SMH Half Marathon

May 19, 2009 – 5:11 pm

cp20x30-shms1283First Half Marathon done. First time I’ve ever run 21km. First time I’ve ever run more than 10km actually! My aerobic fitness is better than my legs now. That’s what limited me. paaaain! damn legs!

2:21:42 and 21.55km according to my watch. the distance accuracy isn’t all that great i reckon, the tall buildings in the cbd block out the satellites.   My official time was 2:21:57.

stats here

Now to start training for the one in September.  Can I do it in under 2hrs I wonder.

Philosophical about virtualisation

May 4, 2009 – 5:28 pm

I stop and ponder things from time to time. Get philosophical about why we’re all charging like lemmings after buzzwords without stopping to wonder why or if we’re really going in the right direction. I’ve seen people end up in dead end careers because they were too near sighted. I dont want to end up like that.

This article reminded me about a particular topic i ponder from time to time; Virtualisation.

Google fires back at VMware

I’ve known about VMware since it began yeeeeears ago. back then, i saw it as a developer tool, for people who needed to try various operating systems but having multiple hardware boxes wasnt practical.

fast forward to the here and now, and virtualisation is all the rage, with VMware being top dog.  I’m from a telco core systems background, which is pretty much pure unix, of varying flavors.  vmware is almost exclusively used by SME, who are all windows shops.

My opinion is that the dominating reason for vmware being such a huge success is the nature of windows and the apps that run on it.  windows server apps dont play nicely with each other, thus the resulting plethora of servers, each running one or two apps, all under utilised, with headroom for peak usage.

In the unix world i’m used to, multiple apps all run happilly alongside each other.  the first big production systems i worked on were a pair of Sun enterprise 3000 servers. they ran mail, news, web, proxy, dns and some other minor apps. all on a single instance of Solaris. the apps were installed on external SAN disk and could be failed over between the two servers. this was in the late 90s.  ten years later, vmware is bringing to the windows world the efficiencies and high availability features that has been available for a long time in the unix world.  that said, even the unix world lagged behind the mainframe world.

that got me thinking, why the move from mainframe to unix to wintel?  its about $.  when “open systems” aka UNIX started to beat the pants off mainframes, it was because of cost. the systems were good enough for what they were needed for and a lot less expensive. the fact that the technology wasnt as impressive didnt mater. the business case, weighing everything up tipped in favor of unix.   later, for the SME, the same thing happened between windows and unix. windows was “good enough” and required much less skill to work with. many companies couldnt afford the skilled sysadmins. their wages would cost the company more than the losses due to system crashes/outages.

vmware helps companies run their windows environments in a much better way, without changing the way those companies’ apps work.  google helps companies by offering a whole new way of using software. new applications. gmail instead of Exchange/Outlook.  Google Apps instead of the MS Office Suite.

as a result, system/hypervisor virtualisation is not needed by Google, they virtualise the apps.  the fight is between Google trying to convince companies to consume IT apps in a new way and VMware trying to convince companies their existing way is fine, but that vmware can make it run better.

pass the popcorn 🙂 this should be fun to watch

NOTE: VMware and Google are just examples. there are other players in each of their respective markets, they’re just the leaders in my opinion.

Back to basics

May 3, 2009 – 8:56 pm

steak, mash and beans

Joint effort making dinner tonight. For me it was back to good old western basics; Eye fillet steaks, Kumera mash and green beans. I did the steak and Chika did the beans and mash.  It was great.

GPS/HRM run training watch

April 27, 2009 – 9:36 pm

cf-lgNow that I’m starting to run more and need to keep track of my progress, I could no longer resist the urge to buy another gadget. I ordered the brand new Garmin Forerunner 405CX.

I’m just starting to figure out the huge range of features that it has.  One that’s easy is the auto-sync with your computer using the included USB dongle and software.  Pages like this are auto-generated. sweet!

SuperSprint Corporate Triathlon 2009

April 5, 2009 – 2:51 pm

corporate09_webheader_640x170

I did my first ever triathlon this morning. It was a baby one, an enticer some people call it; 400m swim, 8km ride and a 4km run.  The swim was in the harbour between Mrs Macquarie’s chair and the Opera house. The ride and run were around Mrs Macquarie’s chair, The Domain and up to St Mary’s cathedral.

It was easier than I expected it to be. I had a bit left in the tank about 2/3 the way through the run so i cranked it up a bit and pushed hard all the way to the finish.  I really enjoyed it.

I’m looking forward to training for the SMH Half Marathon now.

UPDATE 5pm: the results just came in.  I was fortunate to be in a team with some fit and experienced guys! My transition times were long, several minutes each. I’ll have to work on that.

21903581

Results

Name Daniel Baird
Race Sydney (Main Event)
Category Corporate Male
Overall Team Results
Total Team Time 01:58:06
Category Place 275 out of 558
Individual Results
Swim Time 00:06:21
Bike Time 00:23:06
Run Time 00:13:57
Total Individual Time 00:43:24 *
Overall Place 2689 out of 4006

* Total time includes T1 & T2 times

corp-tri-09-chart

Online sake & shochu shopping in Australia

March 9, 2009 – 11:06 pm

mark

Good news folks, you can now buy quality sake and shochu in Australia, online.  The owner of Toriciya has opened an online shop where you can buy the sake available at Toriciya and more.

The shop is www.sakenet.com.au.

I’m currently drinking Taketsuru HidenSuiryu is another favorite, particularly the Junmai Kimoto.  Many people get all worked up about whether you should have good sake hot or cold.  I recommend you try it hot and cold, and see which you like better.  Some are definitely better hot and others better cold. Its more about the style than the quality.  

