Critical Section

Archive: September 11, 2016

never forget

Sunday,  09/11/16  12:01 PM

Wow, 9/11, again.  I will certainly never forget, as must we all not, for the evil philosophy which drove the horrible events of that day is with us still.  We must be ever vigilant to defend our ways of life against those who would take them away.

I have a calm quiet day; the biggest challenge I face will be riding my bike up a steep mountain.  I will worry only about how to make great things happen in the future, for my family and my business, and not about how to avoid bad things happening in the present. 

But I will not forget the recent past, and I hope you will not, either.

 

 
 

Archive: September 11, 2015

never forget

Friday,  09/11/15  12:01 AM

 

9-11-01 ... never forget

never forget

taken at the beautiful 9-11 memorial
the reflections were an amazing serendipity

 

 
 

Archive: September 30, 2014

eBay -= PayPal

Tuesday,  09/30/14  11:18 AM

So eBay is splitting out PayPal after having owned it for twelve years

Many of you have asked me what I think: I think it's great!  PayPal always had a huge vision - an early slogan was "the new world currency" - and although there was definitely a fit within eBay, it always felt that restricting PayPal to "just" auction settlement was closing down on that vision.  It might be too late to unlock all of the potential; the world of online payments has changed a lot in the intervening time, and it's possible PayPal could have been an even bigger player if left on its own. 

Anyway it's a good thing - for both companies - and will be exciting to watch!

 
 

Archive: September 11, 2013

never forget

Wednesday,  09/11/13  09:07 AM

most excellent 9-11 tribute at Pepperdine University in MalibuHi all; I'm emerging from my Facebook-induced sabbatical from blogging to post on 9/11; I will never forget, as must we all not do, so as to honor those who died that day and also preserve everything we have and want.

The picture at right is of the most excellent 9/11 tribute on the giant front lawn of Pepperdine University in Malibu; a flag for everyone who died, including foreign flags representing those from other countries.  Standing among the flags blowing around gives you chills, as you realize that each flag represents an ended life, and also how great it is to be standing there, alive, enjoying a beautiful fall day.

Last year on 9/11 I posted a tribute (after just having flown back from the Czech Republic!), and in so doing thought maybe it would prompt me to start blogging again.  That didn't happen; a year has passed and I've posted ... three times.  Yikes!  So this year I'm flying to Colorado today (why must I always be in the air on 9/11?), and I'm again thinking maybe it will prompt me to restart blogging.  We'll see... in the meantime, let's all take a minute and never forget.

 

 
 

Archive: September 25, 2012

one year in love

Tuesday,  09/25/12  10:18 PM

one year in love (my Renovo R4)From: Ole Eichhorn
Sent: Tuesday, Sept 24, 2012 6:20 PM
To: Ken Wheeler*; Nick Wood
Subject: One year! - lovin' it!


Greetings Ken and Nick –


It has now been a year since I took delivery of my spiffy Renovo R4, and I wanted to write you a love letter about it.  I knew I would like this bike, but it has exceeded my high expectations in every way. 


I’ve put about 6,000 miles on it in the past year, including the Furnace Creek 508 [right after I took delivery last year] and the Hoodoo 500 [about a month ago], and it is so darn comfortable on long rides I don’t know how I ever rode without it.  It climbs great – people are always amazed at how light it is (I have really light custom wheels, and the Di2 groupo is light too of course) – but what is amazing is the rock solid way it just motors along in the flats.  It is so smooth.  For an old guy like me it is perfect.


And oh yeah, it is beautiful!  Everywhere I go people admire it.  At the Hoodoo 500 start the announcer made a particular point of calling me to the front so he could show everyone “the first wooden bike we’ve ever had in the race”.  That was pretty cool.  Riding it around is like dating a supermodel, it sure gets positive attention.


Oh and by the way the Di2 has worked great … I was worried about the wiring and the battery in the seat post and all that, but the bottom line is I haven’t had any trouble with it.  The battery lasts forever and it is pretty much worry free.


Anyway I just wanted to report in and tell you how much I’ve enjoyed my Renovo.  If you ever need a testimonial from a customer, please let me know :)


Cheers

 

* Ken Wheeler is the founder and owner of Renovo Bicycles, Nick Wood is the guy who built my bike (and yeah, that really is his name :)


 
 

Archive: September 30, 2011

EOQ!

Friday,  09/30/11  10:29 PM

end of Q3Wow, end of September, end of Q3, end of ... summer.  And now onward into fall and the holidays and so on, all the stuff that happens in Q4.  Next weekend I have the Furnace Creek 508, which I've been thinking about all summer, and so that feels like the real end of Q3, but here we are.  Today was quite a day; started out driving down to Vista for a planning meeting, then drove up to the Valley for another meeting (and yes, it rained, and yes, I had mega traffic), and finally made it home in time for a nice dinner :)  Yay.  Meanwhile, it's all happening...

Don Draper pitches Facebook TimelineDon Draper pitches the Facebook Timeline.  This is great, but I'm not a big fan of the timeline.  Actually I don't mind the timeline, I mind that my News Feed isn't in chronological order anymore.  Anyway.

John Gruber's take on Amazon's New Kindles is much the same as mine.  "It’s all about the content, though. That’s the difference that other tablet makers missed. Motorola, Samsung, RIM - they seem to be chasing the iPad on specs, building the best tablet they can manage at the same starting price of around $500. But they have no clear message telling people what you can do with them."

