Keeping it as simple as possible

You know that you've had the same server too long when they discontinue the entire class of servers you were using and you need to migrate to a new instance. And you know you've not done anything with that server (and the blog running on it) for too long when you have no idea how that thing is actually working.

Its a good opportunity to start over from scratch, and a good motivation to the new thing as simply as humanly possible, or even simpler.

So I am switching to a statically generated blog as well. Not sure what took me so long, but thank good the tooling has really improved since the last time I looked.

It was as simple as picking Nikola, finding its import_feed plugin, changing the BLOG_RSS_LIMIT in my Django Mezzanine blog to a thousand (to export all posts via RSS/ATOM feed), fixing some bugs in the import_feed plugin, waiting a few minutes for the full feed to generate and to be imported, adjusting the config of the resulting site, posting that to git and writing a simple shell script to pull that repo periodically and call nikola build on it, as well as config to serve ther result via ngnix. Done.

After that creating a new blog post is just nikola new_post and editing it in vim and pushing to git. I prefer Markdown, but it supports all kinds of formats. And the old posts are just stored as HTML. Really simple.

I think I will spend more time fighting with Google to allow me to forward email from my domain to my GMail postbox without it refusing all of it as spam.

Debconf 19 photos

The main feed for my photos from Debconf 19 in Curitiba, Brazil is currently in my GPhoto album. I will later also sync it to Debconf git share.

The first batch is up, but now the hardest part comes - the group photo will be happening a bit later today :)

Update: the group photo is ready! The smaller version is in the GPhoto album, but full version is linked from DebConf/19/Photos

Update 2: The day trip phtos are up and also the photos are in Debconf Git LFS share.

Automation of embedded development

I am wondering if there is a standard solution to a problem that I am facing. Say you are developing an embedded Debian Linux device. You want to have a "test farm" - a bunch of copies of your target hardware running a lot of tests, while the development is ongoing. For this to work automatically, your automation setup needs to have a way to fully re-flash the device, even if the image previously flashed to it does not boot. How would that be usually achieved?

I'd imagine some sort of option in the initial bootloader that would look at some hardware switch (that your test host could trip programmatically) and if that is set, then boot into a very minimal and very stable "emergency" Linux system, then you could ssh into that, mount the target partitions and rewrite their contents with the new image to be tested.

Are there ready-made solutions that do such a thing? Generically or even just for some specific development boards? Do people solve this problem in a completely different way? Was unable to find any good info online.

BMW 330e first 20 000 km review

So, just to start this thing off - I am quite biased in the regards of this car as I am now working for BMW for a year and this is my company car. Also I have not had the pleasure of testing its direct competition. But I still wanted to share my experiences with this rather special product. I have now driven 20 000 km in this car, so it is time for a first review.

Before this car I only had one other - a sweet 2013 Mercedes C 180D that I traveled around the Europe in and that made me start to appreciate cars and made me seriously consider applying for a job at BMW when they sponsored Debconf 15 in Germany. It was a comfortable high quality car with enough power and a whole lot of tech toys.

After 6 months working at BMW it was time for me to choose a company car (and sell my old car). It is not mandatory, but the value in this proposition is very significant and you'd be missing out a lot by not taking that. So I started looking at the BWM website and selecting a car for myself.

I am a big fan of electric cars. I love Tesla and everything that Elon Musk is doing to the car and energy markets. Unfortunately the Model S was out of my price range and Model 3 is still not there yet. BWM also has a few full and partial electrified options, but the selection is rather limited so far. i8 is outside my price range and rather unpractical. i3 was a serious contender, but I am not a fan of its looks that scream "I am an electric car!" and the charging infrastructure was not yet there to allow me to drive from Germany to Latvia easily. And that was one of the goals that my new car would have to be able to do. I was also very interested in travelling all over the Alps on weekends and having to stop at a charger for an hour every couple hours would really limit the places that one could feasibly visit in a day or two and still return home. Even with the battery upgrade (announced after I already made my order) and range extended the i3 is not really fun to drive on highways.

So the selection really was between BMW 225xe and BMW 330e. These cars basically have very similar powertrains - the 87hp electric motor is combined with either a 134hp (225xe) or 182hp (330e) gasoline engine and both have a small 7.7 kWh battery that realistically is enough for around 20 km. After trying the BMW 225xe Active Tourer, I decided for the 330e - I did not feel too comfortable in the higher seating position. It was safe and stable, but at highway speeds I had the feeling that the face of the car was really working hard to push the air out of the way.

