July 2008 - Posts

Network Solutions - why do I hate thee?

Its not just because they think there is something special about domain registration that they can charge more than anybody else. its because every time I have had to deal with them they treat you like they are used car salesmen.

I'm helping a friend transfer a website and domain and I suggested that he use godaddy for the registration and the hosting since its a nice tidy way to do things at a great price. However this meant dealing with Network Solutions. To make sure all the emails went to us I logged into the NS account and changed the contact details to my friend. Immediately NS locked the account because this is 'suspicious'. Even though we had all the right credentials they lock it down for a MONTH.

So now when we try to transfer to GoDaddy even with the right transfer code NS refuse to do the transfer. We can either wait 30 days or, no surprise, we can call them. Of course calling means sitting on hold for a long time and then when you get through you end up talking to salesmen who want to do anything rather than let you go. No surprise suddenly the registration price is a lot cheaper and they will kiss your ass until you give in. This doesn't help since we have already paid GoDaddy to do the transfer. Even worse they can't take the lock off until they 'escalate' which can 'take up to 3 days'.

The REALLY stupid thing is that requiring the phone call doesn't provide any extra security - I've already used the credentials to log into the site and update everything so there is nothing they can ask that wouldn't be available to someone who was trying to steal the domain. SO its pretty obvious why they do this.... retention of customers... sadly its having the opposite effect because it just further convinces me never to use their services and to tell people I know of their craziness.

Honest People and Dishonest People

2 years ago I lost my wallet. I wasn't 100% sure where I lost it but I had been to 2 parks in the Seattle area. There was less than $50 in there but it did have my drivers license and my green card so I was a little concerned. After half a day of retracing my steps and talking to park rangers I gave up. A couple of days later I went and got a replacement license but found that a replacement green card was $300 so I decided to put that off for a while. A week later I get a phone call from the park service - someone found my wallet in the bottom of a trash can in one of the parks. All the paper money had gone but the ID was still intact.

Of course this meant that I now had 2 valid drivers licenses. They have the same number on them and the dates mean they are both still valid. It turns out its handy to have 2 copies. I can keep one in my wallet and take the other with me for ID when I go running.

About a year ago I did exactly that - went for a run and since I needed gas I took my credit card and tucked it in the pocket with my ID. After I got home all I had was the credit card. The license must have fallen out when I took the card out to pay for gas. I called the gas station and nobody had handed it in. Since you can't actually cancel your license I just had to suck it up and watch out for an ID theft which thankfully never happened.

Today I got a nice letter from a chap at the Seattle Sheriffs department with my missing license. Yes a year after it went missing a postal worker found it in a mail box in front of the gas station where I guessed I had dropped it. I can't believe its been floating around on the ground for a year so I am guessing that somebody found it and dropped it in the mailbox a year ago. It must have dropped to the bottom and was only found eventually by a postal worker who looked carefully.

So to the person who stole my money 2 years ago - YOU SUCK

To the person who found my ID, the postal worker who handed it in, and the police officer who mailed it back to me - YOU ROCK.

TRI-ing it again [groan]

Those of you paying attention will remember last years triathlon at Lake Chelan. Well it was such good fun (well maybe the wine tasting) that J and I heading out there with some other runner friends for a repeat.

Triathlons vary quite a bit. Seems like the Olympic, Half Iron and Ironman distances are fixed but the sprint distance varies by the mood of the race organizer no matter what wikipedia says. This year had a longer bike ride and the swim was in a different place but it didn't seem like it would be too different.

Last year this was my 'comeback' race after 6 months of injury and recovery - I had plenty of time to practise swimming, biking and was running in pretty fresh legs. This year I think my swimming has been good, not enough bike and its been a while since my last race so my running should be better and stronger..... notice I say SHOULD!

The weekend went well. Saturday was an early start to get to Chelan to see M head off on her Olympic distance triathlon and D & M (different M) on the 10k. Great performances all round including 1st in his age group for D and M barely missed breaking 3 hours in the triathlon. Then some relaxing for the afternoon and racked our bikes ready for an early start the next day. We've herd rumours of the elite or wannabe elite moving bikes if they think they deserve your spot so we rack way at the back where nobody else wants. We go down at 9pm to check and they are right where we left them

7:30am Sunday we head out to set up our transition bags to find out bikes are not where we left them. Some wankers have decided that they are more important than us and moved ours about 6 bikes down in the rack so they can get the position at the end of the row. These bikes are nothing special so its hardly anyone who thinks they are elite. Seems we should have taken the advice and locked our bikes in position. These losers never show their face before and were VERY fast in removing their bikes after the race. I debate letting both tyres down or disconnecting the brakes but that would lower me down to the level of the pond scum that did it in the 1st place. Next time I am taking a cheap bike lock with me and if you move my bike I am going to lock YOURS in place and write the combination on the back of the ladies bathroom door. See how fast your transition is when you have to fight your way past a bunch of women with full bladders.

Before you know its 8:15 and we are off to the start. J has decided its warm enough to not need the wetsuit but I like the extra confidence and most people swear it makes them faster. I don't see how I can improve on last years stunning under 17 minute swim (it usually takes me nearly 20 in the pool) but I'm figuring my run should be a bit better and hope to improve on the transitions.

As usual I start at the back to avoid all the feet and walk the 1st 20 yards while everyone else flounders around like salmon in their death throws. At the 1st buoy I choke down a big mouthful of lake water which throws me a little but I've got a nice even stroke going. There's a buoy line under the water to follow for the middle section though most people don't seem to care and are all over the place. Around the final buoy and I can see the beach. I've not pushed hard this time because I remembered being totally wiped last year but when I get out of the water my watch says 14:04... Yes that's not a typo almost 3 minutes faster than last year. D&M on the beach with the cowbells for me to show my watch to - pretty stupid really as they can't read it as I run by.

