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Archive: February 2010

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Tuesday,  02/02/10  10:29 PM

After a couple of non-stop days, the Ole filter makes a pass...

Groundhog Day!I would be remiss not to note today is Groundhog Day!  Yeah, clock radio clicked on at 06:00 this morning, playing Sonny and Cher's I Got You Babe :)  "Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn't one today."  What a great movie, I think about it often...

John Gruber links John Nack: Adobe isn't in the Flash business.  "It’s in the helping people communicate business."  That's all very exciting and theoretical, but people pay Adobe for Flash, not for helping them communicate.

Economist cover with Steve Jobs and iPadSteve Jobs makes the cover of The Economist.  "Jobs’s record suggests that when he blesses a market, it takes off.  And tablet computing promises to transform not just one industry, but three - computing, telecoms and media."  Okay that does it, I am officially jealous.  What's next, the Rolling Stone?

The secret of Steve Jobs' iPad presentation.

xkcd: frequency of strip versions of various gamesFrom xkcd: frequency of strip versions of various games.  Good to know :)

BTW, did you know?  xkcd = 42.

Zooborn of the day: teeny tiny spray toad.
ZooBorn: teeny tiny spray toad


postcard from Saint-Affrique

Thursday,  02/04/10  07:28 PM

postcard from Saint-Affrique

postcard received from my Aunt Nell and her husband Pierre
from Saint-Affrique, France

I have never been there, but whenever I see pictures I wonder why not?


Thursday,  02/04/10  07:37 PM

After a busy and nice few days in Vista, I'm back, and yes, it is raining here; in fact too cold for riding or even seriously considering riding...  and too busy too.  Not however too busy for blogging...

"Marxist" signIn Kansas City, a sign of the times.  "It's instantly clear to whom the sign refers.Indeed.

Carly Fiorina's "demon sheep" commericalHave you seen Carly Fiorina's demon sheep commercial?  OMG!  This is destined to go down in history as one of the weirdest political ads ever.  Whether it will help her get elected remains to be see, but it has certainly helped her get attention :)

Proper Course with an America's Cup Poll.  "It looks as if we are finally going to see some real sailboat racing.  After what seems like years of legal wrangling, the 33rd America's Cup match will be held next week in Valencia.  Two giant bleeding-edge technology multihulls will battle it out on the water."  I can't wait!

Dennis Connor wins America's Cup in Freemantle, AustraliaOn this day in 1987, Dennis Conner won the America's Cup in Fremantle, Australia.  One of the greatest regattas, ever; I still have much of the racing on VHS tapes, which have never been watched since.  What made that great watching was 1) real boats in heavy air, 2) real racing, and 3) excellent personalities.

time traveling?News you can use: The Real Rules for Time Travelers.  "The issue that troubles us, when you get down to it, is free will. We have a strong feeling that we cannot be predestined to do something we choose not to do. That becomes a difficult feeling to sustain if we have already seen ourselves doing it."

iPad user diagramMike Monteiro: The Failure of Empathy.  "The iPad isn’t the future of computing; it’s a replacement for computing."  [ via Daring Fireball ]


friends of happiness

Thursday,  02/04/10  08:07 PM

I have a friend, who, every time we talk, makes me feel better about myself.  I have no idea why this happens, but I know that it is so.  I have other friends that I like a lot but who do not have that effect.

seeing yourself as you really are :)Here are the characteristics that seem to define Friends of Happiness:

  1. They like you for you.  Mostly, that means you are comfortable enough around them that you let them see who you [really] are.  Which means...
  2. They are non-judgmental about you.  Of course they could point stuff out about you, and be judgmental about others; those make for interesting conversations :)
  3. They are comfortable about themselves.  Sometimes friends see your issues as reflections of their issues, and conversations about you are actually about them.
  4. They teach you about yourself.  Either by observing you or by giving you the freedom to observe yourself.

Sometimes when I'm in an introspective mood, like now, I consider "my friend collection".  Friends of Happiness are particularly valuable!


still one of their kind

Saturday,  02/06/10  10:14 AM

It has been nearly two years since I was in Amsterdam on business, and [re]discovered that I am one of their kind.  "Whenever I am in Holland the culture embraces me with its familiarity."  A year later I revisited and reconfirmed that feeling... I was still one of their kind.  And sometimes it just happens that I am reminded.

stormy lightsLast night it was cold and rainy and windy, and yet somehow I felt like riding.  I put on a bunch of clothes, grabbed my mountain bike, and took off into the stormy dark for a blustery two-hour battle with the elements.  It was great.  The water coming up from my front tire was illuminated by my blinking headlight, giving the illusion of sparks flying.  I could barely see, the wind and rain combining to create a mist through which lights appeared as smudgy halos.  I opted to go without iPod - too much water, but also, the sound of rain and wind was soothing.  The whole experience was wonderful.

And so I think back and reflect on how much the Dutch love cycling, in their cold and rainy and windy country.  It might seem a paradox since the conditions are so imperfect.  And yet, there is a simple joy to the man-against-the-elements act of cycling in a storm.

