Yay to the threaded bottom bracket!

Cycling Mountain Bike-96One of the key things I love on my Santa Cruz mountain bike is the threaded bottom bracket. Most other bike manufacturers had moved to press-fit bottom brackets over the years but I, and a few others, were not convinced that press-fit BBs where, as a whole, better than threaded BBs for most people. I really appreciate the easier maintainability of threaded BBs and that they don’t tend to squeak!

A recent BikeRadar article describes how there now seems to be a trend amongst manufacturers to return to threaded BBs. Of course Santa Cruz’s steadfast loyalty to threaded BBs gets a mention :)

Young girl in Karen village

This young girl became curious and came over to us strangers at a site being prepared for the Karen New Year festivities in a rural village. The celebrations continued long into the night. This was a few miles from Hpa An, Myanmar (Burma). Photo taken in December 2014.

Man and rice

This man was preparing rice for the Karen New Year festivities in a rural village. The celebrations continued long into the night. This was a few miles from Hpa An, Myanmar (Burma). Photo taken in December 2014.

Joy and sadness in Iraq

There I was, in southern Iraq, just a few miles from the Iranian border. It was another hot day, and I was standing outside the structure called Ezra’s Tomb. Nearby, three kids were peeking through a doorway, their faces in obvious delight at the interest being shown to them by my camera. But the countless horrors of people killing other people will touch their lives in countless ways, and I wonder if they still smile.

Outside Ezra’s Tomb

Reconnect mapped network drives in Windows OS using Command Prompt commands


Sometimes when booting into Windows, the OS does not reconnect mapped network drives even though the mapping was configured with the “Reconnect at sign-in” option.

Although there are free Third Party software available that can automatically reconnect your mapped network drives, I would rather be able to do this using built-in tools than add more unnecessary software to my system. I came across a response someone had written in a blog about using Third Party and showed how you could use a few Command Prompt commands using the “net use” command. I’ve lost the link to that blog article, but I did copy that code and built my own batch script around it. The key change I wanted to make was to put in a limited number of attempts just in case the NAS drive was down.

This is the code I use which I’ve put in a .CMD batch file which is executed by Task Scheduler at user log on.; this is better than executing it via a shortcut from within the Windows “StartUp” directory as I have flexibility in adding delays without needing to change the code. Talking of the code, I recognise that it is a bit ugly and some of you scripting experts can make it far more elegant. But it works for me and I didn’t want to spend too much time on this when I could be doing other more fun things! Note that this has only been tested in Windows 10 Pro 64-bit.

SET me=%~n0
SET parent=%~dp0
TITLE Mapping network drives
@ECHO Please wait whilst we reconnect your network drives.

SET neterror=0

SET counter=1
SET loopvalue=11
SET /A trueloop=%loopvalue%-1
ECHO _____________________________________
IF %counter% EQU %loopvalue% (
 ECHO Connection to D:\ drive timed-out
 SET neterror=1
ECHO Attempt %counter% of %trueloop% to D:\ drive
 ECHO Attempt %counter% successful.
 SET /A counter=%counter%+1
 GOTO Start

SET counter=1
SET loopvalue=8
SET /A trueloop=%loopvalue%-1

IF %neterror% EQU 0 GOTO Endofscript

ECHO _____________________________________
SET /P userinput="Errors were found. Do you wish to try again [Y/n] " 
IF /I "%userinput%" EQU "y" GOTO Start
IF /I "%userinput%" EQU "" GOTO Start
IF /I "%userinput%" EQU "n" GOTO Endofscript
GOTO userconfirm

ECHO _____________________________________
@ECHO Please wait, script is closing.
@EXIT /B 0

Central Afghanistan

So I found myself smack in the middle of Afghanistan. It was cold, remote, and desolate. A couple of buildings, where this man worked, served as a resting place for truck drivers hauling their goods across the country. It was a welcome relief after spending so much time on the road (dirt tracks mostly), a chance to stretch the legs and seek shelter from the dust. And onward, our goal to reach the fabled Minaret of Jam.

Novice Buddhist monk

I took this photo in January 2014 of a novice Buddhist monk during the Ananda Pagoda Festival in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma). It was early in the morning, a slight chill in the air, with many hundreds of monks and novice monks; the largest gathering of monks I’d witnessed. And there, a boy, with that look.
Novice Buddhist monk