Tube size and tire width and stem length for deep disk wheels

Seems like semi-aero is the way to go and I’ve got a bunch of standard tubes that don’t have enough stem to inflate properly. You need about 10mm to make sure that a presta tire pump works.

ENVE has a nice table for this but basically

  • Standard rim is 25mm high (an inches). Use standard 32mm high tubes.
  • 35mm. These are semi aero and need 48mm. You will have an inch sticking out.
  • 45mm. Use the 48mm. Hmm seems like a tight fit.
  • 60mm, 65mm and 70mm John. Uses the 80mm

Excel Sports has a good set of general recommendations:

  • Continental Race Light. These are about 20 grams lighter than the Continental Race so more likely to puncture, but grams are grams ūüôā
  • Valve stems should be 18-20mm longer than the wheel set height. That means for standard get 34mm, for semi-aero get 42mm and for deeper you need 60mm or 80mm. You do add weight with the longer stem and they don’t look pretty.

Finally what width should you run. Well 700×23 was what have been using but many folks have been switching to 700×25 for durability. Although some wheel sets (like the ENVE SES 3.4 for example are optimized for 25mm to be more aero?). It is 38mm deep in the front and 42mm in the rear, so you would need 38+18 = 56mm minimum in the front and 42+18mm = 60mm in the rear, net, net the 60mm works.

Also if you have 23mm you can use the lighter and less durable 18-23mm or the heavier 23-25mm.

Tubes do weight something. The continental race light is 65 grams vs 120 plus for tougher tires. So that’s a 130 grams (5 ounces) across too tires.


Finding a good VPN

With all the notes on security, figuring out what a good vpn has been hard and you probably do not want to use those $50 for life services, seems to be good to be true, so in looking over reputable providers:

  1. Private Internet Access. We’ve been using them for year, but sadly over the last few months, the service has definitely become worse. There see to be lower performance and so now the search is on for something else. The other issue is that on an iPhone, it constantly drops the connection and then leaves the internet connection in a strange state. We also tried it with Tunnelblick but that wasn’t super stable, the dedicated client seems to work better.
  2. ExpressVPN. Before VPNs became illegal in China, this was a super good service for phones. However, on our Macs, it also seems to disable internal mDNS browsing, so we can’t see our file servers and so forth.
  3. TunnelBear. I’m trying this one now, but they allow 500MB per month free and will report back.

Charging your EV

iOK, it takes forever, but I finally have the complete decoder ring for what you need to charge most EVs at home.


If you have a Bolt EV

  • In stall a NEMA 14-50R plug (these are $8 parts, but you want an electrician since you will need a 50 amp circuit breaker). While you can get the Clipper Creek HCS-50P, it is nearly $600 and isn’t portable but the Maxx-40 is $400 and is portable. This will give you a 40 amp circuit at up to 9kW charging although the Bolt will only pull 7.2kW, but you might as well get something for bigger cars in the future since the prices are the same.
  • If you already have a NEMA 14-30R Plug. While you can get a separate stand, it is way easier to buy a “portable charger” on Amazon, these are about $500 and it gives you a NEMA 14-30R plug on one side and then a JEDEC J1772 plug for the car. This gives you a 30 amp circuit breaker, so it can handle 24 amps sustained. The Clipper Creek LCS-30¬†is $500 from Amazon. The Clipper Creek folks have a particularly easy numbering scheme L means it is portable and H means it is hard wired station, then the last number is max amperage.

If you have a Tesla

  • Install the 14-50R plug and the Tesla has the charger built in so you don’t need to pay anything extra, this gets you 9kW charging, the thing actually supports 11kW, but there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to get this installed in a home.
  • You can also get a dedicated 72 amp charging with a dedicated box from Tesla for $500, this isn’t a bad deal if you really need lots of charging at home, but make sure to order your Tesla with the optional “big charger. Practically speaking, most folks will probably just do the 14-50R.

