Happy birthday dad!

Dear Dad:

Happy birthday dad!
Happy birthday to you!
Now that you are 65,
I'm mighty proud of you!

Happy birthday dad!
May your birthday wish come true.
May all your days be happy days,
Your whole 66th year through!

You're a great dad, and a fine example to a pair of sons. Thanks for being you.

Not one to buck tradition, I made an amigram out of your initials TWL. The names Thomas and Tom proved a bit difficult, but I might return to them someday. One advantage of making an amibgram out of your initials is that you can use it as a monogram!

I know it could also be read TML. I wasn't quite sure how to make the W look unambiguously like a W.

I'm sure you and the growing Austin branch of the family will find an enjoyable way to celebate. I'll be missing this celebration, but I'll be there in sprit.



Carillon concert at Aldof Fredriks Kyrkan

I'm working today at IBM's Wallingatan location in the middle of Stockholm. The office is just up Drottninggatan from Hötorget and is across the street from Adolf Fredriks Kyrkan. The church is one of the most famous in Stockholm. Olof Palme, the former Swedish prime minister who was assasinated in 1986, is burried beneath an interesting rough hewn black tombstone in the churchyard. For a nice view inside the church, take a look at this panorama.

At 12:30 today, a carillon concert began at the church. The concert lasted half an hour and included several fugues that must have been quite difficult to play. I opened the window of the conference room and listened to the music while I worked. It was positively delightful!

Did you know that the word carillon comes from an Old French word meaning set of four? I suppose early carillons had only four bells.

This evening after work, I think I'll go to Centralbadet for a soak and a massage. After a weekend sleeping on an air mattress, my back and shoulders are stiff. For some reason my neck has also been a bit stiff for the past couple of weeks; I hope the massage will help.


Here's the view from the balcony over the hedge and to the sea to the West. In the remote distance you can see the Swedish mainland.

Here's the cottage where we're staying.

Here's one more view showing the hedge and the sea beyond.

Update from Öland

It's about 21:30 heere, and the sun is still a few degrees above the horizon. I'm on the balcony of P.O.'s summer house, where I have a clear line of sight to the sea to the West. We're in Kyrkbyn, close to Mörbylånga.

We went to the sea to bathe this afternoon. Unfortunately the sun hid behind some thin clouds while we were at the coast, and the wind picked up a bit. So we didn't stay for very long. At least the water was warm, and not too salty.

When we returned from the 2 km walk from the coast, we had a drink and then went to a local field to help construct and raise the maypole. We then participated in the traditional songs and dances although these are mostly for the benefit of the kids.

We had a delicious and filling dinner and drank lots of beer and aquavit. Some of the party are playing croquet in the lawn, and others are chatting at the dinner table over coffee. Desert will be served soon. Last night we stayed up until 2:30, but I imagine we'll get to bed a bit sooner tonight.

Hi from lovely Öland! Just 200 meters beyond the hedge in the background is the narrow strip of sea between the island and the mainland. I estimate it's about 4 km wide. Öland is about 5 km wide, but many kilometers long.
Later today, we'll probably play boule, kubb, and croquet. We'll also drink lots of beer and cook our dinner on an open charcoal grill. Wish you were here!

Trevlig midsommar!

I managed to get an internet connection from the balcony of P.O.'s summer house on the island of Öland, where I'm celbrating midsummer. The summer solstice was actually a few days ago; but we Swedes need a proper holiday so we celebrate it on a Friday. I caught a ride down yesterday afternoon with some other friends of P.O. Öland is lovely. This is my first visit to the island. The weather is perfect, and I've taken a few photos. If the connection holds, I'll post some of them later.


Cats out and about

This afternoon there was a tense stand-off on the balcony. My neighbor's cat Max just wanted to play. Alex was somewhat friendly in response but Sasha just sat there and hissed at poor little Max. Tsk, tsk.

If you were a mouse and you saw this, it would probably be the last thing you ever saw.

You know, croccodlies & aligators aren't the only species that overcome their prey with a death roll. Domesticated cats have long practiced this maneuver.

Sasha doesn't like to hold still for the camera. But at least in this shot, most of her is motionless.

And finally, a nice close-up of Sasha's cute face. For those of you just joining us, one of Sasha's littermates scratched her right eye when she was kitten; that's why it is darker than the left one.

Lunch at Lillstugan

Today my manager at IBM invited the whole team to lunch at Lillstugan.

I must have ridden the bus hundreds of times by this place on the way to and from the office, but until today I had never dined there.

The buffet table was full of a wide variety of dishes, including some Swedish midsummer favorites.

I even made sure I was in one of the photos. Hi Mom!


Dinner with Brf. Söglimten board

On Friday evening, the board of my home-owner's association met for its biannual dinner. We dined at Bockholmen restaurant. The food, drink and company were excellent.