I believe I am still one of their kind.


performance review phrases

Saturday,  02/06/10  10:32 AM

It is the time of the year for performance reviews, and I publish the following in case you have trouble coming up with the right turns of phrase.  *Warning* please set down sharp objects and hot liquids before reading...


Hard to pick a favorite, but I'm going with "if you stand close enough to him, you can hear the ocean" :)


Super Saturday

Saturday,  02/06/10  11:12 AM

It is Super Saturday, the day before Super Sunday, and I have nothing to do on a cold and rainy day besides blog...

Sarah Palin in the NYTimesAnn Althouse: Sarah Palin was a blithering idiot until she became a devious genius, in response to an article in the NYTimes.  "What I love about all this is the extreme contrast to the way Palin was mocked when she resigned as Governor of Alaska...  Her political career was over.  She was 'toast.'  [Now] Fox News is building a TV studio in her house in Wasila. That's so not toast."

Perfect!  The Internet has been nominated for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.  "The nomination was proposed by the Italian edition of Wired magazine for promoting 'dialogue, debate and consensus through communication' as well as democracy."  Given past winners I give it little chance, but it is a great entry.  Stay tuned!

Jeremy Allaire: The Future of Web Content - HTML5, Flash, & Mobile Apps.  "I’m often asked 'Will HTML5 replace Flash?' on the Web. The quick answer is no."  I think much depends on how well Adobe's upcoming Flash for iPhone converter will work...  if it works, Flash will remain king, but if it doesn't, then it will die a slow death.  For most developers being able to run well on iDevices is crucial.

Charlie Rose interviews Walt Mossberg, David Carr, and Michael Arrington about the iPadMore iTalk: Charlie Rose hosts Walt Mossberg, David Carr, and Michael Arrington.  I thought it was a great discussion.  Dave Carr has an interesting non-technical perspective: when you're using the device, it just disappears.  That's very promising...

Huh, looks like Google may have a Super Bowl Commercial.  Interesting!  Will it be 1984 revisited?  Stay tuned (in the 3rd quarter)!

Panda-monium!Panda-monium: sixteen panda cubs pose for a class shot.  Wow, how awesome is that!

Okay, that's it; time to go for a ride...  wish me luck.


Super Monday

Monday,  02/08/10  08:22 PM

So how was your Super Weekend?  Mine was pretty Super :)  Spent Saturday hanging out, blogging, getting caught up, and Sunday watching the big game with my friend Yogi (thanks for being an awesome host!)  I was rooting for the Saints, mildly (returning to my Rams'/NFC roots) and enjoyed a pretty nice game paired with some pretty great food.  Oh yeah and squeezed in a couple of Rockstore rides, too; fortunately our weather improved right on schedule.

the Super onside kick was the turning point, or perhaps the exclamation point!Some Super observations:

  • This game showed that in football, you win with a team.  Peyton Manning and the Colts were probably better position-for-position than the Saints, but the Saints played like a better team.
  • You have to love that onside kick in the third quarter.  Even if it didn't work, it was classic; but it worked perfectly and deliciously.  I found myself yelling YES at the screen, along with you and millions of others :)
  • The Audi ads were the best.  Cute and well focused.  We all love being green until we encounter the Green Police...
  • The Google ad, while okay, was definitely not 1984 revisited.  Oh well.  It actually isn't clear to me why Google needs ads for search, I think it was just something they did that day.  Their strategy seems a bit lacking.
  • The Who sucked.  Some of these older acts that come back for halftime shows rock - like Tom Petty, and the Stones - but The Who truly have not aged well.  (Not that they were ever that great before.)  We won't be fooled again.

So ends another football season, whew.  Time to start watching College hoops; go Bruins!


Spyker sunset

Monday,  02/08/10  08:40 PM

So tonight I'm riding along the top of Mulholland, turn the corner, and poof! there's a Spyker.  Sitting there at the top of the world, with a photo crew taking pictures as the sun sets...

Pretty cool...  a beautiful car, framed by a beautiful sunset...

I cannot wait to see the final ad :)


week of 2/8/10, redux

Friday,  02/12/10  06:54 PM

Man, a long week.  Many meetings and many meals, some of them excellent :)  Okay onward into the weekend, but first a quick filter pass...

Jason Kottke notes Einstein's amazing year of 1905: "In 1905, Einstein came up with the concept of special relativity, published his paper on the photoelectric effect, finished his doctoral dissertation, devised the E=mc^2 concept, published a paper on Brownian motion, was approved for his doctorate, and turned 26."  Yeah, so what have you been up to?

Mandelbrot set "deep zoom"A rather spectacular "deep zoom" into the Mandelbrot set.  Wow.  Every time you see something like this, you're struck anew by the extreme awesomeness of this mathematical object.  Pure cool.

space shuttle nighttime launchA nighttime launch of the space shuttle, captured on film by nomadic amateurs.  Amazing.  (Although I must say, this video cleanly violates the inverted pyramid rule :)  Weird to think that we aren't going to have any more shuttle launches, what will take their place?  Oh yeah...

