Sunday, 19 July 2009
Some Wellington Road Cycling Hill Climb Grades
Thoughts I’d start a post of some of the grades of the various hills (Road Cycling) around Wellington.
I’ve pulled these off various rides around the place. Have noted where some are averages. All data recorded on a Polar s625x
Adventure Sports | Gettin Fit|Sunday, 19 July 2009 08:46:29 UTC||
|Hill ||Map ||Distance ||Height ||Grade|
|Makara Saddle. Karori Side. |
Cnr Allington Road and Apex of Saddle
Average of 3
| ||1.05km ||87m ||8.5%|
|Makara Saddle. Makara Side |
Lamp-post in front of Church to Lamppost at top of Saddle
Average of 2
|2.61km ||186m ||7.15%|
|Takarau Gorge Road Intersection to Top of J’ville |
Intersection Makara Rd and Takarau Rd to top of Johnsonville on Cortina Road
|11.07km ||268m ||2.2%|
|Aro Valley Up Raroa Road |
From Traffic island at bottom of hill to top of hill on Raroa Road
|1.96km ||107m ||5.7%|
| || || || || |
| || || || || |
Tuesday, 14 July 2009
Shipping a great 100% Silverlight Site for Microsoft
As a Microsoft Regional Director I’m often prepared to stick my head out and stir a bit of shit. One of the things I’ll often bleat about is the appearance of Flash on Microsoft properties. It therefore behooves me to put my money where my mouth is and deliver up great Silverlight sites ourselves.
In the past we’ve done some really cool ‘hardcore’ Silverlight projects that we’ve shown of at events like Mix. These include TextGlow and Buttercup. This time around we’ve delivered a Silverlight based site to help support the Technical Preview of Office 2010.
It’s 100% Silverlight and I’m not going to go into the technical details as a bunch of the team (linked below) will be doing that.
We kicked around the idea of using Silverlight 3.0 for this project- we knew the ship date and given that it was just three days before our go-live we decided that we’d err on the side of caution. This really comes down to the adoption of the plugin; Silverlight 2.0 has pretty good adoption, particularly among our target demographic but 3 days just isn’t long enough to get the number of plugin installs up to a decent level. At the end of the day whether your running with Flash or Silverlight you are making a trade-off between plugin availability and functionality even if just choosing between versions on the one platform.
We’re running Silverlight streaming. The video clips that are coming from the production company are have fantastic production values: certainly make me jealous. It would be a shame to stick them in a nasty grainy low bitrate codec but at the same time we’re catering to a global audience. Silverlight Steaming means that we can delivery a good experience for everyone around the world and then for those of us with great internet connections (thanks Telstra Clear cable!) we can deliver a full 720p HD stream in the same UI. We worked with iStreamPlanet who are providing the streaming services over the LimeLight CDN.
The main application is hosted in the Rackspace Texas data center. It just wasn’t practical to run this out of the Intergen Wellington data center in the short time frame we were working to. The backend platform is, unsurprisingly, Microsoft server products: Win2k8 and SQL2k8.
So there you have it. Money where my mouth is I think you’ll agree.
Links to posts from the team:
James Newton-King who built out the server side technology and headed up our release management blogs on more of the technical details: http://james.newtonking.com/archive/2009/07/14/backstage-with-office-2010-website-live.aspx
Aaron Hall from our Dunedin Office jumped on the Tin Budgie and spent 2 weeks in Wellington working on the mobile version (visit it on your WinMo or iPhone device): http://aaronhall.co.nz/Blog.aspx?BlogTopic=Microsoft#Backstage with Microsoft 2010
Chris Klug who lead the Silverlight development side of things: http://chris.59north.com/post/www-office2010themovie-com-is-now-live.aspx Chris also has some tips we learnt along the way…. in fact make that Chris has crap load of great technical deep dive content that I emplore you to go and read so you can learn from our experience.
I’ll call out the rest of the team as they blog or tweet about this.
Intergen | Silverlight|Tuesday, 14 July 2009 08:37:45 UTC||
Tuesday, 07 July 2009
Hill Repeats This Morning
So I got up early this morning, did some email and proposal writing and then got out for a good hard session of hill repeats.
I have the luxury of having the Makakara saddle just a few minutes ride up the road from my house.
I’ve typically done the shorter Karori side in the past. Today I did three laps up the Karori side and two up the Makara side.
It was dark so I couldn’t see when I had properly pressed my lap button so I have a few more laps that I probably needed. Stats look good though
The short laps got progressively slower: Sub 5 minutes is a good time for me at the moment and only the first was (4:57).
The long laps the 2nd was faster but both were still not super fast. 13:46 and 12:55
Average power for the final long lap was 360 Watts… So shouldn’t be too hard to knock that time down a chunk given I should be coming 400 watts for a CP10 effort.
Other interesting stats. The Karori side is steeper at 8.5% gradient to 7.2%. 86m on the Karori side, 186m on the Makara side.
