Causeway Article – April 2018

Upcoming Lincoln Models

By: Jason Halliday

The Lincoln Motor Company has really stepped forward recently to prove to the world that the old Lincoln you remember is gone for good… or is it? Lincoln has also brought back old nameplates (and a new one) replacing the extremely confusing MK whatever tags they used in the past. The future lineup (including Ford) is going to focus mostly on Crossovers and SUV’s. These days nobody wants sedans anymore. The Lincoln Lineup is going to consist of the following models:

Sedans: MKZ & Continental

Crossovers: MKC, Nautilus (for 2019), Aviator, Navigator.

Vehicles stopping production: MKX & MKT

People might see the MKX on the chopping block and wonder why, this is due to the name changing. They can’t just change the name of the vehicle, they wanted to change the entire vehicle while still keeping the same dimensions and price point. The Aviator is actually the first all new Lincoln. They are not using an existing Lincoln model. They in fact are based off a modified version of the Explorer chassis, which will give it 3 rows and make it cheaper than the Navigator. When the Lincoln Aviator came out in 2002 people loved them, we actually still see some in the service drive once in a while. They really only stopped production when the gas prices were really high and people didn’t want SUV’s anymore. The Aviator will be also the only vehicle in it’s class to be a Plug-in Hybrid! Thats right, you will be able to run this vehicle on nothing but batteries for some time. There is also the Navigator, which was completely redesigned in 2018 and didn’t skimp on anything. It has available 30 way power seat, it also has an 3.5L twin turbocharged 450hp engine hooked up to a 10 speed transmission.

With these new cars, the tech has upgraded as well. The Continental, Aviator and Navigator have 100% digital dashboards, this makes customizing your driving experience even easier than before. You also have Lincoln’s version of SYNC3 (which is different than Ford’s). They made the system easier to use while adding got to have features like Apple Car play and Android Auto. In the Continental and Navigator they even added a package that will turn the 2nd row into a fully controllable section. You can change everything from the radio to climate with by using the center controller between the seats. There is also an audio system designed by Revel called the “Ultima” which has up to 20 speakers in the Navigator and a yet to be announced amount in the Aviator.

Whether you had Lincolns for a lifetime or are just starting to look into them now, you really owe it to yourself to check out the new Lineup of one of the fastest growing and popular lineups in the Luxury market today. Automotive magazines are starting to write more and more articles on Lincoln and you are even seeing them in TV Shows and Movies again. This is an exciting time with a lot of really nice upcoming vehicles that will keep raising the bar for years to come.

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New Addition’s to Blog

I was looking at my site and just saw that it missed something. So I changed the design to make it more user friendly, but I also decided to drastically add more content. I will still post my newspaper articles on the site but also stories more about me and my life. These stories will be posted on the first week of every month.

I look forward to the new stories that will come!

The 2019 Ford Ranger

When someone thinks of a small pickup truck one of the top choices is the Ford Ranger. Even with this iconic truck getting axed from the lineup in 2012, we thought all hope was lost. But before you give up everything you might want to know that Ford is bringing back in its smallish pickup truck, and it even has four full doors too! The Ranger actually never went away at all, it’s been in production actually everywhere else but the US. Many people think it was to boost up the numbers on F-150 sales, while others think it was because the old ranger never really changed much from the original design in 1983. The Ranger platform was used for the First two generations of Explorer, Bronco II, Mercury Mountaineer, and Ford Explorer Sport-Trac.

The 2019 Ranger based on the European and Australian models is very updated when compared to its predecessor. It comes in three trim levels XL, XLT, & Lariat. It also has fun new colors like Saber (a bright orange), Lightning Blue, Hot Pepper Red, Absolute Black, Magnetic (Dark Grey), Ingot Silver, White Platinum, and the good old Oxford White. There aren’t any details on the interior colors, but you can expect black or grey. There is also an offroad package that you can add, it comes with skid plates, all-terrain tires, and an angle display so you can see how your truck is doing. There is a new feature called “Trail Control” Think of this as an off-road cruise control, it will automatically control the brake and gas to keep the vehicle at a constant speed between 1 and 20 miles per hour. There is also a dial that can control 4 different terrain modes like grass, gravel, snow/mud/rut/sand, and normal. It also has an electronic locking rear differential so you can get the truck up most anything.

