I bought a new car w/o a test drive – no regrets!

That’s a click-baity title. But seriously I bought a Chevy Bolt without ever driving one. However, I had ridden in one and it seemed perfectly fine. It also met all of my criteria:

  • Is it all-electric? Yes ✅
  • Does it have a good range? Yes ✅
  • Does it look like a normal car? Yes ✅

Great! I’m sure whatever other quirks it has I can get used to. Even with an open battery recall, I think it’s a fantastic car.

I got a great deal on a new 2021 Bolt from an out-state dealer, and they just dropped it off at my house. My first “test drive” was picking my daughter up at school. After driving it for a couple of months I’ve gotten used to it. The number of settings that you can configure is rather daunting, so I put this reference together 😎

Continue reading “I bought a new car w/o a test drive – no regrets!”

Dell XPS Developer Edition Battery Puffed

Dude… you’re getting a Dell(?)!

The last 4 laptops I’ve owned went like this:

  • 2004 – ThinkPad
  • 2009 – Dell
  • 2014 – ThinkPad
  • 2019 – Dell

Whenever I had the Dells I would tell my wife: “Remind me to get a ThinkPad next time.” I wish I listened to my own advice. They’re well thought out – ThinkPads just get a little more love when it comes to design and build. While they’re not without fault, they are generally better than your average laptop.

The Dell laptops I’ve owned have felt cheap and both have gone in for repairs. The good news is, Dell support is pretty good about fixing things. But I wish I didn’t have to send them in for repairs. Sidenote: my old ThinkPads have made for excellent loaners during repair periods. Dell really should be cheap and cheerful, but the whole experience leaves me feeling a bit “meh.”

Continue reading “Dell XPS Developer Edition Battery Puffed”

Remapping Keyboard Keys in Ubuntu with udev / evdev

A coworker gave a lunch and learn about mechanical keyboards. I should have known it would be an entrance to a black hole… it all started 25 years ago with my beloved Zeos Keyboard with Alps keygates – which I consequently wrecked after spilling a beer into it 🍺 Then onto my HHKB Lite2 which I still have but need a host of adapters to connect its PS/2 connector.

Now I’m entering the modern mechanical era with a Keychron K6 – a 65% keyboard that closely resembles my HHKB layout. It has Gateron Blue (light and clicky) switches that remind me of my famed Zeos board. Here’s the original layout:

My first issue is I have a bit of OCD when it comes to pairing. I expect insert/del, home/end, and page up/down to be at least near each other, if not next to each other. So I changed the keycaps in the far right row, around the corner to the FN1/2 keys. I used low(ish) profile DSA keys on this edge to mimic the lower arrow keys from the HHKB. Also I got custom colored beige/blue FN1/FN2 keys to quickly remind me that FN1 is for the gold functions and FN2 is for blue.

Now I needed to change what the swapped keys did when I pressed them…

Continue reading “Remapping Keyboard Keys in Ubuntu with udev / evdev”

Schwalbe Big Apple Tires

This is a love letter to Schwalbe. I love their Big Apple bike tires. If you have a mountain bike that is going to serve most of its life pounding the pavement these are for you. My Redline 29er mountain bike does 95% of its miles on the pavement, and it does it on Big Apples.

They’re big and fat so you keep the same look and level of comfort, it just lowers the rolling resistance because you’ll sound less like a jeep driving down the highway.

Changing tires has an immediate and apparent affect on how your bike handles. The same thing goes for toy cars and full-sized ones. It doesn’t matter if it’s 2-wheels or 4, those little patches of rubber are the only thing connecting you to the road.

More Big Apples

I got my son a set to put on his Haro Flightline. We’re going on some longer rides this summer – mostly on Minnesota’s expansive network of paved bike trails. He doesn’t have the luxury (or allowance) of keeping a separate road & mountain bike like dad.

It’s a relatively quick change (~30 minutes) to go back to stock tires if we’re going to head out to the single track trails.

Big Apple equipped Haro Flightline
Continue reading “Schwalbe Big Apple Tires”

Miss brakes on the tops? Try cross levers

Remember how your dad’s 10-speed from the 70s/80s had an extra set of brake levers by the “tops”? They were for the top part of a drop style handlebar, like this:

They are called extension levers, or sometimes colloquially suicide levers because some couldn’t actuate the brake fully.

Whatever the case is, I’m still fond of them and wish they were still a thing. Bike manufactures mostly solved this problem by putting ergonomic hoods on the brake levers so you can rest your hand on the top of the bar where it curves down.

Like driving with your hands at 9 & 3 the paddle shifters are easier to reach… but I can still press the brake when I’m cruising at 12 & crotch 😎 I want the same thing on my bike. I like keeping my hands on the tops when I’m relaxing, and I don’t want to do an emergency hand move if I need to stop quickly.

Enter cross levers

Continue reading “Miss brakes on the tops? Try cross levers”

1:1 Scale Electric Car

When I was getting back into R/C for the 2nd time, circa 2003, I made a conscious choice between getting an HPI Super Nitro Rally and the HPI RS4 (electric) Rally. The music of 18,000 RPMs sounded like a ton of fun, but in the back of my head, it just wasn’t worth it. Smelling […]

The post 1:1 Scale Electric Car appeared first on Meatball Racing.

When I was getting back into R/C for the 2nd time, circa 2003, I made a conscious choice between getting an HPI Super Nitro Rally and the HPI RS4 (electric) Rally. The music of 18,000 RPMs sounded like a ton of fun, but in the back of my head, it just wasn’t worth it. Smelling like nitro fuel, tuning the engine for the weather, proper maintenance and storage were just a few reasons. Plus all my previous experience was electric.

At the end of 2020 I donated my Subaru WRX to Newgate School. It was feeling its age and had several gremlins that I didn’t want to deal with: a fuel filler neck that wouldn’t refuel at full speed, an undiagnosed misfire on cylinder #1, and a slipping clutch. Like my decision to bypass nitro, the time was right to give up the rumbly EJ motor sound for the whir of a 200HP electric motor.

Introducing the official Meatball Racing vehicle: Chevy Bolt

Continue reading “1:1 Scale Electric Car”

Shipping your RC car, racing out of town

Our family did our first post-COVID airplane trip to Salt Lake City, Utah. We were there for a week, so I looked up Intermountain RC Raceway (IRCR) – a place I had visited before but never raced at. Their off-road club racing is Wednesday night, so I got the B6 ready to hit the clay. […]

The post Shipping your RC car, racing out of town appeared first on Meatball Racing.

Our family did our first post-COVID airplane trip to Salt Lake City, Utah. We were there for a week, so I looked up Intermountain RC Raceway (IRCR) – a place I had visited before but never raced at. Their off-road club racing is Wednesday night, so I got the B6 ready to hit the clay.

It was also the first airplane trip that I wanted to bring my RC car on. Normally on road trips it’s a no-brainer. This would be a learning experience – hopefully you can learn from my (many) mistakes.

I could (and probably should) have just packed my car to travel on the airplane as it was only $30 per checked bag – I thought it was going to be $50. Instead I mailed my car to a relative at our destination for $40. If you’re looking for a good video on packing your car for air travel, check this one out by Team Associated:

Continue reading “Shipping your RC car, racing out of town”

Garage Door LED Lights

TL;DR? Is your garage door remote working intermittently? Did you recently switch the built-in lights to LED bulbs? That might be causing the problem…

Continue reading “Garage Door LED Lights”