August 29, 2002

I survived!

D-Day has come and went. I survived! More to the point, my shins did not shatter, my heart did not explode and would you believe this... the run wasn't to bad. I decided I would wait until this morning to post, just to see how I would be feeling the "morning after". And I can say... not to bad. Alittle sore in the shoulders, and the right lower leg... but its fine.

During the run I was a lot less comfortable. My lower back was killing me... but what do you expect when you have as much girth as I. My shins were feeling kinda sore... but then my calves started to burn a bit... and gave a nice "numb" feeling in the right leg. Not bad numb... just telling me "hey... yer doing something I haven't see in a LONG time". Did some good stretches and that helped a lot. Didn't do my shoulders.. which is why I think its sore. Weird thing was that the bottom of me feet were sore for a little while. Now, I have pretty good runners... so I dunno whats up with that. Woke up this morning.. and it was gone.

Eating has been ok. Haven't cheated, but its only been 2 days. :) I found I actually like Peanut butter, so PB on toast is a good breakfast. I may even venture a try at the idea of having it with bananas one of these days.

One of the "concerns" I had in my last entry was this idea that you don't take ANY water in while running, and only do so AFTER the run. I was supposed to drink 6 glasses before I do the run. I was doubtful thinking I would be pretty thirsty. Truth be told... I was wrong. I didn't even feel like drinking until the last cycle. It was weird. Being hydrated let me focus on running.. not on making sure I didn't have a dry mouth. And running in 30+ degree weather.. I was sure I would be thirsty. But I wasn't.

Not much else to say. First session down. It isn't going to get easier... but if I can survive the first day... I should be able to survive the next. Day by day and all that.

Posted by SilverStr at 03:20 PM

August 27, 2002

Run away!

Been concerned about my weight lately. Sitting in front of a computer for 10-16 hours a day isn't very healthy. Tap on that the food I am eating (whatever can basically be made up within 3 minutes), and you can tell its not very healthy. Last night, while looking through some old stuff I came across some old military stuff, including things like my repell harness rope, a pair of miltary pants and a little photo albumn. That did it... it threw me into a bad fit of depression for about an hour. :(

So I decided I am going to do something about it. Now, I am not looking for the get slim in 21 days crap.. I want to healthfully lose 2 pounds a week until I am happy with myself. I don't care if it take over a year, as I will know I will be properly tightening up, and doing good to the body. I look at people who did the "Body for Life" program a few years ago and now note them complaining of joint issues. (3 out of 3 people I know that did it told me that). So that shoked me about the "blast" body building program, and has me not interested. So I decided to get back to basics, and remember that when in the military we ran almost every morning. Excellent aerobic activity. And could be done litterally anywhere. We ran everywhere all day. I was forced into it. Never liked running... but I was also in pretty good shape.

So I called up a buddy of mine that ... get this ... enjoys running FOR FUN. *sicko*. Explained my predicament, including my issue with joint problems. I don't have them yet.. but knowing Limos has had problems... I don't wanna go down that path. Low and behold he had an answer for me.

So tomorrow is the beginning of D-Day. He is going to drive out to Chilliwack and we are going to start doing the "Sun Run Training Program". Now, I am not training for the sun run... so don't fret about me bowling some of you over. But apparently the training program is pretty sound. The "Phiso" scientists over at UBC apparently designed the optimal training program to get into running for non-running types, and in a way to assist in joint development. On top of that, we are going to go run on the professional track which has a "cushion" matting that will lessen the impact. And because I already have excellent running shoes that fit well, I have all the tools I need.

The program is pretty interesting. It is a week by week building excercise for 12 weeks which will slowly and effectively build up the cardio to allow the runner to get up to running a complete 10K run. (Remember, this is designed for the Sun Run). In my case, I want to build up my heart strength so I can go and run 10K 3 times a week, and get the excercise to burn fat. Well, here is how it is scheduled out:

Week Run Walk
1 30s 4m 30s
2 1m 4m
3 1m 30s 3m 30s
4 2m 3m
5 2m 30s 2m 30s
6 3m 2m
7 4m 2m
8 5m 1m
9 7m 2m
10 8m 2m

* After week 10 it gets more complex. Download this schedule to get the full run down.

