Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bright and Shiny

The bitter cold of the last two weeks finally broke last night. While walking to/from the bus stop yesterday afternoon, it was still below -40°F and since I was walking on the flats below the university, breathing the air with the ice fog felt unhealthy. In case you missed yesterdays post, below is the photo from yesterday and if you compare it with today's photo to the left taken at roughly the same time of day, today it almost feels bright and welcoming at -18°F. Well, maybe that's a bit of a stretch.

I finally received the after market motorcycle turn signals today from an Amazon vendor, and they are very nicely made (very shiny) and look perfect except the LED lights are white instead of amber. So I can't really use them as a turn signal. But I think that I can still use them. Since I wasn't really looking for forward facing lights that would actually illuminate the road, just something that would make me more visible to oncoming traffic, these would work fine for that. Plus, they have a high and low setting and don't draw very much power. And it wasn't an error on the vendor or Amazon but I didn't read the item description very carefully.

Since the right front turn signal on the motorcycle is easily visible from the side, I may not bother with a front turn signal but will probably still search for a rear as the normal right turn signal blinking in the middle of the rig may confuse some driver sometime. Maybe I should consider the little electronic module normally sold for use with trailers where the trailer uses the brake light for both turn and brake while the tow vehicle has separate lights. Hmmmm...

Bitterly Cold

According to the National Weather Service, this how they describe interior Alaska. It is almost sunrise this morning when I walked out to get some coffee around 10am. The ice fog is has been pretty bad for the last couple of days and being anywhere in town has been unhealthy according to the EPA. The university is only a little above the valley floor but it is sufficient to get above the ice fog. According to the SMS messages from the police, there have been multiple accidents due to the low visibility.

The temperature is still pretty cold but we are fortunate that there is no wind to make it feel even colder. I have still been able to get out for some short walks. I've been trying out another iPhone app that uses the accelerometer and GPS in a way that tracks your movement without rapidly draining the battery. It seems to be working pretty well and my battery has been lasting most of the day. According to the app, I'm still managing 10k steps per day. I was thinking of trying out the FitBit activity tracker but this seems to work. Now if there was someway to upload the data.

Is it Spring Yet?
I didn't get out to the garage and do anything with the bike due to the cold weather. The garage door was accidentally left open yesterday for about 15 minutes and that was sufficient to shut down the garage heater. I needed to warm it up a bit using a very old, forced air, kerosene heater. But it does put out a lot of heat (and a lot of fumes) and had the interior heated up to about 50°F in about 30 minutes. Eventually, the water from the boiler started running again and the blower kicked back on. It is barely able to keep up at these temperatures.

The dog seems to be watching the sunset last night or else looking for moose. Initially, the cat was sitting there as well staring out the window but as soon as I took out my phone to take a photo, the cat lost interest. There is evidence that a couple of moose have been bedding down in the side yard next to the dog run.

A short update on the ChromeBook. I'm still using it almost exclusively. As you may notice, I started this post on the iPad using Blogsy as it's the easiest way to get pictures taken with my iPhone into a blog post. They nout sync with iCloud and within minutes after taking a picture on the phone, it is available on the iPad or just about any other Apple device. I haven't figured out a good way to access the pictures on the ChromeBook. The only other time I had to break out the laptop was to edit a locked MS Word document. Google Apps could read the document but I couldn't enter text into the fields. For what they were trying to do, a PDF form would be a better choice.

The new tire levers came in from Amazon today. With these, I shouldn't have a problem with enough leverage. They are made by a company called Ken-Tool. I included the pen in the photo as a size comparison.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Getting the Bike Together - Again

I must have accidentally deleted this post. Two comments were lost from Dom and Lori. Not sure how but here it is again...

In my last post, I mentioned that I would take a picture of the rim. According to BMW, the rim is designed for only a tube type tire. There is no safety bead on the rim to help hold the tire bead in place on the rim. The sealing area along the edge is wide enough to safely hold the tire bead in place and many owners do run tubeless tires on these rims. The IRC TR-1 tire that I will be installing is a tube type tire.