Apparently Amazon are considering bringing Silk to Windows, Mac, and Android.  Not surprising.

Meanwhile: Finally, the tablet to make HP and RIM feel better.  "On NBC's 'The Office,' the fictional Dunder Mifflin team was forced to sell a triangle-shaped tablet, dubbed the Pyramid."  Hey you never know, with the right content...

Life of George: digital-to-physical gameplayThis is just fantastic: Life of George melds Lego bricks with IOS for 'digital-to-physical' gameplay.  Apparently you build stuff with the Legos, then take a picture to get credit inside the iPhone App.  A whole new category.

Mike Arrington takes a look back one year to AOL's acquisition of TechCrunch, which blew up spectacularly in recent weeks, leading to Mike's departure.  Too bad because there has been so much interesting tech news of late, and news about news isn't so interesting.

$40M eco-yacht!Check this out: $40M Solar Sailboat for Eco-Conscious Yachtsman.  Does it actually sail?  Well yeah, apparently.  And it's so pretty!

I can *so* relate to this:  My non-linear work stream.  "In the era before Blackberrys, iPhones, instant messaging, social networks, and blogs, I had a predictable day."  Eliminating all the interrupts and focusing is hard.

I'm gonna wrap with a couple of most excellent pictures, first, here we have one from a surf-city surf dog competition held in Huntington Beach:

surf dogs!

And here's my picture of the day quarter, a bunch of Giant Panda cubs, all taking a nap:

Giant Panda cubs, taking a nap :)

 

 
 

Archive: September 30, 2010

powering back up

Thursday,  09/30/10  06:52 AM

Ole takes ChicagoGreetings blog public!  I have not, as rumor may have it, stopped blogging, nor has anything horrible happened to me (but thanks for all your emails asking).  I have returned from a 12-count-'em-12 day road trip on business, having attended the Pathology Informatics conference in Boston, visited customers in Baltimore, and attended the College of American Pathologists conference in Chicago.  And in between attempted to enjoy the cities and the company of my colleagues and customers as much as possible :) 

Anyway sorry for the gap; there may will be more to say later, and I will resume my regularly scheduled blogging shortly...  Please stay tuned!

 

booting I: week of 9/13, redux

Thursday,  09/30/10  09:41 PM

Spinning back up to speed, here's a filter pass on the week that was 9/13/10, which I spent work work working in Vista.  Came home for a day Friday, reintroduced myself to everyone :) and then Saturday it was off to Boston.  Already seems like a zillion years ago, actually, so I'll filter accordingly.  Here we go:

Slate helpfully points out People who make $250,000 a year can afford a tax hike.  This must have been written by people who make a lot less than that.  The whole idea of a progressive income tax - wherein people who make more not only pay more, but pay a higher percentage - is unfair.  And bad for the economy.  Take it to the limit and you have pure socialism, and we all know how well that works...

how massive is Google?Just how massive is Google?  This infographic tells all...  [ thanks, Rebecca ]

telemedicine - the wave of the futureMy field of digital pathology (in which my company Aperio is the leader) is sometimes called telepathology, which is a component of telemedicine, the practice of making diagnoses and administering therapeutics while remote from a patient.  FuturePundit reports on a new advance: teleanesthesia, with remote anesthesiologists.  Wow, how cool is that?

In other medical news: Scientists make artificial skin.  The key advances here are tactile feedback.  We have the technology... we can rebuild him :)

Scott "Dilbert" Adams considers Future Searching: "I think the economy has an unimaginably higher gear in it, and we'll see that engage when Internet search goes to the next level, maybe in ten years... The future could be utopia, because everyone will easily find what they need, from love to careers. Or it might be the end of civilization because capitalism depends on barriers to entry, and those will disappear when everyone can find whatever resources they need."

Me and my PreThis is so classic: my post on June 10, 2009, in which I got my Palm Pre.  It has now been well over a year - a lifetime for a smartphone - and I still love it.  In fact on my recent trip my trusty Fuji camera died (!) and I had to resort to using my Pre, and it wasn't half bad.  The ongoing worst feature is poor battery life, which is only partly mitigated by carrying a spare battery.

I don't have a lot of Apps, but there are a few I love, including Open Table, Facebook, and Pandora.  And my absolute favorite built-in App is the Sprint-specific navigation, which is cooler than anything from Garmin, Tom Tom, Magellan, etc. - even incorporates realtime traffic.  Included for $0 and worth the entire price of the phone.  My favorite "dumb" App is a bubble gage; useful for leveling foosball tables and getting a few laughs at dinner :)

steampunk insectAwesome: Steampunk nature, photoshopped.  The talent on display here is breathtaking.  How do these people find the time?  [ via Boing Boing ]

Eric Raymond continues his series on the smartphone wars, Apple vs Google vs everyone else.  "Microsoft actually had the audacity to throw a shipping party that included a mock funeral for the iPhone. All that really needs to be said abut this is that the event was recorded by an Android phone."  I love it, and you will too; click!

the USB typewriterHere we have ... the USB typewriter, a "groundbreaking innovation in the field of obsolescence".  I am not making this up.  I especially love that it can be used as a dock for an iPad.

Jeff Atwood: revisiting solid state drives.  "A solid state hard drive is easily the best and most obvious performance upgrade you can make on any computer for a given amount of money."  The idea of a solid / drive hybrid, in which you have both the capacity and the performance, is pretty compelling.  Hmmm...

Does Quid have the most pretentious website of any startup ever?  Yes.  "Secondary typeface!? How about a primary business model?"  I love it.

