Thursday, August 31, 2017

Auto Insurance Renewal Update

Well, today is my first day post-AAA insurance. We moved to the US in 1985 so it's been 32 years. The original quote I received from AAA was $4177 for 12 months. I ended up with Geico at $1123 every six months, or an annual savings of $1931. If it was a few hundred dollars, I would have stayed with AAA but a couple of thousand dollars is too much.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Auto Insurance Renewal

I've had AAA auto insurance for the past 30+ years but they finally screwed me. The renewal quote I got from them for 2 cars (my Tesla Model S and a really old Toyota 4Runner) was over $4000. I've checked online from a few other insurance companies and they are all ~$2000. This actually came up during one of Tesla's shareholder meeting/earnings call, and Elon basically told all Tesla owners to drop AAA as their insurance provider. Will do!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Slow Train Through Africa

Since I can't travel anymore (health reasons), I've been watching travel videos on YouTube, mainly epic train journeys and first class air travel reviews. One notable series is Slow Train Through Africa. I think it was filmed in 2014 and shown on British ITV in 2016. I've only found three episodes online: 1) Namibia, 2) North Africa, and 3) Kenya/Tanzania. The second episode includes travel through Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. Those are not typical American tourist destinations and reminded me of my 2 week trip to Tunisia. I didn't take the train at all but did visit both Tunis and Tozeur shown in the video.


Slow Train Through Africa S01E02


My photo of one of the old gates of Tozeur

Monday, June 5, 2017

Fresh Adventure

New favorite song for now. Song was released summer of last year. The tall pretty girl is Solbin and she's been on a few variety shows lately.


Fresh Adventure - LABOUM

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

I Can See Your Voice

ICSYV is a Korean TV show where a celebrity guest (usually singer/group) guesses whether contestants are skilled singers or tone-deaf. Round 1 is looking at visuals only; round 2 is lip-syncing; round 3 varies but currently other celebrity panelists are assigned to one of the remaining contestants and advocates for them during Q&A time. If a tone-deaf person manages to survive to the end, they win ~$5000; if it's a skilled singer, then they get to sing a duet with the guest artist. It's funnier than it sounds.

Season 4 Episode 8
Most recent subtitled episode


EXID and their final choice (Season 4 Episode 9)

Monday, April 17, 2017

Tesla Model S - Main Battery Upgrade

Tesla discontinued the 60 kWh option this weekend and lower the price on the 75 kWh models. Likewise, they also dropped the price on battery software upgrades. Originally it cost $9000 to go from 60 to 75. The price was lowered to $7000, and now it's only $2000. I haven't taken any long road trips yet but decided to go ahead and get the upgrade in case I wanted to drive to San Diego or Las Vegas. The car upgraded in under 60 seconds after I clicked "BUY" on the Tesla website. Now all I need to do is to get a new badge put on the car from the Service Center.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Tesla Model S - 12V Battery Failure

Almost 4 months after delivery, I had to call the Service Center about a warning message on my Tesla. I was out of town for 5 days and when I got home, there was a warning message saying that the 12V battery needs replacement. The main battery pack (380V) still showed 63% full and it is supposed to charge the 12V battery. I took the car out for a drive around the block and everything seems to work ok except for summon/auto-park.

I called the Costa Mesa Service Center, where I picked up the car, and there was no answer. I left a message but ended up calling the Buena Park Service Center about an hour later. They picked up and arranged a Ranger to come out tomorrow to look at the battery issue. I read online that many people had issues with the 12V battery and needed replacement after one year. I guess I have to drive my 18 year old 4Runner to work tomorrow. :(

Friday, March 10, 2017

New Songs from K-pop Girl Groups

Lots of new songs or "comebacks" from more popular girl groups recently:


[MV] Wow! - Lovelyz


[MV] FINGERTIP - GFRIEND


[MV] KNOCK KNOCK - TWICE


[MV] A Girl Like Me - Gugudan


[MV] Fine - Taeyeon (SNSD)

I also "discovered" a duo called Bolbbangol4 from watching Weekly Idol. The main vocalist has a unique voice.


[MV] Galaxy - Bolbbalgan4


[Perf] Galaxy - Bolbbalgan4 [Weekly Idol]

Tesla Model S - Hangul

Just installed 7th software update in the Model S (v8.0 17.9.3). This increases maximum autopilot speed up to 55 mph on freeways and something about ventilation fan speeds. However, the most important (undocumented) update is the media player can display Korean text! Up to now, all Hangul shows up as crossed out boxes. Even though I can't understand Korean, I can read enough Hangul to know what song is playing. It was strange that previously the medial player could display Chinese and Japanese text but not Korean.

I read online that this update also increases max TACC (cruise control) speed to 85 mph (up from 80). Sometimes when I drive in the carpool lane on the I-5 in the morning, I have cars tailgating me at 80 mph so an additional 5 mph is welcome. Usually it's a BMW or Toyota Prius.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Solar City System Update

Just received a voicemail from Solar City to schedule electrical tie-in for my system that was physically installed on December 29th. Yup, 60+ days later and I still can't use the solar panels. I'm not really sure what is taking so long. Even this is not the last step as there are still additional inspections and licenses. I'm guessing 120 days after installation before I get any power out of them. Good thing I can charge my car at work since without solar power, I'm deep into tier 3 pricing with Edison so charging the car is quite expensive.

I went with Solar City since they're large and I thought it would streamline the install process, even though they're more expensive than other providers. Not sure I would recommend them at this point.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tesla Model S - Second Thoughts?

