Hyundai does not recommend an engine flush during routine service

I recently had my Hyundai Tucson services with the Hyundai authorised dealer recommending an engine flush, even prior to inspecting the vehicle. An ‘engine flush’ clears the gunk out of your engine by pouring a chemical into the engine and idling. Due to the use of chemicals, it can possibly be damaging to modern car’s engines.

I was concerned due to no mentioned of an engine flush in the Hyundai Recommended Maintenance Schedules, so I contact Hyundai directly, this was their response:

I have been in contact with our technical department both locally and overseas and they have advised that Hyundai don’t recommend an [engine] flush at service.

Review of Perth Premier Studio (premierstudio.com.au) and their dishonesty

In March this year, my dad excitedly let me know he had won a “Premier Photographic Experience valued at $500″ from Premier Studio (premierstudio.com.au) by entering a competition in the HIA Perth Home Show. Given I have two young daughters, he was looking forward to getting some family portraits of them for his home. I took it on board to arrange a time suitable for all of us.

Within a few days I called Premier Studio to see what $500 worth of photography would get us. The voucher already mentioned a weekday appointment would cost $100, with a weekend appointment costing $200. I was happy to take a day off work to make the most of the voucher. For some reason Premier Studio were extremely hesitant to disclose what could be purchased with the voucher.  Stating my dad had to call and get a personalised package, as it depended on where he placed it in his house, over the couch or television.

It was only at the end of the call that Premier Studio mentioned $350 is the price of their smallest framed photo (10″ by 8” if I recall). I mentioned this to my dad and we agreed a nice photo of the two girls would be ideal.

I was aware that my dad had to be present since he had the voucher. I thought I would take the girls with him to get the portrait, leaving my wife home to get some time to herself and a chance to study. When I called to book the appointment with Premier Studio, things took a strange turn. Premier Studio insisted that the whole family needed to be present, I mentioned that it was difficult due to a full car already, but they insisted that these were part of their terms and conditions. I mentioned that I didn’t remember previously reading about this. When I got home and reread the terms and conditions, I noticed Premier Studio added the additional terms. Below is a screenshot of the additional terms (they also took the opportunity to fix a spelling error).

Premier Studio T&C’s March 2016. View the old T&Cs here.
premierstudio.com.au-terms-and-conditions-march-2016Premier Studio T&C’s April 2016. The addition of “Premier Studio reserves the right to refuse service if the entire family does not attend the photographic shoot. ”

premierstudio.com.au-terms-and-conditions-april-2016

After Premier Studio changed their Terms and Conditions, we decided we didn’t want to deal with this dishonest company.

To not disappoint my dad, we ended up taking our own photos in Kings Park. My dad is very happy.

Get the number of days in a year in Excel

Here is a quick post on how to calculate the number of days in a year given it in a standard date format. i.e. returns 365 except for 366 on leap years.

=IF(OR(MOD(YEAR(A85),400)=0,AND(MOD(YEAR(A85),4)=0,MOD(YEAR(A85),100)<>0)),366, 365)

Is a mobile phone steering wheel mount legal in Australia?

It is well known that mobile phones need to be “secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle” in Australia, but does a mobile phone secured in a mount affixed to the steering wheel, a “phone steering wheel mount”,  meet this requirement?Is a mobile phone steering wheel mount legal in Australia?

I emailed the Western Australia Road Safety Commission to clarify, and whilst it may meet the secured in a mount requirement it produces a number of additional problems.

The response is below.

Please be advised that, while it may meet the definition of a mounting for the purpose of the mobile phone regulations, there are a number of issues which are of concern. These include:

  • It may interfere with the deployment of the air bag;
  • It may become a projectile when struck by the airbag;
  • It obscures the instruments, notably the speedometer, or (if installed the other way up) the road ahead;
  • As it occupies such a large proportion of the steering wheel’s circumference it is our view that it does compromise proper control.

On this basis, I believe it would contravene vehicle standards regulations most notably Reg. 235(5) of the Road Traffic (Vehicles) Regulations 2014 which covers changes or alterations to the body or equipment of a vehicle in a way that adversely affects the safe operation of the vehicle.

Review of Crow Away (it doesn’t work)

Crow Away, the  “proven, safe and most humane way to deter crows”. I read the number of positive online testimonials and decided to give it ago.  I paid for the full Crow Away Android app from the Google app store.

review of crow away, it doesnt work, icon

Crows are significant nuisance in suburbia,  picking off rubbish from bins, pecking fruit of trees and displacing more favourable birds.

Basic first test

My first test case was using the phone app in the park whenever crows would come nearby,. In this instance the Crow Away app was played on my speaker which I left on the ground for 5 to 10 minutes. What I found was in some cases crows would be within five meters without any noticeable deterrent.

Lengthy second test

The second attempt was a lengthy trial, to see if crows could be deterred from picking off the mangos in my mango tree.

review of crow away, it doesnt work, crows eating mangos

A speaker was positioned pointed directly at the mango tree. The Crow Away app was played everyday during daylight hours. Even after two weeks of constant playing, I conclude that there is no noticeable difference in the crows congregating around the tree. The problem of crows picking at my mangos still persists.

review of crow away, it doesnt work, position of speaker

review of crow away, it doesnt work view, of mangos and speaker

For both my situations, Crow Away didn’t not work and deter crows. I would not recommend this product to others.