You do this cycle for 1 hour. So in the first week, I actually only run 6 minutes. Not to hard is it? Walk doesn't mean a stroll though. It is a brisk walk, with good posture allowing for lots of air to get into the lungs. Now, apparently the "wall" for this program is on week 7. This is where a lot of people stuggle. Hopefully with some help, I'll get through it. The only other thing is that I am supposed to have 6 glasses of water BEFORE I go running. And since we are going at lunch.. that is gonna be fun. Unbeknownst to me, the problem most people have when running is that they are TO dehydrated. Apparently most of us are ALREADY dehydrated, as we are not drinking enough water in our diet. We should not have to drink water during the sessions. We will need to replenish AFTER, but not during if we are properly hydrated. We will see what comes of this.

With the excercise queued up, I turn to eating habits. There is something I have problems with that I need help on. I have tried Weight Watchers, [name that shake] program etc.. and they all have failed. I can't swallow pills, so I can't do all the "pill" diets.. which is probably a good thing.. since almost all of them have been recalled one time or another. I am so confused since some people say high carbos low protien, others say the opposite. I spent some time with a nutritionist today and she put me on to the proper basic thinking. The Canadian Food Guide is, as we all learned in school, the proper way to eat. I thought I was safe eating lots of fruits... and found out all my orange juice, rasberries etc actually VERY high on the glycemic index and actually performing NEGATIVE things to my body at this particular point due to all the calories I would be taking in. As an example, I normally drink two 8 oz glasses of OJ in the morning. According to the food guide... that is actually 4 servings of fruit. Calories building up even before I am DONE breakfast. Add the fact I do that a night a lot... guess what.. I am a walking calorie holder. *sigh*. She also gave me some pointers to web sites like the Dietitians of Canada which has a wealth of knowledge. And none of it is targetted for some profit making health company. Its all raw facts and data to allow me to personalize my eating life style. We will see what comes of it. All I know is that I hate things like yogurt and fish, and that starts carving out some of the apparently good things to eat.

Well, we will see what happens. Chances are I will start using my blog to record some progress in how I feel so I can look back and reflect on it. If any runners in the crowd would like to provide me with some of their input, especially how you get motivated when its pissing down rain and you have to run... I would appreciate an email.

Posted by SilverStr at 03:18 PM | Comments (1)

August 25, 2002

Movie Madness

Well, last week was quite interesting work wise. I went from being so stuck I was wondering what the hell I got into, to finally have gdb spit out some exact memory addressing to get me to realize I was doing everything right... the docs/man pages were wrong. About 15 minutes after figuring this out... I had an email from the original developer confirming as much. Thank $DEITY... I thought I was losing my mind. Once I knew what was wrong, a few changes later.. and everything was working rocket fast and to my amazement, better than I had hoped. I was so pleased, I took Friday afternoon off and went movie matinee mad.

Started by going and seeing XXX (That's Triple X.. not pr0n you dolt) alone, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is the exact brain dead action flick I needed to enjoy myself. After than, Wim, Alan and I hooked up and we checked out Austin Powers - Gold Member. Talk about funny. The beginning is so weird, its stupid and funny at the same time. Split a gut with so much dumbed down humor. Now, neither of these movies are going to end up with awards galore.. but none the less, they were exactly what I needed, and had a great time in the process.

Yesterday I took the family with some friends up to Lightening Lake in Manning Park for a picnic. Now that is a beautiful lake. Crystal clear waters, no motor boats allowed, and nice weather to boot. Extremely kewl place to hang out for the day. Was well worth the hour and a bit drive. Really clean air, quiet atmosphere and the enjoyments of a nice picnic in the shade. Spent the evening with friends, playing cards and some chess. It was nice to pull out my glass chess set and sit on the back deck at night playing some good chess. After promoting a few pawns to queens (was a REALLY weird game), I finally finished off the game in style. I miss playing chess. Wish I had more friends that enjoyed it, without it being to damn competitive. I could play online... but it is one of the few games I like to play in person, and like to SEE and FEEL the game rather than push electrons around.

This morning I just vegged out with my daughter. Spent the afternoon listening to an old CD of David Sanborn while preparing for a technical paper I need to write this week. If you like saxaphone, and like a mixture of fusion and clean jazz... you will want to grab some stuff from this guy. Very talented. I always loved his sound. Be kewl if Sanborn and Botti would play together someday.

