If anything, the syncing of tabs among devices in Google Chrome is more magical than I expected. Open a tab in Chrome on any device, and the same URL is near-instantly accessible via an easy-to-reach menu on all your other Chrome devices. Close a tab, and it disappears from all your devices. Magical!
Archive for June, 2012
The day we have all been waiting for is here: Google Chrome has come to iOS, and (more to the point) Apple has permitted it to be released in the App Store.
Like many of the people reading this, I live inside Google Chrome all day on my Mac. I switched from Mac Firefox a long while back (two years?) because it wasn’t stable enough for me. I’ve heard it’s stabler now, but in the meantime I’ve gotten used to the easy customizability of Google Chrome and a lot of little things about it, including the single universal URL/search field. I also live in Google Apps (both personally and on behalf of my employer), which, not coincidentally, integrate well with Chrome.
Until today, I’ve been stuck with Safari on my iPhone and iPad. Ungenerous, perhaps — Safari is a perfectly good browser, roughly comparable (at my level of precision) to Chrome in speed, well implemented on the iDevices (and improved lately on the iPad). But I can’t sync my bookmarks or history, and I’m a tab slob, so I always seem to have random tabs open on every device to “remind me” of something that I then forget about for days or weeks. Not pretty.
Just installed Chrome on my iPhone and it’s glorious. Logging into Chrome everywhere and setting up bookmark and history syncing now and I expect my LIFE WILL CHANGE FOREVER AND EVER!
Unfortunately, unless your iDevice is jailbroken (and I’m not That Sort of Person), it still defaults to Safari when you click a URL. This Safari bookmark magically switches to Chrome and opens the currently-open page in a new tab there. I bet Apple will eventually give in and allow other browsers to serve as the default.
I did a little research and figured out a couple of training rides to try over the next couple of weeks.
This Hudson County route, roughly 20 miles long, will take me from Hoboken through Jersey City, down along the Hackensack River, through the length of Bayonne, then over the Bayonne Bridge to Staten Island, and around to the ferry. This was a compromise — I really wanted to do a loop through Newark and Elizabeth that included the Goethals Bridge, or a loop through Bay Ridge that included the Verrazano Bridge, but thanks to the visionaries at the Port Authority, neither is an option. I think I’ll do it tomorrow.
View Hudson County bike loop in a larger map
This Coney Island loop is about 30 miles, and I’m a little scared to try it (isn’t it uphill all the way home up Ocean Parkway?). But maybe next weekend I’ll be ready.
View Coney Island bike loop (30 mi) in a larger map
I promised my friend Ryan Davis that I’d ride the Sea Gull Century with him in October. It’s a 100-mile leisurely bike ride (with shorter courses, too) through what is, thankfully, some of the flattest country in America, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
The Sea Gull has been happening for 24 years — in fact, at left you see a photo of Ryan himself having just completed the ride many years ago (I won’t say how many, but if you must know, just look at the photo).
The problem here is that despite my all-around bikiness, I’ve never ridden 100 miles in a day. I haven’t even ever been on a serious group ride of any length. And so in addition to learning all that stuff you need to learn about when to eat carbs and how much water to drink and what to do about the sun and so forth, I need to actually get out and ride.
I’ve done 30-mile days many times, and I know I can handle them, by which I mean “I know I can finish and I won’t be dead afterwards.” But I should probably work my way up to more serious rides, and if I want to handle 100 miles comfortably in three months, I’d better start now. So here’s my plan, starting today:
- Track my miles.
- Weekly minimum of 50 miles. Given that the weather’s going to be nice for the next several months, I really have no excuse, and if I have to, I can do 50 miles as one two-hour training ride on the weekend and 4 trips to work during the week.
- At least one weekend training ride of 25 miles or more. What I really am hoping to do is a 25-mile ride this weekend, followed by 30 miles next weekend, then 35, and so forth. But even in a terrible week with no motivation, I ought to be able to fit in one solid two-hour ride, right?
I should see some side benefits from this, too. If I ride like this for a few months, I’ll feel the need to eat less, and I’ll lose some weight — probably 25 pounds. All the positive feedback should keep me on the program even after the ride. But the short-term goal is not embarrassing myself in front of Ryan. I’ll keep you posted.
