Friday, November 08, 2013

Magpie Swoop

Swooped by a magpie twice in this section -


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Yahoo, what have you done?

The past 24 hours, I noticed that I was not receiving any email messages in my Yahoo account. This coincides with Yahoo Mail upgrade.

After 'Googling', I found out that this upgrade defaults your account to forward all your incoming messages with 'Forward Only' option (go to settings>accounts>edit). Unfortunately, it used an old email address of mine which is no longer valid.

So I put in an alternate email address with 'Store and Forward' option.

So, yeah, it looks like I lost all incoming messages (including spam) the last 24 hours. Grrrr!

I'm waiting for an answer now from Yahoo's customer care. Hopefully, they can still recover it.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Kathmandu Saddle Bag

This Kathmandu Saddle Bag (Deluxe) was on sale for $20 so I grabbed it and finally replaced the frame bag I had since Day 1 of my cycling.

Build quality is very good, lots of pockets, and it's pretty light as well. Due to preferred position of my saddle seat, the bag protrudes at the back. I could have chosen the smaller saddle bag but it would mean limited contents. 

At the moment, I have these items inside this bigger/deluxe bag: spare tube, multi-tool, puncture repair kit, a couple of chain quick links, spare light, energy gel, electrolyte tablet tube, and a 10,000 mAh external battery charger power bank.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Acer ICONIA A1-810

$179.00 at Bing Lee (Rhodes NSW) excluding $29.00 Acer cashback.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Oakley Split Jacket

After almost 4 weeks of waiting, my Oakley Split Jacket sunglass is finally delivered. I ordered it locally but the prescription lenses had to be 'grinded' in good ol' USA. The prescription lens is also photochromic.

I used this an hour ago during my night ride and it's perfect! No need for me to bring 2 prescription glasses (clear & deep black) on some rides.

I also ordered the 'wind gasket' from UK. It should be delivered within 3 weeks from now.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Audioengine A5+

Had to upgrade PC speaker from Audioengine A2 to A5+. With D1, I can definitely hear the difference. Happy.

In this photo: A5+, Dell U2711, Logitech G510, and D1.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Child-proofing the port of SVS PB12-NSD

PB12-NSD is a ported subwoofer. This port is located front top-right and, even with the supplied grille, is quite accessible by any normal 'adventurous' toddler.

One day, I found some small toys hiding about 4 inches inside. To prevent more serious 'breach' in the future, I bought a grille just for this port opening. Fortunately, I found a metal grille that is perfect for the job - a 6.5-in black metal grille from Altronics. And to make it easy to remove someday, I just used a double-sided tape for its mounting. Here it is -

This metal grille has larger holes than the supplied grille by SVS so there should be no impact to subwoofer performance.

Here's another photo of the subwoofer's front (driver + port) -

Friday, July 12, 2013

Installation adventures with Audioengine D1 USB DAC

Unlike the previous Fiio E10 USB DAC where installation was literally plug-and-play, my experience with Audioengine D1 is quite challenging.

Issue 1 - only USB 2.0 ports can be used in my Asrock z68 Extreme4 motherboard. USB 3.0 ports are no good.

Issue 2 - USB cable length should be 1m or below. If a longer cable is connected to a USB 3.0 port, Windows 8 reports an unknown device. In a USB 2.0 port, Windows 8 reports good Audioengine D1 installation but audio performance is NONE (only quick beeps or buzz).

Issue 3 - my Audioengine A2 speakers sit on my desk but my PC is on a shelf around 1m above. My oxygen-free RCA cables are only 0.75m long.

Fortunately, I have an unused 2m Toslink cable lying around. So using a 3m USB cable (for D1 power) and this Toslink cable (for D1 audio source), I found a setup that satisfies my needs.

In Windows 8, S/PDIF is set as Default Playback Device while Audioengine D1 USB is automatically set as Default Communications Device. I set S/PDIF to 2-channel, 24 bit, 192000 Hz. Note that if I opt to use USB only, maximum setting would 'only' be 2-channel, 24 bit, 96000 Hz.

To be honest, I couldn't tell the audio quality difference between USB and S/PDIF as digital carriers. If I could use a 3m USB cable, I would have chosen USB for simple cabling.

