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Archive: June 2011

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changes brewing

Friday,  06/03/11  07:14 PM

changes brewing ...Wow, interesting week.  I found the Leadership Summit I attended last week and the long ride and the long weekend added up to a lot to think about.  And tomorrow I'm riding a 200K for even more think time :)  There are changes brewing...  but I'm not yet ready to spill the beans.  In the meantime, it's all happening!

what is a jellyfish?Have you ever wondered, what is a jellyfish?

According to Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, the iPad is not a revolution.  But the AppleTV ... is.  Huh, it must be a slow-developing revolution, then.

I think y'all know, I have an original AppleTV, and I love it.  Haven't rented a physical movie or watched a DVD for years.

Google +1 buttons for websites.  Okaaay.  I can totally see "Like" buttons, so you can share interesting content with your Facebook friends.  There's an ego-feedback thing operating.  But why would you +1 something?  There is zero payback.  I predict this will come to naught.

Totally agree with John Gruber: there weren't enough shitty little buttons on every post on every website.  The only one worth clicking is Facebook's Like.  Once you get that, you get social media.

Tim Bray has added +1 buttons.  Of course, he works for Google.  I don't deny they make search better, but they don't do anything for me ... or for my readers.

Madrid subway station - one of the world's 14 coolestFourteen of the world's most amazing subways.  Wow, cool.  As a Los Angelino I find *all* subways amazing, wouldn't it be great if we had one too?  Even a non-amazing one would be ... amazing.  But these are especially cool.  I have been in the one in Madrid, at right, and it is huge.

Cringley takes on HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health).  What he thinks we should do: "We figure out which is the best presently operating system in terms of functionality, reliability, ease of use, and any other criteria you'd like to add. Then we do something that is never done in IT. We take this off-the-shelf product, spend a little of that $30 billion to buy it outright, then give it to every hospital, clinic, and doctors’ office in America."  Who's "we", kimosabe?

George Lucas strikes backThis is seriously wonderful: The real George Lucas has been imprisoned while an imposter made the Star Wars prequels.  A fan trailer for "George Lucas strikes back".  Can't we all identify with this?  I mean, could the same person who brought us Yoda have brought us Jar Jar Binks?

Totally agree: Philip Greenspun: Destroy the Planet: Buy Organic.  There's a reason we use pesticides.

So, is Windows 8 the beginning of the end of Windows?  I'm not sure.  iPads might be the best computer ever for my Mom, but they aren't going to replace my laptop anytime soon.  (He writes, typing on his laptop :)

John Gruber: I feel like the Groupon IPO is an elaborate practical joke.  Same.  This is not a real business.

Okay that's it: play nice, and have a nice weekend.  I'm riding tomorrow, and then tomorrow night I'm flying to Chicago for a one-day visit to the ASCO conference.  I'll probably blog on the plane ... please stay tuned!


perfect guests (New Yorker 5/23/11)

Friday,  06/03/11  07:55 PM





Ojai Valley 200K

Saturday,  06/04/11  11:34 PM

Today I rode the Ojai Valley 200K, a great ride I've done a number of times before.  I'm starting to get into better shape, finally ... during the past year I've worked out a lot so my cardio fitness is fine, but I haven't ridden as much, so my riding fitness has been off.  I'm stronger but have less endurance.  But I'm getting better; today's ride began with a 15 mile ascent to the top of Mount Rose, and I crushed it; powered right up, and felt great blasting down.  Excellent.

The highlight of today's ride was a visit to my friends Kevin & Cynthia in Montecito.  Every time I do this ride I think "man, I'm riding right by their house, I should have told them".  So this time, I didn't tell them, I just rode to their front door and rang the bell.

Of possible interest, here are a few pictures:

the route: 200K (128 miles), 8,900' of climbing, 8:14 riding time
check out the profile; this is basically a "flat" century with a monster climb tacked on the front :)

my mighty steed is ready
(with a borrowed back wheel - mine needs a new spoke)

powering up Mount Rose

the view back down is wonderful

this view of Lake Casitas is always one of the highlights of the ride

polo, anyone?

it's always delightful riding on the 101; traffic to the left, ocean to the right

Rincon Beach

descending into the Ojai Valley
yes, it is rainy-ing


BTW I'm blogging this on a plane to Chicago; taking a red eye so I can attend the ASCO conference tomorrow, and then flying back tomorrow night so I can drive down to Vista Monday morning.  Just in case you didn't think I was crazy, consider this hard evidence that I am :)


Meg is outstanding!

