Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Longer Ride On The New Wheels

A Longer Ride on My New Wheeles

I did a 'Neuse-River-Trail-Ride' today on my new bike; here are the stats:

02:39 ... hours : minutes total riding time
55.18 ... kilometers
20.70 ... kilometers per hour average
41.40 ... kilometers per hour maximum (there was this little hill)

I started at Anderson Point Park and rode up to Falls of the Neuse Dam (the end/beginning of the Neuse River Trail), ate my banana and PBJ, filled up my water bottles and rode back to the park.

The bike preformed flawlessly, as expected.  The motor was a bit worn out at the end of the 2 1/2 hour ride, but I'll put this down to this ride following a 45 minute work out in the gym this morning and a one hour bike ride yesterday and a one and one quarter hour swim yesterday.

This was a good tune-up ride for the MS150 which is weekend after next.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Short Ride on Some New Wheels

A Short Ride on Some New Wheels

My good old LiteSpeed-Tuscany was 14 years old last March.  The Shamino 105 9-Speed parts are only available on EBay these days.  And I was not opposed to hunting down some new shifters so I could get it running again.

However, each time I go to the bike shop they recommend that for the price of replacing all the components on my old LiteSpeed I could probably go a long way toward a new bike.

So on Sunday I took my old LiteSpeed over to the bike shop and left instructions to see what they could do about the shifters.  They promised to call today and they did an the discussion went pretty much like it alwasy does.

However today I dedcided to go with the new bike option: A Giant Defy Composite I.  The link is the 2014 11-Speeds and mine is a 2013 10-Speed with a compaq double chain ring.  All the parts are Shamino Ultegra (sweet).

The ride is a bit stiffer than my old LiteSpeed and the handle bars on this bike are wider, which takes some getting used to.  The gear-inches are really close.  I loose a little on the top end and a little on the bottom end but I really can not tell much difference.  The weight is almost exactally the same as the LiteSpeed.

Before purchasing it I did do a 'ride-around-the-neighborhood' of the All Star Bike Shop At Quail Corners.  And when I got it home I transferred my lights, odometer, frame pump, and bell over from the LiteSpeed and went for a twilight spin on the greenway about 20 kilometers in one hour.

I love my old LiteSpeed but I expect once I get used to the new bike I will like it as much if not better.  The parts and feel of the bike really do represent a quantum leap as far as bikes go.

Here are some pictures.

Leaving The Bike Shop

Front View

Side View

Rear View

My Old Litespeed

Side View With All The Extras Moved Over

Front View With All The Extras Moved Over

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Retrospective Precognition And My Fall Education Plan

Retrospective Precognition
My Fall Education Plan

Retrospective Precognition: When you see, think, hear, or read something and your realize that you were thinking about just this idea some time in the recent past and are astonished that now you are seeing the same idea in a completely unrelated context.  You wonder if somehow what you were doing in the recent past either presaged your current experience or perhaps subtly influenced your behavior to steer you into the present circumstance where the overlap with recent experience occurs.  

A couple of years ago I read a very good biography of Alfred Tarski "Alfred Tarski: Life and Logic".  I really enjoyed the anecdote about his article in the June 1969 Scientific American "On Truth and Proof". 

Recently I went as far as to purchase an original copy of the June 1969 Scientific American and began re-reading the article.  The article is available at Scribd.COM.  Of course I did scan the Scientific American pages into a .PDF file and am reading it on my tablet device and have carefully put back in the shipping materials the original magazine.
The other day I open my email and see the new MOOCs offered this fall from Coursera and I found the course that I started last fall but never completed is offered again this fall: "Introduction to Mathematical Thinking" by Keith Devlin.

So, I signed up for the course (again) in hopes that I will have time to get through the whole thing this time. When watching the preview video on YouTube.COM I notice another course that is referenced in the closing panel of the video: "Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy" by Hannes Leitgeb and Stephan Hartmann. This course had already begun so I signed up for it too an started catching up on the lectures.

I am very impressed with Dr. Leitgeb and the style and content of his presentations.  And then, when he started the lecture on 'TRUTH' I had my moment of Retrospective Precognition.  He was going through Tarski's 1969 article in Scientific American, with, of course lots of very well stated content that does enhance the original article.

