So I've had my Wii for a couple weeks. I've been using the Wii Fit regular. I'm 56 now. :-( While I'm not using the Wii to work out I've found a handy use for it. The Wii console comes with built in Wi-Fi access so I hooked that up. That allows you to get a news and weather channels on your Wii Menu, along with shopping. So I went into Wii Shop Channel and looked around and found that for 500 points ($5) I could by Opera browser. Took a bit to get used to using the Wii remote as a pointer/mouse but after a while I got the hang of it. It supports Flash so that means I can watch YouTube videos on my TV. Better than that I can now watch basketball and browse the Internet at the same time. Who says I can't multitask?
Last August when I visited Wales and stayed with Bob and Julie I got to play with a Nintedo Wii. I enjoyed it enough that I started thinking about getting one. Anyone that knows me knows it takes me awhile to 'get around TUIT'. Bob had told me he wanted to get something called the Wii Fit that allows the Wii to work you out.
Well I had a chance over Christmas to actually try out a Wii Fit at Wally's and Carol's house. In about 30 seconds their Wii Fit told me I was obese. In another 30 seconds it told me I was 'age 58' - well I'm only 51! Damm computers are just a bit too smart sometimes.
My Wii system was delivered today. I got a Wii controller and Wii Fit from the internet retailer after not being able to find them locally. My Wii Fit was just a quick as Wally's to let me know I was obese with a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 30. Mine was a bit closer on my age - it said I was 57. Gurr.
I'm going to keep at it and use the Wii Fit along with my running and shoot for a BMI in the low 20s (that's at least 30 lbs, or 2+ stones for my UK readers). I hope to at least perform the balance test at or a little below my age. Don't laugh until you let it size you up. You can check out the Wii Fit at the Nintendo site.
Today is one of those days you stop and look back. On this day a year ago I retired from IBM. When asked where I worked I've been saying I retired "at the end of last year." After today I can say "I retired over a year ago." Although I went back to work April 1st after being off for three months I still like to think that I'm retired, and just working because I want too. After the recent stock market down turn I suspect if I did the math I might find out I have to work. For now I don't want to know, and I'll just keeping working because I want too.
Another thing that happened 20 years ago today was I closed on my current home. I also made sure I paid off my house 9 years ago this month to avoid any Y2K issues. Funny. I have never missed having to make a house payment all these years, and I never missed getting up and driving to work this last year.
So to mark the day I built a new hand rail for my back steps. I figure I'll be needing it to help me up those steps sometime in the next 20 years.
Jim was invited to display his S10 BEV at the 1st Annual Piedmont Green Gala hosted my TS Designs to celebrate the opening of Piedmont Biofuels’ retail biodiesel station and TS Designs’ newly installed 8.6kwh solar array. Jim invited me along and we had a great time on a perfect fall day under Carolina blue skies. Click the picture to see more and get additional details.
TS Designs believes in PPP "People, Profit, Planet" and each of us can help our planet in many small ways by simply taking a small step. They started by not using polystyrene cups for employees or visitors. Over the many years they have saved several 18 wheeled trucks full of cases of cups, and also all the land fill space needed to dispose of them. Those small efforts have lead them to organic gardens and solar and wind power for their use. Now the new roof top array will supply power to the grid through the ncGreenPower program. Way cool! Some of the power you are using today is supplied locally by business like TS Design and maybe even your neighbor.
I moved to North Carolina in December 1988. One of the new friends I made in the first year or two was Larry. Over the years Larry and his wife Toni have grown to be good friends. Our friendship hasn't been the only thing growing in 20 years.
