Apr 11
Categories: cycle Tags:

Cornwall Tor 2011

Yesterday I did the short (77 km) route of the Cornwall Tor. It was unseasonably warm and excessively hilly so I suppose I’m glad I didn’t do one of the longer routes, particularly this early in the season.

The winter training must have done some good because I finished 8th. Out of the 205 finishers, only 8 of us managed a silver qualifying time, and no one got a gold time! It was a tough route. Kevin left me behind at the first big climb and finished 3rd. This despite my attempts to sabotage his bike by throwing it on the tarmac and the start. I should have given the mech a kick too, but apparently it gave him jip all the way round any way.

Pos Bib Competitor Team Finish To Feed1 To Finish
1 4352 Matthew Mcarthur Plymouth 02:36:19 01:22:02 01:14:17
2 4954 Hugh Perry “Millbrook, Nr; Torpoint” 02:46:48 01:23:31 01:23:17
3 4524 Kevin Weymouth Motorola 02:48:22 01:27:00 01:21:22
4 4711 Simon Grose Tri logic 02:50:08 01:29:01 01:21:07
5 5245 Dave Shinner 02:51:33 01:31:48 01:19:45
6 4666 Simon Rooke yogi cycling 02:54:08 01:30:38 01:23:30
7 5117 Nicholas French St Austell Triathletes 02:56:22 01:29:55 01:26:27
8 5242 Steve James Motorola 02:59:51 01:32:34 01:27:17

That's me, streaking past at 5km/h on the outside

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Mar 03
Categories: linux, sysadmin Tags:

I run my NAS on an Intel SS4200-E [1] using Debian Stable. Since the SS4200 doesn’t have a graphics device, I use a serial console. Good set-up instructions can be found in the SS4200-E Wiki [2]. After the upgrade the kernel was not configured accordingly and I lost contact via the serial console. To complicate things, Squeeze upgrades the grub package to grub-pc (AKA Grub Version 2).

Here are some notes on how to fix this. The first step is to get the system to boot with a serial console by editing the kernel parameters. Use Grub to temporarily add these parameters to the: console=tty0 console=ttyS0,115200.

Once booted, make this permanent by adding the following to /boot/grub/grub.cfg.

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="all_generic_ide console=tty0 console=ttyS0,115200"
GRUB_SERIAL_COMMAND="serial --unit=0 --speed=115200"

Run update-grub2 to apply the change. This will update the new Grub2 configuration in /boot/grub/grub.cfg. You may want to edit the old /boot/grub/menu.lst to add the same changes if you are still booting from the old menu.

[1] – http://www.intel.com/products/server/storage/ss4200/index.htm
[2] – http://ss4200.pbworks.com/w/page/5122751/FrontPage

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Jun 27
Categories: cycle Tags:

It was cycling enthusiasm that propelled me (or rather slowly shuffled me) into the Blogosphere, and it’s for that reason again that I’ve finally resuscitate my blog after ISP hosting problems left it in the doldrums.

That's the bridge where I banged me `ed last year, just next to that guy's hemet is the very spot.

Now I can enthuse¬† once again about doing the 100km Dartmoor Classic Cyclosportive, 2010. The weather today was much warmer than last year and the winds were light. As long as it’s not gusty, I’m content. There was more traffic getting in my way this year, but fewer sheep. I managed a time of 4:07 which is an acceptable improvement over last year’s 4:18. Another gold medal. Yay. I’m glad I didn’t register for the 100miles: too hot today.

My thanks to the enthusiastic spectators who clapped and cheered (or was it jeered) as we struggled up the Dartmoor hills in the heat. The onlookers were dotted along the whole route, but Princetown deserves special mention for turning out a surprisingly big crowd. I’m not used to be cheered at as I go past (jeering yes, of course).

This year the team at the office collected sponsorship to donate to ?Ronald Macdonald House, Bristol. Special mention to Andy for organising this and chivvying us all along. It’s not too late to contribute at http://www.justgiving.com/Motorola-Dartmoor-Classic-2010-RMHC.

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Jun 27
Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Well it has been a while hasn’t it? It’s been precisely a year in fact, since I last posted here. Tedious¬† ISP hosting excuses aside, here we go again… [sigh]

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Jun 28
Categories: cycle Tags: ,

Just got back from the Dartmoor Classic 100km cyclosportive event. I got a time of 4:17 which is good enough for a gold medal, so that’s alright then. Looks like all that commuting over the hills definitely paid off. Feel a bit tired now, but getting up at 6am can’t help.

The event is now one of the largest of its kind in the UK. It’s very well organised and staffed. I had feared a long wait for registration but they were entirely on top of things.There were marshals at almost every junction round the route, controlling the traffic with enormous red flags and pointing us cyclists in the right direction. Well done to all of them.

The weather was just about ideal: overcast and cool with a refreshing shower near the end. I gather that last year it was a stifling 30 degrees!

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May 06
Categories: cycle, funny, stupid Tags: , ,

It was dry when I set off on my commute #4 from Ashburton to Hexworthy. By the time I had accelerated down the slope (behind those trees) to the tight bend at the East end of Venford Reservoir, it was drizzling and the road was greasy. By the time I’d careened round the bend onto the bridge across the reservoir, there was a car in just the right place for the wrong outcome. There was no road left to maneuver in, no time to do it and no grip to do it with. I had no choice but to leap from my bike and stop the car using just my forehead before it had a chance to run over my precious bike. Actually to save any damage to my helmet, it was more of a face-but than a head-but. It stopped the car, but I lost points for style.

