Cleaner car shortcuts

Your ride rolls out clean and shiny, as the sun shines onto the paint job drying what’s left of the moisture. Clean chrome bits glimmer to a sparkly shine and mirrors reflect at its very best. As you pull away, you imagine bystanders whispering to others – is this a new car? How does he do it? If the car’s that clean, what’s the owner like? You revel in those self-fantasies and drive yourself to a cendol outlet to cool off all that steam. Car is parked, locked and you coolly walk across the street to relish your dessert.

You slurp the cendol to the last green noodle, relieved of thirst and head back to your car – from afar, you notice something is amiss. There appears to be something which isn’t the color of your paint, and it’s on your shiny, newly washed ride. You haphazardly sprint over, dodging cars and bikes, to find out those birds are at it again – leaving white drippy splotches on the surface. You cringe, and swear vengeance to those winged critters who wronged you; there will be no rest, for they will pay the price, blood for blood.

Exempting the vengeance part, the above situation pretty much applies to each Malaysian who owns a car. Most drivers give up at the thought of an uphill battle; there’s so much that can get a car dirty and the effort of getting a car decently clean never seems to be worth it. As for myself, my car is personally washed, cleaned and maintained to my own standards, and while it is certainly difficult to uphold those standards it is at times necessary for some shortcuts to be made. Below are my top 5 quick and simple tips I’ve learnt throughout the journey.

 

#1 Tissues are handy for cars too

Tissue rolls can do more than just those emergency trips to the public toilet – it can be used to clean up bird poo as well. If the poo is still moist, dampen the tissue with your sprayer and wipe off the mess. If it has dried, lay two or more layers of tissue covering the dropping and saturate the tissue with water. Allow 2-3 minutes to moisten the droppings, then finally wipe it away with more tissue.

#2 Avoid using the wipers

This might be tricky, risky even but how the problem begins is that dirt accumulates at the blades when your wipers are set at their horizontal positions. Dirt, bits of tree and bird are swept across your windscreen, scratching and smearing the glass surface as you flick the wiper switch without a second thought. I would suggest not to use them during light drizzles or rain unless your vision of the road is severely impaired. However, it is fine to use them while being in a heavy downpour as the rainwater will have dislodged the dirt (and you will probably need to use them in such a situation).

#3 In the middle of it all

After a 3 hour cleaning ritual you set out to drive off to fetch your date but before you do so, the skies cackle and rain starts to pour. What do you do? Just wait. Rain, as it first begins is much more dirtier than the rain after a period of time as it initially gets into contact with dust and particles in the air. However, after an extended downpour the rain is much cleaner after a while due to – yes you guessed right – cleaner air. So when it happens, run back in and wait it out for bit to not waste that 3 hour effort – and be sure to give your date a good excuse.

#4. Let it flow

You hurriedly drive back home, to bring your vehicle to the safety of your roofed car porch as the dark grey clouds start to roll in. Alas, some other driver who doesn’t care about their car impedes your way and you get caught in the dirtiest of rain. To avoid those dust rings and watermarks, simply get a 1.5 liter bottle filled with clean water and pour it over the car to let the rainwater (and dirt contained in it) flow off the paint. After all, less watermarks are better than more watermarks.

#5 Hit the gas, slam the brakes

This tip has some science backing to it – if you have just turned into an mall’s parking lot to escape the storm, take advantage of Newton’s First Law for your own benefit and do some rapid acceleration and braking to ‘shake’ off the rainwater still clinging on to your car. Be absolutely sure that the coast is clear and do not scare or harm any pedestrians in the process!

Cheers to a clean ride!

The OBD and the Myvi – the beginning

Note: Some might be aware there is a password protected page before this. This post was supposed to be out before it, so you don’t have to worry if you think you’re missing any part of the story.

As a person with strong interest and literacy in technology and weird curiosity, I loved to see how things worked. I would tear down casette tapes, stereos, and basically almost anything attached together with screws, and ogle at the little shiny bits and weird shaped objects hidden from view. Of course, the entire thing at most times wouldn’t work exactly the way it should after I reassembled it, but hey you now know how it works, right?

