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If technology doesn't seem like magic, it's probably obsolete

I'm finding less time to update my blog these days, but my flickr photostream is often updated.

Playing in my house right now...

At 00:00 GMT on Thursday I was listening to:

More of what I've been listening to

Latest pictures from my phone

www.flickr.com
More pictures from my phone


Monday May 31 2004 at 16:22 GMT

Over the last few weeks my running has almost ground to a halt. My knees are complaining too much to make any headway. At training last week, the coach advised I see a specialist running physio to discover what is going wrong, and ask whether or not I should run the Edinburgh Marathon. My own conclusion was that I've simply built up my running muscles to the neglect of others too much and/or too quickly, which is why my knee is being pulled out of shape. The fix: thigh strengthening exercises and cross-training, especially cycling and swimming (I was chatting to some triathletes, who claim to never get injured due to this very fact).

Today I visited a marathon-running physio who immediately hit several pretty sore points, and thinks it may actually be my shoes that are to blame. Next step on that road (groan) is to have my gait analysed and get some shoes that 'work for me' better than the ones I have at the moment.

My appearance in the 2004 Edinburgh Marathon is now looking distinctly unlike happening, to my annoyance, but the journey thus far has included a steep learning curve which has certainly been educational. Following on from the thoughts of the coach and the physio as well as my own gut feeling, it is very likely I'll resign my place and attempt to find a team looking for a member to do a relay stage. It's certainly not the end of the world, and I'm not really that annoyed.

Looking forward, I'll get my footwear checked and my knees back in line (literally), and then heads down with training. There is a weekly marathon group that goes out on a Sunday morning, which I'm going to join up with, and I have a place for the Berlin Marathon in September which I'm really excited about. Should be a good chance to meet a 'virtual' Mobitopian friend, doing the sponsor thing as I had planned for Edinburgh, having a short holiday and hopefully catching up with some friends. Anyone else feel like running in Berlin???

OK, I'll try to get away from just posting about running here now. Pub feedback on Friday suggests it's boring you. ;-)

Thursday May 27 2004 at 12:28 GMT [via mobile]

Was coerced into buying lunch at Pret A Manger today, and noticed they have sandwich recipes on the container.  Are they taking sandwich making open source?  ;-)

Was coerced into buying lunch at Pret A Manger today, and noticed they have sandwich recipes on the container. Are they taking sandwich making open source? ;-)

Wednesday May 26 2004 at 12:26 GMT

Tuesday May 25 2004 at 23:19 GMT [via mobile]

On the bus home I saw this boy with the coolest hair this side of 2004.

On the bus home I saw this boy with the coolest hair this side of 2004.

Tuesday May 25 2004 at 13:24 GMT

Several weeks ago I ran the Penicuik 10k. As I was checking the Scottish Athletics site today, I noticed that the results are online [PDF file]. My placing was 63 out of 110, and somehow I gained an extra 3 seconds. Maybe my watch is out. ;-)

The CofE mentioned is City of Edinburgh Athletic Club, not Church of England!

Tuesday May 25 2004 at 12:10 GMT

Today has been a change from the normal routine. This morning I got up at 7am (that's up to two hours earlier than normal!) to go for a leg massage at Jill's salon. Jill didn't find anything particularly wrong with my legs, so that is good news, of a kind.

We just went to get lunch at Herbie (expensive, but tasty) when Clarissa Dickson Wright came into the shop. She was behind me in the queue, and we discussed mushrooms: I hate them, she loves them but is allergic to them. As the BBC bio says, she was very down to earth and friendly. That's brightened up my day!

Monday May 24 2004 at 01:03 GMT

My sister Viv is doing her final university exams at the moment, and I know I should really have posted this before, but ... I've been busy and I've been calling her directly, too. Anyway, leave her a nice message below!

