Other online diaries:
Fri, 29 Dec 2006
Wee Jasper on the road bikes - 11:27
What the ride definitely showed me is I really need to do a lot of work in the next month to ensure I am ready to have a comfortable Alpine Classic, I do not have enough long road KM in my legs currently to do something like that without pain and extreme effort. The ride yesterday was however a lot of fun even though it was tough. We left at 9am (leaving home at 8:30am) and got back to Deeks around 5:30pm, at which point Ron had called his wife Annie for a pick up to avoid the last 15 KM home so I also got a lift home with them to leave the ride distance at around 160 KM for Ron and I.
Riders on the day were Simon, Crash, DeathMarch, Darryl, Ron, and I. Simon was as always very strong, Darryl appeared to be getting stronger as the day wore on also and DeathMarch did an astounding job of it considering he has only been riding again for a week now and has been mostly not riding for the last year. The hamburgers at Wee Jasper were indeed some of the best I can imagine ever tasting, as we told a local, we heard they were good so rode from Canberra for a hamburger. There were a few more sections of dirt road than I had thought, one I knew for sure was on Fairlight Rd before we hit Mountain Creek Road, then another I had forgotten on Mountain Creek road not long after we turned on to it. Then about 5 KM of dirt on the way down to Wee Jasper just before the fun final descent down to the township, apparently this used to be about 10 KM so it had improved already. As we were on road bikes with 23c tyres the dirt was somewhat tough at times, there were 4 or 5 punctures in the group (fortunately I did not get any) and the stutter bumps on the first section of dirt were rather pronounced and harsh.
Unexploded softdrink - 11:22
Tue, 12 Dec 2006
Tuesday afternoon milk carton blogging - 12:00
Maybe it is because I am a West Wing junkie or maybe it is because it is just interesting to see some of the ins and outs of the system over there, but it is a fascinating read into US politics as they relate to milk (and subsequently milk cartons (to tie in with this post)).
It does definitely seem the various big companies in the US Dairy industry have a lot of money to throw around, thus I am not surprised the guy who owns milk.com is holding out for serious offers to buy the domain only and is otherwise happy to use it for his own purposes. Good on him.
Thu, 07 Dec 2006
Not worried about the scratches showing. - 14:39
Both of those races were a heck of a lot of fun, short enough that it does not really hurt to get through them, a lot of interesting and different legs. In the Friday night race one of the checkpoints was at Jamison Pool and we had to go down the water slides three times in order to collect the control. The race yesterday had a few more of the novelty legs than most of the races, such as building a billy cart form parts in a pile on the ground and pushing a team mate around a track without them touching the ground or the billy cart collapsing.
As much fun as the long races such as 24 hour adventure races (Geo Half or the Full I guess) or similar are, they take a lot of time to commit to, these shorter races are easier and still a fantastic way to spend a few hours. Though there are side effects, because in a short race you want to move fast and wearing gaiters simply would not make sense (over heating, and really not much time spent scrub bashing), thus when you do a bit of scrub bashing you are likely to acquire new scratches on your lower legs.
People are used to my legs being scratched to heck, and it does not really matter what they look like, however outside just now I had to pull my socks up high and look all preppish so as to cover the bloodied scratches and stop flies congregating on my lower legs. At least I do not have to worry about what attire I can get away with if my legs are too scratched, Danielle was pondering if she could still wear a skirt to work after the race last night due to scratches. Though if I were pondering the choice of wearing a skirt to work there would be more significant things going on in my psyche than being worried about the odd scratch <g>.
Mon, 04 Dec 2006
I wonder where that email notification is - 18:28
I wonder when they will contact people and tell them they can pay? Not everyone who has registered will read blogs, nor will they all be hitting reload on the conference website every few hours, it is nice to know we gave our email addresses with our registrations for a reason. At this rate I at least will not have to get my boss to enter credit card details until the 14th of December at the earliest....
Yes this post is somewhat tongue in cheek, however I am entirely convinced they need to honour their 10 day window from the time of notification by email.
Fri, 01 Dec 2006
Reasons to use quality patches. - 14:05
Recently however I wanted to repair a few tubes sitting in my office (though I wonder why I bother these days when I can purchase 10 tubes or around AUD $30 from a number of places) and did not want to ride over to a bike shop, so I purchased a bunch of dodgy round orange and black patches from the on campus bike shop. No name standard looking patches.
Guess what, they really do not bond well, I did everything as I should, scouring the surface of the tube, applying a thin smear of glue to both surfaces, letting it almost dry, applying the patch and waiting for it to dry for over 24 hours (with some pressure on each patch point). I went to use two tubes I had repaired with the dodgy patches yesterday and both were leaking out the side of one of these rather large patches, obviously the patch rubber had not bonded properly with the tube rubber. Ahh well buy new tubes, toss these and remember to get and use quality patches next time.
Tue, 28 Nov 2006
Fri, 24 Nov 2006
Messed up fines - 12:15
The police were doing drug searches of all busses and trucks on the highway up near Goulburn, no idea why, maybe they had a tip off, or maybe they just wanted to use police resources there for some reason. Anyway the drug dogs sniffed around the luggage and all the passengers on the bus which took a while. The messed up part is what happened to one German backpacker. Jane mentioned the dogs had singled him out for some reason, so the police questioned him for a while. However in the end he did not have any drugs or evidence of drugs on his person or in his luggage. However they found a swiss army knife in his luggage (carry on luggage) and gave him a spot fine of AUD $550 for that and confiscated the knife.
So apparently the terms and conditions on the ticket may have some clause about no concealed weapons to be carried on your person, though it is not possible to find this anywhere on the Murrays website, the terms and conditions on purchasing a ticket make no mention of such clauses, it may simply be in some public transport law the police claim to be adhering to.
I personally think it is somewhat dodgy to fine someone and confiscate possessions, sure there may be some good reason the Police dogs went for this guy, however with no way to convict him on the spot it is a bit rough to fine him for someone I am fairly sure no one has ever mentioned or warned about. Really this is not air travel, have you ever been told upon getting on a bus that you need to stow all weapons or similar items in the baggage hold?
Thu, 23 Nov 2006
I wish I had thought of it - 23:05
The slightly strange thing is the race was not even held in Victoria so the outfit was not even as expected as these guys at gravity.
Fri, 17 Nov 2006
Mark's Guide and Cool Tools - 21:42
But Brain, how exactly to the 1428 pair of rubber pants fit into the plan? - 19:39
Then there was the report on BBC with physicists claiming they will be able make useable wireless power transfer mechanisms using resonance of materials in the radio or similar level frequencies. The claim is rather light on actual references or details of the research, however it sounds interesting, it would seriously rock to be able to use a laptop inside the office or at home or at cafes and have power and network coming through the air. Lets hope this is actually for real.
Then more of the purely cool research, the scientists mentioned on an ABC Australia news story that got dolphins to sing the Batman theme tune. The good news here is at least they are not singing "So Long and Thanks For All the Fish" I guess.
The ABC is often a source of good stories (humourous or otherwise) such as the story about teaching pandas to mate by playing them porn videos, obviously in the hopes they will emulate the the behaviour on the screen, they must be hoping these pandas are not the type to rock up to the Sydney Mardi Gras with a ready supply of rubber clothing. Lets hope the Pandas do get it going to the bow wow wacka wacka beats.
Mon, 13 Nov 2006
Good consistency where Gravity happens. - 14:58
I have photos and a few words up on my 2006 Gravity 12 Hour Mountain Bike Race page. As for consistency, I was happy with my performance, being able to do 6 laps with the following lap times: 37:54, 37:33, 37:20, 37:13, 37:36 and 41:48 around the 12.3 KM slightly hilly lap.
Thu, 09 Nov 2006
Geek mountain bike humour - 13:10
However some of the Gnomes were broken a bit, probably having been hit by riders a little bit off line as they went past. My suggestion as to the cause of the broken Gnome was that someone had committed some bad untested code into CVS.
Mon, 06 Nov 2006
Another what I ate for weekend lunch style post - 16:46
This weekend Lina and I competed in the ACTRA Spring 12 Hour Rogaine on Saturday. Held in Deua National Park out beyond Tallaganda. We both had a lot of fun, and I think we both improved our rogaine and navigation skills somewhat which is definitely on my must work in improving list (day and night foot navigation). With the benefit of hindsight, and a look at the controls Tom, Al and Karl collected in the 6 hour event (getting a higher score than we did in 12 hours) I can see a bunch of better routes we could have done, but it was fun anyway.
The rogaine finished at 11pm on Saturday night, it would have been lovely to camp out at the hash house with most of the other competitors and come back to Canberra on Sunday morning. However I had to be back for a kayaking/paddling course on Sunday morning, so we left after a good post event feed and the presentation ceremony. On the drive back, while still on a dirt road between Cooma and Braidwood before turning off toward Captains Flat. I wondered why the rear of the car seemed to be influencing the steering strangely, it got really wobbly and was not handling right at all, so I pulled up to a stop, got out and found the flat rear drivers side tyre. It was around 1am when this happened, it explained the handling, I had obviously been driving for around 1 or 2 KM with it in this state as the tyre was now shredded. Fortunately the spare in the boot was ready and it took about 15 minutes to change, the most surprising thing is that it happened at all. I have never had a flat in this car before, and from what I can tell flat tyres are remarkably rare in cars now days.
So after getting to sleep just before 3am I had to be up at around 7:50am in order to make it to a Kayaking/Paddling course I am doing for the next two months (Sunday mornings and Wednesday afternoons) being run by the Burley Griffin Canoe Club. Julie suggested this course to me as it will give me proper coaching in improving my technique, balance and all round capabilities in the kayak, something I think I need to do for the purposes of being able to do adventure races more comfortably. Then Sunday afternoon I went for a mountain bike ride with Tony and Mikey around the 2006 Australian 24 Hour race course as I had not had a chance to ride a lap of this year's course yet, and Tony and Mikey were both keen on having a mountain bike ride somewhere.
That was the weekend (see told you it was a boring post), next weekend is the Gravity 12 Hour mountain bike race down in Victoria, should be fun.
Thu, 02 Nov 2006
Apparently Rocky Mountain Element bikes will break if you have low shock pressure. - 16:40
So as stated below my Rocky Mountain Element 50 Dual Suspension frame broke while out riding on Friday morning 2006-10-20. As the frame snapped just below the shock mount I just looked at and though, ahh well something was wrong there, they will replace it under warranty. The warranty says 5 years for dual suspension frames. Of course it also says under what is not covered "B.Consequential damage or any damage caused by accident, misuse or abuse." and "C.Improper assembly and/or lack of proper maintenance," and there is the other clause that the majority of bicycle manufacturers seem to place in their warranty now days under What will void your warranty "A.Competition racing".
Anyway as you may suspect this is leading up to the Australian Importer of Rocky Mountain (Advance Traders) have rejected the warranty claim, Rocky Mountain are standing by the call Advance Traders have made. Their reason for rejecting the warranty claim is that the shock pressure was too low when it was bought into the store. I have been running the shock at 150 psi since I bought the bike. I can not remember exactly why I chose this pressure, though mostly it was from riding it, looking at how much it sagged, checking to ensure the shock was not bottoming out while riding (tie a zip tie around the shock shaft) and setting it to the pressure that seemed to give about 1 inch sag and felt comfortable.
Rocky Mountain have since said the pressure should have been around 190 psi for someone my weight. However I am trying to work out why a low pressure in the shock would cause the frame to break. What Advance had to say on this was somewhat hard to interpret.
You are correct in saying that a standard triangle frame should not break in the middle of the tube, which would probably be a sufficient point if the bike were a hardtail. But, because you have a moving rear end, it's highly likely that excess force (due to heavy impact and / or undersprung shock) through a certain area will cause the problem you have experienced. "The key to it's design is that it doesn't rely on the shock as a structural component of the suspension." (Rocky Mountain 2004 catalogue - Element - Design). If the shock were a structural part of the design I would expect the shaft of the shock to bear the brunt of the force and bend, or the shock bolts to do the same instead of the force being transmitted through the frame.
