So, I decided to construct my very own homebrew PVR. I finally got all of the hardware (was waiting for the case…), and I put it together tonight.

Hardware Assembly

I’m installing the operating system (Fedora Core 4) right now. It seems to be taking forever to format a 270GB partition with JFS.

This is the first PC I’ve built from scratch in about 3 years. I’m glad I haven’t forgotten how to do it. It’s also my very first ever AMD system. I’m using a Semperon chip. I think the Semperon should have enough horsepower, because my capture card (PVR-350) has on-board mpeg encoding/decoding. We’ll see.


The on-board sound isn’t working with Fedora. Neither is my wireless card… It looks like some kernel recompilation is in order.


It’s pouring evil 70° rain outside, so I’m stuck in the house. I started playing around with Topo and I found something interesting.

You may remember my post about my nice ride down the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail.


Well, I was looking at the map to see what happens to that rail road grade after the CVRT ends. It seems to turn into a proper road, which runs the whole way into Carlisle. The map shows the name of this road as “Unimproved Local Road.” I wonder what that means?!

A road without a name

Maybe it’s a dirt road? That would be cool as hell. I’m gonna try to get out this weekend and check it out. The map shows it as 14.21 miles long.

After this mysterious road meanders through downtown Carlisle, it turns back into a trail, then unceremoniously ends after 2.18 miles.

A rail trail in Carlisle?


Something isn’t quite right about this:44 degrees F

It’s 5:30AM and it’s the end of November.


Rode home in shorts and a t-shirt! Holy smokes!

The Raven of Thought

I went for a ride down to City Island today. I’ve been experimenting with some new software and wanted some pictures to test with it. The software is called Hugin, which is a gui frontend for Panorama Tools.The upshot is that it lets you take several pictures with a cheap digicam and combine them for a panorama effect.

Before you go clicking on any of these pictures, be aware that they are fairly large files.

This is a regular picture. No digital trickery here. It’s just my bicycle with Santa Claus. For Christmas, my bicycle would like a new rear wheel, a new rear derailleur, a new chain, and a much lighter operator.


This is a 2-image composite. It’s some sprawl under contruction.

Slash and Burn

This is a 3-image composite of the Market St. Bridge. I took it from City Island.

The Market St. Bridge

Overall, it was about a 25 mile ride, which is the longest I’ve done on the Diamondback since roadifying it. It was in the upper 20’s, and I got cold. I seem to be troubled by the cold more this year than last. I must be getting old.

This Blog Needs a Name

I’m getting tired of using my domain name as a blog title. I’m trying some new ideas.

Let me know what you think of “The Blasphemous Bicycler”

If you have any suggestions, leave a comment.

Eric Raymond on Peak Oil

Eric Raymond is a part time hero, part time laughing stock of the open source community. He has gone off on a rant about Peak Oil.It’s pretty much the standard anarcho-capitalist argument: the market will fix it.

He says we can just build nazi machines to turn coal into oil. I guess that would work. At least until we run out of coal or greenhouse ourselves to death with the CO2. He doesn’t really talk about the radiation problems, either. I guess the magic nazi mchines fix that, too.

Market, Market Über Alles…

Dropping Out

The snazzy new kevlar-belted tires for the Trek arrived Friday night. I got them mounted on Saturday. I was having some problems getting the rear wheel reinstalled.
I was starting to think I had really messed up the rear wheel when I destroyed the tire. After a frantic post to the iBob list, I realized I had one of the springs in the QR skewer installed backwards. A dumbass mistake, and easily corrected.At long last, I was out the door and back on my bike. After a week on the Diamondback, everything felt wonderful, snappy, and fast. The only downside was that my hands were reaching for bar-end shifters, and now we were back to downtubes. Maybe I’ll get some bar-ends for this bike someday, too.

Anyways, I was rolling up to a 4-way-stop intersection, and a car was coming the other way. I decided I was gonna beat him to the intersection, so I upshifted, stood, and stomped on the pedals with a manly force that I’m sure would have made some truly heroic acceleration… Except what happened was that I tore the rear wheel out of the dropouts. Oops. Didn’t tighten them down correctly.

Yes, this has happened to me before.

This time it was worse. The brake pads dove under the rim, and the whole bike went sideways. I almost crashed, but I managed to get a foot unclipped, saving myself from total embarrasment.
My rear wheel went out of true in a pretty bad way. Luckily, I had some tools with me, and I was able to adjust the brakes and fenders enough to make the bike rideable.

I seriously thought about calling Brandi for the rescue wagon, but I made it home honorably; under my own power.

Last night, I got a belated birthday present from some family members. A gift certificate to the LBS in Mifflinburg. This place is cool because it’s run by Mennonites, for Mennonites. These people ride their bikes all over the place, all year round. I think I might use my gift certificate to have the wheel professionally trued by these people. They probably know what they are doing. I see them carrying large loads of produce to market on the backs of thier bikes, so they must know a thing or two about strong wheels.

Speaking of strong wheels, Jim (of “Oil is for Sissies” fame) is starting up his own shop, and he is building me a custom 48-spoke super-duty rear wheel for the Diamondback. I broke a spoke on my mountain biking adventure, and want something indestructable.

Hopefully, I don’t have to take such drastic action for the Trek. It has 126mm dropout spacing and the cantilever studs are set for a 630mm (27″) wheel. If I have a new wheel built, I’ll probably want to go with more modern 135mm dropout spacing, so I can use standard 8/9/10 speed components. I’d also want to use modern 622mm wheels, so I have a wider selection of tires. That would require cold-setting the frame, and having the canti studs re-brazed 4mm lower on the forks.

By the time I get done having two new wheels built and have the frame reconfigured (and it’ll have to be repainted after that), it probably would have been cheaper to just buy a whole new bike. I’m not sure I want to do that though. The Trek has certain mystical/spiritual properties I’m not sure I could find in a new bike.

Wool and Feathers

Today was my first sub-freezing commute for the season. It was 25F on the way in. I have pretty much forgotten which clothing combinations work best at which temperatures, so I’m working on re-figuring that stuff out.

Many of the people on the iBob list sing the praises of wool bicycling clothes. I kind of thought it was all a bunch of eccentric iBob wierdness, but I’ve been wearing a Ktena merino wool top for a few weeks now, and I really like it.

The main advantage is that wool feels more comfortable over a larger temperature range than the synthetics. The downside is that it’s way more expensive, and you have to be careful about how you wash it.

On the way home today, a big hawk was sittting in a field along the road. As I rode up, he took off and flew maybe 2 feet over my head. I was able to get a real close look at his belly feathers. It was awesome. Those poor bastards in cars don’t know what they’re missing.

Packet-Switching Kicks Ass

You may remember that I had some problems with the phone company a while back.I now have telephone service again, through Vonage.

I also have a new home phone number. If you think you should know it and don’t, send me an email.

The protocols involved in VOIP are really cool, and it makes it fun to talk on the phone and think of all the packets flying out of my router.

Speaking of routers, I am on the lookout for Cisco gear to set up a practice lab for use in pursuit of my Cisco Security Certification. If anyone knows of anywhere I can get such gear on the cheap, please leave a comment.