Sim Racing Ergonomics

I love sim racing but it’s been aggravating some sore points on my body and causing me to miss out on what I love doing. So, I put together my thoughts so far about sim racing comfort to help me, hopefully others, keep on enjoying the sim racing we love.

Sim Racing Ergonomics

I love sim racing but it’s been aggravating some sore points on my body and causing me to miss out on what I love doing. So, I put together my thoughts so far about sim racing comfort to help me, hopefully others, keep on enjoying the sim racing we love.

Achille’s Tendonitis

As I noted in previous post reviewing the GTEYE Progressive Brake Spring for the Logitech G27, I suffer from Achille’s tendonitis from barefoot running. This has actually kept me from sim racing for months at a time.

At one point, I realized I had to stop sim racing to let my heel recuperate. After having stopped running and treadmill walking for a month, and being away from sim racing for a week, I’d come back to sim racing and realized I had to give up my stiffer GTEYE progressive brake spring. Even without running or walking the brake pedal aggravated my Achille’s heel. Don’t get my wrong. That brake spring is excellent but not for those who are recovering from strained tendons in their feet.

Some time after I wrote theergo3 above, I switched to left-foot braking. In the long run, it reduced the strain being put only on the right foot and helped me get back to sim racing.

Yes, it did take a lot of seat time to get up to speed with left-foot braking but less time than you may think. I might have been crashing quite a bit my first day, but within a day or two I was safe on the track, if a little slow, and a week or two later my times were very nearly what they were before. Months later and it’s not even an issue, I’m faster than ever.

For proper rehab of Achilles tendonitis, google for it and you’ll find a number of things to do. Key points are to ice while there’s pain, rest until there’s no more pain, avoid strenuous use of the heel, begin stretching begin working out the heel. It appears eccentric exercises on the heel work well for Achilles Tendonitis. If the condition persists, visit your doctor.

Shoes

One of the most important things I’ve learned recently is that shoes are going to be critical if you’re logging many hours of seat time per week or if you have a heel problem like I do.

ftssimshoesAfter spending over a year sim racing in sock feet, and then feeling the discomfort and pain of Achille’s tendonitis as I tried to work the pedals, I tried our some basic around-the-house shoes. They have a good, sturdy sole but are meant to slip on rather than tie up.

Amazingly, it immediately felt better and I was able to put in 30minutes of lapping without feeling any discomfort. I’d feel usually feel sore after 20-30minutes and stop, without shoes.

I’m not exactly sure what the improvement is but I have a few guesses. First would be the position of your heel, lifting it off the ground due to the built-up sole of the shoe. Next is the position of the contact part of your feet with the pedal. With socks it’s probably the ball of your foot. With a shoe it’s distributed by the sole so the forces get spread out more. It’s also possible that the shoes are keeping my feet in place more whereas without shoes I’d be constantly adjusting my foot and that would translate into micro-movements in the heel causing more wear and tear than needed.

At any rate, I don’t think I’d go back to sock feet now even if my heels were 100%. Check out sim racing shoes, they’re a thing and they look really comfortable. One day I’ll have to get some.

Seating

ergo4The other bit of ergonomics I’ve been through is seating support and seating position. After a desk job all day and an hour or two of sim racing in the evening your back can really start hurt. After six months of iRacing my back is sore to sleep on.

I use a standard, hard-back, wheeled office chair and one thing I started a few months ago was to put a pillow behind me. This felt really comfortable…for the first little while! But, that’s when I started feeling very sore trying to sleep on my back.

It occurred to me that the pillow was pushing me away from the back of the chair and causing me to slouch. That’s not good for racing and, of course, it’s not good for your back because nothing is really supporting your back – it’s all muscle tensed up for the whole racing session. So I’ve removed that pillow and now I’m sitting fully back in the chair against the hard back. I can feel it supporting my lower lumbar area and helping more than the pillow.

Racing Seat

ubuttoAfter a year of sim racing, when I knew I wanted to stick with it, I purchased an Obutto R3volution which comes with a faux racing bucket seat.

The Obutto seat further supported my back with lumbar support, provides more comfortable padding and material to sit against, provides better support for your shoulders, can be tilt-adjusted to suit your most comfortable position, and, perhaps most importantly, sits you at a height and position that creates a better angle for your legs and feet to meet the pedals.

Sim Racing Ergonomics

As I mentioned, I love sim racing and I hope I can keep doing it for a long time to come. Doing anything for long stretches of time, and repeatedly, can cause problems for your body. Always take care of your body and you’ll be able to enjoy your sim racing for a long time to come!

The Creation Answers Book

Having just finished The Creation Answers Book, cover to cover, I strongly recommend it as a primary resource for those looking for answers to specific Creation/Evolution questions. It’s also a good read for creationist enthusiasts to build up your high level knowledge of all the most critical topics in the creation and evolution question.

