Saturday, 29 September 2007

Tick...Tock...Tick...

Well, for 5 weeks now I have been without a motorcycle!

Funding for my new bike was required, so out with the old. The dealer told me that in 2 weeks my new bike would be ready for collection...

Then the manufacturer announced the model was being updated, so the '07 model was no longer available, but the '08 would be available in 2 weeks...

Now the dealer is pointing fingers at the manufacturer while I am being told to wait another working week. At the end of which, some 6 weeks will have gone by.

This has not been an easy process, chasing salesmen and waiting for answers. None of which have actually helped. All I know is that public transport is not the best for commuting from the country to the North side of Dublin. I am tempted to start naming & shaming, but I will bite my tongue for "5 more working days", after which I may suggest somewhere to place my as yet undelivered bike.

This is the first time I have tried buying a 'new' bike. After the initial excitement I am now frustrated, while public transport burns a hole through my pocket. I certainly can not imagine it is this difficult for everyone. I only have a motorcycle license, so being without hurts my social and work (now University) life...you really do not realise how much you miss something until it is gone.

The clock is ticking...

Friday, 28 September 2007

It's Brewing Up


Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) Beta is available to download from today, with the final version due for release October 18th.

What does Gutsy Gibbon do better then Feisty Fawn? Well the complete outline can be found by CLICKING HERE. The most exciting (for me) is the installation of 'Compiz' as standard for handling 3D Desktop effects. Many of us using Ubuntu have installed this already, but you have to jump through a few hoops to get there. Now with an official supported version, Ubuntu has almost arrived as a genuine option to other mainstream operating systems.

I say "almost", because there are still a few little problems that need to be solved via the Terminal, which will always scare people off who are not confident in their abilities. Though it is not as bad as it seems, it is still something completely new that needs to be learned.

I have not seen any reference to better mobile/PDA/Smartphone support, so I will wait and see. This is still my ONLY major complaint with Ubuntu. It is really a struggle to sync your data (I still have not got it working!). Though that will never be enough to move me back to Win-Doh's.

By the way, just in case you are thinking that you will have to wait 5 years for the next latest & greatest version of Ubuntu...how does 6 months sound? Every 6 months we get the latest version of the best OS out there. So the 'Hardy Heron, Ubuntu 8.04' will available in April 2008. As an added bonus it will be offered with LTS (Long Term Support) with security support & updates for 5 years. As opposed to 18 months with the standard versions.

It looks like sooner, rather than later, there will very little stopping all computer users coming over to an OS that just works.

Ubuntu, Linux for human beings.

Friday, 21 September 2007

3 Reasons To Buy A Honda




Every two years we get the treat that is the Tokyo Motor Show. At this the various manufacturer's have a bit of fun and release their concept bikes...the sort of things we wish they would make!

The catch being, the models that they do decide to develop end up being very tame versions of these concept bikes. This years new Suzuki B-King for example. Also note, the B-King was shown as a concept bike in 2001, so development can take some time. The next major concept bike planned for release is Suzuki's Stratosphere, but time will tell if this 180bhp, 1100cc, 6 cylinder machine makes it to the dealers. The technology and rider aids that could be going into it would make it an impressive motorcycle.

So that is the old, here is the new. MCN have posted photo's on their website, CLICK HERE, of Honda's 3 latest concept bikes that will be at the Tokyo Motor Show next month. The Evo6 is a "naked" Goldwing (YES, a NAKED Goldwing!). Then we have the new CB1100F, a very cool retro looking bike, & CB1100R, the racing version of the same bike. I would love to have any (even all 3) in my garage!

But then again, as previous experience has shown, if these are developed for the road, then they may not be what we are looking at today. Then again you never know or as Honda would like to say "The Power of Dreams"...

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

The Dead Poet Is Alive

KD has finally been brave enough to add the new The Dead Poet link in the "KD's Web" section.

Having always intended to use the web log as a place to post his work's (re: poems) but could never bring himself around to doing it. Finally though, here it is.

A word of warning, most of what you will find in there will be more dark than light.

Welcome to the dawn...

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Tidy Biker's?

Believe it or not it is possible to be a tidy biker.

While reading MCN a few weeks ago I saw an advert for the "Biker Tidy". For some time I have been looking for a solution to what do do with my gear once it is off. The wet weather we have been having keeps reminding us why we need a good place to hang gear to dry out, while also looking somewhat respectable.

Over the years I have seen similar products on several websites but none seemed to meet all my requirements. The main one's being, it would have to be able to handle two full sets of gear while still allowing them adequate room to breathe. Also be sturdy enough for everyday use.

So after going to the Biker Tidy website (click here) I took as good a look as I could. It looked substantial and sturdy and the price very reasonable...so I made the phone call.

Approximately one week later the box arrived and out it came. My first impression was how big it is, which was a good surprise. It certainly is a good quality bit of kit. But here is my only complaint...the packaging. The cardboard box which it had been sent over in had taken a beating and some parts inside had the paint damaged. Nothing a touch up did not fix, but it is a shame that such a well built product suffers because of the final hurdle of getting it out to the customer. If anyone here thinks about getting one I would suggest you ask for it to be well packaged.

