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Since 2017...

For a long time my last post here was about my laptop, and even though I have changed jobs, locations, and interests, I did not find anything worth sharing.

Now, having re-published a few posts I wrote on Reddit to my blog, I'd like to close the loop on some of the projects I have been working on in the past.

MediaFire/duplicity

Due to copyright attribution requirements and potential conflict of interest, I stopped contributing to MediaFire Python Open SDK and the duplicity backend. This resulted in the MediaFire backend removal from duplicity.

I no longer have access to the original MediaFire/mediafire-python-open-sdk repository.

I was approached by a user of MediaFire to add another maintainer, so szlaci83 is now a co-maintainer of Python MediaFire client library.

Music

Throughout 2020 I set a target of publishing at least 1 music piece, and the result is https://soundcloud.com/roman-yepishev/sets/album-2020.

WD MyCloud (sequoia)

For some time in 2019 I have been tinkering with the first generation version of WD MyCloud which ran on Comcerto2000 platform (AKA FreeScale/NXP QorIQ LS1024A), and had some success with booting the 3.19 kernel, described in my WD Community post).

While I got most of the board working, the networking performance was awful, and after a few weeks I gave up.

OpenStreetMap

Almost no involvement with the project since we left Michigan.

This blog

I disabled the commenting system provided by disqus, and feel free to write rye@ an e-mail.

Cheers.

Inside the Spark: Continuously Variable Transmission: It's All About the Fluid

This post originally appeared on Reddit.

TL; DR

  1. Both Gen 1 2014-2015 and Gen 2 2016+ Chevy Spark models have a variant of Jatco JF015E.

  2. Originally 2014 Sparks came with transmission software that was always shifting to the low gear, causing shocks, resulting in premature belt and pulley metal wear. An update was issued for CVT firmware to prefer staying in high gear on deceleration (PI1309). 2015+ Sparks are coming with this update preinstalled. This is now a normal behavior and can't be changed.

  3. CVTs on all 2014+ Spark models are not sealed. They are serviceable and you should perform the maintenance at least every 45K miles unless you drive on the highway all the time.

  4. CVT performance is heavily influenced by the state of the fluid inside. Deteriorated fluid will cause the belt to slip producing shudder. No, this shudder won’t disappear on its own, it will only get worse.

  5. Shudder is different from slow smooth acceleration, which is a feature of this transmission.

  6. Fluid is not the only thing that can go wrong, so contact your dealer if you have transmission concerns. If you are driving a 2014 model and did not get the CVT TCM update at the dealer, the chances of transmission damage increase, so there is a campaign for 2014-2015 model year vehicles to replace damaged transmissions.

Read more…

Inside the Spark: Why Your Spark is Slow - It's the Engine

This post originally appeared on Reddit.

I've been meaning to look into the performance of MY2016 spark for the past two years, so I finally sat down, went through the documents and used a wonderful site https://www.carspecs.us/calculator/0-60 to finally come to the conclusion.

Before we start, note that I am in no way a car enthusiast, so if you see glaring omissions or errors, please comment, and again this is specific to MY2016+, earlier model years have different engines and, probably, transmissions.

Anyway, the conclusion is:

Your Chevrolet Spark is slow because it has a relatively low power engine and it weighs a lot (for good reasons).

Read more…

Inside Spark: Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning

This post was originally published on Reddit.

The following is based on official service documentation, personal experience and research driven by desire to know every little bit about this first car of mine. Sharing this because it may be interesting if this is your first car, but it may explain things in general. This post is specific to US MY2016+ models.

TL;DR: Air in the car generally:

  • is sucked in through the vents from under the windshield,
  • into the compartment behind the glove box,
  • through the filter which you should regularly replace,
  • then blower motor turbine,
  • through an “Evaporator Core” if AC is present,
  • a “Heater Core”,
  • the vents into the main cabin,
  • and goes outside through the pressure valve in the trunk area.

Now, details.

Read more…

2016-2017 BYOM2 Infotainment update

This post originally appeared on Reddit.

Just a heads up that if you bought your 2016 Chevrolet Spark before May 2017, then the LG BYOM2 infotainment system can be updated by your dealer to the 05.02.2017 build to:

  • Fix Android Auto audio and voice (navigation prompt) stream separation, so that you'll be able to set music and navigation volume separately.
  • Fix loss of Bluetooth audio at the start of stream (very noticeable in navigation, turning "In 1 mile turn right" into just "e turn right").
  • No longer show the second USB input in source list.
  • Remove simultaneous CarPlay/Android Auto mode (not sure whether that's an upgrade).
  • Possibly other fixes.

