Friday, January 30, 2009

Whither the librarians ...

This semester I have a course on 'Mass Media' and I'm learning a little about the Internet, social sites, blogs and other other topics related to Media and Mass Media. One of the things that the Internet has brought us is information. Huge amounts of it.Heck, we're drowning in it. It's a conspiracy junkies delight as now they have 'proof' that we never reached the moon, the earth is flat and many other topics that they (loosely) keep under their tin hats. Within a few minutes, using any search engine, I can probably get a dozen different pages that say a dozen different things about any particular topic. When all is said and done how do I know what is right and what is wrong? In the past you could generally trust books in the library because they were a bit expensive and difficult to produce (try writing a book some time and you'll know what I mean). Today anyone can, and will, write on any topic, without fact checking and declare themselves a fountain of useful information. It used to be that when we wanted to research material we went to the research librarian (not the lady behind the main desk sorting books) to get help doing research. Not today, we now have Google and a dozen different search engines but we basically can't trust the information that's presented to us. From my class I've learned that librarians want to come up with a new system. One that will again put the librarians' talent to use and hopefully bring some renewed level of trust back to the information we need. Hopefully my class will go into further detail. Maybe, when I have to write a term paper, that can be the topic of my paper. Outside this class I don't have time to look up such information as my interests lie with other topics that need as much of my attention as does this class. Someone has to help rebuild the level of trust in the information we use to make decisions on a daily basis. Lets face it information is the new currency.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Testing out my new MiNewt.X2 Dual lights

Last night (Jan. 23, 2009) I finally got a chance to use my new lights. :-) It was warm (40F) and it was dark. I decided to ride over to a road that is hideously potholed, no street or house lights, and the forest on either side is far enough away that it can't be use as a reference. So I took off, rode this section road in both directions and found a reasonable smooth path to ride on (good to know for my commute home). The pair of lights, set as I have them, worked great! I'm very pleased with the lights.

For Christmas I received these new lights. I was looking for something that would last at least an hour (hi: 1:45, Lo: 3:30) and recharge in less than 8 hours (my work day). This would allow me to ride my bike to work before dawn and ride home after sunset. It will also allow me to take my older sets of lights and modify the setup to use newer halogen bulbs and an over voltage battery setup (more on that at a later date). I did a little searching on the 'net and found that the overall review of the Nite Rider MiNewt.X2 Dual setup was favorable. So that's what I got.

Back to last night, So I rush to get out, I got dressed, put water in the Camelbak and I'm outside with my bike and I put the lights on, I push and hold the button and the lights barely get any light. I turn them off and I push and hold the button longer, it now blinks but barely lights, I fidget with the lights for 15 - 20 minutes, Nada! So I take the lights in the house and fidget some more. What I've found since I first received these lights was that I had to push and hold the button for about 3 seconds, then the lights begin to flash brightly (I feel that I'm about to have a seizure when it first starts) once they start blinking I can release the button and push it a second time to get it stay on high and steady. Push it again and it drops to low and steady. Any more button pushing toggles between high and low. Today I tried simply hitting the button and releasing it quickly and it works. Tomorrow I'll try it out in the cold again to see if it was me or the lights (I suspect it was me).

Once I got over the initial problem I had to adjust the lights to put down a nice beam on the road. I chose to put the left beam center and closer to the tire (about 10 - 15 feet). The right beam was aimed a little further forward and slightly left. This worked out nicely. Some of the roads in my area suffer greatly from potholes, cracks and some would make the cobble stone roads of Belgium and France seem smooth. The lights did a real nice job of lighting these surfaces. I was available to avoid the potholes without slowing down.

Update: Jan 25, 2009 - Looks like the battery I have has some kind of problem. I have a second one (don't ask) and it works properly. I'll send the bad unit back to Performance and get it replaced.