When the car was in the shop, I got a loaner1 to drive while they were working on my baby. Those loaner cars don’t have a lot of “boxes checked” in the features list. But Audi still saw fit to spend their own money on the Audi Rings Projector feature. Which is pretty much the silliest, most worthless, feature any car can have.
TL;DR: I hated this car:
Impossible to get in and out of it.
So-called “driver assistance” that you can’t turn off.
The warning screens on the screen never went away on their own.
Speedometer in the “Virtual Cockpit” was a dial about the size of a large watch, with no speed markings, just the number in the middle.
I wish I could get used to auto engine start-stop, but I can’t and find it annoying and distracting.
Which isn’t to say the 2022 A4 isn’t a nice car. I should state that before I get into why this ins’t a car and feature list I’ll ever buy. Once I found a way to get into the damn thing, it drove well enough. Stopped well enough. Rode well enough. The seat was comfortable, even tho I think it was the sport seat. The A/C controls are still buttons and knobs you can feel around for without having to look at them.
If I don’t have a rant about where automakers put the “B” pillars2 in cars these days, I really should. Even if I wasn’t fat as hell and was just tall I wouldn’t be able to get in and out of most modern cars. I couldn’t move the steering wheel far enough out of the way to get in and out with any grace at all.
I guess my main complaint about the So-Called Drivers Assistance is just how distracting it was. I found myself looking at the dash every time it showed me getting close to a lane marker. Not sure how constantly distracting the driver is supposed to help make things safer. I never found a way to turn it off completely, or for more than just until the car was turned off. I never found a way to make it take up less of the driver’s display either.
The lane keeping feature actually fought with me. I started a lane change and the car turned the wheel the other way, causing me to lose my grip. It took a good amount of force to make it change lanes. I learned after a while that signaling the lane change told the car it was okay to drift over the middle line. But until I did it could be a fight. I feel no need to signal a lane change to cars a mile ahead or behind me, and I certainly feel no need to signal to the fucking car that I’m changing lanes. Forntuately, you don’t have to buy this feature. And I won’t.
When the car was started, it came up with a “Privacy Notice” on the display screen, and if it goes away on it’s own it doesn’t inside of 10 minutes. Again, distracting.
I wish I could like the automatic stop-start of the engine when at a full stop at traffic lights and stop signs. Cars start up pretty easily these days, even when cold. Electronic engine controls and fuel injection are wonders of technology. But hearing the engine start every time you lift off the break to creep forward is a minor attention grabber. You have to lift off the break completely to do that. That this feature grabs any attention at all, isn’t good.
No I wouldn’t buy this car, but that’s because it is too small to start with. Any car this size that has 4 doors needs to be re-thought.
Maybe a good car for some people, but not for me. YMMV
This is pretty much the only reason I still take the car to the Audi dealer. They had my car for two and a half days. That would’ve been a long time to be without wheels. ↩
Mercedes Benz coups don’t have one. Does that make it a “Minus B Pillar”? “B Minus Pillar”? ↩
Audis want periodic maintenance every 10,000 miles starting at 5,000. It had its 145,000 mile checkup early last year. It’s only at 148,000 now, but it’s been a year, and it was bugging me with messages on the dash about it. At the very least, it needed an oil change.
But I also had a list of other things I wanted done to it.
The brakes were squealing, REALLY LOUDLY, the first two stops after it has sat for more than one day. I didn’t think it was down to the squealers in the break pads, but it was so loud it was kinda embarrassing1.
It needed to be aligned, it was pulling right a little bit. The battery is 5 years old, so I had them give me a new one. While they had it up on the lift to look at the breaks I had them rotate the tires.
They basically did a normal 10,000 mile checkup. They also did filters and fluids2. I had them replace the batteries in the key fobs, since one of them was dead. And it was time for brake fluid, which was the most expensive single item on the list.
I dropped the car off on Wednesay morning. They called me that afternoon to get the go-ahead on the work. They tried to sell me on doing a complete brake pad replacement, but I declined.
