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The weekendish 2006 July 25 22:52

Posted by diamond in : Cycling,Random , add a comment

On saturday myself and mark went out for a cycle, we did my now usual route of rhebogue to castleconnell and back. Distance: 24.88km. Avg speed: 29.73kmph, another personal best. I did the same route again last night, avg speed of 29.27kmph. I’ve begun to suspect however that my recent improvements fall into the category of low-hanging fruit. As such, i’ve consulted mark, and he’s told me to start on a regime of sprint and hill training. It’s gonna hurt -) I went out tonight for the first sprint exercise. I attempted to do 4 20 second sprints, with 5 minutes recovery time between. The result was 3 17 second sprints, and one final 13 second one that almost killed me. I’m looking forward to see how much that changes over the next few weeks.

I went home for the weekend for the first time in maybe 4 months (normally i’m probably there every 2 months). It was really nice to relax with the parents, in the 2-county powercut as it turns out -) There’s a major esb station, about half a mile from where they live, which went on fire on saturday night. That article seems to be a bit inaccurate however, as all of athlone was affected by the outage, as was a chunk of co. roscommon. Either way, it was an interesting evening. I ended up playing soduko (oh so badly and slowly) by torchlight. On sunday i went to church for the first time in over a year. I was glad to go back, i’d missed it.

Tomorrow i’m off to dublin as i’m flying to portugal at horrible o’clock on thursday morning. Myself, braz and zoney are going over for bruce’s wedding. I would go on at length about this, but nonado is about to go down for some maintenance rebootin, and i should probably sleep anyway.

The scoop, in snippets 2006 July 20 21:21

Posted by diamond in : Cycling,Health,Random , 6 comments

Train to dublin yesterday, passed field of magpies sitting on sheep, met atlas and drusilla for dinner, atlas paid (thanks -), met dredg ‘n stewie ‘n ann ‘n madduck, stayed in grand canal hotel, slept ~8 hours, had 3 interviews, 2 by video-conference with zurich, all went well, enjoyable, learned stuff, maybe one more phone interview, should hear back within a week, lunch with dredg ‘n stewie ‘n madduck ‘n conall, google will cover the cost of train+hotel+food (yay), train back to limerick was like a sauna, near 100% humidity, high 20’s temp, sheets of sweat pouring off, went for a cycle when i got home, 24.94km @ 29.23kmph, new record avg speed -)

*Update*
Oh yeah, there was partaking of the free ice-cream in google. Mmmmm -)

*Update part deux*
This just in from cheez: “In this weather flies tend to lay eggs in the wool of sheep which haven’t been shorn. These eggs turn into maggots, a healthy feast for magpies. Magpies are pretty much the only bird which is cheeky enough to stay on the sheeps back”. Awesome -)

Weight, car, toolset 2006 July 15 11:43

Posted by diamond in : Cycling,Health,Random,Work , add a comment

Today i went out for another cycle, this one was definitely meant to be a recovery cycle. I took it easy for the first half, and only pushed slightly on the way back. Result: 24.89km @ 28.1kmph. Well, as mark said, if i was able to do that then i obviously didn’t need much recovery. I’m putting down the recent increases in performance to the weight loss.

I’ve been on a diet for the last 4 months. I started off on about 82kg (just under 13stone). Since may i’ve been tracking, averaging and graphing my weight. The current status is here. I’m down to about 75.8kg (just under 12 stone), and aiming for ~70kg (11 stone), so i’m about halfway there now. I’m very happy with my progress, it hasn’t been that difficult because being aware of the trend makes it easy for me to decide, and i haven’t had to cut out food that i love (my diet consists of one Wild Onion meal and a bowl of cereal per day. It rocks -).

On the way back from the airport yesterday, i heard a most surprising story from paul. He was telling us about how a friend of his, who lived in rhebogue, and had a 1991 toyota, had his car broken into recently. The perpetrators had tried to hot-wire the ignition, and had broken the steering. I double-checked to make sure he wasn’t talking about me, and sure enough someone else had indeed suffered an almost identical incident to myself. Clearly these people have some particular attachment to 1991 toyotas.

