Tesla OS 2020.16.2.1

Finally!

TeslaFi had been spamming me with news about TeslaOS 2020.16 for a while and I’ve been itching to see what, after giving us the amazing stop at a stop sign in the last minor update.

Turns out, not much. I am mostly unimpressed by Tesla with this update, though nonetheless very appreciative. Autoformatting a DashCam drive—I wonder if it supports 2TB yet—and a better layout for Easter Eggs are, after all, improvements, even if the Easter Eggs aren’t really hidden gems anymore.

The coolest new feature, though, is the new SuperCharger filter, allowing the driver to only see Version 3 stations and filter out all the slower ones. I love the fact that I have free, lifetime SuperCharging, and one of these days, I’m gonna cross the continents with that perk.

Overall, I’m not disappointed despite being underwhelmed. And one rumor is that this, or a soon to be released version will add V2G to the Tesla. I can’t wait until that rolls out as the Tesla Battery Pack may make for a new, mobile Powerwall. Mind you, even if #CO2Fre could do V2G, my house isn’t equipped for it anyway. So, even if it doesn’t have V2G, it’s still a cool update!

Tesla OS 2020.16.2.1
Tesla OS 2020.16.2.1 adds a new toy box interface, a SuperCharger filter, and auto-formatting of DashCam media. © 2020, Jeffrey C. Jacobs

Gentle reader, if you have been keeping up with me since 11 February of this year, you know that I have been posting once a day since then. As such, today marks a hundred days of a hundred daily posting. Through that, I’ve shared with you exciting electric car news, updated to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, my struggles to get the Equal Rights Amendment to be our Twenty-Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, written about my many works of fiction, and the many books of nonfiction I voraciously read to be a better scientist. I’ve shared with you my cosplay adventures, and my love of Doctor Who, my love of games, and a bit of my speaking in tongues as well as delivering speeches and singing to my heart’s content. I’ve talked about international travel and how I love to fly there in my own plane, discussed my acting and my dietary needs. And most of all I’ve told you I’m an excellent coder who is always keen for new work. Thanks for riding with me as we cruise upon the cloud to another one hundred posts!

Tired of Midnight Blue

The sun went down the sky. Way up high, the clouds told me that they knew.

Harrison, George, “Tired of Midnight Blue”, Extra Texture: Read All About It, 1975 LP.

Today was one of those days that could have gone better, but with so many people asking for interviews, it was hard to focus on my TED Talk for an interview. I had anticipated how difficult it would be to give an extemporaneous speech with so little time to plan it, but so be it. I tried to keep the entire morning free, but one interview moved from Wednesday to Tuesday, squeezing me ever further.

In the end, I failed, and I accept that. I don’t know what turned my interviewers off, but I have other job opportunities I’ve just this evening so I’m just going to move on and forget about all the effort I put into that position. After all, I did just sign two memo to accept a pending offer so it’s not like I have nothing to fall back on. And, who knows, maybe they wouldn’t offer me enough money anyway.

I’m just tired. Tired of sleepless nights, of midnight blue. And as I love that obscure George Harrison song, from the obscure solo album Extra Texture: Read All About It, I could think of no more appropriate way to express my mood. The song is deep and sorrowful, steeped with lament to a almost jazzy-blues beat.

The sun came into view. As I sat with the tears in my eyes.

Harrison, George, “Tired of Midnight Blue”, Extra Texture: Read All About It, 1975 LP.

Tomorrow will be a new day, and who knows what it will bring. Sometimes, I think about the pain the Hypochondriac causes me. The hours I had to spend, insult after insult, belittlement and cruel advice. How I long to be with someone who appreciated me and all I try to do. Because, in the end, I’m Tired of Midnight Blue.

Extra Texture: Read All About It
Extra Texture: Read All About It, the 1975 Solo Album by George Harrison

Thanks for reading and next time won’t you sing along with me?

