technology

Posts: 24

First impressions: Muc-Off C3 ceramic dry chain lube

Muc-Off C3 ceramic lube dry packaging in front of my bike's drive train, leaning against the wheel

Up until now I've only ever used wet lubes on my bikes in any conditions. Last year in the summer riding season, I had to clean my chain much more often than I liked because the tracks I started riding, having only really gotten into gravel cycling, were very dry and dusty. After the first big gravel ride this year, the chain, even though carefully lubed, was so full of dirt and sand, I decided to try a dry lube to spare myself the time spent on cleaning the chain after every ride and reduce wear and tear on the chain itself.

Having read a lot of reviews, I came to the conclusoin that the difference in performance between the various slightly higher priced dry lubes seem to be negligible and I ended up trying the C3 ceramic lube – Premium DRY Condition Chain Lubricant from Muc-Off for the simple reason that I've had good experiences with some of their other products over the past two years. The lubricant has now been in use on my gravel bike "Battle Cat" for ~ 200 km and I like it so far.

Application

  • The lube can be applied precisely with the nozzle of the bottle after giving the bottle a proper shake.
  • There is vey little spill to the sides of the chain if you have a moderately steady hand, meaning there's very little lube wasted. If something does end up on the outer plates, it's easy to wipe off.
  • A few revolutions of the pedals are enough to get the lube to properly seep in between the rollers, bushings, and inner plates.

In use

  • Compared to the wet lube I've used for the past few years (Rohloff) the drive train is noticeably louder while riding.
  • Shifting and overall chain resistance seems to be a bit less but that might be just me imagining things and I wouldn't bet my bike on this assessment. I still consider myself a n00b in places.
  • It attracts little to no dirt and stays where it should be. Even after riding many kilometres on dusty wine yard paths and sandy roads, I wasn't able to detect a lot of dirt on the chain.

The only thing that I found surprising and mildly alarming was how quickly it washes off. I caught one rain shower towards the end of a ride and the lube was gone from the chain within a few minutes. Luckily I only had a few more kilometres to ride on tarmac before getting home, so I wasn’t worried about the drive train and I re-lubed the chain in the evening once it was dry again.

Logitech reinvents the Sony Jog Dial™

I can't help but giggle whenever a company is lauded for reinventing the wheel in IT. Today's example:

Logitech just announced a new keyboard with a dial, customizable through their software. It looks nice and solid—as Logitech hardware usually does—and it works on macOS and Windows.

I read the article on The Verge and watched the video. All I could think of was how much this reminded me of the Sony Jog Dial™ built into my first own laptop, a 14" Sony Vaio back in 2001.

Sony Jog Dial on a Vaio laptop.
Image credit: ITCua

It, too, was backed by drivers and a customization app. I loved this thing to death, having used it for everything from navigating the Start Menu, to controlling Winamp, to running system macros that took care of actions requiring a lot of tedious clicking.

So yes, if the software is sufficiently easy to use and flexible and if the integrations with third party apps work well, this new Logitech keyboard will undoubtedly be a good tool. But it's really nothing new.

Pilotless planes and the myth of passing on savings to consumers

The Verge has a short article up on pilotless planes, a study about consumer acceptance of pilotless planes, and the economic effects: Pilotless planes could save airlines billions, but passengers don’t want to fly in them yet

I thought about this a bit and I realised that I'd actually be willing and curious to be a passenger on a pilotless plane.

This passage, though:

UBS believes passengers could then see these savings passed down to them in the form of reduced fares, assuming there is no additional cost for flying pilotless and airlines don’t retain the benefits.

Really? Passing on savings to consumers. Really?

Let's ignore the development costs for this type of change that need to be recuperated; when was the last time you've seen publicly traded companies pass down savings to consumers?

There's nothing wrong with making a profit and once this technology is mature enough to confidently and securely transport people, by all means, make a profit. I just think that we all shouldn't lie to ourselves and think that there will be a financial benefit for anyone but these companies.

