Archive for the ‘Cycling’ Category

The alleged “War on Cyclists”

May 15, 2014

Reads the headline.

Been thinking a lot about this so called war lately. It’s a manufactured invention of the Murdoch press which stirs up hostility to make money. We all know this. And we all know that the most dangerous time to ride is the morning peak after a Murdoch dig at cyclists. It incenses me to read online about some ‘accident’ that reads more like a deliberate homicide followed by the most ridiculous self justifying and poorly written (and spelt) drivel posted as comments. And some ‘accidents’ undoubtedly are punishment passes gone wrong. Very close to murder.

Our culture is a petri dish in which hatred and murder are bred on purpose by people who intend to make money from it. And so a fatal accident happens again, and yet the people who fill the madman’s addled mind with ideas and hatred even now are sneering in the commentaries that cyclists need to be banned, licensed, registered to bring the unmanageable outrageous risk to public amenity they represent under control. As if in a decade all the cyclists of the country combined could manage the damage to life, limb and property that the school mums of a single city manage every week. But the only surprise is that it has not happened sooner.

And yet the very press that provides the touch powder that gives the disaffected the will to act never acknowledge or even fully understand their complicity. And yet they are complicit. They use their hopefully fading power in ways that get people killed.

Of course it’s not just cyclists that cop it. And I can think of many examples. So much hatred was spilled at our only female Prime Minister by the same press that it would have been no surprise if some nutter had gone too far and shot her. And yet, if such a horrible thing had happened the press would doubtless have turned on the Government of the day and demanded tougher gun laws.    The Oklahoma city bombing in the US was a nutters response to newspaper campaigns about the ‘evil’  federal govt.

Stirring up a rabid lynch mob and then standing by and demanding the lynch mob be punished is what the Australian press does best.

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Overwork is no good for us – or our customers

November 12, 2013

Having just published a blog post that I wrote last month, I am reminded that there is more to life than work!

This is also helped by the fact that I got out for a bike ride twice last week, then went away for a long weekend of music and relaxation. On top of that, we are (weather permitting) going to listen to more music tonight.

I was fortunate that I had reached a good point to rest in my major current client work, so it was not so dramatic that I was off email for a couple of days. This means that the time I took to relax and recharge did not impact on my customer service – no problems with customers allowed me to relax even more.

So – how is your work/life balance going? What do you do to ensure that you can keep working well for all your customers?

Australian Masters Games – Track Racing

November 12, 2013

Perfect Notes spent a wonderful day in Geelong, supporting friends who were racing.
Another_podium

Yet_another_podium

Margie_on_podium

John_Paxton_on_podium

John_Paxton_medal

John_Paxton_getting_onto_track

John_Paxton_after_award

This is one that never got posted when it was created – back in October!

Ride to Work Day – the Jersey Story

October 22, 2013

Well, there is a story behind the jersey that I wore on my ride last Wednesday – so here it is:

David Thomas has been doing a fair amount of riding and some racing over the last few years. Some of this racing has been the Blackburn Cycling Club Kew Boulevard ITT. One of the teams that race this series – among a lot of other racing – is Kosdown Performance Cycling. Particularly, we have come to know Shane Miller, who is an absolute ITT (Individual Time Trial) king and is Australian Champion in a number of categories at the moment!
Anyway, Team Kosdown have a new jersey design for this season, meaning that their team members have old-style jerseys that they will no longer use for racing. So, they decided to pass them on to other riders – the only condition being that you wear them, ride or race, take a photo (or three) and post them on the Kosdown Facebook page.
Originally, it was intended that David would wear the jersey. But it turns out that the weights he has been lifting recently mean that it doesn’t fit him – so I tried it on, and given that it has a full zip and some stretch, it fits me. So now you know the history of the jersey and photo in the last post.

Ride to Work Day

October 18, 2013

Last Wednesday, 16/10/13, was Ride to Work Day again.

With a home office, it seemed that we were unlikely to participate, but we decided that riding to a breakfast and back home would count – so that’s what we did! Not the world’s longest commute, from Blackburn North into Box Hill, but that wasn’t the point. It was about getting out there, riding again, chatting to other cyclists – and getting a free breakfast as a bonus.

Being an IT business, our footprint on the world is never going to be minimal. But we do what we can. So, where it acceptable to our customers, we try to do site visits by bicycle. This has the combined benefit of costing less, reducing our impact on the environment, and giving a great excuse to train as well!

Did you get out and ride on Wednesday? Or any other day this week?

Here’s a pic of me after the ride – proof that I got out there (despite the wind).

