Sunday, August 26, 2007

Agata Lausanne Triathlon

I am very proud to report that it is 11am o Sunday August 26th and Agata has already cycled 10Km to the Lausanne Triathlon 2007, done the trîathlon and then cycled up the steep 10Km back home.


On the down side I was struck down with acute Metatarsalgia so the best I could do this morning was be there as a spectator. Anyway Agata was moving so quickly that I had difficulty getting any photos of her at all. What I have is below:

Friday, August 17, 2007

Saying goodbye to Psion

For over 20 years I have owned a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA). They have mostly come and gone until the day I was speaking to my old friend Graeme.

I was promoting the virtues of my Mitac 1600A, a DOS based PDA, with Microsoft Works in ROM, all in the size of a half thickness VHS video cassette form factor.

"Ah" said Graeme, "Pick a day, any day in the last 5 years. Now pick a time". I followed his instructions and he read me his diary his exact appointments and actions that he had faithfully recorded. It was a Eureka moment. Here was a device which could quite literally reliably store all your notes and actions for years at a time. A portable, instantaneously available information base you really could fit in your pocket. When I then observed the basic functionality of the Psion, I was totally sold. In addition to the fundamental facility that every PDA must have, namely Instant ON, the Psion 5 (or Psion 5MX or Ericsson MC218) had

  • A usable keyboard you could actually type on

  • A screen wider than it was tall so you can construct a whole sentence on one line

  • A set of applications e.g Cardfile, Word, Clock that you could use as is or adapt to your needs

Throughout the years I have flirted with other PDA style devices. I still use a Windows CE portable, but my colour, 640x480, Instant on, fantastic keyboard, 6 hour battery ON lifed, Psion Netbook (Series 7) still sets my heart a flutter. How can it possibly be that over 10 years after the initial Psion 5 there is still nothing in the marketplace that can truely perform like a Psion for PDA activities.

That is, until recently when I was seduced by the HTC Shift.

This is a Hybrid ultra compact PC with 2 processors, one for Vista (or any Intel OS e.g. Linux / Vista ..) and a Qualcomm processor for Windows CE

The cunning plan then is to use Windows CE for the diary style activities, probably with Pocket Informant, and then to use the Intel and Vista side of the machine for more heavyweight note taking. A full EPOC Psion emulation is available under Vista so you never have to truely say goodbye to Symbian

You can watch spellbound at this now infamous Hugo Ortega 30 minute video.

Since deliveries from Clove Technology are still probably 2 months away, my Psion is getting ready for a fight. He has seen many challengers come and go, he may not be ready for the scrap-yard just yet.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

60 Years of Indi-pendence

Jawaharlal NehruOn the Granting of Indian Independence, August 14, 1947

Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long supressed, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of Inida and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity.

At the dawn of history India started on her unending quest, and trackless centuries are filled with her striving and the grandeur of her success and her failures. Through good and ill fortune alike she has never lost sight of that quest or forgotten the ideals which gave her strength. We end today a period of ill fortune and India discovers herself again. The achievement we celebrate today is but a step, an opening of opportunity, to the greater triumphs and achievements that await us. Are we brave enough and wise enough to grasp this opportunity and accept the challenge of the future?

Freedom and power bring responsibility. The responsibility rests upon this Assembly, a sovereign body representing the sovereign people of India. Before the birth of freedom we have endured all the pains of labour and our hearts are heavy with the memory of this sorrow. Some of those pains continue even now. Nevertheless, the past is over and it is the future that beckons to us now.

That future is not one of ease or resting but of incessant striving so that we may fulfil the pledges we have so often taken and the one we shall take today. The service of India means the service of the millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity. The ambition of the greatest man of our generation has been to wipe every tear from every eye. That may be beyond us, but as long as there are tears and suffering, so long our work will not be over.

And so we have to labour and to work, and work hard, to give reality to our dreams. Those dreams are for India, but they are also for the world, for all the nations and peoples are too closely knit together today for any one of them to imagine that it can live apart Peace has been said to be indivisible; so is freedom, so is prosperity now, and so also is disaster in this One World that can no longer be split into isolated fragments.

To the people of India, whose representatives we are, we make an appeal to join us with faith and confidence in this great adventure. This is no time for petty and destructive criticism, no time for ill-will or blaming others. We have to build the noble mansion of free India where all her children may dwell

The appointed day has come-the day appointed by destiny-and India stands forth again, after long slumber and struggle, awake, vital, free and independent. The past clings on to us still in some measure and we have to do much before we redeem the pledges we have so often taken.