It took 4 months from the order to delivery of my 330e - they are very, very popular. BMW can't make enough of them to satisfy demand.

Despite my screwup in the ordering (I managed to miss ticking the tech package, so no HUD for me), I was floored by the car as soon as I got in and then again when I first got on the autobahn with it.The car is amazing. It has its weaknesses, but the strengths clearly overpower them.

Basically BMW made a car that is: a green eco daily driver around town and a beast on the autobahn and a powerhouse in the twisty Alpine roads and just another great BMW 3 series car and also a positive way to transition any petrolhead to electric. Let me explain in detail how that works.

Starting with the price - BMW 330e has the same petrol motor as BMW 320i, but the electric motor added to that brings the total power to the same level as BMW 330i and it costs just 1k€ more than the 330i. However, selecting 330e already pre-selects a few additional options with combined worth of 810€, so in fact choosing the hybrid system itself only costs you 190€ (comparing to to gasoline-only 3 series car with the same power level).

There are a few drawbacks that get a bit hidden here. Fuel tank of 300e is reduced from 60l down to 45l. There is no underfloor storage in the boot of the car (where there is usually a spare wheel). Top speed of the 330e is limited to 235 km/h unlike the 330i that is limited to 250 km/h. The 330e is almost 200kg heavier than the 330i, this can be felt in acceleration, but does not hinder cornering as much because this weight is very low. There is no option to have a trailer coupling or have a wagon (touring) version of the 330e for more cargo space. This can be annoying sometimes, but in the end none of these were a deal-breaker for me.

If you (or someone you know) is a petrolhead and you want then to transition over to the electric side slowly and happily - get them to buy this car and soon enough they will be seeking out charging stations and seriously considering getting a full electric next. BMW 330e is a real BMW - it is a driver's car. It accelerates, corners, breaks and even drifts with the best of them. However (and here where petrolheads get hooked), it does this best when there is some charge in the battery. When there is charge in the battery and you press the gas pedal, you get the rush of instant, electrical acceleration while the gasoline engine turbines are still spooling up to speed. And that instant electrical power works at all speeds - from standstill up to the max speed, because the electrical engine is mounted before the gearbox, so it can assist the gasoline engine at all speeds. However, if you do not plug your car in to recharge it will revert back to the power levels of a BMW 320i with a couple big passengers in the back - it will still be quick, but you will feel (and miss) the difference. And that feeling will be what will drive even the heartiest petrolhead to install a charging station map app or start using the build-in navigation with its extensive list of charging station points of interest. From there it is just a small step to a charger at home and then to a fully electric car as a serious consideration. In fact if you switch on the Sport mode of the car, it will try to keep the battery charged up to 10-15% so that it could give you the full power of the car when needed, just like a KERS system in Formula 1. Cars such as this are essential in bringing people from gasoline to electric propulsion gradually and also gradually building up demand for charging infrastructure and forming habits at all levels - from personal to institutional.

Hopefully by the time people start looking for replacements for their BMW 330e there will be new plugin hybrid and fully electric options in this category with larger batteries and much better fast and slow charging infrastructure all over the world.

I was pleasantly surprised by the iDrive navigation interfaces. I was very used to driving using Waze before this, because the build-in maps in cars are often bad and outdated and also usually take more attention to operate than the apps on the phones nowadays. Not so with the new BMW navigation software (I have the Professional version). I found that I could do common operations like navigating to an address of a contact or adding a stop at a fuel station along the route much faster, with fewer actions and with less attention to the screen than with a phone. In addition having the destination programmed into the car turned out to have multiple additional benefits. For example the hybrid system in this car communicates with the map to know when the route goes uphill or downhill and adjust power regeneration for that. Also the car will automatically save up some battery towards the end of a journey if it is inside a city so that you can drive the last few kilometers on pure electric and reduce your in-city pollution (both air and noise). The car will also then be able to display information about the next turn or how exactly are you supposed to drive through the next complex intersection in the instrument cluster (or HUD) so that you don't have to glance to the central screen for that info.

One other big feature that I loved in the 330e is the remote climate control. As the car already has a large battery inside of it, it can use this battery for all kinds of nice things, for example you can command the car from your phone to start pre-conditioning the climate in the car. In the winter that would warm the car up and in the summer cool it down to the temperature you last set in the car. Some gasoline cars also have such service available as options, but as they do not have the battery, adding this option requires complex additional hardware that starts up the car's engine remotely to provide enough power for the climate control to work. As you might imagine that kind of option is not cheap. And you can also set this to work on a timer too. The pre-conditioning will fail if there is not enough power in the battery, so that is another reason to plug in your car into the charger early and often.

