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Mike Quin

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FIN [Oct. 31st, 2012|04:33 pm]
Mike Quin
With the increasing amount of tumbleweed around here I've decided to draw a line under my journal. My infrequent ramblings will likely go to http://www.elite.uk.com/mike/ or the usual social media places in future.
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Being Digital [May. 24th, 2012|10:30 am]
Mike Quin
Something I've not really spoken about here yet but which has been taking up a lot of my time over these last months is study.

I decided last year to start working towards a degree part-time with the Open University. The first stage of this has been a six-month computing and information technology module entitled "My Digital Life".

Going back to school, as it were, well over a decade since I finished college has been a bit of a change. The course itself has been very engaging, doing a good job of mixing a fairly broad range of topics from the early history of computing to more modern areas such as social networking and wireless sensor networks, with research and study skills.

As you might expect, the OU - established as a distance learning university - has embraced technology for education, and the tools used to deliver the course were a great help.

Coming to the end of this module I'm fairly confident that I have done well, and although I feel I'm still developing in terms of being able to think and write like an academic I have found it to be very enjoyable.
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90 days [May. 24th, 2012|10:19 am]
Mike Quin
A little late, and this should be the last of these posts for a while - don't want to bore you all.

85kgs seems to be the awkward point, with my weight floating around that mark for the last month or so. I'm fairly happy with the results and I've been starting with a bit of strength work in the last few weeks.

As the weather is getting better I'm hoping to spend more time on the bike as well.

Small moves, but it seems to be working.
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60 days [Apr. 13th, 2012|10:20 am]
Mike Quin
Another 30 days done, and perhaps surprisingly I'm managing to stick with it.
As of this morning I'm 10.3kg lighter than I was in February, a shallower drop (3.6kg) than in the first 30 but I was expecting it to tail off as my overall weight dropped.
Aside from the obvious fact of being quite a bit lighter than I was, and visibly slimmer (not exactly a chiselled Adonis, but Rome wasn't built in two months) this exercise has had the positive effect of getting me into a routine with regards to eating, which I hope will stick. I'm still far from a morning person but having a decent breakfast every days feels like a good thing.
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low-content management [Mar. 14th, 2012|05:06 pm]
Mike Quin
In what is perhaps conclusive proof that I've been spending way too much time around RichiH, I've taken a partial dive into ikiwiki and applied it to my dust-strewn homepage - www.elite.uk.com/mike.

For the moment this is just adding a nice form of content management to the handful of static pages which live there - my weblog is still being pulled from LJ for the time being - but it's proving to be enough of an experience to get my head around what ikiwiki can do without being too much of a time sink.
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30 Days [Mar. 14th, 2012|08:10 am]
Mike Quin
[Tags|, ]
[Current Mood |pleasedpleased]

Towards the middle of February it was becoming apparent to me that I'd put on quite an insulating layer of fat over the winter, most likely due to having slipped back into the old bad habits of snacking and drinking soda at work.

My height hides it to a certain extent but at a little over 95kg I was getting very close to being at least numerically overweight, and more pertinently (or should the be vainly), I wasn't particularly happy with that I could see looking in the mirror in the morning.

So I decided to do something about it. I'm not one for fads or gimmicks so I've not been taken in by Atkins or any similar 'cheat' diets, just keeping a very close count of what I'm eating, and being disciplined about how and when I eat.

As it turns out, without snacking what I do tend to eat on a day-to-day basis works out neatly in the 1200-1500 kCal range which is suggested for weight loss, so I've not needed to make a lot of adjustments and despite the inevitable bouts of hunger I've been managing to stick to it.

So, here I am, 30 days in, and 6.7kg lighter than I was when I started, a very encouraging start.

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On the road [Dec. 13th, 2011|12:13 pm]
Mike Quin
So, 11 days, 1145 miles, 20 hours behind the wheel and four towns. We've been busy.

Our starter for ten was the freenode staff Christmas get-together which saw about two dozen freenode volunteers and friends descend on an unsuspecting Surrey town for an evening of food, drink, and general merriment. Some of the other staff I'd met before but it was very nice to be able to put more faces to names that I've known for a few years now.

Following this we retired to Oxford for a few days rest rather that drive home simply to return south again the following weekend, and given that an amusingly named weather system was apparently trying to blow Scotland away during this period, a serendipitous move. We spent our time in the beautifully renovated castle prison (a much more comfortable experience I'm sure than those who resided there when it had HMP in its name).

After overnighting in Taunton we finally arrived in Minehead for this year's All Tommorow's Parties' Nightmare Before Christmas festival. I'm never to good at remembering or describing multi-day events, but if I am to pick some stand-out highlights they would be the performances fro Battles, Gary Numan, The Budos Band, Nisennemondai and Omar Souleyman.
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Back to school, kinda [Sep. 24th, 2011|03:40 pm]
Mike Quin
I spent a couple of hours this afternoon in a lecture theatre at GCU for an Open University Introductory Workshop. This was in part an exercise in saying "Don't Panic" in large, friendly letters, but useful in terms of giving a feel for how OU study works and the support facilities available.
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Minami [Mar. 22nd, 2011|10:37 am]
Mike Quin
I've taken the day-off to decompress and catch up with the rest of the world after the weekend's Minamicon.

Swept up most of my IRC highlights yesterday, tidied my email a bit but it's still looking a bit of a warzone. Work email I'm doing my best to ignore for today.

The convention itself was a whole lot of fun: Very relaxed, with no emergencies, drunks, or drama. It's always fun meeting old friends, and I really enjoyed having the time to catch up with folks, and we met a few fun new people as well.

The trip was surprisingly stress-free, with only a couple of minor slowdowns along the way.

Now for tea, RSS and seeing who our esteemed leaders have decided to drop bombs on.
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21st Century Reading [Feb. 11th, 2011|07:57 am]
Mike Quin
So, this week I had a moment of impulse-purchase weakness and bought myself a Kindle 3.

Leaving the DRM politics of Amazon's ebook service aside, The device itself is rather impressive, and with a light dusting of third-party open-source software, useful in ways that I hadn't thought of.

Firstly the display is beautiful - very clear and easy on the eye, and the controls are straightforward and easy to use. I stumbled a little on returning to a bookmark I had set, but having the user guide on the device helped with that.

Now the fun discovery came with Calibre - a much talked about tool for managing an ebook library and converting between various common formats.
Amongst other nifty tricks, Calibre can pull data from various sources such as online news outlets and aggregators, convert them to ebook format and toss the result over to the Kindle (via Amazon's 'Whispernet' service).

This is, in my opinion, solid gold for weblogs, particularly those with longer posts. Whilst reading at the computer I tend to skim these, and I'm finding that it is a wholly different experience being able to relax in bed or on the sofa much as I would with a newspaper or paperback.
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