The dude called me at 5:56 Thursday to tell me my car was done. The service department closed just 4 minutes later. I picked it up on Friday afternoon.
They forgot to replace the batteries in the key fobs, so I’ll have to do that myself.
When you come to a complete, full-squeal, stop and the joggers all turn to look at you, you kinda feel like you’re driving some clapped-out jalopy. ↩
I own a bottle of windshield washer fluid. Have for 4 or 5 years. It is still unopened. ↩
I’ve talked about Seth McFarlane’s “The Orville” before. On Twitter maybe. Or Facebook for that brief time I was back on it. I thought I posted about it here, but can’t find it if I did.
I watched the first two seasons of it… on some streaming service.
IMHO, it is the one true spiritual successor of the original Star Trek. The Orville is far more of what ST:TOS was than any of the successor Star Trek shows. Next Gen, DS 9, Voyager, Enterprise, none of them ever lived up to the original series.
Let’s not talk about the idiocy that is Star Trek: Discovery. “Oh boo hoo, this spore drive thing needs a giant water bear to operate but the water bear gets hurt by it.” Should have been called Star Trek: Trite. I didn’t make it thru the first season, and have no desire to try again.
Anyway, The Orville started as a completely comedy series, but elevated itself into pretty serious speculative fiction pretty quickly. The season 1 episode “Majority Rule”, about an absolute democracy, was dark as hell.
The Orville had two seasons on Fox. Season three has just been announced:
I had a WASD Code keyboard on my work computer. Then one day I poured a glass of water into it. Despite knowing for sure that water should’t hurt a keyboard, I dried it out over time, and plugged it back in. It worked, but was wonky. The backlight never worked again. Sometimes, it got confused and keys wouldn’t work or would repeat until it was unplugged.
Long story short: I hate that keyboard. My hate was pretty much instant when I first started typing on it. This surprised me, because I have a Das 4 Pro for Mac on my personal machine and I love it.
The S Pro is plastic where the 4 Pro is metal. I don’t think this should be a problem. The old WASD was plastic too. One of the first things I noticed tho, is that it seems like the keys don’t stick up out of the S Pro as high as they do out of the 4 Pro.
So I went looking for a replacement.
I’m totally into mechanical keyboards these days, but mechanical keyboards that work well with Macs are not as easy to find as they could be. Not that a Mac can’t use any old keyboard. It can. Non-Mac keyboards have the option and meta (command) keys in the wrong place and that’s really annoying to someone that’s been using the correct layout since 1986 or so. The original WASD I had had dip switches to switch them between the two formats.
I can’t tell you what the research process was, because I did a lot of looking over a lot of time. In the end, I decided not to go with another Das 4 Pro because while I like it overall, I don’t like that it doesn’t have as much slope to it as I’m used to.
In some of my searches lead me back to WASD keyboards. Again, I’m not sure how or why. But not the CODE keyboard I’m replacing. That keyboard was high-profile and I like a little bit more rake to the keys. One of my searches led to the WASD Mac Retro by Deep Creative 104-key V3 Custom. Yes, it looks like a regular WASD 104-key V3 keyboard, but it has Mac symbols on the keys, and it costs the same. So what the hell, I went for it.
WASD lets you customize the keyboards, and I really like the dark blue on black color scheme. I like Cherry MX Blue keys, which feel nice to type on but can be loud as hell. I also had them put rubber rings on the keys to make them quieter. Oddly, I like the effect of the rings on the alpha keys, but not as much on the control keys like Enter, which have a much different feel.
Cloudflare pages load out of git repositories. I’d still need Github for the git repo. But Cloudflare reads the repo and does the build and caches it. It wouldn’t be Github doing the serving of the actual pages to be cached by Cloudflare.
Up until now, I mostly didn’t get it, because I didn’t think I needed it. I was “young” for certain values of young, and figured I wasn’t in danger.
