Archive for June, 2010

In Defense of the iPhone 4

Posted in Uncategorized on June 28, 2010 by theseep

Cracked screens.  Hard to predict crazy antenna design/ human interface signal problem.  Barely usable videoconferencing.  Oh, wait, I’m supposed to be defending it.  Defending that beautifully industrial, quirky and delicate shiny slab of glass.  That highly focused and seemingly infinite portal into communication.  I love how clear the screen is, how slim and sleek it feels in my hands. Modern, machined with precision and care.  An alluring victim of it’s own striking utility.  It mesmerizes me with it’s form, yet I know it’s only a matter of time before my slightly sweaty fingers slip and it tumbles in slow motion from my fumbling hands.  Despite the fear that makes me overgrip it’s steel edges, I marvel at it.  It can tell me anything.  I have access to so much information in a near-perfect form (aside from the almost deal-breaking and glaringly obvious oversights – I can’t videoconference anywhere except my house and effing Starbucks?  Holy crap, I’ve been wanting to videoconference on a mobile device for over a decade since I had my apple Newton!  Now it seems almost stupid idea!  Why can’t I videoconference with an iMac and why isn’t there already a Skype program?  That might start to make it useful!  I can’t even send video to an iPhone 3GS!  Are you kidding me?!  Bush league tech rollout, Steve.  Oh, wait .  . . kidding!.   . Right, I was kidding!   Seriously, those Apple videos almost made me cry.  And bringing in the deaf “I love you” at the end?  Brilliant, Mr. Jobs.  Simply Brilliant!).  The smooth, glossy glass sides absolutely terrify me.  I cradle it gently but firmly so I don’t slip and drop it, fearing that I’ll have to watch that gorgeous information portal smash, with horrific, wallet plundering, lightning bolt cracks flickering up from the pavement across that beautiful and attention-sucking Retina Display.  Destroying it forever (or until tomorrow when I blow an extra $20 for overnight shipping on a replacement screen.  Crap!  I had 8 million other things to do besides Googling “how to replace an iPhone 4 screen” and setting up my temporary amateur electronics repair shop on my messy-assed desk!).

I just checked, my bumpers won’t be here for 4 more, anxiety-provoking days.   Hrmmm. .

Right now, I usually hold  my iPhone 4 with my left thumb firmly 1/2 way down the left side, and 3 firm but deft fingers spread evenly along the right side.  Holding it this way, partly because of my terror and partly because of the reception problems, I find that I’m paying more attention to it.  The delicate yet purposeful way that my fingertips grasp the device leads me to be more conscious of my interactions with it.  Unfortunately I also almost feel like I should stick my pinky out when I’m holding it to my ear, like when pretentiously sipping tea.

I must say however, that despite the flaws, the iPhone 4 is a gloriously cool and well designed piece of genius.  Between the recharged iOS 4, the drool-inducing facade, and specifications of the device itself, it is one of the most useful pieces of communication hardware ever made.  Strong work guys.  Now get FaceTime over 3G and on iChat and Skype before I change my mind!

When are those bumpers coming in again?   I preordered an awesome bamboo case made in Oregon, but that will be a month or more and I can’t wait that long!

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The Electric Xtracycle: The S.E.E.P.’s Latest in Eco-Friendly Transportation!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 22, 2010 by theseep

I’ve had my xtracycle for a few years now and it’s served me well commuting around town and to French Hospital for work.  Now that we have Orion, we decided to go for xtracycle’s PeaPod promotion and got Laura their Radish model with the PeaPod child seat attachment.  Although the bike was quite a looker and very functional, the components left a little to be desired, so I upgraded the front crank from a single to triple chain ring, upgraded brakes levers and shifters, and rear derailleur to Shimano XT, swapped out a more practical handlebar, and put on the sweet seat from Laura’s old commuter.  While this worked well around town, the xtracycle setup and PeaPod made for a heavy bike and because of this, and time constraints, we weren’t using it as much as we wanted.  So, I overcame my biker’s guilt and we decided to electrify it through Jake at San Luis Rides.  We went with a high-end kit, including a 600W BMC V2 motor in the rear wheel, a 48V, a LiFePO4 48v 15AH Battery w/ charger, and the Cycle Analyst computer to monitor discharge status and mileage.  Along with Jake’s EV install, I also installed a 12V lighting system and some barrio fabuloso green ground effects, which required some research, making a bracket for the headlight and turn signals, and some wiring, then I wrapped all the wires up neatly with some spiral cable wrap and tucked the controller and 48v-12v inverter into a bag behind the seat.  After all was said and done, we now have a beautiful and efficient assisted mode of transportation for one of us with Orion and he loves it!  We get a top speed of around 27 mph (although we’re legally topped out at 20mph) and a range of 15-20 miles depending on how fast we’re cooking and how much we’re pedaling.  We’re definitely using the bike more for our around town errands and shopping with the motor than before.  Even though the xtracycle was great before, electrifying it has overcome the “energy of activation” that we needed to really ditch the car for most of our quick trips!

Here is the video we made for xtracycle as part of the “PeaPod Pilots” promotion they did:

Orion’s New Xtracycle PeaPod LT from Clint Slaughter on Vimeo.