Sunday, June 26, 2016

3,278,983 Nissans Recalled

This post is outside of my normal topics but I believe that it is important to share.

In July 2013 we traded our 2009 Maxima for a 2013 Nissan Pathfinder. The 2013 Pathfinder was the first year of a new generation of Pathfinders and is built on the Maxima platform. Mechanically and trim-wise it was very similar to the Maxima.

We get lots of compliments on the ride of the Pathfinder, especially from backseat passengers.


Early on we noticed that occasionally when I was driving and my wife was in the passenger seat that the "Front passenger air bag status light" was indicating "OFF." The owners manual says "The front passenger air bag will not inflate if the passenger air bag status light is lit or if the front passenger seat is unoccupied." The problem happened with other passengers as well.

Several times while this was happening I drove to the nearby Nissan dealership and pulled into the service bay. A few seconds after I came to a stop and before a service representative could come over the light went off.

I eventually took it in to let them look at that problem. Of course, they didn't find a problem. And the problem persisted.

I took it back in and they found a water bottle under the seat and attributed the problem to that. And the problem persisted.

Then I read about a related recall. I took the Pathfinder back in and they applied the recall update. And the problem persisted.

I took the Pathfinder back in and they reapplied the recall update. And the problem persisted.

The service manager asked me to video the problem. I did and submitted 3 YouTube videos. After a week or so, one had been viewed 6 times and one twice (one was probably me) and the third one only once (probably me).

I finally made an appointment to have a Dealer Technical Specialist (DTS) look at the car. The DTS said that when the vehicle is started the sensors (There are two sensors on the left seat rail of the passenger's seat - forward and aft.) determine if there is a child in the seat and "classifies" this to the air bag control module. There are 3 conditions that can be "classified" - empty, child, and adult. When the gear shift lever is moved from Park the status ("classification") at that instant is retained. Subsequently if the vehicle comes to a complete stop (regardless of gear selection) for several seconds then this "classification" is repeated.

The DTS and the service manager were able to "manipulate" the car to leave the air bag status light displaying OFF by putting a partial load in the passenger seat and then moving the gear shift from Park to Reverse and subsequently to Drive. The light would continue to display OFF until they let the car come to a complete stop for several seconds.

They concluded that this "manipulation" was what was happening when my wife and other passengers were in the passenger seat. This is a characteristic of the algorithm of the air bag control module. It is related to the changes made by the recall but not the specific situation.

The DTS then said that this was "normal" and couldn't be repaired.

I disagreed with this and the DTS suggested that I call Nissan Consumer Affairs (800-NISSAN1) about the Pathfinder. They were recording it so I began recording as well. The representative terminated the call because I wouldn't stop recording. On a second call the representative said it was a "user problem." When I asked him to repeat that while I was recording he terminated the call.

I filed a complaint with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in June 2014. There were hundreds of related complaints.

The issue went through years of NHTSA bureaucracy and Nissan's pushback. All the while I had to adopt a deliberate startup process to ensure that the passenger airbag was engaged.

Finally in January 2016 Nissan notified NHTSA that there had been 3 injury accidents attributed to this situation and that Nissan was going to address it.

The recall was issued in May 2016. It affects 3,278,983 vehicles. For reference the top 10 all time recall was 3.7 million.

When I visited the dealership on June 22, 2016 I was told that parts wouldn't be available until August.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Windows 10 Default Browser

On "The Trump" I clicked on an html link and got the pop-up asking which browser I wanted to use. I chose Chrome. Then Chrome asked if I wanted to make it the default. I clicked that I did and went on about my business.

But I'm curious so when I finished, I clicked on that html link again.

Uh,oh. Same thing.

No problem. I'll just go to "Choose a default web browser" and set it there. I chose Chrome and checked "Make it the default".

Still curious so when I finished, I clicked on that html link again.

Uh,oh. Same thing.

A little Googleing turned up this forum post on a Dell site.
Open Control Panel, Search for Default and change it there.
Odd but it worked.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Retired Software

It may be hard to believe but I'm a technical minimalist. I'll go out of my way NOT to install software.

I've been using Virtual CloneDrive for several years.
Virtual CloneDrive works and behaves just like a physical CD, DVD, or Blu-ray drive, although it only exists virtually. Image files can be "inserted" into the virtual drive from your harddisk or from a network drive by just a double-click, and thus be used like a normal CD, DVD, or Blu-ray
And I've been using DVD Decrypter for even longer. I primarily use it to burn DVDs from ISOs.

So when I built "The Trump" I installed them both as usual.

But I didn't need to.

Right clicking on an ISO gives a menu that includes "Mount".