If you have both a Tesla and a Bolt or something else

  • Get a pair of 14-50R plug and the Maxx-40, then you can charge the Tesla from the Maxx-40 since it has a J1772 to Tesla convertor or if you need them both, you can connect the Tesla directly to one plug and use the Maxx-40 for the other car.

It is complicated because there are so many different manufacturers, but here’s how to think about it:

  1. You want a Level 2 charger at home, this is way better than the 120V charger you get with say a Bolt EV. The math here is pretty clear from Clipper Creek, but basically every car has it’s own internal charger that has a maximum, you can see it on the list but the Bolt EV for instance has a maximum of 7.2KW (what they call the acceptance rate) and the Tesla X is a whopping 11.5 or 17.5 if you have the upgraded internal charger.¬†As an aside you can check this and look at the Chevy standard charger that they market which is a 32 amp box. As an aside.
  2. If you go to commercial setups like a Tesla Supercharger or what is called a CCS (combined charing system), you can do lots more. The Bolt for instance can handle 55kW. This is a common installation, it is 440V (wow!) at 125 Amps. If you do the math with a 60kWH battery that means you can theoretically charge from empty in an hour or so! The level 2 chargers typically run at 6kW (
  3. If you are just running around town, then you can also plug into a 120V outlet and there is a setting on the Bolt (which I never remember to set) for 8 amps or 12 amps, that is 960watts or 1.4kW. It is decent for trickle charging.
  4. Installing a circuit. What does that mean in practice, well divide by 240 Volts to get the maximum amperage a car can accept. With the Bolt EV that is 7.2kW/240=31 Amps and for the Tesla X regular that is 11.5/240=48 amps. Note that this is what is called sustained amperage, so you need something that is higher at the circuit box. For instance a 32 amp sustained needs a 40 amp circuit break and a 48 amps needs more like 60 amps so you need to install a direct connect circuit since they don’t make a plug like this. If you get the fast package, you can charge at 72 amps (!!!) but you need an 80 amp circuit and it is direct wired to the charger. It is also Tesla only, so you can’t use with other cars.
  5. If you are lucky you may already have a dryer circuit in your garage already and there are sea of plug standards, but the two common ones are 14-50R, this means type NEMA type 14 (a standards body), carrying 50 amp maximum (so it supports 40 amps continuous) and R means a Receptable (e.g. the outlet). The other common one is called the NEMA 14-30R, this is 30 amps and has a different plug so you don’t accidentally put one into the other.

Switching to AMD Ryzen Threadripper

It has been at least 15 years since I last built up an AMD machine. We’ve looked at it over the years, but although AMD has been cheaper, they never had the single core performance that was even close and they chewed up power.

Now however things have changed with their latest processors. They use a system of cores that within 10% of Intel but they have a neat system of interconnect and are aggressive on some important features needed for big machine learning rigs.

Intel has always been stingy on Overclocking, Cores, PCI Express lanes and also ECC because they want to push to Xeon. In fact the best compromise for a long time has been the overclockable Xeon 1650 V3. Even a V3 still works well because Intel performance has been pretty stagnant in the last four generations.

Well there is a new kid on the block, the AMD Ryzen and Ryzen Threadripper that has me speccing AMD for a variety of systems:

So here are the net recommendations from low to high.

Mini-ITX for compiles not gaming

Ryzen 1700X in mini-ITX. ($1K) If you want a great compute machine (and be able to validate tensorflow or cuda builds), then the Ryzen 1700X is a pretty good choice. At $1K, it’s got an amazing 8-core Ryzen so works well for threaded jobs

It includes a low profile GTX-1050¬†(see Tom’s Hardware, but the sweet spots in performance as of August 2017 are GTX-1080Ti, 1080, 1060, 1050 ti and the 1030 if you can find it)¬†in a tiny mini-ITX case. There is no expandability but since X370 motherboards only support 8x/8x multiple GPUs that’s not that big a deal. You can overclock this with the X370, so getting to 4GHZ and beating Intel single core is within reach!