The only engine that they are advertising at this point is the 2.3 Ecoboost engine with Ford’s unique 10-speed transmission. There is also Adaptive Cruise Control that will automatically slow down if someone slows down in front of you. There is also Lane Keeping Assist that will warn you if you start to drift in the lane then steer you back into the middle of the lane. There is also Pre-collision Assist with pedestrian detection. This couldn’t be complete without Ford’s one and only Blis system that will light a warning in either of your side mirrors letting you know someone is in your blind spot. For all of you tech people out there, you can get Ford’s new Ford Pass Connect feature that will turn your car into a WI-FI hotspot that you can use up to 50 feet outside the vehicle.

Ford still hasn’t released pricing for this new truck; however, most people we talk to are really excited when they can actually see this vehicle. You can sign up for updates on Ford’s website so you’re not left out of the loop. This new Ford Ranger platform is actually the base for the new Ford Bronco that is coming out, it’s supposed is more like the Jeep Wrangler than the 90’s Bronco that you all remember. It doesn’t matter if you’re a big or small truck person when you stick with a vehicle that is built Ford Tough you can’t go wrong!

 

The 2018 Hyundai Elantra – Tech Review

There are opinions for everything in life, cars, music, technology, etc. This doesn’t stop for “in-car” technology and features. For the longest time, I always wanted everything in a vehicle and was disappointed when it didn’t have what I was obsessing over. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I’m starting to not like the tech stuff being crammed into vehicles these days. Have we gotten to the saturation point? Should we go back to plain radios? I am willing to say no to both of those questions! What if you could have all the important tech stuff but not feel overwhelmed.  This is where the 2018 Hyundai Elantra comes in!

 

The Hyundai Elantra I am talking about is the 2018 “Value Edition”. This is the middle trim level that has the perfect balance of price and value (hence the name). Right off the bat, you get the 7-inch display with standard AM/FM/Sirius XM (no cd player). You also get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard as well. So without needing factory Nav, you can just plug-in your phone (Galaxy S8 is my test phone) and use Google Maps or WAYS right through the system (with very little effort). You can also pull up many other apps that will run on the system. In the early days you were severely limited to what apps can run on either system, but now with more and more apps being accepted, there are more than enough. I like the fact that I can text my voice by just saying “Hey Google” and I can text my wife without worrying about getting a $400 ticket! If you are the 2% wondering if your Windows Phone is compatible… it’s not. I like listening to Pandora so now when I am leaving work I can continue listening where I left off. Hyundai has nicely laid out OS which feels very comfortable. Instead of being all cluttered, you have an “all menu’s” section that hides a good size list of everything on the system. There is an area for your current channel and map (if you have nav). The system overall is very responsive and easy to use for the driver or passenger.

 

The rest of the car has very nice features like standard “Blind Spot Detection” with rear cross traffic alert and Lane Change Assist. If you are driving and someone pulls in your blind spot on either side, an amber light will turn on in the corresponding mirror. The Elantra comes with “Lane Change Assist” which keeps track of the cars in the lanes behind you.  When you put the blinker on to change lanes, it will beep a warning that another car is approaching, warning you not to change lanes.  You could actually call this the “Anti-Cutoff Alert”. The car comes equipped with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert for backing up.  It checks for any vehicles or people and beeps to let you know someone is moving behind you. In the Value Edition, you will also get a standard Sunroof, push-button start, and keyless entry, Dual Zone Climate control with a clean air ionizer and automatic front defroster, heated seats, and a dimming rearview mirror with Homelink. There is another cool feature Hyundai calls the “smart trunk”.  This interesting feature will actually open the trunk for you when you are standing next to the rear of the vehicle for more than 5 seconds.  The only drawback is that if you are standing near your car, the trunk might open up.

