Friday, December 19, 2008

Apple stuff working OOTB

Hah ...

I just got a new machine at work and since I had to rebuild everything, I though I'd give a shot to iTunes.

I should have known better, there is a reason why I don't have a Mac. Mac and I just don't work together ...

The download part was easy but god d*mn Quicktime found a way to sneak in. Sadly I knew this was going to happen ...

After iTunes was done messing with my music, I was able to listen to my tunes and went on my merry way ... until I tried to skip to another song. Multimedia keys on my deal keyboard not working?

WTH? Maximize Itune, press next. Next song plays. Minimize iTunes, press next, nothing! Now what? Look at all option cannot find anything. Arrrg!

Google to the rescue informs me that I need to install a dll somewhere in order for my multimedia keys to work. Install said dll, restart iTunes, press play, minimize, press next ... Victory!

Now WMP had this neat tool bar that could be used to control the player. iTunes has one too and enabling it is as simple as adding to your tools bar for the taskbar as long as you did not turned on "Minimize iTunes window to system tray" when trying to make your multimedia keys to work.

My take on this, if you have PC use pc stuff. If you have a Mac, use Mac stuff. Hybrid stuff sounds cool but its not always working.

That being said, I decided to give iTunes a whirl for the time being, because maybe one day, I might replace my Zen with a ... gasp ... iPod! The horror, the horror.

For all those out there reading this, Merry eks-mas! Futurama for ever!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I <3 RIM

Long live my new masters!

Too bad I never bought any shares of my soon to be ex-company.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Massimo Tamburini retires as head of MV Agusta's engineering and design center

This people is what we call sex on wheels:

Even people that could care less about motorcyles agree.

I'd own one as a living room ornament ... or at least swap in a wet clutch.

Oh the blasphemy!

Friday, November 14, 2008

I find myself lusting after this

Holy Crap! An update! 4 months later!

My recent trip Europe has stirred all sorts of feeling in me (it did not help that I was unable to find a 2 motorcycles to rent).

After buying my first die cast of a Ducati SportClassic GT1000, I find myself lusting after this amazing piece of Italian art. Styling to die for, maintenance schedule now at 12 000 km, wet clucht ... not to shabby.

Further digging on the discussion forum and I learn that the bike suffers regulators problems, heavy spoke wheels negatively affects handling and stock suspension is terrible.

Now it may have been naive of to think that the Sport 1000s would be the perfect bike but I found out that my next bike will need to fulfill the following requirement:
  • Ergos for the long road.
  • Range of 300 km.
  • Stock suspension that will not require extensive modification to make the bike handle like it should.
Now fitting these requirements might incur a higher purchase cost but then you got two choice: get it right the first time or fix it afterward. As much as I would like to fit in the second category and enjoy the journey to discovery and satisfaction, I like things that work out of the box.

Quick note to my single reader, please leave a comment to show that you are still alive!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Two bikes I will never buy

Yesterday, the Yamaha Powertour was in town to showcase their 2008 offering. I had signed up in advance for FZ1 and WR250X but ended up taking an R1 and the WR for a spin.

I was slated for the FZ1 but at the last minute since whoever had signed it out didn't show up, I jumped on it. Holy s***! Clutch engagement was so far out, you had to carefully dose the throttle and slip the clutch. Took some time to get use to it. Front brake were one finger only otherwise I would have been endoing at every stoplight... The bike was ludicrously fast. This is not something I would put in the hands of a newbie. In the straights the bike was just a beast that wanted to be unleashed. I never got out of 3rd gear nor did I reved passed 7k. There was no need. The bike finally became manageable in the twisties where it really showed me how much the suspension on the SV is crap. This is the kind of bike that will get you in trouble, as below 90kmph it is very touchy. Short shifting was my solution to keep myself out of trouble. I do like torque but not that much. The bike was really too much for my taste, ~100hp would be plenty for me. The bike left me with an impression that I would spend most of my time riding it in fear and not enjoying the experience. I would probably get used to the ludicrous speed but would chicken out when things go curvy a bit.

After parking the R1, I took a small break before jumping on the WR. 250cc of no power at all. First gear was unridable and the absence of tachometer got me very confuse about which gear I should be in. I resorted to ride the crap out of it waiting for the limiter to kick in. The long suspension travel was nice with the bad road we have but the awkward riding position was not attractive for me. This is the first bike in my life that I felt I could ride the crap out it and never get scared.

All in all, it was a good day, tried some bikes I was curious about. I can conclude now that I like my SV, it's powerful enough for now but next year the suspension is getting upgraded one way or another.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Polyphony Digital Placebo effect or how Gran Tursimo taught me how to drive

I will assume for the sake of my post, that you have lived under a rock for the last 10 years. The fine folks at Polyphony Digital launched in 1997 a racing game that changed the world of driving simulation, raised the bar and paved the way for amazing racing/sim games.

I remained loyal to the Gran Turismo franchise over the years. I played my share of arcade racing games (read NFS when it got crappy, Underground, Underground 2, Most Wanted etc.) but always came back to GT.


Because the game did more than entertain me, it taught me about obscure Kei JDM cars but mostly it taught me about driving techniques. I cannot remember if it was a copy of GT or GT2 that came with a little booklet that educated me about grip, mass transfer, correct corner line, entry speed, braking, oversteer, understeer, how high power MR cars are evil, how 4wd cars tend to understeer, how much FF cars sucks (except for that red EG6 that I built and set up god knows how, to handle like an FR) and that good tires will make any car 10x better. GT also taught me how to intelligently mod a car and that stage 4 turbo kit are very very lagy.

