Sunday, June 29, 2008

The wonderful world that God has created

Rochers de Naye 2008 ... 3rd time lucky

Blog readers will be aware that we have twice tortured friends from England this year, and twice failed to reach the summit of Rochers de Naye.

So the positive news is that finally we managed to scale this monster ... third time lucky.

The event was the annual running race starting at Montreux railway station and ending at the top. Here is the profile of the race

As you can see it is about a 1500 metre climb and if I had bothered to look at this chart before the race just over 18Km, not as I am sure I had been told just under 17Km!

So this year we modestly set off from the back as usual. As with last year this meant that we had to wait and often walk as the initial river path in front of us was blocked by people walking. From the front next year!

This adrenaline took my mind of my agonising foot trouble which stemmed from a practice run of last Thursday. It had ended in a painful blister

The application of a large Compeed plaster helped me forget about the agonising pain of walking let alone running.

The race progressed well for both of us except that the last 3Km or so reduced me to a walk. I first thought this was an excellent idea since slightly earlier as I was running I noticed a man in front of me keeping pace with me although he was walking. So I tried it too and sure enough nobody passed me on the last 3Km, well in fact only 2 people passed me in the last 15Km of the race.

For marcus there were two low points in the race:

  1. At 16Km they said refreshments in 1Km, I assumed for this 17Km this meant the finish. Unfortunately at KM 17 I found there was another 1.something Km to go. Most demoralising!
  2. I stepped over the finish line and the clock said 02:11 but it turns out Marcus's time is down in Datasport as 02:30 and Agata a good 02:51. I can't understand the difference but know that her Datasport time and clock time are identical. So initial elation has now been replaced by a bit of gloom

Still we had a fantastic time overall and the time anomaly excepted we look forward to the 2009 race, another T shirt and a better result. I will take my watch next time :-)

Some more photographs

marcus was lucky 99

Sexy Agata was a smiling 209

Yes there really is a marmot or two up at the top

Agata pretends to have a post race converstion to Islam

Bloody papparazzi photographers no publicity

Thanks Ingrid, for being our support team

Marcus gets closer to a Marmot

View from the train to Montreux

View down to Montreux

Next time we'll bring our helicopter too and not take that slow train down

Server Online

So it has been a long time coming but the Majzel and Bennett computer server is finally up and running. Apart from the Solid State OS disk upgrade and move to Windows Server 2008 (planned for September) all is now complete and running along nicely

This weekend was the final 2TB disk upgrade so now all primary disks are upgraded to 1 TB parts. Finally the last 750GB disks made way for Samsung Spinpoint F1 TB disks
Dont forget this is the only 3 platter 1TB drive boasting the following features:

So this afternoon whilst finally making a copy of one of my old SAP and Windows server systems onto backu copydisk

I am also listening to the Archers Omnibus from the BBC

And Converting some PDF from image to text searchable in a protected Win2008 RC1 system

Whilst also Surfing

Doing some DOS5 retro work

And rebuilding the Windows 2008 server virtual machine in 64bit mode

All this and I'm still only using about 6GB memory

It realy is quite wonderful when technology works, and the key learning points as always are

  • Take your time, make a plan and go slowly

  • Backup, and more backup

  • Always have a backout plan

  • When all is done proceed to a large glass of wine to celebrate

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Big Squeeze

It is for sure is a fast changing world but there are some things that remain constant

  • Computer Software always gets bigger and slower

  • Fuel prices go up and

  • Over time your body gets larger not smaller

Is was with this last point that convinced me that I was never again going to fit into my
Aquaman wetsuit ever again despite a desperate 2 months of dieting. So I resolved to get a super-dooper new suit and I chose an Orca 3.8

However to date there is no happing ending. I chose size 7 which should actually too big based on the orca sizing guide:

Imagine my suprise, shock and rather disappointment (since I travelled all the way to London to pick this up) when I found it too small! Too small on the thighs, too small on the chest, and not long on the arms or legs. All this despite the fact that I am surely not 173cm tall nor 75Kg in weight. Well I would not believe it either. So here is an extreemly unflattering photograph to prove it

