It’s been a while, hasn’t it. Since my last post, the new car has: been assembled from a pile of aluminium, steel, plastic, and several dead cows; been shipped from South Carolina USA to Southampton UK; passed through customs; and finally transported to Berry BMW at Heathrow.
It was there for all of 48 hours before I arrived to collect it, in all its unwashed glory, per my request.
When I ordered the new car back in January, one of the first things I wanted to do (if budget allowed) was get it detailed by someone with considerable more skill than me. I’d say I’m a competent weekend-worrier, but as soon as it comes to paint correction and ceramic coatings, I get nervous. I’d rather pay someone to do it right once, than pay even more to correct my mistakes.
So, when I got a better idea of delivery dates, I contact Matt at The Matt Finish to get it booked in for a ‘new car detail’. That means that pretty much every surface visible for protection. The engine bay was dressed; wheels, suspension components and breaks ceramic coated, paint corrected and coated. I had the black plastic surrounding the windows and rear windows covers, and even the mirror caps covered in matte PPF, as they have a matte finish from factory.
Look that that gloss!
The paint is coated with Siramik SC Altum, Ultima and Diamas, the wheels and plastics in CarPro Dlux, and Gtechniq G1 on all glass, Dr Leather Dye Block on leather, Gtechniq I1 on fabrics, and finally Aerospace 303 on the engine bay.
I’d say that’s pretty comprehensive, and I’m chuffed to bits with it. All of that effort means that I (right so) need to take proper care of it. What’s the point of it being absolutely perfect if I then wash it with a sponge with Fairy liquid on a hot day, and let it dry in the sun?
With Matt’s help and recommendations, I purchased about £400 worth of new detailing equipment. I had some, but wanted to refresh any older things I had. So, 3 buckets, shampoo, wheel cleaners, various brushes, new wash mitt, microfiber clothes, spray bottles, tyre dressing, and pressure washer, and a multitude of other bits & pieces.
I’ve grown tired of the hot hatch market. I currently own (owned?) a Ford Focus ST-3. It was a fun car, and I specced it relatively well, but it had issues from the start. The 19″ wheels I specced left little in the way of comfort, and the infotainment system definitely shows its age. Trying to zoom and pan around the sat nav map was infuriatingly slow. It also made my wife queasy on long journeys, and after a long journey on my own, my ears felt hot and pained.
The qualities that led to those issues, where the same qualities that made it fun to drive on dry, country roads. The car, assuming you understood its purpose, fulfilled its role in life. I have no real complaints about the car itself, but I feel i’ve outgrown that market.
I’m 28 years old now. I’m beyond trying to show off with wheels, badges, and exhausts. But, I still want some fun.
All of my previous cars have either been black, or silver, with the exception of a dark blue Audi A3 for a brief period. I’m bored of cars that look no different with a B&W filter, and that blend in to the typically miserable British weather. The Phytonic Blue is different enough to be interesting, but not overly bright – I don’t want to stand out too much.
Black with grey contrast stitching Vernasca leather.
As much as I’d like a lighter interior, black is classic, ages relatively well, and effectively eliminates dye transfer.
20″ 669M Wheels, with fun flats
I prefer the look of the 21″ 718M wheels, but I’m happy to have a smaller wheel if it means a slightly taller side-wall, and more stealthy look. 20″ it is.
The 20’s have 12mm more sidewall that the 21’s, and the 20’s have 28mm more sidewall than the 19’s on my Focus ST.
“Technology package”, which includes:
This consists of the Display Key. A largely useless key (apparently) with some occasionally useful features.
Head-up Display. I’m not sure yet how good BMW’s sat nav is. If it’s pants, I’ll use Google Maps via CarPlay, and only use the head-up for media stuff. If it’s good, I’ll use it for directions too.
“Enhanced Bluetooth with wireless charging” – wireless charging for my phone (and that Display Key)!
WiFI Hot Spot Preparation – Everyone I know has data on their phones. Not useful to me at all.
“Comfort package”, which includes:
“Comfort Access” because I haven’t used a fob button to open a car door in about 6 years.
“Acoustic glazing” – Hopefully this kills some noise on long motorways journeys. I know the car itself is going to be quieter anyway, may as tick this box to help it a bit more.
“Exterior Mirrors – folding with anti-dazzle” – Why this is an option and not a standard is beyond me. The ‘anti-dazzle’ bit nice nice. You know the little switch (?) under the rear view mirror in most cars to stop you being blinded? This, but automatically, but on all mirrors.
“Rear Seat Backrest Adjustment” – I’m sure the few people who’ll ever sit in the back for any significant time will appreciate this
“Extended storage” – This adds a gas strut to the boot floor to keep it up when lifted. Given I’ll store some cleaning chemicals and microfibres under there, this is welcome.
“Steering wheel heating” – It’s £170. Nobody likes a cold steering wheel art 7am on a February morning.
“Adaptive M Sport suspension”, because it’s such a cheap option at £530 (comparatively) it’d be silly not to. I hope this gives the car duel personalities. Sport for me, comfort for everyone else.
