Monday, March 18, 2024

The history of the love affair with the iconic pink Cadillac

1955 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty | Photo by Stanisław Tokarski
A pink Cadillac has been a popular iconic vehicle with various Rhythm and Blues singers for decades.

The first pink Cadillac rolled off the assembly line in the mid 1950s with style and glamour and it didn’t take long for entertainers to notice its appeal and start featuring it in their songs and videos.

Elvis in a never seen before video with his pink Cadillac, 1955
The late Elvis Presley was an early admirer of the pink Cadillac and ordered a 1954 Fleetwood Series 60 as a daily driver, which was later destroyed in a roadside fire due to a mechanical failure. The “King of Rock and Roll” quicky replaced it with a blue 1955 Fleetwood Series 60 Special, which was repainted to pink after being mentioned in his song “Baby, Let’s Play House,” which he recorded in 1955. The pink color caught on and became an iconic Cadillac color for entertainers throughout the 50s and well into the 80s.

Mary Kay Ash, the founder of Mary Kay Inc., joined the pink craze with a custom-ordered 1967 Cadillac Coupe de Ville, which was the color of her lip and eye palette. In 1969, she added more pink Cadillacs, adorned in a special color called Mary Kay Pink Pearl, as a reward to Independent Beauty Consultants for their performance as Independent Sales Directors. This sales incentive, known as the "Career Car Program," is still in use to this day by the Mary Kay company, although sales consultants can now choose a cash reward or other brand of vehicles and colors.

In 1984 Bruce Springsteen, came out with the song “Pink Cadillac, which became popular in the “heartland rock” genre. He was in his mid 30s and according to published reports, he was inspired by his girlfriend’s pink Caddy.

The late Aretha Franklin recorded “Freeway of Love” in 1985 and mentioned none other than a pink Cadillac, which was first mentioned by Springsteen. The song became a hit single on the Aretha's “Who’s Zoomin' Who?” album. As a tribute to the “Queen of Soul” during her funeral in Detroit on Aug. 31, 2018, around 100 pink the Cadillac of various models participated in the procession.


Natalie Cole, who passed away in 2015, did her version of Springsteen’s “Pink Cadillac” in 1988 to keep the iconic craze going by featuring a pink 1956 Cadillac Coupe de Ville in her video for the song.

There are more songs about a Cadillac by various artists, but not necessarily pink models. Through the decades the pink Cadillac and the soulful sounds of R&B created the perfect mood to keep your fingers snapping to the beat.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Fiber optics, VoIP systems to replace landline phone services

The next few years will bring sweeping changes to analog landline phone service as telecommunications favor fiber optics and internet-based systems.

The traditional landline service, which has been around since the late 1800s, will start to phase out as fiber optics technology, invented in the 1960s, becomes more widespread for telecommunications.

Fiber optics will replace copper wire

This will be a massive undertaking as hundreds of miles of copper wire currently used to transmit phone signals is replaced by fiber optics systems that are much more technologically advanced and efficient.

Another blow to landlines was the arrival of ‘Voice over Internet Protocol” (VoIP) systems in the 1990s, which gained more traction throughout the 2000s by offering digital communications over the internet, along with the ability to be integrated with additional digital services, such as cable television and other streaming services.

FCC approves order to end landlines

The phone service providers are leading the way to the move away from landlines and are backed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which approved an order in 2022 allowing telecom companies to limit or end landline service to their customers.

Some states, such as California, are underway with plans to “stop servicing traditional landlines and discontinue copper landline phone service.”


Landlines provide familiarity for senior citizens

The transition from analog to digital phone services could be of great concern to senior citizens, who are probably the biggest users of landlines nowadays because of their familiarity and trustworthiness with this traditional technology. And there are some alarm systems that still depend on analog landlines for communications with monitoring services and law enforcement agencies.

Landlines shine when power is out

But with all the high-tech capabilities that fiber optics and VoIP systems will provide, such as high-speed internet, wireless networks, streaming services, and enhanced telecommunications, the one benefit that landlines have is the fact that some analog phones still work when the power goes out.

As we march forward into a digital future for telecommunications, long-lived landlines for decades of traditional dialing.

