Tag Archives: life

Rumours of my death are (largely) unfounded

The rumours of my death are largely unfounded.  I’ve just been either busy working or trying to relax while not on a computer since this is as much of a “break” as I get.

I have, though, done various updates to twitter and identi.ca if you have some obsessive need to know what I’ve been doing.  It hasn’t been that exciting, though.  Basically boils down to the following relatively short list

  • Went cross-country skiing a couple of times.  With the very wintry weather we’ve had thus far this winter, it’s been something good to be able to get outside and do as it hasn’t exactly been ideal biking weather
  • FUDCon F11 was held in Cambridge at MIT.  Since it was in E51 and I knew where things were, I spent a fair bit of time running around.  I had some good conversations, but didn’t give any presentations and didn’t really get any hacking done with the hackfest
  • The SDM 09s have started and I helped some with their first design challenge.  Was fun to watch and they seem a good bunch
  • Have been trying to read a fair bit and so made good progress on my book backlog.  Still hoping to finish that before classes start back up
  • Some poking and prodding in the hopes of getting Fedora 11 alpha out the door in a semi-decent shape
  • More work on the new initramfs tooling, although it’s making slower progress than I’d really like
  • Getting extra sleep

Winter cycling, NC cycling and a year-end wrap-up

Some people think that the winter is a significant off-season for cyclists especially in New England with the snow and cold. But that's about as far from the truth as you can get as it's important to keep up aerobic fitness during the winter in preparation for the hard efforts of spring and summer. I try to get outside as frequently as I can but this winter I'm forcing myself to get on the trainer sometimes as well if the weather is really bad out (like, for example, today when we're getting like eight inches of snow).

In those cases, I'm realizing that NetFlix is a very good thing and especially the instant watch functionality coupled with a TiVo. Some movies are better than others for riding to and I don't yet have it down to a science. But action movies seem pretty good generally – today's selection was The Fugitive which was a pretty good choice.

Another thing that's helpful is going somewhere warmer for a week. We spent last week at my parents' house in western NC and I took my bike along. Unfortunately there weren't enough great weather days but there were one or two. And I noticed a few things while there and riding

  • While maybe not significantly more vertical gain on a given ride, you are more often going up or down as there is signicosmtlu less flat present
  • Everything is further apart distance wise even if car place to place times aren't significantly different than around here.
  • A dog chasing you can make you ride very fast 🙂
  • My base training plan seems to at least be somewhat working. I went out with the A group of hickory velo club on Saturday and had no problems keeping ip through the hills and fast straights even though I haven't ridden hard or fast in two months now
  • Defeet is based in western NC and I rode with the founders of the company; very nice and cool people. Shane – thanks for letting me suck your wheel much of the ride 🙂
  • Not many cyclists on the roads in Hickory but cars give a much wider berth; they fully go into the other lane instead of eying to see how little space they can give you

As far as overall cycling for the year, I didn't do nearly as good of a job of tracking as I did last year and I also had some frustration with my Garmin Edge 305 dying until I found the trick to stop it from doing so, but it looks like I did about 2500 miles on my Redline 9-2-5 and 3500 or so miles on my Merlin. Given how busy the year was, getting 6000 miles is a pretty big accomplishment in my view.

Anyway that's what I've got for today. I'm off until next Monday and then back to work and also going to be helping out with the initiation rites for the SDM 09s :). Classes don't start back until the first of February although I'm going to do a couple of IAP offerings I think. And I still owe a fall semester wrap up post soon. But for now, Happy New Years and if you make resolutions, best of luck with them.

Holiday relaxation

Given just how busy my year has been, I decided that I'd make a very real effort over the holidays to take it easy and relax.  While most of Red Hat is on vacation for a little over a week, I took a couple of extra days to make a solid two weeks. 

For the first part, Kara and I headed down to my parents' for Christmas.  Since flight prices were out of control when we started looking, we decided that we were going to drive down (… flight prices eventually reached more reasonable levels).  This came with a few advantages — one, we can go places in Hickory and two, I could bring my bike without paying exorbitant fees 🙂   So on Monday morning, we dug out from the weekend's snow storm and got on the road.  We planned to head west across New York and then get on I-81 to get a somewhat prettier drive and avoid some of the worst traffic.  Unfortunately, the directions we got from google left out an important point for where two roads diverged leading us to go a fair bit out of our way.  We got back on track, though, and then, just outside of Scranton, PA, we got to drive through an unexpected ice or sleet storm and see a couple of cars off the side of the road.  After most of the day on the road, not what you really want to see.  But we kept onwards and stopped for the night after finally reaching Virginia.  Tuesday, we woke up early and hit the road to make it to my parents' house by about lunch time. 

