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2016/01/31 3 Dives in Queenscliff, off Melbourne, Australia
π 2016-01-31 00:00 in Diving
Since we were staying in Geelong, it was only about 30mn from the dive shop where I had to be at 06:30 to rent equipment before the first dive boat leaving at 07:15. Getting up at 05:30 wasn't exactly a problem though since I had just arrived from California and was jetlagged anyway :)


I have few pictures though, due to a combination of:

  • I got pushed a bit to go on the first boat that was leaving, and forgot my big camera (just too a few shots with gopro)
  • 2nd dive (drift dive holding rope) was cancelled half way to a moron that left the rope to go get a lobster, causing the dive to be cancelled after 15mn
  • For a reason I still don't know, the camera battery was then dead for the 3rd time, so I just did a few screen grabs from the gopro video.
  • Impressions on the place:

  • Conditions were tough the day I went, 3 meter swells, 2nd dive (wreck dive) got cancelled and replaced with a drift dive which was then cancelled half way
  • 3rd dive was also cancelled and replaced with another dive (which thankfully was actually better). My dive buddy, Alastair was a good match, he used air at about the same rate as I had bottom time left on my 3rd dive (despite 32% nitrox).
  • Vis was not terrible, but far from great
  • Water at its warmest season was still cold (18C), which is barely warmer than Monterey (16C on a good day, 5-8C in the winter). I used their rental 7mm suit and used my own 5.5mm shortie on top. That was warm enough.
  • Sea life wasn't great, but it was ok. A few different fishes than what I'm used to, but didn't get to see the leafy seadragon they have there
  • Anyway, as a result, I only have a few crappy pictures, not Linus fish-butt bad pictures, but close :)



    5kt of current, my first drift dive with a rope
    5kt of current, my first drift dive with a rope




    Video of the 2nd and 3rd dive (4K), not earth shattering, just in case you care :)

    2016/01/29 Melbourne RAAF Museum
    π 2016-01-29 00:00 in Flying
    [isu:title:RAAF Museum next to Melbourne]

    As we got off the plane in Melbourne to drive to Geelong, we stopped at the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force). It actually is the oldest still running Air Force Base in the world (goes back to 1913). It was a nice little museum:









    They even had a rare F111:



    Love this :)
    Love this :)





    this wasn't part of my pilot training :)
    this wasn't part of my pilot training :)









    French Dassault Mirage
    French Dassault Mirage




    See more images for Melbourne RAAF Museum
    2016/01/29 Visiting Melbourne Area, Geelong, Great Ocean Road, Phillip Island
    π 2016-01-29 00:00 in Australia, Trips

    We took a nice flight to Melbourne via Auckland, nice flight as always and very nice lounge in Auckland:



    Once we arrived in Melbourne, we got a rental car and first drove to the Royal Australia Air Force Museum, the oldest continuous air force base in the world (click the link for more pictures):


    Next, we went to Serendip Sanctuary, which was no frills, but ok to spend 90mn at before it closed:





    this bird is beautiful
    this bird is beautiful

    happy colorful birds
    happy colorful birds



    this pigeon looks like it's on drugs with bloodshot eyes :)
    this pigeon looks like it's on drugs with bloodshot eyes :)






    birds, goofing off
    birds, goofing off

    After sleeping in Geelong saturday night, I got up early on sunday to drive to Queenscliff and do 3 dives (follow the link) while Jennifer took a snorkling/marine mammal watching tour. After our respective tours, we drove around Queenscliff and the coast a bit;


    magpie bird
    magpie bird



    Geelong, the town where I had my LCA 2016 linux conference, didn't have much to see, but there were still a few things like the wool museum:






    jacquard programmable loom
    jacquard programmable loom






    After the conference was over, on saturday morning, we had a private tour to the great ocean road with François, a nice english speaking French guide:


    semi wild kangaroos in a golf course
    semi wild kangaroos in a golf course






    I love cockatoos
    I love cockatoos



    kookaburra are awesome birds too
    kookaburra are awesome birds too




    wild koala
    wild koala






    Eventually, we got to the 12 apostles, very scenic even you don't get a helicopter ride (huge line for that):









    On the way back, our guide found a nice flock of birds, but they were not interested in my bird seeds :)






    After driving back to Melbourne, we dropped our luggage in the hotel and went to St Kilda Pier to see the few wild penguins that come nest after sunset (sadly it was only 2 or 3 penguins that came from the water after a 90mn wait, but it was still nice to see them:




    We found a few penguins nesting in the rocks, they were pretty good at jumping between rocks:



    one penguin coming out of the water
    one penguin coming out of the water

    nesting
    nesting


    The next day, we went to see some museums:




    We started with the Sealife Aquarium (on its own page):


    Next we went to the 2 NGVs (national gallery of victoria): local and international:















    some silverware my dad doesn't even have :)
    some silverware my dad doesn't even have :)


    We then finished the day at the Melbourne Museum, about aboriginals and more recent history of Melbourne:





    there were _many_ aboriginal tribes
    there were _many_ aboriginal tribes




















    By 17:00, all the museums are closed, so we headed towards a nice French restaurant and then went out to see the Chinese New Year celebrations and get pictures from Eureka Skydeck 88 around sunset:






    The view from skydeck 88 wasn't bad, but the reflections from the windows were pretty bad, hard to take pictures: [rigimg:1024:647*|skydeck had a "ride" over the void]





    confederation square
    confederation square








    It was also Chinese New Year:





    friends :)
    friends :)






    Our last day, we first took a tram to Queen Elizabeth's gardens to visit before our tour to Phillip Island:

    Melbourne does a very good job with public transportation
    Melbourne does a very good job with public transportation







    that's the cactus we have in our yard, gets big when left unchecked :)
    that's the cactus we have in our yard, gets big when left unchecked :)

    this one too I guess
    this one too I guess


    my bird seeds came in handy :)
    my bird seeds came in handy :)


    On the way out of the park, we hit the Shrine of Remembrance:










    At 11:00, we had a small bus wildlife tour to penguin island tour with the little penguin bus:










    I even found a wild echidna roaming around
    I even found a wild echidna roaming around

    don't shake the koalas off the trees :)
    don't shake the koalas off the trees :)

    While at the Koala center, I could hear a racetrack, sure enough there was a nice racetrack nearby, I was able to get a few shots:


