Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cisco Live!

Today was the first day of the Cisco Live! Conference assuming you don't count the reception yesterday evening. The main purpose for the reception was to get everyone looking around at all of the vendor booths and to collect t-shirts and pens. There are a couple of products that I am really interested in taking a closer look at one is a flow collection and analysis tool and the other is a log analysis tool that correlates data from multiple sources. Less for the University than for the Barrow project. The first talk I went to this morning was on IPv6 security and the speaker outlined numerous risks and attack vectors that I haven't really considered. One of the takeaways was the importance of deploying IPv6 in the enterprise network and education and training. Especially for the security group. The other was on the risks associated with Microsoft Terado. I never really knew what it was but now that I know how it works, Microsoft should be shut down for including this tool with Vista without letting people know of the risks! There was the keynote given, as always, by John Chambers on the future direction of Cisco as well as the 30 areas that they are focusing their efforts. Seems like a big number to me but then again, Cisco is s big company. There was a session on multicast where the focus was completely different than any of the Internet² conference presentations. The focus here was service provider deployments and not enterprise. There was a very interesting presentation by NBC and their experience with the Bejing Olympics and the network that they set up to provide the support for their production. The focus was on the internal production network for delivering the HD video to their editors and producers and not on the content distribution side. Pretty interesting. A lot of multicast was used on their internal network to maximize utilization of their WAN links from China to the US. The last session i went to was on SIP trunking. It was a very Cisco CM centered presentation but it covered a lot of the issues

This was an IP phone that was at one of the vendor booths. The next time someone asks me for a flashy phone, I'll send him here. Obviously, this was not a real product but just something to get people to stop at their booth. My Mini9 lasted all day without being plugged in and it worked fine on their IPv6 wireless network. I'm one of the few who actually connected to their IPv6 site and registered but everyone using the wireless was going to Google using IPv6 as their transport whether they knew it or not. I'll be interested in the statistics if they ever release them. Instead of the turtle with the moving fins, they had a dragon waving its arms. Considering that there are 10,000 people at this conference and only 5 submitted their names on the IPv6 form is somewhat frightening. After all, these are all router jockeys, network engineering types. I guess that shows the state of IPv6.

According to the Nike+ site, this month is ending up with a respectable mileage. 208 miles so far this month. Not my highest but right in there with other months this year. I thought that it would be low with the trips to Barrow and San Francisco plus the Midnight Sun Run. (Very little training before but lots of resting afterwards.) I think that I'm really going to like the convenience of the Nike+ on the iPhone since I almost always carry that around. I still don't know if it keeps running in background like the other Apple apps since I just used it for the walk down to the convention center. I feel like I walked 5 miles during the day but none of that is logged since I was concerned about battery life. I ended up using the Dell quite a bit this morning due to a reported problem with voice mail in Barrow but it turned out to be a network issue and not a VoIP issue. But I think I came back with 30% of the battery even with several hours of wireless Internet usage. Not as much battery life as I was hoping for but I still really like the form factor. (2.18 lbs!)

Monday, June 29, 2009

My New "GS"

Apple iPhone 3GS, that is. The Office of Information Technology at the University finally came out with a cell phone reimbursement policy. As part of the process, I need to turn in my University purchased cell phone which happened to be a first generation iPhone. The good thing is that it was purchased outright and not as part of a contract so i just had to go online, enter my phone number and was automatically pre-approved. I just needed to pick up my iPhone. Since I am in San Francisco for the Cisco Live Conference, I stopped by the Apple store on Stockton Street, waited in a short line, and picked it up.

One of the features of the 3GS is a built-in Nike+ receiver so I don't have to carry around the iPod Nano just for the Nike+ feature.It took a while to figure out how to turn on the feature as it wasn't really obvious. I'll try it out on the walk to Moscone Center tomorrow morning. I think my session starts at 8:00 so I'm not sure what to do for breakfast. There are a bunch of other new features but the best one is the speed. There was many times when the old phone just ground to a halt and had to be rebooted. Too many new features and not enough memory. Even though it had 8 GB, the operating system itself ran in just 128 MB. The new one doubles that to 256 MB. I'm anxious to try out the new 3 megapixel camera with more control over focus and exposure than the original iPhone.

So far, the Dell Mini9 is working like a charm. I was able to activate the new phone and restore from a backup of the original iPhone. I'm using the Hawking external antenna since I was having difficulty accessing the hotel wireless this afternoon. The phone connected just fine so I should probably try it again.