Remember landline phones with Wilson Pickett's soulful "634-5789" hit song

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

FedNow instant payments coming soon, CBDCs under study

The Federal Reserve is developing the FedNow instant payment system, which will allow digital transferring of funds among accounts in real time.
FedNow is a new instant payment system being developed by the Federal Reserve in the United States. The system is designed to allow users to transfer funds between accounts in real time, 24-hours a day, seven days a week, including weekends and holidays. FedNow is expected to launch in 2023 or 2024.

The impact of FedNow on paper money transactions is expected to be relatively limited. FedNow is primarily designed for electronic transactions, so it will likely have the greatest impact on electronic payment systems such as credit and debit cards, online payments, and mobile payments. However, FedNow may eventually lead to a reduction in the use of cash, as more people and businesses may choose to use electronic payment methods that are faster and more convenient.

It's important to note that while FedNow will enable instant payments, it does not eliminate the need for traditional paper money transactions. Many people and businesses still rely on cash for transactions, particularly in situations where electronic payment methods may not be available or feasible. It's possible that FedNow and other electronic payment systems will continue to reduce the use of cash in the economy.

The implementation of a digital currency (CBDCs) backed by a central bank may follow the FedNow instant payments platform

CBDCs may follow the FedNow instant payments system

The implementation of FedNow is not directly related to the development of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), but there is certainly a connection between the two. CBDCs are a type of digital currency that is issued and backed by a central bank to function as a digital equivalent of physical cash.

Many central banks around the world, including the Federal Reserve, are currently exploring the development of CBDCs. The Federal Reserve has not yet made a final decision on whether to issue a CBDC, but it has been studying the potential benefits and risks of doing so.

If the Federal Reserve decides to issue a CBDC, it would likely be built on top of the same technological infrastructure that is being developed for FedNow. This is because both FedNow and CBDCs require fast, secure, and reliable payment infrastructure that can handle large volumes of transactions.

In summary, while FedNow and CBDCs are not directly related, the development of FedNow's payment infrastructure could provide a strong foundation for the potential development and implementation of a CBDC by the Federal Reserve.

CBDC implementation has no clear frontrunner for development

Several central banks around the world are actively exploring or developing CBDCs, but there is currently no clear frontrunner for being the first to implement a CBDC platform. The timing and pace of CBDC implementation will likely vary depending on each country's unique circumstances and priorities.

But some countries and central banks are further ahead in their CBDC development efforts than others. The People's Bank of China (PBOC) has been testing its digital currency, the Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP), since 2020 and has already conducted large-scale trials with selected users and merchants.

Other countries that have made significant progress in their CBDC development efforts include Sweden, which is testing its e-krona with pilot users, and the Bahamas, which has already launched its own CBDC, the Sand Dollar, in a limited capacity.

U.S. Federal Reserve continues to explore CBDC innovation

In the United States, the Federal Reserve has been studying the potential benefits and risks of a CBDC but has not yet made a final decision on whether to issue one. However, the Fed has indicated that it is taking the issue seriously and is working to ensure that the U.S. remains at the forefront of digital payments innovation.

In summary, while it is difficult to predict which country or central bank will be the first to implement a CBDC platform, there are several countries and central banks that are actively pursuing CBDC development and could potentially launch a CBDC in the near future.

Note: This article was generated using artificial intelligence technology.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

With AI your next job interview could take place in virtual reality

Imagine a job interview conducted in virtual reality using artificial intelligence
How would you like to have a job interview conducted in virtual reality by a computer?
Going for a job interview is the stuff of nightmares for many people, while for others it is a chance to shine. Either way you are typically still interviewed by other human beings, either after walking into a scary office with one or more bosses sitting behind a desk, or via an equally nerve-wracking Zoom call. BBC | Read more >>

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Luxury supercars rolling out hybrids, charting full electrification

Ferrari is introducing its first all-electric vehicle in 2025 with a unique design, enhanced aerodynamics, and a patented sound to mimic the engine roar.
As if nothing is sacred in the emerging electrification of transportation, several luxury supercars have hybrid and all-electric plans, including Ferrari, Aston Martin, McLaren, Bentley Motors, and Automobili Pininfarina.

Ferrari is introducing its first all-electric vehicle in 2025 with a unique design, enhanced aerodynamics, and a patented sound to mimic the engine roar.