    But there were wild Wallabies everywhere on our way to the penguin viewing:




    happily eating something :)
    happily eating something :)










    did I mention wild wallabies? :)
    did I mention wild wallabies? :)


    Then, we got the noobies, where you can see penguins nesting, and rabbits:









    And eventually we arrived to the penguin viewing location:



    we had premium viewing tickets in this location
    we had premium viewing tickets in this location


    the penguins come from the ocean and walk up this path
    the penguins come from the ocean and walk up this path

    general viewing area
    general viewing area

    So they have a no pictures policy after sunset, it's because they cannot trust people to take pictures without flash (I don't blame them) and besides most cameras and all cell phones would be unable to take any worthwhile shots. As a result, since I did have a camera capable of taking shots in full darkness, and without flash, I took a few shots when I could and without others seeing me so that they wouldn't get bad ideas. The penguins arrived in waves (they travel in numbers for safety), and walk up the path, sometimes up to 2H to the respective nests.





    they had a penguin arrival counter :)
    they had a penguin arrival counter :)

    And this was the end of our trip to Melbourne, the next morning, we flew home.

    2016/01/27 Tesla Autopilot Summon In And Out Of Garage
    π 2016-01-27 00:00 in Cars
    Tesla Software Update 7.1 added auto summon, you can call your car to meet you outside, or have it park back in your garage automatically.

    This felt a bit scary, especially with my angled garage, and things to hit, but it actually worked, including getting my garage door opened and closed ok. Very nice :)

    This video shows the process from outside the car, using the key:

    While this one shows it from inside the car, using the android app:

    2016/01/26 Toguard HD 5" Full HD 1080p Android GPS navigation Touch Screen Car Dash Cam Dual lens WiFi
    π 2016-01-26 00:00 in Cars, Linux
    This is a very interesting Dashcam. I'll start with the conclusion: it's a lot of value for money: android, ability to run almost any app from android market, dual dashcam, and wifi, for just $130!!! but sadly, it's actually a bit too cheap: the cameras are of poor quality and there isn't enough RAM to run other android apps well.

    Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01967VSJY

    Here are the main points:

  • Toguard is one of those new Chinese companies that actually cares about customer support and doing the right thing. I have to give them credit for this and hope more copanies will do the same. The product is far from perfect, but from my interactions with them, they really care about making it better. Despite the low price, they also give you extras like they nicely bundle both a 12V cigarette lighter adapter and ODB2 power connector for constant power. They also provide some plastic tools to help you route wires inside your car without scratching it (very handy for routing wires inside your car).
  • The device is a full featured quad core android tablet in side your rear view mirror. The previous dual core version was not able to reliably run recording and another app at the same time. This one almost is, except for its biggest problem: only 512MB or RAM. This is totally insufficient and causes major slowdowns, or google play services to crash pretty often due to lack of RAM. I would happily have paid more to get a 2GB device, it is very disappointing the manufacturer did not choose 2GB and settled for a totally inadequate 512MB (it's enough to run just the dashcam, but not run that plus run another big app like google maps).
  • It runs android kitkat, good choice since it's a good release for devices low on RAM (people who somehow wish it had a newer android don't realize new android versions take more memory and do not offer more features that are important for this device).
  • You get a real android tablet in a 5" factor. You can add our google account, install google maps or waze (but for me they will be super slow or barely unusable), and you could even install calendar or gmail if you wish.
  • The wifi is 2.4Ghz only and would be used to install apps at home, or tether to your phone, but that's a bad choice because wifi tethering is very expensive on batteries for your phone. Still, it's better than nothing, and ok for you if you have a fancy car that provides its own wifi hot spot.
  • Sadly it does not come with bluetooth. Bluetooth would have been a perfect way to get internet from your phone via bluetooth tethering without killing your batteries. While having callers show up on BT could be useful for some, most cars do this now, so I don't really need that feature, and the audio from that mirror isn't great anyway. But it could be nice to have audio out from the mirror to your car stereo if you're doing maps routing.
  • The video recorder works but is lacking most of the features present in the previous dual core device. This is not a showstopper, but it's disappointing
  • It comes with a build in navigation app that works offline. I didn't really like the UI and I'm not going to use an inferior maps navigation app when I have google maps on my phone with real time traffic.
  • However, the ODB2 wiring is mostly pointless because this version of the hardware does not support motion detection.
  • The rear camera wire is not good though because it contains a big adapter bulge in the middle which makes it impossible to route inside your car due to how thick that bit is.
  • The rear camera is only 720p and very poor quality but it will read a place from a car that is stopped behind yours. If any car is moving, the picture will be unusable
  • The rear camera has a red wire you're supposed to connect to your rear headlights. This is however difficult to do on my car, and I wish they had just used a light sensor to remove the extra wiring requirement. In my testing, I did not wire the night vision LED, although to be honest, I doubt they can do much except maybe to video the outline of someone who would come on foot to break your rear window. If you're driving, headlights from cars behind you totally overwhelm the camera.
  • Generally both cameras will not let you see any license plates if any cars are moving. I think the sensor size is too small and if anything moves, even during bright daylight, the picture and license plates come out totally blurry
  • Sadly the mirror itself doesn't have a good mirror material and doesn't give a very good view during the day and a worse one at night. That's a bit concerning for wha't supposed to be a rear view mirror before anything else.
  • The GPS is a great addition for the base price (many dashcams do not include it by default). First I thought mine wasn't working well, until the nice Toguard support told me that it had to be mounted with with glue sticker facing down (I had glued it to my windshield next to the mirror, which meant it was upside down).
  • The device comes with about 4GB of flash free, which is very generous, and handles external sdcards perfectly. It even offers the more convenient USB storage mode if you plug USB, over the less convenient PTP/MTP support that android has switched to, and doesn't work well on all OSes.
  • I'm super familiar with android, so interacting with it was trivial. Someone not knowing android may have a harder time setting up advanced features, but basic operation will work out of the box.
  • Also, it comes with a stupid music at boot and annoying metallic voice when power is lost. Neither bring anything to me but sound spam. I really wish I could turn them off.
  • So, my verdict?

