Archive for category Recumbent Bicycling

Sony HDR-AS30V: More Wasabi NP-BX1 Batteries

The Sony HDR-AS30V helmet camera can record about 5.5 h of 1920×1080 60 fps video on a 64 GB Micro-SD card, but a single NP-BX1 battery provides a 1.5 h run time, tops. Having had a good experience with the previous Wasabi batteries, I picked up three more and ran all six through the battery tester:

Sony NP-BX1 - OEM Wasabi - 2014-10-03

Sony NP-BX1 – OEM Wasabi – 2014-10-03

The red curve is the Sony OEM battery, the two lower curves are the Wasabi batteries from January, and the upper three come from the new Wasabi batteries. All in all, they look good to me.

These curves aren’t directly comparable to the older ones, as I’ve bumped the discharge to 500 mA to better match the actual camera load. These worked out to about two hours apiece, so the camera must draw around 600 or 700 mA.

The Wasabi batteries deliver a higher voltage than the Sony OEM battery over nearly all of the discharge curve. The older ones delivered almost exactly the same run time, which leads me to believe the camera cuts off at 2.8 V, too, with a boost power supply extracting all the energy under the curve.

I suppose a 1.5 h run time makes sense for downhill skiiing, but it’s painfully short for bike trips.

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NYS DOT Patch Quality

After years of neglect, an NYS DOT crew started a really nice repair job on the inside edge of the curve just north of our house. They milled out the deteriorated road surface, cleaned out the debris, and laid in a patch flush with the road surface. That’s quite unlike their usual shovel-some-cold-patch / hand-tamp / drive-over-it process, made familiar everywhere else around here.

Unfortunately, for unknown reasons, they didn’t fill in the last two feet of the milled-out trench, leaving a tooth-shattering pair of perpendicular edges exactly where you’d least expect them:

Rt 376 north of Heathbrook - unfinished patch

Rt 376 north of Heathbrook – unfinished patch

Ran out of asphalt? Lunch break? Called off to another emergency? We’ll never know.

I sent a note, with that picture, to the NYS DOT Bicycle & Pedestrian Coordinator, asking what happened; perhaps they planned another layer atop the whole curve to seal the rest of the cracked pavement?

The next day a crew filled in the hole, which I find far more than coincidental.

Although it’s better than it was, there’s now a joint that will deteriorate more rapidly than the uniform asphalt layer they should have created.

We’ll take what we get…

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Real Estate Signage: Devaluing the Brand


  • Christie’s has licensed their brand to local realtors
  • Such licensees / franchises / whatever are locally owned and operated
  • Realtors make money only when they sell a property
  • Sometimes, you must sell a property’s upside potential
  • Ya gotta market what ya got

Even keeping all that in mind, I think this property devalues the Christie’s brand:

HL Property - Salt Point Turnpike

HL Property – Salt Point Turnpike

IIRC, it was a roadhouse eatery, back in the day, has been many things since then, and hasn’t been much in recent years.


Monthly Science: Bicycling!

Mary finished out the National Bike Challenge with a rank of 3353 of 47 k riders, which, by my reckoning, is wonderfully good. She’s #1 in the Poughkeepsie area (admittedly, of only eight riders), with the second-place rider at 90% of her point score.

She did it by riding on her usual missions, along our usual routes, around the usual obstacles:

NYS Rt 376 at Westview Terrace

NYS Rt 376 at Westview Terrace

Her bike odometer recently rolled past 20 k miles; at least one battery change stole a pile o’ miles from her total, so the bike has accumlated more than that.

As the song goes, my gal is red hot… in the best way!


If You Can Get To BNC, You Can Get To Anything

That’s what Mad Phil taught me, back in the day, and it’s still true:

15 W Dummy Load - Stacked Adapters

15 W Dummy Load – Stacked Adapters

From the top:

  • 15 W dummy load with N female
  • N male to BNC female
  • BNC male to UHF female
  • UHF male to UHF male
  • UHF female on homebrew antenna mount

Obviously, I don’t have enough adapters: I need one with N male to UHF male.

I actually spent money to get from the reverse-polarity SMA connector on the Wouxun radios directly to UHF female, matching the cable to the antenna mount in one step.

Sometimes an unsteady ziggurat of adapters isn’t appropriate.