Tuesday,  06/07/11  07:26 PM

This morning we attended the Oaks Christian Middle School's annual 8th grade awards breakfast.  We said "hi" to our friends, listened to the speeches, clapped politely for the award winners, and were mildly bored.  And then ... "the award for the 2011 Most Outstanding Student in Drama goes to ... Megan Eichhorn!"

YAY Megan!

Who knew?  And her drama teacher told a very nice story about Megan auditioning for the part of Rosalind in Shakespeare's As You Like It; "... and so I asked her 'what made you come out for this part', and she said 'I don't know, I just feel like I want to do this', and I thought 'wow I really like this kid'..."

YAY Megan!

Wow, I really like this kid :)


catching my breath

Tuesday,  06/07/11  08:23 PM

breathe deepWhew, what a weekend ... week .. period of time.  Friday all was calm, then Saturday 200K ride + red eye, Sunday attend ASCO conference and fly home, Monday drive down to Vista (long day), and today ... Meg's award breakfast, and catching my breath ... and blogging!

By the way now I can tell you, I am planning to take off the entire summer.  Twelve weeks.  Details to follow :)

Steve Jobs announces iCloudDid you follow the iCloud Jobsnote yesterday?  I was *busy* all day, but I did make time to watch it a little ago.  Not a classic - and Steve himself didn't do a lot of it - but some interesting stuff was announced.  This shift of "the truth" from your desktop to the web has been happening gradually, and I'm glad to see Apple is getting on board.  They track record with online services is a bit spotty, so we'll see how well they do.

I have updated my Jobsnotes of note scoreboard with this one :)

Here's Engadget's liveblog, if you want a summary of the announcements...

BTW I did think the IOS 5 enhancements quite worthwhile, especially making taking a picture easier.  I am going to use the heck out of that.  And the notification redesign is a much-needed improvement, now looks and acts a lot like HP / Palm webOS...

Apple has been on a roll lately, but there was a time when people were writing articles about how they were already dead.  Same for Amazon.  I thought this was interesting... Jeff Bezos on innovation at Amazon.  They definitely take the long view, and so do Apple.  Of course you have to stay alive long enough to see the long view happen :)

space shuttle docked at International Space StationThis looks like a scene from a movie, (a really cool movie): space shuttle docked at International Space Station, with Earth in the background.  This was taken by an Italian astronaut in a Russian space capsule.  Wow.

Watson wows doctors.  First Jeopardy, now medicine.  Excellent.

Algorithms are the new medical tests.  Especially true in pathology; this is one of the key drivers for adoption of Aperio's digital pathology technology :)

Hipmunk: all about the UI.  You got that right.  I have switched completely from using Kayak to find flights to using Hipmunk, and the UI is the only reason.  It shows flights the way you want to see them so you can easily pick the right one.

ZooBorn: A Grevy's Zebra foalZooBorn of the weekend: A Grevy's Zebra foal.  Awww.

What's ahead: tomorrow Megan graduates Middle School, Thursday Alexis graduates High School, and Saturday I leave for Europe for a week.  Whew!  Stay tuned :)


Meg graduates!

Wednesday,  06/08/11  10:37 PM

Congratulations to our wonderful daughter Megan who graduated from Middle School today!

Meg graduates!
(sorry about the grainy picture, best view was on one of the overhead monitors :)

the scene at Oaks Christian Middle school graduation

proud sisters: Jordan, Meg, Alex
note that tux; not pictured, 5" heels

It's a cliche but man, they grow up so fast.  Seems like just yesterday she was graduating from 5th grade, and that seemed like she had grown up too fast, and that was four years ago.  (Sadly it was in the middle of a blogging hiatus, so I didn't blog about it :( must keep blogging...)  Anyway Meg has turned into an amazing person - an astonishing person, full of life and personality, who affects everyone who knows her - and I am *so* proud to be her father.  Yay!


