Tuesday, June 29, 2021

YouTube Picture in Picture on iPhone using Bing

Ever since the release of iOS 14, people have been struggling to get YouTube to work on the iPhone as Picture in Picture. YouTube's policy is to only allow paying customers to use this feature. So you'll need to buy a YouTube Premium subscription if you want to be able to watch for example your favorite show or music in YouTube and in the meanwhile to be able to browse the internet or do whatever other thing you want on your iPhone.

The methods currently available are more or less hit and miss -- you never know if they still work, or if the method applies to the current version of iOS, whether you need to install third party applications, or create custom shortcuts. I definitely don't like installing another app, just to be able to use the Picture in Picture feature that YouTube is actively trying to block. At the same time I feel I am taken hostage and forced to pay ransom in order to use a feature that was designed to be free in the first place.

A very simple way to watch YouTube picture in picture without any other apps or tricks is to watch a video in Bing. Yes, good old Bing the search engine. In Safari on iPhone, if you search for the YouTube video on bing.com, and you play it on bing.com, then it will allow you to activate Picture in Picture.

I just found out this today, 29 June 2021, so I have no idea how long this has been on for or for how long from now on will this work. I tried this successfully on iPhone Xs Max running iOS 14.6.

These are the detailed steps on how to get a YouTube video to play in Picture in Picture mode with Bing:

1. Open Safari on iPhone

2. Go to bing.com

3. Search for the video you want to see

4. Click on the YouTube video in the Bing search results page

5. Click the play button and the video starts playing in full-screen mode (browser is still on bing.com)

6. Activate Picture in Picture mode from full-screen mode

Et voilà!

Let me know below if it works for you and which iPhone and iOS you have...

Friday, May 3, 2013

Spain Day 1: Barcelona - Ainsa

Duration: 11h45m
Distance: 370 km
Interactive map: www.mitza.net/spain2013

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We started the day pretty early at 4:30AM, since both Joe and I were pretty heavily jet lagged. We had an early breakfast (great diversity by the way at Hotel Numancia) and we were really ready to kick stands up by 8AM.

Numancia hotel parking. Ready to kick stands up.

After a short ride on the highway, where we were just getting used to the bikes and the speed of 120km/h seemed quite fast without the big wind shield I was used to on my Connie 14, we exited into road C-55 towards Montserrat. I missed a turn on my GPS (the first in many), just because the directions were given in kilometers and meters and they seemed a lot shorter than the miles I was used to.

We hit the first twisties just as we started the climb on BP-1121 towards Montserrat. The roads seemed narrower than in the US, cars seemed to take more road space and they seemed to go faster. I'm sure it was all an illusion due to the fact that I was seeing the speeds in km/h rather than mph.

Once up on the mountain, the monastery appeared big and imposing, and even though it was only 9AM, it was already getting crowded. We snapped a few pictures.

Open Google Street View at this location

Unfortunately we did not climb the last stint to the chapel on top of the mountain, which was available only by funicular railway (cremallera).

Little students in a school day trip to Montserrat :)

We continued on BP-1103 a super-twisty that goes north around the Montserrat mountain. Road surface is impeccable, however there might be traffic at times. We were lucky and didn't encounter much.

Soon we were pulling into Manresa, having been on the road for about 2 hours, it was definitely time for a little coffee. Normally I'm not a coffee drinker, but under special circumstances (like being jet-lagged and apparently Spain has good coffee), I indulged.

Joe introduced me to café cortado, which is an espresso 'cut' with milk (do not confuse it with the Italian caffe macchiato) -- a great way to shake some jet lag away.

I was soon to discover the other types of Spanish coffee: the espresso solo - exactly what it means, café con leche - coffee with milk similar to the Italian caffe latte, and the café Americano - typically a large coffee (size matters in the US) where espresso is mixed with water.

We continued towards Solsona on C-55. The road shows up as a thick red line on the map, which indicates it's a major non-freeway route. Indeed it's major, thus no fun. It's a 'transport' route, as Joe calls it. It takes you from A to B with no frills or thrills.

From Solsona, however, we took a much less important road, LV-4241. Now, that's the road I like. This one starts more bumpy, so you can feel its rough surface. Then it gets narrower as it starts climbing, turning into a strange kind of Spanish goat trail -- a one lane (no marking) narrow road, full of twisties and blind corners, until it takes you to a plateau surrounded by far away mountains.

Here we encounter the first surprise Spain was going to throw at us: just after Lladurs, we notice a herd of sheep on the side of the road, the shepherd and his dog. We stop immediately and start taking pictures and video the whole setup :) The little shepherd dog was impressive -- he was using minimum amount of energy to get the sheep to move his way.

