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Testing the new toy

My Galaxy Note 4 phone might turn out to be the most important piece of equipment I’m carrying with me.  Need I go into all the reasons why?  It’s my communication device / summon help if I need it / mapping tool.

It’s also a pretty sweet camera.  I’ve taken nearly every picture that’s on this blog with the Note 4.  Click the picture itself and you’ll be taken to the linked picture.  Click it from there and you can see the detail the camera captures.  It’s a pretty amazing tool.

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I’m planning on snapping lots of pictures on The Ride.  But, frankly, I’m afraid of dropping the thing.  If I break the phone along the way . . . oh, let’s not even talk about it.  Why tempt fate?

So I was thinking of getting a backup.  A camera pretty much designed to mount on handlebars or bike helmets.  One of those “sports cameras.”

The Gold Standard of sports cameras is Go Pro.


The price of them is just a tad short of stratospheric.  That model I linked to is $500.  That’s just the camera.  If you want to, you know, mount it to something, mounting gear is extra.

There’s this knock-off, the Xiaomi Yi Xiaoya (no idea how to pronounce that).  The price is a much easier $70 to $85 (depending on the day of the week).  Once again, if you want to mount it to something. you have to shell out more.  The one I linked to will sell you a mounting kit, but then the price goes up to about $150.  Still, that’s far easier on the pocket than the Go Pro.

But in looking around, I discovered this little gem:

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It’s the DBPower SJ4000.  I found it on Amazon.  It came to less than $100 and it included all the mounting hardware at no extra charge.  Out of 260 Amazon customer reviews, it still averaged over 4 stars.  Most of the 1 star ratings were bitching that it was a knock-off.  Not that it didn’t work.  Just that it wasn’t a Go Pro.  Well, duh.  It’s a fifth of the price of a Go Pro.

Full disclosure:  I am the least competent individual on the face of the planet when it comes to using tools.  A 30 minute job for someone who possesses a 2nd grader’s manual dexterity will take me 90 minutes to three hours.  And a minimum of two trips to the hardware store.  I am completely and utterly worthless when it comes to assembling, fixing, or maintaining any piece of equipment.  (Yet, curiously, I’m going to ride a machine 3000 miles without a mechanic in tow.  Obviously I’m not very smart, either.)

It took nearly an hour and a half and a trip to the hardware store to mount the bracket to my handlebars.  This should have been a ten minute job, tops:

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Not for Old Buttahfingahs, though.  At the very least, I did get to use all my cuss-words.  Every one of them.  Nice to know they’ll be making the trip with me.

(That waterproof case sure would have come in handy last Friday to document the monsoon I endured.)

While I’m thinking about it, let me show you yet another little toy I bought for the bike.  It’s an inclinometer:

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It’s just a fancy level.  It’ll tell me what grade the hill is as I suffer a heart attack trying to climb it.  Then when I post about it, I’ll lie, double the grade, and pray for some sweet thing to read about it and tell me how big and strong I am for climbing that nasty old hill.

If she can fly, that's a bonus.

If she can fly, that’s a bonus.

My bicycle’s handlebars are starting to resemble the space shuttle control panel.  Which will make changing a flat a major bitch kitty.

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Time for a test ride to see what the video looks like.  Change the resolution to 1080 and blow it up to a full screen size.

For $100, that’s not bad.  Actually, it’s pretty impressive.  It’s certainly on par with the Go Pro camera.  I’ve got some logistics problems in getting the files off the thing onto a Chromebook, but I’ve still got two months to figure those out.