Well it seems like it is that time of year again. Got two questions on backups. Here’s the short story

  1. If you are using a USB flash drive to backup your precious photos please stop! That’s not super reliable. Instead get a $120 hard disk backup at least. Wirecutter has a good recommendation. Why a real hard drive. Well SSDs are fast but if you don’t plug them into the wall every year or so they will lose all data. They are electronics after all. 

  2. Use a tool like Dropbox, google photos or apple iCloud to automatically suck your photos and documents into the cloud. These work well and for most folks that is enough. 

  3. The next step up is to just have everything trickle fed to the cloud. Crashplan works well for me and is pretty much invisible. 

Mazdaspeed3 specification

I’ve been trying to use Harry’s Lap Timer and need the detailed specifications for a 2008 Mazdaspeed3. Here are the detailed specifications and some of the more obscure ones that these performance telemetry applications want:

Volumetric Efficiency: This a measure of how what percentage fuel goes in, it varies by RPM and many parameters. 12%

Drivetrain efficiency: This is how much loss there is between shaft horsepower and power applied to the ground. In this car it is quite efficient 262 horsepower gets you to 242 horsepower on the ground or 8%


Type: turbocharged and intercooled inline-4, aluminum block and head
Bore x stroke: 3.44 x 3.70 in, 87.5 x 94.0mm
Displacement: 138 cu in, 2261cc
Compression ratio: 9.5:1
Fuel-delivery system: direct injection
Turbocharger: Hitachi-Warner K04
Maximum boost pressure: 15.6 psi
Valve gear: chain-driven double overhead cams, 4 valves per cylinder, variable intake-valve timing
Power (SAE net): 263 bhp @ 5500 rpm
Torque (SAE net): 280 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm
Redline: 6700 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed manual
Final-drive ratio: gears 1-4, 3.94:1; gears 5-6, 3.35:1; limited slip

Gear: Ratio Mph/1000 rpm Speed in gears (max rpm)

  1. 3.54 5.3 36 mph (6700 rpm)
  2. 2.24 8.4 56 mph (6700 rpm)
  3. 1.54 12.2 82 mph (6700 rpm)
  4. 1.17 16.0 107 mph (6700 rpm)
  5. 1.09 20.4 136 mph (6700 rpm)
  6. 0.85 25.9 155 mph (6000 rpm)

Wheelbase: 103.9 in
Track, front/rear: 60.4/60.0 in
Length/width/height: 176.8/69.5/57.7 in
Ground clearance: 4.8 in
Drag area, Cd (0.32) x frontal area (25.5 sq ft, est): 8.2 sq ft
Curb weight: 3180 lb
Weight distribution, F/R: 63.5/36.5%
Curb weight per horsepower: 12.1 lb
Fuel capacity: 14.5 gal

Type: unit construction with a rubber-isolated crossmember
Body material: welded steel stampings

SAE volume, front seat: 51 cu ft
rear seat: 44 cu ft
cargo, seats up/down: 17/43 cu ft
Front-seat adjustments: fore-and-aft, seatback angle; driver only: rear height, lumbar support
Restraint systems, front: manual 3-point belts; driver and passenger front, side, and curtain airbags
rear: manual 3-point belts, curtain airbags

Front: ind, strut located by a control arm, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Rear: ind; 1 trailing arm, 2 lateral links, and 1 toe-control link per side; coil springs; anti-roll bar

Type: rack-and-pinion with electrohydraulic power assist
Steering ratio: 14.7:1
Turns lock-to-lock: 2.7
Turning circle curb-to-curb: 36.1 ft

Type: hydraulic with vacuum power assist and anti-lock control
Front: 12.6 x 1.0-in vented disc
Rear: 11.0 x 0.4-in disc

Wheel size/type: 7.0 x 18 in/cast aluminum
Tires: Bridgestone Potenza RE050A, 215/45R-18 93Y
Test inflation pressures, F/R: 33/32 psi
Spare: high-pressure compact on steel wheel

MacOS Finder Problems and Tips

OK, here some  of the common problems I’ve had with MacOS:

  1. MacOS Sierra seems to have developed this, when copying (but not moving) files on  a Synology NAS, I get the dreaded Can't move files, the required files cannot be found. Error code -43
  2. When you try to delete in the Trash, you get the same error.
  3. When you are on your network and connect to a Network drive, it gives a drive not found message.
  4. The file is in use when you are trying to copy on a network drive.

