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Month: December 2013

2014 Huron-Clinton Metroparks / Oakland County Parks Passes are Poor Quality


The 2014 Huron-Clinton Metroparks / Oakland County Parks pass is much lower quality than the ones from past years. Starting this year the sticker has a few changes which make it much harder to apply: the backing is split instead of starting at a tab at the top, and the white background fill is alcohol soluble. Because of the split backing I had a much harder time applying it and ended up with a slightly wrinkled sticker, and cleaning the window post-application wiped off some of the white paint and left it smeared all over the window. With the tear-off top of the decal being perforated along the top of the decal itself this also means that the top edge is rough and can’t be evenly smoothed.

I much prefer the older style decal, as I could easily get it applied smoothly in the lower corner of my car window (photo) and passing over the sticker while cleaning the windshield didn’t wipe white paint all over the lower reaches of the glass.

UPDATE: When I attempted to use the Contact Us page on to relay this concern to park management it returned an ASP error that I believe was trying to give me an HTTP 500 (Internal Server Error) so I tried using the listed email address, which then bounced saying recipient not found. That’s worse quality than the passes. Time to dig up some real people’s addresses.

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Raspberry Pi MAME Cabinet Retrofit Notes

Back in 2000 I built a MAME cabinet, but I haven’t used it much lately. I want to retrofit it with a higher resolution LCD screen and updated hardware and OS, so I’m thinking that a Raspberry Pi and a cheaper LCD would work well. These are my work-in-progress notes for this project:

Cabinet Changes:

  • Remove exhaust fan / temperature activated relay.
  • Remove ATX switches and lights; maybe replace with something to toggle the Raspberry Pi on and off.
  • Remove PC, use base plate to mount power supplies / Raspberry Pi and supporting hardware?
  • Swap Hagstrom KE-72 for something USB.
    • Needs to support trackball.
  • HP ZR2440w monitor in place of CRT. ASUS VS24AH-P? 1920×1200 max from Pi.
  • Need to rework power on/off stuff due to Raspberry Pi not having any way to actually shut itself down.

Raspberry Pi Hardware:

  • v2.0 board.
  • Enclosure.
  • Powered USB hub.
  • WiFi adapter: Cheap dongle; Adafruit sells one.
  • Large SD card: 128GB?

Control Panel Hardware:

  • Replace Hagstrom KE-72 with I-PAC or Hagstrom KE-USB36 which may be an almost drop-in replacement.
  • Currently have 39 inputs. Can I work with only 36?
  • Panel-mount USB B.

Order of work:

  1. Get Raspberry Pi.
  2. Validate MAME functionality.
  3. Update monitor.
  4. Update control panel.

UPDATE: After the purchase of a Raspberry Pi and some extensive testing, the hardware seems nice but not capable of running MAME at any appropriate speeds. Thus this project is shelved for the time being.

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RAL K7 Colour Fan Deck

So that I may have proper samples for choosing a color for the forthcoming Motorless Bicycle Company frame, Rodney loaned me his RAL K7 Colour Fan Deck, 2012 edition, that contains samples of colors as used by many powder coaters. These are tremendously useful, as they allow one to see the actual color instead of a prone-to-misinterpretation (not to mention emissive vs. reflective) representation.

Thus far I’m not sure what color I want the frame to be, but I’m thinking that RAL 2004 (Pure orange) or RAL 2008 (Bright red orange) may do nicely if I’m sticking with my original desire for orange. If not that, I may consider a brilliant pink, maybe like RAL 4010 (Telemagenta) or RAL 4003 (Heather violet). I could see one of those oranges looking great with a bit of flake/sparkle to it as well.

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Not-Quite-Clean Hydration Pack Zippers

I periodically wash my Deuter Race Air Lite hydration pack because riding causes heavy sweat buildup on the straps and zippers, eventually getting to the point where the zippers are hard to actuate. I washed it a few days ago by soaking it in a sink of hot water and sodium percarbonate (powdered OxiClean) by periodically agitating it and letting it sit overnight. This works very well, but I forgot one important step: actuating the zippers. The result is that after drying there are still some sweat deposits where the zippers had been, as seen above.

As a result the zippers are still difficult to move in these positions, so I’ll have to soak it again another day this week. Oh well, at least its winter time and I’m not using the bag on a near daily basis as I had been during the summer.

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34×20 for Ray’s MTB

After our trip down to Ray’s MTB in Cleveland on Monday, Rodney loaned me a 20T Niner cog for the El Mariachi. For the riding down there I’d left my typical 34×19 setup on the bike, but a couple of the climbs were a little tough, particularly when I got stuck behind slower riders. Thankfully this was a rare occurrence, as the park was quite empty that day.

