Friday, June 23, 2017

The Quest For The Best Barbecue



...Editor's Choice Award...

The Quest For The Best


Barbecue 


It's that time of the year again, Summer just arrived in the Northern Hemisphere! Actually, the Summer Solstice began earlier this week, and the Fourth Of July holiday celebration is just around the corner in the United States. One of the first things I think about when I think about Summer is warm nights, with a cold drink, and some super-tasty Barbecued food!!!






Memphis Wood Fire Grill
The Best BBQ Money Can Buy

I am going to begin with my conclusion in this article: I believe, from all the extensive research I have completed, the Memphis Wood Fire Grill is by far and away the best Barbecue money can buy. 







Memphis is The Tesla of Barbecues

I would go so far as to say, Memphis BBQ is the Tesla of BBQs, in the sense its super-innovative technology completely leapfrogs everything made today. Also, like Tesla, Memphis Wood Fire Grills are Made in the USA. 

Basically, using a Memphis Wood Fire Grill feels like you got in a time-machine and went 25 years into the future and got the best BBQ money could buy, and brought it back to the present.

The Memphis Wood Fire Grill is a little different in that it uses wood pellets to cook food, as apposed to using propane gas, natural gas, or coal. Cavemen cooked with wood, so in many ways cooking with wood pellets today, represents a back-to-the-future approach. This ironically, is one of the many reasons I say the Memphis Grill is the Tesla of Barbecues, in the sense that many of the original automobiles ran on electricity, and not on gas.



In The Beginning 

A few years ago, I was at a friends home and they had a wood pellet grill made by Traeger, which looked like something you would expect to find in the Beverly Hillbillies, or Fred Flintone's back yard. Traeger invented and pioneered the Wood Burning Grill, when in 1985, they experimented with taking wood pellets used in a wood burning stoves, and put together a barbecue grill that ran on these same pellet—apposed to being fueled by Gas or Charcoal Briquets. In 1986 Traeger patented the Wood Pellet Grill.



Some friends of my family, who owned a Traeger Wood Burning Pellet Grill, were talking about how great it was, so I took an interest, and began asking questions. I asked them, what was so great about their Traeger wood burning grill. My friend said, "It is super-easy to use. All you do is set your target temperature, and hit the on button. Also, the food tastes great, as it takes on the flavor of the wood pellets, as apposed to using gas, which gives meats a gas-like taste."

I was naturally curious, and kept asking her questions about how it worked. She showed me the Auger, that move stored wood pellets from the hopper into the fire pit. About a half hour later, I had a burger made from the grill, which I was not impressed with. It tasked O.K., but by the time I got my burger together it was already kind of cold, and I did not notice any kind of great taste, which she had mentioned? Basically, I dismissed her enthusiasm as being symbolism over substance.

About a year ago, I decided I wanted to buy an outdoor barbecue for my family, so I did a ton of research, and picked out what I thought was the best gas barbecue made. Of course, I went with gas, as charcoal is a complete pain to ignite and clean. 




Stan Barrett Chimes In

I had probably invested about 100 hours researching the best gas barbecue. Just as I was getting ready to make my purchase, I ended up talking on the phone with my great pal, Stan Barrett, who is known as The Supersonic Speed King. Stan Barrett is pictured below in a recent photo, wearing his stainless steel Rolex GMT-Master.



Stan Barrett is perhaps best known for being the first man to break the speed of sound barrier on land, which he achieved in 1979, with his Budweiser Rocket, which he is seen leaning against in the photo below. Stan Barrett obviously knows a thing or two about mechanical engineering and high-quality machines...



Stan Barrett is pictured below as he prepares for his record setting drive in the Budweiser Rocket in 1979, and notice he is wearing a Rolex Daytona that his best friend, Paul Newman gave him as a good luck charm before he drove his rocket car into the history books.



So what does Stan Barrett have to do with my quest for the best barbecue? I was talking to Stan on the phone, and I asked, if he knew anything about who might make the best gas barbecue. I was shocked, but not surprised at how much detail he went into. Stan said, "The best barbecues made, by a long shot, are the ones that use wood pellets." I asked, 'are you sure!?!!' Stand responded, "Oh yeah. For sure! There is no question whatsoever that wood pellet grills are by far and away the best and only way to barbecue. Paul (Newman), and I both agreed on this 100%, and you know Paul is regarded to be one of the top foodies in history."


Stan Barrett is pictured above at a barbecue lunch with his best friend, Paul Newman

Stan Barrett continued, and said "Charcoal is a pain to deal with and makes a big mess with lots of smoke, and Paul and I agreed, cooking with gas ads a strange gassy aftertaste flavor to a great steak or burger. You have to go with a wood pellet burning barbecue. It's the only way to go." 

I respond, and told Stan I had done a ton of research, and found what I thought was the best gas barbecue.  I told him I had tried food from a wood pellet barbecue and I wasn't impressed." Stan responded:

"Look, you didn't try it under the right conditions. Trust me, I am 100% certain, that wood pellet grills are 1000% better than gas. With wood pellet grills, there are many different types of wood pellets you can cook with, and each one offers a unique taste profile. For instance, with steak, I like to use hickory or Misquete pellets, but with chicken, I like to use Apple Wood pellets, Alder, or Misquete pellets. I love to experiment, as each gives you a different flavor profile. It's even fun to mix different flavor pellets. Another advantage with using wood pellets is you can smoke the meat, which gives it an amazing natural flavor. Also, if you end up with leftovers and you reheat them, they still maintain the great taste. You have to check out wood pellet grills.!!!!"