Transition feels better than last year. I only had to dry my feet once and I am about to put on my helmet when I hear the cowbells - I wonder who they are ringing them for when suddenly there is J. She started 5 minutes behind me in the women's wave and she is already out of the water. Stunning swim for her too. So I get out her way and jump on the bike. Right out of the start its up hill and I already regret not training more. Once again my computer is not working - that's 2 years in a row - so I just have to try to pace myself by effort. My fast swim has put me in front of a lot of fast racers so I am being passed by guys with stupid pointy hats and solid carbon fibre wheels. They are very encouraging even though they are all thinking "how the hell did a guy on a mountain bike get in front of me". Eventually the passing stops and we get to a short but very evil hill. I go down the gears and then get out of the saddle so I don't have to use granny gear. Quads are burning so bad and I think I'm only about quarter of the way there. Thankfully a nice downhill the other side and suddenly my excess weight plus a heavy bike is worth something and I catch up towards the guys in front of me. Sadly not for very long and then the women (who started 5 minutes behind me) catch up and start passing me. I passed nobody this year :-( Eventually the turnaround point comes and my legs are feeling rough. I've been in my highest gear a lot of the way though so I think I'm doing OK. The ride back seems easier and I see J coming the other way. She's less than a mile behind I reckon. I get back home in 47 minutes so even the extra mile means I was a lot slower than I thought. But I don't think I could have gone any faster.

Dash through the transition and out on the run.... Holy Smokes Batman... I had forgotten this special kind of dead legs. Once again we start up a hill OUCH. I keep running and I'm right around 9:30 at the 1st mile. Not too bad but I can't make my legs move faster. At least they are moving which is more than some folk. At least I pass a few folk here. I'm not feeling too tired just jelly legs. Turnaround and on the way back see J again. Still about a mile behind me so she's having a great race. My legs never really recover but I hold the 9:30 pace and manage to stay under 30 minutes. Even the little sexy outfits and abundance of lycra isn't helping me here. At the last bend there is a big crowd and ALL of them seem to shout my name due to the magic Andy shirt. M&M are on cowbell station #1. Running down to the finish line even the guy on the microphone reads it and calls out my name and somewhere in the crowd is D with cowbell #2. I have no clue where but I could hear them loud and clear dude. Total time 1:37:42.

Lets compare the years shall we? (this is where it gets boring folks!)

Swim
min/100yd
T1
Bike
mph
T2
Run
min/mi
Total Time
00:17:22.900 00:01:59.2 00:05:37.540 00:37:42.920 20.4 00:01:42.920 00:28:10.030 00:09:05.2 01:30:36.31
00:14:17.900 00:01:38.0 00:05:03.000 00:47:28.700 16.6 00:01:37.400 00:29:15.100 00:09:26.2 01:37:42.1

Last year was a 20k (12.4 mile bike) this year was a 13.1 mile bike. Correcting based on speed that would add 1:58 to the 2007 time for a total of 1:32:34 so I was still 5 minutes slower. But STUNNING swimming improvement and I felt very very easy. Transition 1 was a little quicker but still sucks. The bike bit me hard for some reason. Last year I was surprised to average over 20mph but this year I was shocked to have dropped that much speed. T2 about the same and then I even lost a minute on my run. Heck that's what I'm supposed to be good at!

2007: 11/13 in my age group
2008: 8/10 in my age group
So that seems about the same - I am a year older but I ought to be fitter too.

Swim: 2007 5/13, 2008 6/10 - 3 minutes faster and further down the field!
T1: I don't even want to talk about this. I'm on the last page of the results here. Pathetic.
Bike: 2007 13/13, 2008 9/10 - so much slower but an improvement on place? Odd
T2: 2007 6/13, 2008 7/10
Run: 2007 4/13, 2007 7/10 - amazing the difference 1 minute makes.

So some room for improvement if I want to do better at this in the future. I (WE) really need new bikes - ours are so heavy and I run out of gears at the high end fairly often. Please Santa?

Twitter is NOT........
  1. A way for you to chat 1 on 1 with a buddy...... there are already plenty of applications for you do that.
  2. A way to notify us of your blog post.... this is a well solved problem
  3. A discussion area.... there are much better places to do this
  4. A place for you to let us know every time you belch, fart, perspire or breathe... I wish there was a limit to # posts per hour for those people who love the sound of their own twitters

 

Phonebooks are a waste of paper

I just got my new copy of Dex and it went right into the recycle bin. What a waste of money charging advertisers (I'm pretty sure all the yellow page directories are paid for by ads), chopping down a few thousand trees and paying some guy a lot of salary and gas money to drive round the entire town delivering them. Internet usage is fairly prevalent these days so it seems that its about time for phone books to become an opt-in service. Print them for the people who want them.

What's really sad is that the French worked this out many years ago by giving people a free 'online' terminal to access Minitel in exchange for not getting the white pages.

They didn't even bother sending me the small phone book which at least has the advantage of fitting nicely in my car. Yes I know I contradicted myself there but while I am pervasively online at home I'm so far resisting the urge to be online the rest of the time by paying an addition $30 a month on my phone. Bad geek!

 

I'm officially a Northwesterner

It took almost 12 years but since I now own a Subaru Outback with a Yakima rack on the top I think I qualify as someone 'from around these parts'. I really should get myself a recumbent bicycle and some hemp underwear I suppose.

Pemco did a whole series of ads on this subject - thankfully almost all of those don't apply to me. Here's a good competiton... Which of those stereotypes do you think apply to me? I would say 2 of them apply and one of them used to apply.

 

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