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23 August 2017

The end of an electronics lifetime for my Garmin Edge 500

... actually it's still working "somehow"
The buttons on my poor old Garmin Edge 500

I think I bought this Garmin Edge 500 in 2013. So it lasted about 4 years. Heavy use, you might say. But then, this is supposed to survive heavy use. Personally I think 4 years is not enough. No, I never had a crash with it (at least none where it hit the ground). Simply the soft, rubbery, dark blue stuff gave up and disintegrates.

The buttons started to be exposed some weeks ago. Yesterday one of the buttons fell off. Obviously the waterproofing is gone at this point. The electronics still work, but it's no good to go out riding with this thing any more. Another piece of electronics for the landfill.


Posted by betabug at 08:52 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
30 July 2017

UT-FD120 - 12.45 Euro for two pieces of plastic and good shifting gears

My personal review of the Campagnolo UT-FD120 Front Derailleur Alignment Tool

For quite some time me and my mechanic have been fighting to get the front derailleur on my Campagnolo Veloce triple to shift well. Actually, even when I got the bike from the shop in Athens, it wasn't shifting so well either. It would go into the small ring only with some good talking to, only when you were in certain rear cogs. Adjust it and it wouldn't like to go into the big ring now, or then in the middle ring you had to "correct" all the time. Then the chain jammed a couple of times and things got even worse.

As I know now, the root cause of all this was that the front derailleur wasn't aligned properly parallel to the chain ring. Now of course if you are an experienced Campagnolo mechanic who adjusts 10 of these things every day, you don't have any problems to get the thing aligned parallel. (But then I wonder why the shop in Athens didn't get it right the first time...) Or you grew up in a time when front derailleurs were simple affairs of two straight, parallel pieces of metal, you can see the alignment and not my point. Nowadays front derailleurs have strange bends and curves to improve shifting - and I have squinted my eyes out to get to see where they are parallel.

In comes the "Campagnolo UT-FD120 Front Derailleur Alignment Tool", which I ordered - 12.45 Euro that I gambled on - suspecting that it would not change much. But it did! The instructions / manuals on Campagnolo's site don't mention the use of this tool for the triple. We had to improvise a bit, and I can see where things are easier for a double. Still, in a very short time we got the shifting to become perfect. We also installed a chain catcher for extra peace of mind.

My shifting is now optimized for rides with lots of climbs and changing gradients here on Naxos. I can use all the bigger cogs on the cassette while I'm in the middle ring, without having to adjust the front shift - and if that isn't enough, I can drop into the small chain ring. (Without fear of dropping the chain, thanks to better adjustment and the chain catcher.)

There are two of those plastic pieces sold together in the set. One is for when your big chainring is a 52 or 53 tooth, the other if it's a 50 tooth. They do not only help to get the front derailleur aligned parallel, they give you the perfect "height" or distance from the chainring too, making shifting even more smooth.

So in short: Buying those two little tools was totally worth it. You pay for the ease of proper shifting, not for the moulded plastic.


Posted by betabug at 19:12 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
18 June 2017

Bike Checklist

Do I have everything?

I'm not really much of a checklist guy in life. I mean, I don't go on vacation or a business trip packing my stuff with a list, I just throw whatever comes to mind into my luggage. But when it comes to cycling, I do have my trusted bike checklist. It lives in a little notebook that my friend Saâd gave me some years ago. Not much gets written into that notebook any more, but it's always there due to housing my check list.

Why the check list? Because I seem to cycle a lot these years and with doing something as a habit in repetition one tends to sometimes forget some things. Making it a habit instead to always go through the checklist helps a lot not to forget stuff. Even if something isn't appropriate for the season (I might not need a rain jacket in summer - unless it's a crazy day like today when it rained here in freakin' June!). Better to mentally tick it off in summer than to forget it in autumn.

Maybe I would even know the list by heart now. I certainly start to assemble my stuff reciting the start of the checklist - it's a bit in an illogical order so the start is distinctive to me. The order is just the way I wrote it down when I felt the need for a list, more things being added at the end. Some things are also stand ins for others. The checklist just says "pump", but actually "pump and tools" should be meant there. Since these things are normally attached to the bike, it's just a short check that I hadn't removed them (e.g. for washing the bike).

