Tuesday, March 31, 2009

bike home?

I’ve been coming to work super early so far this week (7am).  At this point, I’m beginning to feel a little out of it.  I’m thinking of biking home.  Nothing like a 27 mile bike ride to end the day, right?

The worst thing is that there’s a nice 400’ climb at the end.  Something to look forward to I guess.

Read this chart backwards:

Monday, March 30, 2009

another stupid analogy

There are these people who love ice cream.  No one would argue with them that ice cream is a good thing.  They make ice cream and they encourage people to try ice cream and make ice cream a regular part of everyone’s life.

These proponents of ice cream have been around for a long time – long before ice cream became popular.  In the beginning, various groups emerged everywhere in support for ice cream, eventually getting us to the ice cream loving world we live in today.

However, not all is well.  These various groups feel very strongly about how ice cream should be eaten.  Some purists see using a scoop as the only “correct” way to eat ice cream.  Other purists think that eating straight out of the tub is best, since it’s the fastest and most direct way to consume the ice cream.  Yet another faction insists not only on the use of the scoop, but for a magnificent presentation of the dessert.

In these rough times, ice cream is plentiful, and people generally love ice cream, but there is constant disagreement over the correct way to eat it.  In fact, some people have become so dedicated to promoting their method of eating ice cream that they have little time left to eat ice cream themselves, sometimes letting ice cream melt and go to waste.  Worse still, some people have started eating other cold, refreshing desserts like frozen yogurt.  Oh my!

Thankfully, not everyone is as concerned about all of this.  Most people enjoy having the option of having a cold tasty dessert and see no reason to limit themselves to a particular way of eating ice cream, or any frozen dessert.

Meanwhile, those fervent supporters of spoons, scoops, and sundaes continue to spend a tremendous amount of energy supporting their cause, losing sight of the original intent of their forefathers.  The fight to promote cold tasty desserts has been won, but yet they fight on.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


I knew something maybe wasn’t right when the tires started slipping on level ground.

Something definitely wasn’t right when the car would move forward on level ground only with extreme effort.

Miraculously, we were able to get out of the parking lot, which had a slight uphill ramp to get up to the main road.  After that, it was all downhill.

Thankfully, the brakes did work for the moderate downward slope.  Not so fortunately, they got a FAIL for firmer braking needed for the stop sign at the end of a steeper slope.

Luckily, we weren’t going too fast and the car in front of us wasn’t damaged.  Cars have bumpers for a reason, and 1 5-10mph collision is what they are designed to handle.  Unfortunately, my friend’s car didn’t fare so well. He’s got dents on a few panels up front and a smashed headlight.

Lesson learned?  Next time someone offers to drive despite clearly inclement weather, make sure that they have all season tires.  I went and looked up the OEM tires on the car:
Pirelli PZero Rosso

On the TirerRack page, you’ll notice that there are no ratings for snow or ice traction – reason being this is a summer tire.  Also mentioned on the page: “PZero Rosso tires are not intended to be driven in near-freezing temperatures, through snow or on ice.”

Very nice.  I can see how summer tires are fun, and they probably make the car handle very well during test drives.  However, selling summer tires as standard equipment in areas that get snow seem pretty irresponsible.  In Seattle it makes some sense since we get very little snow here.  However, the same practice goes on in Cleveland and other cold areas – especially with luxury cars or sporty cars.  Then again, car accidents are good for the industry – more repairs, more parts sold, more new cars sold.

Friday, March 27, 2009

almost as dumb, but much more amusing

Google vs. Porn:

What’s with the end of year uptick for porn?

For more amusement… check out Ohio: http://www.google.com/trends?q=google%2C+porn&ctab=0&geo=us&geor=usa.oh&date=all&sort=1

dumbest search ever

Clearly I am feeling inspired today.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

i have a clock!

Back when I retired my Comcast DVR service, the thing that I missed the most was that I no longer had a clock in my living room.  Since then, I have actually gone through the trouble of finding a replacement clock.

In my mind, a simple clock should cost no more than $5, and shouldn’t be needlessly elaborate.  I first tried Target, where there was a Sony clock for something like $15.  Too much.  I then tried Best Buy, where they had the same clock, but for more money.  I clearly was looking in the wrong places.  I later checked out the local hardware/random crap store where they had some cheapo clocks like the one I got in Hong Kong 20 years ago that didn’t even accurately keep time.  $3, but too small and crappy for the living room.  At that point, I basically gave up.

But, as fate would have it, I was destined to find a clock.  As I was coming back up to my apartment after driving home from work (a rare occurrence in itself), I spotted a iPod dock/alarm/radio/clock in the corner that people put the trash that they think other people might want.  I snapped it up and figured I’d give it a shot.  The thing worked, but not surprisingly, wasn’t in perfect operating condition.  One of the speakers wasn’t working.  This must be why it was thrown out in the first place.

So what do I do?  I had the clock that I wanted, complete with dimmer, which is pretty awesome.  But no, I must meddle.  I just *had* to take the thing apart to try to figure out what was wrong with it.  After meddling with the speaker connectors, I came to the conclusion that the speakers worked fine, but for some reason the circuit board wasn’t outputting any audio to the left speaker.  I didn’t see anything visibly wrong with the board, so I cut my losses and decided to make it so that the thing has mono output.  Yes, I know.  It already had mono output so it really makes no difference.  But anyway, a bit of solder later, I had both speakers working.  It actually sounds better, BTW.