Given the cold temperature in our garage, I asked a fellow member of our local airhead group if I could come by and use his tire changer. He has a No-Mar changer and it made quick work of putting the tire onto the rim. Longer tire levers really make a difference. It was on the rim and aired up in a little more than five minutes. He was ammused by the idea of dirt bike tires on an RT. Of course, it's necessary to stand around and talk for a while as I admired his collection of bikes including his newest addition, a 1958 Norton.
This evening, I put the wheels back on after cleaning up the rear hub of all of the excess grease. If you have been following this blog, you may remember that grease got onto the rear brake pads after the tire swap in OR so the pads were replaced at this time. The rear brake fluid was changed since I was working back there anyway.
The replacement shim for the carb came in the mail from Bing while I was out of town so it was installed under the main jet. The float level was rechecked since I had the carb bowls off. The carburetors were installed and the throttle and enrichener cables were adjusted (approximately). The battery reinstalled and plugged back into the trickle charger. I picked up a 5-pin flat trailer connector to connect the lights on the sidecar with the bike. Initially, there is just a tail and brake light but eventually I want to put in a right turn signal at least on the rear of the sidecar and some sort of white LED forward facing light to help me be more visible to oncoming traffic.
The wiring is my next project before putting the sidecar back on. Almost there...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Rear Tire - Attempt 2

Following Dom's suggested technique, I screwed a 2x4 scrap to one of the posts in the garage. I then placed a long 2x4 under it and another scrap piece between the long one and the tire. By pushing down on the long 2x4, the tire bead is easily pushed down and loosened from the rim. This is done on both sides of the tire. The smallish tire levers that came in the factory toolkit were barely adequate to remove the bead from the disc brake side of the wheel.

The tube is removed after removing the nut from the valve stem. Removing the other bead from the wheel proved to be more difficult with the two supplied tire levers as I always wished I had at least one more. This is supposed to be the easy side.

I had wanted to try and do this whole process using only the tools provided in the supplied toolkit or at least using what I would be willing to carry. I thought that the most difficult part was going to be breaking the bead and getting the first side started.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Chromebook - Initial Review

A Samsung Chromebook that I had ordered a couple of weeks ago finally arrived while I was out of town. I was hoping to test it on my last trip. In case you hadn't heard of these before, they have the form factor of a laptop but must be connected to the Internet to be truly useful. In this case, it's closer in weight an size to an 11" Macbook Air at 2.4 lbs and 0.7" thick. No hard drive or optical drive but has 16GB of local storage and includes two years of 100GB Google Drive cloud storage. Also included are 12 coupons for Gogo Inflight Internet access. All for $249. No fans, no spinning drives, no noise. But everything has to be done in a browser.

So far, I have been able to connect with all four of my email accounts, three different cloud storage options, configure x.509 certificate base wireless network access (Eduroam), as well as SSH into multiple Linux servers that I manage. Everything that I normally need a laptop for. Google docs are functional enough for me and there is an offline mode for those times when the Internet isn't available or too slow to be useful. Right after I logged in, all of my bookmarks and extensions came across from the Chrome browser on my Macbook Pro.

The only unusual thing I needed to do was to turn on a simple WPA2 wireless SSID for the initial configuration on first boot. It needed to contact the Google mother ship to validate my credentials. So far, I'm impressed at what you can do for ¼ the price of the cheapest Macbook Air. The materials and build quality aren't the same as the Apple product but then again, look at the price! After a couple of weeks of daily use, I'll post another update.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Rear Tire - Attempt 1