“Panoramic glass sunroof” because the black leather interior will need all the brightening up it can get. And, it helps the interior – whatever the colour – feel more open.
“Sun protection glass” which, if you’ve read about the leather colour and pano roof, seems counterintuitive. It is, but it helps the outside look cleaner. The open glass roof counteract the slight loss of light from the side.
“Lumbar support, driver and front pass” – I had this on my BMW 335i coupé a few years back, and it’s the thing I miss most about that car. Essentially, it’s some inflatable air bags in the seats which I can set to push into my lower back. Amazing.
“Galvanic embellisher for controls” – A purely aesthetic option that changes a majority of the switchgear from black plastic to a metallic plastic (not real metal, I think), to lighten small parts of the interior and make controls stand out a bit.
“Driving Assistant Plus” – Ah, this one is kind of experimental. It encompasses:
“Active Cruise Control with Stop&Go”. I want this as a safer cruise control, as it’ll slow when it gets close to the car ahead of me. And in heavy traffic, it’ll even come to a standstill, and then continue on. Is this what dreams are made of?
Lane assistance, because driving home from the airport after a 3am landing isn’t fun.
A slew of tangentially related safety systems to help prevent me crash, and prepare the car fir being crashed into.
“Parking Assistant Plus” – So, this one is mostly marketed as the “it’ll park for you” thing, but I want it for the 360° camera, which will be all sorts of run, and wheel-saving.
“harman/kardon surround sound” (BMW don’t capitalise it, weirdly) – I listen to music through studio monitors all day. I know any car audio system is inherently compromised, but I wanted to give it the best shot.
“Apple CarPlay preparation” – Duhh
So there’s my spec, with an explanation for all of it. I intend to keep this car for years after the 4-year PCP deal is up, so I wanted to make sure it has everything I want now, and what I may want in the future.
Delivery is expected mid April 2019. As I get some more interesting information, I’ll share it here.
So, the one or two people who read this site shouldn’t have noticed any difference, but tonight, I spend an hour migrating this site from Jekyll to WordPress. The main reason? Syncing the site between 2 machines (my iMac and MacBook Pro) became a chore.
The migration was really rather simple, thanks to my starter theme, Origin. There’s no magic there, or anything really of interest, so I’ll breeze past it.
What moving to WordPress lets me do, is really easily post from anywhere, all within the safety of a GUI. If I really want to post something from the toilet of a bar, in-between pints, I can. I’ll never tell you that though.
So my next task with this site, is to add 2 post types. The main post type will be for general stuff – like this – and the two others will be code and cars. I want to write more about cars because it’s something that’s in my head a lot. I don’t expect it to be read much, but I want to write it anyway.
Why separate post types? It basically creates totally separate ‘streams’, with different RSS feeds, templates, capabilities, etc, if needs be. It essentially divides this site into 3 parts, much like a larger news site, such as the BBC, with their ‘News’ and ‘Sport’, sections.
For now, the streams will be combined, and can be refine that down with some nav links in the header, which will replace the Categories there at the moment.
Several years ago, in June 2012, I made a tool to help convert multiple pixel width values into relative percentages.
It’s had a few updates over the years, but I always felt it could be improved. So, I’ve done just that. It looks simpler, and that’s because it is. It no longer supports URL params, and doesn’t generate funky colours, or give a visual representation. That said, I will add a bar to show the percent widths in action, I just wont out the numbers in there, as I always found it a pain to copy from.
There’s a new nav item for Tools. It’s going to be a growing list of tiny tools and calculators to more easily do things I’d otherwise do in my head. Software is supposed to make our lives easier, and this is where I’m going to stash the tools I build to make my life easier.
No, not the WordPress theme, just a slightly longer title than the numeric equivalent.
My goals in 2019 are as follows:
Work better, not harder.
Take better care of myself, physically and mentally
The blogging part is once I’ve written about umpteen times, but I think I’ve figured out why. I always loved the idea of doing long weekly columns, but I now realise that isn’t hw I think, so expecting myself to keep up with that was never going to happen.
I’m much more sporadic, sometimes random, and to the point. So having a blog engine that lets me be quick and experiment with different ways to share stuff is a must. I could just use WordPress, but I stare at WP code for a living. Instead, I’ve gone with Jekyll, as I can extend it as much as I like, and having all the posts in a plain text format gives me comfort.
My goal over the next few days is to change up the design of the standard theme to something s bit more me, and built in things like link posts and videos, so I can start using this for what it’s meant for.
Unitl next time!
Update: I’ve gone back to WordPress. I realised that over 10 years of experience means I can make WP do as I please, easily.
I’m @rstacruz and this is a modest collection of cheatsheets I’ve written.
A very immodest description there.
I love cheatsheets like this. I remember seeing youmightnotneedjquery.com years ago, and the quick skimable format was a joy to reference. I think that once you get to a certain point with coding and knowing a language, you don’t need explainers, just the code itself. That YMNNJQ site was a great example.
Today I find Devhints, and it’s pretty similar. It’s different in that it’s not showing you another way to do something, but just how to do it in general. Admittedly, some of it seems basic, but if you’re new to a language, or just need a refresher… ??