Informal Speed Clocking For Tesla

So, apparently I haven’t figured out how to use Dashboard for Tesla‘s Speed Clocking app as I did a few trials today and then completely did not manage to save them.

Dashboard for Tesla’s Speed Clocking screen

However just to note, my 5,000 lb SUV clocked in at:
5.0 Seconds for 0-60 MPH, and
14.75 Seconds for the 1/4 mile.

I think the 0-60 time is pretty accurate. I bollocksed up the 1/4 mile by ending up going UPHILL for a portion of it.

Just preliminary but was pretty happy with the times nonetheless.

AutoWake iOS App

I bought AutoSleep, Autowake and HeartWatch (all by Tantsissa) as a bundle.

While I believe that AutoWake and HeartWatch are excellent apps (and have reviewed them as such), I cannot say the same for AutoWake.

You can set AutoWake up to automatically wake you at a certain time for each day of the week. In my case I have it set to wake me at 7:00 Mon-Fri.

You can also override this behavior as needed, i.e. I disable the alarm if I am taking a day off work or have a holiday.

Its greatest advantage IMHO is that it is supposed to find a time when you are sleeping lightly near to your set alarm time and then tap your wrist to wake you up.

It more or less works most of the time. And when it works it works very well.

I have AutoWake added as a complication on my primary watch face (my ONLY watch face) as required and my phone sits charging on the end table beside my bed so there should be no reason for failure.

But the alarm has failed to go off in the morning 4 times over the past two months. This might not seem terrible, but if you need to catch a plane the next morning – which I sometimes do – I don’t want my alarm to be flakey.

What usually, but not always, happens is that the alarm will go off later in the morning, 9:40 and 10:20 AM are two times that I recall specifically.
This morning it just didn’t go off at all.

I will be deleting this app and falling back to the Apple Watch’s built in alarm.

McDonald’s iOS App

I’m pretty enthusiastic about
1) McDonald’s, and
2) Apps that can simplify my fast-food ordering experience.

IMHO the Chick-Fil-A app came out of the gate working exactly the way ALL fast food apps should work. It’s intuitive, pretty much bulletproof, and every Chick-Fil-A restaurant I went to understood what to do when you showed up with a mobile order.

McDonald’s Menu in iOS App

Admittedly the McDonald’s app has come a long way from the days when it would just discard my credit card information and it’s been a while since I’ve visited a McDonald’s that was hopelessly confused with what to do with me and my order.

Having the curbside, drive thru and take out options are great and I’ve used each option for different circumstances (nice to have the curbside when you order food for a lot of people).
However, the app itself still leaves much to be desired:

  1. The order cart never seems to empty after I’ve picked up my order. Obviously the back end knows I’ve claimed the order since they’ve charged me the correct amount, provided the correct order and given me a receipt indicating such. 
  2. There is NO WAY TO EMPTY the cart when it’s stuck like this. Trying to just delete all the items yields interesting results to say the least. Basically it trashes the order you are now trying to make.
  3. I have no resorted to just deleting the app wholesale every time I want to use it again (and see stuff still in the cart) and re-download it from the App Store. This works very well to clear the cart without completely losing everything. How it remembers me and my payment information after removing and reinstalling the app I try to ignore as it seems to be a security hole.
  4. The user interface breaks my number one rule. When I go back from a screen, I need to end up on the screen I came from in the same state it was in when I left it. Every time I select something and add it to the cart, I’m brought back to the beginning of the top menu.  If I want to order two kinds of sundae I can’t order one and then select the other one. I end up hunting for the desserts menu and then choose my next Sundae. 
  5. It always defaults me to the closest restaurant
  6. I can’t *tell* you how long it took me to figure out how to find my list of “Favorited” restaurants. This is not intuitive at all. Most of the time when I’m ordering from a McDonald’s I’m heading somewhere and want the restaurant nearest to that destination so the food will be as fresh as possible. This is not something this app excels at.

It would be nice if I could have a blacklist of McDonald’s restaurants. There are some that I will not go to even if they were the last ones on earth. My nearest one I’ve never managed to get an order from. I’ve lived here for well over 20 years and have never made it all the way through the drive thru line. I don’t even know how they stay in business but after about 10 minutes of just sitting in place, I drive away and go elsewhere. I try it every 4-5 years and it’s always the same. 

HeartWatch iOS App

I bought AutoSleep, Autowake and HeartWatch (all by Tantsissa) as a bundle.

HeartWatch Today View

While I wasn’t originally looking for a separate Heart Rate app, HeartWatch had excellent reviews and looked like it would appeal to a stats geek like me.

