BIkes! Computers!

Sat Aug 3rd, 2002 06:02:56 PM EST

Diary Entry 105
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Due to bike problems, the big ride for today got postponed. I'm thinking about buying a road bike. I got a new laptop and soon will have a new desktop, too. And my research group's paper got accepted for OSDI 2002.

Joel and I were planning to bike to Santa Cruz and back today. It's about 45 miles of hilly terrain each way, so it's a pretty ambitious ride. We had everything prepared: maps, sport drinks, snacks, tools, and so on. I was psyched up and ready to go.

And then this morning as we were about to leave, I managed to break my bike while adjusting the gearing. It needed to be done, since the index shift was screwed up to the point where I could only shift into the lowest gear if I held the shifter in place below the lowest index position. I cautiously adjusted the high-end set screw on the derailleur and tried the shift again, to no effect. I continue adjusting the screws somewhat cautiously, at which point I noticed that the cable had gone slack. I tried to tighten it from the derailleur end, but it wasn't doing any good, so I tried it from the shifter end.

Bad idea. The cable attachment to the shifter broke off in my hand. Crap, crap, crap. I screwed it back in, but it was clear that it was broken, since now there was nothing holding tension at all. I disassembled the shifter and saw that the cable had broken inside. No way I could fix it, a new cable was needed. In the future, I think I'll leave derailleur adjustment to the bike shops.

Anyway, Joel and I biked over to a shop, me on my now effectively fixed-gear bike. I left it there for them to take care of. Sounds like I may get out of this relatively cheaply, since the guy at the counter estimated it would only be about $10. I guess Joel and I will go to Santa Cruz next weekend instead.

In other news, I'm thinking about buying a road bike. My current cheap Raleigh is fine for biking around campus and so on, but it's big and heavy and so not so great for long trips. Right now the front runner for purchase is the Lemond Buenos Aires. Looks like a really nice bike, and online reviews for it are very positive. Now I just have to come up with enough nerve to spend $1500 on a bicycle.

My new laptop arrived! It's an IBM ThinkPad T30, 1 GB RAM, 40 GB disk, CD-RW/DVD, Ethernet, 802.11b, Bluetooth, 14" 1400x1050 screen, and all the usual goodies. I appear to be one of the very first Linux users with one of these things, because Google turns up very little about them, and there are no online reviews of the T30 under Linux.

The only real problem so far is the mouse, whose middle button does not work at all. It's the first IBM ThinkPad that has both a pointing stick and a touchpad, and its communication protocol is completely different from the usual IBM TrackPoint protocol. In fact it appears to be a small variation on the Synaptics TouchPad protocol, which makes sense because Synaptics built it for IBM (see Synaptics press release). I've emailed Synaptics asking for specs, and we shall see if I receive anything in return.

The other problems so far are a screwed up display on waking up, which is a pretty normal problem for a laptop that I suspect I can fool into working properly somehow, and the 802.11b, which I simply haven't really tried very hard yet. I think it's actually connected via USB, if I remember properly what I heard from an IBMer at Monterey. I guess we'll find out how well Linux supports that.

My research group's paper got accepted for OSDI 2002. The conference is in Boston in December. Grrr. Why would anyone plan a conference in Boston in December? That's awful.

Last updated 03 Apr 2004 21:17. Copyright © 2004 Ben Pfaff.
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