This motivated me to (via some of the links in the lecture) to chase down and order the newest edition to my library: Tarski's "Logic, Semantics, Metamathematics: Papers from 1923 to 1938". This book is the 1983 version translated (with added notes) by Tarski.

This book goes very well with my current 'new-book' Moore's "Zermelo's Axiom of Choice".

So my fall education is well mapped out now.  All I have to do is stick to my MOOCs and my new books and I will be fine.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Woot --- 102K Bike Ride

Woot! 102K Bike Ride

A beautiful day for a ride.  I did my "Four Bridges Ride".  I left around 8:30am and rode over bridge-1 to Beaufort then up NC101 to cross the inland waterway (bridge-2) then crossed the Harlow Canal and turned left toward Newport NC.

Once in Newport NC I crossed over the Newport River on old US70 and turned left on Higgs Road.  I took Higgs Road, crossing US70 bypass and on to NC24.

I turned right on NC24 and rode down to Cape Carteret NC and turned left onto NC58.  Once on NC58 I crossed bridge-3 onto Emerald Isle.

I continued up NC58 to Atlantic Beach and turned left on to the Atlantic Beach - Morehead City causeway and crossed bridge-4 and made my way back to Fisher Street. I got back at 1:30pm (about five hours elapsed time)

Here are the details:

 04:24 ... HH:MM - Total Time Rolling
101.54 ... KM ---- That's 100K
 23.00 ... KPH --- Average Speed 
 55.60 ... KPH --- Max Speed (coming down one of those bridges ;)

As far as average speed goes I averaged exactally 23kph for each of the four hours of the ride.  I felt a bit hot and tired between Emerald Isle and Atlantic beach (the 4th 23K leg) but when I stopped at a store on entering Atlantic beach had a piece of banana and a Mountain Dew it picked me up for the last 10K back to Fisher Street.

Here is a graphic of the route.

Friday, August 16, 2013

A Nice 43K Spin Around The Neighborhood

A Nice 43K Spin Around The Neighborhood

Yesterday dawned grey, overcast, cool, breezy and rainy and stayed that way throughout the day.  The rain was not intense but I still decided not to do a 'rain-ride'.  I seem to get plenty of those when they can not be avoided so I'm ok not actually seeking them out.

Today dawned grey, overcast, cool, breezy and dry and so far has continued that way.  This is perfect bike riding weather.  In some direction there will be a bit of a tail wind and in others a bit of a head wind but on balance great.  No sunshine, temperature in the high 60's and not a lot of traffic on the roads.

I did my now very familuar 'Three Pennisular Ride', here are the stats:

01:55 ..... hh:mm
42.70 ..... km
22.70 ..... kph
57.10 ..... kph (Woah! A Nice Tail Wind Crossing The AB Bridge :)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

About Email Forwarding - And the Balkanization of Discourse


There is nothing worse than having to scroll down through layers and layers of email addresses till you finally reach the content.

I recall back in the 1990's when all the 'Net' was brand new getting an email forward where you could NOT easily cut/copy/paste inside the email program and I even enjoying looking at the 'Forward-Chain'.

I would search down through the email addresses of the various groups looking for the thread among them.  So in the single "FROM" address field of top group searching the multiple "TO" addresses of the previous forward for that name and so on thus establishing a long winding trail from the original sender to me.  

Of course it would be possible that each person in each "TO" group to forward the email to their own group so you could imagine that from the original sender this great branching tree graph of email addresses growing out from the original sender.  

As time went on and you got more and more folks in your email address book you would get the same email forwarded from different friends thus noticing that the 'branching-tree-graph' was multiply connected and thus not really a tree but a tree graph with cross linked nodes.


Needless to say it did not take long for some college kid to figure out way a neat way to cut through all this and put up a single site where you could post and share content among your friends instead of sending email forwards.  And that guy's name was Mark Zuckerberg.  And thus 'Social-Networking' was invented.

So in some sense Google+, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks can be thought of as the next generation of email forwarding without all the excess email addresses getting in the way.  


