Monday, May 19, 2008

A whole lot of Cyclo-Computers.

I haven't had a computer on my bike for quite some time.

I've been looking for one of those old-timey ones that runs off a belt on the front hub, or one that has the little pokey thing on the spoke that turns a gear-like mech. that eventually rolls over little numbers that are mounted on the very bottom of your fork.
That's all I really need usually. A little guesstimate on the mileage.

But I haven't found one.
None of the bike shops have one in the bottom of a bin, and I haven't tired eBay or anything else.

But in the process of putting on the Cooper's Race I really needed/wanted a computer on my mtb so I could get the mileages of the various sections and loops for the racers.
And we've been doing some Saturday Death Marches and although our guesstimates for elevation gains are pretty close, ~1-2 gajillion feet, I really wanted to get the error correction factor down a bit.

Off to find some systems!

I had lots of old cycle-computers. All over the place in fact.
Some upstairs w/ those Festina watch boxes that I had won in 1998, along w/ a few of the clapped out Oakley prescription glasses, some other various cases, a couple Polar HR Monitors and the XT w/ the wireless speed setup, and just other crap.
And of course I had a few boxes of various Avenir computers as well as my original CateEye Micro, one Sachs, and a couple Avocet systems including... the early 1990's Avocet 50 that I won down at Massanutten so many years ago.
So I there them all downstairs on a piece of cardboard so I could start picking out the good from the bad and see what kind of monster I could come up w/-

Can you see them all?
There's quite a few.

Now to rifle through and see which ones were going to best serve me.
First I picked the Avocet 50, replete w/ splatter paint job that was so pervasive in the early 90's.
Man what a beaut!
And while I was at it, I might as well see why I haven't used that Polar XT, seems like a gem as well.
And what's wrong w/ the Vertech?
And these Cannondale wireless jobbies sure do look nice and spiffy.
Had to go running around for some replacement batteries too, cause all the systems I tried were stone cold dead.
Avocet 50 & 45, up and cooking w/ gas.
Avocet Vertech, a bit flakey, showing 153° F and an altitude of 51360 ft!
Polar XT and wireless transmitter, one of the darn side buttons is really hard to press in and is also cracked. Now I remember why I ditched this high-end piece of crap.
Cannondale something-something wireless, works well and I also found some really old Avenir wireless transmitters that actually work w/ the Cannondale!
and I think that's all I tried at first.

So I got the 50 up and cooking and mounted on my spiffy System SIx.
It seemed state of the art again.

Then I did the Appalachian Spring Spectacular Bonus Ride (ASS Bonus) and some kid had one of them-there fancy GPS cycle-computer-thingys.
So I made fun of him during the ride as was to be expected.
But then the next day he sent out a link, of our actual ride(!), overlaid on google-maps(!) and my tech-radar went wacky.
It was very impressive and so neat.
I'll try and find the link.
Found it!-

Well I had some data too, and I didn't need no silly GPS thingy.
I just had to figure out how to put them on the bikes and collate.

Gotta go to work, so you'll have to wait for the end of the story, or the rest, or just whatever there is.
Let's see if this thing is going to let me save & publish this gem.
Well Jay's not answering or responding, so I'll just keep on typing and such.
Maybe take some more snappies.

He must have dropped his cell into the comode again.
Oh well. It's a crappy day anyway.

Listening to Giles, Giles & Fripp.
Brondesbury Tapes. Before they morphed (kind of)into King Crimson.
This collection is better than The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles & Fripp, but both offer a little look of pre-Fripptronics and what-not.

Putting the various units on the various bikes brought about some issues. Issues that reminded me of why I had stopped using computers on bikes a while back.

I hate wires.
Differerent types of wheel magnets.
The Avocet is probably the most accurate, but it has to be wired, it won't work on a few of my "fancy" hubs w/o a bunch of zip ties and crap, and there ain't no easy or hard way to get it on a Lefty.
So that strikes hard on being able to get elevation gain for MTB stuff.
The Vertech is flakey and resets if I hit a bump or Robbie L. drops it. I think I am going to send it back to Avocet and get it back running cause it is kind of neat, even though the wrist strap is made for going over a ski jacket.

So I look at my wireless options.
Unless I'm running my Ridgty fork or get a fancy computer mount for the Lefty, I can't use the standard transmitters.
And they don't have enough range to mount on the rear.
I tried mounting the Polar XT on the rear and then holding or strapping the main unit on the seat post, but that's just stupid. I will try and not be stupid. Or less so at least.

So I start "researching" these new fangled GPS thingies... Oh where will this road lead me?
I remember that Jimmy's unit had the transmitter on the rear and doubled rather slickly as the cadence transmitter as well. A bonus for well designed new shite.
In reading some of the reviews, seems like some folks had issues w/ battery life and other setup issues, then of course some folks had no problems and thought they were the slickest thing since the freewheel.
That was for the Garmin Edge 305.
The Edge 605 and 705 are potentially slicker, but also forthright, much more expensive, as they are colour, have the ability to intergrate w/ some of the power-meter systems and have the ability to have maps on the unit, so you could do routes without really knowing where you are, or how to get there, just put your head down and follow.
But they are stupid $$$ and you have to buy the maps (!). Too much for this poor bike racer.

