A bit of a blog cataloging stuff I do... Sort of like a lazy mans scrap book of random stuff. Something I can look back on later in life and say "huh... so thats what I spent my time on..."

I went on a fun bike ride today that took me along the clear creek trail from North West of Denver, to Golden.   I ended up doing about 27 miles of riding in around 3 hours, with about 45 minutes of that spent hanging out in Golden.    I missed out on the Coors Tour because I was there before they started, and if I waited, they wouldn’t let me carry my backpack, so I’ll go to it another time. (no place to lock up my gear besides the bike)

During the ride I burned (according to my HR monitor) around 1700 Calories.   There were some significant hills on the ride, but the downhill swing on the way home was pretty fast.   Hit 32Mph on the way back. I averaged around 15Mph in the end.  The trail was awesome in some parts, very scenic and pretty.

Gotta love the cooler fall days in Colorado, still lots of time left to do these kind of rides.

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A couple months ago Microsoft announced their reorganization of their technical conferences.   A consolidation of what used to be multiple product specific, and generalist conferences into one unified conference.   At the time of the announcement the only info provided was the image below:

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The Round Table:

Earlier this week I had the honor being invited to Chicago by Microsoft to participate in a round table focused on this new event.

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(note- that isn’t a beer at the bottom of the picture, it is cold pressed coffee from a Chicago company)

Around a dozen influencers from around the country from all different backgrounds were invited this week to help Microsoft make this new <still unnamed> event the best it can be.  Members included past attendees of various conferences including MEC, MMS, SPC, Lync, Project, TechEd, WPC, etc…   And backgrounds spanned from a CTO, front line MVP consultants, marketing experts, Educators, Systems Admins, and Solution Architects.   Microsoft representatives included the leaders who own and produce these conferences directly.  

We also had Microsoft superstars (and the faces of TechEd) Joey Snow and Rick Claus in attendance helping guide and encourage deeper conversations around the important topics.

McCormick Place:

We toured the massive McCormick Place, and saw many of the areas MS has already reserved.  Millions of SqFt are at their disposal, and hundreds of breakout rooms.  Including unique areas where the convention floor actually has glass windows overlooking Lake Michigan.

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Higher Res of one of the many the convention halls MS has access to: https://38.media.tumblr.com/e5d656b73b2552a7cea1914c21ce038d/tumblr_ncezxwRzpS1qmm86to2_1280.jpg

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(plumbing Expo going on, but you can see the walls of windows surrounding this area of the floor)

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This is the view from outside of one of the halls.

The next big event:

The conversations at this round table were incredible.  We were instructed from the beginning to “pull no punches” in terms of our feedback to Microsoft leadership.  Microsoft was there to listen, and ask questions, we did all the talking.   Topics and areas that were covered included (but not limited to):

  • How to incorporate the various Microsoft product/technology specific conferences into one.
  • Fostering better community building in general
  • Enhancing networking possibilities and opportunities
  • Enhancing the existing communities already built from the various other conferences
  • What is important to us as attendees (this was asked many times, in different ways)
  • Keynote suggestions
  • Event layout and flow
  • Closing party ideas
  • Schedule building
  • Social integration and apps
  • Overall event image and social “vibe”

While we all know every idea that was mentioned or discussed wont necessarily end up implemented in May, it was very clear Microsoft is taking a huge interest in doing this right, and is rewriting the entire playbook on this event.  The round table group isn’t done working with our visit to Chicago.  As specifics become solidified, and the event gets closer, more discussions will be happening with the team and Microsoft to further refine plans. 

What I saw in these last few days in Chicago gives me hope that this is going to be a new kind of event for Microsoft, placing community, and long term value ahead of marketing.  Taking the best parts of the various other conferences, and ideas from the round table to build something that is a “must attend” conference for every IT pro.

Look for more info in the coming weeks/months with more specifics. 

Thanks to Microsoft for inviting me, I am truly honored to have been included with this incredible group of people.  

