sjh - mountain biking linux geek spice - mtb / linux / canberra / cycling / etc

Steven Hanley hackergotchi picture Steven
Hanley

About

email: sjh@svana.org

web: http://svana.org/sjh

Other online diaries:

Aaron Broughton,
Alison Russell,
Allan Bontjer,
Andrew Pollock,
Anthony Towns,
Chris Yeoh,
Jeremy Kerr,
Martijn van Oosterhout,
Michael Carden,
Michael Davies,
Michael Still,
Rusty Russell,
Tim Potter,
Tony Breeds,

Links:

Linux Weekly News,
XKCD,
Userfriendly,
Questionable Content,
Planet Linux Australia,
Bilbys,
CORC,

Canberra Weather: forecast, radar.

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planet sjh
(online feed aggrgator for all the diaries I read regularly)

August
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
       

2005
Months
Aug

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Archive by month:

Wed, 31 Aug 2005

Anonymous blogging - 22:39
I do not really need to point out that this is not an anonymous diary, heck even without reading the about page it is fairly easy to work out who I am.

At the recent blogher conference (women in blogging conference) one of the sessions was titled How To Get Naked (There is Audio available of that session now, the panel consisted of Heather (dooce) Armstrong and a few other well known public bloggers). The session topic was that of blogging where everyone knows your real identity. This of course brings into focus the other way to blog, doing so anonymously.

One rather brilliant (in my opinion) example of a good anonymous blog is Fafblog, I have no idea who these people are, but damn are they funny, insightful, clever, biting, esoteric, etc. The EFF recently released a guide on How to Blog Safely, or anonymous blogging.

If one were to start an anonymous blog, they would avoid linking to it elsewhere, would avoid telling people they know or who read anything they write elsewhere about it as them linking to it or telling others about it could also be suspicious. Should one just go about writing what they hope is good content and blog like no one's watching? (because lets face it, it is pretty much a sure bet that no one is) Consider the recent statistics from technorati in their latest State of the blogsphere. The number of blogs is doubling every 5 months currently, a new blog is created almost every second. Even ignoring the spam blogs that appear on blogspot and other services, this is a huge number of blogs. As pointed out in the article I linked to about cats the other day, most of the blogs out there are rubbish, and far too many of them seem to contain endless photos of pet cats.

So if you write a bunch of stuff and do not use your existing reputation or google juice to pump it into any sort of readership how does it get noticed? I think the only way really is two fold a) have a lot of good content on it. and b) use tagging services and other techniques so posts from it will start to appear in the appropriate places when being searched for. It is fortunate that good content matters more than almost anything else, otherwise spam blogs would be far more successful than they are currently. Also a good anonymous blog is obviously done for the art, for the sake of the blog, to improve ones writing or thinking on some given subject, it has no bearing on any real world social status or status of the author on the Internet, a form of art for the sake of the art.

[/comp/blogging] link

Tue, 30 Aug 2005

Tuesday afternoon milk carton blogging - 16:25

Baked goods or milk cartons in disguise? (full size)
I was wandering through a supermarket this morning and came across this milk carton among baked goods. I suspected initially that this was simply more evidence of how poor the camouflage abilities of your average milk carton really are. Just like the OAK milk carton attempting to hide among gums and wattles, here was a milk carton attempting to hide amongst croissant's and pan au chocolat.

However this got me wondering, what if I was wrong, what if in fact the camouflage on the milk cartons were brilliant, but it takes a few seconds for them to adjust, and I caught this carton in the location before it was able to camouflage itself. What if this cupboard were full of milk cartons cleverly disguised as baked goods. Does this call for a test, should I attempt to eat all the baked goods here and see if that will give me a hint as to their real status as a type of croissant or a milk storage container?

[/various/milkcarton] link

Mango flavour hash browns. - 10:27
I have had a hankering for hash browns for about a week an a half, the shop across the road from my house did not have any in stock. Finally last night I went shopping at a large supermarket to stock up on stuff and they had hash browns in the deli. Yay. Thus dinner last night was mushrooms, scrambled eggs, hash browns and toast, yes breakfast is in fact the new dinner, who needs any of this old fashioned dinner dinner? Of course in the interests of ensuring my hash brown cravings do not go unanswered for as long I bought few more than I ate last night, now I just need a Tardis style freezer I guess.

Speaking of mango flavour (no not the hash browns) I was pleasantly surprised to find one of the bells fruit bar flavours is mango, why I had not noticed this before is beyond me, however eating an orange coloured bar last night I thought, this does not taste much like apricot, then I looked on the packet and found it said mango. Mmmmmmm mangos (well processed barry stuff that has mango flavour in it, but hey). Maybe I should cook the mango chicken on cous cous dish I have had ingredients for sitting around the kitchen for a few weeks, well mango chicken and hash browns on cous cous of course...

[/leisure/food] link

Sat, 27 Aug 2005

It's a Blorthday and I will write crap if I want to! - 18:50
Well actually yesterday was arguably the first anniversary of this online diary, however the post I made on August 26th last year sucked and was somewhat short and insignificant. It was not until Friday August 27th 2004 I posted anything of any interest to anyone (hell I am not sure if I have posted anything of any interest to anyone in the last year as it is, ahh well)

Thus for the heck of it, to encourage the view that blogs are inaccurate and dates may be picked at random and because I did not remember to check the date of my first ever post until today (I knew the Blorthday was coming up I just had not checked which date it was exactly). As for the term Blorthday, well what else could I call it Blogthday? Diaversary? Trevor?, though alas the use of Blo encourages the Blog connotation and I still have not come to like the word Blog much.

