Archive for the ‘Life’ Category
April 25, 2013
Filed Under (Cycling) by Ollie Cronk on 25-04-2013
Have cycled over 819KM (508miles) in April so far! Training is going really well. If you’d like to sponsor me (go on you know you want to!) and donate to British Heart Foundation then go to http://www.justgiving.com/olivercronk Thanks and sorry to be an online/social chugger!
February 14, 2013
RideLondon100 is as its sounds a 100 mile bike ride that follows much of the London 2012 Olympic road race route (which I went to see near Box Hill last year). It will be on closed roads and there is a whole weekend of cycling related events in London the same weekend including pro races. Should be great I can’t wait – but it does mean a lot of training. To help I have been keeping my fitness going over the winter (which I don’t normally do) so I am already in decent shape – and as the spring comes I have booked myself on several cycle events with a friend to keep the training and motivation going. 2013 is going to be a big road cycling year for me!
Much like charities do for the London Marathon its means I have pledged to raise £500 for BHF. I selected BHF as I have supported them for many years at a number of cycling events – I like they way the positively support cycling and other fitness related activities as well as their other Heart related research etc.
My online fund raising page is here:
If you’d rather give me cash or a cheque that’s fine too!!!
Anything you can give would be much appreciated and will help inspire me with my training. I am aiming to complete the 100 miles in around 6-7 hours – so an average speed between 16 and 18 mph!
In case you are interested in joining me here are the cycling events that I have signed up for so far:
Depending on how this year goes I may consider doing an etape type event in 2014 – or at the very least go and attack some alpine roads.
January 06, 2013
Filed Under (Baby / Parenting Related, Cycling, Life, MS Windows Vista 7, 8 etc, Technology) by Ollie Cronk on 06-01-2013
Been ages since I last posted and suspect it will be while before I post again – new job, kids and the fact that twitter is easier!
Have added a Strava widget to the right as have now seriously got into road cycling – have signed up for a few sportives this year including a 127 miler!
Cronk family is now bigger with the addition of our son Alfie.
Just about to start a new job in a new industry sector which is exciting.
Quick Tech good bad and ugly:
Good – Yahama RVX473 amp – amazing bit of Hi-Fi / Home Cinema kit, particularly paired with Boston Accoustics speakers. Very much enjoying this – in particularly the Airplay feature and the Smartphone and tablet apps which let you remote control it over Wifi!
Bad – Not much to report on this front. Still remain a bit unconvinced by Windows 8 – think it makes most sense if you have a touchscreen / tablet type device (HP Envy looks interesting).
Ugly – Am I the only one that thinks the front of the BMW 1 series looks horrible?
November 26, 2010
So this blog will almost certainly become more bullet point and note based – I make no apologies for that!
My daughter Ella Cronk was born on the 28th Oct – a few days early! 1st Nov was due date. She was 6lbs 13. Now weighs 8lbs at time of writing.
Pregnancy & Birth were pretty straightforward but the first week wasn’t! In particular breastfeeding and weight loss.
The good review says its not noisy – I don’t think they have have seen (and not heard) a Medela – ie you really can’t hear them – my wife and I have fallen asleep whilst its been on! No way that would happen with the TT one. We only got one use out of the TT before it stopped working.
Will try and keep up with the occasional new dad blog post if time allows!
Off to Wales for a cheeky short Mountain Biking blast (my first exercise since Ella arrived)!
August 26, 2010
Those of us in the IT profession (or Information Management as one colleage recently suggested as an alternative*) don’t do ourselves many favours when it comes to using complex terminology and also expecting business people to understand and embrace IT best practises…
Whilst adopting concepts/practises such as Enterprise Architecture (EA), Data Governance, Information Management (IM), Knowledge Management (KM) are all well and good, the sheer number of buzz phrases and concepts must be bewildering for most non techies. I will admit that sometimes I struggle with the difference for example with Master Data Management vs Master Reference Data without resorting to Google or Wikipedia.
Of course some will argue that is what the Architect or Analyst roles are all about – to match business requirements to IT solutions. But if we ever want colleagues or clients or stakeholders to truely embrace the concepts of Knowledge Management or Data Management / Governance we need to break down these barriers.
Its all too easy to get DM/IM/KM confused if its not the way you think. Generally / at a high level its accepted that Data can be converted into useful Information and that humans (eg employees) walk around with a lot of Knowledge that often needs to be managed (and shared) more effectively. But often we don’t take the time to even explain these concepts – we just jump into enterprise IT lingo and expect others to know what we are on about (or why it makes business sense). Sometimes colleagues can get confused by products such as Sharepoint and what they do – as they can think they are the solution to Knowledge Management – when actually they are just the product or underlying tool that can enable Knowledge Management – its embracing the core concepts of KM that is key.
