Archive: March 29, 2009

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Solvang Double! (in 10:38)

Sunday,  03/29/09  10:05 AM

Good morning!  I know you all eagerly scanned your feed readers this morning to find out how my ride in the Solvang Double went yesterday...  it went great.  A perfect beautiful day for riding...  rode the first 100 miles in 5:15, which would have been my best Century ever, and the entire 200 in 10:38, which is my best time for a Double.

I flirted with cramping at about 170 miles but figured out the key: salt!  I had some string cheese just as things were turning pear-shaped and felt instantly better.  Glad I now know.

Some pictures:

rolling hills East of Santa Ynez, as the sun rises...

early morning paceline

overlooking Foxen winery

at Sisquoc checkpoint, with wonderful-smelling farmland in the background
I was happier than I look :)

lots of beautiful grazing land East of Santa Maria near Bull Canyon

at the Morro Bay checkpoint, with the famous rock and wonderful little harbour

salt flats Northwest of Guadalupe

yay I made it!  two hundred miles...

I must confess I'm feeling quite pleased with myself...  I knocked 20 minutes off my time in this ride last year, and [I think] have a handle on the cramping that plagued me in the Century two weeks ago.

Next up: The Mulholland Challenge, a mere century but with 12,000' of climbing (!), in the Santa Monica mountains, and that night, the Midnight Express, a 50-mile ride in the hills above La Cañada.  Stay tuned...


opening day (New Yorker 3/30/09)

Sunday,  03/29/09  07:32 PM

Bruce McCall wonderfully celebrates the two new baseball stadia debuting in New York
CitiField, new home of the Mets, across the street from Shea Stadium, and
Yankee Stadium, across the street from, er, old Yankee Stadium
(a cynic might ask, recession, what recession?)


good housekeeping

Sunday,  03/29/09  07:41 PM

Sorry, but it’s a Sunday afternoon, and you know what that means:

<rant type=random>

Here are a few things you should do, they’re like flossing your teeth.  You know you should do it, and later when things turn ugly you realize why.

  1. Backups.  Quick, stop and think how much time you would lose if your hard drive failed, right now.  You know you need to backup your computer, so why don’t you do it?  You can do it Friday night before going to bed, and it won’t cost you but three minutes.  My own suggestions – get a 1TB USB2 drive (Fry’s has them for $150 $100) and use Acronis.  Note that in 2009 hard drives are so big and so cheap that there is no reason not to back up everything - your entire drive partition, from A to Z.  It is simpler and much easier in the event of a recovery than having to reinstall stuff.  Your time costs much more than a hard drive.
  2. Scans.  Yes you should have an antivirus / malware tool on your computer, and yes you should have it scan your entire computer weekly.  My own suggestion is Norton but YMMV.  The time and aggravation you will save in the event of a virus or malware is your own.  The latest incarnations of these tools do it in the background when your machine is “idle”, you don’t have to think about it.
  3. Logs.  The best thing you can do to avoid “stuff not working” on your computer is to religiously log everything you do to it.  I’m talking about a simple text file; put in the date and what you did.  “Applied Windows Updates”, “Installed latest ImageScope”, “Backed up entire computer with Acronis”, “Performed Norton full scan”, etc.  Keep the file on your desktop so you will remember to update it.  This helps so much in problem determination, I can’t tell you.  And since it will be part of every backup, it is perfect documentation for what is missing in the event of a restore.



Sunday,  03/29/09  07:56 PM

Okay, time for a filter pass...  I've been busy doing stuff, ya know?  First there was social stuff, and then riding (which took all of yesterday :) and today there was the all-important basketball watching (and the accompanying all-important basketball eating... one of the joys of losing 5lbs. in a single day's ride :).  Away we go...

Have you seen the new Microsoft ads, with "Lauren" who is looking for a new laptop?  I think they're really effective, possibly the best Microsoft ads I've seen.  (Admittedly recent competition was weak.)  The angle is price; she's looking for a laptop with a 17" screen for $1,000, and she goes into a Mac store and can't find one, and then goes to a PC store and has a big selection.  There's even a sweet dig "I guess I'm not cool enough for a Mac" which is perfect; nobody is as cool as someone who admits they aren't.  She ends up with an HP for $699.  Cult of Mac makes fun of it (and check out the commenters!), but make no mistake; this ad hits a nerve

On the other side of cool we have the new Coke Zero ads, which ask "are you as mad as a drink with real Coke taste and zero calories"?  Huh?  They have clearly been drinking too much of their own product.  Sorry but I can't bring myself to give them a link, nothing to see here, move along... 

And have you seen the Ozzie Osborne / World of Warcraft ad?  The prince of darkness rules all...  ALL ABOARD! 

TTAC's General Motors Death Watch gleefully covers Rick Wagoner's resignation.  This is symbology 101; the Obama administration [over]reacting to the uproar over the AIG bonuses.  The whole GM bailout is a mistake; they should have been allowed to go bankrupt, and their board should determine whether the management team is executing effectively.  The government has no business being in the car business.  I am really starting to hate dislike the Obama administration. 

