Monday, May 7, 2012

A SKYPE ENCOUNTER AND THE ZEPHYR ARRIVES!

May 7, 1944

From the daily diary kept by S.Sgt. G.C. Watts, while stationed in Italy during WWII… “My birthday! Work too. Over 100 – 38’s are in air by 9:00 a.m. Escort Y Squadron. 2 return on 1 engine. Cloudy tonight and hot. Looks like rain.”

 

Today, I spoke with Russ Roca and Laura Crawford of The Path Less Pedaled fame. We had our first face-to-face conversation about their upcoming participation in the 3rd Annual Blue Ridge Breakaway sponsored by the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce

I say face-to-face,which really means Skype connected. We’ve had numerous emails going back to their days in New Zealand. This was our first encounter where they could put a face with my email and I, of course, could similarly connect with them. Although, I must admit that I felt that I already “know” them from having followed their writings and travel for 2+ years since being introduced to them by Bro Dave – he of the west coast residence.  In reality, I know them similarly to how I know Jennifer Aniston or Paul Rudd, which is to say two dimensionally. I look forward to that changing come August 17th! You can see some of the details of their visit by reading THIS POST

The Zephyr arrives – finally!

I’ve been looking for a way in which to reclaim some of the real estate of my handlebars. Between all of the techie gadgets I use in the pursuit of tracking my rides/workouts/fitness, I’m beginning to lose places to put my hands on the bars. My friend and regular photographer Il Plummer, has been quite pleased with the Zephyr HxM BT Bluetooth heart monitor. He has been connecting to his Droid based phone for a while now using this product. So, I thought I’d give it a try and see how well it works for me.

I’ve tried to replace my bike computer with my HTC Thunderbolt using the “My Tracks” app. I’ve used the app as a back-up and double check of my other “systems” and found it to be consistently reliable and offering much of the same data as my Oregon Scientific watch/heart monitor and my VDO bike computer combined. Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to find a secure enough mount to hold the phone on my handler so the phone ends up in one of my rear pockets rendering the live data useless. If I could get a sufficiently secure phone mount, I could now do away with two of my gadgets. If any reader has found a secure phone mount for the Thunderbolt, please post a comment and let me know what you are using!

I am starting out somewhat discombobulated with the Zephyr folks. I ordered the heart monitor from Amazon and paid for EXPEDITED shipping. Now, I don’t know about you but, the term EXPEDITED means “faster, quicker, sooner” to me. The $14.95 for EXPEDITED shipping seemed o.k. when I placed the order but clearly bumped up the cost overall. I lived with it thinking EXPEDITED meant I would get it in 2 to 3 business days.  Well, time went on and nothing… Finally, I was able to track the package and found that it was in Memphis, TN 24 hours after the LAST INDICATED delivery date. I wrote to the company asking why I paid expedited (I made my point – no need to capitalize it again) fees to find it still in FedEx hands an entire state away after the last delivery date. I received a nice expedited automated “no reply” response quickly – See they do understand expedited. I’m still awaiting a reply to my email explaining what is now, to me, an excessive charge. Maybe their non-automated email system of replies is not expedited… I guess time will tell. I’m pretty sure this won’t be a 5 star review on Amazon. I’ll wait to make final judgment after seeing how well the product works with my phone.

So, ‘nuff said for now. The Navigator informs me it is my time to cook! I think I feel Red Beans and Rice coming on…

Until later,

- Zeke

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