Monday, January 20, 2014

Apple airplay device currently in use - how to fix

I was recently seduced into buying an Apple Airport Express, partly because I've been listening to the radio through my fairly poor sounding Macbook Pro speakers for a few months and it kinda bugged me that I have a nice sounding stereo just a few feet from my computer.  I could run a cable to the headphones socket on the Mac but the fewer cables I have on my desk the better.  We have a few Apple products in the house and (in theory) because I've now signed up for iTunes Match I should be able to listen to my music from my iPhone, but of course that'll sound even more tinny than the Mac.

The Airport Express appealed because I can connect it to my old hi-fi and 'push' my music to from any of my devices.  Well at least that's the theory.  The Airport Express worked a treat from iTunes, but it turns out that's all it appears to be intended for.  So this new Apple device would be no good to listening to the Radio through a browser (er, then through my stereo if you see what I mean).  At least that's what I though until I found a cheap bit of Mac software called 'Airfoil'.

Airfoil allows you to play any sound from any program on your Mac through your Airport Express.  Lovely.  I cheerfully listened to the radio for a morning, then I fancied a break from other people's programming for a chunk of my own, so shut the browser and fired up iTunes.  Problem.  When I tried to play iTunes through the Airport Express I got a message that said something along the lines of:

Airplay device currently in use (blah blah blah).

So I rebooted every Apple product in the house but it still didn't fix the error message.  Then I realised how to fix it, and here's how:

  1. Go to the Airfoil popup and choose 'iTunes' from the drop down box at the top of the software.

  2.  Enjoy iTunes through your Airport Express.
It would appear that the other user who is using iTunes is Airfoil, which means it's you using it, which means you should probably apologise to anyone around you who you just accused of hogging the Airplay device!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Badges - where it all began.

Badges were hugely fascinating to me when I was a kid, and so they remain to this day.  When I was still in short-trousers (probably because I'd put holes in my long-trousers doing 'skidders' on my knees in the school playground) the local agricultural show (The Suffolk Show) was my primary source of badges.  In among the tractor-reversing and fluffiest livestock contests local car dealerships and household brands would give away badges like they smelled of poo and they wanted them off their stand as soon as there was a mug kid passing who would take them off their hands (which was possibly very much the case with the fertiliser companies).

There's only so much much tee shirt space a pre-teen has available for badges - and there were some really big 'pancake' badges about in the 70s and 80s - so I kept my treasured metal badges on a sheet of curtain backing fabric that my mother stole from a local National Trust property. That's a lie; it was English Heritage.  Actually that's another lie; my mum handmade curtains and I loved to help her but I wasn't going to admit to that in public, but then I figured 'why not''; we live in an era where Etsy sellers are considered godlike and folk can get away with flogging a zine made of two bits of spit-recycled bog roll and the hem of a rotting teddy bear for a tenner.  I'm out and proud; I enjoyed helping my mum make curtains.  Now where were we?

Oh yeah. Badges.  Victor Kiam had a shave one day and liked it so much he bought the company who made the shaver.  I liked badges so much I started a company that makes badges, and they're still making them, although now they have fancy machines and people with actual motor-skills rather than me sitting watching Simpsons at 2am making ten badges an hour.

If you need badges go see my old friends at Best Badges Ltd.  They'll do you proud.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Suffolk cycling humour

I found these gems in a book of Suffolk Humour published in 1976.  We were having lunch at The Steamboat Tavern, which is full of all sorts of interesting bits and bobs like this.

One of the aspects of this book that really intrigued me is that every person who had written into the publication with had their home address printed under their submission!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Heatmap showing every ride I rode in Ipswich during 2013

Following on from the previous post here's a map showing every ride I made around town during the entirety of 2013.  The lighter the colour the more times I rode that route.

Friday, January 03, 2014

2013 - my year in the saddle (a sort of review)

This post may be of limited appeal to anyone other than me, but each year I like to look back over the previous year's cycling and see how I did.  If you'd like to see last year's report then go here...

In 2013 I cycled a total of 2,508 miles according to Endomondo or 4,752 miles according to Garmin Connect, I'm inclined to think Endomondo is correct.  I used a sync tool called Tapirik to sync my Garmin, Endomondo and Strava data and somewhere along the line things got a bit crazy.  In 2012 I cycled 4,076 miles so in terms of miles-covered my stats are much lower overall than they were in 2012.

Miles cycled in 2013 by ME
In 2013 I burned 173,509 calories riding my bikes

In 2013 I commuted less and concentrated more on longer, steadier rides.  I have become even more of a stats geek by investing in a Garmin GPS, along with a heart rate monitor and cadence monitor.  I am quite frankly in stat-geek heaven.  This year I ditched my old mountain bike, I was never using it and quite frankly I hated it.  I lusted after a new MTB for a while, until I went proper mountain biking in the Lake District and found out that not only is cycling up the side of muddy mountains more exhausting that I could ever imagined, hurtling down the other side is quite exquisitely terrifying.  More on that tale HERE...

Despite cycling for most of my life I had never had anything nicked.  Until THIS happened.

This year I broke my previous top speed by just over 10mph by reaching an astonishing 52.1mph during a ride in the Lake District.  This was also my first ever ride that took in some proper hills, meaning a ride of just over 40 miles was more tiring than some of the 100 mile sportives I've done!  The stats are HERE, the story is HERE.

The map
This year's map looks very different to last year's map!

Chest colds, parenting and mechanical debacles have considerably reduced the number of miles I have done this year compared to last year, but the variety of my cycling has been marvellous and I've pushed pedals in many new locations.  I reverted back to working for myself in 2013 so 'lost' the opportunity to commute to a place of work, which on the whole has been positive as my thighs have got smaller, which means they're putting less strain on my back.  My long-distance ability will hopefully approve in 2014, albeit at a cost to my sprinting ability, which I'm fine with.

P.S. Strava KOMs
I ended 2013 with 35 KOMs on Strava, 67 podium places, 146 top tens, 261 top twenty fives and 384 top fifty rankings.  To be honest I don't think I'll ever top these stats, and I'm not sure I want to.  Cycling has become a lot more personal over 2013 than it was in 2012 (when it was a battle to shift flab) and I really want to do more epic rides at reasonable paces this year.