If we are not careful we will go start to regress back to the bad old days of IT where the IT guy was locked in the cupboard as no one understood him…. Ok maybe thats going too far but you know what I mean!
Or maybe I am being unfair? After all every different business area I have worked in seems to have its own Acronyms (finance is a nightmare with IPOs, CFA, Swaps, Deratives etc etc etc) – is it now accepted practise to just Google terms you don’t understand and be proactive about learning these things? Unfortunately in my experience some people aren’t prepared to do that (unless its in their area of expertise) – and you just switch them off or loose them before you can sell them the juicy or beneficial part of the story.
* Information Management was selected as to not confuse people with “plain old Information Technology” – the physical desktop PCs, laptops etc and kit that every business needs. Information Management it was argued is different as it is the leveraging of IT capability (where IM people are part of the core business team) to improve the way Information is managed (or processes are operated) and used as an Asset rather than something just delegated to IT to “sort out”.
January 17, 2010
Filed Under (Life) by Ollie Cronk on 17-01-2010
Watch out when using the Metro – until they update the signage (going to happen by 2012 apparently) even though you might have a map using Latin characters the station signs and route maps won’t. I worked out which line / tube by a geography and a process of elimation (eg I walked down this way to get here, the tube is heading this way and has 4 stops left on the route; the other way has lots more stops so its not the way I want to go!)
Should cost about 300UAH to get to centre from the Kiev to the Airport by Taxi.
Icy is an understatement – you’ll see what I mean when I get some pictures up here, crazily thick ice in places – I lost count of the amount of times I almost slipped over!
Good prices on Vodka in the Duty free!
More notes and some photos to be posted up in due course.
Going to be a busy couple of weeks at work by the looks of things…
January 17, 2010
Filed Under (Life) by Ollie Cronk on 17-01-2010
Today (Weds 13th Jan) was a day I have been apprehensive about ever since the extent of the “Big Freeze” was realised and I had to cancel my trip to Copenhagen – the day I was due to fly to Kyiv (Kiev), Ukraine. I had started to feel more confident about the weather as the snow had stopped and it was starting to melt. My attacks on key tyre marks with a 2KG bag of table salt were working quite well and I was adapting to learning to drive in the snow…
The night before I was running about 3-4 hours behind where I wanted to be in the office, I should realise trying to multi-task doesn’t work and should just have more courage to bin things off I know I’m not going to have time to do properly! Although Enterprise rent a car weren’t helping either – delivering a car that should have been at work for 12 at gone 6.30pm! Anyway so the night before was quite a late one (later than it should have been for a 4am start). As I went to bed the missus said “its snowing again” my heart sank as I looked outside and saw that the Clio Estate (funny car to get as a hire car, and amusing as at one point it was on my cars to consider buying list) had been completely covered in Snow (an inch or so) and that the snow was coming in quite fast at a 45 degree angle. Luckily the snowflakes were quite small so I figured it would probably stop or turn to rain.
On waking up in the morning to discover our Velux skylight windows completely coated in Snow I knew I was in for a “treat”! Got myself together and got out to the Clio to discover it coated in a good 3-4 inches of what turned out to be very fluffy and annoying snow to get off the car. At least it wasn’t icy. And so at that point I thought to myself; if I can get the car moving okay on my untreated road and on to the main road through the village ok then the trip should be safe enough.
Having warmed up/cleared the snow from the car and assessed that it would move ok, Kat and I had a discussion on how safe it was for me to go and we checked if the flight was still running; it was and I decided if I drove carefully to J13 of the M4 (which would be the worst of it) then the journey should be ok, if not then I would attempt to return (or park the car somewhere safe and walk back to the house).
*Even though actually I’m not sure I have driven in worse!
The M4 was actually quite a lot more scary that I thought it would be, 1.5 to 2.5 of the lanes were clear – the gritters and lorries driving through the night doing a good job of keeping it like this. Still I had people tailgating me in the middle lane when I was going 60 (before Reading junctions this was the safest maximum speed in my judgement). As I approach London the snow reduced and the road improved (although I think some drivers were completely misjudging things; someone in a Passat estate – the irony – came steaming past me in the 80% clear outside lane doing at least 80mph).
Got to Heathrow drop off point not problem although once in the Rental cark park I overshot the turning for the drop off point (didn’t see it in the snow) which mean’t that I slid to a stop a little, but I was there now and just did a small shuffle to get the car where it needed to be in one piece without a scratch.
So this was to be my first outing using T5 of Heathrow – quite impressed by I (but I imagine many people weren’t when it first opened due to the computer glitches. Found my gate and then got on to a bus to the plane.
