Dale Franks

I write stuff. A lot of it is about cars and motorcycles.

Good Enough

2013 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design Review

Safety. Reliability. Swedish stolidity. That’s what you think of when you think of Volvo. For the most part, that’s what the Swedish automaker wants you to think. The Swedes have a philosophy that permeates their society, called lagom. It describes a state of being just good enough to evoke a sense of comfortable satisfaction. Not too good, so as to be extravagant or showy, and not too bad, as to be obviously flawed or defective.

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Resurrection, Again

Let’s try this one more time

Blogging is hard. I don’t mean it’s hard physically, but it’s hard in terms of finding the time to do it. This especially true when you write at other places besides your personal web site. I write on politics and economics elsewhere, and I didn’t want this to become a political site. Plus, I got an invite to write at Medium, so I sort of did all of my personal writing there, and created my own collection of automotive and motorcycle writing there. (Most of which, By the way, I’ll be transferring over here, bit by bit.)

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What God Drives on the Weekend

2014 Jaguar F-Type S Review

It’s been 50 years since Jaguar has produced a proper, purpose-built sports car, in the form of the classic E-Type, one of the most beautiful cars ever made. It was, perhaps, the most beautiful thing ever made. Since then, Jaguar has been more about luxury than sport. Sure, Jaguar makes fast luxury cars, and there was the XK, of course, which was amusing, and in the R-spec version, very fast. But it didn’t quite press all the right sports-car buttons, especially in convertible form. The convertible was basically an XK coupe with the top sawzalled off, which meant loss of torsional rigidity and scuttle shake. Since the E-Type, Jags have always been fast, fun, and luxurious, but not truly sporting machines.

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Welcome to the future

Everything you know about software development is wrong

I’ve spent the last 20 years developing software, managing software development, and doing software systems analysis full-time. I’ve been programming since I was 16. The first time I went to college, my major was computer science. Since then, I’ve seen one major revolution in the computer industry, which essentially blew up everything that came before it.

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Less Beige

2013 Lexus GS 350 F-Sport Review

Here’s the thing: whether you buy a Toyota, a Scion, or a Lexus, almost all the cars made by the Toyota Motor Corporation are beige. Bland. Which is sad, because Toyota used to make some cars that tended decidedly towards the red end of the color spectrum. There was the Toyota Celica GTS, the nearly-supercar-fun Supra, and even the entertaining, mid-engined, two-seater MR2. Toyota used to make fun cars, then they just…stopped.

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The “S” Stands for “Spock”

2013 Volkswagen Jetta S Review

From 1945 until 1974, Volkswagen’s tiny Type 1, affectionately known as the “Beetle”, was the very byword for low-cost transportation. With its little 1.3L air-cooled engine, it wasn’t fast, and it wasn’t very roomy, but it was, by the standards of the day, cheap and economical. It was replaced by the Golf in 1974, a car which is still with us today and, in the GTI model, is still the only car you really need.

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Impossible

2013 BMW K1600GT Review

For years,I’ve been adamant that the R1200RT is the only BMW touring bike I’d be interested in owning. The I-4 powered K1300GT was uncomfortable, seemed sluggish at low revs, and, frankly, a bit ungainly compared to the RT. It was also a motorcycle line that was plagued by a number of niggling mechanical and fueling issues. It was certainly fast, but I was never impressed with it. I remember that after I put it through a ride test, my exact comment to the BMW rep when I got off the bike was, “Meh.”

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Ugly is Only Skin Deep

2013 Subaru Impreza WRX STI Review

Subaru is a brand that has a lot of stereotypes when it comes to the average owner. There’s the modern, new-age version of hippies, who need a Subaru Outback’s All Wheel Drive to navigate the muddy dirt roads that lead to their dirty, all-organic, locally grown produce communes. The lesbians, treehuggers and PETA enthusiasts figure prominently, too. Basically, Subaru makes cars for outdoorsy communists.

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