SpaceX Falcon 9 on launch padSpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket is ready for takeoff at Cape Kennedy.  A very cool photo sequence.  Can't wait for the inaugural flight!

space shuttle Endeavor's "Millennium Falcon" view of EarthOne last hurrah for the shuttle: the Endeavor shows the "Millennium Falcon" view of Earth, wow.  Check out the whole slide show, rather amazing sequence.  Almost expect to see Chewy in this picture, don't we?

Dave Winer: What's wrong with Google Buzz.  Just about everything seems to be wrong with it; hard to read anything nice.  Seems they misfired pretty badly with this product.

Oh, and he's actually posted morning coffee notes!  Yay.  Noted by me while drinking my morning coffee :)  I think my blogging style owes much to Dave's...  he was one of the first bloggers I truly read every day, back in the day.

Tim Bray: The Listening Engine.  Aka why "normal" people will never use Twitter, or RSS, or whatever...  "the Net is the greatest listening engine ever devised. These days anyone can choose, with its help, to be well-informed."  I so choose.  And additionally the net has all sorts of curators, including bloggers...  including me!

Nissan Juke - OMG how ugly!Guess what this is?  The Nissan Juke.  Could be the ugliest car ever, amid heavy competition...  is it really that hard to build a nice looking car?  Apparently.  Wow.

Deep Blue defeats Garry Kasparov, ten years ago...Did you mark it?  Last Wednesday marked the 10th anniversary of a watershed event, in which an IBM computer named Deep Blue defeated the world chess champion Garry Kasparov.  I remember it well.  It seems rather quaint now but at the time the fact that a computer could beat a human at chess seemed important.  Today I think your phone can beat most grand masters :)

Procol Harem - Whiter Shade of PaleWrapping up, my friend Gary sent this link to Procol Harem playing Whiter Shade of Pale, a real blast from the past.  Early early Robin Trower.  Excellent!

We skipped the light fandango...

(At this point the song reminds me strongly of The Big Chill - remember that?  Great movie...)


Jeanne Gang's Aqua

Friday,  02/12/10  07:28 PM

You know I'm a sucker for amazing architecture, check out Jeanne Gang's new Aqua building in Chicago:

Jeanne Gang's Aqua building in Chicago

You will not be surprised to hear she studied with Rem Koolhaas, but she's clearly making waves on her own...  :)  In addition to being beautiful and giving the building a unique clothlike texture, the "fins" actually deflect wind, making the building much more stable in the windy city.  Most excellent.



America's Cup #33 race #1 - Trizilla wins!

Friday,  02/12/10  07:38 PM

Today was historic; the first race of the 33rd America's Cup took place off the coast of Valencia, Spain, and BMW Oracle's amazing trimaran (aka "Trizilla") handily defeated defender Alinghi's huge catamaran, in a come-from-way-behind victory.  Alinghi took the start by a mile, but BMW Oracle had clearly superior speed upwind and led at the weather mark, and then proceeded to horizon job Alinghi on the downwind leg.  It looks like the wing is the thing.

This regatta is just a best out of three series, so BMW Oracle now have a chance to win the cup in race #2 on Sunday.  Stay tuned!


Kessel sunset

Friday,  02/12/10  07:55 PM

Tonight I made a rare Friday night Kessel run
(Dana Point Harbor to Camp Pendleton and back)
- as usual, as I was coming home from Vista -
and timed it just right to see a beautiful sunset.


Saturday,  02/13/10  09:36 AM

Yay I'm home!  For the weekend, at least... and anticipating a wonderful pre-Valentine's dinner with Shirley tonight... and possibly a pre- pre-Valentine's dinner ride this afternoon.  But first, blogging!

the famous "pale blue dot" photo of EarthRemember this?  The famous "Pale Blue Dot", an Alien View of Earth.  That was 20 years ago and seems like 20 centuries...  I remember it well, and also Carl Sagan's book of the same name which was inspired by this photo...

shuttle Endeavor silhouetted against Earth as seen from the ISS...Twilight of the shuttle, in more ways than one; a wonderful silhouetted photo of the Endeavor on its last mission, as seen from the International Space Station.  How cool is that?

Valentine's Day: how sex drives spending.  Heh.  [ via Instapundit ]

News you can use: How to seduce someone (or simply get a date).  I have a simple rule for this, in order to ask someone out, you have to believe that they're going to have a good time.  Once you convince yourself of that you're doing them a favor by asking, instead of them doing you a favor by saying yes, it's all downhill from there.  And you will both end up having a good time :)  This rule applies in business as well as pleasure!

Dave Winer: the 20 minute rule.  "I have a rule, formed by many years of experience, that I wait for 20 minutes, then I leave."  Not a bad rule, but it seems pre-texting; today if you're waiting you text to find out why, and if you're late you text to say so.  I guess if your texts time out you can apply the rule :)

30 stunning abstract wallpapersWrapping up, here we have 30 stunning abstract wallpapers for your desktop, and they are indeed stunning.  Wow, check 'em out!