Some stats

[18:56:47] 28 oneiros sjh ~/diary/data>find -name '*.text' | wc -l
337
[18:58:37] 29 oneiros sjh ~/diary/data>wc `find -name '*.text'`
...
12875  96471 620439 total

Including this post (so far) that is 337 posts, 96,471 words. Whoda thunk I could rattle on about crap that much, though this is still not a real blog, I have yet to post photos of my cat, possibly made more difficult by not owning a cat, maybe I had better wander into the RSPCA and ask if I could take a photograph of a cat which I could use to provide some authenticity to this diary. Who cares if they think I am a loony, I am sure it must be done, all in the name of blog truth.

Today I hopped on the road bike at 7:50am and headed out for a 100 KM ride with the Bilbys (Tharwa, Cotter), got home at 12:40pm and hopped in the car a 1:10pm to head out to pack up the course from the 8 hour race at Sparrow Hill and then head out to the Kowen XC course to lay out the course for the Bilbys off road duathlon tomorrow, I got back home around 6pm, time now for some food I think. (this was all to attempt to provide some blogthenticity of boring shit no one cares about, which in the absence of cat photos may be the best I can do to be like every other blog on the planet).

[/various] link

Fri, 26 Aug 2005

More of that slow news day stuff - 12:07
As I mentioned on Wednesday I had another Canberra Times interview about some mountain biking issues on Wednesday afternoon, the story appeared in the paper yesterday. Kate (CORC President) scanned the article about rangers pulling down the dangerous North Shore style obstacles. The only real omission here is that the article claims they received an anonymous tip off about the obstacles when in fact CORC informed ACT Forests a few months ago that there was some dangerous constructions in Tuggeranong pines that we strongly recommended should be removed. Of course the item on Win news did not mention that, and alas I forgot we discussed this at a meeting 3 months or so back when I was talking to the journalist. None of the ACT Forests staff who are directly responsible for this side of things were available on Wednesday either so only the Environment ACT people were involved. Fortunately in this article at least we (CORC and mountain bikers) did not come across poorly.

I am hoping the work the CORC Trails Advocacy team has been doing over the past two years to present a need for an extreme mountain biking area to the ACT Government will be successful, though ACT Laws still make this hard on the land owner/manager, in South Australia they have been able to create such parks with properly/safely constructed obstacles and ensure the land manager and people constructing the obstacles in their parks are not liable for injuries of riders in the parks.

The slow news day title of course refers to the thing a few weeks ago where they quoted me in the paper with a photo.

[/mtb] link

Thu, 25 Aug 2005

Where do you buy every day stuff online in Australia? - 10:48
Okay so I am a computer geek and cycling fanatic, thus I often buy computer equipment and cycling equipment online from Australian and overseas retailers. I know of a fair few existing retailers of such items, I can find new retailers fairly easily. So if I want a hard drive or a cycling jersey or bottom bracket I know where to look. Also a few others things like cds or dvds sort of occur to me, either look internationally at Amazon or cdbaby, or look locally at a place like ezydvd.com.au. (though now that I think of it I do not, off the top of my head know of an Australian online cd retailer, though I suppose sanity.com.au qualifies, after all, as is the case with ezydvd, it has physical retail outlets also, however they do sell online. Thanks to Mikal I also know of a great place to buy technical computing books.

However I have absolutely no idea where to look for less specific stuff to purchase online, say you want to buy a few pairs of socks, or a television (and compare specifications of a few), or some cutlery, or a microwave. I was wondering a few months ago how much a given size tv would cost here (Mum has leant me a large tv for the foreseeable future and I was curious about the cost of such an item as I would never consider buying a tv myself it is not something I had any idea of what it may retail for). Just today I spent about 15 minutes looking around yahoo's Australian only directories in shopping/clothing areas, trying searching google and froogle for Australian only retail outlets, etc. I was searching for someone who would sell plain sports socks such as reebok, billabong, quicksilver, addidas or whatever and ship them to you in the post.

Sure for this sort of more generic stuff most people I suspect would prefer to go to a physical retail outlet, however it just seems o be a waste of time to me, to walk into Civic (because driving would just make me unhappy and agro, driving is not a nice or pleasant way to do anything) (and I do not like locking my bikes up in town as they cost a bit) from work, find a shop, buy some socks, walk back to work. There goes 40 minutes minimum for no real good reason. Of course this could just be my male anti shopping gene in full force, but it really does sound like a huge waste of time I could use to do work or ride bikes or something instead. Searching google for something as simple as "clothes shop" and selecting Australia only really does not show anything particularly useful, nor was wandering around yahoo.com.au for a while doing me any good. Maybe I had better capitulate and simply go in and buy socks at one of those physical retail outlets.

