denny: (I need stuff!)
I have spent the last hour or so sitting in my living room with a first generation Echo (henceforth 'One') and a second generation Echo Plus ('Two') sat next to each other on the coffee table, trying to figure out which one sounds better. It is not anywhere near as clear cut as Two's marketing blurb would have you believe!

The first thing I noticed was that Alexa's voice sounds warmer/richer from One, by a surprisingly large amount (my anthropomorphic hindbrain immediately decided that Two doesn't really like me, unlike One who is (obviously) my friend).

Also, One's voice has about the same volume level as music playing on the same device, whereas on Two the voice is maybe 2/3 of the music volume, which seems like a particularly weird decision that's going to lead to a lot of volume adjusting.

When playing music, One is a fair bit louder than Two (with volumes set to the same number), and even when turned down a couple of notches to match (to my ear) the volume of Two, One still sounds more lively to me. Sometimes in a 'trying too hard' sort of way, like walkman speakers or whatever - but more often it just sounds like it's having more fun :-P One does distort more at max volume, but you can turn it down one notch to reduce that distortion and it's still louder than Two at full blast.

I think the audio buff summary here is probably that Two is more refined, whereas One is more dynamic/lively/raucous/whatever - and in hifi sound tests throughout my life I have always tended to pick the lively kit over the refined stuff. (You can take the boy out of the rock club, but...)

Anyway, now I don't know what to do with them. The plan was to return One and keep Two, but I'm not sure if I'd feel like that was an upgrade at all right now, let alone one worth paying an extra £40 for (I paid £100 for One on offer, Two is £140), given that the improved sound quality was the main attraction for me.

Other than the supposed step up in sound quality, the other thing that tempted me into getting Two was the allegedly improved ability to pick your voice out of background noise, which would definitely be handy... but so far I wouldn't say I've noticed any sign of that either. Trying to side-by-side audio test them involved a lot of shouting over the music they were both playing, and neither of them was particularly keen to listen to me.
denny: (Dangerous Steve)
So I got on the magic scales of measuring all the things again this morning...

Weight: 76kg (okay - according to the scales, this is in the centre of the 'okay' (not high, not low) range for my height (177cm), gender (male), and age (40))
Muscle: 37% (okay)
Body-fat: 22.5% (okay)
Visceral fat: 7 (okay)
BMI: 24 (high end of 'okay' range) (Eh? When weight, muscle and fat are all central?)
Body age: 43 (gee thanks)
BMR: 1680 kcal

So yeah, as per last post, by the numbers I'm not doing so well - very very close to being back at my 'starting point' from early 2011. I can certainly see that I'm a fair bit fattier than I was in 2012, but on the other hand I can also see (and feel) that I'm a lot more muscular than I was then, so ... meh.

I tried cutting out sugar for a month back in April, to try to lose some of that body-fat percentage, but I failed abysmally to stick at it for more than a day or two at a time. I guess I should wear my chocolate cake belly-fat with pride. :)

I am curious as to what relative/average figures for my height, gender, and age would be though, rather than absolute/okay. I think I'm doing pretty well.

I might get some photos later and add them in here...
denny: (Dangerous Steve)
Last night I hopped on the scales; not something I do very often any more, now that my goals are more about performance than looks or weight. However, I have to admit I was a bit upset when they said that my body-fat is back up over 20% again now... first time that's happened since I first fought it down from 24% at the start of this whole body-shaping thing. My weight is up from 70kg to just under 74kg, and it looks like most of that increase has been fat rather than muscle.

Still, I was having plenty of fun freerunning this summer, and my weightlifting is going well so far this autumn (records set in the last fortnight: 80kg bench, 115kg squat, 130kg deadlift, 50kg shoulder press), so I'm trying not to worry about it too much. It did remind me that it's been a long time since I took some progress pics though, so I figured I'd do that today and see what's what. So here we go...

Semi-naked photos, proceed at own risk... )

... I think my boobs have got bigger. :-p

More progress pics from October 2012
denny: (Warning - Self-improving software)
When I started doing freerunning, I was very cautious. And that meant I was careful to steer clear of any movements that scared me. If a jump looked like it was a bit too far for me, or maybe it required too precise a landing, or something like that.

