Running report: Slaughterford 9

Me, nigel and Andy

Today me, Nigel and Andy ran a race called the Slaughterford 9 (miles).

We set off on the cross country route with smiles despite the surrounding temperature a chilling 1c.

The route was pretty tough with mud, a river crossing and more mud to negotiate.

That is all pretty standard for a run but the hills or valleys more likely, were epic! The t-shirt we got upon completing the race has the slogan “Did you run the hill?”….. nooo way, it was too muddy and steep and i doubt on a summer day I would have the stamina to beat the hill about 8 miles into the run (having been through a river just before, causing me to be numb from the waist down). I only saw one person run the whole hill and she was clearly in another world.

Even with a heavy mist, the route was spectacular and this helped me to get through some of the tougher sections (was it Johnny Cash who sang about the pain being the only thing that is real?!).

With 1/2 a mile to go I got painful calf cramp but limped across the line in around 1hr 40mins, only to discover that Andy completed the race in about 62mins – winner in his group.

  • Andy 1st (group) and 12th overall
  • Nigel 325 out of 371
  • Me 326 out of 371

See you in 2013 on the hills?

Reading list 2012

Currently reading

Learning Futures by Keri Facer

Jupiter’s Travels, Ted Simon, started 23rd Oct 2012

A list of books read in 2012.


A screencast is a video that shows a recording of anything shown on-screen and normally makes use of a voice-over, typically explaining what is happening on screen.
A screencast can have additional supporting materials such as overlaid video (often the speaker), graphics, images and sound effects.
The creator of the screencast uses screencast software to record the on-screen activity and then uses either the same software to edit and prepare the  final video, or will import the screencast recording into third-party editing software for further work.

Because screencasts can have many different uses, they are quite popular and the basics can be learned in minutes.

Example uses include:

  • Demonstrating how-to do an activity on a computer
  • Providing student feedback
  • Introducing a software or web product for marketing purposes

Learn More

Alistapart 342: A Pixel Identity Crisis

A Pixel Identity Crisis: Now that hardware is changing and pixel densities are growing, pixels are struggling to find relevance as the stable unit they once were. Browser zooming is one thing and has been covered on QuirksMode. But what is a pixel on high resolution devices today? Why does the 640px × 960px iPhone 4 claim to be 320px × 480px in the browser? The truth is that there are two different definitions of pixels: they can be the smallest unit a screen can support (a hardware pixel) or a pixel can be based on an optically consistent unit called a “reference pixel.”

Notes on ebooks

I have been collecting links across the web about every aspect of ebooks and thought I may as well share it here as it grows. Feel free to comment/email with any useful resources.

Last updated 13 May 2012 and listed with my latest finds at the top

Everyone on the board thought they did what I did

From Dave Winer:

I remember shortly after we sold our company to Symantec in the 80s, one of the board members wanted a feature in our product, and the team didn’t understand what he was asking for. I didn’t either, but by then I had already been sidelined. Everyone on the board thought they did what I did. I didn’t fight them because I was tired.

The bosses do everything better, Dave Winer

Coping with flying

I have a fear of flying and have sadly turned down some great opportunities to see the world and meet great people. Eventually I decided that the risks paled in comparison to the regret I would have in later years.

I started off quite enjoying flying, my first flight was in 1996 from Bristol to Ghana (6.5hrs) via Amsterdam (1hr).

After that I did the USA (6hrs) and Canada (7.5hrs). Then I had a shocking flight returning from the Caribbean and decided a white-knuckle ride wasn’t my thing.

so I then turned down some amazing trips (so my family keep reminding me) to visit Portugal, New Zealand (twice) and some other spots.

I can’t pin point why I have this fear as I am a passenger in cars, bikes, trains, buses and all sorts of vehicles quite easily.

My brothers were going to Amsterdam and although I turned it down they booked me a seat anyway…. a short huff (under 1hr) they said with family would ease me back into the travel.

Needless to say I was petrified and drank like a fish as that’s what you’re supposed to right? (more on this later).

After surviving this I got brave and we went to Italy (2.5hrs) where I was just as scared.

I decided to list what I didn’t like and then investigate further – the result of which is now I am still scared but I can tolerate many of the things that trigger my fear. I thought i’d list them in the hope this brings some relief to others:

  • I struggle to sleep days before a flight – acknowledge little can be done but that you aren’t the only one laying awake thinking about it either
  • drown out the sound of other people, put some music on in the waiting room – somebody always has a bad plane story so just drown others out
  • the plane looks odd compared to others – stop looking at the darn thing, just follow the person in front. Do not look at the plane except maybe to glance at the pilot
  • take something to read as you can use this during take-off and it at least gives me a distraction from trying to look out the window
  • That large knock shortly after take-off is the sound of the wheels returning to the carriage – this used to freak me out so much
  • other people annoy me so listen to some music instead or watch a video
  • I accept that I will have highs and lows during the flight – i focus on my breathing and the reason that I am travelling
  • Talk to a pilot – within 1-3 people I bet you’ll know a pilot who will be happy to chat about the bits you hate the most
  • Drinking doesn’t help at all i just need to use the toilet more which involves getting up so i have ditched this method
  • those herbal things are useless

All of the above have helped me in the last 2-3 years cope with flights and these have evolved to allow me to fly to New Zealand, Asia and other part of Europe.

I am still a sweaty, grumpy mess but trust me the other end is worth the hassle. See you in the sky!