Now a days you get 'Recycled/Tweaked' email forwards (and Social Network Posts) all the time.  Someone will get some content from way back and edit it a bit and send it along (or post it on Facebook) and it may 'go-viral' (i.e. it will be reposted, shared, forwarded all over the place.) 

You see this content in your email inbox or social network thread and think ("I saw that weeks/months/years ago!").  If the content if viral enough you then collect some key words associated with the content and visit: http://www.snopes.com and, again, if the content is viral enough you can validate whether or not it is baloney or real.  Whenever I see content that is clearly viral and perhaps a little bit 'Too Good' I immediately hit is up with snopes.com.  

Some times I am surprised to learn that the content is correct, but most of the time it is just a re-tread of something from the past that has been tweaked for some item that applies today.  Over the years I've become pretty good at spotting baloney and just plain reworked content.  

Just recently there was a real tear-jerker of a post about a teacher describing some guy who was from a home where is mom died and how she initially did not like the kid but then took him under her wing and he turned out to be this major doctor when he grew up.  

I could not resist "wwww.snopes.com"'ing and found out that the original story came from RedBook Magazine back in the 1960's and that the original author really resented her story being put into email and social media posts with a bit of tweaking.  So I posted a comment to that effect and a link to the snopes.com item.  The story was still nice but total fiction.

When growing up our parents would say, "Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see!". As we got older we would rejoin, "What about what you read!".  Reading in our family was considered the loftiest mental activity you could engage in.  I think mom and dad must have had a long discussion about this rejoinder and came back with, "Check the author and see if it is a reputable source!" 

All of this was very good advice for kids growing up and teaching themselves thing outside of school by reading.  This advice is just as good (if not better) these days with just such things as 'viral-tweaked-stories' and 'instant-news-cycles' and 'anybody-can-publish-anything' books.

Sadly we see in our current national dialogue ways of craftily and carefully pitching your message to avoid it being 'fact-checked' for validity.  I find some of the most useful places to check stuff out using the 'Net' are places like Wikipedia, and Snopes.COM and FactCheck.ORG and MediaMatters.ORG.  

However as far as progressive/liberal content goes; because I am a progressive/liberal person I have a harder time fact checking that type of content. Many times find myself thinking, "Wait a minute, you just put a 'Fox-News'ish spin on that!" and when I see that I try to correct such crap instantly.  Going down the conservative-rabbit-hole, as a progressive and liberal thinking person, in my opinion, is to 'Join-The-Dark-Side' in its worst form. 


In modern times with dedicated cable news TV channels and radio stations and Internet web sites you can very easily watch, listen-to, and read content created and circulated by folks who think pretty much just like yourself.  In the process of doing this it is very easy to create a US-vs-THEM paradigm that automatically excludes ideas generated by folks outside your 'reading/listening/watching' group.

This type of thing, this 'tribal-mentality' is responsible in our history for just such things as differing-tribes, differing-nations, differing-religious-groups.  When the planet was geographically segregated it was viewed as just the way things were.

As the planet shrinks under the influence of increasing population and ubiquitous information sharing (i.e. the Internet and Instant-New-Cycles) this tribal mentality does not somehow disappear but instead we see niches and methods popping up all over the place to continuously reinforce our tribal nature.

In some sense we are battling against our our built in nature.

And in a very real sense we can see horrible outcomes of re-inventing tribes.  The terrorist acts of 11 September 2001 are a very good example.  The rise of the ultra-right-wings: (neo-conservative, christian-evangelical and tea-party groups) in the Republican party is another excellent example. 

The results are clear and are ongoing in Washington DC with the stalemate between the legislative and administrative branches of government.

The left-wing had similar movements back in the late 1960's associated with the war in Vietnam and later with groups associated with the environment.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

BikeFest 2013

The Carolina Tar-Wheels 2013 Bike-Fest

I've done this ride a few times now and it is a very enjoyable ride through the rolling hills of the North Carolina Piedmont just to the west of the Triangle Area.

This year Laviece and I did the ride together.  We opted for the 35 mile option.  If it was totally flat, and I was 30 years younger the 100K (62 mile) would be fun.

