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Archive: February 22, 2006

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coffee notes

Wednesday,  02/22/06  07:38 AM

Have I ever told you how much I love coffee?  Oh, I have?  Well, sorry, but I must tell you again; I love coffee.  Whew, glad I got that off my chest.  {  I am known in my family for saying, "few things in life are as satisfying as ice cream".  And I stand by that.  But on a cold morning on a ski trip, nothing is as satisfying as coffee.  Good coffee, of course :)  }  Anyway here are a few brief notes made while drinking coffee...

So, there's this new online payment service called TextPayMe which lets people send money to each other with text messages.  "We just want to take over the world in all face-to-face transactions."  Let me just say, as a veteran of the PayPal wars, this is not going to work.  Not because it won't work - I'm sure they'll fix the inevitable problems with security, and fraud - but it won't work because people really don't send much money to each other.  Really.  PayPal has gotten traction as a payment service for purchases, first on eBay, and later on many other websites.  Very little of PayPal's traffic was ever person-to-person, there just isn't that much demand.

Russell Beattie has been playing with TextPayMe, and likes it.

Bonus note: did you know that PayPal started as a service to let people "beam" money from one Palm Pilot to another?  True.  They only added a web interface for sending payments as an afterthought, and then eBayers discovered it as a good way to settle auctions.  The rest is history.

George HincapieYippee.  Big George Hincapie wins stage 2 of the Tour of California, barely edging out Levi Leipheimer for the overall lead.  This is shaping up as a great race.

Have you ever wanted to create a Firefox extension?  You know you have.  Well here's a useful tutorial...

I think this is really cool - the MusicBrainz tagger, a service that let's you identify music by the way it sounds, which then correctly tags your MP3s with the artist, track, album, etc.  This is a great way to fix bogus tagging on random downloads.

Are you a cricket fan?  You probably know that the Indian-Pakistan matches just took place, those countries' answer to Yankees-Red Sox, with national pride thrown in for good measure.  Om Malik reports the matches are available on YourTube, kind of a Napster for video.  So the videos are there, but it is cricket?

Kathy Sierra: The Clueless Manifesto.  "Cluelessness is underrated.  It's the newbie who does something he didn't know was supposed to be impossible.  It's the naive guy asking the one dumb question any clued-in person would diss.  And it's that question that leads to the answer no expert would have found."  Well, sometimes, maybe.  Other times the Clueless flounder exploring paths which experts already know lead to nothing.  I'm generally a fan of experts :)  [ via Robert Scoble ]

Randall Parker notes that you should Let your subconscious handle complex decision making.  What!  That would make you a bit clueless :)


pain relief

Wednesday,  02/22/06  06:44 PM

the source of painI have been skiing for the past few days, with boots which do not like my feet.  Or actually my feet do not like the boots.  How I came by these boots - high-end Technicas, if you must know - is a story for another day.  Anyway it is a fact that there is variation among human feet, and the shape of a particular human's feet may not match the canonical shape for which a particular manufacturer's boot were designed.  And so it was with my feet and the Technicas.  But I digress from the main subject, which is...

PAIN.  Yes despite having a wonderful week of skiing in wonderful conditions with my wonderful kids and wonderful friends, I was in pain.  And hence I had the chance to do an impromptu review of pain relievers.  In the public interest, here are my findings:

On day one I did nothing.  Pain.

AdvilOn day two I took three Advil in the morning.  Less pain, but pain.

TylenolOn day three I took three Tylenol in the morning, and three Tylenol around noon.  The effect of the Tylenol was unnoticeable, basically I had the same amount of pain before and after.

StolichnayaOn day four I took three Advil in the morning, and drank two black Russians at noon.  Way less pain.  I suspect that the Advil was helpful, based on day one, but the Stolichnaya was way more helpful.  As well, perhaps the combination was helpful.  Next time I will begin drinking early in the morning. :)

On day five I took 10mg of Heroin.  Worked perfectly, no pain!  I think?  Just kidding.  I think.  Or was that just a dream?

