7 Minute Miles

What to do, what to do

Posted Wednesday, September 5th, 2018 05:58 pm GMT -5 in Family,Mini Posts,Shopping,Technology at 5:58 PM

Everyone in my family wants a new phone. With the upcoming Apple event next week, I need to come up with a plan that doesn’t involve taking out a mortgage. I really preferred the days when your phone was subsidized by your plan, even if you were still paying hundreds of dollars overall. Now I have an expensive service plan *and* an expensive monthly payment for my iPhone.

As I’ve expressed before, I’m not a fan of my latest phone, the X. Everyone else seems to love theirs, so maybe I just have a lemon. About the only thing I really like is the camera, which, while still not a replacement for a real camera, is often “good enough.” After a huge increase lately in junk calls, I could do without the phone part, to be honest. If they released a modern iPod touch with a reasonable data-only plan, I could probably get away with that.

Haven’t switched carriers in a while either – no real complaints with AT&T (or T-mobile when I had that), but maybe it’s time to shop around. Also curious to see what happens with the Apple Watch, iPad, Air and Mac mini (if anything). It’s seems about time for Apple to release some lust-worthy stuff again – it’s been a while, no?

Originally published by DK on September 5, 2018 at 5:58 pm

Video Game Metaphors

Posted Sunday, August 19th, 2018 12:26 pm GMT -5 in Games,History,Mini Posts,Technology at 12:26 PM

For the longest time, I’ve had this image of a video game in my mind that I thought was a metaphor for life. It was a racing game that used forced perspective, with the road stretching to the horizon and an endless supply of other cars coming at you that you needed to avoid and pass. I got really good at the game, basically being able to play non-stop, never losing and only quitting when I got bored. Pass, pass, pass…run up the score.

Today I thought I’d research this game, always thinking it was Enduro by Activision. I never had an Atari 2600, though, so if this is the game, I must’ve played it at a friend’s house (I seem to recall using the “paddle” controllers for it). I had a number of Intellivision driving games (Auto Racing, Bump ‘n’ Jump, Triple Action), but none of them fit the look and feel model I’m thinking about…

Originally published by DK on August 19, 2018 at 12:26 pm

A Domain of One’s Own

Posted Tuesday, July 17th, 2018 09:35 pm GMT -5 in Mini Posts,Technology at 9:35 PM

This site has been my personal domain for a long time. This week, I learned there is a relatively recent movement afoot in higher education to let students pick a domain name and learn about the technologies and processes involved to maintain and create a digital identity that they own and take with them after graduation. Here are sample programs from BYU, Michigan State and Bryn Mawr.

As I’ve written before, this site runs on a Mac mini server at a data center in Las Vegas. I manage all aspects of it, which has pros and cons. It feels great to control what tools I use, choose the look and feel and know that I’m not at the mercy of some big corporation who might suddenly decide to terminate the service and/or account (although I’m still subject to the terms and conditions of the colocation contract). I also love that I can experiment with new technologies and stay current with coding, automation and design.

Given the political, technical and security/privacy news lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the digital content I create, both on this site and on social media. 7minutemiles currently has automation in place to create posts from Twitter and Instagram, but that is always subject to changing APIs that can break at any time. I’ve thought about throwing in the towel on both of those services (from an automation standpoint), but the question becomes one of reach versus reliability and social media wins that battle hands down.

For now, I’ll work on adding https via Let’s Encrypt, modifying my theme to be more responsive and mobile-friendly and designing some custom data entry screens for runs, rides, golf scores and events. Once I’m back in good graces with Google’s search algorithms, maybe then I’ll look at going dark on those other services…

Originally published by DK on July 17, 2018 at 9:35 pm

A Student of History

Posted Wednesday, July 11th, 2018 12:09 am GMT -5 in History,Mini Posts,Schools,Television at 12:09 AM

Back in my high school days, I had the option to take more than your average amount of history classes: Ancient Civilizations, Western Civilizations, American Experience. St. Paul Central’s Quest program was an early precursor to AP and IB type coursework and Mr. Demers, the history teacher, was one of my all-time favorites. I also was a fan of geography, so when you mixed in the opportunity to travel that my mom’s work allowed, history literally came alive for me.

This past week I’ve been watching the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick ten-part documentary on the Vietnam War. It amazes me how much I didn’t know about this historical event that played out during my lifetime – especially since my father participated in it directly (and it’s the reason I’m not a native Minnesotan). Now I’m looking forward to lunch with him and having an opportunity to ask questions about a topic we’ve never really discussed much (something I wish I’d done with my grandfather and World War II).