So they do not even answer my query as to why a low shock pressure will cause the break, it seems they suggest it is highly unlikely to cause the problem I have experienced with a moving rear end. I have asked in my email why the low shock pressure would cause the break. There is nothing in the warranty or owners manual suggesting the frame is in grave danger of breaking with low pressure in the shock. Also the claim made that the warranty guy at rocky mountain has never seen a frame break there before, I think would suggest there must have been something wrong with this specific frame.
The price they have offered a replacement front triangle to me is AUD $750, however I still do not understand why the low shock pressure is being used as a reason for rejecting my warranty claim. Anyway links to parts of this page are at the top to make it easier to see different things I have written about here.
I am not an engineer so I am waiting for some feedback from friends who are to see what someone who knows about this stuff would say on the issue. It is interesting to note that no onw from either the importer or Rocky Mountain have looked at the frame or seen it themselves. They are basing the rejection on photos I took and on asking the bike shop I some questions about it.
Wed, 01 Nov 2006
Kernel command line for environment variables - 14:56
I remembered reading something somewhere about setting the proxy environment variable on the kernel command line that d-i would then be able to use. I can find no documentation about this with respect to d-i. However it seems to work correctly by putting append="http_proxy=blah" into the correct pxe boot file. AJ pointed out it is a kernel feature that allows variables entered in such a way to be passed to init (this is sort of hinted at in the kernel Documentation/kernel-parameters.txt file, though not made clear). Anyway because d-i uses wget (and even when it gets to apt, apt understands the same variable) to fetch files this works correctly.
Mon, 30 Oct 2006
Interesting lyrics from another pianist. - 10:25
Regina has a really fascinating voice and ways of using her voice, bouncing around the spectrum a lot and really using it as a central instrument, then to the lyrics in a lot of her songs are fascinating. Full of jokes, literary references or just strange ideas and imagery. I guess I can see where the Anti Folk label may come from with the poking fun at herself and her music and many other targets.
Anyway I have to say I am hooked. I say "from another pianist" above largely due to th fact Missy Higgins is a pianist and good lyricist. As for the fun and interesting lyrics from Regina Spektor this is a good example:
And then i fill the sink to the top with bubbles of soap And then i set all the bottle caps i own afloat And it's the greatest voyage in the history of plasticMusic Box - Regina Spektor
Thu, 26 Oct 2006
50 people listening to someone talk about slugs - 20:29
Of course talking for an hour or so about slug's is possibly an unusual approach to holding the interest of an audience, I wonder what other unusual ways you could hold he interest of an audience. One that I liked the other day, though it only holds the interest for a few seconds per story were a bunch of 6 word creative works.
The blurb goes "Hemingway once wrote a story in just six words ("For sale: baby shoes, never worn.") and is said to have called it his best work. So we asked sci-fi, fantasy, and horror writers from the realms of books, TV, movies, and games to take a shot themselves." This is at wired, they asked a bunch of famous people, mostly authors for 6 word stories.
As is often the case, Joss rocks with his story "Gown removed carelessly. Head, less so. - Joss Whedon", interestingly as Jane pointed out when I passed the link on to her, you can actually get a good idea of the Author's specific style and preoccupations even from their 6 word stories. Such as Cory Doctrow and Neil Gaiman.
Considering NaNoWriMo is on next month, you could do that, or if you are not up to writing 5000 words of one story a day for a month, maybe try 833 6 word stories a day with 833 different plots.
Julie, Tom and Al Bundy stories - 16:12
What got me thinking of writing something about this was reading some of the reader contributed stories on Fat Cyclist, such as this recent story about a really hard bunch ride. I have not had much in the way of attempts at humour or simply interesting and fun stories on here recently so here are a few.
Julie is good at getting out and doing big endurance efforts, she won the 2006 World Rogaine Championships in the womens Category 2 weeks ago, 12th overall too. Julie has been a world rogaine champion for the 4 years now and will be for 2 more now, having won womens in Czechoslovakia in 2002, then winning the mixed category in Arizona USA in 2004 and now Womens again in NSW Australia in 2006. Also Julie competes in the Triple Tri solo and last year stormed through faster than all but one of the male solos, she even appeared to be catching the male solo winner last year near the end of the race.
So my Julie story for today is about the time she went out for a 30 KM training run in her build up to a solo Triple Tri. Most of us mere mortals look at the 30 KM and Training run in one sentence and are already scared of the effort involved. On this run however Julie just happened to go a different way and accidentally ended up doing a 50 KM training run that Sunday morning. How the do you accidentally do a 50 KM training run I wonder? Do you trip, almost fall, stumble a bit and suddenly realise you did an extra 20KM of running without noticing?
Alina and Tom are the core of the AROC adventure racing team, by far the most successful and capable adventure racing team from Australia. They have won the last two XPD races, finished second and were on the way to a good place the following year in Primal Quest in the US in the past few years, they also take out sprint distance adventure races around the place and have won every Geoquest they have entered as AROC. So tough and fast people both of them.
My Al Bundy store for the day is about her solo win in the Triple Tri 2 years ago, AROC had done a race in south east asia somewhere about a month before the triple tri and Alina had a fall or something and suffered an injury, a crack in a vertebra in her lower back. So with limited leg movement, some pain when using her legs and the suggestion probably being made to rest up and let it heal she entered the Triple Tri anyway, completed it solo in around 14 hours and was unable to even feel her legs at the end of it. Far tougher than the rest of us weak and wussy mortals.
As for Tom, this is a recent story. Tom and Al have recently moved out of town to a property in an area called Bywong, this is around 30 KM from Kowen Forest where the Australian 24 Hour Mountain Bike Championships were recently held. Tom and Al were both competing in the race, Tom was in a 4 person all male team, so he would be doing 5 or 6 laps in the 24 hour period probably at reasonable pace. Al rocked up to the site with gear for their camp, when someone asked where Tom was she responded, oh he wanted to run here. He had decided to do a 30 KM run to get to the start of a 24 hour race he was competing in. As anyone would do I am sure... and this was from a man who often claims he hates training and loves the fact there are so many races on every weekend, he never has to train and can just race all the time. Obviously the 30 KM run was a warm up for the 24 hour race, quite a different perspective from most of the competitors who complain the 700 metre run they have to do to get to their bikes at the start is too long.
I wonder how many other stores there are around about the people I hang out with all the time, hopefully lots more I can find.
Fri, 20 Oct 2006
Mon, 16 Oct 2006
Wed, 11 Oct 2006
Tue, 10 Oct 2006
Laziness as an artform - 19:05
I notice I was being somewhat pathetic writing my last diary post when I wanted the link to my painted pink steel hardtail and could not remember the link off the top off my head, so rather than clicking on my home page and following the links to find it I went to google and typed "bender bicycles" as I knew I was in the top one or two links for that search term. Of course the pathetic part is also that I knew that search term had that ranking.
Mon, 09 Oct 2006
The Scott Australian 24 Hour race is done and dusted - 20:42
Anyway as I mention in the title the event is done and dusted. The term dusted applies rather literally this year as it was the dustiest 24 hour race we have had yet, there were many people wearing dust masks, all people, tents, bikes, everything else out there was coated liberally with dust even at the beginning, by the end of the race there was a lot more dust everywhere. We had the biggest 24 hour mountain bike race in the world again, with 3031 riders entered, around 180 solo entrants, by the end of the race over 11,000 laps had been ridden which is about 241,000 KM (6 times around the circumference of the earth).
Russ had the preliminary results up yesterday afternoon before he and I had even finished packing up the stuff we had to get packed last night. A big thanks to all the volunteers out there who helped us run the race, and to all the riders I hope you all had a fantastic time and are already thinking up plans to come back. Next year we return to Stromlo on a brand new course almost in the centre of town.
Tue, 03 Oct 2006
Blog blog blog? Blog blog Blog Blog blog! - 19:31
Buffalo Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo. is the example I saw today on Metafilter.
Though English is a silly language, I am glad to see other languages are similarly strange, for example the colloquial Swedish "Nallar nallar nallars nallar?" which translates to "Do teddy bears steal (other) teddy bears' teddy bears?"
Of note is that this is indeed a wikipedia page and not the Uncyclopedia Buffalo page.
A weekend with some silly rides. - 09:42
Saturday morning I headed out with the Bilbys road bunch for the long ride, a gentle undulating 100 KM out to Cotter, Pierces Creek, Tharwa, back through Point Hut and home through Tuggeranong. A few of the people on the ride turned off at Corin for some more climbing, however I had to get home in time for a mountain bike ride that afternoon, and I had some other Corin plans afoot.
Saturday afternoon JJJim, Crash, PaulC, lliB, Jaymz, Liam, Rosie, Alex, Terry and I met up at sparrow hill for a lap around the wonderful single track that as JJJim said, flows like oil (the viscosity of which was left as a question for the reader). Much fun was had even if I was feeling a little toasted, which did not really bode well for Sunday.
Sunday morning Liam wanted a road ride, as he had to be back by around 12:30am and I wanted to do Corin we had to leave early, thus no one else was at all interested in joining us for a 7am start on a Sunday. However we headed out to ride up Corin and down to the Dam (the road down is now open after being closed for 3 years). Thus another 125 KM with some climbing on the road bike, then instead of collapsing in a heap once I got home there was more.
After fighting off some cramps and drinking a 1.25 litre bottle of mineral water I was ready enough to head out for a lap of the new single track at Mt Stromlo with Liam, Rosie, Crash (tour guide barbie today), Dan and Tom. The single track there keeps getting better and better. After all of that however I ended up giving the 5/6 peaks ride on Monday morning a miss and had a day off. This morning doing Cotter/Uriarra I was not at all interested in riding fast and cruised round the 65KM loop at a nice relaxed pace.
Mon, 25 Sep 2006
Thu, 21 Sep 2006
Wed, 20 Sep 2006
ACT Schools MTB Championships went well - 22:17
I thought it was pretty incredible last year when we managed to get around 180 students along to the race. This year there were 249 school kids there racing their mountain bikes in school teams. How fantastic is that, definitely good to see them all out there having fun on their mountain bikes. At one point while manning a marshal point I got my camera out and took some photos, until my memory card was full. I am currently uploading them to the CORC Image Gallery where they will be in an album under events sometime shortly. (update, photos are up)
If you wish to see the results Russ has uploaded them to the CORC website in the Junior Events section.
Tue, 19 Sep 2006
Mon, 18 Sep 2006
linux.conf.au is a damn good name - 17:20
Personally I disagree wholeheartedly with the idea of changing the name of the conference, and though I do not have a strong opinion on changing the name of Linux Australia, I have not seen an argument with any real reasoning and well thought out points as to why it is entirely necessary. So I weighed into the discussion on Friday afternoon with a semi lengthy set of thoughts on the matter.
One thing I realise I forgot to mention is that Linux is the generic most recognised term worldwide for Open/Free Software already. Jon "Maddog" Hall reminded me of this in his response to the discussion (recommended reading). We have a well known brand with linux.conf.au, as was pointed out by Andrew Cowie, a conference can change their name as "foss.in" has from the old Linux Bangalore name they had, however their name change was in part because they saw how incredibly cool the linux.conf.au name was for a technical geeky conference.
Geeks get the idea of linux.conf.au and appreciate the conference name. If you wish to attract sponsors or delegates that do not understand the conference enough to grok this I wonder if you really wish to run linux.conf.au. There has been some suggestions of running some other event for a number of years, a new alternately focused event could utilise the potential delegates Jeff may be after (those who do not find the all encompassing geekiness or existing feeling of linux.conf.au to be their cup of tea) (and potential sponsors) and that way linux.conf.au can stay as is.
Wed, 13 Sep 2006
Wheels that are round and brakes that work on the single speed - 22:45
When you hit gutters or other blunt objects with enough force to flatten a tyre (pinch flat) it will sometimes happen that a flat spot forms on the rim. Sometimes these can be hammered out, sometimes not. The problem can be made worse by weak sidewalls in rims, which are caused by wear from rim brakes (v-brakes and similar). Both the rims in the shed had large flat spots and weak sidewalls (splits appearing in places, and pronounced flat spots (one on each rim)).