I’m Running Late Setback: Can’t Send Texts in the Background

Originally, I wanted to implement an texting in the background for the I’m Running Late iOS app. After all, the whole idea of the app is that you may be stuck in traffic and not really in any position to send the I’m Running Late while you’re driving or otherwise indisposed in transit. If you in the car, for instance, sending that text, even if it just means clicking the Send Button, is dangerous. It totally defeats the purpose.

The idea of I’m Running Late is it’s a background process like cron for the iPhone. It just programs events based on the clock and your calendar, then, when the grace period begins, if your Sat Nav notices you’re not within a prescribed number of meters from your event location, it automatically informs the host—or your boss—that you’re running late.

How is this not a thing?

It’s not a thing because Apple‘s philosophy is, if you can send one text without consent, you will be able to spam infinite texts without consent. But, the thing is, the App Review team should be able to detect of an app was abusing the option to text without consent, so why prevent this safety feature when you could just stop it from being abused?

For the record, texting without consent is a safety feature. When you’re driving to an Event, it’s dangerous to have to look at your phone and hit a consent button. Forcing the user to do so may even violate some state laws. Yet, you want to send the text because you are running late, yet you can’t because you’re stuck in traffic.

Sadly, you need a user interaction to send an email too.

With both options stupidly closed by Apple, making this very important use case at first impossible to solve, the only option left is to send the text via a GET Query, for example, to a web service, and rely on the web service to send the text.

One such service is Twilio. Twilio seems to be the leader in Web to SMS transactions. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, Twilio is a paid service and I’m still trying to figure out how this service works. I created an account and want to test it, but if all users of I’m Running Late are going to be using the service, I’m sure I will have to set it up as a business account.

One possibility I’m considering is having a monthly fee to use I’m Running Late, that I can use to pay Twilio for the use of their service. However, I want the fee to be small, like 15¢ per user per month. And then, say if Twilio costs $15 per month for one hundred users, then one hundred I’m Running Late users would completely cover the cost and I won’t need to let TimeHorse, LLC go further into debt.

The question is, though, what if I have less than one hundred users. In that case, I may have to disable the service or come up with some poor-man version on this very server. Initially, all text message requests could come here, and when the numbers crack one hundred, I can tell I’m Running Late to switch to the Twilio server.

On the other hand, maybe I’m going about this all wrong. IIRC, all Teslas are running Linux. And if the Tesla is connected to the driver’s Phone, and it knows the time, and it has the Phone’s calendar, then surely it could have an app that texts the Event organizer when the driver is running late.

And I could write that code!

Hear that Tesla? You could be bidding on me, because I’m still available for hire but my rates are going up with all the offers!

When Zoom Fails, Google Meet to the rescue

This morning, I had set up The Hourlings on Zoom early, before I went to bed, hoping, if I ran late, the meetup would already be set up, Marty would be early, and I could make him co-host in case I still needed time to read before we began at 10:00.

Instead, to my delight, my friend Cynthia was the first to log in around 09:30 and we had a few minutes to chat about life and her adorable Clove. I really admire Cynthia, or Max as she’s sometimes called. She writes some great LGBTQ literature and is a great guide of conscious for me. She’s also an ex-Marine. Sempre Fi, my friend!

Unfortunately, we couldn’t get her video working, so, thinking that it would be as simple as restarting the meeting, I did just that. She promptly requested to rejoin and I accepted, looking forward to continuing our conversation.

It failed.

We tried again. No dice. I created a new Zoom event. That didn’t work. I asked the account owner to try. Still no success. It was already 10:00 and almost everyone was waiting to get in. I accepted them all, but none of them could connect.

Finally, our unofficial moderator, Evan Friedman brought up an instance of Microsoft Teams. He, Marty, and I verified its feasibility a while ago, so I knew it could work and joined the Teams meeting. The nice thing is now Teams allows virtual backgrounds, which was cool. But, unfortunately, Teams was as wickedly hard to invite people into as before.