A few weeks back, my father notified me that a certain toolset that aldi stock every so often that i had been looking out for for a couple of years was finally back in stock. Unfortunately at the time i was far too busy to make it over to aldi to pick one up. Then, a few days later, i realised that i was unable to drive. Mark had a look in the roscrea aldi, but they had sold out in the first day or two. I was kinda disappointed, but nothing major. Then, when my parents came down to visit me last weekend, they presented me with one as a birthday present. They rock -)

Some random photos of recentish:

A positive day 2006 July 13 21:00

Posted by diamond in : Cycling,Work , add a comment

For those who aren’t interested in cycling, skip the next paragraph. For those who aren’t interested in tech details of a bug i fixed today, skip the rest of the post. You’ve been warned -)

Yesterday, i went for a cycle and hit a new personal best average speed of 28.56kmph over 21.76km. Today, i went out for a recovery spin; take things nice and easy, take extra care to stretch out properly, avoid pushing. I think i might have done it wrong though: 24.89km @ 28.73kmph. A new record, over a longer distance too. Woo -) I also remembered something i decided on a few weeks ago: the difference between road biking and mountain biking is that the latter is about conquering your environment, and the former is about conquering yourself.

Over the last 6 weeks or so, since i had to basically re-work my code for the shannon portal project from the ground up, there’s been a very subtle and impossible to reproduce bug occuring every now and then. I didn’t focus too much on it before this week because it was very rare, and there was always a good chance that i had fixed it without noticing, and i had lots and lots of more pressing issues. However, for whatever reason, as soon as we installed the portal in shannon, it started occuring constantly.

The portal software is a message-passing system with a central state-machine daemon (monitor.py). It receives the events from the other pieces of software, and sends out the appropriate replies based on the state it’s currently in. In order to make sure that the links are still working, all daemons send out ‘ping’ events every 10 seconds. This, after a fair bit of initial work, works well and reliably.

However, there is also a cgi script that provides all the web logic for the front end. When certain pages are loaded it needs to query monitor.py to find out where it should redirect to. So, before outputing anything to the browser, it connects to monitor.py using a standard comms library i’d written, sends an event to say what page has just been called, and expects a message in return.

The bug caused the cgi script to not always receive a reply. I only managed to pin this down yesterday. The code would loop waiting for a message, discarding any ‘ping’ messages that it might receive in the meantime. The issue lay in the fact the comms.handle() function that it was using to wait for a message also took care of sending pings, and would return after sending or receiving one message. So, every now and then, comms.handle() would send a ping instead of receiving the message, and the cgi script would close the connection thinking it had what it needed, instant crash.

So, adding a parameter to comms.handle() to say if you wanted pings to be sent or not fixed the issue, and relieved me greatly. I was hoping to go to waterford this weekend for a birthday party, but if i couldn’t track down this bug, my weekend would be gone. As a bonus, fixing this also cleared up a bunch of other mysterious issues that had also been previously unresolved, lowering my stress levels considerably -)

Shannon 2006 July 12 21:32

Posted by diamond in : Cycling,Work , 1 comment so far

We started installing the shannon portal project in shannon airport yesterday. It’s been… an awful lot of work. The physical heavy lifting was exhausting but fine. What’s been really draining is dealing with the IT dept out there (trying to get a proper net connection out of them), and trying to patch together the incredibly complex and fragile software we’ve written. The initial choice of using a webbrowser and flash has just been a complete nightmare, we just had no idea.

On less depressing news, i went for a cycle today for the first time in 2 weeks. This time i did in fact break my record: 21.76km @ 28.56kmph, which is a long way up from my previous best average of 27.9. It’s odd, i went out having only eaten one sandwich today, expecting to collapse from lack of energy. Oh well, i’m not complaining -)