Amgen TOC stage 8: Rockstore!

Saturday,  02/13/10  10:09 AM

Man am I looking forward to this!  The 2010 Amgen Tour of California's final stage 8 takes place right in my own backyard, with four circuits of my daily training ride including the world famous Rockstore climb.  How absolutely cool is that?

The video overview of the stage is great, yes you must watch it...  and note this overhead view of Rockstore and Mulholland.  Mark your calendars, the TOC is the week of May 16 this year, and stage 8 will be on May 23rd.  I will be at the very top cheering for Levi!


Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday,  02/14/10  10:17 AM

Happy Valentine's DayHappy Valentine's Day

Shirley and I had a wonderful dinner last night  at our new local favorite Leila's, accompanied by a simply amazing Foxen Sea Smoke.  The more Santa Rita Pinot Noir I drink, the more I love it; it might be replacing Napa Cabernet as my wine of choice.  I can't say it is more affordable - I'm not the only one who likes it, and the market prices have responded to the demand - but it is more subtle and versatile.

Valentine's Day is this weird holiday, a chance to spend time with the one you love, but also a chance to screw up.  As my daughter says, "love is complicated enough without Valentine's".  Anyway good luck, I hope yours is as good as mine :)


Google Earth rocks

Sunday,  02/14/10  11:10 AM

I finally made time to install Google Earth on my "new" laptop, and was reminded once again how absolutely cool it is.  That this capability exists is amazing enough, but that it is completely free - even free from advertising - is astonishing.  Google might come under fire for some of their practices and policies, but they are still quite a phenomenon.

Google Earth - rocks!

I especially like using Google Earth in conjunction with my spiffy 3DConnexion Navigator, a little hockey-puck shaped navigation device which comes with an interface to Google Earth.  It makes zooming around really easy, rotating, tilting, etc.  Quite remarkable.


BMW Oracle wins the 33rd America's Cup!

Sunday,  02/14/10  04:15 PM

And so it is over; BMW Oracle's amazing trimaran (aka "Trizilla") has won the 33rd America's Cup, today defeating defender Alinghi's nearly-equally-amazing catamaran with a horizon job lead.  It was apparent to all that BMW Oracle was considerably faster on all points of sail in all conditions, making the result a foregone conclusion even if the regatta wasn't a simple best out of three.  As it was, the race was over at the start, but then a wind shift gave the lead back to Alinghi.  But not for long, as the speed and power of the trimaran's wing sail prevailed, particularly showing a huge advantage off the wind.

Here are some great photos:

And here's a cool video showing the yacht at full speed:

And so it is over, just like that...  all those years of work and dollars of R&D spent, and three days of racing and it is all over.  Still, the U.S. has regained the America's Cup - that's a great thing - and the next defense will be much better, with more competitors...  it might even be in San Diego!  Stay tuned...


Sunday,  02/14/10  05:30 PM

A nice quiet Valentine's Day... hung out, coded, blogged, and generally enjoyed being home...  as I have another week of travel coming up...  sadly this almost feels like a rhythm now, work away from home all week, and then hang out on the weekend.  So be it.  Ready for a filter pass?

TED: Larry Page waves after giving everyone a Nexus One :)Robert Scoble: The elephants in the room at TED.  "Let’s take the elephant head on: rich people can afford things you and I can’t.  I can’t afford a Ferrari either.  Even though I definitely appreciate them.  I can’t afford a private plane, even though when I’ve gotten a ride in one I’ve always appreciated them and can see why I’d want one.  I can’t afford an original Ansel Adams’ print, either, even though I am a huge fan and would love to have one."  This is so true...  fire on 'em, Robert!

Bugatti Atlantique - one of the most beautiful cars, ever...TTAC: An illustrated history of automotive aerodynamics.  If you love beautiful cars, check this out - great shots of some amazing old cars.  I'd say they don't make 'em like they used to, but I guess that's not true; today's Maserati's (among others) are rather pretty :)

Philip Greenspun: Factory Navigation System pricing.  "I’m wondering now if the inability of mainstream car manufacturers to take advantage of modern electronics is harming their profitability."  What he writes about is so true; the electronics in modern cars are obsolete from the moment they're designed, so that by the time you buy them, they're positively ancient.  The nav system in my car is so far inferior to the nav system in my Palm Pre phone, it is ridiculous, and the system in my car was expensive, while nav was just another app that came free on my Pre.

Computer Engineer BarbieAnd here we have Computer Engineer Barbie.  I am not making this up :) 

Well, why not?  I wonder if she likes PHP?

ZooBorn: baby anteaterWrapping up the weekend, here we have the ZooBorn of the day, a baby anteater.


week of 2/15/10, redux

Friday,  02/19/10  09:06 PM

Yet *another* max busy week, and another week in which I was gone; in Vista MTW and then flew to San Jose for a meeting yesterday, and just got back tonight.  It was a good week in which many good things happened; I feel great.  Hope yours was good too?  And tomorrow I'm riding the Camino Real Double (!), my first of the year (first of this decade in fact :) and so yes I need a good night's sleep and no I should not be blogging.  But I am!