 

When it comes to in-car technology everyone has their own opinion on what they want.  Reading all the options a vehicle has is one thing.  You need to play around with everything it has; you might just be surprised by everything it holds.

Ubiquiti vs Meraki WI-FI

 

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With today’s technology exploding at an extreme rate, there is always a need to get better and better WI-FI. One of these companies is one that everyone has heard of, Cisco. Cisco is a Networking company that was founded in 1984 in San Francisco. Most major and minor server rooms have at least one thing that is made by Cisco, for a good reason too! The equipment (and service) is second to none. I have some leftover “test” routers that I used to train on in college and they still work. Cisco became the defacto standard for the longest time, just because not many people knew how to code in the Cisco IOS, so they were also very secure. As more and more people started liking and using Cisco products the better they became by buying different technologies. Some of these would be Linksys for home networking and Meraki the cloud-based networking company. The Latter is what we are talking about today.

Unifi

 

The other company is Ubiquiti (people often think Unifi is the name, but that is a model).  Ubiquiti was founded in 2005 in New York (not everything needs to come out of Cali). They had a really easy business model… make it affordable! I know it sounds like a crazy concept, but it really went against the grain. Computers and Networking are generally really expensive. If a new iPhone X could cost almost $1,000 dollars imagine how much the infrastructure was to get the phone going in the first place!  People suddenly realized they could get Cisco like quality (almost) but at a really affordable price. Why buy one Cisco Access Point (AP) for $800 if you could get 8 Unifi Access Points for the same price without sacrificing quality. If one of them broke then just replace it. They took this idea across the entire product line up, which is everything from Point to Point, to video cameras, etc. Everything also has a brand identity, They all have this ring of light (sometimes it’s a rounded square) and the color will tell you how it’s feeling. It’s on everything from the switches to the AP’s.

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Now that we are all caught up on history, we can talk about the enterprise-class WI-FI. I have used and installed both with the company I work for many years. Cisco’s Meraki WI-FI is very much like any other Cisco setup. You have high-quality metal equipment with a really clean look. When you get your plan together and talk with your install team (in-house or from Cisco) you will need to make sure you get all the licensing together right away. With Meraki, you can program everything from the cloud without a lot of the stuff in place. You can register everything ahead of time so that when your team is installing the hardware you can be set up all your security settings and networks. This saves a lot of downtime and stress when trying to roll out everything on time. With Meraki gone are the “old” endless programming screens and instead you have a rather pleasant looking white, green, and grey layout that is point and click! This cuts the setup time in half without having to endlessly copy and paste hundreds of lines of code while hooked up to an energy drink I.V. drip. I am usually getting average speeds of around 30Mbps with bursts over 50 down and 20 up from my iPad. The Meraki is really steady, you will know exactly what you are getting with the equipment you are using. new-dashboard-layout

I also like the fact that you get a nice reporting menu so I can see places that I could tighten up a little more. So if you have that one employee that always seems to be on their phone instead of working, you can see that as soon as you log in. I always find myself in the “Network-Wide” and “Wireless” menus checking daily activities.

Now for the not so nice… Some of the Meraki AP’s are known to be not the best when it comes to reliability. This is mostly the outdoor AP’s, but there are some indoor ones that go too. I’ve had three outdoor “MR66” models die all within a couple of months of each other (and out of warranty) so you are then stuck paying $700-$800 each! I haven’t had any problems with any of the other equipment, but how often do switches really go.
There are also regular firmware updates for all the devices which help out fixing problems and adding new features. Overall the Meraki setup is the standard for modern cloud-based WI-FI and Networking.