ATX Tower for gaming or ML

Ryzen Threadripper 1950X ATX. ($4K). Well it does cost $1K for the processor, but this is the best value right now, you get a full 16-core system with 64GB of ECC ram and with 1.5TB of SSD storage. A really reliable well price system.

Note that you have to make sure you get a motherboard with ECC support. Make sure to get unbuffered ECC vs registered for Ryzen. Unregistered ECC works through 128GB or so but at higher densities, you need registers as direct driving the memory doesn’t work. Finally there is even ECC for call low-registered (LR) real large configurations and beyond that there is LB or Lower powered buffered. The ASRock Taichi seems like a good “budget” choice at $340 (Newegg)

While most ECC runs at DDR4-2133, you can get DDR4-2400 unbuffered ECC if you look for it. Kingston for instance has this running at CL17 for $188/16GB. You also need to make sure your motherboard supports it and turn it on in the BIOS. Both ASRock and ASUS are safe choices as they do handle this properly.

One important note is that right now, ECC does correct single bit errors and seems to report them properly to linux kernels 4.10 and above, but uncorrectable errors of more than 2 bits do not generate a machine check, but that’s better than nothing.

Single rank. Also there are different speed limits for single rank (memory on one side of the chip) and dual rank. In general dual rank ECC is limited to DDR4-2400 and single rank to DDR4-2666. So if you think you will never need the full 8x16GB, a reasonable configuration is single rank 8x8GB single rank. Then you get the quad channel performance and single rank speed (DDR4-2666). The drawback is that you are at the limit of the machine. See the Corsair CT8G4WFD8266 ($110 each vs $190 or so for the Kingston 16GB KVR24E17D8/16, so they are more expensive and run at CL19 vs CL17 for DDR4-2400 vs CL15 for DDR4-2166) which is $188 at Newegg or from Amazon third parties.

Cooling. What is interesting is that with an Asetek AIO cooler, but interesting, my old favorite, the Noctua NH-14U TR4-SP3 variant did even¬†better¬†particularly with an additional fan. I do find that many times, the air cooled systems do run better. Certainly that is has been finding. It makes some sense if you think about it, what’s the real benefit of water cooling, it is not a big water reservoir, it is the larger cooling area you get with two fans. This monster draws lots of power, so you need a great cooler. The really expensive Kraken 62 seems like a nice choice, although the Corsair H100 series is really popular.

In terms of motherboards, get one that supports 16x PCI Express to all the video slots. There is no reason to have all those lanes and not have the motherboard expose them.


ATX Dream Machine

Ryzen Threadripper 1950X eATX. ¬†($15K) Ok you don’t need everything here, but for $15K, this is definitely the dream computer of a lifetime, but the best components are the 1950X which is 16 cores of glory and definitely the fastest chip out there. That plus a ¬†10Gbps Ethernet is what you need for a dream machine that will be doing lots of machine learning from a big database.

Storagewise, it has an SSD boot drive, but the storage array is 2xSSD and 2xTB that you can run in ZFS or btrfs, this will give you 10TB of storage that is RAID-1 mirrored, but most of the time with the 2TB of mirrored SSD, you will be running at SSD speeds. Finally the box supports 16x for 3 cards, so you while no one in real life with get a P100 ($5K!) or a V100 (even more), if you outfit it with three 1080Tis you have the best value in Machine learning today.


WordPress White Screen of Death

Suddenly all of the managed sites I have have gone “white”. That is WordPress just returns nothing to a curl. This is apparently a very common thing and there are three common issues:

  1. You are out of PHP memory
  2. You have a bad plugin
  3. You have a bad theme. Change back to a default them

Here are the diagnostic procedures

  1. While you can use ftp to do this, It is way more convenient if you enable webdav so that you can actually edit things directly from your computer.
  2. If you do this, then you can connect to the server from say the Mac with Connect to Server and then typing in the appropriate url is an example that would you connect to and their server named box211. Note that you definitely want to use encryption, so that is why you have port 2078
  3. If you do this then you can go to terminal and just edit or you can see if in finder.
  4. The fix is to go to wp-contents/plugins and rename it to something else, this disables all plugins and you should be able to get access to your wp-admin page. Now rename it back and all the plugins are deactivate.
  5. Activate them one at a time and keep refreshing your home page until you find it.