Fast forward to today. I still break open stuff – but as a responsible adult I leave them in at least the same, or better condition when I was done with it. Now when I finally bought my own car, and a car hasa computer and many screws inside – we all know what comes next.

I started this little project almost two years back. It started with a simple thought with the average fuel consumption meter on the meter cluster – how does it work? How do I know if it’s accurate? Why could it only show me the average? Then, there was a day which I was driving my cousin’s VW Golf MK6 and it could display fuel consumption at that very instant, which I thought which would be more practical to achieve a more fuel efficient drive with the Myvi.

Logic first, every car has an ECU – acronym for Electronic Control Unit which basically is a computer for the car’s engine. When you step on the gas pedal, you allow more air into it; which the engine in turn will calculate and instruct to provide sufficient fuel for the mixture to ignite. The explosion is turned to mechanical power, which turns gears and moves shafts, which makes the car go. Now with this in hand the car would definitely have some sort of sensors to monitor these events – but are the conditions monitored by these sensors available to the driver? Again, logic says yes as when you have an engine problem, there’s got to be a way for the mechanics to see what’s happening in the engine, and how the computer is reacting to the situation. Enter OBD2.

OBD2, which stands for for On-Board Diagnostics, with 2 being the revision is a term car enthusiasts would certainly come across. Simply put, it is a standard where a car’s ECU may report its condition via a receptacle common to all manufacturers, also known as an OBD2 port. Error codes are thrown and read from the same port, which simplifies diagnostics and repairs – but as hinted above they can be used to report sensor values, which the end-user may utilize to monitor the health or performance.

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The OBD2 adapter to connect your car’s ECU to your laptop/car.

Fortunately, getting a physical connection to the ECU is easy. Unfortunately, getting your OBD2 cable or tool to communicate with your ECU is tough. Some ECUs work plug and play with the tool which they use settings common to many other vehicles, whereas some need a bit of tinkering to get both sides to handshake. There’s not much documentation on this process either, which I had to rely on a lot of experimentation and trial and error to get it working. I can’t tell how many times which I tested different setups to get the tool and ECU to connect – and when I finally succeeded, you bet I was excited to see it finally responding.

Once you have it connected, you can finally diagnose your own CELs and clear them if needed – certainly a very useful feature for those home mechanics or DIY enthusiasts. Also available to you would be the real-time sensor readings, which you can monitor certain vital engine parameters as you drive. Want to see if your CAI works? Install it and monitor your intake air temperatures. Is the car experiencing poor fuel consumption? Check the fuel trims and you can find how much the ECU is compensating. Need to know at what speed your car is the most efficient? Plot out your RPM, vehicle speed and fuel consumption against a graph. There’s certainly plenty more that you can do.

Next post, I will be taking a look at the available sensors that can be read, and also see what else is possible with the OBD2 tool.

PS. For those who are wanting to get one your 2011 Myvi/Alza, I’m currently selling an OBD2 adapter which is guaranteed to work on your car. It’s definitely worth the price, and you’re directly supporting the work of yours truly 😉

 

 

 

 

Car detailing, my way – an introduction

So recently I’ve been into car detailing as well – not exactly detailing as I’ve only learned on how to maintain one but not how to restore on to its former glory, but it’s a step towards the right direction. Efficiency has always been a part of me, so most of my works are in the ‘good enough’ category; some may raise eyebrows at this point because detailing is well, detailing so every aspect has to be top notch, right? Right?

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mah ride

So this is my first car, a Perodua Myvi second generation model with a 1.5 liter 3SZ-VE engine mated to a stick shifter. It’s in solid white, and she’s (she?) about a year plus old. She’s been given the coating treatment on day two, and I have been taking care of her exterior and interior looks ever since. My parents initially scoffed that the car would be clean for not more than half a year but she’s still as shiny as day one.

Now while I am certainly proud that a few friends do mention how clean my car is, I’m rather ashamed that my maintenance skills has not been put to the test yet since I had been given the opportunity to work from my own home for more than a year. Driven back and forth in KL’s traffic jams along with the lack of time would put a serious dent into my efforts in keeping her in tip-top shape.