Here are the statistics of the ride:

03:03 .... hh:mm (Total Time Rolling)
56.67 .... km    (Total Distance)
18.50 .... kph   (Average Speed)
47.50 .... kph   (Max Speed - yep, rolling hills)

Here are some pictures of the ride.

Bikes Loaded - Ready To Ride

Rest Stop #1 - Cedar Grove NC

Rest Stop #1 - Riding Partner

Rest Stop #1


Rest Stop #2 - Riding Partner

End Of The Ride 56 Kilometers

End of the Ride - Riding Partner

And You Get A Cool T-Shirt :)

Laviece Gave Me Her Queue-Sheet Clip
And The Green Band Says We Rode The 35 Mile Option

Isn't it great when a plan comes together?

Friday, August 09, 2013

An Otter Box For an iPad Mini

An Otter Box for an iPad Mini

What did I do when my very cool, excellent iPad Mini slipped out of my hand and struck its corner on the concrete? 

Dang!  The corner then had this small shatter pattern in the glass, and the fracture pattern extended up the extreme edge. The good news is that the iPad Mini was still completely functional.

So, next, using some wide Scotch-Tape I carefully taped over the fractures.  This left the entire touch surface undisturbed and everything was fine.

I realized that another such drop would most likely spell the end of the device and went shopping at Best Buy for an enclosure.  The Otter-Box was just the ticket.  The salesperson asked if I have an extended warranty on the device.  I did and found out that Apple will fix the iPad even when unintentional damage is inflicted on it.

I backed up everything to the iCloud except the pictures which took over 1.2gb of space and thus would have consumed over 17 hours of upload time and headed over to the Genius-Bar at the local Apple store to get the replacement.  The genius I met with informed me that I could save the pictures too if I backed up the iPad Mini to the iTunes app on my PC instead of the iCloud and I headed back home and did just that.

The next morning I headed back to the Apple store with my PC and the iPAD.  The genius I worked with this time said that I should also import all my pictures into the iPhoto application (just in case).  That extra step only took a few minutes.  

The genius fetched a new iPad Mini that looked identical to the one I had (except for the shatter pattern on the glass) and when I hooked it up to my MacBook Pro and brought up iTunes it offered to 'Restore-From-Backup'.  That event took a few minutes and I found that all the stuff was aparently restored, including the pictures.

Well almost all the stuff, many of the application were missing but when I brought up the AppStore app there they were:  All the missing apps had a little 'cloud-icon' beside them as if to invite me to download them.  I did downloaded those apps and found only a few still missing.  The notable exceptions were Pages, Numbers, and Keynote the Apple iWork 'office-like' applications.  Once I installed Pages, Numbers and Keynote all the content I had created with that app reappeared. I did expect this since these apps store their content on the cloud which makes for easy sharing between devices and even people.

This left only the application called iBooks.  In this app you can visit the Apple Book Store and purchase books. Also when you get .PDF file as an email attachment you can click on the 'swoop-arrow' and then choose 'Open In iBooks'.  When you do this you then have the document in your iBooks library.  Unfortunately the iPAD does NOT persist this content to the iCloud.  And even more unfortunately the iPAD does NOT back this content up to either the iCloud or the iTunes app.

My genius at the Apple store suggested that I just email all those documents from the old iPad to myself and bring up the mail app on the new iPad and do an 'Open In iBooks' event against them thus restoring them to the iBooks app in the new iPad.

The entire event at the Apple store took about two hours.  At the end, after everything was restored to the new iPad Mini and I declared it to be a clone.  At that time I brought back up the old iPad and did a 'Reset-All' function (which did warn me that I was about to totally delete everything on that iPad).  This function completed in a few minutes when the  old iPad rebooted  it came back up and presented the same prompts that are  presented when you power up a brand new iPad Mini.

So I did follow the rule:  Once you clone something and copy over all the logic and memories to the clone you  really should destroy the original.  I can imagine if you do not follow the rule then the Pauli Exclusion Principle could kick in and wreck havoc.

The experience of working with the technical folks (geniuses) at the Apple Store went very well.  Every single person I've worked with at the Apple Store over the past three years I've owned this type of technology has been extremely knowledgable and helpful.  This company not only makes super products but also has a support infrastructure that matches perfectly with their products. 

