a compendium of half-finished projects by thomas strömberg – @thomrstrom

With 4,700 miles (7500km) and 9 months under my belt, it's time for my long-term review of the BMW CE 04.


In 2022, BMW released the CE 04: a futuristic-looking spaceship in a sea of boring two-wheeled EVs. It made quite a splash, with BMW selling nearly 5000 in the first year. While European sales were strong, I estimate that only about 250 were sold in the USA during 2022. I may, in fact be the only CE 04 owner in North Carolina.


Today is homeward bound: a final 204 miles through Central North Carolina. There are a couple of locations of historical interest that I have plans to stop by: The Trading Ford, Sapona, and the Keyauwee village. I'm not keeping my hopes up too high, though, as the exact locations of each are murky and possibly on private property.


Today is the day of the twisties that I've been dreaming about, with roughly 180 miles of riding through the Blue Ridge Mountains ahead on my trusty BMW CE-04.

Breakfast at the Carrier House Bed & Breakfast was incredible: a creamy parfait, a savory souflée, and excellent coffee. I regret not exploring Rutherfordton, as it's one of the oldest towns in North Carolina (1787). It was also named after a general who inflicted considerable damage on the nearby Cherokee tribes in the Cherokee–American wars.

Alas, the hills were calling my name.

Onward to Lake Lure!


Today began like most days do not: up at 5 am, staring at a scooter in the pouring rain, wondering if this trip was a good idea. Most adventures aren't, but that hasn't stopped anyone before.

My favorite personal fault is that when I commit to doing something, I do it regardless if it makes sense or not. Accordingly, I pressed the button to bring the BMW CE-04 to life as thunder reverberated across my recently adopted hometown of Chapel Hill, NC.

Today’s goals were the Town Creek Indian Site, lunch with a friend, and a quaint bed and breakfast in Rutherfordton, NC – some 200 miles direct – but the straightest routes in life are always the dullest.

Flashes & Floods


Today I packed up the BMW CE-04 and did a range test to see how far I could get on North Carolina rural highways with everything: 62 miles, just as expected. What I packed is a bit different than what I would have packed had I been doing a ride on my GS's of yore:


In 42 hours’ time, I'm embarking on a 3-day journey through the center of North Carolina, focusing on places that were important to the Native Americans of this area:

My weapon of choice is the BMW CE-04 – an electric two-wheeler, which is why you see charging stops scattered around every 45-60 miles:


The birthrights of humankind are that of unexplored limits and undiscovered territories. The aim of my trip last weekend was to find a bit of both.


Before allowing my kids to ride on the back of my BMW CE 04, I wanted to drastically improve its visibility. It turns out that there is a company that specializes in doing just that: skenelights.com

The lights they sell have a unique conspicuity filter, which uses the motion-detecting characteristics of human vision to enhance visibility. It's difficult to accurately capture the appearance with a cell phone camera due to the rolling shutter, but this is what it looks like before sunset and at night:


A reposting from my Google Doc at https://tinyurl.com/readable-dd

Why bother?

Circulating a design document is like putting your idea up for code review.

Submitting ideas to the scrutiny of peer review is your team's best defense against engineering incompatible with its principles.

All humans have blind spots. Your goal as an author is to gather enough input to reveal them before execution. Issues found during design are 6X cheaper to fix than during implementation:

The questions that reviewers should have in their mind while reading the document are:

  • Does this fit with my organization's principles?
  • Could the proposed implementation be made simpler?
  • Are there alternative approaches to consider?
  • What additional concerns should be addressed?

I was recently provided a sample of the recently announced stealthier variant of bpfdoor, malware targeting Linux that is almost certainly a state-funded Chinese threat actor (Red Menshen). The sample analyzed was a8a32ec29a31f152ba20a30eb483520fe50f2dce6c9aa9135d88f7c9c511d7, detectable by 11 of 62 detectors on VirusTotal.

I was particularly curious what the bpfdoor surface area looked like, and if it was easy it was to detect using existing open-source tools and common Linux command-line utilities.

To experiment, I used my favorite VM manager on macOS or Linux for this analysis: Lima, with the default Ubuntu 22.10 image.


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