All posts by Chris

Aug ’17 Cycling Dist. Challenge – Ride 6

Woke up to a pretty nice morning with cloud and light wind, rain was forecasted so I packed my waterproof jacket into my jersey pocket but pleased that I didn’t have to use it.

Last night I visited Decathlon and picked up a new pair of cycling shorts, a shirt and long sleeve jersey – I wore these this morning and very impressed. Time will tell how they hold up but initial thoughts are very good over the 1hr50 minutes I cycled today.

Rather than going the flat route to Kilmacolm and back I came off at Bridge of Weir and took the Torr Road into Kilmacolm that way. There are no steep climbs this way but some rolling hills and different surfaces to make the route a little less boring.

Taking this route is a couple of miles longer so today I covered 25 miles which leaves me 638 miles to go.

Aug ’17 Cycling Dist. Challenge – Ride 5

Felt pretty good this morning and was able to get out for the cycle I planned, I did have some doubts after having a Bacon Double Cheeseburger from Burger King last night!

I planned a longer cycle this morning to make up for the short one I completed yesterday morning – the weather was mixed (Cloudy, some rain, light wind then sunshine!) I decided to head towards Kilbirnie and noticed on the way that the cycle path was open again at Johnstone – happy days.

I covered a healthy 32 miles this morning heading to Kilbirnie and back which leaves me with around 663 miles to go.

Aug ’17 Cycling Dist. Challenge – Ride 4

As I got back from my cycle last night at 22:00 I decided going out at 06:30 wouldn’t be a smart move, today I went for a cycle this afternoon and covered a shorter distance which I’ll make up for tomorrow.

Today’s cycle was towards Glasgow City Centre and I took the opportunity to cycle through two of the cities parks, Pollok Country Park and Bellahouston Park. It was a windy one with a headwind on my journey home, I took advantage of riding behind a bus.

Distance wise was a short 13.2 miles which leaves me with about 695 miles to go – I’m going to aim for 30 miles tomorrow morning to make up for this.

Aug ’17 Cycling Dist. Challenge – Ride 3

Both the cycle and blog update are a little bit later tonight, I was joined by my friend Steven and we set off to Kilmacolm at 19:00 for a bite to eat at the Pullman.

Weather wise it was great, bright sunshine and warm temperatures – earlier on today my car was displaying 22° Celsius. We left the Pullman about 21:00 when the sun had disappeared but the ride back remained pleasant.

Tonight we covered 24.9 miles leaving me 708 to go…

Aug ’17 Cycling Dist. Challenge – Ride 2

I don’t think anyone would look out of their window this morning and call it a nice day, for me the weather was perfect for a cycle – no wind, no rain and a comfortable 13° Celsius. Exactly as forecasted last night – perfect!

I set off again at 06:30 and this time headed to Lochwinnoch. Again it’s a perfectly flat route that I’ve done more times that I can remember but is ideal for this challenge.

I cycled this very route last week but failed to notice any signs stating the cycle path would be closed at parts – when I reached Johnstone the path was closed and I had to take the road to re-join the path at Kilbarchan. Not an issue but had I known I’d have come off the path earlier and taken a different route.

That gives me another 22 miles in the bag with 732 to go…

Aug ’17 Cycling Dist. Challenge – Ride 1

August is now here and despite waking up to heavy rain I’ve got off to a great start! I’ll do my best to post a brief update after each run for those following progress and not using Strava.

Before I went to sleep last night the weather forecast was dry with low winds, sadly when I woke up this wasn’t to be. Luckily the rain doesn’t bother me – once you’re wet that is as bad as it gets. Pleased that the wind kept away though.

Leaving at 06:30 I cycled 22 miles to Kilmacolm and back. A nice flat run that I’ve done many times and will do again throughout this month.

Looks like 754 miles to go…

August 2017 Cycling Distance Challenge – Intro

You may have gathered from my previous posts here or videos published to YouTube that one of my favourite pastimes is cycling. Over the last few years I’ve completed hundreds of rides either on my own, with friends in the country or commuting to work in the traffic.

Unfortunately this last couple of years I’ve not been making much time for cycling and I’ve been struggling to get back into it. I noticed the Strava Distance Challenge for August (Something they do every month, not just August) and thought I’d give it a go.

The idea is to cover as many miles as you can – when enrolled for the challenge you’ll be placed on a global leaderboard and can compare your miles with friends and others all over the world. If you manage to reach 1,250 kilometers (776 miles) you’ll earn a finishers badge on your Strava profile.

This works out to be a little over 25 miles a day every day in August which I think is achievable. Some days I may do 30 miles and another 15 but I’ll try and balance it out. I’m also going to try and take the opportunity to cycle with my daughter (8) and some friends that I’ve not been out with in a while.

I’ll post a blog update daily to confirm the ride took place as well as the distance covered and whether I’m on track – for those that are interested. Don’t have the time? I’ve added a progress tracker to my website landing page.

Want to follow me on Strava? Here is my profile!

Misc Info

I’ll be doing every ride on my flat bar Boardman Hybrid Team bike – Alloy Frame, Hydraulic Disk Brakes and Shimano Tiagra Groupset.