Busy Weekend

Over the weekend, we went on a quick trip to Anchorage to attend a wedding. The weather was pretty nice down south but was raining in Fairbanks when we left and on the way back. In fact, we really got dumped on between Nenana and Fairbanks. There was a birthday party yesterday evening and then off to the airport to head down to San Francisco for the Cisco Networkers conference, now called Cisco Live. In the past, this conference has had the highest content to marketing ratio of just about any conference I've ever attended. There are a multitude of seminars on just about any topic you can think of in networking. In the past, I used to teach for the Cisco Academy in Fairbanks but haven't done that for several years. Not for lack of interest on my part but for lack of students. Just not enough of a market in the fairbanks area.

Today was supposed to be a time to recuperate but I couldn't get into my room until 3:00 so I went down to Moscone to register. I seem to have forgotten how many people there are around here. The conference is using all three halls. Bigger than I thought it would be. No motorcycle riding at all since Wednesday...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I didn't ride the bike today since I needed to pick up new countertops that we ordered at Spenard Builders Supply. They are just Formica and not some of the cool solid materials currently popular but they still should make a significant improvement in the appearance of our kitchen. I guess I know what I well be doing over the 4th of July weekend. Because of this, I didn't ride my motorcycle in to work today. It figures that this was the first clear, sunny day we've had all week. To make matters worse, I needed to find a suitable place in the garage to store the countertop until I can get it installed and it is blocking the bike in. I guess that will ensure that it gets installed in a timely manner.

On another note, I just received more VoIP stuff to work on. One of the items is an appliance called a PhoneBochs that comes preinstalled with Trixbox software. I believe that this is a version of Asterisk Now. I used this software at a Texas A&M workshop back in February and I was pretty impressed by it's flexibility and ease of management. If this works out like I believe it will, I will be ordering a couple more to deploy in Barrow. This will replace the combination of OpenSER and Asterisk that I am currently using. I also received a couple of WLAN SIP phones since wireless phones are a requested upgrade. The last item is a small box that I should be able to use to allow dial in access to the building paging system. Plenty of things to keep me busy....

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Still Raining

I mentioned last week that I had offered to lead the WIN for Alaska noontime walk here on the Fairbanks campus. Today was the day. I walked down to the lower campus bus stop (in the rain) to see if anyone was going to show up. One other person showed up and we walked about 2¼ miles in a very light rain. We avoided the ski trails to avoid the mud but the dirt road running behind Nat Sci and the museum was getting pretty muddy. Didn't get too wet. This morning, I was debating whether or not to ride the bike in and riding won out. There was a lot of water on the road but not very much traffic so it was a nice ride. I am now thinking about going on the WIN walk at 5:00pm. Maybe I will show up and at least turn in the signup form from the noontime walk.

Wednesday Evening - The rain had pretty much died down by 4:30, so I walked down to the Patty Gym where the WIN walk was going to start. I was the only one who showed up besides the WIN consultant so we went on the same route as last week except in reverse. Up the ski hill to West Ridge and into the ski trails. Down the Calypso Loop towards the farm. Past the Botanical Gardens to the road then back to Patty. It was a nice walk, right around 3 miles but I couldn't tell since the battery finally died on my Nike+ sensor. Usually, there is a low battery warning but not this time. I'm glad it didn't die during the Midnight Sun Run last Saturday. I had already purchased a replacement sensor just in case it died right before the run. It is somewhat of a hassle to get the new sensor working since you have to "pair" it with the iPod. Kind of like a Bluetooth device with no visible feedback. I.e. no lights, beeps, or display. You can't even tell if the sensor is turned on or working. Almost 2200 miles on the Nike+ site right now. If I can maintain 200 miles per month, I'll be pretty happy with my progress.