Herd of sheep North of Llardus
Open Google Street View at this location

We continued North-West on L-401 towards Coll de Nargó. The road is amazing: one lane canyon road, cut in rock, blind corners, narrow, tunnels, perfect surface and not a car in sight.

Time to go a bit sporty, now that the bike started to feel a bit more familiar. Let's see how that front 21" tyre cuts into corners. I can tell you, it cuts absolutely fantastic. The bike is perfect for just this kind of a road. So predictable, so well balanced, perfect weight to flip around easily. The skinny tyres (Michelin Anakee 3) have amazing grip. The Tiger's rear tyre is thinner than my Connie's front tyre :)

Open Google Street View at this location

Open Google Street View at this location

In Coll de Nargó we had the first chance to experience the Spanish 'menu del dia' - menu of the day. This typically consists of a soup or salad or some kind of appetizer, a main course with a side dish, and a dessert. Also includes bread, water and wine (for 2 persons, you get a bottle of wine! -- shocking, I know). But the real shock is the price: 10-15 Eur per person, depending on restaurant location. The meals were always fresh, prepared the same day, typically a couple of hours earlier.

Unfortunately, being on a motorcycle, we wouldn't drink the wine (ok, maybe a glass each, a small glass during lunch), so we would pack the bottle of wine with us and drink it later on in the evening, once the steel horsies were parked for the day :)

After lunch, we went West towards Isona on L-511, then to Tremp on C-1412b. The road to Isona is just a feast of twisties. "There are just too many turns" as one of my buddies told me once about California Hwy 36 :)

We arrived in Tremp around 4:30PM, only to find the town empty, except for 3 guys on a terrace having a smoke at the local bar. Jet lag was demanding its price, so I quickly downed an espresso solo.

The simple life.

Joe was looking for cigars, but everything was closed, so we sat down on the terrace and started chatting with the 3 guys.

Then something amazing happens -- the clock strikes 5 o'clock and in minutes the whole central square fills with people: babies pushed in strollers, toddlers running, screaming, playing, riding their bicycles or toy motorcycles, moms chatting and gossiping, dads playing with the kids, having a drink or a smoke on the terrace, and people simply enjoying another beautiful afternoon outdoors in their beautiful small community. And then it strikes me "the simple life!!!". This is it! That's how life is supposed to be lived! Forget about the rat race, the never-ending meetings and rush you have every day in the office. Forget about the long work hours, the coming home at 7 in the evening only to put your kid in bed. These people have figured it out, it's the social aspect and family aspect that matters. It's so beautiful, it puts a tear in my eye (I seem to get emotional when sleep deprived) :)

I'm having a second espresso. Joe buys his cigars from the Tabacs shop, which is now open, and we continue West.

Little did we know that what came next was one of those 0.001% motorcycle roads, that so many call "the best road in the world". Enter the mighty C-1311, Tremp - Puente de Montañana. What a truly exceptional piece of tarmac. I read reviews about this road in my research prior to the trip. People were raving about it, but the reviews don't do it justice. I saw videos motorcyclists took of it and they don't do it justice. I looked at it on Google Street View, but helas, no... they only way to really experience the sheer awesomeness of this road is to ride it.

Later this holiday, we rode this road twice more, just because we could. It was so amazing! :)

In Puente de Montañana, Catalunya ends and Aragon starts. Welcome Aragon. We continued West on N-230 to Bernabarre, then N-123 to Graus. It was getting late into the day and none of us had any desire for riding at night, but before we pull into a Hostal, we had to throw in one more twist. This came in as the tiny forest road HUV-6441 to Tierrantona. What a little jewel of a road. A tiny narrow one lane road in the middle of nowhere, up on the ridge of a mountain. This really reminded my of California's Forest Road 23S16, only with much better pavement and equally great scenery. However, the road was marked and had a dashed central line. Ironic! Two motorcycles could barely pass each other, but the central marking line was present :)

Open Google Street View at this location

Before it got dark we made it into Ainsa to Hostal Dos Rios, where a single room was 34 Eur or 38 Eur with breakfast. Are you kidding me? Yes, please! It was a perfectly decent room, with full bathroom and bidet, but more about those in a later post :)

We had just evaded a nasty storm, so we watched the sunset through the thick clouds.

We parked the bikes in the hotel's locked indoor private parking, and then we went for dinner. Another menu del dia, where we ate a three course with bottle of tinto for 16 Eur each -- apparently, prices go up for dinner :)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Spain Day 0: Getting to Barcelona

It's time for a holiday. Joe and I are flying today to Barcelona for a motorcycle tour through the Pyrenees. The next 8 days will be spent in the saddle of a Triumph Tiger 800 XC going up and down the Pyrenees passes.

