Upcoming Development Talk @Refresh Columbia 10/24/13

I’ll be giving a talk at the next Refresh Columbia meeting on October 24th, 2013 at 6:00PM on an introduction to Vagrant and how it relates to other development environments.  Developers and designers should benefit from this topical overview.

Refresh Columbia              Vagrant

Tired of spending hours setting up your development environment before you write a single line of code?  Vagrant is a tool that makes it easy to get yourself and your teammates ready to develop quickly while providing you with good conventions and best-practices. Developers enjoy the consistent environment and designers enjoy the ease.  Come learn about how Vagrant will keep your work environment clean and synchronized with your team.

If you haven’t been to Refresh Columbia yet, you need to come check it out.  It’s a great place to learn and network with the design and development community in Columbia.  There’s usually food and drink involved.  Also, the event is hosted at the new beautiful coworking space in the Vista, SOCO.  Please, come hang out with us!

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How to fix a 2006 Honda Civic’s Cruise Control in 30 minutes

I’ve had my 2006 Honda Civic for a while now. I don’t drive as much since graduation because I telecommute so I’ve only got 61,000 miles as of now. For the most part, it’s been good to me.  There have been a few recalls that i’ve participated in but I guess that’s what I signed up for with the first iteration of the 8th generation.  My biggest complaint that hasn’t been recalled is the bad clear coat paint job which seems to be highly reported on hondaproblems.com for my model year.  I’m in the process of taking care of that but for now, my cruise control is finally working again!

Sometime in the past year the cruise control button on my steering wheel stopped working.  It’s a mechanical switch that should stay slightly depressed when the cruise is activated.  In my case, I could still operate the cruise control if I manually held the cruise button down while driving.  That’s not fun so I thought that paying to have this fixed would be less than $100 but the dealership was asking about $250 for parts and labor which seems high to me.  With my experience building PC’s over the past decade I decided I could probably handle it myself. Turns out it’s really easy.

I found a website, bernardiparts.com, selling OEM Honda parts and they had just what I needed.  They have almost all of the OEM parts that are available when you buy your car and most come with instructions. You can usually find a coupon code by searching online for a discount.

In the process of searching for documentation on my car I came across a forum where someone had documented the process of installing steering mounted audio controls.  That post shows you how easy it is to replace the broken switch since it’s so modular.  After examining that post and using it as my guide me and buddy of mine did the repair very easily.  If you need more pictures, check out those provided in this forum post.

  1. Disconnect your battery by removing one of the terminal leads.
  2. Pop off a little 3″ x 1″ panel underneath your steering wheel with flat head screw driver. 
  3. Disconnect the yellow switch by sliding the black release and pulling apart.
  4. Remove one Torx screw on the left and right side of the steering wheel.  These two screws secure the horn switch and airbag to the wheel.  They have Loctite® on them so they may require some muscle.  Don’t strip them.  We used a power drill.
  5. Remove the airbag by pulling the steering wheel cover towards you while unplugging it.
  6. Remove the 2 phillips head screws from each spoke behind the wheel.  These support the plastic shroud on the front.
  7. Remove the 4 phillips head screws from the front of the wheel.  This will allow you remove the cruise control switch assembly.
  8. Unplug the cruise control switch assembly.  
  9. Replace the old switch with the new one.  If you’ve made it this far, the rest is self explanatory.
  10. Reverse the process to reassemble the wheel and you’re done.
After you remove the uncertainty from this repair it can be accomplished in less than 10 minutes.  I’m not sure why the dealership would charge $250 for such a simple repair. It works great and I’m glad to have the functionality again.  Also, An unintended upgrade from this process is that the new switch assembly has buttons that illuminate!  Also, Amazon has some cool Honda Accessories if you’re interested in doing some more upgrades.
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