On another note, I'm still using the Dell Mini9 for just about everything. I'm using it now to type up this post. I moved the iTunes library to a 16GB SD card so it would free up space on the primary SSD drive. The Mini9 has a built in SD card slot so this seemed like a good way to use it. My iTunes library is pretty static and just fits on the card. I thought about using another one for my iPhoto library but there are a lot of RW operations with iPhoto. The solid state memory used in SD cards and SSD drives can only support a limited number of write operations. Their lifetime is still unknown.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Riding in the Rain

This morning, it was clear and sunny. When I went out to the garage, I noticed that I had left the parking lights on the bike on all night. I was pretty surprised that it still started (cranked very slowly but caught immediately). In order to charge the battery, I took the scenic route in to work but even after riding for almost 20 minutes, the battery was still only at 12 volts with the headlight off. I went ahead and shut the bike off and hoped that it would start when it was time to leave at the end of the day. The clear, sunny weather turned to heavy rain by late afternoon. When it was time to leave, I went out to start the bike and it turned over slowly but caught immediately. I think that a charging system upgrade is in my future. At least before I take any long trips. I thought for sure that the ride this morning should have been enough to recharge the battery.

On my trip home, it was raining pretty hard and there was a lot of standing water on the road. All the gear worked well as I arrived home not even damp. The one thing that needs improving is the helmet visor. Not that it leaked or anything like that but it kept fogging up. I had to ride with the visor cracked open. There is just one small openable vent in the chin and another small fixed vent at the rear of the helmet. I have never tried any of the anti-fog treatments but maybe it's time. I also would like to find something like Rain-X that I can use on the windshield. I've read that Rain-X isn't recommended for plastic windshields. I think I remember that there were products designed for small airplane windshields but I don't remember the brand. The one other piece of gear that I think need replacement are my boots. I think that they will get pretty wet and soggy if I had to ride all day in the rain. They are simply work boots that I got for the riding class two years ago. The First Gear pants and jacket seem to work pretty well but I haven't ridden for more than an hour in the rain so I don't know how well it would work in a long ride. It really was a nice day to ride in spite of what others said at work today...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

Ibuprofen was my friend today. Yesterday, I pushed myself at the Midnight Sun Run and today, my hips are sore. I think I need to learn how to run. Whenever I started taking longer steps, still maintaining roughly the same step rate, I naturally went faster (duh!). It didn't really seem to take much more effort but I was able to cover much more distance in the same number of step. I guess it is something else to learn or at least train for. As I've mentioned before, I walk a lot but rarely run. In fact, my running is really closer to jogging except I think I remember hearing that running was both feet off of the ground at some point in your stride. I do meet that definition but my steps are only a little longer than when walking.

It was still raining this morning so I rode the bike to church this morning. After church, for some reason, the bike turned right out of the parking lot and I managed to turn a one mile trip into a twenty mile trip. The rain had stopped by then and it was a wonderful trip. The asphalt was torn up in a couple places on Ballaine Road and Goldstream Road and I must admit that I still feel uneasy with the gravel. I guess I'm still a bit gun shy after my run in with gravel last month. No problems at all in fact it was kind of fun. Back a couple of years ago when I started to look for a bike, I was trying to find a nice used cruiser, specifically a 2004 or newer Harley Sportage (rubber mounted engine). I just like the way they looked and sounded. Here in Fairbanks, the Harley dealer is also the BMW dealer and that is where I found my '83 R100RT, I guess the salesman didn't think I was the HD type and asked whether I had considered a BMW. I had not at all since I didn't really like the "lean over the tank" feel of the sport bikes. I had classified BMWs as sport bikes sort of fitting the character of the cars. The '83 RT was there on consignment and it is a "standard" and a touring bike and came with a full complement of hard bags. Not a cruiser like I was originally looking for. When these bikes were new, way back when I was a graduate student, I really liked the way they looked. But if I were shopping for a bike now, I would be looking for a dual sport bike such as a F650GS. Quite a change from the Sportster that I was originally looking at. The top picture is a 1983 R100RT BMW (same color and model as mine but a much better picture). The middle picture is a 2005 Harley Davidson Sportster. The bottom is a BMW F650GS, year unknown. All off of the Internet from Google image search.