Since we got here, it's been a pretty straight-forward and relaxed time.  We've eaten a lot, I've gotten out for a bike ride each day, we've played some board games, and we've read a bit.  I really have little room at all to complain.  We also got a visit from the incomparable
 today and are catching up with more people the rest of our time here.  Hopefully I'll also continue to get out for some more nice rides.  If the weather could be like today (sunny, low 60s), I would have no complaints at all 🙂

Then, once we get back home, it's going to be more relaxing although also trying to do some things around the house like cleaning out some of the cruft that has accumulated in the basement, etc.  And I'll probably eventually get to catching up with my email, although right now, I'm happily ignoring anything that's not directly to me.  And even that is only being looked at infrequently. 

And now, I think I'm going to read a little bit more and then head to bed.

How much can be packed into a weekend?

Busy, busy weekend. One thing which helped to make it more doable is that I finally started feeling better on Thursday of this week. Two weeks is the longest I haven't felt while in a long time. I still have a little bit of a cough, but I'm no longer feeling run down and the cough is far less bad. But getting back to the weekend…

Friday was spent with quite a bit of work being done for school (although Fedora 10 was done, so not much there). Last opportunity set for system architecture is due on Wednesday, so we tried to make some headway on that. Then, I headed home and worked for a while longer. Eventually, Kara and I headed to dinner and then it was a pretty slow evening.

Yesterday morning, woke up to a very cold morning — was just over 20° F and windy. I bundled up and headed down to go out on the Quad ride. It was a cold morning, but there was still a healthy number of people all things considered. Most turned around from Concord Center, but I had one person to continue on with me to get in a good 3 hours of base miles. With the new gloves (Pearl Izumi amphibs), I was able to keep warm except for my toes.

After the ride, came home, grabbed some lunch and then got some work done. Then, headed to poker night with some SDM folks. I had a great time and it was good to see everyone who made it out. Need to be sure that we also arrange some sort of end of semester thing, perhaps for after the last System Architecture class in a couple of weeks. I suspect even more people can be convinced to go for that once there's not a lot of work waiting to be done. Kara and I headed out from there a bit early to meet up with some friends of ours for a bit. Finally headed home about midnight and crashed.

This morning, woke up again to the cold and went out for another healthy set of base miles. Only about ten people, although more continued on for more than 20 miles. Got in about 3 hours again and still only had problems with my feet. After the ride, headed down to MIT for some time in the MIT wind tunnel — one of the perks of being on the MIT team is that we get to have a little bit of time in the wind tunnel to see the impacts of position, etc. It was a pretty cool experience and we made some slight tweaks to my position to improve aerodynamics.

Now trying to catch up on some things to get a head start on the short week beginning tomorrow. Into the final stretch of the semester for real now. And then, I'm halfway done with SDM. Hard to believe — time flies when you're having fun.

The end of the semester comes early it seems

For some reason, the end of this semester seems to be coming early this time around. Although the end of classes isn't until the middle of December, it seems that pretty much everything is due before Thanksgiving. Which, coupled with trying to get Fedora 10 out the door is going to make the next few weeks a pile of pain.

So if the updates from me seem sparse, that's why. And then of course, to make things even more fun, I came down with something the end of last week which I haven't quite managed to completely shake. Although at this point, it might just be my usual congestion for this time of year.

Some attempt at catching up

As has probably been obvious, things have been a bit busy for me of late. For some reason, my classes this semester have seemed to be quite a bit more work than either of the spring or summer. I'm not sure how much of that is psychological and how much of it is real. But the nice thing is that after this semester, I'll only have a couple of required courses left and can pick and choose some interesting electives without having to worry much about conflicts with required courses.

This week is the business trip for this semester and it's good to have (mostly) everyone around on campus. And it's also nice to have lots of meals provided 🙂 Unlike the prior business trips, in some ways, this one is fairly sparsely populated. On the other hand, that's likely due to the fact that it's also the week of what used to be the alumni conference and is now the Systems Thinking Conference. In any case, Monday didn't have much going on out of the ordinary although I spent the day on campus instead of my usual day in Westford. Yesterday we had a lunch and then in the evening was the final information session for the year for those interested in applying for SDM. I again helped out by mingling with some of the prospective students to answer questions and then being on the panel as well. One of the really interesting things to me about being on the panel and answering questions is the differences in questions between groups of prospective students; while there are some common themes, each night seems to have its own sort of theme or direction. Also, it's fairly obvious that some people come in and are comfortable asking a bunch of questions in front of a group while others are not so comfortable. But even those who don't ask questions during the panel tend to have them in the smaller mingling around time. What that says, I'm not entirely sure.