Actually, on day five I blogged about it.  And my conclusion: If you are in pain, Stolichnaya > Advil > Tylenol.  Your mileage may vary.


generation Y rocks

Wednesday,  02/22/06  07:14 PM

I am not really in touch with Generation Y.  This would be today's "kids", from teenagers to say mid twenties.  I am vaguely aware that they have an identity, and vaguely aware of some of their values and ideals.  I am vaguely aware of their music, and the sports they like, and the entertainers they like, and stuff like that.  But I am not really in touch.

So today I really came into contact with Generation Y.  And it was cool.

Mammoth mountainI am off skiing at Mammoth.  I have been skiing since I was a kid myself, maybe thirty-five years.  "Back then" there was only skiing.  There was no snowboards, no freestyle.  Skiing competition consisted of racing, and there were two varieties, slalom and downhill.  If you were a great skier it meant you had the longest skis you could find and you could make them turn in big moguls and you could ski down hills with a 50% grade without killing yourself.

But these days there is snowboarding and it is "the sport" of Gen Y.  I was skiing with my kids (Megan, 8, was on skis, but Alexis and her friend Katherine, 12, were on snowboards).  On most of the mountain, skiers and snowboarders are about 50/50, and share the hill.  There is a trend that younger people tend to be on snowboards, but not all, there is a good mix.  As you get to the top, there are more skiers; you have to be a pretty good snowboarder to ski the black diamond runs off the top at Mammoth.  But that isn't the main reason; it turns out that turning in big moguls and skiing down hills with a 50% grade without killing yourself is no longer the goal.  Now the goal is to "get air", and to go freestyle.

Mammoth Mountain chair 4 - freestyleWe were skiing around and we accidentally ended up on chair 4, aka "Roller Coaster", where Mammoth now has a "freestyle area".  Here the demographic changed.  Everyone was young, and everyone was on snowboards.  It was a total Gen Y scene.  Loud music was blaring from speakers all along the run.  There were twenty foot jumps, and rails, and tubes, and a monster half-pipe.  Kids were flying through the air, doing tricks, and wiping out.  The most commonly spoken word was "dude", often with an exclamation point.  (Dude!)  Here the cool thing was getting air, as much as possible, and then doing as much as you can while in the air.  Flips, twists, grabs, you name it.

So now I'm going to generalize, in the manner of a Martian observing Humans.

  • Everyone was "nice".  Really.
  • Everyone was having a great time.  There was competition, and there was flirting, and there was good-natured ribbing, but it was all in fun.  The adrenaline level was high but the threat level was low.
  • Everyone was trying.  Sure there was some posing, and some sitting on the sidelines and watching, but in general it was okay to try and fail.  In fact the only way to learn freestyle skiing is to try and fail, and try and fail, and keep trying and keep failing until finally you succeed.  (Pretty much like getting good at anything, I guess :)
  • Everyone was in shape, and in form, but not vain.  Snowboarding clothes tend toward the baggy and unstructured, but there's no hiding trim athletic bodies of either sex.  It seems you want to look cool, but looking cool doesn't involve looking beautiful or handsome or sexy.  Or at least, not obviously :)
  • And this is the most amazing of all - everyone was listening to rock.  The music playing on the run was rock - Bad Company, Led Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy, Ted Nugent, even Pink Floyd.  Virtually everyone had an iPod, and virtual everyone was listening to rock.  No rap.  No hip-hop.  Nothing negative.  Just good old fashioned rock 'n roll.  Awesome.

I really enjoyed myself.  There is hope for the world.  Generation Y rocks.

[ Later: Want to know how not really in touch I was?  This post was originally titled Generation X Rocks!  I was off by a whole generation.  Sigh.  Thanks to Dave Johnston for gently setting me straight. ]


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