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Friday, September 26, 2014

How to Buy a Motorcycle that ISN'T a Harley Davidson- the 2015 Indian Motorcycle is a Classic Alternative!

Being popular doesn't mean that everyone wants you.

There are people in the world looking to separate themselves from the crowd. They seek out the different, the unusual and the unknown. Motorcycle enthusiasts know this well and look for choices that speak to their personality- that's the reason they buy motorcycles and not a station wagon.

Harley Davidson motorcycles are fantastic bikes, but every dentist, accountant and insurance agent with a mid-life crisis has one. And usually in black. What if I'm one of the folks out there shopping for a different kind of bike? A choice that isn't necessarily the popular or expected one? There's even a Facebook page dissing the ride from Milwaukee.

That's why the free market exists, my friends. There is apparently enough demand for a classically styled  motorcycle that isn't a Harley to support competition for that 53 year-old salesman's hard earned money.

Put this in a group of typical black Harleys and see who gets noticed.
Indian Motorcycle is a name nearly as legendary as Harley Davidson. Born at the turn of the last century, Indian disappeared from the scene in the 50's but was resurrected in the early 2000's as an entry into the growing market for classic motorcycles.

NOT a Harley.
Ever since its Phoenix-like rise, Indian has built a near cult following with it's brawny appearance and relative rarity. This doesn't mean the Indian is primitive, however. It's packed with state of the art electronics and options that allow it to keep up with the Harleys of the world.

But, who are we kidding? In this market, style is king and the Indian is sculpted with classic shapes, covered in dramatic color choices and dressed in stylish accessories designed to tell the world that what you're riding isn't a Harley.

It's an Indian

And that's all any High School principal could ask.

To see the 2015 Indian lineup, go to the website here.

Plus, there's a review of the 2015 Indian Roadmaster on 

The Thor Vegas RUV. A new kind of Class-A RV- small on size, small on price and BIG on value!

My parents owned their own business for 40 years. My dad, in particular, worked extremely hard to make the business a success. 16 hour days, seven days a week were the norm. He landed clients, serviced accounts and built his reputation until he was the go-to guy in his industry for advice, questions and quality results. Not bad for someone who had to quit high school to help support his family.

Now, 40 years later, my parents are enjoying the fruits of their long days of toil by travelling the USA in an RV. Not just any RV, mind you, but a true land yacht that's 36 feet long, swathed in leather and granite and cost more than my first house (and nearly as much as my 2nd!). Don't ask me about the fuel bill...

That's OK with me because they earned it. But, I've been watching the fun and memories they've been having and it got me and the wife to thinking about making some RV memories of our own. But, with two little ones still in school and their big sister in college, I doubt we'll be procuring the rolling mansion my parents have now. So, I started looking around the internet for something a bit more practical for a middle-class family budget and needs.

We thought about a trailer, but then decided against it because of backing up issues and they seem so, well...flimsy, I guess. Then we looked at Class-C models (the kind with an obvious truck cab up front), but found nothing that seemed to catch our eye.

Finally, we started searching available Class-A models. These are the traditional all-in-one models with the steering and seats as a part of the interior. Nothing seemed right until we stumbled across the Vegas RUV.
Vegas baby!

Built by Thor Motor Coach, the Vegas and it's sister model, the Axis are far smaller than traditional Class-A motorcoaches. In fact, Thor claims the Vegas is only 5 feet longer than a Chevy Suburban, yet still sleeps 5 in complete comfort. It's because of this size distinction that Thor adds the "RUV" suffix for "Recreational Utility Vehicle".

Regardless of the reason for the marketing department inspired name, the Vegas certainly has a distinctive appearance. It's curved windshield and stacked headlamps separate it from the other rolling boxes on the Class-A scene.

Yet it still comes with equipped with all the comforts of home: flat screen TV, Queen sized bed, shower, solid surface counters and more.
This kitchen is fancier than the one in my house

And the best part is the price. in the world of RV sales, a new Class-A can easily cost in excess of $175,000 and go far, far higher. The Vegas, on the other hand, can be had for less than $75,000. Don't believe me? Check out this link for proof.

As for our family's RV purchase plans? Spring is looking more likely for our purchase date and the Vegas is #1 on our list.

I'll call my mom and see what she says.

