Wednesday, October 22, 2008

"My Darling Brown"

This morning a customer of Rue de Net in Germany contacted us with a concern. He had gone to his bank and paid an invoice to Rue de Net. However, the bank returned the funds with the comment that it could not be delivered to Iceland because of the current state of the economy.

To act on this problem, we contacted our bank in Iceland for some information on what to do. As a reply we got sent something called "Standard Settlement Instructions" devised at the Icelandic Central Bank. These instructions contained an account per currency, owned by the Icelandic Central Bank, in different banks all over Europe.

Our customer should transfer the invoice payment to the appropriate currency account and remember to place our company name, Rue de Net, as comment for the Icelandic Central Bank then being able to forward the correct amount into our local account. This is old school! This is really old school!

The current economy is now influencing Rue de Net. Normally, I wouldn't do this but I feel obligated to do something. So here goes...



If you haven't read the My Darling Brown article, by EirĂ­kur Bergmann Einarsson, then I urge you to do so. A quote from it:
[...] the run on Kaupthing, that finally put the Icelandic economy to the grave, perhaps for a decade to come, was caused by Mr. Darling. Now, as this would not be enough, the Prime Minister, Mr. Gordon Brown, used newly issued terrorist laws to deepfreeze the rest of Icelandic business in the UK. In the eyes of Brown Icelanders are terrorists!
What kind of losers call their friends terrorists? Another quote from the article:
Anyhow, I sincerely hope that Mr. Brown’s feelings towards the people of Iceland are not shared with all the UK population.
After you have read this article, and done any additional research you need, please head over to the Icelanders are NOT terrorists page and sign their petition. A quote from it:
[...] the Icelandic authorities have always maintained their intention to honour their obligations [to reimburse depositors with Icelandic banks in the United Kingdom], contrary to claims made by Chancellor Alistair Darling and Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Of course, by contract, morality and honour we should anyhow, what else is there? However the petition goes on:
We, the people of Iceland, ask you, our British friends, to join us in the common cause of ending diplomatic hostilities between our governments. It is our hope that this will stop the unnecessary economic damage on both sides, so that we can start to rebuild and make amends.
Go there, sign! Thank you.

PS: Take a look at Pickles by Brian Cane on comics.com!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Cancellation, cancellation and cancellation

Like the rest of the world, Iceland is now facing financial crises, the worst in decades or even in a hundred years. This is mainly influencing banks and other financial institutions but because of the size of Iceland and our additional currency problems, it has also started to influence the general population. In the end it will probably have some financial impact on Rue de Net but it just hasn't started yet. However, Rue de Net has started to prepare, like many other companies, I guess.

For example, this week we decided NOT to participate in Convergence 2008 Copenhagen. In addition to marketing our current products, the Dynamics NAV web services NETConductor, the Hermes e-commerce platform and our Dynamics NAV and retail knowledge we were going to introduce new products. Also, we had heard (or are anticipating) that Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 will be the star-of-the-show. We were really looking forward to that. So, not participating in this conference is a pity, but we will just have to live with that and find another venue/time to introduce our new products.
Cancellation 1 !

We have also decided NOT to go to TechEd Developers 2008. I have never been to TechEd in Barcelona so I was really looking forward to it. Being introduced to, and seeing all these presentation about, the new 2008 line of Microsoft products would have been a treat. But the price of the ticket, ~2.600 EUR per person, is just a lot for a small company in the middle of the current financial crises. So, I'll just have to go next year.
Cancellation 2 !

Thirdly, I was really looking forward to David Platt's WCF course but yesterday I got an email from the University and his course has been canceled. Pity. The e-mail didn't exactly explain why that was but only that it was because of the financial crises. As David Platt commented on my earlier post on his course I'm guessing he has some ego-search setup that might bring him to this posting as well. So, maybe you (David Platt) can explain what happened? I had my laptop setup and all, as instructed in an email from you a couple of days ago. What a pity! Not really the same as the two cancellations above but a cancellation anyway.
Cancellation 3 !

The world is really making a turn!

Friday, October 10, 2008

What do I like?

I have decided to remove the blog roll from the bottom of the homepage. The reason is that it takes too long time to display it every time the page is hit. So, instead, I will be editing this blog as time goes by and it will list some of my favorite stuff:


Stack Overflow & guys
Stack Overflow
Stack Overflow blog
Joel on Software
Coding Horror /Jeff Atwood

Puzzles
Project Euler

Named blogs
Steve Yegge's Blog
Seth Godin's Blog
Wil Shipley's Blog
Tom Fishburne
Rough Type: Nicholas Carr's Blog
Scott Stanfield @ Vertigo
Paul Buchheit
Marc Andreessen
Kim Cameron @ Identity Blog

Others
Call Me Fishmeal.
Little me, big you
Many-to-Many
All Things Digital
MIX Online, The Next Web Now
Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED)

Microsoft & guys
ScottGu's Blog
Somasegar's WebLog
Jon Galloway @ Microsoft
Joe Stegman @ Microsoft
Mike Harsh @ Microsoft WPF/E
Channel 9

Am I being hit?

I have decided to remove the page hits script from the side-bar. The reason is that it takes too long time to display it every time a page is hit. So, instead, here it is:



http://abthordarson.blogspot.com has been hit times.