Now, that's changed. Or it's become more fine-grained. I'm still very cautious - I have to be, I'm older than most freerunners (and consequently heal slowly) and I have a dodgy knee before I even start playing silly buggers - I have to be careful! But these days, jumps that are too far for me don't scare me... because I know I can't do them and so I'm not going to try. There's nothing scary about a jump that you're not going to attempt.

The ones that scare me now, the movements that make my stomach do little somersaults all of its own when I contemplate them, are the ones that my subconscious knows I am physically capable of... because that means that any minute now, I'm probably going to try it. :)

If it scares you, you should probably do it.
denny: (Ouch!)
So this is fascinating, in a horrific sort of way. Please DO NOT CLICK THROUGH if you are not up for seeing something very gory!

I was reading an article and it included a link to an image of fasciotomy surgery taking place. This is the surgery that was performed on my right calf, leaving me with a large scar from ankle to knee on the inner side of the calf, and an even larger skin graft between ankle and knee on the outer side of the calf.

It had never occurred to me to look for such an image before. Having seen it now... um. Wow. It's no wonder my leg is all kinds of fucked up. This is only one of the several traumatic things that happened to it all in the space of a week!

Seriously, last warning, very very blood-and-gore sort of image, internals of the human body on display, don't click through if you're going to regret it afterwards: Never has the 'cut' tag been so appropriate )
denny: Photo of me wearing my beloved silly hat.  It's wuzzy! (Default)
TL;DR: A month ago I started taking glucosamine tablets and cod liver oil capsules. I would recommend trying them to anyone who is experiencing pain in their joints.

Read more... )
denny: (You make me laugh)
Some people, when confronted with a problem, think, "I know, I'll use regular expressions." Now they have two problems.

Some people, when faced with a problem, think, "I know, I'll use binary." Now they have 10 problems.

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think, "I know, I'll use threads," and then two they hav erpoblesms.

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think "I know, I'll use multithreading". Nothhw tpe yawrve o oblems.

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think, "I know, I'll use mutexes." Now they have

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think: "I know, I'll use caching." Now they have one problems.

Some people see a problem and think "I know, I'll use Java!" Now they have a ProblemFactory.

Some programmers, when confronted with a problem, think "I know, I'll use floating point arithmetic." Now they have 1.999999999997 problems.

Some people, wanting an escape from their full-time job, think "I know, I'll contribute to open source." Now they have two full-time jobs.

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think: "I know, I'll think outside the box!" Now, they have 3.75 problems, an entirely new framework, and three dozen toll house cookies cooling in the kitchen.

Some people when confronted with a desire to use pithy quotes in their presentations think "I know, I'll use something from Star Wars". Now two problems they have.

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think, "I know, I'll use UTF8." Now they à??????µ?ç°§ùÔ_¦Ñ?.

Some people, when faced with a problem, think, "I know, I'll use PHP!" Now they have ("1 apple" + "1 orange") problems.

Some people, when faced with a problem, think, "I know, I'll use Perl!" Now they have more than one way to have more than one problem.

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think, "I know, I'll use Shareware." Now they have two trials.

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think, "I know, I'll use delegations." Now their problem is a problem of their problem.

Some people when confronted with a problem think "I know, I'll quote jwz". Now everyone has a problem.

Collected from via
denny: (EPIC FAIL)
Email to after creating an account on their website today:



Please could you pass this to whoever is in charge of your website.

I just created an account on and bought something. When I then went to the 'my account' page, I see that my password is displayed to me in a text-entry box (so that I can change it). This is not one but two security holes, one hopefully obvious, and one possibly less obvious but which anyone building websites should be well aware of:

1) Anybody looking over my shoulder would see my password, which is obviously a bad idea.

2) More seriously, this means you are storing my password in plain text. This is a huge security flaw. Please see for brief details and links to further information.

In addition, you seem to be constraining passwords to be a maximum of 10 characters long, which is also extremely poor security practice.

I hope you can fix these problems quickly, they are quite serious.


PS: While I'm here, non-security-related bugs that I've also noticed in the few minutes I've been using the site; the 'my account' page doesn't recognise the presence of a mobile number and still pops up the 'we need a contact number for you' dialogue box, and your 'order summary' page doesn't display the phone number or mobile number that I've input. These are much less serious, but probably much easier to fix.
denny: (Dangerous Steve has defeated gravity!)
Before I started freerunning I hadn't realised how much of the challenge was going to turn out to be mental rather than physical. A lot has been said and written on the subject, and me being me I probably watched or read most of it before I ever jumped over a wall, but apparently I hadn't really understood it.

