Hughes Blog
Thoughts on Software Development, Project Management, Parenting, and Running.
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
Beat the Dookies
The blog is taking a rest due primarily to the preparation required for theBig-Huge-Harry Presentation due next Monday. On top of that I have a second Huge Presentation that I have to do this Friday as well. And of course the first major project milestone is next week. So suffice it to say, things continue to be NUTS at work.

All of those demands resulted in six hours of work last Sunday and a 13 hour day today. Tomorrow I fly to California and I don't get back until Sunday. So it will take something amazing for me to sit down and hammer out a blog entry.

Something amazing just happenned.

Sunday, The Terps got blown out of the water by a not-so-good NC State team in College Park Maryland. If I had had the engergy to Blog, my entry would have written off the Terps chances for an appearance at The Big Dance. On top of that the next game, tonights game, was against #2 ranked and unbeaten DUKE at Durham. Things were looking pretty dismal.

Since I did not leave work until after tip off, I did not flip on the game until there was 2 minutes to go in the half. My expectations were low, after all at this point in the game last Sunday Maryland was down by 28 Friggin points!! Tonight they were down by 4 and playing OK.

Well you can guess the ending, Maryland hung on and handed the Dookies a BIG FAT LOSS! Yea!

This is why NCAA hoops is the Best!

Catamount Note: The Ski Cats won the Bates Winter Carnival.

Talk to you next week.

Unless something comes up that is...

Sunday, January 23, 2005
Twenty Five Thousand
As in Miles. Saturday Morning, at approximately 4:52am I was running south on Renner Road fixin' to hang a left on to Brand Rd. which would take me out to FireWheel Golf Park. That's when and where the Hughes Running Odometer flipped Twenty Five Thousand Miles. I've actually run more than 25 thou. as I did not start keeping track until 1992. That said, I've documented Twenty Five Thousand over the last 14 years.

Today was scheduled 40 minutes easy. Marissa decided to come along on her bike, and packed some bread to feed to the ducks that live in Breckinridge park. We only got about 2 minutes out before she complained about the wind being cold on her ears. Shortly thereafter, she decided to bail out, and she turned and headed for home.

The ducks looked pretty hungry when I passed them in the park!

Today's Miles: 5; This Week: 43.5; This Year: 131.3; Since 92: 25016.2!

Saturday, January 22, 2005
Four-Forty-Five AM to be exact. Thats when I headed out to run this morning. Marissa had a soccer game at 7:30am. Fran is the Manager for Marissa's team, so Fran had to go to the game. There was no way I was going to get the other two munchkins up and out of bed and then drag them to the game - so I had to stay home. Because Fran was leaving at 6:30, I needed to head out before 5:00 so that I would be back before she and Marissa left. Side Note: Marissa's team won their game!

The plan for the day was to do my 90 minute loop of Garland's Firewheel Golf Park. Firewheel features 63 holes of golf - which is plenty of terrain for my 90 minute, 12 mile excursion. It was the warmest morning in several weeks, so I was very comfortable in a short sleeve shirt and shorts.

Today's run caps 38 miles so far this week, with 5 miles easy planned tomorrow. The week before last I logged 33 miles for the whole week - which was a planned easy week.

In two weeks I'll start four weeks of Hill Training at Flagpole Hill. My hill training consists of reps on the hill Bounding, Cycling, and Running. Then in between each hill I do a set of 30, 60 and 8 second intervals. Each week increases in number of hill reps and intervals. By week four I will be glad to be done!

Cats win again
The Cats beat Albany today, their 10th win in a row. The Cats are now 8-0 in the America East, and they are also 8-0 at the Patrick Gym. Go Cats!

Good week for the Cats and the Terps
The Cats Traveled down I89 to take on New Hampster earlier this week. They came away with the road win moving them to 7-0 in the America East. Coppenwrath was held to 14 points. That, plus the 16 that he scored against BU lowered his overall point average to 24.9 which knocked him out of first place in the NCAA scoring race. Sorrentine was named America East player of the week. The Cats take on Albany today. Also this week BU lost to Northeastern, which was an upset surprise. The Cats already took down Northeastern in Beantown earlier this year. The Cats moved up to 7th place in the Mid-Major poll this week.

The Hockey Cats lost to Colgate this week. Colgate is ranked 8th in the nation; the cats dropped from 13 to 14. I need to start paying more attention to the Hockey Cats!

While today's headline suggests that it was a good week for the Cats AND the Terps, the reality is that the news is mixed for the Terps. DJ Strawberry tore a ligiment in his knee this week and is out for the season. That is a big loss for the team. However in spite of that setback on Monday, the Terps snapped back and handed Virginia a loss at the Comcast Center. Tomorrow the Terps host NC State.

