Filtering by Category: Interesting Tid-bits

Music Update

I have been a subscription music user since the early days of the model.  I was a Yahoo music subscriber but then Yahoo discontinued that service.  Overall I'm pretty happy with the service.  It's not radically different from Yahoo Music and that's a good thing. 

A couple of little nits.  I listen to a 'customized' streaming radio station a lot.  What I don't like is there is no 'history' feature.  I frequently hear something I like but by the time I switch over to the player, the song is over and I can't see what had just played.  Also, I really like the idea of being able to mark songs 'never play again for me'.  With Rhapsody that feature doesn't appear to work, or if it does, just not always.  I mark songs as 'never play again' and yet, they show up again.

Overall, I'm a happy music subscriber.  I haven't purchased a CD or song in...too many years for me to remember now.

Where do the books go

I came accross a new site called OwnerIQ that has owner manuals for various electronics on it.   A great idea.  It looks like the site is going for an ad based model. 

One question I have is, what happens after you make the investment?  So, one person recommends that you use this site and toss the manuals that you have at home.  Great idea.  However, if this site fails, then what?  

With a growing dependence on resources you don't control, what can we do about that?  Flickr,, etc.  We invest time and energy, then what?  I have my wine tasting notes and inventory on  If it fails, I lose a lot.

I can figure out ways to back things up, I think.  But, is that the answer.

 Interesting things to think about.

Thought of the Day - Illin'

75802-999399-thumbnail.jpgI picked up something evil last week, likely in Houston.  It was pretty minor until yesterday.  I started to go downhill fast yesterday afternoon and just got worse from there.  I spent several hours at the doctor's today where I learned I have a sinus infection AND pink eye.  Nice. So, I'm all doped up.

I stopped by a Target pharmacy to fill my prescriptions.  It was the first time I ever used a Target pharmacy so I was a bit surprised when I was asked what color I wanted the band on my bottles to be.  Then I remembered reading that a woman revamped the standard prescription bottle as a school project.  (The woman was named Deborah Adler).  I must say, I really like these bottles.  Excellent work.  It's a reason to use the Target pharmacies.  I got the green band.

So, back at home feeling a bit spacey today.  Did have a very positive experience just a few minutes ago.  I was feeling bad for my dog Bella (locked up all day inside) so I decided to take her for a walk.  On the way out I decided to grab a fishing rod from the garage and a plastic worm. 

Not just any plastic worm.  I bought, by accident, plastic worms in a color called 'Merthiolate'.  Now, this color should be called 'Neon Orange + a tinge of radioactive goo'....(the only reference I could find to 'merthiolate' is the brand name for Thiomersal registered by Eli Lilly in 1928.  Thiomersal is a mercury based antiseptic and antifungal...excellent choice for fish bait).

So, I grabbed a neon worm on a lark and we went off around the golf course.  We stopped by my favorite pond and on the 2nd cast I caught a bass.  Well, really, THE bass.  I know this pond, and it's full of fish...but this is THE one.  It's HUGE.  I've caught it three times before...last time I weighed it the scale said 5.5 lbs.  That was 2 years ago.  Definitely bigger now...much bigger.  So big in fact I was able to put my whole hand in it's mouth to get the hook out.

Of course I didn't have the presence of mind to photograph the fish.  I forgot I had my cell phone with me. 

So, maybe it's just a fish story...

I did take a picture of the worm.


Pack Sizes

75802-952546-thumbnail.jpgI found a guide to pack sizes and didn't want to lose the information:

< 3,000 cubic inches - large day pack or small overnight pack for warm weather

3,000 - 3,999 - ideal for three season weekend trip

4,000 - 5,999 - Winter weekend or week in warm weather

6,000 + - Multiweek trek or gear intensive winter

I have a Dana Design Terrplane - 6,300 cubic inches of goodness (and damn it's heavy). 

Compact Flourescent Bulbs

I've been slowly using more and more CF bulbs throughout my house.  I recently replaced some of the spots in my kitchen with Bright Effects 15w bulbs.  THEY'RE AWFUL.  They lasted no longer than a standard incandescent bulb. 

 I'm replacing those with some n:vision 14w bulbs I got at Home Depot.  Let's see how long these last.


A couple of books

'Working Stiff' by Grant Stoddard - seemed to sort of plod through his life while offering up the occassional humorous story.  Worth reading, not worth reading again.

'War of Honor' by David Weber - about 30 seconds of action filled with endless torment of political blah-blah-blah.  I don't like real life politics, and I'm certainly not interested in reading a made up play-by-play of science ficition governments.  Very disappointing.

