Occasionally I run into an interesting piece of software while doing unrelated things, and this time I stumbled upon a Windows-only “BeckerCAD 12 3D Pro” application on sale in SoftMaker store, a company developing the blazing fast Linux/Windows/Mac OS X SoftMaker Office suite, and a free FreeOffice version of one.
I like Google Docs as much as the next guy, but sometimes I enjoy looking at what else is out there. So I bought a license to the office suite that I’ve had my eyes on for some time, and put a $20 BeckerCAD12 3D Pro in the cart along for the ride.
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.
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.
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.
Almost no involvement with the project since we left Michigan.
I disabled the commenting system provided by disqus, and feel free to write rye@ an e-mail.
Both Gen 1 2014-2015 and Gen 2 2016+ Chevy Spark models have a variant of Jatco JF015E.
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.
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.
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.
Shudder is different from slow smooth acceleration, which is a feature of this transmission.
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.
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).
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.
Since I was unable to find a specific answer to how can one create a Dell recovery disk from within Linux, I decided to write the steps here.
If you write the CD image directly to the USB drive (or create a new partition and write it there), the laptop will not boot. You need your USB
media to be in FAT32 format with the contents of the recovery ISO.
Download the recovery ISO from the support section of Dell website.
Insert a USB Drive with enough capacity to hold the contents of the ISO image.
Format the drive and create a filesystem where $USB_DEVICE is your USB drive (check with fdisk -l, it may be
something like /dev/sdb):
This should have been obvious, but I've spent a few hours testing various ways to boot from that ISO
(unetbootin, writing the image directlry to drive, writing to first partition), so I hope it is going
to be useful to somebody else as well.
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.
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
So the first application I downloaded related to OpenStreetMap was OsmAnd.