The view is quite lovely. From there it's possible to see Lidingöbron and the island of Lidingö.

This morning, I let the cats out for a while. They really enjoy being outside. Here Alex is thinking “It's about time!”

Sasha is always on the lookout for danger.

In Alex's mind, he's the king.

It's harder to tell what Sasha is thinking. Not very much, I guess.

I got a photo of Alex rolling over on his back and yawning, but unfotunately it was blurry. Here's a shot of him right after he rolled halfway back over.


Article on CorporateBlogging.info

For those of you who did not already know, I maintain an internal IBM web log in addition to this one. My internal IBM blog is called “M Theory” and it's visible only on the IBM corporate network. I post items to my internal IBM blog that are of specific interest to my immediate colleagues, or of more general interest to larger communities of IBMers. I find it rewarding to communicate with other IBMers in this way. It also gives me daily practice in writing clearly and in composing legible HTML.

Blogging in the corporate environment is emerging as a new means of collaboration among coworkers. It has also begun to attract the interest of business consultants offering advice on communications within organizations.

I recently participated in an interview with one such business consultant, Fredrik Wackå. Mr. Wackå discussed the topic of internal blogging at IBM with me and my colleage Philippe Borremans in IBM Public Relations. Yesterday, Fredrik published the results of that interview in an article on his web site, CorporateBlogging.info.

The article offers an interesting glimpse into the phenomenon of blogging within IBM. It includes a screenshot of Blog Central, a web page that serves as a common starting point from which IBMers can find internal web logs with recent activity.


Finishers Wolfram and Michael

I finished the marathon about the same time as a fellow from Germany named Wolfram. Here were are showing of our medals. Everyone who finished the race in under 6 hours received one.

Last week, I worked a couple of days in IBM's Wallingatan office. It's just a few meters from Adolf Fredrik's Church, depicted here.

Alex and Sasha rest after a couple hours' frolicking out in the warm Summer day.

Last night I went for a little bike ride to Ulriksdals Slott and back. I took the way around by Bockholmen and Stocksundstorp, under the tunnelbana bridge and through the woods. There are so many tree roots on the trail over there that it's almost impossible to bike. There are also fallen trees in the path. Someone should build a proper trail along the water so that bikers and others who have trouble getting around can still enjoy the area. I took this photo of the palace from a small dock below Ulriksdals Wärdshus.

Here's another nice view of the sunset.

And finally, a view of the sunset reflected in the surface of Edsviken.


Photos from the Stockholm Marathon.

I have rearranged the photos from the race in chronological order.

First, a photo of me before the marathon. The people on the road in the background are runners lining up at the start line, about 10 meters down the roadway to the right.

Here's a shot of the start. I actually crossed the start line when the clock showed 6:22, so most of the fast runners had already gotten a good head start. The race was timed with an RFID chip attached to each runner's left shoe though, so each runner got an individual time. I'm in this picture somewhere on the left.

Naturally, the only shot taken in sunshine is one in which I'm walking to catch my breath!

Here's a shot of me crossing the finish line. At this point in the race, I was sprinting, just eager to get it over with!


Apple switching to Intel

Apple has announced that it will switch to Intel chips starting in 2006. I'm ambivalent about this. I've always been a fan of the PowerPC, and the move to Intel chips seems like a step backward. But IBM hasn't been able to deliver the improvements that Apple needs, so maybe the move was necessary.

In the near term, Apple is encouraging developers to ship applications as universal binaries, programs that can run on either platform. But the writing is on the wall: eventually, Apple intends to leave the PowerPC behind. So much for Power Everywhere.


Happy birthday, mom!

Dear mom,

Happy birthday! Ethan seemed to like the gift I made for him, so I thought I'd continue the tradition.

I hope you had the best of birthdays. I was thinking about you when I ran the marathon yesterday, and I owe you a lot. You have always been a role model for me, showing me that with determination and hard work, I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. You're the best mom a boy could ask for.


Stockholm Marathon 2005 - 4:50:57

Well, I did it! I completed the Stockholm Marathon in a time of 4:50:57. I wasn't sure I could really do it until I passed the finish line.

The first lap was relatively easy. Lotta and Lisa were stationed at the Studenterna tent near Rålambshövsparken, right after Västerbron. They cheered me on and took some photos. I kept going and didn't notice any pain in my legs until around km 20, but then I started feeling the soreness my joints, particularly my knees and hips. Near the end of the first lap, I saw Daniel & Jenny and Åsa & Kevin. They cheered me on and gave me a much needed boost of confidence going into the second lap. The loop through Djurgården in the second lap seemed much longer than the loop through Gärdet in the first lap, probably because it is longer. Whatever the reason, the Djurgården part of the race seemed to go on for too long, and this was a bit depressing. It was really hard to keep going, but somehow I managed.