  • If all you care about is a very well integrated dual dashcam, to show that the other car hit you, and you didn't reverse into it, this will work. If someone who does a hit and run on you stops before driving off, you may get their plate. If you're hoping to get the plate from someone who cut you off, that's not going to happen.
  • The manufacturer should forget this model or quickly supplement it with one that has more memory and better cameras. This would cost more, but that's fine. Currently there is no dual dashcam mirror with android that's better, so there is no competition.
  • Honestly if you're going to run other android apps on it, it might work, but you're likely to get frustrated and disappointed.
  • If you want real video quality and don't need dual cam, the Wheel Witness HD Pro is the best one I've seen so far, read my review
  • I really wanted to like this, but the hardware just falls short.

    Here are some shots of android:


    technically google maps works, but it's so slow, it's barely usable. And without a good GPS, what's the point?
    technically google maps works, but it's so slow, it's barely usable. And without a good GPS, what's the point?

    music player, why not, but audio output is poor and without bluetooth audio support, it's probably pointless
    music player, why not, but audio output is poor and without bluetooth audio support, it's probably pointless

    while underpowered, it is a real android tablet where you can install your own apps (I installed the english keyboard with swipe support)
    while underpowered, it is a real android tablet where you can install your own apps (I installed the english keyboard with swipe support)

    technically Waze should work, but practically it's going to be an exercise in frustration due to lack of RAM
    technically Waze should work, but practically it's going to be an exercise in frustration due to lack of RAM

    the video recorder is not bad, with picture in picture.
    the video recorder is not bad, with picture in picture.

    Now the painful part: driving videos which confirm that if any car is moving, everything is blurry and plates are toally unreadable. Also note the GPS not working:


    parked cars are ok
    parked cars are ok

    but look how blurry it gets when the car is moving although by miracle the left plate is readable in this time (usually it won't be)
    but look how blurry it gets when the car is moving although by miracle the left plate is readable in this time (usually it won't be)

    non moving right picture is usable
    non moving right picture is usable

    Now let's look at the rear camera. It's very poor:


    you'll get the plate of whoever rear-ends you though
    you'll get the plate of whoever rear-ends you though

    night is 'challenging'
    night is 'challenging'

    but if the car is very close and not moving, you'll get the plate
    but if the car is very close and not moving, you'll get the plate

    This is what the mirror looks like:


    4GB of internal storage
    4GB of internal storage

    Only 512MB of RAM :(
    Only 512MB of RAM :(

    Android kitkat 4.2.2, quadcore CPU (A33 X5)
    Android kitkat 4.2.2, quadcore CPU (A33 X5)

    Built in navigation app
    Built in navigation app

    what the screen looks compared to the mirror, the mirror doesn't reflect as much as a real mirror unfortunately
    what the screen looks compared to the mirror, the mirror doesn't reflect as much as a real mirror unfortunately

    installed, compared to a wheel witness HD
    installed, compared to a wheel witness HD

    Personally, I'm looking for the next version with better cameras and 2GB of RAM.
    For other dashcams I reviewed, see this page

    2016/01/20 Heli Skiing at Whistler
    π 2016-01-20 00:00 in Snow
    Arturo and I took a day off our skiing in Whistler to do Heli Skiing:


    You can find more pictures on Google Photos

    Outside of 2 little heli jumps across the next ridge at Silverton, I had not had the chance to do heli skiing so far, so when I planned the trip to Whistler with Arturo, the weather made it obvious that we should go heli skiing after the first day where we'd just enjoy the fresh snowfall in the resort.

    Whistler Heli Skiing has a good operation and 3 different groups you can select 3, 4, or 6 runs. They are also sorted by experience, the 6 run package being only for experienced power skiiers/snowboarders. Thankfully Arturo and I easily qualified :)

    We showed up around 08:30 to be sent to the bus base, and by 10:00 or so, we were done with the pretty extensive avalanche training since avalanches are a real danger there, especially the day we went.


    Since I'm a pilot, I took a few heli pictures, sorry :)














    Once we arrived, we went for an easy run as a warmup and for our guide (John) to see if any of us sucked, or not :) He also shoveled a big piece of snow so that he could analyse the layers and gauge the risk of avalanche (and report that to the other guides):



    the red flag showed the end of the run and landing spot for the heli
    the red flag showed the end of the run and landing spot for the heli

    We then did more runs, power was good, but sadly the runs were not very steep for the most part. I think we were limited with the overcast layer and general weather that prevented the heli from going to potentially better spots:






    We did trigger a huge slide under where we were. It was eery: the ground actually collapsed under us as the entire layer compacted itself. Maybe it was only 10 or 20cm at most, but it was weird. Then we saw a bit slide on the side of the place we were standing on:


    After our 5th run, we had lunch in the snow:


    And we had just enough time for a 6th run, which was nicer and steeper, but visibility contrast was poor, so you couldn't easily tell the terrain in front of you, whether it was going up or down:



    Thanks for Arturo for taking a few pictures for me :)


    Despite the non ideal weather conditions and the runs that weren't very steep for an advanced group, it was the best possible for the week we came, so we made the best of it :) (but the runs we did at Silverton were better)
    The only lowlight was the second run where I just didn't see (and it's almost invisible on video too) a small ramp in the snow that threw me when I wasn't ready for it, and caused me to land tip first and do a pretty bad tumble forward around my head and my board. Unsurprisingly, my back muscles were hurting that evening from being stretched that far and violently, but enough advil, hot tub and icing mostly took care of it.

    My final impressions:

  • Professional company and excellent guide with a clear emphasis on safety in an avalanche prone terrain
  • Good Helicopter and pilot
  • Only 3:30 there, including lunch. I'd have loved double (but the weather sure didn't allow that)
  • Our rides (except for the last) were too easy. I'm guessing we were restricted in terrain choice by the weather, which is a shame because almost half of each ride was just keeping your speed up while riding in a track so as not to run out of speed in the powder
  • Although the vertical changes were not great (around 14,000ft for 6 runs, actually almost the same as what I'd get at kirkwood except kirkwood is steeper), the scenery was super pretty
  • sadly the weather made contrast hard and it was difficult to pick out relief in a sea of white (this made me not see the bump that threw me up in run #2 and cause to crash badly)
  • Here are the 6 runs in 4K goodness (I crash badly if Run #2, start at offset 2:00 to see Arturo crash, and then me):

  • Run #1:
  • Run #2:
  • Run #3:
  • Run #4:
  • Run #5:
  • Run #6:
  • See more images for Heli Skiing at Whistler
    2016/01/18 Vancouver Science Museum
    π 2016-01-18 00:00 in Sciencemuseums
    Nice little Science Museum in Vancouver:


    I have big hands :)
    I have big hands :)

    this will keep jennifer up at night :)
    this will keep jennifer up at night :)






    See more images for Vancouver Science Museum
    2016/01/18 Warm Powder Days in Whistler
    π 2016-01-18 00:00 in Snow
    Whistler/Blackcomb definitely has a nice village, including a handy bus system to and from the airport or downtown Vancouver. Nice lights, and restaurants:

    big bus with wifi
    big bus with wifi

    to small shuttle to your door
    to small shuttle to your door











    nice crepe/raclette/fondue/french restaurant
    nice crepe/raclette/fondue/french restaurant

    sukiyaki, yum!
    sukiyaki, yum!

