Gravel ride story pt 1

Well, here I am. Registered for the 170K Dirty Boar gravel ride on September 9th, 2017.

At the moment I'm still 10kg over my first target weight and I have never ridden anything further than about 110K.

However, I've always been a big fan of gravel riding, and two years and +20kg ago I read about the Dirty Kanza 200. This seemed like an amazing experience, but it's very very far from where I am, plus it is probably the most extreme gravel ride. To start with that, I probably would have stopped a quarter in crying like a small baby.

Two years later, 20kg lighter (but still too heavy) I saw the movie from Casey Neistat "Do what you can't". Even though it is aimed at creatives and producers of YouTube videos, you can take a lot from it in real life as well, outside of the YouTube bubble.

In my Facebook timeline all of a sudden the "Dirty Boar" ride popped up and on a whim I registered. I'm registrant 99, great number :-)

Ok, after registration I realized I really need to start training. Riding on gravel is not an issue for me (although my bike probably thinks otherwise), but going the distance and biking for 8-10 hours straight, that will become an ordeal without proper preparation. Most of the time I do mountainbiking, short (up to 60-70K) rides with steep short climbs and technical stuff, and parts gravel of course.

After a little search I found a nice "beginner to 200k" training schedule which I will use from today (actually last week). As someone (forgot who) stated, "don't let the schedule lead you, but make the schedule fit to your personal life", I am not going to follow the training scheme at all cost, I'm going to fit it in my personal life, which, with two teenagers isn't always predictable. But I still have plenty of time, provided nothing serious happens along the road. If I follow the schedule by the letter I'd ride 200k at the beginning of July. That leaves quite a bit of slack and opportunity for other things. I've also looked into the intermediate version of the 200K training, but even though I think I would be able to do it, I can't fit it into my own - and family - planning. So, I'll just take a bit longer to get there, but I will.

Anyways, the idea is that I will have lost at least 10kg before Sept 9th, and will be able to ride 150-200K comfortably. I won't be the fastest out there, since even when I reach my planned weight, I'll still be heavier than most of these skinny gravel-riding bastards. But I hope I can make up for the uphills on the straight and downgrades. We'll see, to be honest I don't care much about keeping up with lighter and younger riders at all ;-)

My next post will be about my bike(s), since I'm still not 100% sure what I'm going to ride there, I'll just write about both my machines. Specs, modifications, limitations etc.

Which apps did survive 2011 on my iPhone?

A slightly different take on 2011. While everyone is rehashing the news, I'll just go through the list of apps on my iPhone and see which apps really stuck during the whole year. Is this list useful? Probably not, unless you are interested in what I have on my iPhone or you are looking for something specific.

How do I know which apps to choose? Well, apps stay on my iPhone when I use them. If I do not use them for a few weeks, I remove them. I won't list apps that were recently released here.

Tools (links open iTunes):

The above tools have been installed on my iPhone for a long time, and get (almost) daily usage.

Social Networking:

No, Google+ did not survive 2011.



Those are all the apps that have stuck throughout 2011. Some were released in 2011, but most of them have been available longer and have only been updated. Special mention for Path, which must be my most-used app.

A request for Apple; I'd like to (automatically) organize my apps by times used. So I have the most used apps within easy reach. Yes I can do that manually, but it's extra work, and I'm kind of lazy.

Of course I have more apps on my iPhone, but most of them are cycling on/off the device. Others I install and after some time remove because I just don't use them. And some are only there when needed (e.g. Navigon US West, I'm not there that often)

Cosmonaut vs Deal eXtreme Stylus using Penultimate

I received the Cosmonaut capacitive stylus last week (finally). I backed Studio Neat's Kickstarter project a while ago, and after quite a few production and design issues, they finally released it. Now you can order it from their store. The stylus is $25 excl postage, which is $7 for international orders. Total is thus $32.

Months ago (even before the Cosmonaut project was announced), I bought a cheap stylus from DealeXtreme.
This stylus set me back a whopping $5 and shipment is included. 

I was actually perfectly happy with the cheap stylus, but since I love my Glif from Studio Neat, and I love well designed productsI decided to back their Cosmonaut project anyway. 

Alas, last week I received the Cosmonaut and did some comparisons. Using the excellent Penultimate iPad app by Cocoabox of course.

