Guus Bosman

software engineering director

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Raleigh Rocks Half Marathon 2009

This morning was Raleigh Rocks, a half marathon starting in downtown Raleigh. It was my first half marathon this season, and finished in 2 hours and 14 minutes. That's 5 minutes better than when I did this race last year, but well short of my best of 2 hours and 2 minutes (in November last year).

To be honest, I had underestimated the race and just didn't train enough, especially in long runs. I started the race well, with a consistent 9 minutes/mile speed, something that I wanted to try to break my PR. But at mile 4 or 5 I started slowing down -- I just clearly wasn't ready for this speed. One point of light: this time I made sure I didn't start overly fast. In previous race my splits for the first 2 miles or so would be around 8 minutes, way to fast. Miles 7 and 8 starting to get difficult, and miles 9 and 10 through the greenway did me in. It didn't help that after 10 miles or so I started getting blisters on both feet, something that doesn't usually happen to me. My feet may have been still soft from a fairly brutal training run in 2,5 hours of rain and mud two weeks ago.

Still, it was fun to race a half marathon again and Raleigh Rocks is a very well organized race. I particularly liked that there were clear mile markers every mile. Up to the next race, May 17th in Cary, NC, and yes, I will step up my training in the next 6 weeks.


Beautiful plant

Beautiful plant.We received a beautiful plant this week via the mail, a present from Jerry and Marjolein. It's a bromelia and a pink orchid.

The plant arrived in a very solid box, with lots of protective materials and it arrived in perfect state. We transferred it from it's temporary pot to a permanent one, and it's beautiful and cheers up the living room. Thank you!


Data Center Wieringermeer

Greenhouses and data centers.In the Wieringermeer, where my parents live, the build a new data center will start this year. It's going to be a 'green' data center, which will achieve a very high energy efficiency through corporation with greenhouses in the area (a PUE of 1.3).

Read more in this article in Trouw. This new data center by Parthenon will be CO2 neutral:

- The Wieringermeer is an agricultural part of the Netherlands with a lot of greenhouses, for flowers and vegetables. These greenhouses produce a lot power; plenty to supply the 50 MW the data center will use
- The heat produced by the data center will be used to warm the greenhouses
- The CO2 produced by the greenhouse energy production will be used as fertilizer for the crops in the greenhouses

Cool stuff. Thanks Jaap for sending me the article.


Vegetarian bouillon

Bouillon.A few weekends ago we had guests for lunch, and I wanted to make a fully vegetarian onion soup.

Obviously, onion soup is mostly vegetarian by itself, but the exception is the bouillon which is typically based on beef. So the night before I made a vegetarian bouillon for the first time. It was a lot of work, but interesting to do, and the result was very good. I used half of the bouillon for the soup and froze the rest of it.

The recipe was something like this: bake carrots, celery, potatoes and onions in the oven for 45 minutes so they become crispy. Then, put those vegetables and a bunch of herbs in a big pan of water, bring to a boil and simmer for a long time. Interesting enough you can even add the skins of the onion (not baked); they'll give the bouillon a nice dark color. At the end, you filter the vegetables and herb out and you're left with the bouillon.

The lunch the next day was a great success, and the soup was well received.


Scripting in Paint Shop Pro

Year overview logo's.This weekend I automated part of the process to create a logo for our year overviews.

To create a logo for a year overviews, I manually merge the 12 selected pictures for each year and create a single paint shop pro file of them. Then, I add the text "Year Overview" and the year to them, and of course I want every year overview to have exactly the same logo (with different pictures). Positioning the text, making sure the fonts and colors match, and getting the drop shadow the same is not trivial -- especially since there is typically at least a one year gap between the creation time of these images.

I played with the scripting tools in Paint Shop Pro and it's really quite powerful -- it has scripting engine based on Python and has some pretty cool features such as getting user input (I ask the user for which year this overview is, for example). (Download the script).

Automating this took me a while but now I have 3 very consistent logo's for 2006, 2007 and 2008, and in future years it will be much less daunting to create a new logo to match the previous' years. Now if only writing the text was as easy as that!


Great Human Race 2009

Great Human Race 2009.This morning I ran my first race of the season, a 5k in Durham called the Great Human Race. It's a charity run to raise funds for local charities, and there was a very friendly atmosphere.

Next week is my first big race, the Raleigh Rocks half marathon, so this was a nice way to get back in the rhythm. My result was 24:55, about a minute faster than my previous best. So even though I'm getting old I can still keep up!

For the first time in a week the weather was nice. The endless rain has stopped and while it was cold at 8.00 am, when the race started the sun had come out and it was perfect running weather. The race was well organized. It has a clear emphasis on the charity element. There were no mile markers but at mile 2 a volunteer called out the intermediate times, which was very helpful (mine was 17:44).


Unknown herb

Unknown plant.A few months ago I planted various herbs. Sadly, most of them died, but two plants survived.

Last weekend I tried one of the basil plants, and I took a bite from its leaves.

Well, it turned out that it wasn't basil. Now I'm not sure what plant it is.


Cross country running

I never knew what exactly "cross country running" is. Well, tonight I ran a cross country course, and I know now what it is. It was the start of the March series, a weekly run organized by NCRC at the Cary Academy, not too far from my work.

Cross country is "a sport in which runners compete to complete a course over open or rough terrain. The courses used at these events may include grass, mud, woodlands, and water". There was no water in the course we ran, but it was nice varied 5k course with a few small hills and nice trails through the woods behind the Academy. My time was about 27 minutes, based on people finishing just in front of me (I need to get watch battery replaced).

These runs are fun to do, with a friendly group of people. There were about 40 runners tonight.



Twice in the past week a student called me 'sir'. The first time it happened, when a girl was asking how to find the Page Auditorium, I shrugged it off as a one-off incident -- perhaps she was just an overly polite person.

Last night when I went for a run I had to evade a guy who was painting graffiti under a bridge, and he said: 'oh, I'm sorry sir', without any irony.

Am I getting old?


Time for spring

Cold weather a week ago.This is a picture of the weather a week ago: we had two days of very cold weather, ice and snow. Barely a week later, it was over 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius).

On Sunday I went for a long run but I had to give up at one point because I just wasn't adjusted to the hot weather yet. A nice problem to have -- I love these temperatures. Supposedly next weekend it's getting a bit colder again, but I think that the winter is over. Daylight Savings Time is in effect now also, so the time difference with Europe is an hour less now.


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