Archive for July 2010

Le Tour

July 10, 2010

Sleepless nights followed by sleepless nights. Evans going well. A nice bloke Cadel. Fingers crossed. A certain Brit 200 meter specialist. probably the fastest bloke in the world over 200 meters, has answered a few questions about his ability in no uncertain terms. Two astonishingly fast wins in a row.

A fun time of the year. Cuts into the sleep but. Tomorrow night a few of us will be watching the race live at Blackburn CC Clubrooms. Freezing and eating nibbles.

One of the nice things about cycling is that you do get to meet your hero’s. Tho I am not sure Cadel Evans is blogging about meeting Percrime. Never mind. Anyway its club level cycling that is the source of future champions. Our equivalent of the Tour. Last night was the first ever ABOC sprint series race at DISC. I don;t know if anyone who reads this blog came along (except for Kathy and Jenny who both came to watch. No idea if Penny reads it… tho she watched and then came home and ate with us (we can afford to feed Penny… eats less than the cat but is more fussy if that’s possible)

I was working in at Monash and heh.. sprinted out to DISC from the city. The roads were seriously full of loons. You can pick Friday evening peak hour just because they usually release the inmates from the asylum for the weekends. Near head on in little Lonsdale st with a car going the wrong way down the one way street Watched a scooter rider nearly get clobbered in Wellington St when the Hiace she was passing decided that the traffic was too heavy and turning right was the go. Neither looking or indicating were possibilities, turning the wheel was the limit of his competence. Watched a bloke stop for a green light.. also on Wellington… wait 50 seconds and then take off just as the light turned red. Had a woman nearly drive into my leg through a stop sign on Station st at 1 kmh as she tried to force her way into the stopped traffic.

Ahhh yes… speed is the biggest killer on our roads according the telly. I would have thought it was not looking and/or inconsiderate stupidity And I remain firmly convinced that we need the death penalty reintroduced. For all the tools who stop at the lights.. wait for the light change and then put the indicator on.

Anyway the Sprint series was great. Only 13 riders.. Carl was disappointed but you know small starts and all. The racing was great. I was actually asked to race.. but I was there on a road bike.. don.t have a current full license and would have been slowest by a long long way. They were quick. I got to marshal instead. This is going to be a great series. That Emily is going to make the Olympics if she wants too. She is at the age where she may not manage the commitment… then again. But I hope to see her win gold. Looking forward to the next one. Will do a link to the video,s when they are up.

Edit. Here is heat 1

My chest from Moe got sorted out. I went and got it Friday morning. Left at about 6:00. Foggy drive. Going though Warragul (where I and a good few pretty good cyclists were born) the fog was down to about 200 meters. Ended up in this weird surreal paceline of cars. Everyone watching the taillights in front. The driver on the back would decide everyone was crawling.. pull out and blast past everyone at warp one.. and then suddenly reach the front and discover they could see nothing and it was not so easy without tailights to follow.. They would pull left and brake until they were going a little slower than the line had been going. You get exactly the same thing when riders discover that punching a hole in the wind is tougher than wheelsucking. And go to the front and slow it all down. Sigh. So this kept happening and we kept going slower. Some dumb people out there.

But the chest was as advertised and looks very nice in my office. Thanking you marnieb. Now I need bookshelves. Dark wood.. many shelves.

Oh I meant to say. Sundays track left me tasting blood. Unlike Wednesday’s dentist. Which was scarey and horrible.. and will be the last for a while. Which is all about me cos it didn’t hurt and I did not taste blood. But my profound gratitude to my dentist who is a fan and will read this. Been very lucky with dentists who will put up with me.. dealing with dentists is very far from my best thing.. and I want them to know that they are appreciated.

OK this weekends work. Try and get UPS monitoring software running remotely on one client site. Do a new Adwords campaign for our Virtual Assistant stuff. Go for a run. Not riding today.. Bit concerned the roof is going to blow off.

Have been looking at a couple of blogs running that are connected with business. Its the same problem.. hard to find the time to do it.. so they just do not get updated. Started with the best of intentions.. but its a problem. Perhaps I could offer updating blogs as a Perfectnotes service? Any comments.

Small world innit?

July 6, 2010

Today was our monthly Box Hill TAFE organized Networking night. I was in the city and rode in and met Kathy there. The topic was an interesting look at the person presenting its own little bit of small business cash management software. Finetunebiz Cashbook. Runs on windows… and has a complicated authentication setup but does seem a thoroughly decent bit of software. Runs on what essentially is an excell spreadsheet which is nice.