[/various] link

Wed, 24 Aug 2005

Wearing the wrong socks for an interview in a warm building. - 18:56
The building in which I work at ANU was built in the mid 90's sometime, the heating/cooling system apparently works (the building is sealed so the air conditioning does not just head out the windows) by running the heaters and coolers at all times and balancing the output of them to attain a given temperature. For the past few weeks the entire cooling system has been broken, so the heaters have been pumping heat into the building unchecked by air conditioned coolness. This is bad as it means the entire building is somewhat uncomfortable to work in, it is however even worse in my area surrounded by lots of small heaters that some people call computers. I really hope Facilities and Services can fix this soon it is becoming rather stifling, I keep sneaking into the cooled machine rooms for a few minutes just to cool off.

Now in an effort to drive away the two and a half readers I may have of this diary I will talk about the socks I wore to work. These socks are worn out to the extent there is only thin gauze sock skeleton material across the bottom of the sock, I should simply throw away this, and a few other pairs of my socks and go buy more, the problem is (especially in the heat mentioned above) that my feet get smellier and feel icky all day.

On an aside there was another Environment ACT sort of backed thing going around on Win TV news tonight in Canberra and something will appear in the paper tomorrow. I have not seen the TV piece however I hear it came across fairly badly for mountain bikers as a whole. A Canberra times Journalist rang me for some input from the CORC perspective, I suspect that will appear in the newspaper tomorrow. Hopefully the piece will not come out too badly but I really have no idea what angles they are looking for here.

[/various] link

Tue, 23 Aug 2005

Racing in a fast team or showing off old scars - 18:36
On the weekend I competed in the local (CORC run) round of the Working Week Series of 8 hour mtb races, I also set the 14.2 KM course we raced on. I competed in the Marathon Pairs category in a mens team, my team mate was Rob Burrell, one very fast cyclist (he got one of the top 20 lap times on the day). Photos should be up soon at pixelpics, interestingly they are using a photo of me doing a jump currently on their front page where they mention the race. (which means I can see my race number was 689). I have results up from the race on my race results page too.

Anyway it is always good to do races in teams with people who can ride fast, this weekend, due to being teamed up with a rider like Rob, we came 3rd in the Mens Pairs category, my laps tended to be around 5 to 8 minutes slower than Rob's most of the day. Another example of this is my 2003 Mont 24 Hour race team, due to being teamed up with riders as fast as Dave, Julie and Aaron we came first in our category by over an hour. I do not think this is really rocket science, A good team is a key to success in cycling, Lance Armstrong has proven that pretty conclusively over the past 7 years.

As for showing off old scars, Mikal is getting into his cycling, he seems to be enjoying it, including a 23 KM ride on Saturday, even though he had another fall on the ride. He claims his scar on his knee is cool, and that it bled lots. He suggested I should try for a scar on my knee during my ride out to Stromlo this afternoon as all the cool people have cycling related scars on their knees. I decided it was best not to aim for this today, after all, in my case, acquiring knee scars in cycling accidents is so last year (and I still have purple skin marking those scars on both knees over a year later)

My ride up stromlo was a bit lacklustre today, 12m30s for the climb itself, the entire ride out and back was 1h12 minutes today, an average speed of 30.0 for the 36.4 KM ride. Slower than last week even, ahh well maybe next week I will improve.

[/mtb] link

Tuesday afternoon milk carton blogging - 18:28

Milk carton bigger than Black Mountain tower (full size)

The majesty of the milk carton (full size)

Hiding out in a burnt out Mt Stromlo Observatory telescope (full size)
Looking for milk cartons in the wild again today. The first shot rather obviously shows that milk cartons can be larger than Black Mountain Tower (perspective? whats that), which may explain why this one is not trying to hide or use camouflage. The second show, of this oh so large milk carton, showing how Majestic a milk carton perched upon a rock can be.

Looking around some more, I notice this milk carton seen in the third photo on the burnt out window sill of one of the old Mount Stromlo Observatory telescope buildings at the top of Stromlo. The disguise capabilities are equally poor here, however the burnt out building may offer the milk carton some protection from predators.

Oh and for all those of you who may wish to point out this was posted after 6pm and thus no longer afternoon, pish, it was still afternoon in Western Australia, so just imagine it was posted by someone there (it wasn't, but that is just a small detail)

[/various/milkcarton] link

Fri, 19 Aug 2005

More good food on campus soon... - 13:50
I can understand why Mikey is somewhat pissed off with a certain eating establishment near his office on campus. I have mentioned once or twice in the past how disappointing and overpriced the food from ANU Union caterers is, and I have to say the instance of a catering outlet Mikey refers to really is bad even compared against some of those closer to this side of campus, well at least that is my opinion.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel though, the new JCS building that is being built (or possibly finished already, the big green ugly looking building) on the oval opposite Mikey's work will have a cafe, the owner of a certain eating establishment I like a lot (mentioned and used a lot during lca2005, about 50 metres from my office) has taken out the lease for the cafe that will be in this new building once finished. This will not be a ANU Union establishment, and if the two cafes they already run are an indication (Pickle and Discovery) it will be something to look forward to for all the people on that side of campus. (there really is not much nearby in the way of food outlets over there).

Of course I do not know how public this information is, or should be, ahh well it is out now. Interestingly Nick may price things a bit cheaper at the new cafe in order to encourage people to go there, it may even be worth hopping on the bike and riding across campus if he makes things a lot cheaper.

