September 2008 - Posts

Comcast, I guess all the stories are right...

I've had comcast internet for 5 years at least and I've always scoffed at those who mock their customer service. Really the only choice around here was DSL with Verizon (a company I think I have spent about a week on hold with in the past) or Comcast. In all that time I've suffered no serious downtime, didn't get bandwidth capped (I don't torrent so maybe that's why) and I've never had to call their support line.

So imagine my surprise today when I spotted all my emails piling up in the outbox and getting an error about not being able to connect to the server. I've seen this before, usually blame the email provider and switch to a different address while it gets fixed. Today ALL my outgoing emails - 4 accounts across 3 different email providers was failing. After half an hour of fiddling and googling I noticed that GoDaddy sugest using different ports if you have problems so I changed it and magically that account started to work. I hunted down alternative ports for all the accounts and everything was back to normal.

It seems comcast randomly turn off port 25. Its rumoured they monitor traffic and then block it, or they do sweeps across some servers or something. Either way they turned off a service without bothering to tell me. Nice, real nice.

If only FIOS wasn't provided by Verizon and if only they would publish the prices for FIOS and FIOS TV on the internet instead of making you phone up and talk to some sleazy agent..... and if only FIOS TV would work with my old analog DVRs.... makes you want to go back to a 56k modem and rabbit ears on top of the TV...

Stealth Pruning

Once a week The ZMan likes to head off to his local pub for a pint and a pub quiz/triva night. Since its close and I want to avoid drink driving I walk there but its got to be a bit of an obstacle course lately. The nice summer weather has encouraged many blackberry bushes and other greenery to grow across the sidewalk (pavement). Now The Zman is very good at keeping the sidewalk outside his house clear but sadly not all my neighbours are so good.

So on Wednesday I took a pair of pruning shears(Secateurs) with me to the pub and then on the way home I removed anything that was withing my head height.

So neighbours - if you found some branches had 'fallen' from your tree late at night maybe you should take a hint and keep your yards (gardens) clear for those folk who choose not to pollute the air and walk on occasion.

Now if only I can find a way to convince the local electric company to fix the street lights so I can see what I am doing on the way home.

More running madness

For those of you worried about my lack of marathons lately fear not - the best is yet to come.

The year started by running my 5th Marathon and 5th half marathon back to back at Disneyland. This is still the hardest thing I've ever done. Then just to make sure I was really crazy I did a 50k. Then I took some months off. I've still been training but for nothing major. So what else is coming for this running stud. Well this week is going to be somewhere around the peak of training for the year ending craziness - Andy's goal to be an official maniac.

There's this club in Seattle for people who run lots of marathons called Marathon Maniacs. These are the sort of people who run 50 a year, sometimes in 50 different states. People who run 50 mile races just to warm up for the 100 miler the week after. People who make me look like a normal sensible runner. Not anyone can join - no you have to prove your level of maniac. The easiest level requires you to run 2 marathons in 2 weeks or 3 in 3 months. I would have thought that the first option was the easiest but given the Disney experience and some good advice by coach N I am actually taking the other approach.

So October 12th Victoria, November 30th Seattle (for the 2nd time) and December 31st Last Chance Marathon. My birthday is December 30th so I will have to give up my usual birthday beers for that final race!

Its going to be an interesting ride. I hope to scrape under 4:10 in one of those races in my slow, slow climb to breaking 4 hours. But which one? I had assumed the 1st one when I am fresh but it turns out that might be the road to ruin - tiring me out too much for the next 2. But will I have anything left by December? And the normal 2-3 week recovery is going to not happen as I will have to up my training again in between each one.

So as always watch this space for stories of lycra and other humorous tales from the marathon.

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