The remote services also remove the anxiety of thinking if you actually locked the car or not - you can always just take your phone and send a remote lock signal.

The real life fuel consumption of 330e is something that is quite hard to find online and I understand why - it varies. Really, really varies.

If you have a power plug you can and do use either at work or at home, then you might go weeks without using any fuel at all. BTW it takes 3 hours to fully charge from a normal 220V 16A socket and 2 hours from any Type 2 socket. Unfortunately the car can not take more than 3 kW from any source, so all the fast charger power is kind of wasted on this car. But you still can recover 10-15 km of range from a half an hour lunch stop at a free Type2 charger at IKEA and sometimes that is all you really need to get where you need to go.

At the other extreme of fuel use is flying at 200-220 km/h on the unlimited sections of the German autobahn. It is a delight to do this in this car - it is rock solid, stable and very predictable even at top speed. It has great brakes for that moment when someone does not notice you in their rearview mirrors. Your attention focuses on the next moment, the next breath, then next car, the next bend. Most of the time you do not even hear the engine (unless you turn on to the Sport mode) - the cabin is well insulated and wind and tire noise only start to penetrate it at speeds over 200 km/h. For that experience you have to be then prepared to pay with average fuel consumption around 8 l/100km and frequent refueling stops due to smaller fuel tank.

If you are outside Germany and the highway speed is limited to 130 km/h then your cruising fuel consumption is likely to be closer to 4 l/100km. Park yourself on the tail of a trailer truck following it with active cruise control at 90 km/h in EcoPro mode and you might find your "Remaining range" indication actually increasing while the car sips 2-2.5 l/100km. Been there, done that a few times.

One other cool feature that my car has (it is an option) is the Adaptive LED far light. I was already used to automatic far light on my Mercedes that turned off the far lights as soon as it saw another car in front. However, this BMW system does more than that - it actually keeps the far lights active while creating a "shadow" area pointing at the detected car(s) so that even if there is a car in front of me I can still have the road sides fully illuminated all the time. Sometimes, when I am driving behind another car the system works so well that my far lights shining around the car in front illuminate the surroundings better  and further than the lights of the car in front. This does confuse a lot of people however as they think that I will blind them as my high beams are still on as they approach. So there a lot of angry high beam blinking. But I guess people will get used to such systems soon enough.

I will not go into much details about the costs of the car for me except to say that BMW Car IT is a great employer and thanks to their company car program I am paying less per month for this 2017 BMW 330e than I paid for my 2012 Mercedes C 180D (when insurance, maintenance, depreciation, tires and fuel are included). And I am driving significantly more with it as well - I was driving an average of 1900 km per month with the Mercedes and now I am averaging 3500 km a month in the BMW. Having company paid fuel inside Germany helps in that a lot. ;)

If I was choosing a new car now then I would also very seriously consider the new BMW 530e - basically it is the same kind of setup except some 10k€ more for a new level in style and comfort, newer version of the iDrive, completely new chassis platform with carbon fiber and other fancy stuff, new engine generation, more advanced driving assistance and parking assistance options and even more space in the back. There are way more fancy options in the 5 series lineup, such as massage seats or gesture control or rear seat entertainment screens or remote vision - where you can see in your phone video from the surround cameras of your car. I expect that some of this will also trickle down to 3 series when it will get its next refresh that is rumored to be in the next couple of years. And there will be more options - the BWM future model readmap as already stated multiple times publicly includes plans for electrified cars in all segments (mostly plugin hybrids) as well as more specific plans for fully electric Mini and BMW X3 models in the next couple years. And then there will be the much rumored iNEXT car due in 2021 model year which will not only be electric, but also capable of authonomy up to Level 5. These really are interesting times in the automotive world. Thanks, Elon! :)

I have driven this car since it was manufactured in January 2017. It started with 3km on its odometer. Now it is at 20 000 km. I expect to drive it until January 2019 and I expect the final odometer to be between 80 and 100 thousand km. We will see how the car holds up over the time.

Vlog 00: Alps swimming Saturday


Intro 0:00 - 0:16 = 0:16

It was +32 in Germany this Saturday, so I decided to go somewhere colder and wetter. My cat was fine at home, so I left him there, sleeping the in the shadows.