 

booting II: barnstorming Boston 9/18-22

Thursday,  09/30/10  10:19 PM

sewing on NewburySpinning back up to speed, here's a filter pass on the weekend+week that was 9/18-22, which I spent traveling to and in Boston*.  Wonderful weather - when I was able to escape - and some good times and excellent meals punctuated a busy week of attending a conference and visiting customers.  Probably the best thing that happened was I maintained my planned habit of working out every morning, probably the worst was that I didn't maintain my planned habit of blogging every night...

  • During a nice walking tour of Boston Common and environs, discovered an amazing store with tons of old sewing machines in the window (right).  How cool is that?
  • If you are ever in the market for bread pudding, may I recommend Stephanie's on Newbury?
  • It turns out that in Boston people seek out Dunkin Donuts for coffee, in lieu of Starbuck's (or Peet's!)  Who knew?

*A four-hour fog delay in Long Beach turned an eight hour flight to the East Coast into a marathon.

Vincenzo Nibali wins the 2010 Vuelta a EspanaI've been largely ignoring the 2010 Vuelta, but Vincenzo Nibali shows strength, smarts in defending Vuelta lead.  Good for him.  A day later he won the overall title, capping a most entertaining and interesting grand tour.  Congrats to Tyler Farrar who won the final stage and several other sprints besides.  I wish I had paid it more attention, the organizers have definitely shaken things up for the better.

the Matchbox that Ate the Forty-Ton TruckAn interesting book to seek out: The Matchbox that Ate the Forty Ton Truck.  *Not* on Kindle however - possibly because it has a lot of diagrams?  That will need to get fixed.

Scott "Dilbert" Adams' latest mindbomb: The Opinions of Attractive People.  "Imagine a web site that allows any adult to post a ten-second video that is nothing but a statement of opinion, showing only the speaker's face...  Visitors to the site would be able to vote on the videos, based on agreement with the opinions, or the general attractiveness of the speaker."  Interesting.  We definitely put more stock into the opinions of attractive people, whether we want to or not... look at celebrity endorsements.  I also love this: "If it sounds like the dumbest idea in the world, remember that you didn't think of Twitter."  Good point.

so you need a typefaceAn important infographic: So You Need a Typeface.  The first step is admitting you need to do this, the second is that you need help in doing so :)  [ via Boing Boing ]

Mobius strip comic stripMobius strip comic strip.  How awesome is that?  It does complicate distribution somewhat...

Restaurants using wine lists on the iPad are reporting increased sales.  I think we're going to have to concede there is a "there" there with the iPad; there's something happening here, but what it is isn't exactly clear :)  It just shows up everywhere.  [ via Kottke ]

Apropos: the time is now for digital textbooks.  As a parent with two  high-schoolers and one collegian, the time is *now*.  The iPad would seem to have the perfect form factor - color and diagrams and formatting preserved etc. - but the ecosystem hasn't formed yet.  It will.

23 great space missions all on one t-shirtI want one!  23 great space missions, all on one T-shirt.  Donations made to the Planetary Society.  How many of these can you name?

PS interestingly I went to the site to order one, and was confronted with a "size" drop down that had, like, 73 choices.  Too many!  I was confused and almost didn't buy one.  The website is *way* overdone and how lame is it when links aren't links.  They need a lesson is style and simplicity.

Race for the Cure signup page / usability nightmareI encountered a similar problem recently while trying to register for the Susan Komen Foundation's Race for the Cure.  Instead of having one option - register - they had eight; a usability nightmare.  I was able to sign up in the end.  I think.

Horse's Mouth: wave of the dayFrom the horse's mouth, the Wave of the Day.  Awesome!

Good to know: It's finally summertime, on Titan.  After seven earth-years of winter.  And just as summer officially ends here...  let's go!

 

booting III: blazing Baltimore 9/22-24

Thursday,  09/30/10  10:58 PM

USS Constellation on the Baltimore Harbor WalkSpinning back up to speed, here's a filter pass on 9/22-24, which I spent traveling to and in Baltimore.  It was a great little interlude between two conferences, with some extraordinary experiences sprinkled in between customer visits.

  • So I get in to Baltimore late, Pier 5 hotel, right on the waterfront, and I discover room service is closed for the night due to a private party.  No problem, I get some not-horrible Pinot from the restaurant downstairs and order pizza, and set in my little balcony watching it rain lightly over the harbor.  A live band nearby are playing Creedence Clearwater's "who'll stop the rain" and doing a most excellent job on the cover, and the whole experience is great.  They go on to play more CCR tunes, and on a visit downstairs to reload Pinot I discover the band playing is Creedence Clearwater themselves, for the private party.  My "how did I get here" moment of the trip, so far...
  • Another highlight was a great walk around Baltimore's "inner harbor" on the Harbor Walk, which includes the U.S.S. Constitution (above right).  Most excellent.
  • I discovered that my new favorite super Tuscan may be Querciabella Camartina, displacing Tignanello and Ornellaia.  I must have some T and O soon, to compare :)

federal spending vs household incomeThe central issue of our time: Federal Spending.  One look at this chart, showing federal spending vs household income, and you know this story will end badly.  The only question is how badly, and who-all will get hurt.  The decrease in household income seems scarier than the acceleration in federal spending, but they are linked, of course...

President Obama and Vermont Governer Jim Douglas move a couch in the oval office, aka rearranging deck chairs on the TitanicAnn Althouse captions this photo of President Obama and Vermont Governor Jim Douglas moving a couch in the oval office "rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic".  It cannot be much fun skipper this particular ship of state; the course has failed, and disaster is nigh.