I absolutely trusted Stan's opinion, and I figured if Paul Newman agreed, I had to dig deeper, so I did. I told Stan I had seen the Traeger models at Costco, and at my friends house, and was just not willing to cook on or own something that looked like it was from the Flinstones. I told Stan I wanted an all stainless steel barbecue that would look clean and modern. Stan responded: "I am the same way. I own an all stainless steel wood pellet burning grill that is fantastic, and it is all stainless. It works great and is made by a company in the U.S., named 'Fast Eddy's Cookshack". I have a $2700 gas barbecue and a Red Egg Charcoal, but I don't even use them. I'm so in love with my wood pellet barbecue!!! It is so well designed, I can even cook two turkeys at the same time."

I decided to investigate the model Stan Barrett owned, which is named "Fast Eddy's Cookshack PG1000 67" Pellet Grill & Smoker in one." It retails for around $2800, and you can see it in the picture below.


The next time I spoke with Stan, he asked me if I had checked out the Fast Eddy's Cookshack Pellet Grill. I told him I had, and he asked me what I thought? I told him I thought it seemed like a fine product, but I didn't want something that had a chimney on it. I said, there must me somebody who makes a stainless steel pellet grill, that is more streamlined and modern looking. Stan said, "Look. I own the Fast Eddy's grill, and the quality and consistency is flawless. I highly recommend you get one." I told Stan I would think about it and do some more research.



Memphis Wood Fire Grills

It took me several hours, but I finally found a company that made a wood pellet grill that was all stainless and looked great! The more I investigated and researched the Memphis Wood Fire Grills, the more blown-away and impressed I was. The model that first caught my eye, that I ended up purchasing is pictured below.



The Memphis Wood Fire Grill pictured above is named  "The Memphis Pro", and it offers a 28 inch wide cooking surface. After spending another dozen or so hours, I realized this was the grill for me. So I called Stan Barrett on the phone and told him all about it. I have been barbecuing on the Memphis Pro for several months now, and I believe it to be the Rolex of Barbecues, in the sense it looks fantastic, and functions beautifully, and most importantly is built to last. So let's explore the details that make the Memphis Wood Fire Grill the best barbecue made in my opinion. Let's begin by taking a look at an excellent overview video:








Simplicity & Great Looks

The Memphis Pro is really good looking. It is so super simple, much like an iPhone, or Tesla. There are only several buttons on the whole grill, which is quite different from gas barbecues, in the sense gas barbecues typically have multiple knobs for controlling different gas burners. If you examine the vast majority of gas barbecues, you will notice they have cheap, flimsy, janky knobs that are typically made out of flimsy plastic. The Memphis Wood Fire Grill, conversely has a super-simple control panel with an On/Off switch, and a thermostat with Up/Down buttons as seen below. The photo below was taken just after I turned on the Memphis, and the 88F number is the internal temperature, and 395F is the target temperature. It typically takes approximately 5 minutes to reach the target temperature.




So basically, the Memphis Pro works much more like an Convection oven, where you set one temperature, and once it reaches that temperature, it maintains it. Contrast this with gas barbecues, which are much more like using a cooktop, that has 4 to 6 burners, which each have to be individually turned on and controlled.





The Digital Smart Controller

One of the most valuable features of the Memphis Wood Fire Grills is the ability to cook at exact temperatures. With a charcoal grill you the user has very little control over temperature control, and with gas, there are typically only Low, Medium and High settings. The Memphis Wood Fire Grill, on the other hand, provides very precise control, where you can control it within 5 degree increments that can range from 180 to 650 degrees Fahrenheit. This precision internal temperature control relies on an ITC (Internal Temperature Control) module, which uses an high-precision internal thermal sensor. The ITC varies air and fuel rates based upon the set point in order to accurately maintain consistent internal temperature.





High-Technology 

The Memphis Pro comes standard with Wi-Fi built-in. This means you can remotely turn the Memphis on and off, and monitor and modify temperature remotely from an iPhone or other smartphone. The Memphis also includes a highly sophisticated electronic cooking controller that maintains all aspects of the cooking process. It uses smart microchips to monitor and control everything. You can think of a Memphis barbecue as a very "Smart Barbecue", like a "Smartphone", or like an iPhone or a Smart Car—like a Tesla. Later in this article I will get into more technical detail about how the actual internal componentry works, but for a brief overview, check out the video below:







Build Quality

The Memphis Pro is literally built like a tank. Memphis offers it in two different types of stainless steel. Both types of stainless steel are provide double-walled insulation, which translates into being far more efficient as less heat can escape. The standard Memphis Pro comes in 430 sealed stainless steel, which is great if you live inland in a drier climate like in Arizona or Las Vegas, where you are not close to the ocean. Memphis also offer an upgraded model made from 304 steel, which is good if you live in a costal climate. As I understand it, 304 steel is completely rustproof. 

I must have looked at over a hundred different barbecue models and there is one key characteristic that I always look at, which is really important with a stainless steel barbecue, and that is build and material quality. With material quality, the question is what percentage of the barbecue and stand are made from high-quality solid stainless steel? This is the place where most barbecue manufacturers skimp or cut corners to save money. 

Originally, I thought to purchase a major famous name-brand Barbecue, then I noticed that many of the parts on it were made from metal that was NOT stainless, or from what appears to be aluminum. When I did a web search, and read reviews, I learned of many people complaining about how after a few years, many parts of the barbecue would rust out, particularly the walls of the stand would get covered in rust. 

On a side note, I noticed that most of the new 2017 Weber models eliminated the walls on the stand altogether. I also noticed that on many manufacturers models, that look like they are stainless steel, they don't use stainless steel on the left and right side of the barbecue lid. Instead, to save money and cut corners, they use alternative materials that look and feel cheap.