Gettin Fit|Tuesday, 07 July 2009 22:57:05 UTC||
Sunday, 05 July 2009
Back on the Bike: A filthy ride in WLG
So all was quiet for me with a big travel load the last couple of weeks. Spent an amazing week in Redmond last week and kinda wish I had my bike with me- Seattle in Summer is rather alluring to be honest!
Got out for a MTB ride with my brother today. Not far, but, we got a couple of hours in. We did a lower loop of Makara Peak then up to the top, down Zacs and Varleys and home along the road.
The Yellow Mojo got really filthy. You can at least still tell it’s yellow.
Adventure Sports | Gettin Fit|Sunday, 05 July 2009 07:35:26 UTC||
Sunday, 21 June 2009
Sunday Morning Ride: Getting some kilometres into my legs (and backside)
So my goal this morning was to get some base kilometres in. I was originally hoping to do >100km but in the end my ride on Friday just took a bit too much out of me. It turned out being a slow and grinding 90km. I tried to mix things up by going a route I normally wouldn’t for parts of the ride.
Went from Karori out to Johnsonville via Makara. Then back past Karori, down throug Aro Valley and up and over past Happy Valley. Then around the bays once, over the hill from Mirimar to Worser Bay, back around past the airport and home via Oriental Parade.
The little spike out the side of the map in J’ville was me riding towards Churton Park and then seeing the weather. In the end the weather was fantastic- a touch windy around the South Coast but apart from that lovely.
Average power is understandably a chunk lower than Friday. Climbed 1130 meters which is a nice reflection of my efforts to include a few more hills today.
I listened to a bunch of interesting podcasts on the bike today.
Gettin Fit|Sunday, 21 June 2009 00:57:45 UTC||
- Neil deGrasse Tyson on Point of Inquiry talking about the Pluto Files. I listened to the Pluto Files audio book last month while on holiday so was interesting to hear this interview. Unsurprisingly (CFI is a secular lobby org) they got to talking about ‘teach the controversy’- the answer of course… there is no controversy. (Cool shirts here for all of you readers who think the earth is older than 10,000 years… and yes I do have readers who think it’s less than 10,000 years old.)
- Charles Platt talking about Working at Wal-Mart on Econtalk. I found this very interesting if maybe a little shallow. Platt worked at Wal-Mart for a week which I don’t think really qualifies him to reach some of the conclusions he did. Nevertheless a interesting interview particularly about the aggressive devolution of tactical decision making at Wal-Mart.
- Professor Doug Richards on TVO Big Ideas as part of their best lecturer series. Richards is a Bio-mechanist and was talking about stretching. An interesting topic given how much my legs were hurting at this point in time. F couple of interesting ideas I drew from this lecture.
- I think there are some great opportunities to build on the use of Elasticity when I talk about cloud computing to use other metaphors from materials science- viscosity, plasticity…. look out for an interesting blog post on this some time.
- It confirmed my feelings that whitewater kayakers (of which I am one) should be VERY careful when stretching their shoulders. I’m a big believer that shoulder stretching is actually qhite risky for paddlers as it means we end up with shoulder joints far more prone to dislocation.
- Austin Dacey on Point of Inquiry talking about the United Nations ‘Human Rights’ Council and the Religious Defamation resolution. As you’d expect, my position on this is that it’s a steaming pile of manure and I do also agree with Dacey that hate speech laws in general are free speech stifling bullshit. The answer is more speech not less speech. I’ve not listened to Point of inquiry for a while and it was good to get back to listening to some of these again.
- I finished with making a start on this weeks Economist which is my regular read. I got through the whole of the technology quarterly on my Friday ride.
Thursday, 18 June 2009
Amazing Morning to Ride A Bike in Wellington
I got out for a totally fantastic ride this morning. Just went on my own but half way around realized I really should have got my %&^$%* together and called @RowanSimpson so sorry fella! Sunday maybe?
I went for what I felt was a fairly cruisy ride, but, unless my power meter is telling porkies it was actually a pretty decent ride. I’ll usually do about 280 Watts average for a 2.5hr (60-70km) ride but this morning average was 310 Watts. Hopefully this means that I’m improving both fitness and leg strength.
Was basically a flat ride. Came down from Karori, around the Mirimar peninsula to Happy Valley Road, turned around and came back again to the office. Out @ 0530hr in the office by 0800hr- marvellous!
Got a lovely photo coming back around the peninsula as the sun came up.
Gettin Fit|Thursday, 18 June 2009 22:01:47 UTC||
Your Help Needed: Laptop Bags for Grant Braes Primary School in Dunedin
So a friend of mine is on the board of trustees of a school in Dunedin. They have just acquired 20 laptop computers. The first ever laptops at the school but they need bags for them.
I’ve hustled around the house and found a couple of Tech Ed bags (Tech Ed South Africa 2007 and Tech Ed New Zealand 2008).
I’m looking for others who are able to find an old bag they neither need nor want. If you can I’d love to be able to get it to Grant Braes primary school for you. I am flying down to Dunedin for work on Monday so anything that can get to Intergen in Wellington (Lvl 7, 126 Lambton Quay, Wellington) tomorrow I can take down with me.
