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Seems my page updates are getting a bit rare anymore. I typically do not make serious New Years resolutions, but I may try to make updating the site one of them. Since my last update, we have blown through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. So a belated happy holidays is in order (better late than never). Here's a little update on what's been going on:

Home projects
When we finished the new family room, we were deciding on what kind of lighting to put in the cans. Until recently, we had a mix of incandescent and mixed temperature LED bulbs trying to figure out which bulb/temp worked best in the room. After several years, I finally had enough (OCD was kicking in), and replaced all the bulbs with dimmable LED 4k bulbs. While this solved the hodge-podge of lighting in the room, it introduced an issue with the "smart" 4-way dimmers I originally installed, which are not compatible with LED bulbs. The end result was a strobing effect with the bulbs that would inflict marginal insanity. I'm guessing the two incandescent bulbs offset any issues when mixed with the LED bulbs. I replaced the dimmers with Lutron Maestro dimmers (master and 2 slaves). The change in dimmers introduced a new issue, they wire up differently. After spending a couple of hours tracing wire, I finally have it working.

I still love reading various magazines in this digital age. Over the years, I've been subscribed to various car, computer, and electronic magazines. Since we started the addition in 2011, I've subscribed to Family Handyman and needless to say, I'm a huge fan. Lots of good information, tips and tricks, tool reviews, and various projects.

Car projects
The vinyl tubing I used for the Oracle halo fog rings seem to be holding up. We haven't had much in the way of snow, but we have had plenty of rain. Its also worth mentioning that I changed the sealant I used to close up the fog light.

I've purchased and I am in the progress of testing one of those Chinese eBay Android units. This will be replacing my very dated looking Pioneer AVIC-D3 which has served me very well. Initial tests look like the Tocado unit will fulfill my needs. This will be on the bench for a bit for additional testing and setup before I install it in the car. I'll try to get a write up done for the Chrysler 300 projects page for this one.

Daughter's 2012 Kia Forte seems to be leaking a bit of oil from the oil pan. It doesn't help that her car uses some pretty thin oil (5w-20). After a little research, I determined that there is no actual gasket for the pan, Kia just uses a sealant to seals things up. I've purchased some Permatex Right Stuff for the fix. We'll see how it holds up.

The clear liquid electrical tape turned out to be a bust in a bad way. I had purchased new fog light housings and had them ready to install the rings when I decided to fire them up before sealing the housings up. More than 3/4 of the ring's SMDs failed to light. Haven't had time to investigate since everything looks intact. Had to purchase yet another set of halos. This time I opted for a good old fashion solution, using 3/8in clear vinyl tubing. I basically slit the tubing and slid it over the halo ring. I had planned on sealing the tube back up, but decided to just make sure that the slit was facing inwards to allow the heat to dissipate.

Looking forward to a great and relaxing Thanksgiving this year. I have no major projects on the board, so I may just make this a lazy four day weekend.

Pretty slow all around. I managed to get the remote control unit installed to allow wireless locking and unlocking of my daughter's car via key fob. Despite the 2000+ wires on the unit that allows it to tie into just every light/horn on the car, I am unable to use any of them due to the Kia's CANBUS system. My daughter was surprisingly OK with the fact that she would not have any indicators (horn, head/parking lights) that the car was locked or unlocked. I'm still in the progress of tracking down any wiring schematics to figure something out.

We had heavy rains a couple of weeks ago that managed to cause some minor flooding in my area. Some water managed to make its way into one of my 300's fog lights resulting in the shorting of a couple of LEDs in the halo ring. This would be the third ring to get ruined by water seepage despite every effort to seal the fog lights. I ordered a new pair of halo rings and have been testing ways to absolutely water proof the rings in addition to the fog lights. After some testing, it appears that Star Brite clear liquid electric tape seems to be the best bet as I can run them fully submerged in water.

Work wise, I've just started working on implementing service monitoring of the Telcom equipment into our existing network monitoring system. This entails SNMP probing various equipment and decoding return strings and in turn, sending a more specific alarm to on-call personnel. Telco on-call staff currently just receive either a major or minor alarm and it's up to them to log into the suspect equipment to determine the issue. I'll admit, this is part of the job I really enjoy.

Second update in a month, it canít be. A lot going on project wise, mostly house stuff, but I do have a big update to my MAME Arcade cabinet. Iíve been trying to keep up with the MAME software updates over the past several years, but fell behind after version 0.168 due to lack of updates to the FreeBSD mame port. I was able to ďengineerĒ patches to get up to a working version 0.171, but it ran horrendously. As of this post, the current MAME version is 0.176, but I have been unable to compile it from ports or source. My biggest hurdle is mostly myself and the lack of more advance C programming and a little bit of GCC vs CLANG/LLVM in FreeBSD.

So, after a lot of deliberation, I decided that my course of action was to move away from FreeBSD to Arch Linux. Of all of the Linux distributions, Arch seemed to be the best fit for this application and despite the dreaded systemd startup, it has been a pretty easy transition. I am able to compile current versions of MAME without issue and the cabinet runs flawlessly. I will attribute the ease of the transition to the Australian BOAC site AussieArcade, and user "ozfalcon" Z-System post . Without this excellent write-up, Iíd probably still be figuring it all out.

Make no mistake, FreeBSD is still my first choice of operating systems, but not every OS will solve every problem. Maybe in the future, I can return back to FreeBSD for the MAME cabinet. Of course, It would still be kinda cool to see a Linux distribution that is layed out identically to FreeBSD.

When we purchased the 2012 Kia Forte back in February, I mentioned that the girl was complaining about the lack of power locks. When we got back from the Ireland trip, I ended up purchasing a kit from A1 Electric and started working on getting the kit installed. Like most newer model cars, the locks use a cable system instead of the old rod linkage making the install a little bit trickier. I allocated the next couple of Sundays installing the kit, taking each Sunday roughly 3-5 hours per door (rear doors, and passenger front) and then I made a final push this past Monday to get the driverís side door and everything tied together. This last push ended up taking the better part of 7 hours, mostly taking my time figuring out where the wiring was going to terminate. At this point, its mission mostly accomplished. Power locks are installed and to the point where if either of the front doors are locked or unlocked, the other locks will follow suit.

Now for those who caught the mission mostly accomplished statement above, let me clarify. The kit I purchased (W02C-712T) also came with a remote lock controller and FOBs. I didnít have the time to install the controller, as it has the ability to tie into headlights, parking lights, horn, and dome light as notifications, not too mention some 14 other connections. After talking to my daughter, she is (for now) content just having the ability to press the FOB to lock/unlock the doors without any other literal bells and whistles. So, Iím hoping to get the controller wired in within the next week or so.

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