In summary, if you want to use a longer USB cable (say, 3m), then also use a Toslink cable to carry digital audio data.

Update: one thing I don't like with D1 is that the analog RCA output is variable. I prefer it to be fixed as I primarily use volume control in my powered speakers. FiiO E10 analog output is fixed; only the output for headphone is variable. However, with E10, even with a headphone plugged in, analog output remains active. With D1, analog output switches off when a headphone is plugged in.

Audioengine D1 Premium 24-Bit USB DAC

Due to annoying 'popping sound' at every audio stop & pause, just had to replace Fiio E10 USB DAC today with Audioengine D1 Premium 24-Bit USB DAC.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Monday, May 20, 2013

Annual Pain 2013

NRMA CTP Insurance Renewal: $546.34
NRMA Comprehensive Insurance Renewal: $1,454.04
RMS Vehicle Registration Renewal: $470.00
Vehicle Annual Servicing: $675.00

Sub-total: $3,145.38

NRMA Home Content Insurance Renewal: $475.20

Total: $3,620.58

Friday, May 17, 2013

Western Digital - WDBACW0040HBK - 4TB My Book Essential

I have to make a complete backup of our NAS and Desktop PC so I bought this external HDD. Disc used by WD is Hitachi HDS5C404ALE630 - MPAOA3B0.

This HDD will be kept 'off-site'.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013


Just putting this out in case somebody makes same mistake as I did -

Inside NAS (Synology DS211j), I tried configuring it to be connected to Internet via PPPoE. Result failed.

Now, this resulted to me losing or having very intermittent internet connection. Connection only became good when NAS is disconnected from LAN. Upon spending about 2 hours looking for solution, I stumbled upon network setting inside NAS. There I saw PPPoE setting was activated and connected! So I disconnected it and everything is now fine.

Whew, I believe I rebooted the modem router about 4-5 times!

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Thule ProRide 591

This enables me to bring the bicycle on long trips with the family and also makes going to ride staging areas easier. Before, no one could come with me as I had to fold the rear seats down to make space for the bicycle.

Quality: 5/5, Installation: 5/5, Cost: 3/5

Highly recommended.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Read/Write Speed Comparison

Local drive (SSD)

Crucial M4 256GB

Local drive (HDD)

Western Digital 1TB Caviar Blue

Network Drive

Synology DiskStation DS211j

6-May-13 update:

From our office network -

Pretty poor, eh?

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Michelin Energy XM2

So after 29,378km, my 2 front tyres are just about 1mm away from the thread wear indicator. These stock tyres are Kumho Solus KH15 215/65/16 98H. The rears are still at around 3-4mm so still OK. Though these 4 wheels were supposed to be rotated/exchanged during the vehicle's annual servicing. Hmmm....

Anyway, I went to Costco Auburn this evening (7pm) and had them replace the fronts with Michelin Energy XM2. Cost is AU$189.00 each; job took around 20 minutes.

I'll post my thoughts on these XM2s perhaps after using them for 500~1,000km.

Monday, April 29, 2013

TP-Link TD-8980 N600 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit ADSL2+ Modem Router

Our very first modem router, a D-Link DSL-2642B, was acting up for the past month or so. WiFi or internet connectivity cuts off and required power reset; had to do it around thrice a week. Also, it's only 10/100 ethernet while almost all devices connected to it are gigabit ethernet.

So that old unit retired today and in comes TP-Link TD-8980 N600 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit ADSL2+ Modem Router. Setup was pretty easy and home network is up and running within 10 minutes including removal of old unit and re-routing of some cables.

With the old unit, average network speed when moving large files (>100MB) is around 5MB/s. With this gigabit-capable router, average speed now is around 13MB/s with peaks at 22MB/s, nice!

Also, WiFi now stays connected when wireless home phone or microwave is being used; thanks to 5GHz WLAN band ;-)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Wahoo Blue SC

I now want to capture as much cycling data as possible so I added a Wahoo Blue SC Speed/Cadence Sensor to my ride. Along with a Polar H7 HRM, Cyclemeter can now provide me tons of data thus making post-ride analysis more interesting ;-)

One of the many graphs on my 43km ride this morning:

Saturday, April 13, 2013

SSC P7 & Cree XP-E LEDs-equipped Bicycle Front Light

SSC P7 LED (center) and Cree XP-E LEDs (sides)

Light is controlled via the blue-colored button

Here's a quick video clip that I created - CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Campagnolo Gironde Windproof Thermo Jacket

Recently heavily discounted at Evans CyclesCampagnolo Gironde Windproof Thermo Jacket.