Kathy_with_bike

Kathy

Ride to work day.

October 13, 2011

So I did.
Client in town… with serious virus issue. So I went in to spend a day fighting it. Some of these new viri are really genuinely nasty. And this machine had a few.

So I rode to work. Went via the MRR training ride, the Hawthorn velodrome RTW brecky put on by Booroondara council…which was pretty good, and where I ran into my friend Wendy, and then into Fed Square in Melbourne. Where I got my picture taken. And then onto the client.

This machine had  a brand new rootkit virus,   and some malware.  And a couple of other trojans.  And a web hijacker dumping IE on a page full of trojans.  The rootkit was so new it was unremovable by Sophos.  One of the trojans actively targeted the antivirus.   All  of  the antivirus.   Scarey and nasty.    But this week the USAF announced it had issues with viri on its Predator armed drone aircraft.   You can read this story here.

Of fiery sheep and burnt skin

October 27, 2010

Its been an interesting week. More delving into the guts of Sony Vaio’s, a few little jobs here and there. A couple of new websites (well to us.. really they are just updates), a support client wanting us to develop a couple of shopfront websites for him, and I have remote desktop.. and actually all remote services on private LAN’s sussed. Even have a how to document together on my hot little macbook. And remote desktop enabled on one of my machines. and visible from the web. Even though we have a dynamic IP address that changes often

Here is the web server on the machine in the corner. If its not there its because I turned it off not cos its down, Totally reliable.. although it of course comes with security issues. And simple in the end. Cool huh? Got that wired now.

A few days ago we went to my old mate Ian and his wife Lisa’s for a barbie. I amused myself by hacking Ians router on the fly with my macbook and actually setting up some security. Wide open network. Since then I have read of an astonishing plugin for the firefox web browser called firesheep. It works like this.. if you use a nonsecure network at the same time as someone is using firesheep and you go to any of a myriad non secure sites.. including amongst many others facebook.. Mr firesheep has your username and password. Scarey huh? To beat it you probably need to force the non secure site to run https.. but that makes it harder apparently to deliver advertisements, so may not always even be possible. Its probably why so many of these sites are not secure anyway… that and the overhead in encrypting each bit of data. I have had a look at firesheep and its now on my Macbook.. more when I know more. But this is scary scary stuff

Ian became my mate for life after an accident a trillion years ago when I broke my hip. All other visitors bought flowers. Cept my mum who bought clean underwear in the wrong size. Ian bought scotch. A good mate.

Team Splat! returned to DISC last week for some training. While warming up.. my tire went down. Result a fall and a lack of confidence for the rest of the night. The tire was at 120 psi and at 80 psi in the bend at 25 kph the front wheel tucked under. Not saveable. Not impressed. I caught the replacement tube at 80 psi later too. Not confidence inspiring. Cost me some skin and a good pair of knicks to figure out that if the tire should squeal on a painted line at DISC its a really really good time to stop and check tire pressures.

Sally later on had a 0 kph fall out of the starting gate. Sally was having a slightly nervy night herself. In fact the only confident happy member of Team Splat! was Jenny. Who rode confidently and well Sunday week at Blackburn Velo is Team Splat!’s next official outing.. come along and support us.

Just heard that the Brumby Government has just revisited its abandoned election promise of a rail link to Tullamarine Airport. It helped get em elected last time and then was dumped, this election is looking pretty dodgy, trot it out again. Cos Victorians are stupid. We must be.. look at our pollies. 😛 But seriously how cynical are these people? Brumby probably thinks he has my vote because he is a cyclist. Think again mate. I know of few people who could not do a better job than you.. and almost no one who could not do it cheaper.

Of business and bikes.

October 20, 2010

Wednesday, supposedly a really good day to do a blog post. Lets see how this one does on the statistics. I am trying to write the blog 3 times a week, honestly, its just not always happening.

Interesting week. Kathy just fielded a phone call. Do we want to send a couple of representatives up to the Gold Coast to tout for Government Contracts. 11 guaranteed meetings, the people on the other side of the table prepared to sign off on 5 million bucks worth of contracts at a minimum on the spot. Mostly interested in data recovery IT consultancy and Plone. Interesting huh? Would cost us 35K and that all a tax write off.

Bit rich for our blood just atm.. for that I would certainly finish writing our bit of Data Recovery software. I can see it happening tho.. next year or the year after. We dont need much more momentum to be doing all right. And from all right to really good is not nearly as big a step. Their really is a market for companies like us. The big players mostly want to deal with the rich companies.. its small business thats vibrant, interesting, much more involved in networking and personal relationships and actually needs us.. instead of some big player, to sort out their issues.. which are as diverse as a single printer giving them grief, a web site that needs work, or some documentation that needs polishing. I am going into Carlton in a while to look at why one employees Outlook isn’t This area is fun.. not boring in the slightest. Its where we want to be.