Earning my beer today,  Rode 22 miles this morning around Denver on the bicycle, av 14Mph, and burned 1200 calories in 1.5 hrs in the process.  Nice way to start the day :)  Now, Oktoberfest!

Earning my beer today,  Rode 22 miles this morning around Denver on the bicycle, av 14Mph, and burned 1200 calories in 1.5 hrs in the process.  Nice way to start the day :)  Now, Oktoberfest!

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My little post labor day trip to SLC is a wrap!  1786 miles in the bag.  The above is from the data logger that was along for the ride. Look below for the rest of the stats I tallied.

Here is a link to the full res map:

http://www.jk720.net/private/image/97078115459/tumblr_nbnhjfTZv81qmm86t

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Overall stats for the ride:

  • 5.5 days riding
  • 1786 miles
  • 32 hours moving on the bike
  • Furthest distance on the bike in one day: 345 Miles - Far from my record, 485 is the most I’ve done in a day on this bike.
  • Longest day on the bike (including stops, detours, photos, etc…): 11hrs. (Which surprisingly is the blue line on the map, which is actually the 2nd longest day, shorter by only 15 miles from the longest mileage day)
  • 44.0 Mpg average
  • Top speed: -REDACTED- ;)
  • Hottest temp seen: 95.1F - Near Moab, Utah
  • Coldest temp seen: 41.0F - Near Kremling, CO.

Over the course of the trip, nothing broke, nothing needed to be fixed.   I checked the oil @ day 4, and again today, and it didn’t burn any, as its at the exact same level it was when I left.  Even the tires are within a 1 lb of pressure of where they were when I left.

 The bike didn’t fall at all, and I didn’t get hurt at all.

I did drop my helmet only 3” onto the visor  at a stop, and scratched the hell out of the visor…  So I had to replace that when I was in SLC.  That is really the only casualty of the ride.

For all its quirks, and its riding style for very long distances (which isn’t optimal)… I cant complain at all!  I honestly cant believe how sure footed the bike is in virtually all conditions.  Even loaded, the bike cut corners more consistently than I ever expected, not even a wobble.  Even with the fat rear tire, I was able to consistently clean off any sign of a “chicken strip” on the edge of the tire quite easily. :)

The bike looks just like it did when I left, only dirtier:

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So much fun!   But I got home and had new Ski gear sitting on the counter waiting for me… so I guess its time to indulge in that hobby now :)

Made it to Steamboat faster than I expected.   Checked into a hotel since the picture above shows the sinister looking skies over where my campsite was supposed to be.  Few rain showers on the ride today, but I rode behind a few big storms that soaked the road.  Resulting in me and my bike getting plastered with nasty road grunge all day.

I had an awesome time in SLC with the crew out there.   Bummed the fun hand to end!

Now time to clean up and take the bus down town Steamboat for dinner.

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Tomorrow morning I resume my little motorcycle vacation and head back to CO.   Tomorrow should be easily the longest day on the bike of the trip.  With nearly 400 miles to cover and an estimated 7 hours of seat time, it is going to be exhausting.  I am aiming for a campsite outside of Steamboat Springs as my stop over.    I am also guessing the next 2 days are going to be rain riding days, with storms being expected along most of my route on Monday (isolated storms).  On Tue it is supposed to rain all day.  

I had an epic time in SLC with friends on these couple days “off”.    But I am starting to really look forward to being home.

9/5 pics from Antelope Island just north of Salt Lake City and in the Great Salt Lake.   The island is covered in Bison, and surrounded by salt.  It’s a pretty neat place, but for only one visit.    I got to see a F-22 Raptor fly over the island when I was there.  I also got to see a wolf type animal following the buffalo heard.   You can see it in one of the pics, about 200 yards out in the basin watching the Bison.

Some pictures from 9/3 - Delores River Canyon - Gateway, CO, Islands in the Sky @ Canyonlands, and Paradox Valley, CO (and La Sal mountains in the background).  These are all as they came off the camera.

