Sunday, 22 February 2009

Irish Motorcycle Show Returns

After a break last year the Carole Nash Irish Motorcycle Show is back at the RDS, Dublin on the 27th February -1st March. OK, I am the first to admit that the shows performance has been questionable in the past but with any luck they have improved and this may be an attempt to raise the bar. Which is important as motorcycle sales are going up thanks to people looking to save the cents.

For full details of show Click Here to go to the official website. What we can expect at the show are BMW, Ducati, Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda, KTM, Keeway, Triumph and Harley-Davidson. Also the electric scooter firm Vectrix will be exclusively unveiling two new models at the show (Click Here for MCN article).

Other then the motorcycles and scooters on show you can enjoy the Fuel girls, stunt champion Mattie Griffin, Babe of the Year with the Sunday World, the Purple Helmets display team, Speedway racing and the wall of death. Enough to keep you going?

I plan to attend on the Friday afternoon (2pm - 10pm) so expect to see me hanging around the H-D stand and hopefully taking lots of pictures. With any luck I hope Moto Guzzi are there as I am very interested in the Norge 1200. Hope to see a few of you there.

Keep the rubber side down.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Karmic Koala's Bringing Humanity To Others!?

Last Thursday (19th February) the next version of Ubuntu (9.04 Jaunty Jackalope) went into 'Feature Freeze', which essentially means that the current testing version is as close as you will get to the finished product due on the 23rd April. Of course there are still bugs to be splatted and the last few kinks ironed out but Jaunty is already achieving 25sec boot times on the warrior bunny is coming out fighting and very fast.

BUT WAIT! What now? Still enjoying your current stable release of 8.10 Intrepid Ibex and waiting patiently for the fast approaching 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope how can things get better? Well a certain Mr. Mark Shuttleworth has officially announced that the next version of Ubuntu is in development and it is currently codenamed the 9.10 Karmic Koala.

The official statement can be found over on The Fridge which details the intentions for the new release for those interested in the server side of things and desktop users. Since I am a desktop user here is what Mark had to say on it;

First impressions count. We’re eagerly following the development of kernel mode setting, which promises a smooth and flicker-free startup. We’ll consider options like Red Hat’s Plymouth, for graphical boot on all the cards that support it. We made a splash years ago with Usplash, but it’s time to move to something newer and shinier. So the good news is, boot will be beautiful. The bad news is, you won’t have long to appreciate it! It only takes 35 days to make a whole Koala, so we think it should be possible to bring up a stylish desktop much faster. The goal for Jaunty on a netbook is 25 seconds, so let’s see how much faster we can get you all the way to a Koala desktop. We’re also hoping to deliver a new login experience that complements the graphical boot, and works well for small groups as well as very large installations.

For those of you who can relate to Mini Me, or already have a Dell Mini, the Ubuntu Netbook Edition will be updated to include all the latest technology from Moblin, and tuned to work even better on screens that are vertically challenged. With millions of Linux netbooks out there, we have been learning and adapting usability to make the Koala cuddlier than ever. We also want to ensure that the Netbook Remix installs easily and works brilliantly on all the latest netbook hardware, so consider this a call for testing Ubuntu 9.04 if you’re the proud owner of one of these dainty items.

The desktop will have a designer’s fingerprints all over it - we’re now beginning the serious push to a new look. Brown has served us well but the Koala is considering other options. Come to UDS for a preview of the whole new look.

For the full article Click Here (For the original Mark Shuttleworth blog Click Here)

The intent seems to be to hammer out more details at the Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) in Barcelona over the 25th - 29th May. More details regarding the UDS can be found by Clicking Here and Here.

Karmic Koala...I like the sound of this already! I am one of those Ubuntu Netbook Remix users so rest assured I will be installing the 9.04 version onto my Advent 4211. The new features being suggested for 9.10 has got my mouth watering. Jaunty has not even arrived and I am already more excited about the latest evolution of Ubuntu.

Ubuntu...Linux for human beings.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Italy Tells Motorcycle Trailers To Roll On

Have a motorcycle with a trailer?? Like traveling around Europe with it? Well you better be careful as it is now illegal to drive on Italian roads while towing a trailer behind your motorcycle. The process to achieve this great legislative milestone (seriously...there are bigger issues!) has been a funny little journey.

You see they were banned originally by Italy, but the EU weighed in claiming that the Italian ruling contravened EU laws concerning intra-state trade...there was an opinion...then a second opinion. Italy found itself on the losing side and did what every modern state does in times of peril, ruled that motorcycle trailers were a health & safety matter and thus banned them through the back-door.

For the full detailed description head over to the EU Law Blog: Free movement of Goods, Motorcycle Trailers, Product Use and Road Safety: Case C-110/05.

Personally I can not see an issue with purpose built rigs that meet the necessary requirements for the road. I look forward to getting more insight into the matter and what the original motives behind the Italian government were. Considering the money they are currently handing out the the car and motorcycle industry in the country. Also when is the last time you heard of a motorcycle trailer being involved in a road accident?