I’m super-impressed with it. I actually use it over the the included Apple Exercise app because I like capturing my HR recovery explicitly after a workout.

There is no shortage of stats you can review: Average and Maximum heartrate while exercising, (separately) while sedentary, and while sleeping.

I especially like the history calendar where you can look at nearly 2 months worth of each stat individually and see how things are changing over time.

I’m very pleased with this quasi-impulse purchase!

AutoSleep iOS App

I bought AutoSleep, Autowake and HeartWatch (all by Tantsissa) as a bundle.

AutoSleep Clock View

AutoSleep has absolutely met my expectations, I used to use FitBit’s sleep function and before that my Jawbone UP!’s app.

I did the most research around the Jawbone app and found that it was *very* accurate and was happy with it. If only the hardware was a bit more durable. The UP! wristband kept failing after around 6-8 months.

Next was FitBit, I got a good deal on a FitBit Charge HR 2 through my work and have been using it for well over 2 years. I felt it’s sleep recording was nowhere near as accurate as the UP! but it was good enough for a gross relative estimate of how I’m doing night by night.
I picked up an Apple Watch Series 4 and, after a bit of research settled on AutoSleep.

Wow.

In addition to it being at LEAST as accurate as the UP! (blowing the FitBit completely out of the water), it has more stats and tweaks than you can shake a stick at!

I admit it was initially overwhelming and I pretty much ignored all but the most basic stats at first. But after a few days I got my bearings and started to see what it’s capturing and how it relates to the real world. I’m *very* impressed with this app. 

If you forget to tell it you’re going to sleep it does an excellent job of figuring that out on its own. If you want to tell it when you’re putting your head down (to figure out how long it takes you to fall asleep once you start trying) you can do that too.

It sends me a nice summary of my night’s sleep at 10 AM the next day that helps me stay aware. And it detects naps with great accuracy so those properly count when evaluating your fatigue. 
Excellent purchase and HIGHLY recommended!

Tesla – 18 months in

I picked up my Tesla Model X 75D in July of 2017.

We walked into the Tesla Showroom in the Avalon on impulse as it was on the way to another store that Michelle was wanting to check out.

At the time I had zero awareness that Tesla was producing an SUV and, frankly, only a dim awareness of what they were trying to accomplish, period.

I had bought my 2009 Honda CR-V used about 6 years earlier and was not really thinking about a new car quite yet. I usually prefer to drive my cars for 10+ years before I start to chomp at the bit for a new one.

But this car was checking off all the right boxes:

  • Large, comfortable interior
  • Room to carry significant amounts of stuff when needed
  • Room for 6 people comfortably
  • 200+ miles range (well, I would have been happier with 300+ but… you can’t have everything)
  • One of the most technologically advanced cars on the planet
  • (recently proven) the safest SUV in America and quite possibly globally

So, after some significant soul-searching and not just a little bit of math (helped a LOT by this guy), I put down my deposit and ordered a new car.

As luck would have it the car would take a couple of months to produce and I had a pressing need to get the car sooner. So we explored the Tesla inventory – basically cars that had been ordered and were either being used for test drives or, for whatever reason, that the folks ordering decided not to take. Because I was taking an existing inventory vehicle, I was able to get it for a pretty significant discount (> 10%). I also ended up with a feature that I had not intended to get but now love: the Self-Presenting doors.

I also had not intended to get the Premium Sound System and, truth be told – since I mostly listen to podcasts at a modest volume, can’t tell if this is any advantage for me or not.

In case you’re wondering, “75 D” means I have a 75 kilowatt hour battery and dual motors – one at the front and one at the rear.

Together those motors offer me 518 Horsepower where the wheel meets the road as well as instant and unbelievable acceleration for a 5,000 pound car.

With the Tesla Supercharging network in place, I can go most places in North America (wherever there are interstates) with zero planning whatsoever. Tesla was the first Electric auto maker to make this a reality.

I have travelled from Fort Meyers, Florida, to just South of Algonquin Park, Ontario and as far East as Virginia Beach. I still haven’t found a reason to travel out West, but I’m sure I’ll come up with one.

The car is a dream to drive and has rekindled my enjoyment of driving. Dare I say it’s even more fun than the motorcycles of my youth?

As icing on the cake, the Autopilot features (really driving assist) are wonderful for taking the edge off both long-haul trips and traffic jams where the car can do the bulk of the more monotonous driving and the fiddly stop-and-go nonsense and leave the fun parts to me.

