ADS-B Update

The weather cooperated enough for me to mount the 1090mhz antenna onto the side of the house and run the cable up through the soffit into the garage attic. I previously swapped the light fixture in the garage for a 6-plug outlet to run the work lights, so I was able to connect into that for the power.

I’ll be interested to see how this FlightFeeder Orange Box operates in the garage attic during the summer here in Texas. It’s passively cooled for now, but I might have to setup a temp-controlled fan for the hottest days. We’ll see.

Initial results are definitely better than when I was testing it with the antenna in the upstairs window. I’m picking up aircraft over 150NM away – in Dallas.

Network Upgrades

Not that our network needed any updating, we’ve been running the Ubiquiti Cloud Key Gen2 and USG Pro gateway and it’s been solid. But I like to keep up to date with the latest and greatest products and while the newer Dream Machine line of products has been out for a couple of years I figured it’s had some time to work the initial bugs out. I picked up the Dream Machine Pro Special Edition, which replaces the cloud key and gateway, and decided to give it a go.

Ubiquiti’s promise of an easy migration proved to be true, to my surprise. I backed up the settings on the old system before decommissioning, and imported the file into the new system. After import and re-adoption of the devices, things were up and running with very little input from me. VLAN’s, firewall rules, etc. – all migrated and running. I was surprised at how quick things went.

The UDM Pro SE has a nifty feature that utilizes an app on a smartphone in concert with the UDM Pro to realtime map the floor-plan of your location and overlay the map with wifi signal strength gradients. Once the network was back up and online, I started to do the walk around to map out the house:

This is a screenshot of the app, the map is the floor-plan of the upstairs of our house. (I have an iPhone 14 Pro Max.) The worst coverage on this is the master bedroom, right in the center of the bed. As I’m typing this, I’m sitting there now, and the signal is solid – to give some context to the strength relativity. The upstairs AP is on the wall right above my desk, where the icon of me standing is in the screenshot.

One unanticipated side effect of real time mapping a floor-plan is how the the software handles mirrors. This app essentially doubled the room size when it scanned the mirror, and it posed an interesting problem to me of how one could handle that.

Ubiquiti also rolled out an augmented reality feature with their new line of products, but unfortunately I needed to have upgraded my switch to support it. I have no need whatsoever to upgrade, but I’m thinking about it just for this feature alone. Here’s an example of what it can do, show an overlay of the ports and what devices are plugged into them:

PiVPN + Wireguard

When Chris at Crosstalk Solutions posted a video on how to setup a VPN on a Raspberry Pi, I knew what my unused Pi was going to be used for.

This post isn’t going into the details, Chris’ video covers that, but I did have a chance to use the VPN while traveling over the Easter holiday. We were visiting relatives in South Carolina and I took the opportunity to connect via my MBP with the Wireguard client installed. As expected, I was on my home network and able to access everything I had previously setup access to. The connection was fast, as well.

March 2022 EV Comparison Update

I went through and updated specs for these vehicles based on the model year 2022. I also updated the BMW offering from the i3 to the i4, and added the VW ID.4 to the list.

I wanted to also add pricing to the comparison, and then break that down by Price/mi. Not sure of the value there, but it can really show a wide difference. This is essentially saying “how expensive is it to drive this vehicle a mile”, excluding charging costs. (e.g. Tesla M3 is $156/mi, vs an Audi e-tron at $302/mi.)


  • Tesla returns to the top in mi/kWh.
  • Given pricing, Chevy Bolt’s offer a compelling argument. (Recent issues notwithstanding…)
  • If you’ve been following the news, Rivian raised their pricing. Makes that already bottom-scraping mi/kWh metric even more hard to swallow.
  • Ranges are getting better when compared to last year, and technology is improving. Hopefully this will mean we’ll soon see more affordable models being offered in coming years.

Compiling and tracking these metrics is a fun pastime for me, but I can see that I need to start segmenting out this into vehicle class. Look for that to happen with the next post.

Any thoughts on what to change or improve on?

Tesla Solar Install (to be continued…)

Coming from a background of working at NASA and experiencing weather delays for launches, you’d think I’d have a Zen-like attitude towards such things, but I don’t.

In what can only be described as still suffering the domino effects of 2021’s Winter Storm Event, the Tesla Solar install scheduled for this Friday – 2/4/2022 – has been delayed. Why? Because of another Winter Storm Event.

I started this process with Tesla back in August 2021, only to learn that the soonest they could do the coordination with the Austin Energy utility was February 2022. Apparently AE has been slammed with solar and backup generator installs since the 2021 snow storm, and as of today, they are scheduling new customers as far out as 6 months.

When this week’s weather was shaping up to be a shitter, I bitterly succumbed to reality on Tuesday and called Tesla about rescheduling the Friday installation. But Tesla pushed to keep the scheduled install for 2/4, precisely because of the huge utility backup. Their reasoning was that even if the weather wouldn’t allow them to install the panels on the roof, they could still get the Tesla-to-Utility Meter hookup done – a process that took all of ~45 minutes – and then the utility scheduling was no longer an issue and we could reschedule the rest of the install within a couple of weeks. While I wasn’t thrilled about the power being shut off on a day where the high is supposed to be 34*F, it was going to be off for only a short amount of time. Okay, Tesla and I decided to stick with Feb 4th.

Today, Wednesday, Tesla just called me and said that Austin Energy cancelled their part for this Friday.

Tesla said they have me scheduled now for March 14th, but also said it remains to be seen if that is when Austin Energy can meet that schedule. I expressed concern that it would be a six month delay, to which the Tesla representative replied that since this was a utility request for reschedule, they should accommodate a faster schedule.

We shall see.

To be honest, I feel relieved that this isn’t happening this Friday. Not just for me, but for those installers involved. It’s not looking pretty for Texas this week.