In the past 3 weeks I’ve more than doubled my mileage on the FlyKly electric bike. In 250 miles I’ve been over every East River bridge (most of them twice), as well as the Pulaski, and been up and down the 1st, 2nd, 6th, and 8th Avenue corridors numerous times.
At this point I ride comfortably, without feeling awkward on the bike (despite the fact that now that I have the rear storage compartment installed, my seating position is a little squeezed). And I no longer have my eyes peeled for police: I watch for them, sure, but I haven’t been hassled at all, even when riding through areas where I’d be cautious even on a normal bike.
On a day like tonight, the FlyKly is perfect for a long loop like the one I took — from the West 70s looping through the bottom of Central Park, over the Queensboro Bridge, through Long Island City to the Pulaski, through central Greenpoint and down the Brooklyn waterfront to north Williamsburg, around the Navy Yard to the Brooklyn Bridge and then home. With 2 stops for coffee and one for a Tom Collins, of course. That’s about 20 miles, which (on top of the 5 miles I did earlier in the day) just about tapped my battery out. But it’s the kind of fun that I moved to New York in order to have — I saw about 10 neighborhoods (depending on how you count), and a beautiful sunset, in about two hours.
In the two months I’ve had the bike, I’ve been cussed at by a total of two bicyclists (one each on the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges) and told “you can’t park here” a total of twice. In exchange for that, I’ve been fawned over by at least a hundred cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists. Today alone I got an enthusiastic “thumbs up” from a guy in a van on Jackson Avenue in Long Island City, and had three separate substantive conversations about the bike with people who coveted it. And the curious include people of all ages (including the elderly), and everyone from douchey-looking dudes to barely-English-speaking deliverymen. Security guards and doormen especially love it, but it’s not just a guy thing; I had a long chat with a woman of at least 60 who saw the potential in it.
Talking with someone about Rudy Rucker, and an offhand mention on YouTube, made me pick up JIm Munroe’s Everyone in Silico, my favorite of the “shed your inconvenient meat body and upload your consciousness” stories I’ve read. This one’s a full novel, which paints a picture of a highly corporatized near future in which pretty much everyone is abandoning Vancouver for a post-corporeal existence inside an enormous simulation. I read this 3 or 4 years ago (when I was first getting my footing in this genre, starting with Cory Doctorow and expanding outward) and I highly recommend it. More here.
Today, with a trip to Gorilla Coffee in Park Slope via the Manhattan Bridge, I hit the 100-mile mark on my FlyKly electric bike. That’s 100 miles through the streets of New York City on a bike that the New York State DMV says is not street legal, even though Congress explicitly says otherwise. The bike runs perfectly, the range is adequate (I’d love another 10 miles, but the 25 or so miles of range that I actually get are sufficient for my city riding), and most importantly, it’s fun!
It’s particularly fun to ride through near-empty city streets late at night, passing the few late-night spots full of people in my neighborhood.
For the most part, everyone loves looking at the thing — pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers stopped at red lights ask me about it constantly. (I’ve opened the seat and shown off the battery at least 10 times in a month.) And so far I haven’t had the remotest bit of trouble with NYPD, who (obviously) have real crime to worry about; a portly middle-aged man wearing a helmet and observing all the traffic laws, while ordinary bicyclists scream past him through red lights weaving through crowds of pedestrians, is not on their list. (I do take care to moderate my behavior — stop at every red light and stop sign without fail, no showy behavior around police, etc.). As I noted before, from a distance the thing looks to police like a Vespa, which on average works to my advantage, since they “know” how to watch a Vespa driver and make sure he’s behaving safely.
True, one cyclist called me an idiot today on the Manhattan Bridge bike path. (Not sure why; I wasn’t in his lane, wasn’t overtaking him or blocking him, had no impact on him whatsoever.) But if that’s the worst thing that happens, I’m content.
I now have my NYS motorcycle learner’s permit, which means I can take the safe riding course and then get the motorcycle endorsement on my driver’s license. The course will be a good experience in itself — a lot of my safe bicycling skills map directly onto safe motor-driven cycling skills, but there are things I want to learn about handling, given the different weight distribution of the electric bike. And I imagine the motorcycle endorsement won’t hurt me if I’m ever ticketed, because I’ll have a counterargument to any claim by police that I’m creating a hazard by definition.
And now, some electric bike porn…