Day 63

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Only a short walk today, warming up for tomorrow and getting some computer parts to build a new PC.

I walked all the way to the shop (<2km) and had originally planned to grab a cab home since I had bought a whole tower in the process. But it was a nice day, the gear wasn't that heavy and so I walked back too.

The Great Australian Stair Case


is this a stair case, or what?

Can you even SEE the staircase in this picture? If you see it (and it excites you)… CONTACT ME :-P

I have been trying to find the largest publicly accessible stair case available (in Sydney) for a couple of weeks now, and other than what I found on my walk a week or so ago (on Hickson Street – refer Day 052 (link)), this has to be the master of all masters!!!!

800 steps… 1000 feet to climb.

If you can see the stairs, and you’re interested…. Tuesday the 4th March 2008 is the day!

Otherwise I have to assume you are chicken!

If you haven’t noticed, I am not the most physical guy in the world, in fact I still have a long way to go… But in an effort to find new and unusual things to make me get fit… I have found this… This is Tuesdays project.

Day 54

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I was to have lunch/coffee with a friend today, but unfortunately they had had a rather big night the night before and I only found out once I had started my route out today (hence the awkward shape of the altered route mid-stream), which assisted in making this walk totaling almost 20km!

Everything still worked out well though, I did the Bondi stretch (an extended 10km jaunt) in exactly 90 minutes. The first and last 30minutes were running/jogging/shuffling, with half hour of walking in the guts. As you can calculate, I do not run very fast. In fact the Ho Chi Minh shuffle (as I call it) is marginally faster than walking. I do find it much easier than running which just seems to hurt too much.

That accounts for the red part of the journey. The green was very much a slow walk and enjoying the sites. I have never done this walk before so I was just cruising having a good ole gander as I wandered the shoreline. A very pleasant walk and a beautiful day for it too.

Bondi Beach (left)
clicking this photo takes you to a flickr photo-set of the day

The day went well, I still caught up with my friend who gave me several glasses of water – much needed. I was pretty much going to walk from there and go on home, but once I realised how close I was to Cogee and decided that if I was this close, I had to finish the walk off there. Once there, I decided my feet had certainly had enough. So I caught the bus back towards home and then did a little shopping on the last little bit of green you see in the map.

Day 52

WHAT A DAY!

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Had Subway for lunch with two mates, and decided to go for a short walk to the Chinese Gardens at Tumbalong Park. After devouring a full foot-long sub I decided a longer walk was necessary. As you can see by the map, it was no short walk. All told it was over 15km, although the last few were a very slow walk – my feet were killing me.

No running today, just a walk. Although I did find a VERY good workout at a set of stairs I found along the route (picture below – click to make full size). These things nearly killed me…

109 steps from top to bottom (or since I was at the bottom, we’ll say from bottom to top). And I did them, not only once, not twice… Not even three or four times. I did these stupid things FIVE times. It did near kill me and on the last lap up to the top I honestly thought my legs were about to fall off. It was VERY hard.

Every time I got to the top I said to myself, “Man, that was good, I should do it again… but I won’t.” And then when i got to the bottom I thought, “that wasn’t so bad, let’s go!” and off I’d go again.

pic of a huge staircase in sydney
The Stairs from HELL

On the 4th set, at the top I said to myself there was no way, let’s continue the walk. But once again, at the bottom I thought stuff it, let’s go again! When I got to the top of the 5th set, I couldn’t believe the burning in my thighs. At the bottom I looked up again and almost went for another round, but some little spark in the back of my mind kept my senses alert and I decided to carry on to Darling HarbourOther than that, the walk was uneventful, but this takes the yearly total of kilometres walked to around 100… That’s a fair effort, almost 2km a day!

eeePC and what I don’t like

I am sitting here (at home) adding to this blog on my eeePC. I have been struggling for the last few hours since I mashed up the startup script and effectively rendered my eeePC (here-in after called “the e” or just “e” for short) a brick… It kept just rebooting endlessly…

Eventually I got a usb key running eeeXubuntu… (now I’m not sure if it was in fact eeeXubuntu, or just a ubuntu release for the e? I’ll get back on that). To say it is VERY slow is an understatement. It has to be the USB effect since the distro of Xandros on the internal drive simply screams along.

