Older blog entries for keverets (starting at number 14)

Garmin Forerunner 301

I've got a Garmin Forerunner 301 that I use for running/biking/car trips. It sometimes takes a long time to pick up a signal which is kind of annoying, but otherwise seems to be a nice little unit with built-in heart-rate monitoring and the like. I wanted to use it on Linux as I don't use Windows. A quick search revealed this entry which gives a couple of command lines to grab data off the GPS. After a quick apt-get install, I tried them and they seem to work. The first just gives a long series of coordinates. The second gives a .kml file which I was able to import into Google Earth (though that's extremely slow on my hardware, so not very useful to me).

gpsbabel -t -i garmin -f /dev/ttyUSB0 -o gpsdrive -F tracks.gps

gpsbabel -t -i garmin -f /dev/ttyUSB0 -o kml,points=0,line_color=ff0000ff -F waypoints.kml

I'd really like to put some data into Open Street Map. It would be a fun project for the summer to bike around the neighbourhood and fill out their data.

Syndicated 2007-05-03 00:06:22 from keverets

New Bike

I was just given a new bike: a Specialized Hardrock Sport. It's my first new bike since 1992 (approximately). My old bike was starting to have more issues and was becoming increasingly frustrating, so this is a welcome change. I find myself becoming increasingly interested in alternative forms of transportation. Currently, I'm pondering the ability of a semi-enclosed recumbent trike to service the majority of my transportation needs. I'd really like a human-powered (or human/electric hybrid) version of the Volkswagen 1-litre Car. The 1-litre car itself would be great, but I doubt that will hit sufficiently mass production to make it affordable any time soon. With Ontario trying out new e-Bike legislation, this could lead to some interesting new vehicles.

Syndicated 2007-04-30 01:06:12 from keverets

27 Feb 2007 (updated 27 Feb 2007 at 23:06 UTC) »

Cell Phones

Thinking about the whole iPhone thing (had a few discussions at work about it). Will be interesting to see if it makes the difference (and convergence) that it promises. OpenMoko sounds like an interesting variant (cheaper, and out sooner).

I've been re-evaluating my mobile phone usage. I currently use very little time (normally less than 30 minutes per month), so the pay-as-you-go plans make perfect sense for me. I'm currently using an old Nokia phone with Virgin Mobile, but I don't like being tied to a particular phone model. Unlocked GSM phones seem like a good idea (as long as my assumption that they can be made to work with the carriers in Canada holds true). Unfortunately, there's only Fido and Rogers that support GSM phones in Canada (and they're even the same company now, from what I've read). Well, there's one other GSM carrier, but they only serve the northern territories. So, is that even an option for me?

Looking at my usage patterns, Virgin Mobile currently costs: $25+tax every 3 months ($9.50/month in Ontario with 6% GST, 8% PST)
and you get 33 minutes (anytime) with that. (33*0.25 = 8.33)

For Fido's cheapest pay-as-you-go plan it's: $10+tax+911 fee ($0.50) per month, so $11.90/month in Ontario, and you get 33 minutes (anytime) for that. Not too bad... only about $2.50 more per month.

Really surprising to me is Rogers. It's actually comparable (from the web page, anyway... Rogers has a way of adding unnamed "extra" charges, similar to Bell). Rogers' cheapest plan is: $10+tax+911 fee (doesn't say, but assume $0.50): again $11.90/month, this time getting 30 minutes for that.

It's starting to look like GSM might be a viable option for me.

One may wonder: is 30 minutes enough? I currently have $42.56 available on my phone, or 170 minutes of talk time, as the minutes roll forward (as long as you renew in time... which is easier to do every 3 months rather than every month). This just supplements my Primus TalkBroadband ($34.15 per month after taxes, with unlimited North American long distance) and my internet ($34.19 per month with Cogeco cable). So, for me, 30 minutes of portable talking is more than enough.

Syndicated 2007-01-19 02:32:26 (Updated 2007-01-20 00:54:11) from keverets

Video Consumption

Recently viewed: Happy Feet (in the AMC with my son... his first movie going experience). Nice seats - able to put the armrests up to get a lot of space - but pretty pricey. Will probably go to the Encore Cinemas (either in Oakville or Burlington) next time. There's better popcorn at the Encores, anyway.

For TV shows, I'm still going through Dead Like Me; into the second season now.  Watching 'Til Debt Do Us Part to get some interesting financial tips, Good Eats for some good food knowledge and ideas (still have to see Feasting on Ashphalt also starring Alton Brown) and Nanny 911 for some parenting ideas.  Recently got a recommendation to check out Heroes (a new show this year), so will have to see if I can find some of the early episodes.  Most of the shows I really like only seem to have lasted a year or two, and even then I only find out about them after they're out on DVD.

Syndicated 2006-12-28 15:48:58 from keverets

Battery issues

The laptop I'm using seems to think that it's out of battery long before I actually am. Currently running linux - Ubuntu 6.04 (plus regular updates) - and the gnome battery meter keeps telling me about "Critical action" and that it will power-off when the battery becomes completely empty (I turned off the automatic suspend, as I still have about a half-hour of juice left and just have to put up with the annoying pop-up until it actually dies). I've tried the advice of friends and let it run down completely a few times, but it still seems confused. I really wish I could calibrate this to be a more accurate measurement of the time I have remaining.

Syndicated 2006-12-19 11:52:14 from keverets

We found out that we're having a boy. Also, it snowed today.

I realised today that when you have a 3200x1200 screen covering almost 2600 cm^2, you don't tend to use virtual workspaces as much. I recommend everyone use a spare PCI video card to expand your workspace... multihead is a poor man's big screen, but well worth it.

Repeat after me: Sharing is NOT wrong.

Was recently given a Palm IIIxe by my sister. Have been having fun finding GPL apps for it. mblevin has a nice list, and freshmeat.net has been useful. Still trying to get stuff to compile (it seems almost everything uses the Palm SDK 3.5 which has a horrible license agreement).

GutenPalm is what I've been using most; I'm currently reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Lots of fun stuff over there at Project Gutenberg.

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