This Italian manufacturer with the Prancing Horse logo has been around since 1947 and is known around the world for its luxury sport cars that have been manufactured in Maranello, Italy from day one.

For guidance on their first fully electric vehicle, Ferrari choose Benedetto Vigna, an outsider from the semiconductor industry, as their new Chief Executive Officer. The Italian native has over 26 years of experience and knows the role of chips in the automotive sector and especially in electric vehicles.

The new Ferrari EV will not be totally self-driving and I can’t imagine why anyone would want an autonomous Ferrari that would take away the experience of shifting through the gears while enjoying the distinctive roar of the engine.


Although Ferrari is moving forward with their new electrification project, this is not their first rodeo with electric vehicles, as they have been involved with hybrid technology in past years. Their first hybrid was the LaFerrari in 2013, which combined an electric motor with a classic V12 internal combustion engine.

It was followed by the LaFerrari Aperta convertible in 2016, which was deemed as a special version of the 2013 LaFerrari by offering a removable roof. The LaFerrari hybrid was in the $1.5M range and the Aperta required a fat wallet at around $2M.

In later years, the Ferrari SF90 Stradale hybrid, introduced in 2019, was packing a 3.9-liter V8 and three electric motors. In a pinch, the SF90 could be driven for up to around 15 miles in electric mode. If you just had to have a convertible, the SF90 Spider was available for first-class open-air motoring.


Two years later, the Ferrari 296 GTB joined the hybrid’s stable with a high-performance version born to cruise at around 205 mph.

With the stage set during the past several years of using traditional ICE combined with hybrid technology, their fully-electric project might take some design cues from the upcoming 2023 Purosangue, which will be the company’s first SUV in 75 years of existence. This will be a four-door, four-seater with four-wheel drive and is likely to have four electric motors along with multiple battery packs.

Aston Martin is developing the Valhalla supercar as a plug-in hybrid and will shift into their first electric vehicle by 2025.
Among the other luxury supercar brands, Aston Martin is developing the Valhalla supercar as a plug-in hybrid and will shift into their first electric vehicle by 2025. The mid-engine V8 and 150kWh/400V electric powertrain with just a smidgen under 1,000 horsepower will have an impressive speed of 0-62 mph in a mere 2.5 seconds, which was fast enough for 007 in the Bond 25 movie.
Bugatti is holding off on their electrification plans for now, as nothing is planned for this decade. But I’m hearing of a new partnership where Bugatti's electrification plans are going to be under the watchful engineering of the Porsche and Rimac brands, who also have their own electric projects on the drawing boards. So maybe, just maybe, the next Bugatti hypercar will at least be a hybrid. The Bugatti/Rimac partnership might have something to announce any day now and a mention of the new Bugatti Bollide concept would signal a step toward electrification.

The almighty Lamborghini will test the waters with a hybrid model and follow with an electric car further down the road in this decade, which might be the  the Terzo Millennio
The almighty Lamborghini will test the waters with a hybrid model and follow with an electric car further down the road in this decade. In the meantime, you can start dreaming about the Terzo Millennio, which the company is pitching as a super sports car with efficiency, innovation, and something special called a supercapacitor.

McLaren Automotive has had a Formula 1 racing heritage since around 1963, and offers up the Speedtail Hyper GT as a hybrid that will likely pave the way for future electrification.
If raw speed is your fancy, McLaren Automotive has had a Formula 1 racing heritage since around 1963, and offers up the Speedtail Hyper GT as a hybrid that will likely pave the way for future electrification. With a top speed of 250 mph, the Speedtail is expected is to be revealed in late October.

And let’s not forget about Bentley Motors, the epitome of luxury who has been around 1919 showcasing their extraordinary cars. As for electrification, Bentley offers up the Bentayga S SUV and the Flying Spur Mulliner as plug-in hybrids alongside their conventional V6, V8, and W12 internal combustion engines. If all goes well, we may see an electrified Bentley around 2025 and I wouldn’t mind being in line for an all-electric Flying Spur Speed or Continental GT S.

