Monday, April 26, 2010


I'm in Washington DC for the Internet² Spring Member Meeting and there is a "gap" in the program. There are only a couple of open sessions right now and they are both packed, i.e. standing room only. Originally, I had a Multicast Working Group meeting scheduled for later this afternoon but after getting no response to my request for agenda items, I cancelled the meeting. As it turns out, all of the other meetings in the same time slot are all "member only" meetings, there probably would have been a good turnout. Oh well. "#I2SMM10" is the Twitter hash tag for the meeting and it is turning out to be a nice way to see what is going on in some of the other sessions.

First session attended was the MACE Working Group and there was an announcement of a new project called Moonshot. Essentially non-web authentication and authorization. It looks too complicated with a lot of components needed but it is something that is really needed, especially within the R&E environment.

The weather outside is overcast and damp so there isn't a lot of incentive to be out and about. Last night, I had dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant just down the road. I should have taken a picture since it was served in a very large platter with a bowl of very soft, flat bread. No silverware. Here is a picture from their website...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Starting All Over Again

I never did receive my order from Beemerworks so rather than wait, I buttoned up the bike last night and took it for a short ride. It was wonderful to get out but kind of a bummer knowing that I will need to pull parts off again whenever (or if) my order does show up. I had the wrong zip code entered into the online order form and it was for a small village in western Alaska. So even though the city was correct, the zip code probably took priority in the shipping process. Hopefully, I'll eventually receive my parts. I did stop by the local Napa and get some of the high temperature anti-seize so I could re-install the aluminum exhaust nuts and the rest of the exhaust system. I did notice that one of my fuel lines had a small leak after putting the tank back on. No drips on the engine but if you put your hand on the line, you could feel some fuel on your fingers. I didn't end up with any hardware leftover when I was done so that was a good sign. The zerk fitting on the side stand pivot wouldn't take any grease but since I had the exhaust system off, I went ahead and just took the assembly apart and greased the bushing directly.

No problem starting up, cranked a couple of revolutions then took right off. I just rode up the length of Farmers Loop Road a couple of times about twenty miles total to get a feeling for the bike again and I think that I need to visit a parking lot to practice some low speed figure eights. Kind of shaky at low speeds. I really envy those that are able to ride year around. Each Spring almost feels like I'm starting all over again.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bright, Sunny and Cold

It was a bright, sunny evening and I couldn't resist trying a shot of these icicles on the eaves of the water distillation building on the NARL campus (formerly the Naval Arctic Research Lab). The sky was really blue from horizon to horizon so I was thinking I may need to try and play with the color. In spite of all the sun (it doesn't set until around 11 pm) it was still a very chilly 0°F. Too cold to really do a lot of running around especially with the wind. This afternoon, I installed a cell phone repeater in the BARC (Barrow Area Research Center) since its metal shell does a great job of giving everyone zero bars on their phones. We installed an omni on the roof (more cold and windy), fed in the coax through a roof penetration, and ran the cable down the hallway as far as the pre-terminated cable would reach to a small amplifier and a very small omni mounted on the wall just below the suspended ceiling. Now, I get five bars on my iPhone (GSM) in much of the building. Even more than I normally have when I'm outside the building or just about anywhere else in the area and way better than the "No Service" I regularly see. I need to find someone with a CDMA phone tomorrow to see if it works with that frequencies. Seems like a worthwhile addition to the building infrastructure.

I think I have a good plan for the video and audio within the BARC conference room as we ran through a number of scenarios trying to poke holes in the plan. E.g. someone wants to do Skype video on their laptop with a bunch of people in the room as well as a remote participant on the H.323 videoconference system. Would the system support this? If so, how would you use the equipment and use the technology to support the meeting. The existing IT staff person here in Barrow needs to be able to provide this sort of information and, probably, run the equipment or train someone to do it.

This is the doorway to the "Theatre" on the NARL campus. It doesn't function as a theatre anymore but as a general BASC logistics building. Researchers use the building to get their experiments ready for the field and to store some of their field equipment from one season to the next. Like most buildings on the NARL campus, keeping the paint fresh isn't a real high priority. The Arctic Ocean is on the other side of the building so both the summer and winter environments are pretty hard on structures especially paint. I thought the frost in the doorway may make a nice picture. Maybe I'll have some time tomorrow morning to get a few more around the campus especially if it is sunny. There is a talk tomorrow afternoon in the BARC conference room and I want to try out Podcast Capture again to see how simple the process really is. Unfortunately, I forgot my wireless microphone in my office so I'll need to try and convince the speaker to use a wired microphone. Most of the talks are pretty lightly attended so most speakers don't want to be tied to a microphone. Tomorrows talk isn't really science oriented but I really want to try out the Podcast Producer again. The last time I tried it was a couple of months ago...

This evening, I went to the absolutely wonderful Japanese restaurant up here in Barrow called Osakas. I think I've mentioned it before since it is by far the best restaurant in Barrow and one of the best in the state (in my humble opinion). I started out with miso soup and had the small sashimi plate with a small bowl of rice and green tea. Incredible are the only words to describe it. I don't know how they get such high quality, tasty fish all the way up here but it was wonderful. I'd eat here every day but it is pretty expensive. I justified it today since this was the only real meal I had today. In case you didn't know, Barrow is as far north as you can go in Alaska. Even further north than Prudhoe Bay and nowhere near the road system. Way off the beaten path....