[/leisure/food] link

I suspect Andrew is somewhat pissed off. - 13:29
I was walking back from civic after getting an eye test and came across Andrew and Sarah Pollock, they were sitting in Andrew's car parked on Hutton St on the edge of the University. Andrew understandably was somewhat annoyed, Sarah pointed out to me what was wrong. All 4 of the tyres on Andrew's car had been slashed by someone.

Andrew rocked up to the uni this morning for a 1 hour lecture, and parked out in this more public area due to the difficulty of getting parking access in the uni and headed off to the lecture, his was the only car there at the time. I imagine sometime while he was in his lecture some fuckstick walked past and seeing it was the only car there thought it would be fun to make all 4 tyres go flat with a knife. "WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG IN THE HEAD OF SOMEONE WHO DOES THIS?" I mean really what sort of mindset has someone wander past some random car on some street and slash all the tyres for no reason?

Sarah had rocked up to give Andrew a lift once the tow truck rocked up, NRMA had already been but could not do much with so many tyres flat. Thinking about it, with modern car tyre technology flat tyres are quite rare, this is one of the few reasons I can imagine that would cause a tyre to go flat now days, but really what sort of idiots do this to cars? One of the tyres was not entirely flat, I suspect the idiot responsible was seen and yelled at before they could properly slash the las tyre so ran off.

[/various] link

Thu, 18 Aug 2005

Yet another reason to love Canberra. - 11:58

Around 30 KM from Canberra, a great way to spend a lunch break (full size)
I headed out for a lunch road ride around Cotter/Uriarra with Sue and Rob yesterday. Gorgeous weather and yet more evidence of why Canberra is so good. A 2 hour road ride, with some good climbs that gets you out well away from the city. We went yesterday as I thought I had a meeting around lunch today, for something Andrew, Mikal and I are working on, however this morning we had to reschedule to some time next week.

Riding this morning was just another example of how good Canberra is again, Majura pines for an hour or so on the mountain bike with Ben and Ron. Now to finish working out the ppc64 debian port details, run the debootstrapped image and get it mirrored locally. I wonder where Alioth is hosted, I can not find out looking around the wiki page or gforge'esque setup on the machine itself.

[/mtb] link

Wed, 17 Aug 2005

This thing is not supposed to break? - 11:46

Broken BB axle (full size)
Riding home from work yesterday on the road bike after riding out to Stromlo and back, I crossed a road back up onto a footpath and suddenly my right leg fell and hit the ground with the pedal, crank and chain rings still attached gouging into my leg a bit.

Obviously my bottom bracket axle had snapped, this is a road bike, it is not really under a huge amount of load so should not really happen. I had however heard a clicking noise from this particular bottom bracket for a few months, I had thought it may just be the bearings going, I checked the frame carefully after getting it back from the fix and was sure it was not a new crack. Ahh well I now know what the clicking noise was.

I am glad it happened so close to home and only took me 5 minutes more to walk home, if it had happened 16 KM away at the summit of Stromlo I would have needed a lift back to work or home.

[/mtb/gear] link

Daily grind has a few more opening hours - 10:10
Hmm Hugh got back on the blogging horse and has decided to do posts about places to eat, a bit like Mel maybe, though less veggie focused (I thoroughly recommend Mel's posts btw).

Anyway Hugh mentions having lunch at the Daily Grind over near his office area. I have not partaken lunch there, however have been there at breakfast, thus his "Lunch Only" hours suggested may be somewhat incorrect. I do agree it is a good place, prices are low and the breakfast menu is pretty good and the coffee is up to par, I liked it more than the other place I have been to in that area which AFAIR is on the same street as Hugh's office and a few blocks up.

[/leisure/food] link

Tue, 16 Aug 2005

Mt Stromlo wins again - 17:45
As on previous occasions I headed out this afternoon for a ride up Stromlo from work on the road bike. Pretty much identical time to the last time with 30.9 KMh average, 1h10m time and 36.4 distance on the computer. There was a tail wind all the way out which was nice, allowing me to keep an average above 33 fairly easily all the way to the base of the hill.

I had a upset feeling stomach a bit today and had lunch about an hour before the ride, those to combined to give me a stitch during the climb. When I got to the flat bit half way up before going through the boom gate I had to back off so the stitch would not worsen, then I was unable to put real effort in again for the rest of the climb and kept my speed around 20 rather than 23 or 24 all the way from there to the top. The climb itself was around 12m10s. I suspect my diet today and last night was not ideal, too much meat and not balanced well enough with fruit, carbs and vegetables.

The reason I suspect a diet problem yesterday and today is I hit a fitness flat spot on the way home from just past cotter road back to near yarramundi reach, I was simply unable to put real speed into the bike and was often dropping to 23 KMh on slight rises. Anyway hopefully I have gotten over this a bit as I am heading out for a lap of cotter/uriarra at lunch with Sue. I must remember to eat and hydrate too.

[/mtb] link

Tuesday afternoon milk carton blogging - 13:30
Unable to find inspiration for some milk carton photo today, and no one has sent me photos of exotic foreign milk cartons from all over the world yet, so once more I will resort to some links to milk cartony things.

For the geeks among us, this is an interesting bug filed against some milk cartons. I wonder if these people really want to run gdb on the core of a milk carton or not (the core of a milk carton would probably just be a whole bunch of milk, unless someone filled the carton with something else, like gravel).

