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2010/02/27 SearsPoint Competizione Motors Tech Day
π 2010-02-27 00:00 in Cars
Kevin nicely hosted us at his shop, Competizione Motors at Sears Point. He is a super knowledgeable Ferrari guy, and mostly works on race cars.
He gave us a very useful list of tips, like:
  • remember to go easy during your first laps to bring the brakes up to temperature, or you can glaze and ruin them
  • he actually recommends bringing temperatures to 3psi above stock and make sure that you equalize left and right temperature after the first session.
  • it's a good idea to slightly engage the brakes to set tha pads before you do the heavy braking
  • which fluids are recommended
  • you don't want slick tires on a street car
  • carbon brakes vs older regular pads
    carbon brakes vs older regular pads

    F355 mini pad vs current F430 carbon pad: huge difference
    F355 mini pad vs current F430 carbon pad: huge difference




    Kevin nicely agreed to work on my car to work out the bugs that have been bothering me, like misbalance shaking, checking the alignment, fixing the front/read brake bias, and a general inspection of the car.

    2010/02/27 Minimag Crash Lipo Fire
    π 2010-02-27 00:00 in Rc
    Right after receiving my new motor and mounting it on my plane, I went for a quick test flight at the local park which I've flown at before since it's closer than Rancho San Antonio. I thought I'd save a few minutes by going to the park since I just wanted to have a feel for the new motor.

    Ok, I'll save you the details, there was wind (no big deal), I was too close to the street at end of the park and when I made my turn to land back close to where I was, the plane flew right into the sun. I got blinded and by the time I could have seen it, I tried to dodge a power/phone line and lost. The plane hit the line motor first, and the plane fell right onto the street outside the park.

    I have to say I actually had a string of good luck there:

  • cars avoided running over my plane (thank you).
  • plane actually got fairly little damage, glue to the nose will fix it.
  • the motor shaft didn't get bent and the motor looks fine.
  • prop is broken, but that's why I buy packs of 10, no biggie.
  • the only reason why the plane wasn't flying 1H later was the plastic piece that is holding the motor is broken and I'll have to buy another one. It's more the time to go get one than the $3 it likely costs (update: very strangely, one of my aileron servos died, considering I have zero impact damage on the plane, I was very surprised when I went to the field after fixing the plane, and it failed preflight due to a broken servo. Bummer, now I have to wait a few more days for a replacement...).
  • lipo got compressed during the sudden stop but looked ok.
  • Plane damage isn't too bad
    Plane damage isn't too bad

    I had a look at the lipo and it looked like only the connector piece of it got compressed but the 3 sheets of lipo were otherwise unbent/unarmed. The lipo looked ok so I put it back in my car with the rest of the pieces and drove home.

    A good 25mn after the crash, it self ignited on the desk I was working on. I was able to throw it on the ground and then away from close to my car where it landed while the 3 layers of lipo ignited one after another. Nothing actually got burnt despite an otherwise intense fire as the 3 mostly fully charged layers caught fire one after another (it shot pretty vivid flames 2 feet sideways). Sorry, I was too busy watching the fire to take a video :)

    this is what's left of the lipo
    this is what's left of the lipo

    Needless to say that on top of very limited damage to my plane, I'm very lucky that the lipo didn't self-ignite in my car's trunk, or later on when I wasn't watching it.

    Moral of the story, a charged lipo that got any kind of reasonable shock is a ticking timebomb! Check Lipo Fire on youtube for more examples.

    See more images for Minimag Crash Lipo Fire
    2010/02/26 Higher Altitude GoPro HD Flights at Rancho San Antonio and Motor Failure, and Video recovery from SD Card
    π 2010-02-26 00:00 in Rc
    After adding a tail ribbon to my plane (to make it easier to see where is the front and back when it's far away from me), I went for a few more flights to catch some higher altitude HD video.

