Perhaps the only disadvantage of riding a Dutch bike like my Batavus is that it uses so many parts that are unknown outside Europe. Simple things like replacing the batteries in the rear light are much harder than they need to be. There are no manuals in English for these parts, and since Batavus’s guidelines start and end at “Take it to your bike shop”, it’s not much help.
The low battery light on my rear LED had just started to glow, so I had to replace the batteries. With no discernible way in, this was tricky. You have to unscrew the two Phillips screws on the reflector, and kind of slide the reflector and batteries straight back and off:
It would be a lot easier to leave the light on the carrier, as it would give you a tonne more leverage. There’s a thumbnail indentation at the bottom of the light to help with this removal, but I hat to use a small plastic drift from my electronics toolkit. (Please excuse my manky nails in the picture; I’d been gardening.)
My light says it’s a “Smart Co., Ltd TL271R//RC” on the back, and may be sold under other brands. It’s suspiciously similar to the Move Shaphire 271 rear light. I’m not really complaining — this is the first new set of batteries I’ve had to fit since I bought the bike in February 2009.
Update: hey, who knew? Even folks from the Netherlands are searching for this blog entry. That’s if my site stats for “move fietslicht batterij vervangen” are to be believed …
An ancient (even in 1985) Centronics serial dot-matrix printer that we never got working with the CPC464. The print head was driven along a rack, and when it hit the right margin, an idler gear was wedged in place, forcing the carriage to return. Crude, noisy but effective.
Amstrad DMP-2000. Plasticky but remarkably good 9-pin printer. Had an open-loop ribbon that we used to re-ink with thick oily endorsing ink until the ribbons wore through.
NEC Pinwriter P20. A potentially lovely 24-pin printer ruined by a design flaw. Print head pins would get caught in the ribbon, and snap off. It didn’t help that the dealer that sold it to me wouldn’t refund my money, and required gentle persuasion from a lawyer to do so.
Kodak-Diconix 300 inkjet printer. I got this to review for Amiga Computing, and the dealer never wanted it back. It used HP ThinkJet print gear which used tiny cartridges that sucked ink like no tomorrow; you could hear the droplets hit the page.
HP DeskJet 500. I got this for my MSc thesis. Approximately the shape of Torness nuclear power station (and only slightly smaller), last I heard it was still running.
Canon BJ 200. A little mono inkjet printer that ran to 360dpi, or 720 if you had all the time in the world and an unlimited ink budget.
Epson Stylus Colour. My first colour printer. It definitely couldn’t print photos very well.
HP LaserJet II. Big, heavy, slow, and crackling with ozone, this was retired from Glasgow University. Made the lights dim when it started to print. Came with a clone PostScript cartridge that turned it into the world’s second-slowest PS printer. We did all our Canadian visa paperwork on it.
Epson Stylus C80. This one could print photos tolerably well, but the cartridges dried out quickly, runing the quality and making it expensive to run.
Okidata OL-410e PS. The world’s slowest PostScript printer. Sold by someone on tortech who should’ve known better (and bought by someone who also should’ve known better), this printer jams on every sheet fed into it due to a damaged paper path. Unusually, it uses an LED imaging system instead of laser xerography, and has a weird open-hopper toner system that makes transporting a part-used print cartridge a hazard.
HP LaserJet 4M Plus. With its duplexer and extra paper tray it’s huge and heavy, but it still produces crisp pages after nearly 1,000,000 page impressions. I actually have two of these; one was bought for $99 refurbished, and the other (which doesn’t print nearly so well) was got on eBay for $45, including duplexer and 500-sheet tray. Combining the two (and judiciously adding a bunch of RAM) has given me a monster network printer which lets you know it’s running by dimming the lights from here to Etobicoke.
IBM Wheelwriter typewriter/ daisywheel printer. I’ve only ever produced a couple of pages on this, but this is the ultimate letter-quality printer. It also sounds like someone slowly machine-gunning the neighbourhood, so mostly lives under wraps.