Mark Steyn: "The Economist is the latest of the smart guys to notice that President Obama is proving strangely unlike the guy they told us he was back in late October."  Uh, yeah. 

Interesting: the Huffington Post is hiring investigative journalists.  "All of us increasingly have to look at different ways to save investigative journalism."  Pretty cool.  Of course we'll see about this: "We care about democracy, not Democrats", but they could hardly be more liberal than the MSM. 

Related: all the news that's fit to be birdcage liner.  Newspapers didn't become irrelevant because of the Internet, they became irrelevant when they stopped being news reporters and started trying to be news.

Wired thinks you are not worthy of this car.  I disagree.  I am so worthy.  The Vulca S... wow, is it beautiful.  And the interior looks fantastic. 

Who knew?  Turns out women like fast cars.  Actually, women like men who can afford expensive cars.  Not quite the same thing.  I would like to perform the experiment with a Vulca S :)

Another one bites the dust: Ann Althouse is tweeted out.  "I think I may have stopped tweeting. I'm a blogger not a tweeter."  Amen. 

The opposite of a tweeter is Bill Whittle; he and his Eject Eject Eject pieces have become my favorite long-format blogger now that Stephen Den Beste has retired.  And now he's at Pajama's Media... 

So, is 2009 the year print-on-demand goes mainstream?  I don't think so... this is a transitional technology, like arguing about whether Blu-ray or DVD-HD was going to win.  The Kindle and its brethern are the future of books, just as AppleTV and its kin are the future of movie distribution.  If we've learned anything we've learned that digital online trumps analog offline every time

This you must go and watch.  Go ahead...  Extreme sheep herding, with the baaa-studs.  Just when you thought you'd seen it all, more evidence, if any were needed, that "it all" is so much more than you thought...  [ via Gerard Vanderleun ] 

Wallace and Gromit are teaching science at the London Science museum.  Not quite worth a trip to England, but close; how cool is that? 

Tools you can use: Fiddler.  A great free tool which acts as an inline HTTP proxy and shows you all sorts of interesting stuff about your web traffic.  Perfect for debugging web applications.  You're welcome :) 

PS found out about it in MSDN magazine; this might be the first useful thing I’ve ever read there :)

Dude, where's my bike lane? - the Florida edition...  thanks Jim. 

Possibly the cutest picture of all time?  Click to verify; possibly :) 

For all of you who said you wanted more in my daily posts, thanks, and be careful what you wish for, you might get it...



Madness: Round Four

Sunday,  03/29/09  11:45 PM

And so after four rounds we have four survivors...
  • Connecticut(1) ground it out over Missouri(3) - 82-75.  UConn jumped out fast but Missouri caught them and hung tough.  Second half was continuous up and down, lots of action, and the teams played even until UConn started to pull out at the end (and Missouri missed some key baskets).  But then the Tigers almost caught them at the end in an excruciating free-throw-fest.  An entertaining game, FS=01:20.  { I have to add, as long as the foul / free-throw / inbound endgame always takes, it is much worse when it turns into foul / commercial / free-throw / commercial / inbound.  Even substituting "fast-forward-Tivo" for "commercial" it was pretty bad.  Feh. }
  • Villanova(3) buzzer beat Pittsburgh(1) - 78-76.  Pitt was outplayed for most of the 1st half, but took a 2-point lead into the locker room, and then it was a great second half, a well-played see-saw battle, ending with some unbelievable plays at the end, a coast-to-coast drive and a barely missed hail Mary at the buzzer.  Possibly The best game of the tournament so far.  FS=00:00.
  • Michigan State(2) upsets Louisville(1) - 64-52.  Got off to a slow start, with 13 points in the first 10 minutes, then turned into a pretty good game, if a little sloppy; nerves were in evidence.  The second half was better and the pace picked along with the excitement level, as Michigan State began to assert themselves.  Their confidence grew and Louisville missed shots they should make; they looked so much better against Arizona.  FS=05:00.
  • North Carolina(1) rolled over Oklahoma(2) - 72-60.  Carolina jumped out to a 13-2 lead, and never looked back.  The game ended when they held the Sooners scoreless for five minutes in the middle of the second half.  Not the greatest basketball, I must say...  FS=10:00.
Do we have to keep hearing about how great the Big East was this year?  I mean, they were great.  Now let's move on.  Mercifully the cult-of-the-coach thing was kept to a minimum, thank you CBS.  Unmercifully we were inundated with commercial breaks, thank you CBS.

At this point, with Louisville out, I'm going to pick Connecticut to go all the way.  I have it as UConn over Michigan State, Villanova over North Carolina, and the Huskies to win it all.  Amazingly my bracket is still in pretty good shape (except for UCLA winning, that is :)  Anyway next weekend we'll see how it all ends up; stay tuned...


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