Tour Easy: Arkel RT-40 Underseat Packs vs. HT Mount

I just replaced the rather old and tattered Easy Reacher underseat packs on my Tour Easy ‘bent with shiny new Arkel RT-40 packs:

Arkel RT-40 bag on Tour Easy - front view

Arkel RT-40 bag on Tour Easy – front view

The retina-burn white reflective tag under the black hand strap is actually a foreshortened view of the Arkel logo.

They’re longer and taller than the old packs, which isn’t entirely a Good Thing: the inside bag gently kisses the pavement during steeply banked high speed turns. The main compartment is slightly narrower, so I bent the license plates (which used to fit neatly on the bottom) to form a hard floor with a low lip on the inside edge. That, in combination with tightening the pack’s internal strap, prevents the foam-core bottom panel from drooping; maybe the edge won’t hit the pavement quite so often.

They also ride much higher on the racks. To install the packs, I had to unbolt the seat to raise it upward, slide the packs underneath, twiddle the clamps onto the rack rods, then reinstall the seat. Those puppies are not getting loose without tools and a struggle!

Because they’re longer, the right pack collided with the HT mount behind the seat:

Arkel RT-40 bag vs HT holder

Arkel RT-40 bag vs HT holder

So I moved the mount up to the middle crossbar:

Arkel RT-40 bag - relocated HT holder

Arkel RT-40 bag – relocated HT holder

I’m not entirely happy with that arrangement, as the holder sits snug against the rear packs. So far, I rarely need those in addition to the RT-40s, as each underseat bag can swallow an upright gallon milk jug or two Butternut squashes in addition to all the other stuff I normally carry.

The array of reflective patches and piping and pull tabs probably makes me look (more) like a low-flying UFO at night, but that’s fine with me: the more it resembles a UFO, the less hassle I get.


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Extracting Video Frames and Overlaying Text

The avconv incantation required to put text on frames extracted from a video file looks like this (it’s all on one line, so you’ll need some side scrolling action):

avconv -ss 00:11:47 -i /mnt/backup/Video/2014-09-08/MAH00070.MP4 -t 1 -f image2 -q 1 -vf "drawtext=fontfile=/usr/share/fonts/truetype/ttf-dejavu/DejaVuSansMono.ttf : text='2014-09-08 10\:58\:47' : fontcolor=white : fontsize=60 : box=1 : boxcolor=black@0.7 : x=1200 : y=30" MAH00070-001147-%03d.jpg

That’s applying some hints to the rather succinct drawtext doc.

The -ss 00:11:47 sets the starting time relative to the beginning of the file, so it’s an offset that, when added to the file start time in the Exif metadata, produces the actual time-of-day. The extracted frames begin at the closest “seek point”, which I presume will be pretty close to the specified second. The -accurate_seek option may be relevant. Verifying all that could be tricky.

The -t 1 specifies the duration. Each second produces 60 frames, numbered from 001 to 060 in the output filename, as defined by the %03d in the output filename format string.

The -vf "drawtext=" gibberish does the actual text overlay, with all the parameters tucked inside the double quotes.

You must escape all colons in the text string (as '10\:58\:47', note the single quotes), because unescaped colons separate the drawtext options.

The fontsize seems to be in pixels with an upper limit of 72.

The boxcolor rectangle just barely covers the characters; there’s no way to enlarge it just a few more pixels to make a nice frame. The fraction at the end of black@0.7 string produces 70% opacity.

I manually added the actual starting time (10:47) to the offset time for each segment (previewed with vlc), jammed that into the avconv command, and extracted some interesting frames from a recent ride…

I get plenty of clearance while approaching an intersection, which is pleasant:



Absorbed in something on the passenger seat while I’m trackstanding the ‘bent and watching the brake lights:



The turn signal goes on just after acceleration commences:



Because I never pass on the right, I didn’t participate in a classic right hook:



The traffic signal goes yellow as I cross the walk ladder, with the tail of the SUV visible beyond the crosswalk on the right. The green-to-yellow transition takes 10 frames = 1/6 second and this image shows the half-intensity point of both incandescent bulbs:



The rest of the ride seemed less eventful.

Frankly, that’s way too much handwork for the results in the upper-right corner. I think a better way starts with extracting unannotated frames from the video, then slapping timestamps on them using ImageMagick, calculating and feeding it the appropriate values for each frame.

Putting the annotation up in the sky seems better than near the bottom corners, if only because images of the pavement might actually be useful. The timestamp needs the frame number and I think splitting it into two shorter sections (date and time) in the left and right upper corners might work better.