Meanwhile, Marty set up a Google Meet account. Back when we tried Google Meet before when I created a Google Apps account. Back then, you had to pay for a Google Meet account by having a Google Apps account, and the Google Meet didn’t have a grid view, however, it already accommodated a lot of people.

In the end, we went with Google Meet and decided to make that Meet event out official backup for whenever Zoom misbehaves again, though we shall still default to Zoom. Unfortunately, my nightmare hair isn’t hidden by Google Meet’s cameras like it is in Zoom, so I must have looked atrocious today. I wish the Hypochondriac would let me use my hair trimmer.

Google Meet
Google Meet

We found out during the meeting that we weren’t the only ones straining for Zoom capacity. Fortunately, there is a Zoom Status we can check the next time this happens, so we’re not left trying so hard to beat a dead TimeHorse. And the Zoom system was back up, just in time for us to finish our meeting.

Unfortunately, because of all the kerfuffle and notifications, I missed a 13:30 Zoom I was planning to attend. But at least I got to hang out with my fellow writers. Thank you for reading, and I should now get back to writing.

An Unearthly Child

I’ve been so crazy-busy on I’m Running Late today that my computer locked up and I was bored so I decided to watch some Doctor Who, which is what everyone should do when they’re waiting for a computer to behave.

I could have continued on with The Mutants, but I was feeling nostalgic to see again how it all began and see the source of my first cosplay, Ian Chesterton. I love Ian because he’s a Science Teacher and that suits me as a Scientist who runs The Science Book Club. Plus, I was enthralled by my very dear friend Ilona, who cosplays a simply smashing Susan! I must admit, I’ve been thinking about Ilona a lot recently so I guess it’s no coincidence I pulled up the first Doctor Who story ever, which of course features Ian and Susan.

Of course, Ian was always fond of Barbara and we’ve had a lot of trouble finding a Barbara cosplayer but I’m always happy to have find someone cosplaying The First Doctor for photoshoots. But usually it’s just me and Ilona and I have always felt we make a great team. That’s why she’s my cosplay bestie.

Meanwhile, not much actually happens in the story. A student is acting queer, the teachers investigate, and the Doctor kidnaps them. Not much more to say to that. Or maybe I was just too busy reciting the lines with the actors, I’ve seen the episode so often. Overall, a fun story, with light bits and campy students. I always enjoy that one and will watch it again… and again… and again…

Susan with Radio
“It’s John Smith and the Commonmen, they’ve gone from nineteen to two.” Susan is enjoying some tunes on her transistor radio. From An Unearthly Child © 1963, British Broadcasting Corporation

Will you watch Doctor Who with me?

I’m Running Late

My boss doesn’t understand how hard it is to text when you’re stuck in traffic. That’s why he wants to fire me. That’s why I’m looking for a new job. And I will continue to consider a better offer and say goodbye to just under 18 years of Federal Service, but I think I’ve come up with a better way!

The thing is, if I’m running late because I’m stuck in traffic—or in a car with a lackadaisical Uber driver who won’t listen when I tell him I need to get to work on time—I might just have a solution. I could build an iOS app to text my boss for me!

I’m not actually sure I can do this. My app would have to always be running or at least be run at certain times when I would be expected to text. The idea would be, it would trigger at a fixed interval before the time I’m supposed to be at an Event, and if I’m not, say, within 100 m of that location, automatically send a text saying I was stuck in traffic and running late.

Phase one will be to build the app framework. Once that’s done, I want to see if I can have my app generate a text in the first place. I wouldn’t be surprised if iOS disallows that, so that’s why I want to determine that first.

Phase two will involve me setting a timer and providing a notification when the timer dings warning that, if the notification isn’t dismissed, the text will be sent.

Phase three will involve getting the GPS location of the phone and comparing it to the location of the Event to see if the phone is within 100 m, and if so, it will disable the text. I will then add a grace period where you must send the message by. For instance, if you’re due at the Event at 10:00, and you set the grace period to 15 minutes, the text goes out at 09:45, well before the Event is scheduled to begin.