So let's get back to Memphis. From all my detailed evaluation, and from talking with Memphis, all their models are intentionally over-engineered—like a Rolex. Memphis Wood Fire Grills are not only built to last, but they go out of their way to take a belt and suspenders approach to engineering and build-quality. Their entire lid structured is all-stainless steel in construction and double insulated, which makes it look and feel very sturdy. Using this type of construction also allow it to retain heat much better than a single walled hood. This is a very important point, and touchtone quality feature. In other words, I highly recommend when you evaluate an barbecue grill carefully study its hood construction, and make certain it is insulated with double wall construction.

Memphis Barbecues also benefit from a base that is entirely made from stainless steel, so it won't rust or get funky over time. Most of the Memphis models have dual stainless steel doors on the front of the stand, which gives you a large amount of storage room the can hold extra wood pellets and barbecue accessories. The video below offers an excellent overview of the Memphis, from an actual Memphis Engineer:






Wood Pellets v. Gas v. Charcoal

There are basically three different methods for barbecuing: A Wood pellet oven is like an oven you would find in high-end restaurants that have wood fueled pizza ovens. Wood pellet ovens are similar in many ways to traditional barbecues, but differ in a few ways. First of all, wood burning ovens maintain the same level of heat throughout the oven, so if you cook a burger on one of the top racks, it should cook at the same rate as cooking on the larger standard base cooking surface. Also, wood pellets have the advantage of being quick to heat, compared to charcoal fueled barbecues.




Food Taste Quality

This is really where a wood pellet barbecue shines! The flavor is really amazing and all-natural, in a caveman kind of way. Every time we cook on the Memphis, when we have guests, they can't stop talking about how amazing the flavor is. The barbecued food takes on the taste characteristics of the type of wood pellets you are cooking with, and give the food a very natural tasty flavor. My favorite is Miscquette pellets.




Company Background 

This is a really interesting story. When I received my Memphis Barbacue, I studied its construction carefully, and was stunned with how precisely it was designed and assembled. I could not help but notice the amazing level of engineering and precision that was evident in the Barbecue. I remember thinking to myself, how could a company that I have never heard of before, that is not a household name, appear from out of nowhere, and make high-end barbecues that look like they were made by Apple or Tesla? It turns out, Memphis was founded as a division of a company named Dalsin Industries, which have made and worked with sheet metal for 75 years. Dalsin is one of the largest sheet metal manufacturing businesses in the United States, and has historically worked as precision metal manufacturing OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer). It turns out, the folks at Dalsin Industries, decided one day they thought they could reinvent the barbecue as we know it, by incorporating all their metal engineering expertise and knowledge, and that is exactly what they did when the formed the Memphis Barbecue company.




Environmental Commitment

Wood burning pellets are the most environmentally-freindly grilling and smoking method. Wood pellet grills use a minimal amount of electricity (running on traditional 110 Household current) to control the burning of the wood pellets, which makes them the most environmentally friendly grill choice. Using wood pellets as a fuel source is superb as the pellets are made from hardwood chips and compressed sawdust, thus, they use resources that would normally be wasted. 



Also, the wood pellets have zero chemicals, so they burn cleanly, with minimal ash. Compare that with burning charcoal which releases VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds) into the atmosphere, which contribute to things like smog. Memphis has a great blog post on Grilling Environmentally that I recommend reading.






Easy Of Use

Most barbecues are difficult and confusing to operate, as well as being difficult to clean, and this is where the Memphis barbecues shine. There is no lighter fluid, lighters, or gas involved in using a Memphis Wood Pellet Burning Grill. Just and On/Off button, and a temperature setting Up/Down Button. In the future, I plan to do a detailed video review of the Memphis Grill, and in the meantime, below is a superb review by Steven Raichlen, who happens to be rockin' a cool Panerai Radiomir.





Not Much Room for Improvement

In my opinion there is not much room for improvement with the Memphis Wood Fire Grill. The only constructive criticism I can think of, is that I would love to see them build in LED lights into the barbecue so that when you are barbecuing at night, if it is dark you can still see really well. 

Also. the Memphis ships with a protective blue film covering practically every inch of exposed stainless steel. I am pretty certain they ship it this way to protect the grill from scratching, but beware, it took me over an hour to remove all the film, and it was not easy. I think Memphis should figure a way to ship it without the film, as it is frustrating to remove, and you have to remove the film before you use the grill for the first time. Memphis warns you in the instructions that if you don't remove 100% of the semi-clear blue film, before you first use the grill, it could melt, and become really difficult to remove.

Also, Memphis' instruction manual could and should be improved. Don't get me wrong, their manual is O.K., but I think they could improve it significantly and I think that since it is relatively expensive at around $3,600, it should come with a nice Memphis Wood Fire Grill Cookbook, as well as with a nice set of Memphis barbecue cooking tools. I also think Memphis should do more to build-up its online how to video library. If it seems like I am nitpicking, I am. The Memphis Pro is an amazing work of art.



Memphis Built-In Grills

I almost forgot to mention, Outdoor kitchen are all the rage today in high-end homes, and Memphis offers their Pro Wood Fire Pellet Grills in Built-In models as seen in the photo below on the right. If I understand it correctly, they also offer a conversion kit that can later convert a stand-alone unit into a built-in unit, which offers a cleaner look.



Forbes Magazine summed up the Memphis Grills well when in 2015, they wrote the following: 

“Memphis Wood Fire Grill: This high-end line of pellet smoker/grill combos takes backyard cooking up a notch and may be as close as you can get to a true all in one gourmet solution. It offers three distinct ways to cook everything from championship-style slow smoked brisket to flash seared steaks to baked pies. The same pellet fed firebox that uses a digital controller to hold a precise “low and slow” smoking temp of 180°-275° can grill and sear at more than 700°. But it is the addition of a dual fan convection cooking system that sets this unit apart and lets you roast chicken like on a rotisserie without the moving parts, bake pies, and do all the cool things you can do with a convection oven in the kitchen, cooking faster and more evenly without drying food out or even flipping it.” —Forbes Magazine




Editor's Choice Award


In my personal opinion, the Memphis Wood Fire Grill is the best outdoor grilling solution money can buy. Having used one for several months now, I am convinced it is an absolute work of art, and I can't highly enough recommend it. Just make certain that if you purchase one, you carefully read all the directions before you use it, and always be careful when using an barbecue. You can find out much more by visiting MemphisGrills.com, and the video below from BBQGuys.com offers a superb overview.




