment fraud and payment data security are big perceived barriers. The good news is payment brands are providing checkout experiences that are consumer and mobile friendly that can also reduce customer payment fraud,” said Christopher Danvers (@kingofpayments), Vice President of Payments and Digital Services at American Airlines Federal Credit Union.

“The increased potential for fraud and data breaches within an ecommerce environment may hold some merchants back from creating an online experience for customers. Not only are businesses worried about the impact to their customers, but the impact it may have on their brand,” said Paul Bridgewater (@PaymentPaul), Chief Executive Officer at Sage Payment Solutions. “The latest payment solutions and technologies in the card not present world have been designed to address the security and fraud concerns and can now also improve efficiencies and customer buying experiences, resulting in accelerated growth.”

Remember, everybody is a consumer or customer.

CEO at Hawke Media, Erik Huberman (@ErikHuberman) had a slightly different take on the issue: “I see the biggest challenge is the different way you have to acquire customers.  Most companies that have not had experience in ecommerce expect much higher margins, because they are cutting out the retailer, but that cost is traded with a new cost, marketing.  Without marketing, it is very hard to attract customers.”

What About Competitors?

Fazir Jameer Ali (@ThatDudeF), SVP, Digital Product Strategy & Innovation at KeyBank sees the opportunity: “Merchants in my opinion have clear opportunity to compete with larger retailers online, which would have immediate impact on their sales and potentially transform their business. However, in order to do so, merchants need to have a robust plan of attack that focuses on their strategy that aligns with customer centricity and the technology that enables them to be successful. Digital payments provide an opportunity to help streamline the shopping process that is safe, secure and frictionless.”

ROI

Co-founder of iVentures Consulting, Aurelia Ammour (@aammour) saw a different barrier.

From Lori McDonald (@lorimcd), President & CEO of Brilliance Business Solutions: 

“Many B2B merchants have costs that are difficult to estimate during checkout (like freight shipping) or have customers that frequently edit orders.  The solution depends on the customer, but one possible solution is the storage of customer payment information in a 3rd party PCI compliant payment processor that enables future use of customer’s payment information without the need for the merchant to store credit-card data.”

And finally, Paul do Forno, (@dofornop), Managing Director Commerce & Content Practice at Deloitte Digital, talked strategy. “Some Merchants have concerns around investing more into e-commerce:

Management are lifetime Retail people and hard for them to see the value selling online with so many “perceived” costs to go online.  

Merchants might be wary of investing a lot of time and up front capital costs when the ROI is not clear for them.

Merchants sometimes look at other retailers and see that looking at solely their online business they see those retailers either not making their target margin or losing money when only considering the online channel.

Some merchants are scared to make the jump because they don’t have the people and experience to take on these new channels.”

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