    We didn't get to cover that much of the mountain due to the bad weather, but here's what we did:

    Our first morning, we got up and went for "fresh tracks", and early gondola up for breakfast up and earlier access to the slopes (albeit it was only two lifts and not the most interesting ones):

    literally looks like we're going snowboarding in the middle of the night ;)
    literally looks like we're going snowboarding in the middle of the night ;)

    maybe not too bright yet, but early :)
    maybe not too bright yet, but early :)

    sun did rise before we finally got up (30mn line for the early gondola)
    sun did rise before we finally got up (30mn line for the early gondola)

    Suck on this, Squaw!
    Suck on this, Squaw!


    they don't count in feet like kirkwood, but 6 inches is still not bad :)
    they don't count in feet like kirkwood, but 6 inches is still not bad :)


    Avalanche control is too easy, they fly a heli an throw dynamite sticks :)
    Avalanche control is too easy, they fly a heli an throw dynamite sticks :)

    Because they were not going to open the peak chair (kind of lame), we took peak to peak to cross to Blackcomb:



    window to look down
    window to look down




    By the time we got to Blackcomb, whistler was still going to be closed, WTF? Thankfully Blackcomb had top chairs opened. We started with the glacier to get a powder run there. It was nice, but not that steep:


    T-Bar to top
    T-Bar to top

    Snow Angel!
    Snow Angel!

    Glacier
    Glacier


    nice fluffy birds :)
    nice fluffy birds :)

    angry birds, I mean hungry birds :)
    angry birds, I mean hungry birds :)






    A few videos of powder runs with Arturo:

    It was then a long ride down the base, snow got worse as we got lower (due to temperatures being too high):


    On the 2nd day, we went Heli Skiing, see that page for details.

    The 3rd day shaped up to be good, but really wasn't. It was too warm, it was raining on top of fresh powder, and Whistler, again, couldn't manage to open _any_ top lift with real snow instead of rain. Arturo and I rode it for a while, the top of the ride was ok enough powder that would then run into wet mush while we were getting soaken wet.



    whee
    whee

    oh no, where did he go? :)
    oh no, where did he go? :)

    After a few runs, it was clear that things were only going to get worse, and Whistler would not bother opening any top chairs, so I gave up and went back to our room while Arturo, a glutton for punishment, went to get more wet :)

    One run we did together:

    The 4th day, I was supposed to ski a 3rd day and take a bus back late in the afternoon, but I had the foresight to call the ski phone and decode the very very little they tell you into "we're not going to open any top lifts today either". They even said "if you're going to ski, please bring your favourite poncho or trash bag". Whoa, really? Needless to say that I was super disappointed with them for not opening anything at the top the 2nd to 4th day in a row, and leaving people to run the crappy bottom. There was some wind, but it didn't seem like a sufficient reason. Either way, we got 1.5 days of powder, but the rest was just rain and no access to the top (and as a reminder, the peaks are lower than the parking lot elevation of many Tahoe resorts).

    Anyway, still, it was pretty with all the lights, food was good, Arturo was a happy camper, and the heli skiing was a great experience :)

    See more images for Warm Powder Days in Whistler
    2016/01/18 26 hours in Vancouver
    π 2016-01-18 00:00 in Canada, Trips
    I didn't really go to Vancouver just for 26 hours :) but since I was flying through it to go to Whistler with Arturo, I went to see the few museums I hadn't on my previous trip, and went to Bloedel Floral Conservatory again, just because it's that great :)

    New SFO tower
    New SFO tower

    Welcome to Vancouver
    Welcome to Vancouver

    Early sunset on the bus ride to Whistler
    Early sunset on the bus ride to Whistler

    You can read about our time in Whistler here and heli skiing there.

    Since weather in Whistler sucked (rain instead of snow), I headed back early and went to see a few museums in Vancouer starting with the science museum. Its open body exposition was good, the rest was "meh"



    I have big hands :)
    I have big hands :)

    this will keep jennifer up at night :)
    this will keep jennifer up at night :)






    I then went to MOA, the Museum of Anthropology:


    nice board
    nice board



    local first natives got the short end of the stick, as usual :(
    local first natives got the short end of the stick, as usual :(




    At the end of the day, I drove to Granville Island for a bit of shopping and food:






    The next day, I went to the space museum/marine museum/vancouver museum (all in one place). none of the 3 was earth shattering:










    And I kept the last hour for the best Bloedel Floral Conservatory, I love this place and its beautiful and yet tame birds:










    bathing time
    bathing time

    haha, death to you selfie stick users!
    haha, death to you selfie stick users!

    small mice were also there to enjoy the food :)
    small mice were also there to enjoy the food :)

    For there, I drove to the airport and got back home. Good little 26 hours in Vancouver...

    See more images for 26 hours in Vancouver
    2016/01/16 Installing a nose cam in a Tesla Model S, and routing the cable through the firewall
    π 2016-01-16 00:00 in Cars
    I bought a Spy Tec K1S, which is a very nice dual dashcam, and I figured I would put the front cam in the car's nose so that I can also use it as a parking cam to avoid hitting those curbs you can't ever really see, and that are sometimes too low to be picked up by the parking sensors.

