The slump…

August 16, 2016 · Posted in brain dump . . ., Diet & Fitness · Comment 

Today I’ve got a bad case of the “I can’t be arsed”s…

Well, I say today, it’s been several days really. My previous swim was last Thursday, almost a week ago. It was a pretty good session other than a nasty little cramp I pulled in my right leg on my last sprint length.

I knew I wasn’t going to train on Friday night as normal in the lake as I’d got work drinks to go to. Normally I’d have skipped the drinks but I’ve only been at this company for 5 weeks and it was my first real opportunity to see everyone outside the office so worth it. That was OK though as there’s another lake session on Saturday mornings. I set my alarm, woke up for it, turned the alarm off and well back to sleep.

I know I don’t generally train well in the mornings as I’m not used to it but that one was 2 fingers full of ‘nope’, can’t be arsed. Yes my leg hurt still from the cramp, yes I was tired and a smidge hungover from the night before but nothing a nice cool swim wouldn’t have sorted out.

Saturday afternoon/evening was an annual BBQ round a couple of friends in Ely, and to avoid the last train home we were staying the night. After a chilled morning and a nice breakfast we headed home on Sunday around lunchtime and I was already internally arguing with myself about going for a swim that afternoon to make up for the missed session. Half a dozen complete missions on Fallout:4 Far Harbours survival mode should tell you how that one went.

“That’s OK”, I told myself, “It was only a 25m pool session I’d missed, they’re not the important ones. I’ll do a make-up session on Monday morning in Jesus Green”.

Once more I set my alarm but this time I didn’t even let it go off. I woke up to go to the toilet at about 5am and switched it off, that confident was I that there was zero chance I was going to get out of bed so why lose the sleep.

Finally we get to today an my regularly scheduled Tuesday morning session. This one is in Jesus Green, the 100yrd open air pool in central Cambridge, and it’s one I can wear my wetsuit for.

The alarm went off, I switched it off and lay in bed for nearly 15 minutes trying to convince myself to get on with it. I then pottered about getting my stuff together, which was odd as I’d done that the night before to avoid that delay and cycled down to the pool. I was supposed to have got there for as near to 7.30 when they opened as possible so I could have a long swim. As it turned out after the initial delays, and another one caused by me not concentrating and putting half my wet-suit on backwards, I didn’t start swimming until gone 8…but at least today I started.

I managed 12 lengths by which time it was gone 8.30 and I had to leave to get to work on time.

I’m seeing today as a motivational slump, but perhaps I shouldn’t. It was difficult to force myself though all the blocks I’d been putting in my own way, but at least today I actually swam, unlike the last 3 sessions. Maybe I should see today as a positive, as bouncing/struggling back out of a slump rather than going into one.

My next scheduled swim it tomorrow afternoon. Let’s see how/if that one goes…

A new Formula 1…time for a rethink

October 27, 2015 · Posted in brain dump . . ., Sports 'n' Stuff · Comment 

Much has been talked about over the last few years in F1 about cost problem, the difficulty of new teams gaining a foothold, improving the show and more.

F1’s answer to these problems under the direction of Bernie Ecclestone has been to give the established teams more control of the sport and to try and find some general consensus amongst them as to the direction the sport should move in. This seems to have done nothing more than cause a constant refinement of the rules, narrowing down the scope of what teams can do and ultimately ending up where we are now with a very engine dominated race series…and well dominated by Mercedes who clearly did an incredible job developing their engine ready for the beginning of the 2014 season.

A few more radical ideas seem to be coming out now, including Bernie saying in a recent interview that F1 needed to rip up the rule book and start again. That’s probably the only thing he’s said in the last couple of years that I agree with.

For a while now I’ve been thinking about where F1 should go with the rules and have started throwing down a few ideas…I’ve decided to stick them out here now to see what others think and also because, in a case of simultaneous evolution, some of them seem to be being discussed as new ideas in F1 circles and I don’t want people to think I’m just copying what I’ve read in the news!

The principals of what I’m aiming for here are as follows…

  • This is a team sport, cooperation between all team members is allowed but once on track the engineering team job is done and it’s down to the drivers
  • Costs are important to control to allow smaller teams to compete but there will be no cost cap…attracting sponsors and getting money in is part of the team game of this sport
  • the rules should allow innovation and technical freedom…limits on car designs will only be introduced for reasons of safety

