Rowing revisited

An hour and change ago I got back from rowing in a double with my friend Rick at the Lake Union Crew. Wow, I forgot how much fun it was being out on the water in a shell. Despite my apprehension I did indeed remember how to rig the boat and the stroke fundamentals. At the beginning my wrists were, true to form, killing me although with some helpful pointers from Rick I got the bulk of those resolved and things got better.

Until the blisters formed and popped. Then we got half way and turned around to row back! Yup seven of those beauties with four more still covered. Between those and my sore forearms I’m going to have no grip to speak of tomorrow.

Still, it was a beautiful evening for a row. We started at just under the I-5 bridge and rowed all the way out to the Ballard bridge and turned around. And the entire time we were keeping pace with two 8-man sweeps. Overall I mark it up as a resounding success!

Now to determine if I want to take this up regularly again.

Isilon breaks the SPEC barrier

Today Isilon announced new SPEC benchmarking results for our new S200 platform released earlier this year. We were able to get over 1 million SPECsfs2008 NFSv3 IOPS — 75% higher than the nearest competition — and 1.6 million SPECsfs2008 CIFS IOPS — 126% higher than the nearest competition.

By far the cooler thing we demonstrated, again, to the industry is that our products scale linearly as you add nodes. Our IOPS scaled linearly with 7, 14, 28, 56, and 140 nodes. Chuck Hollis’ blog entry has more detail on what the benchmark does and our results.

I wasn’t directly involved with this benchmarking exercise but I did play a role, as did the entire rest of the engineering team, in building, testing, and tweaking the software that enabled this spectacularly cool result.

And yes, I realize that benchmarks like these are really just a pissing game between competitors, but I know first-hand that they come up in sales opportunities which makes them useful if not terribly informative.

I’m not a loner, I’m an introvert

I had one of those ‘duh’ reveleations today; one of those moments where you relearn something you learned a long time ago that you can’t for the life of you recall why you had forgotten: I’m an introvert.

I’ve never denied this, but I think I’ve been paying lipservice to it without considering what it means for me. This weekend is gay pride and tonight is when the clubs are bumpin’ and virtually everyone I know is out having a good time — but me. I’m at home wishing I enjoyed being out at the clubs but cognizant of the fact that I don’t, and trust me I’ve tried. I jumped to the logical conclusion that I’m boring and even said out loud “you can ask anyone who knows me and they’ll agree”.

Except that statement doesn’t hold water. I stopped to think about it for a moment and while I have no doubt whatsoever that my friends would classify me as many things, weird, odd, and geeky among them, I don’t think they’d label me as boring1. I’m not shy, I can carry on a conversation, I enjoy doing activities in small groups, I both initiate activities and join in existing activities. I’m primarily boring in an extroverted context: large groups and in loud places. I’m the dufus trying to have a conversation with someone in a loud club. I’m the guy standing in the corner of the room because the only person I know at the party is the host and he’s busy with everyone else.

I crave company but I’ve been going about it all wrong. I need to initiate and join in gatherings that leverage my optimal social setting: small groups. Dinner parties, game nights, trips to museums, one-on-one interaction, all of these play strongly into my ideal introvert social setting.

I’m not a loner, I’m just an introvert and I need to start using those focused thinking skills that introverts are known for to solve my desire for company instead of wishing I was more extroverted which has consistently proven to get me nowhere.

1 Friends reading this are welcome to chime in and assert that my statement is, in fact, correct. Please include examples :)

Climbing class

Last night Kevin and I took the Climbing 101 class at Stone Gardens, an indoor climbing gym. The principle objective of the class is to get you familiar with belaying, both the equipment and the process. The class was small — there were only 4 of us total. Over the half of the 2.5 hour-long class was instruction on the harness, rope tying, and belay equipment with the last bit on a climbing wall itself with pairs alternating between belay and climber (with the instructor acting as backup belay). As you can imagine, the primary emphasis throughout the entire class was safety: checking and rechecking the equipment as well as belay technique.

I had an absolute blast. I appear to have some innate climbing aptitude which shouldn’t be a surprise given how much I loved to climb trees growing up. I was able to do a 5.8 without too much difficulty, which I thought was pretty decent for one of my first 4 climbs ever.

Kevin and I are aiming to climb together once a week. That’s probably about all I can handle at this point. I wasn’t sore this morning anywhere except my forearms although I have no grip to speak of. Going to have to work on that without aggravating my carpel tunnel.

Slipstreaming Intel chipset drivers into Windows install media

In March I figured out how to slipstream the right Intel chipset drivers to the XP install media so the XP installer would recognize the disks in the new quad-clients. I thought I’d never have to do it again. Of course, I was wrong since I needed to do it for Windows 2003 Server media. To ensure I don’t have to relearn it yet again, here’s how to do it.

Download and install nLite on some Windows machine. Extract or mount the Windows ISOs and create the initial nLite project.

Here’s what not to do. Do not use the standard Intel chipset drivers. They won’t work because they’re the plug-n-play drivers, not the textmode drivers. Using them will only result in shiny coasters. If anyone needs a shiny Windows 2003 installation coaster, just let me know.

Instead use the Intel RST textmode drivers. More detailed instructions are available in the MFSN Forum under Integration of Intel’s SATA AHCI and RAID drivers.

CSS box model woes

This weekend I spent a couple of hours struggling with a new DIV-based layout design for (it’s not up yet, don’t bother looking). The core of my problem was that I was designing for the border box model but the browser was rendering it with the W3C content box model. It wasn’t until I realized that I needed to explicitly state that I wanted the border box model that things started working correctly.

And really W3C – content box model? Trying to develop a fully-fluid layout using the content box model is nuts.

Except I couldn’t get IE8 to render using the border box model even though it’s supported. And yes, I had the !DOCTYPE specified so it was suppose to be rendering it in standards compliance mode. After enough digging I figured out that despite the DOCTYPE, it was rendering it in IE7 compatability mode instead. Arg. I was able to get IE8 to cooperate by using the IE document compatibility meta tag:

<meta http-equiv=”X-UA-Compatible” content=”IE=edge” >

Yet another reason why I hate hate hate IE.

But now, thankfully, the page renders exactly as I had intended on Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and IE8 without any browser hacks (if you don’t consider telling IE8 to use the freakin’ standards a hack). No idea what it’ll look like on IE6 or IE7, but frankly I’m not worried if it looks a bit wonky in those — the content will still be perfectly readable.