For anyone who was massively confused by the above paragraph (heck knowing how little sense I make sometimes I suspect that would be almost everyone) I found this milk is milk blog, lots of stuff pertaining to milk cartons and cases put to the US FDA pertaining to milk cartons.

[/various/milkcarton] link

Mon, 15 Aug 2005

Why no comments? - 21:48
So Mikal has often pointed out he uses a blog as a place for him to search for stuff or an extended bit of his brain (long term storage with a google interface). He also thinks of blog engines as neat CMS for a website, a good publishing engine. Mikal though also has comments enabled now days, which is more blog centric than a simple website. The idea of a community to make a blog more interesting for people as a whole exists, and appears valid even for sites with a really small readership.

I wonder if the primary reason I have not put comments on here is simply because of my own severe dislike of web forums? A few people have told me in the last few months that comments would be really neat here. Sites like Farkin (Australian Mountain Biking hangout) or most of the more popular blogs (Fafblog or Dooce (on her photos)) have comments and an active community. I personally can not imagine any reason to use Farkin when there is email or other mechanisms, maybe I am just sticking my head in the sand too much.

Like Mikal maybe I should try this comments thing on here some time.

All of this thought was inspired by reading a post about losing blog readers by the Tomato and Cucumber guy.

[/comp/blosxom] link

Speed of light, Avogadro's, Tomato and Cucumber and other universal constants. - 21:13
While eating dinner I wandered around some of the blogroll links on blogs I read regularly. The Aadvark Speaks is one such site I stumbled upon, on the whole well written and a good read. He suggests that Tomato and Cucumbers are a universal constant (when paired together, and generally when in the presence of a sandwich). Who knows they might be, I personally look forward to reading of any scientists accelerating Tomato and Cucumber to the speed of light.

As for his telepathic waiters, maybe they have 802.11 or something chips implanted in their heads, who knows anything could happen. Interestingly this guy lives in Austria, I wonder how many Arnold's he knows?

[/amusing] link

Xmas in July in August mtb ride down the Oaks. - 15:07
Yesterday I was up in Sydney for the weekend in order to join in the annual mtb-oz Christmas in July in August ride (XiJiA and I really have no idea how Mikal would pronounce that). This started a few years ago because the list ride that happened at the real Christmas time in 45 Celsius temperatures was too hot to contemplate a repeat, thus doing the ride in the middle of winter was agreed upon as an alternative.

I went to the 2003 and 2004 instances of this ride. On both those occasions a few other Canberrans were also there along with the Sydney siders, also the trains were running to the blue mountains so there were large numbers of Sydney listees. This year I was the sole Canberran, and the trains were not running to the blue mountains so the ride (known as the Oaks, this is from Woodford to Glenbrook in the lower blue mountains near Sydney) had somewhat lower attendance.

For once though there was a pretty god turn out of riders at the earlier start time to ride up hill as well as back downhill so Dave@ and I were not the only hill climbing nutters. There was quite a lot of uphill traffic on the ride on the day, heck Lisa Mathison (Australia's best female XC mountain bike racer currently) was there, she past us going uphill and downhill. Anyway I took photos of the XiJiA ride and put them online with a few words again.

[/mtb] link

Sun, 14 Aug 2005

Where did they hide Arnold? - 20:16
While driving up to Sydney on Saturday, I got to wondering, how is it that I know no one named Arnold? I knew an Arnold a few years ago but as far as I know that is the only example of an Arnold I have ever met. I asked my sister about it when I got to Sydney, she claimed she knows an Arnold, he is Austrian and lives there.

I got to thinking maybe all the Arnold's are hiding, so went looking for Arnold. I looked under the rug and didn't find Arnold. I rang Moe's and asked for Amanda Huggenkiss but Arnold didn't answer the phone. From this extensive search I believe I can conclude that Arnold is indeed hiding. As Jane said she knows one in Austria I suspect they are all hiding there. Like Bruce hiding out in Australian Academia, I may find Arnold if I ring the Governor of California's office and ask for Arnold (and he is Austrian too, spooky) though they may simply lock me up for that.

Of course another blow came when someone pointed out to me that Arnold J Rimmer is a hologram so can not be used as conclusive proof that Arnold is not hiding in Austria but is instead travelling through space with a mutant cat an android and a bloke named Charles Lister.

[/various] link

Thu, 11 Aug 2005

Snow at the pines - 20:38

At the northern end (full size)

Near the exit of the pines (full size)
As Crash and a few others have mentioned, the snow that fell yesterday in inner city Canberra was a somewhat rare occurrence. After Crash had the fun of riding in the snow, I got a bit of that experience this morning also. There was still a fair amount of the stuff on the ground at Majura Pines and in th vineyard and surrounding areas this morning. Ron Brent had his camera phone with him this morning so took a few photos, two of which I have uploaded here.

It is almost a shame I will not be in Canberra this weekend, last year Crash, Jaymz and I headed out to the brindies for a ride up Warks Rd to Bulls Head with the last few KM in the snow, that was a heap of fun and it would be a good weekend to do that now too. Ahh well.