    For some reason, a set of Telsa owners have bought blackvue DR500 or DR600 dual dashcams, but I don't understand why you'd buy those when they cost more than the K1S, and do not come with a handy little screen you can put anywhere in your dash. http://teslatap.com/modifications/dash-cam/ talks about it, but this was clearly not my choice. My Spy Tec K1S dashcam was better, cheaper, and more versatile :)

    The main problem was routing the cable through the firewall and knowing how to take panels apart. Quick google searched turned out some pages:

  • routing a wire through an existing hole in the firewall in an unused grommet: http://teslatap.com/modifications/running-wires-through-the-firewall
  • Adding the stock rear camera in the front with a switch: http://www.teslarati.com/tesla-model-s-front-camera-touchscreen-kit
  • removing thoe nose cone (easy, it just unclips): https://my.teslamotors.com/no_NO/forum/forums/removing-nosecone-parking-sensors
  • Sadly the first page makes it sound easy to just use the hole with an unused grommet, but in my loaded up car, that grommet was used by a drain plug (I'm getting the pano roof) and proved mostly impossible to take apart (I tried pushing the grommet back from the frunk side to the cabin side, but didn't manage).

    this is how it looks like if you're lucky
    this is how it looks like if you're lucky


    In my case, I was stuck making a new hole just above that grommet, and it was easier to do from the cabin side above the grommet and towards the frunk side. I just used a cordless power drill with a metal bit. Once to make a reasonable hole, and a 2nd time to make one big enough to fit a mini USB plug through the whole (required for the dashcam). I then used silly putty like blue tack (that was yellow) to plug the hole since I didn't have a new grommet that was big enough).
    I spent too long taking out panels that didn't need to be taken out until I figured out that I only needed to take out one panel with a special T15 screw. The magic panel is on top of the passenger feet, there is a single screw to take out:

    This is on the passenger side by the door, but you need to remove the panel on top:




    After that, you make a hole above the grommet with a drill (unless your car isn't using that drain plug):


    my USB cable now fits through the hole
    my USB cable now fits through the hole

    http://teslatap.com/modifications/running-wires-through-the-firewall/ does a good job explaining how to take off panels in the front, except the part about the grommet hole which can't be used on my car:


    behind the air filter, you see the orange conduit
    behind the air filter, you see the orange conduit

    I then put the cable through the new hole I made above the grommet (fairly hard to make the hole from that side, so do it cabin side)
    I then put the cable through the new hole I made above the grommet (fairly hard to make the hole from that side, so do it cabin side)

    To plug the hole, I used yellow blue tack, silly putty would also probably have worked. It's not approved material, but that's what I had:



    Now that the cable is through, you need to bring it to the front grill. the front piece just unclips:


    Then the nose grill also unclips:



    zip tie the camera and route the cable
    zip tie the camera and route the cable


    Turns out I did not need to unclip the door sill:


    And like all good jobs by non professionals, I ended up with a spare fastener I have no idea where to put back :)


    And here is the end result:


    2016/01/16 Dreamstate San Francisco
    π 2016-01-16 00:00 in Clubbing
    On top of the pictures in this page, you can find more on Google Photos.

    Thanks to my coworker Aaron, I didn't miss out on a great trance event within driving distance from home, and oh boy was it a good lineup. I was complaining 10+ years ago that getting good trance in the US was nearly impossible, but things really have improved for the better in the last years, and we're getting more than one EDM festival a year with a good/great trance lineup (although it wasn't Beyond Wonderland last year, that one sucked Trance-wise, but Future Sounds of Egypt in San Jose was quite good).

    Cannot argue with this logic :)
    Cannot argue with this logic :)

    wise choice
    wise choice

    straight, and to the point :)
    straight, and to the point :)

    Is EDM/Trance becoming a religion? :)


    I went to see Trance, and I found Jesus
    I went to see Trance, and I found Jesus

    Just like I went to see EDM at Shoreline some months back, and found Jesus there
    Just like I went to see EDM at Shoreline some months back, and found Jesus there

    Jesus seemed to be a nice guy, maybe I've been unfair to him all these years :)

    Kind of funny that I'm starting to run into the same people, which is not surprising, considering. It was actually quite cool that DJ Blurr spotted me in the dark the first night and recognized me from 15+ years ago when I started going to 1015 and then Ruby Skye.

    Very cool to have DJ Blur recognize me in the crowd and say hi, he goes back to my 1015 days in early 2000's and Ruby Skye after that
    Very cool to have DJ Blur recognize me in the crowd and say hi, he goes back to my 1015 days in early 2000's and Ruby Skye after that







    it was nice to run into other blinky people :)
    it was nice to run into other blinky people :)



    As for the event, it was a solid lineup. The room was a bit small, but the lighting was great, and the music was not stupidly loud to a point where all you could hear was the bass anymore (I'm looking at you FSOE SJ). Really this was about as good an event as it could have been.

    Here's a 2H summary video of the best bits:

    Here are pictures from Day #1 (Ram, Sean Tyas, Vini Vici, Jordan Suckley, Simon Patterson, Paul Oakenfold, Paul Van Dyk, and Markus Schulz):




















    And Day #2 (Neptune Project, Solarstone, Fleming & Lawrence, Bryan Kearney, John O'Callaghan, Aly & Fila, Cosmic Gate, and Gareth Emery):


























    See more images for Dreamstate San Francisco
    2016/01/06 Driving from the South Bay Area to Kirkwood in a Tesla Model S 90D
    π 2016-01-06 00:00 in Cars, Snow

    Introduction

    After getting my 90D, I looked into how hard it would be to get in my favourite ski resort around Lake Tahoe: Kirkwood. The problem is that there are no superchargers nearby (Truckee is 1.5H in the wrong direction) and no destination charging. Hell, Kirkwood until recently wasn't even connected to a power grid and made its power from on site diesel generators (not very green if you recharge from that).

    The challenge was seeing if I could drive from Manteca Supercharger and back in a day trip without plugging in, and basically even with a 90D, I didn't think it's possible unless you have super ideal conditions (nice and warm, clean roads, drive slowly). Of course, the problem is how much you can trust the power usage simulations vs what's going to happen in real time.

