Smart Phones are Becoming More Interesting To Hackers
December 21, 2009, 2:28 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

This NY Times article makes the point that with smart phones becoming more predominant, hackers are starting to turn their attention towards them.

In my six days with an iPhone 3GS, I can see the attraction. My prior smartphones — the latest a Samsung Blackjack2, I can say that the iPhone really turned the corner as since it is not Windows Mobile, I actually find it pleasurable to surf on the device. I have increased my mobile surfing exponentially.

With market maturation, increased market penetration of smart phones, and more surfing and other online tasks moving from the PC to the mobile platform, increased hacking makes perfect sense.

I had not heard of this RickRolling iPhone incident, but the implications are pretty clear.

“Last month, an Australian student created an experimental worm that hopscotched across “jailbroken” iPhones, which are phones altered to run software Apple has not authorized. The mischievous worm did not cause any damage; it just installed a photo of the ’80s pop star Rick Astley. But to security experts, it suggested that pernicious attacks on iPhones are possible.”

Lookout a mobile security startup funded by Khosla Ventures says the following:

““It feels a lot like it did in 1999 in desktop security,” said John Hering, Lookout’s 26-year-old chief executive, who for years has done research demonstrating security vulnerabilities in phones. “People are using the mobile Web and downloading applications more than ever before, and there are threats that come with that.””


The Best Tool That I Bought This Year
December 11, 2009, 3:42 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

velo orange bike work stand

I do a fair amount of my own wrenching on my bikes. One of the main issues that complicates matters for me is my lack of a bike stand. Since the project is never properly secured, it seems that I am doing more work, just trying to keep the bike from becoming unbalanced and flopping on the ground.

I came across the Velo Orange Two-legged Stand. From the pic and description, it sounded like this tool would meet my requirements perfectly. I plunked down the debit card, and I got a package yesterday.

This little implement works very nicely- you just loop the hook over the down tube and then cradle the rest of the device under the bottom bracket shell. Very simple and effective. I had a spare block for front wheel road bike rollers, and I found that the block helps to make your project bike even more stable.

I did some maintenance and cleaning on two bikes last night- the wife’s mixte and my Raleigh 20. The stand performed great.  It was much easier to make adjustments and some clean up with a more stable base than just the kick stand.

I concur with the VO description that this stand ($19.50) is probably all many of us need to do maintenance. I really like that when I am done, I can just put the stand on a shelf, or use it to hold up one of my kickstand-less bikes.

Snow Bike!
December 7, 2009, 7:50 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

snow bike off the rafters!

We had our first measurable snow fall this am. We got less than an inch, but I felt that it was time to get the snow bike off the rafters and shake some of the dust off of it.

The Snow Bike is a GT Team Avalanche. As such it is one of the old Gary Turner bikes that was created before the company was sold. the paint is some custom job that says “grunge” just about better than anything. It is a dark purplish shade with random metallic skull type shapes in contrasting metallic shades.

As such, it is a hardtail mountain bike that was outfitted with the best of kit (Shimano, Campy rims, etc.) in its’ day. For snow bike conversion, I purchased some Innova studded tires from last year. I think that I paid around US$100 for the tires and some new tubes.

I need to address the seating position, as it feels way too “forward’ for me at this point, I think that I can make this a bit better by raising the bars.

Riding the Snow Bike on some errands today was fun, as the bike will not slide on ice. It reminds me of my old 4X4 Toyota. That was good on the slick as well.

Changing a Raleigh Sports Tyre
November 26, 2009, 7:06 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

When I went to the garage to get a tool, I noticed that the front tyre of the Root Beer Bike was totally flat. The bike’s weak point is its’ no name tires and tubes. When money s more available, I plan to upgrade to some of those creme colored Schwalbes.

That said, I grabbed the box wrench from my mobile tool kit and pulled the wheel and brought into my workshop.