I suffered the corkscrew at Laguna Seca, the turn in the first tunnel in Deep Forest, high speed cornering of Apricot Hill, the hairpin in Grand Valley, the night mare of Special Stage Route 11 and so on.

At the same time I was discovering this wonderful game, I was also in the process of getting my driving license. I was appalled to how much of the physic behind the racing techniques could be applied to driving a car and how much I wished I had been taught that when I was getting my license.

Now your gonna ask, what does this has to do with motorcycles. Gran Turismo went on to produce several sequels some of which I own ( still waiting for the slim version of the PS3 with a 200 gig hd) This spring, while waiting for the snow to melt away, I picked up Tourist Trophy. TT is made by the same fine folks at Polyphony Digital but instead of cars, you pilot a motorcycle.

My first approach to going around the track was to use the same bearings that use when driving car on the same track. The results were less than stellar, minds you, I still can drive anything with more than 599cc. At first I struggled but then after paying attention to the license tests, using the brakes where supposed to and getting on the throttle when I should. And lo and behold, I got better. I got around the track faster and finally beat my opponent.

I have not been satisfied about my riding skills for some time. I ran wide in the turns, always in the wrong gear, etc. Then it hit me. If GT did wonders for me on car driving skills, what if I applied what I was learning in TT, on the street on my bike ...

I run less wide in the turns, I make sure I brake where I should and bet back on the throttle when I should and I feel my riding skills have improved! Have they really or is it the placebo effect? I don't know, I still got some bad habits to get rid of but I do feel better about myself.

And now I got the itch, each time I see pictures from a track day.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Post removed

Due to intense pressure from my one and sole reader this post has been removed.

Seriously, I am not even sure I have one soul reading this place.

Monday, April 21, 2008

More updates

Received the Sargent Seat.

Last Friday instead of going to the gym and washing the car, my wonderful wife-to-be convinced me instead to take the bikes out of storage. I guess she had enough of me complaining :p

Two oil filters, 6L of oil l, couple of bleeding knuckles and 3 hours later, I was on merry way, freezing, at no more than 80 kph going home with the biggest grin on my face.

F*ck it was good!

Took a nice ride on Sunday down the St-John river, grand total around 200km, nothing spectacular but oh so therapeutic. I'll be back! I just love that quote, too bad my Gobernator impersonation is horrible.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Bought the Sargent seat.

Almost bought a house.


Bought a new car.

Old one died (brakes failed, need bearings in front, cross member rusted out).

Car payments are on the way :(

Snow is melting :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

It's been quite a while ...

Yet there is still quite a lot of snow on the ground and things don't look good for an early season.

On the other hand, I have a chin spoiler on the way. It will need some paint and fabricating some bracket.

I am set on getting a pair of A* SMX-4 Waterproof, still debating for what material for my new pant/jacket combo.

Last night in an attempt to retain what is left of my sanity, I sat down, took the helmets off the shelf and proceeded to clean them. A can of Plexus is on my shopping list as my visor is getting scratched and might explain the sun glare I get.

As much as a menial and annoying task cleaning helmets can be, I did wonders for my sanity. It took my mind off the need to ride and made me think about all the other things that need to be done on a regular basis during riding season. I also fixed the headlight for the missus bike, a tab needed to re glued.

Next step is to go shopping, try some stuff on and make my mind. I still gotta order the Sargent seat.


Monday, January 28, 2008

Last night Simpsons Episode - That 90's Show

It is widely discussed whether or not The Simpsons have jumped the shark. I am still on the fence on that one, the quality has gone down in the past seasons but there have been some pretty good episode in the bunch.

Last night episode was of the latter. Awesome!

Maybe its because I am a product of the 90's but I could not find anything wrong with this episode, the cultural references were good and the music choice was representative of the 90's. To see Homer in a Cobain character was just brilliant.

After watching the Simpsons Movie, I really lost my faith in the show but after watching this episode, I guess there is hope.

It seems to me that the 90's is the unloved child of the 20th century. It seems it passed under the radar, I guess its the faith of all transitional decades. However as time passes it seems the 90's are getting the recognition it deserves.

Long live the 90's!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Feeling Old School

We live in an age we everything is digitally supported. Movies are stored on plastic disks, music can be bough online and put on you mp3 player with a flash based memory. Everything is tiny, everything is down behind the scene.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate my tiny 4gigs Zen V, my Blackberry Pearl that can do more 10x more than the first computer I ever laid my hands on.

The demise of HD DVD reminded me of the VHS-Beta battle of the early 80s (Sony finally got back to the world) and got me thinking about the good old k-set. I look at my mp3 player cranking tunes and all I see is a tiny piece of plastic with an lcd screen showing me the song info and I see no magic.

Now looking at a cassette player was something to be amazed of, you could see all the mechanisms need to produce the sound, the motors turning the spools making the magnetic tape travel in front of the reading heads. Once you were done with one side you had to take it out turn it around, put in back and press play unless of course you had auto-reverse and then you were good for 60 min of none-stop play. High-speed dubbing was great invention because otherwise you had to sit there for 30min per side.

My biggest wish as a kid was to own a reel-to-reel audio player and when I watched Pulp Fiction for the first time, I was stoked to see one when Uma Thurman's character is dancing around to Urge Overkill's version of Niel Diamond's Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon.

One day, I will acquire and install it in my living room. I will then proceed to pour myself an Amaretto Sour on the rocks, sit down comfortably in my preferred chair and enjoy my favorite tunes while looking at one spool unwind itself onto another.

Yup I am that old school. Yet I could care less about carburetors and will make sure I never own another carbed bike.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Joyeux Noel and a Happy New Year!

The fun is over, back to work I am.

What does 2008 has in store for me? Right now, a lot of snow!!!