The flat spots meant I had to have the brakes backed off a lot so they would not hit the rim as the flat spot passed the pads, thus the brakes were set up sort of loose, however once per revolution of the wheel they would be very tight and responsive for a short time. This was not a problem until such a time as you wish to utilise the brakes, at this time the flat really good braking set up on one point on the rim would cause a thunk sort of instant deacceleration which on the whole was rather disconcerting.
Fortunately for me a friend moving to the UK for a while and needing to dispose of some bike bits was happy to exchange a spare pair of wheels for a case of coopers. The hub on the rear wheel was fairly stuffed (pitted cones, bearing surfaces and worn bearings) so could probably use replacement, and the front wheel has radial spoke lacing, however when it fails I can put a sensible spoke pattern in. This pair of wheels have the distinct advantage of not being too worn out on the braking surface and having no flat spots.
I put the front wheel onto the single speed yesterday and hey what do you know, the brakes worked once adjusted, it was almost a revelation. Tonight I rebuilt the back wheel with a hub I had sitting in the shed that is in much better condition and a similar revelationary experience happened with respect to braking on the back when I put the wheel onto the bike.
Three cheers for an improved single speed experience, it will be rather enjoyable being able to stop somewhat predictably.
Tue, 12 Sep 2006
Thu, 07 Sep 2006
Bee in my bonnet - 22:05
Fortunately I discovered (the hard way) I was not allergic to bees, just that they can be rather irritating. I have over the years swallowed many a fly and other non bitey insect while riding. The hot summer climbs up mountains and such are prime examples of fly swallowing territory, and I have to admit I tend to be careful breathing in the snowy mountains in summer due to march flies and their biting capability.
I wonder if Mikal's kids were asking him if he was about to die in hopes of getting his laptop in inheritance, or maybe they simply liked the live action example of the Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly nursery rhyme. If he attempts to live up to the nursery rhyme it will at least be an excuse to eat a lot of beef, what with swallowing a cow.
Wed, 06 Sep 2006
Printer or Ink sort of purchases. - 10:31
Definitely reminiscent of the problems where computer printers (bubblejets) are often sold for less than the cost of the replacement ink cartridges these days. My other bikes all have large rear flashing lights so I do not need the little ones so much, it may be time to buy such a light for the single speed, at least then I can use rechargeable AAA batteries in the lights.
Tue, 05 Sep 2006
-ENOCRIKEY - 10:28
On this note so far, this is by far the best comment I have seen on his death, keeping the humour up even when saddened.
Mon, 04 Sep 2006
2:1 up the hills - 16:10
I still have a plan to attempt the 6 peaks climb on the single speed some day (Majura, Ainslie, Black, Pleasant, Red, Stromlo), to the pain.
Sun, 03 Sep 2006
Getting some rides in - 18:26
For now though I will simply try and get some KM back into my leg, starting up doing the Tuesday morning Cotter/Uriarra loops again this week on. Yesterday I went out on the standard Saturday morning Bilbys ride which was going past the base of the Corin Road climb but would be about 90KM with the suggested route. Fortunately for me Sue was keen for a little bit more climbing so together we split from the group and headed up the 13KM climb to Corin Forest. When we got back to Canberra eventually we headed to Dickson for coffee, thus I got a good fairly solid 130 KM on the road bike yesterday.
Today I had felt like heading into the Bush for a ride, though with other stuff to do today I wanted to keep it short, the plan was hatched for a ride up Mt Coree from Blundells Arboretum and a few bods were keen to join in the fun. In the end due to weather and some other concerns only Dave, DeathMarch, Jaymz and I rocked up to do the Mt Coree climb on our bikes (photos and a few words). But it was a good little climb and an enjoyable (though very muddy in places) ride.
Tue, 22 Aug 2006
Mon, 21 Aug 2006
Definitely a fun course, the thick bull dust down the bump track was very different to most riding I do anywhere. Apparently that will clear up during the next heavy rain, though with the grader having gone down the track most of the interesting rock gardens and their ilk are gone for a few years.
Fri, 18 Aug 2006
Herberton 8 Hour mtb race - 23:07
Sam and Ben are not going to be competing in the Gravity 12 hour race this year with me as they are living up in Cairns for a year. Thus I was keen to do a race with them at some point. When I saw this appear on the Cairns MTB club calendar it was appealing, then I saw the RRR Classic on the following weekend. That pretty much sealed this holiday for me, so we did the 8 hour race last weekend. As I saw in the few words I write about it, fun, pretty cruisy, could use more interesting singletrack but on the whole worth doing if you are up here.
Anyway if you want to see the details (photos, some words) have a look where I put them.
Wed, 16 Aug 2006
Snicker Doodles - 22:41
Tea with a coconut aftertaste - 21:42
As for things to do up here, I am tempted tomorrow to head up to Mareeba to some local coffee plantations and a Mango Winery as mentioned in this food itinerary. I love fresh coffee, and Mango wine sounds good.
Good and Bad - 17:16
Coming down with a sore throat threatening to be a cold that makes exerting oneself difficult (160 KM road ride not feasible today) and making you sleepy and lethargic. Bad.
Tue, 15 Aug 2006
Yummy eggplant bake - 10:19
In the Body and Soul section of the Sunday Telegraph on July 16th this year there were three very appealing recipes. Spicy Fish Soup with Cracked Wheat, Easy Eggplant Bake and Pumpkin, Pine Nut and Silverbeet Rolls. I have been meaning to try these out for a while, however had not gotten around to changing my normal shopping and food preparation for meals at home. While on holiday I decided to try them out so last night I cooked the Easy Eggplant Bake (recipe) for Sam, Ben and I to eat for dinner.
That is definitely one fantastic vegetarian dish, highly recommended, the garlic and the nutty flavour of the dry roasted couscous are good with the eggplant base. I will probably try the pumpkin, pine nut and silverbeet rolls on Thursday.
Fri, 11 Aug 2006
Training for things to do while sleeping - 11:53
I do not ever remember dreams, I guess I have them, I hear that in Psychology class at college or other places you learn how to remember dreams or something. I guess I could search online about it, however I wonder why some people seem more likely to remember their dreams than others, what causes this. Is it more instinctive for some people?
I am fairly sure I am not like Barbie in the Sandman collection A Game of You, I have not simply stopped dreaming, with only dreams from some time prior to a traumatic event in my memory.
Tue, 08 Aug 2006
There goes an 8 year stretch - 22:28
Around 6am on Sunday morning after getting out of a warm sleeping bag out at the race venue for the working week series 8 hour mtb race, as Russ and I started setting up the site ready for the 6:30am rego arrivals and getting everything happening for the race that day Stu (the race promoter) rocked up and handed us both Bacon and Egg muffins. Who was I to turn down free hot food containing bacon.
I guess the main reason I have avoided McDonalds (and since trying it for the first time ever 3 years ago also avoiding Hungry Jacks) is I do not like the taste of most of the food on offer and it is never particularly healthy even if it tastes alright. There is almost always better tasting or healthier (or both better tasting and healthier) food available so I do not see any point in consuming the food on offer from these ubiquitous fast food providers.
I would however live on Bacon and Egg rolls if that were possible so eating a Bacon and Egg muffin almost fits with in that dietary plan. Mmmmm Bacon.
Mon, 07 Aug 2006
A good web comic with stick figures - 18:29
The one Nick emailed me about had me giggling, some of the others I really liked were c10 (though fairly obviously this was created before the recent news about the Japanese physicists who plan to create mini universes in their lab), c26 (a vet friend of mine is named Libby), c69 (almost appropriately numbered even), c73 (who needs those hammer time jokes), c86, c87 (which needs to be closely followed by c135), c107, c108 (could not stay away from the hammer jokes), c109 (pack them spoilers in), c118, c120 (endurance dating, of course this is the sort of thing we know Dave and Julie do all the time).
Anyway if you have some time maybe have a look through more of them.
Tuesday afternoon milk carton blogging - 12:00
Saw this link on BoingBoing today to reviews of the 1 Gallon jug of Tuscan Grade A Milk. Highly amusing, if you have a milk carton large enough to hold a Gallon (3.785 litres) of milk what would you do with it?
Now that amazon is selling groceries many people have started reviewing the groceries, mostly in a similar humorous vein.
Wed, 02 Aug 2006
The LA Emperor^WPresident's new wardrobe - 17:27
Do they really make fake crappy network cards? - 16:24
It was interesting to see, as Bob pointed out, the driver supplied with the cards will load on windows, and appear to say it is a 8139 card, yet it was not recognised as a 8139 by the default windows 8139 driver, nor does this driver work with other 8139 cards.
I kind of wonder what details can be extracted from the 2.4 driver file, as suggested in the netdev posts it may be weird, however if we are allowed to use those register details and such it should be possible to get a working 2.6 driver and maybe even make a driver that does not suck. Of course I do wonder why you would want to fake a 8139 rather than badge it as if it were a much better network card.
Getting a Kyocera FS 820 Laser Printer working under Linux - 14:42
Kyocera provide a lot of ppd's that can be used with Linux, however they do not provide one for this printer. The Linux Printing page for the printer is not much help, however I find the PPD for the F-820 drives it successfully at 300x300 and also at 600x600 if I manually add the line
*Resolution 600x600dpi/600 DPI: "<</HWResolution[600 600]>>setpagedevice"to the ppd file. I also found the margins needed a bit of adjustment, at the moment the best I can get (losing a few mm off the top of the page currently) is with
*Margins Custom/Custom : "<</.HWMargins[0 20 30 0] /Margins[0 0]>>setpagedevice"as a Custom margin in the ppd file.
To get the printer working I needed the usblp driver in the 2.6 kernel and to install a few packages (cups and related), at the moment I have installed "cupsys foomatic-filters-ppds cupsys-driver-gutenprint cupsys-driver-gimpprint foomatic-filters python-foomatic python-ipy printconf hpijs hplip linuxprinting.org-ppds pconf-detect" (on debian) however I suspect I do not really need all of them.
One problem I had with it for a while is it did not seem to be able to find the usb printer most of the time. It took me a while to realise (by running lpinfo -v a few times that it seemed the printer utilities no longer were able to see the usb printer device after the first time they looked for it after it was plugged in. I hope this is due to some bugs in the kernel version or cups version I am using (notably I compiled usblp with gcc 4.0.3 and the kernel I inserted it into was compiled using gcc 4.0.2) and this is on a machine running sid. When I get the production machine set up it is running a debian kernel image and also a sarge system everywhere. For now I can put up with testing from my laptop by re plugging the cable every time I need to print.
Interestingly the device shows up as usb://Kyocera/FS-820 (also you can speak to /dev/usb/lp0) which as they say means it can be plugged in with other printers and not be dependent on plug in order (though if you plug in multiple FS-820's that may now work <g>) Oh and I wonder if the above mentioned need to re plug the usb interface all the time is a cups utils bug due to the fact /dev/usb/lp0 is there all the time an if I do "echo text > /dev/usb/lp0" at any time it prints a page with that plain text on it quite happily.
Tue, 25 Jul 2006
Floyd Stories - 13:37
Sun, 23 Jul 2006
Another funny quote from an Aussie in the tour. - 01:37
Thu, 20 Jul 2006
This tour is amazing - 23:40
Two days ago Landis seemed fairly comfortable on he stage finishing on Alpe'd'Huez, then yesterday Landis exploded on the final climb and lost 10 minutes to the stage winner. At this point everyone wrote Landis off. Now tonight watching the stage, Landis went on the attack, somehow they let him get away and he has a huge gap on the rest of the contenders.
And Landis is not the only game in town, Evans and Rogers are both riding well for the Australian flavour, especially with Evans likely to end up higher than his 8th place finish last year this time around.
I should go to sleep so I can function at work tomorrow but my god this is incredible, such an incredible race to watch this year.