Betsy was still away at the Tour of the Gila at this time. I was letting her know of some of my concerns and "intents" (rather vaguely...).
I had plenty of time to do more "research", hand wringing, and other time wasting activities.
And I still had a race to put on the following week!
And I really wanted to win that car.

So by hook, crook, and some fangling I got an Edge 305.
Big surprise right?

But it sure is cool in a lot of ways.
Pretty customizable in display and other ways.
Not terribly inconvenient to switch from bike to bike, just two zip ties for the transmitter and they give you two main unit mounts.
I have one mount on the race MTB and one on the SS road machine.
I'm good w/ an awl so I reuse zip ties and haven't wounded myself too badly just yet!

The only problem that I'm having, and it was a little evident on that very first link that Jimmy sent out, is that the various web based options, or (Garmin associate) both produce elevation gain numbers that differ from the number that the unit gives at the end of a ride, or the number that is in the Garmin Training Center program.

This is a pain and makes us all here a little unhappy and frustrated.
We have our top men on it and I'm sure we'll get to the bottom of it in no time.

Here's some links for your viewing pleasure-
Coops Race
Camp Muffly Loop
UHS Short Track, 3 Laps
Tour de Lake Race
Morning Commute
Afternoon Commute soon to be
Coops Race
Camp Muffly
UHS Short Track
Tour de Lake Race
Morning Commute
Afternoon Commute

Fun. :)

Monday, February 18, 2008

What's your uptime?

Here's one of mine, very proud too-

fiendracer@it2: ~> uptime
10:48PM up 907 days, 8:19, 2 users, load averages: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00
fiendracer@it2: ~> df
Filesystem 1K-blocks Used Avail Capacity Mounted on
/dev/ad0s1a 128990 49260 69412 42% /
/dev/ad0s1f 257998 6 237354 0% /tmp
/dev/ad0s1g 2288366 1867024 238274 89% /usr
/dev/ad0s1e 257998 64192 173168 27% /var
procfs 4 4 0 100% /proc
/dev/ad4s1e 7859646 5206386 2024490 72% /backup
fiendracer@it2: ~> uname -a
FreeBSD 4.10-RELEASE FreeBSD 4.10-RELEASE #2: Sun Mar 20 02:54:23 EST 2005 i386

Now *that's* impressive!!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Abba to ZZ Top

And lots of stuff in between.

Today I have finished with everything through the letter N. Already done all Soundtracks, Classical, and Blues-Jazz-Soul.

I'm talking about getting the entire CD collection onto the iPod and Cube so we can have everything we have at our grubby little finger tips.
And to put the racks and racks and racks of CDs someplace else, someplace more hidden.

Not that I started with A and have only imported everything that follows.
At first it was, "let me put on a few things I haven't listened to in a while" and "gunnar, why don't you put these Country classics on for me" as well.
Then I needed to get a slightly larger hard drive as I was starting to run out of space on the old FiendPro system, then I decided to put everything onto the Apple Cube that I acquired sometime in the summer.
Then I needed to enlarge that system as well. Things fill up quick, especially when you're just grabbing things that are in boxes and/or laying around.

So with the finish of N and all the others that are already in there, we have-
* 15777 Songs for 44 days of listening pleasure and taking up 67.57 GB
* 65 Videos taking up 1.07 GB, not counting music videos, they're in the above section
* 137 Podcasts for 1.3 days of viewing/listening pleasure (Homestarrunner podcasts are there) taking up another 1.78 GB
* 41 Episodes of RvB, for 2.8 hours of Sarge yelling at the boys taking up 821.6 MB


Couple interesting things you learn/figure out when going through that many albums and such-
* Not all the listings from cddb are correct or done the same way. Sometimes you have () sometimes []. The titles vary between double discs a lot. Live albums sometimes list the songs as (live) sometimes not, etc.
* Under half the time you don't get album art, or it's the wrong one, but this leads to goodness...
* Whilst looking for album art, correct year, genre and all that, you usually can or will learn some new or different things about the artist and/or album.
It's educational and entertaining!
First off I got to and start searching for the artist. Read some, remember why I liked them in the first place, learn something new, follow some links. Then off to the discography and hopefully get the album art, more info, more links, and more fun.
If I can't find it there I resort to Not as much helpful info, but they usually have a couple different versions of album art and they do list a lot more obscure albums and bands.

Everyone loves helping and eating Birthday Cake (Cheeto's), especially with music from Flour! The album is Flour and LUV 713. Betsy was born on July 13th, er... sometime ago...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Cars are great

I just don't think they should be driven all the time.

