Category Archives: custom

On Android: Ubuntu OS Review Coming Feb. 22nd!

The new Ubuntu Phone operating system is set to arrive February 21st — a little less than 4 days away. For those who aren’t familiar with Ubuntu, it is an extremely popular Linux operating system, who is now aiming to expand their territory into the mobile market. Android itself is Linux-based, and so the move from desktop to mobile isn’t unprecedented. The OS will likely hold its own against custom Android ROMs — such as Cyanogenmod and Android Open-Kang Project (AOKP). 
The Ubuntu Phone OS promises a number of interesting new features. Image Credit: Canonical

Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth has stated in a video published on the ubuntu website (click the “Watch Video” button) that the operating system will be:

  • Buttonless — all the edges have functions which replace the standard 3-button tray in Android
  • Run Ubuntu applications — what features and programs will be available at launch in the mobile version are still up for debate
  • Have Ubuntu One integration
  • Designed for quick interaction — it will have the Unity-style dash and a neat swipe-to-get-back application switcher
  • Mobile screen optimized — removing buttons and making the dashes all touch-sensitive will supposedly make screen real estate appear larger 

In any case, as soon as it comes out, I expect to be flashing the new operating system onto my own Galaxy Nexus phone, to replace the current Android Jelly Bean with some Ubuntu linux goodness. Stay tuned for February 22nd, when I expect to post my initial reactions to the operating system.

Custom Gearing is Here!

For any of those who don’t know, the Sport Check in the Scarborough Town Centre is going out of business… and so they are having a closeout sale. No, this is not a promotion for the store – I simply saw a 7 speed wide-range cassette on sale at that store for 30% off, dropping the price to $15. Knowing that my bicycle’s gearing is a bit high for fully loaded touring up big hills (I’m not super strong, either), I took the opportunity and bought the SRAM 12-32 gear cluster to customize my ride.

Unboxing

 I didn’t have what one would call a “high” low gear before this upgrade – with 700c wheels, an 11-28t cluster in back and a 22-32-42t front crankset allowed for a lowest gear of  21.5 in, and a high of 104 in. I almost never used that high a gear, bust still had some trouble up hills with that low gear (especially on tour/ with load). The new 12-32 casette drops a little high-end, in return for a greater low-end; a gear of 18.8 in to 95.6 in. Strangely enough, the % change from one gear to another among the first 5 cogs is actually closer than before, meaning more comfortable control over cadences on the road. The lost two cogs have jumps much greater, but the absolute change in the gear value is small, making it nearly unnoticeable.

New = shiny… my old cassette was once like that…

Two problems: Firstly, my now-16 year old Shimano Alivio rear derailleur has a bit of trouble reaching the 32t cog, and sometimes hits… I’ll fiddle with the b-tension adjuster, and see if this improves. After all, they were rated (I believe) to 34t max cog. Secondly, because I didn’t replace the chain, and the derailleur is nearly at max take-up capacity, cross-over gears have now become a real danger on the 42t chainring/ 32t cog. Other than that, all is well.

Mounted on wheel. Notice how the last two cogs
grow in size quickly; keeps the majority of gears within useful  % change.

I hope to give it a greater test in the weeks to come, but everything is looking good so far!