    So, I'll give the end of the story first: if you are able to plug into a 110V plug to keep the batteries warm and give them a few extra Kwh while you ski, it is possible to make it from Manteca and back if you charge at 100% in Manteca, in either an 85D or a 90D. If you cannot plug in, it should still be possible (barely) but you'd have to be ready for having to stop in Jackson (4KW charger) or beg the Lockeford Inn for power before you hit highway 99 (100A charger but likely 40A for most of you with single inverters) if you hit unexpected conditions.
    Either way, I made it from Kirkwood to Sutter Creek, Amador Transit (just north of Jackson) in 7.7Kwh, and that was driving fast in snow (more rolling resistance) and cold weather (-3C), which means that as long as you have 10Kwh left in Kirkwood, you can make it back down to civilization. Keep in mind that you'll only get 16 miles of range per hour in Sutter Creek, and 26 miles of range per hour of charging in Lockeford Inn. Better than walking if unexpected things happened, but making it back to the Manteca supercharger is better for obvious reasons :)

    And back to getting power at Kirkwood, there are some 110V plugs here and there in the underground parkings, most are even the 20A type which will give you 16A charging instead of 12A charging if you buy a NEMA 5-20 plug. Mind you, it'll still charge slowly (I arrived 13:30, left 16:30 the next day, so 27H of charging at 16A. This brought my battery back from 19% to 65% (42kWh of charge in 27H, or 1.5kWh of charge per hour, which is consistent with what you'd get from a 110V at 16A).
    In my case, that 65% charge on a 90D was just enough to drive back from Kirkwood to hope with 4% battery to spare (and again, not slow driving, in cold weather and with snow, making the drive less efficient: 46Kwh for 183 miles, including 7000ft of downhill).

    Takeaways

    You don't like reading, you like cliff notes, well there you go :)

  • if you don't have an 85/90D, it's safer to go through Folsom supercharger, despite the detour. Or, try sleeping at lockeford Inn and charge there.
  • Manteca to Kirkwood to Manteca with an 85/90D is dicy if you can't plug in at kirkwood. On a nice day without snow and warmer temps, t should be doable though, and if you run short, charge at Sutter or beg at Lockeford Inn (charger is supposed to only be for customers).
  • Plugging in 8H during a snow day at kirkwood should be enough to keep the batteries warm and allow Manteca-Kirkwood-Manteca.
  • But getting a plug at kirkwood you're allowed to use in a parking spot you're allowed to use, is problematic if you're not staying the night with an assigned parking spot. If you must plug in, you will manage, but you'll be parked illegally in an underground parking spot that is assigned to someone else potentially, and you risk being towed.
  • Obviously driving in a snowstorm will increase rolling resistance and decrease battery life due to temperatures, be mindful of that
  • Heated windshield wipers did not help keep the windshield clear of snow (disappointing). At times I had to waste battery to blast full heat air on the windshield
  • Distance estimator was very wrong both when I left the Manteca charger and when I left Kirkwood. Both times it over estimated my range significantly, and then adjusted to a better value within just 5 minutes of driving.
  • Distance estimator does not seem to take temperature changes due to altitude and gave me a lot less range on the drive back than I really got, because I'm sure it assumed the temperature would be -4C the entire drive.
  • I'm very disappointed that my 90D shows only 76kWh usable from my battery pack from that drive
  • Regen did a much better job slowing the car down downhill in snow than brakes which engaged ABS almost right away. Plan to never drive fast enough in snow that you'll ever need brakes.
  • 4WD with stock M+S tires, while having not very good traction in the snow, were sufficient for the drive without chains if you drive carefully (basically you cannot brake much downhill and finish all braking before you turn (most important advise, follow that and you'll be ok)).
  • Kirkwood, without recharging there, the easy and direct way: The Inn at Locke House in Lockeford

    I didn't do this, but if your schedule allows, drive the night before to The Inn at Locke House, make sure of their 100A Tesla charger to fill up and leave at 06:00-06:30 (or 07:00 if there isn't snow on the road) the next morning. You'll get to kirkwood before 09:00 with enough power left to drive back to Manteca supercharger for your drive home (if you have an 85-90D).
    If you have a 70D, you can drive from Lockeford to Kirkwood, but if you cannot charge in Kirkwood, you may only get back to Jackson/Sutter and you might have to charge there (at a slower speed) since it's not clear you'll make it back to Lockeford, or even less so the Manteca supercharger.

    Kirkwood, without recharging there, the easy and longer way: Folsom Supercharger

    If you have a 65 or 70, this is likely the only really safe option for you. If the weather is nice, it's not a huge detour (well, still a 1h detour)

    Going to Folsom is the obvious thing people mention, but Manteca to Kirkwood is 109 miles, 2h19. Google Maps says going through Folsom is 170 miles, 3h21mn if you cut through SR49 back to SR88, or 182 miles and 3h13 if you go up hwy 50 to south lake and turn back at SR89 to kirkwood when you arrive in Meyers/South Lake Tahoe. Don't be fooled though, during a snow storm, this isn't going to be 1 extra hour, it will be at least 2 extra hours, and often more.
    If you are going through Folsom in a snow storm, don't get tricked by little roads that cross from 50 to 88, especially if the snow line is low. Those roads are not plowed and people get stuck on them every year with non one to help them for a while. My recommendation is SR49 from hwy 50 to SR88, it'll be much faster than going to south lake via 50, and back to kirkwood via 89, 88.

    Kirkwood, without recharging there, the easy and even longer way: Truckee Supercharger

    I'll mention it because it's there, but:
  • it's really a long detour
  • during snow storms, i80 is the first road to close (before 50 and 88)
  • driving SR89 around the lake is scenic, but during a snow storm, not a fun drive or SR89 could just be closed
  • Bay Area to Kirkwood: 183 miles, 4h50 drive with a 1h supercharger stop in Manteca

    If sleeping in Lockeford and charging there isn't an option for you, this is your next option.
    I drove in a snow storm and made no attempt to drive slowly to conserve battery (on the contrary). I did however not use cabin heating unless it was required to defog the windshield, or later in the trip to deice the windshield when the heated windshield failed to do its job.

