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Wednesday 14th March, 2007

Avid Juicy Sevens

Though the move to hydraulic disc brakes on my new bike means I have heaps of stopping power I'm not entirely useful, there was a few problems which made the stock Hayes HFX-9s a bit of a problem. Not least was their tendancy to shift when the wheel was removed and replaced, and for the rotors to squeal and complain.

Anyhow, I decided that it was time for a bit of an upgrade (already), something much, much jucier.
Avid Juicy Sevens

A bit of looking around made it reasonly easy to get a set of Avid Juicy Sevens, widely regarded to be one of the better mainstream brake sets. The improvement in stopping power is insane, and not having to worry about not being able to adjust the pad contact point means no more difficult adjustments.

Avid G2 rotors

The other thing about the rotor design on the Juicys is that they should be able to operate far better in wet, rainy and muddy conditions, though I've only had to put the Hayes through those kinds of conditions a few times so far.

Another significant thing about the Sevens, which suits me well, is that the standard lever position is closer to the handlebars. Since I have smaller hands, and tend to be a whimp, staying on the brakes a lot of the time, this helps, as it really relieves the pressure and fatigue in my hands.

We'll see how these go, but if I like them in the long term it may mean I end up putting Juicy Ultimates or Juicy Carbons on the race bike I plan to build up later this year.

Wednesday 7th March, 2007

Switchback 2

I've been pretty silent lately. Most of this is because pretty much all my time outside work lately is going into mountain biking, and I've not really wanterd to bore everyone with details. I think though I might have to post a little more often at the very least with some of the latest capers.

My light kit for the upcoming Winter season I'll be needing arrived at work the other day. A nice new Princeton Tec Switchback 2, direct from the US.

The first thing noticed with this is just how much time and effort they've put into the packaging. It really does seem like they almost spent as much time designing the packaging as they did designing the product - the outside design/presentation is anything but plain, and then when you do open it, it's a tightly packed, well padded multi-layered package with everything neatly laid out... I really should bring out the camera for this one.

Photos you'll see of it everywhere don't do it justice either - the actual head unit is only maybe 5cm wide.

But the light itself is nice and light - at 132g, it's light enough to mount on my helmet (though I found out that the Giro E2 I purchased was a massive 70g heavier than the Avanti Razor I was already wearing, despite much cooler), so it'll be perfectly suitable either for helmet mounting or use on the bars.

It seems nice and bright - though until I get it out on the singletrack, we'll have to wait and see how it performs.

Thursday 28th December, 2006

Biggest mistake in a while


Power users of FreeBSD, Linux, Solaris, Mac OS X... all of these will be familiar with a little file known as '/etc/hosts'. It's the equivelant of windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts - you can drop entries in it, and instead of going off to nameservers, those hosts will be looked up from the entries in the file.

About six weeks ago, we moved our webserver to a new box. Or rather, our webhost did. To ensure that I didn't miss any email while the domains hadn't propogated, I put an entry for '' in my hosts file. And then promptly forgot about it.

As a result, for the last six weeks I've been thinking to myself, "hm, I'm not getting much mail/spam anymore"... and was thinking everything was working. It wasn't. Or was. Just... it wasn't trying to collect my mail from where my mail resided.

Anyhow, basically I've spent the last hour carefully going through six weeks (6,500 emails) worth of mail, hitting the 'mark as spam' button as necessary.

That said, if I've not replied to anyone who's emailed me in that time, I apologise - I do fully intend on getting back to everyone.

Well... everyone that I usually would - sorry spammers, no special treatment for you.

Monday 18th December, 2006

Mac OSX 10.3.9 and Multi SSID

I was asked when one of the company investors this morning came into the company to get his old PowerBook onto the network. In the past we'd had no problems, but we had played around with a few things on the wireless network since he was last here.

Annoyingly Mac OSX gives you little or no explanation why it couldn't connect - it just tells you it couldn't. At first I thought it could be a WEP problem, even though the AP was open.

Turns out the problem in this case was with multi-SSID. The older Airport extreme cards, it seems, don't support this feature - if you want to be able to connect, you'll need to ensure the SSID you're connecting to is on the first available VLAN id.

Certainly a bit of info I'd have liked to see, oh I dunno, in an error message. At least we know for next time.

Sunday 10th December, 2006

Richard Dawkins on those who disagree with science

Okay, seriously, can we just put this guy in charge of some really important stuff already and be done with it?

Once again, he hits the nail right on the head.

Tuesday 5th December, 2006

Neat sheep.

I just had to post this one, because it looks so danm cool as my screensaver (ElectricSheep) - thismorning it generated this sheep, which I think just looks SO cool.

I have some higher res screen grabs that would make for awesome background shots if anyone actually wants it.

Sunday 3rd December, 2006

Linux now playing catch-up - to Mac OSX users?

Linux this, Linux that, many of us get sick of hearing about it in all its hundreds of distributions. Meanwhile though, while the Linux distributions are fighting and disagreeing amongst themselves to come to some kind of agreement as to what to provide users to create some semblence of a standard, Mac OSX is picking up and flying away.

Some demographics have been shown on the kind of people who use Digg. Not only is it based on geographical location, but also on the kinds of systems they're using (which is reasonably easy to get).

Most demographics on operating systems you look at will tell you that Windows has well over 90% of the market - which I guess is true in some ways, but this is including massive businesses, governments and schools who have contracts with Microsoft which gives them cheaper access to Windows. When you remove those though you get demographics more like we see in these Digg demographics.

The one I found most interesting though was the breakdown of Mac users. Not that just that the combined total of Mac users of Digg is just over 17%, but that Intel mac users alone are almost taking over Linux users in their entirity. In fact, as time goes on, that number of Linux users I believe is going to stagnate as Linux uers also move to Mac, and the Mac figure is just simply going to grow.

I thought these figures could be worth a look for anyone trying to decide on anything related to cross-platorm support and/or development. Now if Apple could just get us some good development tools etc like Microsoft have for Windows development, even more people would flock to it.

Saturday 2nd December, 2006

Quake 3's InvSqrt

It makes me wonder how companies can claim and prove that code has been stolen and used within their applications when you read articles like this one.

Slashdot had a front-page item today which I found interesting, regarding one of the functions where Quake 3 gets most of its incredible speed. Keep in mind that Q3 didn't use any SSE optimizations, since when it was being written these were only new; The graphical quality at the time was incredible considering that we were still running Riva128 and Riva TnT cards.

The function in this case is Quake 3s inverse square root calculation function, used for getting inverse values accurate to around 48 places. What I found surprising was that not only was it not the brain of John Carmack that came up with this one, nor was it Terje Matheson, of, among other things, the Intel FDIV bug fame. The use of this function though shows how much of an impact the minds behind 3Dfx interactive had on the current industry, and perhaps even what else they could have contributed had the company managed to stay afloat.

Fortunately the person largely responsible is now over at nVidia, hopefully ensuring that some of the best possible optimizations make it into nVidia's most recent GPUs.

I haven't really said much here which isn't said in the article, but it's well worth a read imo if you're into that kind of code optimization.
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