See the PDF

When NASA first started sending up astronauts, they quickly discovered that ballpoint pens would not work in zero gravity. To combat the problem, NASA scientists spent a decade and $12 billion to develop a pen that writes in zero gravity, upside down, underwater, on almost any surface, and at temperatures ranging from below freezing to 300 degrees Celsius.

The Russians used a pencil.

Fuck faith.

The only real argument against religious terrorism is to try to share the reality of the world. The world is plenty. We have each other. We have love. We have family. We have art. We have time. We have an impossible universe full of awe and wonder. We have an infinite number of questions we can work on. We have all the glory that is real and is us. We must stop glorifying faith. 

Fuck faith.

-- Penn Jillette, "God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales"

iCloud Photo Stream annoyances - adding to Dave Caolo (@52tiger)'s comments.

That’s fast and convenient, but also a hindrance. Specifically, my iPhone, iPad and Mac are now cluttered with space-hogging one-offs I shot for the sake of a tweet or a Facebook update. 1 What’s worse is that you can’t delete such throw-away photos from your Photo Stream with an iDevice. Instead, you’ve got to visit and click “Reset Photo Stream,” which nukes the lot, good and bad.  That’s why I’ve started using Camera+ again for tweeting pictures.

As Dave Caolo mentions above, regardless what you shoot, it will end up in your Photo Stream. Apart from the random twitpics, also the screenshots you may capture to show a bug, feature or just your favorite homescreen layout.

But there's a bigger hindrance. Not so much with the Photo Stream itself as with iPhoto.

use case:
my wife, my two kids and myself all have iDevices and we all have our own iCloud account (MobileMe Family but that's defunct now).
We have one computer that has our iTunes collection of music, movies, TV shows and apps. And I would like to use that same computer to collect all Photo Stream content.

However, iPhoto only connects to one single Photo Stream. You just "enable" Photo Stream, and it will use the one that is currently active on your computer. There is (afaik) no option to import other Photo Streams.

This makes the whole feature a lot less interesting and useful.

EU-commissaris Kroes betreurt besluit over netneutraliteit - RTL Z

"We moeten handelen op basis van feiten, niet emotie; snel en zonder nadenken ingrijpen kan tegen-productief zijn. Bijvoorbeeld, van aanbieders verlangen alleen 'volledig internet' aan te bieden, kan innovatieve nieuwe diensten in de kiem smoren. Of erger zelfs, het kan hogere prijzen betekenen voor klanten met minder veeleisende behoeften hebben die bereid zijn een goedkoper, beperkter, pakket te kiezen", aldus Kroes, wijzend op de wetswijziging waarmee de Tweede Kamer deze zomer akkoord ging.


Ik schreef dit zelf ook al eerder:

The appeal of "mainstream" games

Davy Buntinx has a nice post on the appeal of mobile games like Angry Birds and Tiny Wings.
Another reason why these games are hugely succesful is, according to me, the repeat-playing aspect. Having to play a level over and over again until it works out for you. Best example is my favourite iOS thus far: Tiny Wings. Super simple gameplay, very very straightforward, insanely repetitive but amazingly fun.

This is very true. I also think the gradual increase in difficulty makes it a lot easier to get into a game. 

I've done a small test with my oldest son, who is now 9 years old. He was instantly into Angry Birds, without any real difficulty. No frustration either, and he finished all levels without much effort. 
A few weeks ago I introduced him to my old MSX2 computer and games. Loaded up some vintage 8-bit games (e.g. Treasure of Usas, Vampire Killer, etc) and asked him to start playing. Well, he was quite frustrated after some time because these games were so damn difficult to get into. 
The lack of graphical possibilities were clearly compensated by a much steeper learning curve. Of course, hand-eye co-ordination was difficult too, with the keyboard arrows and space+alt keys.. 
Angry Birds can be scored easily, you only need a bit more effort if you want to play for 3 stars. Vampire Killer was full out, and after 3 strikes you're out. Starting over again, losing your progress. 

So, it's a combination of easy learning curve, easy progress and fun controls that makes the current games so popular. 

This is a good thing. But sometimes I look back at those good old days and pretend we were much better gamers than the current generation...