Alex graduates

Thursday,  06/09/11  10:45 PM

Congratulations to our wonderful daughter Alexis who graduated from High School today!

Alexis Jaye Eichhorn, Oaks Christian class of 2011
goose bumps, just blogging about it
man ... what an experience

incredibly pageantry as the graduating class files in for the ceremony

proud parents

So yesterday was really nice, a celebration, as Meg graduated from Middle School, but today was something else again, it was really nice and it was a celebration, but it was emotional, as we grapple with the fact that Alex is leaving this summer, going on to attend Loyola Marymount University (go Lions!), moving out, and quite probably never moving back.  *sniff*.  Alexis is amazing, a truly great young woman, beautiful, smart, funny, warm, engaging, and just fun to be around.  I am *so* proud to be her father, and am looking forward to her life in college.  She's ready for this transition, I just don't know if I am :)


doing nothing (for a little while)

Friday,  06/10/11  04:39 PM

This afternoon, in the midst of recovering from a busy week with a kazillion things going on, and preparing for a trip to Europe starting tomorrow, I did ... nothing.  For inspiration, I turned to my dogs, who are world-class experts at doing nothing.  In fact here they are, doing what they do best ... nothing.

Maxi and Bijou demonstrate the fine art of doing nothing
in style

I grabbed my Kindle, a Diet Coke, and a box of Wheat Thins, and sat next to my pool, soaked up some sun.  Perfect.  I think I told you, I'm taking the summer off?  I don't plan to do nothing all summer - that would drive me crazy - but I do plan to do a little nothing every day.  Well that was fun, but now on to dinner and a movie :)


I'm off!

Saturday,  06/11/11  10:48 AM

I'm off!  In more ways than one.  (Some of you would say, I've been off for a long time :) 

European trip - June 2011First I am off to Europe; this afternoon I leave for London, arrive tomorrow, will be attending a conference there, then on to Basil, Switzerland for a meeting with a customer, then on to Groningen and Utrecht in the Netherlands for more meetings (and some quality time with relatives), and then on to Leeds, UK for another meeting with a customer.  And then home.  Will be quite a week.

But I'm also off work!  For the entire summer, twelve weeks.  How about that?

I want some extended time to spend with my family and myself.  Alexis is going off to college this summer, Megan is advancing to high school, and Jordan is moving to another city.  I would like to spend time with them at these critical points in their lives.  Shirley's mom recently passed away, and while we loved her dearly caring for her took an increasingly large amount of time and mindshare.  This will be a nice chance for Shirley and me to spend time together.  In addition to some family vacations I plan to do some bike racing and train for the Furnace Creek 508 (more on that to follow).

I know I have some customers and colleagues as readers so I just want to assure you, I remain committed to Aperio's success, and shall return to work in the fall with energy and a fresh sense of purpose.  In the meantime I will not be entirely absent.  I'll periodically route email and phone calls, and will maintain existing conversations.  I will be available for special needs like technical advice or a customer disaster.

I must tell you I am excited but also frightened; this is new for me.  It will be fun to spend time with my family, and fun to work on some non-work work.  I can use this break to refresh my values and renew my energy.  It will be an adventure :)

my office in Vista, note the clean desk
it often looks like this, but now it will look like this for twelve weeks straight


happy Father's day

Sunday,  06/19/11  04:31 PM

And so I'm back (!) and celebrating Father's Day, very nice, and I spent some time with Alex and Meg sharing pictures of my father, who unfortunately died before he could meet his grandchildren, but I am remembering him today...

Me and my Dad

my Dad and me
happy Father's Day!



views from Europe

Monday,  06/20/11  05:27 PM

Ole in London; the Eye on to the left, Parliment and Big Ben to the rightI'm back!  From Europe at least, although I'm still off from work, in fact today is the first day of a three month vacation.  Yay!  And so I have much to tell you about; the world didn't stand still while I was in London and Basel and Amsterdam and Groningen and Utrecht and Leeds.  Always fun to be on a different day different city different customer trip, whew.


I'm back - I will be back now for a while, although one of my key tasks now that I'm on vacation is to plan a vacation (probably Paris and Amsterdam!) - and it's all happening, so let's take a look, shall we...

