Tuesday, April 21, 2015

When did you last update your SysInternals

So if you have to ask:  Sysinternals to me is a suite of low level programs originally written by  Mark Russinovich of Winternals.

This is the Wikipedia Page

Some time ago the company was purchased by Microsoft but the tools are still available and free.

The tools get updated frequently.  Here is the change list.

You can download the entire suite from the link here

It is like UNIX top, nmon and fuser and well everything.

To me SysInternals and Cygwin64 are two base sets of utilities every Microsoft Systems user needs.

And call me slow but I just found out you can get RSS updates for Sysinternals.

SysInternals and Cygwin64

Garmin Bluetooth Bicycle Speed and Cadence

Slowly but surely wireless technology is becoming available to the /common man/ and so this is a mini review of the 

Garmin Bluetooth Bike and Cadence Sensor

What is the big Idea then?
The idea is that your GPS smartwatch can figure out your position and speed from the GPS satellites it talks to.

Modern smartwatches I now use e.g. Garmin, provide a Cycle Programme that tracks your cycling and then displays the results including your route, and speed over the route at Garmin Connect

However a slightly more reliable way to measure speed would be to measure the rotational speed of your wheel and knowing its radius calculate the speed that way.

And further to mount a G force sensor on the pedal which would be able to understand your rotational cadence ie pedal strokes per minute

Here is an example:

But wait what about the Watch?

Okay, yes, the GPS watch can also detect the speed but it won't be as accurate and it knows nothing about pedal cadence.

Any other notes?

Yes,  the traditional way to measure speed is mount a magnetic unit on the spokes that passes a sensor mounted on the frame. And similarly for cadence a pedal mounted magnet passing a sensor

Here you see the old and in my opinion more /clunky/ setup.

 Okay, so these are the components in the box

 The rotational speed sensor mounted on the back wheel

And the Cadence sensor on the left crank

Telling Your GPS Watch
Hopefully you have a fairly modern Garmin GPS Smartwatch in which case you should not have any communication issues.

Your Smartwatch needs to talk the ANT+ protocol to both these units simultaneously.  Bluetooth is not going to help! This is the compatibility matrix

So how practical or fiddly is it?
The idea is basically that you go cycling and always use your Garmin GPS smartwatch.

You have to do a onetime setup step which means connecting your Smartwatch to these particular cadence and speed sensors.  This is a useful step since then the Garmin will ignore any other nearby sensors  (imagine you are in the starting grid of a race with tens of others sensors close by, now it will just pick the right ones)

Now when I start my cycle I

- I switch on my wrist mounted Mio heart rate monitor
- Go outside for GPS reception
- Select Garmin, Cycle mode on my Garmin smartwatch
- Garmin automatically connects to heart rate and cadence and speed sensors

Start Cycling.

- On returning home, stop activity recording
- Plug watch into cradle and it automatically loads data to Garmin Connect and charges back up  (Actually the Watch has WiFi so it can upload all by itself, but the dock charges so I tend to leave it plugged in, go for a shower, and by the time I am changed it's uploaded and fully charged again).

The power sources for these sensors are button cell batteries, supplied with the units, and that I understand should last for about 1 year.

So now the full Garmin report looks much more interesting.

I'm extremely happy with the new sensors.  Whilst they work only with Garmin units, if you have a compatible one and are serious about checking your pedal cadence and absolute speed on your cycles then this is a must.

It's less fiddly that the older combined sensor and means you don't have to attach that magnet to a spoke on your rear wheel.



Monday, April 20, 2015

The All Nighter with Passion

Faithless: Insomnia

This is a small message to perhaps the mature reader. Reading comfortably in the first world. In this short I will  simply argue that finding your passion is critically important especially as the years pass by.

Alternatively For Youngsters
If instead you are currently  a privileged youngster aiming for career advice, the classic Jobs address applies.

Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Address

Back to the Passion:
A lot of concurrent twiddlings were in flux between Marcus's last Friday night and Monday morning.

Because, when you are passionate about what you are doing: Another all nighter - becomes just so easy. Insomnia indeed.

So as I am writing this I am more than tired, in fact exhausted, but quite happy.  And Lo,  it came to pass that there was:


Some hacking

Some stress testing

Some crafting & optimising

Some rescuing

Some Planning

I'm going to make the obvious point (to me) that as you pass into, then through and out of middle age

- You want to feel that your life is worthwhile
- You either have no kids, or they have turned out to be normal, and NOT losers, meaning they have at last become self sufficient
- You may be out of work, on a break,  or early retired, in which case you at last have something that has eluded you for decades:  time.
- You are not about to die because modern medicine and a good diet means that you still have lots of years ahead of you

Finding your Passion

You have to determine what your passion is going to be.  It could be Stamp collecting, Trail Running or Triathlon.  It could be Mountain Climbing or Snow Boarding.   Some of the parameters you might consider could include:

- Not sensible
You spent a life being sensible, now perhaps the time for something a little wacky

- For You
With a lifetime of caring for others [your boss, siblings, children, community] it is time to find something with a focus on you first.