Front -

Back pockets -

Rear -

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Northwave Spike Pro

Torpedo7 recently had this on sale so I grabbed one. This should slow down the wear rate of my other cycling shoe, a Shimano MT23.

A separate purchase of proper set of cleats is required. In my case, it's the SM-SH51. Check your pedal documentation for confirmation.

This shoe has better interior seal than MT23 as cleat mating plate is already secured behind a fixed semi-plastic layer. With MT23, you have to muck around with a flimsy sticker.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Serfas Eliminator RX Performance Saddle

So after 1,200km plus of cycling, I'm still getting bum sore though not as uncomfortable as during the early weeks. This sore becomes quite significant at around 30km for every ride.

So today, I replaced the stock Giant saddle in my bike with Serfas Eliminator RX Performance Saddle. I have a 60km ride this Sunday so let's see if there's any improvement.

Stock saddle -

Comparison (Serfas saddle is a bit wider so should help with my ischial tuberosities aka “sit bones”)

Serfas Eliminator RX Performance Saddle -

Rear view (with PDW Radbot 1000 LED Rear Light and stock rear reflector)

Giant Boulder 29er 0

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Tioga Handlebar Ergo Comfort Grip

Due to hand discomfort during long rides (>2 hours), I had to replace the stock handle grip, remove the Ritchey bar-ends (which I purchased a month ago), and put a Tioga Ergo Comfort Grip. Hopefully, this can help on long rides.

We'll see...

Exposure Time = 1/40"
F Number = F1.8
ISO Speed Ratings = 6400
Focal Length = 35mm
Body = Nikon D800
Lens = AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G

22-Mar-13 UPDATE: this grip works - I feel no significant discomfort for up to 2.5 hours and discomfort easily addressed by changing position in this handlebar grip.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Crucial M4 SSD 256GB just died (SOLVED!)

Last night, I was in a hurry so I shut our PC down by pressing the power button for more than 5 seconds. I normally don't do this...

Anyway, this morning, when I tried booting the PC up, I was greeted by a "Insert boot media and press any key" screen. I went to BIOS and there it showed that my SSD (which contains system OS) isn't recognized.

After scouring the web & trying various solutions, this is the only one that worked:

1) Ensure PC is off
2) Remove power & SATA cables from SSD
3) Put power cable back into SSD
4) Turn PC on; eventually "Insert boot media and press any key" message will be displayed
5) Leave PC on for 20 minutes
6) Then connect SATA cable into SSD (yes, SSD is still powered)
7) Then push RESET button in your PC; don't turn PC off, just the RESET button
8) SSD should be back in business at this stage


Monday, February 04, 2013

Continental CityRide Tyre

For now, I ride 98% on concrete/bitumen bike paths. So the stock tyre (Giant 54-622) of my bicycle isn't the right tyre. So I changed it today to Continental CityRide Reflex City Road Tyre Black 37-622.

The stock tyre which is for mountail trail/gravel paths -

The new road tyre I put today -

Comparison -

The changing of tyres and tubes is really easy, it surprised me. There's nothing to it really.


- Stock rim is Giant CR70 which has a 25mm width.
- Stock Giant 54-622 weight is 750gm.
- Continental CityRide 37-622 weight is 600gm.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Week 4 - New cycle stuff

From day 1, I immediately removed the toe-in clip on the stock pedal of my bicycle, Giant Boulder 29er 0. For a newbie like me, it's a PITA. Here's the stock pedal -

Today, I replaced the stock pedal with Shimano M424 Sport Pedal which I got from Wiggle -

The shoe cleat as installed in a Shimano MT23 shoe -

Lezyne Tech Drive High Volume (HV) Pump - 

Pearl Izumi "Elite Gel Vent Glove" with Polar FT4 HRM watch -

"He's called Dr. J because, on the court, he operated on people." - Nate "Tiny" Archibald on Julius "Dr. J" Erving