new bike parts etc

Recently I’ve been spending a lot of time riding my bike. As I’ve been mostly on city streets, my old mountain bike has been becoming more urban. All these items are available from Old Skool Cycles in Lafayette (who I highly recommend) if you’re local, otherwise check out the amazon links for ordering and more details.. I started off with some Tioga city slicker tires. They’ve got a really low rolling resistance, but they’re wide like mountian bike tires. I’m not exactly light, so skinny road bike tires always scared me.. The city slickers worked out great, even in rain. I also grabbed one of these cheapo cateye mirrors. I really didn’t want one of the larger ones mounted on an arm, and you can’t go wrong at this price. One the downside, the mirror can move around a lot, so frequent adjustment is necessary. The mirror on this one is plastic, which is kind of a boon for me since the bike manages to fall over on occasion at the bike rack. Altogether, this mirror allows me to see traffic behind me and doesn’t get in the way, which were my two main criteria for such a product. I got these Odyssey gloves about two months ago, and they’re really saving my hands. The terrycloth “sweat wiping” area is handy, but the gel palm inserts are what really makes these worthwhile to me. It seems like these run a little small, so I recommend buying a size up if you do. I got Larges and have already managed to tear the seam between the index and middle fingers. I do have a problem getting these off quickly, as well as answering my iPhone while riding, so I’m kind of considering the Knog Orca gloves. They’ve got quick release finger loops and are fingerless. I’ve got a set of these Knog “Frog” safety lights on order after seeing them on a bmx street bike. They blend in quite well, and will hopefully keep me from getting run over. I’m anxious for these to arrive so I can get em on.

I feel kind of bad dumping a lot of money into my old bike. I’m courting the idea of building a new, more urban, more stripped down ride. At the top of my wish list are a rigid fork, a single disc brake, and a single front sprocket. I probably wont mess with these plans for a while though.. too many other projects in the works.

Oh, and one more thing.. I would really like to plug the iMapMyRide iPhone app that works with It uses GPS to track your ride, plots it out on a map, and records your distance and average speed. Really awesome app. I have the free version, but there is a pay version that I think I’m going to have to try out. Definitely a cool thing for those of us who don’t have computers.

More iPhone rambles..

With the new 3GS hardware and the 3.0 software coming out this week, I can’t help but think about iPhone stuff..

One topic that’s been in the news is iPhone as a gaming platform. Until last week, the only game I’ve ever played on the iPhone was the beer sliding one that comes with iPint. I just never thought of the phone as much of a game machine. Earlier this week I downloaded the game Hero of Sparta lite and was pleasantly surprised. [full game review over at] The game seems like a take on god of war more or less. The controls are pretty much classic Nintendo styled – directional pad plus two action buttons. The interesting part is that the controls are on the screen. I personally had never really considered the multi-touch screen serving this purpose. The tracking wasn’t totally awesome, but it was usable. The graphics were pretty decent, and far more than I expected the iPhone to be capable of. I did have a bit of a problem following the action on the small screen though.. especially with my thumbs covering some of it. This game really tempts me to get an A/V connector and try it on the Television. This would certainly be an interesting direction to take from console gaming. It could have the portability of those all-in-one atari controller games, and the flexibility to do high graphic games and also all the regular palm top computer stuff. Again, this makes me really want some advanced I/O for the iPhone. I don’t know off hand the bandwidth required to send full res, full refresh graphics, but wouldn’t it be cool if the phone could sync up to a TV wireless-ly?

Another connected topic, that I think has a much larger social impact is the app store. I’m using myself as a benchmark here which doesn’t make for the best data, but I find myself so much more likely to buy apps than I would real “software” because of the low prices. I am pretty comfortable going on a $1.99ea shopping spree on the app store, but hesitant to drop $40 for one piece of PC software. I don’t know if it’s a matter of perceived value or what. I do think that the market penetration of the iPhone could really be a boon for the widespread adoption of micro-payments though. This has been the first platform where it really makes sense.. It’s the same with buying music on iTunes. I can get behind a song’s value being a dollar. My fear though is that social determinism will rear it’s ugly head and people like the RIAA will keep pushing for higher costs and wreck the whole thing. There are already some apps that are $19.99 or more. I recognize that the are probably very useful, and that the authors “gots ta get paid”, but at the same time, that price just seems outside of my continuum of reality.

More on this later.. I’m also going to post a bit about some of the apps I’ve found that have proven useful.

iPhone stuff and portable computing thoughts

Last week while discussing the soon to be released iPhone 3GS, I was reminded of a defunct Microsoft project that I’d forgotten about. It had come up in MS propoganda e-mails in the mid to late nineties, but eventually disappeared. The project was called “Microsoft Personal Server”. I don’t think it ever saw the actual light of day, but from the spam emails, it sounded like a small piece of hardware that you would attach to any windows PC and it would host your personal data and profile information. At the time it was a pretty “out-there” idea, but with the cheapness of flash memory and the modularity of XP profiles with the roaming profile and other options as well as many apps coming in “portable” forms, it shouldn’t be that hard to run such a configuration.

This conversation started me thinking about some kind of symbiotic use of portable computing’s immediate data access with the horsepower, better I/O and mass storage of a desktop machine. Of course laptop computers fill this need, but I don’t know if it’s the most practical in terms of portability and expenditure for all situations. I would really like it if iPhone could connect to a bluetooth keyboard mouse and some kind of monitor. It can handle most of the day-to-day tasks that I require if it just had better I/O. It might even be ok if when docked I could have a pseudo KVM switch to flip back and forth from my PC to the phone. this would be great because Outlook seems to have a lot of overhead which is problematic if I’m gaming or recording something at the same time.

Anyhow, I have pre-ordered the new iPhone 3GS. Skipping the 3G worked out for me, since I was eligible for the upgrade price. Plus, it appears that first gen phones are still in demand for unlocking/jail-breaking uses, so I will likely break even. I think I’m most looking forward to the faster CPU and increased system memory, but the voice control has long been on my wish list, as is MMS.