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Month: August 2011

Garmin Edge 500 Distance Aliasing Issues Alleviated By GSC 10 Sensor

Past experience with wildly varying data has prevented me from trusting GPS-based devices for accurately logging distances while riding mountain bike trails, but after hearing reassuring reports of modern units and seeing how useful it could be to have one unit logging data for all three of my bikes and automatically aggregating it I decided to give it a go. I purchased a Garmin Edge 500 cycling computer and a GSC 10 wheel speed / pedaling cadence sensor a month ago and after beginning to use it things seemed quite accurate, but I continued to be a bit suspicious that it may not be providing as accurate of data as it could. So, I decided to do some tests.

The results of these tests have shown that when the Edge 500 is used in conjunction with the GSC 10 it is just as accurate as a wheel-based computer and can be relied on to provide sufficiently accurate distance measurements while riding curvy mountain bike trails. Coupled with all the extra data that the system can log (heart rate, location, temperature, cadence, etc) it’s quite a nice system for recording data.

Without the GSC 10 (using only GPS-based data recording) the Edge 500 showed drastic undermeasurement, 20.70% on a typical Southeast Michigan trail ride and 33.87% in a worst-case test scenario.


iTunes 10.4.1 UI Bug

There is a UI bug in iTunes 10.4.1 which causes the rewind (<<) button to become highlighted when switching to the Mini Player. This causes unexpected behavior when one Cmd-Tabs to iTunes and presses space intending to pause the music. To replicate this issue do the following: - Bring the normal iTunes window to the foreground. - Note that the Play / Pause button is highlighted. If it's not, press Tab to move the highlight to it. - Double-click a track to begin it playing. - Click the + or press Shift+Cmd+M to switch to Mini Player. - Note that the rewind (<<) button is now highlighted instead of the Play / Pause button. This was tested with iTunes 10.4.1 on OS X 10.7.1. UPDATE: This appears to finally have been fixed in iTunes 10.5.3.

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Odell Brewing Company’s Myrcenary Double IPA

Tonight beer, being sipped while writing this post and some research into a particular GPS-based bike computer, is Odell Brewing Company’s Myrcenary Double IPA. This is very much a slow-sipping super-hoppy beer, exactly the kind that I love to spend two hours with while working on personal projects in the evening.

This bottle of beer is the last one of the outstanding selection of Colorado beers brought back by some friends on a recent trip to Colorado.

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Broken Spoke II

Today I broke another spoke; the same one that was quickly fitted as a replacement before the Hanson Hills XC race by a guy from Grayling’s The Bicycle Shop. I guess 2.5 months of riding on a quick (and much appreciated) fix isn’t too bad. The wheel is wobbling a bit so I won’t be riding this bike until I can get it fixed up.

I was surprised by how it broke. Much like the last time I was riding along pretty trivial single track, a short and relatively smooth uphill section at Stony Creek and not going over anything more difficult than a front lawn. Suddenly I heard a BANG sound, stopped to look at the wheel, and saw one end of a spoke hanging into the center near the hub.

Oh well, that’s life I guess. I can’t complain too much, as I’ve got at least 2466 miles (likely more, as not all were logged) on these wheels. I’ve got some 291mm spokes here from building up a wheel set back in April. DT Swiss’ Spoke Calculator is recommending a 293mm spoke, but hopefully I’ll be able to make do with something 2mm shorter.

UPDATE: The replacement spoke did the trick. Wheel’s held up for ~30 miles thus far.

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New Shrubs, Successful Flowers

Thanks to a suggestion from Bill Edgerton and Danielle’s concurrence there are now two Althea / Hibiscus Syriacus / Rose of Sharon bushes planted on each side of the sidewalk, next to the driveway, replacing the two dead shrubs. Two different colors were purchased a Chiffon (blue) for closest to my place and an Aphrodite (pink) for the space across the sidewalk, next to my neighbor’s place. They were planted in decent size holes, placed on a cone of clay, surrounded potting soil, sprinkled lightly with slow-release fertilizer, and topped with the sand/clay/dirt mixture that was dug out of the holes. Each has been been watered and lightly rained on, so hopefully they’ll take and fill in these spaces nicely.

Click here if you’d like to see all the photos of the new shrubs, including the tags.

On the topic of growing things, this year’s flowers (and herbs and such) have come along very nicely since they were planted back on May 22nd. The sage went from forlorn to full, Danielle’s Meyer lemon tree has lemons on it, the nicotina around the tree has filled in, and the purple plant has practically exploded. Compare this photo of the porch from three months ago with this one taken this afternoon.