... and we find that as usual, it's all happening ...

Shaun White wins Olympic goldAnd so this week began the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, did a little watching here and there, including as much of my favorite sport speedskating as possible...  and my new almost-favorite, snowboarding.  Makes me want to go out and learn to snowboard; I'm a good skier and a rotten sometime snowboarder, and maybe that should change :)  Did you see Shaun White?  First he won the gold medal, and then he did the world's greatest run ever.  Wow.

The best restaurant in the world?  That might be El Bulli.  Here's what Grant Achatz saw...  "Mr. Achatz worked at El Bulli for a few weeks in 2000, and what he saw there shaped his career. Now the chef at Alinea in Chicago, Mr. Achatz wrote back with this reflection."  Added to the life list.  Along with Alinea :)

AR.Done telecopter - iPhone controlled helicopterHere we have the fantabulous AR.Drone, an iPhone controlled smart helicopter, kind of a remote telepresence.  It is cast as a sort of toy, but the technology here is amazing; the little vehicle actually acts as its own WiFi hub, and the phone communicates with it over TCP/IP.  Of course the gyro in the phone can be used to physically control the 'copter.  Way cool, and a harbinger of much to come...

Scott [Dilbert] Adams ponders replacing yourself.  "Think of the first 20 people you know who have had all the kids they are likely to have. That generally means people over 40. For the purposes of this discussion, exclude anyone over 70. Add up the adults in your group. Then add up the number of offspring they produced. Is the net gain in humans sufficient to grow the population?"  Next up, he'll ponder what it means that his group is reproducing less and others more...

the Hitler parody of Hitler making a Hitler parody...The Adolph Hitler parody of all Adolph Hitler parodies, as he himself makes a YouTube video...  please set down sharp objects and hot liquids before watching :)

Dan Wineman tries to use a restaurant website from his iPhone.  This happens to me all the time; why do people use Flash for this stuff?  Bad bad badness...  [ via John Gruber ]

the "minority report -like" Oblong UI demoed at TEDThe next generation of UI design?  Brad Feld: Oblong dazzles more than just me.  "That’s a picture of John Underkoffler at Ted on Friday giving one of his jaw dropping demos of Oblong’s g-speak spatial operating environment. Lest you think this is science fiction, I can assure you that Oblong has several major customers, is generating meaningful revenue, and is poised to enter several mainstream markets with g-speak derived products."  Cool!  (but... "Oblong"?)

Dave Winer is now in New York (permanently!) and wonders about the 2nd Avenue Deli.  "Not saying anyone did anything wrong, just thinking about how the universe allocates real estate, and how it's changing...  Where was the government when the matzoh ball soup and pastrami needed bailing out?"

Oh yeah... red wine and dark chocolate are cancer killers!  I knew there was a reason I thought they tasted so great together, and now I know what it was :)

I lego NYI Lego New York.  I lego it.
(check out this blog post for an example ;)

A poll finds Americans are the most attractive people in the world.  Here's my perspective on this; there are some amazingly attractive Americans, and in some areas amazing concentrations of attractive Americans.  But I don't think on average Americans are that attractive.  Too many of us are overweight and out of shape, and dress poorly.  IMHO the average Spaniard, Frenchman, or Dutchman is more attractive... I have been conducting informal research on this all my life :)

Water Cube Pavilion for the 2012 World Expo in KoreaWow is this cool: the Water Cube Pavilion for the 2012 World Expo in Korea.  "The Water Cube’s structure is composed of water filled basins, which act as both a temperature buffer as well as the main attraction. A bit like being inside an aquarium, the hollow inner sanctum will be lit with water-filtered light, and will be used as an exhibition center during the Expo."

Cycling analyst John Wilcockson on Stage 8 of the Amgen Tour of California: a sting in the tail.  "Four times up the infamous Rock Store climb (4km at 7 percent) will make this a race of attrition... This spectacular conclusion to the California race will almost certainly end with three Tour de France contenders on the final podium."  I can't wait...

... but wait I must, and in the meantime tomorrow there's the Camino Real Double.  See you Sunday!


Camino Real Double

Sunday,  02/21/10  09:58 AM

Yesterday I rode the Camino Real Double, my first of the year (first of the decade!)  I had a good ride; although it started a little rainy and was coldish and windyish all day, it was on the whole pretty pleasant.  I spent a good part of the ride alone, and finished in 13:43 elapsed time, ended up 30th out of 170 riders, not too shabby...  I am quite pleased with myself.

Some pictures:

Sunlight off the water, passing through San Onofre

The beauty of the Camp Pendleton wilderness adjacent to the ocean

at the 150 mile mark, still able to smile
then the climbing began, and then it got dark

During this ride I ate hardly anything, instead I ate as much as possible beforehand, and drank Hammer constantly.  It seemed to work.  Near the end I got some string cheese and at the last stop they had soup and chili...  that was pretty nice.  The memorable part of this ride is always the last leg through Santiago Canyon in the dark, surrounded only by cactus while you are only a few miles from the urban sprawl of Orange County.