Jon Stewart on Obama: I thought he'd do a better job.  So did I, frankly, even though I voted for McCain.  Glenn Reynolds comments "based on what, his experience"?

Revisiting Richard Nixon's Checkers speech from 58 years ago.  It is emotional now even across this space of time, and with the immense change in culture.  Good oratory is just lacking from today's politicians, isn't it?

Here's some important research: Science says men like shapely ladies.  "A UT research team interviewed 375 men and women and concluded that men categorize women with attractive, curvy bodies as short-term partners, whereas a woman with a pretty face would more likely be considered for a long-term relationship."  Further research seems indicated :)

Interesting Advice: Having relationship problems?  Try talking less.  No comment.

And I don't believe this one: Men Don't Notice When Women Wear High Heels.  Um...  I do!

Facebook eating GoogleJohn Gruber ponders How much is Facebook worth?  I can remember the same debates about Google, pre-IPO, and everyone's estimate was low.  But that was a different time...  still, Facebook could be worth more than Google.  Sure seems to be occupying a lot of cycles in the blogosphere.

Boing Boing runs a chapter from Douglas Rushkoff's upcoming Program or Be Programmed: Chapter 3: You may always choose "none of the above".  Reminds me of a quote from Robert Gruden (a good friend's favorite saying): "True freedom, when given a choice between A and B, is to create C."

ZooBorn: Peccary pigletWrapping up, how about a ZooBorn of the week: a Peccary piglet.

 

booting IV: channeling Chicago 9/25-29

Thursday,  09/30/10  11:08 PM

the Aqua building in Chicago's LoopSpinning back up to speed, here's a filter pass on the weekend+week of 9/25-29, which I spent traveling to and in Chicago.  The centerpiece of my trip, it featured some rather excellent encounters and meals with friends and colleagues amongst the College of American Pathologists' annual conference.  Aperio made a big splash with our Discover Your Path promotion - that was super cool - and although I was happy to come home, I was sad to have the music stop, so to speak; it was quite a voyage.

  • Sunday my colleague and friend Jared Schwartz, Aperio's Chief Medical Officer, was named the CAP's 2010 Pathologist of the YearThat was pretty cool.  We celebrated afterward with a private party at Timothy O'Toole's pub in their Guinness Room.  Some beer was drunk, some darts were thrown, and considerable fun was had by all.  I will have little more to say about that picture of me popping out of a limo :)
  • Among the many great meals on this trip, a quiet dinner with colleagues and friends at Spiaggia, "Chicago's finest Italian restaurant".  Most memorable.
  • I had a chance to see Jeanne Gang's Aqua building in person (pic at right).  Wow, just wow.  So beautiful, and so different to all the buildings around it.  Three stars: worth a voyage just to experience :)
  • I must recommend Bella Bacino's, on E. Wacker.  Excellent pizza, excellent Pinot, and the Lemon Ice is not to be missed.  I can confirm it's a perfect spot for great conversation.

From the 'truth is stranger than the Onion' file: U.N. appoints official representative for space aliens.  That isn't even the strangest thing they've done - electing Libya to chair the human right council tops it, for example - but it does make the list.  Wow.

And so I love this story: asked whether he was giving out candy, a candidate replied "no, get a job and buy your own candy".  And so another conservative was born :)

Four visions for the future of CaliforniaFour visions for the future of California.  Cool and thought-provoking.  The main obstacle to achieving any of them is public spending; we simply must reduce the size of our government and let private enterprise do its thing.  We are always a bellwether for the country, which has the same problem, perhaps we can show the way out...

Are houses the greatest threat to peace?  "Israeli settlers in the West Bank celebrated the end of the building moratorium by pouring concrete for a new day care center, the construction of which had been halted due to the ten-month ban. The notion that such construction is a threat to peace tells us everything we need to know about the "peace process."

John Wayne accepts the Oscar for True GritJohn Gruber links John Wayne, accepting his Oscar for True Grit.  Wow, now that is how you accept an award.  And check out Barbara Streisand as the presenter, and that lineup of nominees!  My how the mighty have fallen...

no unauthorized gathering of informationCheck out this sign outside a Lockheed Martin facility.  No unauthorized gathering of information!  Sign, sign, everywhere a sign, blocking out the scenery breaking my mind...

Some good advice: stop calling him honey and start having sex.  I haven't read the book, but the blurb feels so true.  I encourage all women to read this :)

Unbelievable Stacks of Chinese Goods Piled High on BikesPhoto essay of the week: Inhabitat's Unbelievable Stacks of Chinese Goods Piled High on Bikes.  Wow, I love it.  Please click through and admire the ingenuity on display.  Just when you think you've seen it all, you realize "it all" is so much more than you thought.

While I was out: Los Angeles breaks it's all time heat record.  113°F at high noon.  That is hot!

Bad news of the week: Jure Robic, the world-class ultra-cyclist (five times winner of RAAM) was killed by a car while riding his bike.  I love cycling, but I hate the car-bike collision danger.

Here we have the world's lightest bike: six pounds!  Wow, that's astounding.

Daily cycling is secret to 96-year old's health and happiness.  Mine too :)

coffee dogs on national coffee dayDid you know?  Yesterday was national coffee day.  ("In which we celebrate socially approved addiction" :)  I didn't know, but I celebrated by drinking coffee anyway :)

AOL has acquired TechCrunch, one of my favorite blogs / sources of tech info.  I know what you're thinking, does AOL even exist anymore?  Yes, apparently.  It has been years since I visited AOL.

