Road Trippin’ with a Tesla

I purchased a 2018 Model 3 LR RWD back in June 2018 and have absolutely enjoyed owning an electric car. I appreciate the very minimal maintenance and being able to just charge it up when I need to at home without planning on visiting a gas station ever again. I’ve also enjoyed road tripping with the Tesla as supercharging is very accessible, quick, and easily let’s you take some time from the road to stretch and explore new places. I just completed a nearly 1400 mile road trip through Vegas, Zion National Park, and the Grand Canyon and again it was quite a thrill to explore new places. I drove over 3700 miles last year through Yosemite, Yellowstone, Denver, and Roswell.

The vast majority of what makes a road trip with a Tesla enjoyable is that its a very great car to drive. Its quiet, has quite a lot of pep for passing, and autopilot (adaptive cruise control and lanekeeping) is absolutely the most amazing thing in the world. If you have the opportunity to consider getting a Tesla, take a test drive, you won’t regret it. Don’t worry about range anxiety, this car can handle it. Using the nav you’ll get updates if you need to slow down or need to charge to reach your destination. If you’re road tripping and can stay at a destination charger — do it, waking up with a full charge is amazing. Great job Tesla!

FYI: I own shares in Tesla.

Fun with Sensors

I started woodworking some more in the garage, since I plan on doing this for decades to come I should worry a bit about air quality. I found a cheap sensor on eBay that can read particles the size of 1.0 μm, 2.5μm, and 10μm and provide both the AQI for that as well as a particle count. I bought a similar all in one device on Amazon which is nice for a visual I can move around the shop and another bare device I wired into the Raspberry Pi. The result of using my table and miter saw are below. The base-line is because I run a box fan and air filter setup to try and keep the air somewhat clean.

Miter peak at AQI 50 @ 10μm and tablesaw peak of 139 AQI @ μm as graphed with grafana.

As shown the air quality is pretty bad when using these tools. Which means I will be wearing a N95 mask while using them to be on the safe side. But it looks like setting up the cuts I need to probably be less worried due to my box fan air cleaners. Next up is collecting more data around cleaning up (I use a leaf blower to kick up stray dust for my box fans to catch) and sanding. The result will hopefully be a nice coffee table. The progress of which after this weekend is about ready for finishing:

Coffee table progress.

Sensor is the Plantower PMS5003 (spec sheet) (amazon affiliate link) — This one includes a handy breakout board so you don’t need to solder from Adafruit and some code: Link here.

One with a screen I found on Amazon, there are cheaper ones available (Mine was about 50 bucks I think at the time): (amazon affilate link)

LA Fireworks 2020

Most areas cancelled their planned festivities this year due to COVID-19. But looks like LA took it into their own hands. Looks cool from a drone, probably less cool from the ground, and annoying for dogs. But still pretty neat!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIvdcdogC6k

Ubiquiti UniFi Ap-AC Lite Troubleshooting after firmware fix

I recently did two things. 1) Upgrade the firmware on my Ubiquiti Access Point and 2) Replaced my router with PFSense running on an old Xeon-based machine I had. This led to a big problem when trying to get my access point to work, it just wouldn’t connect to the controller. It failed to be adopted by the controller so it couldn’t get its configuration. TLDR: The solution was to remove the device when it was turned off, turn it back on and then adopt the access point from the controller interface

I might have a bit of a unique setup. I only have the Access point and use a Linux server to run the software that manages it instead of the hardware they sell. So that might have caused problems. Overall I’ve been incredibly happy with the alien space-ship looking access point. I’ve never had to reboot it to get it to work and it gets pretty good coverage for being under my couch. Plus I dig the PoE single cable connection for when I eventually get into the attic to mount it to my ceiling. So if you’re looking for something good and relatively cheap, I do recommend it. Its about $80 on Amazon: Click here.

The Aliens have landed. Amazon.com link.

Troubleshooting steps:

  1. Unplug and plug back in… No dice.
  2. Hold reset button with paper-clip for 30 seconds… No dice.
  3. SSH to the device to set-inform-url… No dice.
    This one was interesting though. You can run: ssh ubnt@<ip of device> with the password ubnt to get to a busybox shell. From there you can run: set-inform http://ip-of-controller:8080/inform and see if it connects.

At this point I considered reflashing the firmware, but didn’t want to go through all the steps of setting up a tftp server, etc. to boot the image correctly. As a last-ditch effort I just unplugged the access-point, logged into the web console and deleted/forgot device, and plugged it back in. And sure enough it worked. So instead of trying even step 3 above, it makes sense just to forget the device and set it up after step 2 above.

Time to do the ISP shuffle

I am fortunate in my area that I have multiple high-speed internet providers. Verizon laid a bunch of Fiber that they sold to Frontier and GTE laid some cable internet in the 90s, which became Adelphia and finally Spectrum. Due to the needs of wall-street, one of the numbers they look at is subscriber growth, so they have insane promotional pricing to attract new customers and different pricing for established customers. So those of us fortunate to have multiple providers do what I call the ISP shuffle. It boils down to calling your current provider, saying you want to cancel with the hope they’ll reduce your bill to the promotional pricing level, and if not cancelling and switching for 6 months. I haven’t done this, but saving ~ $45/month sounds like it might be worth it. Pinching pennies is fun.

So let’s check the current promotional pricing for Frontier FiOS:

Speed increase, 500/500 for $39.99/month

And what I’m currently paying:

150/150 speed for $84.99/month

So saving $45/month for 2 years is an extra $1080 bucks in my pocket. Time to do the ISP shuffle!

I’ve Deleted My Facebook

I’ve deleted my Facebook account. I know that they have some of my data and others can provide them with photos, etc. so they’ll still have some record of me on their platform. I’ve deleted it for a couple of reasons, which are:

  1. I’m sick of seeing political posts on Facebook. Its too easy to “share” fake stories and I’m tired of seeing the same lies repeated over and over again.
  2. I feel bad visiting the site. Its a waste of time and I should be doing something productive with that time. The same goes for other social media, its a time suck with little value given back. I need to cut back in other social media as well.
  3. They have too much data. They have your photos, your likes, your dislikes, your shares, what you’ve seen, places you’ve visited on the web and in real life, who you interact with, all of your private conversations in messenger, and probably track your location so they know all the places you frequent in the real world. Its scary and I don’t want to freely give that to them.

I’m going to just one thing though:

  1. People’s photos and stories of what they’re doing and where they’ve been. Especially family and friends that have moved away and don’t see anymore. Its a single network to reach out to them since everyone is on it.

I might go back though, and just follow these rules:

  1. Only spend a maximum of 30 minutes a week on the site.
  2. Use a browser that will delete all of their tracking cookies.
  3. Never post photos or stay logged into the site for long.
  4. Push people to other platforms to stay in touch, without all the shitty data-gathering and tracking if they become available.