I’m getting older. Every year I’m more and more in the crosshairs of people that can get sick enough to die from the flu. There is no age at which it goes entirely from “won’t die if you do catch the flue” to “you will totally die if you catch the flu”. It creeps up on you. It would suck to have lived thru These Times, and then die of the flu just when things were turning around again.
Okay, Cloudflare has won me over. It has been a slow process, but today I decided to move as much of my online presence to Cloudflare as I can.
I’ve used Cloudflare tools that I’ve liked. They don’t trip my privacy wonk senses. They are in way better shape than my current domain registry appears to be. Cloudflare seems to have me covered in what I need to be “on the internet”.
Firstly, any company that uses Lava Lamps for anything “real” gets my respect. Cloudflare uses a wall of Lava Lamps to create encryption keys. That is an amazingly good idea for generating random numbers. In fact a genius idea.
There is a practice in the internet world where if you type in an incorrect name of a website, instead of saying “doesn’t exist”, your internet provider will instead send you to a page with ads on it. There are also internet crime attacks that can be carried out in part by fucking with DNS servers on the internet. These attacks are sophisticated, and require expertise to prevent.
Google, being a general internet good guy created Google Public DNS, with an easy-to-remember internet address of 126.96.36.199. Google DNS is my default DNS on Google Fiber. They created an overall fast DNS service, that replies honestly, and they protect it from becoming an attack vector.
But Google tracks everything and remembers it all. They track you for their advertising business. This gives me a mild case of the creeps from a privacy perspective. I don’t have time to dive into this to figure out how transparent they are about this. I just decided to avoid it.
Along came Cloudflare’s 188.8.131.52 service. Another DNS server, and another easy-to-remember address. They state up front that they do not track access, and your browsing is private. This is also tied in with WARP+, their VPN service. I use WARP+ on my iPhone and iPad, and so far it has been bulletproof over the last year or two.
While working on my Kubernetes thing, I ran into and used Cloudflare’s cfssl tool. Much simpler and user-friendly than openssl. A tool they created internally, and then shared with the world because that’s what being a good internet citizen looks like.
I registered my domains via a company called Superb Internet. I used them because they were the first webhosting service I ever used. I moved to a cheaper one that didn’t work, and another cheaper one that may have worked if I’d been able to figure out their horrible management interface. Neither of those other two companies ever got email right for my domains. I went back to Superb.
But recently, Superb was acquired by CherryRoad Technologies. I don’t know anything about CherryRoad. What I do know is that suddenly I started getting bombed with “you must update your credit card details” emails every day. I mean: Every. Goddamn. Day. I opened a support ticket and told them I’d update my credit card when I was going to spend some money with them and not sooner, so please stop spamming me. Their response: “No, give us your credit card details”.
Plus, the Suberb management tool, called MyCP, hasn’t been updated hardly at all since it came out in 2005. The DNS editing tool is a horror to use. All leading one to believe that no money is being spent. Indicates to me a company in decline. Time to move on.
Tonight, I noticed that Cloudflare has a free account for doing content delivery for personal, small, web sites. So I signed munged.org up. In a day or two, once the DNS swings over to the Cloudflare servers, this site will be coming at you from wherever Cloudflare’s servers are, which is all over the place.
I also noticed that Cloudflare has a “no markup” DNS registry. Since Cloudflare is probably in way better shape than Superb, I figure I’ll move my domains while I’m at it.
I host this website in GitHub Pages. Cloudflare also has a Cloudflare Pages. I probably won’t make this switch, because GH pages are based on Jekyll behind the scenes. To move to CF Pages would involve building the Jekyll rendering step myself, which I don’t really want to spend time on right now.
It is also just nice to have everything in one place, as much as possible.
“I don’t like the term heaven. It implies we can’t make this earth, this present, into a wonderful place. That humans only deserve it after death—and only if we follow some predetermined set of rules. I think the act of striving for an idea instead of living it is ridiculous.”