Crap, Hogwash, Wikipedia and Other Strong Evidence.

I’ve never understood why people think that it is unacceptable to NOT have a favourite footy team, opinion on who will win X Factor or DWTS, but it is perfectly acceptable to profess ignorance and mistrust of science. And they’ll type that on a smartphone to appear on the Internet.
Wouldn’t it be nice to switch the science off for an hour so that people like our PM could see what happens if the geeks and boffins left the planet.

The Australian Independent Media Network

“I mean in the end this whole thing is a question of fact, not faith, or it should be a question of fact not faith and we can discover whether the planet is warming or not by measurement. And it seems that notwithstanding the dramatic increases in man made CO2 emissions over the last decade, the world’s warming has stopped. Now admittedly we are still pretty warm by recent historical standards but there doesn’t appear to have been any appreciable warming since the late 1990s.”


From Abbott’s Interview with Andrew Bolt:

Bolt: (Volunteering to fight) the fires. Was there an element of running away from the office?

PM: Ha! Mate, I got up to the station at 4pm Saturday and I got back to the station at 10 Sunday morning. So there’s no question of running away from…

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What do we want in a Local Bike Shop?

Interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about trends in bike shops.  Here’s a taste:

Around the country, bike shops are shifting gears. The National Bicycle Dealers Association 2013 survey of 4,000 establishments found that 12% have coffee bars, 11% offer spinning classes and almost 5% serve beer. About 1% offer massages, yoga or full-service restaurants.

I hope that Australia does not follow this particular trend.  Sure, bike shops can benefit from engaging with their customers on more than one level and that benefit goes both ways.  But there’s a limit, surely.

They don’t have shops like they used to

In the 1980’s Newcastle NSW was second to only Adelaide SA for the number of bike shops per capita.  There was a dominant LBS owned by a famous cyclist.  Great range, good prices and nice staff.  Families bought bike after bike from there; 2 or more per generation.  But the only things I ever bought there were New-Old Stock (NOS) parts to upgrade my existing bike; a Sugino triple crankset, 105 brake levers, Deore front and rear derailleurs.  In hindsight, I should have bought a brand name bike from him, but I convinced myself that a custom bike would be a better choice.

Sadly, I purchased my custom bike from what I later discovered was one of the most complained-about bike shops in Newcastle.  The wheels went out of true within metres of the shop, the frame weighed a ton, flexed like a slinky and was missing braze-ons for the shifters, bottle cages and a dérailleur hanger.  I had bought a dud for the same money that I could have bought a proper machine.

Then there was “Dodgy Maurice”.  His hovel of a bike shop was my favourite because there was always so much to discover in there.  Invariably Maurice would show off some exotic groupset, frame, pedals or wheels and would always make the same two statements about the item [read with an outrageous French accent]:

  1. “zis is the only one in Australia…”, and;
  2. “…but you cannot buy.”

If you were prepared to dig around the dusty cabinets you could find some parts for that old bike.  It was a bizarre experience that I couldn’t help but share with my cycling friends.

Europa Cycles had unusual and exotic bikes and beards.  These guys were serious, the brands were serious and the prices were serious.  The mechanic rode a fixie to work 2 decades before it was fashionable.  The first shop was in the middle of Hunter Street near a liquor store; an odd place for either since no-one lived in the city.  They moved next to the Greater Union Cinemas in King Street.  They once let me use their workshop to re-lace my rear wheel onto a new rim after I’d slammed into a gutter sideways, only charging me for 6 new spokes and a few minutes of truing and centring instead of a full hour.

Canberra’s bike shops are generally very good. (Oddly enough, one of the few that does serve coffee is the one I would not recommend as the staff are too busy chatting to themselves to bother serving customers.) It is easy to find a shop that you like and just spend all of your money.  My current favourites are The Cyclery (who service my Cannondale) and Bike Culture (from whom I bought my Trek Domane 4.5).  No coffee, no masseur, no chakra realignments.  But both have very knowledgeable staff, a great range of stuff and comprehensive bike fitting services.  (Have I mentioned how essential comprehensive bike fitting is yet?)  What else could you possibly want from your LBS?

As Bernard Black once said, “Coffee and books is a fad!”  If I hang out at a bike shop it’s because I want to explore all the cool bikes, cool accessories and cool tools, not drink free trade mocha lattes.  That’s for the end of the ride.

