Bike Upgrade

Tire: Rear tire’s been worn completely smooth, allowing at least three punctures to the inner tubes, and traction loss on trails, so finally decided to upgrade from cheap mall tires to real bikeshop brands. But 26″ tires is quite rare in shops, so only found Innova, still a budget brand but the small file in the middle with large nubs on side is suitable for city commute & some moderate trails.

Surprisingly the smooth mall tires have no trouble on even wet roads, so mainly upgraded to reduce such frequent punctures from tiny pebbles (our roads are bad so these are everywhere especially after the countless road constructions that generally don’t improve road quality). After a month, the middle fine tread is somewhat smoothed, but still lasts longer than mall tires that smooth out in maybe two weeks. Not sure if innertube quality matters but the cheap mall tube inside is still doing perfectly.


Disc brakes: It took awhile to notice rear wheel disc brakes are rubbing later, since I thought I’m just tired. I know discs should be better than calipers in general, but quite dislike the very small gap for the disc to wobble around. From this design, it’s very hard to visually check if the disc ever touches the breaks even slightly. Previously I changed the knob that moves the pads, but can’t yield any bigger gap, since the brake cables can’t travel any farther. Also only the outer pad appears to move in on braking, which means every brake will bend the disc slightly to contact the inner pad. Following Youtube vids, I used a wrench to bend the disc flat (oddly it needed extra push in the same direction as the braking direction). The rear wheel went from 2 turns from a light push to well over 10 rolls.


Seatpost: This also lasted forever. With very short seattube & seatpost, I left only ~2cm seatpost in the tube, which I didn’t realize was very hazardous till I saw folks with torn out tubes that renders the frame useless. Giant’s aluxx is very sturdy so it was resilient, but with all the annoying wobbles, losing a lot of watts to shifting the post around, and occasionally the post completely falls off, I had to fix this.

Getting the new XLC 400m seatpost was easy. Hard part was wrestling all the rusted pieces off, which suggests I should workout 3x harder in gym. New post has a 10cm indicator line where the minimal length in tube is safe.

The energy saving with a rigid seatpost was utterly amazing. With the new post, I finished the long climb to Karori in one go, when previous attempts needed many rest stops along the way. The old flexy seatpost literally sapped a chunk of my output.

There are intersting debates on stiff vs flexy frames, like below video. But my old post is a somewhat different situation, as the post can literally pivot forward/backward and stay there (not a rubber, doesn’t bounce back). The frame itself experiences plastic deformation, as compared to shape preserving elastic deformation. My force basically contributes to warping the frame. A stiffer frame would perhaps keep in the elastic range for longer. Also there’s friction & heat as the pivoting happens. With the new seatpost there’s no pivoting & interior rubbing is minimal.

Seat: Weird bar tape use? No, it’s actually the second seat fix. Previously I tried standard cloth duct tape to make the torn seat waterproof. The inner sponge ensured a wet ride few days after every rain. The duct tape lasted for months, but the cloth threads eventually splay off, and the sticky resin spreads everywhere. The new PVC sealing tape (usually for plumbing) is more form fitting, sticky, waterproof, & clean. Some of these pro tapes can cost a fortune, but it’s great for general home maintenance & minor fixes too.

Lights: The old post had several light attachments (all of them broke in various ways). So the two remaining survivors are merged together for the new post. Though the Kathmandu light was the most reliable, its clip is also broken, so the twist tie manages to hang on.

Spider: Why’s the Breffo spider phone mount down there? Well it used to be my phone mount, and did well on roads, but it flew off with my phone on rough trails. Also it should be waterproof, but it’s sun cracked, weathered, with rubber pieces falling off & rusted inner wire exposed. Anyhow, I’ve repurposed it as a front derailleur guard (not for chain falloff) to prevent long pants from snagging onto the chainrings, which already destroyed a few pants. It doesn’t always work as the legs aren’t long enough, but a larger Breffo version should work perfectly. Why not clamp the pants? I bought dedicated clamps before, but they slide off or I forget to bring them.





Bicycle Repair

A broken bike became a few weeks journey as an amateur bike mechanic. Like most, I’ve biked for a long while but only know basics like tire replacement, simple tuneup etc.