Just finished up some email, and am now going to go sit on the deck and get an outline done for this techical doc. I have most of the pieces together and just need to formalize it and create a sane flow to it all. On that note, I should get at it. L8r.

Posted by SilverStr at 03:13 PM

August 19, 2002

Gotta love pointers

Pointers. I *love* them. The one thing missing in Java if you ask me. That's all I am willing to say on the matter right now. Pointer manipulation and pointer arithmetic rox.

Spent some time going through some friends blogs recently in depth. A few things jump out at me that I feel compelled to want to respond. I have tried to NOT respond, as I am SURE I am going to get in trouble for this, but in the end hopefully calmer heads will prevail and people will understand what I am getting at. If not, I apologize in advance... I mean no offense, but wish you guys/gals would consider the impact of the electron. I will keep names out of this to protect the innocent, as well as the NOT so innocent. Well... lets get started:

  • Documentation. Comments. There are ESSENTIAL in good programming structure. Not because you may be to lazy to make the effort to refactor/change documentation as you change functions, but because others need to understand your code. And I quote from the blog:

    So why write pages of documentation or comments?
    It's easier to keep the code current the documentation up to date.

    I'll tell you why. Because in two years from now when people try to read your code, they need to understand what the hell you are doing in a reasonable time. This individual should know better.. since I personally just had to go THROUGH his code which is over a year old... and because he DIDN'T properly comment in crucial areas, we ended up having to write some code FROM SCRATCH because it was FASTER than trying to understand how this impacted external processes. Your 10 minutes of documentation now will save hours or days in lost productivity trying to figure out what you are trying to accomplish. And during the refactoring process, others may know BETTER ways to accomplishing the same task. If its properly documented, they can learn from your work, and make it better. You may want to read Eric S. Raymonds Software Release Practice HOWTO. A relevant section would be around here about documentation. You very much could document code in a way to strip out usable docs, such as with PerlDOC and JavaDOC. Another good reference I have bookmarked is over at RedHat about comments in code. I like the quote from Nagler:

    If your program isn't worth documenting, it probably isn't worth running.
    - Nagler, 1995

  • Blogs as cryptic traversal engines for emotions are bad. (And we all do it, /me is just as much a guilty party) Those involved know what I mean. The best thing to do when a friend is having some of the most difficult times in his life making life-changing decisions is to let him make it, and support whatever decisions he makes. If you are truely his friend the use of guilt, sadness or anger as reflected in a blog is actually COUNTER PRODUCTIVE to the issue at hand. And actually, isn't helping as a friend.. but harming it. Sometimes the pen, although mightier than the sword is a toothpick to the damage electrons can do when wielded like a heavy ax. All you do is chop off your own limb, getting all sweaty and accomplish very little except to ANGER and perplex others... and make their decision even harder. Respect your friend's complex position and the anguish he would be going through trying to make the right choice for himself.... don't hinder it with your blog. Even though your intentions were sound, the method may not be. Pick up the phone, and be a listening board and allow him to make his own decisions. Remember, you may have been in a similar boat, and think about the emotional rollercoaster you went through. Now reflect on everything that happened over the last week. Not to pretty, is it?
  • Until you REALLY know a person, don't judge him from what you THINK is going on. Asking him. COMMUNICATE. Getting vexed and creating your own position on something is quite futile, except to make your own emotions reflect off to others. Use of blame and anger is typically fruitless, especially when you have NO CLUE what the HELL you are saying. And don't forget, your actions sometimes do get back to the original party.

    Cryptical Note #24 to old employees of mine.... perhaps you should truely explain to your significant others how much I truely cared for each and every one of you, and how much I tried to do everything I could for you. If you don't yourself believe that, perhaps you should ask others that DO have a clue. *sigh*. Even now, I do actually care about you, and your well being. Even if you have "contrary opinions" of me in this manner.

Please, please people. Close that new email you started, stop the angered response, and think for a moment what I am trying to say. Calm down and think about it. Now, if you feel you just HAVE to respond, (and you believe I am talking about you or someone close to you), feel free to drop me aline. Actually, you are ALWAYS welcome to drop me aline. Especially if you worked with me in the past. I would love to know how you are doing. Oh and Tim... I have a spare room, you are always welcome to come to Canada and stay with me for a while.