Care & Maintenance 

The care and maintenance video below is from Memphis Grills YouTube channel.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

All-New Mercedes-Benz SL Flagship Roadster



...The Best or Nothing...

All-New Mercedes-Benz SL Flagship Roadster
Instant-Classic Before It Has Even Arrived!!!

I decided to write this review of the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster because the History of the Mercedes-Benz SL is fascinating and it is one of the most iconic automobiles ever made. Mercedes-Benz just celebrated the 60th anniversary of the flagship SL Roadster bodel by launching the 6th generation version with the advent of the all-new 2013 SL-Class Mercedes. 

The SL is an extremely comfortable sports-car that has always been extremely elegant and timeless–ever since its introduction in 1952. The "S" in SL stands for "Sporty" and the "L" stands for "Light."


One of the interesting details you first notice on the all-new Mercedes-Benz SL is the distinctly unique face with eagle-eyed headlights. The headlight detail is truly fascinating, because on one hand they look like an eagle or falcon eyes, and at the same time they kind of look like an exotic woman's eye with King-Tut Art-Deco mascara makeup (Think Sofia Loren in the Late 1950s). In other words, the headlighst are really masculine and really feminine at the same time. They kind of remind me of the Philadelphia Eagles logo.


As I mentioned the Merceds-Benz SL Roadster is one of the most iconic and instantly-recognizable cars ever made–kind of like the Rolex Submariner. If you own a Rolex Submariner and you examine the round marker on the hour-hand, you will notice it is remarkably similar to the round Tri-star Mercedes-Benz trademark logo–which also happens to be the universal peace sign.

The new model is 2 inches longer and 2 inches wider than the outgoing model, yet it weighs several hundred pounds lighter. This weight loss is attributed to the fact the all-new SL is almost 90% aluminum, which results in a significantly lighter, and stiffer chassis.

The all-new 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL is sugar-coated with amazingly useful technological innovation. For instance, the all-new Hands-Free Access System allows the owner of the car to open and close the trunk by simply standing in front of the rear trunk, and waiving/gesturing/swiping their foot under the rear of the trunk area. This means if you approach the SL with bags of groceries, you can pop the rear trunk lid without having to grab your keys–just amazing!!!

One of the great features of the outgoing and incoming versions of the Mercedes-Benz SL is that it has a built-in reclining hard-top convertible which almost instantly transforms the SL from a hardtop coupe to a convertible roadster. In other words–as you can see in the videos below–you press a button, and the hard-top roof retracts itself and automagically stores itself in the trunk.




The Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster


The King Of Convertibles
International Mark Of Success

The Mercedes-Benz SL has arguably always been the King Of Convertibles, and if that fact was ever in dispute, the new SL is unequivocally the King, not just in form, but in function and largesse. The Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster has always been the International Mark Of Success, as is wearing a high-end Rolex.

It is just amazing how stylish and elegant the new SL model is!!! The more you study all the industrial design details, you notice that Mercedes designer left no stone unturned when it came to detail. This next images below is a good side profile shot that shows a special edition which is available with a really sporty red-and black interior. The new SL is busting out with everlasting style!!!

I should mention, many other automobile manufacturers have tried to copy the Mercedes SL with no success. Lexus tried with their SC430 and failed, as did Ford with their updated T-Bird and Cadillac also tried and failed. Even BMW tried with their Z9 convertible, but they also failed and gave up. Despite all the copycats, Mercedes-Benz has continuously succeeded with the timeless SL Roadster.

The all-new Mercedes-Benz SL features an amazing cockpit that has extremely low wind-noise, even at high speeds. Don't ask me how Mercedes pioneered this design feature, but I know from having driven the previous generation SL that when you are driving around–even on the highway–the cockpit remains silent. It basically sounds like you have the sunroof open. How Batmobile looking is that steering wheel!?!


The Mercedes-Benz SL also has a feature named "Air-Scarf" which places a heater vent just below the rear of your neck, so if you drive around with the top down, the Air-Scarf will keep you pleasantly warm–even when it is really cold outside. If you examine the image below, you see the Air-Scarf vent located at the bottom of the headrest. 


The all-new Mercedes-Benz SL also offers heated and air-conditioned seats. Air conditioned seats keep you cool and dry on long trips, so when you arrive at your destination the back of your shirt is completely dry because you skin can breath. I believe the new SL also has built in massagers in the seats, for the ultimate in true luxury.


Through The Roof Technology
The Ultimate Convertible

I believe the all new Mercedes-Benz is the ultimate convertible made on earth today. While other manufactures like Ferrari and Porsche make really cool convertibles, there is simply no other convertible that comes close to the SL. Why? First of all, the all-new Mercedes SL is the second generation of Mercedes that offers a hard-top convertible, meaning–at the touch of a button–the hardtop automagically descends into the trunk. This feature give you the best of both worlds, so that when you have the top up, you have a much quitter cabin that feels and drives like a non-convertible coupe.

Also, the hardtop convertible can't wear out easily or show age like a canvas roof. It is also sturdier and more secure, not to mention, you can't get holes in the top from wear or a thief trying to cut through the top to gain access to the cabin.


Magic Sky Sunroof

The all-new Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster is a technological marvel and powerhouse of leading future technology. It is sugar-coated with unique features that are highly useful and powerful. In the three images we seethe Magic Sky Control Sunroof. This first image shows what the 2013 SL looks like from the top.