My current cycling distance year-to-date before the challenge is 238 miles…

Standby for an update after the first ride tomorrow!


Update 8Bitdo Controller Firmware

You may have read recently that 8Bitdo released a major firmware update for their controllers that allows full compatibility with the Nintendo Switch. Unsure on how to go about updating the firmware on your controller? Don’t worry – I’ve got your back!

What you’ll need!

  • The controller, ideally charged.
  • Micro USB Cable.
  • Internet Connection.

Easy as 1-2-3-4-5-6-7!

  1. Head to the 8Bitdo website and select Support (Too lazy? Click here!) then select Firmware.
  2. Find your controller on the list and click the Download link next to the desired firmware.
  3. Extract the ZIP file you just downloaded and open the extracted folder.
  4. Open the Update Tools folder, select your Operating System from the list and launch the 8Bitdo Update application.
  5. Follow the instructions to put the controller into an update-able state. Note the Update button is unavailable.
  6. Connect the controller to your system.
  7. Click the Update button and await confirmation of the update — Done!

What is an 8Bitdo Controller?

8Bitdo design and manufacture gaming controllers that are perfect replicas of those issued with classic Nintendo consoles such as the NES, SNES and N64. I got an SFC30 (European SNES) controller for my birthday a couple of years back and no words can describe how great it feels to use for retro gaming. The controllers are outstanding quality and come with a number of connection options – they can be used for example as a bluetooth controller on iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Nintendo Wii and Wii U, Nintendo Switch and as a USB controller with the cable too. Anyone with even the slightest interest in retro gaming should have one in their home.

Introduction to RClone

If you look online for an application to sync your data between different sources such as local filesystem or cloud – you don’t need to look far as there are loads on offer.  Start to consider the specific requirements and the options become incredibly limited – but one option is perfect and the bonus is that it’s free! Let’s talk about Rclone

So firstly Rclone is promoted as “rsync for cloud storage” which is a good description, I’ll not compare too much to rsync here though.  If you have data on a storage solution (Full list covered on website) and want to copy/move/sync it to another then Rclone is a perfect tool to do this job.

I’ve already addressed that Rclone is free and will confirm that it is available on a variety of Linux distributions, Mac OS and Windows.  It is perfect for both one off and regular transfers, using the supplied literature on the website on Linux you can quickly and easily create a shell script and cron job to handle your data backups 100% hands off.

I use Rclone on my home server (Windows Server 2008 R2) to keep an online backup to my unlimited Google Drive. The reason I use Rclone for this is encryption, as the data is transferred it’s content in addition to file and folder names is encrypted. Getting the perfect hands off approach on Windows is as simple as creating a batch script and then a scheduled task for the batch script.

One important consideration is that rclone has no GUI and is 100% command line driven. An application does exist to provide Rclone with a GUI but I’m still testing this and will post an update once I’ve completed testing – one comment at this time is that the setup of remotes still requires some input via CLI on the GUI version so there is no getting away from it.

For those using Rclone in a Linux environment can take advantage of FUSE and mount a remote as a filesystem. This isn’t an option in Windows at this time but workarounds do exist (Example – run Rclone on a Raspberry Pi and configure the directory of the mount as a samba share… no Raspberry Pi, consider a Virtual Machine).

Before using Rclone I looked and tested a number of alternatives but Rclone ticks a lot of boxes and is pretty hard to beat in a number of areas. Below is a video walking through the basic setup in a Windows environment.

SickRage : What it is and why you should use it

I’ve been discussing various content download options on Reddit and have been asked to share my end-to-end download solution that I use at home.  I’m going to do this, but before I do I need to cover some pre-requisites first with SickRage being one of them.

SickRage in addition to “Sick Beard” and “Sonarr” are applications that [pretty much] do the same thing, automate your TV Show download process. You may hear them being described as “Internet PVR” which is a neat way of summing up their purpose.

Let’s say that you are the type of guy that downloads TV Shows as they air – it’s Friday morning and The Big Bang Theory aired last night, you’ll go to either your Torrent site or Usenet Indexer and pull the Torrent/NZB, load it into your download client and once it’s downloaded you’ll either watch it or rename and archive into a folder structure.

That whole process is exactly what SickRage does – you tell it what shows you watch and it does the rest and provides some options for your convenience;

  • Has the show already aired X seasons? You have the option of downloading them or skipping them.
  • Only interested in 1080p quality? You can specify the quality of the files that are downloaded.
  • Use a private tracker? Options are provided to support these, you can add custom sites also.

SickRage runs as a service, if you aren’t sure what this means – basically it runs silently in the background and requires no manual intervention from you.

Three final points;

  • SickRage can be run locally on a home system you have like a Desktop PC/Laptop/Home Server or it can be run remotely on a dedicated/shared server. (Seedbox… more on that later)
  • Many people comment that Torrent sites don’t work great with SickRage (And the others) and actively encourage you to configure with Usenet. My experience with Torrents has been perfectly fine, and at time of writing would be concerned about being able to download historical episodes from Usenet due to DMCA take downs.
  • There is a version for movies also, it’s called CouchPotato.

I hope this post has been helpful – any questions you have please comment below or get in touch.