I've been trying to stay out of politics, but I loved this: when government jumps the shark.  It is SO true.  Fanniegate was the cause of all the financial disasters which have followed.  Anyway I link, you decide...

When you're in Europe, you can't help but feel some of what is going on in America is preposterous.  And they [mostly] think so too.  They didn't like Bush but they're embarrassed by Obama.

Google Les Paul logoThe Google logo celebrating Les Paul's birthday was classic; you could play it, and even record from it.  Excellent.

From O'Reilly: dating with data.  Lessons learned from millions of users...  like don't be ugly by accident.  (Did you know, the camera you use to take your picture makes a big difference! - among cellphone pictakers iPhone users are more popular than BlackBerry users, but using a "real" camera makes you look even better :)

Apropos: five myths women have about men.  Hmmm...

iCloud - storms ahead?I noted Apple's iCloud announcement, with a little skepticism that they'd make a success of it, and Ars Technica share similar concerns in more detail.  "Apple's perennial difficulty with creating scalable online services is not a coincidence. Apple has a corporate culture that emphasizes centralized, designer-led product development. This process has produced user-friendly devices that are the envy of the tech world. But developing fast, reliable online services requires a more decentralized, engineering-driven corporate culture like that found at Google."  I think their secret is that they don't want to create a world-class destination website for iCloud, instead they want it to be infrastructure for their devices.  And in that way, they're competing with Amazon more than with Google, and in that way, they may succeed.

BTW I am *so* excited about IOS 5's new camera app; being able to get right into the app and use a hardware button to take pictures could save my life (while cycling).  While in Europe I used the heck out of my iPhone as a camera and it was great.  Having to enter my access code every time was my biggest complaint.

Apple's new headquartersYou all probably saw this already, but it was cool; Apple's plans for a new megabuilding in Cupertino.

Lego-making machine made of LegoYes!  A Lego-making machine made of Lego.  Now we just need a Lego-making machine assembly machine made of Lego, and the singularity will be neigh :)

Tim "XML" Bray on the web app vs native client dilemma.  I grant him that they are all "Internet apps", but the real debate is about client side technology; is JavaScript interpreted by a generic web browser the way to go, or do you need code compiled for a specific platform?

Apropos: Project Spartan; Facebook are apparently creating a client app in HTML5.  That is the best explanation for the lack of a Facebook iPad client I've heard, but it is sure taking them a long time...

Levi Leipheimer wins Tour of SwitzerlandCongratulations to Levi Leipheimer for winning the Tour of Switzerland!  And he had to gain nearly two minutes on Damiano Cunigo in the final ITT in order to do it.  Almost as remarkable, Andreas Kloden almost beat Fabian Cancellara.  Looks like Radio Shack are ready for the Tour!  As am I ... starts July 2 ... mark your calendars...

Oh yeah, I mentioned I am going to Paris?  Oh yeah, we're going to be there for the finish of the Tour.  Champs d'Elysee here we come!

Dave Winer reviews June 14, a big day in his life (he had a heart attack, and nearly died).  It's a big day in my life too; my Father's birthday, and the anniversary of my first date with Shirley!

Angry Birds - the breakout success story of mobile apps?The iPhone, the Angry Bird, and the Pink Elephant.  "Shockingly, lost in the stunning growth of iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android-derived devices - 300 million devices sold combined and counting, 600,000-plus apps built, and more than 18 billion app downloads - is the disconcerting truth that no one is talking about. Namely, that the closest story of financial success that we have to Facebook, Amazon or Intuit is ... Angry Birds!"  True.  But it's early days yet for mobile apps...

Scott "Dilbert" Adams proposes a stupidity tax.  Hmmm, not a bad idea, but unfortunately the dumbest people will also have the least money.  Better to keep them from being born in the first place, but how do you do that?

IBM mainframe from the 60'sIBM has turned 100; the NYTimes has some lessons in longevity.  One of the lessons is to build on the past; how cool is that picture of an IBM mainframe?  Man, computers were cooler then :)

ZooBorn: Sea Lion pupZooBorn of the week: a Sea Lion pup.

