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GATE River Run 15k 2014 - Race Report

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  • Sunday, March 30 2014 @ 01:48 PM EDT
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Running and Fitness

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My first GATE River Run 15k! Such a huge race event!

Here I am with some of the Florida Track Club members after the race:


photo by Alexi Pappas via Elizabeth Suda


I am happy with my race, ran a nice PR of 59:50 for 15k (avg. 6:26 per mile), placed 226 out of 15,492 overall, 20th in my age group (out of 1014!), and earned a top-10 percent hat.


Image by RunFlix

RunFlix was there with cameras and here is my personal video:



I came home with a nice pile of swag, including a great looking pint glass and really nice t-shirt:

Custom-Built Standing Workstation

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  • Friday, March 21 2014 @ 07:12 AM EDT
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Fun Stuff @ Work

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I have been standing at work since 2011. In January I started my new job and quickly felt the impact of sitting all day... sore back, stiff knees and ankles, basically feeling crippled. Whereas my last job had an adjustable desk surface and all I needed to do was add an LCD shelf, my current desk has a fixed-height surface.

I researched the standing workstation options that are available. Most of the "add-on" standing workstations or desks out there have the same fatal flaw... they put the monitors on the same surface as the keyboard. For proper vertical posture with the head level and the neck not bending down, the monitors need to be elevated to eye level.

The Ergotron Workfit Sit-Stand is now priced under $400 and would be a really great option for a lot of people. There are also various IKEA furniture hacks that I considered. Instead, I decided to build my own out of scrap wood from my garage. I only spent money on spray paint and the LCD mounting arms.

The platform that I built is heavy and strong enough to allow a "c"-clamp style LCD mounting arm to attach. It is also robust enough to hold a conventional keyboard tray so I have also been able to fine-tune the position and angle of the keyboard and mouse.

If my legs, feet, or back get tired I still have a seated desk area and my laptop available.





I bought the dual-monitor LCD arms from Amazon for under $50. The only real issue with these is that they had a tendency to slide down the pole over time or as they are being adjusted. I fixed this with a quick hack of drilling in a self-tapping metal screw as pictured here:

New job - iDigBio Data Integration Expert

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  • Monday, March 17 2014 @ 06:28 AM EDT
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Fun Stuff @ Work

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In January I started my new position with the UF Advanced Computing and Information Systems Laboratory (ACIS) to work on the national Integrated Digitized Biocollections (iDigBio) project. This multi-institutional project is funded by the National Science Foundation to build a "National Resource for Digitization of Biological Collections" or as I sometimes describe it... "the big biological collection database in the sky". ACIS is responsible for designing and developing the middleware, supporting storage, and cloud infrastructure for the project.

I am now working For Science!



One of the things that I am enjoying so far is that I am able to take time for blade sharpening. Stephen Covey of "7 Habits" fame called this habit Sharpening the Saw.

I am also happy to get some exposure on a lot of new (to me) tech such as Elasticsearch, Reddis, Nodejs, Riak, OpenStack SWIFT, and Ceph.

Here is a short video about iDigBio:



Five Points of Life Marathon 2014 - Race Report

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  • Sunday, March 02 2014 @ 09:06 PM EST
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Running and Fitness

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I finished my second marathon! I crossed the finish line with a chip time of 3:39:49.


Photo by BB Action Photography

This was my first Five Points of Life Marathon. My previous marathon was Jacksonville Bank Marathon which was a completely different bodily experience. Read *that* story if you want to hear about the full body cramp.

This race was not nearly as dramatic. I knew that I was not in marathon racing shape but I still wanted to get another race at this distance under my belt. After running a 50k in October, I ended up taking a lot off time off and dealing with a foot issue that kept me from training very much. I can say that it is hard to run a marathon when averaging less than 20 miles per week during training.

