I’ve never been tempted to weld my Scattante to my Ironic Orange Julius Bike, and I’m certainly not pining for some lost era of freak bike integrity, but I must say there is something sad about seeing these people appear in celebutarded videos and exchange their denim vests for motion sensor suits so readily. As any time trialist or cyclocross racer will tell you, once you’ve donned a full body suit you’ve officially crossed the rubicon of bike dorkitude. Furthermore, a “subculture” loses all “street cred” the moment it is distilled into an “app.” You can exist in the margins of society, or you can exist on the iPhone, but you simply cannot exist in both places at the same time. In the “street cred” hierarchy, the whole tall bike thing has fallen beneath bike polo and fixed-gear freestyling and currently hovers somewhere between tweed rides and 24-hour mountain bike racing. Now that tall bike jousting has become the stagediving of the cycling world, I would advise all freak bikers dedicated to the “outlaw” lifestyle to abandon tall bikes and instead take their shoddy fabrication skills and poor hygiene off the streets and into the water where “society” will have a harder time of stealing it. A subculture based entirely on battling each other in small water crafts would be much more difficult to render in “app” form. Of course, the true measure of an outlaw is remaining committed to your lifestyle even when it ceases to be obscure, but you have to admit, “Canoe Kill” sounds even more outrageous than “Bike Kill.”

Suspicions about China slipping eavesdropping technology into computer exports have been around for years. But the recent spying attacks, attributed to China, on Google and other Internet companies have revived the hardware spying concerns. An IT World blogger suggests the gear can’t be trusted, noting that it wouldn’t be hard to add security holes to the firmware of Chinese-made USB memory sticks, computers, hard drives, and cameras. He also implies that running automatic checks for data of interest in the compromised gear would not be difficult.