A girl came up afterwords.. who hit me with the classic.. “you don,t remember me do you” “Alas… there have been so many….” Nah I managed nothing as ‘stylish’ as that. A student at Swinnie when I was there.. now starting a small business doing oil paintings and web design. Her name was Kate.. and while (amazingly ) I actually remember her last name, I think putting it here not appropriate

I gave her Kathys card as with brilliant forward planning I had none on me. I can see her being a useful contact. Actually I can see a couple of useful contacts coming out of the night. Kathy had a solid half dozen inquiries about her virtual assistant offering. All looking very very promising after a lack lustre start to the week.

In keeping with my plan to do a very local leaflet drop I have done a very local leaflet. What do you think?
Neigbours

I decided the back office has to be more organized. Went looking on Ebay for bookcases.. with no luck.. nothing local and immediate for money I was willing to pay. Also went looking for a chest. Something to put the large pile of rarely used but valuable motorcycle leathers and helmets in. Found a nice one.. In Moe. Which is a bit of a bummer. Decided it was worth one bid. Bid $66. One and only bid. Won as I often seem too. That was Sunday evening. Still have not heard from ‘marnieb’ Ok there are actually a lot of legitimate possibilities why this might be the case. However I may rethink this buying from Moe thing. Let us wait and see.

Dentist tomorrow. Oh joy. I like ‘my’ dentist.. but generically … mmmm… dentists. Phobic and don,t care who knows it. Got rung at like 6:30 by her assistant.. nurse… dental technician.. receptionist.. I don.t actually know the job description.. but one of her people. To see if I had fled the country. Sigh.

Weekends are for..

July 4, 2010

Racing.. and training. ABOC’s winter Sunday track session this evening was a killer. Intervals, lots of intervals, all indoors on wood at DISC. I was not the slowest..so called enduro.. closer to being the slowest than the fastest though. Worked my butt off. Still coughing up garbage from deepest rarely used recesses of my lungs, eating everything in the house and have the taste of blood in my mouth.

On the plus side.. finally actually started running again after a 2 month break (I actually ran out of usable running shoes) on Thursday. Sore back Friday.. sorer back yesterday and today… Which is just the price you pay for stopping an exercise and starting it up again, I know that. Back is not sore any more. Or alternatively the rest of me hurts so bad I am past noticing it. Whatever. It works 😀

Did some paceline too. Almost did a half decent job of holding a wheel. Boy am I happy with myself

If you want to see some real track sprinting ABOC is holding an invitational at 6:30 PM next Friday the 9th of July. I,ll be a spectator or maybe helping out.. all the riders will be a lot quicker than me. Its at the indoor Velodrome at Darebin International Sports Centre which is DISC So come and have a look if you are in Melbourne and the teeniest bit interested in track

Over the weekend a friend gave me a brilliant idea. Well hopefully it will turn out to be a brilliant idea. We are not wildly interested in doing tech support for just people as opposed to companies… tends to pay less.. and be more troublesome. Its also not rocket science.. the issues are not complex and we have lots of bargain basement competition.. including a good number of perfectly competent teenagers.

But on the other hand.. if the week is slow and the work is nearby why not? It might lead to business work in the way that a lot of our business work does lead to us doing tech support for the same people at home, and that has worked well for us. So while the school holidays are on, lets do a local leaflet drop, pushing the ‘school holiday special’ thing and see if we can chase up a few more customers near PerfectNotes HQ. Good idea? Here’s hoping.

OK the Tour is on… have to go watch. Cheers.

Wins and losses

July 3, 2010

Followers of PerfectNotes people on Facebook (and that page needs to start being updated daily) will have noticed that Kathy… everyone’s favorite developer, has had a win recently. We were approached by another IT company… a city based operation, with gorgeous offices, to see if we could do something for them. And the proof of concept of this works

It was this carefully unnamed company,s technical people that approached us. They are running a mainly windows operation, using IIS as a web server on a Windows 2007 server. What they wanted to do was , to simplify as much as possible for non technical readers, to run a customized Linux web server that runs a thing called Cyn.in which

Cyn.in is a collaboration software that inter-connects your people with each other and their collective knowledge, seamlessly.

and have it appear to the rest of the world as if that software was running on their Windows server. They needed to have it all work seamlessly with various media, and of course have no security issues.

While testing the concept our network at Perfectnotes grew substantially but only in a virtual sense. We now have a windows machine.. duel booting a windows enterprise server and barely managing at that. We have a couple of virtual machines running Cyn.in. On real machines running various things. And I have spent some time sorting all that out. But it all works. Is a major win. Very very cool.

