How to charge your Tesla for £1.50!

Buying a brand new Model 3 Tesla can feel quite daunting, or any new car for that matter but especially one which is fully electric.

Many questions start to circulate, and often, it’s how frequently do I need to charge and how much does it really cost. Well, continue reading, and I will talk you through how you can charge your Tesla for ~£1.50.

The Tesla Model 3 comes in various models, I have the long-range as I wanted a minimum of 300 miles, or a larger battery capacity for added peace of mind. Bare this in mind as you continue reading as it’ll be a factor.

Home Charging vs Charging Points.

Charging points are helpful for bump charging, for example, topping up to get to where you need to go; I wouldn’t recommend relying on them for your recharging needs as they are four or five times more expensive than home charging and also, one will likely be in use when you need it.

Home charging is by far the most efficient and flexible way to charge your vehicle.

To be able to home charge, you typically need a few prerequisites such as:

  • 100A mains switch fuse box*
  • A Smet2 electric smart meter**
  • EV Charging wall connector
  • A driveway or garage***

*If you don’t have the 100A fuse in your home, the UK Power Networks can help upgrade you; click to read more.

**This is maybe not essential for home charging, but it is fundamental to get to the £1.50 charging cost.

***Maybe not essential either as I have seen homeowners feed a cable to an on-street housing box for their charging cable. No guarantee you will always have that parking spot, though.

EV Charge Wall Connector

Many charger options are available to choose from. I went for the Tesla Wall Connector. It’s stylish, looks gorgeous, and I’m keeping on-brand with the vehicle I own. It is more expensive, and I couldn’t take advantage of the government allowance, but I’m happy with my choice, and I will elaborate more on why later on.

Tesla Wall Connector

I have the 7.5-meter cable as I have a rather large driveway, it’s no extra cost compared to the 2.5-meter cable, and I wanted the additional flexibility which comes with that. The only downside I see is the messiness from having such a large cable while it’s stored away.

Which Energy Provider?

I won’t be comparing all energy providers; you can do your own research, but when you are looking, ensure you go by the cost per kWh, not per standing charge. Especially look out for a nighttime cost per kWh as nine times out of ten, you will be charging your EV during the night.

I have chosen to switch to Octopus Energy 🐙 don’t worry, this is not an ad for Octopus Energy but more to highlight the available tariffs designed explicitly for EV charging.

I started on the Octopus Go tariff, which gave me 5p per kWh super off-peak charging between 11:30 pm – 4:30 am; a good 5-hours of charging every day for my EV. This is insane value and allows me to charge or add 200 miles to my car for around £3.00.

However, and this is where it gets even better. I recently got invited to their private beta for Intelligent Octopus which gives me smart charging from 11.30 pm – 5:30 am at 5p per kWh.

Key word smart, they use machine learning to optimise my charge, meaning each day they map out a charging plan to make use of the greenest energy-efficient electrons, and by doing so, I always pay the 5p rate.

This is where some of my prerequisites come into play. Octopus requires you to have a Smet2 smart meter – don’t worry, you can book an engineer from Octopus to install one for you. And a compatible charger wall connector, Tesla or OCPP-enabled charger.

My electricity usage for my whole house, not just when charging, is now smartly managed by Octopus machine learning energy-efficient system; by using this system, I get cheaper electrons, therefore when I set my charging schedule, let’s say I want my Tesla fully charged by 5:30 am, Octopus will map out my plan to use the most energy-efficient electricity available in the grid. Therefore I pay less for what I use, even if the amount I use is still the same. This also puts less strain on the grid; I’m not consuming electricity at peak times, and I feel thrilled that Octopus get their energy from green sources; it’s a win-win.

All in all, this equates to the ~£1.50 charging cost. It took a lot of time researching and learning about all of this, but it’s been worth it. I particularly feel pleased about using green energy to power my car and house.