As for a pure electric supercar the team at Automobili Pininfarina have the Battista, which is referred to as a hypercar instead of a supercar.
As for a pure electric supercar the team at Automobili Pininfarina have the Battista, which is referred to as a hypercar instead of a supercar and was first drooled over at the Geneva Motor Show in 2019. It is being described as “Infusing twice the power of a Formula 1 racing car and is the most powerful Italian sports car ever.” This claim is backed up by a 120kWh battery with four motors generating close to 1,900 horsepower that will take you from 0-60 mph in two seconds and has a range within a stone’s throw of 300 miles. The speed engineers are saying not even an ICE can produce this kind of extreme performance.

As these supercars and hypercars speed into the electrification revolution, I don't think horsepower and overall performance will be an issue. But the sound of a superbly tuned ICE will certainly be missed unless the engineers can also replicate the distinctive engine roar.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Flying car technology gets a nod in Slovakia for mass production

A flying car developed in Slovakia by BMW has been issued the official “Certificate of Airworthiness” and is one step closer to mass production after undergoing around 70 hours of extensive certification testing.

The AirCar’s development included over 100,000 hours of protypes and design testing, which resulted in its first inter-city flight in early 2021. It is a dual -mode model and is powered by at 1.6L BMW engine that demonstrated successful takeoffs and landings, along with stability while in the aircraft mode. The engineering feats accomplished in the development of the AirCar include the automated transition from a road vehicle to an air vehicle, which required the automated deployment of wings and tail.

If all goes well, the flying car team expects to have a new production model certified in 12 months. The final production model is expected to reach speeds of 186 mph with a range of around 621 miles.

Keep you eyes open for flying cars in the near future, maybe within a year in the skies over Europe.

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Battery-electric transit buses debuting in Atlanta, bus stops all over

Battery-electric transit buses
More and more battery-electric transit buses are pulling up at bus stops all over the country.

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), one of the largest public transit systems in the U.S., is one of the latest public transportation systems to get on board with plans to add six Xcelsior CHARGE battery-electric forty-foot buses. The Atlanta transit system delivers over 116 million passenger trips per year. The funding for the buses will be supported by the Federal Transit Authority.

The buses from New Flyer of America Inc., a subsidiary of NFI Group Inc., will have a capacity of 40-43 people and a range of around 350 miles with zero-emission. NFI was founded in 1930 and is now a global bus manufacturer. The company introduced its first battery-electric bus in 2012 and now has team members in 10 countries.

Interior view of a battery-electric transit bus
Some of the features of electric buses that differentiate it from diesel-powered transit buses include wider walking areas, Wi-Fi connectivity, USB chargers and the bus being quieter with the electric powertrain and possibly lower maintenance costs. There will be front and rear wheelchair ramps. According to MARTA, these battery-electric buses will support their efforts to “reduce greenhouse gas emissions through sustainable transportation.” The buses will have a life span of 12 years and should save around $400,000 in fuel costs.

Designed on NFI's Xcelsior platform, New Flyer offers zero-emission mobility through its battery-electric Xcelsior CHARGE (in 35, 40, and 60-foot lengths) and fuel cell-electric Xcelsior CHARGE H2 (in 40 and 60-foot lengths). A fully automated transit bus is also in the works.

Atlanta will be joining several other electric bus fleets across the U.S, including the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) in California, the Westchester County Department of Public Works and Transportation in the state of New York, and an order for 100 Additional Transit Buses for the Washington, D.C. Metro Region. The eastern Georgia city of Augusta is also testing the waters with eco-friendly electric buses.


While the headlines for the emerging electric vehicles technology has been dominated early on by Toyota with the Prius, starting in 2001 and the founding of Tesla in 2003, NFL arrived on the scene in 2012 with its first battery-electric bus. Although the Tesla Model S, also introduced in 2012, might have grabbed all the attention, NFI has been quietly perfecting the electric transit bus technology and delivered its 10,000 Xcelsior-platform electric bus in 2018.

Nowadays, with most of the major auto manufacturers involved in the electric vehicles revolution, New Flyer and NFI continue to move forward with new bus models for the future of the public transportation. According to the company, the automation plans for the Xcelsior AV model will be North America's first automated transit bus.

Don’t be surprised when an all-electric bus pulls up at a bus stop near you. And with the autonomous plans, it might not have a bus driver on board.