BTW, I hoping to visit some groovy bike shops in Japan, including the “Above Bike Shop” in Kawasaki, home of the “Starf***ers” brand crankset.  Worth the price of the tickets alone.

2011 London riots looted bike shop
“I asked for SOY!” 2011 London riots looted bike shop (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

STOP 0x116 – If the card isn’t cooling it will STOP

I thought that I had solved the STOP 0x116 errors but it seems that I had merely delayed them.

After a spate of BSOD, I left the video card out of my main rig until I had some time for tinkering.  I use the GPU for BOINC processing, so those CUDA workunits just had to wait.  I replaced the card and within 5 minutes of starting the BSOD appeared.  Power down and restart and the same thing happened 5 minutes later.

Since the case is quite small, the double-width video card sits close to the bottom.  Had it been anywhere else, the dead fan (!) would have been obvious.  (I also had a noisy case fan that made diagnosis by ear impossible too.)  I couldn’t start the fan with a flick of a finger.  I removed the card and the fan and found that indeed no reasonable amount of force would spin the fan; it was DED.

Computer shops didn’t have a direct replacement (fair enough) and the only fans were case or CPU.  Jaycar had some interesting units that are both quiet and move bulk air.  So I bought a 120mm case fan that I could bolt to the existing fan shroud, to replace the 95mm original; quieter and more air flow.

First minor issue was the fan header on the card; somewhat smaller than a standard motherboard fan header.  No great drama as I could use the old lead to connect to the new fan socket.

Bigger issue was there being no way to line up the case fans mounting holes to any solid object!  Back to Jaycar for a smaller fan.

But at least I found the reason for the STOP 0x116 errors.

Fixing a dead fan on a video card

I tried a quick repair with an 80mm fan (exchanged at Jaycar for the 120mm fan).  I tried to clip it into the existing fan shroud, but it wasn’t going to fit easily or securely.  So I took some self-tapping metal screws at carefully screwed each corner into a suitable pair of fins on the heatsink.  I directed the airflow away from the heatsink to try to draw air across the GPU and RAM.

Case fan to replace a video card fan
Case fan to replace a video card fan

The case fan came with a 3-pin case fan plug to suit a motherboard socket, which is larger than the fan socket on the video card.  I cut the old fan leads, stripped the insulation, twisted and tinned the leads and squeezed them into the new fan plug.

Case fan into a video card fan header
Case fan into a video card fan header

Plugged in the new card, downloaded some utilities to confirm temperature and fan speed and instant success!  I even managed a BIOS update.

Back in the saddle – sitting further forwards

The past 3 weekends have not been easy to fit in a ride. I’ve put on 2.5kg as a result.  My first ride in 3 weeks was going to be a bit hard, I thought, especially since I was riding with my colleague Ed who has a few KOM on Strava to his name.  The cold morning and forecast high temperature was a challenge too.  Fingerless gloves seemed a good idea but the temperature didn’t rise despite the bright sunshine.

I arrived 20 minutes early to the rendezvous and the prospect of getting sitting still and chilling wasn’t appealing  I rode a lap of Northbourne Ave and returned at 0700 not much warmer.  A nice climb to the Sutton Turn-off and back to Dickson for breakfast.  A moderate ride with plenty of PRs for me  I’d put many of the PRs down to maintaining a steady pace and high cadence.

A bicycle, a few months ago
A bicycle, a few months ago

Mountain bike seating position

I was professionally fitted for my road bike but my mountain bike was just the biggest one they had.  This year I’ve made little adjustments every few weeks and mostly realised benefits almost immediately.  But it was a mystery why my saddle was all of the way back.  I easily mono-ed up several steps on a long climb, nonchalantly riding in the saddle and lifting the front wheel with ease.  When I got home I noticed the position of the seat and the obvious leverage it would have given me.

But I was struggling with flat turns and berms and never seemed to keep the right line.  Either the front tyre would have low grip or I’d steer too much and have constantly correct.  I would often put a foot down to keep upright.

A colleague who happens to be a level 2 cycling coach said that I had to get more weight onto the front tyre to get the grip.  It seems sensible but at the same time frightening.

So I prepped the bike for this morning’s ride by putting the saddle in the middle of its rails, about 30mm forward.

I instantly found grip on the corners that I had been washing out on during previous rides.  Even the very dry and dusty conditions weren’t affecting my grip.  I could hit every flat turn and berm with confidence and a certain impunity, gliding through corners with a bit of speed.

Make small adjustments and leave time to adjust to them; that’s always been my watchword