If you happened to read my entry about my new Samsung Galaxy Note II at the beginning of the year, you know one of my goals was to become even more paperless than I was before. That was not the only thing I was working on though. In general I wanted to become more productive overall and start to take advantage of some new tools and technologies. For instance, I started to implement some of the concepts in Death By Meeting in managing my team at work. Combined with my paperless efforts, preparing for and recording the results of the meetings pushed me over into Evernote more than I had ever used it in the past. (more…)
Five years ago, on a Saturday, February 16th, my wife and I were at Flow MINI in Winston-Salem. Went home that evening with a brand new MINI WUF. Now 125,000 miles later, a few repairs – some major, some minor – and still motoring on. Currently leaking oil and coolant, scratched up rear bumper (thanks hit and run driver), some dings on the side, and two chips in the windshield, still plugging along as a daily driver.
I figure about 15% of the miles have been “motoring” miles with many of those at various events along the Eastern seaboard. Been to the two highest peaks east of the Mississippi (Mt. Mitchell and Mt. Washington), summit of Pilot Mountain, Hanging Rock, traveled the Blue Ridge Parkway end-to-end five times, been to the easternmost point in the continental U.S. (West Quoddy Head Light), ate a bunch of ice cream, and an untold number of twisties. I even have a couple drawers full of t-shirts as proof.
Looking forward to another five years with the MINI WUF.
Lots of changes in the Tar Heel MINI Motoring Club during 2012 with some of the older members moving on to new chapters in their lives. With this change comes the need for some transitions and folks to take over things previously handled by others. So, since the club has traditionally done a run to Stone Mountain in January, I figured I would try to keep that going. For the 2013 version, I went ahead and moved the date up to the first Saturday in January and dubbed the event the “New Year of Motoring Run”. Since my Turkey Ramble route had been run three times over the previous two months, I decided to look for something different. Plus, running to Stone Mountain would have been a stretch to then get the gap runs back into an overall route. (more…)
2013 is upon us! Before 2012 came to a close though, I had one last item to take care of. That was to pick up a new Samsung Galaxy Note II. The GN2 replaces my HTC EVO 4G that I have had for two years now. I think the EVO is probably the first cell phone I’ve ever owned that by the end of the contract term I wasn’t completely frustrated with it and ready to absolutely toss the thing. For about the last nine months or so I was constantly battling a memory shortage on the phone which was quite annoying. Probably the worst part of that was it would cut off my GMail delivery on the phone. For probably the last three months, I started to note some degradation in the battery life. I could still get about 5 hours of regular use out of the phone, but that was quite a bit less than normal.
I became eligible for an upgrade in November, but I was hoping to hold out for a price reduction on the GN2. The Galaxy S III came out over the summer and by October and November there were already specials in place. Unfortunately, the GN2 has proven to be very popular, so there weren’t really any discounts over the holiday shopping season.. As I watched football games over the weekend before New Year’s Day, I kept seeing ads for the GN2 and knowing how popular they are, realized price reductions were probably a ways off. So I went ahead and took the plunge with a run to the Sprint store on Monday afternoon. (more…)
I think most of my updates on this project have been via Facebook and Twitter, so about time I got something here on my blog. Last summer, shortly before the THMMC Blue Ridge Parkway Tour, the MINI WUF threw a CEL and I had a brief spat of rough running. Took the MINI in to Flow MINI of Raleigh. They diagnosed the problem as a broken timing chain guide rail. Since I was far out of warranty at 108,000 miles, had to pay for a whole new timing chain “cartridge” myself. The cartridge includes all the parts to replace the whole timing chain assembly – the chain, guides, sprockets, tensioner, etc.