The wood structure in the first pic is a Flume used to move water 38 miles down the Delores River for a gold mine that never opened.  I happened to talk to a bar tender that night in Moab who’s family helped build that.

Pics from my ride on 9/4.   Today I finally got to ride the Moki Dugway, which wasn’t as challenging as I thought it would be, but it was fun.   I then took a few mile detour at the top to a lookout point that overlooks Glenwood Canyon.    The ride to that spot was very fine sand, and glazed clay.  There were warning signs saying if it rains the road is impassable.  Which from the pic above, you can see storms were moving in.

Some of the other pics are from Lake Powell (or as it seemed, Stream Powell).  I rode through the Hite crossing, and the water is so low from where it once was, I parked at the bottom of the boat ramp, and I was still 1/2 mile from the water.

The Hite site seems to be overall abandoned by the public, I saw one other car there.   I am guessing some time ago when the water was higher this was a very popular area, but no more.

Overall this was a great day, but exhausting as always.

While riding back up the Black Canyon East Portal road, coming around a corner I had an unexpected surprise. A Doe and 2 fawns in the middle of the road.   Ignore the blown out video at the start, the camera was struggling with exposure in the canyon, and I had to bump the brightness to get it the deer to show up.

Made it to Montrose as expected.   Long day, about 300 miles, and almost 6 hrs on the bike.     I tooled around the black canyon on the bike for the first time since 2011.   The updated suspension on the bike (updated in 2012) made that road SUPER easy to ride up and down.   In 2011 it was a bit sketchy.

I have the Spot Trace running on the bike (mounted to one of the cases.)  So you can track this ride via the “Where is Joe” link on the top of the blog.

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Every time I pack up the bike I am reminded of the 3 most valuable substances ever created:   Gorilla tape, 3M VHB tape, and Permatex Ultra Black RTV sealant.    I am pretty sure I can repair anything with those.

Final packing is wrapping up, just tested all the electronic stuff and found  a USB charger that didn’t work, besides that good to go. 

All the luggage is coming in at similar weights to last time with the side bags @ 25lbs each, the top box @ 21, and the pillion bag @ 23.  Lots of weight on the bike.   But I’ve lost 60lbs since the last time loaded the bike up like this so bonus :)

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Hammered out all the maintenance tasks needed on the bike for the upcoming ride.   Threw in some new Motul 300V oil, flushed and bled the brakes, inspected and lubed the chain, checked the suspension, set droop, checked and set the air in the tires, and checked the electrical system over.   Now I have the Ballistic LiFe battery on a balance charger to clean it up a bit, and that should be it.

I was pretty impressed at how much life the oil that was in the bike seemed to have left, the 300V that was in it, was still green (the color it is when its new).

I have most of the camp gear packed as well, just need to get clothes sorted.

ohh… and I need to go to the DMV before I leave town on Tue… Ummm… forgot to renew my plates :(   DMV - the perfect way to start a vacation.

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Finally hammering through a project I started earlier this year, but then put on the back burner.  A new hard wired and remote triggered GoPro setup for on the motorcycle.  This is my third attempt at this.  The goal was to make something reliable, easy to use, and weather proof.

V1: I had a DIY trigger I used a few years ago that I built in this post: http://www.jk720.net/post/9040461577/my-gopro-hard-wire-setup-and-remote-trigger-i  The big issue with that trigger was it would lock up a GoPro Hero 2 for some reason.  I am guessing noise over the power line, or just in general my hack-tastic skills.   And I had no idea if the GoPro was recording or not.  

V2: I had a wireless trigger I used a couple years back: http://www.jk720.net/post/38473998301/more-gopro-hacking-wireless-remote-trigger

The issue with that solution was there was enough electronic and RF noise on the bike that the remote wouldn’t work consistently.   And I also had no idea what the GoPro was doing on the bike.  The enclosure I had rigged up was also not that water tight.