I started out pretty ambitious but all I managed to do is remove the wheel and attempt to remove the tire. The easiest way to remove the rear wheel is to first remove the front wheel. Both calipers must first be removed and supported so they aren't hanging by the flexible brake lines. The yellow ratchet strap is used to hold the center stand in position so it doesn't collapse when the bike is tipped forward onto the forks.
Then it is a simple task to remove the rear caliper and pull the axle and remove the rear wheel and tire from the drive spline. In this photo, it is really greasy from the grease the Honda dealer put into the hub in an attempt to be helpful when I bought a new tire in OR. The final drive spines are also in good shape and are normally lubed with the same mixture I mentioned in my last post and should also be re-lubed on a regular basis.
Now that I had the wheel and tire off, I attempted to remove the rear tire using the modest set of tire levers in the stock tool kit. I couldn't even get the tire bead loose. The rims are cast but are not designed for tubeless tires so there is no shoulder inside of the rim. I don't want to just resort to the dealer as I want to be able to patch a tube along the road...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Spline Lube

Today's project was lubing the transmission input shaft on my '83 BMW airhead. This is one of those routine maintenance tasks that need to be done every couple of years. The transmission needs to be pulled back about 1½" from the engine to reach the input shaft. This required removing the battery, the battery holder, air filter housing, rear swing arm pivots and the clutch cable. Since the carbs are still off, it made it that much easier. This is the view of the input shaft. The engine housing and clutch is on the right and the transmission housing is on the left. Once the swingarm pivots are removed, it is a simple task to pull the rear wheel, swing arm and transmission back as a single assembly.

This is a dab of Honda Moly 60 mixed with a bit of lithium grease. The Honda Moly is a bit too fluid and would be thrown off of the shaft as soon as the revs pick up. The heavy lithium grease it to help it stick to the input shaft. A regular disposable flux brush is used with the addition of a chopstick stuck into the handle to give you a little more reach. A little dab is smeared on the splines, then the rear wheel is bumped to turn the input shaft a litte and the process is repeated until the shaft has a thin layer of grease brushed on.

Then it is simply a matter of pushing the transmission back onto the engine, insert the cleaned and greased swingarm pivots, air cleaner housing, engine-transmission bolts, crankcase vent hose. Center the swingarm using the pivots, torque the swingarm lock nuts and snap on the plastic dust covers. Replace the clutch pivot and adjust the clutch cable. Replace the carbs, battery holder and battery. Tomorrow I'll adjust the enrichener (choke) cables and throttle cables and pull the rear wheel. The trials tire is in and I think I'll try and replace it myself using the tire irons in the stock tool kit.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Last Day of TIP 2013


The first picture was just put there so the blog entry won't show another food picture for it's index entry.

The IPv6 workshop finished this afternoon and I went in search of a light lunch. There was a food truck parked across the street from the East-West Center called Made Fresh, and they had a wonderful collection of asian food. This is the chow mein with tofu with picture for Bobskoot. Still tasted basicaly like teriyaki but that may be difficult to get away from around here.

Today was the last day of TIP 2013 and, possibly, the last Joint Tech meeting for a while. The Joint Tech's were a technical meeting of network engineers from Internet2, ESCC, regional networks, connectors and members. Most of those attending are network engineers or operators committed to provide high performance connectivity to education and research groups mostly, but not limited to, the U.S. Whenever the meeting is held in Hawai‘i, it is combined with the APAN meeting which adds in the Asia-Pacific national, regional and campus high performance network providers.

This afternoon, moto-vlogger (motocycle video blogger) @808yewtube, gave me a brief tour of the Hawai‘i outside of Waikīkī partly because the real flavor of Hawai‘i wasn't being reflected in my pictures/posts if I just stayed in Waikīkī. The color of the ocean was a beautiful dark blue and the weather was beautiful.

This is from what Google Maps labels as the Waimanalo Beach Park Lookout though the beach shown in this picture is Makapu'u Beach Park along the Kalanianaole Highway about 10 miles east of the Waikīkī area. Google Map fail.

