Back in the Saddle – New Shoes too!

Today I got back out cycling. First time since the Christmas shutdown. I had three weeks of travel, and then came back with a gnarly chest cold. that kept me down for more than two weeks.

I know, I know, lots of excuses.

Today, I felt pretty good. Not much expectoration, and I have not needed any cold medicine for two days.

I also took the opportunity to mount the cleats on my new shoes. Back in December, I splurged on a new pair of riding shoes. Since I have wide feet, there are limited choices that fit. Pretty much the Sidi’s or the um, Sidi’s. (gulp, they are also about $200) My old shoes I bought with my bike, back in 2002, so they were 11+ years old, and were really not very supportive anymore.

I also bought new cleats. I have been a long time Look pedal and cleat user. But the cleats I bought are a little different They are designed to float a bit (several degrees). There are some that are more rigid, so you can tune your ride.

The new cleats mounted up easily, and the shoes fit well (still need to break in a bit).

The new cleats are a bit strange. It is much easier to get into the pedals with these cleats. Big bonus. But the floating feels weird. It almost feels like you are not clipped in. But you are, and you can stand up and pump the pedals.

I am going to have to get used to them, but I think I am going to like them.

The ride was an easy 15 miles. I felt pretty good, I didn’t push too hard. I probably could have stretched it to 20 miles or more, but I thought that caution was in store.

I can hardly wait to get out again.

Taking the plunge: Going VPS

Earlier this week, I learnt that my hosting provider, (MT) has been sold to GoDaddy. While they assured their customers that they would be independent, and that GoDaddy was trying to change their reputation, I know that it was just a matter of time before the douchebaggery of GoDaddy infected the ethos of MediaTemple.

I had used a shared hosting account that worked remarkably well. I have 9 domains and 5 active sites (and two test bed sites) on there, and have been pretty satisfied with performance, and extremely satisfied with their support. But I have gotten to a scale where being constrained by a normal hosting account was an annoyance. Several times I investigated the process to move to a VPS (virtual private server), and never took the plunge. Just too much effort.

The changes earlier this week pushed me over the edge. I have opened a VPS account at a smaller, highly recommended web host, A Small Orange. I am in the process of moving my main site, and getting all the bits and pieces set up the way I like. A few teething problems (like the DNS changes taking insanely long to propagate), and some incompatibilities in the PHP setup that I need to overcome, but in general I am satisfied.

Of course, I am a bit rusty on my unix mad skillz, so I am boning up on how to manage and configure a linux system. Fortunately out of the box, they set it up well, and it is pretty secure, so I am glad to inherit that state. The VPS uses the cPanel and WHM services to manage the bits and pieces, which is pretty standard, but foreign to me, so I am learning how to wrangle these tools (they are pretty damn slick though).

My goal for this weekend is to move my main site (which currently has a module that barfs, so I have to figure that out), and to get all the bits and pieces lined up. Should be fun. And I expect that performance will be better in the long run (or at least completely under my own control).

Lost an old friend, gained a new one

Last weekend, I posted about the demise of my faithful Swing-a-way can opener. I had that opener for probably 20 years. It had been a good kitchen tool, but it was finally wearing out.

The parent company, Amco, still sells the Swing-a-way opener, and I was going to go that route, but the reviews on Amazon were pretty negative. In a familiar story, Amco closed up their US operation, moved the production to china, and then import them back. As is often the case, this results in a slipping of quality.

Fortunately, there is a brand that is made in the USA, in the same factory as the old Swing-a-way can openers were made, and they have the same awesome quality. The new name is EZ-DUZ-IT, and for $7.59 Amazon delivered it to my door. That night, I needed to open a couple of cans of dog food, and I put the new opener on the cans, and it just breezed through them. Smooth action, clean cut, no missed spots. Heaven in a kitchen tool.

While I have a decade or two to see if it wears as well as my old Swing-a-way, I am hopeful for the future.

The real irony? Amco’s Swing-a-way, made in China was $8.99. The EZ DUZ IT – $7.59. Can’t beat that.