Friday, February 26, 2010

Dead Nike+ Sensor

Not in Barrow anymore. The blizzard let up long enough for the plane to make it in. The ride into the airport from NARL was pretty exciting. The snow drifts across the road were averaging about 16" deep and driving through them felt a little like sailing on the ocean. Every time you blast through a drift, the snow would blow over the hood and cab. It was very warm when I got back to Fairbanks. Extremely slippery conditions with freezing drizzle and cars in ditches all over town. Even though it has since cooled off (-17°F), the slick conditions are lingering on. Not good weather for trying to jog outdoors.

Earlier this week, my Nike+ sensor died. Actually, it was just the battery but it is a sealed unit with a non-replaceable battery. I would normally not bother with such a device but it does last for about 1000 miles so they don't need to be replaced very often. About every five months for me. I had a spare sitting on the shelf at home so no big deal. The annoying thing was, I lost about 7 miles. Since my mileage has been way down between travel and getting sick, it bugged me. Odd behavior...

I'm in the process of reviewing the slide deck for the Internet² Multicast Workshop. I haven't looked at them for over a year and haven't taught from them for maybe 2 years. I think I'm going to have a busy weekend.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

In Barrow Fighting with the Network

I haven't posted for the last couple of weeks not because I was stuck somewhere in the Seattle airport but there just isn't much going on. I picked up a virus in Salt Lake City and I'm finally starting to feel "normal". This week I'm in Barrow setting up new network gear in a old building. This evening, I finished the hard part this and tomorrow I get to run around the NARL campus setting up some more wireless stuff. Nothing real exciting. The wind has been blowing and there is a lot of snow drifting across the road. Maybe I'll have time to get some pictures...

Very little exercising as walking around outside is discouraged due to occasional polar bear sightings. I haven't seen any on the NARL campus but one of the cooks at the college mentioned there have been almost a dozen seen around the campus. NARL was originally built back in the 40's as the Naval Arctic Research Lab and was finally closed in the late 80's. The run-down buildings are now occupied by a variety of organizations including the Barrow Arctic Science Consortium (BASC), Ilisagvik College, a handful of businesses and some residential units. If nothing else, it is an interesting place to visit and is located about 1/3 of the way between the village of Barrow and the Point Barrow, the most northern land in Alaska. Between here and the North Pole is just sea ice.

Thursday Evening - One of the best things about having to go to Barrow is Osaka. Easily one of the best Japanese restaurants in Alaska. No kidding, better than all in Fairbanks and Anchorage. Decent selection of sushi and sashimi but the prices are, understandably, kind of high. No luck getting pictures today as the blowing snow was obscuring just about everything. Visibility was about ½ mile and the light was really flat. In fact, it was a little difficult seeing where the edges of the road were. Still trying to debug some wireless gremlins. This is on a 5.x GhZ point to multipoint network servicing an area about ½ mile radius from one of the main buildings. Multipath is a real problem here due to all of the metal roofs and metal siding on the buildings. Many of the buildings are quonset huts made of corrugated sheet metal from the 1940s. Fastening an antenna mast to them is more than a little challenging due to their shape.

Friday Evening - The weather is even worse today and now it is even a question whether the blizzard will be over by the time I'm supposed to be heading home (Saturday evening). This is a shot from the steps of NARL building 360 and the "NARL hotel" is the structures on each side. It's kind of hard to capture the blowing, drifting snow and the 35 mph wind in a still photo. One of these days I'll learn how to post video. This evening, I even passed up an opportunity to get some sushi and ended up having dinner at the college cafeteria. The conditions really were that bad. The road behind the building had drifts over a foot deep crossing the road. The last thing I need is to get stuck in a blizzard. I guess the weather back home in Fairbanks is creating treacherous driving conditions due to the warmth. Warm. moist air and very cold road surfaces means lots of glare ice.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Getting Ready to Leave SLC

The ESCC/Internet² Joint Tech meeting is over as well as the IPv6 workshop I was team teaching that was attached to the meeting. Time to head home. Many of the students in the class were finding that their flights to the east coast were being cancelled due to weather. At least I don't have to go through all that. The University of Utah has been a great place to hold the meeting and the campus is huge. I have come down with a cough and a cold while here but I think it is something that has been incubating for a couple of weeks. The temperatures here have been generally cool, floating right around freezing which has made walking in the morning a bit treacherous. Starting Tuesday, evening meetings, dinners, etc. has limited walking opportunities but I think I needed to focus on not letting my cold get any worse. I had let myself get pretty chilled one evening and that was probably let the virus get a foothold. I even took the shuttle down to the student union this morning instead of the leisurely 1¼ mile stroll.

The University of Alaska will be hosting this meeting in about 17 months so I really need to get moving on logistics. Ineternet² has already made a site visit and seem to be satisfied but since I was the one who initiated bringing the meeting to town, I think I'm going to be busy.

Last night, several of us from the class went downtown looking for some dinner. Something besides food from the university. At one building with a overlook from the 10th floor, there was a great view of the Mormon temple. We also saw that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was practicing that evening, so we went in to listen for a bit. Great acoustics in the building.

Here is a shot of the practice session from the back of the building. They really did sound very good... BTW, all iPhone snapshots.