It was cold at the race start. I went out fairly easy, trying to warm up a bit. I was trying to be very cautious about the pace and my breathing (remembering my past marathon experience). After the first mile I found the 3:30 pace group and decided to stick with them. This would have had me finishing just a little slower than my previous marathon, but hopefully without the muscle cramps! We should have been hitting around 8 minutes per mile. We kept coming through mile after mile ahead of pace. First it was 20 seconds, then 10 seconds, then 20 seconds again. I gave up on our pacer when we came through over 30 seconds ahead of pace.

I think I paid a price for the early pacing issues since my legs started revolting by the half marathon mark. The temperature was warming up by this point and I shed the last of my cold weather gear. Prior to the race I had figured out where I would drop my jacket, hat, and gloves. This is just one of the perks of running a hometown race. And it would have worked out great if I hadn't dropped my hat in the middle of the road on 16th Ave. (I feared the worst for my poor lost hat but did eventually get it back later in the week from a local runner. Gainesville has a great running community!)

I never had any real cramping but when I tried pushing the pace at all my legs started to feel like they were headed that way. So I just kept the legs moving along at a steady pace. Breathing was never an issue since I could never get myself moving fast enough to impact it.

On the long stretch of Williston Road I started getting discouraged because I kept missing the mile markers. From mile 16 - 20 I just didn't know how much race was left and the course was now in the full Florida sunshine. Note to self, the mile markers are on these huge flags sticking up in the air that are hard to miss! Thankfully, along came a woman named Nina from Wyoming who asked if we could run together. She was trying to get her BQ (Boston Qualifying time). She said it would be easier if we worked together which of course is true. This payed off for both of us. Now that I had a running partner and a mission, I was able to keep the legs going and keep on the needed pace for Nina's BQ. She earned her BQ by 10 seconds!

My own race was not spectacular in any way, but I feel really good that I was able to help someone get their BQ. Nina was also the Female Masters winner. Here is a picture of us after the finish:

Cat Meme your Console

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  • Thursday, January 23 2014 @ 08:26 AM EST
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Fun Stuff @ Work

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When working on a team of system administrators it is important to teach the junior members an important lesson: DON'T LEAVE YOUR WORKSTATION UNLOCKED! Even though physical office areas are frequently reasonably secure, leaving a workstation unlocked does have the potential to expose sensitive information or worse... get one's Facebook profile hacked with an embarrassing status update!

One common way to indoctrinate new members it to make use of their unattended workstation to browse a less than appropriate web site and leave it up on the screen for casual passers-by to notice.

Unfortunately, this browser-based method of team indoctrination does not work well on team members who are always buried in a dozen terminal windows, are running some foul desktop environment without any of the usual hotkey commands, use elinks to browse the web, or they guy who wonders why nobody else is using emacs to read their Microsoft Exchange email.

Solution? An ASCII art cat meme for your console window!




The live site is best viewed from a console shell or terminal with fixed font width (e.g. Using the "curl" command from a terminal):

http://cat.thatlinuxbox.com


p.s. I was hoping to find a nice happy domain name for this ascii art cat meme that was easy to remember. Sadly, cat.me and pretty much every other domain name containing the word "cat" are already taken...

Ogre - Tabletop Boardgame of Tank Warfare

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  • Monday, December 30 2013 @ 08:47 PM EST
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Fun Stuff @ Work

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Ogre! Huge! Awesome!



Allen helped to fund this project on Kickstarter and totally scored. Steve Jackson Games wanted to do a re-print of the Ogre boardgame originally created back in 1977. This sixth edition, the Designer's Edition, is a really great example of how to use Kickstarter. The project was seeking $20k to help fund a re-print and in the end received over $920k! You can read all about the Kickstarter campaign here:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/8...rs-edition


The game includes nicely detailed, high quality cardboard 3d models of the Ogres, which are giant tank war machines:








The basic game can be set up and played in 30 minutes to an hour which makes it suitable for a lunchtime gaming session at work. Here are some pictures from a longer multi-day lunchtime game:

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thatlinuxbox.com is the home of Dan Stoner's Personal Blog, Photos, and More (opinions, rants, techno-babble, and possibly a few useful tidbits of knowledge).

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