Here are my referral codes for Octopus Energy and Tesla

Octopus Energy – we split £100 after you sign up.
Tesla – we both receive a 1000 miles free on the Tesla superchargers.

I hope you found this post useful.

The Work/Life Balance Challenge

Have you ever worked considerably more hours in a week than you are paid to do so, assuming that working 60+ hours a week will benefit you and your career?

I am convinced I am not alone on this one. I once thought to further my career, to progress, I need to work insane hours. It is not correct to have this mentality.

With age comes, wisdom. I struggled with a work/life balance in my younger years. Work almost becomes your entire life, very consuming and you almost forget or not focus enough of your time or energy on other areas of your life.

Other hobbies, friends, family, whatever it may be, we start to lose touch with it all, you are present but not present, work is always on your mind.

It is not sustainable; you will burn out if the work and life are not balanced.

Having a well-rounded life, including a healthy balance with work, will help you progress professionally and personally as a human being.

Work and life are two areas in which we grow, and actually, what we learn at work helps in life scenarios, and what we learn in life scenarios help us at work. If all you focus on is work, how do you expect to develop other parts of your life?

Relationships are a huge part of our lives, friendships, partners, family. Being the best friend, boyfriend/girlfriend, husband or wife helps you grow as a human being. Maturity, adulthood, being a Father or a Mother, significant moments which require us to adapt and learn to be responsible. These learnings and dealing with adversity help you develop, such learnings you can bring with you into the workplace.

If you don’t focus on developing other parts of your life, your career will suffer. It will stagnate, some develop a fear of change, you lose sight of other opportunities or new careers. This is no progression.

Taking up new hobbies, learning something new. Go travelling, learn language and culture. Try fresh foods, bake, cooking. Take up a sport. Arts and crafts. Play video games.

I see these not just as fun things to do, but also ways to develop. Remember, work is not your only method in life to develop as a human being. Invest in other parts of life. You will find it most fulfilling, and you’ll be much happier for it.

Stop. Collaborate and Listen…

Starting from March 16th, I am in full-time Work From Home mode, the transition is almost flawless, and nothing major to report on that topic.

I will share a few insights into what I am experiencing, these insights are things that have stuck with me over the past months, not one-off learnings, it is consistent throughout, which is why I am writing about it.

Zoom:

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I manage a team who are in multiple locations, either in an office or remotely working from home, and that is not something new to me, approaching 3-years with that.

What we did as a team, shortly after the lockdown is set up a permanent Zoom link for any of us, at any time, to join and hang out together. The link is added to our Slack team channel description, it is very easy to find within the Slack UI, so, it’s effectively a one-click process and human contact, woohoo!

I find that very helpful, mentally, although it is not in-person contact, it helps to fill that void left by not working in an office. When the need arises to plough through some emails, it’s nice to join the Zoom link and catch up with a colleague at the same time, that banter, that random conversation, these things go a long way in keeping your sanity. Do not underestimate the positive effect this has on you.

Critical takeaway and learning from this, we don’t need to be in a lockdown to have a permanent Zoom link, let’s keep it, permanent.

Zoom Exhaustion:

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This needs to be an official term within the workplace. Zoom meetings are dominating my days, I rarely have a gap, and by the end of the day I am exhausted.

At first, it was hard to think why, as I sit a lot in my comfy chair most of day, meaning a real lack of physical exercise (that’s another problem), so how can I be exhausted. Naturally, I did some research, and this is the article I related most too, titled: The Reason Zoom Calls Drain Your Energy.

  • Video calls require more focus.
  • Video chats mean we need to work harder to process non-verbal cues like facial expressions, the tone and pitch of the voice, and body language.
  • Connection issues, lag, audio problems all contribute to additional stresses.
  • Every time we join a Zoom call we are reminded of the Pandemic.
  • Aspects of my life used to be separate – work, friends, family, now, it’s all in the same place.