After I pulled the tyre off, I noticed that there was no rim tape. (I must have changed this tyre when I first got the Sports 6 years ago. I have added rim tape to all my bikes as the tubes have failed.)

adding velox rim tape

So after pulling the tyre, checking for road debris inside and outside the tyre, I found a new roll of Velox rim tape in the parts bin and installed as in the above pic. I have used Velox old school cotton tape exclusively, and after installation, I have had zero issues with spoke nipple punctures.

getting new tube into tyre

Next, I pumped the new tube so that is was roughly round and I stuck it into the tyre.

setting tyre bead into rim

After that, I put the schrader valve through the hole in the rim and the hole in the rim tape. Then working away from the valve, I set the tyre bead into the rim.

kool stop tyre bead lever

For the last bit, I used my Kool Stop tool that I got 5 years ago. It makes it easier to get the final couple of inches of bead into the rim. It acts like a lever by having one side of the tool on the rim and the lever side of the tool grabs the unset tyre bead. The tool works like a champ and is always in my tool kit.

crank bros. mini pump inflating tube

Then I inflated the tyre maybe half way to fully set the bead and to ensure that all was seated correctly. I cheat a bit as well, if the tyre is not totally inflated, I can install the wheel without messing with the brake assembly.

floor pump to complete inflation

Here is the partially inflated tyre in the forks getting pumped to 70PSI.

box spanner (wrench) to tighten hub nuts

Finally some quick wrenching to torque down the hub bolts. I took the Root Beer Bike up the street and nothing fell off, so the project is complete.

So, The Sun Came Out Today
November 20, 2009, 6:26 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

root beer bike POV

After 4 days of unending gloom, the sun started to break through the blinds around 7 Am today. It improved my mood.

I decided to get the Root Beer Bike out to run a few errands, including a library run as well as a quick haircut @ Lou’s.

On the way, I saw a garage sale on Illinois, so I stopped and while the lady said she had some records, they were in CA. She did say that she ordered the weather, though. I thanked her, of course. It must be about 50 with a light wind.

The North Face Apex jacket that I got last year, kept me perfectly warm. The way that it is tailored a bit longer in the back, really helps to keep the PBS (plumber’s butt syndrome) at bay.

Guido Fawkes Tweed Ride 7 November 2009
November 8, 2009, 2:26 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Yesterday, I set about to meet up with the Tweed Ride in Commemoration of Mr. Fawkes attempt at blowing up Parliament.

I contemplated using the R20, but at the last minute, knew that I would more further appreciate a nice fall ride on a full size bike. Since I planned to use Metra commuter rail, I opted to use the Root Beer Bike as opposed to The Green Machine. Typically, your bike will become part of a scrum of bikes on a nice day such as Saturday.


root beer bike upon metra

I got to the Ravenswood station right on time and then headed east on the bike (unfriendly) lane on Lawrence. In about 2 minutes I arrived at the Chicago Ale House. I parked right next to a Pedersen. Completely and totally unique looking (and operating I’m sure) bicycle. I went inside and tried my first Lagunitas Pilsner.


tweed riders in front of chicago ale house

Upon leaving the Ale House we headed on a nice route to Duke of Perth. I was treated to some classic tunes by Stiff Little Fingers and The Damned (“New Rose”.) To paraphrase a comment, “Why did they go goth?”


tweed ride heading north

On the way to DoP, we stopped in Andersonville for some Puppet Bikery. Notice aforementioned Pedersen on left.


tweed riders enjoy puppet bike

After the DoP, we headed to Weeds. I called an audible and headed home for a wonderful late dinner with family and friends. I am sure that the bonfire was a blast!


blurry tweed bikes @ weeds'

Great Fall Day
November 8, 2009, 2:04 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

It is glorious today.


elm tree sans leaves, perfect fall day

I have to take a ride to the Doctor in a bit, so I plan to take the Root Beer Bike on 8 mile journey, and enjoy the sun and warm November temperatures.

The leaves have fallen and the past three days have had me spending breaks in my days raking up the leaves from the large elm and the two maple trees in my yard. the piles of leaves were enormous.


root beer bike upon bridge in fall sun