Yet the turning-point is past, and history begins anew for us, the history which we shall live and act and others will write about.

It is a fateful moment for us in India, for all Asia and for the world. A new star rises, the star of freedom in the East, a new hope comes into being, a vision long cherished materializes. May the star never set and that hope never be betrayed!

We rejoice in that freedom, even though clouds surround us, and many of our people are sorrowstricken and difficult problems encompass us. But freedom brings responsibilities and burdens and we have to face them in the spirit of a free and disciplined people.

On this day our first thoughts go to the architect of this freedom, the Father of our Nation [Gandhi], who, embodying the old spirit of India, held aloft the torch of freedom and lighted up the darkness that surrounded us. We have often been unworthy followers of his and have strayed from his message, but not only we but succeeding generations will remember this message and bear the imprint in their hearts of this great son of India, magnificent in his faith and strength and courage and humility. We shall never allow that torch of freedom to be blown out, however high the wind or stormy the tempest.

Our next thoughts must be of the unknown volunteers and soldiers of freedom who, without praise or reward, have served India even unto death.

We think also of our brothers and sisters who have been cut off from us by political boundaries and who unhappily cannot share at present in the freedom
that has come. They are of us and will remain of us whatever may happen, and we shall be sharers in their good [or] ill fortune alike.

The future beckons to us. Whither do we go and what shall be our endeavour? To bring freedom and opportunity to the common man, to the peasants and workers of India; to fight and end poverty and ignorance and disease; to build up a prosperous, democratic and progressive nation, and to create social, economic and political institutions which will ensure justice and fullness of life to every man and woman.

We have hard work ahead. There is no resting for any one of us till we redeem our pledge in full, till we make all the people of India what destiny intended them to be. We are citizens of a great country on the verge of bold advance, and we have to live up to that high standard. All of us, to whatever religion we may belong, are equally the children of India with equal rights, privileges and obligations. We cannot encourage communalism or narrow-mindedness, for no nation can be great whose people are narrow in thought or in action.

To the nations and peoples of the world we send greetings and pledge ourselves to cooperate with them in furthering peace, freedom and democracy.

And to India, our much-loved motherland, the ancient, the eternal and the ever-new, we pay our reverent homage and we bind ourselves afresh to her service

And so that is the speech. Now to get personal ..

India, you have achieved much since Independence but a plea to all Indians at home and temporarily abroad

  • I always take care to give you 100% equality without regard to class, creed, colour or especially religion. Please remember to do this for your fellow Indians, immigrants or guest workers when you are at home in India.
  • In this newly flattened world; if you observe your neighbour 500 metres away still living in poverty then you should figure out a way to help bring him or her up to your level.

Marcus fights road, road wins

As of right now (Tuesday August 14th) I have to admit that this week I will either not be running at all or just going out for a quick 6Km or less jogg.

The reason Warsaw pavements!
In an effort to blame everybody else but me I would say that about 400 metres or less from then end of a gentle 7Km run this Saturday in Warsaw with the apartment in sight, I took my eyes away from the pavement for just a moment.
And the next moment I was making a rapid transition from vertical running to horizontal sliding and scraping along the rough surfaced pavement. The casualties included the Bloc sunglasses and the Skins trousers and lastly me. Two badly grazed knees and now 48 hours later, grazed and very bruised.
Of course this was my fault for not remembering that the streets of Poland and warsaw are not a place for complacency.
I expect it will take me about a week to recover and so until then the 22Km or so journey to the office will be on the bicycle not via the legs mode. Probably a good thing as that's a long way to run in the morning anyway.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Shambo the Shambles

I was delighted to hear the informed debate on the BBC's All Things Considered about Shambo the bull.

All Things Considered (ATC) is a weekly Religious program from BBC Wales that is usually an average listen. This week however I was totally spellbound about the story of Shambo.

Basically this was the sad story of a black Friesan bull called Shambo living in the Hindu Temple near Llanpumsaint in Wales, who had been adopted by the local Hindu community as a sacred animal.

In April 2007 however this animal was found to have Tuberculosis and therefore by UK law had to be slaughtered.

The Wikipedia article for Shambo is here

Please listen to the radio program here It highlights some of the contradictions that are exposed in our secular society.