The problem to each of these appears to be to kill Option Right click on Finder and choose Relaunch or kill it from the Activity Monitor with a force quit or logout and back and it should work again.

MacOS and Mac Bluetooth Keyboard flakiness

I always have trouble the first time I try to pair my Mac bluetooth keyboards. Here’s a quick guide to what you have to do:

  1. Most of the time the device isn’t visible. You should check the single LED light. If it is fast blinking, then the keyboard or mouse is not paired and you should be able to see it
  2. To actually see it, you need to go to System Preferences/Bluetooth and wait for it to appear. Many times it just doesn’t appear no matter what I do.
  3. One problem is that the keyboard only pairs with one particular device. For me, I forget which keyboard goes to which computers so you need to reset the keyboard so that it pairs. The way to tell is if you get a slow blink rate rather than fast. Here’s how to reset one. Take the batteries out (this only works for the older keyboards obviously, not the new ones with the embedded battery). This resets it. Then put the batteries back in and hold down the power button. Don’t let it go. You will see the LED go solid then go to fast blink. You should now see it in the Bluetooth menu.
  4. If you do then try to pair if it says “Pairing failed” or doesn’t connect, then you should try to turn the Bluetooth on and off on the Mac. Sometimes, the bluetooth driver stack gets hung.

Debugging PCs

OK we have three PCs down and are working our way through it. If you really have a hard problem, here are the steps:

  1. Buy a test chassis system. This is something that is case-less and let’s you swap components easily. It is really useful when something goes wrong.
  2. Here are the steps, first put in the motherboard and the power supply. Power up the device and make sure the motherboard lights up and the power supply spins. You will need a small button to jumper across the power pins.
  3. If this works, then put in the processor (you do not need a fan yet) and plug in a monitor and see if you get the POST. This will tell you the processor is alive

In our case, our CPU failed this test. We did find a loose m.2 SSD and it probably shorted out the motherboard.

Gaming PCs

A buddy asked what’s a decent gaming PC. This is a great time to buy one as the nVidia GTX-1080s are coming down in price and UHD is coming out, so Techradar had a good overview

  1. Alienware Aurora F5. $800. This is Dell’s premium line. It is tiny min ITX and very fast with a GTX1080. Nice looking and from Dell.
  2. Lenovo Ideacentre Y900, this is Lenovo and a decent one too. It’s a little expensive compared with the Alienware. See

There are other specialty brands too although building one yourself is really the funnest option!

Datacolor Spyder3 Glitch

I’ve been using the Datacolor Spyder3Studio for years now to get a good calibration on monitors. Despite the fact they are up to Spyder5, this has really served me well even with out of data software.

However in trying to calibrate a Monoprice UHDTV display, a 28 inch TN monitor, I had my first trouble. Running on Sierra MacOS, the color kept getting redder and redder. Also, the readings were inconsistent. I would get the display to show 200 cd/m^2 and then during calibration it would turn redder and redder.

I finally had to delete the Spyder calibration and start all over, this seemed to help. FWIW, the sRGB out of the box calibration is actually very close to the 6500K, 2.2 Gamma that I normally use, so if you do not want to calibrate this, just set it to sRGB color space and take the brightness defaults gets you to 200 cd/m^2. That’s pretty bright, but works in high ambient light rooms. If you want a good display for color print photography, they you want it much darker and more like 120 cd/m^2.