I hate cyclepaths. Sometimes.

I use cyclepaths every day when I ride to work, I support & regularly donate cash to Sustrans, the awesome organisation that has created thousands of miles of cyclepath in the UK and continues to drive new paths across the country, and I am cheered whenever I see one of those little blue and white cycle signs with the number of the path on it. But sometimes they cause me problems.
When I’m riding to work I pootle along easily, waving to other cyclists, calling out “good morning” to the walkers and happily slowing to avoid errant dogs. I listen to the birds, I note the new flowers and how the trees are changing. I use a cycle path for 99% of the distance, and since I moved and have been able to use the route 4 cyclepath I’ve cut my car collision rate from 1/year to 0/year (and yes, every collision was the fault of the car driver, not mine).
When I’m training on the bike I need to be able to put out a certain amount of power for a certain amount of time. If riding at an easy to steady pace this means I need to consistently travel at around 30kph on flat roads. If I’m riding harder I need to go faster. I can’t do this on cyclepaths. They’re too narrow, too bumpy, and they have dogs and walkers on them too. I need to use the roads when I train. I plan my training routes and times to avoid traffic as much as possible. It’s more pleasant for me, and I avoid holding people up. I’m also likely to live longer and to be able to train more consistently by avoiding collisions with vehicles.
So it pisses me off when I’m training and for the very short sections of my rides when I’m near a cyclepath a car driver that has taken an extra 5 seconds of their journey to overtake me then shouts at me through an open window to “get on the cyclepath!” (By the way, half the time cyclists can’t even hear whatever the hell people in cars are shouting).
It’s incredibly rude to assume you know better than someone else and to then shout at them giving no chance at reply or recourse other than the middle finger. I could explain as above why I’m on the road. I could tell you that I really try to stay out of your way, but for this 200m of road where there is a cyclepath I really need to stay on the road. I could argue that there is currently no legislation that says a cyclist should use a cyclepath rather than the road. I could describe the dangers of my hurtling along a narrow path at 20mph and the risk to pedestrians, animals and me. I could complain about how long it takes to cross road junctions using cyclepath traffic light controlled crossings that give priority to vehicles over cyclists and pedestrians. I could argue that I really haven’t slowed you down by much, and ask you to respect other road users and consider that their use of the road is as important as yours. I could remind you that we’re all on a journey and the aim is to get there safely, not quickly. I could be condescending and advise you to get your lazy arse out of bed earlier tomorrow so that you’re not rushing to work late.
But I don’t get a chance, unless I catch you at the lights. And then you tend to have your windows raised up all of a sudden, and you are very keen to speed away as soon as the lights change.

Kids & tech part 2

This is what my remote used to look like. Given my previous post, the flipside of children being so involved in technology is that they have no idea how delicate or expensive it can be. Apart from getting an Apple TV that I can stow away somewhere and sticking speakers on walls I’ve been put off buying any decent technology for the house.
My Logitech universal remote (if I can find it) is chewed, bashed & one of the main buttons is broken, it’s hard to watch the home theatre PC because the baby likes to press the off button, speakers and furniture are accruing dents, the Wiimotes and accessories bounce very well but I feel they won’t bounce forever, the plasma tv is covered in sticky fingerprints, we were paying Sky for crappy on-TV games until I found out and password-protected extra features, DVDs are hidden away in boxes in cupboards, and furniture has been rearranged to stop babies getting to cables.
The future of family tech is KISS (keep it simple stupid), robust and discrete. I’m thinking small Apple things that I can hide and tough little speakers I can bolt to walls. And maybe some cleaning robots to chase around. The “don’t touch that” principle isn’t worth a damn, and kid-proof needs to be thought about with each purchase.
What I will do is slowly plan my perfect home theatre system to build in the future. In the bedroom of the first one to leave home.