More from the 'truth is stranger than the onion' file: Senior Advisor Plays Pac Man on his iPad during White House Meetings.  So be it.

 

back online: cheers!

Thursday,  09/30/10  11:18 PM

Ole in Chicago - maximum Cheers :)And so I am caught up and back online...  It was quite a trip, every day had its experiences and its learnings, and I have come back with resolve to change a few things, and with much to think about.

  • I worked out every day, during the busiest trip ever, and it was a great counterbalance to all the eating and drinking :)  I am happy with myself about that.
  • Despite best intentions I did not blog at all.  I guess it wasn't the most important thing, but I wish I had been able to make time for it.  Reading items from my RSS reader is taking longer and longer, too much chaff obscuring the wheat.
  • I had my camera with me and captured a lot of great shots, but a lot went by unshot, too.  And in the meantime my camera has died; I need a good replacement, and I need to use it.
  • Finally the main thing: I must avoid getting sucked into detail.  I'm a detail guy, and can easily get consumed with low-level crap, but it isn't where I add the most value.  I must learn to say 'no' more often.  We'll see how I do on this one.

As so now onward...  in the near future I have trips planned to Beijing and Seoul, as well as a conference in San Diego...  please stay tuned, and maximum cheers!

 
 

Archive: September 30, 2009

Q3!

Wednesday,  09/30/09  11:01 PM

Wow, the end of Q3.  I cannot believe it, this year has absolutely flown by.  You know what happens next, right?  October, then Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas, and poof! before you know it, 2009 is gone.  Yikes!

Meanwhile I shall engage in a teeny bit 'o bloggin':

(Oh yeah, no luck yet finding a 508 crew.  If you or anyone you know would like to spend a pleasant weekend following a cyclist around in a car while seeing the Panamint Valley, Death Valley, and Mojave Nature Preserve, please let me know!)

Cancer research hit the news bigtime today, with an announcement of the University of California's Athena project.  Sounds like a wonderful use for ARRA funds, amid many not-so-wonderful uses.  I hope digital pathology can contribute!

Related: Obama issues $5B in ARRA grants to NIH.  I still don't think this is a great way to fund basic medical research, but if the government is going to spend our money on something, might as well be this.  Better than bailing out failed businesses like banks, car companies, and newspapers...

amazing skyline (click to enbiggen)Here we have the most amazing skyline ever: an image composed with real buildings from all over the world, gathered together with Photoshop.  I must say it looks like Coruscant.  I love it. 
(please click to enbiggen)

It is amazing how much mediaplay augmented reality is getting these days (well in advance of practical demonstrations of the technology), e.g. point your phone to ID places.  "Already, you can point your phone's camera at a building to identify it, and someday soon you may be able to aim your device at a person to see their name and personal information displayed on the live camera view."  Of course buildings don't move, so you can Id them with GPS and a compass; people move, so you need face recognition from movies, a much harder task.  Still the concept is definitely not going away.

ZooBorn: baby Firefox (aka Red Panda)ZooBorn of the day: a baby Firefox!  (aka Red Panda)

 
 

Archive: September 24, 2008

still feel like crap

Wednesday,  09/24/08  08:09 PM

sick as a dogMy virus breeding program continues successfully, and my temperature continues to hover around 100o.  My thermostat is not functional, I ping between sweating and freezing.  My brain is barely functional (even less than normal).  Crap!

And I'm supposed to be at the College of American Pathologists conference in San Diego, hanging out with customers and colleagues, and learning a lot and having a good time.  Instead, this.  Crap.

While Tim Oren was out, our financial system went missing.  Lots of good links to explanations about what is going on and how it happened...

I really feel bad about this Lance Armstrong thing.  So he has now announced that he is joining Astana, and as you would expect Alberto Contador is hesitant to ride with him.  Who can blame him?  It would have been so much better for Lance to form a new team, with his connections and PR he could have recruited sponsors easily and started a whole new operation centered on him.  Instead I believe this makes the best team in the world weaker.  A team with Kloden, Leipheimer, and Contador does not need another leader.

Myst!Wired runs these great articles from interesting dates in the past, and goes back to September 24, 1993, when Myst was first released.  Boy do I remember that.  I had a Mac 6100 (first PowerPC machine, remember?) and I loved every second of Myst.  It was a completely new thing, a new world inside a computer.  I know, it doesn't hold a candle to today's games, but it was so new.  I also remember eagerly anticipating Riven, the sequel, and although Riven was great, it wasn't as great.  Maybe it just wasn't as new...

The article makes the point - well taken - that Myst not only sold 6 million copies, but it also drove sales of countless CD-ROM drives.  I well remember the era of PCs with external CD-ROM drives, don't you :)

Want to know what pisses me off?  Check this out: Students are always half right in Pittsburgh.  "Pittsburgh Public Schools officials have enacted a policy that sets 50 percent as the minimum score a student can receive for assignments, tests and other work. District spokeswoman Ebony Pugh said, the 50 percent minimum gives children a chance to catch up and a reason to keep trying."  Ebony Pugh is an idiot.  If kids don't try, they fail.  Period.

Cathedral of Christ the Light, in OaklandInhabitat notes the amazing Cathedral of Christ the Light, in Oakland.
It is wonderful!