Here is a photo out of plane window once I had boarded:
Once on the plane we were told by the captain there would be delays, due to only one runway being open. Then he told us we would need to be tugged to somewhere to be de-iced. In the end a de-icing rig (which was a seriously cool bit of kit; I’m sure many small boys would have got very excited by the man in his enclosed cabin up on a crane-type rig spraying the plane wings and body with anti-freeze stuff and blasting off snow and ice). I wasn’t bothered by the delay and was actually very glad to be de-iced as I have read so much about what happens to the efficiency of plane wings when they get misshaped with ice formations (too much reading about planes as a small boy!)
January 07, 2010
Thought it might be worth posting about the Big Freeze, seeing as we seem to have been hit quite badly here in my Village (just north of Newbury near J13 of the M4)…
I’ve taken some photos and videos: Update – I’ve now embeded some of them – note that they were shot in HD (click the HD button at the bottom of the videos) to enjoy in full 1080!)
I plan to go into work tomorrow as things seem to be improving enough – to get the cars out my neighbours and I cleared the 25-30 metres of 7″-10″ of snow (I have only seen snowfall like this in the Alps previously!) and all 4 of us blokes who live next to each other got 3 cars out (1 driving 3 pushing!!) onto the road which is reasonable (although it is like a snow rally stage in places – in my VW Passat you have to turn off traction control, use 2nd, 3rd and 4th with minimal-ish revs and go no faster than 40 (although to prevent getting stuck up hills when you see a hill you need to give it some beans – otherwise you just wheelspin!)
Managed to get into Newbury at Lunch to get some essential supplies from Sainsburys (they are well stocked, and there was a petrol tanker there too) so filled up with Diesel to be safe (as was almost empty) and bought food essentials for me and my neighbour and a colleague in the next village to me
After lunch drove the other way to Compton (where my Colleague lives) and delivered his food and we worked together on a bid. On the way back I had to rock the car back and forth using the clutch to get back on the main road but once there no worries as long as you stay at 20-40 (20 ish downhill, 30 ish on the flat and 40 ish uphill to prevent getting stuck) and steer, accelerate etc smoothly! Shame some people are idiots and tailgate you on an uncleared B road when you are doing 35mph!!!
Have started a working from home pattern of get up early assess weather do work until the conditions outside warm up enough to clear snow and ice and drive, then work late into the evening to make up the lost time at lunch. Can’t clear snow in the evening (too icy/cold/dark) or drive (ditto) as its getting down to below -8 at night, was -6 this morning and -3 most of the day.
My pet theory (as of course everyone in the world with a blog has pet theories!) is that this could be the first signs of the Trans Atlantic Conveyor (that keeps the UK warmer that its latitude would normally allow for – eg we should technically get Canada / Norway-ish style weather) shifting course…? But this link offers the BBC’s take on things. Whatever the science the reality is that its crazy cold here right now!
Keep safe everyone – as by all accounts its not going to get better for a few days (depending on which forecasts you believe it could get worse over the weekend – fingers crossed it doesn’t). I am supposed to be going to Kiev, Ukraine next week – we’ll just have to see if that can happen…
November 08, 2009
Went out for a great bike ride along the Ridgeway from Compton to Letcombe Bassett yesterday, sky was clear and it wasn’t too wet but the round trip to home made it 33 miles!
Been pretty bad with blogging recently – have been using twitter a lot, will have to put my twitter feed on here so it looks less deserted! Still with the cold wintry nights there will be more time for me to blog I guess!
July 24, 2009
Some Recent Tech Discoveries I thought I’d share:
Windows 7 RC – writing the blog post from it – excellent OS (and that says a lot coming from me!)
Spotify – sure lots of people know about this one now but great streaming music service. Kind of like a commercial radio station where you get to choose the playlist. But native version for Linux would be nice (netbooks will make this kind of porting happen organically now I suspect??)
ebox – Not a good move to just try and install this on a Ubuntu box (tried this at home) screwed lots of stuff up. Nice idea but if you want to try it out use a seperate box. It looks good and the concept is a great idea but I think its a bit too flawed for me right now (sorry ebox devs).
Denyhosts (prevents brute force attacks on SSH by adding IP addresses that repeatedly fail to login to a black list – in /etc/hosts.deny) silently stopped working some time ago on my Ubuntu server (due to an upgrade of Python by the looks of things). Following the fix on this forum thread sorted the problem although I found the file you need to change is: /usr/share/denyhosts/daemon-control-dist rather than the one mentioned.
HMG Info Sec standards (or rather the OTT implementation of) - I probably can’t say any more or I’ll get burned in acid (its a long and painful story…!)
More posts to come. Enjoy the summer everyone. I intend to on a ride around Litchfield tomorrow – embedded Google Map to follow no doubt…!