The pictures don't do the area justice. The water was somewhere between green and blue and the ocean was very calm. Thank you @808yewtube for taking time out of your busy day to share some of your beautiful state. Far better than just hanging around Waikīkī or the University of Hawai‘i.

I liked the way the moon shown even with the bright sun. This is a lava outcropping at the lookout.

I catch the shuttle to the airport at 7:30pm for a red-eye to Anchorage and a morning flight back home to Fairbanks where it's -27°F today...

This evenings dinner was a seaweed salad (never had this version before) and the sashimi plate. Both delicious and in a little hole-in-the-wall place on a side street. There were some challenges as the menu, the specials board and signs were in Japanese. But fortunately, there were pictures in the menu for those who don't read Japanese.

I must admit that the sashimi was even better than Osaka's (and half the price!).

Thursday, January 17, 2013

TIP - IPv6 Workshop

All of today was spent participating in an IPv6 workshop. The other participants have a wide range of experience and exposure to IPv6 and from a range of institutions. The focus of the class is different from when I had last taught the workshop and is not campus centric as opposed to connector or regional network centric. Also, the workshop used to be more "hands on" which required shipping hundereds of pounds of gear around in travelling racks. Very expensive and somewhat problematic as we usually ended up repairing something when setting up.

Last night, I went out to dinner with my former supervisor and his significant other at the Himalayan Kitchen, a Nepalise and Indian restaurant. I had a very generous serving of lamb vindaloo with jasmine rice and garlic naan bread. No food picture unless I take a picture of the leftovers in the hotel fridge. They now live uphill from the University of Hawaii campus and picked me up at my hotel. They mentioned that this was the first time in a long time that they've ventured into the Waikiki tourist area. It was much quieter and relaxed once you get out of town.

This evening, a network engineer from Iowa and I went in search of dinner within walking distance, which meant that we would be in Waikīkī somewhere. He wanted to avoid a chain or anything else he would be able to find in Iowa. Along the main drag, everything was either a chain or somewhere which would have stretched anyones budget past the breaking point. A couple of blocks away from the main street, we found a non-chain Hawaiian steak house called Vit's Hawaiian Steak and their daily special was ono steak with shrimp. Tasted like teriyaki but it was fine. As with most meals, too much food was served and I ended up leaving some on the plate. Peter is also a rider and used to race sports bikes so there was a lot of good conversation.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

TIP - Day 4

It was a nice, sunny afternoon and since there were no evening activities associated with the TIP meeting, I walked back to the hotel from the university campus. It felt really warm so it was nice coming to what Google labeled as the Ala Wai Small Canal running just inland of the Waikiki tourist area. There was a nice breeze blowing and after miles of walking along side crowded streets, it was a pleasant change. Today was the end of the formal presentations for the Internet2 section of the meeting.
Tomorrow, I will be participating in an IPv6 workshop presented by Nysernet. I had taught the old format workshops for I2 many times and wanted to see what the new material was as well as the major changes they made to the hands on labs. Maybe I'll be able to teach this new workshop in the future. This will be a short post and it was really great to see everyone again. I picked up some completely new material and have a lot of new things to try when I return. They announced what the future technical meetings would look like and it will be a significant change from the existing format. I will reserve judgement on whether it is a good idea to change things....

TIP - Day 3

This morning keynote was given by Ian Foster, the "father or grid computing" and by extension, the current hot topic, cloud computing. Many people may be familiar with Moore's Law which has been acurately describing the growth of computing power since the mid-60's but there are some other similar graphs describing the expansion of data in some other fields such as high energy physics, genomic research and astonomy that dwarf Moore's Law.

Much of the afternoon was spent in the IPv6 working group which in this case was a joint meeting with APAN and Internet2. APAN had presentations from China, Japan and Malasia. This is a snapshot of the meeting room we were assigned for the meeting. After the mid-afternoon break, there was one presentation buy DREN which outlined his challenges in setting up an IPv6 only management network. This is an upcoming federal procurement requirement and he just wanted to see what worked and what didn't. Very enlightening.