Next up is the Solvang Spring Century on 3/13, despite being a mere Century I always seem to bonk.  Stay tuned!


Sunday,  02/21/10  08:33 PM

Still in recovery mode from yesterday's double century, hobbling around but feeling great.  (And eating everything in sight :)  That's how it goes with ultra cycling.  I do have another busy week ahead - with a bunch of travel - but let's make a filter pass first, shall we?

Tesla's Elon MuskTesla's Elon Musk wins the 2010 Automotive Executive of the Year Innovator's Award.  Congratulations!  Richly deserved; Tesla are clearly going where everyone else wants to go but nobody else has...  true electric cars.

Is Yahoo doomed to the be the next Alta Vista?  Short answer: yes.

Little known fact about Elon Musk: he sold his first company Zip2 to Alta Vista in 1999, back when Compaq owned them.  Compaq?

Saba airportHere we have the world's 18 strangest airports.  Islands, short runways, long ones, runways with hills in the middle, and roads crossing; they're all here.  Very cool.  The runway at Saba airport, shown at right, is barely longer than a carrier deck.  Whoa.

Slashdot considers cheaper pico-projectors as standard equipment on cell phones.  You know this is only a matter of time, right?

Slate: Why there are so few great, inexpensive wines from California.  The simple explanation is that markets work.  If an inexpensive wine is great it is soon becomes not-inexpensive.  Especially in California.

leaping polar bear (click to enbiggen)Wildlife picture of the day: a leaping polar bear.  Beautiful!  (click to enbiggen...)

"miss me yet?" billboardHa, you could see this coming: "Miss Me Yet?" Bush Merchandise a Hit Online.  Truly a sign of the times :)

Dave Winer: what we don't understand.  Truly computer UI complexity it too high.  One reason iPhones have been so successful is that they're so simple.  It may bode well for the iPad, we'll see...

AppleInsider: Inside Apple's iPad: Adobe Flash.  "The iPhone's lack of support for Flash does not appear to have had any impact on its popularity, but clearly has played a significant role in devaluing the importance of Flash in mobile devices, even if other platforms are enthusiastically embracing Flash."  It seems pretty clear that iDevices will never support Flash, so Adobe's Flash to iDevice cross-converter is the best solution.  It also seems clear that over time Flash will be less important as a result.

Slashdot: Why Flash is fundamentally flawed on touchscreen devices.  The argument is that mouseovers aren't supported, but that's pretty weak; there are plenty of ways to build a great Flash UI without mouseovers...

Jaguar XF SuperchargedAutoblog reviews the Jaguar XF Supercharged.  "There have been very few cars like the 2010 Jaguar XF Supercharged, and that's a shame. Yet it's difficult to explain why this car is so special..."  This really seems to be the first Jaguar in some time which *is* special, recapturing some momentum for the brand.

Ice dancer Tanith BelbinIce dancers Ben Agosto and Taneth BelbinAnd the Olympics featured Ice Dancing tonight!  Yay!  Truly one of my favorite "sports", especially when Tanith Belbin is involved.  Slate has a round up of ice dancers and their costumes :)  Some of them are rather unusual...

ZooBorn: baby Meerkat (named Picasso)And our ZooBorn of the weekend would be: a baby Meerkat named Picasso.


never get mad

Monday,  02/22/10  08:40 AM

A parable told me by a Spanish friend and partner:

A young man set out to find the best examples he could for living.  He heard of a man who was older than the hills themselves, living quietly in peace with his surroundings.  He sought far and wide for this man, and finally found him.  "Oh father," he said, "I wish to learn all I can.  Please tell me, what is the secret to your long life?"  The old man studied him for a long moment.  "I never get mad."



Wednesday,  02/24/10  08:39 AM

bam!Hey guess what?

So last night I was out riding and got hit by a car!   Bam.   First time in twenty+ years of riding…   My bike and I went flying across the intersection but we are both okay with only minor scrapes.   Could have been so much worse.   Good for about a quart of adrenaline and some philosophical thoughts.   The sky is bluer, girls are prettier, and music sounds better today :)

I will not soon forget yesterday.  Onward!


Friday,  02/26/10  05:08 PM

Wow, a quiet day, wrapping up a week which was anything *but* quiet.  Still in mental recovery from getting hit by a car while riding - that will take some time to get over - and have a lot of other stuff going on too...  wow.  Amazing what one little brain can have going on all at once :)  Anyways, there is stuff going on outside my head, too; let's take a look at some of it, shall we...

Cape Horn - a perfect venue for the next America's Cup :)Now that America has the America's Cup back, there is active debate about where the next Cup will be held...  The Horse's Mouth has a great suggestion: Cape Horn.  And I would add, during the Southern winter :)

mind-bending optical illusion (click through for more)Here we have a cool slideshow of mind-bending optical illusions.  Whoa, make it stop moving!  (this is *not* an animated GIF :)

Once again with the confusion between correlation and causality: Smokers have lower IQs than non-smokers.  This headline should read: stupid people more likely to smoke.  Sigh. 