Posted by SilverStr at 03:08 PM

August 15, 2002

Linked Lists are your friend

Linked lists. Need I say more. I finally decided that the LT XML interfaces for C suck for storage classes, so I am going to simply parse the XML and store it as a linked list in memory. Will be MUCH faster to work with. God its been YEARS since I had to write a fast linked list. I am so spoiled in some of the more modern languages that have storage classes ranging from vectors to hashtables.

My birthday was pretty boring. I worked. All the friends I care about were to damn busy to go out and have some fun with me. I really want to go see XXX. Sounds like its what James Bond would be like if he replaced his vodka with some good 'ol Jack Daniels, and he only had women from Toronto to sleeze over. In any event I plan on taking a day off next week and just doing something. Was originally thinking of going golfing at Sand Piper, but now I am thinking I might enjoy a matinee and a relaxing time on the deck reading a good book.

Looks like Arc is gonna be getting that job. I spent around 45 minutes talking with the head of HR for said Edmonton company discussing his "traits". In the beginning she didn't sound pumped about him, but by the end she knew his strong points (ya I was nice, didn't tell her about his coke addiction) and said she appreciated my input. Course she is SUPPOSED to be nice to me.. so she may not have really cared. Once I said he would be working for me if I had the resources, the rest was just formality. ;-) Damn... I should have said rotten things so he wouldn't leave. Damn ethics and morals got in the way. *sigh*

Speaking of Arc, I should go as I gotta get cleaned up. He and FireFly are coming for dinner in the next hour or so and I haven't even showed myself upstairs in the kitchen yet to help out. L8r.

Posted by SilverStr at 03:01 PM

August 12, 2002

Watch out for the COPS

The weekend was pretty much uneventual. I spent some time watching the Abbotsford Air Show without actually fighting with the traffic to get to the tarmac. Spent Saturday night on a DVD binge. Watched Hart's War, Training Day and Super Troopers. Quite a mix of movies if you ask me. I would do reviews but everyone has seen these movies pretty much. All I can say is Denzel <sp?> is a pr*ck in that movie. I would have wanted to shoot him to.

Spent some time working out some theory for the Common Open Policy Service. For those of you that know what this is... all I can say is that if you have been following my thread with the the cisco guys, you know how much fun this could end up being. I *shutter* at the thought of such good inter-company communication. Wonder if Microsoft or CheckPoint will ever learn from this. You actually CAN work with competitors to further the field for everyone. I call this COOP-ERTITION.

Posted by SilverStr at 02:59 PM

August 09, 2002

Coding styles

Have you ever went style crazy working in different languages? Recently I have been doing more C programming that Java as I write new embedded code for everything from a custom SNMP trap manager to apolicy based enforcement control system. In the midst of doing so, I are REALLY noticing my Java formating haunting the C code.... which 10 years ago I would NEVER have done.

You see, I have been a "camel case" fan ever since I started working with Oak (now called Java) and was quite comfortable with it. Camel case typically is the use of plain words strung together with the first letter lower case, and every subsequent first letter uppercase. As an example:

int freonConverter = 0;

It makes total sense and easy to read. Now please don't blast me on the rights and ridicules of variable naming conventions. I disagree with many a book that says variables should be short and represent what it is. It is stupid to think that other people forced to refactor your code will understand what the hell int fc = 0; means. Get a life. If you are so worried that a few more keystrokes will make you less productive, consider the amount of times you will be scrolling around finding what the variable represents a few years from now. Guess what... you'll end up using the same amount of keystrokes, or more. And don't use the excuse of symbol table girth. When the compiler goes at it it will shrink it in the symbol table anyways. Strip it... and size isn't an issue. (Depending on language, variable name size isn't an issue anyways). And lets not go into the "hungarian" format notation.

Anyways, back on track, I find that for some $DEITY aweful reason camel notation seems/looks ugly to me when I am reading C code. Dunno why. Style thing. Maybe because I wrote pure code in C for over 5 years before I moved to C++ and was used to it. In any event, I started looking at some different conventions... and kinda like "tight-rope" notation. Basically that is words strung together with underlines, using all lower case. As an example:

int freon_converter = 0;

Now... in either format.... I can still make ice cubes. That is good. (If you don't get the reference move on.... don't try to figure it out). But for some reason, it just feels more comfortable in C code. I tried it in Java.... and it doesn't look good. Maybe because EVERYTHING else is camel case. Dunno. Perl, PHP and shell... well they are just f*cked anyways. I think the $DEITIES of these languages are secretly, and probably unbeknownst to them through corporate greed, money grubbing. They HAVE to be. Don't you think its quite arrogant to use so many $ signs in a document, unless you are the CFO of WorldCom?