Monday May 24 2004 at 00:56 GMT

Life is just moving fast right now! On Saturday I finally bought a hydration pack for staying afloat whilst running. In the end, I went for a CamelBak Rogue. All I need now are for my legs to stay together and let me use it!

Today has been relaxing, and doing stuff around the house, which has been really useful. Unfortunately there's no real shenanigans to post about right now. After June 13th (marathon), though...

In my very brief surf over the weekend, I found these:

Saturday May 22 2004 at 17:26 GMT [via mobile]

My friend Richard Baker MSP (on the right) being interviewed on Newsnight Scotland.

My friend Richard Baker MSP (on the right) being interviewed on Newsnight Scotland.

Friday May 21 2004 at 11:31 GMT

Wednesday May 19 2004 at 13:18 GMT

Over the last week or so I've been pestering Erik to tell us how he gets through all his daily news feeds. Finally he's spilled the beans. Erik checks about 1600 feeds (Web site updates) per day, posting the finest selections on his linkblog. As you may have guessed, Erik's pretty good at speedreading!

Monday May 17 2004 at 13:14 GMT

Fellow #mobitopian Chris Davies has a great post on the sanitisation of our daily lives. Well worth a read.

Monday May 17 2004 at 00:03 GMT

The last week hasn't been great for running. After the 10k last week at Penicuik, I tried to run the following day and failed absolutely miserably -- my legs were a mess. Here's the ugly evidence showing me limping home.

Deciding a few days of rest were in order, I busied myself in the gym with some upper body (yeah, I know you can tell) and swimming work, which was nice for a change. On Wednesday I took another attempt and managed 10k, but not in much style.

After some more leg exercises over the last few days, I decided that my run this weekend needed to be a reasonable confirmation that I'm on for marathon running. Today I knocked out a decent 17 miles, although that was mostly along fairly flat-ish cycle track, with a pretty decent 1.5 miles of hill climb thrown in at the halfway point. Time taken was 2.48.52.

When I made it home, I really was broken -- definitely the most tired I've been running and probably the most physically knackered I've ever been in my life. There was one major factor that I didn't quite think through today, though: the weather. Even when it's a nice day here, the temperature only gets to, say, ~17C at this time of year. Today it was 21C, and I was running in the early afternoon, with the sun beating straight down on me for significant parts of the run. Nothing to eat or drink, no hat and no sunscreen certainly was not the wisest plan, and I think that had a big effect on me. My parents gave me money for my birthday, and I'm planning to buy a CamelBak with it -- I really should have done that last week!

So, where from here? By my reckoning, I have another one or two weeks maximum of running left before putting my feet up and resting before the marathon. If I nail a good 20 miles in the next 14 days, I'm going to do it. If not, I'll pull my place, take the half marathon the following weekend and then select a full marathon for later in the year.

Saturday May 15 2004 at 16:31 GMT

Thursday May 13 2004 at 23:53 GMT

As Andy pointed out, blogging has been light of late. Life is busy. It has been a link-heavy day, though. Over in #mobitopia we chumped over 100 links today [in English: there were over 100 links that looked interesting to others, which a special piece of software we use took and put on to this page for you to view].

The channel is just another part of my online life, but after explaining to James what it was all about, I suddenly realised how strange it could sound. Basically, it is a big group conversation, mostly focussed on mobile tech and tech, where we discuss stuff and share interesting links. There is a bit more to it, but essentially that's it. People from all over the world join in (this is Internet Relay Chat, IRC.

So, where do we find good links? Well, we all use aggregators to comb lots of different sites and quickly find the good stuff. I've just done a small site revamp so that you can accurately see what I read on a daily basis. In the left hand sidebar, scroll down past the moblog pictures to My Daily Reads. That list is taken directly from my Bloglines account.

At the moment, I'm reading just under 300 feeds, as they're called. Compared to Erik, however, that's nothing: he views over 1600 feeds each day, and linkblog's only the freshest. If you think I'm missing a feed, please leave a comment.

