Monday, July 30, 2012
Sunday, July 29, 2012
August the 1st is fast approaching so I am really trying to stay positive. However even Swiss Independence day is not enough to overcome my belief that individuals every where seemed determined to rip me off.
I think the final straw might have been the salesman Raymond from Audi Crissier. Without any analysis or clear knowledge he told me that ‘sure, 470 CHF for an oil change’ was perfectly reasonable.
Recently the TV license bill became due. The first figure is for radio reception, the second is for TV for a 462 CHF total.
Evan a car with an unused radio requires a radio license and Streaming non Swiss TV from the Internet requires the TV part meaning that we are liable.
I went to the Post Office to pay the duty (7.3 CHF) and the mysterious inspection charge (18.70 CHF) on my 2 Cycle Skewers of value 40 GBP.
Even the Post Office believes in daylight robbery.
On Saturday whilst out walking in Epalinges we saw one of the smallest and newest semi detached houses for sale.
Over 1Million CHF please
So all in all, whilst Switzerland is so beautiful it is an increasingly expensive place to live. No wonder when the time comes to retirement, most non Swiss nationals choose to ‘get the hell out of Dodge’
We are very proud to announce that we stayed up from the Friday 19.00 UK time kickoff into the early hours of Saturday morning to watch the Olympics kick off.
Initially I was a little ‘luke warm’ about the Industrial Revolution montage but it began to grow on me .. And when the Olympic rings became assembled in mid air, then at last I became impressed
The two entertainment highlights for me were
Yes the Bond Video
Yes Rowan Atkinson
Then of course a rather long wait until we could see United Kingdom, Team GB in the country procession. I had thought we would be indexed under UK (i.e. almost at the end of the A- Z procession). But turns out the host country displays last.
We made it, and then saw David Beckham, trundling in on a speedboat with the Gas powered Olympic torch which was handed to some young hopeful athletes to light the flame.
We were so impressed that by 02.00 Swiss time on Saturday 28th, we felt just a little sorry that we had not got a last minute flight and tickets … apparently some posh tickets (1500 GBP + ) were not taken.
Friday, July 27, 2012
- Lightweight titanium skewers come in at between 21- 25 grams each
- My Mavic R-Sys SL wheels (expensive, 2011 genre) came with 41 gram skewers, so stock expensive is not necessarily light
- Some example One23 skewers come in about 20GBP for pair
- Our 2010 Dura Ace Skewers came in about 125 grams per pair
- My 1999 Campagnolo Skewers were about 130 grams
- All in all a skewer upgrade is a very cost effective way lose almost 100 grams weight from your cycle.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
I spend an increasing amount of time on the phone and a Pavlovian reaction develops when some people call me.
I get an irresistible urge to drink a coffee. Probably because for certain people I automatically know that I will not be ending the call anytime soon
Obviously I'm not going to abuse my corporate SIM, installed into my mobile phone (my employer could not afford to provide me with a telephone) probably a hint that usage should be kept to a minimum.
And so the Gigaset ZX400 headset for my house phone is an economical answer
- In Switzerland this headset costs about 44 CHF (about 29 GBP), which believe me is cheaper than the rest!
- It has a 2.5mm jack which fits my Gigaset house phone. Don't confuse that jack which has microphone and headphone connections with the stereo left and right 3.5 mm larger jack installed on any MP3 player.
- One earphone only so you can hear what's going on around you
- A microphone that can swing out of the way
- The pictured Gigaset C610 phone has a mute button on the bottom right so the headset does not need one.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
I am normally awake reading or surfing the Interweb. And last week I was earnestly eBay bidding for some carbon fibre SpeedPlay Nanogram pedals. After paying 70CHF (45GBP) import duty at the post office this Wednesday they were finally mine.
Then began an upgrade shuffle
For some years I have standardised on the Shimano SPD style of clipless pedal. To state the obvious ... a clipless pedal means a cycling pedal with two parts. First a mechanism with some sort of release (usually on the pedal) and a companion bracket (cleat) that attaches underneath your cycling shoe.
Of course there is no 'agreed' standard so if your shoe has a Shimano SPD cleat you can't ride a Speedplay pedal.
Above is the existing Shimano SPD standard, XTR, on the old blue Condor Cycle, weight 164 grams.
Time to remove the existing 83 gram Titanium Speedplay Pedals from the Scuro cycle and attach them to my old Condor.
But wait, I found a 125 gram seat, and the Aluminium seatpost can be shortened
Some sawing later and another 100 grams is reduced on the old Condor cycle just on the seat and post.
Moving onto the nanogram pedals
Due to costing a small fortune they are supplied in a pretty presentation foam lined box
Nanogram, carbon fibre and titanium pedals weigh an astonishing 57 grams each.
Obviously I took both bikes out for a spin to see if I could notice the difference. Technically, not really! Though now; both bikes have Speedplay pedals it means I can use a common set of shoes which is some conciliation.
I did notice the Scuro is immeasurably faster to accelerate up hills. And with some weighing determine that it is mostly the difference in wheel weights. My 13 year old plus Condor with equally ancient Campagnolo Wheels are no match for the modern Mavic's as shown above.
Crank Brothers 1 pedal
Meanwhile, Agata is not convinced. She rates her
Crank Brothers Egg Beater pedals as a winner instead. (They too have a 'unique' and incompatible cleat not compatible with Speedplay or Shimano.)
Speedplay Nanogram from Wiggle
Speedplay Zero Titanium
Shimano XTR Race Pedals
Crank Brothers 1 MTB Pedals
Crank Brotthers 1 official Website
Since the Lian Li PC-A77FB case has some USB sockets at case top and I have run a wire from the external USB3 ports, back into the case and up to those ports etc.