Critical takeaway and learning from this, take Zoom calls that are absolutely necessary. Take 25/50 minute calls instead of 30/60 minute calls so you have a small gap. Turn your camera off in larger group meetings.

Consistency:

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Consistency is a crucial ingredient to high performing teams, we need to be able to spot the great things we do and keep doing those things consistently over a sustained period. At some point in the future, the great thing you started doing becomes second nature.

The Pandemic certainly made an attempt to disrupt our consistency, it is important, as a leader, I am aware of any potential dips in performance and guide the team through any difficult periods.

Crucial takeaways and learning on this. Always be aware of performance dips, lookout out for them proactively so you can course-correct before it becomes a bigger problem.

Producing Work is Slow to Non-Existent:

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Producing any type of work is very difficult during these times, my days are filled with Zoom meetings and working with our customers in helping them to create amazing games.

I need to adapt my work output quite drastically, I lean more on my team for the work I would have produced in the past. Tasks such as Proof of Concepts, Development work, Technical Training have had to take a back seat. My focus is solely on how I can be as effective as possible in my Zoom meetings, then onto the next one. In the evenings and on weekends, the term Zombified has been brandished in my direction many times. Time to fix it.

Crucial takeaways and learnings from this. I am starting to break out of this cycle as off this week.

  • Only taking those necessary Zoom calls
  • Making time to connect casually with my colleagues
  • Identifying what I was doing really well consistently before vs now

Bringing those back into my workday is working remarkably well so far.

What have been your crucial takeaways and learnings from the lockdown experience.

What-A-Year-2018

This festive period has given me the opportunity to take a breath and reflect on the craziness that has been 2018. Also, a sense of wonder lingers, what could lay ahead in the future, personally and professionally.

A new life:

I have to begin with the birth of my first child, Leila is a dream come true, I could not have imagined having such a beautiful, funny and well-behaved baby. My life has dramatically changed since and nothing prepares you for being a parent. Of course, you can read all the books, research on the internet etc, but there is a big difference between reading how to do something vs physically doing it plus every baby is different. I wasn’t one for reading the books, I put my faith in instinct and evolution, with the backup of Google (which has come very handy).

Next year will bring her first birthday, and here comes the cliche; it is true what everyone says, the first year goes by very quickly. I think of how far Leila has come since her first days on Earth, the development is crazy fast. Let’s have a little fact; A human develops the most in their first year of life.

State of mind:

I am in a much better place mentally, I have improved my confidence and I open up more than I ever used to. However, I am still very cautious, if I don’t know someone I think I am not very approachable, but once I am approached I make the effort to be nice and welcoming. I want people to feel they can approach me, this is something I will work to improve upon in future.

The Wedding Planner:

My fiancee has done the heavy lifting so far, the spreadsheet we have set up is brilliant; We will be having two weddings, one in England where we will legally get married and a celebration wedding in Poland for the wider family and we decided to do these in a space of seven days in 2019. Planning for these big days have been very challenging, we might be 50% there but there are a few things that have popped up which we didn’t originally think off, so 50% is more a guestimate, either way, we try and complete at least one big task and couple of little things a month.

Profession:

My profession is in Software Development, Software which powers some of the most creative and immersive games and experiences in the world. Although I don’t create those experiences first hand, I help people to do this, and it is most fulfilling. I get to meet people from all over Europe (and other parts of the world) and help solve development pain points and issues with the end goal of helping them be as successful as possible.

I lead and manage a team that does this. Being a manager has some great pros and cons. What I love is growing a team, through building, coaching and recruiting.

I am responsible for headcount requests, budgeting and hiring. I created an interview process for these roles. I also learned how to write an inclusive and non-discriminative job advert (I am shocked how many job adverts are discriminating). I hired five people, retained four and lost two.

Lost feels like a negative term, those two moved on to better things which I fully supported, I hope I managed to play a small part in their career development, seeing team members move on to better things should reflect well on any manager, I support progression and I am passionate to help as many people as I can.

