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A Better Kanteen Lid

My favorite lid for standard mouth Klean Kanteen bottles is the Topoko Straw Lid B. It’s a simple flip-top straw lid. The only thing that makes it special is that the mouthpiece is covered when closed. It seems like a common sense concept, but so many sport lids have no provision for some sort of mud guard.

Topoko Straw Lid

Other than that, there’s not much to say about the lid. It is completely leak-proof when closed. It is easy to operate one handed. It comes with two straws that can be cut to length. One is stiff and the other is bendy. I’ve found no functional difference between the two.

I have these lids installed on both the bottles I use on a daily basis – the 27 oz that I carry on my bike, and the 40 oz I use at home.

I did break one of the lids by accidentally dropping the bottle from about 4 feet onto concrete. It broke where the carry loop connects to the base. The lid still sealed and functioned properly. I only use the loop for pulling the bottle out of a cage or pouch, but I still purchased a replacement (and another spare) immediately.

The new lids I received were slightly different from the old ones. The bit that covers the mouthpiece is clear instead of black, and the edge of it is flush with the edge of the lid. On the old model, the black cover was a couple millimeters proud of the edge of the lid, which provided more purchase when grabbing the piece to flip it open. The older design seems superior, but I haven’t actually noticed a practical disadvantage with the new one. I can still easily and reliably flip the lid open, even with a gloved finger. (That is, however, with light gloves – the older design may have more of an advantage with heavy winter gloves.)

Topoko Straw Lid: Old and New

I’ve only used the lids on Klean Kanteen bottles. I use these bottles for water. I don’t know if there are any special considerations that would make the lids less than ideal for hot beverages.

I’ve used every iteration of Klean Kanteen’s Sport Cap since I bought my first bottle from them in 2005. They’ve all left something to be desired. The Topoko lid is a superior solution.

Rema Rotation

I previously outlined my patch kit, which is based around Rema patches and vulcanizing cement. Ensuring the health of the vulcanizing cement is key to the functionality of the kit. As with any liquid adhesive, it can dry out in an open tube. Or the tube may sprout a leak, causing the liquid to leak out and vanish. I have taskwarrior tell me to replace the cement in my patch kit every 3 months:

$ task add due:2020-01-01 wait:due-3weeks tag:bike recur:quarterly replace rema vulcanizing cement

The task is really just a queue for me to evaluate the condition of the kit. Because I do not get flats often, there’s a good chance that the cement tube in my kit will be unopened when I perform this evaluation. If the tube is sealed and appears in good condition, I’ll leave it in without replacing it. If it is open, I remove it from the kit and replace it with a new tube. The old cement goes into my toolbox at home. When I apply a patch at home, I’ll first try one these old, retired cement tubes.

Rema Vulcanizing Cement: Old vs New

Before marking the task as complete, I’ll also evaluate the patches in the kit, replenishing or replacing from my bulk supplies as necessary.

This process gives me extreme confidence that my patch kit will be functional when I need it.

This post was published on . It was tagged with bicycle, gear, edc.

X260 LCD Panel Replacement

I replaced the LCD panel in my Thinkpad X260 last month. The original panel had developed some scuffs from its years of service. They were never noticeable inside, but became mildly annoying when using the machine outdoors in direct sunlight. Since I’ve been working outdoors more often over the past year, I decided a replacement would be a worthwhile idea. The internet makes it look easy, as long as one purchases the right panel.

I was told that the X260 originally shipped with three different LCD panels, so my first stop was Lenovo’s parts lookup tool where I input my serial number and received in exchange a complete parts list. This told me that my original panel was an AUO B125HAN02.2 (FRU 00HN883).

A seller on eBay claimed to sell this exact model for $80. I placed an order, waited a couple weeks for shipping from Shenzhen, and opened the package to discover an IVO M125NWF4 R0. This wasn’t a complete surprise. I had heard that sellers often ship compatible products, rather than the exact product they sold. The panel looked almost identical, so I decided to try it.

Thinkpad X260 LCD Panel Replacement

Replacing the panel took about five minutes. The new panel does appear to function identically to the original – resolution, brightness, and colors all look the same to me. The only difference I can discern is that the new IVO panel looks a little less matte than the original AUO panel. (In the photo, the new panel is the one sitting to the side of the laptop. It still has the protective covering on it – evidenced by the red pull tab – which makes it look like it has Apple-level glossiness. I can happily report that the actual panel surface looks nothing like that.) If I shine a direct light on both panels, the edge of the light is a bit more diffuse on the AUO panel. I’ve noticed no practical difference due to this indoors. I’ve worked with the new panel outside a couple times now, and so far it seems to work great in that environment as well. And since it has no marks, it is definitely a net improvement over the current state of the original panel when outdoors.

Pandemic Office

According to Lenovo’s parts lookup tool, my backup X270 uses the exact same AUO panel as what was originally in the X260. So I now have 2 new LCD panels that are swappable between the two computers. This sort of redundancy makes me feel warm and fuzzy. I’ve also placed the old panel into storage as another backup. It remains perfectly usable outside of direct sunlight.