On Sunday I suddenly felt this aspect of freerunning slot into place for me, and it was fascinating, and exciting, so I'm going to ramble about it now. :)

I was out with Supa XXL, jumping around near Caledonian Road. Unusually, we went back to a spot that we'd been at last week, a children's playground on a council estate.

Last week I tried my first rail jump here. I didn't break my leg or anything, but it certainly wasn't a resounding success - I landed on the rail with a lot of forward momentum and had to jump very swiftly down to the floor in front of it, trying not to bounce my face off a wall as I did so. It was a bit scary, and I didn't try it again :)

So of course, this week I carefully ignored that jump, and instead wandered around doing some balancing (very easy on these flat rails) and some other stuff that I'd done the week before - like this post->step jump, which is far enough to feel like quite a nice achievement without being so far as to be terrifying.

While I was doing this jump for the third time, I remembered that last week I'd had to be talked into it. I was scared of all the angled hard surfaces around the landing spot - fall short and run your shins down a big brick step, land with too much forward momentum and run your shins into a different big brick step - I looked at it from the floor and decided not to try it. Someone noticed me looking at it and talked me into trying the jump the other way, down from the step to floor level beside the post, to prove to me that the distance was okay, and after I'd tried that a few times I got up on the post. People made more encouraging noises, I jumped, and it was fine. After that I did it a few more times (there's a general rule of thumb that you can't really say you've done a jump unless you can do it three times in a row), and it was actually easy - all my landings were pretty much spot on.

So I remembered all this, and I remembered the rail jump, and I remembered how impressed I'd been by Helen's determined attitude at this spot the week before (her first freerunning outing, and she tried loads of stuff) - and I went back over to look at the rail jump.

Someone else was looking at it too. He looked about as unconvinced as me :) We both stood there looking at it, sat there looking at it, and walked around it looking at it from other angles. Every now and then we got out of the way while other people came bounding through, making jumps twice the size of the one we were nervously contemplating, and landing them as lightly as butterflies. Bloody ninjas ;)

Eventually, with Helen's good example still in mind, I started trying the jump. I must have tried it 40 or 50 times in a row, bouncing back off the rail every time. Last week's near-head-first incident had left me very reluctant to commit to the jump, unsurprisingly. The other guy took a few stabs at his variation of the jump too, but mostly it was just me going round and round and round, failing in the same way every time.

The other guy was really encouraging - he could see how close I was to getting it, even if I couldn't - and slowly we picked up other spectators who also gave me tips and encouragement. Finally, after dozens of jumps, I got brave enough to take one higher, and come down on top of the rail instead of bouncing off of the front of it. I didn't stick the landing that time, but I knew I'd figured it out, and a few more tries later, I was landing on it safely.

That was when I got a little surprise from my hindbrain. There's another rail beyond the first one, so in theory there's a nice little double jump from wall to rail to rail. As soon as I started landing the first rail reliably, my eyes fell on the second one and a very very confident voice in my head said 'yes'. I wasn't convinced :) but I went around a few more times, and each time all the bits of my brain that evolved for swinging around in trees or whatever knew, absolutely knew that I could make the second jump. The top level of my brain meanwhile was making a lot of noise about how solid metal railings and walls are and how much it would hurt to fall on/off/over them.

Which all sounds very convincing, but not quite as convincing as the absolute certainty that my hindbrain was giving me, each time it quietly said 'yes'. So eventually, I jumped, and then jumped again. And I landed it just fine.

I went around a few more times, and never had the slightest problem with that jump. After a while my head stopped saying 'yes' each time I landed the first one, apparently I didn't need telling any more.

We went to a few more spots that day. The last one had a staircase, a rail, and a wall with a big fence on top of it. Bigger gaps, round rail, constrained landing zone. Initially I was just trying the stairs->rail jump, and not doing very well - but I remembered the earlier success that perseverance had won me, so I didn't stop trying and I was landing securely on that rail much sooner than I expected. And then that quiet confident voice came back. As I landed on the railing, my eyes swung up to the wall on the other side of the gap and the voice said 'yes'. And it was right.