    Here's the actual trip:

  • 08:40: Departure with 90%
  • 10:00: Manteca Supercharger with 55%
  • 10:55: Left Manteca Supercharger: 0 miles with 95% (trip router claims I'll arrive with 29% battery)
  • 11:35: Passed by Lockeford Inn: 31 miles with 76% (losing 19% for just 31 miles was both weird and disappointing, by now trip router says I should arrive with 21% battery only)
  • 12:08: Passed by Pine Grove: 67 miles with 57% (by now I'm going uphill a lot in a snowstorm, but thankfully arrival battery estimate has stabilized at 20%)
  • 13:26: Arrived in Kirkwood: 115 miles, with 20% left (this means a 70D wouldn't quite have made it)
  • Notes from that trip:

  • the car drove great in the snow despite the M+S tires having limited traction in the snow (as expected). I did have to use my race driving skills not to end up understeering in a snow bank (although driving 25mph only would also have taken care of that, but that option was less appealing).
  • I'm pretty worried about the car losing 19% charge for only 31 miles that weren't really uphill. Either something is wrong with my batteries, or the percent meter (arrival at Lockeford around 11:35)
  • Trip router telling me I'll arrive with 29% battery when I'm at the supercharger, and then 22% just 6 miles after I left the supercharger, that's not good.
  • On the plus side, I drove fast, uphill, in a snow storm (i.e. low temps and severe rolling resistance), and arrived at Kirkwood with 20%. That's much better than I expected. So the trip planner wsa likely conservative, which is good (on the trip back, same thing, I arrived home with more battery than I should have for the driving I did).
  • Battery went from 95% to 20% means 75% battery gave 57.4Kwh. Mmmh, that means 100% is only 76Kwh, that's not good :-
  • Charging your car at Kirkwood

    I wrote this post because driving to Kirkwood is the worst case scenario of the entire Tahoe area. It's a long drive up a state route with no cell phone coverage for about 1H of driving, and virtually no life until you reach destination, which itself does not have destination charging, and no real publicly accessible 120V plugs. The nearest superchargers are Truckee (72 miles away, but big detour), and Folsom (82-90 miles, 1h+ detour, 2h+ if snowing). You however want to make it back to Manteca if you can (109 miles).

    Kirkwood does have some 120V plugs in parking lots, but to use them, you'd have to be illegally parked in reserved parking spots for condos. At this time, there is no proper way to use those spots. If you end up using them during a weekday when the parking lots are near empty and you're going to leave right after 16:00 when the real owners of those spots might arrive, put a note on your windshield with your phone number, and keep in mind that your car can technically be towed for being parked there.
    What I did was stay overnight and worked with Pyramid Peak Properties who hooked me up with a parking spot next to a plug. Note that this is not something they officially offer, they just nicely hooked me up when I asked them and they might be able to help you to if you reserve a rental with them (please don't ask them for a plug if you're not staying with them, providing one is already non trivial if you do stay with them).

    That said, my trip calculation shows that after just 4H of charging during the day (i.e. finding a plug you're not really supposed to use, and parking somewhere you're not supposed to park), I had enough power to get to Folsom and Manteca. The trip estimator said:

  • Folsom: 4%
  • Manteca: 0%
  • Lockeford: 12% (a backup if you find out that you won't make it to Manteca)
  • Note that this was just with 4H of charging, and that my actual downhill driving despite being aggressive and in the snow, beat the estimate from the calculator (see below). With 8-9H of charging, you should be better of (but remember that I used a 16A plug NEMA 5-20) that gives 5 miles per hour of charging, if you use a regular 12A plug that only gives 3 miles per hour, adjust accordingly.
    As explained above, if you cannot charge at kirkwood, keep in mind that your battery is actually going to lose non trivial charge by trying to stay warm. This means that going from Manteca to Kirkwood back to Manteca without plugging in at kirkwood, is very unlikely to happen. Lockeford to Kirkwood to Lockeford should be possible, and if you are in trouble, you could stop at Sutter Creek (just north of Jackson) which I was able to reach by only using 7.7Kwh while driving fast downhill in the snow.
    So if you have an 85 or 90D and cannot charge at Kirkwood, you should be able to drive from Manteca to Kirkwood and back to Sutter Creek to top up if you can't make it to Lockeford (Manteca direct seems unlikely unless there is no snow and it's not cold), but I think you got my point now that finding a plug somewhere is in your interest (not only to keep the batteries warm, but also because regen won't even work when you leave kirkwood if the batteries are cold). There are some around, but probably none of them are really meant for you to use, so I can't recommend that you use any specific one unless you get a parking spot assigned you by Pyramid Peak Properties, or maybe Kirkwood Lodging (but when I asked them, they weren't able to give you a specific parking spot next to a plug if you're not renting that exact numbered condo/room).

    Kirkwood back home: 182 miles straight without charging, 3h15 or so

    After 27H of charging at 16A, I got my car back up to 65% (from 19%, and that includes doing some four wheel drive drifting and donuts in the snow with slip start turned off when the parking lot was empty the first night :) ). The Router claimed that I would arrive in Manteca with 37% or directly home with 7%. However this dropped to 1% as soon as I got on the road, likely because the car sensed the difference in temperature when I got out of the parking lot.
    14 miles into SR88, it then told me I'll arrive home with -8%, and soon after, -18%. My guess is that despite my not using much enegery to drive downhill, it didn't like the temperature (the trip planner should have gotten it from internet weather forecast, and should be computing that it'll get 2C warmer for each 1000ft of altitude I drop, but my guess is that it does not).
    I did take a break for food on the way, but I ended up arriving home around 21:00 with a full 4% of battery left :) (it went from 7% to -18% and back to 4% during the drive). Obviously I could have stopped at several superchargers on the way, but since I didn't need to, I didn't.

    Useful info:

  • 7.7kWh (11% used): Sutter Creek. Although I didn't need to, I stopped at the Sutter Creek Amador Transit charger (just north of Jackson), to which I arrived with just 7.7Kwh used. I only charged a few minutes to try the charger and find out it was only a 4KW charger (200V, 22A)
  • 13.5kWh (18% used): Lockeford
  • 20kWh (27% used): Manteca Supercharger
  • 46kWh (38.3k+7.7) (61% used): Home (127 miles away)
  • Be wary of the distance calculcator in trip planner, it was wrong twice in my case by not counting the temperature before I left (from 7% left at destination to -18% left), and then not counting again when temps got warmer (causing the battery left to back from -18% to 4% when I arrived).
  • On the trip back, I got 61% used (65% to 4%) and the car showed 46.0KWh used. This means 100% capacity is only 75.4Kwh, again strange and disappointing for a 90D if that number is correct.
  • Picture for posterity
    Picture for posterity

    Below, some screenshots/pictures that may be helpful.