Tonight, my oldest son took everyone out to dinner to celebrate Fathers Day and I have to admit, I really appreciate it. My stepson also wished me a happy Fathers Day and that was really welcome as well. All in all, a nice Father's Day.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Midnight Sun Run

I just finished the Fairbanks Midnight Sun Run with an average pace of 12:49 min/mile (according to my Nike+ gadget). This is my first 10k in a long, long time. I ran the first 1½ miles then walked for about a mile, then jogged for the rest of the race. It was the largest ever turnout for this race with about 3,500 official entrants. The race started at 10:00 pm with a shot from a howitzer courtesy of Fort Wainright and if the weather was nice, it would have been bright and sunny. As it was, it was cool and rainy. Not the best possible weather. I was originally planning on just walking the course but felt like pushing myself some and see how I would do. I think I would've done better if I was jogging/running on a regular basis. There's always next year.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Loco Moco

I finally got the wood trim installed in the bathroom. It has been undone since I did the complete remodel about 4 years ago. Nothing like procrastinating. It turned out about as I expected. There is a octagonal stained glass window with a home made jambs where the angles were exactly 45° so the trim doesn't have a consistent reveal all the way around. The miter saw I have had a detent at 22.5° so I couldn't really adjust for all of the off angles. I guess it looks alright but one of the reasons for procrastinating is that I wouldn't be able to get it just right.

The bib pickup for the Midnight Sun Run turned out to be last week and not today like I had thought. I guess I wouldn't have been able to pick it up anyway since I was still in Barrow last week. Tomorrow is a staff picnic/potluck at Pioneer Park with a Hawaiian theme. I am thinking about bringing Spam Loco Moco but I'm still trying to figure out how to make it "pot luck" style as opposed to individual servings. I had originally volunteered to bring macaroni & cheese (with Spam) but I thought that a themed dish would be better. This is one dish I really like though it is not very healthy. Too much fat and carbs. In case you aren't familiar with Loco Moco, it is white rice, some protein, a fried egg, then the whole mess covered with brown gravy. The protein is typically a burger patty but I like the fried Spam version better. Popular lore says that it was initially developed to feed hungary teenagers as cheaply as possible.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

iPhone 3.0

The new 3.0 software for the iPhone was released today so, naturally, I immediately synched my phone to get the new software. Painless upgrade on my old non-3G phone. The feature that I have been waiting for is cut and paste and it works just like you would expect it to. I turned on the "find my iPhone" feature to see how it works on a non-gps phone. I can't test the feature since the MobileMe site won't come up probably due to load on their servers. I think a lot of people have been waiting for this upgrade to provide some of the features that should have been there from the beginning. The search function works great especially since you can (finally) now search email.

Wednesday Afternoon - Today at noon, I went on the WIN for Alaska walk which started from the Wood Center bus stop. The small group wound around on the ski trails up to the Natural Science building before heading back to lower campus via the trail to the Chapman Building. Afterwards, I still had some time left on my extended lunch hour, so I walked back along my now regular route to Ballaine Lake and the Skarland Trail to the West Ridge warmup hut before heading back to my office. Next Wednesday, I get to lead the noon walk since all of the WIN folks will be in Anchorage for some sort f meeting. Now my Nike+ account is showing 507 workouts totaling 2116 miles. A 4 mile per workout average doesn't sound too bad. I though that I may be too tired to go on the walk after yesterdays 14 mile trip but this morning, I felt fine. There is another WIN walk at 5:00 pm that I plan on going on. The question is whether I ride the bike to lower campus or just leave the bike here and walk down. It may be easier to walk down and not have to be concerned about storing all the riding gear.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Warm Summer Day

It was is in the upper 70s today so going for a long walk seemed in order. I had taken the day off from work to get some things done around the house. Ordered a new countertop for the kitchen as well as a patio door. The finish was still drying on the bathroom trim so my afternoon was now free. I now needed to choose between motorbike ride or a long walk. Walking won. I headed uphill, as I usually do, and headed into the next subdivision. A Pearl Creek School, I turned and headed up towards the top of the hill on Ballaine Road. This was a road that I had wanted to try for months and this seemed to be the perfect day to explore bit. From the top of thei hill, I then headed to the University along the West Ridge ski trails before going down to College Road. Then home along the Farmers Loop bike path. It turned out to be a nice 14 mile walk. Pretty tired after that. I hope I'll be ready for the Midnight Sun Run this Saturday.