Have I ever still forgotten to take things on a ride, even with the checklist? Yeah, it happens. But it's not the situation that I notice 50km into the ride that I don't have money to drink something at the coffeestop. Instead it's that I get out of the village and notice that I prepared the water bottle, but left it standing on the table. Much easier to remedy.


Posted by betabug at 18:59 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
30 May 2017

Checking The Weather Preview

It's a bit of a gamble anyway
The weather app on my phone, displaying weather preview data from wunderground

As a cyclist, I find myself constantly checking the weather preview. Looking if it's going to rain is one thing, but things are usually quite stable here. Once it's summer, rain is basically not in the menu. Temperatures are mostly nice-to-know. The most important thing is the wind. How much wind will there be and from which direction? This is really important for route planning. On the computer (with a big screen) it's really easy to see that kind of information, but on the phone space is more restricted. The usual weather apps on the phone seem to be mostly interested in "what temperature is it now / tomorrow" and "is it sunny / rainy / cloudy".

In the end I found the Meteogram Weather Charts widget for Android, which is ultimately configurable. Which means that it took quite some time fiddling and trying out settings, but ultimately I got pretty much what I want. I have it show me the next 4 days only, since I don't think the preview is good enough for a longer time in advance. I'm using data from Wunderground (you can set up various data sources). I auto-update at a very low rate, but can update manually any time.

The widget is set up to display temperature, cloud cover, chance of rain, wind speed and wind direction mostly. As you can see on the picture, things are displayed in a nice chart. There are labels to identify the top values (e.g. maximum probability of rain that day). You can download and use my settings with this json settings file. You will have to change the location, unless you want the weather for Naxos obviously!


Posted by betabug at 19:43 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
29 April 2017

Das Krokodil in der Wand und anderes Schlängelzeugs

Naxos-Natur
Eine kleine Schlange, die giftig aber nicht aggressiv ist

Normalerweise ist ja eher die Astrid die Expertin was Natur auf Naxos angeht. Mir begegnet zwar des öfteren diverses Kriech- und Fleuch-Zeugs auf meinen Spaziergängen, aber ich weiss dann meistens nicht was es ist. Als mir die obenstehende Schlange begegnete, nur ein paar Schritte von meiner Haustür, wusste ich, dass die einzige giftige Schlange so ein kleines Teil ist. Die grossen sind alle ungiftig. Die hier war vielleicht 20cm lang und wurde später als das Giftviech identifiziert. Wirklich gefährlich ist sie doch nicht, denn sie ist nicht aggressiv und auch beim ersten Biss ist oft kein Gift dabei. Nachfolgend nochmal ein weiteres Foto des gleichen Tiers und weitere Findlinge...


Continue reading "Das Krokodil in der Wand und anderes Schlängelzeugs"
Posted by betabug at 11:35 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
31 March 2017

fstail in ZODB

Just a little peep into the inner workings

Back in my Zope days, I once hunted for some writes to the ZODB being too big. I wrote a post called "Quasi-Normal in Numbers" about the experience. Back then I checked the size of the Data.fs file in the file system.

Nowadays I'm more into using Pyramid instead of Zope, I still use the ZODB (what can I say, it works well for me). And I still get sometimes the problem that a write puts in too many Bytes (or even kBytes) into the DB.

I've moved ahead though: Instead of checking the size of the database file on the file system, I discovered fstail. It's a little script that examines the end of the DB file and displays the last 10 transactions. (By default, actually you can use the parameter -n to get more). I didn't find any documentation of it, so I had to read the source and figur it out as good as I could.

So far I haven't solved today's problem, but I managed to solve a small sub-problem: I had some transactions that were committed by my code, and I couldn't identify them in the output. So today I learned to put some info onto that transaction:

url = getattr(request, 'url', 'no url')
note = "mymethod %s " % (url,)
transaction.get().note(note)
transaction.get().setUser(user, path='')
transaction.commit()

With this I can at least identify which of the transactions are caused by manually committing the transaction in my code at that spot.