Acer Liquid E Review

For about 5 years now I’ve been using an old school Motorola V551 flip-phone. It worked as a phone, took a surprising amount of abuse, and didn’t do much else and didn’t do anything with any kind of style. So, I upgraded to the Acer Liquid E and I’ve been playing around with it for about a week now.

For about 5 years now I’ve been using an old school Motorola V551 flip-phone. It worked as a phone, took a surprising amount of abuse, and didn’t do much else and didn’t do anything with any kind of style. So, I upgraded to the Acer Liquid E and I’ve been playing around with it for about a week now.

The Acer Liquid E is a modern smart phone running the Google Android 2.1 mobile operating system. It has an underclocked CPU compared to other Android phones (1ghz reference specification compared to the E’s 768mhz) but, trust me, you’ll barely notice. And with Android 2.2 hopefully coming to the E (you better be listening Acer), it will increase performance even more. Even with the out of the box experience, this unit is very usable and enjoyable.

The Liquid E is an underrated phone, in my opinion, maybe because its predecessor wasn’t as polished and maybe because of the Acer name which isn’t a triple-A brand but, after researching a lot, I took the dive and I’m having a very pleasant time at a very affordable price (free when entering a contract).

Check out the Rogers Acer Liquid E unboxing video on YouTube.

The package comes with the phone itself, a little cloth pouch for the phone, a hands-free pair of headphones, a 2gb MicroSD card (nice throw in!), a standard USB cable (on both ends, I like that!), and manuals. Big thumbs up to Acer for using a cable with standard connectors on both ends! That’s one of my pet peeves about eletronic device these days. If they’re not standard and you need another cable for any reason, you’re screwed over and have to pay a hefty fee if you can even find it still.

The Android UI is slick. It also feels like the right operating system for a smart, intensively used mobile operating system. Multi-tasking, settings, flexible customization, etc, it’s usually all in there if you explore the menus enough.

Wifi usage is a breeze. When you see a network, that you can jump on, set it up the first time and whenever you’re back in that area, the unit will prefer that wifi network over the cellular network, saving your data plan. I have wifis saved for home, Home Depot, my dad’s house, and soon my work, and I’m sure I’ll have one at each family member’s house, church, and anywhere else I frequent. I like the operation of wifi usage on Android, it works very well.

Let me just say at this point that I really appreciate Acer not messing with Android too much. They have some apps but it doesn’t look like they strayed too far from the reference specification – this is a good thing. Thank you, Acer! It means you can go to other phones without it feeling like a completely different operating system.

Another bonus about Android phones is the transparent USB storage mode. Plug the standard USB cable into your computer and the Android phone pops up as a USB storage device. Brilliant. I can now manage the music on my phone like I want to and not tied down to any brutal software like iTunes.

Your stock applications are probably sufficient for most people but the Android Market is there any time. Installing and running apps from the Android Market is a breeze, very enjoyable and painless. The only downside is finding high quality apps. You’ll have to check ratings (you should probably only install 4 star ratings and above) and you should google around for the best apps.

Stock apps include YouTube, Gmail, a music player, camera, camcorder, messaging, and a whole slew of other apps. Rogers throws some of their own in and their My Rogers Account is actually not bad – although it requires you to be on the cellular network rather than wifi, but data is free for that app, so it’s okay.

Browsing the web is very usable and some of the features are really nice. The one feature I like is intelligent zooming of paragraphs. The browser doesn’t have to have a specially crafted page to be readable, just use the zoom icons and it will try to zoom in, usually successfully, on the actual content of a page, ensuring that menus, ads, and any other components are off screen so you can actually read quite well.

The E can handle a MicroSD card up to 32GB. That’s sweet and more than most people need. I’m one of those people that uses a lot of it for music so I picked up a 16GB and I’m doing fine. Speed of the microsd slot is quite good, no complaints.

As for apps, I’ve installed:

  • AcroBible Lite
  • Android System Info
  • Bible
  • StopWatch & Timer
  • Google Maps
  • My Rogers Acccount
  • OSMonitor
  • Shazam
  • TaskManager
  • Top application

One complaint I have about a lot of the free apps is the proliferation of ads. They take up a small portion of your screen. If an app is pittily and it’s available for free, let’s just leave it that way. The ads are a little annoying. But the apps are fully usable otherwise and the ads aren’t a problem. I just wish authors wouldn’t worry so much about it.

Battery life is good. Yesterday, my father and I were traipsing all over the city trying to get his Acer Liquid E and we were using my E the whole time with Google Maps. Just at the end of the day when I was nodding off to sleep, the battery started showing the orange caution highlight. Pretty good going for a whole day of pretty intense on/off usage.

Customizability is a big plus on this unit, as well. There are lots of settings to make it the way you want it. There are live backgrounds which are unique to Android (animated backgrounds, very impressive).

And, yes, talking on the E just for phone usage works fine. No complaints. Good voice quality, typical cellular delay (50ms-100ms? nothing unique about the E), operation is decent.