Since it didn’t require removing any links from the chain I figured I’d give this 20T a go and see if it works out better on the planned trip this coming Friday; particularly as I suspect there’ll be more people there that day and more chances to get caught in traffic.

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Bad Maple Syrup

I’d never had maple syrup go bad before. It’s kinda disappointing, since I wasn’t able to have any on the tasty pumpkin waffles that Danielle made for breakfast the other day.

I’ll have to grab another bottle of Grade A or B at ALDI next time I pass by one.



Apple AirPort Extreme 7.6.4: Bridged, but Not Really

I like having an IPv6 connection at home, but after running into some weirdness with pfSense 2.1-RELEASE that seems correlated with having the pfSense box as the GIF endpoint / IPv6 router (things would kinda get slow, then eventually sort-of fail) I started looking for other options. I have an Apple AirPort Extreme running in bridged mode which I use to provide wireless access to the LAN, and it has the ability to tunnel out to an IPv6 network, so I decided to set that up†.

However, in the midst of getting this setup I ran into a very frustrating problem: only wireless clients connecting via the AirPort could use IPv6; wired clients wouldn’t work. The problem was my previous observation (and expectation), that turning the AirPort into a bridge would make all ports on the back of the device equal. It does not, and thus I needed to move the wired network connection from the WAN Internet port to one of the three Ethernet ports to have IPv6 work on the wired side.

Contrary to what it says, turning Router Mode to Off (Bridge Mode) doesn’t actually fully bridge; the WAN Internet port remains different from the internal ports. Specifically, the AirPort won’t service Neighbor Discovery Protocol (NDP) requests on the WAN Internet port when in bridged mode. Thus when I had the switch connected to this port wired clients couldn’t get an IPv6 address, couldn’t find the router, and wouldn’t configure IPv6 stack. I suspect that when Apple addressed CVE-2008-2476 via 7.4.1 they did so by wholly blocking NDP on the WAN Internet port and didn’t take Bridge Mode into account.

For reference, here’s the ipconfig output from a Windows 7 client on wired vs. wireless when the wired side was connected to the WAN Internet port:

Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection:

   Connection-specific DNS Suffix  . :
   Link-local IPv6 Address . . . . . : fe80::3d96:1dd5:728c:fde3%12
   IPv4 Address. . . . . . . . . . . :
   Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . :
   Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . :

Wireless LAN adapter Wireless Network Connection:

   Connection-specific DNS Suffix  . :
   IPv6 Address. . . . . . . . . . . : 2001:470:1f11:d43:ddca:22b9:af55:639e
   Temporary IPv6 Address. . . . . . : 2001:470:1f11:d43:e82f:53dc:7af4:940b
   Link-local IPv6 Address . . . . . : fe80::ddca:22b9:af55:639e%13
   IPv4 Address. . . . . . . . . . . :
   Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . :
   Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . : fe80::216:cbff:fec5:162f%13

This can be seen in these two network captures: airport_bridged_lie_wired.pcap and airport_bridged_lie_wireless.pcap. These were recorded on OS X using tcpdump when the respective interfaces were down (either unplugged or with the internal wireless disabled), then brought up, then the capture stopped. Captures were then filtered with icmpv6.type == 133 || icmpv6.type == 134 to show only Router Solicitations (133) and Router Advertisement (134) then exported to these libpcap-format files.

In these captures one can clearly see that the wired connection (c4:2c:03:2e:5d:cf) makes some Router Solicitation requests but doesn’t receive a reply, while the wireless connection (d8:30:62:64:f4:ff) receives a Router Advertisement reply to its Solicitation.

After digging into all of this and initially declaring the problem to be wholly with the wired side I thought maybe there’d be a differentiation between the WAN Internet and Ethernet ports. I then tried moving the wired connection to one of the internal / Ethernet ports I was able to get IPv6 NDP responses to wired clients. Thus, Bridge Mode on the AirPort Extreme isn’t quite as bridged as the selection would imply: the bridge is a lie.

A bug (15716120) has been submitted to Apple on this issue.

† With an AirPort Extreme serving as an IPv6 tunnel endpoint behind a pfSense NAT device two settings need to be changed in pfSense to get it working. First, System → Advanced → Networking and check Enable IPv4 NAT encapsulation of IPv6 packets and set the IPv6 router’s IP address. This is needed because it’s not possible to add a NAT forward for IP protocol 41. Second, add an inbound firewall rule allowing TCP/IP Version IPv4 and Protocol IPV6. This will allow the tunnel on the AirPort to work.

