Car talk Greyhounds

VW ID.4 life with dogs

I thought I’d report my experiences taking the greyhounds on outings in the ID.4. Additional room for Rocky was a significant motivation in retiring the Mk 7 GTI DSG. Almost no reviewers show their dogs in the vehicles they review or comment on suitability of a vehicle to haul big dogs so I thought I’d do that with the VW ID.4


Skylum Luminar Neo is Here

Photo: by the author and edited in the new Skylum Luminar Neo

Skylum is a group of Ukrainian photographers and programmers with a 20+ year history of developing photo editing tools designed to reduce the amount of fiddling needed to develop and render fine art photos. Luminar makes the process so quick that phone snapshots can be made presentable in a minute or two. With a bit of care, Luminar Neo can make sophisticated edits as demonstrated by the candid portrait edits toward the end of this post. Luminar can be used from within Photos or a Photos image may be added to the Luminar catalog to retain the edit history.

Skylum Folk are at Risk in Kyiv

Skylum was proudly founded in Ukraine, and our core development center is based in Kyiv. At this harrowing time, unfortunately we cannot guarantee the on-time delivery of updates to Luminar Neo. We strive for excellence in everything we do, and we will make sure to further develop and improve Neo and to keep you updated on any news.

A number of the leading small software shops are located in Ukraine and are directly affected by Putin’s war. These engineers remain in our thoughts.

Car talk

Thoughts on Millennium Falcon’s First 3 Months

Featured image by the author. Vehicle display images by the author.

Why Millennium Falcon? Well like the Falcon, the ID.4 is sort of big, sort of fast, and sort of nimble. But only sort of. There is no mistaking it for a 3-Series or S4 Avant. It is still a bit of a sled. With a bit of personality like the Falcon.

Car talk

VW ID Family Charging

Photo by the author.

The VW ID.4 and its siblings are known to be difficult to charge. In particular, the scheduled charging features don’t behave as owners expect them to. At this point, it is unclear if there are actual software problems or just user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) problems. These problems are sufficiently bad that the Internet is littered with whiny posts about the issue.

VW seems to have done a good job of anticipating how owners would want to charge their vehicles. They have not done such a good job of making it happen. This seems to be partially a UI/UX design problem in that the user interface is a bit muddled.

It also appears to be a result of clinging to the ICE fill up when the nag comes on model rather than adopting a different fill-up model suited to BEV home charging. We’ll explore this after the break and report once we have some experience.

Personal Computing

On Computer Access Security

Masthead image courtesy of YubiCo.

How secure is secure enough in this age of phising and breakins? Is a security hierarchy possible as not all accounts support all security methods. And what about the accounts that are still mired in the 1960’s days of shoulder surfing? Read on.

Personal Computing

A Tale of Two Password Managers

Dismal Manor tries to be somewhat security conscious. We try to use unique passwords for all log-ins, keep passwords in an independent password manager, and to use 2 factor authentication, preferably a physical key where we can. In this article, we look at BitWarden and explore the possibility of migrating from 1Password to BitWarden.

Personal Computing

Peabody is in the house

Photo courtesy of TrueNAS

As you recall, Sherman needed two disks transplanted. This work is complete and we have a third disk on hand in anticipation of the third going colicky. The long term plan is to add a second server and use Sherman as a backup machine via TrueNAS replication. The new server has arrived and is updating software. Read on for the rest of the story.

Personal Computing

Planning Peabody’s Pool Structure

Image courtesy of iX Systems

Long time viewers know that I’m TrueNAS fan and that our local TrueNAS server Sherman has gone a bit wobbly. I’ve repaired Sherman and ordered him a partner, Peabody as in Peabody and Sherman. As you know, Mr. Peabody invented the WayBack machine. Peabody will serve music and Sherman will be Peabody’s replication target giving us an on-site backup. As always, some assembly is required. In this case, I’ve decided to rework the new server’s file system to make it a bit more graceful to use.

Personal Computing

The WayBack Machine goes wobbly

Long time followers of the Dismal Manor Gang know that Dismal Manor has a thing called a WayBack Machine. You may know that it has something to do with photographicals we dogs wish were long forgotten but you may not know much more about it. It is no where near as magical as Mr. Peabody’s WayBack Machine appearing on The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle. The original was a cartoon mortal’s attempt at a TARDIS but worked only for planet Earth.

Our WayBack machine is a TrueNAS file server that stores our Apple Time Machine spool volume, our local audio media, and video clips. It is going wobbly. One of the disks, a brand made by sinners rather than the faithful (Stranger in a Strange Land), has presented with unrecoverable bad blocks. First there were 16, now 24, so it was time to replace the disk. Read on to learn how this went for us.

Car talk

Drive Train Caution

Leaving to run errands the other day, the ID.4 threw its first power train caution light, malfunction in the electrical drive train. This was only a caution. The car completed self-test and appeared to drive normally. The alarm was locked in until the vehicle was shutdown at my destination.

The fine manual is not terribly helpful. It tells you to have the vehicle serviced. And that you can continue to drive the vehicle.

It drove normally in B mode.

The next start

When I arrived at my destination, I shutdown the drive after parking and ran my errand. I came out expecting that a real fault would still be present and that the caution message would reappear. If it was a glitch during power on self-test, the fault would not return.

When I started the vehicle to depart home, I engaged the drive (B mode) while the vehicle was still working its way through self-test. This time, I patiently waited for self-test to complete. No caution message. ID was happy. We call ours Winterkorn.


Winterkorn does not like to be disturbed while he is performing power on self-test. Engaging the drive may have caused a flicker on the high voltage during self-test that caused the caution. So now I’m careful to let Winterkorn wake fully before attempting to make him move.

Why “Winterkorn”

We named our vehicle after the CEO who set Volkswagon Audi Group on the path to electrification. Without the Diesel emissions scandal to spur action, it is likely that VW would have made a less aggressive transition to battery electric vehicles like Honda, Mazda, and Toyota are. To get well from the extreme embarrassment and harm he caused the company, his replacement announced and the company is executing an aggressive transition to electric vehicles.