My walks haven't been logging on the Nike+ site since I did the factory reset on the iPod. After the reset, the iPod now appears to the Nike+ site, so I need to login to the site sometime to associate the "new" iPod to my account. Hopefully, there won't be any glitches. I would be annoyed if my last couple of walks were lost. Tomorrow will be my first WIN walk of the summer. I've been really good about getting some miles in just about every day during lunch time but it will be nice to walk with others. Unlike last year, they have walks in the morning and evening in addition to the noon walk but I can't do them all the time. Their "award" for showing up this year is a water bottle.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Poor Turnout

Not too many bikes turned out for "Ride to Work Day" and we can't really blame the weather...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

More Geocaching

We went geocaching again today and bagged seven caches around Fairbanks. Dropped off a travel bug and picked a couple up. I will be heading out to North Pole Wednesday evening so that would be a good chance to drop them off where they will be picked up by tourists leaving the state. I think the goal is to cover as much distance as they can. The mosquitoes were pretty bad where there wasn't any wind and we learned of a new micro-cache container. I guess this is a popular cache container in cities and it is a small metal cylinder about ½" in diameter with a strong magnet at one end. They are painted to match the metal they are stuck to. Unscrew one end, and you find a scroll of paper on which you can log your visit. Pretty cool. One of the caches we visited last week had one of these and we actually found it but didn't recognize it as the cache.

Not much walking this weekend. I had wanted to enter the Mosquito Meander 5k but forgot about it until I saw some people wearing the t-shirts at the local Farmers Market. My iPod Nano had some real problems today as it refused to shut off. I did a "restore" which basically wiped everything out and it looks like it's working again.

I did get the shocks and springs installed on the bike which should end the bottoming out on the frost heaves. The replacements aren't the same as the original equipment but use conventional springs and gas shocks. There is a special wrench to adjust the tension of the spring to match the load. The disadvantage is that now the bike sits up higher and my feet barely reach the ground. This will take some getting used to. When I originally purchased the bike, I was amazed that I could reach the ground. Now I know why. The springs were worn out. I'll try them out tomorrow on "Ride to Work Day".

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Ride to Work

Monday is the 18th International Ride to Work Day where people are encouraged to use motorcycles and scooters to run all there errands on. I think the purpose is to demonstrate just how many riders there really are and how diverse a group they are. I plan on riding on Monday. Hopefully, I can get the rear springs and shocks installed tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Moving Servers

Today was a pretty hectic day. I wanted to move servers from the old server room in NARL building 360 into the BARC server room now that it had a decent UPS. First we moved the Apple Xserve and it's raid array. There were a bunch of network cables and I unplugged the wrong one. I plugged it back in where I thought it came out of and it turns out that the cable wasn't plugged in at all. Plugging it into a switch port created a loop in the network. This brought down the wireless link and subsequently, all connectivity to the Internet. After I was made aware of the problem, it took about 15 minutes to figure out what happened and remove the offending cable. Frustrating.

We did eventually get everything done. Now we need to move the old UPS units into the building 360 server room. This should give us the run time that we really need. I'm really glad that there was plenty of help from UAF for all of the tasks that I had wanted to get done during this visit.

Another real plus on this trip has been the Dell Mini9. I have been trying to use it as much as possible and it has been working out great. Sometimes, the screen has proven to be a little small (1024x600) compared to the Macbook Pro (1440x900) especially when I ssh into one of the hosts and need to do a little cut and paste between windows. Other than that, it has been great. The battery lasts for about 3½ hours with the wireless in use all the time. The keyboard is still a bit cramped but still use able. This picture really shows the difference in size between my MacBook Pro and the Dell Mini9. I think I will be using the Dell when traveling unless I really need the screen real estate.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

APC UPS Installation

Most of Yesterday and today was spent getting a new APC UPS installed in the new facility. We had two electricians, the Operation Manager from UAF, and Engineer from APC, and a UA Windows Server administrator. The installation went like clockwork. We even tested the system by transferring the system to the backup diesel generator. Went flawlessly. Since the engineer was here, we took advantage of the situation to get a problem worked out with some older APC systems that haven't worked properly for years. It turns out that sometime, they were put into maintenance mode. There was nothing wrong with them. Tomorrow, we will be moving them back to building 360 for the old server room.

After the successful UPS/generator test, we took some of the visiting staff and engineer out towards the point. Obviously, there is still some attraction to Barrow being as it is the furthest north point in Alaska. These are some baleen palm trees out towards the point at a local camping and bird hunting area about 10 miles east of town toward the point. I had taken a picture out here in the past but it was -40°F then.