We booked the flights (~1000 USD) and rental bikes (also ~1000 USD) a few months in advance. We both flew from SFO to Barcelona via Newark and rented the bikes from www.rentatiger.es.

The flight from SFO to Newark was about 5 hours on United airlines. Typical to US domestic flights, this flight was pretty lame: "long live mercantilism" - everything was to purchase... beer, wine, other spirits, so called food (or better yet some dry cold sandwiches, crackers or snacks -- yummy). Even watching TV was to be paid for and I'm not even mentioning movies. They didn't have enough supplies on the plane and at some point they ran out of milk and water. Indeed, who needs water?! :-p

In Newark we had a 2 hour stop, just enough to grab dinner. The second flight was about 8 hours long (overnight flight). Although it was still on United, this flight was slightly better: still no free alcohol (although pretty much all non-US airlines I flew with do serve it freely), but at least there was free entertainment TV, movies, meals and water... shocking :)

We arrived in Barcelona at 9AM on Thursday, got through the passport control quickly, got some Euros from an ATM and then caught a taxi to Hotel Numancia (trip fare including airport tax and tip was 30 Eur). In Europe tipping is not expected, unlike the US. You tip if you want to or if the service was really extraordinary, or simply if you want to get rid of coins. If you do chose to leave tip, it's usually to round up to either the next integer or to the next 5 Eur. Personally, I hate coins, so I typically just leave all the coins I have as tip. Therefore, a taxi fare of 28.65 Eur, becomes 30 Eur to me or a 11.30 meal becomes 12 Eur. The same in restaurants, bars, etc... If you do tip  more than 10%, people will be extremely gracious for it, and definitely consider you American :)

The bad news came at the hotel reception, where they informed us we could only check-in as of 3PM. The plan was to take a quick 1-2 hours nap until noon, then spend the day roaming about Barcelona. Instead, we started with the roaming about part.

Since we needed the exercise, we chose to walk to Sagrada Familia (about 4kms or 2.5miles). It is then we discovered just how many motorcycles and scooters are in Barcelona. A lot!!! I would estimate the total number in the hundreds of thousands. On every street corner there were tens and tens of such parked vehicles. Most street corners had a designated parking areas for them, but people would park them just about anywhere on the sidewalks. Of course parking for motorcycles and scooters is free. I snapped a few pictures of more emblematic models we encountered.

Royal Enfield. Must be from the '60s by the looks of it.

Vespa PX125. Notice the spare wheel :)

Walking along the Carrer de Provença towards La Sagrada Familia, we first notice the crowd. It was only around 11AM, but the crowd was already massive. We approached the intersection and only then we notice the reason why people were crowding around: La Pedrera, the famous Gaudi stone house. It was impressive.

Queues of tourists flocking around the house.

Impressive embroidery on the balconies. Looks like lace, yet it's solid metal.

Close after Pedrera, we founnd a Triumph dealer. It was a must, so we entered to check out the beauties. It was impressive how many bikes they could cram into a small space. We were also a bit shocked by the prices. They were comparable with US prices, although slightly higher, but they were in Euros. Given that the exchange rate at the time was 1 Eur = 1.31 USD, the bikes in Europe (or Spain at least) are at least 1/3 more expensive than in the US. That's a lot!

Joe inspecting the Triumph beauties.

The modern classic - Triumph Bonneville

The bad boy - Rocket III Roadster for only 18.595 Eur

We made it to Sagrada Familia and we encountered the crowds again. This time we didn't go inside the church (I would go later to visit it after the motorcycle tour). The construction is still going on and unfortunately, the facade is still partially covered and flanked by high-rising cranes.

A hippy was making soap balloons in front of Sagrada Familia and kids were going crazy. I couldn't help myself and I paid extra attention to my pockets and backpack -- these events where people open their eyes and shut their awareness are perfect opportunities for pickpockets. I have to admit though, I have not seen any pick pockets in my entire holiday.

Around 7PM, Anton, the owner of www.rentatiger.es, came by the hotel and delivered the two Tigers. I liked the bike the moment I saw it. It was looking pristine with less than 8000km on board. Anton showed us the ins and outs, as wells as different adjustments we could make. He also installed the GPS mounts and my own Adaptive mount that I had brought with me from home. I have a velcro-covered mount where I can attach any velcro-covered device. I keep my iPhone on it usually with Google Maps or a GPS tracker application (I use Trails -- that's how I recorded the tracks on the interactive map www.mitza.net/spain2013).