Sun, 16 Jul 2006
Honesty in interviews - 22:23
Sat, 15 Jul 2006
Mythtv manual record problems - 20:54
Yesterday evening I was glancing over the upcoming recording schedule. I had set it to record the Tour de France highlights show every evening at 6pm on SBS, this has been working fine for the last week and a half since I set it in there initially. However for some reason the Saturday and Sunday evening sessions were not in the schedule. No idea why, anyway when I noticed this I deleted the lot and then made another manual recording telling it to tape every 6pm half hour slot from tonight onward and it was in there fine for as long as it should be.
Tonight I saw something even stranger, while the mythtv box was recording Dr Who (according to the status screen it said it was currently recording that) I did an ls in the directory all the recordings are stored in. I saw the 1800 file from the tour highlights (half hour show) and then I noticed there was no new Dr Who file (1930 for an hour) being recorded. I did the ls while the show was being recorded, so I tried a ps auxw and noticed the tuner was indeed doing something as the [cx88 dvb] kernel process was there. For some unknown reason the damn software did not actually save the file to disk. After the show finished I had a look at the upcoming schedule and I notice it had removed all future recordings of Dr Who from the schedule (every Saturday at 19:30 for an hour).
I have no idea why this is happening, Paul Wayper has suggested I should put the effort into ensuring the guide data stuff works and is tied to channels so recordings can be done through that rather than simply requesting a recording at some given time. However it is somewhat strange to see manual recordings playing up in this manner. For now I will simply have to be careful and regularly check the recordings I request are in there and hope they all actually get written to disk.
Mon, 10 Jul 2006
Two 8 hour events, a mtb race and a rogaine. - 13:31
I think Hobart beach campground would be a good place to go for some AR training, good Kayaking both on lake Wallagoot and in the ocean. Great trail running and bush trekking in the region. Not much mountain bike potential on the maps we had but there probably is more available not too far away.
Thu, 06 Jul 2006
Some short crit times from this morning - 13:30
I suspect I am somewhat slow and unfit currently so I hope to improve on this significantly. This morning I did both my fast laps of that circuit in almost exactly 8m30s, the second lap I slowed down on all the climbing, however there was more daylight so I was able to do that lap with no lights.
Wed, 05 Jul 2006
The pungent smell of spam - 08:44
Tue, 04 Jul 2006
Oh so slow - 23:03
I am beginning to consider actually training for the first time in my life (as opposed to going out and having fun on the bike all the time). In order to do this I should probably learn a lot more about training and physiology. Three books that could help if I choose to buy them are "Bike Racing 101 by Kendra and Rene Wenzel", "The Cyclists Training Bible by Joe Friel" and though not cycling specific it sounds good (I read the first page or two on Amazon) "Running: The Athlete Within by David Costill".
I had a look at the ANU library and there does not seem to be anything on exercise physiology or similar topics (probably because that sort of stuff is taught at UC instead). The ACT Library service seems to have a few books that may be of interest so I can read them first though.
Mon, 26 Jun 2006
That ol' Stromlo thing again - 17:22
Damn that was bad, 12:30 for the climb itself, 1h11m for the 36.4KM ride (work,stromlo,work) which is a rather lacklustre average speed of 30.6 KMh. The worst was during the climb, I had been unable to keep the pace above 20 KMh on the first half, a little past the boom gates I started picking the pace up properly and all of a sudden I was unable to breathe without pain. My diaphragm muscles were really hurting. I think the main reason for this is I have done no hard efforts since before the geoquest and thus had not had to breathe hard, especially not in the cold air we have in town currently. I think I need to go out and do a bunch more rides by myself at high pace with some hills to get me breathing hard.
Sun, 25 Jun 2006
Tue, 20 Jun 2006
More success with the tv tuner card - 16:06
I needed the dvb-utils and dvbstream packages, Tim said first off generate a channel scan in a format xine and other applications will understand (including tzap) which is done using the scan program from dvb-utils.
/usr/bin/scan -o zap /usr/share/doc/dvb-utils/examples/scan/dvb-t/au-canberra > channels.conf
This channels.conf is understood by xine and the tzap command (tune to a channel), to tune into a given channel run tzap -r "Channel Name" where the channel name is listed in the channels.conf. I have not yet found Ten/Capital, however this is using rabbit ears in my office, I suspect when hooked up to the roof mounted antenna at home all will be better. This was enough to find a lot of other channels though so that is good.
Leaving tzap running in the background in another xterm I was then able to run "dvbstream 8192 -o > output.ts" and it sat there dumping the raw video/audio stream until I hit control c. As Tim pointed out the stream is about 1 MB per second and with dual audio streams can soak up more. Almost 2 minutes and I was using 150 MB of disk for the output.ts already. I strongly suspect transcoding to a more compressed on the fly will be necessary. The 8192 above is a dummy value that simply tells dvbstream to dump all of the stream it sees.
Anyway I copied the file to my laptop and played it with mplayer, the quality really is rather nice 720x576 I think, definitely better than normal tv, woohoo bring on the Tour de France.
Mon, 19 Jun 2006
TV Tuner Card - 20:56
I am of course doing this as the Tour de France is looming and I look forward to being able to record all of the live stages televised onto a computer.
Fri, 16 Jun 2006
Out of Range at the Geoquest half adventure race - 21:32
So will Jon be getting magnets next? - 17:44
Wed, 07 Jun 2006
The balance has returned to the force^Wblogs - 11:10
Tue, 06 Jun 2006
Did she get the telegram? - 16:07
I have wondered for a while now, when the Queen Mother turned 100 did she receive a telegram from the Queen (Elizabeth II) her daughter? (All citizens of the Commonwealth who reach that age receive a telegram from the Queen AFAIR) Now the source is not authoritative however I see no reason for it to be false. The Queen Mother did receive a Telegram from Queen Elizabeth II on the morning of her 100th birthday. Neat.
I looked for a bit more information, the fact that telegrams are slowly having their use discontinued around the world is of little matter as the aforementioned message is delivered some other way now days. However a more authoritative source does confirm the Queen Mother received the message (the first member of the Royal family to do so). Apparently most people will need to register to receive the message (I say most, I suspect the Queen Mother did not have to register).
The bit I like the most about the message the Queen mother received is she had a guard open it with a sword, that is high style, they don't need no steenkin letter openers there, they have swords!
Mon, 05 Jun 2006
Small disks and low memory are not the default case. - 22:26
During the install it warned me less than 95% of disk space was available, it did however make it through the install and at the end of the install cleared off a lot of language packs and other items so there was around 320MB of free disk. I rebooted and went to install "easy ubuntu" so my housemate could watch movies or real player files or whatever and it said it would need around 300 MB of disk while doing the install.
I have now removed all the cups and print drivers, all the non Arabic font ttf packages, all the un needed X Display drivers and a bunch of other stuff to recover some more space. Obviously so few computers come with small disks the need to cater for them is dwindling, at least the measly 256 MB of RAM in this system gets by (though slowly), if only there were more RAM slots on the motherboard, I have around 30 128 MB sticks sitting in my office at work doing not much.
Of course I have a 486 dx2 66 with 16 MB RAM and a 420 MB drive sitting around somewhere, I wonder how that would fare? Though if we go that way a whole lot of people could rare up commenting on us youth of today having it so easy compared to the punch cards and ticker tape from the days of yore.
Sun, 04 Jun 2006
Taking it easy in a race - 13:21
I took the single speed out and raced on it, there were around 5 other single speed riders there (mostly in different categories though) (Mal Bennett, Andrew Cassie, David Austin and some I do not know). I decided to take it easy and rather than race in my normal category and try to go fast I went down to an easier category and simply rode comfortably mid pack, overtaking people when I felt like it and generally not working too hard. I should race XC more often to get my speed up, however I was no in the mood for a workout today so it was rather pleasant taking it easier in a slower grade.
Due to the number of single speeders there this race and I know a few more people who race (either there or absent this week) have them, we may try having a separate category for Single Speeders (and probably for cyclo cross riders) to compete in at the next few XC races and see if people are keen for a specific category. Anyway fun was had.
Fri, 02 Jun 2006
Oops a rather nice wine - 23:40
Problems with long sleeve shells - 18:57
Because the weather yesterday and this morning was wet (constant soaking rain) I had a light weight waterproof shell jacket, a thermal and a cycle jersey to wear. Normally in this temperature I would wear arm warmers and a shell vest instead, however with rain possible I decided on long sleeves. I probably should have stuck with what I prefer, I was again reminded why I do not like wearing long sleeve shells, you heat up and sweat far more than is sensible, my jersey and thermal are now soaked (admittedly if I had ridden at a sedate pace this would not have happened, however I was in a rush so it did).
I fortunately have some dryer clothing to wear for the short ride home, to which I should head soon as I need to replace a spoke in the back wheel on the hardtail, set up the towing system, do grocery shopping and some other stuff (see I can be boring and mundane in a diary as well as anyone).
Mon, 29 May 2006
Dikipedia - 23:01
Fri, 26 May 2006
External VGA on the laptop better now - 15:32
I had heard for a while that X.Org had fixed the driver enough to enable continuous output on both from the X Server without these hacks, and the added bonus was there was now a way to get the overlay video reliably. (it could work sometimes with the hacks on some computers). Today I tracked down this page on a thinkpad wiki discussing Intel 855 GM graphics set up under Linux on some laptops. The xorg.conf changes and xvattr command all work fine and I now have better external video with XV available if wanted. Yay.
There must be a lot of woodwork around. - 14:08
Today however, as Andrew suggested the people really came out of the woodwork, there were 19 people on the ride, and another who missed us by about 5 minutes at the start so rode around elsewhere and joined us at breakfast. It really is cool that 20 people are keen and willing to get up in the dark and cold and go mountain biking on Friday morning like this. It is cool simply to see more people on bikes regularly too. Rock on.
I recall on the mid winter rides in 2003 for example, fairly often there were only four of us on the ride, our 2003 Mont 24 Hour Race team of Dave, Julie, Aaron and myself. (largely due to the fact Julie would beat us up if we did not get the requisite training in to do well and make it worth her while riding on our team <g>)
Thu, 25 May 2006
Being sensible in public to avoid Doocing - 15:36
Danah Boyd further fleshed out the idea pointing out that people need to pay attention to how much they are in the public sphere when blogging. Unless you have one of those closed off, friends only sort of blogs (such as can be common on Live Journal and assuming you have a reader ship of unknown size (due to google and other search engines this can almost be guaranteed) you have to be careful how you present yourself, and remember the context in which you are writing.
I recall Alli was a little put out with being linked onto Planet Linux Australia early last year as she thought she had to be more careful than previously about what she wrote in her diary. I did not see a problem as Alli is smart and aware of how the the Internet and search engines and such function to the extent that she did not write stuff for public consumption that could be too negatively interpreted.
On the whole I think anyone who realises what they say either in email to mailing lists or on their blogs is fodder for search engines and for anyone to read at some point can be smart enough to keep that context in their writing. Of course with some of the blogs being so pleased at various people seemingly being fired for blogging around February last year Giblets at Fafblog has good insight on the issue.
Wed, 24 May 2006
Made a few hackergotchis - 16:34
So I made one for Rusty the other day, however he may not like it seen in the wild so I wont put it here. Then I made one for Stewart which means two more of the LA type people may have one (Stewart said he may as well use this as it is as good as any).
I was wondering who else to do (rather than make the hackergotchis of the above mentioned people) and it occurred to me I have a lot of photos of Michael (Crash) Carden available from various cycling events and such. So I grabbed three photos I had taken that could make reasonable hackergotchis and created them.
He likes the first one the most (probably because the images with helmets make him look like my hackergotchi or something) so hopefully Michael Davies will use that one soon.
I added alt tags to all the img tags, though I do not know if they will show up on a mouseover or not. I had someone point out to me I need to use the title tag in the img to get the string of text that comes up on mouseover, this seems to be duplicating some of the alt purpose to some extent, ahh well.
Mon, 22 May 2006
Sarah found some more real life whacky warning labels - 21:59
I know I should not laugh but this Did You Know on Uncyclopedia got me giggling, "...that some species of turtle are remarkably resistant to centrifugal force, and can reach upwards of 5000 rpm before their wee little flippers fall off?"
