Tag Archives: germany

Bob Lutz Interview

http://live.pirillo.com – Bob Lutz is an industry legend, and I was more than a little tongue-tied when given the opportunity to sit down with him for a few minutes at the unveiling of GM’s new electric concept car in Frankfurt, Germany.

Can you believe he’s a blogger, too!?

NOTE: General Motors helped cover travel expenses for our trip to Germany. Without their direct support, this remote coverage would not have been possible. They allowed us to explore and cover as much as we possibly could, not just GM’s product line.

Saturn Astra Test Drive

http://live.pirillo.com – The audio / video quality is questionable, but we were doing something that nobody else has done before: streaming live from GM’s super private test track in Dudenhofen, Germany.

My wife and I were invited to take a Saturn Astra out for a test drive. This car is not yet available in the United States – or, at least, not at the time of this live recording. The car handles very nicely, according to Ponzi.

40,000 kilometers are clocked every day on this track – and now the Pirillos have left their tire marks on there as well. Ponzi completes the perfect circle every couple of minutes, as the road is 5km around and she’s traveling at a speed of 200kmph (~128mph). She did take the higher lane at one point, which is steeped at 37 degrees – but you can only get in that lane if you’re traveling over 200kmph.

NOTE: General Motors helped cover travel expenses for our trip to Germany. Without their direct support, this remote coverage would not have been possible. They allowed us to explore and cover as much as we possibly could, not just GM’s product line.

Hot Women Drive Fast Cars

http://live.pirillo.com – My wife and I were invited to take a Saturn Astra out for a test drive. This car is not yet available in the United States – or, at least, not at the time of this live recording. The car handles very nicely, according to Ponzi. We took it around GM’s super private test track in Dudenhofen, Germany.

40,000 kilometers are clocked every day on this track – and now the Pirillos have left their tire marks on there as well. Ponzi completes the perfect circle every couple of minutes, as the road is 5km around and she’s traveling at a speed of 200kmph (~128mph). She did take the higher lane at one point, which is steeped at 37 degrees – but you can only get in that lane if you’re traveling over 200kmph.

NOTE: General Motors helped cover travel expenses for our trip to Germany. Without their direct support, this remote coverage would not have been possible. They allowed us to explore and cover as much as we possibly could, not just GM’s product line.

Infobahn on the Autobahn

http://live.pirillo.com – Ponzi and I were en route to Dudenhofen, Germany – where we test drove a TBR Saturn Astra on GM’s private test track.

This is the German Autobahn – and we’re using a Vodafone 3G connection to connect with our audience live from it! I had issues with the chat app at first, but everything eventually worked seamlessly. Sadly, we didn’t get to drive at ludicrous speed.

NOTE: General Motors helped cover travel expenses for our trip to Germany. Without their direct support, this remote coverage would not have been possible. They allowed us to explore and cover as much as we possibly could, not just GM’s product line.

Blogger Meetup in Frankfurt, Germany

Calling all Twitter followers! Calling all YouTube producers! Calling all bloggers! Calling all podcasters! Calling all videocasters! Calling all FaceBook fanatics!

Ponzi and I are still in Frankfurt, Germany – and we’ve found a spot in our schedule in which to accommodate a Blogger Meetup. I guess it’s more than just for bloggers – if you’re doing anything online that’s interesting or fun, you’re also invited to this informal gathering of the minds. Any European, or worldwide traveler, is certainly welcome to join us. Spread the word!

We’ve set the time for 4pm tomorrow (Friday, September 14th 2007) at th Westin Grand Frankfurt. This is located at Konrad Adenauer Strasse 7, Frankfurt 60313. We realize it’s in the middle of IAA, but that means more car bloggers should already be in town for activities.

Why We're Going to Germany

So, a few people have been asking why Ponzi and I are heading to Germany for the next week or so – and the answer, while perfectly sound, may surprise you.

GM (yes, General Motors) is hosting us for the International Automotive Ausstellung (IAA) – the Frankfurt Motor Show 2007. They saw how much fun we were having with live video and YouTube and thought it’d be nice to share the expo and a few semi-exclusive interviews with the rest of the galaxy.

