Booked up for a Motorcycle course in April 2008

It’s been a while since I spent money on bike skills, I guess the last amount was payment for my Motorbike Skill for Life package with the IAM and associate Observer’s fees last year. I’ve always lacked a bit of confidence with my slow speed manoeuvring though it comes and goes which I think points the cause to be in my head rather than a lack of skills. When it comes to buying training for slow speed the choice in the UK is rather limited, most concentrate on the important higher speed stuff that is not only the main problem area for casualties but is also a bit more fun and therefore more commercially viable.

I read a good write up in Scotland on Sunday on a course run by a consultancy down in Yorkshire and I’ve been thinking of going on that for a while, I even spoke to my local trainer about doing similar and he was actually all up for me doing the training down South. He travelled to do his Rospa training down in the Birmingham area and enjoyed the experience and different perspective it gave him.

Spring this year was a bit busy with my 10th Anniversary, and getting on with my IAM bike test so when the advance dates came through for 2008 I had a good look at the schedule. This year they’ve recognised that many folks like to do the road courses together, so I’ve booked up to do MC1 and MC3 over the one weekend in April 2008. I’m really looking forward to it, whatever happens I’ll learn something and they get a really good write up on Machine Control.

Gadget – iGo Stowaway Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Keyboard

I was looking around at the ultra-portable PC market when I stumbled across a special offer on the iGo Stowaway Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Keyboard. This is a wireless keyboard that can connect to my Orange SPV M600 by bluetooth. As my phone comes with Windows Mobile 5 and has the mobile office stuff, I saw great opportunity for writing longer emails and little documents too. I ordered it from Expansys and due to the recent Industrial Action at the Royal Mail, it took a few days to arrive.

Once paired up with my phone it worked ok, but I had a few problems with the latest drivers. You can install the drivers direct to the device by browsing to the thinkoutside site, but these didn’t work. I got errors in a couple of places. The install would start up, the progress bar would go along 5 blocks and then would bomb out with the error “Stowaway XT Setup – Install Failed” and bang. This I cured by checking the install log in the volatile subdirectory, and then manually deleting the stowaway files from the windows directory. I really do not like deleting files that way as you can totally mangle windows by playing around with dlls. Once I got the driver to install I then had a problem on restart – i.e. the driver would not initialise on the device with “The Keyboard driver (“StowawayXT.dll”) is not responding. please reinstall”. Any attempt to reinstall gave the above problem.

I eventually fixed it by going back in versions from the current version. Searching around the internet I found a support posting on one of the Expansys forums that pointed back to previous drivers which appear to be a version before the latest. Having cleared out the stowaway files from the windows directory, the driver loaded in ok.

Back on the Exercise Wagon

I’m not superstitious or believe in fate, but when I got back to the gym (eventually) this morning I didn’t quite realise how many weeks it had been since I was last at Leith Victoria. My progress card’s last entry was the 19th of September, almost immediately after my “I’ve been going to the gym post”.

I don’t think it is Murphy’s or Sod’s law that declares that publicity about anything improves the liklihood of screw up, but shortly after that post I got a cold, it hit my chest, and a few weeks of coughing later I’m just back to the gym this morning.

And of course I was fine, didn’t die or collapse or anything, and I can still see, type and do the other stuff I need to do at work.

Next thing is to get the old R1100RS out for a wee run and get out of my nice comfy air conditioned car.

Advanced Drive 6

Out today for another observed drive, which went well again. Some points to work on are similar to habits on the bike, improve planning, slow down approach to hazards etc. Some things are specific to the car, like remembering to use the left hand mirror enough, and positioning in to the left for right handers. For some reason I have more of a habit of apexing corners in the car, perhaps a habit borne of the Passat SE’s softer suspension.