I'll leave you with a useful link from Scott "Dilbert" Adams: Vacation Science.  Virtual vacations, anyone?


happy summer!

Tuesday,  06/21/11  11:16 AM

happy summer!


week one

Friday,  06/24/11  05:25 PM

LMU orientationAnd so I reach the end of week one (of my vacation).  So far so good.  Every day was a bit different; I had a little "work cleanup" to do, and then the past two days I spent with Alex attending an LMU orientation (which was *great*, I am so happy she's going there!).  I worked out / rode every day - yay! - and sat out by the pool and read - yay! - but I haven't quite settled into vacation mode yet.  I guess I've got a little time to get it right :)

I love this, from Ignatius Loyola: "if someone doesn't want to learn, nobody can make them, but if someone wants to learn, nobody can stop them."  Yes!

cryptonomiconI'm rereading Neal Stephenson's masterpiece Cryptonomicon, and coincidentally yesterday was Alan Turing's birthday.

This media life...  Alice Gregory captures something real here, in the course of reviewing a book.  I must admit, I'm a slave to my iPhone.  One of the pleasures of this summer so far is spending extended periods of time away from it, living my life while it is vibrating away telling the tales of other people's lives.

array of Blackberries - but none of them competitiveSo what do you think, are RIM done?  I think so; while in Europe I borrowed a GSM Blackberry Curve (my iPhone is CDMA, so it doesn't work "over there"), and man what a piece of crap.  Slow, hard to use, clunky, and hard to read.  In no way was it as nice as my iPhone, just not competitive at all.  (In fact I kept trying to find WiFi so I could use my iPhone (which wasn't that hard); and then I used Skype.)  Honestly using the Blackberry made me appreciate Palm - I think HP might be able to get some traction with webOS.

Apropos: the Verizon iPhone halted Android's surge, the iPhone 5 could reverse it.  I dunno.  I think Android is going to have its place, just like PCs/Windows - some people will like their complexity and flexibility, and others will like their lower price.  And Apple will feature a better overall experience.

Tesla roadsterThe Tesla Roadster is being sunsetted!  Wow.  The company is focusing on their new Model S, which makes sense, but they must not be making money on the Roadster or they'd keep making them.  Or maybe everyone who would buy one has already?

Well that's it for now ... tomorrow I'm riding the Grand Tour Double (!) and will no doubt be too pooped to blog after; see you Sunday :)


the grand tour

Sunday,  06/26/11  10:34 AM

Yesterday I rode the L.A. Wheelman's Grand Tour Highland Double, the double, which dates back to a bet in which several cyclists dared each other to ride 200 miles in a single day.  Since then I've taken the dare a few times :) as have hundreds of others, and double centuries have become, well, routine; but this is *still* a great ride. 

The route is classic; you start in Malibu and ride PCH for 25 miles (don't think just because it's next to the ocean, it's flat, cause it's not).  Then it's up Potrero Canyon - a maniacal climb that gets steeper and steeper and yikes this is steep - then a beautiful ride through Hidden Valley (after climbing into it), and a nice charge through Westlake Village (after climbing out of it), and then descent into Moorpark, sojourn into Simi Valley, and the magnificent all-to-brief descent of Grimes Canyon, the powering through the citrus groves into Santa Paula, the long climb into the Ojai Valley (followed by a frenetic descent), lunch (!) in Ojai, onward to Lake Casitas and the climb behind it, the descent into Carpinteria, riding the 101 down to Ventura (yuk!), the endless flats to Channel Island Harbor, then the traverse through the bean fields to PCH, and finally the ride down to Malibu in the dusk, another 25 miles.  Whew!

the route, as seen by the iPhones "Places" view of the photos I took :)

PCH (with Mugu rock in the rearview mirror)

climbing Potrero (yikes!)

Malibu Lake

Westlake Village!

descending Grimes Canyon

lunch! - in Ojai

view from above Lake Casitas

the 101 - traffic to the left, ocean to the right

old PCH in the setting sunlight

Channel Islands Harbor - almost time for tacos

Overall a great ride, I felt good, posted a decent time (13:30 riding), and had a lot to think about...  onward!


small boats

Sunday,  06/26/11  07:59 PM

There is nothing - absolutely nothing - have so much worth doing as messing about in small boats...
- the Wind in the Willows

And so today I took out my venerable C-15 class "It's the Water", and cleaned her up, and found all the missing parts (not many), and screwed in the loose screws, and rigged her, and went for a wonderful sail upon Westlake.  And I rediscovered the adage which is completely true, namely, that God does not count time spent sailing against you.  I will be back ... soon.



