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Messages - Spectere

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Random Chat / Re: New car!
« on: December 03, 2019, 12:11:35 PM »
Warning: Stupidly long post ahead.


I've had this thing for a little over a month now and have put a little over a thousand miles on it. I think I have a pretty good idea of how it handles.

One of the things that surprises me the most about the new Civic is the performance. I'm honestly surprised at just how much of a difference there is between my old 2012 and the 2019 (which, being an EX, is equipped with the 1.5L turbo). I knew there'd be a difference, but I wasn't prepared for just how much of a difference there would be.

First of all, the thing generates enough power to spin the tires on dry pavement in certain circumstances (generally while turning). That alone was kind of a shock when I did it the first time. Secondly, it lets me accelerate surprisingly quickly even on the highway. See, that's one thing that my 2012 was particularly bad at: due to the way that model year is geared, it accelerates pretty quickly from around 1-40, but 55-70 was sluggish by comparison. Even my old Saturns had a more linear acceleration curve. I suspect a lot of the difference comes from the transmission. My old Civic had an awkwardly geared 5-speed automatic that should have probably been a 6-speed. It really needed a gear between 3rd and 4th, since highway acceleration was either laborious or overly dramatic. My new Civic is equipped with a CVT, so it just adjusts the ratio to the most ideal one for the situation.

Speaking of the CVT, that's been an interesting experience. I've driven cars equipped with a CVT before (first a 2006 Ford FiveHundred, which was such a piece of shit that it made me never want to touch a CVT-equipped car again, then a 2008 Nissan Sentra, which calmed my angst somewhat, and later parents' 2019 Kia Forte EX) so I have experience with it. Regardless, something still feels odd about having the engine just sort of chilling out at, say, 2200 rpm while it gets up to speed, then dropping down to cruise. Coming right from a 5AT, it doesn't necessarily feel worse. If anything, I'd say it's far better at adapting itself to the road conditions than an auto will ever be. One perfect example from around my area is the OH-711 connector. OH-711N features a fairly tight bend (by highway standards) with a continuous uphill climb. It was a struggle to get my old car to stay in 4th gear (calm, collected) and not kick back and forth between 3rd and 4th (angry, angsty, etc). The 2019 just ramps up to 3000 rpms and stays there, beating the 2012 in both fuel economy and responsiveness.

I don't really get why anyone calls autos more "fun" than CVT. As far as I'm concerned, the two of them are basically on the same footing as far as "fun" is concerned. If you want a fun transmission you buy a manual. Period.

One of the other surprising things are the sheer number of convenience and quality of life features that have been added. First and foremost, being able to finally use CarPlay (it also supports Android Auto) is nothing short of fantastic. The newer iPhones, and most Android phones, have OLED displays, so I'm really hesitant the leave a mostly-static map on the screen if I'm taking a road trip. From what I've read, the image will burn in after roughly 10-11 hours, and considering I take multiple trips to the Madison, WI, area every year (~8.5 hours) I didn't dare risk it. It's going to be nice being able to keep the map up all the time, and considering the hellish conditions that automotive/industrial LCDs are rated for it should last quite a while. Being able to trigger voice assistants is nice, too. My old car only supported voice tags, somewhat akin to what older cell phones would use (i.e. you record yourself saying someone's name and it does a rough match against that sample), with no way to trigger Siri, Google Assistant, etc, directly. The 2019 lets me easily voice dial.

The 2019 Civic has a fairly small screen, at least compared to my parents' Kia, but I actually think I prefer that. In the Forte it always feels like I have to stretch too much to hit the right-side of the display. Considering I'm above-average height (6'1"/1.85m) that's a little silly. The smaller screen feels more comfortable and safer, with the only real disadvantage being that I don't think I can keep Maps and Music open in a split view. It's easy enough to switch tracks with my steering wheel controls and pick music using Siri, though, so that doesn't bother me.

The car intotainment system itself is running on Android 4.2.2, and Honda doesn't really make any attempt to hide that fact (apologies for the poor photo quality—I took this at the dealership in the evening, so the lighting was all over the place):

This seems like a really old version of Android for a 2019, but when you consider that this line of Civics came out in 2016 and it takes several years to bring a car to market it makes sense. Many of these sort of components need to be certified by regulatory bodies before they're allowed to be used in a finished design. Jelly Bean came out in 2012, so I suspect that part of the car was developed around then and subsequently frozen. The kernel version used supports that theory, with 3.1 having come out in Q3 2011. It's kind of strange that they didn't opt for a version under long-term support, but they probably figured that it'd be EOL'd before the car hit the market anyway.

