Design, DIY

Onewheel - A 2000 Mile Review

Back in 2016, I unexpectedly managed both of my fantasy baseball leagues to victories for a generous windfall of $1500. As a responsible mid-20's adult, I purchased the Onewheel V1 having never ridden the board before with all of my winnings. I took a huge financial gamble on a Santa Cruz, California-made electric motion device based on online reviews only. It changed my life.

During my Berzerkeley days, I was commuting from the Berkeley Hills all the way to Palo Alto. I use to drive to BART, BART to Lake Merritt, and then shuttle to Palo Alto. Yes, I agree - it was insane, but the Onewheel made it doable.

It never snows in the bay area, but riding the Onewheel down the Berkeley hills every weekday morning was honestly better than snowboarding. My daily ride was so damn predictable: I never "caught an edge", I never had any mechanical or electrical failures, I carved every surface imaginable down and up the hills, rain or shine. I transitioned from longboarding to Onewheeling within a month's time. Thankfully, in the first 100 miles of riding the board, I managed to escape any serious injury without wearing a helmet. Don't be like me, seriously, WEAR A HELMET!!!

Back in 2016, personal electric transports were not popular in the bay area; Lyft and Uber had only just started getting popularized! Those days, only Santa Monica had Scooter Fever.. Every day I rode the Onewheel, I was inundated with questions and comments from random strangers, coworkers, and kids: "Does it run on electricity?", "How fast does that thing go?", "What's the battery life like?", "How much did you pay for it?", "How do you balance on it?", "Did you build that yourself?", "DO A KICKFLIP!". Wow, I finally understood what it felt like to be a hot chick with headphones on... (Seriously, don't bother people with headphones on in public. SERIOUSLY!!111)

Fast forward to 2019...

The future of personal electric transports is now! Aside from the Onewheel, there are so many amazing battery-powered, electric transports ubiquitous today: Tesla's, Electric motorcycles, Electric rickshaws, Electric bikes, Lime/Bird scooters, Segways, Hoverboards, etc. These personal electric transports solve the last mile equation for commuting. Why travel in a 3000 pound gas-guzzling $12 Lyft/Uber ride, when you can enjoy the journey to your destination on a 25 pound electric transport for a fraction of the price?? The ELECTRIC REVOLUTION is here!!!

So.. How has my Onewheel held up after 2000 miles? Maintenance-wise, I carved the OEM Vega Tire to its core in under 500 miles. Future Motion replaced the BMS (battery module system) once - after riding through a massive puddle - to the tune of $460. My board's batteries still delivery a healthy 4-7 miles of range, so I don't find myself needing to upgrade anytime soon. These electric motors dramatically simplify the number of parts needed to function for thousands of miles - I look forward to celebrating my Onewheels' 3000 and 4000-mile marks soon! Finally, after 3 years of ownership, I no longer get asked daily questions about my Onewheel in the bay area; however, your experience may vary.

ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY: I love the vertically-integrated experience of my Onewheel V1. It's an engineering marvel:

  • It regenerates energy when riding downhill by running its flywheel in reverse - just like an electric car! Make sure not to charge it to 100% before riding though, otherwise it will shut off mid-ride due to overcharge. The 4-8 mile battery life is perfect for riding to and from public transit across any terrain.
  • It houses 130Wh of Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePo4) batteries underneath the foot pads. Compared to lithium ion batteries, this battery chemistry is resistant to overheating in exchange for energy density. Guess what?? There has never been a self-immolating Onewheel, and this specific Onewheel can be flown on planes.
  • Ultra-fast charging via a wall outlet. Only 20 minutes per charge, so you can get riding sooner.
  • Modern sensors. It uses two gyroscopes and weight sensors to give a self-balancing, predictable, carvy ride. It rides like a snowboard down hills, like a longboard on flats, like a surfboard in bowls, and like nothing else going up hill. As a longboarder who walked up most hills most of his life, carving up hills is a God-send.
  • Built-in LED lights for night-time riding. There are set of two lighting strips which give you a bright white light for visibility in front and red lights for traffic in the back.
  • Automatic slip and pushback detection. The board corrects itself via software to prevent over-acceleration by the rider and to prevent over-voltage or running out of charge on the board.
  • Weather resistant body construction. Thanks to the aluminum body and a solid plastic fender, none of the edges have rusted and none of the plywood has molded. In fact, I ride through the streets on light, rainy days without any issue.
  • It comes with a companion mobile app complete with leaderboards, accurate telemetries, debugging information, notifications, and a lifetime odometer. Best of all, the Onewheel connects via bluetooth so you can access all of the information deep in the mountains.