Or how about this one: Writing headlines about IQ lowers IQ.

garage door muralsThis is cool: new looks for old garage doors.  The possibilities seem endless... how about a view of a sunset?

News you can use: the mathematics behind a good night's sleep.

Sven Kramer is disqualified from gold in the 10,000 meters because of a coach's errorOkay, you know I'm a fan of speedskating, and I'm Dutch, so I have to note this amazing disaster: Sven Kramer was on his way to winning the 10,000 meters when his coach directed him into the wrong lane, costing him the gold medal.  Man, did that ever suck.  I watched this without sound on the CNN headlines, and could tell instantly what had happened by the body language.

how genetics works :)A funny picture from Jason Kottke: how genetics works.

Huh, this is interesting: Slashdot notes PayPal to open App Store for developers.  These would be developers of applications which use PayPal, but presumably not end user applications, so the market will be pretty small.  Still...

Mark Pilgrim: Simplicity is hard.  Let's go shopping!  Mark is great even when he's writing about nothing.

Alinghi can't cross BMW Oracle at the start of the first raceThis is way cool: BMW Oracle have posted full video of each of the 33rd American's Cup races.  Amazing stuff...  (I especially like those English accents of the commentators, perfect :)  The aerial views are especially telling, the size and scale of these yachts is amazing, and their speed in that light air!

I hadn't appreciated before that really BMW Oracle won this regatta in the first minute of the first race, when Alinghi tried to cross on port and failed.  Right there you could see the power of BMW Oracle was going to carry the day.

Tesla Roadster - now available via leaseCool: Tesla launches Roadster lease program.  Kind of a risk for them, given that there is no secondary market for Roadsters, so the residual value is unknown... but great for people who want to buy one.

Ten reasons to avoid talking on the phone.  If you needed any more :)

Robert Scoble: Palm's small-screen bet doomed the Pre.  He could be right.  Palm was trying to make the phone as small as possible, and they succeeded in making a wonderfully small phone, but perhaps a bigger screen would have been more important...

Totally agree with this: Killer whale, the clue's in the name.  How weird is it that everyone is trying to figure out why killer whale's are aggressive?  They are at the top of the food chain!  Nobody asks why tigers are aggressive, do they?

ZooBorn: baby TahrZooBorn of the Week: A baby Tahr.  (Himalayan Tahr are one of three species of large Asian ungulates related to the wild goat.)


Saturday,  02/27/10  11:10 AM

I think I maybe enjoy the winter Olympics more than the summer Olympics.  There is less - pageantry, sports, athletes, prestige - but less is more.  Many of the sports seem to involve speed...  like speedskating :) and even sports like figure skating require speed to generate height.  And skiing is always amazing; I loved this Sport Illustrated cover, with the U.S. skiing medallists:

Of course one of the marquee athletes in this Olympics is Shaun White, who has elevated his sport of snowboarding from a fringe "X" newcomer to one of the mainstays of the games.  Here's the Tomato in flight:

Snowboarding seems like applied physics, how to convert kinetic energy from gravity into angular momentum!  I'd love to do that...  I haven't had the time to spend long hours watching, but the snatches of the games I've caught make me want more.  Too bad we only see these sports every four years.


Mom said

Saturday,  02/27/10  11:22 AM


shoot, forgot again, I hate when that happens :)

a worthy winner of a cartoon caption contest
(New Yorker, 3/1/10)


the Poppy house

Saturday,  02/27/10  11:40 AM

Way back in the dawn of time, five years ago, I invested in a cabin in the Cleveland National Forest, back in the woods East of Orange County.  The detailed circumstances need not concern us here, but let's just say this cabin was rustic, it was one of about thirty such cabins on U.S. Forest land which could be privately owned for hunting or hiking or just hanging out in the woods.  With such an arrangement you don't actually own the dirt, just the structure, and the Forest Service grants you a long term lease.  Anyway as I say it was rustic, having been built in 1934, and was indeed falling apart, and in fact required a huge amount of work just to get to the point where it could be inhabited.

Through various twists and turns I ended up selling this cabin to an architect, retaining a small interest, and he's done amazing things with it.  Recently he posted a website describing what he calls The Poppy House, and looking at the pictures the transformation from the original cabin is remarkable.  Somehow it retains all of the rustic flavor, and yet it seems like a modern structure.  And of course it is *still* located in the middle of the Cleveland National Forest.  Way cool.

It's amazing to see it transformed into such a great place!


Saturday,  02/27/10  11:54 AM

Blogging on a drizzly Saturday, and happy to be *home*.  Later tonight I am attending the annual Oaks Christian Father Daughter dance with Alexis  - really looking forward to that! - but for now, I am catching up and hanging out.  One of those [rare] days on which you have time, and you feel some pressure to use it wisely, and yet laziness sets in.  One of those days on which you choose to blog! ...