The IPv6 tunnel is then configured as per the tunnel provider’s directions, which is well-documented elsewhere.

I don’t like opening up all the IPv6 wireless clients on my network to direct connections from the outside, and Apple seems to have figured that others don’t want this as well. By going into the AirPort Extreme configuration in AirPort Utility, selecting Network then Network Options… and checking Block incoming IPv6 connections, all inbound IPv6 connections are blocked and a Port Settings option becomes available allowing individual ports to be unblocked.


For Sale: Titus Racer X 29er

After a lot of consideration I’ve decided to sell my full suspension 29er, the US-made Titus Racer X 29er, in size medium. This is an incredibly nice bike, but I’ve only ridden it three times since last October (2012) when I replaced the headset. Two of these rides were to reassure myself that I still liked it (and I do — it’s a great bike) but I find myself riding my other bikes more often these days. I’ve got enough bikes that this one is now redundant, so I’d like to find it a good home. This is a bad time of the year to list a bike for sale, but I had some time to clean it up so I figured I’d do so anyway.

Photos are available by clicking here or on the image above.

This bike was built out and maintained to be comfortable, rugged, and yet perform extremely well, and did exactly what was intended. It’s also in been well cared for, maintained properly, and is in very good shape, with the only notable mar on the frame being some small scratches on the drive side of the down tube near the letter T, some small scratches acquired when riding at Highland last year and falling over in an uphill rock garden. There’s no cable rub, no chainsuck, and no dents. The fork and rear shock stanchions are free of bushing wear, the frame is really in great shape, and there isn’t even any cable rub due to all the potential rub locations being protected with UHMW polyethylene tape.

When doing a final cleaning for sale I fitted a new chain because the old one was getting near worn; something that nicely matches the super-clean drivetrain. The fork on the bike (a Rock Shox Reba Team) was professionally rebuilt by Rochester Bike Shop a bit over a year ago, and works great. The rear shock, a Fox RP23 had its seals replaced last summer, not long before I stopped riding the bike.

Part of me doesn’t want to get rid of it, but I think it’s time. Along with the bike I’m including the maintenance items that I’d stocked for it, including replacement suspension bushings, WickWerks 32t (middle) chainrings, derailleur hangers, and fork parts. I’ll also toss in a stainless steel bottle cage and swap the Ergon grips for something else matching (Specialized BG Contour, ODI Ruffian, or Salsa Backcountry) if desired.

Please email me at if you are interested in purchasing this.

Asking price is US$1500 SOLD, and the build is as follows:

Frame: Titus Racer X 29er, Black Anodized, Medium (Geometry), FSR Suspension Licensed from Specialized
Suspension Fork: Rock Shox Reba Team (100mm)
Rear Shock: Fox Racing Shox RP23 w/ High Volume Air Canister (80mm)
Wheels: Velocity Blunt SL Rims and SRAM X9 Hubs
Crankset: FSA V-Drive and WickWerks Chainrings (22T / 32T / 44T)
Front Derailleur: Shimano LX
Rear Derailleur: SRAM X9
Shifters: SRAM X9
Cassette: SRAM PG-990 (Red)
Chain: SRAM PC-991 (Brand New)
Brakes: Avid Elixir CR
Brake Rotors: Avid Clean Sweep G3 (160mm Front and Rear)
Cables: Gore Ride-On
Headset: Cane Creek 40 (Nearly New — Only three rides.)
Handlebar: Ragley Carnegie’s Bar
Stem: Ritchey (100mm)
Grips: Ergon GP1 BioKork (Large)
Tires: Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.25″ (Front), Kenda Small Block Eight 2.1″ (Rear)
Tubeless Setup: Stan’s NoTubes Valves, Tape, and Sealant
Saddle: Specialized Targa
Seatpost: Maxm AM 39 (Two Bolt, Thomson-like)
Seatpost Collar: DKG
Maintenance Parts: 2x WickWerks 32T 104BCD chainrings, 2x replacement derailleur hangers, 3x sets igus suspension bushings, fork decals, fork travel spacer.

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Forthcoming Motorless City Bicycle Equipment Thoughts

Chris from Motorless City Bicycle Company and I have been emailing back and forth about the specifics of the frame that he’s building for me; the unexpected prize from the drawing just before the Detroit Invitational Cyclocross race. This is likely going to end up as a basic 2×10 gravel road bike, and thus I need to start thinking about component selections. While I’ve got some fairly shiny, well-equipped bikes, I tend to prefer equipment that falls on the side of robust and cost effective.