And yes, the infotainment system can be rooted. I don't plan to do that. Apps can be installed without rooting the car, but the system isn't particularly powerful. As with Jelly Bean, it's basically what you'd expect from a low-end phone from around that time. I think I remember reading that it's a single-core ARM processor with fairly tight memory constraints. I'm sure it could run Doom, but I don't feel like going through the trouble to get it working. The system isn't the most responsive thing in the world as a result, but it doesn't really matter too much. CarPlay and Android Auto basically just turn the car display into an external display so your ridiculously overpowered phone is what does all of the grunt work.

The thing that is a bit annoying is adjusting the audio settings. In my old car I'd just hit Sound, select Settings, and all of the audio settings would be in a menu, visible in a little LCD to the right of my dash (Honda's i-MID system). To do the same thing with the new car, I have to hit Home, wait for the custom home screen to load, press Settings, press Audio, press the "Sound" button on the bottom of the screen, then use the touch controls to adjust what I want. Not great. Fortunately, I don't have to play with that too often.

Speaking of audio, my trim is equipped with the 10-speaker Premium audio package. Let's break it down: a kickpanel speaker and tweeter on each door (4), two speakers per channel on the rear deck (another 4), a front-center speaker, and a deck-mounted subwoofer. The component setup on the front doors make sense, and I suspect that the two pairs of rear speakers are little more than a fancy two-way setup (haven't taken a close look at them yet) but the center speaker in particular seemed a little strange to me when I first saw it. The sound system does have one of those dumb "spacialization" modes that tries to give you a surround sound experience, but it has the same problem that all similar systems have—it makes everything sound thin. It might sound good for spoken word, but for me it's failed to deliver decent sounding audio for rock, metal, hip-hop/rap, and electronic (specifically drum and bass, dubstep, and IDM) music. I just turned it off. With that setting off, the system actually sounds very good for factory. Before I talk about it, let me quickly review what my last car's sound system was like.

My last car had a 7-speaker system (two on the rear panel, two kickpanel speakers, two tweeters, and a shelf sub) and while it sounded pretty good its mids were underwhelming and its highs were a bit…much. The shelf subwoofer was weak, as expected, and to compensate they gave it a really strange power curve (it would put max volume out on the sub channel with the volume set to 25, despite the system going up to 40). The reason I noticed that was because I put an aftermarket sub in it and ran it off of the sub channel. Suffice to say, it required regular adjustment depending on what I was listening to and what volume I was listening at. There were some songs that, for one reason or another, simply didn't sound good on that system no matter what I did. One notable example that disappointed me greatly was Mick Gordon's Rip And Tear, from the Doom 2016 soundtrack. Odd exceptions aside, it generally sounded good, and it actually sounded excellent (especially with the aftermarket sub, obviously) for well-produced music, especially stuff pre-loudness war material.

The newer system surprised me with its relative flatness. While the mids on my old system sounded scooped with somewhat exaggerated highs, the new one was more like casually listening to music on studio headphones. I tweaked the EQ a bit and everything came to life. I immediately noticed that guitars in general sound significantly better on the newer system thanks to the more prounounced mids, and after a few minutes of tweaking the EQ and fader I found a sound that managed to be tighter than the old car's system, with a comparitively rich sound without the occasionally screechy highs. The shelf sub augments the mix better than its older counterpart, though it's not going to win any awards. Best of all, Rip and Tear sounds great on the new system! I've been considering dropping the aftermarket sub into the new car, but I'm a bit leery due to it being a lease. In the 2012 it's easy to install and uninstall a sub without leaving even a trace behind, so if the 2019 is also like that I might just do it.

The head unit is a pretty big step up, supporting Bluetooth 4.0. My last one only supported 2.0, so whenever I'd take a call via Bluetooth my watch would lose its connection and have to switch to cellular. While CarPlay makes that a moot point (it pushes everything, including calls, over USB), it's good for if I'm on a short trip and need to make a call. Additionally, I can actually pick a different paired device for each profile (i.e. have two phones paired, play music through one, and take calls through the other). I'm not sure if it supports guest pairing or not—I'm going to have to look into that at some point.