As I started to run down Strandvägen in the second lap, I got a sharp pain in my left knee. The pain just suddenly came out of nowhere mid-stride. I limped for a few steps and noticed that the pain got eaiser to bear with each additional step. So I stopped limping and put equal weight back on the left leg. After each successive step, the pain subsided a little bit more. After just 50 or 100 meters, the sharp pain was gone.

The pain — duller, but still annoying — came back occasionally. I fought through it though. Every time the pain reappeared, I sped up instead of slowing down. Just as in my 28 km run a few weeks ago, this trick worked. Each time I sped up, the pain diminished. It seems counter-intuitive, but it worked.

Sometimes duing longer runs, I have gotten a popping feeling in my right foot with each step; one positive surprise about this race was that I never felt the popping sensation.

I did my best not to slow down to walk except at the official refreshment stops. Every 5 km or so, there were tables set up with sport drink drink, water, and wet sponges. One has to slow down to pick up the refreshments, so one might as well wait and save one's rest times for those drink stations. I kept to this plan pretty well. I also stopped to pose for photos for Daniel and Åsa at the 40 km mark.

The last two kilometers actually went quite quickly. I never saw the 41 km marker, and the next thing I knew, Stockholms Stadion was at the end of the road up ahead, so I just fought on.

When I entered the statium for the final 200 meter stretch, I was so elated to have the goal in sight that I began to sprint. I ran faster and faster, passing everyone in sight. I got an amazing boost of adrenaline, and all the pain disappered instantly and completely. I don't think I've ever felt anything quite like it. It was amazing. I went even faster. I couldn't even feel the ground beneath my feet, and I felt like I was running on clouds. For a few precious moments, it seemed to take no additional energy to go faster. I felt like I could run as fast as I wanted to. It was really a remarkable experience. I crossed the finish line going full speed, with a silly grin on my face, and with my arms held high in the air.

I picked up my medal and staggered to a railing, where I stopped and caught my breath. The pain returned, but after a bit of stretching, most of the muscle cramping was over, and all that remained was my poor sore joints. I picked up my t-shirt and post-race snacks and drinks. After a few minutes of rest and a change of clothes, I met Daniel & Jenny for a beer at restaurant near Östermalmstorg.

Then, I headed home, had a shower, and fixed pizza for dinner. I'm going to sleep well tonight.

I hope to have some photos soon. The race's official photographer, photomotion.se, will also have photos from the race online on Tuesday.

Update: Daniel has a couple of photos of me from the marathon on his weblog.


Yesterday evening went to Stockholms Stadion to pick up my number and chip for the marathon today. I then went to the pasta party to load up on carbohydrates. The weather wasn't so nice.

Unfortunately, it's even worse today. On the news this morning they said that this may be the worst weather the Stockholm Marathon has had since it started 27 years ago. Oh well. I'll wear long sleves and make the best of it.


Pre-race jitters

Tomorrow I'll run my first marathon, and I'm a bit nervous. I'm a bit worried that I won't have the stamina to complete the race without walking a large part of it. But I'm also having a bit of pre-race hypochondria. My left knee began to hurt a few minutes ago, and that's never happened before. I kept walking and the pain eventually went away.

I've done everything I can to prepare; now I just have to get plenty of rest and eat plenty of carbohydrates before the race. Wish me luck.


Oasis restaurant burns down

Yesterday morning, Austin's famous Oasis restaurant burned to the ground. The Oasis has been an Austin institution for as long as I can remember.

I grew up in Austin, and probably went to the Oasis for the first time with my parents when I was in my early teens. At that time, the prices were too high and the service wasn't that good; but some years later, the restaurant really turned around. The prices remained high, but the service really improved. In recent years, the restaurant has expanded to be able to serve almost 2000 guests on more than 40 different decks overlooking Lake Travis.

The Oasis was known for its views of the lake. It became a tradition there to ring a bell when the sun had set. Of course, Texas has wonderful sunsets.

It's too bad that the Oasis is gone. I guess it was it was insured, so the owner will probably rebuild. The original Oasis was a labyrinth of connected decks and stairways precariously cantilevered out over the steep hillside. It was sometimes hard to find one's table without help from one of the staff. Any replacement building will surely lack some of the charm of the original; but it will no doubt also have a layout that's easier to navigate.


Mac OS X Hints purchased by Macworld

Since November 2000, Rob Griffiths' Mac OS X Hints has been one of the most consistently reliable sources of information about the Mac OS X operating system. In particular, Mac OS X has focused on the Mac OS X command line — in particular, myriad ways to tweak the operating system beyond can be accomplished using the GUI alone. I have found these hints to be a great way to learn about how Mac OS X works behind the scenes.

Today we learn that Rob has sold Mac OS X Hints to the publisher of Macworld magazine, and has joined Macworld as a senior editor.

I'd like to wish Rob well in the new role. Here's to 5 more years of great hints.