Phase four will read your calendar to automatically generate alarms and warning texts. This will be filterable so that only events you choose will send out the text warnings. Each event will have to have a text number associated with it, but that shouldn’t be too hard if I also give the App access to the owner’s Contact List where you can select one or more numbers from.

I hope to have all that code complete, tested, and submitted to the App store by 1 July. I don’t know if I’ll have the time—or even if the texting is possible—but the beauty of this App is it’s extremely multi-functional. It doesn’t just need to be about getting to work, it can be for any appointment where you’re likely to be stuck in traffic or otherwise would have difficulty generating a text in a timely fashion.

I know for my part, when the world is collapsing on me and someone commits grand larceny against me or I get a $2,000 tyre repair bill for a slow leak, and thus am frazzled and having trouble remembering my name never mind to text when I’m running late, I won’t get fired because I arrive at 10:05. And that’s a very good thing!

Feel free to track my progress and remember, though job offers keep coming in, I remain available for hire!

Writers’ Happy Hour

Today we had our second Writers’ Happy Hour and we had even more folks than last time, if you can believe it. Unfortunately, I had to miss most of it because of my Job Search. Fortunately, my good friend and most excellent author Martin Wilsey stepped up to do introductions and get the conversational ball rolling.

Of course, there wasn’t time for me to get comfortable when the business call was over, as then someone wanted me to get Hulu working on her iPad. It wasn’t until 20:45 that I was finally able to dedicate some time to our exciting and free-form happy hour discussion, missing the first one hundred and five minutes. But for the bits I did attend, I had a lot of fun, and I think everyone else did too.

A couple things though did come up when Marty and I considered the post-mortem discussion. For our second Writers’ Happy Hour we had a few people dominate the conversation while others may have felt left out and thus exited early. Marty and I are thinking of ways to engage the shier folks to get them to feel more comfortable participating in the discussion.

Marty also informed me of the devolution of conversation into technical jargon of a non-writing nature. I missed it but agree that we need to steer conversations clear of such non sequiturs. We welcome all topics of discussion, but we must try to avoid fixating on a topic only a handful of participants understand.

Finally, there is the third rail of politics. Marty and I may be of different political bents but we first and foremost respect each other. Not all writers are progressive or conservative and we need to realize that and not demonize folks of a political leaning different from our own. As someone who writes extensively about the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact and the Equal Rights Amendment, I know first-hand how important it is to be non-partisan and respect differing political leanings while sticking to the facts. In future, Marty and I will be mindful of that too.

Overall, though, a great Writers’ Happy Hour with great conversations and delicious beverages. Of course, my beverage of choice is always Hydrogen Hydroxide, and I enjoyed every sip. Thank you for reading, and now back to writing.

ERA Town Hall, 13 May 2020

ERA Town Hall, 2020-05-13

Join the ERA Coalition on tonight for the first of a series of virtual ERA Town Halls, at 6:00 pm ET. Confirmed participants include: Actor/ERA Activist Alyssa Milano, Nevada Senator Pat Spearman, Linda Coberly, Chair, ERA Coalition Legal Task Force, Former Illinois State Representative Steve Andersson, Rosie Couture, Executive Director of Generation Ratify, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA), Maryland Senator Ben Cardin, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski (by video), and our CEO and Co-President, Carol Jenkins will be moderating! 🌠The first 100 registrants will be provided a link the day of the event inviting them to join the Zoom Webinar and have the opportunity to interact directly with the panelists. You can register at the link in bio or https://bit.ly/3cgspvP we’ll also stream live right below thanks to the Facebook live stream! Spread the word and share this post!

As my readers know, the ERA is very important to me and has been since the time of growing under the ridiculous rhetoric of Phyllis Schlafly. Schlafly was famous making up Straw Man Arguments against the ERA. None of her arguments phased me. I lived in Europe with coed toilets, and the military is already considering requiring girls register for the Selective Service. What’s more, twenty-five states already have a state-wide Equal Rights Amendment of some form, and none of the fallacious arguments Schlafly claimed to come to pass ever manifested.

