Sunday, October 4, 2015

Trike Rider Hydration on the Cheap

This is a 24 oz. insulated Polar Bottle in a Swagman beverage holder attached to the side of my recumbent trike's mesh seat. The Polar Bottle is simply wonderful. It's soft and easy to drink out of, and fits nicely in a standard bottle holder -- except it's high, which is a problem in gimbled or just plain weak holders. The Swagman  holder is straight and sturdy, so no problem. I *could* install it with the bottle stright-up vertical, but letting it stay in the plane of the seat is stronger.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

My recumbent trike "tools, gear, and stuff" bag

I see specialty bike-stuff bags for $50 up into the $100s. Um.... yeah. I have this one hung on the horizontal bar and velcro straps on the back of my mesh seat. Fits nicely, looks like it belongs -- and was only $16 from Amazon. It's rugged, too. The "weight weenies" might complain that this weighs a whole 13 oz. empty and a couple of pounds when it's loaded with a spare tube, a patch kit, a CO2 inflator, a "backup" pump, basic road tools and parts, and some low-sugar (diabetes guy) healthy snacks.

There are a million ways to carry things on your bike or trike -- and a lot of the best and most cost-effective ones don't say "bike" or "trike" on them at the store.  

Monday, September 28, 2015

My trike, front view...

This is my trike's current configuration, more or less. Note the phat seat cushions. I call them my "poor man's suspension." I'll post more/better pics of my mods as time & energy permit.

The trike itself is a Trident Spike, sort of their Spike 2 in that it has the 3X8 (24 speed) drive train and fenders that are optional on the basic Spike, but not labeled as such.

And my trike has a name: Silver. Because it is. And because that gives it an excellent theme song!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Trike mod #1 - handlebars

I've been meaning to upload pics of my trike mods for a long time, but I always seem to have at least one part of it disassembled when I think about taking photos.

Anyway... here's my first "trike mod" pic: of my right-side handlebar or control handle. You can call it either one, I suppose. That's a big -- 4 finger - brake lever, and a super-cheap *friction* Sunrace shifter (I have 24 gears, 3X8) hat I like better than either the OEM grip shifters or the popular, "newer" bar-end ones -- almost all of which are indexed.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Uber is Not a Ride-Sharing Service, and Probably Won't Last More than a Few More Years

A big mistake I see in articles about Uber is calling it a "ride-sharing service." Nonsense! Uber is no more a "ride-sharing service" than my local gas station is a "fuel-sharing service." Uber is an automated dispatch service that also (supposedly) sets standards for its cars and drivers.

The idea of passengers "crowdsourcing" inspections is a fine Randian fantasy, but come on: have you ever checked the brake pads on a taxi or an Uber-dispatched car before you rode in it? I didn't think so.

All Uber has really done is automate the transportation company's dispatchers and phone operators out of a job. Other livery, taxi, and gypsy cab services are now writing their own apps, so Uber is probably good for no more than another 3 - 5 years, and will start showing signs of stress in 2017 or 2018.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Future of Work: Stagnation, Automation ... Frustration

That's the title of an article in the Pacific Standard I heartily recommend. I also suggest checking out these Slashdot interview videos with publisher Tim O'Reilly.

I'm old enough and sick enough that I probably won't ever work full time again. You may not be so (un)lucky. I add the qualified "un" because everything I've done for money in the last 30+ years has been basically farting around, as in hobby stuff, and somehow I've been paid for it. Even now, retired, my side work is writing and video production. Complaints, Not a single one!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

No labor organizations made the 'top 10 Congressional bribers' list in Q2 2015

...but Google just made the cut.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce*
American Medical Association
General Electric
National Association of Realtors
Business Roundtable
National Association of Manufacturers
Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America
American Hospital Association
This chart is from Maplight

Saturday, July 4, 2015

How the South Skews America

"Every year the Fourth of July is marked by ringing affirmations of American exceptionalism. We are a special nation, uniquely founded on high ideals like freedom and equality. In practice, however, much of what sets the United States apart from other countries today is actually Southern exceptionalism. The United States would be much less exceptional in general, and in particular more like other English-speaking democracies such as Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand were it not for the effects on U.S. politics and culture of the American South." Read the rest...

Friday, July 3, 2015

Speeding Up 3-D Printing

3-D printers can make objects that are impossible or expensive to make with molding, milling, and other conventional manufacturing processes. However, these printers work too slowly to be widely used in factories. Read the rest at Technology Review.

Leased LEDs and Energy Service Contracts can Cut Electric Bills (Video)

I first heard of Consumer Energy Solutions from a non-profit's IT guy who was boasting about how he got them to lease him LED bulbs for their parking lot and the security lights at their equipment lot -- pretty much all their outdoor lighting -- for a lot less than their monthly savings on electricity from replacing most of their Halogen, fluorescent, and other less-efficient lights with LEDs. And electricity option contracts can save on utility bills, too. See the video on Slashdot.