Friday Nov 27, 2009

hmm. New Forks

My mountain bike is about 8 years old. It's a Gary Fisher Sugar I bought way back in 2000. I love it, I'm not heavy or daft so don't need huge amounts of travel, but my forks (Manitou SX) while good, have always been a bit flexy and not really felt very plush.

So when I saw a pair of Reba SL on offer for 200 pounds I couldn't resist. Recently most decent forks have been disc specific which puts me off (don't want to go down that route just yet). These are just right, 100mm travel so won't upset my geometry too much, nice and light, remote lock out (which is a gimmick lets be honest)

So then I had the fun of getting it on to my bike. I wish I'd read the web first as I didn't push the crown race down firmly enough to start with, but now that's sorted, it's great. In fact getting the crown race off the old forks was the only really tough bit. Nice and stiff, plush and after a bit of fettling just the right amount of travel.

Now for some more adventures around the trails of Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire

Tuesday May 20, 2008

Interesting view on making money in business

I had the chance to be a key note speaker at PROMISE (and ICSE workshop) last week. The group uses datamining and A/I techniques to look for patterns and make predictions on a variety of things, like where in code defects might occur, or how much effort a project might entail. 

I was there because we had  a project a few years a go running to predict which bugs might cause customer escalations, using similar techniques. I was responsible for implementing the fixing of these bugs proactively. My talk was geared around how to put a business case together and run such a project, and ultimately why in this case it was wound up before major benefits were realised.

There were loads of other great talks and papers, but the other keynote speaker, Murray Cantor from IBM had some interesting points, one of which I wanted to pull out here.

He said that there are three things you can monetize. Innovation, Customer Relationships, and Cost structure. For example, you can Make money by having the first product to market, or a good close relationship with the customer or buy doing it cheaper than anyone else. He  drew this in a triangle like this

 Monetize Triange

So this got me thinking as to where Sun fits in to the picture. First off I'd say it's a different place from IBM who put huge resources in to having a close relationship with the customer (Murray indicated he felt IBM was somewhere on the Innovation/Customer line). However It isn't purely at the Innovation point either. We provide Innovative technologies to help lower costs both for our customers (hey Free Software anyone - check out, but also by automating things like system management thus removing cost and complexity (Take a look at our xVM strategy to merge virtualization and system management at, thus removing some of the headaches to running a virtual data center). Oh and did I mention our coolthreads hardware? So I think we're probably somewhere between the Cost and Innovation points.

I'm not saying this is a full theory of business, but I found it a useful thought experiment to see the different value propositions of various companies business models.

Monday Apr 30, 2007

Surfing kernow

I had a fantastic weekend down in Cornwall. Saturday's highlight was the boys up to their middles in the sa before they realised it was cold. Followed by my own vague attempts at surfing. I decided to take my camera to the beach to see if I could become a famous surf scene photographer. I don't think that'll happen but I'm pretty pleased with these.

What is he doing ?

It's a paddle !

I hope I look like this

but I know I don't

I even wish I managed a wipeout as good as this (and yes I did take hundreds of phtos for the exact wipeout)

Incidentaly these are just random snaps at the beach. If you were at watergate bay over last weekend (especially if you're in the piccies) please leave a comment.


Wednesday Apr 11, 2007

Two years of prevarication and 5 days hard work and finally ....

The wall is built.

A couple of years a go I leveled the area outside our back door and laid a patio. This meant I had to dig in to the slope that raises up away from our house, and that meant I was going to have to build a wall and some steps up to the lawn. For some reason I've found excuses not to do it ever since, until two weeks a go I was going in to Travis Perkins looking for fence panels (there is a fencing shortage in the UK at the moment) and came out with 400 bricks (well not literally, they did deliver them.

So I've spent most of Easter and a long weekend building it, but it is finally done. I think it looks pretty good. What do you think?

Friday Jan 26, 2007


A little late I know but we had some snow in the South of England this week. The usual 1 or 2 inches causing the rail and road infrastructure to break down, schools to be closed and food rationing to be enforced.

Fortunately our boys school wasn't closed but we did have a great snowball fight before and on the way to school.

Plus this was the first experience for our spaniel in the snow

I might post some more as I go through them.

Monday Jan 08, 2007

Is it 2007 already?

Thanks to Patrick for tagging me and making me realise I hadn't touched my blog in ages.

I've been so busy, travelling to present at the Tech day in Prague, meeting our colleagues over in Grenoble. Working on FMA, and now finally being pulled in to porting Solaris on Xen to Solaris 10.