Since I was brought into the ERA fight in Virginia in 2017, soon after it was passed in Nevada, I have been going down to Richmond to fight for its passage, as well as lobbying my friends in Illinois to pass it there. Having been in the trenches, I was avoiding seeing the new Mrs. America series because I didn’t want to relive the horrors of Schlafly’s insanity. But I recently decided it was best to know thine enemy. So, I have been watching.

The truth is, much of the history of the ERA is actually centered in Illinois. Steve Andersson got it passed in Illinois to make Illinois Thirty-Seven, right behind Virginia’s Thirty-Eight. Illinois was also the home of Phyllis Schlafly, who was instrumental in preventing Illinois from passing it until 2018. What makes that passage all the more ironic though is that Schlafly, a conservative who’s ideas on international politics weren’t so absurd became such a champion of the No ERA movement. Yet it took a Republican, Rep. Andersson, to put things right in the Land of Lincoln, the first, great Republican.

But, what astounds me is, since Schlafly became a lawyer, was she not familiar with Bradwell v. The State? In that 1867 case, contemporaneous with the Fourteenth Amendment. On the docket, Myra Bradwell sued the state of Illinois, yes, Illinois, for the right, under the Fourteenth Amendment, to practice law in the state. The US Supreme Court denied her this right, more or less implying she was not a citizen and therefore not qualified for equal protection under the law.

While this case seems archaic, it should be pointed out that since that time a number of cases have refined the Supreme Court’s position on women to bring it more in line with our modern interpretation of women as equal citizens. However, we need only look at 2007’s Ledbetter v. Goodyear. In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that protection from pay discrimination against women was not protected by the Constitution and therefore Lilly Ledbetter was not entitled to sue for lost wages. Congress finally stepped in to pass a Statute to protect women, but women remain unprotected by the stronger Constitutional authority to this day. Which is to say, there are some weak protections for women but there are no strong, constitutional protections like there are for race.

The biggest issue is with Legal Constructionism. Under that doctrine, jurors try to intuit the intention of the author of a Constitutional element and apply it to the modern day. They eschew any more recent interpretation of the Constitution. Thus, one need only consider Bradwell v. The State to see the authors of the Fourteenth Amendment never intended to include women under it, and therefore, a Constructionist juror will likely derive precedent based on the 1867 ruling rather than any more modern ruling. The danger, therefore, is that most of the Supreme Court is made up of Constructionists, meaning we need the ERA now more than ever.

I hope you’re convinced now why we need the ERA, and please watch below to see the next steps to how we shall make it the Twenty-Eighth Amendment to our Constitution.

Town Hall

Posted by ERA Coalition on Wednesday, May 13, 2020

I hope you enjoyed the live stream, ladies and gentlemen and let’s work together to get her equal rights and make sure that equal means equal.

Joking Hazard Online

I have a guilty pleasure. I like Cyanide and Happiness. So, a while ago, when the folks at C&H opened a Kickstarter for a new C&H Comic Creator Game, I jumped at a chance to get in on the ground level of Joking Hazard.

Unfortunately, although I have the game and every single expansion, I, alas, have no-one to play with. It’s not so much people don’t like to hang out with me. Far from it, I am also socially engaged almost every night and weekend. It’s more a problem of people having their own gaming communities and not interested in joining mine or inviting me into theirs. I don’t mind though, I still have friends. It’s just the Joking Hazard box has gathered a lot of dust.

And SARS-CoV-2 is no help!

However, the good folks at PlayingCards.IO have come to the rescue. You can now visit my personal Joking Hazard game space and play a game with me. The board is set. Who will win the next round?

Joking Hazard Online
Joking Hazard Online. Player 1 won this round. Will you win the next?

It’s no Global, Thermal, Nuclear War, but shall we play a game?