    My first flight went mostly ok: (make sure to select HD in the resolution slider)

    Unfortunately, on the second flight, the motor crapped out. First it started vibrating a lot, hence the shaky video, and when I removed the throtlle in flight when preparing for landing, I wasn't able to re-engage it. The video after the fact gives the 4 beep code from the ESC which means motor failure, shutting down. At that point, the minimag with all that weight feels like a 2 for 1 glider at best. I don't remember if I tried to flare, but it looks like I barely had enough lift glide energy left to make it to the edge of the hill (beyond that, it would have gone below my field of view)
    Turns out I was able to restart the motor on the ground after a full shutdown, but it didn't restart in flight and you can hear the unhappy motor sounds :)

    Just like motor, the video had a problem: after downloading it on my laptop, I screwed up while recompressing the first video and wiped the second video in the process. The second video was still on the sd card, but its cluster table had been freed since I had reused the card already.
    In this case, photo recovery software usually only has to find the signature of the file by scanning blocks, read the file header and deduce how long the file is from that info since it's already lost in the cluster table, and then rely on the fact that all blocks are super likely to be contiguous, so you can just keep reading linearly until you have the whole file. This usually worked well, but Christophe GRENIER's very handy photorec wasn't succeeding there, and neither were other pieces of commercial software I tried: the restored file would not play (I restored the file by hand myself too by just copying the blocks and got the same result).
    In the end, I got really good help on the mencoder-users list from Reimar Döffinger, whom I owe a debt of gratitude to: he looked at my sd card image and figured out that my GoPro HD Camera wrote the index-related part of the file header, after the data blocks. With Reimar's help on what offsets I should be looking at, I was able to get the first part of the header at the beginning, concatenate the end of the header that was written after the data blocks, and then add the actual data blocks. After almost 2 weeks of trying, his answer worked and I got my file back. If you are interested in more details, see this message from the mencoder-users list.

    Here it is: (make sure to select HD in the resolution slider). Jump to 04:20 for the motor failure.

    2010/02/23 3 Day Weekend in Colorado at BreckenRidge, Vail, and Keystone
    π 2010-02-23 00:00 in Snow
    To make up for the fact that he couldn't join me to Silverton, Arturo invited us for a 3 day weekend in Colorado. Due to our schedules, it was a bit last minute, and the bastards at United just jacked up their ticket price by 50% for the weekend 10 days away, so we took Frontier instead.
    This turned out fine, except for the part where the Frontier plane was scheduled way too late on friday and we landed in Denver close to midnight local time, with still a 2H drive in the snow ahead of us (at least we got lucky, Colorado had been quite dry so far and had just gotten a well needed 12 inches).

    we got the penguin plane :)
    we got the penguin plane :)

    Denver's got it down for skiiers and snowboarders :)
    Denver's got it down for skiiers and snowboarders :)

    Arturo got us to Silverthorne around 02:30, in the snow, uphill both ways and stuck behind a row of snow plows (actually they did have 4 snow plows blocking the entire freeway while cleaning the road).

    All the pictures are geotagged, so clicking on them will bring you to a page like this one which will show you were the picture was taken.

    BreckenRidge

    After a few hours of sleep, we painfully got up and headed for BreckenRidge. Unfortunately half of Denver hand their brothers had done the same due to the fresh snow and it took over an hour to drive a few miles, get a parking spot in an off resort lot, and then a bus to the gondola.
    I think it was noon by the time we had made it to Imperial Peak (and unfortunately we lost Jennifer in the process who had trouble with the T-Bar).


    Jennifer's beloved T-Bar :)
    Jennifer's beloved T-Bar :)

    Imperial Bowl from the near 13kft peak
    Imperial Bowl from the near 13kft peak

    Probably one of the Highest Peaks with a Ski Lift to in the Continental US
    Probably one of the Highest Peaks with a Ski Lift to in the Continental US


    BreckenRidge was fun, but just too many people that day, and quite frankly still a bit low on snow.

    Nice Powder Run with Arturo off the T-Bar:

    Here are the stats, gpx track and map for Day1 at BreckenRidge.