The SL will come in two different versions. One with the Magic Sky Sunroof which at the touch of a button instantly transforms the glass moonroof from opaque to transparent. The way it works is the roof of the convertible hard-top has a transparent moon-roof so if you are driving with the top up, you still get the feeling of being in a convertible with the top down. In this next image we see the driver with the Magic Sky Sunroof opaque, or in the dark state. The driver pushes a button and instantly the Magic Sky Sunroof becomes transparent as seen in the second image.


This stops the interior from feeling claustrophobic by flooding the cockpit with plenty of ambient daylight. Also, if you are cruising on a cold winter day, you can remain toasty in the cabin, while enjoying the feeling of being in a convertible–with the top up!!!


The second moonroof option is shown below, where you have a sliding valance panel that slides out to cover the transparent glass moonroof. Mercedes-Benz invented this technology, and they are the only company that offers these extremely innovative moonroof features. Being able to close the valance panel or make the transparent glass moonroof opaque also helps keep the cabin cool in summer time, if the car is parked in a sunny place.


Magic Vision Control

The all-new Mercedes-Benz SL has a super-innovative windshield wiper system named Magic Vision Control, which, instead of shooting water from the front hood deck, shoots warm water out of mini-jets built into the windshield-wipers as seen in the next two photos. 


This stops excess water from overshooting and missing the windshield and it also stops the driver from being temporarily blind as traditional jets shoot out windshield washer solution. The Magic Vision Control System is programed to behave differently under different situations. 

For instance in winter summer or depending on whether the cabriolet top is up or down, it will behave differently. The system automagically varies the amount of water output depending upon speed, ambient temperature, and current driving conditions which include ambient temperature.



Aluminum Construction

The all new Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster is significantly lighter and stiffer than its outgoing predecessor which it is replacing. This dramatic lightening results in more agile handling couple with better road feel for the driver. Approximately 89% of the new SL is made from aluminum which is either cast, extruded or sheet metal as illustrated in the image below.


This next photo shows the primarily aluminum structure which is just amazing. It is literally a work of art, in-and-of-itself.



FrontBass Music Delivery System

The all-new Mercedes-Benz SL will introduce the highly innovative all-new "FrontBass" music delivery system, which delivers amazing sound, even when the top of the SL is reclined. The FrontBass system strategically places the speakers in the firewall openings instead of in the traditional doors. This essentially makes the cabin a behave like a huge speaker.

Mercedes-Benz says of the FrontBase system: "The unique FrontBase system, turns the SL luxury sports car into a concert hall–with the top down or up."

Notice in the photo above, the two speaker holes located in the front footwell firewall. In the photo below you see the right FrontBass speaker placed strategically in the firewall. This permits the deep bass sounds to better resonate throughout the cabin by creating a resonating chamber for the woofers. In other words, it is turning the car structure into a big woofer.



The all-new Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster will be offered in some limited editions, including the version seen below with a matte black paint finish. The standard 500SL is also fast and does 0-60mph in just 4.5 seconds. The all-new Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster will be making its official debut next month at the 2012 Detroit Motor Show.




...Evolution Of The Revolution...

Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster
1954 to 2013

As I mentioned earlier, I believe the Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster is very similar to the Rolex Submariner in the way it has evolved. In other words, if the Rolex Submariner was car, it would be a Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster. Why? Mercedes-Benz introduced the Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster in 1954 at the New York Auto Show, and Rolex introduced the Rolex Submariner in 1954 at the Basel Fair Show in Basel, Switzerland. 


Icons Of Timeless Style

Also, both the Rolex Submariner and the Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster have much more in common, including their distinctive signature silhouettes, which are always instantly recognizable from any distance.

The Submariner has always had a heft-tuetonic Germanic industrial design, as has the Mercedes SL Roadster. Look at the next photo below to see how similar the design language is between the all-new 2012 Submariner and the all-new Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster.


Another thing Rolex and Mercedes have in general is that they both became major status symbols in the early 1980s. In 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States and timeless elegance was back in style. The seminal 1980 movie American Gigilo played a large role in popularizing the Mercedes-Benz 450SL Roadster because Richard Gere, drove one in the movie and the opening sequences of the movie played the iconic Blondie song Call Me, as Richard Gere drove around in his 450SL as seen in the video below.



Pictured below is an image which illustrates the evolution of the Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster from its introduction in 1952, all the way up through the all-new 2013 SL Roadster. There really is something to be said for evolutionary design!!! 

Mercedes introduced the 300SL Roadster in 1957 to replace the Gullwing. The design inspiration for the all new Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster was obviously the 1957-1963 Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster (W198), and in the next image you can see them side-by-side.


This next image which was taken in Germany on February 20, 1958 shows the production line for the Mercedes-Benz 300SL, which is absolutely fascinating.


Here is a new Mercedes-Benz Magazine ad photo that features the all-new SL Roaster with the matte black paint job and it features top model Lara Stone. This ad should start running in international magazines soon.


This next photo shows a driver in the very sporty cockpit of the upcoming new 2013 Mercedes SL Roadster. It is amazing how outstanding and perfect the design is on the inside and outside of this instant classic!!!


The matte black Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster pictured in the two pictures above is classic for many reasons, and seeing it reminded me of this Dior Homme video, named Un Rendez Vous which starts Jude Law and was directed by Guy Ritchie. Guy Ritchie was married to Madonna. Notice Jude Law driving around the streets of Paris in a late 1950s Mercedes SL Roadster.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Quest For The Best The All-New Apple 27 inch iMac...


Seek to make things simple, not simpler. –Albert Einstein


The Quest For The Best
The All-New Apple 27 inch iMac

You Need This Computer!!!!!