Monday May 10 2004 at 15:06 GMT [via mobile]

A kind colleague over from the States brought me some Mountain Dew. Ideal for a sunny day like today!

A kind colleague over from the States brought me some Mountain Dew. Ideal for a sunny day like today!

Sunday May 9 2004 at 13:10 GMT [via mobile]

I now have my very own running vest, ready for some marathon wearing ... I hope!

I now have my very own running vest, ready for some marathon wearing ... I hope!

Saturday May 8 2004 at 16:48 GMT

Today's run at Penicuik was all over pretty quickly. My time was a pretty decent 45.09 (yes, I'm annoyed I didn't hit below 45), especially considering the course was undulating. I've noticed that we never run hilly courses, they're always undulating or sporting.

Here's the map, today brought to you in glorious JPG format. What does this mean? It means it will just work in your browser, instead of having to download a plugin or mess about in any other way. BIG thanks to Matthew for finding Batik and the Squiggle browser. dwlt had pointed me to that last week, but it didn't appear to do what I wanted, but now I know it does!

In case you've missed the maps from my other recent runs, here they are in JPG ("just works") format:

Saturday May 8 2004 at 11:34 GMT [via mobile]

My local Safeway finally got a clue and sorted out the onion bagel situation, after a prolonged absence.  They\'ve even got \'everything\' bagels, which are tasty too.

Anyone know where to get fresh bagels in Edinburgh? I miss London for that!

My local Safeway finally got a clue and sorted out the onion bagel situation, after a prolonged absence. They've even got 'everything' bagels, which are tasty too. Anyone know where to get fresh bagels in Edinburgh? I miss London for that!

Friday May 7 2004 at 00:33 GMT

After a visit to the gym last night (including 12 minutes of very fast running) and ahead of the Penicuik 10k on Saturday, I decided to take tonight easier than normal. We were doing 2.5minute efforts: as fast as you could manage, followed by a 'recovery' jog. As I started the fifth, I felt my knee a little bit sore, so called it a day with a gentle jog and then home.

Here's the route (297kb) (and here's the SVG and here's the plugin).

Thursday May 6 2004 at 01:40 GMT

Thursday May 6 2004 at 01:18 GMT

The stats for the past few months have been pushing upwards -- I've seen about 350 visits a day, peaking at 500 (and that's even after I filter out the spam/pr0n/junk links). This time a year ago, the stats were running at half these levels. Thanks to you all for visiting.

The other site related thing that happened today was good too. I've been posting a lot of photos online (here) and they are sucking up the diskspace. The next step up with Aletia, my current hoster, was to 1.2GB for USD 35/month, which seemed a bit pricey, so I was considering moving on. Eagle-eyed Jim pointed me to a 1GB deal with Aletia which is GREAT value, at just USD 7.95/month. Seeing as I'd just moved plan recently, I was kind of annoyed they hadn't moved me to that significantly better plan, but one swift email and it's all sorted and I have an extra month of credit. They remain recommended!

Wednesday May 5 2004 at 01:02 GMT

The weather this evening was dis-gusting, but I fought it, and had a pretty good run. I'd almost go as far as to say I hit my stride at a few places, which really felt nice. The first five miles of the run were pretty much uphill, making the last mile and a half a lot of fun. At some points I was literally sprinting downhill, which was ... an experience on the wet tarmac. Here's the map from tonight (254kb) (here's the SVG version and here's the free Adobe SVG plugin). As you can see, my watch didn't kick in for at least a mile, which is annoying. Not sure if the rain and heavy cloudcover could have been affecting that. My GPS skillz are minimal.

Stats for tonight were 5.48 miles clocked plus ~1 mile unclocked in 50 minutes. Pain is minimal, but I'm stretching my left leg to be on the safe side!

Tuesday May 4 2004 at 16:50 GMT

Back in the day, I used to read AA Gill's Sunday Times column religiously, but somewhere along the way I lost the notion. Ben Hammersley points to great AA Gill article from the Sunday Times. Great stuff. If only the Times would get on and set up some RSS feeds...