V3:   Hoping this is the final one.  Which it should be since this wont work with a GoPro Hero 3.  (which is why I am using Hero 2’s)

So I did some research and saw that a company I’ve done business before a few times (Cam-Do) had a new hard wired setup that allows for an LED for status of the GoPro.  And the setup has some power control and cleanup gear in the puck that goes on the GoPro, different from what I did in V1.The part I ordered is on this page:  The USB charging with LED remote.  http://cam-do.com/wired.html

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This time I am using a special water/dust proof toggle switch with an LED built into it.  This is a $20 switch from Digikey so it isn’t cheap by any means, but its big enough to be used with gloves on, and has a nice central status LED.   http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/ILR3FAD2L0Y/679-3223-ND/3478709 

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The remote ships with a camera shutter release as the mechanism for triggering the GoPro.  It’s big, bulky, and not water proof.   So that is why I replaced it with the fancy switch above.  ( you can order the remote trigger without the camera shutter release for a discount if you email them)

The LED will turn on when the GoPro is powered up and recording, giving me easy access to see when its doing stuff and when its not.  I mounted the switch on a techmount plate I have on the handlebars.  Just had to drill a 1/2” hole in the aluminum plate.

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The LED requires 2.1v , and the voltage out from the GoPro is ~ 4v.  So a 100ohm resistor was placed in line to act as a current limiting resistor and also to drop the voltage down to the proper level.

I also picked up some extra extended rear doors for the GoPro enclosure that have a side button (meant for the video bacpak).   I used a dremel to expand the side hole for the button and use that as the waterproof wire exit.  This is more elegant than what I did in the V1 or V2 triggers.  Still using black RTV sealant plug the hole and give some strain relief.

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I am also using JST - JWPF 4 connector water resistant connections for everything, instead of hacking USB plugs like I did previously.  These plugs are water resistant, and sealed.  I packed the inside with dielectric grease as well to increase their water resistance.

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I also used double wall shrink tube with adhesive on the inside to seal the ends of the high temp, anti abrasion wire loom I wrapped all the wires in.  Not only does this act as strain relief on the wire, it also gives the setup a very refined look.

On the bike, I have setup the trigger/LED wire and the Power wire as Male/Female, and made it so that I can connect them together when I am not using the camera to keep water and dirt out of the connection.   The pin arrangement is such that nothing will short when I do that.

 The final install:

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The tech mount had to be adjusted to be on an angle due to the length of the switch.  But in the end its easily accessible from the cockpit. The empty space on the mount will be used for something else coming up.

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The wire goes down the front and tucks up under the fairing neatly.   The loom makes it look like someone who knew what they were doing made this.

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And the camera unit when it is off the bike:

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That’s it!  Took a couple nights of work to get this all put together, but in the end it should be more reliable and more functional than my past experiments :)

 

 

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I’ve been pondering a nice late summer ride on the bike like I’ve done a few times now.    Last year I abandoned a plan to go to Yellow Stone NP on the bike in order to focus on an R/C race in Vegas.   This year I am focusing on other hobbies instead.

Looking at timing and such, I am still not going to Yellow Stone NP because I want to spend more time up there, and will probably go with Kate next spring instead.    Instead I am looking to check off a few items in Utah I still want to see, and I also want to camp quite a few days.

Looking at hitting up Lake Powell, Natural Bridges Ntl Monument UT, Moki Dugway,  Canyon lands NP, Paradox Valley in CO, and then ride up to SLC to hang with friends for a couple days.   Camping everywhere  (pending campsite availability) except SLC.

The big challenge here is prep.   I normally have taken a month or so to plan, pack, and make sure everything is ready before a trip like this.   This time I need to sort out everything in roughly 7 days.   I have already used all the gear I am taking so that’s not a big deal; prepping the bike is a big deal as I have a number of maintenance tasks to get done, and wiring projects to finish. 

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The above image is the rough route I am looking at.  Hitting up some familiar places I last visited back in 2011 on my first ride though CO, and some new places in UT.    4 or 5 days of camping planned at various national and state parks.

This is all if my cold or sinus infection I have kicking goes away in the coming days…