To keep her tidy, there’s gotta be more than just car shampoo and water. I’m still a novice and I can’t really comment on what’s the best out there for the best price, but I stick to my ideology – speed and efficiency. So far, Optimum’s line of products fit the bill nicely as they emphasize cutting-edge technology, ease of use, and product amount in almost every aspect. Optimum Car Wax (or OCW for short) is their only, I repeat, only item in their range for protection in the form of wax and it’s a spray. Too good to be true but it’s so much easier to apply than the conventional apply-flash-buff waxes which you have to thoroughly work with. Optimum No Rinse so far is also a really versatile product which can be used for several purposes, yet it’s not an AIO product which I loathe.

For the shampoo it’s something you use almost all the time so a cheap-and-good solution would fit the bill. Enter Osren and their line of products, I use their Bubble and Wax often and I must say it is absolutely splendid for its price per wash and does its purpose really well – maybe it’s time to make a visit to the HQ in Jalan Ipoh to see what other goodies they have for sale!

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if you see beads, it’s a clear sign protection is still present

I have a fair share of using off-the-shelf products for miscellaneous tasks, such as a water-based tyre shine which I’ve found out, doubles brilliantly as a exterior plastic trim protectant. If it’s one thing I’ve learned throughout the journey, not all the specialized brands work well – the brands which detailers would shun such as Turtle Wax, Kit and the like works great too.

If you’re a budding person who just got a new ride, and would want to take care of it with a budget, here are my recommendations on the basic items you will need, and in brackets is what I’m using:

1. Car shampoo (Osren’s Bubble and Wax, or something that doesn’t strip wax)
2. Wax (Optimum Car Wax, Duragloss Aquawax, these are spray waxes)
3. APC/Degreaser (Optimum Power Clean, you can dilute it to different strengths for each purpose)
4. Wash Tool (Gold Plush Micro-Chenille Mitt, but your preferences may vary)
5. Detailing brush (a baking brush for yolks, it’s almost the same thing but make sure the bristles aren’t plastic)
6. Wheel brush (gardening brush)
7. Tyre shine (Tupps, affordable and serves more than one purpose)
8. Black plastic trim (again, Tupps)
9. Clear plastic and glass protectant (ONR in QD ratio)
10. Clay (Permaglass’ Wonder Clay, ONR in QD ratio as lube)
11. Interior (ONR in wash ratio for cleaning, and QD ratio for protection)

Remember, a minimum weekly wash is the way to keep your car clean!

Syrufit / Poplica* – Love Hearts Album Review

Syrufit – or also known as Poplica*, is a composer I’ve only discovered most recently. I crossed over his work, Jailhouse69 when I was listening to Diverse System’s works.2, pretty awesome album too at that, and I was actually hoping that I could find more songs similar to it.

So it turns out that he already has a couple of albums under his circle name Syrufit “Studio Comfiture”, with quite a number of them being Touhou remixes. Now there was a time where I was seriously into Touhou music but as it progressed I got disillusioned with the amount of different but similar (oxymoron lol) interpretations from Comiket and Reitaisai. It would annoy me most to hear the regular tune of Youmu’s theme from PCB or Lunatic Princess of Imperishable Night. I just couldn’t shake off the feeling ‘oh it’s this again.’

Now Love Hearts turned out to be one of Poplica’s Touhou remix albums, but I didn’t actually discover it till the through half of the CD. It’s exactly my point as well – Poplica has them remixed so much that it’s hard to tell it even came out of ZUN’s drunk composing.

There’s many prominent female vocalists, featuring 3L, Aki Misawa, and Mei Ayakura, and with vocals there’s bound to be doujin lyrics. Every song features an unaltered voice track (an exception for the first and last), and those which don’t, have voice sequences. Very vocal heavy but they aren’t exactly frontliners, and thankfully the voices are tolerable unlike certain albums which they-just-don’t-go-with-the-song, ruining a perfectly good arrangement.

The main highlight of this album is Poplica’s and Linjin’s badass arranging skills, where every song regardless of genre just comes out fitting. Voices come out good, they don’t compete with the sound and everything is crisp and clear. A pat on the back for the arrangers.