OK…  where was I…  I wrote all that while Outlook was searching for some e-mail… Now I’m waiting for my remote computer to do something.

Anyway, the clock is working.  Plus, it has decent speakers so now I can listen to the radio while working from home without having to have both my HTPC and my TV on.  Instead of 200W? I’m running on 15W.  Sweetness.  I also managed to tether it up as a speaker for the HTPC in case I feel like listening to my own music off the comp without wasting the 47” TV.

Back to work!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

the western stubby

Top: Western Stubby (4oz.)
Bottom: Elgin style (4oz.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

a year ago…


Maybe I should get around to posting all of my Egypt photos.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

workout routine

For last week and this week:

Monday: Gym
Tuesday: Ski
Wednesday:  Bike
Thursday: Bike
Friday: Bike

Saturday, March 14, 2009

comments on the new facebook

I have 451 friends, well above the 120 friend average, so I’m not the “typical” user… although I may be the typical content creator that helps keep a bunch of typical users engaged.  Anyhow…  here goes.

  1. Too much news.  Sure, I check facebook waaaaay too often, but having the News Feed only capturing the last 4 hours of activity is not cool.  I may check facebook frequently during the day, but that does not mean I want an entirely new page of content to look at every time.  A handful of new items each time is all I want.  Thanks.
  2. Highlights are worthless.  Why?  Because they position the content before the contact.  There’s no easy way to scan through it.  I need to keep jumping from picture to subject to creator.  It takes me way too much effort to figure out which are photo albums or what the photos contained in are.  Yes, videos have the play icon, photo albums have the photo border, but none of these pass the squint test.  They all look the same dammit.
  3. The photos in the News Feed are distracting.  They draw my attention away from the content.

seattle weather is wonderful

No, no sarcasm there. I honestly like the weather out here.  The only thing is that no one seems to believe me. Subjectively I feel that it’s better since I feel like I see a lot more sun out here than I would back home.  Even on cloudy days here (like today) it’s fairly bright and the clouds are often patchy enough that the sun would poke through at one point or another.  The hills and the water help to highlight this effect by making it easier to see breaks in the clouds miles away (as in 50 miles away).  The sun may not be shining on me, but it’s nice to know that it’s shining somewhere nearby.  Temperature-wise, I’m OK with the cooler climate, especially since I like to do active activities outdoors.  No sweating if I bike up Capitol Hill!  And it’s cold enough that there’s snow in the mountains so I can ski, plus the occasional snow in the city for the sake of variety.

Objectively, I’ve looked at the climate data and it has told me that Cleveland and Seattle have the same number of sunny/cloudy days.  I looked at this data back in 2007 and I can’t seem to find it again.  What I could find was a different set of reports:


You can find data for your area here.  Note that the Cleveland data is from the airport, which is on the west side which gets less clouds, rain, and snow.  The Seattle data is from Seatac airport which gets more rain and clouds because the city of Seattle itself is more in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains.  In other words, it’s biased against my argument that Seattle’s weather is better than Cleveland’s.

Seattle – 150 days/year
Cleveland – 157 days/year (+7 days)

Heavy precipitation (>0.5”)
Seattle – 21 days/year
Cleveland – 23 days/year (+2 days)

Needlessly hot days (High >90F)
Seattle – 3 days/year
Cleveland – 9 days/year (+6 days)

Comfy days (High >50F, <90F)
Seattle – 278 days/year
Cleveland – 231 days/year (-47 days…  a month and a half less!)

Freeze days (Low <32F…  not that I really care)
Seattle – 30 days/year
Cleveland – 120 days/year (+90 days… or 3 months)

Days with snow on the ground (not that I personally mind snow)
Seattle – 4 days/year
Cleveland – 53 days/year

On a side note, Seattle gets an average of 5.7 days of snow a year.  That hardly justifies investing in a large fleet of vehicles to manage snowfall.  For weird winters like this, just deal with it.  I’d rather spend that money on a new 520 bridge.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

flight stats

As I've mentioned before, the age of American Airlines' planes have been concerning me. On top of that, I just booked another set of flights on AA. To make myself feel better about that, I decided to look up some info on the safety of planes. Boeing put together a pretty nice and easy to follow report here:

(and if you want to look at some official numbers, check here)

So the DC-8x that I'll be flying on is probably ancient (most likely over 20 years old), but at least the model has a decent safety record. Domestic airlines have a decent safety record as well. Still, if AA fixed the dent on that jet I saw last weekend they might be getting some better fuel economy.

Friday, March 06, 2009

$6.30 at msft

Monday, March 02, 2009

we have some weather

On the flight over to New York on Friday the pilot indicated that there would be some rough skies as we pass through “the weather.”  I’m on the flight back to Seattle right now and the pilot just came on to tell us to fasten our seat belts as we “have some weather” as we head into Seattle.  Last time I checked, there is always weather.  Sometimes it’s good, and sometimes it’s bad.  Granted, I find lazy shorthand ways of speaking useful, but it’s interesting to see the devolution (or evolution?) of language as we use it.


A year or two ago I was watching some sports commentary and one of the commentators was going on a small rant about how people no longer say that players have injuries.  Instead, body parts are listed.  “Player X has a groin,” or “Player Y has a hip,” never citing the fact that there was any injury.  Of course the player has a hip!


Oh, and happy birthday to PMA!