Oldskooler Ramblings

the unlikely child born of the home computer wars

Archive for March, 2006


Posted by Trixter on March 29, 2006

I began using Jim Fixx's The Running Program two days ago, and am following the 30-step training program that ends with me running 3 continuous miles every day. This should get me in shape to run a 5K with my wife in about a month; the actual progam takes twice that amount of time, but I feel confident I could at least finish a 5K.

Step 1 two days ago was "Walk 1 to 1.5 miles." No problem. Done.

Step 2 yesterday was "Walk 1 to 1.5 miles." Again, piece of cake.

Step 3 tomorrow is "Walk half a mile. Run 110 yards. Walk. Run 110 yards. Walk. Run 110 yards. Walk. Run 110 yards. Walk." Uh…

Nothing like a computer program to make you feel like an idiot! You see, I don't have a numbered running track to use; I'm just cruising the neighboorhood. The only way I know that I'm walking 1.5 miles is because I measured it previously with my car's trip odometer. So how to do this properly if all I have is a stopwatch? A "comfortable" running pace for me in my current state of health is 5 miles an hour, which is 12 minutes a mile. A mile is 1760 yards, so I can run 1760 yards in 720 seconds, or (1760/720)=(110/X) so, solving for X, it should take me 45 seconds to run 110 yards. So let's substitute and read it again:

"Walk half a mile. Run for 45 seconds. Walk. Run for 45 seconds. Walk. Run for 45 seconds. Walk. Run for 45 seconds. Walk."

That's a little better, but how long/far should I "Walk"? Half a mile is 880 yards; combined with the running segments it is a total distance of 1320 yards. That's not a full mile, so to stretch it out I need to come up with another 440 yards four more times… aha, they must really mean "Run 110 yards, then walk 110 yards. Repeat 3 more times." Now why couldn't they have just written that?

My walking pace is 3 miles an hour, so walking 110 yards (I'll spare you the calculation) would take me 75 seconds. So, I'm all set as long as I have a stopwatch. Now, where's that stopwatch…!

All this from a program that was supposed to be making running easier.

(All kidding aside, it really is a great program.)

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Week #13 incognito

Posted by Trixter on March 29, 2006

There will be no week #13 stats as I am almost positive that I have self-destructed to the point of gaining weight for the first time this year. At least, I think I've gained weight, but every time I think that I end up losing half a percentage point of body fat or something. The switch away from regular pop must have really been the most significant thing I've ever done, since I'm not even trying and I'm still living at or below my body's energy needs.  And what are those needs?  According to The Running Program, my height and weight requires almost 3000 calories to break even every day.  Good gravy, 3000?  No wonder I'm floating downward:  I cut out 5 cans of pop a day, so there's 750 calories right there.

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Jim Fixx Irony Clarified

Posted by Trixter on March 20, 2006

For years I used to quote Dennis Leary’s routine where he said he would continue to smoke because it didn’t matter how you treated your body because you’d end up like Jim Fixx. As I wrote eariler, Jim Fixx was an avid running enthusiast who suddenly dropped dead while running in his early 50’s. I, too, found this incredibly funny and used his situation as a reason to not run, along with other scary running stories (such as a girl who was so addicted to the endorphin “high” you get while running that she ignored the pain of her shin splints and caused permanent damage, etc.).

Lo and behold, some basic research turns up Jim Fixx’s autopsy, which indicates that he neglected his cholesterol which caused 95% blockage of one artery, 85% of another, and 50% of a third, eventually causing a massive heart attack. So it wasn’t really running that killed him; it was the lack of importance he put on regular cholesterol checkup and maintenance, coupled with a poor family history (a heart attack killed his father at age 42).

So, if anything, Fixx’s running history probably extended his life a few years.

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Week #12

Posted by Trixter on March 20, 2006

Didn’t make an effort, and no surprise, no significant movement:

  • 220 pounds
  • 27.5% body fat
  • Blood pressure 137/78

Even though I haven’t lost any significant weight in the last month, I am still pleased with my results — I have obviously made enough significant changes to my lifestyle that I am now living within my body’s means. I drink diet pop (which is tolerable, but I’ll never truly enjoy it), so that’s 750 calories a day less, which must have been a significant portion of my old lifestyle…  I also actively choose vegetables over other side dishes, and Melissa has been great about making chicken w/ vegetables a lot for dinner which is also helping.

So, I’m not in danger of gaining weight for the rest of my life… now I just need to get down to where I want to be.

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The Running Program

Posted by Trixter on March 13, 2006

The Running Program - Title Screen

As promised, The Running Program has been cracked and made available. I can’t take credit for the crack; my good friend Demonlord took the program and what little progress I’ve made and did a proper INT 13 redirect crack for it. (Check the file NOTE.TXT for info, and PROTECT for the “secret data” that the program was protected with.)

Demonlord, for those not familiar with his work, is the hardest-working oldskool cracker still at it today. Nowadays we have windows executables with symbol information still linked to them — this is child’s play.  Way back when, we had 512-byte boot loaders that we had to disassemble by hand. Demonlord still does this, and is the best cracker I know both two decades ago and today. He’s so good that most cracks take him less than an hour, and unlike most hack jobs, they’re quite elegant and graceful. For example, check The Running Program: His crack never even touched the .exe — instead it loads an INT 13 handler that intercepts the request and redirects it to the data saved off of the protected track.

You know how there’s one person responsible for about 95% of all the ATARI 2600 cartridge ROM dumps out there? Demonlord is responsible for cracking 95% of all the bootable PC diskette images out there. The next time you play a bootable PC game in an emulator, say a little howdy for Demonlord.

Posted in Software Piracy, Vintage Computing, Weight Loss | 2 Comments »

Week #11

Posted by Trixter on March 12, 2006

Still self-destructive, still under a lot of pressure, and yet:

  • 220 pounds
  • 28% body fat
  • Blood Pressure 134/80

So now I don’t know if it’s the stress or the switch to diet pop that made me trickle downwards. Not complaining, I guess.

Since I love to goof off with my IBM PC/XT, and since I want to start running again, I won an auction for MECA’s 1984 software “The Running Program”. The Running Program was based on Jim Fixx’s The Complete Book Of Running from 1978, and it contains stretching exercises, evaulates your fitness level, records and graphs achievements, etc. It’s also fairly well copy-protected; every single track is goofy, and the program requires information loaded from one of the goofy sectors. Not difficult, but time-consuming.

When I finally get it cracked, I’ll make it available. Jim Fixx is dead, MECA is long gone, and I have little scruples when it comes to 22-year-old software.

Posted in Software Piracy, Vintage Computing, Weight Loss | 1 Comment »

Week #10

Posted by Trixter on March 5, 2006

Stressed and self-destructive. And yet I lost a pound:

  • 221 pounds
  • 29% body fat
  • Blood Pressure 138/80

Oi. Things aren’t going to get any better for me until I finish something for MobyGames that I’ve been putting off.

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