It may be alittle late, but best wishes... and a flask of my MOJO goes out to Arcterex and his job interview. I wish you well dude. I really wish I had the cash in time to hire you before you found a job. :( You have always been a kewl team mate to work with, and a good friend. I'll miss you when you go to the great iceburg of the North called Edmon*choke*ton. And hey... you won't need a freon converter.

Posted by SilverStr at 02:57 PM

August 07, 2002

Can't sleeeeeep...

It's 4:46 am... and time to go to bed. Thought I would update my journal before I went.

Yesterday.. and wee hours of this morning have been a rollercoaster of events to stress out both sides of my chi. It started off with confirmation of our first OEM agreement (*wohoo for us*) today (as in we are gonna have cash flow), and the understanding we are gonna be BUSY for the next little while. No worries, I like positive stress like that. If it only ended there.

During some QA of our latest stuff, we found a weird bug where half of a socket stream was phantomly closing. This makes it extremely difficult (ie: impossible) to communicate when one half isn't listening. You may get away with this sort of communication with yer spouse... but not when dealing with socket comms. Spent all day battling with this... thinking it was some weird thing I was doing on the Java side, or even on the embedded C daemon. Couldn't for the life of me get anywhere.

Decided to take a break and watched Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring on DVD (It came out today.. do you have yer copy yet?) and invited some of the guys. Kevin, Rick, Warren, Alan, Andrea, Wim and myself enjoyed the splendors of a good DVD, projected on the wall at around 8ft by 6ft. Mixed with surround sound... good Caffine induced soda and popcorn... it was very "theater like". I think I will do that more often.

On a side note, thanks to Warren I now have a USB scanner for my drawings for a bit. (A gift he brought me when he came by to check out the movie setup) He lent me his while he is away since mine is not able to work. (Stupid proprietary SCSI card that isn't supported in XP *grumble*). With Darren's suggestion for the Adobe tool, I should be able to get this into Illustrator without to much difficulty.

After everyone left, Kevin and I decided to get back and tackle this phantom connection issue. Well... at around 4:15 this morning we had a break through. More to the point, Kevin found that it had nothing to do with my code at all, but rather a sequencing issue between some daemon code and a script he wrote. Tie that with the fact I found out that the socket wasn't actually dead.. but rather LOCKED... and everything started making sense. (Note to self.... read Javadocs more often... socket.isInputStreamShutdown() is a nice [but rarely used] function to have access to) It seems sometimes they don't like to play together and said daemon child hangs trying to access the same file(s) as the script... and bombs. Moved the script file access away in somewhere safer... and the new ISO fixes the problem. (We hope). We will fire it through QA in the morning... umm... now.

Time to get some sleep.

Posted by SilverStr at 04:51 AM

August 01, 2002

Old friends

Been a pretty good week this way in getting to see some old friends. A few nights ago Cuvarack and I played an intense game of squash. I pulled a squeeky win of 3 to 2, as he likes the drop shots to make me run. Thank the heavens I can do pretty good ball placement to keep in the game. Yestersay I saw Arcterex in Abbotsford for a few passing moments, which was pretty interesting. (Apparently he has learned I am an interesting guy at some training he is doing... whatever that means)

Speaking of which... it was nice yesterday to be in Abby. My father-in-law was having a retirement party where he received some kewl plaques, pictures, and his badges embronzed for 25 years in the service. (He is/was one of the leading forensic fire investigators in North America... he won "Investigator of the year" which is a huge honor in his line of work). Made me real proud. He deserved it.

Been working on my artistic skills in drawing. Starting to think about some technical information Ihave to portray graphically, and started trying some hand drawn techniques. If I can figure how to then make them work in Illustrator, they may be able to be of print quality for big banners, brochures, documentations etc. If you have ANY clue on how I would go about doing that (especially for colorizing etc), please let me know. The biggest thing I want to be able to do is somehow convert it to vector format so it can be resized to anything I need. Know how to do that, or a link to it? Maybe Solas could write an article about it. Who knows.

Posted by SilverStr at 02:47 PM