Even though my car has Bluetooth, XM, OnStar, etc. – I’m not a true car geek. That said, I’m quite interested in learning about efforts in “green tech” for international and domestic markets. GM gave me a running list of top initiatives for their company:

  • New HydroGen4 fuel cell vehicle, Volt electric car
  • More than 700 million euros for new engines and transmissions until 2012
  • Opel / Vauxhall: Electric car concept, ecoFLEX initiative, new Agila
  • Chevrolet: New Aveo generation, distinctively designed HHR
  • Saab: New 9-3 generation with top-of-the-line Turbo X model
  • Cadillac: BLS Wagon, new generation of Cadillac CTS luxury sedan
  • Corvette: More power for Coupé and Cabrio
  • HUMMER: H2 is film star in “Transformers”

So, looks like they’re not killing the electric car after all…? 🙂

As noted before, I’ll have my camera, laptop, microphone, etc. We hope to stream whatever we can stream live to everyone (thanks to a Vodaphone modem with my MacBook Pro). There will be plenty of stills and videos to share with you as well. I’m quite excited, as you can imagine.

This will be my first time in Europe altogether. I don’t speak a lick of German – beyond hallo, bitte, danke, and sprechen zie English. We’ll have free time from the 13th through the 16th, I believe – so if any informal blogger meetup was to happen, it would likely be within that space (in Frankfurt or not, so long as Ponzi and I could get to the destination with relative ease and minimal frustration).

Frankfurt, Germany – European Blogger Meetup?

Ponzi and I are heading to Frankfurt, Germany in another week or so – from September 8th through the 17th, for a reason I can’t yet disclose. We have a few items on our itinerary, although I don’t have times in hand right now.

Neither of us have been to Europe before, so I sent a personal note to Nicole Simon (one of the only bloggers I know in Germany). She sent a few helpful tips in response, and I have gained permission to repost them here – including the possibility of doing some kind of impromptu German / European blogger meetup thing:

I have put together below some information if you like them. They are FYI as suggestions, nothing more. If you need any kind of information found out, just ping me so I can get you the English link for that.

And yes, I am a Flyertalk nuts and spend way to much time there to not even have to think about this to type this down … This is assuming as if you would know nothing, but in fact I do believe that many of this might be already know to you, this is a just in case.

If you have not yet booked flights, do NOT go through London. Fly directly into Fra, there are several options for that. Airport to town is a breeze. Both of you are smaller in size than I am but still, if you are not flying biz class, check first which airline you want to have and then check the flights with seatguru.com to allow for the biggest / widest / best seats possible. It will make an easier trip. I personally prefer this to be a very long flight when I fly west coast because it does not give me the hassle of changing and deal with immigration.

Hint: Seatguru does have a section called compare international economy where you can see the width and pitch. If you have any kind of status, try to build around that. If somebody else is paying, get them to book on your favorite alliance to you can collect nice miles from this. Hint: Some airlines allow for premier economy, a bit more costly, usually full miles, but nicer flying. It really makes a difference.

Decide first on the flights, check them through matrix.itasoftware.com for best option and plane and then call ASAP the call center to make sure of your seats, take a couple seat at the side, not the long row.

I hope someone is paying for your hotel, otherwise that could be a bitch. Prepare for the fact that most Americans complain about the so called tiny rooms in Europe. I always feel in the cheapest room in the US to be so much room. 😉 If you do not have a hotel use http://hrs.de – has the biggest database. If you got hotel points, this might be a good time to use them.

Germany has perfect public transportation by train and also usually to get around town if you stay strategically intelligent. You will not have an easy time driving around if you are on your own or in town. Then: Bahn.de is German rail and while it may not be the übercheapest version to travel, it is one of the most comfortable ones. Most big towns have the main central station exactly there: absolute center, walking distance and everything.

This is their English site: http://www.bahn.de/p/view/international/englisch/international_guests.shtml

Entering information allows you also to get an idea about distances as you are usually NOT faster by car, even worse through traffic and everything. Frankfurt especially during fair etc is like deepest nightmare. Take the train.

