Saturday, January 29, 2011

Clemson University

This week is being spent at Clemson University in South Carolina. Midway through the flight yesterday, I started to wonder why I do this to myself. I left Fairbanks at 1:30AM and arrived in Greenville at 6:30pm. This left a 50 mile drive to Clemson. This was when I started to look around I remember why I enjoy traveling. I love to visit new places. I'm here for the ESCC/Internet² Joint Tech meeting being held at a Madren Conference Center attached to Clemson University. We are separated from the campus by a golf course that is, surprising to me, isn't very green (the color not its environmental impact). The only negative so far is that food doesn't seem to be readily available near the conference center and what little there is seems be located on the far side of the university. I think they didn't want to impact their catering business for meetings held here. Today, there was an all-day tutorial
on MPLS. The meeting starts tomorrow morning until Wednesday at noon. After that, I'm one of the instructors for a hands-on IPv6 workshop that runs through Friday. IPv6 has been getting a bit of publicity lately since the last remaining blocks of IPv4 addresses are going to be allocated to the RIRs sometime this week. What this basically means is that once the RIRs have given out all of their allocation, there isn't anymore available through normal channels. This would limit the ability for new businesses, networks, ISPs, etc. to join the Internet. Here in the U.S. there hasn't been a lot of concern about this since the US based organizations own the majority of the IPv4 address space. The widget I just added to the left side of the page was developed by Hurricane Electric, an Internet and co-location business that has providing IPv6 connectivity for years.

Update Monday, 6:30 EST - The last unallocated /8s were allocated to APNIC today which only leaves the last 5. Each RIR will receive one of the last /8s. IANA no longer has anymore IPv4 addresses to hand out when an RIR runs out...

I was sitting in a meeting this evening and noticed that Apple needs to come here to make a commercial. In the two rows of people on the other side of the room (24 people), all but three of the laptops were Macbook Pros. Of the remaining 3, one was an iPad, one was a PC running Windows XP and the other a PC running Ubuntu. Kind of interesting.

There were a lot of inquiries into Alaska tourism since the next time this group meets will be next summer in Fairbanks. Meeting with the network engineer here in Clemson and looking into what they had to do to host this meeting. It looks like some people back in Fairbanks are going to be busy. He mentioned that hosting the meeting was a great way to ensure that you have your IT infrastructure is in order.

Moto related content - No update yet from Porter's Beemershop. I probably should give them a call sometime. Today, in Fairbanks, the local Airheads group is getting together to overhaul a couple of 38mm Bings. I have never taken my carbs apart so I'm kind of sorry to miss this particular tech day. On the other hand, my gas mileage has been running in the mid to high 40s so maybe I shouldn't mess with them. Other things on my maintenance list have not been started due to cool temperatures in the garage.

I guess I expected to see more bikes on the road as the high temperature was in the mid-70s.

Update Tuesday, February 1, 2011 - No more 70°F days...

This is the foggy view of the lake behind the hotel this morning. It has been raining continuously since before noon and others are finding their return flights cancelled.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Office Space

Last week, I received an update on the heads I sent down to be repaired at Porters Beemershop in CA. They have not started on them and there was a transmission overhaul and another set of heads in ahead of them. I guess that there aren't many mechanics able to work on these old bikes or it's a pretty small shop. There are a lot of positive comments on the shop so I'm not really concerned about the job they'll do. After all, it's not like I'm missing out on any riding. Tonight the forecast is for -45°F (-42°C). I think winter is finally really here.

There was some discussion of office space on Bluekat's blog post several days ago and I commented that my desk was sometimes hard to find. Since I straightened it up (sort of) I thought I should include a snapshot. Out the office door, through the double doors, hang a left and you are in the parking lot looking right at the "motorcycle parking only" area.
Not too long of a walk to the outdoors but not a window in sight. I generally leave the lights off except for the simple desk lamp since I am on the computer so much. It's seems to be harder on my eyes with the overhead lights on. Behind me is a telco rack filled with computers, network equipment, audio gear, VoIP servers and a pile of cables. There are also a number of VoIP phones to test new systems with. So dark in the morning, dark at night and light at lunchtime. Not much different from when I worked in CA...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

200 Mile Visibility

This was one of those crystal clear days where you can see for forever. The mountains are the Alaska Range. The prominent peaks near the center of the photo are about 90 miles away and the equally high peaks to their left are about 150 miles away. Mt. McKinley would be way to the right and the sky was still dark in that direction. Later in the day, there was a bright reflection off both peaks of Mt. McKinley which is over 200 miles from Fairbanks. There isn't a good view of the mountain from the building where my office is located but you can just see the north and south peaks.

Whenever the weather in the lower 48 (states) is bad, it's usually pretty nice around here. Wonderfully clear and cold. I had mentioned in an earlier post that we would get these incredibly clear days and was asked to post a picture.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Do You Have a Spirit of Adventure?

I've taken a picture at this location before during the summer. This the view north from Brower's just short of noon. It still looks pretty dark to the north. It kind of makes one wonder what would make someone, say an early explorer, consider heading north from this point to try and reach the north pole? Maybe I must not have that spirit of adventure. I was warned not to go out walking around NARL as there have been multiple polar bear sightings around the campus. This may be all the adventure I need.

On Friday night, I went to a shed about 5 miles south of the NARL campus to check on some equipment. It was dark, cold and very windy with lots of blowing snow. Just the couple hundred feet across the tundra was a challenge due to the soft snow drifts and the blowing snow. Power had apparently been disconnected from the shed as it was kind of like a scene from Doctor Zhivago with frost hanging from everything. The only thing missing was daylight. By the time I got back to the truck I was frozen. I went back out Saturday morning just to see if the wide area wireless system was working (it was). There was a hint of light on the horizon and it didn't feel anywhere near as cold or desolate. From this location you could still see the streetlights of Barrow but it looks pretty black in other directions.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

High Noon in Barrow

Just for comparison with my previous post, this photo was taken at peak daylight near Point Barrow, the farthest point north in Alaska at 71.324°N latitude. Contrary to popular belief (and the movie Thirty Days of Night), it isn't dark 24 hours per day, you just dont get to see the sun for a couple of months. The fronds on the "palm trees" are made of whale baleen and are located about 5 miles east of the town of Barrow towards the point at a location referred to as duck camp. There are a number of shacks, huts and cabins out here and is used I imagine for duck hunting. I think the palm trees are put here just for the tourists to take pictures of. This is as far as the road is plowed at this time.

I'm up here for several days to try and finish up some projects and like most of my tasks, they are a whole lot easier to do when no one is around.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Some Modest Moto Goals

Sunrise on New Years Day seems like a good thing to have on the first post of the year. I've been reading a lot of posts which either summarize the last year or list goals for the upcoming year. I've never been one to make personal goals or resolutions in the past and I suspect that is possibly due to fear of failure. I suspect that by the end of the first week, any resolutions I've made would be forgotten but moto goals may be doable.

  • Ride 5K miles this year. Given that I've only ridden about 9K miles over the last 3 years this may be a little ambitious.
  • Ride to the Arctic Circle. I've ridden as far north as the Yukon River bridge before turning around. As long as the road isn't muddy it should be fine, right...
  • Ride the Fairbanks-Anchorage-Valdez-Fairbanks loop
  • D2D - Dust to Dawson (it is not a rally) ride to Dawson City, YT, near the latter half of June
These sound like pretty modest goals. There are some things that I would really like to do but they aren't realistic such as other MSF classes since they aren't offered up here.