Here’s my working list of how I’ll kit out the bike. Italics are have/already purchased/will be provided:

Frame/Fork: Motorless City Bicycle Company custom frame, for obvious reasons. RAL 2004 / Pure Orange. SM-CS50 adapters on downtube shifter bosses.

Headset: Cane Creek 40, or maybe a 100 if I pull it off of the Vaya.

Crankset: SRAM Rival, 172.5mm, 50/34, QBP CK4435

Bottom Bracket: SRAM Rival (comes with crankset)

Wheels: XT or Formula hubs, Velocity A23, DT Swiss Competition 2.0-1.8-2.0 butted spokes, 32 spoke, 3-cross, all black, brass or alloy nipples (or DT Swiss X370 / X470 wheelset originally from the Titus Racer X 29er).

Tires: Bruce Gordon Rock ‘n Road 700 x 43c (Alternate: Clement X’Plor USH since I already have them.)

Handlebar: Salsa Cowbell 2, 42cm

Stem: Custom Motorless City Stem, Matte Black (RAL 9005 / Jet Black). Measurements TBD. (Alternate:  Thomson, 110mm, rise based on head tube and stylistic desires. 0 Degree X4 matches Vaya TT angle. Black.)

Seatpost: Thomson, non-setback, based on bike fit/frame requirements. Likely 27.2mm x 330mm or maybe 250mm. (Alternate: Salsa Pro Moto 2?) Black.

Seatpost Collar: Salsa? Thomson? DKG? Dimension? Something plain? Chris says he’ll provide something. 30.0mm. Black.

Saddle: Specialized Avatar Comp Gel (143mm)

Bar Tape: Generic black gel cork, whatever I find/have. Lizard Skins recommended by Ryan, maybe Specialized Roubaix?

Shifters/Brake Levers: SRAM Rival (Carbon Levers)

Front Derailleur: SRAM Rival, 31.8 clamp, to be shimmed w/ Wheels Manufacturing Delrin Front Derailleur Shim.

Rear Derailleur: SRAM Rival, Short Cage

Cassette: SRAM PG-1050, 12-28

Chain: SRAM PC-1051

PedalsCrank Brothers Candy 3 (Black)

Brakes: TRP HY/RD, 160mm front, 160mm or 140mm rear. (Likely 160mm.)

Bottle CagesKing Cage Kargo Cage and Stainless Steel Cage (from Vaya)

Other AccessoriesPlanet Bike Superflash StealthUHMW Tape for Cable Rub, Scotch 2228 for Chain SlapTimbuk2 Bike Seat PackTopeak Road Master Blaster Frame Pump, Niner YAWYDGarmin Edge 510 w/ GSC-10.

(Updated 2014-Jan-08.)

(Notes from Apto fit: “Ended up moving the saddle forward about 5mm and seatpost up about 5mm. It was suggested that I consider moving my left cleat back a few mm to compensate for a slightly longer leg. I’ll probably go to a 2cm narrower bar, and got some great pointers for positioning the controls. I’ll likely go to a 172.5 crank, and I got numbers for it all that I can use on the custom bike.”)

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Troubleshooting a Salsa Skewer

I really, really like riding my Salsa Mukluk, but ever since receiving it I’ve had a problem with the rear skewer loosening while riding. After 1-2 hours of hard riding on semi-rough trails I’ll hear some unexpected rotor rub from the rear, occasionally things will feel sloppy, and upon stopping I’ll find the rear skewer has become loose and sometimes I can manually wobble the wheel in the dropouts. This is a more pronounced version of the problem I’d had with the Salsa skewer on the El Mariachi Ti, and partially due to the lack of 170mm skewers I’ve decided to try solving myself.

Based on suggestions from some engineering-oriented cycling friends I first cleaned the skewer’s cam mechanism and lubricated it with Tri-Flow (a nice PTFE lube), thinking that maybe the problem is a rough action keeping me from being able to appropriately tighten it down. In case it continues to loosen I’ve also marked the quick release skewer nut’s position to determine just how much it is rotating. Before riding I’ll probably also mark the lever. While I believe it’s the nut that is rotating (I hadn’t noticed the lever changing position), I want to rule out both sides of the bike.

If this cleaning and lubrication effort doesn’t eliminate the loosening I’ll probably end up trying a set of Hope skewers and giving them a go as they are the only other well-regarded option for 135mm / 170mm bike hubs. I really wish that Shimano made their high-quality internal cam skewers in these widths, but as they don’t I’m stuck trying to find other solutions…

Update on February 23, 2014: After ~2 months of winter riding, including some rough surfaces, the skewers are now holding tight. It seems like lubing the cams to allow them to be further tightened is what did it.

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