Make sense, good. So the brain dump of ‘rules’ I have so far are as follows…

  • Certain items on the car are prescribed components
    • they have to come from FIA authorised suppliers
    • a team can supply it’s own components so long as they adhere to the rest of the rules, including being made available to other teams
    • they have to be made available to all teams
      • but supply may be limited to a designated max number of teams at the discretion/capacity of the supplier
    • they will have a maximum cost that the supplier may charge as prescribed by the FIA
    • prescribed components include
      • engines
      • gearbox
      • brakes
      • tyres
      • wheels
      • ECU
    • suppliers may make safety recommendations to teams regarding their components
      • teams are free to ignore these recommendations but MUST record their settings and send them to the suppliers and the FIA prior to the race
    • The rest of the car, including bodywork, suspension etc must be designed and built by the constructor and its partners
      • there can be no sharing of these designs between constructors
  • Aerodynamics
    • Generally the bodywork of the cars should be a continuous shape, this is to discourage the use of ‘bolted on’ wings
    • outside of the max width, length and height of the cars manufacturers should have as much freedom as possible for bodywork design
      • limitations will be placed on the maximum amount of downforce that a car is allowed to generate
      • this will be tested by the scrutineers at race events using a ‘portable’ wind tunnel
      • downforce will be measured in Kg generated at a given wind tunnel speed
    • cars may therefore probably make extensive use of ground effect for downforce…this is fine but there will be regulation of the ‘skirts’ to prevent dangerous failures
    • cars will have some kind of screen/protection in front of the driver
      • this does not necessarily mean, but could be, a fully enclosed cockpit
  • Engines
    • engines must use a street legal fuel
    • for a given type of fuel a maximum amount per race will be allocated
      • this may be change between seasons to balance out the technologies
      • in extreem circumstances and only in the first year of a new fuel being introduced a change to this max amount may be made once mid season
    • any engine size/technology/configuration may be used
    • engines must be homogenate before the first race of each season
      • limited changes made be made in season along the lines of the current token system
    • engines will be allowed a maximum power output (bhp or equivalent) measured at the wheel over their entire working range
      • this will be testable if required at race events using a mobile dynamometer
  • The driver will have a limited number of sensor readings in the car, tyre temp sensors etc are not allowed
    • only safety alerts are permitted in this area
    • the team will be limited in what feedback they can give to the driver, again with the exception of safety advice
      • eg. time gaps are OK, help with driving lines are not
  • The driver will be limited in the changes he can make to the car once the race has begun
    • the idea here is to encourage teams to do as much running in the practice sessions as possible
      • being able to change the brake balance or diff settings in between corners isn’t allowed
    • in general if you want to conserve fuel the driver will have to keep lower revs, so multiple engine modes are not permitted
    • drivers will be able to activate a wet or dry mode depending on the conditions
      • these 2 modes could be used in a fully dry race to mean high and low fuel modes?
  • There will be a limit to the number of people able to work on a car in the pits at any one time of 10 people
  • refueling is not permitted
    • cars will have a maximum amount of fuel allowed per race
    • this may be used however they want, no instantaneous fuel flow restrictions
      • cars may boost their fuel flow at the drivers discretion
  • Race tyre and engine allocations to be limited across the season
    • teams to choose for themselves which tyres to use at which race
    • teams can use as many or as few different compounds as they choose at each race
    • worn tyres may be carried over between races
    • separate allocation of tyres will be used for practice sessions so won’t impact on the race allocations
  • unless there is a specific safety issue rules will not be changed mid season
    • any changes for the following year that could be listed as equivalence adjusters must be published by the mid point in the season read for the following season
    • in general, and any other major rule changes, will be published a full season in advance
  • overtaking aids such as DRS or the F-Duct are permitted but must be designed by the individual teams
    • their use will only be restricted on safety grounds
    • it must be apparent to spectators when the device is in use
      • for DRS this would be obvious
      • for F-Duct and the like there should be some other method identifying it’s being used
  • The prize fund distribution will be determined by a constructors final position in the championship
    • all constructors that have fulfilled the requirements to complete a full season will be awarded money from the prize fund
      • what the hell that means I’m not sure
      • I guess it means a team must have appeared at all (90%?) events and have been in a position to compete (be within the 107% time)
        • this should stop people turning up to take a garage with a vapourware car that they have no intention of actually being able to run
    • 50% of the prize fund will be distributed evenly amongst all teams who have successfully competed in the championship
    • the other 50% will be split on a sliding scale from first place downwards

and so it begins…

July 15, 2010 · Posted in brain dump . . . · Comment 

think I’ll be taking my laptop on the train with a bit more regularity from now on 😉

The power of positive thinking . . .

November 12, 2009 · Posted in brain dump . . . · Comment 

I started yesterday with a bit of a rant . . . it wasn’t my fault, it was the fault of the idiot in the car who turned left in front of my bike and missed taking me out by about 2 inches. Although that wasn’t the first thing that went wrong yesterday. I woke up nearly 2 hours late on account of forgetting to set my alarm.