[/mtb] link

I let myself in with this chainsaw - 09:10
I was rereading the Liberty Meadows "Big Book of Love" last night at home. A reprint of most of the 1997 run of Liberty Meadows strips. One strip had Leslie in Frank's room going on about being sick with some other random disease. The end of the strip Frank asks Leslie how he got in. Leslie answers "I let myself in with this chainsaw" and he is pictured holding one. So sure the context may just confuse the issue, and maybe you had to be there, but I cracked up big time. I think that would be a great title for a blog "I let myself in with this chainsaw".

Anyway for anyone who wants some more obvious humour, go have a look at what is on Fafnir's list of things to do.

[/amusing] link

Wed, 10 Aug 2005

More of that folk music stuff... - 17:40
I just got hold of 4 new albums, 3 by Lorna Bracewell and 1 by Deborah Smith.

Last week someone on one of the planets I read (Linux Australia, Debian or Gnome) mentioned a cdbaby sale, selling a lot of their stock at USD $5 per album. I have purchased music from cdbaby a few times in the past, all my Kathleen (Bird) York and Melissa Ferrick albums come from them. They retail many lesser known artists that would otherwise not have much of a presence in global retail chains or outlets.

So I wandered over to the site and browsed around for a while, listening to a bunch of the samples with some of the albums I decided on buying 3 Lorna Bracewell albums. "Don't Stop Now", "Little Miss Obvious" and "God Forbid". I also bought an album by Deborah Smith, "Stay Awake". So far I have listened to the Deborah Smith one once, last night, however most of the listening I have been doing has been to the three Lorna Bracewell albums.

The albums arrived yesterday, freedb did not recognise any of the albums, I have since attempted to submit freedb updates so hopefully that will be fixed soon. Last night and today at work I have had all three albums on repeat play.

So far I really like the sound of the first two albums, "Don't Stop Now" and "Little Miss Obvious", though as I start to get used to Lorna's singing style and am able to listen to the lyrics better I notice the lyrics on "God Forbid" are, unsurprisingly (it is a more recent album, with more experience behind it), better on the whole, though strangely the sound still does not appeal quite as much as that of the two earlier albums. An interesting sound and voice, I am definitely happy to have purchased these three albums, I suspect as usual this stuff will grow on me more over the next few months too.

Before looking around cdbaby last week I had never heard of either of these artists, it is always a good thing to find more music you enjoy.

[/leisure/music] link

I'm sorry Dave I can't let you do that - 15:44
I just saw a freshmeat announcement in my blog reader for libnodave. I wonder how much the person naming the library was giggling at "2001: A Space Oddessy" when they named this library?

[/comp/software] link

Extra goodness with disc-cover - 14:49
So I have been using the program disc-cover (online disc-cover server for those unfortunate enough not to have unix on their desktops) for about 5 years now. I keep a copy of all my cd's I listen to in the car rather than the originals as I would be heart broken if the car were broken into and I lost all the original albums. Also it means I can keep the originals in the house.

disc-cover looks at a cd in the drive does a cddb/freedb lookup and produces a postscript (or other format) output that can be used in the jewel case. Anyway yesterday I received some new cds (I will blog about this later) and the artists are not well enough known to have listings in freedb. Grip and other programs thus displayed unknown and such. I wanted to generate a cddb entry to place in my ~/.cddb/ directory that these programs could use. Freshmeat and google did not produce much of interest for outputting the correct file. Much to my delight after glancing at the disc-cover man page I was reminded that one of the output formats available is cddb.


disc-cover -n -t cddb

Generates the hex string used to name a file and the file Artist_-Disctitle.cddb which I was able to rename into my ~/.cddb directory and all works fine. I suppose I should look at uploading the album details to freedb, however last time I looked about 5 years ago uploading to freedb was a non trivial task, though I notice there appear to be applications that can do that more easily now days.

Anyway disc-cover has once again proven to be damn useful.

Update: I notice on the FreeDB FAQ they mention grip as an application that may be used to submit new track information. Now I have valid labels and grip has the information I should be able to work out what button to press to do this. (I use grip as my cd playing/ripping application).

Update2: So reading the FAQ closer it does appear though they tell you there to use some application I should be able to send the updates in a basic email, copy the entry generated by disc-cover add some items such as DGENRE and DYEAR, as this will be the first upload leaving the revision at 0 will be fine and all should work. I worked this out simply by looking at some existing entries for albums I already have cddb files for.

Update3: The first submissions I tried had blank subject lines, I noticed the developer link on the freedb site and found a Submit new entries document for developers of software, it appears that is the only thing my first submission attempts were missing. Anyway it is good to see that document there I do not recall finding it when I last looked at submitting track listings.

[/comp/software] link

Tue, 09 Aug 2005

ANU IBM Power 5 boxes for Linux on Power work - 17:05

Mikal at the rack (full size)
Tuesday last week we took delivery of 2 4 Way SMP IBM Power 5 Boxes. 1 TB of disk, 16 GB of RAM, paritionable into separate machines. This is part of the IBM Linux on Power initiative to provide university and community access to PowerPC hardware for porting Linux software to.

One partition has been set up on one of the machines and called clug.anu.edu.au and it will be used for CLUG hosting and information soon. Mikal (pictured) was hanging around when we started unpacking the hardware and putting in the rack so helped out.