Wrestling with the Blog
Things continue to be crazy at work which has impacted blogging this week. I noticed earlier this week the link on my title bar had stopped working. So this morning I tried to debug that, and finally found a solution. The template had some ItemPage tags surrounding the BlogURL tag. I have no idea what those ItemPage tags are for, but when I removed them (two pairs) everything started to work as I expected it to.

Rod asked me if the Blog had a site feed and what it is. I think this was his way of telling me to put an explicit feed link to the site. Actually I think he also suggested it. I suppose this is a good idea, but since I have gotten used to Firefox it had not occured to me that this was a problem since Firefox detects site feeds automagically! Anyway I have taken Rod's suggestion and added an explicit link the Atom feed. By the way what is the difference between Atom and RSS?

Tuesday, January 18, 2005
I'd sign up for a million
This week Paul O'Neil wrote an opinion piece on the best way to solve the Social Security problem. His solution is to use the Social Security Payroll taxes to fund $1 Million Personal Annuities at retirement. I have another friend that works in the benefits arena. He had proposed a very similar concept to me last December. This sounds like the best solution to the problems that this country will have funding social security in the future.

Update Aug 2009 - Moved Freds doc from Geocities to Google Docs


Sunday, January 16, 2005
Weekend Projects
Today I fixed the Satellite and the back door. I thought that the problem was with the multiswitch on the dish in spite of obvious evidance to the contrary. I went with my feeling and pulled the trigger on a new type III dish. When I read the directions for installing the new dish , it occured to me that maybe the old dish was not dialed in properly.

I spend an hour or so dialing in the old dish - but the results were the same. The mast on the new dish had a cool bubble level on the top of it, so I took the old dish down removing it from the bottom of the mast. Wouldn't you know it, the new mast did not fit the old mounting bracket. So I removed the bracket from the roof, caulked the holes, then bolted the new bracket on the roof. I bolted the new dish together and wired it all up.

Results? Still the same crappy reception. Well that sucked. But I had already bought a new receiver. I disconnected the Toshiba and plugged in the Samsung. When I switched it on and tested the satellite reception I got solid 90's. Perfect! I suppose that the old dish may have been alright, but OTOH it showed some damage from hail and also some corrosion.

I had to contact DirecTV to get the Samsung turned on and the Toshiba turned off. That procedure took two calls and about 3hours of time! Unreal. But it is now all working well. Thank heavens.

The back door is steel with a 6 foot by 2 foot glass insert. The glass is sandwiched in place by two plastic trim units that also hold the insert in the door. This door faces due south and the plastic is no match for the Texas sun. Last week I caulked around the plastic insert. But the water was still getting inside the plastic insert. So this week I took the insert out of the door and took it completely apart. Then I caulked around where the glass fits on the insert. So that is now all together as well. But not yet tested.


Cats Take Control
For the last three years in the America East, there have been only two teams at the top - BU and Vermont. Today's showdown took place in Burlington. The Cats were in control for most of the game. They came up with the win, which puts them in control of the conference.

The Cats currently rank 13 in the Mid-Major Poll. Coppenwrath and Sorrentine both made the Mid Major Mid Season Team, the only pair to do so.

The Terriers will get their chance at revenge on Feb 12 when the Cats head to Beantown. That should be a good one.

Saturday, January 15, 2005
Fear The Turtle
The Terps took down Temple today. It was an very impressive performance by Canner-Medley who scored a career high 35 points! The Terps are going to have a tough time in the ACC this year. They have just come off two nasty losses on Tobacco Road. It is really good to see them rebound and eventually take control of another tough John Cheney team.

Easy Saturday Run
This is supposed to be a rest week for me. As such my long run is 60 rather than 90 minutes. I hooked up with my RP McGehee for a loop from his place this morning. Temps were in the upper 30's with some wind. I had mile splits of 8:11, 7:30, 7:07, 7:10, and 7:04. We ran the last three at 23:03. I got a little stitch on the last two miles and had to slow a bit. I have been fighting a cold all week. I am still coughing and hacking. I really need to take it easy and shake this thing.

On tap for the weekend: fix the back door again; figure our what’s wrong with the Satellite system and get that fixed. I am pretty sure that that mulitswitch is faulty. For $60 bucks I can get a new multiswtich. For $50 I can get the new DirecTv Type III dish with the integrated multiswitch. For $200 I can get a Gainmaster Dish with multiswitch. The gainmaster is supposed to cut down on rain fade. In looking at some of the DBS bulletin boards it seems that the opinion is just go with the Type III dish.