Global warming fraud: the big picture.  I'm afraid I am starting to disbelieve *all* global warming information.  My mind is throwing out the baby with the bathwater, and I can't make it stop.  Science, please!

Prompted by Al Gore in the NYTimes: We can't wish away climate change.  Yeah we can't wish it away but we can't wish it in, either, and Mr. Gore and his supporters seems to be doing exactly that.

Wow, this is cool: Financial Engines revs up for IPO.  I interviewed with them twelve years ago, amazingly enough...  and they are still going strong with roughly the same cast of characters, and have finally made it to going public.  Congratulations to Jeff Maggioncalda and Bill Sharpe and all of their investors...  and good luck!

Steve Jobs using an iPadAnalysts Gerry Purdy on the iPad: migrating to a three-device world.  "One of the fundamental changes going on in mobile computing & communications is the migration...  to a ‘three mobile device environment’ with most people having a notebook to create and manage content, a tablet for eBook reading and rich media playing, and a cell phone for calling and messaging."  Huh, not sure I agree.  A tablet definitely won't replace a cellphone, but it might replace a laptop for many people.

As I think about it, while I want an iPad as a toy, I don't think there's really a use case for me to have an iPad.  I have a laptop already, and a cellphone.  But I could see a use for my Mom to have an iPad instead of a computer.

Recognizr: facial recognition for augmented realityDefinitely a taste of things to come: Recognizr: An Augmented Reality App.  "This app, Recognizr, can learn to recognize people's faces and link them to their social networking identities."  A dancing bear right now, but the possibilities for augmented reality are limitless...

TechCrunch on the iPhone's peephole.  Essentially making the point that why restrict content in apps when the entire Internet is available in a browser, including porn and every other thing.  When you look at it this way, it is obvious that Apple's moves to restrict porn are a branding excercize.  It will always be true that any content whatsoever will be available on all iDevices via their web browsers...

Macalope: The Jerk Store.  Hilarious.  The usual disclaimers about putting down sharp objects and hot liquids before reading apply.

Stelvio PassNow here's a useful list: The 10 coolest roads to ride.  For the purposes of this list, cool = serious climbing.  Check out the Stelvio Pass at left, whew!

duct tape prom fashions!Here we have A celebration of duct tape.  Yippee.

Philip Greenspun finally sees Avatar, and wonders why are there no fish in the movie?  The answer to that is simple: the story didn't involve fish.  Every single element of Pandora and its fauna and flora was designed in support of the story, all else would have been irrelevant.  Moviemakers like James Cameron don't set out to create a world, they set out to tell a story :)

Apropos: Alien Invasion.  Plain talk about actual aliens we might encounter.  "As far as I can tell, nobody talking about interstellar contact has a model even vaguely close to a reasonable analysis of the situation. Short form: these discussions are the equivalent of the natives of a Polynesian island deciding who shall be allowed to wave as the galleons heave into view. The discussions are entirely about political dominance among scientists, and nothing to do with reality."  It's a great article, and I love this observation: "We simply aren’t going to see less sophisticated visitors due to the starship paradox: send a starship out now with all Earth’s current technological resources behind it, and then wait and send one in 50 years with full nanotech.  The second one gets there first."

Saturn as seen from CassiniBoing Boing has an awesome feature on the Cassini Mission.  "In 1997, we aimed a rocket towards Saturn and sent a 13-foot-wide satellite off on a mission to explore the strange worlds in our own (relative) backyard.  This month, NASA announced plans to extend the Cassini space probe's Saturn sojourn until 2017—nine years longer than its original end date of 2008."  Check it out!

WebOS 1.4 with video editingWhile blogging away this morning my Palm Pre updated itself to WebOS 1.4, how nice.  Among other things we now have video capture and editing and more cross-linking between apps.  Oh, and the LED blinks when you have messages :)

So be it, onward, a quick ride and then dancing with my daughter...


world's proudest Dad

Sunday,  02/28/10  09:31 AM

What can I say?
Yes, we had a great time :)


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this date in:
About Me

Greatest Hits
Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
On Blame
Try, or Try Not
Books and Wine
Emergent Properties
God and Beauty
Moving Mount Fuji
The Nest
Rock 'n Roll
IQ and Populations
Are You a Bright?
Adding Value
The Joy of Craftsmanship
The Emperor's New Code
Toy Story
The Return of the King
Religion vs IQ
In the Wet
solving bongard problems
visiting Titan
unintelligent design
the nuclear option
estimating in meatspace
second gear
On the Persistence of Bad Design...
Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
universal healthcare
triple double
New Yorker covers
Death Rider! (da da dum)
how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
Holiday Inn
Daniel Jacoby's photographs
the first bird
Gödel Escher Bach: Birthday Cantatatata
Father's Day (in pictures)
your cat for my car
Jobsnotes of note
world population map
no joy in Baker
vote smart
exact nonsense
introducing eyesFinder
to space
where are the desktop apps?
still the first bird
electoral fail
progress ratches
2020 explained