Whats not so cool is that Stephen Hart, the owner of Grand Prix Bicycles, a shop in GlenHuntly road in I think Caulfield was killed on the holiday of a lifetime while bicycle touring in Italy. I don,t want to go into details.. but it would appear things went wrong on a mountain descent and it was all over in a moment. Just one of those things. I only met Stephen once or twice… but the shop and he have a great reputation and its a sad loss. I cannot but think its not a bad way to go, quickly while doing something you love, on the holiday of a lifetime but he leaves a wife, friends and co workers and it has to be unbearably horrible for them

I firmly believe that cycling is not a risky sport although there are stupid nongs who do their very best to make it so. I have not lost close friends cycling as I have through motorcycling. But things like this do bring it home. CCCC report on it all here There will be a memorial ride shortly.

The nanny state

July 1, 2010

Well today was a waste of time. My brother had organized a wrecked lancer to donate an engine to replace the slightly ill one in my lancer. I organized to have the day off, went over their on three cylinders and in a blue cloud, to meet the towie with it. Very bent lancer. Right engine.. cept it wasnt. Faced the wrong way.. had a fuel injection rail and a distributor at the wrong end.. and worse when I checked the vicroads site, the car was not stolen.. but had finance owing. I would have rung the finance company but vic roads wants you to pay $26 to have information like that. Which strikes me as insane.. assuming they want their car back surely they should pay vicroads. Or me for recovering it Why would I pay to help them out? So .. got it towed back to where he got it from. Sigh. That was a waste of time and money I left my Lancer (and apparently my wallet) at my brothers workshop where doubtless.. like other cars I have left their over the years it will gradually vanish from human knowledge.

Not a good day at all.

But in breaking news the terrafugia-transition flying car has passed its FAA approvals and is now legal as a light sports aircraft.. and presumably road legal somewhere.. probably not Victoria. Which as an Australian F1 driver is on record as saying recently truly is the nanny state.

But mostly where car driving is concerned. By coincidence a friend turned up here last night with her son. She is in the process of teaching him to drive. And out of curiosity I wondered if she was going to buy him a Terrafugia-Transition, as of course you would

But here is the thing.
In order to get his license her son has to comply with the following lifted from VicRoads

You must be at least 18 years of age and a Victorian resident to be eligible to apply for a probationary licence. You will need to pass a Hazard Perception Test and Drive Test at a VicRoads Customer Service Centre.

Learner permit holding period requirements and supervised driving experience
There are different requirements you must meet before applying for a probationary licence, depending on your age and when you obtained your learner permit:

* if you are under the age of 21, you must have held your learner permit for at least twelve months and completed a minimum of 120 hours (including at least 10 hours at night) of driving with an experienced driver before you take your licence test. You must have recorded these hours in an official Learner Log Book signed by you and your supervising experienced driver.

What are the requirements to fly you ask? Well I am glad you bought that up. From the Horsham flying club in Victoria it states the following

Age Requirements
The minimum age to learn is 15 years. There is no maximum age. Students under the age of 18 must have written consent from a parent or guardian.

Hours Required for a RAAus Pilot Certificate
Student without previous flying experience
MINIMUM of 20 hours for Restricted Pilot Certificate. A further 5 hours is required for a Cross-Country Endorsement .

In other words its a heap easier to get your pilots license than your probationary car license. And what this means is of course that at 15 its perfectly possible for you to be allowed to take off and fly and land your flying car. But absolutely illegal for you to drive it on a public road. Cos of course in Victoria that is the dangerous bit.

I want one anyway.. I want to take it out.. and swoop at speed camera’s with it.

Speaking of speed camera,s; its not impossible to have a win with even them. On Thursday evening I was riding home on the pushie down Whitehorse road.
Of all things a Lancer forced its way past way too close at one set of lights.. middle aged couple in it. Caught em at the next set.. gave them ‘the look’ whearas they went past again.. very close.. way over the limit.. obviously deliberate; a high speed buzz of the sort that appeals to a certain very stupid kind of bogan that usually does not make it to middle age. (Even the road toll occasionally has an upside if one believes in evolution)

Flash from the roadside ahead. RAV 4 parked on the median strip. Engine running.. camera on the dash. Karma (Carma) . 😀

bikebitsuk.com

July 1, 2010

Its actually Bikebits UK .com. but Bikebit SUK .com gets it absolutely right

Was I you I would not give them the time of day.
Clincher tires that are suitable for the wood at DISC are rare. And hard to find. And Expensive
So Jenny and I were happy to find them for a very cheap price at bikebitsuk. And Jenny promptly put in an order for two pair. And I told Carl Brewer of ABOC that he could have the tires I have borrowed off him for months (made out of recycled condoms.. best fu$$ing compound around) back

However bikebitsuk.com screwed us around. Not with non recycled condoms.. I speak metaphorically. Asswipes. The tires never turned up.. because they never had them. Bikebitsuk.com are now in my list of things I must do next time I visit my lovely mate Sara and her hubby in Hampton London.UK.
Dave and SaThis is a picture of me and the lovely Sa on my motorcycle the second last time she was in Melbourne.

