links for 2010-03-31

links for 2010-03-30

Security 5k 2010

While at a trade show in Las Vegas this week, I participated in the inaugural Security 5k benefitting Mission 500, a charity founded by members of the security industry with the goal of sponsoring 500 children through the World Vision program. The organizers said they were expecting around 100 participants, however, 249 showed up on race morning. They had to start late in order to accommodate everyone who showed up. I’m glad to see a stronger than expected turnout, despite minimal advertising. However, with nearly 40,000 exhibitors and attendees, one would think that more publicity could yield significantly more than 249 runners. I tried to talk two others from my company into signing up, but they wisely did not show up. The night before was our annual rep and distributor meeting at a Las Vegas brewpub, and let’s just say that running was a bit unpleasant the next morning.

It was a cool, dry, and gusty morning. The wait before the race was quite gusty, though the wind died down a bit while we were running. The route was a “scenic” jaunt down Industrial Road, which is exactly what it sounds like. It was a busy six lane road servicing construction for new hotels and the hotels on the west side of the Strip on one side, and seedy nightclubs on the other. I realize that it is completely impractical to hold a race on the Strip because it is so busy. I did get a chance to run along the Strip early the day before. We also got to experience a freight train go by for a little fun. There were a couple incidents with impatient drivers trying to turn across the route or not paying attention to the traffic cones and mass of runners. The police had their hands full keeping things moving along smoothly, but they managed to do so.

I am not sure whether the race organizer plans to post official results on the web somewhere, but they did send results to participants via email. The editor of Security Systems News also has results in a blog post, but they’re not searchable. What I really would like to have seen would have been results associated with the companies represented. How many ways can my company find to beat the competition? We may not be huge, but we are respected in the industry, we are closing an excellent sales month, and we’re hiring. And we’re faster than all but nine others.

The race sponsors included lots of trinket trash in the post-race goodie bags, which I normally would not have taken, as I do not like throwing that much stuff away, and I was trying to travel light since I did not want to check my luggage after the last flight experience my family had. However, I took a goodie bag anyway this time because I thought it would be fun to take home some extra “what did you bring me” stuff to give to my son. Along the lines of trying not to throw so much stuff away, I also kept to my word and brought my own water with me so I didn’t waste water cups along the race route. It’s not much, given the excesses of the place where I was, but I tried to stay honest. It’s a good thing I brought my own water, too, since I needed a lot to balance the combination of the dry air and the effects of the previous night’s meeting. I hope that my thirst did not have too much of a negative effect on Lake Mead’s water level.

(Aside on water consumption: is it necessary to line a business park with bright green grass and palm trees? The landscaping in the area around my hotel used so much water that the bark on the palm trees was bleached and rotting away up to the levels of the sprinklers’ spray pattern. What part about “desert” doesn’t compute? After being full a decade ago, the Lake Mead storage has steadily declined to the point where it is less than 50% full right now.)

The last time I visited Las Vegas in 2007, I also serendipitously found a midweek race associated with a trade show. That one, I think, was for vascular surgeons. Of course I signed up and ran, but it was a very small production. There was no RFID timing, and I had left my GPS watch at the hotel. I had told some other people about the race who were at the show with my company, and one of my parent company’s Latin American representatives came along too. He was training for the Chicago Marathon at the time, and he was used to running at crazy altitudes in Mexico City. I was able to keep up with him for a bit, but then he poured on the gas and smoked me.

View route in Garmin Connect

View route in Google Earth (8 KB KML)

View 2010-03-25 Security 5k 2010 in a larger map

links for 2010-03-19

links for 2010-03-18


The garage door sensor and parking sensors are now installed and calibrated on the stop light controller! I know the video below is shaky — I’m experimenting on several levels here, so there will be better video as the project progresses.

When the garage door is opened, the controller checks for an empty parking space. If a space is empty, then the left and/or right stop light turns green. Then as the car pulls into its spot, the lights turn to yellow, then red as it reaches its exact parking spot.

links for 2010-03-16

  • Cardinal Greenways is a private, not-for-profit organization that encompasses the Cardinal Greenway,
    White River Greenway, Historic Wysor Street Depot and Cardinal Equestrian Trail. The Cardinal Greenway
    portion is the longest rail-trail in Indiana and spans almost 60 miles from Marion through Muncie to
    Richmond in East Central Indiana.
  • This year, ride with 350 other cyclists on a grand heritage loop through southeastern Pennsylvania and the Delaware River Valley of New Jersey, July 17–24.

    Pedal more than 250 miles into the densest concentration of multi-purpose trails in America on at least seven different Pennsylvania and New Jersey rail-trails

    (tags: railtrail)

links for 2010-03-15

Master of his food destiny

We admit that we are fortunate that our four-year-old is a good eater. But we are convinced that this is due in part to the fact that we involve him in our food. He helps in the garden, he flirts with the ladies at the farmers’ market, he sometimes gets the honor of choosing a menu at home, or even which restaurant we visit. But for a while now, he has been old enough to be a helper in the kitchen. Since last summer, we have made many loaves of bread together. We both get a kick out of this simple thing, and we all get to share some pride and enjoy what we have made. Our favorite recipe lately has been the wheat bread from a cookbook put together by one of the owners of Sonlight Camp in the beautiful mountains of Colorado. With guidance from David’s grandma, we have made a couple small changes that seem to help in our low midwestern elevation.

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 packages dry yeast
  • 3 cups milk
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 4 to 4½ cups white flour

Combine 3 cups of whole wheat flour, salt, and yeast in a large bowl. In a sauce pan over low heat, combine milk, honey, and oil. Heat until warm. Pour over flour mixture and blend well. Add egg and blend well. Add 1 cup wheat flour, then gradually work in 4 to 4½ cups of white flour. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, cover with a damp cloth and let rise for about 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk. Punch dough down, and divide in thirds. Shape each third into a loaf by rolling into rectangles. Place in greased bread pans, cover, and let rise until doubled.

Put in a cold oven, set at 400°, and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 375° and bake an additional 30 minutes or until loaves are golden brown. Immediately upon removing loaves from oven, brush tops with melted margarine. Makes 3 loaves.

links for 2010-03-14