The two Tigers ready to roll.

Anton recommended a small restaurant/bar on the corner (La Perla) and a rice dish with a Catalan name that I cannot remember anymore.

We went there for dinner and were surprised to find a small hole in the wall kind of place, yet with fantastic food and great atmosphere. We ordered some tapas and pints. And that's where my Spanish lessons started. Joe explained that I had to start with the basics. So the first word was caña -- pint. For whatever reason I kept confusing the word with cuña -- cradle. So later on this holiday, I would of course, go to a bartender and order victoriously "Quiero una cuña, por favor!" :-). She would look at me funny and reply in English "I beg your pardon...", but more about that later :)

The rice dish Anton recommended was simply delicious. It was a combination of the French bouillabaisse with the Spanish Paella, or in other words it was something of a more soupy paella with crab, fish, mussels and chicken. The wine of choice would be red, or simply called tinto. It doesn't matter you eat white meat or dark, Spaniards, I noticed, will always have tinto. We had some house tinto, which went really well with the rice dish.

It was getting late for our jet lagged bodies, so we called it the night, excited about the adventures, which were awaiting the following days.

I already started to enjoy Spain :)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sopiago Springs and Ebbetts Pass Motorcycle Daytrip

We went to see Tim's resort at Sopiago Springs, but unfortunately he was in Stockton. So we continued on 88, then returned on 4 Ebbetts Pass. We caughts some rain on the far East side of the Sierras, then went back into the oven towards the Central Valley. A great day trip all in all, although it took about 12 hours in the saddle.

Distance: 430 miles / 700 km
Duration: 10h
Difficulty: Intermediate
Interactive map: http://www.mitza.net/sopiagoebbetts2012

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

East Bay Motorcycle Route

This is a 1 day ride around the San Francisco East Bay hills.

Distance: 150 miles / 240 km
Duration: 5 hours
Difficulty: medium

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Death Valley Tour - Day 3

The long way home. This was a hard day with 450 miles (over 700 km) and we caught rain, snow, hail, wind, below freezing temperatures, and all over again.

GPS route: kml / gpx
Interactive map: http://www.mitza.net/deathvalley2012

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Death Valley Tour - Day 2

Day 2 of the Pashnit Death Valley Tour takes us into a big loop around Death Valley, starting with Scotty's Castle, to Shoshone for lunch, then back on Hwy 178 Badwater Rd.

We got rained on on the first half. Freezing cold on Dante's View Rd. Then amazing riding in the afternoon on Badwater Rd high speed sweepers.

Distance: 280 miles / 450 km
Duration: 1 day
Difficulty: medium
GPS route: kml / gpx
Interactive map: http://www.mitza.net/deathvalley2012

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Death Valley Tour - Day 1

First Pashnit tour of the year. Over 1300 miles (2000 km) in 3.5 days.

Day 1 - Tulare to Stovepipe Wells.

Distance: 250 miles / 400 km
Duration: 1 day
Difficulty: mix of easy straights with difficult mountain passes
GPS route: kml / gpx
Interactive map: http://www.mitza.net/deathvalley2012

  • 99 South to Earlimart
  • East to Ducor
  • South on Old Stage Rd / Mt Rd 109
  • White River Rd into Glenville
  • 155 East over the pass into Lake Isabella
  • 178 East to Ridgecrest
  • Lunch
  • Continue 178 East to Trona
  • Trona Wildrose Rd
  • Panamint Valley Rd
  • 190 East into Stovepipe Wells

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Death Valley Tour - The Road to Tulare

This is the first motorcycle tour of the year. It's Pashnit's Death Valley Tour -- a premiere!
We start in Tulare, CA. But first we need to get there. The following is the map to Tulare, from the San Francisco Bay area.

Distance: 400 km / 250 miles
Time: 5 hours

This is the long way round: Hwy 9 to Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Hwy 129 to Hwy 101, Hwy 156 to Hollister, Hwy 25 to Hwy 198 to Coalinga to Hwy 99, and into Tulare, CA.

Interactive map: http://www.mitza.net/deathvalley2012

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Kawasaki Concours 14 Tire Pressure Monitor Sensor Battery Change

My 2008 Kawasaki Concours 14 started displaying a warning recently: "Tire Pressure Sensor Battery Low". It usually only happened for a few minutes in the mornings, when tire was cold. After a few miles it went away and the reading was normal.

