Electric/Hybrid/Self Driving vehicles

I’ve long held an interest in the motor industry, and the recent developments in driverless cars are as exciting as they are frightening to me.


Tesla Model S 90D

With that in mind, for the past few months I’ve been working on and off on a website dedicated to following the development of the autonomous and electric/hybrid vehicle market in South Africa. And I finally got it to a usable state.

I give you AutosAndElectric.co.za

Where you can find a list of currently available Hybrid and electric vehicles in South Africa as well as charging stations. Hopefully as time goes on space will be made for the influx of autonomous vehicles coming to our shores :)

Website needs some aesthetic work, and logo redesign, but for now I wanted to get it up.

Remington F4790 Partial disassembly

Recently the foil on my Remington F4790 got a hole in it, it makes the foil and cutter part of the razor unusable. While I placed replacement foils on order, I figured I’d just use the trimmer, but then trimmer stopped working.

Apologies for the poor image quality, they’re screengrabs from a video.

The foil and the cutters pop straight off with a little bit of a pull. Thereafter there are two small screws at the hinge point which can be loosened.
GP012706.MP4_snapshot_00.01_[2015.10.13_19.56.49]The foil and cutter head then comes out. Take care when reassembling to align the pop-out with the slot on the head.GOPR2706.MP4_snapshot_10.54_[2015.10.13_19.59.41]

From here there are 4 screws easily accessible that can be loosened.

GOPR2706.MP4_snapshot_01.24_[2015.10.13_19.57.57]A black rubber seal is then visible, which comes off easily to reveal two white plastic mechanisms which are driven by a motor. Align the drive shaft (1) on the motor so that the point is away from the trimmer. Plastic mechanism [2] can come straight off. Plastic mechanism [3] drives the trimmer and has a shaft going down. It can now be lifted out.GP012704.MP4_snapshot_00.53_[2015.10.13_20.09.58]There’s a round rubber seal between the trimmer and the motor housing which must be removed. The trimmer must now be fully extended. With a bit of jiggling the trimmer will come out completely. There is a metal spring near the bottom which might catch, see below.GOPR2705.MP4_snapshot_08.02_[2015.10.13_20.04.40]The trimmer is unfortunately a sealed mechanism. The outer casing is two parts which look like they clipped into each other, but looks like some heat was used to ‘seal’ it. Anyway, I pried it apart, because there was nothing left to do. Not too much seemed to break.

GP012704.MP4_snapshot_04.37_[2015.10.13_20.10.55]When I opened it up it was clogged up with hair preventing it from moving. I cleared all of it up, and the cover fortunately managed to clip back together and seemed to hold.GOPR2705.MP4_snapshot_03.06_[2015.10.13_20.02.47]I don’t really know how to disassemble the razor further. There are two screws visible, but loosening them doesn’t achieve anything. Through the clear motor housing other screws can be seen connecting it to the outer case, but no way to access them.


I think the outer case is all just clipped together, but felt nervous in forcing it apart when I still want to use the razor. If my foils don’t make it in the post, then maybe I’ll do it, but for now I can’t see any further way to take the razor apart besides forcing the outer casing apart.

Research is time consuming

Eugh. I finished my masters last year. Kind of. I submitted, and it was accepted on condition of a few changes. It was a research and design project, concluded with a dissertation.

I like knowing things. I enjoy reading up and learning new things. I enjoy imparting this knowledge. I don’t enjoy referencing. There are a lot of tools designed to make referencing easy. I write in latex, and made use of a combination of JabRef and Mendeley to aid my referencing. And it helped.

My biggest problem is writing a couple paragraphs, going over it, realising one of my statements may need a reference, and then not finding a nice academic reference for what I wrote. I know what I wrote is correct (well think at least), but to try find a reference for what I said, is difficult. And time consuming. I’ll do searches in Mendeley for keywords, else I start poring through Google Scholar search results. And usually I’ll find something I can use. But my word is it time consuming.

IMG_0845But I guess this is what makes peer-reviewed journals (and referencing) so important. Cause it prevents someone just saying something, and ensures accountability. As much as a pain as it is.

Which I think is a bit why I enjoy writing. Non-scientific articles that is. Opinion pieces, reviews etc. I can just write whatever I want. I can make statements and am not required to reference. I can link for more info if I want, but I’m not required to.

In conclusion: blogs are great.

Chromecast – first thoughts

A friend got his hands on a Chromecast recently, but due to some technical restrictions was unable to use it, as such he lent it to me to give it a twirl. A Chromecast has been on my wishlist for quite a while. I really like the idea of the product, but the I haven’t been able to warrant the price of buying one when I have a PS3 plugged into my TV which will accomplish most of the things I want a Chromecast for.

chroneSetup was a cinch. Plug the Chromecast into an HDMI port and a USB port on your TV and it’s set up its own wi-fi hotspot. I installed the Chromecast app on my Android phone and connected directly to the Chromecast. Then used that connection to get my Chromecast onto my home wi-fi, after that I was good to go, or so I thought.

First thing I wanted to do was play music from my phone onto the TV. Open my default music app (Samsung Music) and continually press the ‘cast’ button, but am unable to find any devices. Realise this isn’t a Chrome’cast’ icon but  a Samsung feature. Decide to try Google Music instead. Surely. First I had to re-enable it. Can’t find a ‘cast’ icon. Update Google Music, still can’t find a ‘cast’ icon.

Samsung Music App

Samsung Music App

After much Googling, still can’t find out why my ‘cast’ icon isn’t showing, but find out that it will anyway only allow you to play music in your Google Music cloud, of which mine is empty. Give up. Open Youtube app, works perfectly. Youtube takes a bit longer to open on the Chromecast itself than what I’d like, but after its loaded it works fairly well.

After a while I found the LocalCast app. Install that and am finally able to play music from my phone onto the Chromecast. However the free version has horrendous advert implementation. After a few songs a video ad would start playing on my phone, and at the end of the advert the music would stop casting to the TV, this happened on several occasions.

Give up and try Soundcloud app. This worked fairly well, however after listening for a while, when the next song would come on, it would first play on my phone speaker for 10s before jumping over to the Chromecast, slightly annoying. I eventually gave-up on the phone and started playing with Chrome on my PC.

chromeI installed the browser’s Chromecast extension and connected to my Chromecast. Amongst other things this lets you cast your browser tab to the TV. This worked very well. I ended up playing individual podcasts and Soundcloud from my browser to the TV.

I then installed the recommended Videostream extension. From this I managed to watch videos on my TV. This worked relatively well, although depending on the file format, I could watch flawless 720p video, or get buffering issues on a 360p clip. A bit annoying; maybe my wi-fi is partially to blame.

chromeOverall I love the product, the apps however need some work. A lot of work. Maybe I didn’t try hard enough, maybe I should have tried out one of the paid for apps, but I really expected it to be better supported by Google application and extensions. I still don’t have a nice way to play music from my phone or computer in a nice library format.

In any case, I gave the Chromecast back. It’s still on my wishlist, and if there’s a massive sale I might buy one, but not at the R650 Takealot is asking.