I pretty much live on the computer–which is by design–and I am not complaining since I really enjoy it. I have however, been frustrated my whole computing life by how slow computers performed and evolved :-((((

My dream has always been to have a computer that could keep up with me, which seems like it should have been possible, but it was simply not reality–not even close. I also noticed, the faster computers became, the faster my skills became, which made me feel like a donkey chasing a carrot on a stick.

I feel like I have been dwelling in a world where computers were designed by the same team that brought us the half-baked-at-best Ford Gremlin and Chrysler Reliant K–just a bunch of thoughtless beige cardboard garbage with plastic seat-covers.

I always felt like I should be living in the Jetson's, but I was stuck in the Flintstones. It seems as if my entire computer experience over the last 4 decades was summed up "Hurry up and wait!?!"


Friction-Free Computing

With the advent of Apple's all-new 27 inch iMac my digital-life just got much, much, much better and easier!!!! Everything is very close to instantaneous on the all-new iMac, which makes it feel like the computer actually understands me or can read my mind!!! My dream to have a friction-free computing experience has arrived and I couldn't be happier!!!

Typically a product review makes you wait until the end before it draws its conclusion, but I am going to take a different approach and begin with the conclusion:

The all-new 27 inch Apple iMac is Off-The-Richter-Scale Unbelievable!!!! Crazy, Stunningly Amazing, Over-The-Top, Beautiful, Off-the-hook, Astounding, Stupefying, Breathtaking, Awesome, Spectacular, Phenomenal, Extraordinary, Jaw-Dropping, Wondrous, Pure, Incredible, Delicious!!!!!!!!

Run out and buy one!!!!!!!! I am just completely blown-away with this Magnificent Masterpiece of Design which is an astonishingly fast piece of Industrial Art!!!!!!!!


The Future Has Arrived

A few weeks ago Apple surprised or should I say "stunned" everybody when they introduced an All-New line of their all-in-one-design desktop computers named iMac and this review covers the stunningly magnificent 27 inch iMac. I purchased one of these beauties over a week ago and have been testing it and I want to share my findings with you!!!

I sincerely believe, future generations, many years from now will look back at the introduction of this bold machine as a seminal event in computer history, where the computing dividend first paid-off. 

In other words, 10 years from now, I believe we will look back and wonder how we ever lived with all the janky, junky, jokey-jokey desktop computers that came before the 27 inch iMac. I can literally see how in the future desktop computing will be measured in terms of before and after the 27incher–No Joke!!!

Not only is this the absolute best computer ever made–by a long shot–but it basically makes every desktop computer on earth obsolete!!! I realize I just made a bold declarative statement and I intend to back it up with this article. 

Somebody once said "God gave us eyes so we could appreciate beauty" which is perfectly on-point for the all-new 27 inch iMac!!!!!!!!!



As you see in the above photo of the 27 inch iMac it comes with a wireless Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and built-in 802.11n Wifi. 

Not only is it the best performing computer, but it looks like a million bucks. I intentionally put the photo of the all-new Ferrari on the screen because that is essentially what you get when you purchase the new 27 inch iMac!!! The supreme irony with this magnificent machine is that it is extremely inexpensive for what you get.

The unbelievable new 27 inch iMac only cost $1699 and you can purchase it directly from Amazon for $1699 delivered to your doorstep by scrolling to the end of this review. This amazing price includes free shipping and Amazon does not charge sales tax.


Beauty That's A Beast!!!

As you see in the photo below the whole computer is in the screen. That's right...I said the entire computer, including the hard drive, RAM and dual Intel Core 2 Duo 3.06GHz processor is located inside the screen case. Even the power supply is located inside the computer, so you just simply plug it in the wall and you're pretty much done.

This ultra-simple transportable design also makes it very easy to move it around your home or office. There is no reason why you couldn't sit in a comfortable chair in your den and write a book on it, and they move it to your bedroom to watch a movie or TV shows in bed.

The all-in-one design is remarkable because it not only looks like a work-of-art, but you don't have to have some stupid, ugly, noisy tower that sits on the floor or even worse, on your desktop.

Speaking of noisy computers...the all-new iMac is unbelievably quiet and has built in high-quality stereo speakers that are hidden on the bottom of the machine. It also has a super-high-resolution glossy glass screen that make all graphics look yummy and much more alive and 3Dimensional!!!!!!!


Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. –Leonardo da Vinci



We also see in the photo above that the DVD burner and SD card slot are located on the right side of the new iMac. The wireless Bluetooth keyboard and all-new Apple Magic Mouse come stock with it. That's right, for $1699 the all new 27 inch iMac comes standard with the cordless keyboard and mouse which cost $120 if purchased separately. If you think about it, that means the computer and screen only cost $1580.


The Power Of Simplicity

Before we examine more details on what makes this the best computer ever made lets look at the breathtaking screen. As you can see in the photo above and below, the screen is real glass and the seamless black frame goes to the edge. This gives the 27 iMac a super-clean, simple vibe that is extremely elegant at the same time!!!! 

The screen on this beast is a whopping 27 inches diagonally and in many ways the all new iMac's design language makes it appear like a huge iPhone. The screen has a native resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels which allows you to view two full-size application windows side-by-side with zero overlap.

What is so important about being able to see two full-size application windows side by side? We human beings reason by analogy. We constantly compare one frame of reference to another and on the new 27 iMac this is easy. As you can see in the photo above we are seeing two full width 1245 Pixel web-browser windows side by side with zero overlap–Just like a full-sized glossy magazine!!!!

There have been many times when I have spoken with somebody on the phone and they are looking at Jake's Rolex Watch Blog and they ask why the main 800 pixel-wide images are cut-off on their screen? Obviously it is because their screen is too small.

I will share a story with you about a conversation I had on this subject with an old man who will go unmentioned. We were talking on the phone and he was on Jake's Rolex Watch Blog. He asked me why the photos were cut-off and he could see just more than half of the width? After about 15 frustrating minutes with me trying to troubleshoot with him to overcome the challenge we concluded that he was on a 15 inch LCD!?!?