I think that was when I said: “Ow!” and other simple terms of exclamation. I promptly re-assumed an upright posture and proceeded to a) apologise for hitting her car with my face and b) insist that I was perfectly capable of going on my merry way despite the new hole in my forehead, the blood dripping from my eyebrow and the jaunty angle at which my right shifter now hung from the drops which no longer pointed quite the same way as the forks.

Fortunately the motorist whose evening I was doing a good job of ruining was far too together to listen to my blathering. So while I inspected the front of her car and ran through my denial checklist again, she bundled the bike and then me into said car and off we went to find a professional who knows what to do about an unexpected hole in the head.

Cutting a long A&E story short, I ended up with two layers of deep sutures followed by seven ‘ordinary’ stitches ontop. Oh and a bit of glue aswell. That’ll teach me to slow down on the bends, hopefully.

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Apr 10
Categories: garden Tags:

We’ve just spent the whole day assembling this giant Meccano kit for Parents. There’s pre-drilled aluminium tubes, numerous and varied plastic couplings, webbing, bendy poles, a slide, a big bag of nuts and an even bigger bag of bolts. The instructions were good if seemingly unending and a grand day was spent by all, assembling, disassembling and reassembling until everything had been well and truly assembled.

Actually it’s not really Meccano but an Action Stations – Optima from http://www.supertrampdirect.co.uk. Not only a British manufacturer but in Devon too, so that’s local produce for us. I have to say I’m very satisfied by the quality of the parts. The plastic mouldings are to a high standard as is the slide. The sewn parts are also very strongly made. Packaging and instructions nicely done too.

There’s nothing difficult about assembling this kit, though it does take quite a while! It’s a good thing that Super Tramp include two very adequate ratchet spanners because there’s a whole lot of bolts to fit — but this is the price for a very solid structure.

I’d have no fear of half a dozen screaming urchins dangling off this frame without doing it any harm whatsoever. I’d be standing at the other end of the garden though.

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Apr 06
Categories: cycle Tags: , ,

A colleage has just introduced me to this terrific site: bikeroutetoaster.com. It’s a free application using Google maps with which you can very quickly draw up a cycle route. The auto-routing is geared toward finding a good route, based on maximising speed or minimising distance and optionally avoiding main roads. The summary view shows a nice elevation chart along with total distance, total climb etc and an estimated trip time. If you have a Garmin gadget then you can download the route data for it. Finally the cue sheet page gives you turn-by-turn instructions.

This is just what I’ve been after. Now I might be able to estimate how many miles I’ve ridden since New Bike.

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Dec 06
Categories: howto Tags: , , , ,

A couple of weeks ago, Dad called me to tell me that the cat has just helped him to pour a mug of tea over the keyboard of his Lenovo, and now neither he nor the cat could switch it on. As you know, PCs don’t drink tea, not even after a traumatic Christmas shopping trip. They really, really don’t like it, thank you very much. No not coffee either thanks. No really I’m just fine with the juice. If there’s nothing DC then anything AC would be great…

So PC revival procedures began. As per my instructions, Dad took the covers off the back and left the PC ontop of the Esse (other stoves are available) for a few days. No joy. Popped into a low, fan-assisted oven for a day. No joy. Wafted a hair dryer over it for I don’t know how long. No joy. Sent it to Lenovo who declared it in need of a new motherboard and hard drive. Zero joy there.

So eventually this ‘dead’ PC came to me: can I get the data off the drive? Well, I thought it was worth a final go at drying it out, so I removed all the panels, DVD drive, hard drive, battery and keyboard, popped it onto the back of the Aga and waited. After a day, no joy, but after two days, deep joy: it boots! So it just goes to show: an Aga dries the laptop parts that other stoves can’t reach.

Steve’s PC Liquid Spill Recovery Procedure

  1. Panic. Immediately put your finger on the power button and keep it there. While you’re doing that, rip the charger lead out if it’s connected. And while you’re doing that, invert the PC to limit the ingress of the liquid into the PC’s innards. At this point the PC should be off, unpowered, dripping and probably upside down.
  2. Take the battery out.
  3. Remove everything that you can including drives, keyboard and panels. You want to enable as much air flow as possible. With the lid half open, pop the PC onto the Aga on its edge so that the hot air can flow up past all the apertures, taking the moisture with it. If you haven’t got an Aga, get one — they’re brilliant. Failing that, choose your preferred stove or other hot, dry place.
  4. Relax. Now you will have to do some waiting, up to maybe three weeks. You won’t be able to resist trying to power up after a day or so. When nothing happens, don’t despair, just keep waiting.
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Nov 17

New Job

By ste
Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , ,
Point-to-Point wireless Ethernet bridges operating in the 2.5, 4.5, 5.4 and 5.8 GHz bands at speeds up to 300 Mbps.

Point-to-Point wireless Ethernet bridges operating in the 2.5, 4.5, 5.4 and 5.8 GHz bands at speeds up to 300 Mbps.

Today I started a new job at Motorola in Ashburton. I’ll be working on the embedded software for point-to-point fixed wireless products like this one. It’s an all-in-one antenna, radio tranceiver and digital platform that lives up a mast or on the side of a building, with a singe CAT5e cable connection to carry data and provide power. A pair of these units can form a transparent, wireless ethernet bridge at up to 300Mbps data throughput even without line of sight, and across huge distances. For more information about Motorola point-to-point wireless bridges see the PTP web site.

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