No fancy segues this time: let's move on to some other features! Being a 2019 car in an upper trim level, the new car has lane keep assist, lane departure mitigation, and all that fun stuff.

Lane keep assist, as the name implies, applies gentle force on the wheel to make it easier to keep the car centered in the lane. This doesn't seem like a huge deal, but for long road trips it drastically helps reduce fatigue. If you take your hands off the wheel for more than 10 seconds or so it will yell at you ("Steering Required"). When you use your turn signal to change lanes the system completely relinquishes control so that you don't have to fight it at all (which isn't hard; the system can be easily overridden with minimal force). This is one aspect that Honda does better than Kia, in my opinion. The Forte tends to give control back to the driver fairly abruptly, while the Honda smoothly releases control. One aspect where the Kia wins is that it enables LKAS by default, while on the Civic it requires you to enable it manually every time you start the car (why?). If the car can't detect the lines on the road the system won't do anything, though I've found that in low-light, high-contrast scenarios on wet roads (i.e. early morning rush hour in the rain) the car can still see the lines. The only time I've ever had it fail to activate is when I forgot to clear some ice from the front of the sensor (on the top-center of the windshield). The windshield wipers do cover the sensor area, so it should be able to remove minor obstructions by itself.

Lane departure mitigation doesn't seem to do much, though I haven't tested it much. When you start to drift out of the lane it'll pop "Lane Departure" on the dashboard. I don't know if it does more if you, say, ride on the line, but that's not something I really want to test. With my luck I'd probably get pulled over on suspicion of DUI or hit some debris on the shoulder and puncture a tire. I triggered it by intentionally changing lanes without signalling (on a dark road with no traffic in sight, and even then it was hard for me to force myself to do that) and that's about as far as I'm willing to go.

One system that definitely does beep is the collision mitigation system, which has several stages. I've gotten it to stage 1 a few times due to people in front of me hard braking (in which it displays "BRAKE" real big on the dash) and stage 2 twice due to people pulling out in front of me ("BRAKE" coupled with frantic beeping). If you end up hitting stage 3, the car will automatically hard brake as a last ditch attempt to prevent a collision (and, at the very least, minimize damages). Hopefully nothing ends up triggering that stage.

The car is equipped with adaptive cruise control, which has to be the best thing ever invented. Instead of having to constantly adjust the cruise, you just set a maximum speed and the car will hold that, automatically coasting and even braking if traffic in front of you slows down. The system isn't the smoothest when it comes to handling lane changes, but you can easily override it temporarily by giving it a little gas or cancelling it using the steering wheel controls. It has an adjustable follow distance, from close (just shy of what's largely considered the minimum safe distance) to very far (which would be good for driving on sparse roads). This system is also known as "low speed follow" since you can set it to speeds as low as 20mph. While set, the car will even come to a complete stop if necessary. While you can technically set this on a road and it'll handle all of the acceleration and braking for you, I'm not quite willing to put that much faith in it, at least not at this point.

Another useful feature is brake hold. This is perfect for both drive-thrus and stop-and-go traffic. When you come to a complete stop for more than about half a second, the car will automatically hold the brake for you. To release it, just start accelerating. This feature starts off disabled when you start the car, and automatically turns off if you set the parking brake. If you're feeling spicy you could even refer to this as a basic launch control system.

The car also has two cameras, one on the right mirror and the other being your traditional reverse camera. The right mirror camera by default activates when you put your right signal on, showing the blind spot on your right on the infotainment display along with some guide lines to show you roughly where your car is relative to other traffic. This camera can also be activated by pressing a button on the end of the turn signal switch. In addition to lane changes, this is also useful for giving you a view of on ramps and even railroad tracks running at a sharp angle to the road without having to take your eyes too far off of the road. The rear camera is pretty much what you'd expect, automatically coming on whenever you put the car in reverse. In my experience it's not the best thing to use when lining your car up—you still want to use your mirrors for that—but it's fantastic for checking to see how far back you are and, more importantly, making sure that nothing runs behind your car while you're backing it into or out of a spot. The camera on the Civic has three modes, the standard wide-angle mode, an ultra-wide angle mode (great for parking lots!), and one that gives a roughly top-down view. I find that the standard view is sufficient for most things, but if I'm in a busy area and don't need any semblence of precision I'll switch to the ultra-wide.