What it costs to NOT run #CO2Fre

During the entire month of April, I only went for a drive a few times. Once was for my Earth Day demonstration. On that day, according to TeslaFi, I drove 6.01 mi / 9.67 km, using 2.64 kWh and reducing #CO2Fre‘s range by 11.11 mi / 17.88 km.

The other drives were when I took #CO2Fre to the Tyson’s Corner Service Center to have them investigate a squeaking sound when I turn in the rain on Tuesday, 31 March. I dropped of #CO2Fre and couldn’t pick her up for a week, which is why #CO2Fre didn’t charge from 1–7 April. The drive there took 12.32 mi / 19.83 km and used 3.14 kW. On Wednesday, 1 April, the service people test drove #CO2Fre for 6.00 miles / 9.66 km, using another 1.72 kWh. I could finally pick up #CO2Fre on Tuesday, 7 April, and burned another 2.74 kWh on the 10.84 mi / 17.45 km trip home.

Other than that, I didn’t drive anywhere and apart from testing, and testing, and testing my DashCam, I didn’t even approach #CO2Fre.

What’s more interesting is the amount of vampire power #CO2Fre uses. For the entire month of April, which is to say 23 March–22 April, which is my billing cycle, I used 39 kWh of electricity. Since the driving only used 10.24 kWh, at least 28 kWh was burned in idle usage and the occasional climate control.

Though this may seem mysterious, I do know exactly where and when #CO2Fre is drawing current thanks to Dominion’s smart meter. I have over ten years of data, in thirty minute increments, collected in a Google Spreadsheet.

Day01:0001:3002:0002:3003:0003:3004:0004:3005:0005:3006:0006:30Super-Off PeakOff-PeakOn Peak
Mon 23 Mar0.30.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.30.00.0
Tue 24 Mar0.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.0
Wed 25 Mar0.02.60.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.02.60.00.0
Thu 26 Mar0.30.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.30.00.0
Fri 27 Mar0.00.20.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00,20.00.0
Sat 28 Mar0.00.20.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.20.00.0
Sun 29 Mar0.00.20.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.20.00.0
Mon 30 Mar0.50.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.50.00.0
Tue 31 Mar0.20.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.20.00.0
Wed 1 Apr0.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.0
Thu 2 Apr0.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.0
Fri 3 Apr0.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.0
Sat 4 Apr0.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.0
Sun 5 Apr0.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.0
Mon 6 Apr0.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.0
Tue 7 Apr0.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.0
Wed 8 Apr5.75.84.60.00.00.20.00.00.00.00.00.016.30.00.0
Thu 9 Apr0.60.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.60.00.0
Fri 10 Apr0.50.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.50.00.0
Sat 11 Apr0.20.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.20.00.0
Sun 12 Apr0.00.20.00.00.20.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.40.00.0
Mon 13 Apr0.00.20.00.00.20.00.00.20.00.00.20.00.60.00.2
Tue 14 Apr0.40.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.40.00.0
Wed 15 Apr0.40.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.40.00.0
Thu 16 Apr0.00.20.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.20.00.0
Fri 17 Apr0.80.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.80.00.0
Sat 18 Apr0.40.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.40.00.0
Sun 19 Apr5.72.20.00.20.00.20.00.20.00.20.00.28.50.20.2
Mon 20 Apr3.10.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.03.10.00.0
Tue 21 Apr2.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.02.00.00.0
Table 1: Time-Of-Use Data for the month of April 2020

However, even with this low fuel usage, I still get a bill every month from Dominion Virginia Power. This is because, even if I used no electricity, I have to pay Dominion for my Time-Of-Use Smart-Meter. This allows me to charge between 01–05 in the morning for dirt cheap electricity. The base rate for this service, in a two meter household, is $2.73, so my fuel always costs at least that, even if I don’t use any electricity.

The final tally was for all that was $5.42 for just 35.17 mi / 56.60 km of driving.

I hope to spend more kWh cruising upon a cloud again soon.