22 June 2022

McLaren Artura First Impressions

 I was invited to test drive the Artura on 22 Jun. Thanks to McLaren NJ for hosting!

Artura specific comments:

  • Hybrid is very nice, in particular for stop-and-go. However, comfort mode holds EV mode for longer than my taste, leading to an impression of a lethargic car, especially when accelerating past 20mph (first mistake I made during the test drive).
  • Same great hydraulic steering rack with the heft of a 600LT's. Honestly the heft surprised me, as I expected a more "daily drivable" car to bias towards lighter steering.
  • Steering+chassis seems to have filtered the smaller road imperfections, i.e. higher signal-to-noise ratio. This made the ride feel significantly more refined, but less exciting for my taste.
  • V6 sound is tuned towards the lower octaves, as can be heard from various YouTube videos.
  • The sofas are softer than those in the 570 series, but not as plush as those in the GT.
  • The sofas don't go as far forward as expected, i.e. I had to slouch to be able to fully rest my foot on the dead pedal. If I were ordering a car, I would get the Clubsport seats with lumbar: I sat in these in the dummy car and thought they provided me the best seating position of any car that I have tried.
  • The seat controls have been moved to the side of the seat, consistent with the rest of the industry, and a departure from those in previous McLarens. I think new clients will highly welcome this change. See photo below!
  • Braking is indeed purely mechanical. The carbon brakes bite _hard_, as expected.
  • Rearward visibility is good, though not great like in the 720S coupe. I think the rear window is a bit larger than that of the 570S's.
  • Heard motor whine when accelerating at highway speeds, but no turbo whistle (at ~4k rpm).
  • Front lift works a couple seconds faster than that of the 570 series. You still to turn the car on (not just accessory mode), but the engine does not need to turn on to use the lift.
  • Engine still drones when cruising at ~1800rpm in 8th gear (~70mph).
  • I guess the new infotainment and CarPlay is nice.


  • I still prefer the short metal shift paddles to the carbon shift paddles.

tl;dr Artura is too soft and refined for my tastes; my parents would like it. Looking forward to the LT version (and also the GT4 race car)!

16 January 2022

Making Friends with Powers of 2

In the manga/anime series "Chihayafuru," the protagonist mentions that she "makes friends" with the universe of playing cards in her sport, Karuta, to help build a connection in hopes of achieving better results.

Note that all 2^n will be "the smallest positive even nth power," so I will omit from their descriptions. In combinatorics, 2^n is the size of the powerset for a size-N set.

1: self explanatory

2: self explanatory; the one and only even prime number; base 2/binary

4: self explanatory; all squares modulo 4 give residues 0 or 1 (prove it!); typical word size of a 32-bit Intel/AMD computer

8: number of ounces in a cup (go USA); typical word size of a 64-bit Intel/AMD computer; base 8/octal

16: 0xF + 1; base 16/hexadecimal; bits in a 2-byte integer

32: bits in a 4-byte integer; number of ounces in 1/4-gallon (smaller carton of milk)

64: bits in an 8-byte integer; number of ounces in half-gallon (larger carton of milk)

128: number of ounces in a gallon (jug of milk); amount of memory (in MB) in the first iPhone

256: 0xFF + 1; how much memory in MB my first Mac had

512: how much memory in MB my first computer had

1024: approximately interchangeable with 1000 = 10^3 for fast log2 and log10 computation; MB in a GB (or KB in a MB, or B in a KB, etc)

2048: seen in computer hardware flyers

4096: max memory (in MB) supported by 32-bit computers; seen in computer hardware flyers; pixel width of a true 4k screen

8192: seen in computer hardware flyers

16384: seen in computer hardware flyers

32768: one more than the largest positive value representable by a signed 16-bit integer

65536: bits in a 16-byte integer

131072: smallest power of 2 larger than 10^5 (common constant in programming problems)

262144: number of colours representable by a 18-bit panel when PC laptop makers were too cheap to use 24-bit panels in the 2000s; smallest power of 2 larger than 2*10^5 (common constant in programming problems)


1048576: smallest power of 2 greater than 10^6


16777216: number of colours representable by a 24-bit panel (before 10-bit "high colour" panels became popular)


1073741824: number of colours representable by a 30-bit panel (e.g. a "high colour" or "photography/video" panel); smallest power of 2 greater than 10^9

2147483648: one more than the largest positive value representable by a signed 32-bit integer

4294967296: number of different values representable by 32 bits


Something that starts with 9223 and has a lot of digits: 2^63 or 2^63-1, the latter is the largest positive value representable by a signed 64-bit integer

For these large values, e.g. 2^30 and up, I only know the first handful of digits, which is usually sufficient.


Writing these out, there are a few things that stand out to me:

  • much of these numbers are from computer-related activities, e.g. programming problems or browsing computer hardware brochures
  • the powers of 2 less than 100, especially those less than 10 (1, 2, 4), come up regularly for me in my day-to-day life

If you find special meaning to a power of two, leave a comment below! I may also write about other numbers, so stay tuned.