The best song? Amidst all the heart pumping trance like tracks, Track 6’s ‘Everything’ just stands out, a simplistic song with 3L’s soft spoken voice, pianos reminiscent of a love ending theme and minimalist use of beats. ‘you’re the fire’ by Linjin is slightly more uptempo with a cheery feel. For those electro trance lovers, proceed straight to ‘true blue’, ‘BAD’, ‘Myosotis alpestris’ and ‘Rewire’. They’re great, but it needs time to get it stuck in your head. Oh and beware, BAD has Japlish in there.

Rating score for Love Hearts – 2.5 out of 5. (I’ve been on a slow roll recently, and if it wasn’t for those two slow songs this album will just get a measly 2. I’m not easy to impress.)

Mintjam – Million Knights Vermilion Original Soundtrack Review

It’s a real shame how the fighting game genre is falling apart these days. Never it was anymore like the good old times – young scrawny teenagers with a stick ball in hand, buttons on the other, poised to kill in virtual violence for victory. When the dust settles the fallen would be offered a hand in friendship, and they would make a solemn promise to challenge each other if their fates would ever cross paths again. No. Win, and expect to have the arcade cabinet flying at you, thrown by an enraged, burly man in a dirty tank top as if you pointed out in front everybody that his hairy nut was showing.

So people being people – they work around their problems, instead of dealing it face to face. Fighting games eventually joined the internet bandwagon, and you could now fuck each other up in cyberspace.

Did I just make a rhyme?

I’m not much of a SF fan. The game plays upon a tried and true formula of three buttons for fists and another three for feet, which in my opinion does not introduce any depth to the game as it seems from its exterior. This is the reason why I enjoy more doujin games nowadays is because they they try to break out of the mundane cycle, introduce some wacky mechanics into the mess they’ve made and then slowly tone it down, learning from mistakes. That’s the kind of game I’d want to play.

So we have Million Knights Vermillion, a fighter from NRF, scored by Mintjam. Mintjam has been known for their fantastic electric guitars, whether in backing or in front. Forgive the non-sensical terminologies I use, but you can get the gist. They’ve been featured in Highschool of the Dead and Kud Wafter as well, but they aren’t going commercial likely yet.

(Protip: MKV is largely terrible by standards. The only two things worth mentioning is its character design and the music.)

The game’s soundtrack largely features a good mixture of drums, synths, natural instruments and ambient effects saturated to emphasize the dark, gritty atmosphere of the game. There’s nothing that drones on and on, and it is absent of any ‘character song’ feel to it. Likewise it is original, does not feel flat nor uninspirational, and there’s a healthy dose of the electric guitar everywhere. It is close to being that good, even if you did not play the game (don’t).

No SoundCloud sadly, so this will have to do. Nice of them to provide samples, aside which you can listen when you have the game.

‘Bloody Nightmare’ is the theme song of MKV, and it is certainly fitting of one. Hitting full throttle with the percussion and electrics this should, and most probably the first thing you need to hear. ‘Let’s Rumble’ may do for some as well, but some may disagree with the doo-wops, which I think is a little cheeky to have in my opinion. Anyhow, still good with me.

‘Damaged Blade’ is another track, almost pure Mintjam style. Starts off strong and hard, ends off light. I like.

Those who like to hear more than just Mintjam’s specialty should hit up ‘Archenemy…?’, and ‘Crimson Butterfly’. Keeping the best for last would be ‘Mad Temptation’ and ‘Endless Sorrow’ – I never knew the inclusion of exclaims, sniggering and laughter of Yuri’s (possibly Tamara’s as well?) could turn the song around so much. Having said so these two tracks are easily the best you can find in the entire game.

The soundtrack gets a 3.5 out of 5, if it wasn’t for those meddlin’ – I mean, happy songs in the CD. Seriously Mintjam, it just felt pretty out of place.


GEARBOX – SORALIS (Crossfade Impressions)

 

A friend recommended previous titles from GEARBOX (members lawy, satella and Kenichi Chiba), so I figured that it had to be at least good from her perspective.

satella’s and Kenichi Chiba’s had always been a hit-or-miss situation, but it’s even worse for lawy. Never really liked his direction but maybe with SORALIS it’s set to change?

