Decided to try to take some time this weekend for myself and not work as much as I have been on the weekends. Have been feeling a little bit less than fully charged, so figured it was worth it to get back up to my normal level. So since the weather looked like it was going to be disgusting on Saturday, we took the day for running some errands and some other things that had been being put off for a while. Of course, this meant that there was some really nice weather and I missed out on a good day for biking :-/ C'est la vie.
Yesterday, went ahead and went out even though the weather wasn't entirely ideal. Got in a good 45 mile ride, although for some reason, I seemed to be losing people at every turn. Was a little bit weird, but lots of people just had time commitments I think. Had a good little core group, though, and we rode pretty hard with little in the way of stopping. The latter being a bit part of what I'm trying to do more of this season — stopping less. Although the Quad ride is good, there's way too many long stops. So, trying to stop less and thus get in extra miles and have it be a better workout.
After the ride, I headed up to Tufts to help marshall for the Beanpot Classic Crit. Stood on corner 3 for about 3 hours during the collegiate women's A race, collegiate men's A race and the cat 3/4 race. There were some good things going on but the marshalling part lacked some excitement. Apparently I needed to be on one of the other corners for it to be exciting 🙂 Was still good to do, though. Then, dinner at Za which was very good — macaroni and cheese on a pizza sounds wrong, but it tastes oh so right. We'll have to go back for sure.
So yeah, pretty good weekend and I've been feeling a bit better and more productive today as a result.
Saturday morning woke up to a drizzly and overcast morning with wet roads. But, didn't let that stop me and got ready and headed down to the shop for the Quad ride. All told, there were only six of us that decided to go out between the weather and the earlier start. But we ended up doing a pretty good ride. Out to Carlisle and back with a trip up Strawberry Hill. Was a pretty solid ride and after only a little bit of rain, the ride turned a lot nicer. And the new wheels performed quite well. Then, came home, took a nap and then we went and ran a few errands to round out the evening.
Sunday morning woke up again to more overcast skies and a little bit cooler temperatures. But undeterred, I headed down to the shop again for the Quad ride. There was a significantly larger group for the day and after some warming up, there was definitely an attempt to try to get the legs moving. After the North Bridge in Concord, we were left entirely with a group of stronger riders and then sort of ended up having that group split in two at various points. Rode pretty hard through Strawberry Hill, Curve Street, down through Great Brook and around the rest of the loop. Came home and instead of a nap, got to dive into getting all of the homework I needed to get done for the weekend 🙂
All told for the weekend, got in ninety miles of pretty good riding. It felt good to do some longer rides and also to push them a little bit harder than I've been doing the past while. I'm currently looking at doing at least a few races for the season, so it's time to be pushing a bit and also trying to make my riding a bit more structured. But, still want to have fun doing so. Also, I'm planning on doing the Seacoast Safari again as it was a fun ride last year with a nice route.
Unfortunately, the not feeling well persisted beyond Sunday. Woke up on Monday and forced myself to head in for class anyway. It was the first day of Tech Strategy and I didn't really want to miss it — definitely the right call to make. The class is very intense, but interesting. The class is run case style, so plenty of opportunities to chime in and get some different viewpoints. Monday's class was specifically around E-Ink and some of what they faced in their early days. Was interesting to learn some of that history. Also, the class is one of those that is going to be incredibly helpful in building up a way of thinking about things that's consistent and not just arbitrary.
Monday also had a pretty good guest lecture in PDD — we had a guy in from one of the local (video) game companies come in and talk about the design of games. It was an interesting talk from the “well, video games are cool” angle as well as some of the parallels that the game studios have to what we see sometimes. They've gone from pretty small teams to much larger ones and are struggling with some of the questions of how to keep effective communication
It was pretty cool and interesting on some level to see how they struggle with a lot of the same issues of scheduling and releases and also, some of the approaches that are starting to be taken to address that in their world.
Yesterday, I decided not to go in for the thesis seminar and instead spent the day working from my couch. Overall, pretty productive just going through and working on some of the bugs that need fixing for Fedora 9. Nothing ground breaking or that interesting, though. It's to the point where most of what needs doing is just kind of the dredge cleanups. But still, more testing needed! And then file bugs. And thus give us more to do 😉
Later in the day, I headed down to the bike shop to pick up my bike as I had left it there for a tune-up on Sunday. While I was there, I went ahead and made the plunge to pick up some nice wheels. Looking forward to the weekend when I can really give them a good spin. Although it's temping to bike into the office tomorrow on the Merlin rather than taking the bus.
