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30 January 2018

Portrait Monitor... and tablets

No, this is not about framing a photo, neither is it a tablet
Web designer stupidity in spanish

Since my computer work consists mostly of writing code, I find it very convenient to use a monitor that is "upright", or in portrait mode. That way I can see more code in the file that I'm editing. Typically the width of the code is limited to a few under 80 characters wide (and it's common to use a fixed width font). In my case I use a monitor that can rotate. I guess there was some "driver" software that came with it to automatically tell the operating system on your computer in which orientation you have it rotated. I don't use anything of that sorts, I simply tell my operating system how I want my external monitor to be configured.

So much for the navel gazing at my work habits. What is more fun is what happens when I browse on the World Wide Web with this monitor. Because nowadays, many websites seem to "sniff" somehow the screen dimensions, and when they see it's portrait, they assume I'm browsing on a tablet.

So I tend to get huge font sizes, menus hidden behind the "hamburger menu", and sometimes really minimalist pages. Quite often I can fix things by playing with the zoom level or slightly resizing the browser window. Most of the times I can live with this latest trend in web designer stupidity.

An award for extra stupidity goes to the designers of the website of spanish bicycle brand Berria though (or maybe to whatever framework they use) at http://www.berria-racing.com/. Going to their site, I'm informed to please turn my tablet into landscape mode. With no choice to override this, with no way around it or a button "give me the desktop site". (See picture.) Somebody wasn't thinking this through. Well, actually I can override it, by using only part of my screen and reducing the browser window to a landscape-shaped slice, but that's very unconvenient. Interesting enough, when you have a deep link to one of their pages, it works anyway, so why put in this stupid blocker? Facepalm.


Posted by betabug at 20:23 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
01 January 2018

Happy New Year 2018! Καλή Χρονιά! Guets Neus!

Passing the 13th year
Just a random picture of today

Happy New Year to all my (few) readers! May 2018 be the best it can be. I'm not expecting much. I've been cycling the last day of 2017 and the first day of 2018, I think it's a good way to spend the change of years.

The last two New Years we had snow here on Naxos. This time definitely nothing like that. Yesterday it was windy and a bit cold, but nowhere near freezing (except when riding downhill in the mountains). Today it was sunny and warm, with no wind at all.

As usual, this change of year is also the birthday of this weblog. The blog has been around for 13 years now, quite some time. Thinking back about those days back then, it's as if it was a different me, and it was definitely a different time. I'm definitely not saying the old times were better though, just different.

The theme of the blog this year seemed to be: "Ups, it's almost the end of the month, better post something now, or else there will be a month without a post!" I had only two months with more than one post. Most posts were about cycling, then a few general posts. But then, the weblog is still around!


Posted by betabug at 18:39 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
30 December 2017

A day in the saddle - Brevet Ble200 / Tatoi

Riding my 2nd brevet, this time with friends
On the first climb

It's been almost 4 years since I rode my first brevet, going 200km from Elefsina to Nemea and back. I had wanted to ride another brevet for a long time with my friend George, but always something happened. You know, small stuff like breaking a leg, or moving to an island.

This time I was sure nothing of the sorts would come up. There would be a bit more traveling involved, as I had to get from Naxos to Athens. The brevet we picked was the "Ble200 (Tatoi)" on Sunday, 22nd October 2017, organized by the Ble cycling club where George is a member. That helped with the first step of setting things in motion: George went and signed me up in Athens. For some unknown reason we still would have to pick up the card at the event (normally you get it in advance), but that was manageable.

So on the Saturday, one day before the brevet, I installed me and my bike on the Blue Star Ferries boat to Pireaus...


Continue reading "A day in the saddle - Brevet Ble200 / Tatoi"
Posted by betabug at 14:30 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
29 November 2017

Winter Riding in November

... and more typical November fun
Near Potamia on a rainy day

So, even though I posted twice in October, it seems I'm back to my "once a month post" scheme of things. Too bad. This year's November had a certain quintessential novemberness about it. There were colorful fallen leaves, clouds and thunderstorms, cloudy days, and clear and sunny autumn days.

I started out at the "sprint" in Spain (the friends I work with call it a "sprint" when we all work together for a week in one place). I cycled a lot there and even got to ride in rain for a few short moments. I don't think it was more than 3 times 10 minutes in total. It helped take a bit of my anxiety about riding on wet roads away.