I told him his archaic 15 inch LCD was not displaying the web the way it was meant to be seen. He got really flustered with me and asked why he could not see the whole pictures on his computer? I asked him how long ago he bought his computer and he responded that he had only had it 4-5 years. I recommended he get a new iMac to make his life simple and he said he refused to waste money on a new computer when he had a perfectly good computer.

The challenge is that computer years are very much like dog years. His computer is more like a driving around in a 35 year-old Chrysler Reliant K. I don't mean to appear arrogant, but that is the stone-cold reality. Computers and the web have evolved so much in the last 4-5 years it is truly amazing, and thus it makes sense to invest in a computer that will allow you to completely enjoy yourself and see the web the way it looks best.


Timeless–Future Proof Design

No computer is future-proof per se and that is probably a good thing. I actually prefer my computer to become obsolete as soon as possible because that means that whatever replaces it will be that much better!!! The interesting thing with this all-new iMac is that I argue that it is the most future proof computer ever offered for sale.

With the advent of this all-new 27 inch iMac, I argue computer hardware has hit a crescendo, where for the first time in computer history the hardware is so much faster than what the software requires, that if you invest in this beautiful machine, you will enjoy it for many years to come. In 4-5 years I believe it will still look great and perform well.


Unbelievable Design & Specifications

Let's take a close look under the hood and examine what makes this all-new 27 inch Apple iMac so unusual and powerful. 

First is the LED backlit LCD screen technology that Apple incorporated into the machine. LCD screens have historically been backlit with Fluorescent lights that require time to warm up. LED backlights are not only instantly at their brightest, but they are much more energy-efficient and thus consume far less electricity. 

LED's also produce a cleaner, whiter light and last much, much, much longer without losing any light power whereas fluorescent backlighting dims and typically yellows with age. LED's also produce very little if any heat.

When Apple originally designed the iPhone, they invested $60 Million in just mechanical and electrical engineering to force the ultimate form-factor into existance. They did so because they realized how important it was to achieve the perfect small, skinny form-factor that had multiple invisible antennas inside; including a Bluetooth antenna, a Wifi antenna as well as a cellular antenna.

With the all new 27 inch iMac Apple once again stepped up and did the same thing, and this time they custom-fabricated their own custom-made LCD panel. This panel uses a state-of-the-art LCD screen technology named In-Plane-Swtiching (IPS) which creates a super-clear, tack-sharp image with excellent off-angle viewing coupled with a wider-color gamut, meaning more visible colors on the screen. 

This custom LCD panel also has many unique characteristics. To begin with, it has the highest Pixel Per Inch (PPI) count of any monitor Apple has ever made. The screen also has a 16:9 aspect ratio which is also a first for Apple. 

A 16:9 Aspect Ratio refers to the ratio between the Width (16) and the Height (9). Standard, old-fashioned TV's have an aspect ratio of 3:4 (meaning 3 High by 4 Wide) and most wide-screen computer monitors are 16:10 which means that if you watch a standard High-Defenition (HD) movie you would get black bars on the top and bottom of the screen, but this is not the case with the all-new 16:9 Aspect Ratio iMac!!!


Convergence Achieved

This is of significant consideration because I recall 10 years ago there was a big debate about whether we would see Computer-On-A-TV or TV-On-A-Computer?

The obvious answer is TV-On-A-Computer won out, and now we have a screen on a Mac that is the same aspect ratio as a Plasma or LCD TV. What does this all mean? You can now use your iMac for watching widescreen 16:9 movies or widescreen TV shows and they will both take up the whole screen.

Also, many of the new state-of-the-art point-and-shoot-digital cameras can shoot photos that are 16:9 so everything is uniform and looks great on this Apple masterpiece.

As we see, on the back of the machine (pictured below) the all-new 27 iMac has a vent on top of the all-aluminum case-back with the exception of the Apple logo which is high-end plastic that has the Wifi and Bluetooth antennas behind it to achieve superb reception. The 27 inch iMac is also VESA mountable which means you can remove the existing stand and wall mount it.The all-new iMac has all its connection ports and power button on the back. As we see in the image below (from left to right) we see 
  • Audio Out (Digital Toslink & Analog)
  • Audio In (Digital Toslink & Analog)
  • 4 USB 2.0 Ports
  • Firewire 800 Port
  • Mini-Display Port (for hooking-up an additional monitor if you wish)
  • Gigabit Ethernet Port
There is also a Kensington compatible security slot which would stop anybody from walking away with your computer in an office, gym or trade-show environment.



In the photo below we see a side-profile shot of the all-new iMac and it is hard to believe that the machine has a world-class professional workstation-class computer inside the screen enclosure, but it does. It comes standard with a 1 Terrabyte hard drive that spins at 7200 RPM–so it is really Fast!!!!!!!




It is hard to see, which is by design, but the all-new iMac also has an iSight video camera (pictured below: located top in the middle) which allows you to video conference over iChat or Skype for free with up to 3 other people in the world so long as they have an internet connection.


Is A Mac Really Better Than A PC?

In a word, Yes!!!!!!! When I was 16 years old, more than 25 years ago, I bought the first Apple Mac the first day it was available (January 24, 1984). I actually cut fifth-period and went to the Compuland in Mill Valley in Marin County, California and waited for the UPS man to show up!!! Pictured below is the original brochure for the first Mac I purchased:


Original 1984 Apple Macintosh 128Kb Brochure

It is fascinating to note the all-in-one design of 27 iMac is almost identical to the original Mac from 1984 even though the 27 looks a million times better. You've come a long way baby!!!