Garage 0:17 - 0:39 = 0:22

Living in southern Germany with a car is really cool, especially if you have a parking place for it. Just an hour or two of driving and you could be in Austria, Switzerland or France and couple more hours could get you to Chechia, Belgium or Italy.

Autobahn 0:39 - 1:29 = 0:50

As everyone knows, most autobahns in Germany have no speed limit - people drive as fast as they want. This is part of the reason why you can get to many places if you live in Germany. Safety is not an issue as the autobahns are wide, flat and curve nicely in the corners. Most drive between 140 and 180 kilometers per hour due to other traffic and also due to fuel consumption easily doubling soon after that point. I got lucky with traffic here - you can see that the opposite direction is much more congested.

Austria 1:29 - 1:50 = 0:20

As I don't have an Austrian vignette, I had to go by second grade roads along the coast of the amazing Bodensee lake and there were some nasty traffic jams for half an hour either way. Next time I am getting a vignette for sure.

Swiss roads 1:50 - 2:06 = 0:16

Swiss roads are almost as nice as German ones, except for speed limits (bad) and mountains (good). I did get a Swiss vignette because there is just one for the whole year, so that is good.

First swim 2:06 - 4:00 = 1:54

An alternative to going by car is going by rail - both German and Swiss rail systems are very well developed and there are stops anywhere you might want to go (except for high mountain passes, but there are special trains and elevators that go where cars can't). So here I am arriving at a local swimming place on lake Walen. It is a nice mountain lake roughly two by 15 kilometers with 2+km mountain ranges on both sides at some points with vertical cliffs going down into the lake. Lake is fed by melt water from mountains as high as 3.4km, so melt water is still flowing into it even in august. It was really cold, the top layers were warmed up to some 18 degrees, but deeper water was colder. The local beach was a combination grass and pebble artificial beach and a pier for boats that shuttle people around the lake every couple hours. After a bit of swimming and sunbathing, it was time to move on. Only after that I noticed that my camera was still in Manual mode since a couple weeks ago when I was experimenting with photographing stars. Big fail.

Cows 4:00 - 6:35 = 2:35

Some way further in the mountain valleys cows started showing up more. The clang from many cows eating grass is really loud, but the views were amazing. This is all filmed on a wide angle 10-18mm lens, so basically I had to raise my head 45 degrees to look at things on the top of the frame and look down to see what you see on the bottom. Mountains still impress me a lot coming from a flat country like Latvia. Just these mountains here were many times higher than Latvia's highest mountain.

Up and away 6:35 - 8:52 = 2:18

After a quick lunch of sausage salad (there is a lot of chopped sausage in the middle there) it was time to start seriously climbing towards the highest point today - Klausen pass on route 17. I love these twisty, climbing roads with amazing views to the sides and not too much traffic. You can get nice acceleration both in speed and sideways while still being perfectly safe on the road. The tightness and the drop-offs on one side add to the excitement.

Waterfall 8:52 - 9:22 = 0:30

And when you are approaching the top there are more and more sights like this - a majestic cliff with snow capped mountains on top and a waterfall of melt water cascading down with a nice place below for a picnic or just a break. Just beware of the buses as you drive there. Yes, there is a bus route going trough this pass.

Klausen pass 9:22 - 10:55 = 1:18

The view from the top of Klausen pass is amazing. But if you are not satisfied with that, you can do what I did - climb a few hundred meters higher on the mountain sides on either side of the pass, then you can see something like this. The view goes on from a long, long way in a clear day and you can see tiny cars on far roads and distant peaks. And then you can also look down on the parking place at the top of the pass and the other side of the mountain.

Pasture 10:55 - 12:51 = 1:56

The climb is rather easy, because you are not the first going there. There are regulars who go here a lot - cows. Every accessible grassy hillside, even if it is angled at 60 degrees is a cow pasture and you can see that by how cows have created a bumpy landscape by stepping into the ruts for stability. Even rocks are worn away in the same way in some places. So you can just walk the same way. And after a bit of a walk, you cross over to the other side. The view is breathtaking (and not just because it is more than 2 kilometers up). Up there you can be and feel alone. See and feel the majesty of forces of nature that created this amazing landscape. Or just smile and wave.

Other side 12:59 - 14:10 = 1:10

The other approach to the Klausen pass is also very nice - there is this grey hotel building at the top of the mountain and you drive towards it, climbing all the way along a road that is cut directly into the side of a mountain at great elevation above the valley floor below. You can see the brown line of the road on the right, just under the green shelf in the middle of the shot. Don't get too distracted here or the buses will get you.