MODS: I love how modular the Onewheel's components are (None of that proprietary Apple non-sense), and I absolutely love how in-depth the Onewheel Community experiments with mods. They explore all sorts of go kart tire options (Hoosier and Burris), Grip tapes (Skate and Surf), and hobbyist renewable energy technology (DC-DC battery fast charging via a Solar MPTT). I highly recommend checking out the community-run products on Craft and Ride, FlightFins, and Float Life. Here's a list of all of the work I've put on my board:

  • Vicious Grip Tape - any skater will tell you the original grip tape sucks. By using a hair-dryer, you can easily swap the grip tape for something more coarse. Better for higher speeds and sharper turns.
  • OWArmor - perfect for increasing visibility at night time and giving your Onewheel a little more personality.
  • Hoosier 6.5" Treaded Tire - swapping the tire is the best thing you can do for your Onewheel. It rides completely differently and the treaded tires help immensely for going off-road. If you choose the 6.5" Hoosier, make sure not to pump it past 14 PSI, otherwise you'll experience rubbing.
  • Aluminum Handle - the Onewheel weighs 25 pounds without any mods; the stock handles are an insane forearm workout. These side handles make it much, much easier to carry your board around.
  • CarvePower DC Charging Kit - going on longer rides with no outlets? No problem, add this convenient on-the-go charging kit for the best trail experience.

If you've read this far, you've probably noticed that I absolutely adore my Onewheel (and my gf too!!). It's part of my everyday life now, and the best money I have ever spent on a consumer electronic. Don't go into debt to buy one, but if you start saving now, you will not regret it. Float on my friends.


Hackintosh Mac OS High Sierra Upgrade Troubleshooting

Hackintosh Specifications:

  • Motherboard: GIGABYTE G1 Gaming GA-Z170MX-Gaming 5 (Intel HD 530 iGPU)
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-6600K Skylake Quad-Core
  • RAM: (4x8GB) 32 GB G.SKILL Ripjaws V DDR4 3000
  • GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
  • HD: Samsung 840 120GB SSD
  • Audio: Creative Sound Blaster Omni Surround 5.1 USB
  • WiFi + Bluetooth: Fenvi FV-T919 PCI Adapter (native support - highly recommended)

macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 is quite the modern day Apple software upgrade: APFS, Airplay 2, Metal 2 for the full Apple ecosystem... on PC hardware.

I've been putting off this direct OS upgrade for quite some time since I've read about all of the horror stories on tonymacx86. They weren't kidding around. I ran into issues on every step of the upgrade, so I'm hoping this guide will help you. Most online guides do not cover the minor versions of High Sierra nor Nvidia systems.

Prerequisites: Mac OS Sierra, Clover r4630 (great stable version), Multibeast v9.2.1 for Sierra (apply Intel graphics fixes), High Sierra Installer (mine was 10.13.2), apfs.efi, a backup (Carbon Copy Cloner ftw).

  1. After following the prerequisites on tonymacx86, I ran the High Sierra installer (5.22 GB) from the /Applications directory. After a few minutes I was off to the races. After booting into the "install Mac OS" partition, the loader started for a bit and then the spinner completely stalled half way through. The issue is due to booting with the Nvidia card. To solve this issue, I completely removed my graphics card from my case and used my Intel iGPU to continue the installation.
  2. Well once I got back into the installer, it turns out the temp installation directories went missing.