There's still a lot of things that I haven't gotten around to yet. Like, I can say that it gets better fuel efficiency than my last car did for city driving. My old car would average 29-30 mpg for my daily commute and I'm pushing 32-33 with the new one, which matches what Honda advertises (32 city, 42 highway), so I'm looking forward to seeing how it handles a trip. I have a trip to the Baltimore area planned for the end of next week (weather permitting) so hopefully I'll get to test that out soon.

All in all, I'm glad I finally pulled the trigger and leased this, and I'm glad I went with this one in particular. It feels like a logical evolution to my old car, feeling somewhat familiar while at the same time being a large leap forward. I'm really curious to see what the landscape is going to look like when my lease is up.

tl;dr I like it.

Gaming / Re: The Outer Worlds
« on: November 02, 2019, 11:59:11 AM »
Yeah, I was just quoting what I saw online. I mentioned in the first paragraph that Obsidian made F:NV. I'm honestly surprised how well it turned out considering how badly Bethesda fucked them over.

Also, one thing that I didn't mention about The Outer Worlds is how good the shooting feels. It almost feels like they developed an FPS and then bolted TSO/FO-style RPG elements on top of it.

Gaming / The Outer Worlds
« on: October 28, 2019, 02:28:38 AM »
I heard a lot of people describe this as "Fallout 4 in Space," mostly because Obsidian did New Vegas, yadda yadda.

See, that's not true at all. Unlike Fallout 4, this game is actually good.

*troll face*

But yeah, I'm about five hours in right now and just got off the first planet. The game definitely does resemble titles from Bethesda's stable, but instead of being based on Bethesda's mutilated version of the Gamebryo engine it's based on Unreal Engine 4. Rock solid so far and plays well on my 1080 Ti (ultra at 4K, though I did bump the render scale down to 80% to keep the framerate locked at 60; could probably tweak it further to squeeze some more pixels out of it but I don't see the need to). I had one minor issue where the sounds would cut off prematurely and eventually stop playing altogether around the 2h30m mark, but a quick restart (and I do mean quick—this game runs really well) resolved the issue. There is some minor object pop-in, but how noticeable it ends up being seems to be pretty variable.

My gut feeling is telling me that you're not going to see same level of expansiveness that you do in Bethesda titles after seeing how the first area is handled, but I'd much rather have a handful of rich, densely packed 750m² (rough guess based on distances walked) areas than a relatively sparse 16mi² one.

But anyway, it's getting late so I'm just going to finish this off real quick. First impressions are very positive. If it turns into a complete dumpster fire another hour in I'm sure I'll bitch about it, but so far I've been having a ton of fun with it.

Random Chat / Re: New car!
« on: October 23, 2019, 12:09:02 PM »
You forgot the little detail where you have to pay more for the body kit and muffler than you paid for the car itself. :P But yeah, I have my body kit on order. I even managed to find an old ironing board to use as a wing.

In all seriousness, this is actually my second Civic. My last car was a pretty blue 2012 EX Coupe:

Quite a bit more road noise, not quite as peppy, but still a fantastic vehicle.

And yeah, I remember reading somewhere that Hondas are some of the cheapest cars to own due to their reliability, and after owning one for seven years I can honestly believe it. Funny to think that GM had the exact same thing going for them with the S-series Saturns and even the earlier Cavaliers and Sunfires, but we all know how badly they pissed that away.

Random Chat / New car!
« on: October 21, 2019, 09:46:38 PM »
So I ended up getting my first brand spanking new, straight off the showroom, 14 miles on the clock car tonight.

2019 Honda Civic EX Sedan. Has a few features! I like it!

Gaming / Re: Modest Gaming Goals: 2019
« on: October 21, 2019, 01:41:36 PM »
Played a bunch of Hyrule Warriors this weekend (roughly 12.5 hours, judging from the iOS Screen Time feature (I always have a reference guide up on my iPad while I play, not to mention some sort of music app)) and cleaned out a decent chunk of the Master Mode Adventure Map (grabbing a bunch of level 3 weapons during my rampage), as well as a few squares on the Master Mode Wind Waker map.