BYOM2 - Bring Your Own Media v2 system was running on Sparks from 2016 to 2018, then replaced for model year 2019 by INFO3 system running a version of Android.

Dell Inspiron 13" 7378 Logbook

Specs

  • Dell Inspiron 13-7378
  • Intel ® Core ™ i7-7500U CPU @ 2.7 GHz
  • 16 GB RAM of DDR 4.
  • Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (10.0.14393)
  • Premium Support, Complete Care, and Onsite Service package.

Current status: Laptop is fully operational.

Issues

Display flickering, complete freeze when moved, gap between LCD panel and top cover, grinding fan noise.

Fixes

Laptop 1: Display flickering. MB, LCD Panel, IO Cables replaced, chassis issues, audio and sensors broke, exchanged.

Laptop 2: Display flickering, completely locks up if moved. LCD Panel replaced, MB replaced, locks up on any key pressure (when Intel drivers are running), won't return to working state on reboot until powercycled enough times. Disassembled the laptop and put electrical tape over the "bumps" under the motherboard. Fan and heatsink replaced, attempted to replace LCD panel again due to brightness gradient, the "new" panel had all bottom clips broken.

Read more…

Is this thing on?

Hi,

I neglected the blog for the last half a year, so here's the list of things that were going behind the scenes.

  • I submitted around 400 km of Mapillary photos.

  • I am giving up on getting the permission from Boston GIS to use their data in OpenStreetMap.

  • On the other hand, I am actively mapping cities of Farmington Hills and Novi.

  • I started a new job which I hopefully will be able to talk about soon.

  • US just had a presidential election and the future looks ... mmm... not normal.

And if you see this post, then my nikola setup is again up and running.

OsmAnd: Navigating With OpenStreetMap

Chances are you using Google Maps for all your navigation needs. Why shouldn't you?

Once upon a time I had to provide my modem to a Comcast representative so that they could disconnect it from my account. I looked up the nearest Comcast location and embarked on a journey. The Google Maps pin was pointing to a non-residential building, so I blindly trusted Google to guide me to the correct location. Upon arriving at the building under a light rain, I was surprised to find out it was actually a public pool/Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) office. I wasn't the first one to get there by mistake, so I was redirected to the end of the road, just a couple blocks away.

Please note that I did not own a car, and no buses were going that route, so a couple of blocks away (half a mile, 800m) turned into a 20 minute walk under what turned to be an umbrella-bending thunderstorm.

Having returned home, I decided to notify Google of the wrong marker location. I sent a request explaining the issue. A few days later I received the notification that my case was closed and no action taken since not enough proof was provided. I tried the second time, but something did not work quite right then either.

Since I started driving, I've missed a number of turns because the map did not match what was on the ground, Google Maps would announce "Arrived" when my destination entrance was concealed by the trees and there was a whole parking lot between us, we've been guided through that Casey Overpass WIP site where left turn is a suicide because you don't see oncoming traffic. I started to care deeply about those things, but I can't influence a corporation to care about a small misplaced road.

So now I fix things myself. And when a number of naviqgation applications pick these changes up, I can benefit from having an accurate map at my disposal.


So the first application I downloaded related to OpenStreetMap was OsmAnd.

/galleries/openstreetmap/osmand-logo.jpg

TL;DR

Name

OsmAnd (free), OsmAnd+ (paid, $6.49)

Version

2.3.5

Map update

May 1st, 2016 (monthly)

Platforms

Android, iOS

Supports

offline: car, foot, bicycle; online: OSRM, YOURS

License

GPLv3, CC-BY-ND-NC, various third-party licenses

Permissions

Camera, Location, Microphone, and Storage

Outstanding Features

Live(-ish) map update, generate/export GPX, display/follow GPX route, block roads, add OSM POIs and notes.

Pros

  • Open Source (mostly GPLv3).

  • Adding POIs and Notes from Android device.

  • Creating georeferenced photos and audio commentary.

  • Writes GPS Tracks.

  • Car parking plugin.

  • Different detail level for car, foot, and bicycle.

  • Frequent map updates, provides tools to generate maps by end-user.

Cons:

  • Extremely visible map redraws and jumpy panning.

  • Map rendering is crowded with details.