To see the Vegas on the Thor Motor Coach website, click here.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The iPhone 6, the iPhone 6+ and the Apple Watch are introduced- The Big News Gets Even Bigger from Apple!

After months of rumors, blurry photo leaks, vague predictions and geeks around the world treating today like Christmas, the announcement of the year finally took place in Cupertino, California this morning: Apple announced all-new iPhones and introduced a whole new product, the Apple Watch...nope, no "i" prefix at all.

The new iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6+ are larger in nearly every way but thickness. The iPhone 6 has a larger 4.7 inch screen, a little bigger in square footage when compared to the "old" iPhone 5S and its now-tiny 4" screen. The iPhone 6+, on the other hand, is positively huge in comparison to the 5S and has entered into the "Phablet" space with a 5.5" screen.
Small, medium and large- From left, the iPhone 5S, iPhone 6 with a 4.7" screen
 and the huge iPhone 6+ with a 5.5" screen.
(courtesy: Business Insider)

"So what?" I hear you asking. "It's bigger. How is that a huge deal?"

Well, gentle reader, it's something to notice because Apple literally invented the smartphone and ever since its 2007 introduction has stuck with the 4" screen year after year while competitors from Android and Windows Phone have built far larger products with screens nearly 7" across. It seems that Apple's stubbornness finally gave way to consumer demand for more screen acreage. Current Apple iPhone apps will work just fine on the new models, but as developers produce apps that take advantage of the larger surface, Apple users will experience more content in a larger format.

But, that doesn't mean the iPhone5S or the iPhone5C are history. Per his keynote address, Apple CEO Tim Cooke said both of the smaller phones will continue as part of the Apple iPhone family, but at a much lower price point. In fact, the 8G iPhone 5C is now free with a two-year contract with your favorite carrier.

The cost for the iPhone 6 starts at $199 for the 32 Gig model and increases to $299 for 64G model with the top iPhone 6 at a strong 128G of memory for apps, games music and other content.

The price of admission for the iPhone 6+ begins at $299 for 16G (not nearly enough memory, in my view), $399 for 32 G and a painful $499 for the 128G top o' the line version. $500 for a phone, even one that's under contract with a carrier? With equally sized Android and Windows phones with similar features going for less than two hundred dollars, I'm not sure I'll be able to make that kind of financial leap and to convince my wife that it's worth it too.

Apple also introduced a new service called "Apple Pay" that will be available for the iPhone 6 twins exclusively. With Apple Pay, credit cards are unnecessary. The phones use your credit information and allow you to make purchases at every retail or eating outlet with a common NFC (Near Field Communications) receiver. Apple claims there are 220,000 receiving units in stores now with more being added daily. They also boast of extremely high level security to protect your financial information from unwanted attention. When you're ready to buy, you open the Apple Pay app, place your new iPhone near the receiver and scan your finger across the sensor at the bottom of the phone. That's it. No card, no wallet and no hassle.

Apple's final announcement was made with their traditional "...just one more thing" as the keynote appeared to be drawing to a close. The hand-picked audience ooohed and ahhhed as Tim Cooke introduced the long-rumored "Apple Watch".
Apple thought the "time" was right for a smart-watch. The Apple Watch.
(courtesy: ABCgo)

The Apple Watch is, in many ways, a tiny extension of the iPhone. Coming in two sizes, the Apple Watch is still a thick chunk of metal. Square and shiny, the face can accept dozens of stylish, replaceable watch bands. Besides keeping time to within 50 milliseconds a day, the Apple Watch can send messages, play music, read your heartbeat and act as a remote monitor for your iPhone's camera. The apps are mostly accessed using touch and the stem of the watch as a sort-of mouse controller. The watch requires a connection with your nearby iPhone to employ most of its features beyond telling the time, however.

Apple's video can show it better than I can explain it, so you can go to Apple's homepage to see the video here. 

The new phones will hit the streets in less than two weeks and the watches are due- vaguely- sometime early next year.

Can you wait? Frankly, although the technology is impressive and the live demonstrations looked nice, I still want to see what Samsung, Motorola, Nokia and the other phone manufacturers will do before I go spending up to $500 for what amounts to a slightly larger iPhone 5.

You can also go to the Apple home page to see all the new products, too.