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Mark Allen

An online résumé, blog, biography and digital sandbox


Journal Entries

Ran another half-marathon today

Posted 2010-02-04 in Personal

For the fourth time in as many weeks, ran a half-marathon today at the gym. It was (indeed) on a treadmill, as my Achilles heels and knees just won’t handle real pavement pounding.

First I lifted for 30 minutes or so… then started my run. Did it in four segments, with 3-5 minute breaks between to hydrate and (while it lasted) eat my granola bar.

  • 30 minutes at 6.4 mph for 3.2 miles.
  • 30 minutes at 6.4 mph for 3.2 miles.
  • 30 minutes at 6.0 mph for 3.0 miles.
  • 20 minutes at 6.0 mph for 2.0 miles and then 20 minutes at 5.4 mph for 1.8 miles.

As you can see, the pace got slower as I wore down. Thought I’d pass out that last stretch… maybe I need two granola bars. Wish that TNT would shuffle the schedule, tired of seeing “Vegas” episodes over and over.

Installed a new video card

Posted 2010-02-01 in Technology

The four year old GeForce 7800 GTX card in my Dell XPS system died yesterday. I could get the system to boot Windows XP in “safe mode” (VGA resolution), but no more that that. I did some research on the web and decided to take a trip down to Best Buy… not my preferred place to buy computer parts… but the price was “good enough” for what I wanted and I could have the card in an hours, tops.

I’m really happy with the card I bought… and if you’re interested, read on.

What characterizes my perfect job?

Posted 2009-12-21 in General

A less-than-perfect interview answer

I was asked in a phone interview last week to describe my “perfect job.” I’ve prepared for endless hours for “generic” interview questions over the last several months… and for roughly 10 hours for technical questions I expected for this particular interview… yet was sadly unprepared when asked this question. While my answer wasn’t awful, I remember it being somewhat unfocused and rambling. What makes the situation more pathetic is that I left my last company because over time the careers I pursued there had one-by-one lost the characteristics of the perfect job… one would think then that I’d be extra prepared to answer such a question, given how important the “meaning” of a job has to me.

So I spent some time this weekend pondering the question and came up with a list of the characteristics of the perfect job. I authored a thank-you letter to the interviewing manager and included this list… with the preface that I felt that I’d given a less-than-complete answer to the question. As I’d really like a shot at this job, my fingers are crossed that this will be well received.

Deploying the site

Posted 2009-10-09 in General

Time to “just do it”

Well, I’ve been “studying” Symphony for a few weeks now… as well as trying to understand how the Fluid 960 Grid system works. And then there is learning from Stephen Bau’s online Symphony tutorials (well not so much “online” tutorials as running a local copy under LAMP).

Website Credits | Symphony | Fluid 960 Grid System