    The path /System/Installation/Packages/OSInstall.mpkg appears to be missing or damaged

    To solve this issue, I reran the installation file (step 1) from my regular Mac OS partition.
  3. Phew, we made it pretty far now, and the installation actually ran to completion following many reboots (boot back into the "install Mac OS" partition everytime). Once I tried to boot into the real deal though, my computer showed the Apple logo and immediately started to reboot. It was stuck in a reboot loop, which immediately lead me to believe this was a kernel panic. I booted back into the mac OS partition with a few boot flags (right click the drive in Clover for options) verbose and do not reboot on kernel panic to diagnose the problem. I discovered I had an old Lilu.kext file. To solve this issue, I booted with the boot flag -liluoff.
  4. Finally, I had logged in successfully to High Sierra. To make sure I didn't have to boot with the -liluoff flag every time I started my computer, I updated Lilu.kext to the latest version in both /Library/Extensions and /EFI/CLOVER/kexts/Other/.
  5. Depending on the version of High Sierra you upgraded to, you may have to follow some additional setup steps to enable full functionality: 10.13.2, 10.13.3, 10.13.4, 10.13.5, 10.13.6. I ran through 10.13.2 and 10.13.6 guides to make sure my upgrades went as smooth as possible. At this time, I also installed the basic Multibeast v10.4 High Sierra configurations to enable full compatibility.
  6. Once I had every software thing in place, I reinstalled my Nvidia card and booted with the nv_disable=1 flag (some of the Nvidia drivers can crash on different versions of High Sierra). I updated my Nvidia drivers to the latest, compatible version, and then rebooted...

Voila. Finally, we did it. Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti and High Sierra on the Hackintosh. Drink a beer, you deserve it.


Raspberry Pi 2/3 (B+ Model) as an IPTV (Stalker) Client

Finally, after 2 days of fiddling around with this hardware, including testing with Raspbian (Wheezy), Raspbian (Jessie), and OpenELEC OS, I was able to successfully get Kodi 15.2 via OpenELEC 6.0.3 up and running.

I had absolutely no success with the Stalker PVR Client on Raspbian, so I opted for the unified media experience with OpenELEC. It's great. It automatically detects and installs drivers for my wireless network and keyboard / mouse receivers.

Pre-installation requirements:

  1. Raspberry Pi 2/3 - I bought mine on sale from Amazon for $36.
  2. HDMI capable display - I used my computer monitor and TV for testing.
  3. Internet connection - I used the EdiMax USB Wireless receiver from my starter kit.
  4. 8 GB or larger MicroSD Card - Mine was a Class 10 Kingston from my starter kit.
  5. Micro USB Charger - Mine was included from my starter kit, but I've seen 5-star recommendations of a 2 amp one.

Now that we have all of those in order, we are going to start by flashing the SD drive with the OpenELEC OS:

  1. Let's start by downloading the OpenELEC image from their downloads page. Select the "Diskimage" option.
  2. Unzip the image package you just downloaded.
  3. Write the disk image to your micro SD card. Use the instructions on this page for the platform you are using.
  4. Boom! You have now installed an entire powerful, open-source media center OS on your Raspberry Pi.

After a few splash screens and a short welcome tutorial, you should end up at the home screen, as such:

On a side note... Look how tiny that thing is compared to my 40" TV. Here are a few quick links to navigate the menus.

  • To setup wireless networking, go to System -> OpenELEC -> Connections and select the network and credentials to connect. It should "State: ready" when it is connected. OpenELEC will automatically connect to this network when it starts up.
  • To check for updates, go to [left arrow] -> Check for Updates. This will automatically update your add-ons and your repositories.
  • To install add-ons, go to System -> Settings -> Add-ons -> Install from repository -> [select repository] -> [select application] -> Install.
  • To launch add-ons, go to System -> Settings -> Add-ons -> My add-ons -> [select application] -> Launch.

To install the PVR Stalker Client (v0.8.4):

  1. Follow my install instructions to install the client from OpenELEC repository -> PVR Clients -> Stalker Client.
  2. Enable Stalker Client once you have configured it with your provided settings. (I cannot provide this for you - there are guides online for different services)
  3. Enable TV and Synchronise channel groups with backend(s) from System -> Settings -> TV -> General.
  4. This one is IMPORTANT. I experienced constant screen refreshes up until I did this one. Power off the machine and back on again. I used the power icon from Kodi.

Voila. You are all setup and running. Your TV option will be reloaded once channels are loaded - there will be a banner to indicate they are being loaded. Enjoy your cheap media center.

What are you waiting for? Cut the cable. Please comment or email me if you have any questions!

DIY, Thoughts

2014: Year of Me

Short list of 2014 goals for me (no particular order).. because I love myself.

