March & April 2001 ramblings

Knackered seat, 6-point harness, trainers that fit in a Seven, OpenMail canned, GSM info, foxed.

Everything's great again

My Seven went to James Whiting for a service on Monday. I'm always amazed by how much better it feels when it comes back. The gear-change and clutch action is just so smooth now.

James fitted the 6th point on my driver's side harness. He had to machine the mounting to get it to fit along side the seat, and in doing so noticed that the back of the seat is falling apart. He bodged it together (in a very professional way!) using tywraps. I've pondered getting some R500-style seats, but they are extremely expensive. The carbon ones are right out - for a pair they are £400 more than the glass-fibre variety. It's between those and making a foam seat, which I quite like the idea of, but it wouldn't look very professional, and I'm not too keen on having the head-restraint fitted to the roll bar.

The 6-point harness is great; it holds me in really tight. I've noticed how much more I can feel through the seat (another reason for going for the R500 variety?), and how much easier it is to dance around the pedals now that I'm not subconciously trying to push myself back in the seat. Definitely recommended.

Wednesday 4th April 2001. Link to this ramble.

Trainers that fit in a Seven

I bought some trainers the other weekend that I can actually wear to drive my Seven! I was tipped off that Schuh in Reading had some Converse All-Stars. These are the only shoes other than racing boots that I had found were narrow enough to fit in a Seven's footwell and press one pedal at a time. They are pretty difficult to find in the UK, but Schuh had both hi-tops and lo-tops.

The All-Stars don't last very long when you wear them every day - the sole comes away at the heel, and the rubber gets worn off the sides as they rub against the sides of the footwell. But the sole is very thin, which is good for feeling what you are doing. And they are a lot cheaper than Sparcos.

The assistant was being pretty helpful, so I asked her whether they stocked any other trainers which were similarly narrow. She fetched a pair of Puma Romas which were just what I was after. They're no wider than the All-Stars, and feel pretty sturdy although they are still lightweight. They're better for walking, with a thicker, more springy sole, but that means they're not as nice for driving in. Still, at least people can't tell what car I drive just by looking at my feet any more.

Wednesday 4th April 2001. Link to this ramble.

Impressions of HailStorm

I agree with Dave Winer's views on Microsoft's HailStorm announcement. I don't usually consider Microsoft to be as bad as most of the net seems to think they are, but "Evil Empire" is starting to ring true...

Monday 26th March 2001. Link to this ramble.

OpenMail - R.I.P.

I found out recently that HP OpenMail has been canned, 5 years after I left the project. In my completely biased opinion, OpenMail was much underestimated. It was (and probably still is) much more capable than Microsoft Exchange. I've still got friends working on the product so I hope they get treated well, and that HP give the product a good send-off. Apparently, the Linux version was very popular. Wouldn't it be great if they released the source...

Saturday, 10th March 2001. Link to this ramble.

GSM and other mobile communications info

I found a useful page which links to information about GSM and related technologies (such as SMS, Bluetooth, UMTS).

Thursday, 8th March 2001. Link to this ramble.


A fox doesn't need foot and mouth disease to cause a fair bit of damage...

Monday night, driving home from work. I was doing about 50 mph (just left a 40 zone), when a fox ran out immediately in front of my car. Bang! The front number plate disappeared. The bottom of the nosecone was cracked, and had grown hair. The nosecone mountings on the chassis had bent. The radiator had a big, not really fox-shaped dent in the bottom. Everything seemed safe enough, so I continued on home. It was a fair distance before it had been safe to pull over, so I didn't see the fox, but I don't think there is any way it would have survived.

Tuesday morning (gorgeous day), I checked the car a bit more thoroughly in daylight. Although a bit bruised, the car seemed basically OK, with the exception of a bit of a coolant leak. There was a dent in the front bottom chassis member, but I had vague memories that it was there before the fox decided to take a closer look. Satisfied that the car wasn't going to fall apart, I drove the car up to James Whiting to get an expert's opinion.

James suggested that the leak might be coming from the radiator hoses, so he tightened them, and advised me to keep an eye on the coolant level for a few days. The cost of a new nose, once respraying and fitting is included, is exhorbitant. James suggested, given that it's my every day car, that I just put up with it as it is. A new number plate will cover most of the damage. Assuming that the rad is OK, that's what I will do.

Tuesday, 6th March 2001. Link to this ramble.

This page is It was first published on Thursday 3 May, 2001 and last updated on Tuesday 11 January, 2005.