Rambles|Thursday, 18 June 2009 01:24:36 UTC||
Sunday, 14 June 2009
Lest You Think I’ve Been Slacking. Exercise for the Week
So not much blogging went on around my exercise this week. Just too busy with work and running a training course for Windows 7 developers in Singapore.
I did the miles/time though. Well, as much as I generally manage while travelling which is about 5-6hr per week.
Had a good session today though. A 10km hike up the big hills behind Wellington on my favourite tracks. Blistered feet because I haven’t been in my shoes for 3 weeks- groan. Back to Les Mills tommorow for an Upper Body workout and a blast on the Lifecycle. Will be trying to get some Boxing classes in this week before I head out to the US next Wednesday.
Gettin Fit|Sunday, 14 June 2009 09:59:48 UTC||
Do Not Install Windows 7 from a DVD-/+R
So I spent an utterly infuriating night last night tracking down what seemed to be a case of missing drivers for my RAID adapter. I was trying to install Win7 and it wasn’t detecting my drive and none of the drivers I tried (from all over the web) would work. I spent some hours banging my head against the wall.
In the end, as a final attempt at resolution I tried installing from a USB thumb drive. Turns out I had mis-burnt my Win7 ISO despite using the same USB CD Drive to burn as I was using to install. Given that a 4GB USB thumb drive can be had for basically nothing these days. Given that a USB thumb drive install is oodles of times faster. Given that I wasted a good $500 of my time last night.
You’d be a mug not to follow these instructions and install from a thumb drive!
I have had similar issues with Vista installs where it silently or obscurely fails based on the ‘quality’ of the DVD burn. And before you ask I use branded media.
Windows 7|Sunday, 14 June 2009 09:54:08 UTC||
Saturday, 06 June 2009
My Audio Kit for working with my 5D MkII in Video mode – Zoom H4n + Rode
So I’m looking to do a bit more video work with the 5D MkII and so I’ve been putting together a decent solution around audio. I’ve just finished getting all the bits I need.
Mostly purchased in Singapore. Getting the GST back on stuff purchased in Singapore is really rather nice too. Been flying through here once a month or so recently.
1. A Zoom H4n Handy Portable Digital Recorder (SGD $428 from Hung Brothers in Sim Lim Square or Amazon looks to be as cheap as anywhere in the USA USD$325 at Amazon) . To be honest I didn’t really look at any other options when it came to the recorder. This one was really well priced with features that worked.
Key drivers for me getting the H4n were;
a) It'll do Phantom power for external mics
b) It'll do balanced inputs for external mics
c) The internal mics are surprisingly good so interesting things can be achieved using both internal and external mics together in 4 track mode.
d) You can plug it into your PC and suddenly you got a pretty decent quality Foley rig including stereo Mics
e) Simple level control with a nice easily readable LCD screen showing VU meters
f) It’s easy to do simple monitoring of the recording audio through the headphone jack
g) All the audio just ends up as WAV files on an SD card. These are cheap and plentiful and easy to work with (contrast with say memory stick)
Sure it has plenty of features I’ll never use- the Multitrack with the overdubbing or any of the guitar amp simulators. People have also been mounting the H4n to the top of their cameras- see this pic from Cinema5d.
2. Red Head H4n wind jammer direct from http://www.redheadwindshields.com for USD$25 inc. shipping. I know people grumble about the colour. I like the color. I wonder if @iamaKalaniPrince could make me a YellowHead
I got all the below from World Wide Sound Centre in Sim Lim Square. Hung Brothers only had K-Tek boompoles and mounts and wind jammers which put the price WAY up. I paid $SGD595 inc GST (Refunded at the Airport later I hope) for the below.
3. A Rode NTG2 Condenser Shotgun Microphone . Having looked at a few Mics in this price bracket (and above) including the AudioTechnica and Sennheiser Mics I settled on the Rode as being ideal in terms of price performance. I was sorely tempted to get the NTG-3 when I was in the store today but that would have blown my whole budget on just the Mic itself. The NTG-2 will work either with phantom power P48v or will also support putting a AA battery inside. I chose to get the NTG2 because it was going to give me the added flexibility of self powering and actually also because it was quite a bit longer than the NTG-1 and therefore easier to fit a windjammer AND a shock mount on.
4. A Rode Microphones Boompole
This is a BIG pole running to about 3 meters. It’s heavier than most, but then so am I so I think I can manage holding it. It’s not a cabled boompole but you can take the end caps off and run a cable through it. Feels really well made and will last a lifetime I think.
5. A Rode Microphones SM4 Shockmount. Again this was really well priced so made sense.
6. A Rode Microphones WS7 Windscreen Cheaper and almost as good as a Rycote Softie
So for well under USD$1000 I have a full audio setup for my 5D MkII. Of course recording to a 3rd party device means having to sync audio so I’m hoping that the folks from Singular software get a Windows version of their PluralEyes product out sometime real soon.
Photography | Video and Film|Saturday, 06 June 2009 11:06:29 UTC||