Program your chest messages from Linux - 14:29
The badges are still available from the computer shop on campus, and probably from other places, anyway Bob sat down for two hours last night, sniffed the protocol and wrote a user space program that sets the serial port to the right speed and pumps the necessary data across, this way you can set the message from a command line program on Linux rather than find a windows machine (which are somewhat rare anywhere we happen to be)
If you happen to have the badge or plan to get one, Bob has put the source code in public accessible svn, "svn co https://cs.anu.edu.au/svn/staff/bob/public/ebadge" to get the source (or simply follow that link in a browser).
Sun, 21 May 2006
Sat, 20 May 2006
DPL photo avoidance privilege? - 18:59
The big photo is obviously taken from the air, I wonder if they used the Cabal's s3kr1t black helicopter to take the photo?
Perceptions coloured by what we see and our preconceived notions - 17:47
I never really thought more of it until I read Danah Boyd's take on Pink back in April. With someone like Danah suggesting her lyrics were: smart, hard hitting, sensible, and "incredibly beautiful"; I thought it may be worth more thought than I had expended so far. I bought the new album last night and have been listening to it on repeat since getting home from the road ride this morning.
Danah was right, there are some absolutely amazing lyrics here, good sound on the whole with a lot of the music and I just saw the video clip for "Stupid Girls" on the Pink website and it really is a fantastic piss take of the typically crap produced pop artists I had previously passed Pink off as one of. Almost as much fun as the Cruel Sea Boy Band piss take (I can not remember the song title so can not link to it, anyone remember it?)
The wikipedia entry on Pink may give a hint on why she was so easy to pass off as produced crap, with the claim that she gave up a lot of creative control on her first album and other early work, which though popular she disliked what was happening at the time with her music.
Wed, 17 May 2006
Slow but sneaky - 13:26
I imagine you would not really expend much effort looking out for a pet turtle, not expecting it to be able to escape your view even if you don't look for it more than once every few hours. These sneaky turtles obviously have other ideas, you turn around or you blink and suddenly your pet turtle is hiding behind the nearest available chicken.
Tue, 16 May 2006
What is here? - 17:31
Of course this is the Internet, well I think it is, otherwise this is some strange collective unconscious thing happening and we are indeed all eating fruit in a cave instead of participating in a vast global network of computers and people.
So assuming for a moment (we experience reality as it happens so who knows what we will see or need to assume in the next moment) that this is the Internets. What is here? For all those Internet addicted geeks who already had the T1 wired into their brains they may always be here. For everyone else you could argue not being here is one of those rare instances with no net connection. Of course how do you know when some random Internet user is connected, and thus here? It is almost like trees falling in the forest, if no one is connected to the Internet, does the Internet exist? and is there anyone on the Internet?
For all this there does seem to be a problem somewhere, whoever it is that makes the falling trees silent in the forest has stopped reading Fafblog as there has been nothing there since early April. Or maybe Chris locked Fafnir, Giblets and the Medium lobster in the basement, man wont Giblets be angry when they get out.
Wed, 10 May 2006
Keep em home and in the kitchen says Johnny - 22:36
I think it does indeed hark back to the fact the current Liberal government appears to be well and truly in the 1950s in their own heads. Or at least they wish they were, what is this sacrilege of mothers in the workforce? Gasp, get them back in the kitchens where they belong or some other such crap. The price of childcare, especially for young (under 3) kids is scary (around AUD $70 or $80 a day), however the other huge problem is how rare/scarce places are.
I have a number of friends who have given birth fairly recently (Rebecca and Ben a week and a half ago, Naomi and James 3 weeks ago, Amy and Daniel a few months ago, Sam and Ben January 2005, though this was their second child) and all of them have had large problems with getting on waiting lists or the cost of childcare if they even happen to get a place.
I do not know how much can really be done, or expected, after all it seems in this modern world we almost have to expect health and education to be severely underfunded to the point our nation suffers (smarter nations are more profitable nations) and making it hard to utilise half of the skills of the population who decide to reproduce really does seem to follow the same pattern.
Bringing us new and more violent Teddy Bear picnics - 18:24
How did he die? Shot in the chest with Winnie the Pooh sir!
Tue, 09 May 2006
I needed ear muffs to drown out all those high pitched monkeys - 17:22
Mon, 08 May 2006
Arcadia - 14:06
One aspect I thought was very cool was how the play switched back and forth in time periods, however at the end the cool part was when they performed both periods on stage at the same time. The play will be on for the rest of the week, I recommend seeing it if you are of the mind, interesting, contains all manner of maths and history references and is an amusing comedy to boot.
Sat, 06 May 2006
Fri, 05 May 2006
I really do not like the coffee produced by the coffee machine in the office at work (some expensive automatic Saeco machine) and thus never drink it, instead I buy my own coffee and at work prepare it in a single cup filter. I have thought from time to time it may be good to have a coffee machine in my office at work so as to make reasonable coffee however I could not get around how inescapably pretentious that would be. This AeroPress however can even be put away in a drawer.
So I bought one, it arrived this morning (AUD $54 delivered, overnight, from the Australian distributor CoffeePress) and I am converted, this does indeed produce coffee as good as can be made in a quality machine.
Thu, 04 May 2006
Wed, 03 May 2006
The Annual May Zombie post. - 13:41
Two zombie posts in the last year, each in May (ignoring for a moment the Radio controlled Zombie Catholic Cardinals in the Vatican of last April), who knows it could be a trend for May.
Of course, if only I make zombie references every May I could be locked up for being a sick weirdo, heck if two people make zombie references each May they may think we are both faggots and lock us up, if three people do it they may think we are some sort of Zombie References in Blogs organisation, however if 50 people make Zombie references in May they may think there is a Zombie Referencing movement, so get with the Zombie References in your Blog this month. (yes with apologies to Arlo)
Tue, 02 May 2006
Almost need to get the beer hat and tattoo - 16:40
I finally have most of my single speed bike put together and almost ready to go, I should be able to ride it (currently fully rigid) by the end of the week. Once it is assembled I will take a few photos and report on what it is like to ride. Though I doubt I will increase my alcohol intake up from about one standard drink a week (on average) I must say I was most impressed with the blacklight ink based tattoos, kind of like a private in joke. If I were not such a big girly man when it came to pain I may even consider getting one.
Mon, 01 May 2006
2006 ACT 6 Hour Cyclegaine - 12:38
The course was a lot of fun, though I was often wondering at how much wear my poor mountain bike was getting with all the clay and sand and grit and mud on it. We came 4th over all in the cycle event, first place in mens open (yes the first three teams were mixed category). I must congratulate my last minute team mate Brian, he had not ridden a bike much in the last 8 months (since leaving Canada) and had only purchased himself a new mountain bike a week ago. Brian kept up alright and we were able to ride at a comfortable pace all day. I must say I was surprised when I found out our placing, I really did not expect to do well over all. Of course the scary thing to note is we did around 45 KM of riding (3h30m riding time) and if you compare scores with the running event there were two teams with more points than us, geez those guys were running fast they also covered around 45KM or possibly more in the 6 hours.
Wed, 26 Apr 2006
2006 Anzac Day Epic, down the Corn Trail and on to the coast. - 13:13
Starting at around 9:30am at the top of the Clyde and finishing on the coast in the dark (with rain starting) at 6:30pm I think this ride attained some epic proportions.
Sun, 23 Apr 2006
The close of the Spicy Fruit Bun Festival again - 13:40
Cycling on TV - 11:08
Yet another reason to get a Mythtv box up and running before July so I can get the tour on disk to watch at leisure easily.
Thu, 20 Apr 2006
Today's black mountain times - 17:17
Anyway with no exercise this morning I think those climbs were a good start on todays exercise, now for some paddling to give the torso a work out also.
If it wasn't for those darn Kids^WWind Deities - 08:15
For me getting up before 6am was nothing unusual, I believe some of my house mates were somewhat upset the effort did not have the expected returns. A bit of a shame really, ahh well, I will go and get some exercise at lunch (Black Mountain reps) and maybe we can try again on Saturday or something (before the festival ends).
Wed, 19 Apr 2006
Women in a blokes world - 17:32
Norah, a journalist, dressed up as a guy for 18 months and wrote a book about the experience. Including going bowling with the blokes as a guy activity, and even dating women during the time. I am keen to read this book sometime just to see the more detailed reasoning behind her so called newfound respect for blokey blokes if nothing else. It does sound like a strange but likely fascinating read though.
Odie Day - 12:05
Mon, 17 Apr 2006
A bit of riding on the hardtail. - 20:02
Upon returning home I grabbed some more food and drove out to a friend's place in Macgregor to show them a good route to use for commuting to and from work, this at least was a nice pleasant pace for the 34 KM we ended riding for the out and back trip. They have a 17 KM commute almost entirely on bike path (so quite safe) past some rather pretty parts of Canberra, I am almost jealous of this commute they have. Anyway enough riding now to fix some stuff on my sister's computer.
Sun, 16 Apr 2006
Good dinner - 23:01
The main I cooked was Chicken with Mango, very yummy. With it I made a salad from a variety of lettuce's (is that the plural of lettuce?), pine nuts, sesame seeds, avocado, capsicum, feta, lebanese cucumber, tomato and snow peas all chopped fine to make it easy to get on a fork. Dessert was rice pudding spooned on to a bed of banana, strawberry and peaches with honey dribbled over the top.
Good night with friends, enjoyable dinner, some good wine, followed by a fun game. This game is sort of like Pictionary with words rather than pictures. The game is called Articulate (some reviews of Articulate), I enjoyed playing it quite a lot. It is however a game (much like Pictionary) that is biased if played by people who know each other really well (such as close siblings). Jane and I tend to be scary with our ability to almost read each other's mind in Pictionary and being able to speak and bring easy free association into play in this game I suspect we would also do well. Jane and I played on different teams tonight for the good of the game play.
I also baked up some more cookies today in order to take on a mtb ride tomorrow morning.
Wed, 12 Apr 2006
Damn weak saddle bags. - 22:12
However on the road bike I tend not to wear backpacks, hence I need a saddle bag. I had a small Topeak wedge bag and was under the impression it may even survive to old age or something. Alas on Tuesday morning I found out otherwise, as I rode onto the road from a bike path in Lyneham the rail on the bag locked into the wedge under the saddle snapped on one side and the bag went flying onto the road. Sure I tend to have things on my bikes break often, however it is likely a function of riding once in a while, I really wish bike components did not fail and break quite so easily sometimes. This bag did last around 3 years so I guess I can put up with waiting for a warranty replacement to come through.
One of many chainsaws, not The chainsaw. - 21:41
Rather than perpetuate the lie for ever more I decided instead to rename the category (to "ilmiwac") to correct the mistake, I updated the two links in my diary history to reflect the change, anyone else who linked to it, tough luck (I doubt many have)
Tue, 11 Apr 2006
Tue, 04 Apr 2006
Linux Australia membership Pants: off - 16:21
Mon, 03 Apr 2006
Songs in the key of *HAAACKKKCOUGH* - 10:17
Back at work today as at most I am coughing a bit and not feeling 100%, however it is a lot better than late last week. I did however have to miss out on competing in the N-ZO 24 Hour race in Sydney due to having this cold, which is a shame as I have been keen to compete in that race since it's inception, however the past two years I was too busy on the weekend of the race to contemplate going up. Yesterday the activities I engaged in due to feeling a bit better were, washing my hard tail and road bike. Cleaning the road bike drive train and adjusting the gearing a bit. Built myself a new rim brake back wheel from parts in the shed to be used with the single speed once I get the rest of the parts for it. Baked 24 fruity muffins (recipe in LaTeX or pdf), these are the apple, sultana, pineapple and apricot with whole meal flour muffins I have baked on and off for a few years now, healthy and yummy. I also repaired some things on a new house mate's bicycle for her.
With that level of activity at home yesterday I should survive today alright, including dinner tonight at Debacle with my AROC 24 Hour team, we won three $25 gift vouchers for Debacle at the race so we decided to have a team dinner there to celebrate the fun we had at the race.