The APC engineer wanted to get his picture taken in the Arctic Ocean. Kind of crazy.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Walk Around NARL

Up in Barrow again, this time we are installing a 20KVA UPS in the new facility to support the servers and the network. There is a diesel generator on site but there is a measurable delay between the power outage and the generator being online to take on the load. The UPS is there to keep the infrastructure up and running during the switchover to the backup power source as well as the switch back to line power. I pass this building each time I head over to the BARC and I always thought it looked kind of cool. The cooling tubes just add to the character of the building. I am so rarely up here during nice weather, I took the opportunity to go for a walk after dinner. Plus I am hoping that it helps with the sick feeling that seems to accompany every meal these days. The walk could have been longer but it seemed to help.

This is the BARC (Barrow Arctic Research Center) showing what was originally a balloon launch tower. Now it is the home for the WipLL 700 mHz radios that provide network connectivity for a significant radius around the facility. Setting up this significant portion of the wireless infrastructure is the University of Cincinatti. The purpose is not to provide the ability for someone way out in the middle of nowhere to be able to check their email but to provide low bandwidth connectivity to transfer data supporting research. It works really well.

Just a short distance to the east is a DEWline (Defense Early Warning) station. Located at the entrance to the facility is a totem pole topped with a toilet. I guess people come up with strange things when they are bored.

This is a view to the NE from the beach. This area is what used to be the Navel Arctic Research Lab (NARL) and was shut down sometime around 1980 (I think). It is now kind of a suburb of Barrow with some housing, and home to Ilisagvik College and the Barrow Arctic Research Consortium (BASC) as well as several commercial businesses. A little bit further east is the football field made famous by ESPN a couple of years back when Barrow had their first football game. As you will notice, the ice is getting pretty soft but it is still not melted. I don't think it clears out for several more weeks.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


It was a really nice morning so after church today, I walked to the University. This is Ballaine Lake. I walk to this lake often and remembered that I never took a picture of it. I guess I just pass by all the time and never really noticed how picturesque it was. I then headed to Gullivers Book Store before heading up to West Ridge to do a little geocaching. There is a really nice cache just off of the ski trails that we went to first. We then went to look for one near the Welcome sign on the Parks Highway but couldn't find it. We then headed to Creamers Field but they were charging admission for some sort of kids event. We'll look for that one some other time.

We then headed up Ester Dome to look for a couple up near the top. We found both of them without too much trouble and the views of the valleys from the top are phenomenal. This is a shot towards Fairbanks from an outcrop just off of the Equinox trail. I really enjoy it up there. The bugs were out in force especially when you get off of the trails and stir up the grasses. They were especially viscous behind the university.

Friday, June 5, 2009

PGP WDE/Firmware Incompatibility?

I was just getting ready to leave for the day and my Mac announced that there were updates available. So I thought that I may as well go ahead and wait the extra 5 minutes to do the updates before heading out. After the update, the Mac would no longer boot. It starts up, puts up the PGP WDE screen, then after typing the password, it shuts down. Thinking that this was just a fluke, I tried restarting the machine several times and got the same behavior. So now, I'm restoring from a Time Machine backup. Fortunately, it is from 4:00 this afternoon so lost data is pretty much limited to a couple of email messages. Still, it's pretty annoying. I'm told that one of the things updated was the firmware and maybe there is some incompatibility with the WDE (whole disk encryption) software that I am running. I sure am glad that I am running Time Machine or this would have been a real drag. It is in the process of restoring and I still have 3½ hours 'til it's done. I can't emphasize enough how important it is to have a backup. On a Mac, Apple made it really simple.

Update - The restore got done around 9:30PM and after booting, the OS wanted to install the update again. Since the drive was no longer encrypted, I went ahead and applied the updates. This time no problem at all. I guess the problem was WDE and the firmware upgrade. I was thinking of holding off on updating the Mini9 but maybe I'll go ahead and give it a shot (after backing up of course).

This afternoon, I managed to fit in a 4 mile walk before it started to rain. I'm not real sure why I feel so run down but I am pretty sure that I won't be setting any records this month. I have a short trip to Barrow coming up and a trip to the Cisco conference at the end of the month. Now that I'm not teaching the CCNP classes anymore, I'm a bit disconnected with what's going on. I used try and make Cisco Networkers as it has by far the most real content. A lot of conferences have a lot of vendors saying how great they are but here they have a tremendous amount of technical content. I noticed on the registration that I am a "NetVet" this time around. I guess I've been to enough of these.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Another warm one today. 80°F at noon. I had heard that the food from the new falafel stand, located in the parking lot of what used to be the Plywood Supply Building, was pretty authentic from someone here at work so I figured it was worth a shot. I had the falafel pita and it was very tasty. Lots of fresh veggies, hummus and tahini sauce all served in a Pita bread with about a half dozen falafel. The menu is pretty limited, as are their hours, but if the line of people waiting is any indication of their success, they should be around for a while. I was initially concerned about the deep fried falafel, but they didn't taste greasy at all. I walked back along the now familiar route before heading back to my office of Ballaine Lake and the Skarland Trail up to the warm up hut next to the IARC Building. Total distance for this trip was 5.02 miles averaging 15' 32" per mile. Good enough considering the temperature. I still need to bring in some shorts or something because wearing jeans these days while walking outside is almost unbearably warm. This time, I didn't go around the T-Field since it was so warm.

