Buying my 1st ebike

I have not posted to this blog in quite a while. I will start to give it a new life as a blog about my experience as an electric bike (ebike or e-bike) owner.

My employer told us we would be moving building in mid september. There is only 10 parking sport (for 130 staff) and the nearest parking is more than 1 km (0.7 miles) away.

There will be good bus service once the regional STO “Rapibus” is functional but I don’t bet on it to be there when we move. My wife will already use the car to go to work so I need a solution. Sure, I could ride with my wife but the new work location is not really on her way to work. I therefore started to look at the option of riding my bike. I live about 13 km (9 miles) away so I would probably be sweaty when I would get to work. And there will be no showers in the building. So I decided to look for an electric bicycle to reduce the workout and time to get to the office.

I have been looking a many options and finally decided to go for the Volton Alation 500.

Volton Atalion 500

Volton Atalion 500

Why did I go for this one? My requirements were the following:

  • Should not stand out like a sore thumb;
  • Need to look as much as possible like a standard bike
  • Need to go fast (or to the maximum speed limit of 32 km/20 miles) without effort
  • Need to cost around $2000.00
  • Need to be built with fairly reliable parts

I found many options that came close but failed one or more of the requirements. For example, the Stromer ST1 would have been perfect if not for the price:

Stromer ST1

Stromer ST1

Doesn’t it look a lot like the Volton? I do think so. Now, the Stromer is a superior electric bicycle with it’s better battery, torque sensor, hydrolic breaks, etc… but also cost $2000.00 more than the Alation.

I also considered the Smart electric bike… but it was too expansive and only has a 250W hub motor.

Smart electric bike

Smart electric bike

So in the end I pulled the trigger for the Volton. I should receive it tomorrow. I will post more pictures and thoughts about it once I receive it.

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Alpha 1-based libstagefright: http://mirrors.xbmc.org/test-builds/andr…bi-v7a.apk

Steve Jobs 1955-2011

AirPrint Activator v2.1b1

v2.1b1 (September 5 2011):

- new design to be firewall friendly. Simply add the aparedir helper application located in the helper folder to the allowed applications in the Firewall)

- fix an issue with firewall detection on non Lion systems

To run this new version simply drop the AirPrintActivator folder in the Applications folder and run it.

Grab your copy from the main AirPrintActivator 2 page.

AirPrint Activator v2.0b16

Quick note about the new release of AirPrint Activator 2.0b16.

This new release changes the following:

v2.0b16 (August 13 2011):

- newly compiled under XCode 4.1.1

- added a new warning window that let you know if the OSX Firewall is on and what consequence this might have on APA2

If AirPrint Activator is working fine for you then no need to upgrade.  If you do upgrade from a previous v2.0bX release simple run the new version, turn AirPrint OFF and then back ON again.  That is it.

You can download the latest copy in the main page of AirPrint Activator V2.0.

OSX Lion Nuance now available for download

I was checking if the new Nuance voices part of OSX Lion where still unavailable… to my surprise the Karen voice started downloading… Is Apple preparing for the release of Lion soon… maybe as soon as tomorrow… as some have speculated based on the new Apple Store 2.0 large download size…

This would be another possible sign of the imminent launch of OSX Lion!

Here is a sample of the voice reading the text above this line: karen fiona

Here are two samples for the French Canadian voices: julie felix

Lion Preview 3: no more multi-user Screen Sharing

Last week-end I discovered that one of my prefered feature of Lion beta is now gone from the latest Preview 3 beta.  I can’t tell for sure if the feature was removed in Preview 3 or if it was removed in Preview 2… but one thing for sure… it is gone and I already miss it.

The feature I am talking about was allowing you to connect to a remote Mac via Screen Sharing and be offered the option of connecting to a new virtual display:

This was allowing me to test Xcode while my wife would surf the web on the new iMac.  Now I can’t anymore.  I hope that Apple will bring the feature back in a next Preview release… or to find a way to re-enable the now disabled feature.

I will miss you Screen Sharing connect to a virtual display!

OSX Lion will use Nuance voices?

UPDATE 2:

Just to clarify something.  Some site are wrongfully reporting that those voices where added by Apple in Lion’s preview 3.  This is not true.  The voice samples where there with the 1st preview. I did NOT discovered the voices. Those where found way back when Preview 1 was released. What I discovered today is that that those voice samples where in fact the same voices that Nuance used to sell in their RealSpeak product.

Those voices are NOT actually usable just yet in Lion.  You get an error message when Lion is trying to install them.  They are most likely missing either from the installation package or missing from Apple’s update servers.

I hope this clarifies things up a bit.

UPDATE 1:

Apparently the RealSpeak application is now called Vocalizer.  You can find it here!  Thank you Örjan for pointing this out!  You will find a demo of the voice and I must say that they sound identical to the Apple’s voice demo in Lion!

——

Here is something I discovered while listening to the new voices sample in OSX Lion.  They are a perfect match to those that used to be part of Nuance RealSpeak Solo product…  Now, the thing is that Nuance RealSpeak Solo is no more to be found on their web sites… how strange is that.

You can still find samples of the various voices at sites like the following.

The voice samples in Lion sound a bit better than the older samples from Nuance… but one can easily link the two together.

You can also still get some live samples from Nuance by registering an account at the following link: http://212.8.184.250/tts/demo_login.jsp

I don’t know if the links above will stay up very long but have a try while it last!

This is more proof that Apple is certainly licensing Nuance products to use in the next OSX Lion. There is still a chance that they will pull it out before the GM release…

The new voices in Lion still don’t install properly (as of Preview 3)… Apple might have wanted to delay the distribution of those voices or they simply have not completed to cross all T and dot all i in the contract.

AirPrint Activator (APA) v2.0b15

Here is a small update to AirPrint Activator.  This new version fix a bug with long printer names that would exceed the maximum Bonjour name length resulting in a failure to advertise the printers.

As usual you can grab a copy from the main AirPrint Activator page.

AirPrint Activator (APA) v2.0b13

Short post about the release of AirPrint Activator (APA) v2.0b13.

What is new in this release?

  • 1st official release with PPC support.  I fired up an old version of xCode and compiled a Universal binary based on a 10.5 SDK.  Hopefully this should make APA available for PPC machine running 10.5.

     

  • New UI for the ON/OFF toggle switch

     

  • Fix for a bug with the Wireless support (hopefully)

     

  • Fixed a bug with the preference file creation under OSX Lion

     

  • Added an option to disable the auto-cleanup feature of the daemon (don’t use this please)

     

That is it for now!