- Tired Afterwards
Something that may involve physical effort if you have spent your life in front of a desk and computer screen.

- Sense of Achievement
Something that is not trivial or too easy.  You have to stretch, reach and struggle just a bit to make it happen

- A thing of Beauty
If you are creating something, then once you have learnt more than the basics, you want to create something (physical or intangible) that is a quality product. Not just average.

- Alcohol and Drugs not involved
Something that you can create when you have all of your senses present, correct and not impaired.

- Environmentally sound
Consider endeavours that are not wasteful or extravagant.

- Good with only one
Something that can be done on your own but maybe better done in the company of your partner or friends.

- Budget Friendly
Funds might be limited, so something that does not break the budget

So now it is up to you.    

Find your Passion.
Focus on enjoying and enriching your life in this world.

Somewhat Related
Since I am almost certainly advocating behavioural change I would also reccommend that you watch
Starting with a Tiny Habit
Caution for Addictive Behaviours


Alternate perspectives:  Ted and Happiness
Faithless Insomnia Mix

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sunday Sermon: Changing your Religion

It hardly seems fair that you might have been born into /the wrong/ religion.  Perhaps you are destined to change from your current to the Church of the FSM and its associated  PASTA foundation which is designed to attract

People for the Advancement of Spaghetti Toleration and Appreciation

This religion is devoid of most of the worst excesses and intolerances of some of the largest faith based Religions that many people claim to freely belong to.

Which Religion is right for you?

What God can do in 5 seconds

Many religions make dramatic claims about what their Religion is capable of.    Of course, no matter what this, or any religion might have claimed to achieve in the past, by modern day standards of sexual and gender equality some of the established religions are definitely a little lacking.

When choosing your Religion perhaps the following criteria might be suitable for people of the 21st century:

- Free entry and exit [of this religion] without punishment or sanction

- Tolerant and loving God that will not send you to Hell for the smallest infraction, or your friends to Hell if they don't believe in your special God

- Tolerance in all things  (except Intolerance)

- Animals and Pets Allowed

- Dancing

- Music of any Kind,  Musical Instruments of any description

- Eating of any meat

- Alcohol

- Freedom to wear what clothing you (and not others) wish, and to use whatever materials you want, or any colour and in any combination with each other

- Driving (subject to passing a test)

- Cremation and burying of the dead next to any faith

- Freedom to Colour or Removal (cutting, plucking) or keeping of long body hair

- To pray to your own god in your own fashion and frequency

- Financial debt / loans

- Does not discriminate in favour of Men or against Women

- Does not discriminate against those of any particular sexual orientation. Should not be homophobic

- Does not advocate killing people who are not of your Religion, just because they are not in your Religion

- Does not advocate punitively taxing those of another religion

- Equal education for Men and Women

- Equality of rights to marriage between Woman/Man and his/her partner


- Does not allow Slavery

- Does not allow Child Marriage

- Does not sanction or promote Male or Female Genital mutilation

- Does not sanction Wife Beating or Rape

- Does not advocate punishment or death of those with a different sexual orientation

- Does not sanction killing of animals for food in inhumain ways causing suffering to animals


- Does not force you to believe really crazy stuff

- Understands and respects the Scientific method and it's many conclusions based on evidence.


- Promotes separation of Religion and State

- Promotes being an intellectual rather than a Luddite

- Encourages the celebration of life in this world and not in an afterlife or future life.

- Promotes freedom of speech and inquiry

- Does not sanction any penalty for pictures or scriptural references to any people, Gods or Holy beings contained in the Religion

- Allows the use of medicine and drugs to treat illness

Why Switch Now?

(Note: Some religions are so chicken they can't even appear in person on toast, it is quite tragic)

Internet Signs
Now, the choice of your next religion is I maintain a matter of your own conscience.   However, when I cast my digital eyes over the Internet I have been noticing a number of signs:

(Uranium emitting radiation inside a cloud chamber)

 Double Helix

 Hippocampal Neurons

 Appearance on Toast


BlueMan: I feel Love
(multiple visual clues.  check 069 seconds)

At the Olympics

The Higgs Boson: God Particle

Make your own mind up about the Religion that you follow and support.  Just don't be a dick, intolerant or a murderer.

REM: Losing my Religion


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Profanity, Swearing and the Slur

Jim Jeffries: Gun Control

I think I was on the loosing side of an argument   a discussion when I had commented that although I found Jim Jeffries funny he rather overdid it with the swearing.

I don't think other online participants were upto much of a discussion since multiple people replied with a series of short sentences just repeating multiple swear words.

Boy, that told me.

If you watch the above Jim Jeffries video (about Gun Control, and not the Jim Jeffries video I was commenting on) you will see that he swears  (cusses in American-ese) rather a lot.

To me, if I had to listen to a whole hour of Comedy Standup with this level of swearing I would be all sweared out

Back in the Day
When I was a lot younger I once spent time working on the then Hams Hall, Coal fired Power Station.  In order to understand the /men on the ground/ I spent some time in one of the very noisy operations rooms.   On one of the rotating 2 men shifts I got to know Lenny.  A conversation with Lenny  (not his real name) went like this.