iTunes film prices

I have a personal plea. If you’re going to watch films from the iTunes Store (link opens in iTunes) and feel that you need to comment, can you please shut the hell up about the price? It is not expensive.
Every film I’ve rented or bought from iTunes has a huge list of reviews, and those at the top all complain about the price. “Whine, whine, whine. Why do I have to pay £10.99 to buy a film? Wah, wah wah. It’s cheaper to leave my house and walk to a shop, or go to an online shop, buy the DVD, put it in my computer, download some software from the internet, install the software, fiddle with the settings, rip the film to the hard disk, resize it for my iPod, and then transfer it to my iPod.” You’re missing the point, whacko’s. You’re paying for convenience. And when was Apple ever cheap, you poor babies? You want cheap? Go to Poundland. You want quality? Go to Apple, or B&O, or some other damned expensive company.
Apart from that, you’re wrong about the price too. Cloverfield on iTunes costs £10.99 to buy, as do all their newer films. Amazon is selling Cloverfield on DVD today for £11.98. Play is selling Cloverfield on DVD today for £11.99. This film was released on DVD on June 9th, according to Amazon, so they don’t get cheap quickly either. “But what about the extras you get on the DVD?” That’s what a DVD’s for, you dumbass.
So stop thinking that you’re making a difference by posting your dumb comment. And don’t think you’re helping by marking these whiner comments as helpful either, pushing them to the top of the list. Go to Amazon or Play and moan there that you don’t want to pay £11.99 and tell them to make it cheaper. See how far that gets you. At least it gets you away from me.

I hate chevrons

I hate these damned chevrons! They try to hypnotise me, and instead of making me focus on the distance between me and the car in front they confuse my eye and take my attention away from driving. And it’s a bloody long section too! You keep thinking you can see the end….. and then there’s another one. Ugh. Horrible.

Producer plans Barbarella remake

According to the BBC, “A remake of the cult 1960s science-fiction film Barbarella is in development”.
“Original producer Dino De Laurentiis has secured the rights to remake the 1968 film, which starred Jane Fonda.”
Oh for the love of scifi, create something new! Barbarella is a cult favourite, don’t “remake” it! Why, oh why, oh why do you have to remake something that was already good? Why don’t you pick something crap and unloved, and try to improve on that (maybe like Heat)?
Yes, I’m back at work and grumpy as hell.
BBC article

iPod add-on ‘fails’ privacy test

What a load of rubbish. I cannot believe that the BBC are taking this seriously:
BBC article link.
This was slashdotted as a piece of research to be ridiculed weeks ago. In a nutshell, it says that one can intercept the information coming from a runner’s shoe via the Nike iPod Sport Kit and in theory track a user with it. The shoe has an accelerometer and sends data wirelessy to the user’s iPod, with which they can read useful run data.
According to the BBC, “The unique identifier could be tracked up to 20 metres away outdoors and at speeds up to 30 mph.” Er, yes, but I can see someone further than 20 metres away with my own, naked eyes.
Also, “When someone is engaged in a workout with a sensor using a receiver attached to an iPod, a second receiver can detect the sensor transmitting its UID.” Oh my God, someone could know how fast I was running! Oh, wait, I could see that with my eyes too. Oh, and the users of this system tend to share all this data with others around the world via a Nike website.
Apparently, “By concealing a few of the small custom-made receivers in select locations, the researchers showed how it would be possible to track someone’s movements.” Oh come on! If I run a 10km loop and you can only detect me within 20m, how many bloody custom-made receivers are you going to need? Most runners run the same routes week in and week out anyway, making tracking much easier by any other more boring method. How many receivers would you need to cover the whole city? This completely ignores the fact that the only time runners wear their running shoes is when they’re running, so most of the time you’d be tracking me to the cupboard under the stairs, when in fact I am actually rather rarely in there.
“In the worst scenario suggested by the scientists, stalkers could use the tracking data to “engineer” encounters with victims.” What a load of crap. Not only is it late by internet standards, but it has been written without any sign of thinking. Is this the aim, merely to report what others report? If so then please ignore the rubbish that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

More rain

Today is the first Monday since August(ish) that we haven’t been teaching anatomy. To commemorate this I thought I’d have a lie in, and read a book before starting work a little later than usual. It *is* late December after all. When I did get on my bike to cycle in, it started to rain. Heavily. I got absolutely soaked. Of course now I am at work the weather has improved, and there was no rain before I set off to work.
This is the sort of Sod’s Law experience that makes you turn to religion. And is probably where vengeful Gods come from.

Web Design Warning

Be warned, the next person that asks me to build them a website will have to up the sound quality in my study for me by buying me these items:
PMC DB1 (plus a sub to match probably…)
Cyrus 6vs
And probably a couple of hundred egg boxes for the walls. All my web construction is built at around 90dB and I need better quality audio. That should put you lot off my back for a while.

MSN upgrade

So after the post below I checked for updates, and there’s a new version of MSN Messenger for the Mac: Version 6. So I downloaded and installed it. It won’t even log me in, and only gives me an error if I put the wrong password. So now I can’t even use the software. Great.
Another high quality product from Microsoft. Any loon that is looking forward to buying Vista is a true nut. If you want me I’m in iChat (also via AOL IM, but I wouldn’t recommend that piece of cr*p to my worst enemy).