  • Bartender's license
  • Tattoo on upper shoulder
  • Pierce my left ear like Scotty Pippen
  • Finish 3 self-help books
  • Starbuck's Gold Card
  • No more Adderall
  • Volunteer at Animal Shelter
  • Learn the Ukulele
  • Origami
  • Longboarding: learn how to slide on switch comfortably
  • Keep track of my monthly charges
  • Work out like I did in Texas
  • Write my Twitter bot
  • Coachella Weekend 1
  • Low stakes Poker
  • Sports Analysis Blog
  • Photoshop/Design
  • Hip-hop/Trap Production via Fruity Loops
  • Data Mining
  • Putting myself as a top priority
Design, DIY, Programming

The Rewards of Full Stack Web Development

This summer I took the road far less traveled.. Having worked for Texas Instruments as my previous summer's Software Internship, I reaped the benefits of having a full time job. Hell, I was making almost 50k as an intern in a state with no state tax -- gotta love Texas. Fully paid living, endless beer, and beautiful Dallas babes.. Why did I even leave??

I don't want to go in depth on what I did for the company because I have a feeling I wrote some seriously wrong database query methods that could very easily be SQL Injected, but it was my first exposure to web development: Microsoft Visual Studio (VB.NET). HTML/CSS/Javascript, I figured out the basics, and I learned how to make serious web scrapers. I thought I was one badass software intern, lol.

I really do thank Texas Instruments for providing me with the opportunity to get started in web development, but all the work I did there merely scratched the surface of what Web 2.0 could do. Last winter, I decided to give Ruby on Rails a shot (shout out to Michael Hartl for one of the best, free, online Rails tutorial). Rails is fucking tough man.. It really did baffle me why they would separate the Models, Views, and Controllers just to render a simple static page. By the end of that tutorial, I still had no idea where to begin, but I had a much better idea of how the MVC interacted, and I also had a glimpse of how easy it is to make Rails dynamic.

And then this summer came rolling along.. I'm currently working part time to pay rent and booze, while working overtime on my startup product. Being the only coder on a full stack development project is both physically and mentally draining, but I can safely say that I have learned 50 times as much as I did working for Texas Instruments. So without further ado, here are the rewards of full stack web development: You..

  • Master relational databases
  • Become a master of your framework
  • Understand Javascript and Frontend Development for all of the web
  • Firebug/View source on everything that looks remotely cool
  • Understand how to debug any and all situations for your application
  • Contribute to open source -- stack overflow, railscasts
  • Learn why github and heroku are absolute necessities for making your life easier
  • Appreciate how damn hard development can be
  • Evolve into a coding badass
  • Have a coding baby, one that you have nurtured for the past 6 months which you can proudly call your own... :')

Give it a shot. Even if your baby doesn't grow into anything, you will learn way more than sitting at a desk pretending to do work.

Design, DIY

Screw the MacBook Air

I don't know when I actually decided I wanted an Apple computer; I've been using Windows, Ubuntu, and Hackintosh computers for all my life.  I still distinctly recall using MS-DOS to switch to my floppy drive directory in order to play my computer games.

I guess the design of the MacBook Air captivated my technological hormones: 0.68" in height, 2.96 lbs, and 7 hours of battery life -- what's not to love.  After some preliminary research, the 13" MacBook Air runs for about $1500 for the options I want.  Even with the rumored retina screen (which would increase the price by another 200), I still don't think a piece of technology should be priced so damn high.  Call me old fashioned, but I'm still a firm believer in Microsoft products for productivity.

So check it out:  I rigged my Asus U30JC-A1 with some supercharged upgrades.  Although the specifications say that my laptop only supports 4GB RAM, the Intel i3 technology actually supports up to 8GB RAM.  Furthermore, I swapped out the ancient DVD Drive, which also duals as a paper weight, with an SSD caddy and a brand new Samsung 840 SSD.  Whoa, nerdgasm.

I doubt my Asus is running the SSD at SATA3 transfer rates, but damn this thing is fast.  It definitely feels like my computer is running at double the horsepower, but I only spent $200 for all the upgrades.  Here's hoping this laptop will run me through the end of college.

On a side note, I changed up a bit of the Ryu theme.  I really wasn't digging the widget buttons at the top, so I scattered those menus among my page.  I've yet to make all of the CSS updates I want, but this is a good start.. WordPress, success!