I found it interesting to see so many similarities between then and now politically. We like to think that our current environment is the most divisive ever, but this has really been America for a long time. As Thomas Polgar, the Saigon station chief for the C.I.A. wrote in his last cable from the embassy: “Those who fail to learn from history are forced to repeat it. Let us hope that we will not have another Vietnam experience and that we have learned our lesson.”

Note to self: research how so many Midwest politicians rose to play such prominent roles during this period of history (Humphrey and McCarthy in Minnesota, McGovern in South Dakota).

Originally published by DK on July 11, 2018 at 12:09 am

The end of marathoning?

Posted Monday, June 25th, 2018 12:36 pm GMT -5 in Marathons,Mini Posts,Personal,Running at 12:36 PM

For my first mini post, I’ve decided to look at my current relationship with running. The 2017 Grandma’s was my last marathon and it was a disaster. I never did get my right knee looked at and I haven’t attempted a double-digit run since then. With the bike challenge last month, I boosted my riding mileage, but still felt some knee pain from time to time. Guess I will break down and make a doctor’s appointment after I post this.

Bigger picture, though, something else seems off. It used to be tough when I started training from scratch, but things would get better after a few weeks. This year, it seems like no matter how many miles I ride, golf rounds I walk or miles I do on the treadmill, I never seem to move on to the “feeling fit” stage. My legs always feel sore, I’m still retaining water in them (based on the indentations my socks make), I have a general sense of fatigue most of the time and I’m not losing any more weight (I lost ten pounds during the bike challenge, but three of those pounds have come back this month).

My Apple watch does provide good insight into how much I move daily and I did have a 60+ day streak of closing all three rings at one point. My current move goal just dropped down to 1080 calories, after peaking at 1180 (which I only hit three times last week). Haven’t changed my diet or nutritional balance much at all, which I guess I’ll have to consider at some point. Also not taking any vitamins right now – only pills are one daily aspirin and losartan for regulating blood pressure.

There are still a number of longer bucket list races I’d like to do, but the physical side is slowly starting to impact my mental approach to running. I liked running Get in Gear this year, but I was really slow. The 2019 Get in Gear is the only race I’ve signed up for right now and don’t want to waste money on longer races I can’t finish in a respectable amount of time.

Alright, where is that link to my doctor?

Originally published by DK on June 25, 2018 at 12:36 pm

Mini Posts

Posted Tuesday, June 19th, 2018 09:15 pm GMT -5 in Mini Posts at 9:15 PM

Writing doesn’t always need to be a perfectly researched and edited story with links and pictures, which is what I usually try to do here with a “standard” post. Those stories have been few and far between the past few years, as each one tends to take several hours from start to publish. It’s much easier to tap out 140 characters in a tweet (which automatically gets posted here) or come up with a clever caption for a picture on Instagram (ditto).

I’ve had a lot of things floating around in my mind lately and finally decided today I should use my little corner of the internet to write about some of them (thanks to Steve the Sax Man for the weekly inspiration via his Three Things Thursdays). They won’t be long or fancy, but hopefully therapeutic for me (and perhaps useful for someone out there). I created a new mini post category that I’ll tag these with for future reference and will attempt at least one a week to start…

Originally published by DK on June 19, 2018 at 9:15 pm

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Personal Records & Mileage

  • Mile - 6:10
  • 5K - 21:42
  • 10K - 44:40
  • Half - 1:38:40
  • Full - 3:43:32
  • 50K - 7:37:00
  • 2018 Run Mileage: 120.7
  • 2018 Bike Mileage: 915.8

Upcoming Races

  • TC 10 Mile - 10/7/18
  • Get in Gear 10K - 4/27/19

Upcoming Sporting Events

  • Vikings vs. Bills - 9/23/18
  • Twins vs. Tigers - 9/26/18
  • Vikings vs. Cardinals - 10/14/18
  • Loons vs. Galaxy - 10/21/18
  • Wild vs. Kings - 10/25/18
  • Vikings vs. Saints - 10/28/18
  • Vikings vs. Lions - 11/4/18
  • Vikings vs. Packers - 11/25/18
  • Vikings vs. Miami - 12/16/18
  • Vikings vs. Bears - 12/30/18

Upcoming Concerts

  • Leon Bridges - 9/20, Palace
  • Avett Brothers - 10/11, Mystic Lake
  • Ed Sheeran - 10/20, USBS
  • Hippo Campus - 11/23, Palace
  • Elton John - 2/21, Target Center
  • P!nk - 5/5, Xcel