So, what don’t I like so far? The list is surprisingly short:

  • The keys, they do take some getting use to and they do rattle
  • The screen resolution is simply too shallow, most applications OK or APPLY buttons are off the page. There are several hacks for this, but as yet, I have not tried any UPDATE: the OS naturally handles it, you just have to know where to look!
  • The sound is amazing, but it is lost very quickly in areas of moderate noise… ie, don’t try using skype in a public place. The other party can hear you, but you can’t hear them!
  • The network socket is on the side, I have NEVER lliked network cables coming out of the side of laptop, but that’s just me. The power cable comes out the back
  • The integrated webcam doesn’t seem to function with skype UPDATE: the eeePC will run Skybe 2.0beta, with video support!

And to be honest, that’s about it. I’ll maybe edit this page later and add some more grievances…

Day 50

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I had a big day planned, but it turned into a small one, due to the alcohol I had drunk last night :(

I must be a masochist at heart because as punishment for my alcoholic indiscretions last night, while most certainly not in the mood for a walk, I had cause to go to Tempe to pick up a networking component, and then I walked home. It wasn’t that far, but it certainly took longer than it should have.

The walk was 7.9km and included a quarter-pounder from McDonalds. Yes, I know, but I was still suffering from the dehydration of the night before. I drank around 3 litres of water on the walk including 2 glasses of orange juice. To make the dietary intake worse, before going to Tempe, I was at Bondi for lunch and had the great ole Aussie lunch – fish and chips.

Sorry about the map, because of the diagonal walk, I could not zoom in too far. Use the link to open up google maps in a new browser window or tab.

Food wise, bad day.

Exercise wise, still a bad day, since the exercise was not really working myself

ASUS eeePC- initial thoughts

On the weekend I bought myself a new toy. It’s the ASUS eeePC. At around A$500 it’s one of the cheapest laptops on the market at the moment. It sports:

  • a 7in LCD screen 800×480,
  • 900MHz Intel CPU,
  • 512MB 667MHz DDR2 ram,
  • 4GB solid state hard drive (it is basically an SD card),
  • 802.11a/b/g WiFi
  • 3 USB2.0 ports,
  • 10/100 Network,
  • integrated stereo speakers,
  • 3½hrs battery life (I’ve had 3 hours at full brightness),
  • SVGA out (untested for max resolution), and
  • webcam.

It comes pre-installed with a myriad of applications and would be relatively friendly for most people to use… for a linux distro… Oh, did I mention… It’s NOT Windows based!. Rather it’s built on a very customised Xandros build. The interface is not too bad once you get use to it, but there is a quick install to go to a more full Xandros desktop:

  • drop to a terminal (CTRL+ALT+T)
  • sudo apt-get install kicker ksmserver
  • reboot

You can make this permanent by going to Settings –> Personalization and change the login mode to Full Desktop mode, but this is far from ideal. If you watch it boot up, the e actually boots twice, once into normal (easy) mode and then reboots into advanced mode.

So far I am very impressed with the unit, albeit that I am use to a more flexible linux distro, this interface does suit the eeePC perfectly.

This device lends itself to much modding, just google eeepc hack.

I will report more on this later. Stay tuned for my WiFi walk!

Day 049

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I am 49 days into my “new years resolution” and so far it is resolving quite well. This morning’s weigh-in was 94.6kg!!! ONLY 100 grams off making it a neat 11kg!

I have poker tonight, but I plan to be UNDER 94.5kg for tomorrows weigh-in, so I have to be good.

I had a plan today to grab some networking components, so I was supposed to be walking around Sydney to find where to buy them. But while on the walk one place I had left a message with contacted me back and indicated I could purchase it from them tomorrow. Their price was good, so I decided to leave it at that.