The next stop was to head over to Best Buy and purchase an Otter-Box for the iPad Mini. Below are pictures of the iPad Mini encapsulated in its Otter-Box.  This enclosure seems pretty 'bullet-proof'.  However it is NOT waterproof but only protects against bumps, small drops, dust and dirt.  And that is just what I was looking for.

The Otterbox cover acts like a stand.
In the above picture you can see my login screen which is a picture of two of the most beautiful girls in my life (Anna and Ginny).  The Otter-Box has a plastic window that fits over the iPad's screen and it is so constructed so that all your gestures are transmitted right through it to the iPad's screen just fine.  The front-facing camera is in the little oval hole at the top of the screen and 'The-iPad-Button' is covered with part of the neoprene wrap-around that is part of the Otter-Box. 

This is the 'front' when the cover is in place.
In the above picture you see the 'tabs' at the corners which you disengage to remove the cover and snap back in place to restore the cover.

In this view you see the 'back' of the Otterbox
In the above image you see the back of the iPad Mini with the front cover in place.  The little round thing is the rear-facing camera of the iPad.  The back of the Otter-Box is actually a neoprene wrap that enclosed the Otter-Box clamshell that consist of the back and the screen cover.  The neoprene cover 'snaps' into spaces on the plastic clam shell. 


Monday, August 05, 2013

A Note About Humor, The Past, And Our Current State

(Humor)The YouTube.COM video clip collection:

Check out, http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=wrRTau5jusU where president Reagan tells jokes. Stand up comedy was clearly one of president Reagan's gifts. The jokes are very well delivered. He was an excellent actor. I enjoyed watching the jokes. His 'Aw-Shucks' manner was very endearing.

(The Past) And the current state of our civilization:

President Reagan's popularity is best understood when you consider how we all think when faced with a new and complex world that we do not understand and consequently live in fear of. In such a time we do remember fondly things of the past when everything seemed simpler and less complex.

And, it is true that things in the past do appear simpler and less complex, not because they were but because that is how the human mind works, it remembers the past in a fonder light than it is capable of when trying to model and predict a necessarily uncertain future.

When you consider the politics and world situation we found ourselves in when he came to office it does fit perfectly this model. The oil crisis had occurred, the interest rate crisis had occurred preceded by a national price freezes, the embassy in Tehran had been taken over. We had just completed the first national war that we lost. President Carter reacted to Soviet aggression by ramping up the military and boycotting the Olympics, funding the Mujahideen in Afghanistan. He also reduced the nationwide speed limit to 55 miles per hour. He pardoned the Vietnam War protesters All these thing that we now see as normal reactions to a modern changing world put people in a state where they wanted something old and familiar.

Ronald Reagan's manner provided just the right prescription to allow us to 'escape-into-the-past. His foreign policies only pushed forward those put in place by President Carter. His domestic policies were not to too outrageous, other than the Savings and Loan deregulation debacle which certainly foreshadowed the national and global financial collapse of the 2000s (caused by the same inattention to regulation). He certainly continued down the path that eventually led to Osama and 11 September 2001.

What I'm saying is that he and his policies did not distinguish themselves from the arc of history we see clearly today.

Sadly the world is still complex, and still instills fear in the minds and hearts of its people. We see the reactions to this complexity and fear in the rise of groups like the current incarnation of the ultra right wing of the GOP, and the lashing out against progressive policies of the Democrats lead by Barack Hussein Obama our first African American president, who like president Carter is reacting in a superlative way to the challenges this new world we find ourselves in provides us with.

An open question is: Will the GOP prevail in their quest to attempt to turn back the clock or will progressive politics prevail in their quest to deal with what we find before us and move on and forward to a better future?