 

 

 

Lysia –  those with a fetish for traditional instruments will like this one. And rugal’s theme for CvS2. I quite like this.

Sailing to the Horizon – interesting start, but don’t think many would appreciate it

Armillaly Sphere feat. kalon. – never liked vocals in my trance, unless they came in distorted. but would still hear it anyway.

Fromage – cheese? awesome buildup, and it lands hard and tight.

Turbulence – piano kinda felt out of place. the landing just didn’t make it for me.

Girly Girly – yuzo koshiro SOR2 remix! still, will take this up.

Vanishment – static effects ahoy!

NEW! – the stuff that would make ravers happy and the entire club would burst with sunlight and confetti

Loose Leaves – this is awesome. great use of ambient music with drizzling rain. will be hyped for this

 

Tentatively, I’d give this a 2.5 out of 5.

Lifeformed – Fastfall (Dustforce Soundtrack) Review

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Dustforce is an interesting game. You run, you slide, you slash, you leap and you cling, for the best times. I’ve seen a friend of mine totally engrossed in it, doing runs and trials of a level just to shave off milliseconds off their records. One mistake, and oops, you find yourself smashing your keyboard in anger for that little delay you made. As you can tell by now this is a game for the patient and ready – totally not what I’ll spend countless hours on.

Which comes to today’s review – Dustforce has a pretty solid soundtrack, beautifully interweaved with the game’s art direction, where everything is dim, washed out and serene – but unbelievably goes against its assumed pace. You’d expect ramming electric guitars, raging drums and distorted voices – but there is none to find in Fastfall. Instead, the music is slow, cool and collected, unlike the gameplay where speed is king.

 

The tracks are reminiscient of a cold, sombre jungle in the night after a heavy pour – and this is its charm. Utilizing grevious amounts of reverb, strings and manually pitched wind instruments with a touch of 8 bit effects, Terence Lee has definitely laid down his best for this 18 track CD.

All time favorites include ‘Cider Time’, ‘9-bit Expedition’, and ‘Fifty FPS Forest’, which extrues a happy cheerful stroll through the lint-filled woods – and then there’s the melancholy ones which I suppose they are found in the harder levels such as ‘Swimming While It Rains’, ‘The Magnetic Tree’, ‘Electric Relic’ and ‘Upside Down Staglamite’.

 

To those who demand variety from their composers, Fastfall might be a hard letdown. It toes the line with its ambient feel, and it does not digress. Some may find it repetitive and stale after a few, but if you listen closely each track has its own personality and identity – as long as you stay awake to listen to it.

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Fastfall gets a 4 out of 5. Check out where the music came from here.

Review – Diverse System’s AD : Trance

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As the name of the album implies, this CD from Comiket 81 is full of it. Not too recent though as I have many more other albums left for listening which is currently residing in the stack.

Being a fan of modern/futuristic depictions of abstract art, I absolutely love the jackets.TOHRU MiTSUHASHi is a frequent contributor to most of their album art, and I would say he’s absolutely versatile in depicting the tracks from a visual view.

Most of the tracks in this CD really jive here with synths and effects which really blend in and does not feel out of place – something which DS has managed to pull off most of the time with their releases. Nothing sticks out like a sore thumb, and doesn’t go ‘hey this shouldn’t be here’ sort of thing. I love the influence of electro in trance, but just as sugar and milk goes into your coffee you can’t have too much of it.

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The first track opens with Destination, a fairly short track. A great opener but not something that would likely be stuck in your head for a while with its repetition.

‘The Surreal Sky’ sounds as if it was pulled out from the Wangan Midnight MT series. Race junkies would definitely dig this.

‘quark’ definitely wins my vote for the best track in the entire CD. RIGHT STUFF just has the magic touch. Other notable mentions include ‘Dependence’, ‘Hello and Again’, and ‘When the rain’.

If you’re looking for something funky that deviates slightly from the genre, ‘Kaleidovision’ and ‘Sugar Beauty’ would probably be your first picks.

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Check out a crossfade of the CD above or at their official website here – you’ll see what I mean. An overall score of 3.5 out of 5.