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Archive: February 24, 2009

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in praise of paddle shifting

Tuesday,  02/24/09  11:34 PM

pines to palms highway, aerial viewToday in the late afternoon I had a chance to drive from Vista to Palm Desert on wonderful California Route 74 (aka Pines to Palms Highway).  This beautiful road winds its way through the mountains, and ends up descending in a series of spectacular switchbacks from the mountains down into the desert.  You've probable seen this amazing road in any number of car commercials and movie chase scenes.

paddle shifting: the only way to go...
going down?

So as I'm driving this road - loving it - the true logic of paddle shifting a manual transmission became clear :)

When you see a car with paddles you might think it's sort of pretentious; oh look, someone wants to pretend they're in a race car.  And why have a manual transmission when automatics are so much smoother?

Well, with paddles, you don't have to take your hands off the wheel (and in a series of hairpin turns, you don't want to).  And with a manual transmission, you don't have to brake, you just downshift and the engine does it for you.  Your feet and hands stay in one position, and you have full control over the car.  Flick your fingers, and poof you're in a higher gear, accelerating out of a turn.  Flick again, and poof you downshift and engine brake into the next one.  Flick out, flick in.  Swish swish vroom vroom.  It just works.

You might have to get on a winding descent to appreciate it, but it sure makes sense :)

 

Tuesday,  02/24/09  11:46 PM

I seem to start a lot of posts with "another long day".  So today was another long day :)  Up with the sun moon, meetings all day, and then drove to Palm Desert to see friends from Ottawa who are out there on holiday, driving the magnificent and excellent Pines to Palms Highway en route.  And then later a drive home, and [of course] blogging...

giant wind farm outside of Palm SpringsSome notes from driving home from Palm Desert last night:

  • The wind farm surrounding Interstate 10 near Palm Springs is huge; spooky at night, too.  I guess it is a good source of "clean" energy, but the environmental impact of all those big metal towers is nonzero, and it definitely looks worse than the native desert.  A nuclear power plant tucked into the hills would be prettier.
  • I had a McDonald's Big Mac for the first time in years.  It tasted great.
  • Listening to XM, I heard Blue Oyster Cult's Don't Fear the Reaper.  Immediately and involuntarily I yelled "more cowbell" :)

I have to comment parenthetically, how could one blog without Google images?  I want a picture of the Palm Springs wind farm, I Google for it, and poof there are hundreds to choose from.  Amazing.

Okay, wow, is it really February 24th already?  Where is this year going?  Man...  Anyway, let's make a filter pass, shall we:

Did you know President Obama gave a big speech last night?  You might have watched it... or you might have read about it.  In fact, you might have read about it before he gave the speech, because the AP released a review mid-afternoon.  Not really surprising - we all know how the AP shills for Obama, they've been doing this for years now - but pretty blatant...

BTW here's a helpful translation: What Obama really meant.  From reading the transcripts, it does appear to be a little light on detail, but then that's Obama's M.O., isn't it?

Apparently the budget will create a $634B health care fund.  Wow.  Reagan's nine most terrifying words definitely come to mind...

Google Traffic - now with streets!Google Traffic now has streets.  In which the exclamation "holy balls" is used, and correctly, too.  I was just ruminating on the fact that Google Maps on my Palm is better than my car's built-in GPS, and one of the reasons is realtime traffic info.

Joel Spolsky: How hard could it be?  Startup static.  "The biggest reason founders stop working on their start-ups is that they get demoralized.  Some people seem to have unlimited self-generated morale.  These almost always succeed.  At the other extreme, there are people who seem to have no ability to do this; they need a boss to motivate them.  In the middle there is a large band of people who have some, but not unlimited, ability to motivate themselves.  These can succeed through careful morale management (and some luck)."  I'm not sure I totally buy this, but it is interesting...

WSJ: Information wants to be expensive.  Well that's not quite true, information owners want it to be expensive, the information itself wants to be free.  This is the central problem with being an information owner.  Once you give it away, it's gone, and you cannot put the genie back in the bottle.

Slate: The Jurassic Web.  "The Internet of 1996 is almost unrecognizable compared with what we have today."  Yep.  I for one remember the Internet of 1996 - fondly, I must confess - but it has changed beyond all recognition.

ZooBorn: Red Panda cubsZooBorn of the day: Red Panda cubs.  OMG are they cute.

 
 

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