Wed, 29 Mar 2006
2006 AROC 24 Hour Urban Adventure Race - 13:56
James, Marea and I had a great time, Tom and Al put on a really cool event, Dave and Julie did bloody well (no big surprise) in different teams (Dave in second place Mixed, Julie in First place Female). Fun was had.
Mon, 27 Mar 2006
Palindromic email address - 15:12
I guess one of the reasons not to is that is harder to type/remember than a normal address such as firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fri, 24 Mar 2006
FHFC - 14:03
On the riding Mt Ainslie note, it is the fastest road descent in Canberra, largely due to the lack of corners, I have exceeded 90Kmh coming down that road from time to time and I know a few people who have passed 100Kmh on the descent. Climbing wise it is also one of the harder climbs in Canberra, it is deceptively easy at the bottom and then gets increasingly difficult and steep as you approach the top. Time wise most people will climb it in about the same time they do Black Mountain, possibly a minute or so faster.
Thu, 23 Mar 2006
Tue, 21 Mar 2006
Jindabyne Multisport Classic - 17:41
Mon, 20 Mar 2006
Recovery ride? - 23:15
After finishing XPD a few weeks ago they decided their bodies were not up to competing in the mutlisport classic solo as they both did last year, so what do they do instead, compete as a team of two of course. Oh and put in some blindingly fast times (such as Dave doing the fastest final bike leg overall).
I will link to a short report and a few photos from the event once the rest of my team has seen it, Results are online already though (see the link at the top of this post).
Sat, 18 Mar 2006
Thu, 16 Mar 2006
More of them hill repeat things - 19:18
I was somewhat surprised how well I climbed today, the first Stromlo climb (in the howling wind) felt slow and I did not see my speed sit much above 20 anywhere on the climb however I found when I got the top I had done a 12:10. Next climb I was setting a reasonable (though not full on) pace and then my phone rang with Bob asking something about a computer at work, so I chatted with him briefly. At half way they had put the boom gates down so I had to pull up almost to a stop and go around it on the gravel (on the descent the boom can be ridden around easily as it is shorter, however it goes all the way across on the left hand side of the road).
After those two things slowing me down I though, ahh what the heck I may as well put some effort in and attempt to regain time so I put the bike up a gear and started spinning along up the climb at 24 and 25 constantly for the rest of the way. Surprisingly when I got to the top I had done the climb in 11:20. We rode back toward town with Black Mountain looming in front of us, the ride down Cotter Road was brilliant with the strong tail wind we could do 60KMh effortlessly, feeling like pro cyclists for a few minutes. Then turning up Black Mountain I took the bottom steeper section slower at around 11Kmh the whole way, past the reservoir I decided to simply keep it steady siting around 12KMh. I seemed to be on track for a comfortable 13 minute climb. I guess I stopped paying attention at the flat bit and somehow at the top had sped up enough to do a 12 minute climb. Where the hell did that come from? Oh well I guess it is nice to be pleasantly surprised by ones form from time to time.
Economics of Anti Super Sizing - 12:17
Did the people who set these prices have marketing lessons from the Underpants Gnomes or something? I do not understand.
Tue, 14 Mar 2006
I climb black mountain sometimes, usually I do three repeats (climb it three times in a row) often in winter I head out there on Tuesday morning for three reps as there is no Cotter/Uriarra loop through the middle of winter. Also I do it after work or at lunch time a bit as it is handy to ANU. My fastest time up the climb is close to 11 minutes, I tend to do repeats between 12 minutes and 13 minutes three climbs in a row. I am by no means a fast or strong climber.
Dave Moten for example holds what is the current observed fastest climb of black mountain, I was riding repeats with him the day he did this climb too, he and Simon disappeared in front of me, and this was the third climb in a row Dave had done that lunch time, he did one at my speed (ie slowly) to start off, then he did a climb out of the saddle the whole way, next he decided to try and do a fast climb. Which as you can see above, he did. 8 Minutes 44 Seconds is absolutely flying up there.
On that list you may note the second name (9m15s) is Stephen Hodge, an ex European pro cyclist who has ridden in the Tour de France a number of times. Dave Moten comes out on road rides with me fairly often and I can tell you that man is a damn impressive climber. I seem to recall the Commonwealth Bank Cycle Classic finished a stage from Goulburn to Canberra one year climbing up Black Mountain, I thought the times for the lead bunch were under 8 minutes however I was young and my memory may be deceiving me.
Mon, 13 Mar 2006
The spicy fruit bun festival is back, this time with chocolate - 16:57
Thu, 09 Mar 2006
The most dangerous sale of the year - 20:21
Although I would love to buy, oh I don't know, one of everything they make almost, I went in with the objective of replacing my wind proof vest with a Mont Zing Vest. For the last 4 months the Netti wind proof vest I bought when mine went missing after Gary Rolfe wore it when he broke his arm has been starting to fail. Mostly the zip has been problematic, however as I never liked this vest a whole lot I am happy now to have the chance to put it into the cycle gear pile and not use it much. I bought myself a lovely bright orange Zing Vest then as I was about to walk out of the sale I saw Cargo Bags for sale, 90L bags for AUD $49, too good to pass up as I have no large gear bag to carry all my stuff I need to races in one bag and generally end up with a few smaller packs. They had other sizes however I thought the 120L bag was too big for what I need and the smaller bags are similar to some of my packs.
I guess the only reason I escaped the sale with only two items was I was only buying what I absolutely needed and not stuff that looked nice. There is always next year I suppose. I saw Hugh at the sale (among many others who do not have blogs so can not be linked to) and I was impressed he was also able to control the urge to buy all that lovely equipment and walked away with only two purchases. I saw others walking out with arms piled high so not everyone was able to escape so easily. At least for me I have the Polaris this weekend so I will be able to better resist the urge to return to the sale and buy more due to being out of town.
Wed, 08 Mar 2006
Web Cams are fun - 21:22
I can kind of understand why there would be fun aspects to Mikal's PhD research, mucking about with imaging and output quality of these things among other topics. I guess I was having more fun with this one as I was setting it up to be used for something other than a security monitor which is what we use a few other cameras around the department for.
Tue, 07 Mar 2006
Recent link dump - 16:14
On Metafilter the other week was this link to a set of tables and links that enable you to find out what song was number one in the US Charts back to 1940, using the billboard magazine data. This is neat (though completely irrelevant information) for example you can find out what the number one song was (yeah in a different country) on your birthday easily. For me it was "MacArthur Park" by Donna Summer, which and who I have never heard of, at least my sister gets a rather neat song of which I have heard "Another Brick in the Wall" by Pink Floyd.
I think this one was from Metafilter also, a blog someone is writing with 6 thousand people you should meet before you die, some interesting looking people there, a lot of them are academics but I personally think that is valid, smart people really are interesting.
Gee the US School system lives up to all the bad reports we hear about it (from Metafilter), it scares me that our government seems keen to make schooling in Australia worse all the time also. On the note of US schooling I have a story I found the link to on Feb 21st last year (from Joe Shaw's diary on Planet GNOME) detailing the quagmire into which US Text Book production has sunk, although we (Australia) do not have quite the ridiculous amount of religious crap to get around in schooling I suspect our text books are not really a whole heap better.
From December 1st last year, Kottke had a link to a New Yorker article about different working patterns in Europe compared with the US and what the causes and outcomes were/are. Interesting (though not surprising IMO) that Europe's more relaxed attitude appears to be more beneficial.
I am sure everyone has seen this story by now (I got the link on November 18th from BoingBoing) however it needs to be written about as it is damn cool. A scientist worked for years on one of the holy grails of toys and similar and finally was able to produce coloured blowing bubbles that do not leave permanent stains and have the colour evenly spread over the bubble. Damn I want some when are they going to market.
For another kottke link (from Nov 2nd) this is a mcsweeneys list of responsible spam messages.
From Metafilter again, a list of (from Sep 30) useful google tips, many of which should make you far more effective at using the search engine.
What the world needs more of is Statues that pee a message sent to them in an SMS
Tue, 28 Feb 2006
Jokes only a cyclist could love - 17:02
Earlier today I was searching the web for one of those lists of "You know you are a cyclist when" sort of things. It took a while (my search terms were not returning much for a while) so I thought I should link to them. Especially because I got a huge giggle out of one I had not seen before. I had at some point received an email with the list of things to look out for I think.
You Know You're Addicted to Cycling When... is pretty much what I recall seeing in an email a while back. I found a link to a page of cyclist jokes, on which this list also appeared, however I had not previously seen the list Craig's Beginners Guide to Preparing For a Cycling Trip. Oh so true, we cyclists really can be a disgusting lot in public and there may be some pain involved with lots of cycling.
Mon, 27 Feb 2006
Winning XPD in style - 11:52
If they keep at their current pace I expect Dave and Julie (team Tangerine) will finish sometime tomorrow morning, Randall and Alex (Entropic) are likely another day behind them. There was a pretty good photo of Dave from Day 4 too.
Sat, 25 Feb 2006
Ozlabs and Einstein? - 15:21
Fri, 24 Feb 2006
XPD an exercise in sleep deprivation with a view - 18:08
Right now the biggest Expedition race in Australia is happening down in Tasmania. XPD run by Craig and Louise (ex Canberrans now living in Queensland) of Geocentric Adventure Racing is a Expedition length (600 KM this time) race covering many of the disciplines available and racing through the Tasmanian wilderness for up to 10 days (course cut off). The inaugural XPD race was held in the Australian outback in 2004 near Broken Hill. Team AROC won that edition, and currently are on track to win this edition (though anything can happen in this style of race over such a large time period through such remote areas) just over half way through the race for them. (AROC also run short races in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and other places around the country, between 3 and 5 hours for most teams, held during the day, for anyone who wants to give Adventure racing a go a chance to try it out in a less extreme manner)
A number of my friends are competing, Tom (of Team AROC, though alas his wife Alina, the team captain in races usually is injured so has had to sit a race with the team out for the first time ever), Dave and Julie (on Team Tangerine), Alex and Randall (on Entropic), Matt and Michael (on team Mont Crank) and a number of other people I have met in passing also. So I, along with many other people, have been glued to the online coverage on the Sleep Monsters website. Notably the leaderboard and also the reports and other information that appears on the XPD race page. Some photos, news from marshals and people on the course, reports posted to the website by people down there and race HQ in Hobart (where the race will finish, right now many of the teams are still up in the North West corner of the state) and a forum in which you can write messages to the teams that are handed to them as printouts at transition points during the race.
I am jealous of all these people doing this incredible adventure, though I would prefer to do it at a much slower pace, maybe 2 weeks, and enjoy the scenery and the outdoors more than the pain and suffering. The list of teams entered is up on the XPD site if you wish to know who is in each team by the way.
Wed, 22 Feb 2006
Crossing the streams - 09:21
As a sacrifice to science I will endeavour to research this and learn to the best of my ability what will happen, I may be gone for some time.
Mon, 20 Feb 2006
Commodity mp3 players - 18:18
Today I was in Jaycar and saw a player that satisfies the above requirements, the cost was AUD $31. It uses SD/MMC as media and takes a single AAA battery, mp3 players really are commodity items now days. It comes with earplugs (which cost around AUD $20 miniimum in shops anyway), a AAA battery, a neck strap and a usb connection cable. You can buy 512 MB SD cards for AUD $60 if you know where to shop.
Admittedly this device does not have fm radio or display track names or make navigation easy (ie no folders and directories which the mp3 player my sister has now does allow, though hers does not have a removable battery) so it is somewhat like an Apple Shuffle in this case (the lcd display simply shows track number and time in the track).
Fri, 17 Feb 2006
An organic mouse at work - 15:45
A short while ago I was siting at my desk and glanced at the sandwiches I had next to my computer thinking about eating lunch. Strange I do not remember there being large holes in he sandwich bags when I made those sandwiches. I did not eat my lunch from home yesterday as I went out to a farewell lunch, thus I left my sandwiches, some fruit and a muesli bar on my desk overnight.
Then it twigged, the holes in the sandwich bag are round and slightly serrated, not simple tears in the plastic as I often see after they wear out. The mouse is indeed loose and it got into my lunch overnight. Maybe we should think about trapping this mouse, ahh well it is a bit of variety from the inorganic mice we plug into computers on a regular basis I suppose. For me now I think I will wander somewhere and purchase some hot chips.