Second swim 14:10 - 15:24 = 1:14

As the sun was coming down I arrived at my second lake today - Lake Lucerne. It is a huge lake with many branches and many cities along its coast. I took a dip at one of the beaches of Brunnen. Technically it was a paid beach, but it was so late that they stopped taking money and were basically cleaning, closing up and serving last drinks to people at the bar when I arrived. The water was warm and very clear. Swimming in a lake surrounded by huge mountains with a sunset blooming - it was an amazing sight. It was totally worth the trip.

Back - 15:24 = 0:23

After that all that was left was getting back home - across half the Switzerland, trough a bit of Austria and a couple hundred kilometers of autobahns. All in all it was an amazing day of a lot of driving, a bunch of swimming and some mountain walking that cost me 35€ in fuel and 20€ in food.

Instrukcija lidošanai

Instrukcija lidošanai tiem, kas sen to nav darījuši :) Derēs gan Ryanair, gan AirBaltic (es pieminēšu, kur ir starpības). Instrukcija tika rakstīta pāris radiniekiem, kas sen vai nekad nav ceļojuši un pārpublicēta šeit - ja nu kādam noderēs :)

Pirmais solis ir biļešu iegāde. To vislabāk uzticēt pieredzējušam cilvēkam, jo nianšu tajā ir daudz. Mazliet pamanipulējot ari izlidošanas datumiem, sākuma un gala lidostām un izmēģinot dažādus maršrutus un lidsabiedrības, kā arī dažādas mājaslapas ir iespējams pamatīgi ietaupīt lidojuma izmaksās. Es parasti izmantoju 3 informācijas avotus: Google Maps, lai atrastu visas lielās pilsētas mērķa apkārtnē, lai atrastu maršrutus, lidojmu numurus un cenas un tad attiecīgo lidsabiedrību mājaslapas, lai pārbaudītu vai nav iespējams atrast labāku cenu tiem pašiem lidojumiem. Dažreiz viens un tas pats lidojums ir lētāks, citreiz airBaltic lapā. Galvenais šī processa rezultāts ir reģistrācijas numurs un lidojuma laiks.

Otrais solis būs kādu nedēļu pirms lidojuma - online checkin. Tad jāieiet attiecīgās kompānijas mājaslapā, Ryanair gadījumā jāiet uz Check In, izvēlās "Email", ievada reģistrācijas numuru un epastu, izskrollē cauri reklāmai par visādiem papildus pakalpojumiem un iečekojas. Airbaltic gadījumā lapa ir latviski un atbilstošais punkts ir "reģistrēties lidojumam" kur prasa reģistrācijas numuru un uzvārdu. Rezultātā tiks iegūta biļete, ko vajadzētu uzreiz arī izdrukāt.

Vēl pirms lidojuma derētu pārbaudīt vai telefoniem ir atļauts roaming un aizliegts roaming data. Pirmais ir lai ārkārtes gadījumā varētu sazināties ar zvaniem un īsziņām, otrais lai telefons ārzemēs nenotērē nežēlīgi dārgos ārzemju datu megabaitus.

SIlti iesaku lidot tikai ar rokas bagāžu - tas ir daudz vieglāk un arī lētāk. Bagāžas soma var sākt būt nodetīga, ja ceļojuma laiks ir virs vienas nedēļas, bet arī tad ir iespējams izlīdzeties mazgājot drēbes uz vietas. Katram pasažierim ir atļauta rokas bagāža - 1 soma ar izmēriem ne vairāk kā 55x40x20 cm un viena maza rokassomiņa 30x40x10 cm ar kopējo svaru zem 10kg uz cilvēku. Kārtīgi plānojot ar to vajadzētu pilnīgi pietikt nedēļai. Smago un lielo apgērbu šādos gadījumos vienkārši velk virsū un somā liek tikai vieglāko. Rezerves apavus ņemt nevajag - jāvelk tādi apavi kuros var visu nedēļu nostaigāt. Nedrīkst ņemt līdzi nekādus šķidrumus, ģēlus vai pastas. Ja ļoti vajag, tad var ņemt līdzi līdz 5 gab 100ml pudelītes tās turot caurspīdīgā plastmasas maciņā, bet tas ir papildus čakars, jo tas maciņš drošības pārbaudē jāvelk no somas laukā atsevišķai pārbaudei. Cietas uzkodas gan var ņemt droši (ja vien iepakojums nav metālisks vai stikla).