1) Hanger

The journey started when shifting gears while going uphill, where chain/pedal got stuck & broke the hanger. (image below) Tension screw is also bent & strangely positioned, but might’ve been from the start. Instead, Youtube videos suggest the screw bottom should push against the corner for “tension” derailleur needs to shift gears. I found these helpful: &


Hanger in 2: Top piece is secured by an allen bolt & surrounds the rear axle. Bottom piece is on the loose derailleur by another allen bolt.


Extremely stiff derailleur allen bolt wouldn’t budge from a foldable allen key. So got WD-40 for loosening screws, a better leverage key, and A LOT of force for a long time. Probably never worked out so hard in gym before.

From a Giant store & online, I learned hangers are “designed to fail”, since they connect the frame to the derailleur, protecting both. But $50 & one week order time isn’t normally a “spare part.” But issues snowballed, as the old bike needed more maintenance.


Hanger is secured by an allen nut & bolt (each maybe different depending on hanger model). Unfortunately the bolt stuck on the small hanger piece vanished. That was another $30 for a 5 pack of generic nuts/bolts. Your local bikeshop may have singles but ours didn’t have a matching pair.


New hanger (right) vs old (left). Type is PILO D-19 engraved on the side. The part doesn’t come with above nut/bolt, so don’t lose them like I did.


Ensure tension screw has some tension before securing the allen bolt to the derailleur.

2) Cassette


Smallest gear wears the fastest, as one tooth is completely gone. But since I don’t have the cassette removal tool. I tried some Youtube non-tool solutions but the rusty gears never budged. A bike mechanic told me it’s bad to only get a new chain or cassette, as the entire drivetrain is old, the new part would wear out the old parts even faster. For now I’ll keep this, tho a missing tooth could cause the chain to fly off.

3) Plastic gear guard

The chain was nowhere near the largest gear, no idea why the guard shifted off center & could not be hammered back. The friction with the cassette prevents the axle from turning properly, where rolling bike forward will turn the pedals.


Without the removal tool, this is how the guard is removed: leverage & soldering from opposite angles.


Gear guard

4) Derailleur tuning

All the tuning screws on derailleur took a while. Most important is screw the quick-release rear axle tight before tuneup, otherwise lowest gear was unreachable. This wasn’t mentioned in any resource so took awhile to figure out, since I usually keep parts loose in case it needs to be pulled out again to fix. Now lowest & highest gears hit limits properly, and tension enough to jump to next gear. Sometimes it’s not fast or jumps 2 gears, but can’t expect too much from this old setup. Those electronic gear shifters sound enticing if speed is important.


After chain WD-40, I went halfway across town, but the pedal locked up again just like the first time.

5) Chain master link

After some diagnosis I found the master link stops at the derailleur guide, and it’s non reusable and bent out severely. With a chain tool to remove the link, and the new master link (that allows pop on/out by pulling the links, tool-free), the chain is fixed.

For now the bike should survive more storms & mountain trails. But I’d avoid the worn smallest gear, ease off pressure when shifting gears & perhaps shift before going uphill.

Edit: 3/12

Earlier experiment. I’ve used normal tire repair kits (which fail most the time), but wondered how would melting plastic work? I soldered on plastic over a puncture (bottom left image). It’s faster to apply & lasted 1~2 weeks, longer than most repair patches fared. Also old plastic & soldering is free, while the kits especially cement cost a bit. But most plastics are quite brittle, and weak against impact, so cracks appeared (right image taken after tire started leaking). Also can’t really melt rubber (top right image. Leaves a rough surface on the tire, which can replace the grater from a kit).
Found a high impact superglue (cost quite a bit), that I might try on next puncture. But repair methods usually turn out pricey & temporary, and find it more efficient just replacing with another $6 tube every few months of normal cycling, since road conditions are flaky here.

Kimi no Na wa (Your Name) film


I saw the first limited screening with subs few weeks ago. Originally it’s a one-day showing like most foreign cartoons in this region, but was later extended to around five days. Spoiler paragraphs will be prefixed [spoiler…].

