Thursday, November 02, 2017

Thrustmaster T300 RS GT Racing Wheel not playing nice with PS4 Pro

For Gran Turismo Sport, I bought a Thrustmaster T300 RS GT Racing Wheel with Next Level Racing Wheel Stand.

However, after connecting all the stuff together, it was no dice. The wheel would turn clockwise for a tiny bit and then nothing. After spending a couple of hours, I discovered that all USB ports of our PS4 Pro are kaput, grrrrrr....

Luckily, it was a launch unit (Nov 10, 2016) so it's still under warranty. EBGames quickly replaced with a new unit and all is good now!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Habanero | Cayenne Chilli Powder

Sliced fresh habaneros for dehydration

Dehydrated habanero for grinding

Habanero chilli powder

Habanero chilli powder

Cayenne chilli powder

Friday, June 16, 2017

Smoked Pork Rashers using Weber Gas BBQ (Q2000)

Marinated pork rashers

BBQ Buddy Stainless Steel Smoker Box with wine-infused water-soaked oak blocks

Smoker box just below the grate

OMG, yummy!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

HDD replaced


Western Digital WD Blue 1TB WD10EZEX was delivered overnight by PCCASEGEAR. Using Acronis Rescue Media, I cloned the failing HDD to the new HDD. Process took about 2 hours.

Once done, I did another Parkdale test; result is good:

Important note: when using Acronis Rescue Media, make sure that 'iGPU Multi-Monitor' is DISABLED in your motherboard BIOS. Otherwise, you'll be staring at a blank screen forever.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Failing HDD (Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB WD10EALX)

Our HDD (Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB WD10EALX) is acting up this past few days. Access is very, very slow and as it's used for installation of software programs, desktop use is really bad. Example, opening Photoshop takes around 15 minutes, ouch!

We got this HDD back in August 2011.

I ran a Parkdale program this evening and this the HDD Write/Read result:

And from Western Digital's own diagnostic tool which shows a FAIL on SMART status:

In contrast, HDD Write/Read from a few years ago:

SSD Write/Read this evening:

I bought a replacement HDD today, a Western Digital WD Blue 1TB WD10EZEX. It should be with me by tomorrow.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Average monthly home-ownership cost (west Sydney)

Excluding monthly mortgage.

Family of 3 (2A, 1C)

Strata - $177
Council - $115
Water - $72
Electric - $94
Gas - $38
Home Insurance - $90

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Squealing noise during cold start

Our Kia Sportage 2010 had its 75,000km servicing (major) about a couple of weeks ago. One of the parts replaced is a drive belt.

Starting 3 days ago, car emits a squealing noise during cold starts. See sample videos below:

The servicing invoice did say that new belt(s) might need re-adjustment within 3-5 days. So I popped in to our local NRMA MotorServe, they did some checks (bolts, pulley etc) and re-adjusted tension, and now no more noise! Of course, no charge for this re-adjustment.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Chain Catcher

As expected in a new bike, the chain dropped. This created minor scratches near the bottom bracket. As frame material is carbon, I got worried so I bought a K-Edge Chain Catcher.

Installation was pretty easy and I was also able to correct the minor error of front derailer installation by Specialized AU.

Here's the chain catcher as installed:

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Bicycle bell on the hoods

I prefer minimal hand movement while braking, changing gear, and ringing the bell.

So I modified the bell that came in with the bike by cutting off its loop belt. Using a cable tie, I was able to find a position that enables me to ring the bell without moving my hands off the hoods.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Finally, it's here!

Specialized Roubaix SL4 Sport SRAM Disc

It's temporarily fitted with BB7 mechanical brakes; this is due to the current SRAM recall on hydraulic brakes. The new SRAM hydraulic brakes should be available this May and I'm keen to try it out.

At the moment, I'm having trouble finding proper mounting locations for my front lights and bell. Putting a bell near the stem is just too far from the hoods. I prefer minimal hand movement when braking, changing gear, and ringing the bell. Gotta google for solutions...

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


11/02/14 - Dep 800

6-Mar-14 update: I just got a call from SPECIALIZED BICYCLE COMPONENTS (03 8679 3217). Unit should be shipping out today and be with the dealer by Monday next week.

7-Mar-14 8pm update: I just got a late call from the LBS - my unit has arrived but won't be available for pickup until Monday as there's no mechanic on weekends. That's fine with me. Apparently, I'm lucky as there's only 4 shipped to AU this month; there are 9 on the waitlist.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

I've upgraded to Garmin Edge 510 and, yeah, everybody's right - if you can afford it, make it a must-buy.

Here's my painful 'growth' so far:

1) Bought an Echowell U4W wireless bike computer
2) Bought a Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor Watch
3) Sold the watch. Bought a Polar H7 heart rate monitor (paired with iPhone)
4) Bought a Wahoo cadence/speed sensor (paired with iPhone)
5) Sold both sensors. Bought an Edge 510 performance bundle (I'm still using the Echowell unit as it's tiny/inconspicuous and performance is faultless)

Main reason for this upgrade is that I need to see real-time HR & cadence info; can't really do that with iPhone due to battery issue.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Yahoo, what have you done?