    Bay Area to Kirkwood: 183 miles, 4h50 drive with a 1h supercharger stop in Manteca (pictures)

    Here are a few pictures and notes from the trip up:


    25mn of charging, but I was not comfortable with anything but near full
    25mn of charging, but I was not comfortable with anything but near full

    In just 18mn, I alledgely had enough to arrive in Kirkwood, but again, not enough margin or power to get out
    In just 18mn, I alledgely had enough to arrive in Kirkwood, but again, not enough margin or power to get out

    Sadly getting close to full power takes a long longer.
    Sadly getting close to full power takes a long longer.

    52mn after I arrived, I finally got to 95% (didn't want to wait for the last 5%)
    52mn after I arrived, I finally got to 95% (didn't want to wait for the last 5%)

    Alledgely, I should have 29% when arriving (in real life, I had 19%, so make sure you have a good margin)
    Alledgely, I should have 29% when arriving (in real life, I had 19%, so make sure you have a good margin)

    Oh boy, just a few minutes later, it now days I'll arrive with 25%
    Oh boy, just a few minutes later, it now days I'll arrive with 25%

    And just 2mn later, it says I'll arrive with 22%. By then I was getting very worried with the trend :(
    And just 2mn later, it says I'll arrive with 22%. By then I was getting very worried with the trend :(

    The router is buggy, why would it pick a longer street over hwy 99?
    The router is buggy, why would it pick a longer street over hwy 99?

    WTF, why is it insisting to take that slower and longer road?
    WTF, why is it insisting to take that slower and longer road?

    Pine Grove, climbing in snow at over 600Wh per mile, arrival battery left stabilized at 20%
    Pine Grove, climbing in snow at over 600Wh per mile, arrival battery left stabilized at 20%


    Projected Range looked correct
    Projected Range looked correct

    Nice weather, the car handled well enough in snow with its stock 19 inch M+S tires
    Nice weather, the car handled well enough in snow with its stock 19 inch M+S tires

    Windshield Wiper heating didn't work well, ice accumulated anyway. I didn't otherwise heat the car
    Windshield Wiper heating didn't work well, ice accumulated anyway. I didn't otherwise heat the car

    Carson Spur, almost there...
    Carson Spur, almost there...

    And there we go, made it, 57.4Kwh used from Manteca, 20% left
    And there we go, made it, 57.4Kwh used from Manteca, 20% left

    I arrived way too late for a powder day, but made the best of it :)
    I arrived way too late for a powder day, but made the best of it :)

    Charging your car at Kirkwood (pictures)

    A few pictures from the kirkwood parking lots showing charging and estimated ranges:

    Nice Warning
    Nice Warning

    Found a 20A plug in an underground parking lot
    Found a 20A plug in an underground parking lot

    The one issue is access to plugs is only with reserved parking spots allocated to units that rent out
    The one issue is access to plugs is only with reserved parking spots allocated to units that rent out

    Obviously I'm not going to get a full charge with 2kW
    Obviously I'm not going to get a full charge with 2kW

    4H later, moved my car to an assigned spot courtesy of Pyramid Peak Properties, got 7% in 4H
    4H later, moved my car to an assigned spot courtesy of Pyramid Peak Properties, got 7% in 4H

    Alledgely, I could have made it back to Manteca with nice driving if I were capable of it :)
    Alledgely, I could have made it back to Manteca with nice driving if I were capable of it :)

    Thanks to Jon Wehan for hooking me up with this 20A plug
    Thanks to Jon Wehan for hooking me up with this 20A plug

    Condensation got inside the headlights, I asked Tesla support and they said it was ok
    Condensation got inside the headlights, I asked Tesla support and they said it was ok

    Kirkwood back home: 182 miles straight without charging, 3h15 or so (pictures)

    A few relevant pictures of the drive back, showing estimate changes and the Sutter Creek charger:

    This is good, now I have many options
    This is good, now I have many options

    Apparently, I can get home with 7% left if I drive slowly, but I'm not going to :) and also it doesn't account for the snow on the road
    Apparently, I can get home with 7% left if I drive slowly, but I'm not going to :) and also it doesn't account for the snow on the road

    Just as I leave kirkwood, I'm now told I'll arrive home with 1%
    Just as I leave kirkwood, I'm now told I'll arrive home with 1%

    And a few minutes later, this drops to -8%
    And a few minutes later, this drops to -8%

    And later, it continues to drop to -18%
    And later, it continues to drop to -18%

    Using 76Wh/mile downhill, not bad, -3C temperature
    Using 76Wh/mile downhill, not bad, -3C temperature

    Now only using 34Wh/mile downhill, temperature back up to 4C
    Now only using 34Wh/mile downhill, temperature back up to 4C

    Arrived in Sutter Creek just to try the charger
    Arrived in Sutter Creek just to try the charger

    my car said bad wiring for that charger, so only 4kW/22A
    my car said bad wiring for that charger, so only 4kW/22A

    Arrived in Lockeford with 47% left, or 18% used which was about 13.5kWh used from kirkwood
    Arrived in Lockeford with 47% left, or 18% used which was about 13.5kWh used from kirkwood

    Home sweet home. 301Wh/mile is high but linked to the temperatures, snow rolling resistance, and speed driven
    Home sweet home. 301Wh/mile is high but linked to the temperatures, snow rolling resistance, and speed driven

    Happily charging for the next time :)
    Happily charging for the next time :)

    2016/01/06 Another 1ft+ powder day at Kirkwood
    π 2016-01-06 00:00 in Snow
    After missing a powder day with Arturo just before Xmas due to car trouble, when I saw KW was getting another foot+ just as I was flying back from France, I ended up driving my own butt to KW the day after arriving back home, using my Tesla 90D to get there, which was interesting in itself :)
    I left late and arrived late as a result (13:30), but still got about 2h30 of snowboarding after a good snowfall.

    While the first day was short, it was a good day:





    Thanks to my friends at Pyramid Peak Properties, I was able to sleep at kirkwood while recharging my car, and another foot of nice powder fell for the next day:










    By noon, the backside got opened, and it wsa sweet:

    waiting in line to get to chair 4
    waiting in line to get to chair 4



    whee!
    whee!


    This was a very good day+, glad that my Tesla 90D was able to get me there and back in the snow :)

    2016/01/01 New Year's Lunch at François and Martine's
    π 2016-01-01 00:00 in Family
    While it probably sounds like I'm saying the same thing every year, we had the pleasure of being invited by François and Martine again for New Year's lunch. It was great to see the family as always.











    Like every year, it was delicious and we had a great time, thank you.


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