This evening, there was a reception sponsored by Brocade. It was a good opportunity to meet some new people as well as continue some conversations that were begun earlier in the day. This event was held at the Moana Surfrider which is a much fancier hotel across the street from the Sheraton. And it was right on the beach. The food was pretty standard hotel hors d'oeuvre and not bad but nothing really stood out as spectacular.

I was planning on taking some photos of the sunset but the sun went down so quickly, I kind of missed it. This was a shot through the bushes separating the reception area from the beach. The sun must drop straight down as it was dark within minutes after this picture was taken.
The mountain peak in the background is Diamond Head giving a slightly different view. After the reception were two more meetings which lasted until almost 11:00pm. It was a long day.

Monday, January 14, 2013

TIP - Day 2

Today was the "official" start of TIP (Techs in Paradise) and the ESnet welcoming statement included some interesting information on some upcoming projects and their data needs. Up until now, most of the focus has been on the data requirements of the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) in Switzerland and trans Atlantic connectivity. There is a project in Australia and South Africa called the Square Kilometer Array that is projected to generate 700 gigabytes/sec of raw data which could be processed down to 0.1 terabits/sec of data to be stored and distributed. Kind of hard for me to comprehend that volume of data. There were other projects mentioned that would also generate LHC-like volumes of data but this one sort of stood out as over the top.

In the middle of the talk, I was reminded (by my phone) that I was missing an audioconference. I had forgotten about the additional one hour time change from AKST but the calendar app didn't. The Japanese garden outside of the East-West Center seemed like a great place for an audioconference and the building blocked out most of the road noise. I'm not at all sure of what kind of tree this is but it is unlike anything we have back home. I couldn't get any closer as it was just across the creek shown in the first picture.

This stand of golden bamboo also helped block out ambient noise though it must have been home to a pile of birds from all of the chirping coming from within. Today was a great day to meet new people from all over the world as well as renewing friendship with some that I've known for years. At one of the breaks, a CS faculty member from a university in northern Malaysia came by and talked about their challenges and successes.

At the end of the day, there was a reception catered by the culinary arts students from the Kapiolani Community College. The school is on the flanks of Diamond Head and there was a wonderful view of the ocean from the balcony. It had been raining most of the day starting at about 11 and here the sun is just breaking through the clouds around sunset. It was an absolutely beautiful campus at a great location.

I'm told that this is Diamond Head but I'm not really convinced. On the GoogleMap image below, we are located right about top/center of the image and I think we are we are looking towards the rim of the crater. I didn't know that Diamond Head was part of a crater either. But maybe the name refers to the whole crater rim rather than just the peak visible from the beach area. The food at the reception was okay, not bad just not spectacular. The menu did include some stereotypical Hawaiian fare such as roast pork and a lot of asian food including three kinds of sushi.

I arrived back at the hotel at the late hour of 8:00pm ready to crash. I must be getting old. There were many still trying to adjust from EST, which is 5 hours ahead, and they had a good reason to be exhausted. One of the other attendees from an unnamed northeastern location mentioned at dinner that he would be fine with getting a job handing out towels at the beach here rather than put up with any more snowy winters.

Just because there should be at least one food shot, this was the cold noodle bowl that I had for dinner last night after the connector meeting. Cold ramen with chicken, cucumbers and tomatos. Like last nights meal, it was very tasty. They also had one dish which I had to try just based on the name. Pan fried cheese gyoza or dumplings. In addition to the normal filling of cabbage and ground pork, there was mozzarella cheese. You still used the same soy sauce w/vinegar dipping sauce. It sounds weird but was very good. A surprising combination.

A colleague from Pennsylvania who has visited and commented here, has a technology focused blog and I'm interested in seeing what he is going to post regarding this meeting...

Tuesday Afternoon Update - Shuman's TIP 2013 blog post.