For further information: view my stats.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Running Within

WARNING: LONG POST (MAYBE TOO LONG :-)

For some reason, maybe my work and children are a part of the cause, I don't seem to be able to keep to any specific running hours and therefore I always run alone. As I steal the time to train, and I'm doing this on my own, there are times when I wonder if I'm doing this correctly, especially when injuries seem to be haunting me. Because of my endlessly hurting legs my spirit also seems to be failing every now and then. I guess maybe part of the reasons for these problems I'm having, physical and mental, is that I have increased my running from nothing to close to a 30 kilometers per week, over only a period of 5 months - maybe I'm doing this too fast, how do I know?



My latest injury is a hurting left hip, started the day after a long 18 kilometers run 16 days ago. During the week after this run I managed to run two ~10 kilometer runs but then I gave up and skipped a whole week. Yesterday, my first run after the off-week, was short and slow - but boy does my hip hurt today, I have been limping and all - Maybe it's time to go to the MD again. :-( Could be ITB problems, jjjuuuccck.

Anyways, a few weeks ago I got my self this book, Running Within by Jerry Lynch, a psychologist and runner, and Warren Scott, specialist in injury prevention. I thought maybe it could help me with my spirit and maybe there were some pointers on injury prevention I could use to help with my bad luck streak, if I can call it that. The book contains some "mussy stuff" I wish they had left out but it also contains some good points that I would like to repeat here.

The book starts by telling us that 80 to 90 percent of our performances come from our mental fitness, which underlines the importance of reading the book. :-) As it continues it can be deducted that so much of our performance comes from the mind that the reason we don't perform better than we do is probably because of barriers within our own minds. As individuals we should therefore try to lift these limits, which we have put on ourselves and, if we can, we will be able to do so much more than we think. "What you can concieve you can achieve". ("thinking limits", pages xiii and 164)

One of the obvious ways to become better at running is by not thinking so much and running more relaxed. The authors point out that winners of long distance running more often than not seem like very relaxed runners. To the rest of us being able to better relax during a run is something to be learnt and practiced. The book therefore provides a few methods that we could try in order to relax during our runs, such as breathwatching, facewatching, bodywatching and wordwatching. ("relaxing", page 23)

I guess when you get a hang of the relaxing part you will be able to glide - "oblivious to the crowd" - with a fluid natural movement. According to Jerry and Warren, gliding like this comes from a trancelike concentration that will allow far better performances. This concentration is a learnt skill of being alert to the task while excluding the negative environmental factors. Practice makes perfect, I guess. ("focusing and gliding", pages 110 to 112)

The book gives you two main methods for getting your intentions into actions. Firstly there is visualization. Visualization is the method of visualizing your goal in your mind's eye. Sit down, close your eyes, relax, don't think about anything - then - slowly start visualize yourself at the beginning of your run, see yourself starting the perfect run, explore the details of yourself running your perfect run and finally visualized yourself finishing in perfect form. You can use this method to visualize anything you want and the method will help to get your mind on the right track, or in the right gear. ("visualization", pages 12, 30, 60 and all over)

The second method is about affirming your intentions. Affermations are short sentences that you repeat again and again in your mind, which in the end will create the clarity and confidence you will need to focus on your goal. It is said to be important to make these sentences into sort of rimes - it will help you remember them - but it will also make it easier to repeat them, like a mantra. ("affirmations", pages 13, 39, 60 and all over)

The authors also spend part of the book telling the reader to remember why we all started running. Nobody starts out running because of anything else than the joy of running. "It's The Journey, Not The Destination". 50% of runners would take a pill that would make them Olympic champion and then kill them within a year. What a crock of horse shit, I wouldn't! ("winning is a journey", page 77 to 83)

When training towards a competition (it is good to compete, don't misunderstand me or the book) it is important to have a goal. If you put down a goal that you think is realistic but safe then it is not a good goal.  Don't be afraid of setbacks. Setbacks are something to learn from, not something to be scared of. Be sure to set down two or three goals within a realistic but challenging range. Then don't forget to visualize and affirm your goal, do your best and enjoy the run. ("multiple goals", pages 8 to 13 and 94)

Ok, this is all good and dandy, but what about my lousy hip?

The authors of Running Within claim that injury is part of a natural cycle of health and injury - well, my cycle is just too short! Anyways, the book has a few comments on how to lower the incidence of injury. 1) Plan your training, but adjust the plan fast if you feel any kind of hurt or injury coming on. 2) Never overtrain (the symptoms are described) and rest as soon as you feel anything of the sort. 3) If you have an injury, configure your training plan in such a way that you don't have pain. 4) Stretch. But if you end up injured anyway, then please, do as the doctor says but don't neglect the power of positive thinking. Injury is actually an opportunity to rest and do other things. I did notice that I was well rested in my first run after my off-week, even though I obviously started too early, I guess. :-( Respect the injury, you can´t really fight it when it's already there. ("injury", pages 146 to 155)

But during my healthy weeks, how should I motivate myself when it feels difficult to get going?

One idea is to trick one's self. Tell yourself you will only run 1 kilometer and then go home; unless you feel fine and ready to continue. Of course the fatigue, or loss of motivation, will be gone once you are out running. Ok, but how often will I be fooled by myself? Anyways, more helpful suggestions of the book are those of not placeing unrealistic demands on yourself, lighten up, enjoy yourself, crosstrain when you don't feel like running and if everything fails take a break. Following your natural rhythms, relax and keep your runs simple will help you feel better and you will be more motivated to run. ("motivation", page 138)

This is not not an in-depth description, neither is this a complete descripton of the very good content of the book, and I may have misread or misunderstood something in there. So I guess what I'm saying is this; if you like or need to read about these things, for Pete's sake go and buy the book: Running Within by Jerry Lynch and Warren Scott.