The train seemed to be a bit slow on the way to London then he tube was packed (because I was in the middle of rush hour) and seemed to crawl the remainder of my journey. Being late into work was particularly annoying because I was supposed to run some system maintenance starting at 8am and now I’ve got to reschedule it. Most of the actual working day ticked along fine until somehow, and this is the first time in 2 years I’ve done it, I got on the wrong train and ended up in Peterborough. Once I got back to Cambridge I discovered I’d got a flat rear tyre on my bike. Read more

Time to take your Tablets?

November 10, 2009 · Posted in brain dump . . . · 1 Comment 

Tablet PC’s are nothing new. They’ve been kicking around being used by TV presenters for a couple of years but they seem to have been a spectacular failure as far as their uptake from general users so far.

Now the big hype machine of Apple (or I should say the big internet rumour machine and Apples rumour squashing machine) is gearing itself up for the release of the iTablet (or whatever they decide to call it) at MacWorld in January. Pictures of backplates are emerging from suppliers, stories of orders for huge numbers of 10 inch touch screens are being talked about and Apple is saying nothing, as usual. (Google is currently showing 11,000,000 results for a search for Apple Tablet) Read more

What is Google Wave?

November 8, 2009 · Posted in brain dump . . . · Comment 
Is it really the next-big-thing ™ from the almightily Google or is it actually a useless overhyped piece of crap??  Well the answer to both of these questions is obviously no (although the overhyped claim may be somewhat justified 😉
One of the problems with Google Wave is that it’s new.  Google said at one point that the set out to create what email would have been like had it been created now, in the Web 2.0 (tm again?) world. However, it’s also been described as like IM on steroids (find quotes/links)
Both of these descriptions are misleading because Google Wave is neither, less and more . . . however, using those terms when trying to describe Google Wave seems to be what’s causing a lot of problems so we’re going to have to introduce some Wave terminology here or things are going to get very confused. There’s not much to know but it’ll become very obvious why it’s needed very quickly. What we would traditional call a message in Email or perhaps a conversation in IM is known as a Wave. Individual posts inside each Wave are known as Blips (a stupid name if you ask me but I guess they needed to call them something that wasn’t already being used in another space).
Using Google Wave feel familiar at first, hen gets a bit weird when more experienced users start doing things that you don’t know how to do and probably didn’t know were possible. In the same way that, with email being simple text, you can put comment inline in your reply, you can reply to an individual Blip inside a Wave. If the Wave has already moved on these replies are indented to differentiate them from the rest of the Wave. So it’s all sounding a bit more like Email now right? As usual with Wave, yes and no.
When you start a Wave you invite people to it. These Waves will then appear inside the invitees Inboxes. Wave seems to retain a permanent connection with the Google servers so a new Wave invite will appear immediately in your Inbox once it’s created.  You don’t have to wait for the person who created the Wave to actually do anything with it. All participants inside the Wave can type at the same time, either adding Blips onto the bottom of the wave or replying to Blips at other places inside the Wave.  You can see how this could get very chaotic pretty fast if you’re not careful.
To try and combat this new Blips are highlighted inside the Wave and the Wave title in your Inbox shows you how many unready blips are in each of your Waves. You can either click on an individual Blip to unmark it or press the Read button at the top of the Wave to mark the entire thing as read.  There’s no idea at the moment of marking Blips as read when you scroll past them and with he interactive nature of a Wave that’s a good thing. You don’t want to miss something that’s been said as a reply to a Blip much higher up the Wave.
One of the advantages of Google Wave over Email is the confusion of email forwarding.  Ok, so it’s not that confusing but being able to add people into a Wave after it’s started and have them be able to read the whole thing is going to be very useful. As will be the ability to be able to replay the Wave ‘s creation showing who said what when to allow people to get up to speed with the flow of the Wave.
But wait, there’s more.  If during a Wave you need to have either a private discussion with someone in it that you want to keep in context, or just to prevent the Wave getting overly noisy for everyone, you can create a private reply o a Blip and add only those Wave participants you want to be able to see it.
Getting it yet? No, you’re not really because there’s more . . . a Blip that I have typed can be edited by anyone else in the Wave (you can see why being able to see who created what and when is going to get far more important). Then there are also Wave extensions. At the moment these are restricted to things that you can embed inside the Wave such as maps, pictures and polls but anything could happen.
So to answer he question what is Google Wave? It’s a real time updating version-controlled interactive wiki messaging system, ish 😉

Is it really the next-big-thing ™ from the almightily Google or is it actually a useless overhyped piece of crap??  Well the answer to both of these questions is obviously no (although the overhyped claim may be somewhat justified 😉

One of the problems with Google Wave is that it’s new.  Google said at one point that the set out to create what email would have been like had it been created now, in the Web 2.0 (tm again?) world. However, it’s also been described as like IM on steroids. Read more

Todays Tweets . . .