Lidostā būtu ieteicams būt apmēram 2 stundas pirms izlidošanas laika. Drošības pārbaude var aizņemt ap pusstundu (ja ir rinda) un durvis uz lidmašīnu tiek taisītas ciet pusstundu pirms izlidošanas. Tas ir lidostai Rīga - ārzemju lidostās drošības pārbaude var aizņemt ilgāk.

Tā kā online checkin in iziets, biļete izdrukāta un ir tikai rokas bagāža, tad lidostā nav nekādas vajadzības iet pie lidkompānijas lodziņa - var uzreiz iet lidmašīnas virzienā. Uz tablo atrodam vajadzīgo lidmašīnu (pēc reisa numura uz biļetes) un noskaidrojam "geita" jeb izejas numuru. Tas būs līdzīgs "B4" vai "C12". Burts norāda kurā lidostas zonā šī izeja ir. Atkarībā no burta ir jāiet vai nu uz labo vai uz kreiso drošības pārbaudes zonu, sekojot norādēm lidostā. Visticamāk būs jāiet uz kreiso pusi. Ja nav skaidrs, tad var drošības personālam parādīt biļeti un paprasīt uz kurieni jāiet.

Pirms drošības pārbaudes paprasīs parādīt biļeti. Pavadošie tālāk iet nedrīkst, tikai tie, kas lido. Pasi parasti neprasa, bet būtu labi to turēt pie rokas. Tad tālāk ir drošības pārbaude. Gaidot rindā var uzreiz pārlikt visas metāliskās lietas ārjakas kabatā - atslēgas, maku, rotaslietas, pulksteni, bikšu siksnu. Pienākot rindai paņem divus plastikāta traukus un noliek uz konvejera - vienā ieliek somu (ja ir maciņš ar šķidrumiem, tad tas ir jāizņem un jānoliek blakus somai), otrā ieliek virsdrēbes un jebko metālisku (ja viss metāliskais jau ir virsdrēbju kabatā, tad ir vieglāk). Drošībnieki var palūgt novilkt vēl papildus apģērbu vai arī novilkt kurpes. Šiem lūgumiem ir jāklausa bez ierunām - jebkāds konflikts šeit var ātri nozīmēt noņemšanu no reisa. Kad visas mantas ir uz konvejera, tad jānostājas pirms metāla detektora un jāpagaida kamēr drošībnieks pamāj ar roku aicinot tam iziet cauri. Ja ir palicis kas metālisks vai ir gadījies tikt nejaušajā apskatē, tad drošībnieks pateiks ko darīt. Visticamāk, palūgs apstāties turpat malā un pārbaudīs ar rokas metāldetektrou kā arī aptaustīs vai nav kas aizdomīgs noslēpts uz ķermeņa. Drošībnieku pavēlēm jāklausa. Viņi var arī palūgt atvērt somu un parādīt tās saturu. Man tas bieži gadās, jo somā ir pārāk daudz visādu vadu caur kuriem renģens slikti redz. Kad drošībnieki saka vai rāda, ka viss ir kārtībā, tad var ņemt savas mantas un somas no konvejera un doties tālāk. Tur pat ir arī krēsliņi, kur var apsēsties, lai uzvilktu atpakaļ kurpes. Virsdrēbes vilkt atpakaļ nav jēgas, labāk tās nest rokā.

Tad atliek vien iziet cauri lidostai līdz pareizajam iekāpšanas sektoram (izejai) kas bija norādīta uz tablo. Ik pēc pārdesmit metriem ir tādi paši tablo, kas rāda pašreizējo laiku un visus lidojumus. Vispirms pēc zīmēm atrodam pareizo burtu un tad arī pareizo izeju. Visticamāk izeja vēl būs slēgta un tur pat var būt uzrakstīts cits reiss, ja jūs tur esat pārāk agri. Izeja parasti tiek atvērta vienu stundu pirms lidojuma. Par to tiek arī skaļi paziņots lidostas skaļruņos nosaucot aviokompāniju, mērķa pilsētu un iekāpšanas sektoru. Pie katras izejas ir daudz sēdvietu, kur gaidīt. Tur pat blakus ir arī toletes, ko ir ieteicams izmantot pirms izlidošanas. Lidostā pēc drošības pārbaudes nopirkto ūdeni drīkst ņemt līdzi lidmašīnā, tas ir dārgs, bet lētāks nekā lidmašīnā.

