Go, Go, GoPro!

Replacement GoPro Hero 3+ ready for work!As the evening mist rolled down the valley and the receding glow behind the Gran Sasso a lingering reminder of today heading toward tomorrow, I trundled up to the main road in the Landy to meet a courier. A dashboard perhaps, or some silicone vacuum hose I’d ordered off EBay? No Idea.

When I saw the parcel I nearly fell off my perch … a replacement GoPro camera! 😀  And not only that, but also a nice new battery as well – thank you GoPro, what a nice surprise. All in all the turnaround was 1 week from shipping the old unit to the new one turning up, Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid - GoPropretty damn good in my books.

The only thing to ask now is about warranty – I’m unsure about where the new camera stands. Does it only have the remaining warranty of the old unit (about 8 weeks!) or does it come with a new warranty of it’s own and if so, how long? So I’ve sent a last email back to GoPro asking them to clarify it for me. Meanwhile, I’ve charged it up, got it talking to the Wi-Fi remote and GoPro app, polished its case and got the bike ready for a nice little womble around the countryside ….. all in aid of product testing of course! 😉

Sprocket to me daddy-o

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid front sprocket stress analysisOnce again I’ve been playing ….. this time with Aurasma. No sniggering at the back!

Another augmented-reality app that does video and 3D, admittedly the 3D isn’t as good as Augmented in some ways, but in others it has definite potential. For this little magic show, you’ll need to download the app (Android) to your phone and (on your PC) go to the website and open a free account. Then open the app and tap on the white triangle in the bottom/middle of the screen, now tap on the search (magnifying glass) and search for ‘moto-abruzzo’ then on the next screen tap on ‘follow’ in the top right hand of the screen …… and your done!

Now click on the sprocket above to open a larger version on your screen, point your phone’s camera at it and watch Aurasma do its stuff! Impressive eh? 😀 A basic model of a Sunstar 16 tooth front sprocket animated around two axes. Unlike Augmented which is VERY expensive after your 14 day intro, Aurasma is free (for now) – and we all like freebies. I think I’ll start porting my CAD/3D library of Capo parts over in the New Year and see how it goes. 😉

If you gave it a go, please leave a comment. Any feedback thoughts or ideas on how best to use this with reference to our beloved Caponords is always welcome.

Have fun!

Bye Bye Wi-Fi … one poorly GoPro camera

GoPro Hero 3+ WiFi failureYes after 10 months of excellent service, the GoPro Hero 3+ Black has sadly ended up toes-to-the-sky in the bottom of the bird cage. Everything was fine until a couple of weeks ago, when all of a sudden the camera ceased talking to the wireless remote or my smartphone … in fact no Wi-Fi activity at all. So I twiddled and fiddled, reloaded the firmware, stood on one foot in a bucket of rice pudding reciting Winnie the Poo out loud…. nothing worked. Time to contact GoPro.

SDA Pescara ItalyFrom initial contact (website form) I must say they were very quick to respond – the automated reply says 1-2 days, I got a response within 3 hours! After that things happened rapidly and within a few days I was standing at the local UPS office (actually sign posted SDA – don’t ask!) handing over the demised camera in its little cardboard coffin resplendent in a pre-paid return label for the journey to its final resting place in the Netherlands. That was Monday, it was delivered on Wednesday and today, Thursday, I’m getting my kit ready for a run out….. Helmet, gloves, wallet, phone, cam…….

…..I miss that little fella already. 😥

This I guess is the halfway point through the warranty claim, so far so good. I have to say the experience has been very smooth with GoPro being totally professional and helpful throughout. The emails were clear and concise with everything integrating seamlessly to avoid confusion. At this point I’m very happy with GoPro, let’s see how things pan out over the next week or so!

Augmented reality Capo luggage!

(AR) – Augmented Reality, the overlaying of graphics, data etc. on real-time video or imagery. Nothing new really, it’s been done for years ……. but not in my back yard it hasn’t!

I’ve been playing with an Android app called ‘Augment’ which in combination with its website, allows 3D models to be uploaded and then selected from your smartphone and overlayed/inserted into the real-time image from your phones camera. These stills and video were taken after uploading a basic model of a pannier/water bottles I knocked up last year. The bit of paper in the pannier frame is a target I printed out from the website – it’s this that the model is oriented and locked on to.