Busy times along with getting on with having a dog, buying a new camera. Christmas and all....

Any way Patrick tagged me to come up with 5 things you didn't (or didn't need to) know about me.

1. Despite my accent, I was born and grew up in the North East of England. In a town called Darlington

I sometimes have a hankering to move back.

2. I went to school with England Rugby player Tony Underwood (who has recentley also appeared on programme about Easyjet)

3. I went to UCL and studied Applied Physics at which the only course I really enjoyed were Planetary Geology (Colouring in photos of Mars) and Operating System Design (hence what I do now)

4. I'm a firm believer in rational process as defined by Kepner Tragoe. I find it helpful in defining a problem or situation I find myself in and giving me a structure to progressing it. I enjoy facilitating people to use this and used it recentley to help establish priorities for the future of FMA.

5. Apparentley if I was a Super Hero I'd be Spiderman (like many people around here...)
You are Spider-Man
Green Lantern
Iron Man
Wonder Woman
The Flash
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.
Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

So you may have know some of those, but I hope it was interesting. I here by tag Gavin, Peter, and Jon

Saturday Jul 29, 2006

And back again

Well The ride back yesterday took longer. 65:15. But then I rode back a very different way. One of my colleagues was riding as well so we went back via his house ~10 miles. Practicing drafting, which makes things much faster and easier. Only trouble was that he lives in Wokingham so I had to get back from there. So I started coming the direct route along Reading road, and quickly got fed up with that, so at Winersh headed in to Woodley and back through Sonning. Though this added a couple of miles it was probably nicer riding. So 19 miles in 65 minutes isn't so bad. Though I felt really tired afterwards, and hungry, and hot.... Well that makes 90 miles this week. Most I've ever managed. I'll have to see if I can do it next week

Friday Jul 28, 2006


So cycled in today in 57:07. Must have been because I was happier in the traffic rather than riding faster.

Wednesday Jul 26, 2006

And home again

So the journey home wasn't too bad either. I measured from the cycle lockers home rather than the entrance to the campus (the speedbumps in the campus are so vicious you cannot get a decent speed up). So it was a bit further. 17.4 miles in 63:37. So averaging 16.36 mph. Could have done better really but The bit between shinfield and the M4 on the A327 was up hill and I felt my legs had no energy. (not surprising really)

Rode in to work this morning

I decided to try cycling to work. It's a 20 mile drive that takes around 45-50 minutes due to the traffic. Going by bike I avoid some of the faster rodes and take the more direct route which is almost exactly 17 miles to the entrance of the campus. So I checked mail from home and set off after that. Did the 17 miles in 59:09. Even taking a shower in to account that's not much slower than driving. Any way - I've just got to do the same on the way home now!

Friday Jul 07, 2006

Action Shot

The new Pup still doesn't seem to stay still , but we can now take him for walks. As I was working from home today that's what we did at lunch time. He's pretty good at coming when called these days

Wednesday Jun 21, 2006

Extreme Close Up

The new Pup doesn't seem to stay still long enough for a photo. This is the best we've got this week

Monday Jun 12, 2006

New Pup

After a 2 month wait our new pup finally arrived, He's a Cocker Spaniel in Chocolate Brown with Tan socks and beard. Very unusual. He settled in pretty well but the last couple of nights have been a bit disturbed. Any way - here are a few photos for good measure

Monday Jun 05, 2006

Disneyland Paris - which land are we in?

Just a quick comic interlude. We had a weekend in Disneyland Paris this weekend. Overall a fantastic trip though very tiring (and I wouldn't bother with Eurostar again unless you get the direct service. The TGV to Lille on the way back was incredibly busy). But it's the little things that stick in your memory. My 5 year old and I were walking from "Fantasy Land" in to "Frountier Land" My youngest is very eloquent for his years and has the usual childs ability to say what he really things. "Daddy, which land are we in now?" "We've just gone in to Frontier Land" "Oh. I thought we were in Fat Land!" "What?" "Well everyone here is fat and we're skinny like Mr Skinny in the book at school" Made me laugh!

Monday Apr 03, 2006

Cool firefox plugin

I just saw this really cool plugin for firefox. Actually it was from another Sun employee and it makes editing any text pane within firefox a breeze.

It's called xinha and this blog entry was created with it so I'll see what it looks like

It allows you to generate links embed images and  do all those clever and annoying font things

 and do Colours backgrounds

 Any way see if you use it I'm certainly going to try to.



Chris W Beal-Oracle


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