Kad izeja ir atvērta, tad var doties uz to kopā ar pārējo pasažieru baru. Stjuarte pie izejas pārbaudīs biļeti un pasi. Ieteicams pasi dot vai rādīt atvērtā veidā, lai iet ātrāk.

Ryanair nav rezervētas sēdvietas, vienkārši jāizvēlas brīva vieta (kur nav norādīts, ka šī ir vieta par papildus maksu). Sava soma un virsdrēbes jāievieto bagāžas nodalījumā virs galvas, vēlams blakus savai sēdvietai. Ja ir paredzēts kaut kas izklaidei lidmašīnā (grāmata vai kindle) tad to labāk izņemt ārā gaidot iekāpšanu un lidmašīnā ienest jau rokās, lai nav jāmeklē pa somu, kamēr pārējie pasažieri apkārt stumdās. Šis ir arī pēdējais brīdis telefonus un citu ieslēgto elektroniku pārslēgt lidmašīnas režīmā vai izslēgt. Iesēžamies krēslā, piesprādzējamies, košļājam košļeni. Es ieteiktu iekārtoties ērti un visu lidojuma laiku vienkārši sēdēt un neatsprādzēties. Lidojuma laikā piedāvās nopirkt ēdienu un suvenīrus. Dārgi, nav tā vērts.

Pēc piezemēšanās nav nekur jāsteidzas. Paliekam sēdus ar piesprādzētām jostām līdz jostu zīme ir izslēgta un pat ilgāk - lai tie, kam jāskrien, lai viņi skrien. Kad lielie bari ir prom, tad var nesteidzīgāk dabūt savu somu un virsdrēbes no bagāžas virs galvas, pārbaudīt sēdekli un tā kabatu vai nekas nav aizmirsts un iet ārā no lidmašīnas. Lidostā vienkārši jāseko zīmēm uz izeju - "Exit

Sagaidītājiem vislabāk ir gaidīt pie izejas no drošās zonas uz publisko zonu. Tā ir tā vieta uz kurieni "Exit" zīmes ved no lidmašīnas un tur visticamāk būs daudz sagaidītāju. Ja kaut kādā veidā izdodas tikt ārpusē un sagaidītāju neatrast, tad zvaniet uz telefonu! Pec telefona ieslēgšanas no lidmašīnas režīma vai ieslēgšanas var paiet vairākas minūtes pirms tas atradīs ārzemju signālu.

Veiksmi ceļojot!

