One speed: slow?

Another gap in posts for this blog; sorry. (Not that there’s anyone reading this to say sorry to, but as they say: meh.) It’s not that I haven’t been writing lately, I have, but in places that the web doesn’t reach; I’ve been enjoying that.

But it’s four-thirty on a Thursday afternoon and I’m at work. Thus, I have a) no inclination to do any work; b) a whole host of other things that I would rather be doing; and c) some stupid compulsion to remain here until five o’clock. The latter is probably due to the boss still being here.

Oh, no he’s not, he’s just left. See ya.

(This post was going to be about singlespeed bicycles, esperanto, and how good it is to not write on the web, but that can all wait. Apologies for the remaining pointlessness.)

That on which the coding rests

Just to intersperse this stream of codeish posts with something a little more real

I rode part of the way to work today, and then put my bicycle on the bus for the remainder of the journey. (An odd feeling, looking through the bus’ windscreen and seeing my little bike all alone out there, bobbing up and down in the rush hour traffic; but I trust in these new yellow bike racks. Incidently, one of the recommendations from the Assembly’s inquiry into Action Buses was that passengers with bikes should travel for free — the argument being that putting the bike on the rack takes time, and so in order to keep the bus on schedule the putting of your card in the slot should be done away with. Hear hear!) Then at lunch time (oh, that sweet half of an hour!) I went and sat under one of my usual trees and sewed a button back on to a shirt. I’d planned to bring the real shirt that I’m actually sewing at the moment (completely by hand, I might add; no machine at all) but at the last minute thought this button would do. It wasn’t nearly enough: days like this were made for lounging under trees, enjoying the incrediblely beautiful calls of the birds above, and picking away at some little embroidery or other. Being quiet and being present, and certainly not locking one’s self up in an air-conditioned high-rise.

Bring on the recession, I must concur with Mr. Monbiot! Because (and I must appologise for the cliché) the Really Important Things have got nothing whatsoever to do with Economic Growth! But what I do, all this coding, is (it seems) very dependent upon this Growth, and so now I am sad…

I Don’t Go In Cars

I’m writing a more in-depth article on this topic at the moment, and I’ll post it soon, but for now I just want to mention a couple of things.

The team that I am part of at IBM looks after servers that are spread over two different data-centres, one just across the road from us, and one about ten kilometers away. Sometimes, we have to actually go into these places (to do what, I’m not sure, I’m still learning Korn shell scripting), and I know that one of these days they’re going to ask me to drive with them up to the far-away data-centre. I will, of course, refuse.

I do not go in cars. It’s pretty simple, really. But what a headache it can cause some people: they just don’t get it, ‘why would anyone be so stubborn about something like this?’ they ask. And I don’t really have a ready answer. I don’t really want to try and nut it out now…

Cars make cities horrible places to live. I look around — no, I don’t even have to look, the noise is there, at all times, invading everything — and see roads, and cars, and driveways, and hectare upon hectare of urban space that is designed with one thing in mind: the motorcar. But I believe in beauty. I will not take part in something so vast and utterly, destructively, completely ugly!

Sticking everyone in their own little transport box is wrong. It has lead, more than anything much else, to selfishness and greed, because it takes away an immediacy of inter-dependence between people. We still need each other, but we don’t know it, and we don’t know each other. What a total disaster! How has it come about that people walk down the street that they live in, and avoid eye contact with their neighbour?! It has come about because people drive cars.

There lots more that I could say on this subject, and I’m sure I will by and by, but I want to go for a walk. It’s a lovely sunny day here, the first day of Spring, and I’m going to get away from the silly computer.

Cycle Against the Nuclear Cycle

From the CANC3 people:

Bring your bike to Canberra, for the ride toward a nuclear free future.

The Cycle Against the Nuclear Cycle (CANC3) campaign
are arriving in Canberra. They have cycled 2,500 km from Rockhampton, Queensland to spread the message that Australian communities don’t support the nuclear industry.
Continue reading Cycle Against the Nuclear Cycle

New BB For Me

I’ve just installed a new bottom bracket in my bicycle. It’s a Shimano UN26, 68x113mm (1mm narrower than the old one, but that’s just closed up the little gap I had anyway), and cost $40. I’m posting this just so that I don’t forget…

BB installation.

I’ve finally figured out how to know which way to undo the BB and lockring: The direction the pedals go in, that’s tightening (so things don’t fall apart). Just go the other way. So looking at the chainring side, go clockwise.

So no more clunking BB for me — huzza!


This is a continually-modified post in which I am placing information about the tools I use for my bike. Tools first, and for which parts they’re used, then parts and the tools they need in a second table.


Tool Size Used for
Imperial Metric
Hex wrench 0.18″ 4.5mm Chainring bolts
Spanner 8mm Pedal reflector nuts

Shimano SG-X Chainrings

What Shimano have to say about the chainrings on my bike (From; I’ve reproduced it here becuase I rather suspect they’ll move the page and the image one of these days, and I want persistent reference.):

Shimano SG-X chainringReduced slippage under load: Shift pins and ramps are placed in the chainrings to ensure that shifts are executed at specific points in the pedal stroke — when riders are applying the least power to the pedals — reducing the chance of the chain slipping, and ensuring proper function.

Shimano patented performance: Shimano pins feature proprietary design and are placed at a specific angle that allows them to effectively pick up the chain even as they wear — making for sustained, predictable performance, even as you rack up the miles.

Advanced Tooth Profile: Look closely — the teeth on a Shimano chainring vary considerably in shape depending on their position. The tooth shapes are optimized to further enhance and facilitate shifting in perfect conjunction with the pins and in harmony with the rider’s natural fluctuations in power output.


I’m lost today, lost in a dull quagmire of concurrency, Ada and the oppresive weight of too much stuff. I have an assignment to do and I understand very little of it. I suspect that I could figure it out, but I can’t be bothered. If I could see clearly the important things, in life I mean, that would be a start. But I can’t.

I have my bike, which I like at the moment; and woodwork which I will one day return to; and mostly and day-to-day I have this funny old world of computing. (Which latter I find so tedious today that I’m not sure why I’m writing this.) I like the order within each of these three things and know that that’s much of what draws me to them; I hate their order too, because in these times when I need it most I can get none of it. I know, academically, that it’s there, but I can feel nothing. Sadly, without the guidance instantiated by these activities I become lost sometimes. What’ll I do?

In case you didn’t get it, this post is pure procrastination.