Style & similar shows: I’m used to Shinkai’s slow contemplative beautiful vibe. This was kinda different with very strong pacing shifts & teenage rock music; some dual pov swap montages got so fast I didn’t read all the subs & who’s saying what (besides being sleep deprived the whole week), got the gist & was quite funny but definitely needs a careful rewatch. Then it’ll breath into a slow summer fan or sleeping & very slowly awaking, with Taki rolling off lol. The comedy’s well done while conveying exposition & shifting to drama later. It gave me flashbacks of underworld theme in Children Who Chase Lost Voices, art as detailed as Garden of Words, some dread & confusion like S;G. But Erased/Orange might give more feels for some, as they are longer (~300 minutes). Your Name is roughtly 5 tv episodes long (106 minutes) like most cartoon films which I find usually fairly rushed, but here the continuous format flows better for this story.

Characters: Taki & Mitsuha have an awkward funny chemistry, neither is damsel in distress & both actively help each other. Mitsuha has a strong dislike for the boonies where she’s stuck in, and I totally empathized with them complaining of the boonies. Taki is quick tempered yet passive & hardworking, but otherwise somewhat vague. Body swap adds a whole dimension to their characters, learning more about the other person, their own identity, the friends around them & even the local cultures of both Itomori & Tokyo. Mitsuha’s granny provides most exposition on the local Shinto culture and their shrine maiden family, where both Mitsuha & imouto practice rituals for the town. Mitsuha’s father is the town mayor, but is more into politics than shrine matters & has disputes with the granny. It’s wasn’t clear to me why he’s setup this way but he’s somewhat important. [minor character spoiler] An article from a psychological pov suggests potential dissociative fugue/amnesia, and it’s interesting how differently people react to such behavior.
Most side characters were also great. Her younger sister acting as tsukkomi was hilarious. Miki senpai was gorgeous w/o the usual tsun/slutty tropes. Tessie & Sayaka were plot relevant great friends.

[minor spoilers of Steins;Gate & Your Name terms]
Structure: it felt more intricate or explained than some time travel TV shows I’ve seen. Most fantasy/dream elements are foreshadowed by the musubi/dusk & shrine maiden beliefs from Yukino sensei (same teacher from Garden of Words lol) & granny.
Time travel: their soul swap & writings are like S;G Dmail preset to +-3 years away. But a bulk of early hijinks were dealing with confusion & assuming it’s a dream experience. Only later Taki realized (almost) too late that it’s not a dream, and his only chance was to reconnect with -3 years Mitsuha based on the musubi beliefs. It’s mentioned her shrine maiden family has a history of out of body dreams, so probably it’s an inherited power. Ace Attorney spirit medium from the Fey clan are similar.

[spoilers of Your Name plot & minor spoilers of S;G terms]
Shifting world lines: in S;G Kyouma and Re:Zero Subaru zap back to some space/time. But here it takes the dream-like nature (yes conveniently they can’t recall all details), where once awake only some main points are recalled, then gradually forget everything unless it’s written down. Yes Taki wrote “I love you” on her palm but didn’t get time for his name, silly horny high schoolers. It’s emphasized near end where both repeat their name but gradually memory vanishes. This is perhaps more painful than zapping to another timeline, since they’re aware memory is slipping away. Contrast to Reading Steiner ability, only one person has ability of retaining memory from previous world lines; everyone else had at most traces of memory left.
Another blog mentioned the amnesia was a sacrifice to the musubi god for asking a favor, as granny mentioned earlier one must leave behind something important (memory/name). I completely forgot this, & details like why they woke up crying etc, so I missed several “connections” that really warrant a rewatch.

[spoilers of Your Name]
Nitpicks on form: lines near end felt somewhat awkward or corny? Their meaning makes sense, but maybe reworded to be more poetic (or bad subs?). It kinda makes sense in overall form tho: starts with alternating verse by Taki & Mitsuha -> “OP” was awesome with Radwimps but felt spoilerish with the aging montage -> main story with realistic dialogue -> end with ideas repeated by both Taki & Mitsuha starting from the crater lake shots, which felt like a theatrical play. Shirayuki-hime & Soul Busters share this form so I dunno on people’s preference. All inserts were good but the amount felt like Grimgar, advertising music sales. A Shinkai interview (on NetEase) said he’s inspired by classic literature, waka (和歌) & Radiwimps music, so it’s somewhat reflected in his use of music, flow & verses. Taki English dub sounded better based off Funimation trailer, but based on forums & an article, most US & UK folks strongly prefer Mitsuha’s Japanese voice.

