Press "Enter" to skip to content

Month: January 2010


While out for a bike ride this afternoon I removed this proselytizing sign from the pedestrian bridge which parallels 22 Mile Road as it crosses M-53. I’ve seen tens of similar signs bearing some religious message all throughout the Detroit area. Each is somewhat poorly constructed and tied with a messy knot of white yarn to the cyclone fencing over bridges. I did my best to rip the sign and yarn down, but as a few knots and tassels remained I’ll have to go back another day with a knife and properly remove those bits.

Being made of poster board with stenciled and filled lettering under two layers of what appears to be contact paper lamination these signs would likely have lasted a few months then torn off in the wind. The holes in the corners were also punched through the lamination. I can only imagine how bad these would look after weather has done its thing and they are left dangling in the breeze. Then again, this person who wants to shove their rhetoric in everyone’s face must not have much concern for the community or environment, much less the interests of others.

1 Comment

RedPlum Be Gone!

Are you one of the millions like me who receive RedPlum physical spam almost daily in your mailbox? If you are, and you too wish to stop receiving the wasteful physical embodiment of e-blasts, head on over to this Valassis Communications page and step through the menus to unsubscribe and avoid the RedPlum processed pork firehose.

Since I receive very little other mail, my daily trips to the mailbox are usually just to pick up this rag and transport it to the recycling box. I’ve also found real mail lost (tucked?) inside of this dreck, so hopefully getting off the mailing list will cut down on lost mail too. Just last month a water bill seemingly never arrived and currently a notification that I’m anticipating receiving from the post office for an international delivery seems quite late. I wouldn’t be surprised if it too was lost.

Leave a Comment

Rotor Truing Test

After acquiring a hub (from a trashed wheel that I was given) and borrowing a dial indicator I decided to test out a prototype of the disc brake rotor truing stand that I’ve been wanting to make. Initially I’d planned on making a wood base to hold a hub and either a feeler gauge or dial indicator, but after trying this all out in my bench vise, I’m quite happy with this setup.

I’ve ordered this dial indicator from Grizzly Industrial, Inc., which is the same one seen in the picture above. Next I’ll probably make a plastic or wooden block to fit in the jaws of the vise and hold the bottom of the quick release, and then future truing activities will use a setup just like this.

Leave a Comment

Titus Racer X 29er

Here’s my new bike, the one which I’ve been hinting at for a while now, a Titus Racer X 29er. This is a discontinued model that I was able to get at a fairly reasonable price because it’s replacement is considerably higher end (and also titanium alloy or carbon fiber only). I’ve had the bike for roughly a month and have been taking my time getting it set up as I want, with an appropriate saddle, pedals, brakes, and other such bits.

Now that it’s essentially complete I wanted to take it out for a test ride. With the recent lack of snow, reasonably warm weather without much risk of mud (due to cold ground), and heavy precipitation forecasted for the next few days, today was the day. The result was a basic 21.1 mile ride over the course of 1:37:28, for an average of 12.9 MPH. Everything on the bike performed wonderfully and as expected, although I did realize that I need to move the saddle forward a bit and adjust the suspension a bit. The seatpost may also have slipped down a few millimeters, but that’s probably because I didn’t have the seatpost clamp particularly tight.

Thus far I’m really happy with the bike. I’m still waiting on the arrival of Carnegie’s Bar from Ragley, but that should be here any day now. It was ordered from Chain Reaction Cycles in the UK (Ragley does not yet have US distribution for their stuff), and postage from the UK always seems to take a while. I look forward to trying this bar because it looks like it’ll be comfortable, but if not I’ll probably be able to sell it for close to its cost.

If you’d like to see the full geeky list of parts currently on the bike, take the link below and look inside.

1 Comment

IS1621N on BCK-08 PCB

In other cheap Chinese device news here’s DealExtreme p/n 8422 with the case removed, powered by a benchtop supply, peered to my Nexus One, and playing audio. I’m hoping to redo the output circuitry on this and put it in another case to make a decent Bluetooth audio device for connecting to either a home or car stereo. It runs off of 3.7 VDC and has an on-PCB antenna, so it should be pretty easy to work with.

The PCB contains an I.S.S.C. IS1621N and FM24C08B EEPROM, which likely contains the IS1621N’s config. I’ve requested the data sheet for the chip from I.S.S.C., so hopefully I’ll have that soon and can work on it. I’d also like to change the identifier string in the EEPROM, but I probably won’t touch that until I know what the IS1621N expects to find in other parts of it. I also hope to find an example implementation, as it should be easy to build off of that to get line level output.

Here’s a few more pictures of the board:

· Detail of the FM24C08B EEPROM which likely houses the config for the IS1621N on the BCK-08.
· Top / button side of the BCK-08 PCB.
· Bottom / component side of the BCK-08 PCB showing the I.S.S.C. IS1621N Bluetooth IC and FM24C08B EEPROM.



I guess this is what I get for buying discount ZIF sockets on eBay: one “genuine” TFXTDOL-brand DIP28 ZIF socket. It’ll probably be fine, even though I had to fight with pins which are too wide for sockets and almost too wide for the drill holes in one of the SDrive NUXX prototype boards.

Leave a Comment

Kenda Small Block Eight

A rep from Kenda was set up at Ray’s MTB on Saturday displaying all manner of tires, tubes, and such. Conveniently all tires were also available for sale, at US$20/each, which is quite a bit below retail. I’ve been wanting to try out the Small Block Eight (SB8), a small knob smooth-rolling tire good for hard pack surfaces, so I picked up a pair of them in 29″ x 2.1″, the only 29er size made.

The Nevegals (which came stock on the bike, front and rear) don’t roll particularly smoothly but supposedly offer great control. Following some online recommendations I fitted the SB8 on the rear of the bike, leaving the nice, big knobs up front for better control. We’ll see how this shakes out once I actually start riding the bike, but at least I’ve now got a few options to play with. If nothing else I’m sure I can sell the Nevegals and SB8s for a reasonable price to fund some other tires.

Leave a Comment


I am currently eating the popcorn pictured above, which was popped in in a pot on the stove, in a bit of veggie oil. It was then tossed with Penzy’s Brady Street Cheese Sprinkle and a bit of freshly ground chipotle. Yes, real chipotle, first cut up with scissors, then broken down in a blade mill, and finally finished in a mortar and pestle with a bit of salt.

I have also been strongly advised to substitute bacon grease for the veggie oil in the next batch. This seems like wise advise.

Leave a Comment

CrankBrothers Shoe Shields

After hearing about CrankBrothers Shoe Shields from my friend Erik I decided to give them a try. There is a fair bit of wear on my shoes (photo) from the Eggbeater pedals that I use and these thin metal plates should head this off and keep the shoes functional for even longer. Priced at $10.99/pair (at the local ACF) it wasn’t worth trying to make my own, as I don’t have a ready source of stainless steel nor an easy way to make similar cuts.

When the replacement pedals (Eggbeater SLs – photo) for my failed Eggbeater MXRs arrived today I decided that while fitting them to the bike I’d also replace the cleats and fit the Shoe Shields. While new pedals and cleats will normally feel a bit nicer, the addition of the Shoe Shields and their smoothing out the bottom of the shoe to better-than-new condition made clipping and unclipping during a test ride feel wonderful. While I imagine they’ll stand up to wear, it’ll be interesting to see just how long they last.

If you’d like to see more photos of them, including the packaging, install directions, thickness, and detail of the materials used, check out my CrankBrothers Shoe Shields album.

Leave a Comment