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J. Daniel Ashton

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Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, —Ecclesiastes 9:10a NIV
The LORD God has told us what is right and what he demands:
"See that justice is done,
let mercy be your first concern,
and humbly obey your God." —Micah 6:8, CEV
With all your heart you must trust the LORD and not your own judgment.
Always let Him lead you, and He will clear the road for you to follow. —Proverbs 3:5,6 CEV

see also — My Homepage

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Name: Daniel Ashton
Location: Germantown, Maryland, United States

Any links with a dashed underscore probably point to Amazon.com

Monday, September 26, 2005

Verizon Blocks Port 80 Web Service

This is a brief note of frustration and anger. I spent several hours yesterday making sure the router for our new Verizon FIOS service was properly configured to take over from our old Comcast cable service. Late in the evening I finally made the switch, and was intensely frustrated to find that our web server was not visible. When I finally called Verizon tech support, they immediately replied that yes, port 80 is blocked because they don't want any residential customers running web servers. (!!!!)

Fiber service is by far the fastest outbound pipe I'm able to afford at this time, offering up to 2Mbps uploads, as compared to Comcast's measly 384kbps. But if it doesn't work, I may have to drop my fiber subscription. (I'm nearly in tears at the thought!) I am not in a position to pay for two broadband lines coming into the house every month (at half a hundred dollars each), and none of the domains I host are in a position to pay for it either.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

On Being a Year Older

It doesn't feel much different yet.

Friday, September 23, 2005

An Historic Token

The Yates letter is an historic token of the moment Microsoft lost control of the markets it has dominated for ten years.
Another favorite quote:
He sees now the valid basis in technology behind some of the more cogent anti-Microsoft rantings…, that anti-Microsoft sentiment is not just something cooked up by the Left. The Massachusetts declaration should give many reasonable people material for a similar conclusion.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Exercise Progress, Illness

Last Friday I completed the third week in my rebate/fitness program. Three down, seven to go.

The first week was all cycling, all three times. The second week ended with cycling, but the first two exercises were helping a friend move, including moving a couple of large appliances, a handful of shelf-type items, and a large recliner love-seat. The third week began with cycling, but Friday I used a 20-minute walk as my third exercise.

Why? Well, I'll tell you.

<music> ♫ He's going to tell. . . . He's going to tell. . . . ♫ </music>

I got sick. It was weird, but I'm becoming convinced that there was physical abnormality involved, so I'm documenting it here. If you feel the same symptoms, you can know that you're not the only one.

Beginning Thursday afternoon, I became dizzy, faint, and mildly disoriented. In fact, I did faint. I lost my appetite and experienced mild nausea. I stayed home from work on Friday, still feeling very "fuzzy" in the head, but managed to put in a half day on tasks I could complete from home. That's when I decided to go walk-about instead of cycling for my exercise: I walked to the local 7-Eleven and back, bringing some Gatorade back with me. (The Gatorade seemed to help me feel better.)

On Sabbath morning I felt enough better to go to church, and I found solace in playing violin with the hymns. It was extra fun because they were very good hymns and because we had both organ and piano, which fills out the sound nicely, especially with the excellent players we had. They were very kind and asked me to play with the postlude too. But I wasn't completely healed: a few stray waves of nausea passed through during the service.

Since then its been a general improvement, except that my appetite has not fully returned (which may be a blessing). By Sabbath evening I was feeling well enough to handle a picnic and a few hacky-sack kicks. After sundown I attended a Spirit of America performance with a small group of friends. This morning I directed the choir at Rockville UMC. I cycled to IBM Gaithersburg and back, doing a few laps around the IBM parking lot, and don't feel too bad. I think I should be fine going to work tomorrow.

Why do I think it was illness? Well, a colleague experienced similar, but apparently briefer, symptoms earlier in the week. I took him on a Gatorade run, and he reported feeling better an hour or so later. However, he had run twenty miles on the previous day, and thought the feelings could be due to an electrolyte imbalance. (Hence the Gatorade.) This morning a couple of choir members mentioned experiencing similar problems this week. So it could well be a communicable illness of some kind.

On the other hand, the first 36 hours or so felt more like a panic-attack than an illness; almost like a stress breakdown. It was a strange experience.

Cycling stats:
  • Dist/Day 6.49 miles
  • Ride time 33 minutes 27 seconds
  • Avg Speed 11.83 mph
  • Max Speed 33.0 mph

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Russian Progress

I'm still plodding away at Russian lessons, using Pimsleur Russian I lessons downloaded from NetLibrary, thanks to the Montgomery County libraries. I've "finished" lesson 19, and most of lesson 20. I'm feeling a bit better about my progress, having to repeat lessons less frequently. But I definitely haven't reached the same level of comfort that I have with the German or Italian lessons.

More cycling

I rode Sunday and today (Wednesday).

  • Dist/Day 6.25
  • Ride time 34:32
  • Avg Speed 10.94
  • Max Speed 31.6

  • Dist/Day 4.39
  • Ride time 23:32
  • Avg Speed 11.43
  • Max Speed 31.8

So I'm on-track to complete my third week this Friday afternoon. Let's see now . . . $150 would get me more than half-way to a new 4GB iPod nano.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Places to Visit

I'm living and working in the area near Washington D.C., but I know that at any time some strange turn of events could lead to a move away from here. These are few of the places "in the area," i.e. closer to us now than when we lived in Atlanta. I feel a certain sense of urgency to visit these soon.

Friday, September 02, 2005

More Goals

Earlier this week I discovered two more long-term goals.

On Sunday as we were riding the Mt. Vernon trail we passed by a marina, and I realized that having access to a small yacht [insert correct technical term here] would be pretty important to me. I'm not saying I have to own one: just that I would like to be able to say, at pretty much any time, "Hey, lets spend the afternoon on the water."

Tuesday morning Vicki and I ran an errand before I went to work, and, as we rode, the Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations came on the radio. I realized that this has always been one of my favorite works. I'd like a reason to learn and polish and perform it.

Back on the Saddle Again

Yep, it's that time of year again; the time when I can no longer procrastinate about earning my IBM Physical Activity Rebate. The deal, again, is that to earn $150 I must do at least 20 minutes of exercise three days each week for ten out of twelve consecutive weeks.

I'm actually starting a couple weeks earlier than last year, I think, because last year it got too cold and unpleasant before I reached the tenth week.

Last Sunday we had a big family cycling outing, riding from Mt. Vernon up to Roosevelt Island, a trip of around 18 miles. That took about a hundred minutes: Beth is keeping a much more consistent and useful pace than in years past.

On Wednesday I rode my Schwinn from home to the local IBM office and back, making a loop around the parking lot at IBM. Here are my stats:
  • Dist/Day 5.30 miles
  • Ride time 32 minutes 18 seconds
  • Avg Speed 9.95 mph
  • Max Speed 33.6 mph

Today I repeated the course, this time making two loops at IBM.
  • Dist/Day 6.17 miles
  • Ride time 33 minutes 38 seconds
  • Avg Speed 11.10 mph
  • Max Speed 35.8 mph

So I've made my points for this week. One down, nine to go.