If you’re interested, the rest of the 2011 Flower photos can be seen here.

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Dead Shrubs

Near my condo along the driveway there are were two rather large, pleasant looking shrubs (old photo here), but over the last two years they’ve become increasingly sickly, and this year they simply failed to grow. The one furthest from my house is shown above, and the one next to my bedroom can be seen here. This evening I found myself sufficiently tired of seeing the dead sticks coming out of the ground and decided to replace them.

Armed with a Pulaski that I keep around for trail work I put on steel toe boots and headed out to remove the stumps. All of this wasn’t needed, as with a gentle wiggle and a slight tug I was able to remove the bulk of each one; no tools needed. A little bit of work with the adze end of the tool helped remove the decayed roots, and after a bit of raking it’s as if they disappeared.

Tomorrow Danielle and I will look for some replacement shrubs, likely something that grows 6′ – 8′ high and around 4′ – 6′ wide so that it’ll nicely fill that space. A plant which flowers would be nice, but something like a burning bush might do nicely as well.

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The Bruery’s Mischief

Here is a bottle of The Bruery’s Mischief, given to me by my sister and brother-in-law (Sarah and Josh) as part of a wedding gift. Because of the 750mL bottle and 8.5% ABV I’d been saving this for a bit, and last night was the perfect time to try it. I really enjoyed this beer, and it was a spot-on hoppy Belgian ale. I really enjoyed this, and if it were available in Michigan I’d definitely pick it up sometime in the future. I guess I’ll just have to keep an eye out for it next time I’m in Ohio.

(Oh, and yes, I way over-exposed the photo. Bringing it back to normal levels left the top of the blass almost completely blown out. At least the bottle is nicely visible and the beer is its proper color.)


Lunch Time Bleeding Shoulder

One advantage to occasionally working from home is being able to get out for a bike ride at lunch time. Yesterday after a string of meetings I took a quick drive up to River Bends and rode a couple laps during lunch. This worked out wonderfully and was a nice way to break up the day.

At one point while riding I clipped a tree with my shoulder. While it didn’t really hurt (no more than when one normally brushes a tree with a shoulder), a few miles later I noticed blood soaking through my shirt. I imagine this has something to do with how damp my shirt was with sweat, and the wicking material did it’s job and spread moisture nicely. Funny, that.

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16GB of RAM in my iMac

Along with the SSD I also upgraded the RAM in my iMac to a full 16GB. It’s amazing to me, but a full 8GB (2x 1333 MHz SO-DIMMs) is only US$59.99 from Crucial. It wasn’t long ago that an 8GB flash card cost this much.

Sure, I don’t need this much RAM very often, but I did find that with 8GB and a bunch of design programs open (such as when doing PCB or mapping work) the machine would occasionally page. At today’s prices I don’t mind buying a bit more ram so that swap is almost never used.

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Shell Variables Not Expanding in %PATH% on Windows 7 Non-Administrator Command Prompt

I recently ran into an interesting issue on Windows 7. Users running a non-Administrative Command Prompt on Windows 7 would find that Windows’ programs which are supposed to be in their %PATH% (eg: ipconfig.exe, xcopy.exe, etc) weren’t. Checking the path showed that shell variables inside of the PATH variable weren’t being expanded:

Path=%SystemRoot%\system32;%SystemRoot%;%SystemRoot%\Wbem;%SYSTEMROOT\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\;C:\Program Files\Microsoft Windows Performance Toolkit\

However, if Command Prompt is run as an Administrator (Start → Right Click Command PromptRun as administrator) %PATH% will be set correctly:

Path=C:\WINDOWS\system32;C:\WINDOWS;C:\WINDOWS\Wbem;%SYSTEMROOT\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\;C:\Program Files\Microsoft Windows Performance Toolkit\

Thanks to a coworker, online research, and the helpful folks over at serverfault the cause of this was found to be an incorrect value type in the registry (discussion here). Specifically, the Path value in HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Environment must be set to REG_EXPAND_SZ so that it’ll expand shell variables that it contains. If (incorrectly) set to REG_SZ the symptom above will be seen because the variables aren’t expanded.

What doesn’t (yet) make sense to me is why this issue is only visible with the incorrect type in a non-administrative Command Prompt.

For reference, per this MSDN article entitled Registry Value Types the difference between REG_SZ and REG_EXPAND_SZ is that the latter will expand shell variables that it contains; literally “A null-terminated string that contains unexpanded references to environment variables”. The former (REG_SZ) is just a string.