    Vail

    The second day, we met up with Arturo's friends: Suwei and Karl and drove to Vail. Vail is indeed a huge resort, and there too we had to drive to an offsite parking lot and take a bus to get to a lift. The next 2 hours were spent crossing the mountain to the other side where we wanted to go, doing some nice runs in the process though.
    Vail definitely had more snow, plus what was falling this day.


    Pretty
    Pretty


    Aspen Trees
    Aspen Trees




    The whole crew
    The whole crew



    Suwei and Karl nicely invited us to their condo that evening, by Keystone, so what we could just walk to the lift the next day.

    Nice Ridge run with everyone:

    Farther down that run where Jennifer runs into me and I go through some nice trees after that:

    Nice Tree Run with Arturo:

    Here are the stats, gpx track and map for Day2 at Vail.

    Keystone

    After another 5-ish hours of sleep (I don't sleep well at altitude), and not much more for Jennifer, we got our butts off the condo and to the nearest Keystone lift.

    Arturo, we can't tell it's you with your mask :)
    Arturo, we can't tell it's you with your mask :)


    Now you see how I take my GoPro HD videos :)
    Now you see how I take my GoPro HD videos :)

    Snowman, or something :)
    Snowman, or something :)


    Keystone, while a bit smaller, was still quite nice to ride in my opinion, especially with the fresh powder.
    Conditions were quite nice, and I did a fair amount of tree runs. The forests however had just enough snow, and it was easy to catch a hidden tree trunk or branch and fall. The trees were also fairly dense, making riding quite challenging, but I like challenges :)

    Nice little run with Karl, Arturo and Jennifer, finishing up in the trees:

    This was one of my last tree runs, when my brain was definitely slowing down, and I missed a turn in front of a tree, ending up on my back, head downhill and my board stuck behind the tree :)

    Here are the stats, gpx track and map for Day3 at Keystone.

    This was definitely a great deal of fun, we lucked out on snow, and big thanks to Arturo for taking care of most of the organization, and Suwei and Karl for hosting us and showing us around the slopes.

    2010/02/15 Found some De Ruijter Muisjes in a Local Store
    π 2010-02-15 00:00 in Public
    Found this in a local chinese store. Cool :)

    2010/02/14 HOD Day at Laguna Seca
    π 2010-02-14 00:00 in Cars
    I had a few coworkers who signed up for a day at Laguna Seca and decided to join the group for Laguna Seca on President's day.

    The main problem was that there was a 92dB sound limit and that turns out to be a lot less than what my car does at wide open throttle (100dB-ish).
    I got thrown off the track after 2 laps on my first session, and 3 laps on my last session, leaving me to go home. Sessions 2, 3, 4, I did my best to not touch the throttle between turns 5 and 6 where they record sound.

    Quite frankly, I'm quite annoyed at people who moved close to the racetrack and managed to mandate all those bullshit rules to force the racetrack to be quiet enough for them. It's the same kind of stupid selfish people who move next to an airport and then try to close it down because it's noisy. Fuck'em is what I say, they knew what they were getting into and got cheap housing for a reason.

    Anyway, while in my opinion, the people who do track days at Laguna should do a better effort at telling people that the 92dB sound restriction actually does catch totally stock cars with catalytic converters and stock exhausts (and most organizers know which ones typically fail).
    The HOD guys were actually nice in offering me a refund if I wanted to go home after being booted off the track on my first session after a mere 2 laps.

    Since I was already there and that I would clearly never go back to Laguna Seca with my car, while starting to pack, I ended up deciding to just try and make the best of it, especially since I had several coworkers there that day too and the point was also to spend some time with them.