Friday, August 02, 2013

From ZDNet.COM 10 Reasons Why Windows Tablets Excell

I'm writing this post as I read the article at ZDNet.COM "http://www.zdnet.com/10-advantages-windows-8-tablets-have-over-the-ipad-and-android_p2-7000018732/#photo" and just writing down my thoughts as each feature comes up as I click 'next' on the reasons.  (Note: I am a big science fiction fan and love to read about how computers and A.I. evolve in that genre)

  1. Multiple Users - The article does not say if when a tablet is used by multiple folks if ALL (and I mean every single bit) of unique user data (including login credentials) is persisted to some location NOT on the tablet and if when logging off the tablet it is COMPLETELY wiped clean of all traces of the user.  In other words can these tablets be treated as super, smart, small, animated white boards?  I call this the Star-Trek Next Gen Tablet Feature.
  2. Multiple Monitors - This is grand.  And here is my idea of the the ideal use case (which could be implemented by an app connected to the computer running a 'big-flat-touch-screen' BFTS):  The tablet connects wirelessly to a 'BFTS' in a conference room. Your gestures on your tablet are reflected on the 'BFTS'.  The 'big-flat-touch-screen' will simultaneously host multiple tablets.  I call this the NCIS-LA Multi User Vertical Touch Screen/Tablet Feature.
  3. Use Any Peripherals - Super.  And when you think of the tablet you begin to start to see it just fade into background just like pads of paper and pencils and whiteboards and dry-erase markers.  It becomes part of the environment not something you haul around with you.  Together with the BFTS and the persisting of your data and meetings to the 'cloud' means you can after some meeting go back to your desk and annotate the meeting proceeds and whatever the action items of the meeting were get implemented in way that makes it seem like everyone in the meeting has a photographic memory (with audio). I call this the Everybody Gets Smarter Using New Tech Feature.
  4. Snap View - Yep, and Android (apparently now) and the Apple (iOS 7) have/will-have similar features.
  5. Full Blown File Manager - Well this can be thought of as a limitation or a feature.  It is a feature when it allows your tablet to simulate some older tech that you want to cling to.
  6. File Encryption (Bit-Locker) - When you consider item "1." above and the fact that these devices are starting to fade into the background environment then this particular tech should be part and parcel of all such 'environmental-tablets'.  And, of course, as they fade into the background environment they certainly should be capable of being 'paired' with some physical environment.  Such as:  Near-Your-Body or, In-Your-Office/Conference-Room or, In-Your-Home or, In-Your-Car.  This way they act like cell-phones currently do (they have a built-in "GUID" that makes them useless if stolen then deactivated.)
  7.  Pen Support - I really would like to see how far down the 'pen-rabbit-hole' the Microsoft Surface Tablets have gone.  All I've done so far is to download the 'Penultimate' app for my iPad-Mini and so far I've not come up with a nice stylus yet (I would like something that is 'like' a real pen.)  As 'time-goes-by' and voice recognition undergoes a couple of 'Moores-Law-Generations'. I'm thinking keyboards/pens become historical artifacts.  When this starts to happen I call this the 'Second-Foundation Arkady Darryl Speech Writer Feature' or the beginnings of the 'Star Trek: "COMPUTER!" Feature'.
  8.  Big News App - Huh?  I do know what is being talked about here but do NOT like 'real-time-streaming' of anything into my immediate environment except for "http://theclassicalstation.org/" or "Back Porch Music" and "The Thistle and Shamrock" (on the weekends) and consider myself fortunate that I live in a community where this content is available over the airwaves.  
  9. Run Any Browser - Ok But ... I'm not sure this is even a good idea.  I've added some Google apps to my iPad-Mini and exercised other apps that will 'bring-up-web-views' and they uniformly they suck.  And if IE does NOT blow away any other browser installed on a Windows Surface Tablet then MSFT should be worrying, or celebrating that somehow or other everybody just 'got-it-right' (not likely).  But in fairness I've not messed around with any of the MSFT Surface Tablets/Phones yet.
  10. Run Powerful Software - OK fine and, I seriously doubt this.  And further if you consider the 'fade-into-the-background-environment' paradigm that I mention above that these devices will move toward then we see they only serve as super cool and fruity mechanical UIs for the big honking cpu farms running in the cloud that do all the heavy lifting.  And I think of all this tech as just another step toward the "3001-Final-Odyssey-Brain-Cap-Totally Wired-Hive-Mind-Miss-Pringle-Ultimate-AI"