Archive: August 28, 2011

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son of death ride-r

Sunday,  08/28/11  03:06 PM

Yesterday I rode the Son of Death Ride, "the toughtest one-day ride in American", and man, it was tough.  138 miles, 17,500' of climbing, and ... 109 degrees.  The motto of the ride is "that which doesn't kill you makes you stronger" and I'm not dead so I must be really strong :)  Actually I am still in recovery, so we'll see.  The ride took me 13:54 and it seemed like all of that was uphill, with a lot of it in first gear, barely ticking over the pedals.

Anyway I survived - yay me! - and here are some pictures in case they are of interest:

the route: 138 miles, 17,500' of climbing
there's a huge climb up Nine Mile Canyon to start,
then many miles of rollers at 8,000',
then a deep descent to the Kern River,
before turning around and climbing to Sherman Pass (!),
blasting along the plateau,
and finally a wild descent back down Nine Mile Canyon

Nine Mile Canyon, here I come

long shadows in the early morning

looking back down, lots of climbing already but lots more to come

beautiful meadows

rollers through the pines along Kern plateau

so far so good

over 8,000' all the way

still smiling after 53 miles, time to descend

awesome views into the Kern River Valley

the Kern River!  halfway point
(click to enbiggen)

taking a cool break although it is 109 here (!)

onward, back up to Sherman Pass

the view back down - wow, I've come a long way

yay, the top (9,200') after 15 miles and 3 hours of climbing at 7-10%

back through the rollers

view down Nine Mile Canyon as dusk falls

yay!  made it in 13:54
I am pretty proud of myself

This seems like one of those things where you do it once, to say you've done it; not sure I want to do it again.  But maybe by next week I'll be looking forward to it :)


crack! but iPhone lives

Sunday,  08/28/11  03:21 PM

Friday morning I was riding on a flat road, daydreaming (I guess), suddenly realized I was about to run over my friend, slammed on my brakes, swerved, and boom! went tumbling along the road.  I was fine (well, a sore butt and some scratches) and my bike was fine, but I landed on my iPhone.  Crack!

What's weird is that yeah, the glass is all cracked, but the iPhone lives! everything still works including the touchscreen including along the cracked edge.  Pretty amazing.  I used the phone all day yesterday on my ride, the camera was fine.

I'm going to have to replace the glass, but how amazing is it that the phone still works?


long weekend ...

Sunday,  08/28/11  07:15 PM

Another pleasant long weekend; started Wednesday night actually, with Alex' birthday, and Friday we moved her to LMU, and yesterday I rode the Son of Death Ride, and today ... I did very little :)  blogged and read and worked on a design document (!) and blogged a little more...

I guess this is the end of summer, huh?  End of August, kids back in school, etc.  Well it has been 100+ here and since I'm still on vacation, it's still summer to me.  It will all be over soon enough.

Not only has Steve Jobs retired from Apple, but Rob Malda aka CmdrTaco has left Slashdot!  Wow.  Slashdot is a legend, and *still* one of the first feeds I check every day.  Among other things they pioneered the voting system in which readers decide which articles are most interesting. 

I love this picture of a "smartphone" circa 1991...  so, what do you think phones will look like in 2021? 

My own guess: we're going to see phones integrated into glasses, with built in cameras and heads' up displays.  Data entry will be via ... um ... not sure.  Maybe a separate "keyboard"?

So what do you think, will the iPhone 5 work on every network?  That would certainly be helpful, we could switch networks at will, and roam freely.  I for one would welcome this.  My current iPhone from Verizon doesn't roam in Europe, and while Verizon's customer service is great, their cell service at my house is spotty. 

Please inform her that what she is doing cannot be done.  Incredible.  You must click through to see this... 

ZooBorn of the weekend: a Masked Meerkat pup.



one byte mistake

Sunday,  08/28/11  07:46 PM

An article in ACM by Poul-Henning Kemp claims the decision to null-terminate strings is the most expensive one-byte mistake.  Not even.

Null-terminating strings was a great design decision, especially compared to the alternative of preceeding each string by a length.  First, a length "byte" would be just as prone to being corrupted as a null terminator, maybe more so.  Second, who's to say one byte is enough?  255 characters isn't very many, and if you need more than one byte, how many more?  Always two?  Always four?  If it's variable, how do you know?  Big endian or little?  Or both?  Third, how do you handle variable-length strings which grow - do you reallocate the whole string to make the length byte bigger?  The problems go on and on.

As the author notes, C has mostly be replaced by ${lang}, and in ${lang} you have string objects which encapsulate the byte arrays anyway.

The real most expensive one-byte mistake was using backslashes as path delimiters in DOS, which is even mentioned in this article.


US Pro Cycling Challenge, redux

Sunday,  08/28/11  08:02 PM

I've been watching the US Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado this week, like all of you cycling fans (you know who you are), and it has been a most satisfying experience.  First, we had a world class field for a US stage race, including Cadel Evans, Andy and Frank Schleck, Ivan Basso, etc., as well as the cream of US cycling like Levi Leipheimer, George Hincapie, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriske, etc.  Second, the racing took place in *real* mountains - one stage had two passes over 12,000 feet! - and featured amazing scenery and cute towns to rival anything in Europe.  And third, there was some great cycle racing, with the final top five separated by less than a minute.  Oh yeah, and fourth, we had Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin on hand to commentate for Versus daily coverage.  Excellent.

The first stage was a short prologue just outside Colorado Springs, a downhill sprint won by HTC's Patrick Gretsch.  It was too short to create meaningful time gaps, but it did provide entertainment.

Stage one was interesting, with a long uphill finish in Crested Butte.  Levi Leipheimer outsprinted the world-class field to take the stage and the overall lead.  Impressive, he was clearly acclimated to the altitude after recently winning the Tour of Utah.  Frank Schleck was third, and Cadel Evans fourth, followed by Christian Vande Velde.  Also up there was Tejay Van Garderen.

Next up was the "queen stage", finishing in Aspen, and George Hincapie outsprinted the rest of a breakaway to win!  Tejay Van Garderen took over the lead, with George second and Tom Danielson third.  What a feel-good story this was, huh?  Levi lost time on the final descent and dropped to fourth.  It was great mountain racing.

Vail hosted stage three, an individual time trial straight up Ten Mile Road.  The pros took around half an hour to ride ten miles, so you know there was climbing involved :)  Levi Leipheimer won by less than a second over Christian Vande Velde to retake the overall lead.

Stage four was the first "sprint" stage, mostly downhill into Steamboat Springs, and Liquigas lead out Elia Viviani perfectly for the win.  The GC was unchanged in a relatively undramatic race.

Breckenridge saw the most interesting stage of the whole race, with a serious breakaway comprising Andy Schleck, Ivan Basso, Lawrence Ten Dam, and Tom Peterson clear by four minutes with eight miles to go.  One measly cat 3 climb was left.  Everyone thought someone in the break would win, and there would be attacks back in the Peloton as Garmin tried to get Vande Velde and/or Danielson time on Leipheimer.  So Schleck attacked the break, was pulled back, the break played with themselves, and were caught less than half a mile from the finish.  Viviani ended up outsprinting the field to win, and Schleck, Basso, and Van Dam were left to wonder what might have been, while Levi's lead looked safe.

In the final stage into Denver, another field sprint, Daniel Oss won, and Levi was crowned with the GC title.  It's pretty cool that with Vande Velde second, Van Garderen third, Danielson fourth, and Hincapie fifth US riders took the entire top five, despite all the foreign heavyweights who came over to race.  Should be great next year and for many to come!


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