I first noticed the marks appearing on the old panel a couple years into its service life. It was clear these were caused by the LCD contacting the keyboard when the laptop was closed – more specifically, I assume that the problem is whatever grease or oil gets transferred to the keyboard from my fingers. To solve this I started covering the keyboard with a microfiber cloth before closing the laptop. Since I started doing this a few years ago, I have noticed no new marks appear on the panel. Now that I have a new panel, my expectation is that this technique will keep it in good condition for years to come.

There seems to be no shortage of sellers offering microfiber “keyboard covers”. I assume they’re mostly all interchangeable. The one I went with was Clean Screen Wizard for 12” Laptops. The actual dimensions of these cloths are about 10.5” by 6.75”. This is not large enough to cover the entire base of the laptop, but it is large enough to cover just the keyboard, which is all I wanted to accomplish. I was worried that if I bought a cloth large enough to cover the whole base (as they show the cloths doing in their product photos), I’d have to worry about lining the edges up just so before closing the laptop. The cloth intended for 12” laptops gives me enough wiggle room that I can just throw it on blindly.

I’ve since bought half a dozen of these same cloths and use them everywhere one uses microfiber cloths. The larger size, compared to typical eyeglass microfiber cloths, is convenient for cleaning optical and camera lenses.

This post was published on . It was tagged with hardware.

Shoe Stats

Purchasing shoes online can be a bit of a shit show. Sizing varies widely across – and even within – brands. I tend to wear a 9.5 US or 42 EU in most footwear, but, without trying the shoe on in meatspace, an online purchase is always a gamble.

Some years ago, shortly after I first braved the world of footwear e-commerce, I started logging which size I wore in every shoe I purchased. This helped immensely because it allowed me to compare sizing when reading reviews. When researching a new shoe model, I look for reviews that compare it against some other model that I may have a log entry for. If I can’t find that, but I find a comparison to some other model, I may try to find reviews of that model which compare it to something I know. It is like playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, but with shoes. (The more you play the game the more you win.) Eventually I try to form a statement like “if you wear a 9.5 US in Shoe X, you should buy a 10 US in Shoe Y”.

I do not log widths because I always wear whatever a brand’s “standard” width is. If I ever purchased something the brand considered to be “wide” or “narrow”, I would note that.

A couple years ago I began tracking weight in the same file as the sizes. Many older shoes have no weight logged, but I find it useful for entries where I do have the data. The weights are all “as worn” – meaning they are what I measured after replacing shoe laces (probably with Lawson Toughlaces) or insoles. So my weights might be a couple ounces different from how the shoes ship from the factory.

I recently reformatted my log into a nice TSV file so that I could look at it with VisiData. I’ve thrown the file into a git repository and published it on GitHub. If you wear the sort of shoes I wear, perhaps it will be helpful to you.

This post was published on . It was tagged with footwear.

I published my database of pressure cooking times.

A couple years ago I scraped all of the pressure cooking time tables from Hip Pressure Cooking into CSV files for storage in my exocortex. For things I cook regularly, I keep my own notes on preferred times, water ratios, etc. But when cooking something new, I find that having an easily greppable, offline database of guidelines is invaluable. Today I moved the CSV files out of my private notes annex and published them as their own git repository.

This post was published on . It was tagged with food, micro.

Cablz Eyewear Retention

I’ve previously mentioned my fondness for Rudy Rydon eyewear (particularly with the photochromic laser red lenses). One of the benefits of the Rydons is the adjustability of the temples and the nose pad, which allow for a secure, custom fit. This makes added retention via a strap unnecessary for securing the Rydons on the face, yet I’ve come to appreciate having a retainer attached simply because it allows me to drop the eyewear around my neck when I don’t need it. This offers more security than pushing them up onto the crown of my head or hanging them over the edge of my shirt or pocket, without requiring the hassle of putting them away in a pack.

For this application I’ve come to like the Cablz Zipz Adjustable Eyewear Retainer. I use the 12 inch version. These are made of a coated, stainless steel wire. When you’re wearing the eyewear, the wire sits up off the neck so you don’t feel the retainer at all. When you’re hanging it around your neck, it is thin and light enough that you soon forget it is there (this is also a result of the lightness of the Rydons, of course). The zip allows the length of the retainer to adjust from about 6 inches to 12 inches. At the smallest setting this keeps the Rydons tight on my face, but since that is not what I’m looking for I keep it adjusted about half way. At roughly 9 inches in length, I find that I can easily don and doff the eyewear, and that they sit at a comfortable position on my chest when I’m hanging them around my neck. The “universal” silicon ends of the retainer grab securely on the Rydon temples.

Cablz Eyewear Retention

Cablz isn’t the only company to offer this style of retainer.

The Croakies ARC Endless is the same basic idea. I bought one to try out, but found it to be inferior. The silicon ends are significantly thicker and less comfortable behind the ear. I could bend the Rydon temples to account for this extra thickness, but I appreciate that the Cablz retainer requires no adjustment of the eyewear. With the Croakies, the pieces you grab to tighten the retainer are quite small. You’re adjusting the retainer blind by reaching behind your head, so the haptics are important. I found the Croakies difficult to use when wearing gloves. The Cablz adjustment pieces are large enough to be easy to use whether gloved or gloveless.

The equivalent from Chums is the Adjustable Orbiter. It only adjusts from 10 inches to 15.5 inches, which is too large for my needs, so I didn’t buy one to try.

I recommend the retainer from Cablz. It provides a simple but helpful augmentation to my eyeball protection system.