Saturday, April 28, 2007

New Forest cycle ride

I went for a nice bike ride this morning whilst the missus and kids shopped in Southampton.

The first 4 miles were unpleasant dual carriageway, but the next 12 more than made up for it. There were plenty of ponies out on the open lands, including a few foals. Very cute.

What's the least bad way to get from the centre of Soton to Eling? I tried coming back a different way, and it was better as it wasn't dual carriageway, but it wasn't exactly pretty and Shirley high street is a very busy area that doesn't suit bikes. Any ideas?

Friday, April 27, 2007

Reading an article on the IBM Developerworks site about Ajax-based websites (the cool interactive ones), it talks about a Google Maps Mashup named MapMyRun. I had previously used Gmap-Pedometer, but this one goes much further.

I've uploaded a couple of runs including the quickish 4.73 mile one mentioned in an earlier post. It isn't as good as viewing the original GPS data using eg SportTracks as it doesn't support the pace and heartrate data, but you can mark the run as public which allows other people find it and add comments if they wish.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Online Chess

There's a great online chess site named Scheming Mind.

Whilst there are options to pay an annual fee, you get to play "normal" chess against online opponents for free.

If you fancy a game, my user name is finnr.

Crazy sister running 7 full marathons in 7 weeks

My sister is running 7 Marathons on 7 consecutive sundays. You can see her plan and progress on the charity website that she's supporting.

She was interviewed by Colin Jackson for BBC1 in the Londom Marathon on Sunday,

MotorCycle World at Beaulieu

We're probably going to MotorCycle World at Beaulieu this year, Saturday 23rd-Sunday 24th June.

We've been for the last 3 years and it's always been worth the entrance fee, even the first time when it rained. There's lots of noisy motorbikes, maybe some stunt cars, stands galore, free stuff, and all the normal features of the National Motor Museum (monorail, musuem, Palace House, abbey, coffee shop).

You should go too.

Spring Duxford Airshow

I'm thinking of going to the Duxford Airshow on 20 May 2007. I haven't been to a "proper" airshow for ages and I love the power of the modern jets.

Want to come too? The wife and kids aren't too keen so I'm looking for people to go with. £24 on the day, £20 in advance.

Duxford’s season of legendary air shows will take off in May with a spectacular display of aircraft, ranging from historic and iconic warbirds, such as the Spitfire, to contemporary military jets.

There will be over three hours of aerial displays at this event, which also includes a special ground and air-based salute to Falklands 25 – the 25th anniversary of the liberation of the Falkland Islands by British troops

Recent Nintendo DS game purchases

The recent DS games I've bought because they were reduced on t'internet are:

Big Brain Academy
Puyo Pop Fever
Bomberman DS

and 42 All Time Classics has been ordered from Tesco for £8.97 with money back from QuidCo

Sunday, April 22, 2007

My best runs and new trainers

These numbers are taken from my Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS wristwatch.

Distance (m)Pace (mile/min)Average heartrate (bpm)Comment
3.107:32160Flat route in Warwick
4.737:43165Mostly flat route near Warwick (Old Milverton)
4.157:46177To Oliver's Battery sign and back

The work-run was done a couple of months back on my beat-up old Asics. I've got new shoes now (and bigger lungs).

I got 2 pairs of Reebok Premier Road Plus DMX III Stability Shoes from the Reebok shop at Bicester outlet village near Oxford. They claimed they were £70 reduced to £35, and they were included in a buy-one-get-one-half-price offer. So far they seem pretty comfortable, but they are definitely a road shoe. They're light and airy, which is good, but they don't provide much support on uneven surfaces.

Dilbert and the Way of the Weasel

I read the Dilbert cartoons via the RSS feed ( but never got in to the TV show.

I also follow The Dilbert Blog ( , though it isn't about Dilbert. It is thoughts, observations and provocation from Scott Adams, and it makes for entertaining reading.

Given my enjoyment of Mr Adams' output, I bought the book Dilbert and the Way of the Weasel and it is every bit as good I could have hoped. It is interspersed with Dilbert comics but I find I generally laugh more at the humourous turns of phrase in the main prose. There are also snippets of emails from the real world, which are hideous tales of what goes on in businesses today. For example:

Mr. Adams, My boss explained to me how she delays responding to e-mails by varying amounts of time, just to impress upon people their relative standing in terms of power.
I haven't read the Dilbert Principle, but on the strength of this book I will be soon. Highly recommended, especially if you work for a large corporation.

Fantastic: The Life of Arnold Schwarzenegger

I recently finished reading the hardback version of a biography of Arnold Schwarzenegger, which covered his life from birth to about 2005 when he became the governor of California.

It's a well written, easy to read book about an interesting man. It includes some B&W photos and a comprehensive index. The author is clearly an admirer but the tone in never sycophantic.

Arnold comes across as a driven man, applying himself first in body-building, then in the world Hollywood films, and now in politics. There's a bit where several bodybuilders come to Arnold for advice, and as well as giving them astute observations, he praises each of them with "If I had your body, I would be Mr Olympia". These bodybuilders are later upset when they find out that he told them all the same thing, but the one of them (Frank Zane) got the point - "The fact is that Arnold could have won Olympia with a number of different bodies because of his attitude - it was all his attitude".

I recommend this book, even if you're not interested in bodybuilding.

Blog revival

I haven't posted here for over a year (I onl y posted twice). Instead, I exclusively used the IBM internal blog.

This blog will now be used for non-IBM (and mostly non-computer-related) information and maybe also as a sort of exercise log.