Keep the rubber side down.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

MotoGP '09 - First Blood

After the turbulent events over the break with the pull-out of Kawasaki and rumours surrounding other teams it is great to finally see this years contenders back on the track.

Over the course of the tests Rossi had a few 'offs', while Stoner with his 'weak' wrist seems more then capable of keeping to the top of the pack. Capirossi seems to have had a great start to the season topping the charts and teammate Vermeulen managing to come in Suzuki seems to be off, after last season this is what they need. Hayden is down in 11th, fingers crossed that the curse of the Ducati will not see him relegated to the same fate as all of Stoners previous teammates. JT seems to have had a poor start, coming in at 14th...but these are early days and hopefully the tests put him on the right track to refine the motorcycle further.

So the MotoGP 2009 season is still 2 months away with the first round at Qatar on 12th April but I can not wait...I can already hear the engines revving!
clipped from

MotoGP Official Test at Sepang, Malaysia

Session 1 - 05/02/09

PosRiderTeamFastest lapPrev. GapLead. GapLaps
1Loris CAPIROSSIITA2:01.869-
2Casey STONERAUS2:02.038+0.169
3Valentino ROSSIITA2:02.324+0.286
4Chris VERMEULENAUS 2:02.803+0.479
5Toni ELIASSPA2:02.886+0.083
6Andrea DOVIZIOSOITA2:03.088+0.202
7Colin EDWARDSUSA2:03.254+0.166
8Dani PEDROSASPA2:03.312+0.058
9Sete GIBERNAUSPA2:03.750+0.438
10Jorge LORENZOSPA2:03.894+0.144
11Nicky HAYDENUSA2:04.002+0.108
12Alex DE ANGELISRSM2:04.396+0.394
13Mika KALLIOFIN2:04.405+0.009
14James TOSELANDGBR2:04.502+0.097
15Randy DE PUNIETFRA2:04.882+0.380
16Yamaha TestJPN2:05.024+0.142
17Yuki TAKAHASHIJPN2:05.098+0.074
18Yamaha TestJPN2:05.140+0.042
19Niccolo CANEPAITA2:05.270+0.130
 blog it

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Testing Man & Metal; RTA & I

Statistically it was bound to happen. In my eleventh year on two wheels and many thousands of kilometers I was involved in my first road traffic accident (RTA). I am lucky, very lucky. There is a saying among motorcyclists, "we all come off, some get back, some don't, some can't". I can get back on so I am looking at this as an experience I want to put behind me.

What happened? The classic "I did not see you" is the simple answer. Bear in mind that I was on my Buell Ulysses XB12XT, complete with all the boxes, I was wearing my high-vis vest, my pillion was wearing my Olympia gear (bright neon orange) no means inconspicuous. Add to that the accident happened at a junction, the van was beside me at a set of traffic lights and decided to turn left with no signal. I had managed to stop the motorcycle seeing him starting his turn, but he still hit me and carried on to finish the turn. I think the initial loud bang would have made me stop.

My pillion luckily had enough time to literally step from the bike onto the curb as we went down. I just remember the initial impact with the van and then seeing sky. Then brigade and ambulance staff. All seem to have seen this all before. I did get partially trapped under the bike but the side cases managed to keep the weight off me. So once lifted off I could slide onto the curb myself.

I was wearing my Nolan N102 helmet, it is scratched from going down but I felt nothing so it did its job exceptionally well. I was also wearing my Halvarssons Korax Jacket and matching Cobra pants. Over the jacket I had a new Teknic Kicker Vest. Again, I have some bruising on my arms and legs but that is the limit of my injuries. My back is also uninjured (I wear the optional Halvarssons back protector). The gear looks badly beaten up though, the trousers have even been riped so no longer fit-for-purpose. Again they performed exceptionally well, my lack of any serious injuries versus how beaten up they look stands as a testimony to their quality.

The Buell obviously faired less well...the local dealer (Dublin Harley-Davidson) have given me an estimate for the repairs but the motorcycle has been given the all-clear to ride. She looks bruised and battered (much like me) but has proven to be a tough nut to crack. Both of us are back on the road and getting more of that black tarmac under us but I have to admit that I am being a bit more cautious. Not always a good thing depending on the circumstances, but if nothing else I have a new found respect and admiration for my Buell!

Everyone has been great so far. The police that were on the scene in what felt like minutes. The fire brigade that helped me to my feat and the ambulance service who stayed with me and helped pick up my spirits. The friends who gave me a place to sleep that night and binge of pizza while I tried to make sense of what had happened. Also the guys in the dealership get full marks for getting in the motorcycle, checking it out and being an all-round great bunch.

Times like these test not just ourselves but also all those that our lives overlap. From the incident that started all this off in some warped domino affect. Which is still on-going as the insurance companies will now try to come to a compromise and draw a line under all this. I want to stay on two wheels as long as I can, a combination of identifying what was happening (my pillion jumped when they heard me screaming "STOP STOP STOP" which I do not remember!) and good gear have allowed me to limp away and ride another day.

As always, keep the rubber side down!