Getting a peek at Harley-Davidson's engine factory

MENOMONEE FALLS, Wisc.--To Harley-Davidson riders, the Powertrain Operations facility here just north of Milwaukee is hallowed ground. It's where the hearts of their favorite bikes start beating.

Engines for most of the Harley-Davidson line come alive here before they head to bike assembly plants in Pennsylvania and Missouri. To help promote Harley-Davidson's emerging Dark Custom line, CNET was invited to stroll through the plant as part of its Steel Toe Tour this past weekend to see how the company's V-Twin engines come together.

Harley-Davidson began offering the Powertrain Operations tour in 2010, escorting a small number of motorcycle lovers through the factory floor to see the various stages of V-Twin engine construction. The tour builds chronologically from the construction, refinement, and inspection of engine components, including cam heads and pistons, to the fly wheel assemblies and overall engine build. About 100 employees work in two shifts at Powertrain Operations alongside Swedish-made industrial robots that perform assembly and inspection. … Read more

Harley-Davidson Museum rolls into the future

MILWAUKEE--There's no better time to visit the Harley-Davidson Museum here than the July 4th weekend. The often brutal Great Lakes weather smiles on you with blue skies reflecting on the nearby riverfront. The huge Summerfest music festival roars not too far away. And the rebellious, proud image of America's oldest active motorcycle manufacturer fits the patriotic mood.

But museums generally look back at history, the minds behind Harley-Davidson looked to use the 3-year-old attraction to promote the company's push to modernize its image.

Built on waterfront property that was once a Morton Salt factory, the $70 million-plus complex documents the engineering history of Harley-Davidson and the development of the uniquely American motorcycle culture that developed throughout the 20th century. Founded in 1903, Harley-Davidson was the only surviving American motorcycle company until a British firm begin making a small number of Indian motorcycles in the U.S. around 2006. … Read more

The 404 803: Where we're picking up some Funyuns, man (podcast)

Wilson mysteriously disappears on this beautiful Wednesday, but Natali's pulling a twofer this week and filling in to help us with today's rundown. To her delight, a new augmented reality app is bringing future tech from the Harry Potter series alive, a PhillieBot will chuck the first patch at tonight's game, and a new iPhone case protects more than just the device inside.

The 404 Digest for Episode 803

Robot to throw first pitch at today's Phillies game How did that RFID chip end up in my suitcase? On a related note, Natali brings this delightful Jamaican tale to our attention. The JustinCase prototype fights for safe sex.

Thanks to Attariq for drawing this picture of The 404!

Episode 803 Subscribe in iTunes (audio) | Subscribe in iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS VideoRead more

WTF? Bloggers cause Wisconsin Tourism Federation to change name

Sometimes, it's hard to resist the relentless pressure of bloggers.

They make jokes about you. They spawn commenters who make even more jokes about you. Until you finally decide that your are the serf and the bloggerati and commenterati are your whip-wielding masters.

So it has proved for the dedicated and passionately committed staff of the Wisconsin Tourism Federation. Since this Web thing has spread around the world like swine flu, more and more witty folks have made japes about the WTF being, well, you know, I mean, WTF!!!!

So, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the organization sat … Read more

Castroneves, Wheldon, Patrick at Milwaukee

So far this week, I've featured video of the 93rd Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and the third place finisher Danica Patrick. Some of you may be wondering "where's some video of Dan Wheldon?" who finished second at this year's Indy 500 race. Well, this here is video that not only features Wheldon in action, but also includes the other top two finishers from this year's Indianapolis 500.

This video comes from a 2007 Indycar race in Milwaukee. The first half of the video shows Dan Wheldon running Patrick off into the pit lane, … Read more

NBA player Twitters during game, annoys coach

You're Charlie Villanueva, power forward for the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks. You're playing the Boston Celtics. It's halftime. The game is tied. What do you do?

Yes, you send a tweet on Twitter.

Villanueva's read: "In da locker room, snuck to post my twitt. We're playing the Celtics, tie ball game at da half. Coach wants more toughness. I gotta step up."

His Twitter screen name is CV31 (yes, his initials and number), and his highly informative live bulletin didn't exactly make his coach, Scott Skiles, a squat little man with a … Read more

Courts, coach cry foul over Twitter

You know a Web app has come into its own when it gets banned in courtrooms and locker rooms.

Twitter, which went from being just another Web geek service to an Internet phenomenon lampooned on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," is now becoming a nuisance for at least two American institutions--the judicial system and the NBA.

Some judges and lawyers believe the integrity of trials is being threatened by jurors posting comments about cases on the popular microblogging service.

Lawyers for a building products company are asking an Arkansas court to overturn a $12.6 million judgment … Read more

Milwaukee Brewers score in Harris Interactive poll's top 10

The Milwaukee Brewers hit a home run this year, landing the 10th ranked spot on Harris Interactive's list of America's favorite baseball teams.

Last year, the Brewers ranked No. 18, after having spent four consecutive years in the dugout with rankings in the low to mid 20s, according to Harris Interactive's announcement. The fact that the Brewers are leading the National League's central division is likely giving some froth to its rankings.

The online poll, which surveyed 2,372 adults in the U.S., ran from June 5-11.

And who was America's favorite baseball team … Read more