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The new kid on the block is the Ubiquiti Unifi WI-FI. This is also cloud-based (kind of). You will also start of installing it the same way as the Meraki, just don’t think about taking out your old WI-FI until this is fully configured. The Unifi system runs off of a server located on your network… that you install and configure! That’s right, cheaper prices do come at a price! The Unifi system will take quite a bit longer to install than the Meraki (esp. if you had Cisco install it for you). image01

The good thing is that just like the Meraki portal, once you get the server running (which you download from their website) just log in to your new server and start configuring. You can run the server on Windows, Mac OSX, or Linux. I have done all three and found Linux (Debian or Ubuntu) to be the best. I actually had one controller running for over 421 days straight! I am usually averaging 35ish with bursts around 90 down and 23 up. The Unifi WI-FI is a really quick setup but may not be 100% solid all the time like the Meraki is. It’s up to you what you feel more comfortable with, highway driving or racing between stoplights.

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Start by plugging everything into whatever type of switch you want, it just has to be Power Over Ethernet, if not they do come with power injectors for free. the Unifi software will automatically find the equipment and put it in a list for you to provision into your network (just like Meraki). The portal has gotten a really nice update and looks a lot better than it did a couple of years ago. The updates are downloaded and installed manually instead of automatically like on Meraki.  The AP’s will automatically update after the controller just as long as the option is checked.

The Unifi System isn’t without its flaws either. The AP’s can sometimes act up by randomly shutting down or losing connection, or even slowing way down, under 10Mbps. The easiest way to fix it is to simply reboot the device and it will pop right back up. I dropped an AP when installing it once from 10-15 feet in the air, thankfully they are made of plastic instead of metal (like Meraki) and it literally bounced around and was fine, not even a scratch. After looking around to make sure no one saw me, I popped it in the middle of the ceiling tile because there are no brackets to mount them to a drop ceiling (like Meraki). The rest of the rack-mounted hardware is actually just as nice as the Meraki hardware, all slick aluminum with clean lines.

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So which one is better? Since I actually use both in the same company (Ford/Lincoln requires Meraki) and I use the Unifi System in the other 5 buildings. I like them both for different reasons. The Meraki portal more than makes up for some rogue AP’s dying all the time. You can really manage an entire Cisco certified network all from all from a webpage or an app on your phone/tablet. No longer are you needed to lug all your stuff down to another building climbing ladders to plug into the access point messing up, just sit at your desk drinking your coffee and click a couple buttons. This has helped me when I am off (I live 20 minutes away) and getting that call on Saturday at 7:30am is made just a little easier by logging into my iPad instead of driving up to work. If you like the Meraki setup be prepared to pay… and I mean a lot! A small network with 10-14 ap’s a Security Appliance and Switch could easily run you in the 10K – 20K range, after all, is done. Then you have to pay licensing fees every couple years just to keep it running. This has been standard Cisco for years now so people are kind of used to it.

The Unifi System requires more work, and with the monthly updates, they are always adding more and more features. Recently they added a cloud plugin (chrome actually) so it will upload everything to the Ubiquiti servers, now I can also log into my iPad app and choose which building/controller that I need to control for each given time. I have had Unifi WI-FI for more than three years in the other buildings and even though it has more random bugs that take up some time… I have never had any Unifi device fail! There are more and more companies that are realizing that you don’t need to have Cisco equipment just because that’s what you always used. I took a real big chance bringing Ubiquiti into the company when it was still an unknown. If you are setting a controller up for the first time I would recommend using a Windows computer first, then upgrade to Linux later… you will thank me! With the price of these things just buy one access point and test it to find out if it will work for you.

Hopefully, this has been a non-biased (1st ever tech) review. I really like Unifi better but I will still use Cisco (Meraki) in certain circumstances. Both of these cloud-based networking systems would be good for any small home office to fortune 500 company. There are much more cloud-based systems coming onto the market every day, so it all comes down what fits with your business model and company.