So all in all I'm going to reorder a size 8 orca 3.8 suit which is for people upto 188cm in height and 89Kg. This is somewhat surreal to say the least. So to finish what 10 things might you like to know about wetsuits

  1. You wear a wetsuit because it is too cold to swim in the open water / sea
  2. Not only will you be warmer but you'll swim faster too
  3. Orca 3.8 and other wetsuits have different thickness of neoprene and / or air filled buoyancy compartments to place your body in a better swimming position
  4. A triathlon wetsuit differs from a diving or shorty recreational wetsuit mostly in that the area around the arms is specially flexible to aid swimming
  5. Instead of wearing a wetsuits some triathaletes wear a single (sleeveless) suit that they can use on the swim, bike and finally run. This cuts down transition times but does not give you the speed advantage that a wetsuit does in the water
  6. Traithlon Wetsuits are fragile, they tear easily. Shorty recreational or diving wetsuits are almost indestructible. You could tear a triathlon wetsuit with sharp nails just trying to put it on. So apart from keeping your nails short be careful pulling on and taking off a suit
  7. The suit should fit tightly all over the body. However if it is too tight on the chest you wont be able to breathe properly. Pay close attention to chest sizes on wetsuit specifications therefore
  8. After sports use best to wash your suit in clean water and hang it to dry. Some suits e.g. Aquaman are designed to dry quickly. Hanging avoids creasing.
  9. Women and men have different body shapes you cannot interchange suits!
  10. Trying on a wetsuit at a local shop is usually the best bet. Remember to put on a rash vest and swimming trunks before you try your suit on. You would do this in real life and these two items will make it easier to suit up in the shop.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Like Father Like Son

Hamilton senior was quoted:

This is my first crash in almost 30 years and it had to happen in someone else's car

Thankfully the only thing hurt was the car, and a bush fence – for which I am extremely sorry

Lewis Hamilton mounts Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari in the pit lane in Montreal

Not a good week for the Hamiltons then

Friday, June 06, 2008

Never too late

Shuttle SX48P2 landing soon

My shuttle SN25P has been a solid performer for over 3 years now. Here is a sexy photograph:

24 hours a day, 7 days a week, this AMD dual core, 2GB powerhouse has toiled away as our media centre, download PC and webserver.

But in mid 2007 it was time for a change and I was just about to order the Shuttle SX38P2 when Intel released the X48 chipset. Well I opted for the SX38 anyway: So another 6 months of waiting later and our local Swiss computer store finally has it in stock. But just as I was about to order it, Shuttle finally announce their X48 based computer

Shuttle SX48P2 has landed

So all I have to do now I presume is wait another six months for the Swiss market to catch up and replace old faithful with this new 1600Mhz front side bus and Quad Core processor capable unit.

Shuttle SX48P2 deluxe webpage

Shuttle SX48P2 spec sheet (I hope this super slow web page is not driven from a Shuttle computer)

Special Deluxe Features

Fingerprint recognition technology
Speed-Link - easily connect 2 PCs via USB and share data
Wireless LAN 802.11b/g, up to 54 Mbit/s data transfer rate
Bluetooth 2.0 dongle Processor
Support Socket 775 Supports 800, 1066, 1333 or 1600MHz front side bus (FSB) Core 2 Quad/Extreme/Duo, Pentium Dual-Core, Pentium D Core 2 multi-core processors in 45nm technology

Cooling system
Shuttle I.C.E. heat-pipe module (Integrated Cooling Engine)
SilentX Cooling and Noise Reduction Technology advanced Heatpipe technology, linear fan control.
3 independent airflow zones: CPU, HDD and Case (including power supply, mainboard and graphics card)
OASIS Cooling Technology: additional fanless heat-pipe design covering the MOSFET modules (VRM), north- and southbridge

Shuttle FX48, Shuttle form factor, proprietary design for XPC SX48P2 Deluxe
Chipset: Intel X48 Express (MCH) + ICH9R (I/O Conroller Hub) All Solid Capacitors for excellent heat resistance for enhanced system durability Color slots/connectors design (Power switch, USB, PCIe, DDR3)

Memory support
4 memory slots 240 pins
Supports DDR3-1066/1333/1600 memory (unbuffered, non-ECC) Supports Dual Channel max. 2 GB per DIMM, up to a total size of 8 GB

2x PCI-Express x16 Version 2.0 expansion slots for x16 graphics cards (full 16 lanes each slot) Supports Dual Graphics card by ATI CrossFire™ Technology.