[spoilers of Your Name terms]
Cultural ideas: shinto musubi/underworld, kataware-doki (dusk related mythology) & kuchikamisake (shinto ritual of sake brewing in Japan & Taiwan).

Overall: I knew it’s body swap romance just from PV (which is a popular subgenre like Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches), but the plot, art, comedy & osts are surprisingly meticulous & nicely woven. The tropes aren’t trite but well placed. Glad I didn’t get spoiled since wasn’t expecting these themes & dramatic plot twists.

Batman Gotham Knight animation

Overall I’m quite amazed of these 6 semi-related shorts joined as a movie, also first time watching BD (was on sale for a few bucks). Consistently backgrounds were quite detailed (much better than 1080p downloads/streams) & ost fit the dark atmosphere. Toon lines are sharp, but there’s constant grain, not sure if part of the noir feel or a transfer result. Production is a mix of Production I.G, Madhouse, Studio 4°C & Bee Train. Subtitles are amusingly helpful but voices are mostly clear.

_2_0_00_03_3500004_grunting Episodes (short thoughts with vague synopsis spoilers):

1: loved the dynamic animation, partly nostalgia to 4C’s Tekkon Kinkreet style. Reinterpreted pov batman versions felt creative, like what-if batman was brutal.
2: Setup a much jumbled exposition but no payoff. Noir mood well done tho. Fire looked awkward.
3: Involves two gang boats & had the most silly dialogue. “You broke him. u bought him.” “You killed me” lol u still alive no? Batman outfit very detailed & slick. Cool EM bullet blocking.
4: Action with lizard was very dynamic, with sewage atmosphere like Jin-Roh.
5: Bhusara/fakir Bhuddist enlightenment on pain had some thoughtful dialogue (more so than patlabor managed). Action also amazing. Action is mostly gritty & visceral like the other shorts, even minor actions could feel “painful”.
6: Designs were nice. Silly rushing Deadshot but their shootout train fight still classic.

Last 5min ED music compilation is quite good.


Android lockscreen wallpaper location, Netease & Batch convert

Sometimes the source of a lock screen wallpaper is lost. Some phones have a specific cache location and might be recoverable, even the pre-cropped version.

Some paths others found:

Use a filer explorer like X-plore, allow it root/superuser access, since some paths below require root:


wallpaper-#: has no suffix, but open as image. Is full (pre-crop) wallpaper.

wallpaperthumb-#: low res image not exist on my galaxy S5

Lockscreen_wallpaper.jpg: cropped image

Lockscreen_wallpaper_ripple.jpg: full image empty empty non image files

/data/system/users/<userid>/: default to <0>. Photo.png is user’s avatar in contacts. Wallpaper_info.xml defines current wallpaper source, which mine is the multipicture app.


Tripadvisor, Netease, radio apps etc show a temp lockscreen wallpaper sometimes with great art folks want to save. I didn’t find the image cached in any above paths. Screenshot is the only generic way (on galaxy s5 hold power+home buttons, and status bar & clock cannot be removed in my phone). Some custom ROMs can make a fully blank lockscreen but I’m used to stock rom. All lockscreen apps I tried require choosing a local wallpaper & couldn’t be temp replaced by above apps (pictures only appear with native lockscreen). Also after uninstalls & tinkering Multipicture stopped working with lockscreens, but Gallery app to set lockscreen suffices (may need to clear app cache if picture doesn’t update, or manually delete those pictures in above paths).

NetEase Cloud Music iconNetEase cloud music is a Chinese radio app. There’s tutorials online for English users, and the GUI is simple enough even without English. A lot of user comments in the app ask where to get those images, so here it is. It caches larger images in its folders & embeds album art in audio files (usually smaller at 300×300). Other apps might work similarly and appear without root, so using a pc’s easier. The 2 paths save full images larger than the cropped view from the lockscreen, some above 1k:



All format suffixes are missing. Though most image browsers detect file type and show them properly, it’s hard to organize with a mix of jpg, png, gif etc. To rename with correct metadata suffix, in XnView or similar, run Batch Convert on selected images (don’t use batch rename). Set an output folder. Set filename like {Modified Date [Y_m_d]}_{Filename}. Suffix will automatically be added.

Filenames are often gibberish, so using metadata like height, width, date, camera properties etc can help describe the image more.