Specs and Product Pages

Unifi Specs – https://store.ubnt.com/products/unifi-ap-pro

 Meraki Specs – https://meraki.cisco.com/products/wireless/mr33

Jason Halliday

New Site Update

Update

Changes are in the air… I have migrated the site from just doing car articles to being an overall blog about car things to something that encompasses a little of everything. I have updated the site by changing the overall look and feel, I have added a section for the Commercials and online video that I create, and I will be adding more pages in the future.

Stay tuned for more updates.

The New Nissan Leaf – What to Expect

With electric cars becoming more mainstream and common, it’s not hard to imagine that Nissan wanted to really knock one out of the park with a redesign on their mildly popular all electric car. The original Leaf was unique looking but still had that “futuristic look” that only so many people actually like. The interior also looked borrowed from a Honda Civic, with the use of a two tiered tach/speedo. The price was also moving into the Maxima range, for not that much included in the price. Thankfully for the next Nissan Leaf they really listened to everything people said about the current Leaf (good and bad) and came up with what you see as the new Nissan Leaf.

 

The new Nissan Leaf will come with an entire arsenal of tech that they call “Nissan Intelligent Driving”. Along with all the normal sensors that are available today, Nissan has what they call “Nissan ProPILOT”. This is the next step of a type of cruise control. You can turn this on and not only will it automatically steer the vehicle and keep you centered in the lane, it will also keep pace with the vehicle in front of you. It works with turns, heavy traffic, and normal driving. Talking about stopping, we really need to talk about the automatic brakes. Yup… that’s right, the next Leaf does not need a brake pedal (but still has one)! It’s called the “e-pedal” and it’s really just an electronic gas pedal. What it does is when you go to stop and take your foot off the gas; it will automatically turn the car into regen mode and slow the car all by itself gaining the most electricity. The car will then scan the surrounding road and stop right where you need. If it doesn’t sense anything, it will slowly come to a stop after releasing the brake. At this point in time, I’m like all of you and extremely skeptical. I really need to get in a new Leaf and play around with it. As for some of the vehicle specs: it comes with 147hp (all electric obviously) so you get 100% of torque instantly. With an electric car, you can literally spin the tires from a light; you will just use all your electricity sooner. The 110kw electric motor and a 40 kWh lithium-ion battery means you can go 150 miles on one charge.

 

Electric cars aren’t everyone’s thing, but every year we start going closer and closer to all hybrid cars. Chevy just announced that by 2023 they want to change out all gas and diesel engines with electric and Hydrogen. Nissan was the first manufacturer to bring a cheaper offering if you wanted an “all electric” vehicle without spending a ton of money on something like a tesla. Ford is even slowly changing all their vehicles (including Mustang and Trucks) with hybrids of some kind. I actually drive a plug-in hybrid (if you remember my past articles) the car is really a conversation piece. My nephew Dallas thinks that his Uncle Jason drives a spaceship from Star Wars. It’s really that funny when you’re at a light and you are dead silent and take take off faster than the other cars with no noise at all. Not to mention if you have a plug-in hybrid or electric car you get tax breaks and even a “green EZPass” that gives you some discounts on tolls.

 

Whether you love or hate electric vehicles, they are coming. The problems surrounding electric vehicles (mostly range) will get better with the release of better batteries and more efficient electric motors. Soon we might be looking back laughing about how we drove those noisy cars for all those years.

The 2018 Ford F-150

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When you think Pickup trucks, your first thought is usually the Ford F-150. That’s why the F-150 pretty much sells itself! Pickup trucks have become more and more updated, technologically enhanced, and full of things that used to be more for luxury cars. We have some people who come into the dealership and buy a truck with the price hovering around the cost of a fully loaded Lincoln Continental. This is why understanding the most popular vehicle in our area is almost a necessity.