Liron Shapira on the Singularity Summit 2008.  It defies synopsis, please click through to read his description.

Don Reisinger says Windows 7 must appeal to geeks, or else.  I keep saying it over and over, but they won't listen, there is only one thing Windows 7 must be in order to be successful: fast.  That's it!  If it is faster than Vista, faster than XP, then it will succeed.  If it is a pig like Vista, it will fail.

I'm not an iPhone developer, but I've been following the weirdness surrounding Apple's heavy-handedness with iPhone developers pretty closely.  Brett Simmons says it is Beneath Apple and John Gruber is starting to get The Fear.  Particularly striking in contrast to the wide-open approach Google is taking with Android...

 

 
 

Archive: September 30, 2007

 

Archive: September 13, 2006

A perfectly incredible day: La Vuelta eTapa 17e

Wednesday,  09/13/06  04:44 PM

So, I’m in Granada, Spain, and I’m going to watch stage 17 of the Vuelta a Espana, which finishes one street over from my hotel.  I want to see the last climb of the stage, a Cat 1 climb up Alto de Monachil, a legendary black hole for cyclists, and I ended up riding it myself.  Here's a play-by-play...

[ Note: this post was retroactively added on 6/14/08 ]

First thing today I walk the streets of Granada looking to rent a bike…

The trucks are clogging all the streets, getting ready…

 

The city is still asleep…

 

The barriers are waiting to be stuck in the street…

 

The police are ready!

 

Many many many trucks.  You can’t believe how many…

 

Hey, I found a bike shop!  They have a few bikes :)

 

So I rent a bike.  It worked!  Nice bike, too, with a nice big old granny gear.  Oh, and I buy a helmet.  They don’t rent them but I do want a helmet.

Okay, off we go.  A quick study of the map, and now I have to find the Alto de Monachil, a mere 30km outside the city.

The police have all the streets blocked.  They wave bikes through like you’re royalty, though.

 

This bridge has barriers already.  Look, I’m a tour rider!

I almost hit that blue car while looking at that girl in the red pants.  Oops.

More blasting down empty streets with barriers.  This is fun.

 

Ah, decision time.  Let’s see, I want to head for Monachil.  Which is below the Alto de Monachil, as you might expect :)

 

Ah, there it is.  See that notch in the mountains?  That’s the pass to Monachil.

 

Straight ahead is the notch.  It is getting closer…

 

Aha, I reached the notch, and here comes Monachil.  I must tell you some objects are farther than they appear…

 

The valley of Monachil.  The road hugs the left hillside.  This is already a tough ride, and I haven’t even reached the hill yet!

 

The road continues, and continues… this is what cyclists call a “false flat”; it looks flat, but it isn’t…

 

Aha, the town itself.  At the back of the valley.  Now what?

 

These kids are playing a game called “Vuelta”.  Yes, the road is tilting up…

 

The early part of the climb.  I’m taking it real easy because I have no idea what is coming.  Well that’s not true I’ve studied the stage profile carefully and I have a very good idea of what’s coming, so I’m taking it real easy.

 

Carretera means highway.  The “hill” and “winding road” symbols are universal.  Note the barriers have begun!

 

If you look carefully, you can see the road ribboning up the mountain…

 

This part of the climb is 4%.  Trivial.  If you’re a pro tour rider.  For me, not trivial.

 

Man, it keeps going, and going, and going.  By the way there is an endless stream of cars, trucks, motorbikes, and bicycles up this hill.  I’ve been waiting for a “clean” shot as an excuse to catch my breath.

 

This guy passed me while I was resting taking a picture.  The road is covered with graffiti from fans, encouraging their favorites.

 

I’ve been climbing steadily!  That is Granada, in the haze off in the distance, with Monachil nearer.  Whoa.

 

4% my ass!

I think this is at least 5%.  Or 20%.  Feels like it.

The road passes a number of cafes.  Each has bike riders lounging and drinking.  A beer would be nice stupid.

 

I passed these guys, then turned and took a picture.  They don’t think it is 4% either.

 

Still climbing!  Wow!  I’m pretty sure this is the highest hill I’ve ever climbed, and I’m not even on the hard part yet.

 

Definitely not 4% any more, and definitely I am not in Kansas, either.  I think this part was 6% but I forget.  It is hot.  It is dry.  It is steep.  Wow.

 

Barriers along a lot of the road.  The road is narrow and there is a lot of nothing over the edge.

 

Crap.  Here comes the first 12% section.  Crap.

I am oh so very glad my bike had a nice comfortable granny (low gear).  I can tell you the tour riders won’t be using this gear, but I did.

More climbing.  A lot of people along the road now, even four hours before the race.  Lot’s of bike riders.  Yes, this is still 10%.

 

Looking back – wow, I’ve climbed really high.  Amazing.  And still the road continues…  at about 8%.  Ouch.

 

Oscar has his fans.  These guys obviously think he won the tour, they have him in yellow.  He’s in the Vuelta but not in contention.

 

I saw this banner and thought I was at the top!  Whew!  Take my picture!!

 

Hmmm…. The road continues… and many of the spectators are bovine.

 

Hmmm… the road is climbing again.  Crap.

 

When I saw this, I started crying.  No not really but can you see the road climbing endlessly to the horizon?  At least it isn’t too steep right here.

 

Uh, spoke too soon.  The road is tipping up again.  I look at my chart, yep, this is 8%.  Crap.  My legs really hurt.  Back to the granny!