There has been a lot of changes in the organisation I work in, good people have left and good people have joined. It feels like evolution but there has been some teething problems. However, I am no stranger to change, I have been at this company for nine plus years (at the time of writing this post), I have experienced the company growing from fifty to sixty people to two thousand plus(?). Navigating and supporting these drastic changes is a challenge. Change can be scary but you have to embrace it, as long as it is something you believe in to be positive.

I registered with LinkedIn: Career Advice program, it gives me an opportunity to connect with people looking for advice on career progression. I have found this to be very rewarding, I hope I helped, I at least received some positive gracious messages.

I managed to complete three training courses such as Leadership, Technical Engineering, and Solution Selling. I must admit the sales training had me sceptical at first but I learned a few things that I can use in my everyday life.

Final Destination?

Overall, a lot has happened in 2018, sometimes it feels like it could be great to spread these things out over a number of years but on the other hand, I think everything I am doing is really positive and I put all my energy into it. I expect 2019 to bring further change, I have a daughter who is developing and growing fast. I will be married. Maybe the dust will settle at work, but drawing from experience the company is a very dynamic and ever-evolving workplace that a term such as maybe the dust will settle shouldn’t be associated with it. Finally; It’s exciting times, and one day I might look back and think what a crazy busy year but you know what, it was fully worth it!

Getting Started with ProBuilder – Tools and Tips

A personal wish of mine is to have mesh modification tools in Unity. Seeing ProBuilder become part of the engine is a delight, one that I cannot stop smiling at.

The goal of this blog post is to help you to overcome any barriers and start you on the right path to having fun playing with this toolset, using it efficiently and effectively to mitigate any risk of becoming frustrated. So, I wanted to share some tools and tips around using ProBuilder for the first time because it is an excellent tool! If you are a noobie to 3D or an experienced modeller, this post will provide you with some great insights into getting started with ProBuilder. I should mention this is not a step by step tutorial, but I will be sharing helpful tips to getting started in using the tools available to you.

ProBuilder

ProBuilder:

Here are some great keyboard shortcuts that’ll get you building and modifying meshes in no time:

Ctrl + K – Spawns a Cube.
Ctrl + Shift + K – New Shape Tool.

Hold Shift while moving – Extrusion:

Extrusion.gif

Hold Shift while scaling – Inset:

Inset.gif

Alt + U – Insert Edge Loop:

Inset Edge Loop.gif
Alt + E – connects verts/edges:

Connect edges.gif
Alt + C – collapse verts (this will merge all selected verts into one vertex, centred at the average of all selected points):

Collapse verts.gif

Ctrl + Z – Undo – same as anything in Unity.

Escape key – reverts to object selection mode.

Use H, J, and K keys to chose between Verts, Edges and Faces selection modes.

Multi-select faces/edge/verts – Hold Shift and LMB.

Use backspace to delete verts/faces/edges – Delete will delete the object.

In general, tooltips can take 500ms or so to show, in ProBuilder this can be instant by holding the Shift key when hovering the mouse cursor over the feature buttons in the toolbar.

Now, I’ll share some tips and gotchas which I found are useful things to know, but first, if you are new, remember to start simple, common mistake is to start pushing too much geometry, this can become very complicated fast. Start by boxing out familiar shapes, it’s a lot easier to add geometry than to clean up complex geometry. Here we go:

When collapsing vertices, you might want to collapse them to the first vertex that you selected. To do this you need to click on the + button next to the Collapse Vertices option on the toolbar and select Collapse To First in the Options menu pop-up (be aware that all future Collapse Vertices will now Collapse To First if this checkbox remains enabled):

Collapse to first

To select vertices that are hidden out of view on the opposite side of the geometry, you will need to ensure Select Hidden: On is enabled. By default, this is On so be aware when you go to select multiple vertices to modify them.