In the course of completing that repair, they apparently discovered that was not getting things back to running normal, so they ended up doing the walnut shell carbon blasting. Got the MINI back, but it was still throwing the CEL. Took it back in, and the second time they ended up replacing the throttle body. That didn’t fix it either, so I ended up having to take a loaner on the BRP Tour. Flow MINI ended up replacing the valve cover and that seemed to finally fix things. In the course of all that work, they also flashed my computer to update it (had been at least two years since I’d had the MINI in to the dealer for any work) which resulted in my losing the ability to use the key fob’s remote transmitter to raise and lower the windows. The one-touch operation of the sunroof kept working though. They had also diagnosed a slow leak in my turbo oil feed line, but not bad enough it had to be addressed right away. (more…)
Over the course of the past couple months I’ve had some folks ask me how I go about making the gpx files that we distribute for the Tar Heel MINI Motoring Club runs and rallies. I use a combination of Google Maps and Garmin’s software, Basecamp (not to be confused with the project management platform that goes by the same name). Garmin had a software product called MapSource that I used until this past year. However, they decided to retire the MapSource product and focus their development efforts on the Basecamp product. I’m not real sure what the purpose was other than a guess that the underlying code is somehow easier to maintain across multiple platforms. (more…)
Earlier today I decided to upload a video to YouTube as a test to see how it would compare with Vimeo. I’ve been using Vimeo because back in the day YouTube was very limiting on the size of videos that could be uploaded. However, the more I use and view videos, especially my own when checking to make sure they came out like I wanted, I’ve been running into some issues with Vimeo.
From a user standpoint, when viewing videos on Vimeo, you really only have two choices – HD on or HD off. With YouTube, there are numerous choices for resolution, both HD and non-HD, depending on the source video. As I have discovered though, when viewed on my tablet (a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1), the YouTube app only provides choices of HD on or HD off. Vimeo on the other hand, does not even give you a choice. The other thing I’ve noticed is that Vimeo seems to be more apt to buffering issues. (more…)
Just thought I’d post a quick update regarding the Continental DWS tires I have on the MINI. I’ve had them on for 10 months and about 19,000 miles now. Rotated them today and took measurements. The ones that just came off the front were down to about 6/32nds of tread. The ones that were on the rear were about 6.25/32nds of tread. Assuming the wear is linear, when I hit 2/32nds I should be somewhere between 38-40k miles. Which will be a little disappointing given the 50k mile guarantee they have. If it ends up at that level, I guess I may qualify for a small credit if I buy another pair of Continentals.
The good news is, the switch back to an all-season and longer treadwear means I am still a ways off from having to buy new tires, which was part of my goal as I was tired of buying new tires every year. Should be able to make it to some time next summer.
If you are paying attention to the blog, you know the last post was a recap from a Tar Heel MINI Motoring Club run just done at the beginning of August. Now I am going back in time to May of 2012 to recap a run we did then – the THMMC 7th Anniversary Run. The timeline jumble is what happens when you have a computer dying and preventing work on videos and recaps.
For this recap, I not only have some pics (see gallery at end of post), but a video as well. For the video, this was my first attempt after some self-study that included reading How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck: Advice to Make Any Amateur Look Like A Pro. From that, I picked up a few tips like making a “shot list” and when editing my videos together to start using shorter cuts. Don’t think I’m to the point where my videos don’t suck, but they may be better than say, a year ago. I am also slowing learning how to use the iMovie software on the new MBP. For this video, I learned how to fade the music in and out and adjust the audio volume on clips. (more…)
On Saturday, August 4, 2012, I led the first ever ice cream run held by the Tar Heel MINI Motoring Club. The run started in Durham, wound through some countryside over to Asheboro before heading north to end in Greensboro.
Our first stop was Pelican’s SnoBalls in Durham. I suppose technically this was not ice cream as it was shaved ice dubbed a “snoball”. They had about 100 flavors on the menu along with a variety of extra toppings and other goodies. I stuck with a simple snoball and got POG – a mixture of pineapple, passion fruit, orange, and guava. And it was delicious. Probably my favorite of all the stops.
We then motored through Durham, skirting Duke Forest on our way to Maple View Farm. This is obviously a popular spot with travelers of all sorts as there were several Harley groups there when we arrived along with numerous cyclists that were using Maple View as their start/stop location for a country ride. I went with Blueberry ice cream in a waffle cone. I’m pretty sure the last time I had blueberry ice cream was during The Great Ice Cream Run 2 back in 2009 when we got some up in Maine. (Shhh – Maine’s was better imo.) (more…)