New car. Used of course.

Our car needs to be repaired. This time it’s the crank shaft sensor which has to be changed, and Mitchie decided that it’s not cost-effective to keep hanging on to that vehicle any longer; it’s now well over 19 years old and needs to be repaired more frequently lately, so she wants a new one.

No, not this one which Zuleikha saw and loved in our car dealers’ shop lately:

Toyota Yaris 4th generation in “mangan bronze”

That’s almost the same they had given us last time, and about which I’ve written here already. Super car, but we wouldn’t like to spend 20kÔéČ+ on a new car right now.

So we decided to look for its last predecessor, which is the second facelift of the third generation of the Toyota Yaris line, and we’ve found a really nice one in a trim that Toyota calls the “Style Selection”. Here’s a photo taken from the dealer who had it on offer:

Toyota Yaris Hybrid Style Selection, from 2017

This one also has a 1.5l fuel engine, but a four cylinder instead of the three cylinders in the newer version. Plus, like all full hybrids, an electrical engine and a CVT – a continuous variable transmission, meaning: no gears. No clutch, no starter, alternator, no drive shaft as well. It has a combined power output of 100hp, three more than we have now, but the top speed is limited to 165km/h (more than enough in this day and age IMO). This “Style Selection” comes with two colours as you can see, and with 16 inch wheels, a bit bigger than what we have now.

The used car market is pretty empty at the moment, and it’s understandable why: people are thinking about getting full electrical cars, but most of us who live in urban areas don’t yet have the possibility to charge these at home, or on the working place. So no electrical, no plugin hybrid, but a full hybrid like this makes the most sense at the moment, and because everyone thinks that this time will pass as well, people are buying more used than new at the moment. Understandable in my opinion.

Bob from Ireland thinks the same, namely “that it makes a lot of sense” to get a car like these:

Quick review of the Toyota Yaris Hybrid 2017

He’s driving the exact same car in red & black, and with the wheel at the other side of course, but beside of that, the same.

And here’s another (bit longer and) nice presentation from a German car dealer where Josephine also talks about the differences between her own and that slightly higher specced “Style Selection” model (in German of course):

Toyota Yaris (Modelljahr 2017) – Fahrzeugvorstellung + Probefahrt | Review/Sitzprobe

I’ve driven “ours” (which is paid, but we don’t have it registered yet), and we’re very happy with what it is and what it does. I assume that we’ll get it in a few days, then I’ll report more, and have our old one repaired, maybe somewhere locally (and a bit cheaper than at an official Toyota repair shop?). Then we’ll have to see to whom this one will go…

Oh, and this “new” car doesn’t only take less fuel than our old one (I managed to get it to 4.8l/100km on our short test drive, the old one takes a bit more than 6 litres), it also takes “E10” which can be produced a bit more environment-friendly, and which costs 6 cents less per litre than the 95 octane “Super” we need now…

As always, thanks for reading, viewing, and watching. Also thanks to Bob and to Josephine, as well as to the people at our car dealers’. Be well and stay safe everyone.

Driving the car of the year

Our car is at the dealers’ garage right now, and in exchange they gave us this one, in black:

Toyota Yaris Hybrid, 4th generation

It’s the all new Toyota Yaris, and that’s a wonderful little car – it’s also the car of the year 2021:

Toyota Yaris, Car of the Year 2021 |

So nice. It’s a hybrid, and it’s also *fun* ­čÖé

Now let’s hope that the repair of ours wouldn’t get too expensive…

P.S.: if you understand German, here are tests of this new and its previous 3rd gen Yaris Hybrid, both from Heise Autos.

A good balance between size and performance

In regards of space I’m a bit restricted, and so my thoughts about computers and cases to put them into lead me to Mini ITX, and to a case which was introduced last year and which immediately became one of the favourites in that size and price class, the CoolerMaster NR200P. Here’s Leo from Kitguru reviewing it:

Leo analyses Cooler Master MasterBox NR200P

You can also read their/his written review here in case you want to know more.

As you could see in the review video, my current drives – one 2,5″ SSD and one 3,5″ hard disk with 4TB – the same Leo was showing – both fit nicely. Plus modern mainboards all have space for one or two M.2 SSD drives which are even faster anyway, and the case could even take two more 2,5″ SATA SSDs behind the front plate – that’s 6 drives overall, surely more than enough storage options.

Of course one should also try to save some space with choosing components wisely, so as a power supply I’d take Corsair’s smaller SFX ones, the ‘Platinum’ specced ones have a set of nicer braided cables compared to the ‘Gold’ rated ones. Without ever planning to add a graphics card, a 450W model would be more than enough, if you want to keep the possibility to add a medium- or high powered graphics card later on, there are also models with 600 or with 750W available. Remember, the high powered system Leo was building there drew some 500 Watts from the wall socket when stressing it out, both CPU and GPU alike. For me, that would rarely to almost never happen… so what about cooling?

I’d go with air cooling with a Noctua L12S low profile top blower cooler. I’d never overclock a system, so that should be just fine for a CPU with a TDP of around 65W like the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G (6 Core / 12 Thread), the Ryzen 7 5700G (8 Core / 16 Thread) or a comparable Intel Core i5-10400 (not the “K” versions which take lots more power). Learn more about such coolers from Machines & More:

Cooler Master NR200: Low Profile Air Cooler Configuration (feat. the Noctua L12S)

In case you also take low profile (or JEDEC-compatible) RAM which isn’t higher than 31,25mm, you could even let the cooler’s fan *under* the heat sink if you so desire, although these tests showed that it’s performing a bit better if you have the fan on top of the heatsink.

So for RAM a kit of 2x8GB or 2x16GB DDR4-3200 from Corsair (“Vengeance”) would be cool and wouldn’t restrict your mounting options.