Tuesday,  06/28/11  10:24 PM

It's the Water - in 1984Making a filter pass...

Spent today exactly as it should be spent; this morning attended a retirement party for an old friend whom I hired 15 years ago, saw a lot of other old friends, then had lunch with my kids by the lake, and then sailing (!) with Meg, and then a little ride, and a nice dinner, and ... blogging!

BTW that picture is me, in the same boat, racing in 1984 on Huntington Lake, back when I was fast :)

Big Tujunga CanyonAwesome! - Big Tujunga Canyon.  One of the great things about living where I live - northwest of L.A. - is that there are so many great places to go so close.  And this is one of them...

WSJ: Interesting interview with Reid Hoffman, friend, ex-colleague at PayPal, and founder of LinkedIn, on the state of social media.  He has stayed on the leading edge of this wave for a long time.

So Google have abandoned Google Health - no big surprise, really.  Personal EHR is going to be a huge business, but Google were not well positioned to take advantage; it is a service-intensive product, and Google don't do service.  I think Microsoft will run into the same problem though they've had more traction with their HealthVault product.  This seems a great opportunity for Intuit - or startup(s)...

As a contra position, here we have Google's strategy of everything, from Jean-Louis Gassee.  In which everything doesn't include service-intensive offerings like payments and personal health :)

Stevie Ray Vaughan in Denmark, 1988This is awesome!  Stevie Ray Vaughan in Denmark, in 1988, playing Voodoo Chile...  [ thanks, LGF ]

Perfect: Velonews' 2011 Tour de France preview, stage-by-stage.  I cannot wait.  Stage 1 is Saturday!

CyclingNews also have a preview.  Check it out!

the Pangonlin, one of 11 animal wonders of evolutionHere we have 11 animal wonders of evolution.  And wonder-ful they are, too, wow, check 'em out.  Just when you think you've seen it all, you realize "it all" is so much more than you thought...

Lady of the Rings: Saturn surveyor Carolyn Porco.  Interesting, what's next for Cassini?  #1 is the hydrocarbon lakes on Titan!

Who ordered that?  Google+, a competitor to Facebook.  Seems like they're *way* too late, the network effect is already too powerful.  What would motivate anyone to use it?  Sigh.

Apropos: why MySpace lost to Facebook (from Sean Parker no less).  Bottom line, they stopped innovating.



Wednesday,  06/29/11  11:56 AM

little Alex (and young Ole!) - click to enbiggenWas going through some old stuff and came across this picture of me and Alex, taken in 1993 when she was about four months old.  Awww.  And now she's almost 18 and off to college.  Meanwhile I haven't changed a bit :)

Onward, a quick quarter-end filter pass...

Paul Hsieh: Why the 'unexpected' keeps happening.  Aka, why the media continue to seem surprised that Obama's policies for the economy aren't working.  As he notes: "In the words of Ayn Rand, they should 'check their premises'."

Ha!  A hot or not style way of picking the world's best Unicode characters.   I like ൡ which is currently in first place :)

the iPhone - changed everything?The iPhone effect: how the iPhone changed everything.  It is now four years old, and it isn't hyperbole to suggest it is the most important consumer device ever.  Well, okay, radio and television were pretty important too, and the telephone and telegraph ... and personal computers.  But the iPhone is a sort of confluence of all of those trends.

the HP TouchPad - plays solid against a stacked deckI love this headline: HP webOS tablet plays solid hand against stacked deck.  Especially because webOS uses a 'card' metaphor for running apps.  The early reviews (Engadget, Pogue, Snell) are mixed; people like the UI and overall approach, but it appears to be slow, and that will kill it dead.