The evil laptop that has come to give me nightmares has finally got spares on the way. Maybe even the right spares. Its sorta hard to tell. I have hopes. I really really want that done. On that front its almost completely together now. and quite reliable.

I definitely need to pick the brains of a VPN network expert. I have 3 clients requiring a little bit of help in this area and while I am getting there… its a bit trickier than I thought; if you are a VPN expert and prepared to give us a hand send me an email. Kathy is snowed under with web development work. This is all php and other language programming and not simple stuff. Plenty happening on that front.

We are going ahead with the Bendigo expansion. Its a gamble but what in life isn’t? At some point I probably need to find a smart, savvy trustworthy (because we dont want them to run away and do their own thing) IT savvy person to be the Bendigo face of Perfect Notes. And in fact we probably want to set them up with a VPN to our server farm I have just realised. So if thats you.. maybe drop us a line. Either Kathy or I and occasionally (as in next week) both of us will be plodding up to Bendigo fairly often. Its obviously time to sort our second car. Sigh. I try for a low impact life style honestly.

Ok… and now for our customary cycling rave.

The sprint series race is happening on Sunday week. My entry is in. I have had many comments to the effect that if I can win D grade so can anyone. I expect some competition in D grade.. and I seriously have to lift my game by maybe 2 seconds a lap to have much of a shot at C grade. Oh their are people in C grade I can beat.. but, there are people I possibly cannot. Sigh. That bike frame prize is looking pretty safe. Team Splat! will be their in its entirety. And we will of course give it our usual red hot go.

I am really proud of Team Splat!. We never set out to set the world on fire.. or win everything we entered.. we set out to have fun.. to give the two girls (I was never going to race track again) a decent support structure and to give it a go. I think our result hugely surpass that. We are a actual force to if not actually be reckoned with at least to be taken seriously. Our first effort with more than one rider entered and we got 1st and 2nd in D grade.

One thing that I feel strongly about in racing is that while its OK to finish last, and its OK to not train every minute, and its OK to not have it be the most important thing in your life its not OK to not take it seriously. Its not OK to not give it a decent try. Its not OK to not train at all. This is especially true of 1 on 1 competition like match sprinting or pursuits. And I,ll tell you why. If you race an opponent who does not do you the credit of putting in and you win.. then you win nothing. Your opponent was unprepared and not serious Your effort is wasted. And if they perchance should win (unlikely because not training tends to go with poor results but some people do have natural talent) then it is even a worse insult to you. It says “I can beat you without even putting in an effort, you are worth nothing, why are you here?” Its positively insulting. Not everyone agrees with me.. perhaps you need to have done Karate or another combat sport to see it this way. What do you think?

This past Sunday was the annual Around The Bay ride. The ATB is the ultimate goal of many recreational riders. Bitch Road fills up with riders of less than ordinary skill for weeks beforehand as they train for it. Sally and I decided to go for a ride.. and take in some of the atmosphere but both of us have done the event before.. and Sally had to be back early for family reasons so we decided to only go as far as Mornington.

I rode in, met Sally at the agreed rendezvous and set off. We went very hard… working mainly in with each other. pointedly staying away from the bunches although very often we ended up towing large bunches of our own. Several times in characteristic ATB style big bunches pushed past us, died instantly and we rode around the outside of them. We saw many interesting examples of inadequate roadcraft, amusing levels of non skill and amazing idioticity I mean really.. riding a TT bike.. in the bars in a bunch, and an average bunch at that.

We stopped several times for coffee and to watch the passing parade, saw the aftermath of a fatal heart attack on Olivers, Hill in Frankston (A likely place for a heart attack I must say) and stopped for coffee whenever it started raining.

On the return we followed the same procedure.. riding side by side chatting or doing bit and bit.. Sally and I riding very well together.. the trust built up by riding track very evident. Once or twice we worked in with other people one of who was on a Bike Friday. Wow you can draft those small wheeled bikes close . I figured out that you need not ever hit the back wheel, you could always put out an arm and push the bloke away. And the draft that close was amazing. I want a Bike Friday.

Afterwards Sally and I parted company on Princes Bridge. I went to the finish. Met many people I know. Drank beer. Had dinner with Kathy, and our friends Robyn and Ros. Robyn and I co own a unit in Glen Iris. Ros came down from Darwin to stay with her for the ATB. And then I rode home. Finishing off with a good hard 170 km for the day. And more hills than the ATB. A wonderful wonderful day.