Today was the SDM Open House for students that have been accepted to start in January of 2009. So lunch was spent trying to talk with a few of them and helping to answer any lingering questions they had about the program as well as making sure that they have the appropriate level of respect for January and the amount of time that it requires. This afternoon, I had intended to spend some time trying to get at least some of the basics of the OLPC power management code merged into a Fedora kernel, but I instead ended up spending it spread between email and finishing up my project management homework. And there's enough meat on the subject of project management and some of the tools from the class for another post at another time, so I'll leave that out there for now

This evening was a “networking event”, organized by Yoav. As has been the norm there was a pretty good turn-out of SDM08s, the usual cadre of SDM07s and with the alumni conference, some alumni and also some of the SDM09s. Always good to just get a chance to hang out with people and talk about annoyances and good things with classes.

Notable quote of the evening from a discussion that Linda and I were having with Yoav: “there's the class for entrepreneurship and the one for innovation” with regards to the Sloan business law class. But given that they're very overlapping (~60% of the content is probably the same), it's less bad than it sounds. The differences seem to mostly be what the guest speakers are focusing on as opposed to anything more fundamental with regards to the material.

Tomorrow and Friday are the conference and I'm going to make an effort to try to attend a fair bit of it while also trying to get some groundwork laid to do some testing in the evenings/over the weekend.

Classes begin, great weekend follows

Classes started back up on Thursdsay. This semester is likely going to be pretty busy. I'm taking three classes and probably being a listener for another. I'm definitely going to be taking System Project Management and the second part of System Architecture. These are both SDM core classes and so I figure I should go ahead and take them this fall as this will leave me a lot more flexibility for next fall. And although there has been plenty of complaining about System Architecture in the past from some notable people, some changes are being made to the course to help keep it more relevant, eg, for software and so I'm keeping an open mind. The other class I'm signed up for is the Sloan Business Law course — after a day, it looks like this should be a good overview of all things law-y and a number of interesting guest lectures. Personally, I might have preferred a little bit more on intellectural property than the syllabus shows, but at the same time, I'm a bit of an edge case there 🙂

The class that I'm likely going to be a listener for is the trial run of Software Systems Engineering. One of the required classes in the SDM program has been a Systems Engineering course and there continues to be a (pretty significant) struggle in how to make that work for software people. And in fact, I was not a big fan of the class at all over the summer (perhaps and understatement). As part of the curriculum revamp currently in progress, the option of a Software Systems Engineering class instead of the “normal” one is being provided and it's being run for the first time this fall. Since I don't really need the credit but still think that feedback on the course is important, I'm thinking about being a listener for it. But, TBD for real after the class meets for the first time tomorrow.

Then, ended up having a great weekend. Friday after class, I met up with Kara so that we could look for her a new bike. She has a hybrid, which, while nice enough, is difficult to go longer distances on and she's been getting out on the weekends and riding. So, we looked and ended up finding a nice bike at a nice price at Quad. Then, we ended up having dinner at home, watching some tv and generally relaxing.

Saturday morning, woke up to go riding and the weather looked less than ideal. So, got some more sleep and woke up to the sun shining. But so it goes. Ended up taking an easy day with some more errand running. Then, headed over to Yoav's birthday party at which a fun time was had. Lots of cool people, interesting conversation, good food and everything else that makes for a good party. Thanks to Yoav and his wife for having us.

Sunday morning, woke up and the sun was shining and so headed out on a ride. Ended up going to the Hills of Haavvaahhhddd, which was actually a very nice ride. Ended up with about 60 miles at a little over 19 which seemed pretty good given both the wind and the hills. I do want to try to get in another time at Wells Ave before Jamestown, but if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. Then, it was over to and 's place for games, food and fun.

So, all in all, a good week and weekend.

Holiday Weekend Wrapup

This weekend was a long (3 day) holiday weekend in the US and since classes start back up this week, I mostly spent the weekend away from a computer.

Started things out on Friday evening by (finally) getting around to getting a haircut and a few other errands. Then Kara and I grabbed dinner, came home and then caught up on some things recorded on the TiVo. Including the rest of the Daily Show's “live” coverage of the DNC. We were suitably amused.