Today, woke up and was feeling pretty much entirely better. So biked in to Cambridge and was in class a good chunk of the day again. Tech Strategy was again interesting, today looking at Lexar. One thing that's becoming very obvious to me is that it's tough to look back at these case studies and try to analyze the decisions which were made and talk about what should or shouldn't have been done while at the same time trying to avoid having your ideas colored by what has come since. In this case, the question of Lexar branching out from their “digital film” products (CF cards and the like) and into USB sticks really doesn't necessarily seem like it would have been a good idea only knowing what they knew — the USB stick wasn't a given and realistically, the main reason they've become as practical as they have is the drastic drop in the prices of flash due to increased demand. Which has been driven quite heavily by Apple and the iPod. It definitely gives me a bit to chew on and think about.
I don't know if there's anyone who reads this that's actually interested in competitive cycling, but there's a really good article up on ESPN about the Slipstream/Chipotle team and their experiences at the Tour of California a couple of weeks ago. Shows the incredible measures being gone to by the team to help ensure that their riders remain clean and competitive which is something that no other sport can really claim. Read it here.
Seen on Podium Cafe, which is good reading for anyone interested in the world of competitive cycling
And another weekend draws to a close. Much like the esteemed Mr. Frields, I stepped back from both work and class stuff for the weekend to just generally have a lazy, relaxing and enjoyable time. Friday, as I guessed, was largely spent lazing around. I slept in a bit, cleaned my bike, we picked up a couple of things at the Home Depot. The big achievement for the day was going out for a 30-ish mile ride with Kate after she got off from work. Just a short loop out to Concord/Carlisle and back. Was a good workout, though, given the amount of wind… sometimes, that cyclist you see in the middle of the lane isn't there because they're trying to take the lane; instead, the wind has put them there.
Saturday was a day of going out and being cultured. At least, sort of. Kara and I had made plans to go see Avenue Q and ended up going with and . The play was, as expected, quite funny although definitely somewhat … less than proper 🙂 Hence the “sort of” for being cultured. The Colonial Theater in Boston, though, is very very cool from an architectural perspective, it was built in 1900 and there's just a lot of neat and intricate woodwork and other things. Our seats were nosebleed, but you could see everything perfectly well. A good time was had by all and we got home and mostly just vegetated for the rest of the evening.
Today was a riding day again and I got up and headed out and did a 45 mile loop to Westford and back. We rode pretty hard and I'm starting to feel my legs and my form coming back. While I'm noticing it a little tonight, through the ride I felt strong even up to the very end and was pushing myself pretty hard at that point. Still need to decide if I'm going to make a real effort at racing this season or not — on the one hand, it could be fun. On the other, I'm not sure if I really have the time. But even if I don't go all out with racing, I think I'll at least try to do a few. Do another road race or two to see how I do and also probably should try out a crit, although I doubt that's really my racing strength.
This week, it's all work all the time. Or at least, lots of work lots of the time. Will still probably try to have some downtime in the evenings since it is technically spring break and Fedora 9 beta is done.
A busy, busy week is now behind me and I get some small measure of relaxation. Spring break is here at last. Of course, I have to work next week instead of having the week entirely off, but it should still be quite a bit less hectic. And today just happens to be a holiday for work and I have no classes. So if you don't see me online much today (or over the weekend in general), don't be surprised.
But this was a pretty good week really. Was a little bummed by the weather last weekend leading to me not really getting any riding in, but so it goes. The first part of the week, I took one of the Sloan SIP workshops titled “Leadership Under Fire: Managing Hostility”. This was an interactive session where we got to look into some techniques for dealing with a hostile audience as well as getting to practice them. Which also meant we got to practice being a hostile audience, although I don't think that was the real intent 🙂 It was actually very, very helpful and hopefully I'll be able to actually have some of what was learned sink in rather so that I can use it in the future when in such situations.
Also related to classes, my Product Design and Development group has now narrowed things down to an explicit product concept as opposed to just having a few floating around. We think that it's pretty cool and the people that we've talked with about it also think so. Stay tuned for more information on this as things move onward.
For von Hippel's innovation class, I finished up the second paper last night and now am completely done with that class. Overall, quite enjoyable. I would have liked to have been able to dive a bit deeper into some of the things we talked about rather than remaining at the high level, but part of that is due to the fact that I have a fair bit of familiarity with the subject matter already. For the second half of the semester, I'll instead be taking Tech Strategy which is looking like it is going to be an amazing class, although with a fair bit of work. But I'm still looking forward to that starting up.