 

A considerable time later…  Yay I really made it.  All the way.  That clump of green on the horizon in the distance is where I thought the climb stopped, but now I am actually at the top.  Wow.  I am so proud of myself.  And so tired.  And thirsty.

 

This warning is not for the tour – this hill is used a lot by local riders.

 

These guys are putting up the banner at the top of the climb.  Yes it is still early, about three hours to go.

 

Yay, we have a banner.  Can you guess who is sponsoring this stage?  More on that later….

 

Hey, get that fool out of the road!

 

Bike parking is plentiful!

 

I’ve picked my spot.  The final turn leads to a small section which is really steep.  Not bad for the riders because they can see that they’re almost there.  But not good for the cars, more on that later.  From here you can see a lot of the stage, all the way back to that clump of green.  Excellent!

 

There is a steady stream of cars, trucks, and bicycles.  The place is gradually filling up.  This van is for a club which rode up to the top, and gets a ride down in the van.

 

I took this picture because I liked the car.  No wait, I like the Illes Balears racing team.

 

OMG it’s the Specialized Angel!  She seems to be calling me…

 

Oh, okay, I’ll take a picture with you.  Anything for my fans :)

I must tell you the women here in Spain are rather astonishing.  I’ve never been to Spain before but I may have to come back.

Yellow Jersey tours organized bike tours that ride all the grand tour courses ahead of the actual race.  Every stage.  Wow.  Someday I’d like to do that for the Tour de France.

 

Showtime!  1600 is when the riders were expected to crest this climb.

 

The view from my spot.  Nothing yet except a steady trickle of cars and motorbikes and bicycles.

 

Hey, this looks official!  Lots of honking.  LOTS.

 

Aha!  Now we know they’re really coming!

 

I took this picture because, well, okay I guess I really liked that guy’s camera.

 

Spanish TV is on the job.

 

And the crowd roars!  A really slow police motorcycle, lights flashing, siren wailing.  This is it!

 

Tom Danielson of Discovery is leading!  All by himself!  This is excellent, if I could have named the rider to lead this race, it would have been Tom.

 

This next shot requires some explanation.  If you look above, you’ll see the officials are following Tom closely in their red car, like they always do.  But remember I said Ford was the sponsor?  Well, the officials are in a Ford.  And remember I said this is where the road gets really steep?  Well, it does, and when the official’s car reached this corner it lost traction and started spinning its wheels.  Finally the wheels bit and they almost ran Tom over.  Now that would have been a story.

A lot of the cars riding through were Fords, and they all had trouble with the corner, vs. about 0% of all other cars.  The crowd started yelling Olé when a Ford would get stuck on the corner, and then spin its wheel and blast up.  I don’t think Ford got their money’s worth out of this sponsorship.

And here comes Alexandre Vinokourov with a couple of other riders, about fifteen seconds back!  Not a big gap but Danielson descends like a stone.  He’ll need it against the Kazak.

It is really steep at this section.  Great for viewing because even the pro riders slow down.

Here comes AlejandroValverde!  He is wearing the Gold Jersey of the Vuelta leader.  But he is about 45 seconds down in the stage, so maybe he won’t go to bed as the leader because Vino is in 2nd.  Wow.

Valverde got the biggest cheer from the crowd.  But judging from his position, he was in the break and got dropped on the climb, so he’s got some work to do.

Carlos Sastre was next.  Also with a bit of a gap, he was probably shed from the break, too.  I can hear Paul Sherwin now – “Looks like Carlos Sastre is in a spot of bother….”

 

And here comes Andrey Kashechkin, Vinokourov’s Kazak teammate who is in fourth.  Also by himself.  Reading the accounts later, I understood that Kashechkin attacked on the steep part of the climb and splintered the break, but then paid the price and dropped back himself.  Still, he sprung his teammate Vino ahead of Valverde.

Kashechkin powered by this section in a massive gear.  No granny for him!

Here comes Iban Mayo with a couple of other riders – he’s won the Vuelta before, but he doesn’t have it this year.  The crowd gives all the Basque riders (orange shirts) a kind of low moan – not sure if it is a boo or some kind of "in" cheer.

Mayo is a spinner.

And here we have Discovery’s Egoi Martinez, presently leading the King of the Mountains competition.

Note that unlike the Tour de France, leaders of classifications other than the overall don’t wear colored jerseys.  Igor is ahead of Pietro Caucchioli, his main rival, so looks like he’s collecting points.  He is hurting, though.

Ah, there’s Pietro, about ten seconds back.  Still in the KOM time doesn’t matter, just place.

 

Now we have a bunch of riders I can’t identify, because I don’t recognize them and I don’t want to look up their numbers.  Anyway the whole front of the pelton dribbled over the hill, there was no clumping at all.  That more than anything else tells you this was a serious climb.

This rider is from a brand new team called Relax.  He didn’t look too relaxed.  And bright red, for Relax?  I don’t get it.

 

Another Discovery boy crests…

Ah, I recognize this guy – it’s Michael Rasmussen, aka the Chicken, winner of the King of the Mountains in the last two Tours de France.  And he rides for Rabobank.  Anyway I think he was burnt after the Tour, he hasn’t had a strong Vuelta.  Of course he’s still ahead of the majority of the field, that’s how strong he is.

 

Well, here’s a clump (that’s a technical term used in bike racing):

 

And here’s another…  you can tell these guys are not pushing as hard or going as fast.

 

Finally, a good 45 minutes later, here comes the peloton!