So, instead, I went for a walk involving lunch with a mate of mine, and continued a short walk as in the map on the left. The primary feature of the walk was to identify free WiFi access and a post on that will be coming soon. The teardrop pointers on the map indicate the points of test. Red means no connection, blue means a connection (if I had an account) and green was for totally free connection. Yellow (of which there were none) were going to be reserved for insecure networks that I could latch onto. There were a few I found, but none strong enough to maintain a connection. I will post more on this separately.

distance travelled and the road less taken

pic of sydney by air
Sydney by Air

I try to walk most days I have off. But it does become tiring and boring. I am VERY lucky I live in the heart of one of the most beautiful cities in the world… (SYDNEY – if you had to ask!). I have often thought about ‘tuning’ up my walk with some music, but figure if I wait until I am dead-set bored of walking, then when I add the music, it may spark a little more interest… this is still under review.

I generally plan them to be for a purpose, which helps. For example, today I need some new networking equipment… Then, on the walk, I am thinking about that more-so than the effort needed to walk… Except that now that I have just made myself aware of this, that self-created illusion is just busted!

My walks are not quite as frequent as I would like, but generally the shorter ones are around 2-3km. The average ones appear to be between 7 and 9km. And twice I have ventured past the 10km with trips of around 12 and 18km. My favourites though are the ones around 8-9km.

I have thought a couple of times to work out how far I have walked so far, but have not done the sums yet. On a cursory level I would estimate that in the last SIX weeks I have walked around 80km. I didn’t realise it was that far myself, and that is only including my mapped walks

I sometimes don’t work as hard as I would like since usually after I had put in so well, I just dawdle the remainder of the trip home. But I am of the opinion 2km dawdling is better than a 10m sprint :-)

I have got to the stage now that my weightloss is stagnating. It is coming off much slower now, much slower than I would like. But since my health and indurance are most certainly getting better, who am I to complain.

Day 44

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My feet are much better today after last night having thrown them into a vibrating foot massager with hot water… I topped the water up (to make it hot again) twice and by the end my feet were like jelly :)

Today I went off with a vengeance again. First, off to get my hair cut (north towards the city), then east and south to Moore Park shopping center (I’m after a particular computer component – and decided specifically I was going to let my FEET do the walking, not my fingers*). I had spurts of jogging in there, nothing too great, but enough to get the heart rate up.

The better part of the journey was the trip back to work (I wasn’t working, but went to the work gym to jump on the rowing machine). What I did was alternate my walking and jogging such that I started jogging for 30 seconds, walked for 30 seconds, jog 45s, walk 45s, jog 60s, walk 60s, jog 60s, walk 45s, jog 95s, walk 45s… Then continued off in some arrangement like that until I got to the gym. It was good cardio work and got me working hard.

Once at the gym, I jumped on the rower… Normally I’d do 2km in around 10 minutes. The next setting up was 5km… Hmmm… should I do it? YEP! I decidedly slowed the pace a little (from 32 strokes per minute, to around 29 spm) and that did help. I started with the resistance on 6, but soon put it up to 8 after about 1000m. I took a 30 second breather about the 2.7km mark and got back into it. For the last 1000m I thought I’d try a little harder and got the spm up to about 35, but soon died in the ass. I slowed back down again. Then with 200m to go I really put in. 39 spm and then I thought I was going to die. I didn’t make it 100 metres before I had to cruise in the last 100. All in all, a GREAT workout and I completed the 5000m in around 27 minutes. I forget the exact figure, but it was well under the half hour.

Then, when I was happy with that and about to go home, the gym instructor came over and we started talking and he ‘convinced’ me that we should do some abdominal work. I’m sure they get off on pain, and having someone there watching you does give you that little bit of incentive to really put in and “be tough”. I was tough, but not before failing some of the exercises miserably. Ahh well, I have no idea what you would call half of these, but they were good. And most of them I can do at home. So I probably won’t. :-)

* There was a television commercial in the ’90s that promoted the public telephone system, and the yellow pages. It’s slogan was “Let your fingers do the walking, not your feet” or something similar