It's been 2 months since I picked up my Tesla Model S. Even though I bought the cheapest model (+white paint and +enhanced autopilot), it was still $72k before taxes and almost $80k out the door. It's been cool not having to fill up the car and all but while driving around, it's hard not to compared what else I could have got for ~$72k.

Examples:
- Maserati Ghibli ($71,600)
- AMG E43 ($72,400)
- BMW M3 ($66,900)
- Audi S6 ($70,900)
- Lexus LS460 ($72,520)
- Jaguar XJ ($74,400)

Those are all very nice cars, with better fit and finish than the Tesla. I don't even have a power liftgate and lighted vanity mirrors. I guess what I'm paying for is the electric drive-train and the Nvidia supercomputer that will eventually drive the car by itself.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Tesla Model S - Another Pending Software Update

I read online that there was another Tesla software update pending which allows autosteer to be used on regular roads up to 35 mph. Meanwhile, autosteer speeds was increased to 50 mph during the last update for divided highways. My commute has been pretty bad this week (~2 hours in the morning) so I've used autosteer a lot lately. If the weather is good, it's stable most of the time. I think the system still has issues with overhead signs/overpasses and freaks out when the lane lines disappear/veer-off for an exit. I don't think there is any predictive feature on lanes at all. Not sure how that will play out on local roads with intersections and stuff.

It's been about 2 months and I have ~3,300 miles on the car and used almost 900 kWh of energy. I'm mostly satisfied with the car though still a bit disappointed in the slow progress on software updates. The 50 mph limit on autosteer is workable but often I find myself the slowest car on the freeway as traffic flow has increased >50 mph but my car is still cruising at the lower speed. Also, my garage is a tight fit with my parents' Honda CR-V so autopark/summon was a feature I was looking forward to but still not available. Finally, the reason I went for a HW2 car was the promise of full-self drive. I think that is probably not feasible with the current AP2 cars, despite Elon's tweets about availability this year.

I finally received my white carpool sticker from the DMV. I'm still debating whether to stick them on directly (semi-permanent and ugly) or wait for the vinyl sticker I ordered as a middle layer so I can peel them off when the program expires in 2019. I'm hoping CA DMV will cut-off access for plug-in hybrids (green stickers); if they are driving in the carpool lane on a freeway, chances are they've already depleted the battery and burning gasoline anyway.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Produce 101

I'm about a year late but I binge watched all 11 episodes of Produce 101. It is a reality survival show where they take 101 female trainees at various management agencies and pick 11 to debut as a girl group for one year. I think they said about 50 agencies sent trainees/contestants but noticeably missing were SM and YG, and JYPE only sent one girl.

Anyway, I already knew about the group and actually bought a signed CD of their last official mini-album before they disbanded. I haven't watched the actual TV show so I didn't know any of the backstories. It was more interesting than I thought. I think only snippets are available on YouTube. To watch the entire thing with English subtitles, go here.


[MV] Very Very Very - I.O.I

This is their last promoted single. My favorite out of the 11 that made it in the end is probably Kim Chungha, mainly because she lived in Texas and speaks English. Jeon Somi also speaks English and is half-Canadian but she's a bit young/immature/hyper. There are several Chinese girls on the show as well; the one from China made it to the final 11 while a girl from Hong Kong was cut in the 3rd round. The group of 11 (I.O.I) was here in LA last year at KCON. I probably should have gone since they have now disbanded and are no more.


[Perf] Intro + Dream Girls - I.O.I (KCON LA 2016)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Tesla Model S - Third Software Update

This Thursday, I received another software update for the Model S. The build number was 2.50.201 which is weird since I see at least 3 other "newer" builds for cars with different configurations. Anyway, after installing the update Thursday night, I took the car out in the rain to the local SuperCharger and back to see if the camera will finally calibrate. It did.

Friday morning, on the way to work, both TACC (traffic-aware cruise control) and auto-steer was working, though auto-steer had a 35 mph limit. I think the car is still calibrating since the auto-steer did not seem very stable; the car seems to weave from side to side in the lane.

TACC is pretty cool. I use cruise control a lot when I drive so I was disappointed that it was disabled while the car was calibrating cameras. Now, the car will slow down and speed up (even stop) with traffic. It helps with enduring the long daily commute. There are also some minor strange behavior issues but hopefully they will be worked out in later releases.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Tesla Model S - Another Software Update

Frustrating.

Elon promised Autopilot software for new cars with AP 2.0 hardware and so I got a software update notice for the car last night at ~10pm. Supposedly I'm one of ~1000 people that got the update. Of course I ran to the garage to install it. The release notes said that frontal collision warning, traffic-aware cruise control (TACC), and low-speed auto-steering was added. How exciting!

After the install, I went out for a test drive at ~3:30am. I drove for about 15 minutes and nothing worked. I kept getting a warning message that the cameras were calibrating. This morning, I drove to church and back... and still nothing. Cameras are still calibrating. Of course there is no explanation of the calibration process and any indication of progress. Worse, since TACC function supersedes the original manual cruise control, that doesn't work either. So, my car is less functional than before the software update. What?

I complain about Apple's updates all the time since about 1/3 of the time, the update resets my iOS device and I have to restore from backup. Now I'm wondering about Tesla's QA process. Did they push out unfinished/untested software to 1000 cars so they can recognize $5M of revenue (1000 cars x $5000 for enhanced auto-pilot) for Q4? The cars and technology is cool, but Tesla's communications is terrible.

Bing Bing - AOA


[MV] Bing Bing - AOA