Saturday morning - This morning, I spotted this vehicle coming down along the coast road. I've seen these parked in Barrow several times over the years but I've never seen one driving around.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Working in Barrow

I'm back in Barrow again working on a variety of things mostly associated with the BARC. Spring has not come yet around here with plenty of snow and cold temperatures. When it's clear, it is very sunny and it really doesn't get dark until pretty late. This is the view from the corner office in the BARC. I was reprogramming one of the VoIP phones here so I thought that it would be a nice place to sit and work for a while. As you can see, it really looks like winter and a couple of days ago, the wind really made it feel that way too. It is really bright in this office and fairly difficult to read the laptop screen. I guess corner offices are not designed for people like me.

I'm up here working on the educational outreach portion of my grant, planning and installing components needed to make the conference room a great place to host small conferences, meetings, talks and presentations. Yesterday, we installed some Tandberg Audio Science ceiling mounted microphones which are these large plastic panels that hang from the suspended ceiling grid and provide broad audio coverage for a portion of the room. This eliminates the need to pass a hand held microphone around. Here like anywhere else, people don't really want to talk into a microphone. After hanging the first panel, I was anxious to see how much of the HVAC system noise it would pick up but I neglected to read completely through the microphone specs or else I would have noticed that they need phantom power. The new Mackie and Behringer mixers I ordered have this ability but the existing portable PA system doesn't.

Since you can't really run down to a local store to pick anything up, careful planning is absolutely essential. The whole video setup will include four remotely controllable (pan-tilt-zoom) cameras, one tripod mounted portable camera, laptop video and a Polycom video conference unit all feeding into a Tricaster Studio. Audio inputs are the three Tandberg microphones, two Shure wireless microphones (lav and handheld), podium microphone, telephone, Polycom video conference unit and laptop audio. Pretty confusing mess especially when you add in the serial cables for the camera control and the existing NTI video matrix switch that I'm using to distribute audio and video throughout the building. I'm also adding in a feed to a Mac Mini running Podcast Capture (which feeds to an Xserve and its associated Xgrid running Podcast Producer) and think I would like to add the ability to feed to a Flash server running in Fairbanks. A lot of science activity takes place up here and they have a number of local presentations but none have been recorded. This is my attempt to change that.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Beat Beethoven

This morning, I "ran" the Beat Beethoven 5K race. My time was about a minute behind my time the last time I did the race but considering my knee, I'm okay with that. It started at 11:00 am and the temperature was a balmy 38°F with a mass start near the ski hill. I actually ended up running this part since you are in the middle of a whole bunch of people and they are all trying to run. As you kind of end up getting pushed along with the crowd. After running part way up the hill, people started to slow down so I ended up walking. Once up the hill, I jogged for the rest of the race since it was pretty flat. Beethovens Fifth Symphony ended after I covered about 2½ miles. Maybe next year I'll be able to finish before the song ends and get my free concert ticket. All along the route, cars were parked with their radios tuned to the university radio station playing Beethovens Fifth to give you the opportunity to sort of pace yourself.

Since I haven't got my Beemershop order yet (clutch cable and exhaust crossover are backordered), I stopped at a local auto parts store to pick up some high temperature anti-seize so I could put the exhaust system back on the bike. Still a little more maintenance to do on the bike but at least I may be able to take advantage of the Spring weather. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to work on the bike since I had an afternoon meeting at the University then went to the concert hall with Cold Steel, a local steel drum band that my wife belongs. I was originally planning to go to the concert but the tickets were pretty expensive.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Nice Day for a Walk

I won't be able to get out and exercise for a couple of days so I took advantage of the Spring weather to get some miles in. I walked a total of 12.5 miles by going between upper and lower campus a couple of times and walking on the treadmill at the Alaska Club. No running or jogging but absolutely no soreness in my knee. I kind of wanted to get in a bunch of miles early in the week then take it easy for a couple of days since I foolishly signed up for the Beat Beethoven 5K this Saturday. I say foolishly since there is absolutely no way I can finish in under 30 minutes which is the cut-off time to get a free concert ticket. I'm sure that I'll have a good time walking and maybe I will even try to beat my earlier time from a couple of years ago though that may take a little bit of running. After I got back to my office and updated the Nike+ site, I realized that I only had a little bit to go to get to a half marathon.

I picked up my number and t-shirt for the 5K this weekend. At least I'll be in town this year. Last year, I registered then ended up going up to Barrow. Better planning this year.

Tuesday morning - It's a good thing I got out yesterday as the weather guessers are predicting snow flurries for later today. I guess this still may qualify as Spring weather but it does put a damper on everyones mood. I think most are looking forward to the snow going away and are a bit disappointed when it returns.

This morning, I had my final check-in with the WIN for Alaska health consultant. They measured all the normal non-invasive things such as BP and cholesteral and I met my short term goal, which was lowering my BMI to the next category. Unfortunately, I'm not "normal" yet but that is the long term goal.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

We had a beautiful, sunny day today and our church held their service in a theater. I spent much of yesterday helping get things set up such moving the sound system and setting up the stage. A very enjoyable day and, now that I think about it, most of those working on the setup were other riders. We moved everything back this afternoon.

I made what I felt was a special dinner for my family but some chose to not even try anything. One had a cough and just ate bread. I made roasted rosemary lamb, mushroom risotto, steamed asparagus, oven roasted potatoes, green salad, and sourdough bread. Shrimp appetizer. I didn't even get to enjoy it since my current medication not only kills my appetite but after about 6 shrimp and small tastes of the other items, I feel as if I just finished a huge meal. Can't eat another bite. If nothing else, I should be losing weight with this medication.

No further work on the bike since I am still waiting for my order of filters, crush washers, cables, and petcock rebuild parts to get here. I think I may have tried to take the bike out today if it was ready to ride.