KTM 390 Duke Review

No, this is not my review but one of the bikes I was originally interested in as a beginner bike was the not-yet-released-in-the-USA-til-recently-in-late-2015 KTM 390 Duke.

This is a really great bang-for-the-buck upright sitting intro bike that has some excellent performance parts on it from the factory – namely big, 4-piston brakes and a nice exhaust sound.

Here is one of the best reviews I’ve found by RevZilla’s Spurgeon

The KTM 390 Duke just looks badass!

ktm-390-duke-01

The other version to consider is the same-size but less-naked KTM RC390

ktm-rc-390-2014

 

Future consideration, if I were to go up a size would be the KTM 690 Duke

 

 

 

I did ultimately decide on one of the best all-around starter bikes – the Kawasaki Ninja 300 SE in this exact color scheme which I have dubbed First Order Stormtrooper white. It marks some significant upgrades over the Ninja 250R it replaces including digital fuel injection, new clutch, and some very sporty, agressive bodywork while retaining a slightly more upright sitting position which is very comfortable.  To top it off there is a very nice multi-function digital display.kawasaki-ninja-300-s-2_800x0w

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OGIO No Drag Mach 5 Backpack

Here are some useful reviews of the OGIO No Drag line of motorcycle-themed backpacks.

The Mach 5 is their flagship of the No Drag line which includes the Mach 1, Mach 3, and aforementioned Mach 5.  Each model adds some more advanced features such as better material, more rigid aerodynamics, extra pockets, etc.

Ogio No Drag Backpack Overview & Buying Guide at RevZilla.com

OGIO Mach 5 Vs Kriega R20 Backpacks

Android: Choppy Bluetooth Streaming Fix

When I commute to work I spend half my time listening to the radio (NPR only) and the other half streaming music or podcasts from my Samsung phone to my stereo via Bluetooth.  I’ve noticed severe choppiness in the streaming lately, and even though I could tolerate it for a while, it was quite disruptive to my passengers so I finally gave in and searched for a fix.

Conditions

  • Pioneer AVIC head unit
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
  • AT&T LTE connection
  • Spotify (music) or Stitcher (podcasts)

The most effective fix I’ve found had to do with Clearing the Phone’s Cache Partition.  I did it yesterday and have had clear, uninterrupted streaming since.  Think of the Cache Partition to be your phone’s Temp Folder which uh … caches files to speed up access in some apps. It’s similar to your PC’s Temp folder. (There’s actually another /data/dalvik-cache directory but that’s too complicated for this post)

Procedure

Short

  1. Go to the Android Recovery menu, Wipe Cache Partition, Reboot

Detailed

  1. Turn your device off.
  2. Press and hold both the Volume Up and Home keys, then press and hold the Power key (so you end up holding all 3 keys)
  3. When the device beeps/vibrates release only the Power key
  4. When you see the Android Device Recovery Menu you can release the other two keys.
  5. Use the Volume keys to navigate to Wipe Cache Partition and use Power key to select it.
  6. Use the Volume keys to navigate to Reboot system now and use Power key to select it.
  7. The device will reboot and you should notice better Bluetooth streaming performance.

True Blood: Season 7 – 3/4 Season Recap

… and now for a brief pause while we turn our attentions away from Gaza, Ukraine, Ebola, etc …

Well, to say that TB has “jumped the shark” would be an exaggeration as TB has, more accurately, lackadaisically moseyed up to the shark, put its hands up and declared “mehhhh”.

True Blood, which has always been a half decent (meaning…half good, half crap) show overall, has developed an extreme case of senioritis.  In knowing that season 7 will be its last the show’s writers/producers have pretty much phoned in the entire pathetic story line, script, and action sequences. Previously we have at least been entertained by story arcs that have dealt with interesting characters (Russell Edgington, Godric) and conspiracies that have kept us semi-intrigued during and between seasons with some edgy cliffhangers after a well-paced season.

Right now I cannot think of a single story line in season 7 that is interesting – meaning…I actually give a crap about how the story progresses or concludes.  The characters are either dead, dying, or on their way out – mentally and existentially. The worst part?  I don’t care any more. Even the steadfast duo of Eric and Pam are waning and whining. Before this season they could have well had their own spin-off show detailing their decades of adventures but at this point … whatever.

Vampire shows have always had an “entertainment multiplier” augmenting their surface intrigue with complex and interesting back stories – the real power of many strong shows like Lost (and even Blade: The Series…which although was decent had back stories more interesting than the main show. True Blood has the most mundane flashbacks of Bill back in his pre-war years as a fresh-faced whelp courting his soon-to-be-dead-wife-and-kid.  He might as well be flashing back to churning butter or eating biscuits as nothing really happens; there’s not too much character development; and no one cares.

The showrunners have made it clear that they want to have every character just fade out of existence like Marty in Back to the Future rather than go out in a wet, chunky splat like most vampires in the show have done. The only thing that could make this season more ridiculous is for Sookie to leave Bon Temps on a quest to find herself and meet up with Dexter the Lumberjack in Alaska….zzzzzzz

ROI: Babson Beats Harvard for Best Bang-for-the-Buck!

Here is a great article which references this week’s Money’s article ranking Babson as Best Bang-for-the-Buck college in the US…the best quote from this article would be:

“M.I.T., Stanford and the California Institute of Technology are all in the top 10. But so are Brigham Young, Harvey Mudd College and Babson College. Babson is a business-focused institution in Massachusetts that most people have probably never heard of. According to Money, it’s the No. 1 college in America.”

In my experience on the west coast barely anyone, outside of east coast transplants and people who are looking into, or have graduated from, business school have ever heard of Babson – this will be our key marketing challenge for the next generation of graduates.  Right now, as a graduate of the 3rd San Francisco cohort of Babson’s MBA program, the main marketing channel seems to be word-of-mouth referrals.

Building a Better College Ranking System. Wait, Babson Beats Harvard?

Cabin: iPhone Battery Case with MagSafe-like Connector

HEVO Labs has just come up with a great accessory for the iPhone which addresses its most annoying/weakest feature – the %$#! Lightning port which is used for power & data.  It’s an Apple-only “standard” which I admit is nicer than there clunkier 30-pin port but

I honestly wish them the best of luck but there’s a reason why no non-Apple hardware manufacturers have developed any “Magsafe-Like” power adapters for either phones or laptops because Apple would sue the pants off them.

This a great idea though – to have a minimalist, aluminum-bodied 2200mAh battery case, that converts the Lightning port to a magnetically connected charging port.  This magnetic feature allows clean connectivity to their own docking stand and charging cables without the risk of physical wear & tear/damage that the traditional Lightning or MicroUSB ports have.  It combines the ease-of-use of wireless magnetic induction (popular on some Android) and the speed

Cult of Mac Article

Apple Magsafe US Patent

They state some of the Risks and Challenges include logistics and manufacturing but I think their biggest threat to success is Apple’s penchant for litigation against supposed IP violations – the L in the PESTLE analysis for you MBA nerds.  Apple neither licenses the Magsafe connector nor the patent which means…they’ll be hoarding and suing anyone that poses a threat. So with that big threat looming on the horizon I’m both curious and worried for the Cabin system.

One Cool Thing: School or Pool?

Infographic showing where families’ priorities lie with the majority of home buyers opting more to pay a premium for the schools of their choice than for certain luxury amenities like a pool/spa.

This supports the current pricing trends in areas with the highest ranked schools (Cupertino, Saratoga, Los Gatos, Los Altos) where purchase prices can be up to 25% higher than original list prices!