Oct. 10th, 2012 12:09 pm
denny: Me, topless, being a tart. (New and improved)
Not really a progress pic, as it's taken on a good day with favourable lighting and maximum tensing (and it's the best one from half a dozen attempts), but anyway... here's [an ideal form of] what my belly looks like this week:

Belleh! With just a hint of abs :) )
denny: (Meh)
It's been a while (5 months) since my last set of progress pics. As per usual, I can't see much difference between those and the current ones (if anything I think I looked better in the last set), but perhaps I'll think differently in another six months time, who knows.

Photos of me in my underwear. I mean really, who wants to see that? )
denny: Photo of me wearing my beloved silly hat.  It's wuzzy! (Default)
This might be the first in a series of posts about London freerunning spots from the perspective of a total beginner. Or I might decide this one took so long that I'm not doing any more. :)

(If you're somewhere above beginner level and you know this spot, maybe you could chip in with some comments (and pics!) about what there is for you to do in this area - obviously I mostly only notice the things that I can do (or nearly do), which ain't that much!)


The main thing here is a series of three ornamental garden areas in-between blocks of flats, which look like this:

Write-up with lots more photos behind the cut... )


Jun. 26th, 2012 09:51 pm
denny: Photo of me wearing my beloved silly hat.  It's wuzzy! (Default)
"I think there is no better way to invite a human being to view their body differently than by inviting them to be an athlete, by revering one's body as an instrument rather than just an ornament. It's a really great way to reorient how you see your body so you can see it as this incredible, awe-inspiring machine that you need to fuel well in order for it to function."
~ Alanis Morissette
denny: Photo of me wearing my beloved silly hat.  It's wuzzy! (Default)
Haven't updated for ages... nothing positive to report, but nothing particularly negative either - unless you class 'no results' as negative.

body-shaping )

Whee! :)

Mar. 11th, 2012 06:07 pm
denny: (Win! Yay!)
Apparently the handstands class worked.

Two photos taken in the park today... )
denny: (Trust the fuckhead)
Two weeks of Plan: EAT ALL THE THINGS, and so far so good. Read more... )

In other news, I went to a handstands class at Circus Space to see what it's like there. It seems like a cool place. The handstands class itself was harder than I'd expected (I'm probably at a base level of fitness for that place, which is humbling!), but it was fun anyway, so I'm going back next week and the week after, and will probably keep going to those alongside my general circus skills course there this summer, as long as I can afford it.

March pics

Mar. 4th, 2012 12:54 pm
denny: Me, topless, being a tart. (New and improved)
About time for progress pics again...

Mostly naked Denny behind the cut )

So, there we go. Looking at the previous set, from December, I seem to be a bit more defined around the stomach maybe? Small changes, but positive anyway. Happy about the posture improvement, hope that settles into my hindbrain eventually.
denny: (Plink...  FOOM)
I've been feeling pretty good about how I look the last few days - stomach reasonably flat, muscles reasonable defined - if I do a few press-ups and pull-ups (so my muscles are a bit more defined) and then look in a mirror, I'd say I've basically hit my goals for visual appearance. Which is a pretty awesome thing to be able to say!

But... )

The other thing I want to start looking at more is gymnastic sort of stuff... now that I have this improved strength and fitness, I want to do cool stuff with it! I'm seriously considering signing up for a Circus Space course, as I'm lucky enough to live right next to the place.

Update: Just signed up to that course. Hopefully it'll be a fun way to spend the summer!


Feb. 22nd, 2012 04:16 pm
denny: Photo of me wearing my beloved silly hat.  It's wuzzy! (Default)
I finally figured out how to fake up a pull-up bar in my flat. This is excellent news for my lats - although they may not currently agree with that diagnosis, aching as they do :)

two pics and a video )
denny: Me, topless, being a tart. (New and improved)
Haven't been writing here about the body-shaping stuff much lately, the reason for that is two-fold... Read more... )

In other news, I finally figured out how to fake up a pull-up bar at home, so I've done plenty of pull-ups this evening :) Turns out if you open the double-doors to the built-in cupboard in the corner of my bedroom, and then wedge a crutch across the top of both doors, it's about the right height and width for decent pull-ups - just have to tuck my legs up a bit to get full depth, not bad at all.

Finally, vaguely related to feeling fitter these days... I've been watching lots of parkour and free-running videos, and telling myself that it would be a really stupid thing for me to try, given the state of my leg. I keep telling myself, but I keep watching the videos and thinking 'well maybe if I was really careful'. No.

Absolutely not.



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