Tuesday May 4 2004 at 00:06 GMT

My Saturday run was something of a marker for me. During the run I only had marginal pains in my legs, and once I finished and the following morning, I still had minimal pain. Compared to just a few weeks ago, this is a big step(!) forward. I'm thanking these exercises.

The run itself was nice. The gym people at the hotel gave me a map that had a marked course of 4.3miles, which I planned to do three times. When I got to the first major turn, the thought of so much unrequired repetition was too much, so I took a left instead of a right and busked it. I turned round at 10k, knowing that it would be at least 11k back to the hotel as it had taken a while for my watch to pick up a decent GPS signal. Thankfully I managed to get lost, and had to navigate back to the original route using my watch, which worked well. It's an incredibly handy feature for running in new and unknown locations.

Here's the map from my run (here it is in SVG and here's the free Adobe plugin from here). The official clocked distance was 13.2miles, but I'm giving myself at least another 0.8 mile before GPS kicked in, plus another half mile of so light jogging warmup/cooldown. Time was 2:07:28 for the clocked 13.2 miles. Happy with that!

Monday May 3 2004 at 23:36 GMT

Iain and Amanda I'm just back from a very enjoyable time at Iain and Amanda's wedding, at Moor Hall Hotel. Somehow I was the first 'friend' (as opposed to family) to arrive on Saturday. Really. After a few hellos and sitting in the sun, I headed out for a long run (more above). In the evening we all went out to an excllent Italian restaurant in Sutton Coldfield. My preconceptions of Sutton Coldfield were of an industrial, grey town, but I was really pleased to be so wrong. It's a lovely little town!

After a big breakfast on Sunday, I took it easy whilst Messrs Nicol and Nicol did some meeting and greeting. We were all looking sharp by 2pm for the lovely ceremony (civil-stylee), then we did drinks in the gardens in the sunshine whilst the photos were being taken and then back inside for the meal, the great speeches (well done, Bryan!) and the ceilidh which pretty much everyone got involved in. Surprisingly, I took my duty of propping the bar up pretty seriously, so last night was pretty late, but not messy.

Today was breakfast at 9ish, then taking stuff back to Iain and Amanda's house and finally a flight back home, thanks to Iain's parents who gave me a lift over to the airport, and who have been roped into a not-inconsiderable amount of gardening whilst I&A are sunning themselves on honeymoon. Using the gift of digital technology, my photos are now online here. Unfortunately I spent most of my time talking/eating/drinking/dancing, so I don't actually have as many as I thought I did. Phil should be posting his video tape up to me (yeah, people do apparently still use contact media ;-) and I'm going to try and pull a favour from Rich to see if he can turn it into virtual ones and zeros for me with the aim of posting it online.

All in, it has been a great weekend. It's always fun to make new friends, catch up with old friends and have a laugh with all of them, especially when there is a happy event to celebrate. Even being called a "techno-freak" didn't ruin my weekend!

[NOTE] It appears I'm missing email addresses for quite a few people, to let them know if/when I get the speeches online. If you haven't had an email from me about the pictures, I don't have your (correct) address. Please send me a mail and I'll keep you updated.

Monday May 3 2004 at 19:23 GMT [via mobile]

It looks like Duo, the business-class Easyjet, has gone bust. The Privilege Lounge looks weirdly empty.

It looks like Duo, the business-class Easyjet, has gone bust. The Privilege Lounge looks weirdly empty.

Sunday May 2 2004 at 17:46 GMT [via mobile]

Saturday May 1 2004 at 09:13 GMT [via mobile]

After getting to the airport over an hour(!!!) before my flight, I rewarded myself with a Stella that tasted even better due to it being before midday.

After getting to the airport over an hour(!!!) before my flight, I rewarded myself with a Stella that tasted even better due to it being before midday.

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