Tag Archives: bicycle

Librivox.org

I found a humorous reading of Mark Twain’s Taming the Bicycle on http://librivox.org/short-story-collection-001/. 648px-PSM_V38_D791_An_ordinary_bicycle_with_lines_of_forceI could sympathize with his difficulty in learning to ride a penny-farthing bike. The proper name for this design was Ordinary Bicycle. They had a large front wheel with pedals, a small rear wheel, and no freewheel — you couldn’t coast — and just one speed — you couldn’t shift gears. Oh — no brake, either.

Philip K Dick
Philip K. Dick
dwg: Pete Welsch
Librivox provides “Acoustical liberation of books in the public domain”. The readers’ voices bring life to the authors’ words. The authors include unexpected surprises: I spent a pleasant hour listening to The Defenders by Philip K. Dick (1928 – 1982). (Who’s he? An imaginative writer. Hollywood based Blade Runner, The Minority Report, Paycheck, The Matrix, and Total Recall on his short stories and novels.) The Defenders introduces a world in which humans have burrowed deep into the Earth to escape radioactivity caused by a never-ending war that’s fought by robots on Earth’s surface.

The-Defenders

ListenThe terrible destruction of total nuclear war between the Western and Eastern Blocks has succeeded in sterilizing the surface of the earth. No living creature can now exist there and all humans on both sides, have fled to the hives built miles below the surface where they constantly work to produce the war materials necessary to carry on the battle. For 8 years now, the actual fighting between these super powers has been conducted by robots known as Ledeys since only they can sustain the terrible levels of radiation caused by the constant bombardment. They are the Defenders, standing between the combatants far below and ultimate victory or defeat. Life is hard in the tunnels, but liveable, while it is lethal on the surface. The ledeys keep the generals informed on everything through vids and pictures; but how can this continue? what will happen? Who will win? (Summary by Phil Chenevert)

I look forward to listening to more Librivox readings on my smartphone. I’ll listen to more Phil Dick stories and then Edgar Allen Poe is next.

Mark Twain’s penny-farthing bicycle? Riding it sounds as daunting as riding a modern track bike: no freewheel, gears, or brakes. I’ve ridden them in a velodrome only. Some daredevils (somehow) ride them on the street. I think they’re nuts.

Google Maps for Android bicycle navigation, part 2

Google MapsRecently I wrote an article about using the Google Maps app on my Android phone to guide me on a bicycle ride. On Thursday, I cycled 18 miles to Thanksgiving dinner with friends. I knew the best route to the destination neighborhood, but relied upon my Android phone’s Google Maps app to vector me the last few miles to the exact address.

When I was within a few miles of my destination, I asked the Maps app to speak directions into my earbuds. Although Maps accurately pinpointed the destination, its route included nonsensical detours which would have added miles to my ride. I ignored the nonsense.

I’m impressed with how useful Google Maps for Android is while cycling, but it’s still buggy. Google states clearly that it’s beta. Use it, but, in the words of Richard Nixon, “Trust but verify”.

It receives good reviews.

Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

Cycling with Android GPS navigation


French bicycles allowed sign
My Android phone worked well as a bicycle navigator.

Yesterday I bicycled about ten miles to a new client, using the navigation software and GPS receiver in my Android phone. When I told Google Maps that I planned to ride a bicycle, it found an unusual route along back streets. I stuck in my earbuds, asked Google Maps for Navigation, and shoved off. A good-quality synthesized voice gave spoken instructions at each juncture. On one heavily trafficked road I must have missed an instruction to turn, which resulted in my pedaling an additional three miles or so.

Aside from that miscue, the phone worked well as a navigator. It chewed through the battery’s charge, though. Its distance resolution seems about as good as my TomTom GPS receiver. As usual, I found the user interface, especially the touchscreen keyboard, to be my biggest problem: it wasted many minutes as I tried to copy, paste, and enter destination data.

Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695