More running

I’m still managing to keep up with the regular running. It doesn’t seem to be feeling much easier, although I am getting a little faster at the almost-mile course that I have. Monday’s run took me 7 minutes and 43 seconds – that’s over ten seconds faster than my last one on Thursday. Not bad for an old fella, although I’m sure there are a few fit, regular runners that think it a bit slow.

Last night saw me doing my old three mile run. This took me a respectable 26 minutes and 51 seconds and made me feel like I was going to explode. My short run is so short that I don’t even get a chance to start sweating until I’ve finished. With this one I was over-heating like and old car with a broken radiator and it didn’t help that it was a particularly warm evening.

Still, I finished it in a reasonable time. I’ll be happier when it’s down below 25 minutes.

I was certainly much happier to discover that NTL had been and fixed our internet. I incorrectly assumed that the modem was being over-driven as it turned out that there was a lack of power instead. I’m not sure how he fixed it but something was adjusted somewhere and it started working again. Hurrah!

NTL troubles

NTL are a little bit shit at customer service. It’s something that many, many people have complained about over the years and something that I knew about before signing up for their services.

I figured that I could cope with crap customer service as long as I got a reasonably priced deal. I get TV, phone and internet all packaged up and so far it’s been fairly priced and worked a treat.

That was, until last Friday night. For some unknown, unannounced reason the internet stopped working. It was quite late when I found out, so I phoned them up on Saturday afternoon. The status line had a lengthy message about scheduled maintenance for network upgrades that were currently being carried out across the country – Nottingham wasn’t due until the following Tuesday (today) so you’d think that this wasn’t the cause. There were no mentions of outages due to faults.

I then phoned the broadband helpdesk. There was a message on there that users within a collection of Nottingham postcodes (including ours) might be experiencing degraded service or total loss of service due to a localised fault. Well, that seemed to be the reason that ours was out, but it would have been nice to have that on the freephone status line rather than the 10p a minute tech support line.

So, the broadband still isn’t working on Sunday, so I phone up the tech support again. I end up speaking to some nice Indian lady. I explain the history of the fault, that there was an announcement of a localised issue that killed our service in the first place and that I was a little less than impressed with the extended outage. She performed some sort of line test and informed me that it looked like there was either a problem with the connection or something wrong with the modem. An engineer would be coming out Tuesday afternoon.

Fine, we need an engineer. However, I have a sneaky feeling I know what is wrong. I’m willing to wager that this engineer is going to come primed with an attenuator and that the application of this little device will miraculously cure my internet woes. Why do I think this? Well, NTL have done this before at our previous address. They were upgrading the lines then too and broke our connection, on that occasion for seven days. Amazingly an attenuator fixed it, so I’m willing to guess that they’ve done exactly the same thing here – they’re over-driving my cable modem and need to attenuate the signal.

I may be proved wrong, but either way they’re proving to be a bit rubbish at the support. They were excellent during the installation but after-sales stuff is not so hot.

Still, at least I wasn’t hanging on the phone for hours (I got through very quickly) and an engineer should fix it this afternoon.

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The end of the world is nigh

I hope you’ve said your goodbyes and made peace with the world because we’re all about to die.

Members of the “House of Yahweh” sect here have begun selling off their belongings and preparing for Armageddon, attracting the attention of authorities concerned the group’s leaders may be taking advantage of believers.

“The goings-on now in Israel are a clear indication of what will happen,” says Ruth Wanjiku, a member of the Kenyan branch of the House of Yahweh that is based in the US state of Texas.

“This is the beginning of the end of the world as prophesied by the ‘Book of Yahweh’,” she says, referring to the group’s version of the Bible that holds Armageddon will begin on September 12.

That’s today. I hope that Buffy is around to stop it.

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Samuel “Jerry” Firman for Congress

OK, so I’m not American, nor do I live in Ohio. However, I am interested in a current political campaign in the 18th district of that State.

Why? Well, a friend from excellent News community site Newsvine is aiming to become the Republican representative. Jerry Firman, aka oldfogey, has decided that he wants to represent the people of Ohio in Congress and I wholeheartedly support him

Why? Well, it’s obvious from his writings on Newsvine that he’s only interested in doing the best he can for his local area. He’s not in it for power or money, he just wants to help his fellow Americans the best way he can. He’s not going to be slinging mud at his eight opponents, he’s running a positive campaign based on his own good nature and political  beliefs.

I hope he makes it, although the odds are against him. There are some “proper” politicians in the mix too, with money behind them. Still, I believe that this good man can do something positive in politics, so people of Ohio 18th district listen in: on September 14th vote for Samuel “Jerry” Firman.

You can check out his Yahoo group for more information too.

This ends the public service broadcast for oldfogey.

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Getting faster

I measured out my run last night by driving around the streets that I go. It turned out that it’s just a smidgeon under a mile, so for all intents and purposes I’m going to call it “one mile”. Close enough for government work I think – I could run around an extra block to make up the difference, but I’m just not going to.

I gave it another run round afterwards too. That’s four days in a row and I hope to do it again tonight. This time I knocked 30 seconds off yesterday’s time and ran it in 7 minutes 55 seconds. Not a bad effort at all. I did it by really pushing harder up the first part, which is mostly uphill.

I reckon it should be fairly easy to get that down to 7 minutes dead, and I’ll be delighted if I could get it even lower, although I’ll be doing a few longer runs too to get my stamina up.

I shall be celebrating my running success by purchasing myself a healthy Chinese takeaway for tea. Yum.

Had the runs

I went for a run last night. That was the third night in a row and I’m intending to go again tonight.

As previously mentioned it’s only a very short run while I get my fitness up to the level where I can go further without killing myself. I’m not sure exactly how far it is, but my guess is at about a mile because I did it in 8 minutes 25 seconds.

I used to be able to do a mile and a half in 9 minutes. Let’s see if I can get it back to somewhere near 1988 levels.

I want an iMac

iMac G5 Desk

Originally uploaded by luisfersolano.

I just can’t help myself wanting one of these babies. I got to see one in action while I was in Northern Ireland and I was majorly impressed with the style and user experience. It just seems like it’s had so much more thought go into the interface – I could should scroll around on the dashboard all day.

It’s not all about style though, but functionality. The more I read into it, the more I’m convinced that Mac OS would be the way forward for me. Sure, it’s way, way more expensive than my current Linux setup but I think that the added expense might even be worth it.

As a Yorkshireman I find that quite hard to say.

Still, the biggest appeal to me is that it’s a lovely, shiny gadget. An expensive one at that. I’d want 2GB of RAM and the improved graphics card so that I could more capeably pander to my increasingly sad infliction with World of Warcraft. £1,644.01 is a bit much, especially when I’d just want to also splash out on some fancy new speakers too, as can be seen from the attached photo.

Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. I hope I do, my bank balance might suggest that I won’t.