"What the hell is Brizzly?" or "Twitter as a wrapper for data transfer"

Some of you may have seen Brizzly.com, a site with very vague information regarding what it is – “Brizzly is a simple way to experience the social web. You can request an invitation code below and we’ll let you know when we have them ready. (Soon!)” I recently received an invitation to the site from @BrandonButram and figured I’d check it out despite my limited interest.

What Brizzly seems to amount to is a slightly thicker client interface for twitter. Functionally, this means that shortened URLs like those from tinyurl and bit.ly will appear as the full URL that they refer to, as well as links to images or youtube videos showing up as the actual content rather than just a link to it. I find this mildly handy, but currently of limited actual use.

BUT, whats interesting to me about this is that it kind of shows twitter posts as encoded or compressed messages. ie: a small message that represents something larger. This isn’t a ground-breaking concept since URLs are basically the same thing, but I suppose we take this for granted. So this takes us back to the initial benefits of twitter – messages are short for maximum interoperability with low bandwidth devices. Rather than using this as just 140 literal characters, we’re now including representative links to external information. This is cool in it’s own right, but to get back to the original goal of high interoperability on low bandwidth devices, wouldn’t it be cool to be able to compress larger data into these 140 character packages so there would be only one small data transfer instead of one small transfer and then one big transfer from the referenced site? a quick google search yielded just such an idea in practice by a couple of fellows attempting to encode an image into 140 characters.

Another example of binary data transfer via twitter is encoding and breaking up a file over several tweets. Personally, I think this method misses the point, but interesting nonetheless and reminiscent of long-ago floppy disk installs and BBS based transfers.

At the end of the day, I am unsure if any of this really matters since bandwidth is relatively abundant in most homes, portable computing/communication devices and even the International Space Station. I suppose developing countries could benefit from some kind of generic 140 character packet size protocol for wireless data transmission, but even such countries are advancing rapidly. It will be interesting to see if the future of twitter lies in continued social media in a “What are you doing?” way, or if it will come to be more than that.

Time trials – slowed progress

Wednesday was time trials again, and I opted to forfeit my points so I could ride the road bike. I expected that the bike change as well as actually having a computer would gain me significant time, and it really didn’t. I only had a 40 second improvement over the last TT.

I’m guessing that the reason for the smaller than expected improvement was mostly because I was still not recovered from the longer Saturday ride. I have noticed that pushing my limits on distance or speed usually take me out of commission for a while. In addition to recovery issues, my right ankle has been hurting a bit, and I’ve noticed that as a result, my right foot is taking a larger angle on the pedal. Finally, I seem to have a more difficult time breathing in the position that the road bike puts me in, especially when I’m on the drops. I suspect that that will improve with time as the muscles in my back and shoulders get better at supporting me and also as my gut gets smaller, allowing more breathing room.

In addition to the TT, I also rode to work in the morning, rode out to the TT, back home, and then downtown and back later in the evening. I figure I got about 25-30 miles for the whole day.

Lately, I’ve been wondering a bit about crank length, since both of my multi-geared bikes appear to have 170mm cranks and I’ve always run 175 or 180mm cranks on my BMX bikes. I would really love to play around with some power measurement tools, as I kind of feel that all the time spent riding BMX bikes causes my physiology to operate a little differently than people who have always ridden road or mountain bikes.

First ridelog. rlog?

I’ve heard that it’s a good idea to keep ride logs so you can check up on training progress and also so you can look at past years conditions, so I guess I will start logging. I’ve still not grasped the intricacies of the new version of iMapMyRide, so it looks like the ends of my routes are cut off. It also sends an annoying stream of tweets to my twitter. :/

I spent some of last week with a cold. Once I was feeling better, we had a string of rainy days. The forecast for friday was 10% chance of rain, so I settled on riding to work. It started spitting mist as soon as I left the house. The ride in was probably good for about 5 miles. In the evening, I went on a group ride for another 15 miles.

Saturday, I thought it would be a good idea to go on a longer group ride. Prior to this, most of my riding was relegated to 3,5,10 and 20 mile distances. The big fail here was that I didn’t eat enough. A bowl of cereal at around 11a, and a power bar at 1p were not enough to sustain me on what turned out to be a 45-ish mile ride. I took a protein drink along with me, but I don’t think I got much out of it. I managed pretty well most of the way – there were a handful of hills, which I usually fell back a bit on, but I kept up. I started bonking as we were along I65 approaching SR26 after a long hill. Through Lafayette there was a crosswind and I was fighting to stay with the pack. By the time we were back to campus, I knew I didn’t have anything left, and I had to stop halfway up Chauncey hill. The post game traffic had me pretty uncomfortable too. Now, on Monday, my legs, back and neck are still sore despite daily intake of potassium and protein. Also, kind of surprising, I seem to have gained about 2.5 pounds since before the ride. I don’t know if that’s mostly bad stuff like lactic acid, or if I’ve got that much gain in lean muscle.

Equipment wise, the new shoes are fitting better than I had expected. The speedplay X/5 pedals are good too. I’m still not great at getting back into them quickly, but getting out is no problem at all. I’ve been trying to stand more lately. Not that it’s particularly rough, but I’m not used to the geometry and feel particularly unstable. I did notice though that while clipped in and standing, I really seem to get a boost on the hills; it’s almost like running. Lifting up provides a lot of power and then my weight handles the downstroke.

I’m still not terribly comfortable with my seating situation. I still feel too far forward on the seat. Sunday I went to Hodson’s and had them put on a 75mm stem. I really hope it helps the situation, because I’m not sure what to try next.

It was in the low to mid 40 degree area. As for clothing, I wore my under armour skull cap, odyssey gloves, a lycra long sleeve shirt, short sleeve jersey and saucony tights over my regular bike shorts. I was a reasonable temperature the whole ride except for my toes which were pretty cold the whole time. I got some cold weather covers to try out next time, although I’m thinking it might make more sense to get some smaller toe covers. I guess my hands were a little cold at times too – I couldn’t move my left thumb enough at one point to go to the middle ring on a hill. That sucked. I’m going to see how long I can go before getting more winter-y gloves.

Also, as a result of my bonk experience and also because the club needed to fill some boxes on the sponsorship order, I went ahead and got 30 GU energy gels along with their Gelbot and a pair of socks. The Gelbot seems kind of overkill, but ultimately, I think I would prefer to use it than to 1. have to stop to open and eat the gel, 2. Carry around the empty, goopy gel packet.

Speaking of sponsorships, I’m _really_ tempted to get a SRAM rival group set while we have access to them at a discount. It would be a pretty healthy upgrade over my current Sora setup, although I do feel kind of bad upgrading so soon into the life of the bike. I’m hoping to test ride a bike with a rival setup soon to see how I like it. I think the biggest contingency is on the shifters. the Sora shifters aren’t terribly comfortable when I’m on the hoods, and I don’t like the thumb switch. Going to a double / 10 speed setup seems beneficial too, although I may have to get a new rear hub / wheel for that.

Currently 128.1 miles on the odometer.