I had a fellow comment to me that he had looked at the Tesla but didn’t feel the fit and finish was what he expected for a car of that cost. Since I had not been born with a silver spoon in my mouth I did not have those sensibilities or expectations. But regardless, he completely missed the point. With a Tesla, you’re certainly paying a premium, but that premium is for the points I outline above.

Beyond that, I absolutely understand that part of what I’m investing in is the future of the automobile, the future of energy and hopefully the future of the planet as a whole. There is so much innovation happening on so many fronts *just* with Tesla (Car Sales, Feature Upgradeability, Automotive Safety, Autonomous Driving, Energy Efficiency, Travel Energy Infrastructure, and on and on) that I am absolutely willing to support that. Then consider the other Elon missions out there, SpaceX being my next favorite, and I am happy that I can contribute in some small way to shake up as many industries as possible and maybe even help reset some of our industrial and exploration priorities.

I was *very* nervous when I made this substantial commitment. Prior to this I was always a “top-of-the-bottom-of-the-line” kind of guy. The luxury car had no appeal to me. But this is one package deal that I absolutely do not regret.

It looks like this is the year of the Box Elderbug

I’ve lived in Indian hills for over 20 years now and it seems each year seems to “feature” a different insect as the king for that year. In past years it has been millipedes, potato bugs, Stink Bugs, etc. It’s usually something harmless but still noticeable when you’re doing chores outside. A couple of months ago we found one or two of these guys in our house and lately we find one or two a day. Today I found a large number (hundreds) sunning themselves out back on my shed. Is it safe to say that I’m not the only one seeing Box Elderbugs as “King” this year?

Chick-Fil-A Rewards Best Redemption Value

I *really* like Chick-Fil-A. They just seem to know how to do things right.

When their app came out I jumped on it and was very pleased that, not only was it intuitive, but also the restaurants knew what to do with the mobile order when you arrived. Something that most of the other fast-food restaurants would stumble on in the early days of using their apps (I’m looking at you McDonalds).

When the app was first introduced they offered scads of free entrees, milkshakes, etc. Plus they had plenty of “Just Because” rewards. As the app matured they must have realized how haphazard the rewards system was because they switched over to a system where you accrue points based off the number of dollars spent. They still have some “Just Because” rewards but nothing like in the first year or so.

When I looked at what I could get for my accumulated reward points I was struck with how many points my favorite salad (“Spicy Southwest Salad”, it’s awesome) required vs many of their other offerings. I figured there must be some rewards that are better than others so I whipped up a quick spreadsheet and give you the values here.

Keep in mind that the below reflects the point/price values of my local Chick-Fil-A as of February, 2019. But I imagine it would be similar in most places. Also, I only worked this out for my favorite items. You’ll need to get the price/points for anything else you want to check.

ItemPoints Cost Val/Point
Medium Waffle Fries200 $ 1.85  $ 0.00925
Cookie150 $ 1.19  $ 0.00793
Coke (lg?)250 $ 1.89  $ 0.00756
8 nuggets500 $ 3.49  $ 0.00698
Sandwich500 $ 3.39  $ 0.00678
Lemonade (lg?)350 $ 2.25  $ 0.00643
Chicken Club Sandwich950 $ 5.89  $ 0.00620
Deluxe Sandwich650 $ 3.99  $ 0.00614
Spicy Southwest Salad1500 $ 7.39  $ 0.00493

Summary: So hands down getting yourself a MEDIUM Waffle Fries is your best value with each point being worth *nearly* one cent.

Worst value is redeeming points to get the Spicy Southwest Salad (sigh) with each point being worth just about half that for the fries.

Rebuilt Web Site

You’ll find that subscriptions for tracking posts/replies as well as view counts have all been reset.

I’ve been maintaining this blog since 2005 and have made only small changes to it now and then. My goal was not to get mired in all things WordPress but rather to have my own little forum of expression.

I’ve been having more and more issues lately that my Web Host has been chronically blaming on “old and inefficient scripts”. It probably doesn’t help that my hosting plan has me sharing a virtual machine with likely hundreds if not thousands of other low-use websites.

So rather than troubleshoot 14 years worth of updates and tweaking since I *know* I’ve made some coding changes along the way that may or may not have been impactful to the efficiency of the blog functions, I elected to just lay down a fresh install of WordPress and leave the customizing to plugins.

I’m still seeing some “500” errors that miraculously go away if you refresh so I now need to collect stats and get my web host on the ball.

On the plus side I can now change my theme pretty easily to make it look a bit more modern/attractive.

Thanks for visiting!