Fitness and cycling

January 13, 2009 – 9:26 pm

My fitness has been sliding for years. There has been the odd burst of enthusiasm from time to time, but it was never successful at getting me back into good habits. It finally got to the point where I admitted defeat and called in the experts.  To cut a long story short, i was inspired to contact Vision Personal Training by someone who’s had an incredible life changing fitness turn around thanks to them.

I’m now two months into my fitness program and I can say I’m very impressed. I’m feeling much more alive and have shed over 4 kilos and put on some muscle.  I’ve never had results like this before, ever.  Vision’s program is holistic; they focus on diet/nutrition, exercise and motivation.  For me motivation is the biggest issue.

cannondale_badboydisc_09_9brd_bbq

As part of the quest to find a goal that would motivate me, I ended up committing to train towards and enter a short “sprint” triathlon.  aaaaaaaahh!!!  I started running and swimming, but i needed a bike.  After a month or more of research and asking for advice, I finally settled on a Cannondale Bad Boy Disc.  The next issue was where to buy from.  As I work in Sales now, I know a lot of the tricks salesmen play.  I visited several shops, wrote most of them off for bad service, biased/bad advice or hard sell BS.  I found a shop nearby that managed not to do anything wrong.  They even gave me some excellent advice on shoes and pedals. amazing. I wasn’t able to haggle them down much on price, but considering the good service, i didn’t push it too much.

Today I picked up the bike, got it home, figured it all out and took it for a short spin.  It’s pure sweetness! very impressed am I.  The accessories are awesome too (great advice).

I dug through the boxes down in the garage and found all my old MTB clothes (from a fitter time long ago).  Some were no good anymore, but most were just fine after a good wash.

woot! It’s going to be fun whizzing around town.

Some key points learned while researching

  • Your first bike will never be the bike you end up wanting later. It’s impossible to predict the direction your interest will go.  I ended up deciding to get a good commuter bike; 1/2 fashion, 1/2 logical choice.
  • I picked flat bars over road bars as i’d rather have easier hill climbs (stand up, rock the bike side to side) and steering over speed. the bar ends give me more hand positions (which is a reason to get road bars). I’m not going to race on this bike (if ever), so wind resistance (drag) from a more upright body posture isn’t an issue.
  • I chose to do without suspension. i’ll be riding around urban areas so i dont really need it. also, suspension is more weight to haul around and more moving parts to go wrong.  cheaper without too.
  • Triathlon bikes look the way they do to enable the rider to be in a more face down position. This takes load off some key muscles needed for the run. As a result of this position there is more weight on the arms which explains the need for the “tri bars”.
  • Cyclocross people have a reputation for being more crazy than your usual cyclist. I have no idea why this is. Cyclocross bikes seem to be tougher versions of road bikes, with knobbly tyres.
  • Put money into a good seat/saddle. I’ll be upgrading mine soon I think.
  • To me, strap in pedals seem suicidal. i didn’t even try the ones that came with the bike. get clipless pedals or just use flat platforms.  I discovered the Crank Bros “eggbeater” pedal.  The mechanism is simpler than the Shimano style ones. hooray for low maintenance!

UPDATE: 22 Jan 09 – had my 9 week fitness test. 3.2 level improvement on the “beep” test (to 10) and 7% body fat reduction. go me!

UPDATE: 18 Feb 09 – another fitness check. another 2% reduction in body fat percentage. I bought a Rocket V saddle on ebay for about $50.  score! tried it out on the weekend, rode 35km to Randwick and back. This is an awesome seat, two thumbs up from me.  I was in Randwick visiting Cheeky Monkey to talk to them about triathlon clothes. I picked up a vest and shorts and wore the shorts back home. Man, what a difference. the MTB shorts i was wearing just weren’t suitable for road rides. they got too hot and moved around too much.  I was surprised at how comfortable the shorts were considering they’re tri-shorts, not dedicated cycle shorts.

UPDATE: 20 Mar 09 – another fitness check. body fat percentage down some more, 3% this time (~12% since i started last year).  another level up on the beep test, to 11.

Prawn Pinchos

December 25, 2008 – 9:13 pm

Merry Christmas everyone. We saw a delicious recipe in a magazine and made them for Christmas lunch.

Pretty simple

  • char grilled bread; baguette or turkish
  • prawns; cooked and peeled
  • cherry tomatos; roasted with oil, salt and pepper
  • chorizo; sliced and char grilled
  • special mayo; quality egg mayo, smokey paprika, crushed garlic, lemon juice
  • flat leaf parsley and fresh oregano on top

prawn pinchos prawn pinchos

Mitsuo Shoji Ceramics

December 15, 2008 – 5:29 pm

Mitsuo Shoji is a well respected Japanese japanese born ceramics artist (which i didnt know until recently) who lectured at Sydney College of the Arts for several decades.  We received an invite to an exhibition of his via friends of a friend of his.

So many nice pieces I would love to have, but we should really buy a house to put them in first.  In the end we picked up a couple of bowls which we can use.

Fishworks finally released

November 20, 2008 – 12:38 pm

Sun’s super-secret-squirrel storage appliance project has been under wraps for years now. We’re talking Apple style secrecy.

About a week ago they finally launched product.  Another cool bit of news is that there is a vmware ‘simulator’ version available for download. cool.

The “fishworks” project was rumoured to be Sun’s NetApp killer NAS appliance, based on ZFS and solaris with a nice GUI.  This turned out to be bang on.  The GUI must have been what took the most time and effort, it looks slick.  NetApp have done bugger all with their GUI. I find it very clunky.

add Fibre Channel support, de-duplication and if the performance is good Sun might just have a winner.

UPDATE:  I’ve just seen Sun’s stock price chart and profit/loss info over the last few years. It’s in freefall. Lets hope this new stuff isnt too little too late.

UPDATE2: it was. Oracle bought Sun