September, 2004

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Got my car dyno’ed

Saturday, September 18th, 2004

Went over to Gruppe-S today to get my car “dyno’ed”—measure its horsepower and torque output on a load-bearing dynamometer. Usually people do this to measure the performance benefits of tuning and/or modifications to their car, but I was simply there “for fun”: Gruppe-S needed a couple of stock Evos to calibrate their instrument and provide a yardstick for others with more modified cars, so they offered some free dyno pulls to volunteers who could provide a car in completely stock form. I’ve seen cars dyno’ed before but it was fun and interesting to get mine done for the first time; my thanks go out to Cal and Mike and the rest of the crew over at Gruppe-S.

My car made a bit over 220 horsepower to the wheels, which was about the expected number for that particular dynamometer and car, so it’s good to know that the car’s engine seems to be in good working order and performing as expected. Later, when I’ll start adding modifications to increase power, I’ll be able to go back to Gruppe-S and dyno the car again to measure any power increases.

[dynamometer graph]

It’s interesting what people consider “stock” when you dangle some free dyno time in front of them. Quite a few on NorCalEvo replied to the offer with something along the lines of, “My car is stock… except for the turbo-back exhaust and aftermarket blow-off valve,” much to the amusement and/or annoyance of the Gruppe-S folks. I must have one of the few Evos that’s remained completely stock (in the engine and drivetrain anyway) after a year; my signature tagline on NorCalEvo reads, “Mod the driver before you mod the car”—on the racetrack, the greatest performance is to be gained by first learning to become a better driver.

Moving on

Saturday, September 18th, 2004

It’s official: this week I submitted a formal letter of resignation to my manager, and signed and sent an acceptance letter to my new employer. After what’s been a mostly-good five-year stint at NVIDIA, I’ll be leaving at the end of the month to start a new job at VMWare. Though things are still plenty busy over at NVIDIA and I’m still excited about many of the ongoing projects there, I felt that the time had come for me to move on, explore a different career option, work in a totally different part of the industry, try to stay flexible… As I’ve pointed out to many, I’ve never done the same thing or lived in the same place for more than five years at any point in my life, and I think having gotten used to that I was becoming increasingly restless.

When I started at NVIDIA I was just out of university, very gung-ho about work, overflowing with enthusiasm… five years later I find myself a bit jaded, somewhat cynical and ever so slightly bitter. Why? Overall I’m proud of what I accomplished and happy with the work I did, but to some extent the past five years seem somewhat like wasted time to me: sure, I did good work, made quite a bit of money in the process, but in many ways I’m left feeling… hollow, maybe… for having largely neglected other aspects of my life. My latest efforts have not only been about changing my career path, but more importantly “rebalancing” my life. I still have a long ways to go before I find that balance…

Both sides now

Sunday, September 12th, 2004

[photo of Schroth harnesses now on both sides]

Seeing that supplies were dwindling, I finally ordered a matching Schroth Autocontrol harness last week, and installed it today. Installation was much more straightforward today, firstly because I didn’t have to do quite as much, but also because this time I knew exactly what I had to do and how. It’s good to see harnesses on both sides so things don’t look as lop-sided now. I also read somewhere that at a track event, it’s considered good courtesy to provide your instructor with a harness if you have one too. Now if only I could get out to an HPDE event one of these days… Soon!

Time for an upgrade…

Tuesday, September 7th, 2004

My (three-year-)old mobile phone got extremely poor reception at the new house, to the point where it would drop into analog mode unless held high up on the second floor… and even after doing so, reception was usually not good enough to actually hold a conversation. That, combined with the fact that my last phone bill was for $97—due to a combination of overrunning my 60-minute airtime limit and making a bunch of “roaming” calls while in Seattle—finally motivated me to go upgrade phone and plans this past weekend.

I ended up getting a Nokia 3120, nothing fancy compared to its peers today but it’s small, light, has decent battery life, and was pretty inexpensive. And hopefully once I get the USB data cable for it I’ll be able to effortlessly transfer all my Outlook contacts to the phone. One woefully missing feature for me is voice dialing, which I had come to take for granted—after all, it was available on my old “dinosaur” phone—but I think setting up speed-dial buttons will remedy that to some extent. Now if I could only get used to the 3120’s rather idiosyncratic (some would say idiotic) user interface, it would almost be perfect.