Posts
389
Comments
117
Trackbacks
40
January 2006 Entries
Contact Lenses, my experience so far

I was at Boots Opticians on Princes Street on Friday to get my lesson in putting contact lenses in and taking them out. I'm benefitting from recent developments in toric lenses to have daily contact lenses. This suits me fine as my plan is to use my glasses most of the time, with the lenses to make life easier on the motorbike. The other option of monthly disposables would have been a bit of a waste.

The session at Boots consisted of putting lenses in, taking them out, then doing the same another couple of times. A bit easier than normal for me because I'm not squeamish about poking myself in the eye (note to self - maybe I should be a bit more). I've still to get the total hang of it, but now that I'm on day 3 things are pretty good. I have a bit more difficulty with my left eye blinking the lense out, and taking the lenses out is a lot harder than putting them in.

Wearing them is a pretty good experience so far. They aren't bang on the same prescription as my glasses, a compromise to benefit from the daily lenses. This means I'm suffering a bit from the classic astigmatism responses - surfaces sloping away from me a bit, so I'm ever so slightly wobbly when walking. Not much of a problem driving, which is good. It is excellent not having bits of glasses getting in the way of peripheral vision, which is a great benefit to driving. I haven't tried them on the bike yet, this weekend was spent doing family stuff, but I think the lenses will be just the thing. The downside at the moment are the wobblyness while I get used to the different perspective, and I feel a bit like I've got a mild case of hayfever when I'm wearing them. I'm therefore blinking a lot. So beware the big six foot in a half guy wandering up and down Princes Street staring and blinking a lot....

posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2006 7:19 PM | Feedback (0)
High Visibility overjacket

Before my "lesson" on Saturday I popped over to arco in Linlithgow. It was the opportunity for a bit of practice, and I was after a dayglo / reflective vest or similar to go over my bike jacket. I'd ordered a quality jacket at the beginning of November, but supply problems meant a refund last week.

In the meantime I ordered a cheap one over the internet, but to my dismay xxl wasn't big enough :(

A search around the web found arco, who supply all manner of workwear, from the usual boots and jackets to knee pads and other worky stuff. Nothing that I would normally need driving my desk. And I purchased an xxxl high visibility waistcoat to go over my black bike stuff. It isn't a guarantee of visibility or that another driver will see me, but it hopefully helps a little. And it is another thing they like for the advanced test.

posted @ Thursday, January 26, 2006 10:36 PM | Feedback (0)
Motorcycle riding assessment

Had my ride out with Joe from Lothian Motorcycle Training yesterday, two hours riding with a bit either side to prepare and go through what happened.

I got the radio on, so I could hear the instructions for where to go, then out to the bikes.We started out with the preride check, giving the bike a once over to check everything was safely attached, no fluid leaks etc. Then off through Bathgate, through the centre, back out again, looping around to dual carriageway etc, then some country roads too. Quite a mix of roads. Joe rides following on his bike, giving directions through the radio. Then back to base for the verdict.

The good news is that it went really well, I was comforted that we ran the whole ride without a stop, so I couldn't have been that dangerous! I've got a few things to work on, in no particular order:

  • Dominate the road more, I tend to ride too far to the left on straight roads. Moving to the middle helps visibility. When waiting at traffic lights this stops other drivers moving into the gap I have left.
  • Pick up the speed, I tend to dawdle a bit. And even a safe overtake past a Tractor wasn't taken.
  • Related to the speed bit is positioning, move earlier to get the extra visibility - Roadcraft describes positioning left for a right hand bend and right for a left hand bend, which can always be shifted if the road condition or other traffic dictates.
  • Watch the distance when following larger vehicles, a bike disappears easily and even though I was putting a bit of space, I could add to it a bit more. Two bike lengths is the target when stationary. Don't get stuck behind a lorry that can't see you in the mirrors.
  • Remember the left mirror check when moving around vehicles, just in case they have moved forward after being parked.
  • Rear brake only under 20mph, which stops the front diving about. I'd had my speed a bit lower than this before switching to rear brake only.
  • Don't stick my leg out as far when stationary. I've developed a bit of a habit of this, and it doesn't leave any room if my foot were to slip a bit.

I'll add anything I've missed when I remember. It was quite reassuring however, I've taken away some details on the advanced test, but practice is the key for the next few months and I can take it from there.

Wish I'd put my thermals on though, I was freezing after the ride - we'd gone up some height during some of the ride and it was really cold. With going out before to practice and the ride itself I was out for over 3 hours, which is about the longest I've been out so far.

posted @ Wednesday, January 25, 2006 6:06 PM | Feedback (0)
Contact Lens Trial

I started wearing glasses about three years after leaving school, I blame all that close up work at the Accountants, or it could be staring at TV screens typing in all those basic programs in my youth.