So I don't need Virtual CloneDrive.

And the next entry in that menu is "Burn disc image".

While there are probably some features of those programs that you don't get with native Windows 10, it certainly meets all my routine needs.

2 pieces of software scratched off my list.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Clash of the Titans

Two recent stories have more connection that seems obvious at first.
  1. iOS 9 enables ad blockers
    "There is also clearly the potential for Safari ad blockers to hurt Google"
  2. Google demotes sites that promote apps
    "it will demote websites (that) encourage visitors to download an app"
Do you see the connection/conflict?

Jeff Jarvis said "Google is the anti-Apple."

Just remember that all of their revenue comes from you one way or another.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

CrashPlan Adoption

I've been using CrashPlan for more than 2 years and it's doing great. When I migrated to "The Trump" I planned to discontinue using Tivoli CDP.  Although I had been successfully using it for 10 years I knew I would have to upgrade it for Windows 10.

But when I moved my data to "The Trump" I used the Windows 10 directory names for Documents and Pictures which are different than the corresponding Windows 7 directory names.

With CrashPlan you define the backup sets using directory names so I was worried that CrashPlan would think that those were different files and back them up all over again.

I shouldn't have worried.

CrashPlan has an excellent guide on changing computers. Basically you keep the directory names and paths the same between the computers if you can but if you can't don't worry about it.

As I'd observed before CrashPlan dedups backups resulting is a much smaller bandwidth usage than you'd expect. Similarly CrashPlan scans a new computer's backup set matching the files with the files it has previously backed up regardless of location.

When I started CrashPlan on "The Trump" the estimate to complete the backup was in DAYS. I almost panicked. Then the estimate started to drop precipitously as it determined that it already had backups of those files. It finished the 300+ GB backup in a couple of hours.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

TiVo Features

In late 2015 TiVo pushed out the Winter 2015 release of their TiVo software. It took a while to get to all devices. My TiVo Minis didn't get it until early 2016.

This release had several new features;
  • HD Channel Notification
  • QuickMode
  • SkipMode

HD Channel Notification - With this feature if you are viewing a standard definition channel that is also available in high definition, pressing the"D" key will switch you to the HD channel. I understand that as an option Xfinity's X1 system will do this automatically.

QuickMode - This feature allows you to watch a recorded or time-shifted program at 130% speed without distorting the sound.

SkipMode - For recorded programs, this feature allows you to automatically skip to the start of the new program segment skipping the commercials. Previous to this feature you had to repeatedly press the "Jump" key to skip 30 seconds at a time. You could queue these up, e.g. 10 times for 5 minutes, and the TiVo would fast forward over the commercials. If you overshot the start of the program, pressing "Play" would back up a few seconds and usually put you close to where you wanted to be.
The SkipMode feature is available on the top 20 most-watched networks and more channels will be added in the future. The shows that will be SkipMode-enabled are those that appear during the most common recording hours: seven days a week, between the hours of 4:00 pm and midnight (12:30 am for late night talk shows airing on ABC, NBC and CBS). Recorded shows with the SkipMode feature appear in your MyShows lists with a SKIP icon.
Here's how this worked previously.

And now with SkipMode.

Love my TiVos!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Storage Spaces

When I was building "The Trump" I wanted to RAID-1 my internal data drive. I was hoping that the Asus motherboard supported RAID but that was not to be. As I Googled around looking for that answer though I came upon lots of discussions of "Fake RAID". This is one example:
Fake RAID is essentially software RAID provided by the BIOS on the motherboard, however, it has none of the benefits of Software RAID and none of the benefits of Hardware RAID...
And it went on:
[I]f your motherboard dies, your data is probably lost unless you can find another identical motherboard.
So I guess it was good that my motherboard didn't support RAID. But what to do?

What I found was Windows' Storage Spaces. Windows Central has a really good article on it.

I used 2 2TB drives and created a mirrored Storage Space as drive D:. To prepare the drives I used diskpart and cleaned the drives.

Storage Spaces can use Microsoft's Resilient File System (ReFS).

The features compared to NTFS are:
  • Improved reliability for on-disk structures
  • Built-in resilience
  • Compatibility with existing APIs and technologies

In this BetaNews article, the author performed the ultimate test.
I shut my Dell 840 server down, pulled out the drive caddy, and connected one of the mirrored drives into my Thinkpad X230 laptop for some spot checks on my data.

What did I see when I plugged it in? Exactly what I wanted to see.
Nice. But keeping my fingers crossed.

By the way, to migrate the data from "Big Honker" to "The Trump" I used Drive Snapshot. I think that I have mentioned that you ought to TEST restoring your backups. I practice what I preach.