For the main board, I’d go with Asus, but Gigabyte is also a good option and maybe a bit cheaper. Even MSI has a nice board, for AMD CPUs I’d take one with a B550 chipset, for 11th gen Intel chips a Z590 one.

All of the mentioned CPUs have graphics built right in, so you won’t have to overpay for graphics cards (only gamers would want these anyway, you can cut movies or “develop” photos without a dedicated graphics card just fine).

That would be cool machines, and maybe I’ll build one of these for a relative soon.

Oh, and a propos benchmarking: my own current system which is quite old already, and still has a 4th gen Intel Core i5 was behaving quite nicely when I stressed out its CPU with the Blender render “classroom” test:

Benchmarking Blender on my machine

As you can see, CPU average temperature was 41┬░C, max was 52┬░C, and the system was drawing about 72 Watts from the wall socket while doing this. Of course this took quite a while:

Blender classroom test finished

Over 31 minutes is slow, a more modern machine and chips like the ones mentioned above should do the same in about 8-10 minutes. And while they might draw a bit more power, they’d still do it in about a third to a quarter of the time, which makes them much more efficient in case you need that power…

As always, thanks for reading.

Robin Vincent about how to build an audio PC

Just found this awesome series from Robin Vincent about how to build an audio PC. It’s a bit over 2.5 years old, so when he’s talking about chipsets etc. it’s not that current anymore, but the principle is just right – and because I think that some of my friends over at Wikiloops would possibly be thankful for such explanations, here it is:

How to build an Audio PC
Molten Music Technology

Of course I would install Linux instead – or Windows *and* Linux – or Windows and *two* instances of Linux, which is what I did with my own machine. But that’s not part of what he’s talking about here, and I found his series really interesting. So thanks to Robin, and I hope that some of you who read this might find it useful as well.

As always, thanks for reading, viewing, and/or listening.

We’ve been busy. And now we’re kaputt…

After having two weeks of holidays, starting last Monday we’ve got new windows built into our flat – the whole flat, so all the furniture, computers etc. which was in the way had to be moved, all things which had any value had to be covered, and so on and so forth. A first time for me to actually live in/on a construction zone…

Anyway, we’re almost done. And now we’re kaputt, even our small visitor from the neighbourhood is as you can see:

Having new windows built in is sooo exhausting, M├Ârfelden-Walldorf 2021
Sooo kaputt, M├Ârfelden-Walldorf 2021

As you can see, I can take photos and also type again, and my computer has internet again (no WiFi on this machine). The rest will follow…

As always, thanks for reading.

A Cookie on my chair

Today someone had let “Cookie” the neighbours’ cat in, and so first he woke me up, and later when I came into our living room he had occupied my chair. So I took a chance to take his portrait:

A neighbour’s cat which we named “Cookie”, M├Ârfelden-Walldorf 2021

As always, thanks for viewing.

Cologne, and/from Bensberg Castle

Yesterday we were invited to a wedding, and the invitation said “no cameras please”, so I left everything home.

Still, since part of the wedding was at Bensberg Castle and I knew that the look from up there onto Cologne was/is quite nice, here are two photos from my mobile phone:

Cologne (K├Âln) as seen from Bensberg castle, Bensberg 2021
Bensberg Castle (Schlo├č Bensberg), Bensberg 2021

The wedding was lovely, although we’ll have to wait for the photos from the pros, and for information about what can be shared.

As always, thanks for reading, and for viewing.

Sound setups

The more I’m using my new Debian 11 “Bullseye”, the more I like it. The first – and big – change to something better is that thanks to Geoffrey Bennett, a friendly musician and developer there’s now a Linux driver for the Focusrite Scarlett 2nd and 3rd generation interfaces in the kernel versions 5.x – see his latest thread on Linuxmusicians about it. He’s even developing graphical tools to manage these audio interfaces, but hasn’t released anything public yet. Still they work great, and I can now switch inputs from line to instrument, or assign a -10dB pad with a simple mouse click for instance in qasmixer, which shows my interface like this:

qasmixer showing my Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 2nd generation interface

This is cool because now you won’t need any Windows- or Mac-only software just to change settings on your interface (only the smallest Focusrite interfaces have physical switches, and none comes with software for Linux).

I have also set up a new LADISH studio for the Sonarworks headphone correction in Cadence and Claudia, and Cadence bridges all of Alsa, Pulseaudio, and Jack nicely so that it all works together. The cabling for my self-built “systemwide” setup for Linux in Carla looks like this:

Carla showing my Sonarworks headphone correction sitting “systemwide” between the PulseAudio Jack Sink and the system

Of course, I also had to select the right inputs and outputs for Pulseaudio in their pavucontrol, which looks like this:

Pavucontrol in- and outputs set to Jack to make it all audible

And these settings also allow third party applications like SongRec to check if a song might be a cover of others – and if yes, it shows something like this:

testing some Wikiloops template on known “covers” or songs which sound alike (based on Shazam recognition)

All of this is very complex because the Linux sound systems are so many, from Alsa over Jack to Pulse, and so on. But it all works nicely now, better than ever I’d say.

On Arch Linux I have Pipewire which tries to replace all of the sound servers mentioned above, and that also works – tho I haven’t looked that deep into it, and it’s also not quite ready yet. But from what I have seen and heard so far, that one is also perfectly usable already, so no matter which system is up and running (except Windows), I could make some music.

Good times. I’m happy that my transition to newer operating systems worked so well. And so today I also wiped all partitions from my old 250GB system drive which will go and find a new home in my brother’s PC as soon as he has time to deal with that. I already made a Ventoy-based USB boot stick with these same systems on it (plus some others which he hasn’t seen yet) for him.

Ok, enough for today. And thanks for reading, as always.