Mon, 13 Feb 2006
Connected once more. - 20:18
My guess eventually was that the ADSL modem had died, however I could not do anything much about it until I got home. Today I purchased a new ADSL modem (D-LINK DSL-502T) and what do you know, everything works again now.
My latest NZ trip photos are now up. - 17:33
As I may have mentioned somewhere, Crash has 550 or so photos somewhere, so you may want to consider the 76 photos here a bit of a warm up. I will post a link to them when they appear online.
Wed, 08 Feb 2006
Sweet flowing Rotorua single track - 20:39
Gaz said there was rain forecast for the afternoon so we would be best to head out in the morning. We rode over to the N-ZO offices around 10:30am to have a look around before starting. Gaz has a huge steel ring in the garden that is taller than Mike fashioned to look exactly like a disc rotor, very cool. They also have all their design capability, materials and sewing gear there to make mock ups or initial examples of new designs to test out before they get manufactured. Also the offices are almost as close to the mtb park as they could be on the edge of town near there.
The three of us hopped on and headed over to the park via the campsite and start finish area of the race. At a bbq in Wellington the night we arrived there last week Ahnadoo (who I had ridden with a bit last May and was at the bbq) said there were three tracks that were fairly new that were a must ride in the park and that they would not be in the race course. The three tracks were "Gunna Gotta", "Hot Cross Buns" and "Roller Coaster". As we started climbing up to the first single track Gaz explained the main objective of the ride was to ride the three tracks Ahnadoo had told us were so good.
I had a crash riding down "Gunna Gotta", following Gaz over a jump and missing the landing a bit, however do not let that detract from this beautifully sculpted flowing piece of amazing track. At the bottom Mike Metz rolled up to meet us and ride with us again. We then headed through "A-Trail" and "The Tickle" an on to the base of "Hot Cross Buns" (which is also where "Be Rude Not To" starts). The climb up to the top of "Hot Cross Buns" takes 10 to 15 minutes lots of it in the granny ring and on open fire road. Once more do not let this detract from the experience. At the top are some great views out over Lake Rotorua and some other mountains all around, then you have a 10 minute descent down yet another sculpted and amazing piece of single track.
After this we headed over to the climb up to the top of "Roller Coaster", although all three of these signature tracks we rode today required some fairly steady climbing to get to I can guarantee the effort has a huge reward when coming back down. "Roller Coaster" lives up to its names with sculpted berms and sections where you are going up and down over tummy drop sort of ridges at 30 KMh or faster. We stopped at one point to wait for Crash and he appeared giggling his head of enjoying the track like nothing else he had ridden in years. Next we rode a slightly sloping up hill trail ha was still a lot of fun to link us back up to the top of "Be Rude Not To". This link track and the last two thirds of "Roller Coaster" were about 2 KM in length and had been cut in about three weeks. They had hired a small earth moving machine on which one man stands, with a compressing mechanism at the back, it had been able to bench cut and compress this track fast during construction.
At the top of "Be Rude Not To" we were met by Morgan, the guy who owns Zippys cafe who was out for a ride, so we finished off the ride down "Be Rude Not To" and the two tracks that follow directly on from there, and then out through "Exit Trail" at the bottom. I have a lot more to write, maybe sometime next week, about the track construction and track ownership stuff they do here in Rotorua, some of which I hope CORC can adopt or encourage in Canberra. However all I can say is I can not properly describe how good all these tracks are, all I can do is strongly suggest you all hop on a plane and go spend a week or two in Rotorua, you really will be glad you did.
Just as we finished the ride the heavens opened up and monsoonal seeming rain dumped down on us, Gaz offered us a lift into town for lunch at Zippys which was a great finish to the day of kick arse riding. Thanks again to Gaz and the others for some great rides in the region.
Mon, 06 Feb 2006
Taupo and Kawakawa Bay rides - 20:18
Getting a local or a group of locals to show you trails is always going to be a good idea if it can be arranged as you get to see the best riding terrain and trails that way, this definitely turned out to be the case here. Alan Vogt and Garrett Macdonald who had also flown across from Canberra for the race joined us for the morning riding. Gaz had a friend along named Jonno from Planet Cycles bike shop in Auckland, riding a rather sweet looking Santa Cruz Nomad (according to Jim, quite rare in Australia still) and we met up with Mike Metz out there who was riding a stupidly light (9.5 KG) Turner Duallie (tricked out to the max with light parts).
We parked at the sports centre in Taupo where the 100 KM Rotorua to Taupo road ride finishes and headed for the trail out past Huka Falls. There has been a lot of work on this trail in the last 6 months according to Gaz and it was pretty damn good. Fun techy riding all the way out to the mountain bike park in the forest. Some impressive bench cutting and supports to keep the trail there in both directions and safe next to the river and other fun things such as a tunnel under the highway.
Once we got to the lower trails in the park, with Gaz in the lead we really started hooking in. I stayed on Jonno's wheel and with Gaz in the lead, Gaz, Mike, Jonno and I tended to drop the others fairly regularly. I have to say, one of the resounding points in favour of N-ZO clothing I think is that the owner and designer rides a lot and is also a damn good rider, out there testing his product all the time and he rides with a lot of people who give him good feedback from a lot of riding in the gear. I was having to work to keep up which for me was a heap of fun, it is really good to ride with people who can ride faster than you as it helps your skills a lot.
During all my laps of the 24 hour race on the weekend I noticed my middle chain ring skipping and when I looked at it I found it was indeed worn almost smooth, it is almost surprising anything was able to grab the chain at all. By this point in the ride today I was slipping on every pedal stroke, so I had to stop using the middle chain ring, and use only granny or large chain ring. Due to this when we headed into town for lunch, we found a bike shop open (it was a public holiday today) who were able to provide and fit a new middle chain ring to my bike. Fortunately it was not the Corner Store who I had such a negative experience with last time I was in Taupo, if you wish to go to a bike shop in Taupo do not go to "The Corner Store" they are no good.
After lunch we drove around to the town of Kinloch about 20 KM around the lake shore from Taupo to ride to a place called Kawakawa Bay. The Queen Charlotte Track is a 76 KM single track maintained for both walkers and mountain bikers by the Department of Conservation, this track is a 6 KM out (and 6KM return) in the same manner, for use by mountain bikers and walkers, and it is similar in nature, however it is a hell of a lot more fun. This is saying something considering the Queen Charlotte track is one of the most enjoyable mountain bike rides around. This 6 KM of tight twisty climbing, descending, ridgelines, rain forest, beech style forest and all manner of terrain and obstacles is a must ride if you are in the area I suggest. I am amazed the Kennett brothers book (Classic New Zealand Mountain Bike Rides) only mentions it as another ride in the area and does not dedicate a full entry to it, this is an incredible single track, some amazing views, a lovely campsite by sparkling clear fresh water at one end of it, all in all a fantastic place.
Unfortunately for Jim he had come down with a virus and though he got through the 24 hour race he was not feeling too good so decided to give the afternoon ride a miss in favour of returning to Rotorua and collapsing into bed. The rest of us loved it, Jonno had never ridden the track before and really hooked in on some of the descents. Thanks to Gary for a fantastic day of riding and I am really looking forward to some of the treasures he says he will show us in Rotorua on the bike on Wednesday.
Sun, 05 Feb 2006
N-ZO N-Duro 24 Hour mtb race, Rotorua - 19:20
Heidi, Lisa, Mike and I had driven up from Wellington on Friday evening, Jim had flown in from Australia on Friday and we all hooked up at the race site setting up the camp on Saturday morning. Rather bizarrely for us (Jim, Mike and I) more used to the Mont and other large races in Australia the camping was almost empty 3 hours before the race and we had prime choice of spot. After putting up a few tents and prepping stuff Jim, Mike and I wandered into the Fat Dog cafe in town for breakfast (2 hours before the race start).
I personally was amazed at the small turn out for the race, I competed solo in the Moonride 12 hour last May here in Rotorua, with a 24 hour race tacked on to the same course at the same time there were around 2000 people there that weekend, admittedly most of them were competing in the 12 hour rather than the 24 hour race. Thus the race format and forest itself can attract higher numbers. Thus to rock up to the N-Duro and find only 300 or so competitors when I would expect around 1000 was a shock. Gary Sullivan from N-ZO suspects the event may be just a bit early in the year, too soon after Christmas, people return from holiday and do not have enough time to fit it into the calendar and organise teams and travel for the race.
Heidi and Lisa competed in a team last year at this event and when we rode some of the extra trails in the area that were not in the Moonride course back in May, trails such as "A-Trail" and "Be Rude Not To", Heidi said they were part of the lap in the N-Duro 24 Hour course. This made my mind up then and there, any 24 hour race that included such incredibly good single track has to be on my calendar to compete in. I suppose I should not be surprised the Moonride did not include some of the better tracks in the park. Speaking with Gary about this last year and again this week, he sets the course for the Moonride, however the event organiser does not let him include more technical or challenging parts in the Moonride, thinking he caters better to beginners and average punters by keeping the course simpler. Fortunately for all of us there are events such as the N-Duro that can include some of the most amazing single track anywhere in the lap.
Anyway the race started at midday, and unlike most Australian races it was the most laps you could do in 24 hours which meant you last lap to count was before 12pm Sunday, if you returned from a final lap at 12:01pm it would not count. We decided on the running order with me starting for the team on the first lap, followed by Heidi, Mike, Jim and then Lisa who wanted to do a double lap. Held up in traffic for a lot of the first lap, and including the run I got around in a fairly respectable 49 minutes. Heidi knocked off a good 46 minute lap and we were underway reasonably well. My next lap was around 44 minutes which I was happy with. Come night time and we had been pulling into first place, however the rain also started falling fairly heavily.
Due to the nature of some of the tracks, and possible damage to both tracks and riders in heavy rain, at midnight the race organisers decided to stop the race until 6am, due to how heavily the rain was falling this was probably a good thing to do. We all bedded down as best we could in the tents as it continued to rain. The organisers also modified the course slightly and removed A-Trail. I headed out for the 6am lap, which would end up being my final lap of the race, followed by Heidi and then Lisa on a double. Mike and Jim finished off the race for us at around 11:35am on Sunday, too late for any of us to fit another lap in before midday.
In the end we each had completed 4 laps, for a total of 20, we won first place in the mixed teams of 5 category (the race had Solos, Pairs, Fives, and Tens), the prize for which was a free entry next year. I wonder who will be keen to fly across for this race next year? It was fun to watch near the end of the race some of the really fast riders pulling out laps around 36 minutes and one rider who had done a 36:18 a few hours earlier heading out at 11:24:05 in the hopes of getting in before 12pm in order to secure over all first place. (he came in about 30 seconds too late and damn was he moving)
The race being small and the nature of presentations and the people there was great to compete in, far more laid back than many races back in Australia, I definitely recommend anyone who can that they should enter this race, if only for some of the single track in it, I really can not describe how good some of these tracks are, Maybe Mike or Jim will be better with the superlatives.
Thu, 02 Feb 2006
In Wellington - 10:06
I have photos but wont do much with them until I am back in Australia. Crash has been taking even more photos so I can link to his site when we get back also. Right now I have some of my less geeky friends wanting to stop the Internet thing and go do other stuff in Wellington so I had better stop for now.
Sat, 28 Jan 2006
Mark Shuttleworth talk notes. - 12:54
My NZ Mtb trip in May 2005, oh and some ghosts. - 12:37
As I am back in New Zealand again at the moment and about to do 2 weeks of mountain bike riding, which will include competing in the n-duro 24 hour race. I thought I had better upload these photos before the next trip really has gotten under way. (Also while I still have bandwidth at lca right now).
Fri, 27 Jan 2006
Van Jacobson rocks - 15:13
However the standout talk of the entire conference was probably the next one I saw. Van Jacobson, you know one of the guys that was involved with creating the Internet, and designed protocols in such a way that they do not suck and thus the Internet does not fall over. Anyway he presented a seminar with suggestions for speeding up the Linux tcp stack (lca link).