Friday, January 14, 2005
Divine Intervention
Things are getting nuts at work. The QA team has a test phase before testing formally begins. They requested a 'good' build of the software. Builds over the last week had problems. I can not afford to have the engineers pulled from development, so I was hoping for divine intervention.

In the back of our office on a shelf way up high where everyone can see there are four lava lamps. These lamps are connected to our Build Machine. Each night the build Machine cranks out four projects. If the software builds correctly the lamp is lit. If the build fails, the lamp is not lit.

This morning when I walked in the office, the lava lamp for my project was off - just like the past several days. I was depressed before I even got to my office. How could this be? We had been working on the build problems with some of the best minds in business.

As luck would have it, the build engineer checked the build late last night. He then discovered that some of the compile tools on the build machine had been corrupted. He then fixed the broken parts of the build and made those available for install. The QA guys reviewed the build with the patched fixes and proclaimed it ready for testing. It must have been divine intervention!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Off to bed.
A couple quick notes then off to bed for me.

At work I am getting hammered in my project. This is an 800 man day software project that is scheduled to complete the first week of Feb. As if the last weeks of any large project aren't stressfull enough, now I have other departments telling me that I must conduct a big-huge-harry meeting to tell them all about the project. This project has reams of documentation which they can read - but no that ain't enough. Sheesh. (OK I fell a bit better now.)

Lessee what else. Oh yeah - the back door that I 'fixed' on Sunday - still leaks.

And I noticed on the way home that Possum is still squashed in on the side of the road where I left him last week. 7 days and counting.

I did get my circuit workout done at SMU tonight in spite of the rain. So that was a plus. I need to get up early tomorrow to do a loop at Breckinridge at Oh-Dark-Thirty.

And one last note - The Cats beat up Stony Brook tonight. Sorrintine scored 31 while Coppenrath took a breather only scoring 22. Cats are 5 and 0 in the America East. The big challenge is this weekend - BU is coming to the Patrick Gym. Lookout.

OK time for bed.

Monday, January 10, 2005
300 Wins
The Cats took down the Big Green of Dartmouth today. We have had a grudge with those folks from south on 89 ever since they took our boulder. But that is another story. Anyway Coach Tom Brennan won his 300th game. Coppenrath and Sorentine both scored 30 points. Coppenrath continues to lead the nation in scoring, and was named the America East player of the week for the third consecutive week - an honor only bestowed twice before in the history of the America East Conference.

Next Up Stony Brook.

Go Cats!

Sunday, January 09, 2005
Typical Sunday
It was a lovely day in N Texas seventy degrees and sunny. I took Reagan for a ride in the stroller we did 44 minutes really easy jogging at breckinridge park.

After that, I caulked the back door. Hopefully that will stop the leaks. I screwed around with the Satellite too. But, I can't decide if it is the reciever or dish. I am back to thinking its the dish. Arrgghh.

Tomorrow I have to visit the orthodontist. This will be my first visit since he put these contraptions on my teeth. I broke one of the brackets the day after XMAS bitting down on some nice refridgerated swiss chocolate. The orthodontist is not likely to be amused. Oh well, the chocolate was nice.

The good weather is here for two more days. I need to fire up the motorcycle one of these two days. Since moving to Texas 17 years ago, I have tried to ride every month of the year. I need to get that January ride in before it turns cold again!

Catamount Note: The Cats squeaked by The Black Bears of Maine, leaving the Cats at 4-0 in the America East. Coppenwrath continues to be ranked the number one scorer in Division 1.

Saturday, January 08, 2005
Typical Saturday in the Hughes Palace
Coach Vaughan had me down for a 90 minute run this morning which was kind of surprising given that I have not done a run over 60 minutes since mid November. However, I continue to feel good and strong, so I decided to do the 90 and see how I felt.

I headed over to Firewheel Golf Park at around 6:45. Firewheel features 63 holes of golf, and as such it makes a great place to run. It was cold but 10 degrees warmer than Thursday. So that translates to one less layer of clothes! I felt great the whole run, and was dressed just right. HRJan8

When I got home all four girls were still in bed - what a bunch of lazies! I had less than and hour to get Logan ready for her soccer game. I showered, slammed down a couple of double cappuccinos, got Logan fed and then the both us took off for the Blue Sky Soccer Complex.