Note: fstail comes with ZODB, so in my Pyramid virtualenv, it's already in the virtualenv's bin directory, ready to use: fstail -n 20 /path/to/Data.fs.


Posted by betabug at 20:30 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
27 February 2017

Start of Spring

It's getting warmer, now for some more rain!
Almond tree in flowers

I'm not really active on this poor weblog. Somehow the desire to write stuff isn't there. But since I decided that I should write at least one post per month and February is almost over, let's have a look at what I'm up to lately.

Two things have picked up a bit: Work and cycling. At work I had a very good sprint with the international pizza team in November, then a good off-time over the holidays and new year, and then I managed to work on some interesting parts of the project, so the spirit is high.

In cycling, on the one hand I felt as if I hadn't really done very much during winter. I tried to put in about 100km / 5 hours per week. Mostly I was taking it easy, and mostly I wasn't in the shape for more than taking it easy. On the other hand as a swiss friend who visited last week remarked: "Hey, you rode all winter!" Indeed I did. I even had a few snowflakes fall on me one day.

Last year we didn't really have much of a winter, except for 3 days of snow around new years. Last February it was so warm that I was riding some days with short sleeves, without even a base layer underneath. The result of that winter was a very dry summer. This year there is a bit more rain so far. Not enough yet, but there is still hope (knocks on wood). We also had plenty of cold days - at least for our standards here. So when it's something like 14 - 16°C now for a week, it feels really nice.

The almond trees are in flower, and there are yellow flowers all over the green fields. It really looks like we're at the start of spring here on the island!


Posted by betabug at 20:37 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
12 January 2017

Zas mit Schnee

Mein erster Aufstieg
Der bebu auf dem Zas

Am ersten Januar lag auf dem Zas (mit 1004m der höchste Berg auf Naxos) noch Schnee. Ich war noch nie oben gewesen, obwohl ich nun schon einige Jahre immer wieder auf Naxos zu Besuch war und ich jetzt auch noch hier wohne. Der Aufstieg ist von der von uns gewählten Seite ganz einfach. Etwa 400 Höhenmeter waren zu überwinden. Der einzige Punkt an dem mich meine Akrophobie etwas plagte war der Gipfel selbst, aber auch dort war es nicht allzu schlimm. Wir hatten Glück dass es nicht windig war.


Continue reading "Zas mit Schnee"
Posted by betabug at 19:15 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
10 January 2017

Oh, yes, almost forgot... Happy New Year 2017! Καλή Χρονιά! Guets Neus!

Had to count on my fingers how old this weblog is

So yes, this blog isn't as active as it used to be. To the level that it's January 10th and now I'm writing my new year's post. Sigh. It's also the birthday of the blog itself. I had to count on my fingers how old it is. Which was difficult, given I don't have 12 fingers. So yes, 12 years of ch-athens. It's been a while.

2016 on the blog started with snow and a lot of activity. I had gotten some new power and was posting regularly in January and February, but then ran out of steam in March. From then on, it was pretty much a 1 or 2 posts per month thing. But well, that's just what it is right now.


Posted by betabug at 18:38 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
29 December 2016

Snow and Rain

Whatever way the water comes down, it's welcome
Light powdering of snow on the Fanari mountains of Naxos

After last year's dry winter, this year any water coming from the sky is even more welcome. Currently it's been raining for 2 days, and there is a chance that there is more rain in the next 2 days too.

In fact, some of the water is coming down as snow or at least a snow/rain mix. For raising the water table, snow is said to be more useful than rain, as it doesn't run off so fast, it has more time to soak in when the snow melts. I'm not sure this makes much difference with these low levels we have right now. Last year we had 3 days of snow around New Year. It's unlikely that things will develop this way now, the preview says temperatures will go up slightly again.

Personally I had planned to go to town today, to pick up a package and have a lazy morning, reading and drinking hot chocolate in a cafe. Given the current conditions, I have postponed it and am drinking tea at home now. As houses in Greece don't have good insulation, it's a bit fresh inside, but with some extra pullovers on, it's nice and cozy.


Posted by betabug at 11:09 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

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