Outside of classes, there's been the big push over the past couple of weeks to finish up the beta for Fedora 9. We've now finally done so and it's on its way to the mirrors now. That means that we can sit back and really start adding the polish and final bugfixing to help make Fedora 9 as good as possible. I encourage everyone to at least download the beta live image and try it out on your hardware and file bugs if things don't work. And even more importantly, if you can help fix things, contribute patches 🙂
But today is not going to be about any of those things. Today is about relaxing. I think I'm going to take the time to really clean my bikes good, play some video games, maybe waste some time down at the bike shop and just generally unwind.
Had a pretty good weekend and even managed to get in a little bit of relaxing (which I'll pay for later, but I needed it). Friday night after meeting with my PDD group, I headed towards home and we got dinner with some friends. Mmmm, thai food. Also sat around for a while just chatting. Then headed our separate ways and Kara and I headed home and played a bit of Rock Band.
Saturday was monsoon day and also the day that Kara and I were going to observe as our anniversary, given our busy school schedules. So we ran some errands, worked on some homework together and then ordered dinner in and watched a rented movie. It was just the low key sort of evening that we both needed.
Yesterday, woke up early and headed out with the Quad folks for a ride in the wind. While windy, it was good to get out again as it'd been way too many weeks since I'd ridden with the group. And similarly, too long since I'd ridden the Merlin. Thus, a very enjoyable ride — only about 35 miles, but that's okay for March. Eventually headed home (after length stops at Starbucks and the shop), tried to work a little and then headed into school to meet with my PDD group again. Which ends up meaning that my total milage for the day was like 50. I think the last time I did a 50 mile day was November, so this morning, my legs were wondering why I was pushing them again as I rode in to school.
But a very good weekend. And now a busy week ahead. It's the SDM business trip, so lots of people on campus and lots of activities, etc. Also, have to finish up my two papers for von Hippel's class, do an ERBA problem set and get ready for the ERBA quiz next week. Oh, and finalize our selection of a product concept for PDD for next week. And on top of that, there's also the Fedora freeze. So, yeah… busy, sporadic availability and seeing just how much can be gotten done over the next 100 hours or so 😉
On my ride home last night, I had a cyclist mention the brightness of my lights and then at a later stop light, I had a passenger in the car next to me roll down their window and ask about the lights I use. While the first time I've had someone in a car ask or say anything, I get comments from other cyclists and pedestrians semi-regularly. Which, on the one hand, is good. It means that the light setup I'm using is very visible. On the other hand, it means that many other cyclists are less visible. Good lights make a huge difference both for seeing and being seen.
Oh, and for reference, my normal lighting strategy includes the following lights:
The month started out with the beginning of spring classes. A month in and I think i've got a good feel for the amount of work required for them. With 36 credits, its a pretty sizable amount but doable. It helps that for PDD I have a pretty awesome group. Building a product is going to take some time, though. ERBA is matching my expectations pretty well although the class drags at times with some of the questions. The idea of broadening it to also include some game theory types of things is interesting and probably compelling to be considered. Professor von Hippel's class is, as he said on the first day of class, fun. I probably should get started on the papers for it this weekend, though. The discussions and ideas are quite good and incredibly relevant in open source where its easy for lead users to contribute and help innovate.
On the work front, its been a balancing act. I've had to let a few things slide a little, but I still think I've gotten some cool work done for Fedora 9. There's also been a large chunk of time taken by a non-Fedora project.
Outside of those, its been a crappy month for riding. The weather has alternated between pouring rain, snow/ice and super cold. Even my commuting has been a lot less. I'm optimistic that things will get back to a more normal level in March. The fact that I didn't sign up for the March T pass will impact that too :). And hopefully the weekends will be nice for getting in some longer rides on the Merlin too. But given the weather (okay, and a few other reasons ;), I did pick up a PS3 and Rock Band. The PS3 actually is pretty nice from a hardware point of view and some of the games look impressive. And Rock Band is as much fun as its made out to be 😉
But now, back to work…
Today is a pretty sad day for the cycling world. Sheldon Brown, perhaps the best known name online for cycling advocacy as well as a wealth of technical knowledge, passed away last night after an unexpected heart attack. I've definitely used the information on his site on a number of occasions after learning of it very soon after starting to bike (again) a few years ago.