Then, if you have nothing planned and after all it is your first trip to Europe, you could go back through Paris. Fra Paris is only a 5 horu train drive from Frankfurt and a 4 hour one from cologne. Cologne to Fra I think is 1.5 hours and I would say that would be one of the nicest areas to go to as a tourist and get the “oh my god this is old!” feeling (and you get of directly in town) as cologne has the Kölner Dom: http://flickr.com/search/?q=k%C3%B6lner%20dom&w=all – http://www.koelner-dom.de/index.php?id=3179&L=1

It will make a beautiful day trip, you can stroll around cologne a bit and then for example take the train from here to Paris, have a short stop there and then go back to the states. (You will be able to leave your luggage at the station, they have lockers for this.) You could fly, but you will need more time getting from and to the airport! And the direct train to Paris goes from Cologne.

Quite helpful, although neither Ponzi nor I speak a word of German. Not sure we’re going to be all that comfortable on a public transportation system without a translator nearby. Nicole also suggested something that we’re totally into:

If you LIKE it should be no problem at all to have a “Chris and Ponzi are in town” meeting, That should also be possible on a kind of shorter announcement level.

A meetup would be absolutely great! Just make sure to announce that early enough for others to be able to fly in from other countries. While Frankfurt is ugly for visiting, it would make sense to have the meetup somewhere there because it is easiest to get into town for that; by flight as well as by train. It should be easier on you as well, because if you do not know yet where you are going to be, at least you know when you are in Frankfurt.

You should decide on a tool for getting information back on how many plan to attend (upcoming would make sense) and ask for help of a local place, I can spin that too as well to get them to help. I would include somehow, just in case, that this is not hosted by you but attended by you in the sense of everybody pays for themselves.

You could go for the name of a geek dinner if you feel like it and if Ponzi would like to see more females we could go for a Girl Geek Dinner meaning males are only allowed to attend when they are accompanied by a women. ;o))

I am starting the GGD in Germany officially at the Expo, but yours would also make a great opportunity to start even in Frankfurt – if Ponzi feels up for this kind of spotlight. 🙂 Anything is fine, and I assume as soon as you post about your trip they will run you down anyhow with suggestions ;)))

How can we go about finding a spot to meet at that is flexible enough to let quite a few invade and split bills? Does it make sense to take some suggestions and then start an Upcoming.org page for it?

Travel Gear


Chris | Live Tech Support | Video Help | Add to iTunes

http://live.pirillo.com/ – In a couple of weeks, my wife Ponzi and I are going to Germany. General Motors saw our live stream, and asked us if we would like to stream live from an auto show in Frankfort, Germany. Uhm.. DUH! Stay tuned in September, when we become an International show for awhile!

So many gadgets, so little suitcase space. Ponzi has to have clothes… and shoes… and probably do-dads… and maybe some like whatever that stuff is that women can’t live without! Of course, I have to have my gadgets. How can I stream from Germany without them? Let’s take a look at some of what I keep in my backpack, and the things I’ve had to buy for this trip.

Verbatim’s USB Kit is hands down the best thing I have in my backpack. I mean, look at all this!
There’s a tiny little 4-port USB hub, a USB extender, and even a crossover cable! It all comes in this handy hard case, to make traveling with it even nicer.

Cable. I HATE cables! Look at all these long cables! ARGH! Probably the best invention ever is the retractable cable. Any manufacturer of a portable device who does not make a retractable cable is doing their customers a serious disservice. I have a couple of these floating around, and use them for literally everything I can.

I also have my PSP charging and sync cable. I had to buy this separate from my PSP. Why Sony gives you two separate cables is beyond me. I have this wrapped up nice and neatly, using a small black velcro strap. Too bad I can’t get a retractable one of these!

Then of course, the biggie. Since Germany is on an entirely different electrical system, I bought a Belkin converter. This thing has so many settings, I’m not sure I’ll ever figure them out. I know I’m going to have to hit an electronics store (or an Apple store!) in Frankfurt. Keep your fingers crossed that I can get everything I’ll need to keep all my gadgets working in Germany!

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