It was also thanks to Mikal we arrived at the naming scheme for the primary power 5 boxes and the management console. The two large power 5 boxes, once online will be known as Tridge and Paulus (ANU DNS already has them registered) and the management console is known as Hugh. Tridge and Paulus are both ex DCS members (and Tridge is still a Visiting Fellow). I will leave it for other ozlabbers to explain the humour (somewhat childish maybe, but then we (DCS) have the ANU DNS names computer, box, cluster and server registered also) of the management console name also if they so choose.

Our current plan is that tridge.anu.edu.au will be the more publicly accessible machine and more stable for world wide access. paulus.anu.edu.au will be more restricted to ANU affiliates, staff or students and either as a whole or partitions on it will be used for research and development that may be less stable (such as kernel hacking). As we see usage patterns emerge once the machines have users we may make use of more partitions or configurations on all the machines.

[/work] link

Tuesday afternoon milk carton blogging - 16:17

Milk Carton in the Bush (full size)
I was out mountain biking this morning and sighted a milk carton attempting to blend into the native Australian bushland. I was able to get close enough to take this photo. I am afraid this species of milk carton may be somewhat rare due to how poor it's attempt at camouflage here is.

There are no OAK's here and thus attempting to blend into GUM or WATTLE or similar will not work with the OAK all over the place. If I was able to so easily spot this milk carton and take photos I am sure the natural predators of milk cartons are also able to take advantage of this stupidity.

[/various/milkcarton] link

Mon, 08 Aug 2005

Hurty from the weekend - 15:15

Metrogaine map (full size)
Saturday

Started out with the Bilbys road ride, which today included the Annual Bilbys Hill Climb race, like most other Bilbys events the winner was chosen based on guessing your time and the person closest to their guess wins, watches and bike computers are confiscated and given back to you a the end of the race.

Results should shortly be online, I was 31 seconds slower than my guess of 15:00, much of this slow time can probably be accounted for due to my recovering from the cold that had me mostly off the bike for two weeks prior to this, and my low form currently anyway. The race from the base of the Mt Macdonald climb over the hill and on to the Uriarra Road T-junction is a good distance for something like this.

Gary Rolfe was one second faster than his predicted time and Billy Griffiths one second slower so they took home the trophy between them (the Baldwin-Rolfe Hill climb trophy, named after two of our life members Gary Rolfe and David Baldwin). After the race we finished off the road ride, the long group I went with heading to Condor Creek then back via Uriarra for coffee at Dobinsons.

After about 1 hour at home I hopped in the car with the Duallie and headed out to Sparrow Hill to do a lap of the course I have planned out for use in the 8 hour race there in two weeks, the distance is still a bit long so I have to lop about 1 or 1.5 KM off the loop before I finalise the course, anyway 95 KM on the road in the morning followed by 18 KM on the mtb in the afternoon. All of this cycling was quite enjoyable, it sort of kick started my body back into exercise after two weeks of not much, and I did not hurt at all after that effort (my body is somewhat used to cycling)

Sunday

The level of hurt was however bound to change today, I had entered the ACTRA 2005 Metrogaine with Ben Crabb (Ben is quite a capable runner). The course we covered is marked in blue on the map I have photographed to the left. According to the Google Maps Pedometer the distance we covered is approximately 31.6 KM. As I have had a cold for around 2.5 weeks prior to this I had not actually gone for a run for 3 weeks. Now I am recovered from the cold I can get back in to my running, though not today, today my entire body aches all over and just walking around the place hurts. On the no pain no gain idea I must have gained a lot of something yesterday.

I did however have a fun day out, Ben and I only had one occasion where we messed up navigation (the little squiggle around on O'Connor Ridge) and lost about 5 minutes. We completed far more than we expected we would be able to and are both happy with how the day went. According to the results we scored 1030 points and ended up in 22nd overall. Of course no where near Dave and Adrian's team, over all winners on 1740. (Dave and Julie both ran a 60 KM Ultra Marathon Saturday a week before too)

[/mtb] link

Fresh Roasted Coffee - 14:45

Dried bean soup ingredients (full size)
When reading about coffee and what helps ensure good quality coffee, the most often repeated suggestion is to get your coffee as fresh as possible after roasting. (Along with getting Arabica beans). Thus when Crash and Mel mentioned a coffee retailer in Mitchell that sells coffee they roast on the premises I decided I had better try it out.

The shop is "The Fresh Roast Coffee House" in Mitchell, they sell Jindebah coffee. I rode out to Mitchell on Friday morning and purchased two 250g packs of beans. An 100% Australian Coffee, "Premium Dark Roast" and a pack of "Indian Monsooned Malabar" a Strong variety. So far I have ground and sampled some of the Australian coffee, very nice stuff, prepared with a single cup drip filter.

On the subject of coffee maybe I should see if Mum and Norm feel like selling their manual coffee machine, they do not appear to use it (Mum does not drink coffee, and Norm if he drinks any seems to drink Moconna instant) and a coffee machine with a 15 bar pressure capability would be a same to let go unused.

[/leisure/food] link

Fri, 05 Aug 2005

Those chemists, always making things 'splode - 15:19
So I looked out my office window a while ago and noticed some smoke forming, it seemed to be coming out of the Research School of Chemistry. So it was not particularly surprising a few minutes later when we were all asked to evacuate DCS due to a chemical fire in RSCHEM. The smoke was getting into our (DCS) air conditioning and was definitely changing the smell of the air.