Saturday morning, woke up to the surprise of wet roads. But since it wasn't actively raining, went out on the Quad ride anyway and had a quite nice ride. Came home, had a quick lunch, cleaned the bike and then we headed over to some friends' house for a bit. Played Race for the Galaxy for a while which was quite a bit of fun actually. Then, we headed to Za! for dinner with some other friends as well. Ended up seeing and as they were having dinner there as well.

Sunday, again woke up and went on the Quad ride. Kara also headed out. Another good ride and then spent a good chunk of time at the bike shop. Ended up helping a few people with various things and then eventually headed home. Then, we headed over to another friend's house for an end of summer barbeque. Matthew is also from NC (randomly — he's one of the other people I ride with) and was previously a chef — so, he made pulled pork. It was quite good, as was the sausage which he made. Lots of people, only some of whom I even had a chance to meet and to be honest ended up spending a lot of time talking with people that I already knew. Headed home before it got to be too terribly late and got some more good sleep.

This morning, I again woke up and headed down for a bike ride, though a significantly different route today than the normal Quad ride. We ended up with a group of six of us and set a good pace for the entire ride. Then, grocery shopping as we were really starting to run low on a lot of our sort of staple foods. And then, again, dinner with friends.

All in all, a very good weekend. And this week starts back the full grind of work and school. I'm currently thinking of just sitting in on the first day or two of a few of my options as far as classes are concerned so that I can really decide which seems like the best fit. And also, hopefully making some more Fedora on XO progress. But more on that tomorrow or so — reading and then sleep time now.

Well, that was interesting

So when I last left you with a post, it was to note the end of my summer classes and looking forward to at least getting to relax a little bit.

Hah! That mostly certainly didn't happen. Instead, I got thrown into the ultra-fun world of helping to deal with the cleanup for the Fedora infrastructure intrusion. Spent a lot of time reinstalling a lot of servers and doing everything I could do to help get things online as quickly as possible. Not how I intended to spend last week, but you do what needs doing. I will say that the setup for the Fedora Infrastructure is a whole heck of a lot nicer than it used to be. And while editing puppet configs makes my skin crawl, it is pretty effective.

In the middle of that, Kara and I did manage to have some people over now a week and a half ago for a night of games of the carded variety. A good time was had I think by all and the approach of making a theme worked pretty well for avoiding the phenomena of “game of Rock Band” and “everyone else”. So we'll probably have to try to keep going in that vein. Not that there's anything wrong with Rock Band, per se, but it's good to get people interacting in different games as well. We'll probably try to get something else together in a couple of weeks.

Then, over this past weekend, Kara and I headed down to DC for a (very much needed by that point) vacation. Did a lot of sleeping in, touristy things, and eating good food. Which, all in all, was exactly what we were looking for. Went to the Newseum and was actually pretty impressed and see how they can manage to charge for a museum admission and be right next to the Smithsonian. We also hit up some of the exhibits at the Smithsonian, although a different set than the ones I've usually hit in the past.

The only downside of the trip really was that I didn't have a bike with me and so haven't really ridden to speak of in about a week. But that shall be remedied starting tomorrow and I'm pretty certain it's going to involve the round trip commute to the office. Although I should probably be sure to do a few things like plug in the nice light, etc tonight before heading to bed.

This week, I'll hopefully get back on track with what I was hoping to do last week. And maybe get enough done for two weeks in… err.. three days. Seems doubtful, doesn't it? Then a long weekend for Labor Day and then classes start back up. How does that saying go about no rest?

Just a little bit longer..

Only a few more days and the summer semester will be over. And I have to say that I'll be pretty glad. Have spent a fair bit of time over the past few days looking at and trying to finish up the presentation my team is giving in Systems Engineering. I need to get back to really spending some time on the System Dynamics assignment.

Otherwise, the end of my week was pretty jam-packed with various meetings. It seems to often be that way when I go into the office, but Friday seemed even more so than usual. Then, last night, got home and then went and had dinner with Kara after which we spent some time just wandering and looking at books in Barnes and Noble.

This morning, I woke up and headed out on the Quad Ride. I tried to take it sort of easy since I'm planning to race tomorrow and succeeded better than I usually do. Only did about 40 miles. Felt good to have a day that wasn't just pouring rain, though, especially after the past few days. And the sun even came out for a bit!

Tonight, I'm going to spend a little bit more time on System Dynamics and then I think Kara and I are going to watch Harold and Kumar 2 as something light and fun.

Tomorrow, I'm headed to Wells Ave to ride in circles for a little bit. Should be a good time.