Back on Naxos I enjoyed the riding too. At some point I mounted my fenders / mudguards on the bike again, which officially starts the winter season. Last year I had a lot of trouble with the things. I had changed tires and the new ones (Continental GP4000sII) are drawing a bit more volume, so the mudguards fit only barely. Every little bit of dirt that got stuck on the wheel made itself known.

This year I switched the bike back to the "old" tires (Continental Grand Prix 4 Season). More space under the mudguards, a lot less fiddling around to put them on. The first rides with the mudguards felt a bit weird, like wearing long trowsers again after the summer.

One of the first rides then made the mudguards worth it: I had just arrived at Giannis' bike shop in town when it started to rain. I tried to wait out a bit of the worst, then I went home and enjoyed half an hour of not-very-heavy rain on the way. (I took these two pictures on the way.)

A rainy donkey near Potamia on a rainy day

Another late afternoon ride led to a different adventure. I had dressed up quite warm, but not in full winter mode. I then went up to the mountains. The problem was only that at this time of the year, starting out at 4 in the afternoon brings you very close to a night ride. The sun is only very low near the horizon, not much of a source of warmth. Up in the mountains (around 600m above sea level for most of that route), it can get cold. In the end my GPS recorded an average temperature of 4°C with a low of 2°C. Definitely something that I managed to survive, but too cold for comfort.

The next rides were warmer, but still I managed another typical autumn adventure: I cought a cold. Which means more than one week without cycling now. Sitting at home definitely is nice once in a while, but it starts to be enough now... thankfully I'm improving. I'm looking forward to hold my nose into the wind again.


Posted by betabug at 22:27 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
31 October 2017

Passing the Milestone

More km than 2014 already
City riding in Lugo

Since I restarted cycling, 2014 had been my strongest year, with the most kilometers riding done. That year I had been doing about 8018km. But it seems that 2017 is coming along even stronger, it's the end of October, and I've already passed that milestone. Not to mention that there are two more months left in this year.

2014 was a very strong year in other respects too: In Januar 2014 I rode my first brevet (200km). This October 22 I finally rode my 2nd brevet, even with some more climbing. Looking back and comparing my strengths and weaknesses, I think I was faster and had more punch in 2014, but I seem to have a bit more endurance in 2017. There is no definite conclusion I can take though, as my form fluctuates a lot. I get in good shape, then I get a cold or travel or something and bang, I'm down again.

In the ride where I passed the "highscore", I was with my nephew Max and my good friend Borja, riding near Borja's place, Lugo in Galicia, Spain. I was on an old steel bike from another good friend. We were having lots of fun. It was the perfect moment to pass a high score like that!


Posted by betabug at 13:22 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
19 October 2017

Wir haben Zukunft

Von unserer linguistischen Erklärungsabteilung

Wenn man auf Griechisch sagen will, dass etwas noch länger dauert, dann kann man sagen: "Wir haben Zukunft" (έχουμε μέλλον, échoume méllon). Klingt doch sehr positiv, sozusagen das Gegenteil von "No Future".

Beispiel: "Hab ich noch Zeit mein Handy kurz aufzuladen oder müssen wir gleich gehen?" "Warte, ich schau mal wann wir gehen müssen... oh, wir haben Zukunft!" ("Έχουμε χρόνο να φορτίσω το κινητό μου;" "Κάτσε να δω τι ώρα φεύγουμε... καλά, έχουμε μέλλον!")


Posted by betabug at 19:17 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
30 September 2017

Der erste Regen und ein anderes "erstes"

In der üblichen Reihe von Wetterbeobachtungen
 

Vom 16. bis zum 24. September war ich mal wieder in der Schweiz. In weiser Vorraussicht zog ich für die Reise lange Hosen an. Erstes mal lange Hosen seit ungefähr April oder Mai. Ich komme mit dem Zug in St.Gallen an. Im Zug war ich noch kurzärmelig unterwegs. Als ich dann ausstieg, musste ich erstmal mitten im Bahnhof den Koffer aufmachen und etwas langärmeliges und meine Jacke rausholen.

Es war gar nicht so wirklich, richtig kalt, aber es regnete. Das war dann der erste Regen seit Juni für mich (im Juni hat es bei uns noch geregnet, was sehr selten ist, aber es kommt vor).

Gestern abend hat es dann auch hier auf Naxos geregnet. Das Wetter ist auch wolkig und "winterig". Wie üblich ist der Regen sehr erwünscht, den können wir gut brauchen.


Posted by betabug at 15:02 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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)

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