 

Simple timber patio design for side of house (pergola)

Having completed a recent pergola at the rear of my home, I thought I would share the timber patio design planning and design drawings which can be referenced when creating your own.

My pergola was attached to one side of my home’s wall on the existing roof’s fascia. Length was 12m and protruded 2.4m from the wall. It was a timber design due to the existing features.

Timber patio design materials, the timber:

  • QTY5, 90mm x 90mm x 2.4m H3 treated pine posts
  • QTY1, 190mm x 45mm x 12m H3 treated pine outer beam
  • QTY1, 120mm x 45mm x 12m H3 treated pine inner beam
  • QTY17, 120mm x 45mm x 2.4m H3 treated pine rafters
  • QTY5, 70mm x 35mm x 12m H3 treated pine batterns

Timber patio design materials, the fixings:

  • QTY5, 90mm galvanised stirrups
  • QTY12, galvanised fascia bracket/straps
  • QTY24, 60mm galvanised bolts and nuts for the fascia brackets/straps
  • QTY10, 120mm galvanised bolts and nuts for stirrups
  • QTY10, 100mm galvanised bolts and nuts for attaching beam to posts
  • QTY100, 75mm galvanises nails
  • QTY60, battern self-tapping screws

Timber patio design downloads:

Updated How to win at Markstrat (Tips and Tricks)

Markstrat is the marketing simulation game played in teams. In 2013 I posted a tips and tricks on how to win at Markstrat, I’ve now been lucky to be involved in some further Markstrat simulations, and thought it was worthwhile sharing the learnings.

The previous posts are still relevant, and go into a lot more detail, this post will simply add on and reiterate key points.

Markstrat starter information

I realised that the tip and tricks I previously posted were for those that were well conversed with the Markstrat world, there were some key points that I assumed were already known, being involved with some teams from the beginning made me realise that was not the case, below are some starting pointers.

  • completely (value of zero) use up all of your budget.
  • stick to one product per market segment, there are no exceptions to this rule, the reason being
    • it is impossible to build a product with ideal values for two segments.
    • it increases the products competition, i.e. you may have x competitors in one segment and y competitors in another segment, targeting two segments means x plus y competitors.
    • it dilutes advertising spend, making it harder to conquer a segment.
    • and similarly, the aim is to dominate a market segment, it is very difficult to do two at same time.
  • early on, when you start with two products, chose the product that is the highest total contribution margin segment (CM x total estimated volume) (cull the other product)
  • when decided on which product to cull early on, look at which product is closest in characteristics to the competitors. You want to differentiate your product early on compared to the competitors.
  • observe the budget of competitors, you start with around $7.1m the minimum budget cap, there is a maximum budget cap of about $x so to prevent teams dominating the game, each period the minimum and maximum increase roughly 2.85% per inflation.

And the main takeaways for Markstrat beginners are;

Do not get emotionally attached to products – it is very easy to want to keep both your products at the start, don’t. You will be competing against others who may have one good product and one bad product, they will be spending money on their single good product.

Do not get emotionally attached to segments –  it is very easy to want to throw some advertising to those segments that are buying small amounts, don’t. Concentrate on one segment only.

Vodite market

As I previously posted, I mentioned to get in Vodites straight away with a budget product, this will still allow you to sell at a ridiculous price since being the only product in the marketplace.

What I have also found is that if you are competing for the highest shareprice, you need to diversify into the Vodite market as it appeases investors. Even if you are doing well in the Sonite market alone, it maybe worth creating a Vodite product to get an additional SPI bump.

Suggested Markstrat gameplay

I have seen a new starting scenario in which every single team gets the same two products, this is obviously a lot fairer, but means a number of new strategies. The main issues is because everyone starts with the same product, it is key to differentiate the products by R&D, rather than advertising spent. The problem if R&D is that the research isn’t available.

My suggested gamplay for the early rounds is significantly change your products prices (more than 30%) possibly go midway between your two products. Price is the only characteristic that doesn’t need to be R&D, use this to your advantage and then spend advertising on price. What this would do is move the market towards your product away from others.

With no research available it seems counter productive to R&D a product this early on, but if you don’t you will be wasting a round. Simple R&D a product mid point in characteristics between your two products, this will mean you are completely differentiated to your competitor products.

Advertising

The general rule is still always that; your portion of advertising spend compared to competitors will be your market share. For new products always use no-objectives to increase brand awareness. Never cull your existing two products as they have really high brand awareness, always reuse them, even if you are targeting a new segment.

Commercial Team

Previously, I posted that commercial team doesn’t really matter and to only meet the commercial team of competitors, I was quite wrong. The commercial team moves your products, a low commercial team will automatically default to your competitor’s commercial teams picking up the slack.

Once suggestion I have, increase your commercial team by a minimum of the increase the market’s segment. For the large segments it is not unusual to have more than 200 people in the later rounds.

 

Moto G powering off (rebooting) to TWRP after Over the Air update

A quick post about updating your Moto G, if you apply the Over the Air updates on a rooted phone like I did, it may boot into the Team Win Recovery Project.

The solution is to clear the Cache. simple