(Note: If I only had something like a Supertalent RC8 drive then I might manage some better numbers)
I can honestly say that the money saved in the 1 Watt sleep mode is not going to cost justify the operation :-)
Imagine you suddenly lost your phone, music player, tablet, laptop and desktop.
Well, Tweaktown (sic) reported that Apple has plenty of immanent opportunities to help you spend and spend.
Monday, July 23, 2012
Early indications are looking good. Google drive promises to provide a Cloud based storage solution, available on multiple OS, from a provider that I can trust at moderate prices.
Sounds like a sales pitch, but for a few decades (no, really for a few decades) I've been carrying an assortment of data around with me.
Probably it started with the Psion 5 MX when I found that I could carry around a pocket organiser with all my contacts, useful data files, userids and passwords in one portable, password protectable, backupable device.
Years have moved on, now the working combination is PC + USB Key + iPhone + Internet
But Google Drive Promises more
- I divide information into Different Categories, but at the highest level Phone information, Bulk Data, Financial Data and Account Data <2 divisions: typically vendor detail logs, and separately scanned docment information>
- Uniform Storage: Using Goodle Drive I can collapse all Account data into 1 category:
- Access anywhere: All I need is an Internet connection and I can browse the drive
- No physicals: With data on a USB you can forget or leave the key at home; resulting in a paralysed day at work. No more.
What not to store
Currently I won't store even a single financial instrument up there. So I mean no financial logon userids or passwords, no scans of any accounts, no confidential information. All that would be stored in another top_secret :-) encrypted fashion
You need to test that Google Drive or Google Web can be viewed from your necessary places.
Example: My Corporate PC allows both the Google Drive Windows application and https Google Drive Screen. But my primary customer only allows Google Drive https, and they might block that soon!
If you need data access and your employer blocks both then you are back to a USB key (unless they block that also, in which case resign!)
Storage plans for Google Documents used to be yearly.
They are now more expensively monthly
Oh, the storage you buy can be used for gmail email, picassa photos, or gdrive data. It's absolutely fantastically optimal.
How to Migrate?
- You upload DSL speed will be perhaps 10x slower than download.
- For me my 50GB test upload took several days to upload
- I marked the data elements on the source server
- Whilst it was syncing from PC source to Google Cloud I did not mess with those in sync files or directories. Just to be safe!
Having signed up with your gmail userid and optionally purchased more storage you can straight away start making a Web Based Directory structure and filling it, via drag and drop.
You can install a Windows or MAC based client. After installation you get a Pseudo local Disk, which shows the contents of your web disk area.
Like any normal disk you can copy, move, create and delete files and directories etc.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
2XU are an Australian Sports company whose products are often made in Thailand.
For me they are a high end company. In other words you know you are paying well over the odds for their well Engineered and high quality products, but you are quite sure what you receive is Precision Made and State of the Art. I think of them as the Apple of the Sports clothing world.
This is a review of the 2XU PWX Mens Elite Running Tight. To give you an idea of price they will cost a staggering 110 GBP list price including VAT from Wiggle.
Previously I had used Decathlon compression tights but Decathlon stopped producing them. I had tried other brands but they had disadvantages (e.g. Skins have no drawstring so they kept falling down!)
There is some Web blurb about 360 degree stretch.
Since I was spending a small fortune anyway I decided to spend even more and go for the PWX Elite to replace my existing Elite Tights
The Elite version (vs regular) has 2 different thicknesses of material shown above by the slightly different colours.
On the inside the garment label is printed on. I have cut off the care label (on the right), obviously to save weight.
There is an internal pocket. Just large enough for an Apple iPod Nano or keys.
There is a drawstring which for me is essential to keep my tummy in!
The pocket area gets wet with sweat so you should bag seal your player / keys to make sure they don't get electrocuted.
Here are the old Elite Tights and underneath the new PWX Elite Tights. Look identical to me.
Notice the horrible and large garish 2XU logos have started to peel on my outgoing tights. This is a really great:
- The silver logo is not stretchy and so screws up the compression wherever it is placed.
- The logo is to me tacky, only there for product advertising, so if it all just fell off after a few washes (and not over 50 as shown above) it would be a double plus.
My increasing Sun Alergy and increasing paranoia mean that I wear Longs even in the height of summer. If you don't similarly suffer then I'd definitely also try the shorts.
For a short race shorts are going to be lighter, less fiddly, and somewhat cheaper. For long races well you might want the protection and compression of longs anyway.
Okay, an obligatory screen shot of them on before our Sunday long test run. Their fabric is great for hiding my leg muffin top.
- An excellent product, but excuse the profanity: bloody expensive
- Has a real feeling of quality and the compression lasts, use after use, month after month
- Use for Summer running, there are other products for Thermal winter and recovery use
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Dear Pastafarian Friends and future believers
Ramendan is a month of sacrifice in which followers eschew other foodstuffs after sundown, to test their devotion to the almighty noodle.
It should not be confused with any other Religious festival.
Whilst the festivals' name strongly suggests the food to be consumed; alternatives can also be accepted so long as the spirit is in harmony with his most holy FSM. Volkorn Fusilli pasta is our preferred choice as shown above.
There is some debate in the Pastafarian community as to dates. Like any religion, it is impossible to fathom the mind of the creator.
Quote: The most holy day of Ramen-dan is decreed by the FSM (Peace Be Upon His Noodles) to be "Whenever the hell you want to celebrate it". R'Amen
The best we can do is follow the words passed down by the prophet Bobby Henderson.
Generally Accepted date for 2012
Ramendan is thought to begin Friday, July 20, 2012, and to end at sunset on Monday, August 20, 2012