Which, ultimately, shows us that the core message of this article can be found in the first part of the title:
"Pilotless planes could save airlines billions"

Profile of accessory maker Anker on The Verge

The Verge published a profile of accessory maker Anker yesterday, written by Nick Statt.

I've been using their accessories—battery packs, Lightning cables, chargers—for a few years now and from the beginning I was very impressed by the quality Anker is able to deliver at less than half the price of Apple and established accessory manufacturers.

This article is a really interesting read about the origins and philosophy of the company.

How Anker is beating Apple and Samsung at their own game — The Verge

Eddycam 35mm camera strap + Peak Design Anchor Links

My favourite camera strap by a long shot is the Eddycam Edition "35mm" in all black. It's comfortable, robust, and the design is understated. I bought it alongside my Fujifilm X-Pro2 last year and kept it on the camera since then.

As much as I like this strap, there are two downsides to carrying my camera with a strap attached to the eyelets on either side of the body:

  • When using heavier lenses on the body, the camera becomes front-heavy, making it dangle uncomfortably when carried over the shoulder, around the neck, and diagonally across the body.
  • I can't switch to using a wrist strap in those rare situations when I want to and wrapping the neck strap around my wrist is impractical and doesn't give me the secure feeling a wrist strap does.

After a bit of searching for a quick-release solution to attach my Eddycam to, I ended up with the Peak Design Anchor Links. I have a couple Peak Design camera accessories and straps and their quick connectors are second to none. The system is a bit bulky which was my one small, but ultimately unfounded, concern about pairing the Anchor Links with the Eddycam 35mm strap: it might've ruined the clean looks of the X-Pro2 + black Eddycam strap combination.

X-Pro2 + Eddycam + Peak Design 01

The big benefit of using a quick connector system like the Peak Design Anchor Links, is having a new option to carry my camera when attaching larger lenses like the XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR zoom, or the XF90mmF2 R LM WR. If I'm going to be using either of those lenses for a significant amount of time, I always attach the additional hand grip MHG-XPRO2 to my camera, which has a little gap on the right side of the base that is perfect for attaching one of the Anchor Disks — I'm honestly not sure if this is an intentional feature of the hand grip, but it's undeniably useful :)

X-Pro2 + Eddycam + Peak Design 02

With the strap attached to one of the eyelets on the camera and the small gap in the hand grip, the camera will now hang vertically on my side, making the combination more stable and comfortable to carry.

X-Pro2 + Eddycam + Peak Design 03

I'm really happy with the result of this experiment and the increased versatility of this camera strap setup. The only thing missing now is an Eddycam wrist strap with an Anchor Link, as I don't find the Peak Design wrist strap very comfortable.

The Verge review: Microsoft Surface Studio

Microsoft has really come into its own as a computer manufacturer in recent years — the Surface Studio is another example of that. When it was announced in late October, I thought it was a brilliant idea. It's such an interesting and well executed device, I'm kind of sad that I have absolutely no use for one.

For the niche Microsoft is trying to capture with this flagship device, it will likely be a welcome alternative to using a PC or Mac with a Wacom pen display or tablet.

This review by the Tom Warren over on The Verge provides an in-depth look at the device, the usage modes, and its shortcomings and is well worth watching.

Activity Sharing — my favourite Apple Watch feature

Today my Apple Watch recommended I increase my daily calorie goal. Again. Ugh.

I've reached my activity goals every day for the past 43 days and it's starting to show. A big part of what keeps me motivated each day, is Activity Sharing: a feature that allows me to privately, securely, and easily share my daily progress with friends and colleagues.

It is really cool that a friend of mine from Australia and I can engage in some healthy—no pun intended—competition and help each other stay on track.

Along with the increased activity, I started slowly changing my diet. So far, I've simply reduced the amount of sweets I eat and substituted some of the carbs I usually eat with slightly fattier foods.

Besides being generally fitter and more alert, I find that all the exercise really helps with my mood and motivation throughout the day.

The Apple Watch has been great as a fitness tracker for me in the past six months but Activity Sharing improved on this a lot.

Now I need to get up and get moving because the dog just woke up; she wants to go for a walk and I have a couple hundred calories to burn before I fill that ring today.