  • You can get lost in configuration menus.

  • OSRM (online) turn-by-turn navigation lacks street names.

  • Live Map updates (beta) do not change routing patterns.

Read more…

In the beginning there was a node

OpenStreetMap is highly addictive. You think you start with fixing the data for your neighborhood and a couple of days later you are modifying routing configuration on a major highway. You've been warned.

I've gone crazy. For almost two months I did not read any of my RSS feeds, I stopped posting much to diaspora/twitter, I bought a rangefinder, began to look suspicious, and talked to a lot of people.

I got hooked on OpenStreetMap.

/galleries/openstreetmap/openstreetmap-attr.png

Read more…

Boston – Farmington Hills: The Road Trip

In the end of April 2016, we moved from Boston (MA) to Farmington Hills (MI) for work reasons. I wanted to take my potted flowers with me, so flying was not a suitable option, and that's when a crazy idea came to mind: what if we drive? The distance between the cities is around 840 miles (we could only go through US), so covering it in two days seemed reasonable.

We had broken the route down into 7 parts (3 on the first day and 4 on the second), added some buffer (although not a lot) and hoped for the best. Unfortunately, when packing our things into the moving container, we faced a problem: two large pieces of furniture – the wardrobe and the dresser – did not fit, so we had to find ways to get rid of them. This took several hours away from our packing time, and as a result, we were not rested enough on the morning of departure (especially Roman). Eventually, we were lucky to get a huge car that fit the dresser (yay!), but we left Boston two hours later than we had planned.

/galleries/farmington_hills/IMG_20160418_104808755.jpg

The huge car (Toyota Sienna)

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The last cup of coffee in Boston (Simpli Bar & Bites)

Our planned intermediate stops were cafes and gas stations.

First leg: Boston MA – Albany NY (173 miles)

Planned time: 10AM - ~1PM

Actual time: 12PM – 3:10PM

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Biker parade (?) when leaving Boston

Second leg: Albany NY – Syracuse NY (120 miles)

Planned time: ~2PM - ~5PM

Actual time: 4:39PM – 7:35PM

This part we decided to cover by smaller roads so that the drive is less monotonous and more scenic.

/galleries/farmington_hills/albany-syracuse.jpg

When we got to Syracuse area, Roman was already very sleepy and tired from the sun shining into his face, so we decided it's safer and wiser to spend the night there and deal with the lost time the next day. So we canceled our motel in Buffalo and headed to a Hilton in East Syracuse.

/galleries/farmington_hills/IMG_20160418_201309934.jpg

A Red Robin special burger with buns made of ramen – tasty but quite messy

The second day was much more productive.

Third leg: Syracuse NY – Buffalo NY (146 miles)

Planned time: ~6PM previous day - ~9PM previous day

Actual time: 10:15AM – 12:50PM

/galleries/farmington_hills/syracuse-buffalo.jpg

Fourth leg: Buffalo NY – Erie PA (105 miles)

Planned time: ~10AM - ~1PM

Actual time: 1:40PM – 4:35PM

/galleries/farmington_hills/buffalo-erie.jpg
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Turns out there are a lot of vineyards in New York and Pennsylvania

When we arrived in Erie, we had to decide whether we are going to stop in a hotel once more or make an effort and arrive in Farmington Hills the same day. Roman was in an optimistic mood, so we decided to make the last stop at a toll road service plaza instead of a cafe to save time. Our original plan included stops in Cleveland and Toledo instead, so there was no planned time for this modified leg.

Fifth leg: Erie PA – Amherst OH (132 miles)

Actual time: 6PM – 8:14PM

/galleries/farmington_hills/erie-service.jpg

Sixth leg: Amherst OH – Farmington Hills MI (146 miles)

Actual time: 8:55PM – 11:25PM

/galleries/farmington_hills/service-farmington.jpg

Total distance: 822 miles

Total time driving: 10 hours 20 minutes

Our original planned arrival time was ~9PM, so we did pretty well in general, there was very little traffic even with all the road work. We did learn several things though:

  1. Buffer for stops should be bigger, especially if they are not counter-serve cafes.

  2. Not getting enough sleep and being dressed too warmly has a big impact on the driver's endurance.

  3. Stops every 2-3 hours make the trip far more pleasant than with longer intervals.

  4. Not all the gas stations that are on a map actually exist :-)

  5. Fuel in Massachusetts is cheaper than in other states that we passed. Or was cheaper, anyway.