The only thing they do not supply is the drill & screwdrivers. Every other fitting is in there and the job is straight forward. As always, leave everything loose and mock-up before tightening. Also included in the price are one-piece suit hanger (x1) , jacket hangers (x2) & trouser hangers (x2). Everything is built to carry motorcycle gear, so big & strong.

I have some photo's on my Flickr page so you can see it in action. Overall, a great addition for your gear and well worth investing in, especially when you consider the cost of your gear and the job it is supposed to do!

Keep the rubber side down...and the gear off the ground

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Back To School

OK...as a Mature Student!

Back to school nonetheless! Fees paid, registration complete, now just to collect my student card. So this week I have spent my first few days being introduced to University life at Dublin City University. It did it's job of putting all our (mine and my fellow mature students) fears to rest, just to be replaced by the very daunting path that is in front of us.

Next week we will be lost among the chaos and disorder of the 'CAO kids'. That is when things will really start getting interesting I imagine.

All-in-all I am really looking forward to the next few years. I have no idea of what to expect, but if I use the people that I have met the last few days as a gauge, then I have certainly found myself among a very good bunch.

So I have said "hello" to this new path, I hope that the path is ready for me.

If nothing else, things change.

Monday, 10 September 2007

Welcome To The World of Tomorrow

France has just joined the growing list of Western governments that have suffered cyber attacks. Over the last several weeks the USA, UK and German governments have all been attacked in a similar way by cyber saboteurs trying to test information technology defenses.

"We have indications that our information systems were the object of attacks, like in the other countries," the Secretary-General of National Defence (SGDN) Francis Delon said, confirming the reports which have appeared on the news.

Though Russia have been accused of attacking their neighbours in recent months, the source of these latest attack on western governments seem to be China.

"We have proof that there is involvement with China. But I am prudent. When I say China, this does not mean the Chinese government. We don't have any indication now that it it was done by the Chinese People's Liberation Army," Francis Delon added.

China has robustly denied having anything to do with these attacks. "Saying that the Chinese military has made cyber attacks on the networks of foreign governments is groundless and irresponsible and are a result of ulterior motives," foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said.

China has been openly developing a significant cyber warfare cability and has previously stated it intends to establish electronic dominance over it's rivals by 2050. Currently they have a cyber police force of approx 25,000 monitoring their own citizens.

The Pentagon has also recently released details that it had been attacked from "states and non-state-owned organisations."

The German weekly Der Spiegel reported that espionage programs traced to the Peoples Liberation Army of China had been detected in computer systems at Chancellor Angela Merkel's office, the foreign ministry and other government agencies in Berlin without identifying its source.

This seems to be a glowing endorsement of the 5th Generation Warfare in it's infancy. A world were 'nets & jets' will largely prove the most effective means of defense and offense.

A Sobering Thought

Posted on Defense and the National Interest are August 2007 Coalition/NATO Dead In Iraq and Afghanistan, over 120.

Over the last 12 months alone that brings the figure to 1,396.

I will make a point of trying to keep this updated. Many may debate the reasons why they are out there, but that does not change anything. These men & women are still out there doing their duty. Though they are suffering more then ever.

Many have commented that this could drag on for another half century. Happy coincidence then that the oil reserves will be pretty low by then in the Middle East...sorry, I keep forgetting, it is NOT about the oil.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Nolan N102 Photos Posted

If you go to my Flickr page (link to the left) you should now find a few photos of the Nolan N102. I know, I really must get better using a camera!

Hope you enjoy.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Gear Update, Nolan N102

The first piece of my gear has arrived, aptly, the helmet.

It is a Nolan N102. A flip-front (or modular) helmet, with an external sun-shield and special slots to add a Nolan intercom/bluetooth system in the future. That is basically the guts of it. I will not go into much more. Instead I would like to refer you to the site that helped me make up my mind, please CLICK HERE for the webBikeWorld review.

Now I was never sure with flip-fronts. I wear glasses and the benefits should be obvious but most flip-fronts fitted me in such a way that I still had to move my glasses or simply did not suit my head type. The second I tried on the Nolan it was a perfect fit. No messing or tweaking. Just on and close! As for the safety compromise? As long as the helmet is shut is there really any? The helmet meets all the required European standards and at least one review I read had been written by someone who had crashed face first into the ground and the helmet did it's job.

Weight has been commented on. Yes, a flip-front will always be heavier then a full-face, but the N102 has been noted as having a bit more weight. Once on though it is not very noticeable, not to me anyway, there was no pulling of neck muscles when I moved my head or anymore fatigue then normal. Worse case I either do get a shore neck at some stage or my neck muscles start to look like a WWE "actor"! The venting seems to do the job (only my glasses have fogged during heavy breathing) and the quality is without question. Do not forget Nolan's 5 year guarantee!

The colour is black. I know, from a safety point of view white is the better choice, but just wait until you see the rest of my gear! That and I am sick of cleaning off marks. Anyone remember my "old" silver helmet? So the black was chosen with little hesitation.

So yes, I am very happy with this purchase. With the rest of my gear expected over the next two weeks I wait impatiently for men bearing gifts!

Keep the rubber side down.