HP PhotoSmart C5180. It’s a network photo printer/scanner that I bought yesterday. Really does print indistinguishably from photos, and prints direct from memory cards. When first installed, makes an amusing array of howls, boinks, squeals, beeps and sproings as it primes the print heads.
I picked up a pack of Wrigley’s Doublemint Kona Creme Coffee Flavored (as they say) Gum in Missouri last week. I strongly advise that you don’t.
To use the crude but apt expression coined by Jay Primeau to describe a badly-mixed Kahlua cocktail, it tastes like coffee flavoured ass. While chewing, it causes the gorge to rise (I think it’s the slightly minty edge of the gum base), and has an aftertaste akin to latte barf.
Canada’s own Thrills Gum may still taste like soap (as it says on the package, and they’re not lying), but this is just … eww.
I reckon that if I took a random street poll anywhere (anywhere outside Canada, that is), no more than 3 out of 10 people would consider Canada as having a leadership role. I do not wish to make light of the soldiers’ plight; I just don’t want them there in my name.
(I was going to make a comment about the nearest thing to a role to most Canadians would be a Swiss Chalet 1/4 chicken dinner, but that doesn’t work in a written context, and barely works when spoken.)
They’re setting up some kind of christmas filmset in the parking lot – an ad, maybe? There are many fake trees in the parking lot, some with lights, and what looks like rolls of fake snow. There are also a hotdog stand and a London Underground sign – wha?
I fear my plan to have the T21 as a home server has gone wrong. Looks like the mini-PCI network card has blown, leaving it invisible to the network. Since the screen backlight is dead, I can read no diagnostics … ;-(
Update: Aha! The backlight gods must’ve heard me, for the T21 actually graced me with a visible screen for a few hours. It was down to:
A bad line in my fstab which was trying to mount an unattached USB drive. This drops OpenBSD into single-user mode.
no dhclient configuration, so the machine would not automatically appear on the network. Since I swapped out the purportedly faulty mini-PCI network card for a spare (what?! you mean you don’t have spare mini-PCI network cards about the house? Tsk.) I had to tell the system that this was the new card to get a DHCP address.
So all works now, and I’m happy. Now to attack the LaserJet 4 duplexer, and swap it onto my refurbed printer …
I finished fixing up the brakes on the Super Galaxy, and put new handlebar tape on the bars. I still suck at fitting bar tape; should’ve stuck to my old standard Benotto tape, which, while almost useless for shock absorption, is cheap and easy to fit.
Once all was fitted, I took it for a spin. The new brakes are a delight; very positive and extremely powerful. I will enjoy riding again.
(And yes, you bike nerds, there is no straddle cable in that picture.)
There is something very pleasing about working on one’s bike of an evening, racing against the fading light. I stripped the ancient bar tape of the tourer, and started on refurbishing the brakes. I think that 1987 was the year that cantilevers got good, and since I have a 1986 Super Galaxy, the old Shimano BR-AT50s were pretty poor. New Alivios don’t quite have the finish of the old units, but they’ll work, meaning I’ll be able to stop without a full city block’s notice.
Finally got something useful done with the Thinkpad with the broken backlight. Thanks to lots of help from Paul, and a critical bit of advice from Stephen, it’s now living on my network and visible to the outside world.
What had me initially confused was that both my modem (a SpeedTouch 546) and my Netgear router have NAT firewalls. I had to declare the router as a DMZ on my modem, and the Thinkpad a DMZ on my router. Also, the router’s DynDNS support was only reporting its IP address as seen behind the modem, so I had to turn that off and use dynDNS from the modem.
Security hole? Perhaps; but it’s not as if OpenBSD is the least secure or most widely-used OS. I’ve really only got sshd and thttpd running, so there’s not much to chew on …
I didn’t go to the AWEA banquet last night, but did sneak into the GE Wind event (to which I was semi-invited) at the Andy Warhol Museum, and then on to the Clipper event (to which I definitely wasn’t) at the insanely ornate Heinz Hall. I guess you could say that place amounted to a hill of beans.
Caught up with Norman & David Surplus of B9, whom I last saw more than a decade ago. As there was free drink, I am slightly fragile this morning.