Once we evacuated we were all told DCS had been sealed for at least 2 hours and they suggested we all go home. I wandered home (my road bike is still in my office) and I wonder if now would be a good time to hop on the mountain bike for a few hours....

DCS may be open again by 5pm, not sure yet.

Update: We were allowed in briefly around 5pm to fetch anything we needed (in my case, winter cycling tights, insulin pen, home keys, laptop, road bike, running shoes, running tights, a few other things) and in theory the building will be open for staff again by tomorrow morning. The entire building still retained the smell of the smoke that erupted from RSCHEM.

One of my house mates mentioned many other buildings around ANU were evacuated, even on the other side of campus, at one point they considered evacuating some of the halls and colleges also. Talking to someone in the building when I was picking up my stuff I learnt the Firies tried putting the fire out with foam, when that did not work they resorted to water, this has them wondering if run off from it will negatively affect Sullivans creek. I still do not know the cause or any more detailed information about the fire.

ABC has a story about the explosion in the uni science lab too which provides explosion details but not much more information.

[/work] link

Out there with the negative temperatures - 10:45
Spending the mornin' out there, y'know, on Everest, and explorin' the wilds of the Amazon jungles, and on a pith helmet wearing safari through Africa and in an adventure race in Patagonia and on the Moon and explorin' the outer reaches of the solar system. Out there, this mornin' with the Negative temperatures. And what were all the temperatures doing? Were they taking in the majesty of all this "Out there" we were experiencin'? Were they grateful at the chance to race through Patagonia or walk on the Moon? No, not at all.

The temperatures were just bein' negative, saying stuff like "Are we there yet?" and "Why do we have to hang around on this cold drafty Moon?" and sayin' "Hah you are never going to make it to the top of Everest!" and "I bet we get caught and eaten by Amazon cannibal pygmies" and all manner of other depressin' things. Them temperatures, they just don't know how to have a good time at the moment, all they can be in the mornin's is negative.

[/various] link

Wed, 03 Aug 2005

The evil that is the Rav 4 - 16:43
The Toyota Rav 4 is evil, ever since they appeared on the market my sister and I have done a mock rocket launcher aiming/shooting thing whenever we see them on the roads or parked or wherever. One of the most evil, annoying, wrong headed and plain out should not exist cars that do unfortunately exist.

I saw one on Tuesday morning with a little children's mobile and a child car seat, I am sure it steals babies, luring them in with the mobile, locking them into the seat and stealing them away. There you have it Toyota Rav4's steal children, irrefutable proof.

[/various] link

Time trialing into the sunrise. - 15:30
This morning I awoke to my alarm at 5:30am, grabbed my phone (my alarm) and rolled over and went back to sleep. Oops. Needless to say I missed the start of the ride at 06:00am at Dickson. I woke up with a start once more at 06:08am and decided to go do a different ride. On the bike by 06:24am I headed out the federal highway to ride a return trip via the Sutton road overpass.

This was the first morning in about two weeks I have not felt sick with a cold while out riding, so I was happy to be able to put a bit of effort in to the ride. I was planning to meet up with the others for coffee at Dickson around 07:30 so did not have heaps of time (so doing a climb of Mt Majura or similar on the way back in was not an option today).

On the ride I stayed in the drops, low and pushing the pace for about 80% of the ride, the rest, generally when climbing, still at a good pace I was on the hoods. For example the climb up to the first hill top as the highway leaves Canberra I was on the hoods or out of the saddle pushing a bigger gear. As I topped this climb I saw a wondrous pink sunrise with pink fog sitting below the clouds in the distance. If only I had my camera with me I could show you all what you missed out on by not being out there this morning at 06:45am.

I got to the cafe at Dickson with an average speed of 31.1, riding time around 1h5 minutes, on the whole it was a bit slower than I would like, however I did take it easy toward the end, and it is the middle of winter and my form is down, in summer I should have been able to get the average around 33 or 34 KMh. Of course I should do this sort of thing more often (moderately hard to hard effort by myself so I can keep the pace pegged), if I do maybe I can improve on summer expectations.

[/mtb] link

Tue, 02 Aug 2005

Tuesday afternoon milk carton blogging - 16:25

Imprisoned Milk (full size)
They have these milk containers walled in and behind glass (this photo was taken while holding the fridge door open, to allow the plight of the milk cartons to be captured more clearly), the milk cartons can not even feel the sweet air of freedom without outside assistance, the other dairy product packaging was not massing around attempting to set the milk cartons free. Oh these poor milk cartons, trapped until some kind and generous human comes along to set them free.

Though I wonder what other patrons at the retail outlet thought of some nut in cycling clothing taking photos of milk cartons in a fridge, that is of little interest however when compared with the plight of these imprisoned milk cartons. I am however glad to see that even in captivity the natural order of things is maintained, the milk carton is on top lording over the new and far less important 2 L plastic milk containers.

Update: I also just noticed, if you do not wish to be infected with footy head issues you can still buy the remaining milk carton with no Canberra raiders stuff printed upon in. Yet another way to ward off the return of Raiders Lime. (yes Lime flavoured milk sold by Canberra Milk in the early 1990's when the Raiders won the end of season thingy a few times)

[/various/milkcarton] link


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