Logan's team lost 1-5. Logan played well on the field for the first half, and then Coach Don put her in goal for the second half. Logan is a pretty good keeper, but she was not paying much attention two games ago, and got beat badly which shook her confidence. Since that game Logan has insisted that she would not play goalie ever again! Logan gave up three goals, but played really well and made four or five great saves. After the game Coach Don told me that he had told Logan that she had to play goalie and he was going to keep her there no matter how many goals she gave up. I was happy that he took that approach with her, as she really needed that approach to get over the bad game.

Turning to the home front, I have a Toshiba DirecTV HD receiver that is losing it. Fran told me to get a replacement. So on my way home I picked up a Samsung unit at Best Buy. I also suspect that my C-Sat LNB is messed up, so I may need to replace my dish too.

It has been raining all week and the back door is leaking. So I really need to fix that too. I should be doing one of those two jobs instead of screwing around on the Blog!

Speaking of screwing around, I dug out all the old pieces of paper that I used to log my running in 1992. I totaled up the miles from 92 (1258) and added that to the rest of my recorded mileage to get a grand total of 24,884 miles that have been logged. I need to do this for 1991 which will probably come out to 750 miles or so. When I get a chance I'll repost the total miles graph.

My friend the Possum remains smashed on the side of the road. Day 4 and counting.



Thursday, January 06, 2005
Quick Cold One
Well actually not so quick. My calendar was clear at work, and I was caught up, so I headed into the cold for my 60 minute run at lunch today. By noon it had warmed up from 23 degrees to a balmy 28! I attempted to modify the run that I did on Tuesday so that it was a bit longer. Well it came out about the same. BTW, my friend is still squashed on the side of the road where he was Tuesday at noon. Anyway, I still feel like I have a bit of a cold, but in spite the that the run was good. Glad to have that done with for the day.

Number 1
The Catamounts continued their domination of the America East last night by taking apart Northeastern. Taylor Coppenrath is the number one ranked player in scoring in Division 1. Go Cats!

Running Note: I did circuits plus 30 minutes at SMU last night. It was really cold this morning and I am not feeling 100% - so a blew off my morning run today. My current plan is to do it tonight or tomorrow morning.

Work Note: Project Palm is Moving toward feature complete status, currently scheduled for Feb 3. Right now, I am looking to be two days late, but I have hope that the team can make those days up in the next three weeks.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005
Playing Possum For Real
The Possum is likely the dumbest animal on the face of the earth.

It has been raining for two, maybe three days straight here in N Texas. As a result all of my usual running places are flooded. This morning I resolved to find a new route for my 60 minute run.

It was early, before 6:00am when I headed out. I went out to FM544 and headed west. Usually I'd turn south on Park Vista, but that is a dirt road, and would be really muddy. So I continued West. The last time I had run this section, a jerk tried to hit me on the Rowlett Creek bridge. Since then they have rebuilt the bridge making it more accessible to foot traffic. I got up to Bradford Road, Turned there and made my way back on Renner Road.

As I made my way up the hill just past Park Vista, I encountered a Possum that was digging around on the side of the road. I was on the grass to the right of this animal. I made some noise in an effort to shoe the critter off the road. Instead, the Possum froze. I continued home.

I didn't think much about it until I came back home for lunch. And there smashed in the road right where I left it this morning was that Possum. Playing dead for real.

Sunday, January 02, 2005
Skins, Cats Win!
It was a good day in Chris' sporting world. The Skins beat up the Vikings in a meaningless game. I was very happy that the Skins did not fold, which would have been easy given their play this season.

The Vermont Catamounts beat up the Hartford Hawks today as well. Vermont is trying to win the America East bid to the big dance for the third consecutive year.

Saturday, January 01, 2005
And the total is: 2061
Happy New Years everyone!

I totaled up my mileage for last year with the grand total coming in at 2061.1 miles for the year. That is the most since 1995, which I find amazing. Too bad I am not running very fast!

Annual Miles Run

Last night Fran and I left the kids with KB and headed out for dinner and a movie. Meet the Fokkers was enjoyable. We got home in time to rock in the new year with Ashley Simpson.

That left me dragging in the AM, so I postponned my run. Instead I picked up the kids from KB. Logan had a soccer game at noon. Logan played well; her team lost 4-6.

When we arrived home I headed out for a run. I felt great and got through my 60 minutes loop about five minutes fast. A good sign for 05?



Update Aug 09 - Moved Graph Image from Geocities to Flikr

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All views expressed in this post and on this blog are my own. None of my comments should be construed to represent the views of others including and not limited to: BMC Software Inc., Corel Corporation, Dun and Bradstreet and AC Nielsen. Copyright Chris Hughes 2004-2012