In a hilly race like this the also-rans form a big clump called “the bus”.  The race will drop any rider who doesn’t finish within 20% of the leader’s time, unless there are more than 25 riders in the group.  So by having a big group, they can take their sweet time.  Of course that’s relative, they all rode 100 miles in the heat and then rode up this hill, without stopping to take pictures.

Well, that’s it for the climb, now to ride back down the Alto de Monachil and hurry back to catch the finish.  I didn’t take pictures, but it was fun.  12% is much more fun going down than up!

Back in town!  And it only took about “that” long, too.  The race has already come by but the roads are still closed off with barriers, and bikes can ride down them.  So you can pretend you’re finishing the tour stage!

Nobody much cheering me on, though.

Well I missed the finish of the leaders, but caught the finish of the peloton.  But the pictures are all blurry.  Must have had a lens malfunction.  Anyway after the race I followed the bikes up the path, and guess what?

 

Hmmm…  that cyan color, who is that?

Yep, it is Alexandre Vinokourov himself, coming out of the doping control trailer.  He was right there.

The mob surrounds him as he gets on a bike.  Everyone is congratulating him!

From the fact that he had to give a sample, I assumed he was now the overall leader, since I know Danielson won the stage.  (After a stage both the stage winner and the overall leader are tested.)

Well I decided to follow him – what the heck!

 

He’s just riding through Granada like any old rider – like me, in fact!

There was a ton of traffic because cars were routed away from the main drag used for the race.

So he stops at a light.  And I stop behind him and take this picture:

And then I rode up to him and said “congratulations” and stuck out my hand, and he shook it.  He had a big smile and said something in Kazak and rode off.

Pretty much the perfectly incredible end to a perfectly incredible day.

 

Archive: September 30, 2005

 

Archive: September 30, 2004

 

Archive: September 30, 2003

Tuesday,  09/30/03  10:50 PM

The Ole filter makes another pass...

So, it is the end of September.  Nine months of blogging.  Seems like only yesterday I started...  Looking back at "old" posts, I see that I've slowly begun blogging more "news" and less "commentary".  In particular, a lot of electronics "news".  I'm going to slow that down; check out Gizmodo (linked from my blogroll), which is a great site for electronics news (and their RSS feed).


Johan Hari has a great post, The Iraqi Homecoming, about the experience of some young Iraqi exiles from the UK who spent the summer in Iraq.  Fascinating, a great inside look at what's really happening.  Overall the picture is positive, especially in the longer view.  [ via Steven Den Beste ]

the Fanimatrix screenshot 1the Fanimatrix screenshot 2Wow - check out the Fanimatrix.  A terrific amateur effort, another segment in the Matrix saga...  They absolutely nail it, with the music, the sound effects, the green tint, everything.  Awesome!  It is spreading like wildfire over the 'net, fueled by word of mouth and P2P distribution.

Speaking of P2P, have you checked out Bittorrent?  The Fanimatrix is a great way to check it out.  First, download this program (the Windows client), and run it.  Now click on this link.  Man, it works.  High-speed P2P downloading of movies.  And there are a ton of them out there...  This looks to me to be the Napster of video; although great for music, Kazaa is just too slow and unreliable for 1GB movies.

Here's a great PDF paper which explains how Bittorrent works.  Author Bram Cohen has analyzed the philosophy of P2P in detail to craft a tool which has the right incentives.  The biggest thing is that clients only receive download bandwidth if they give upload bandwidth.

P2PUnited: fighting for the future of peer-to-peer technology.  "P2P United is the unified voice of the peer-to-peer ('P2P') technology industry's leading companies and proponents."  The members of P2P United are LimeWire, Blubster, Grokster, Streamcast Networks (Morpheus), BearShare, and eDonkey 2000.  Essentially "everyone" except Sharman Networks (Kazaa).

Meanwhile ACLU Takes Aim at Record Labels.  If nothing else P2P is keeping lawyers employed :)

internetnews.com: Remote Power: Can PVRs Kill TV Spots?  Lots of detail about PVR penetration figures and projections.  Everyone understands now that PVRs will take over, the 30-second spot is dead.  Now what will the industry do about it?

MovieBeam screenshotCNet reports Disney unveils video-on-demand service called MovieBeam.  It uses a dedicated set-top box which has PVR-like features (pause, rewind, etc.).  The experience will be similar to that of hotel video-on-demand, but for consumers in their homes.  Content distribution is via broadcast (cable), not over the 'net.  "It's a very TV-centric box. It doesn't face the same challenges that PC-based services have experienced, because the content is delivered directly to the living room."  Interesting, this will be one to watch!

James Cramer thinks MovieBeam Will Fade Like a Moonbeam.  "No more devices.  Sorry, I don't want still one more device attached to my television set.  And I certainly don't want to pay for it."  But people are buying Tivos, and ReplayTVs, and ...

Battery Ventures: Rays of Sunshine after a Perfect Storm.  Less interesting for the detail as the mindset.  As VCs think more positively, more startup activity will occur.Klockwerks clock

Check out Klockwerks.  Excellent!  I want one.

volumetric rendering of airplane

This is cool"Volumetric rendering" of movies.  "The basic idea is simple: Video is composed of a large number of individual frames, each with X and Y dimensions.  Just stack each frame on top of the next and you've got a Z dimension to place into a volume renderer."  Wow.  [ via Cory Doctorow ]

Finally, we have Duct Tape vs. Duck Tape.  Proving once again that you can find everything on the 'net, and that "everything" is much more than you ever thought.

 
 

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