Van Jacobson had done the code, the tests and the work had really obvious merit for the conclusions, he presented to the likes of Dave M, Linus and Rusty, everyone else liked the talk too.
More trench notes. - 11:12
I have uploaded some notes, not much from Chris' talk but a but from the rest.
Wayne has managed to make the tinmith system a lot smaller now, to the extent the entire system fits in a bum bag sized case with some batteries mounted on the hips (2 8 Amp Hour batteries, I suspect if he used NiMH 4.4 Amp Hour cells he could get the battery packs even smaller and lighter too).
Damian Conway rocked seriously, a great speaker and I am a perl fan so it was fun to see.
Thu, 26 Jan 2006
Trench notes - 15:04
So far I have put notes up from
The notes are fairly rough, and just my interpretation of things. Also I recorded stuff from the slides a bit so if you look at them when they are eventually released by the organisers there will be some overlap.
Wed, 25 Jan 2006
linux.conf.au 2006, bring it on - 10:25
Mike Beattie and his crew have put on another awesome conference this year. Some of the highlights are going to be Van Jacobson (yes that Van Jacobson) with suggestions on how to improve the speed and integration of the Linux tcp stack. Damien Conway's keynote (I really tried to get Damien to lca last year but alas he had to pull out for various reasons), Dave Miller, the guy who melted all our brains at CALU in Melbourne and lca in Sydney. And a whole heap of other stuff, if you are not here, why the heck not?
Heck as Mike said in the conference handbook, they even improved on the cardboard cutout Linus technology we used in Canberra last year to the extent you can talk with Linus in a real interactive conversation, though Mike does request that no one try to fold him up and take him home in their suitcase.
Right now I have just been taking notes in a tutorial from Andrew Fitsimon on open source graphic design. Showing off the features and capabilities of inkscape, scribus, the gimp, fontforge and how to produce web and print quality stuff well. The tools are amazing, and in the hands of a graphic designer as capable as Andrew some cool stuff can be created.
Looking forward to a whole lot more cool geekery over the coming days.
Mon, 23 Jan 2006
2006 Audax Alpine Classic - 22:30
Fri, 20 Jan 2006
What a coinkidoink. - 10:21
Anyway last night I had gotten home from work and received phone call from a AC Nielson person performing a phone survey of ACT residence on our perception of the Australian Federal Police wok in Canberra. I thought sure I have a few minutes I can answer some questions.
At the end of the survey the woman asking the questions requested a bit of additional information, one item of which was my occupation. When I answered Programmer/System Administrator she happened to mention, "that is what my Son does down there (meaning in Canberra), though he is not there right now, he is in New Zealand", to which I responded is does he happen to be attending a conference? when she answered that yes he was, I said is it in Dunedin? when she answered yes I realised he was another person attending linux.conf.au 2006. Thinking about it I probably know the guy (though she never said his name), after all there are not many Canberrans attending LCA, and I probably know most if not all of them from CLUG and maybe previous conferences. I remember her name was Bridget (though I forget her surname), anyway just another strange random coincidence.
Who knows I may see him there next week, I am looking forward to linux.conf.au a lot this year as I did not get to actually see much in the way of conference last year strangely. Mike and his crew have lined up some excellent speakers, it is going to be a hoot.
Mon, 16 Jan 2006
Some of the better batgirls - 18:05
There are a heap more, those are just the images I liked in the first 200 or so when I looked on Saturday afternoon.
Sun, 15 Jan 2006
The slashdot effect vs digg - 22:52
This is somewhat reminiscent of the slashdot effect t-shirt the Canberra Ozlabs crew made up a few years ago (I was unable to find a photo of any of them wearing it after a quick search), however it is interesting some the conclusions Jason draws here and some of the numbers from his own logs.
I can see what he means about the editorial backing behind slashdot keeping it relevant and interesting to many people, heck Rob Malda weighs in on the Digg style of voting for stories in the slashdot FAQ. Personally I stopped reading slashdot regularly sometime in late 1998 as I decided I did not personally like the editorial line, accuracy (or lack there of) and for some items lag in getting on there. However I can see why is popular still to such an extent, and there is occasionally some interesting comments on there. Also I will read interviews or the odd other item if someone points me toward it.
However the bit Jason points out about stories lasting there longer, the editorial control rather than voting or similar, and a few other points definitely help show some of the reasoning behind slashdot being as long lived as it is. The analysis is worth a read IMO, though it is interesting to note that Rob Malda dealt with a lot of the conclusions in the FAQ back in the year 2000 or so already. I am happy enough with LWN for my geek news though.
Sat, 14 Jan 2006
Must draw Batgirl meme - 23:27
Fri, 13 Jan 2006
Tue, 10 Jan 2006
Kids and the rest of us in a culture of fear - 18:49
I have mentioned some of the negative issues of the culture of fear we live within in the past, however reading something like this really makes me wonder if anyone listens to experts on the broader scale when it comes to youth culture.
Danah points out how when Columbine happened, the media in The Netherlands was quite sensibly coming out with stories about "how there was a school shooting by kids who felt alienated from their community." then when the US media started appearing it was more along the lines of "Goths (or anyone wearing black, especially black trench coats) were marked as the devil incarnate. Video games were evil and were promoting killing. Everything was blamed except the root cause: alienation."
Danah goes on to point out how people such as MIT Professor Henry Jenkins when testifying in Washington "about how dangerous our culture has become, not because there are tools of rage, but an unchecked systematic creation of youth alienation." (Children's Culture Plea) appeared to be completely ignored in favour of the easily sold media darling of evil kids.
Danah says a few more really interesting things here, wondering how youth come of age when protectionist actions create hatred and resentment, how ageist rhetoric alienates younger people. Or the US centred (but probably still valid to an extent here with compulsory voting) question of "Ever wonder why young people don't vote? Why should they? They've been told for so damn long that their voices don't matter". I once linked to some studies pointing out drugging children to make them happy doesn't really work, however Danah goes further with "We drug our children the whole way through school as a mechanism of control and wonder why drug abuse and alcoholism is rampant when they come of age.". I could continue quoting this article however i strongly recommend it be read for some perspective on youth culture.
As mentioned Danah was on fire with the youth issues in November, a week after the above article she posted her perspective on a rather poor appearing new law in California which is mostly about how the respect of your children (And youth in general) should be earned and you should not attempt to enforce it, also she points out how important giving youth their own agency is, let them choose, let them make their own mistakes. This really echos strongly with me because of how I think my Mother raised Jane and I rather well. Our mother would never explicitly forbid us from doing things, if we started doing something foolish or mentioned something she disagreed with we intended to do she would tell us she thought it inane and stupid, however she would not forbid the activity and if we set our minds to it would not stop us from learning for ourselves. This works amazingly well because it really does allow you to gain respect for your parents.
Anyway both links are a good read, Thanks Danah.
For those who do not know, it is a cartoon that has appeared in the MBUK mountain biking magazine since the 80s. Mint Sauce is a philosophical mountain biking sheep, and a damn good read I think. I almost religiously collected MBUK from some time in 1992 until around 1996 sometime (including the year I lived in England throughout 1993) and really do have fond memories of the cartoon. (and all the back issues in storage along with posters and stickers and other paraphernalia)
MBUK has a link to this archive at the moment which means it is probably fairly new, good to see a link to it on the wikipedia stub too. This brings back so many memories, maybe I should get some of the stickers out of storage and decorate one of my bikes a bit, except of course JJJim already has some Mint Sauce stickers on his Ventana so I would just be following the crowd again.
Mon, 09 Jan 2006
I forgot the not make the pan icky stuff - 21:29
Sure I hear you say I could be a man and simply grease my baking trays in order to stop the cookies sticking to the trays, alas I am not well'ard and dislike washing baking trays to remove icky cookie baking residue. Thus I will get some Glad Bake in the morning and bake cookies tomorrow night. If only I had thought about this and remembered I needed it while getting the other ingredients and assorted groceries.
Some good mtb rides in Tallaganda - 16:11
The weekend Just past Dave Sutton had mentioned he was planning to head out on one of Saturday or Sunday for a ride from Canberra, out Captains Flat road, through Hoskinstown and into Tallaganda, then on down to Braidwood for some lunch and then a lift back to Canberra. Dave was getting a few people interested and said space was however limited for the lift home as his van could take 4 people and bikes (being driven out and back by his wife Cec), also I was kind of pondering the idea of a long ride such as this on the mountain bike where more than half the ride would be on the road, that did not appeal, particularly in light of the fact that Captains Flat road is not a fun/interesting/nice road on which to ride at any time really.
Alex said he was keen for another long mountain bike ride this weekend, also Allan Bontjer and a few other people expressed some interest in the idea. I put forward the plan of driving out to Hoskinstown, meeting the group riding from Canberra as they came through, riding with them to Braidwood and riding back to the cars a slightly different way through Tallaganda on the return journey. This plan had the added advantage of a bit more of a sleep in on top of more riding off road and a good explore through some more fun terrain.
Saturday rolled around and I picked up Allan and headed out there to meet with Dave Austin, Alex Ramsey, Randall Fitzsimon, Jaymz Davies and Tony (friend of Jaymz's) who had all driven out also, and we waited a few minutes for Jim Trail, Marea England, Michael Carden, Ley Kingdom and Dave Sutton who were all on their bikes riding out.
I forgot to take a camera on this ride (though I believe Marea may have taken a few photos) however it was a great ride (though with no photographic evidence maybe the ride was a figment of our collective imaginations?). 92 KM of almost entirely off road riding, great bushland to ride through, good company of 11 other mountain bikers (and 6 others on the return ride). Braidwood was packed (coast traffic around Saturday lunchtime I guess) and the Bakery where we refuelled was standing room only with difficulty getting in and out the one exit/entrance door.
With 5h20m riding time it was a pretty good hit out, Allan and Dave both mentioning it was the longest they had been on a bike in one hit for a while, both of them got through it alright, though Allan did not get along well with some of the steeper climbs on the return trip. I doubt he will have much trouble with the Alpine Classic in 2 weeks, as Allan said the climbing in that does not ever go much above 10% unlike the 25% gradients we were doing during the mtb ride. Anyway it is a road ride and Allan is used to road rides.
Thu, 05 Jan 2006
Pub Bike - 16:50
Cookies'R'Us - 16:24
They turned out fairly well, a soft texture, almost like a cake but still crunchy, this is due to the rise induced by the baking soda. I can understand why nuts or some other variations (adding fruit, etc) may be worthwhile to make them a bit more interesting as a biscuit. Maybe some rice bubbles in the mix would be good also. They went down fairly well on the Tallaganda ride I did on Monday, though when I was eating the cookies at home my milk consumption was rather high as they really did go down better with a glass of milk.
Wed, 04 Jan 2006
First non Latin alphabet google logo. - 19:24
Anyway, rather cool I think.
Sun, 01 Jan 2006
Authors read too - 17:51
It is good to see he is a prolific reader (80 books read in 2005) and still appreciates it as a premier form of entertainment with the following quote
A friend of mine sold her first novel this fall. She said the good part was finally being allowed into the playground where the big kids play. The bad part, she said, was that her book was tentatively scheduled for publication in 2007. She asked me if I thought people would even be reading novels in 2007, with so many other entertainment options available. I had to laugh, because novels are still the best entertainment option. Even a hardcover is cheaper than two tickets to the local multiplex, especially once you throw in gas, parking, and babysitting. Also, a book lasts longer and there are no ads. Need more? No tiresome ratings system to keep you out if you're under 17, the special effects are always primo (because you make 'em up yourself), and although I read nearly 80 books this year, I never ran across the Olsen twins a single time.
Sing it sister! also books are far more portable than movies and tv.
I am interested to note the number of books he read is high (for someone who also wrote two books in the year and is probably a very busy person on top of his writing), I suspect doing a lot of reading helps more than most other activities for a professional writer, the only other activity that helps to such an extent is writing lots I suspect.
It would be neat if a few authors I really like put out similar lists I think, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett both come to mind.