Yesterday, I followed the same route but went down to lower campus twice. The second time to get a haircut. (twice a year whether I need it or not...)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Summer's Here!

I went for a long walk today during lunch. Headed down to College Road then up Farmers Loop to Ballaine Lake for a short rest. Then followed the Skarland Trail to West Ridge, one loop of the T Field, then headed back to my office. According to the Nike+ gadget, I went 7.18 miles. Some have asked how I have time to walk as much as I do. I usually get in to my office about 7:15 and I normally don't leave until almost 5:30. I choose to take time during the day to go for walks. This does wonders for me to not only clear my head but really helps get over the nausea I get from my lunchtime medication. On some days, it is a single long walk but usually it is two shorter walks. many times it is simply a couple of walks per day to lower campus. During the winter, I regularly take the bus so that guarantees a minimum of 4½ miles per day. As you can see from the thermometer, it was pretty warm today and I should plan on bringing in a change of clothes for my walks. In reality, it was only in the mid-70's and not 80 like the thermometer claimed as this one was sitting in the sun. The mosquitoes weren't as bad today as they were yesterday probably because it wasn't as humid. Pretty nice day for a walk. In email today, an announcement came out from the WIN for Alaska group about their upcoming afternoon walks. They start next Wednesday at noon from the Wood Center bus stop and, if you attend 10 walks, you will receive a water bottle. Is that enough of an incentive? For me, probably. I still have the gift card I received as an incentive last summer sitting on my desk. In other words, it doesn't take much to get me out walking these days.

I also met another one of the goals I set for myself on the Nike+ site. I walked enough to burn 25,000 Calories in under 4 weeks. In reality, it took about 3 weeks. Less time than I thought it would. For me, this gadget and the associated web site, seem to provide much of the incentive I need to keep walking. When the original University of Alaska Start Walking programs ended, I thought that there wouldn't be anything to keep me going with the exercising but this gadget has been wonderful. There is enough competition to keep me interested. Now I need to set a new goal. Should these goals I set for myself be readily achievable or should they be a real stretch? In just about all of the Nike+ challenges I've entered, I've managed to get into the top 5 of just about all of them and actually winning roughly ¼ of them. In one, it is a competition by time zone and I'm the only one representing Alaska Time. Not in first place but not in last place either (ahead of Mountain and Hawaii). Fun competitions.

Monday, June 1, 2009

25 Years

Today, I got recognized for sticking around the University for 25 years. I'm not quite sure where the artwork is going to go but it is sitting in my office for now. Kind of hard to bring a framed print on the bike. I took the Skarland Trail all the way to Ballaine Lake and was thinking about just going on up Yankovich Road and head back to West Ridge before I remembered that I needed to be back in time for the awards ceremony. I cut my walk short and headed back towards Wood Center before heading back up to my office. I'm not quite sure what to make of this wooden plaque (please excuse the rather poor picture from my iPhone), I mean what do you do with it? Not complaining or anything like that at all but it just struck me as odd. One thought was that it was used to identify the awards but a sticky note would do that just fine. Oh well, 25 years and probably many more.

On another note, I did make the last 10 miles to make last month (May, 2009) the month with the most mileage on the Nike+ gadget since I started with over 240 miles logged. Previously, last February was my highest. I didn't think I was even close until I looked at the stats since I haven't used the treadmill at all this month but have been doing a lot of walking outside. Even the four days in Barrow didn't do much to slow me down. I just saw the mile goals and kept making myself go for walks even if I really didn't feel up to it. Right now, I am starting to feel a bit tired of walking but need to get in shape for the Midnight Sun Run on June 20th. I don't really feel like running it but who knows. I may try...