Marcus: Hi Lenny.
Lenny: Hi Marcus, how are you f***in doing?
Marcus: Not bad Lenny
Lenny: Would you like a cup of f***in tea?
Marcus: Yes, please
Lenny: One of two f***in spoons of sugar, and do you want any f***in milk

Yes, Lenny used the f'word to punctuate nearly every sentence he could.

It became devalued and redundant.

Lenny taught me that swearing should be used for Emphasis, and on investigation I learnt the difference between Using and Mentioning the Swearing or the Slur.

How can you learn more?

Well you could worse  (and not f***in worse) than listen to

Philosophy Bites on Swearing

Philosophy Bites; Swearing
Rebecca Roache

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Integrated Handlebar Heartache

Here is a tip.  If you operate a Bike shop and somebody comes in and asks you to /just replace the Handlebars/ then remind them it's not just that simple.

Changing an Integrated Handlebar/ Headset on a modern bicycle is a complete pain in the whatsit.

How painful?  Well it takes about the same time as the whole rest of bicycle assembly ....

Why Bother?
For the smallest moment when my beautiful Integrated Headset developed a hairline crack I considered not doing anything until the crack got a lot larger because this is /only/ a flesh wound I told myself.

And then I thought:  Are you a complete idiot!

Failure of the headset whilst cycling at any speed could lead to a serious accident and injury, and around our home town of Lausanne Switzerland with its numerous steep mountain descents, the consequences could be really ugly....

So, the old Carbon handlebars and alloy headset that were on sale by me for peanuts at the Swiss site anibis were rescued.  I withdrew the advertisements.

Mounting the old components is trivial and takes but a few minutes.  But now the annoyances start

Old integrated headset dangles.   The cables are so tightly wedged in that I can't move them at all

A lot of minutes and swearing later I simply slice through all the cables and sheathes with a cutter.  So now I'm going to have to definitely replace everything.  Headset, Handlebars, brake and gear cables and casing sheathes.  Grrr.

Shimano sell the Road Brake and Road Gear Cable set separately.  Luckily I had spares of each in the emergency parts store.  For reordering I'd recommend

Shimano Road Brake Cable Set
Shimano Road Gear Cable Set

Getting Dura Ace levers on is a non trivial business. In fact it took 2 people and a lot more swearing.   The single hex bolt female that attaches the levers has to be to tightened through the side of a stretching hood onto a cheap looking support threaded male threaded bracket that you slide onto the handlebars.

It just kept spinning and not catching.

Eventually both levers are installed, and Marcus has managed to tear both left and right Dura Ace hoods.

Obviously there is a right and left lever.  You have to mount the wires first, gear and brake on each lever, then screw it to the handlebars.

Traditionally these days left lever controls the front brake and the right lever operates the rear brake

You have to remove the base plate to get to the internal cables.

Feeding the cables through would be an almost impossible process but I had some /guide tubes/.   These are hollow plastic tubes that  can take inside hold the real brake or gear cable

  1. With the old cables installed
  2. Thread  the guide tube OVER the old cable, lets take the rear brake cable as an example, which goes inside the frame
  3. Now disconnect both ends of the old brake cable, (one end is cut, the other remove from rear brake)
  4. Now remove the old brake cable, leaving the guide tube poking out of the internal frame points
  5. Now thread the new brake cable from the handlebars, inside the guide cable
  6. Once the brake cable is installed, pull out the guide tube
Using a hollow guide tube saves a HUGE amount of time and buggering about.

Another great pacifier was the trusty iPod playing calming tunes as I have now spent over 5 hours trying to install everything.

Notice on these handlebars there is a special track holder for the cables

Also as wired I can group 2 cables together on left and right levers.  I used duct tape to stick them together.

What might not be too obvious is that you need to cut the sheathes coming out of the hoods and going to the front frame holes to exactly the right length, and if it's too long, as it was in my case you need to pull out the brake/gear cables,  and remove the sheath and cut it down.

But: when you remove any cable you have to reinstall the /guide tube/.

So any misjudgement of the external cable sheathes is really time consuming to fix.

Here are the internal gear cables, top one is the front mech and the bottom one goes to the right and then inside the frame (aaargh) to the back derailleur.  

Internal cabling: Looks great, but it's a nightmare to install.

 At last rear dérailleur cable is installed

Wow, the cabling looks so neat, if I say so myself.

Finally the Handlebar tape is on.  Again, this is a really easy part, once the cables and sheathes are correctly installed with the correct lengths.

 All is done?  Oh wait .. triathlon bars

 Initial installation of tri bars as previous.

I re rode the route on which the crack first appeared on the new headset.   60Km later all looks good  (I mean on the bicycle, personally I was exhausted)

I got a call saying that the Triathlon rules now say that the bars cannot protrude past the gear hoods.  Are you blinking serious!

 Before the big chop

Now trimmed down to size, saving 10 grams, but also almost uselessly short!

Okay now all is pretty much done.  I will perform about 500Km of testing before I am happy that everything is in tip top condition.