In retrospect that sums up my whole Palm Pre vs iPhone experience; I liked webOS, but it was slow, and that tipped the scales in favor of the iPhone.  I thought it was the Pre hardware, but I guess the HP TouchPad has the same pokiness, so it could be fundamental; maybe the difference is interpreted JavaScript vs compiled Objective C.


en vacance / op vakantie!

Wednesday,  06/29/11  11:37 PM

Paris!Tonight I booked travel for our European vacation - 13 days at the end of July, 7 in Paris and 5 in Amsterdam, with a train ride in between.  How cool is that?  Cannot wait. 

Now that we're actually going there are a kazillion details to nail down, like ... where are we staying :) and what are we going to do?  But that's the fun part.  The only fixed point is the Champs de Elysee on Sunday 7/24 (the finish of the Tour de France!)

We are planning to stay in the "center" of both cities; they both have lots to see just walking around, and great public transportation for going a bit further.

Amsterdam!I must tell you this is so much easier now than it used to be, with all the great online travel websites.  Hipmunk is especially excellent, as is Kayak, and they link to a bunch of travel review sites.  No one site has all the information, but by clicking around a little the picture emerges.  And you come out of the process feeling like you got a good deal, and you [somewhat] know what you're getting into.  (You can remind me I said that, stay tuned :)

The key underlying technology is Google Maps.  How excellent that anyone can just link in and use them.

The bummer in all this is the exchange rate with the Euro; just when you think you have a deal, you realize yikes! it's not such a deal in Dollars :(


Rocky the Squirrel rides again!

Thursday,  06/30/11  09:16 PM

Rocky the SquirrelHey guess what?  I'm riding the Furnace Creek 508 again!  Rocky the Squirrel rides again!

Everyone in the 508 has to pick an animal mascot as their "totem"; mine is Rocky the Squirrel :)

You may remember, two years ago I did this, a 508 mile cycling race through Death Valley, and while I gave it my best shot there was no joy in Badwater as I dropped out after 300 miles.

Well not this year.

I have applied to race again this year, and have been accepted (!), and this year I am going to finish.  I'll be physically ready but more importantly mentally ready...  having done it one before will help immeasureably; I know [sort of] what I'm up against.  The hardest part is Sunday morning, from Furnace Creek to Baker, that's when everyone drops out (historically about half of the people who start as solo racers actually finish).  After I make it to Baker, well, it isn't easy from that point, but I'll manage to finish.

So ... stay tuned!  It is still a ways off - October 8-10 - but I'll be giving you regular updates.  To give you a flavor of the ride, here's me two years ago, after about 150 miles, with my ace crew Joani...

Rocky rides the 508

Oh yeah, and that reminds me; I am looking for people who are interested in crewing.  If you or anyone you know wants to drive around the desert following a guy on a bike for two days straight, let me know.  It will be awesome :)


QE2, too

Thursday,  06/30/11  09:52 PM

QE2!Wrapping up the quarter, a quick filter pass...

I can't believe this; diet soda makes you fat.  Sigh.  Apparently the fake sugar makes you hungry, and you eat other stuff, and increase your caloric intake.  Maybe I'll just drink gallons of coffee :)

Boeing 787 windows - 65% larger, and with adjustable dimmersDoc Searles on the joy of flying, specifically, looking out the window while flying.  I agree.  Apparently the new Boeing 787 is designed with larger windows which you can darken electronically, how cool is that?  Doc also praises United, and I would agree; despite their historical bad rap due to bad service, I find them to be much improved.

Scoble: why yo mamma won't use Google+.  So far I'm not planning to use it either.  This is such a network effect; since all of my friends are already on Facebook, why would I switch to Google+?  It would have to be massively better, and all my friends would have to think so.  Having two different networks would be worse yet.  (You can remind me I said this after Google+ rules the world, I've been wrong before :)

Winer: why Google's Circles are likely to fail.  "You might feel a rush to organize your friends into categories when you start to use it. But you'll give up after a dozen or so, as soon as you hit one that defies categorization. You'll say to yourself 'I'll come back to this later.' You won't."  As he would say, bing.

John Gruber links Clayton Miller: own a shape.  Can you identify with the shapes below?

cell companies own a shape



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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
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IQ and Populations
Are You a Bright?
Adding Value
The Joy of Craftsmanship
The Emperor's New Code
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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