The hedges in front of Larry's house had grown to the point they needed to be taken out. Larry and I have often helped each other out over the years, but my first thought when he called to borrow my come-a-long and chain was he was nuts. Those suckers were big, and taking them out was going to be something Mama always told me I was allergic too... Hard work. After some encouragement from Larry, a commitment we tackle only one and if it was too much he would have someone come take them out, I reluctantly loaded up the truck with my chain, wire rope, 15K lbs tow strap, and the come ah-long and headed over after work Wednesday. Well I was right pulling one of the bushes out was hard work. Took a good 45 minutes of winch, huff-n-puff, rest, winch some more, reposition the come ah-long, crank some more -But it was possible, and we got that sucker out. So we decided to finish the job on Saturday. Well Thursday turned out to be perfect fall day. Clear blue skies, cool, and no humidity. So I called and Larry he said sure come on over. Ever since finishing that first one I had been thinking ... There had to be a easier way. I came up with the idea to hook the chain to the frame of the truck and see if it would snatch the hedge out. Well it did. Having 2500lbs of batteries rolling at 3-4mph provides a serious tug, and each hedge would pop out after 3 or 4 tugs. The beauty of the electric motor is there is no wheel spin since the torque starts at 0 rpm - there is no 'rev up', or clutch slip needed. We did half yesterday and finished the rest today.
I think it looks nice. Now the holes they left behind, well that's another sea story.
Before I got my S10 EV back in July I had ordered a DX bike kit from Zap. It's been on back order since June and it finally came while I was in Boston. The DX is a dual motor 12v kit that you simply bolt onto your existing bike. Goes ~18mph with a range of about 15 miles depending on how much you pedal. It has a regenerative mode which is suppose to help charge the battery when you coast downhill. The motor will assist you as you pedal or you can just sit back and let it do all the work. Going up hill you have to pedal but the ad said... "Lets you take hills like an athlete." If the battery runs down you can just pedal like a normal bike.
As you can see the kit came with everything I needed. The black item in the center with the white "Zap" on it is the pouch for the battery. The motor is just below the pouch, to the left of the small black rectangle which is the battery charger. The silver item on the far left with the black stripe is the battery holder/mount. Inside of it is the motor control module - more about that later. The battery is the large gray rectangle in the middle. Notice the water bottle and cage on my old Cannondale. It has to go to make room for the battery mount. Bummer.
The battery is valve regulated sealed lead acid, so it is heavy. ~16lbs. Yuck. 18amp hours. There is an auxiliary connector that allows you to charge the battery while it is still connected to the bike. Or you can pull the Velcro apart and remove the battery pouch from the bike. The pouch has handles to make carrying the battery easier.
Here is it all installed. Simple. Took about an hour. The battery holder mounts to the frame using pipe clamps. The small black button on the gray battery mount is the on-off switch. The pouch has flaps that mate with the Velcro on the mount and a strap that loops under the mount. The battery is secure, and isn't going to fall out.
The motor mounts to the seat stay with a metal plate. Took a bit to get it adjusted so that the motor will try to 'climb' the tire as it pivots into the tire. This increases the motor's grip (friction) on the tire as the motor shaft rotates. If you pedal (or coast down hill) faster than the motor is turning the tire will push the motor away. Simple but effective design and seemed to work well. There is a lever to lock the motor against the tire if you want the motor to do all the work.
I wish I could say it worked 1st time, but it didn't. I hooked all the connectors up, charged the battery, but nothing happened when I pushed the handle bar mounted switch. Forward for high speed, back for low speed, and center(auto-return) for off. Took me about another hour to debug the problem.
The white/rust colored 3 pin connector in the lower left was shifted over to the left one pin. So only two of the three wires were mated to the pins on the control board. The 'root' cause was actually the large wire next to the 3 pin connector. That wire (spade) connector was flipped so that fat part was towards the 3 pin connector which prevented the white header from being able to slide onto the pin on the right next to the wire. Twisting the spade connector 180 degrees put the 'fat' part away from, and the thin part of the spade towards the 3 pin connector. This allowed enough clearance for the white header to slide over that first pin. No wiring diagram, and of course nothing is labeled. The correction is pictured here.
But after getting the 3 pin connector right, I when for a test ride and I have to say it easily pulled my 225 lbs along at a faster than I pedal normally pace and climbed reasonable grades (small hills) by itself. For sure I will have to pedal some to get up any real hill with the motor doing most of the work. Still too early to judge the range. But I have to say that this kit can take the hard work out of bike riding, while still giving you some exercise. If getting all hot and sweaty riding to work is stopping you from doing it this kit could solve that problem.