How Has the New Gear Been Working?

In June I told you that I had bought a new bike and in July that I did some upgrades on Naranja. This post I will give an update on how these new things been making my life easier. There’s also a piece of tech that I have forgotten to tell you about that has made one hobby much easier.

Brompton, king of the folding bikes

I still love it! It takes so little space and it was very useful during the trip here and here too the past week. Of course it’s not the best friend of cobblestone or bad roads, but it has been very useful. During the trip down I used it a lot in Budapest and a some in Triglav and Florence too. It has helped me with laundry, groceries and other smaller and bigger rides many times already.

Naranja upgrades

The new radio has been really good. Not necessarily for the radio part, but the Bluetooth connection to my phone and Storytel (audiobook app) have made the long drives feel much shorter. While connected to my phone, it also works as a hands free device if I get a call while driving. Navigation sounds are much better audible too. So the 45 € for it have definitely been an worth spending. The only minus so far is the color changing LED backlight that is sometimes a bit distracting and annoying. It hasn’t annoyed me enough yet to google for a possible solution.

My new radio has definitely been a good buy.

The Maxxfan shade has been an improvement also. The shade part itself has actually been a bit disappointing. The shade was not really as shading as I had hoped especially during Finnish summer circumstances. Here the nights are dark anyway. But the light on the shade has been extremely useful. The sleeping area has two halogen spotlights under the cupboards, but they don’t give a lot of light into the cupboards themselves. Now it’s actually possible to visually choose a pair of socks or a t-shirt before taking it out first. The light even helps in the front part too.

One gadget I forgot to tell you about

I love the smell of books in the morning (or any time of day really). I used a lot of energy last fall to find books in a language I could read that were at least a bit interesting. It worked out quite ok, even though I ended up reading a couple of really bad ones too. I made a difficult choice and bought a Kindle paperwhite. Difficult for two main reasons: 1. Did I already mention that I love books? 2. I’m not really eager to give any more money to Mr. Bezos.

After giving it a little thought and learning that there are ways in which you can use Kindle without buying the books from Amazon, I decided to buy it. I barely used it in Finland and I was starting to think that I had made a mistake. But it has been a good companion on my trip so far. I first finished the book I started in Finland by John Scalzi (Android’s dream) and now I’m about to finish the massive Arthur C. Clarke’s and Gentry Lee’s Rama the Omnibus (with about 2500 pages).

E-readers are very practical, but they’re not quite the same as real books either.

I know my way of acquiring the e-books is not completely kosher. I download them from Library Genesis (a Google search will give you a link) and then transfer them to my Kindle using Calibre. The authors get nothing out of it, which does make me feel bad. It helps to think that I actually very rarely bought new books anyway so this does not make a big difference.

Summary: It’s not the same as reading a real book, but its practicability makes up at least some of the lost multi-sensory experience of reading a real book.

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