The Acer Liquid E is a great phone and it’s definitely underrated. I wouldn’t call it a top of the line phone but it’s not a low-end phone either, not by any means. I would actually say it’s upper-middle quality. This is a great phone, I’d recommend it to anyone.

Review: The Rise and Fall of Five Iron Frenzy

Five Iron Frenzy was a Christian ska/punk band in the 90s/00s who broke up in 2003. Now, they’ve finally released a DVD of the members’ time in the band. The DVD includes footage of shows, music videos, shorts, miscellaneous things, and a full length documentary on the band.

Five Iron Frenzy was a Christian ska/punk band in the 90s/00s who broke up in 2003. Now, they’ve finally released a DVD of the members’ time in the band. The DVD includes footage of shows, music videos, shorts, miscellaneous things, and a full length documentary on the band.

I just got done watching the documentary over the weekend and it is well worth the watch for any fan. It is also a fascinating look, if not captivating, into the lives of a Christian band for those who weren’t fans.

Roper, et al., do a good and pleasantly extensive job of reviewing what remains of the known history of the band during each year of their career. Many of your questions will be answered while watching and I know FIF fans have many.

Every fan should get this DVD set. It’s a great, satisfying look at one of our favourite bands.

Stupid thing #123 about the NHL

In the game tonight between Boston and Washington Semin throws a shot on Rask and the puck dribbles across the goal line. A Boston player throws it out with his stick. Ref calls it a goal. It’s too close so they got upstairs and review it.

In the game tonight between Boston and Washington Semin throws a shot on Rask and the puck dribbles across the goal line. A Boston player throws it out with his stick. Ref calls it a goal. It’s too close so they go upstairs and review it.

At this point you’re thinking they’re looking for conclusive proof that it was a goal.

But they’re not because the ref called it a goal.

What they’re looking for, because the ref called it a goal, is conclusive proof that it was not a goal!

It works in reverse, too. If the ref calls no goal, they’re looking for conclusive proof it was a goal.

What a stupid system. Who thought this up?

Starlight, Time and the New Physics

Dr. John Hartnett’s 2007 book, Starlight, Time and thew New Physics, extends on Russel Humphrey’s intriquing Starlight and Time attempting to solve the problems of the original proposition. He does so with fascinating results.

Dr. John Hartnett’s 2007 book, Starlight, Time and thew New Physics, extends on Russel Humphrey’s intriquing Starlight and Time attempting to solve the problems of the original proposition. He does so with fascinating results.

The problem that both books try to do solve is that of a young creation being able to see the stars when they were created. Because even light from the nearest star, not our own, takes years to reach earth, it is not possible for the biblical account of creation to be correct: in that account, Adam, the first man, could already see the stars. If, in fact, they could see the stars that would imply creation is not young but very old and thus contradictory to the young creation the bible appears to talk about.

The question then is: How did Adam see starlight in the first week of creation?

As a poignant aside, note how christians differ from others when given a contradiction in their bible. The one who doesn’t believe the bible already sees an apparent contradiction and dismisses the entire thing. The one who does believe knows their bible and trusts it because they know it has told the truth a vast number of times before. Therefore, they give the bible the benefit of the doubt and go out and see if they can brainstorm how it might have come about according to God’s word. Many times in the past we’ve doubted the bible and then some years later it turns out it was quite right after all.

Christian cosmology effectively came out of nowhere to some pretty good ideas  in the past 30 years. Humphrey gave us all a kick in the rear by thinking outside the box and using Einstein’s theory of relativity to explain that time on earth may have proceeded slower than time out in the universe. It might sound like crazy talk but Einstein’s theory has been tested and found quite valid for a long time now. The key is a catalyst that would alter the time of clocks locally and remote.

Humphrey’s model was a good starting point but had problems. Hartnett attempts to solve those problems and he makes some decent sense of it. Definitely worth a read. Harnett’s writing is necessarily dense but not overladen beyond what the uninitiated can handle. I highly recommend this read.

Left 4 Dead 2: Second Impressions

Now that Left 4 Dead 2 is actually out it occurred to me I should write my second impressions on Left 4 Dead 2.

Now that Left 4 Dead 2 is actually out it occurred to me I should write my second impressions on Left 4 Dead 2. My earlier first impressions were quite negative. I still haven’t bought the game and I still don’t think it’s worth what they’re asking. I would pay max $29 for it.

But, Left 4 Dead 2 grows on you. I was wrong about the “shock” sound of the shotgun. Turns out I was using the assault shotgun. Its sound sounds more reasonable as you play it. The normal shotgun sounds like the old one. The AK-47 is especially satisfying for a machine gun.

I’ve also gotten used to the extra things like acid or those guys that sit on your head. I guess I just have to learn the tricks.

Speaking of tricks, here’s a quaint little rhyme to help you deal with hunters.

When I see a hunter,

This will be my creed:

Duck and swing, duck and swing,

Until I make him bleed.