And here’s a couple of stills taken via the app. I must say I was bloody impressed with how well it stayed in position … I could move round to quite severe angles to the target before it lost position lock. Even moving the camera around quite agressively didn’t seem to phase it much.

Since playing with the pannier, I’ve tried a few more models – coils, various brackets and brake caliper bits …. it’s fantastic fun just sitting at a table looking at various Capo parts over a cup of (real!) coffee.

RPMT (Register of Post Test Motorcycle Trainers)

RPMTI finally got around to renewing my RPMT (Register of Post Test Motorcycle Trainers) membership before it expired, another few weeks and I’d have to start the whole registration process over again – Riding test, Instructional test and Instructor Theory test …. not a very savoury thought, given the time and cost (£390-£540 as of November 2014). By Jimini that snuck up rather quick!

RPMT was set up by the DSA ( Driving Standards Agency – Now the DVSA) back in late 06 or early 07, I forget which. The idea is to bring a level of professionalism and regulation to an otherwise unregulated industry. The simple fact is that unlike pre-test motorcycle training (CBT/DAS), in the UK anyone can set themselves up as an ‘Advanced Instructor’ with no training or qualifications, it’s been done and people have been hurt through unsafe tuition. So if you are looking to take your road-riding skills up a notch, make sure the Instructor/Coach/Observer (whatever!) is suitably qualified  – you can’t go far wrong with any of these – IAM, RoSPA (I’m on the last page. 😉 ) , DIA or someone on the RPMT register.

I’ve got a screw loose!

Mummy this is going to hurt!One thing’s for sure, irrespective of how many miles you’ve travelled or how many years you’ve had that dog-eared licence in your pocket, you never stop learning. Sometimes the lesson hurts, sometimes it’s so subtle it’s easy to miss and sometimes the lesson leaves your blood-stream swimming in the hormonal avalanche from the Adrenal medulla. You know what it’s like, you’ve been there yourself – a close call, a near miss, a white knuckler, call it what you will …. and you know how it brings a fresh new perspective to the day!

Yesterday I went back to school ………

Scrubbing off speed, I approached a mini round-about where I needed to double back on myself to enter a hardware store car-park. It was a beautiful sunny day with just the right amount of breeze and all was good in my little world. Down a couple of gears, a tickle of brake and I’m eye-balling the ongoing passion play of traffic already negotiating the roundabout as I started to roll in to the left, but immediately it all went horribly wrong. The turn was too shallow, I was spiraling outwards – the steering wouldn’t turn to the left!!

Instinct (or more likely blind panic  😯 ) had me kicking in a heap of counter-steer to abort the left turn before I ran into the oncoming vehicles – swinging the bike away to the right with the left pannier a hair’s breadth from some poor sod’s pride and joy. Pulling over with my heart fit to burst, I tried the steering. Full lock to the right – fine, but it locked Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid - GoPro thumbscrew drops into steering!solid 20-30° to the left. Peering over the handlebars everything looked OK, no loose bolts in the triple-clamp …… nothing. A Scooby-Doo mystery for sure!

As I was putting it on the main stand, I heard something fall from the bike. Looking down I found this fella, an innocuous little GoPro thumbscrew. Eyes snapped up to the GoPro wireless-remote mount on the left handlebar, the thumbscrew was missing. It had worked loose during the journey and bounced down into the bowels of the steering mechanism waiting for the right moment to wreak havoc …… and it very nearly got away with it too (if it hadn’t been for you meddling kids! – A little Scooby in-joke!).

The lesson? Firstly make sure I do things up properly!  😕 Secondly make sure that ANYTHING added to the cockpit / handlebars can’t work loose and interfere with the steering. Sounds obvious, so obvious I haven’t given it a second thought in countless years of riding, but What in FOD's name have you been playing at!as an ex-RAF engineer I should know better than most the catastrophic implications of our old arch-enemy FOD (Foreign Object Damage). Complacency is no excuse ……. From now on ALL GoPro thumbscrews will be tethered!

In this instance only my pride took a bashing, but it could have so easily been much worse – hero to zero in a heartbeat. Today I’ve had a whizz around the bike and checked that everything is tickerty-boo, put in a new thumbscrew and nut and said a bunch of Hail Marys just for good measure! But how about you …..

…. are YOU 100% sure that nothing can foul your steering / suspension or drive chain ….. And is that luggage really secure? 😉