I followed up the reminder through the post to get an eye test, and was happy to find that my eyes have stayed much the same over the last two years or so. A couple of years ago I got prescription sunglasses for a change, this time I decided to try contact lenses. I've had real visibility problems with my spectacles steaming up under the visor of my crash helmet, and having discussed this with my optician reckoned that the trial at boots opticians was worth a go.

I've got astigmatism, so that makes the contact lens a bit more complicated, but was happy to find that they even do the so-called toric lenses in disposable daily lenses. Both the monthly and daily disposables were ordered up, and I went in to try them. Sometimes they try one of each type, but the visibility with the daily lenses was quite good, even though they weren't quite on my prescription. Having put the lens in to your eyes, they send you out for twenty minutes to check that they fit correctly. So I wandered up Princes Street to McDonalds, blinking and staring a lot.

The visibility was excellent, albeit I was blinking a lot. Apparently the eyelids take a bit of getting used to going over the lens, it settles down over time. So I've ordered a batch up and await my call to go in and get the lesson in fitting them myself. In the meantime I must sleep more to reduce the bags under my eyes...

posted @ Sunday, January 22, 2006 8:27 PM | Feedback (0)
First steps back to motorbike training, January update

Having agreed to postpone my assessment in December due to snow, I got a call tonight from Joe of  Lothian Motorcycle Training to check whether I was still up for training. I said yes and I'm booked up for a couple of hours on Saturday afternoon.

That'll be my nerves going again then. The last time I had someone look at my riding was my bike test in 1995, and similarly the last professional assessment of my driving was when I sat my car test in 1989. Of course I use the word professionally deliberately, I do get occasional comments on my driving from my nearest and dearest.

So I approach the thought of being followed while I wobble around a bit daunting, but the idea is to learn in the safest way possible. Once I settle into the idea it should be fun. Credit where it is due, Joe's enthusiasm for motorcycling and training is quite infectious, which helps.

posted @ Sunday, January 15, 2006 11:27 PM | Feedback (0)
How to change the speed of an Intel NIC through script

I was talking to a friend the other night about scripting and desktop deployments. He works in a team that mainly works on packaging applications for distribution to lots of desktop PCs. When we talk shop I find it a good learning experience for myself as a developer. We've all got so complacent in recent years with Web Applications, providing they've all got Internet Explorer whatsit then we immediately think of deployment as a copy and paste job into the IIS virtual directory.

He has to think about hundreds of PCs being in various states, logged on, logged off, and funnily enough being switched off can be a real tricky one. Fortunately efforts in the procurement of desktop PCs mean that many with embedded network cards are built to power on with the correct packet from the network, saving a visit, even if they insist on trying to boot off the network - another issue.

We got talking about scripting and network speed, apparently autosense doesn't do the thing with their switches. I did a bit of Google and msdn research and established that WMI didn't go there for read/write on that setting. I asked about the hardware and was told that it was a mixture of Intel kit. That is a good thing, Intel are pretty good with their support through their Proset drivers. Had a look through the docs for that, but it looked like I would have to do a bit of vbs hacking to get the setting value pair.

On a different tack I found a utility from Intel themselves to alter the speed directly. Their SETSPEED.EXE script utility takes a single parameter to set the speed and duplex of one of their supported NICs. The main gotcha is that this is a setting that is based in the registry, so you have to kick the driver into re-reading the registry if you change the setting. Either a specific start/stop (I'm not sure if this service based) or a reboot.

The research showed up an interesting option in the SavRes.vbs script which is a vbs implementation of the Proset support for WMI etc. I would probably use this as the start of a script for dealing with more of the settings on a NIC.

posted @ Sunday, January 15, 2006 11:16 PM | Feedback (0)
What is the job of a manager of a publicly listed company?
The American magazine Businessweek recently featured an interview by their Silicon Valley correspondent with Clayton Christensen, author of a book called the Innovator's Dilemma. The interview concerned Apple Computer's ability to build on their recent successes, rather than hitting the crunch they had when the PC platform overtook the Mac in the early 90s.
 
It is an interesting consideration of the shift in a maturing market from the proprietary dominance of the early market to the modularisation and commoditisation of the product as the market matures.
 
The fact that really got to me is the second last paragraph. Apparently in the states, 10% of all shares are held by hedge funds that typically hold an investment for 60 days and 85% of equities are held by mutual and pension funds that typically hold onto an investment for 10 months.
 
I find that staggering, I've long held a cynical view that as soon as a company lists on the stock exchange and goes public that they are at the mercy of stock market moods. Cast here and there, they are only as good as their last quarter financial results. I suspect there could be a tendency in some quarters to operate and get all stressed out about the market reaction to company news, especially when their bonus is tied to the share price. But the correct approach, as pointed out by Christensen, is the longer term health of the company, not short term and therefore unhealthy practices.
 
posted @ Friday, January 13, 2006 11:27 PM | Feedback (0)