BMW darbinieku drošas braukšanas apmācība

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Tā mums mācija pareizi braukt - vienmēr abas rokas uz stūres, tikai 3 un 9 pozīcijās, pievērs uzmanību tehnikai kā tiek veikts beigu pagrieziens ar pilnu stūres izgriezšanu. Rokas paliek tajās pašās vietās uz stūres. Stūri tur un kustina ta roka, kas ir stūres apļa augšējā pusē, tas nozīmē, ka kustības sākumā vienmēr ir nevis velkošā uz leju, bet grūdošā uz augšu kustība. Tas arī iespieš vadītāju atpakaļ sēdekli dodot gan lielāku drošību, gan spēku manevram.
Roku uz stūres augšas turēt nedrīskt, jo tā viegli var pazaudēt stūres absolūto orientāciju un arī avārijas gadījumā drošības spilvens salauzīs roku un vēl iemetīs to vadītājam sejā.
Mācīja arī pareizi noregulēt sēdekli - tas arī var izglābt dzīvību. Vispirms jānoregulē augstums, lai līdz jumtam paliktu aptuveni viens kulaks vietas - optimalam redzes leņķim un vietai, lai jumts var ieliekties apgriežoties. Tad noregulē attālumu līdz pedāļiem lai līdz galam spēcīgi nospiežot bremžu pedāli (ar tam ierasto kāju) kāja vēl joprojām būtu nedaudz saliekta (lai kājai būtu amortizācijas leņķis avārijā un vietas rezerve spiežot bremzi). Tad pieregulē muguru ta lai sēdetu taisni vertikāli, lai pēcpuse būtu dziļi iekšē sēdeklī iesēdināta un varētu sajust visas automašīnas kustības. Tad pievelk stūri - stūri turot uz 3 un 9 rokām jābūt ievērojami saliektām. Attālums līdz stūrei gandrīz kā līdz grāmatai to lasot, tad ir vairāk spēka veikt izvairīsanās manevrus. Arī ikdienā braucot.
Vēl mācija, ka moderna mašīnā ar ABS un ESC pirmajai reakcijai uz jebkuru bīstamu situāciju jābūt spēcīgam spērienam pa bremzēm līdz galam. Jo ātrāk bremzes līdz galam nospiestas, jo ātrāk auto saprot, ka situācija ir ekstrēma un sāk palīdzēt. Modernos auto var mierīgi par stūrēt apkārt šķērslim pie pilnas bremzēšanas arī uz slidena ceļa. Tikai jāstūrē tad progresīvi - vispirms mazlie tun tikai samazinoties ātrumam straujāk.
Vēl tipiskā kļūda bija, ka visi pēc izvairīšanās manevra pārāk ātri mēģina iztaisnot auto. Pretējā joslā vietas vēl daudz, bet cilvēki mēģina auto iztaisnot un trāpa šķērslim ar auto aizmuguri.
Nu un protams bija jautri redzet praksē kā mainās bremzēšanas ceļs ar ātruma kvadrātu. Ka no 40 uz 60 tas praktiski dubultojās.
Un vēl tāda lieta ko nezinaju, ka visi moderni auto tiek ražōti tā, lai pārak ātri iebraucot līkumā teim vienmēr vispirms notiktu understeer, t.i priekšas sanese, nevis lai aizmuguri iznes. Jo priekšas sanesi ir viegli koriģēt vienkārši nobremzējot, bet aizmugures korekcija vajag sarežģītu pretstūrēšanas manevru. Izmēģinājām abus :) Lai dabūtu aizmugures iznesi nacās uz slapja apļa atslēgt DSC un ieslēgt manualo otro ātrumu. Tikai tad uzdodot strauji uz gāzes varēja sanest.
Apmācība notika uz super foršām BMW 430d mašīnām ar M Sport paķeti. 270 zirgspēki :D Spēcīga manta, plašs salons, lieliska apdare. Man gan personīgi nepatika logi bez rāmjiem.
Līdzīgu apmācību var iziet arī parastie mirstīgie un BMW Driving Experience piedāvā arī kaudzi citu apmācīgu - sarežģītāka līmeņa apmācības līdz pat profesionāla autosportista treniņiem, daudzdienu safari pa Āfriku ar apmācību braukšanai bezceļos, ziemas apmācīgu uz ledus un sniega trasēm un daudz specializētu kursu, kā piemēram vesela dienas apmācība tikai par driftošanu :) Apmācības cenā iekļautas arī pusdienas viņu kompleksā. Tās bija lieliskas - retais Rīgas restorāns spej piedāvat labaku maltīti.

So what happens when you fuel your diesel car with gas

So a couple weeks ago I was on a 1900 km trip from Latvia to southern Germany. On the second day I was still in Poland when my tank was running low. I stopped at a Shell station and looked at the pumps. I know that I needed diesel fuel and there was a choice - a black pump with Diesel followed by red pump with Shell VX Power Diesel and then a bunch of green pumps with gas. So I too the red pump and fuled up. The engine ran great, I was soon in Germany and going down autobahn with very nice speed. After a few hours the gas tank was rnning low again and again a Shell station was the first I found. I stopped there and saw the exact same pumps as in Poland - a black Diesel followed by red Shell VX Power Racing and a bunch of green pumps. I picked up the red pump again, filled my tank and drove on. After some distance I noticed that I was getting some interruptions of power and maybe slower acceleration, but it was not severe enough to make me to stop. So I drove on. All 300 kilometers to home. While sometimes speeding up to 180km/h. Only when I got to home and slowed down to city speeds did I notice that the power interruptions were more serious and also that the check engine light was on. So on Monday morning I got up early, got in the car, started it (without any problems) and drove to the nearby Mercedes dealership.

Only then with the help of the technitian I realised that Shell VX Power Racing is not the same as Shell VX Power Diesel despide being in the pumps of the same color and location. The car had to stay in the service overnight. They removed all the injectors from the engine, cleaned and inspected it fully. The only part that actually needed replacing was the fuel filter. Just to be sure after reassembling the engine they also ran it for 75 km on the test stand at all kinds of speeds and power curves. And they refuled it back to full and also washed the car before returning it to me. Shuttle service from the service to my workplace and back was also included.

In the end this mistake cost me 635.50 EUR, but it could have also been many times more than that. Apparently the VX Power Racing fuel also contains a bit of lubricants, just like many diesel fuels, so that might have saved me. Or the good quality engineering that goes into the Mercedes engines. Or both. Still, this is one of those life lessons that you do not forget that easily.