Archive for the 'Software' Category

Bike chain formula

Well, this is partly about the bike chain formula, and partly about the nifty titanium road bike frames for not-a-lot-of-money at Habanero Cycles. The Team Issue Nuevo frame comes in my size (not made-to-order, but close enough for the $300 difference). I’ve been in correspondence with Mark (see the “who’s who” at the bottom of the page), and I can “part out” my current bike onto their frame. Then I could just replace parts as they wear, and I’d never have to buy a new bike again; Mark wrote, “Your grandchildren will be riding it.”

However, there’s a difference in the chainstay length between this frame and my current frame, so I’d have to shorten a chain to the right length (you knew I’d get to the title of this post eventually, didn’t you?) (…and the chainstay is one of those two pieces of tubing that run from the pedal-crank housing to the rear axle; most bicycles have two of ’em). So how long of a chain would you need? Well, Park Tool to the rescue. They’ve got a page for figuring chain lengths, with the “use the old chain as a guide” method, the “wrap it around and figure it out” method, the “this formula is close enough for most purposes” formula, and the “this is the real formula, but it’s so complicated, we hoped we wouldn’t have to put it here” formula (check out the page, and see if I’m kidding).

Well, this is a challenge to which I must rise… and it’s what spreadsheets are made for. I made a spreadsheet in OpenOffice.Org Calc, where if you know the three variables (chainstay length, number of teeth on largest front gear, number of teeth on largest rear gear), you plug the values into the greyed-out cells in the spreadsheet, and you get the chain length in inches. And I added tabs so that you can use the chainstay length in inches, centimeters, or millimeters. Get it here (right-click & “save as”).

(No, I won’t do it as an Excel file. First of all, I refuse to participate in Microsoft’s monopoly of the office desktop. Second, if you go get Openoffice.Org – it’s a free [as in free beer] office software suite, and it runs on most of the operating systems of any readers of this deservedly-neglected blog – you can save it as an Excel file, because in many ways, Openoffice.Org is more robust than MS Office. And, of course, if you go get Openoffice.Org, eventually, you might find that you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars enriching Microsoft, because the free program does everything you want it to do.)


Ubuntu woes

Lucid was available for download when I got home from work, so I tried both the 386-desktop ISO and netbook ISO download by torrent first – and they were slow – AND the desktop ISO download was corrupted (see the MD5SUM and SHA256SUM info). A regular download of the Desktop ISO was OK, though.

Now I’m having trouble getting the upgrades – the extra software I like to add (like medibuntu, Java, Flash) onto the netbook; mostly, I suspect, because the servers are overloaded. I’ll wait until the weekend, or next week, before I install on the main computer.

lucid is coming

(sheesh, has it been that long since I posted? i’ve been spending time with the bicycles, and exceptionally cranky.)

But Lucid is coming…

Ubuntu: For Desktops, Servers, Netbooks and in the cloud

Calendar-to-phone kludge

OK. So I can’t use my Palm anymore, and Essential PIM is a reasonable replacement, but I’ve gotta be near a computer. And I’ve got this cell phone that has a calendar, but it doesn’t sync with Essential PIM.

It turns out Essential PIM Pro syncs with Google Calendar, and there’s a Java app for the phone called gcalsync that also syncs with Google Calendar. The phone app doesn’t sync recurring appointments, though.

So here’s what I’m doing: At the beginning of the month, I go in to Essential PIM, add single-day appointments for all of the recurring appointments that I need to show up, and sync with Google Calendar (this also helps with my work calendar: I put all of my newly-added, one-time appointments into the “Business” category, and just print that category for my work calendar; it’s also easier to show changes to my regular monthly appointments that way). Then I sync with gcalsync, and the one-time appointments show up on the phone. It’s a pain, but probably no more of a pain than copying a daily planner onto a paper monthly calendar.

The phone has a feature to delete old appointments, so I should be able to manage the memory. I’ll keep an eye on it.

Freebies at PC World

The latest dead-tree edition of PC World includes an article on Fantastic Freebies by Adam Pash & Rich Broida. I can’t find the article in the online version, but there’s an article on 101 Undiscovered Freebies, by Pash & Preston Gralla*, from about the same date. Hmm.

*Preston Gralla has been reporting on freeware (among other things) for at least ten years. I don’t know the other authors – their experience may be extensive – but if Gralla’s talking about some freeware, I wanna listen.

can’t show off…

I’ve made some very cool ringtones based on Dennis’s tutorial over at Boostapps.Com (I’ve posted earlier about his tutorial on making wallpapers, and my edits to it). But they’re all under copyright, and I can’t show ’em off.

You’ll just have to come hang out with me and call me on my phone to hear ’em.

Goodbye, Chrome

The Ubuntu update manager would stall when it was trying to check the Chrome repository, and it was making me crazy. So, despite my earlier post about using five browsers, I uninstalled Google Chrome: I don’t have the credit card anymore with the site that baffled the other browsers, and now I have Firefox for add-ons, and Opera for speed.

See? Another advantage of freeware is that I don’t get attached to keeping it when I no longer need it.