    In the end, I got 3 sessions out of 5 :-/ and I just didn't do so well on the track, not counting the place where I just had to get off the gas and lose several seconds, my car felt unbalanced and unsettled (it's actually visibly shaking on some of the videos, and my rear brakes are now too powerful and cause the car to skip or skid a bit when I brake downhill).
    On top of that the HOD folks seem pretty convinced that I overdrive my car too much and they're just too nervous about that. From my side, baring the hydraulic brake failure I had, I haven't put a single wheel off track yet and worst case I've overshot a few apexes and understeered just a little bit in a few places. I think the problem however is that I've been trying to approach the perfect speed for each turn from the slightly too fast side instead of the slightly too slow...



    the second stage exhaust mufflers is what I needed apparently
    the second stage exhaust mufflers is what I needed apparently


    street legal atom 3 (300hp)
    street legal atom 3 (300hp)




    My coworker Attila's GTR
    My coworker Attila's GTR


    This guy in group B unfortunately hit the inside wall around turn 6
    This guy in group B unfortunately hit the inside wall around turn 6

    Anyway, it wasn't a fantastic day, especially as I didn't get that many laps to improve my line and my braking points, not counting how my car just didn't feel very planted, but it was still nice to run the track at least once, and shoot the shit with my coworkers.

    I'm hoping to get someone knowledgeable look at my car and offer fixes that will make it more manageable closer to the limit.

    A couple of incomplete sessions:

    See more images for HOD Day at Laguna Seca
    2010/02/14 Daily Power and Solar Stats
    π 2010-02-14 00:00 in Linuxha, Solar
    It's not quite a year yet, but I've recently worked on daily stats for our solar panels. If you go to the Solar and Power Monitoring post, you get all the stats that are gathered every few minutes.
    I was however missing daily stats showing for each day what time production started, what time it stopped (depending on dailight savings time of course), how many hours of sun we got. I also added a repeat of how many Kwh were produced that day.

    Here are the resulting graphs (as a reminder you can zoom in by selecting a rectangle with the first mouse button and zoom out with the second button).

    The good news from that data is that even the worst day, we made at least 3Kwh, which is what some small apartments use in a day. The average at the end of a year cycle should be around 24Kwh/day, which is 80% of what we end up using and less that what we'll end up paying once you figure out time of use offsets (i.e. the average electricity we make is worth more than the electricity we use).

    Below is a graph with production start and end (hour the sun starts hitting the panels and when it sets past the roof). Note the one hour jump on Nov 1st because of the daily savings change.


    Production hours:


    Production Kwh:


    Last, but not least this page lets you get all the daily starts (note, you need to change the top preset to 3, 6, or 12 months to get useful data, last day doesn't show anything).

    See more images for Daily Power and Solar Stats
    2010/02/13 Rig3 Update One Page Per Post
    π 2010-02-13 00:00 in Public
    As a few already know, I use Rig3 for my blog, written by a friend and coworker of mine, Ralf. Rig3 is meant to be lightweight, work offline on your laptop and be secure by not requiring any crap like PHP. More can be found on the Rig3 site.

    Anyway ralf got tired of my begging :) and nicely implemented the one page per post feature for permalinks.

    Having each post on its on page allows for a certain amount of nice things:

  • give a link to just the one post. For big posts like our honeymoon in hawaii, they are big enough that it's a good idea to load just that post and not a monthly page with other potentially big posts.
  • allow loading and showing a private post in itself without sharing the rest of the posts on the same page or the entire blog.
  • allow adding comments for each post (comments on facebook for instance are lost to everyone else not using facebook). This feature isn't there yet, but I hope to add it soon.
  • allow for sharing the URL to the single post to another site, like facebook or twitter (and facebook is stupid, it'll grab any picture it finds on the post, which didn't work when I had a page with more than one post: it could take a picture from a totally unrelated post).
  • allow quicker loading of individual posts by RSS readers (the simple way to read a bunch of people's blogs)
  • I just fixed a little bug where my atom RSS feed didn't have the right links, and now everything should be good after I publish this post.

    Thanks Ralf!