I really want to tell Malcolm face to face how impressed with his customer service I am. Class, all the way NOT. Will my annoyance last long enough to actually visit? Well I guess it depends on how many people annoy me this much in the next few months. Malcolm will be a hard act to beat.

Jenny did get her money back today. But still. It was well over a month of buggering around. And with no contact from bikebitsuk for most of that time. At least it means I have her permission to express my annoyance with the joke that is bikebitsuk.com

That is the thing about the internet. You have to actually make an effort. One dissatisfied customer can do you a lot of damage. Me being a dissatisfied customer, I am happy to do bikebitsuk.com a lot of damage. OK they are probably a little start up like us. OK they are probably trying hard. But they made no effort to make up for their oops. They could have done a lot. Even sent Jenny a bunch of flowers or something. And possibly gained a customer. I would never not try and square it with a customer. So stuff em. Asswipes. One internet company to not deal with. Make a note and don’t. I never got a reply to the below email.

No Malcolm. Not good enough.
Get us these bloody tires or its unlikely you will sell anything to Oz
again.. and nearly certain that visiting Victoria is not something you
ever want to do. And since I am in the UK every couple of years…. way
to get annoyed.

Or alternatively find some acceptable way to make our experience with you
at least ok if not an overwhelmingly positive experience. Pull the digit
out and sort it.

4 suppliers…. riiiiiiighhht….. Pretty sure I could find a nuclear
reactor..or at least a MBT with less effort than that.

Regards

David Thomas.
>
> ————————————————–
> From: “malcolm”
> Sent: Tuesday, June 29, 2010 7:36 PM
> To: “‘Jennifer Campbell'”
> Subject: RE: Order Update urgently required.
>
>> Jennifer
>> As you have started the process of reclaiming the money paid my hands
>> are
>> tie and I have to wait for the process to take its course.
>>
>> I have been trying and trying to get hold of the tyres you order and I
>> have
>> placed order with 4 different suppliers to get supplies. All have
>> confirmed
>> my order but none have delivered to date. This applies not only to the
>> Diamante Pro light but various other Vittoria tyres and tubular. Nobody
>> at
>> this end of the world is saying what is going on whether it is a
>> production
>> problem and or commercial problem. I have been inform that a new price
>> list
>> has been announced taking effect from 1st July and prices are
>> considerable
>> higher than they were and perhaps this has been the problem with all the
>> currency fluctuations prevailing at the moment.
>>
>> As soon as I here from the chargeback dept of Natwest Streamline I will
>> instruct them to refund immediately.
>>
>> Sorry we were unable to help at this time
>>
>> Regards
>> Malcolm Cross
>>
>> —–Original Message—–
>> From: Jennifer Campbell [mailto:xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]
>> Sent: 29 June 2010 07:18
>> To: info@bikebitsuk.com
>> Subject: Order Update urgently required.
>> Importance: High
>>
>>
>>
>>> Hi Malcolm,
>>>
>>> You have charged me for my 4 tyres on 15th May 2010. I have NOT
>>> received
>>> them. You have NOT responded to my emails.
>>> I will be contacting my credit card provider to have this payment
>>> cancelled.
>>>
>>> I am unimpressed with your lack of customer service.
>>>
>>> Jennifer Campbell
>>>
>>>
>>> ————————————————–
>>> From: “Jennifer Campbell”
>>> Sent: Tuesday, June 15, 2010 12:09 PM
>>> To: “International Cycle Components”
>>> Subject: Re: Order Update
>>>
>>>> Malcolm Cross,
>>>>
>>>> Hi Malcolm,
>>>>
>>>> Tyres haven’t arrived yet – can you confirm when they were posted?
>>>>
>>>> Cheers,
>>>>
>>>> Jennifer Campbell
>>>>
>>>> ————————————————–
>>>> From: “International Cycle Components”
>>>> Sent: Thursday, May 20, 2010 12:15 AM
>>>> To: “Jennifer Campbell”
>>>> Subject: Order Update
>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> Bike Bits UK
>>>>> ——————————————————
>>>>> Order Number: 1845
>>>>> Date Ordered: Saturday 15 May, 2010
>>>>>
>>>>> The comments for your order are
>>>>>
>>>>> Jennifer, thanks for the order. The postage for the 4 tyres will be
>>>>> GBP13.00 via Royal Mail airmall small packets. Please confirm your
>>>>> acceptance so that we can ship quickly and ask Sage Pay to debit yor
>>>>> card with the additional cost. Thanks Malcolm Cross
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> Your order has been updated to the following status.
>>>>>