September 9, 2009 · Posted in brain dump . . . · Comment 
  • have just blocked and spam reported a dozen accounts that seem to have grabbed hold of theWifes companies conference tag, bastards!! #
  • RT @vero:CharityHack at PayPal on 19-20th Sept looks like a great weekend: Still some 30 tickets going! #
  • the 09/09/09 09:09.09 pic for todays #ebethchallenge (been up for 3 hours and I'm not a morning person!!) #
  • oooooooo, ouchie!! #
  • it's nearly that Apple time again . . . time to put up or shut up, what's happening today? #
  • have just seen a pigeon inside the tube . . . surprised it doesn't happen more often actually! #
  • at Cambridge Geek Nights listening to a talk about Yahoo Pipes #
  • hmmm, probably shouldn't have started updating my phone at this time of night! #

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My predictions . . .

September 9, 2009 · Posted in brain dump . . . · 1 Comment 

It’s time for another Apple event, well, it will be in a couple of hours so I thought I’d put up (because it’s very difficult to shut me up) about what I think is going to be announced.

  • New iPod touches with cameras are pretty much a given, particularly after an online store put up pics of it’s new cases a tad early, whoops
  • iTunes 9, I think it’s about time Apple did something about helping people to organise their iPhone apps and, rumour has it, they’ve been working for a while on some sort of social integration (presumably to compete with and Spotify. It’s probably about time Apple and iTunes got into supporting Blue-Ray discs too
  • I’d be very surprised if the Beatles catalogue wasn’t made available on iTunes. Rock Band Beatles and all the new remastered  CD’s are out today so why not – having said that and EMI rep earlier said it wasn’t going to happen.  Smoke and mirrors??
  • a new music format.  Something called Cocktail has been kicking around for a while. It’s supposidly a new album format that includes lyrics, artwork and other goodies designed to encourage people to buy whole albums rather than individual tracks.  Unfortunately you can probably also expect it to come DRM’d up to the eyeballs
  • and they’ll probably bump up the storage on the rest of the iPod range, and maybe the Apple TV too

and what’s not happening,

  • The much vaunted Apple Tablet . . . nope, no way no how. It’s just not the right time for Apple to introduce this (and I’m not really convinced they’re particularly useful anyway).  I’ll eat my hat if Apple show up with this
  • dropping the iPod Classic. Why?? There’s no other iPod with this amount of storage yet. Once the nano gets it’s storage above 100G for a reasonable amount of cash then you’ll see that back of this but not until
  • integrated AppleTV/HDTV, lol, don’t make me laugh!

    Todays Tweets . . .

    September 8, 2009 · Posted in brain dump . . . · Comment 
    • having seen todays 26 degree forecast I'm wearing shorts to work, maybe for the last time this year? #
    • (picks up card) huh . . . Advance to Chalfont & Latimer. Do not pass Paddington, do not top-up your Oyster, fair enough #morningtoncrescent #
    • #morningtoncrescent hmm, would have gone with West Ruislip but with the Monument/Bank interchange still b0rkd it'll have to be Hatch End 🙂 #
    • coffee or tea . . . that is the question??? #
    • RT @eBeth: Ooh – native Flickr app now out for the iPhone.. (must go take a look now!) #
    • forgot I'd booked beer and a curry with a colleague over from Amsterdam #pectember #FAIL #
    • oopsie . . . diet go bye bye!! #
    • oooooffff . . . have eaten too much, leaving the curry house now 😐 #
    • goodnight Twitter (facebook) . . . going to bed now to dream that I didn't just totally blow #pectember with that curry 😐 #
    • yea, ignore the tweet from half an hours ago, had a couple of things to do . . . NOW I'm going to bed! #

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    Todays Tweets . . .

    September 8, 2009 · Posted in brain dump . . . · Comment 
    • at end of the first week of #pectember I have lost 4lbs!! Have turned the dial to 2lbs a week and have lost 300 calories/day! #
    • something weird going on in Cambridge, just been past the Courthouse and there are a bunch of satellite vans round the back??? #
    • ah, I guess it's related to this, #
    • have a couple of free evenings while theWife's away – am spending the first driving my in-laws to Heathrow, M25 'fun' and games approaching #
    • in-laws depoited, at South Mimms for a comfort break on the way home, denying myself the usual Burger King motorway treat today #pectember #
    • I should really go to bed now – gonna be wrecked at 6am tomorrow morning 🙁 #

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