    2010/02/10 Some Spammers are not very bright
    π 2010-02-10 00:00 in Public
    From: Oscar Rosero <oscaroseroruiz@gmail.com>
    Subject: Re: Information Request
    

    > On Tue, Feb 09, 2010 at 09:15:41AM -0500, Oscar Rosero wrote: > > Hello. > > > > I'm trying to optimize my email marketing campaing and to do that I'm > > testing my email by using Spamassassin. > > > > However the following risk appears and I don't know what is it about, > > neither how to correct it or remove it. Here is the Risk or Rule > > description: > > > > SARE_HTML_URI_2SLASH URI: URI has additional double slash within it > > > > > > > > I'm not an expert on this issues. Please help me solve it. > > You are kidding, right?

    Hello Marc.

    Thank you for contact me back.

    The true is I'm not kidding. I just tried to solve the issue by myself but I did not found any information about the "SARE_HTML_URI_2SLASH URI: URI has additional double slash within it". Then, by checking the Spamassassin, I found your e-mail and I decided to contact you.

    Please apologize me if I bothered you in some way, it was not my intention. Maybe I did not use the propper words in my past message.

    If, in some way, you can guide me o tell me where can I find some information to solve the issue I would be very grateful.

    Best wishes,

    Oscar

    I need to fill in by saying that I used to be a spamassassin contributor, and am the SA-Exim author, so maybe he found me that way (he didn't say).

    So, I decided to have a little fun with him:

    > > If, in some way, you can guide me o tell me where can I find some
    > > information to solve the issue I would be very grateful.
    >
    > No, I was surprised because I thought you knew that by using spamassassin
    > to
    > test your marketing message, you triggered a booby trap inside that
    > cataloged your name, your IPs, and what you were trying to market so that
    > any mass message from you sent to other people from now on will get you
    > blacklisted throughout the internet, kicked out of your ISP, and any
    > domain/company you have listed in there will get attacked by botnets if it
    > ever gets sent from now on.
    >
    > Well, I guess you should have done your research first, now all I can
    > recommend is that you never send what you were trying to send in the first
    > place (even modifying it won't help since not only your message, but also
    > your name, IP, ISP, and Email, and domains were harvested and put on the
    > watchlist).
    >
    > Marc
    

    Thank you Merlin for the valuable information and suggestions, I'll certainly take it into account.

    I hope to find the way to remove the detected risk on my following messages, despite of the facto I have not even a remote idea about what URI_2SLASH is.

    Best wishes,

    Oscar

    2010/02/09 Sarah Palin is Still an Idiot and Why Comedy Central Rules
    π 2010-02-09 00:00 in Public
    Seen on comedy cental, good job to the person who noticed that.

    Sarah Palin is still learning what she's supposed to talk about. She just reached middle school level and learned to write on her hand. Good job!

    I also love how she didn't even get it right the first time and had to cross out a word.

    (So, just to clear possible confusion: the pictures I real. I took them from the TV broadcast. She really did write this on her hand and looked at it in the interview later to answer question).



    But it gets better. During an after speech interview, she was asked a question and actually checked her hand for the answer:

    At least right now, she is worth the free entertainment value, but I really hope that we don't ever have enough idiots in this country to vote her in anything worthwhile.

    2010/02/07 Powder Weekend in Kirkwood
    π 2010-02-07 00:00 in Snow
    My coworkers James and Jim and I drove to kirkwood on friday to their cabin, and woke up to a nice sight:


    The day was pretty good and it wasn't crowded :)



    Portion of a nice little run off the wave:

    We had a nice evening in the cabin:



    The 2nd day, I rode with James and Jim in the morning. You can see my GoPro camera on my helmet and Jennifer was able to come up with Johannes. We were able to ride together until she got tired (it was her first day of the season).



    by sister's chute left of the wall chair
    by sister's chute left of the wall chair

    at the top of my way out there palisades run
    at the top of my way out there palisades run

    Jennifer riding
    Jennifer riding

    Portion of an easy powder run with Jennifer:

    Here are the stats and map for Day1 (shows a few nice powder rides on palisades and devil's draw) and Day2 when I rode with Jennifer and did a couple of "out there" palisades runs.

    See more images for Powder Weekend in Kirkwood

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