There are many circumstances where you will need to flip normals to invert the faces of your geometry, ProBuilder has a feature called Flip Face Normals located in the toolbar (you will need to first select some faces on your mesh):

Flip Faced Normals

Use Detach Faces to detach parts of a mesh to a new game object, useful for cleaning up meshes, especially if you have created some ngons. Things to be aware of when using this feature:

  • The pivot will usually be in an incorrect position
    • Use Centre Pivot selection from the toolbar
    • For custom pivot positioning – select a vert – use Set Pivot

When using the New Shape tool to build Stairs. There is an option to uncheck Build Sides. If you know those sides of the object won’t be visible this is especially useful for:

  • Not having to go back and clean this up manually yourself
  • Optimal for baked lighting to ensure you not wasting texture space
    • Also, helps reduce bake times

Uncheck Build Sides.gif

Preferences for ProBuilder – customise shortcut settings

If like me, you like to see how many faces, triangles and verts a mesh has (especially when building on the fly), you will need to enable this in Edit -> Preferences -> ProBuilder -> Show Scene Info (not a great name).

Show Scene Info

ProGrids:

Used to make snapping easier, and excellent for controlling the unit size of your entire geometry, level design at it’s finest. Here are some quick tips:

  • Use +/- keys to scale the grid size – you can change this on the fly depending on your requirements for mesh modifying
  • Select all the verts – select the push to grid button to align current mesh with new grid size
    Hold V to snap objects around

PolyBrush:

A great addition, and lets you sculpt, smooth, texture blend, paint on textures, scatter objects etc.

To sculpt you may need to add additional geometry to your mesh, you can do this via using the subdivide tool, the way this works is it grabs all edges and connects them to the centre, a straightforward implementation, with nothing extravagant happening here.
To sculpt you will need to select the Push tool, which will push (sculpt) vertices on your mesh depending on brush settings, some tips for quickly editing brush settings for sculpting:

  • Hold ctrl to scroll brush up to a larger size
  • Hold shift to change the interior diameter of the brush
  • Hold shift + ctrl to adjust the strength (how much push will be applied to your mesh)

That’s it, I hope to write more of these posts over the coming weeks/months, please share your ProBuilder creations, I cannot wait to see what you create!

Los Angeles, U.S.A

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Santa Monica Beach

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Santa Monica Beach

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Santa Monica Beach

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Santa Monica Beach

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Mixed Reality Capture playing Racket: NX on Vive

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Visitor Pass for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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1.1 Scale Model of the Curiosity Rover

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1.1 Scale Model of the Curiosity Rover – It has a laser…

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LED light representation of data received from live Space Probes

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Antennas receiving live data

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Current live Space missions

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Inside JPL’s Space Flight Operations Facility

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JPL’s Space Flight Operations Facility

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NASA JPL’s DK1 with tracking balls

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Unity team photo at NASA JPL

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Aerogel is a silicon based solid which is 99.8 percent air. It is used on Stardust to trap fast-moving comet particles and also insulates the electronics on Mars rovers.

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A piece of Moon rock

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Substance Painter – Meet Mat 2017 Contest

I rarely get any spare time to allocate to other software packages outside of Unity, but every now and again my artistic nature gets the better of me and I’ll dabble into Photoshop or Modo etc.

Last week, I noticed my good friends at Allegorithmic launched a contest called Meet Mat, the contest is a 3D painting contest utilising Substance Painter. It seemed targeted to beginners as well as experts, so I decided to have ago. This is my first time using Substance Painter. I know I could do better but either way I wanted to share the iRay renders I submitted for the contest.

Meet Mat 2017

Meet Unity Mat – Final Render using iRay

 

Meet Mat 2017_1

Meet Unity Mat – Final Render using iRay

Meet Mat 2017_2

Meet Unity Mat – Final Render using iRay

Meet Mat 2017_3

Meet Unity Mat – Final Render using iRay

Meet Mat 2017_4

Meet Unity Mat – Final Render using iRay

I hope you like them! 🙂