Its been a while

September 27, 2010

Its a week since I did a post. Oops. And that was on a Monday too.. Supposedly the worst day to do a post. At least according to my teammate Sally who is supposed to know about social media.

I don’t know why so long.. lack of inspiration or something. Nothing I felt strongly enough to comment on perhaps. So I will try and make up for it all over the next few days. Writing or at least writing intelligently as I try and do can be just a bit difficult to start. Its ok IF you have something to say.. hard otherwise. I always find something to say but that blank LCD screen can be a bit intimidating.

OK lets briefly cover all the bases today. Cycling, well we did the inaugural ‘waffle ride‘ last Sunday. Sally and I represented Team Splat! Sally posting as ‘Elefunksoup’ posted a hilarious ride report on BV forums. The waffles were provided by Rebecca, a truly lovely Canadian imput. It was a great day.. decent training into a punishing headwind on the return, and the event is a keeper.

It was the last winter training effort at DISC last night. It came to a choice between doing some gardening and attending DISC or going to Ballarat and watching the amazing Jeannie Longo race. At 51 Jeannie is the current outright womens TT champion of France. Sadly gardening won. I had to deliver Sally’s track bike to her as it was at my place anyway. Another skills session. 3 handicap races.. Sally is easily the faster rider over 100 metres.. but over 500 I made her work for her 2 wins. There were 3 of us in those races.. I scored one win and 2 seconds to Sally. Of course the third rider is about 12 😦 Sigh. Age may not weary us, but it makes everyone except Jeannie Longo slower. Sally bought along her own cheer squad. Her fella and her dad. So sweet. We are a bunch of nostalgic softies us trackies.

TRACK season starts. The worlds are here and is not the footy going to play hell with that? I think I will write on that more in another post but the draw in the footy is a terrible result for the UCI. Sad huh? Anyway the sprint series starts for Team Splat! next weekend. We have 3 riders up for it.. including me. We have approached informally another girl from DUCC‘s to perhaps join the team. Is it coincidence that Team Splat! is pretty girl heavy? Even I have been told I ride like a girl.. which er.. I dont think was meant as a compliment even tho I took it as one. 😀 Very very proud of my girls

Come and watch Team Splat! race. And let us know if you are interested in a jersey. I need about 50 firm orders. Can’t be too hard. It will be a plain jersey.. in grey represent concrete or bitumen… with the Team Splat! blood splatter pattern front and rear.

I notice that my lovely niece Leah “Little Miss Scribble” is still reading my ramblings. Leah is one of the most important people in the world and I find that immensely satisfying and shall try and lift my game here to do her proud. Its been a while but I shall likely be catching up with her today in the remote wilderness stone fortress in which she, and her heavily armed retainers and guardians reside. Because PerfectNotes is going bush.. to talk to some country people, do some county networking and hopefully chase up some business. We have a networking meeting scheduled in Bendigo which we hope will lead to something worthwhile. Fingers crossed. We shall be pushing the Virtual Assistant service heavily. In fact since I imagine that Bendigo has some decent techs.. we shall be concentrating on the VA side of things.

Its scary to realise that Leah is now the same age her mum was when I first met her. I remember that meeting with her mum too. Hi Jeannine. Put the kettle on please.

One of my camera’s has turned up. Its the Sony. It would be. I am still resurrecting this Sony laptop.. one of the connectors has what looks like a factory fix on it and I cannot for the life of me manage a decent connection. Sucks. My opinion of Sony has gone through the floor and I will never be recommending Sony products again. If the damn manufacturer does not have service manuals available deal with some one who does. Its a simple rule. Follow it.

OK Social Comment. The winging by the people of Geelong over hosting the world cycling championships is pathetic. I wont be going down more than a couple of times because I dont want to spend time and money in such a bogan backwater.. If the event fails, its going to be down to the losers of Geelong doing all they can to make it fail. Football is pretty much it for sport down there. Geelong always represents itself as a pro cycling city but that has never been my experience. I had a long term girlfriend in Geelong once and the city has never endeared itself to me in any way on my commutes to her. Its a bustling city with all the charm of a small hillbilly town. And the ceaseless complaints about having a couple of streets blocked off for something that is not the footy are annoying me.

Gee I am a moody bugger.

