Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Bike light quick look

I have a couple of bike lights that I haven't posted anything on yet, so here's something quick.

Here's a quick video:




The first is an Axiom Pulse 60 from Performance ($35 on sale).  That price puts it directly in line with the Cygolite Hot Shot.  IMO, there's no comparison, the Axiom is a better light.  It's brighter, the battery life seems comparable, and it has a better mount.  The Hotshot has more modes, but honestly, I never found them particularly useful.

The Axiom seems to be almost exactly the same light as the Serfas Shield - same specs, very similar mount and appearance and performance.  Just a lot cheaper (I paid about $60 for my Serfas Sheild).

I've been using the Axiom for a couple of weeks and it seems like a winner.  I get about 4 days of 90 minutes per day of riding before the low battery indicator comes on.  I haven't tried running it dead yet.

Here's a shot with the Hotshot on top and the Pulse 60 on bottom:

From off to the side:
And from directly to the side:

The second light, which I just got, is a Metroflash Ignita.  It's a super tiny headlight.  I was looking for something very small that would generate a pulse white light for daytime visibility.  My experience from driving is that it doesn't take a lot of light to get a motorist's attention if it moves or flashes.  This light seems very bright and I was very surprised at how small it actually is. I had to helmet mount it because of the bar bag that blocks lights mounted on my bars.  Here it is mounted on my helmet:


You can see it in the video at the top. It doesn't appear to be as bright as the taillight in that video, but that's because the flash duration is so short.  When they are both on solid, it's clear that the Ignita is noticeably brighter.  If the Pulse 60 is accurate at 60 lumens, I'd have to guess that the Ignita might be 75 or 80 lumens.  It's hard to tell though with one being red and the other bluish-white.

I would definitely not want to use the Ignita as a primary light to see by, but there have been times when my primary light has failed and I would have been quite happy to have an 80 lumen light to limp home on.  Given that it essentially weighs nothing, I will definitely leave it on my helmet even in the winter when I have my big guns mounted on the bike, as a backup.  If nothing else, having a helmet mounted small light is useful if you have to stop for repairs or to look for something in a bag at night.

I'm giving two big thumbs up for these lights.  The Pulse 60 as a primary taillight for both day and night visibility, the Ignita as a daytime front visibility flasher and also in the dark as either a visibility flasher if you are riding where there is sufficient ambient street lighting, or as an emergency limp home light or a repair light.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

My favorite reading device

I picked up a 10" tablet a few days ago, mainly to read magazines on.  I also tried reading ebooks on it, using several apps (2 of which I paid for back when I had the 7" tablet).

I used it exclusively for 4 days, then picked up my Kindle Paperwhite again and jumped into the same book I was reading.

There's no contest.  For reading straight text novels (read linearly, no color graphics) which is 90% of my reading, the Paperwhite is still far and away the better device. In fact I have no idea what they could do to make it a better reading device.  It's close to being a perfect thing.

The tablet is still great for reading magazines, though the one I got has barely enough resolution to do it comfortably (1280x800).  I'd definitely recommend trying for higher resolution.  I skipped it for this one because the higher resolution models either had Intel Atom CPUs (some apps not compatible), ran Windows 8, or cost significantly more (I only paid $230 for the 10" tablet).

FWIW I got a Lenovo Yoga 10 tablet.  I have absolutely no complaints about it, other than that it shipped with a lousy launcher (all branded launchers are lousy). I replaced it with a KitKat launcher, which some guy compiled up straight from the actual KitKat code and put on the Play store.  It works very well.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Blinkie assembly video uploaded

If you're not actually building this blinkie it's gonna be "boring as bat shit" as Dave J would say, but I think it turned out rather well given that.  It's even not bad for a soldering tutorial.