Anyway, I thought I would change it. The problem was the price of a new OEM sensor from Kawasaki ~$350. So I looked on the forums and I found a mod to change the sensor battery. There is one catch with this mod - on my bike model, the battery is glued to the contact pads. So I had to resort to actually forcing the old battery out and put the new one in.

The following describes the steps I took for this mod:

1. Take out the Tire Pressure Monitor Sensor from the wheel (I cannot do this at home, so I did it at my local bike shop when I replaced the tire). Also buy the new batteries, type CR2032 (approx $5).

2. Unscrew the back of the sensor. The screw is normally placed under a label, so first remove the label.

You need to use some weird screw driver head (TX-5) is the one I have in this image:

3. Once the lid is off, take out the electronics from the casing.

I used a sharp tweezers to take it out.

4. Now the delicate part: unglue the battery from the pads. I used a sharp pointed knife for this. Careful not to cut the pad contacts or yourself. Also remember which pad is which (+ vs -).

5.  Put in the new battery. I did't have a battery holder, so I kind of made one myself. First I taped about 1/4 of the battery side to prevent a short-circuit from the - (negative) pad on the positive pole of the battery.

6. Insert the battery in between the two contacts.

7. Put one more layer of tape around and pads and battery. Just enough to hold it in place while you insert it into the casing.

8. Insert the electronics back into the casing. The battery will fit really tightly in its corner. Press it down to make sure it's all the way in.

9. Put the lid back on and make sure you have the yellow plastic protrusion actually pressing on the contact pad. This is what will keep the pads in contact with the battery. Screw the lid back in place.

Notice that this method is not using any soldering or special battery holder. Rather the contact is kept in place by pressure from the lid or centrifugal force.

I'm going to update how this mod works out for me. If all is good, I'll make the same for my other wheel.

Update (26-Sep-2012): The setup above worked, but it did not last. 2 weeks after I did the procedure above, the sensor went dead. Therefore, I resorted to soldering the contact pads onto the new battery. It was a simple procedure (not more than 10 mins), but you have to have the wheel off and tire, which is a major PITA. I also had to buy the soldering gun, but at least now I'm set for the other wheel.

The soldered pads look like this:

Let's see how this setup holds up...

Update 2 (3-Nov-2012): The soldered battery holds up nicely so far (6 weeks later). In the meantime I fixed the other wheel too. This time I used a battery (still CR2032) but this one had 2 wires attached of it from factory, so no more soldering necessary.

I bought it off eBay for about $5 and it shipped straight from China (full name of battery is Panasonic CR2032 CMOS RTC 2wire Lithium Battery w/plug CR2032-2E31R+). I cut off the little white connector and soldered the wires directly onto the circuit board (sorry, forgot to take pics). The only thing to be careful with is how to insert the circuit and battery back into the casing. I had to bend the positive (red) metal tab a bit towards the negative (black) tab to make everything fit, but all went in just nicely. I made sure all was good and did one final check with a voltmeter and it showed a nice 3.12V. I had it installed about 2 weeks ago and so far it also works nicely.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Garmin Nuvi 1350 Lost Maps

Today, my father's brand new (1 week old) Garmin Nuvi 1350 lost all its internals. This included the internal maps, voices, keyboards, vehicles, favorites, etc...

This is what I did to fix it:

1. The following will make sure you can communicate with the Nuvi device directly from the garmin.com website and also the Nuvi software is up to date:
  • Registered Nuvi device on garmin.com website
  • Installed Garmin Communicator Plugin (worked well in Firefox 8, but not in Chrome 16)
  • Installed software update on the Nuvi device

2. Install the maps:
  • Download and install Garmin Map Updater from garmin.com
  • Run the map updater and through it, download, prepare and install the maps you are entitled to on the Nuvi device

3. Install missing voices, vehicles, keyboards:
  • Download and install Garmin Web Updater from the garmin.com website
  • Run the Web Updater and select all keyboards, vehicles, voices, updates, FM traffic databases, etc that you need

Monday, December 26, 2011

Napa Valley Motocycle Day Trip

This little tour takes you from San Francisco South Bay, where I happen to live, to the famous California Napa Valley and back, through roads such as Suisun Valley Rd, Wooden Valley Rd, Sage Canyon Rd, Chiles Pope Valley Rd, Butts Canyon Rd, Trinity Rd.

All in all is about 300 miles (480km) and I did it in about 8 hours at relative good pace with many stops. Most of the road is through the mountains (except highway bits) and includes large sweepers, so difficulty is intermediate. The last part on Trinity Rd is pretty goaty and it gives you a workout both physically and mentally, so difficulty is advanced.

Interactive map: http://www.mitza.net/napa2011

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