September 13, 2010

Had a couple of issues this last week. Its all sortable of course.. nearly anything is. But instantly I go from being upbeat and optimistic and working my butt off for this business to moody.. unhappy, dare I say ‘grumpy?’ and wanting to crawl back into bed. I am not a depressive person.. and I have friends who deal with deep depression.. been there and not going there again, but sometimes I peer over the edge of that cliff and see the depths below. Scary. Got to work on being upbeat.

Its time to look at the google add words campaign again. The Virtual Assistant one. We are running a couple of these campaigns for clients and they have been hugely successful. This one.. not so much. Its tricky as I have alluded too in the past. The obvious keywords are wrong or far too widely applicable. What would you type in if you wanted to hire a VIrtual Assistant in Melbourne to…. scan some stuff in for you, polish up a report, email a bunch of clients, build a spread sheet for you, clean up some photo’s update a web site, ghostwrite a business blog? See what I mean? Its a serious question by the way..what keywords are applicable? Talk to me. We need this to work

PerfectNotes IT also needs to find a decent electronics tech.. I can solder a component in OK,, can swap out bits… figure out some of a board,s logic, but we need occasional access to someone who can say, “Its the F1113 transistor here, if I put in a C112 in it will work just fine” Or who is at least better than me. They need to be within Coooee of the Melbourne Eastern Suburbs, Anyone? Am I a voice shouting in the wilderness here?

During the week I was offered a hummmmmm sponsored entry into the Degani Kinglake Ride a bit of a hill fest in the kinglake area. My team leader Ian , his missus Lisa and various others from Lisa’s company were going to be doing it as a team. Late notice as the ride was yesterday (Sunday) and it was Saturday evening before I read the ride instructions. Holy frak… it was like reading the instructions to the Paris Dakar Rally or the Whitbread Race I posted on BV forums about the lack of an EPIRB in the required bits, and got a post back saying it and radio skeds and frequencies were on the last page. A joke but not by much. Hey its just a pootle in the hills on public roads. Not that you would know it. And the rules. “No overtaking” “Do not exceed 60 kph” Riiiiiighhhhhhht.

Met up with Ian and Lisa at their house and agreed to meet at the start.. and that was the last I saw of them till I called in on the way home. They never made it.. As far as I know I was the only team member to ride. Sigh. There is a picture of Ian in Wikapedia under “unreliable” Not what I needed.

I had a good day anyway. Met one person I knew. I would honestly have thought that it was impossible to have 3500 cyclists in a bunch anywhere near Melbourne and not have people there I knew. Mind you everyone was dressed the same. Nice jersey. Good score
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Anyway…. Here is my FB post about the ride. And indeed the evening.

Ride leaving time 9:00. Ride completed…. 11:20. Nominated time for ride 3 hours. Actual time 2 hours 20 mins. Average speed 28 ish. Time for will walker climb 28 minutes 15 secs .. just under twice his time. 😦 Passed 128 people on the climb. Got passed by about 40… none on bikes and mostly in vintage mercedes that sounded worse than me.

Rode the first 15 km and the start with fixie. We spent most of that time being rude to the people shoving past on the left… All of whom blew up on the first climb

Problems I had. some lower back pain…

Then I went to DISC and got my legs torn off me by CARL. But did ride a really good take a lap with Jenny… we took 3 laps from the bunch together.. last launching an attack with 4 laps to go and convincingly catching them with time to spare.

My leggses hurties.

And Jenny wrote about DISC on the Team Splat! page

well, Dave and I were at DISC training tonight – Sally off doing some road riding.
Carl from aboc cycling ran another great session for the “enduro” bunch. One of our tidiest efforts at the warm-up laps.
3 x 3 minute bursts with gradual increments in speed before a final sprint.
Followed by 50 sec recovery/10 sec sprint bursts for 15 minutes.
“Take-a -lap” drill to finish. We managed a fine piece of Team Spat! co-operation and worked together to take 3 laps from the “bunch”.

Truly, it’s the first night I have felt really comfortable at DISC and not panicky at all.

I,ll see if I can find a pic of me on this ride at some point. The climb referred to is some 7+ km steep pitch that a really quick rider onces set a superb time up.. possibly on a motorcycle (snicker)

THe world champs are nearly here. The biggest thing to EVER happen in cycling in Australia is happening just down the road in Boganville.. er Geelong. Nothing much has been said about it.. THe locals mostly seem to not want it there. If its not V8 motor racing, or the Footy its foreign. One bloke said “WHo cares about cycling?” 350 million more people than ever have heard about Aussie Rules you hillbilly. Sheisse. What can you do? No advertising has been seen. No promotion. Lets ignore it.. and it will go away and not come back.

But Cycling Tips Blog put it so much better than I can