In addition to that, I also finished clearing the Legend Mode stages on Hard and snagged all of the hard mode Skulltulas. There's one thing I never have to do ever again. I do need to pick up some heart containers/pieces from the legend mode maps and finish clearing them on Hero mode (shouldn't be a problem, seeing as Link is level 154 now).

Oh, Link also got his third row of hearts, giving him a total of 41. Not at all excessive.

Computing / Re: New GFX card.
« on: October 15, 2019, 09:36:15 AM »
Haha yeah, I know the feeling. It also makes cleaning so much easier. I ended up ordering two so that I could wash one and leave it air dry and still use my headset.

I haven't needed to wash the one for my Rift S yet, but when I was using the VR Cover on my good ol' CV1 I didn't even bother machine washing it. I'd just alternate between hand-washing it with antibacterial soap and soaking it for a bit until I'm satisfied, then dry it off by patting it down with a towel and either blowdrying it or letting it air dry on a towel bar.

Gaming / Re: World of Warcraft
« on: October 10, 2019, 01:30:07 PM »
Blizzard committed a well-publicized, catastrophically huge oof recently, so I cancelled my subscription in protest.

I love this game, but freedom is far more important than my feelings.

Computing / Re: New GFX card.
« on: October 09, 2019, 10:46:17 AM »
Yeah I've been enjoying it a lot. Also went out and bought an Oculus Rift S, so been having crazy fun with Beat Saber.

Get Robo Recall. It's incredible. Sadly, it isn't free with the Rift S (it was with the CV1 + Touch bundle), but I think it's still well worth the price tag. I keep going back to it despite 100%ing it twice.

Also, Lone Echo is an awesome experience after you've gotten your VR legs.

Edit: Also, I highly recommend investing in a VR Cover if you haven't already. It lets you put a nice, easily washable piece of cloth over the somewhat abrasive foam. It makes it far more comfortable to wear for extended periods of time, and in my experience almost completely eliminates "Oculus Face."

Gaming / Re: Bloodstained
« on: October 09, 2019, 10:39:11 AM »
I miiiiiight have backed this. ;)

And yeah, it's so freaking good. I really need to find some more time to sink into this sucker.

Gaming / Re: World of Warcraft
« on: October 09, 2019, 10:14:57 AM »
Congrats, mon!

It's kind of amazing how much more efficient you can be when you sort of know what's going on. It felt like it took forever for me to hit 80 my first time (never hit the cap until Wrath, obviously) but subsequent caps happened much, much faster.

Kind of a shame the game loses a bunch of its magic and wonderment when you know what you're doing, but I guess that's to be expected.

Gaming / Super Stigma Slam - 2019
« on: October 01, 2019, 09:59:22 PM »
I think I mentioned this elsewhere, but this weekend I'm going to be taking part in a gaming marathon benefiting Take This, a charity focused on educating the public about mental health issues and reducing the stigma of mental illness.

Here's a linky to the specific marathon I'm taking part in:

I'm going to be doing an easy run of Quake, beating Ganon in Hyrule Warriors, and playing Doom II on UV. Here's a rundown of when I'm going to be up:

Friday, October 4, 11:00PM CDT: Quake
Saturday, October 5, 1:15PM CDT: Hyrule Warriors
Saturday, October 5, 10:15PM CDT: Doom

Here's a link to the full schedule: (the times there should automatically adjust to match your time zone).

Please tune in if you have a chance. ;D

Edit: Should have probably added a link to the web site (which has the Twitch streamy thingie embedded). Here ya go:

Computing / Re: New GFX card.
« on: September 28, 2019, 01:42:23 PM »
The 2070 is a solid card! You're looking at slightly better performance than a 1080 Ti on average and you still get those shiny RTX features.

Just to give you an idea of what to expect, I can still reliably hold 60fps on most titles at 4K, ultra settings on my 1080 Ti.

Gaming / Re: World of Warcraft
« on: September 20, 2019, 08:30:11 AM »
I was lv.42 when I got my first mount in BC. Good times. :)

I need to play Classic more. I've been too busy with other stuff. The only unfortunate thing is that my cow dude is going to be stuck riding kodos (unless I get a PvP mount, but I'm not planning to gun for those), but I suppose I'll live.

Computing / Re: Anyone familiar enough with emacs to help me?
« on: September 20, 2019, 08:26:38 AM »
Sorry, I use vim. :(

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