 

The 2018 Ford F-150 is a far cry from your grandpa’s! First off, they changed the looks a little from the 2017 model. The new look is a little less “boxy” with a clean layout from any angle. They kept the very cool looking LED driving lights that wrap around the headlight and tail light bezels. They have this massive two bar grill (on the higher models) with a nice surround on the grill. You still have all of those safety features that you love: the pre collision assist, the BLIS Blindspot Monitor (with trailer coverage), Adaptive Cruise Control, and many more! The thing everyone is interested in is the engine choices. You have a standard 3.3V6; you also have a 2.7L Twin Turbo Ecoboost, 3.5L Twin Turbo Ecoboost with Ford’s brand new 10 speed transmission. There is also the all new 3.0 Power Stroke Diesel as an option! There isn’t much info on this new diesel engine for the F-150 yet, but it’s going to be a game changer!

 

For the interior we have an all new “B&O Play Audio System” featuring 10 speakers, optimal speaker placement, and the “B&O Engaging” system to enhance your music. The F-150 is also connected with SYNC Connect and the FordPass app so you can lock and unlock, and start your truck from anyplace on the planet. You also can now choose from some visual appearance packages: The distinctive Sport Appearance Package, The aggressive Special Edition Package, The refined Chrome Appearance Package, and the unique STX Appearance Package.

 

Whether you are a XL or Limited person, you really need to check out the new F-150. Currently there isn’t a clear date when the 2018 will be released; you need to checkout Ford.com in order to find the updates. What we’re hearing it will probably be coming out in the fall of this year. If you never have driven an F-150 you really need to come down and drive one of the 2017 F-150’s on the lot now, then you will find out why they are Americas Best selling truck for 40 years!

The 2016 Ford Focus Ecoboost… Huh?

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When you hear Focus “Ecoboost” you probably think I am talking about the awesome ST or the jaw dropping RS… but you would be wrong! I am talking about the Ford Focus SE “Ecoboost” and the engine that has won Wards top engines award 3 years running. I’m talking about the 1.0 liter 3 cylinder engine…*queue cricket sound now*. I know, I know… but hear me out and you might learn something! This engine is in almost every Ford model across the pond for a reason. Here where we complain about a .23 cent gas increase they are paying close to $10 a liter! So small is in, depending where you live. I actually drove this car home one night (mostly because my wife thought it was “Cute”). So here’s how it went.

I just finish putting the plate securely to the back of the car and I get in and adjust everything accordingly and fire up the beast… Upon first ignition I could have sworn I was in a diesel. Just a faint throaty rumble and an engine note a lot deeper than a four cylinder (it sounds more like a v6 than a 4 banger). I put it in gear and wait for nothing to happen but I actually start pulling out of the space just as effortlessly as my Fusion does. I think to myself this is just a fluke and it’s going to fail once I pull onto 72. Nope this little engine that could roared to life and I instantly felt the wonderful pulling of the turbo and I started laughing hysterically. What were the odds that this small 3 cylinder engine could be so fun to drive? More to the point, how does Ford do it!

Ford has no sense of humor when it comes to their Ecoboost engines. Like the others, this one is made and designed in Cologne Germany. It has direct injection with Bosch High pressure fuel injectors, dual overhead cams with triple Variable Valve Timing; the headers are also forged as one piece to the manifold and are curved in such a way to build up a lot of pressure to spin the low inertia turbo at over 200,000rpm’s. Plus being the size of a sewing machine is pretty impressive. On the outside Ford made it look, just like the other Focus models (you can only tell from the “EcoBoost” badge), they didn’t give it weird wheels or a green tea color scheme to make it stand out.

If you are looking for super speed than this isn’t for you! Its 123hp and 148tq (using overboost). If you want speed get the ST, if you want good fuel economy than look at this 29city / 40 highway. Unlike a lot of cars, this will actually get 40+ mpg. My trip home to Smithville had the instant MPG getting 53 with cruise control on. Not to mention it handles like a go kart, it was actually quite fun going around the exit ramp thanks to Torque Vectoring Control (standard on all Focus models) and the good road feel on the steering. This model would be great for someone that wanted good MPG numbers without having a hybrid. If you are looking for a comfortable compact / small midsize car with the newest technology than you owe it to yourself to open up your mind and take a look.

By the way… If you are wondering, she ended up taking the car!