In our case, the automatic update is normally a great thing, but if a plugin distribution is bad then this will happen. It looks like the latest version captcha¬†fwiw has the problem. You shouldn’t need it if you do not have comment and so forth enabled.

Photo sharing redux for Android and IOS

I’ve been using a combination of with phpgallery for private photos plus iCloud Photo sharing, but there are two problems:

  1. shared hosting is just unbearably slow for this purpose, not surprising given the low fee, even with unlimited storage it takes a long time to load and managing the gallery is definitely a pain.
  2. iCloud works pretty well for iOS users, but not at all for Android. Also, with sharing, they limit the resolution of the photos to 2Kx2K which isn’t so nice with 50MP images, so you don’t get high resolution. You can pay more, but they are pretty expensive.

There are a couple of options that are marginal cost zero if you already have Amazon Prime or use Google Gsuite to manage your mail for you anyway because Spam stinks. Both allow unlimited photo storage at unlimited resolutions (if you pay for Google Drive unlimited at $10/month).

The main issues are:

Amazon Prime Photos. This is great and free and allows unlimited storage. The main gotcha is that you lose control of the naming of the photos. This makes it pretty useless if you’ve got say 40K photos across five families (hint!). It basically names it all to Date.jpg

Google Photos. This is a pretty chimera, you basically have a separate uploader that only works against non-network drives for Mac and Windows. There is a buried checkbox that says, when you are uploading photos, do you also want them to go into Google Photos. There is also another buried option in Google Drive which says do you want to see your Google Photos inside Google Drive. If you do this, then you can download.

The other interesting oddity if that if your photos are less than 2MP and videos are 1080P then it doesn’t count against your Google Drive quota.

Synology does have a Cloud Connect feature so you can in the background dump all your files onto Google Drive. This is not the same as Hyper Backup which does the same but at the block level for storage. However, if you can’t use Cloud Connect to upload Google Photos.

So if you have photos say on a network server, the only way to do this is to download your photos to your laptop so it isn’t a network drive and then upload it with the batch uploader with the Google Photos option checked.

Net, net, the best way so far seems to be to use Google Drive to host all the photos using the $10/month unlimited GSuite plan and then selective add those photos to Google Photos for album sharing.

I haven’t gone through the whole process yet, but it does look like you do lose all the directory and file names like Amazon Photos. So there isn’t an answer quite yet. I may in the end have to host my own Digital Ocean site with a custom gallery ūüôĀ

Using Mavic for videos and photos..

Well I haven’t crashed the drone yet, but now it’s time to get the most quality video and photos from it, first some dumb things:

  1. For a long time I could not figure out how to change the resolution of the camera. I kept on going to the upper right settings menu and the only options there are about the gimbal. What you actually have to do is to click on the button just below the shutter button on the lower right. You will then get resolution choices. Note that the video and photo modes give totally different settings.
  2. So what settings to pick, well first get a huge SD card and a fast one (UHD) so you can shoot in 4K video. I normally pick 4160 because why not and then you get 24fps, if you are shooting fast stuff, then 1080p at 60fps might be your choice, but not for landscapes.

So what if you want to actually shoot professionally, then you really tweak the settings. You have to shoot so you can image process later:

  1. Basically this means shoot in D.Lux if you are going to process, although Standard seems decent.
  2. You also should take it out of AWB or automatic white balance otherwise the color will shift depending on what you are looking at so something in the 5500-6000 Color Temperature makes sense.
  3. Finally, you want to manually set the ISO as low as possible and to prevent weird artifacts, you need to shoot at a low shutter speed.
  4. The rule of thumb is 1/(2xframe rate). So at 24fps, you want to shoot at 1/50th or so. This means you will want a set of neutral density filters so it doesn’t look overexposed.
  5. Set the color settings to “1 0 1” for later use.