Cars look best in the snow like this-

Thursday, January 10, 2008

One Shot at Glory!

Got to take a break from loading it up, but I'm probably 2/3 to 3/4 converting my music collection to iTunes.
12590 songs, about 53.65Gb (which accordingly would take me 34.9 days to listen to) , then a few Gigs in videos and podcasts and another 1.5Gb in some photos.

It's getting pretty exciting.
It's been pretty time consuming, ripping, then getting the proper artwork, making up my own genres; that sort of thing. Then of course I get sidetracked when I look up the artist on wikipedia and it's all sorts of tangents from there.

But the old Apple Cube is almost filled, so I have to figure out a good way to up the harddrive so I can finish w/ the collection.

On my most recent shuffle listen I was fortunate enough to hear I Am Alive, by Fight (a Rob Halford band) and One Shot at Glory, by Judas Priest, within the first 11 songs!
Course I've also had to endure a song by Enrique Iglesias (part of Betsy's addition to the collection).

Such is life on shuffle.

Then I can figure out what to do with all the albums...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Down the Steps!

Tonight, after delivering the grocer's goods to Betsy at the side porch on the Trail 70, I preceded down the flight of steps to the back yard.

It was very exciting and the rear and front shocks bottomed out on each and every step.

I might not do it again, but I am pleased to have made it once.

Friday, September 7, 2007


Is taking all our time.

We eat, sleep, think, just like our comrades at CTU.
It's awful.
But we can't walk away now, we're in too deep.

sent from somewhere inside the Compound, room #3.
Secure port:3285

Saturday, September 1, 2007

How Random, or is it Perception?

First time I listened to the FiendPod on shuffle for a week, it seemed like Aimee Mann and Misfits/Danzig/Samhain were pretty predominate. Nice mix for sure!

Now this last time it's been Lou Reed and The Doors (you know, the bestest band that ever was) and The Cure.

Of course Front Line Assembly is always there big, cause they *are* everywhere.

Then you start to think about it more and more and more bands come up, so maybe it's just what you're focusing on at that moment, what stands out is perhaps more a function of what mood you're in and the mood that certain Bands envoke.

Or not.

Anyway, my 30Gb is way too small.
Lots of music, too many filter. Bigger will be better!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Boyhood dream realized

Simply a matter of time.
I've wanted one of these since I was a child. And their charm has held up well.
Honda Trail 70, didn't every kid want one?
They can fetch some pretty ridiculous prices now, but I was able to find one in Pittsburgh Craigslist, so I grabbed the bus and went and fetched it one rainy day.
Mine is a 1981, so it doesn't have the fold down handlebars nor the chrome fender and skidplate. But it's fully street legal and just the thing to head on down to the grocer's for the small backpack full of provisons.

Last night I ran it out of gas, after delivering the goods, but whilst cruising the neighborhood, seeing how it would go up Gem Street. It wasn't a far push home.
I now know that I had been running it on reserve the whole time, so when the time can, there was no reserve.

This is how Betsy and I will look. Just as soon as she learns to brake and *not* have the throttle on, and we get another Trail 70, and she gets some killer boots and pleather skirt, and I figure out how to ride w/ my legs all splayed out like that.

Love it!

What's wrong w/ a flask?

Or the hidden reservoir in the cane?

I mean, these Pocket Shots (use this link and you don't have to go through age verification!) are just energy gel packets filled w/ booze.
Simply not the class of stainless steel flask or hidden vessel.
But look at all the excitement and news they've created-
Google search for "pocket shots"

Besides, the cane or flask can double as a weapon, just ask John Steed.

Lasers are Hot!

It's a keyword that's generating ads.
We like ads.
Not sure I like lasers though, they're cool and all, but... ahh... they're pretty dangerous and probably stupid.
But not at, in fact you might be able to win your very own 100mw laser in their contest.
"burns hole in garbage bags, light matches, seer eyeballs", what could go wrong?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The MiniDisc is dead, long live the MiniDisc

The Demise of MiniDisc
I have/had a few MiniDisc players and quite a few discs.
Even a special one that I ordered from Japan, w/ little speakers. Very thin, I actually used it as my music for a trip up to NE once for a cross clinic I was part of. Then it got stolen when the Audi got broken into and my favorite backpack in the world got ripped off. Lots a fair bit of stuff in that mess.
Sony screwed themselves keeping it too propriatery and all, then didn't respond to the whole iPod Nation Movement.
We here belong to the iPod Nation now. Representing!

Better than a kick to the head

And gives new meaning to "you'll shoot your eye out".
How To Turn a Mini Maglite Into a Laser
From the article-
"Using the laser from a DVD burner, this instructional video shows you how to create a hand-held laser that is powerful enough to light a match and pop a balloon. There's some soldering involved and the Maglite's bulb housing needs to be drilled out to fit the new laser diode, but with some basic skill, most people could do this. Just plain cool."

Sounds like DYI injury to me.