That same years I also purchased my first Rolex which was a stainless steel Submariner. (By the way the new iMac perfectly matches a Submariner ;-)

Here is the original 1984 won't be like 1984 Apple Commercial:



I actually took my first computer lab class when I was 11 years old and I have been using computers for more than 3 decades.

Even Bill Gates will tell you the Mac is better than any other computer:



So what makes the Mac so much better than a PC? A zillion things. I will enumerate what I consider to be the most compelling reasons:

  1. System Integration: Apple designs and manufactures all their own hardware as well as writing their Snow Leopard Operating System (OS X). This results in much more predictable and reliable behavior.
  2. Free World-Class Software: All apple computers including the all-new 27 inch iMac come with the iLife suite of world-class, easy to learn software which includes iPhoto for managing your digital photos; iMovie, for editing your video and Garage Band for editing sound recordings. As a matter of fact, I edit Jake's Rolex Watch Blog Podcasts in Garage Band. 
  3. Apple Stores: If you ever have any challenges with your Apple computer you can take it to any Apple store to the Genius Bar and they will fix it for you or answer any questions you have. If you have ever had a challenge with a DELL computer, you know what a nightmare it can be to get it fixed.
  4. Zero Viruses: There are over 120,000 PC viruses that can also make your life a nightmare. To add insult to injury, you have to pay a third-party $40 a year to help protect your computer from viruses. This would be like having to pay a bodyguard to protect you from your husband or wife, which is absurd. The Apple Macs have ZERO Viruses. So not only do you not have to waste $40 per years, but you can't get a virus because they simply don't exist.
  5. One-On-One Training: If you invest in an Apple and you want to learn how to use any piece of software, you can sign up for a program that allows you go to any Apple store in the world and take a 1 hour class up to once a week and it only costs $100 per year!!! The will teach you anything and it is a very, very impressive program and value. If you currently own a PC and you want to transfer all your data over to the Mac, they include this service for free if you sign-up for the One-On-One service.
  6. Ease Of Use: Widows Vista was such a nightmare to upgrade to from Windows XP, that many people and businesses stuck with XP. Microsoft just came out with Windows 7 which is much better than XP or Vista, but in many ways it is a copy of the Apple Mac OS X Snow Leopard.
  7. It Just Works: Macs are not perfect by any means but everything works well together in symphony.
  8. Zero Demoware: Macs don't come with unnecessary crapware and demoware installed.
  9. People: Mac users are typically like people who wear Rolex watches. They are passionate, friendly, curious and enjoy helping each other.
  10. Plug & Play Predictability: On a Mac you plug and play, there is no Plug & Prey like on a PC with goofy drivers for everything. USB drives and SD cards plug in and do what you expect them to.
  11. Simplicity: If you wanted to upgrade from Leopard to Snow Leopard you had one choice and it was $29. Windows 7 comes in 9 different versions which range from $119 to $320. Microsoft Windows 7 comes in Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Home Premium Upgrade, Professional, Professional Upgrade, Windows Enterprise, Windows Ultimate & Ultimate Upgrade. This is completely absurd!!! 
I could go on forever talking about how in my opinion, Mac is so much better than a PC, but guess what the best PC is? That's right, the 27 inch iMac!!!! If you want, you can purchase a 27 inch Mac and load Windows 7 on it and run it under Boot Camp as a full blown PC. This way, your PC will match your really cool iPhone ;-)

Another option, if you are crazy like me, you can run Windows side by side on the Mac using a program like Parallels 5 or VMWare Fusion 3 which allows you to run a PC side by side on your Mac simultaneously. You can also configure Parallels or VMWare so PC applications appear to run as Mac applications.

So if the Mac is so much better than the PC then why would you want to run a program that would allow you to run PC applications on your Apple Mac? 

There are many reasons. For instance, Quickbooks, for some bizzare reason, has a different user interface for their Mac version and most accountants and CPA's would prefer you use the PC version. Also, if there is an application or two written for the PC you want or need to run for you business, you can on a Mac.


Conclusion

The all-new Apple 27 inch iMac is a complete game-changer. It comes in 3 versions with the least expensive version being $1699 which is the one I recommend for 99+% of the population. I wrote this review on the new $1699 27inch Mac which I have had for a week and I can say it completely boggles my mind!!!! Did I mention it is FAAAASSTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!

As you can imagine, I spend at least 8 hours a day in front of the computer writing and researching stories for Jake's Rolex Watch Blog as well as all the graphics and html. 

I basically live on the computer and the new iMac is so fast and everything is fluid, friction-free and almost instantaneous. I literally can't believe how fast it is and I certainly wonder how I ever lived without it!?!?!?

On all the computers I have ever owned, even surfing the web was a pain and always kind of slow, but with the new 27 iMac almost everything is instantaneous!!! Don't forget that if you have a lightning fast internet connection with a slow computer, you go slow. If you have a lightning fast computer like the 27 inch iMac and a so, so connection, it will still be very fast.

The all-new 27 iMac is the new ideal and the way a desktop computer should be!!!! That is really the point I wish to pass along to you...the new iMac is the way computers should have always been.


Superb Value with Rocket Performance!!!!!

How great of a value is the all-new 27 inch iMac? I can tell you that if Apple introduced it for twice the amount of money, I would still have gladly purchased it–seriously–and been equally ecstatic. 

Why is Apple making such a powerful and great looking machine so inexpensively? Probably because they want to achieve the same ubiquity they have with the iPhone.

Apple also came out with an all-new 21.5 inch iMac that is also available (link below on left) but I don't recommend it because you can only comfortably view one window at a time without significant overlapping. I would only recommend the 21.5 for people who have limited eyesight and need to zoom everything way up on the screen.


If you have ANY questions about the new iMac I can help you with, please send me an email and I would be happy to help you. (My email is at the top of the page in the right hand corner). Computers can be confusing and remember there is no such thing as a stupid question ;-)

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