Ubuntu 16.04 fails on reboot on VMware Fusion

I’ve been having this strange problem with Ubuntu 16.04 in VMware Fusion where it eventually fail with a graphics mode failure, it was horrible to debug but this is what helped:

  1. First when you have this kind of hang, see if you can get just a terminal windows with CTRL-ALT-F1. Now this is tricky on the new MacBook Pro’s with touch screens, but basically you hold the FN-CTRL-OPT F1. This should get you to a terminal window and you can login in character mode.
  2. Now you can check the /var/log/syslog to see what happened. In this case, look for Failed and you will see that Light Display Manager does not start
  3. First you should remove the quietness when Linux is starting, so you can at least see the error messages.
  4. You should edit the /etc/default/grub and remove “quiet splash” from theGRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT line.¬†Then run `sudo update-grub` and try to reboot.¬†In many cases, this can be solved by making sure you are up to the latest¬†version with¬†`sudo apt-get upgrade` and then do see what you get, with things like Light¬†Display Manager, you will often see packages held back.
  5. What is happening is¬†that there is a deep change to a package and you can’t simply update it,¬†instead, you use `sudo apt-get dist-upgrade` and this will handle dependencies.¬†For instance this most often happens when there is a deep change in the kernel¬†images say `linux-image-4.4.0-generic` gets bumped, then the packages that need¬†it says `linux-image-generic` also needs a bump, so `dist-upgrade` handles this.¬†You often see this `packages held back` which means that there was a deep¬†update particularly in something like `xserver-xorg-*`
  6. Now this thing can cause big problems, so most of the time do a simple apt-get upgrade. Then just reboot and pray.

In this case, we see that Light Display Manager failed to start. At first I thought it was because of some problem with VMware, but now I can see that it was more likely a deep dependency in X11 server which runs the graphical interface.

Outfitting a new apartment

Wow this has gotten way easier thanks to, and Subscriptions are required for the first and last but totally worth it:

  1. Tramontina. This is the has a knockoff Allclad triple-ply pans that can last a lifetime. For a limited time $109 gets you a set of 8 (really four pots).
  2. Tramontina Restaurant quality no-stick pans. Same deal, really excellent pans and they are only $40 at Walmart.
  3. Lodge Stew pot. We use our Lodge pot more than any other pot for stews and they are super inexpensive.

Knives are probably the other item people neglected item, but there is nothing that lasts longer and make a difference when cooking:

  1. Victorinox. While you can get a set of knives, if you look cooks illustrated, you can get an amazing knife set for very little if you are willing to put up with a little less uniform look. The 8″ chef knife, the 3.5″ paring knife are the two goto’s that we use all the time and are super reasonable.
  2. Mercer Cullinary Millenia 10-inch bread knife.
  3. Chicago Cutlery steak knives. While you can get your flatware at Ikea (I’ve done it), the knives are a different story. At $4 a knife, these are beautiful walnut and really high quality.
  4. Chef Choice knife sharpeners. Even with great knives, they need to be straightened. It turns out that most of the time you do not want to remove material, but just unbend an invisible turn in your knives, while expensive the Chef Choice are the goto.

Next up is the bedding, while it seems silly, having a bed that lasts 10 years is actually a great investment and now with direct-to–consumer lines, it’s never been easier to avoid all those mattress scams. The state of the art are the new foam mattresses, they do not need a box spring and shape to your body

  1. Thread and Needle. This is a startup that offers direct only through Amazon. At $550 for a full size, they are a great deal with a 10-year warranty and 100-day return policy.
  2. Protect-a-Bed AllerZip. It is frightening to think about bed bugs and this simple wrap isolates the bed from those nasty things.
  3. Zinio Tufted Premium Platform Bed. If you don’t want to go to Ikea, the folks at Zinio make a ¬†nice bed but also have a nice slatted bed for just $200.