The past 24 hours, I noticed that I was not receiving any email messages in my Yahoo account. This coincides with Yahoo Mail upgrade.

After 'Googling', I found out that this upgrade defaults your account to forward all your incoming messages with 'Forward Only' option (go to settings>accounts>edit). Unfortunately, it used an old email address of mine which is no longer valid.

So I put in an alternate email address with 'Store and Forward' option.

So, yeah, it looks like I lost all incoming messages (including spam) the last 24 hours. Grrrr!

I'm waiting for an answer now from Yahoo's customer care. Hopefully, they can still recover it.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Kathmandu Saddle Bag

This Kathmandu Saddle Bag (Deluxe) was on sale for $20 so I grabbed it and finally replaced the frame bag I had since Day 1 of my cycling.

Build quality is very good, lots of pockets, and it's pretty light as well. Due to preferred position of my saddle seat, the bag protrudes at the back. I could have chosen the smaller saddle bag but it would mean limited contents. 

At the moment, I have these items inside this bigger/deluxe bag: spare tube, multi-tool, puncture repair kit, a couple of chain quick links, spare light, energy gel, electrolyte tablet tube, and a 10,000 mAh external battery charger power bank.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Acer ICONIA A1-810

$179.00 at Bing Lee (Rhodes NSW) excluding $29.00 Acer cashback.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Oakley Split Jacket

After almost 4 weeks of waiting, my Oakley Split Jacket sunglass is finally delivered. I ordered it locally but the prescription lenses had to be 'grinded' in good ol' USA. The prescription lens is also photochromic.

I used this an hour ago during my night ride and it's perfect! No need for me to bring 2 prescription glasses (clear & deep black) on some rides.

I also ordered the 'wind gasket' from UK. It should be delivered within 3 weeks from now.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Audioengine A5+

Had to upgrade PC speaker from Audioengine A2 to A5+. With D1, I can definitely hear the difference. Happy.

In this photo: A5+, Dell U2711, Logitech G510, and D1.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Child-proofing the port of SVS PB12-NSD

PB12-NSD is a ported subwoofer. This port is located front top-right and, even with the supplied grille, is quite accessible by any normal 'adventurous' toddler.

One day, I found some small toys hiding about 4 inches inside. To prevent more serious 'breach' in the future, I bought a grille just for this port opening. Fortunately, I found a metal grille that is perfect for the job - a 6.5-in black metal grille from Altronics. And to make it easy to remove someday, I just used a double-sided tape for its mounting. Here it is -

This metal grille has larger holes than the supplied grille by SVS so there should be no impact to subwoofer performance.

Here's another photo of the subwoofer's front (driver + port) -

Friday, July 12, 2013

Installation adventures with Audioengine D1 USB DAC

Unlike the previous Fiio E10 USB DAC where installation was literally plug-and-play, my experience with Audioengine D1 is quite challenging.

Issue 1 - only USB 2.0 ports can be used in my Asrock z68 Extreme4 motherboard. USB 3.0 ports are no good.

Issue 2 - USB cable length should be 1m or below. If a longer cable is connected to a USB 3.0 port, Windows 8 reports an unknown device. In a USB 2.0 port, Windows 8 reports good Audioengine D1 installation but audio performance is NONE (only quick beeps or buzz).

Issue 3 - my Audioengine A2 speakers sit on my desk but my PC is on a shelf around 1m above. My oxygen-free RCA cables are only 0.75m long.

Fortunately, I have an unused 2m Toslink cable lying around. So using a 3m USB cable (for D1 power) and this Toslink cable (for D1 audio source), I found a setup that satisfies my needs.

In Windows 8, S/PDIF is set as Default Playback Device while Audioengine D1 USB is automatically set as Default Communications Device. I set S/PDIF to 2-channel, 24 bit, 192000 Hz. Note that if I opt to use USB only, maximum setting would 'only' be 2-channel, 24 bit, 96000 Hz.

To be honest, I couldn't tell the audio quality difference between USB and S/PDIF as digital carriers. If I could use a 3m USB cable, I would have chosen USB for simple cabling.

In summary, if you want to use a longer USB cable (say, 3m), then also use a Toslink cable to carry digital audio data.

Update: one thing I don't like with D1 is that the analog RCA output is variable. I prefer it to be fixed as I primarily use volume control in my powered speakers. FiiO E10 analog output is fixed; only the output for headphone is variable. However, with E10, even with a headphone plugged in, analog output remains active. With D1, analog output switches off when a headphone is plugged in.
"He's called Dr. J because, on the court, he operated on people." - Nate "Tiny" Archibald on Julius "Dr. J" Erving