Monday, November 23, 2009

We're Not Alone...

...and I have proof in the form of my Motorola Droid smart-phone. The capabilities of this phone are so far beyond what I'd ever imagined something so small could provide that the only way of wrapping my head around the 'hows' of this thing is to resign myself to believing that space aliens are among us and they're the ones responsible for this thin rectangular box of magic that fits neatly in the palm of my hand.

I mentioned in my previous post about giving serious consideration to taking the plunge on a Droid; I did it or rather, we did it. Rachel and I got Droids while Tammy went with an Envy 3 which is what I'd have otherwise gone with had it not been for my perceived need for a smart-phone.

Droid has nowhere near the number of apps (short for 'applications' that can be downloaded to enhance the phone's capabilities) the iPhone has but there are plenty available to get me started and there will soon be tons more no doubt. One of the more fascinating apps I've seen is Sky Map (as mentioned by Tim in the comments section of a previous post).

Unlike other cellphone cameras I've owned, Droid actually takes some very nice photos. There's a software issue with the autofocus though that apparently degrades photo quality on a 24.5 day cycle. I found this quote online attributed to one of the phone's developers, Dan Morrill, he states:

Yes, this is exactly what is happening.

There’s a rounding-error bug in the camera driver’s autofocus routine (which uses a timestamp) that causes autofocus to behave poorly on a 24.5-day cycle. That is, it’ll work for 24.5 days, then have poor performance for 24.5 days, then work again.

The 17th is the start of a new “works correctly” cycle, so the devices will be fine for a while. A permanent fix is in the works.


We're currently in the good part of the cycle so hopefully they'll have a fix ready to be applied before the 11th of December when we'll be back into the bad part of the cycle.

The phone's camera is 5mp with a flash that actually works and as I said, I'm quite happy with the quality of the photos it produces but just as good is the video it takes. I'll post some from the dog park or maybe Thanksgiving get-together in the next few days.

I got out last Friday for what will probably be my last long ride of the year. I wasn't expecting to be able to do another of this length for 2009 but everything came together late last week and I went for it. The temp was in the upper 40s to lower 50s with winds light out of the southwest. I was wishing I'd been able to get started a couple hours earlier to make it an even longer ride but I had no complaints.

Within two miles of leaving home I'd already noticed two cellphone distracted drivers who were creating some annoyance for others and I was hoping it wasn't going to be a sign of how the day would go. Cellphones add a whole other dimension of risk for cyclists that didn't exist before they came onto the scene and it's only getting worse. That's not to say they're not a hazard to everybody but we cyclists are especially vulnerable. I don't think about it much while I'm on the road but seeing such inattentiveness as I did to begin my ride gave me something to ponder as I headed out toward county road 5 and north into Burnsville.

I took the scenic route a few miles to the west of highway 169 and managed to get as far as Henderson (53 miles out) before stopping to refuel. I really wanted to press on to Le Sueur and pick up highway 169 for home but I was seriously flirting with not getting in before sunset and I didn't like my chances should I keep pressing outbound. I opted to head for home at that point and figured I could tack on whatever miles I'd need to put me over 100 once I got much closer in. It was the right choice giving me 106 miles for the day.

I was hoping to spend most of Saturday down in the shop finishing the next panel for our basement entertainment center but the warm and sunny weather had me outside most of the day. I spent the afternoon cleaning windows and washing, waxing and detailing our vehicles while watching several neighbors hang Christmas lights. Hey, I'm ahead of the game for once.

I'd finish this entry by saying 'bring on the snow' but you'll never hear me utter those words.

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