8-channel audio with DD/DTS
7.1 channel High Definition Audio, Realtek ALC888DD codec Supports Dolby® Digital Live! and DTS™ Connect (Digital Theater Systems)

Dual Gigabit LAN Controller
2x RJ45 connectors supports Teaming-Mode**)
2x Marvell 88E8056 Ethernet network controller With PCI Express x1 interface
IEEE 802.3u 1000Base-T compliant
Supports 10 / 100 / 1.000 MBit/s opteration
Supports Wake-on-LAN

Power supply
450 Watt ATX mini PSU, AC input voltage: 100~240V 80 PLUS® certified (80% or greater energy-efficient) . 85(W) x 83(H) x150(D) mm
Connectors: 20-pin ATX, 4-pin ATX12V Active PFC circuit (Power Factor Correction)
With AC power switch

325(L) x 220(W) x 210(H) mm

Shuttle SX48 HotSpot

EU Download Files for Shuttle

Shuttle SX48 Users Guide

I hope the 12 month plus wait is going to be worth it!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Cyclotour du Leman ... oooooow

I'm not sure what madness was in the minds of the Lausanne authorities. It was surely they who chose to stage the 160Km Lausannoise du Velo only 1 week from the 180Km Cyclotour du Leman Faced with this agressive timing there was only 1 thing to do enter both competitions.

Here is the route:

The general idea is from Lausanne to Vevey to Montreux to Villeneuve to St-Gingolph to Evian to Chens to Genève to Nyon to Morges and back to Lausanne.

And I am delighted to report that after about 6 hours and an average speed of about 30Km/h we arrived back at Lausanne at a splendid 13:00, and after an agonising cycle up a few hundred metres (see below for explanation) to home we have resolved to spend the rest of this Sunday eating pasta, drinking wine and watchng Life on Mars

In more detail...

So it was another weekend of tortuous early rising when we pottered down to the cave at about 5:30 am to check our bicycles and load up with the necessary fluids, rain protection, tools, high calorie bars, camera and all things necessary to navigate a 180Km race.

This year on Agatas prompting I did wear the impractical orange short sleeved Cycling jersey. Apparently its the rules, jerseys must be worn and to stop me freezing to death we both bought some arm warmers

In a pleasant change it was dry when we finally set off from Lausanne at about 07:00, after waiting about 30 minutes in a queue. The first 40Km or so flew past with an average speed of over 35Km/h.

Then for me a nasty pain developed above the right knee, a bit like cramp and sufficiently painful to prevent any real pressure being possible on the right leg. So for the next 150Km or so; I tried to smile as I mostly left footedly kept cycling. Any significant pressure on the right cycle pedal meant oooooooow. Hills and any sort of acceleration became a particular challenge, as did the steep ascent home after the end of the race. (Unfortunately it is all uphill from the lakefront to our home several hundred metres at the very top of North Lausanne.)

But on the positive side we still had a fantastic time. It was Agatas first time around the lake and under six hours is an amazing first time result. It did not rain so the rainproofs we packed were delightfully not required. All the water and food planning was spot on, I ran out of water about 30Km from the end. I drank only 1 Litre of water in those 6 hours and Agata about 1.5 Litres.

We took the time to take some photographs so here they are:

Our race numbers

We bumped into Ania

100Km Forest Food Stop

Agata takes it easy

We reach the finish line and our fan club is mysteriously absent

Agata is interviewed

Ania has been cycling without cleats and using only ecco loafer shoes .. amazing

Heroic Agata

Marcus tries to smile

We think of the our achievement and our mood improves

So that is it for another year, unless we do it again one summer weekend just for fun.