'Magical Thinking' by Augusten Burroughs - Entertaining.  But, a man who has a conniption about a small white mouse in his bathtub does not deserve any respect. 


Poke the monkey in the eye

I have a soft spot for bureaucracy, especially that of the TSA. Few things get my blood boiling more than stewing in an airport security line witnessing the billions of dollars being wasted directly, and indirectly, by the "War on Moisture".

Then there are the onboard electronics restrictions. Steven Levitt, author of "Freakanomics" has a great post on his blog today very succinctly expressing views I also hold. Link

He also goes on to admit his guilt in violating those ever so important rules. That got me wondering, what if the Gov't decides to start crawling the internet and collecting information like that? Could Mr. Levitt eventually end up on a TSA black list, prohibited from flying, or always subject to "additional screening"?

We live in a free country, with a great many rights, but it always seems in times of hysteria, those rights get trampled a bit. (McCarthyism anyone?)

Side note:
I have always thought the color-coded "Terror Alert Level" to be a bit on the ridiculous side. I remembered seeing this a while back. I think it really "humanizes" the alert level.

Terror Alert Level

Alaska Recap

So, reflecting on my Alaksa trip I was reviewing our experiences and thinking about what worked and what didn't and what I would do if I went again.

  •  Batteries - check and double check.  One of my camera batteries was bad...first time I used it was on this trip.  I forgot my extra rechargables for my little digital camera too...oops.
  • Waterproof housings/cameras are necessary when on a trip that involves lots of Kayaking.  My D70 didn't get used as much b/c I didn't have a housing or a way to safely transport it in the kayak.  Brought a cheap point-and-shoot in a small housing as a uses...FILM...I know...  But, good idea.
  • The Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero is a fantastic piece of equipment.  I've used mine for a bit before and practically lived in it on this trip.
  • Leashes for gear.  Made my own out of rope.  Worked fine for the most part but some pieces of rope were nylon and didn't hold knots well when wet.  Lost a lip gripper b/c of it...maybe something a bit better for next time Rod Leash
  • Check your gear...brought my stove but left the fuel bottle attachment safely attached to a fuel bottle back at home.
  • Rental Kayak spray skirts may not be the best.
  • Swiping pillows from the airline means you don't have to bring one from home and they're the right size.
  • Breathable waders are very good things in wet climates.
  • Smartwool t-shirts are great.  They don't stink like poly-pro ones do.

Interesting about money

Monopoly in the UK is no longer going to come with paper money.  It's going to use a debit card instead.  I'm not sure how I feel about this.  I think Monopoly is probably the #1 way the many kids in this country have learned about money.  By removing the paper aspect you lose that "feeling" of what money is and how it can be used.

 However, money is more and more less about being something physical (remember it used to be based upon a value of metal...and once upon a time it was a valuable metal) and more about a concept of value.  By moving to a world where economic value only exists as numbers in a computer, we're closer to the idea of "Universal Credits"...having lots of currencies in the world I think is a debatable concept any more.

 Back to the Monopoly game, the makers said "we're keeping up with the times"...for some reason it's funny.  Debit cards have been around a bit...and you should see the cheesy looking "debit card terminal"...LINK

Airline Entertainment

I travel a lot...but I usually fly either US Air or United (BTW - United is a much nicer airline...good thing they are in the Star Alliance with US Air so I get treated a bit better than normal members of the herd).  However, recently I've flown a few other airlines.  Quantas has awesome seatback entertainment (at least on their long haul 747's)...dozens of programs to watch including scads of movies and interesting TV tons of good music.  Necessary for 15 hours of flight time I can assure you.

Alaksa Airlines has an interesting concept, instead of providing airplane mounted entertainment they make you rent a "DigEplayer" for $10.  It has movies, TV Shows, music, etc.  Good concept (seems there are a lot of airlines that use them).  Probably brings them a bit more revenue.  The question is if it's enough to offset the cost of the equipment and the labor associated with it.  They are very draconian in their headset policy though.  I normally use my headset (Shure EC2s) as earplugs on take off and landing...I keep them unplugged from anything.  BUT, on Alaska Airlines you can't have them in your ears...annoying.  Oh well.

AirTran has XM Satellite Radio throughout the plane, kinda nice.

A cool guy with cool ideas

One of the Blogs I read is written by a guy by the name of Brad Feld.  He's a VC in Boulder who I had the pleasure of meeting a few times back when I lived in Colorado.  He's a super intelligent guy who is into all sorts of things and definately marches to his own drummer.  What I find fascinating and motivating is the way he constantly experiments with how his life is arranged, always looking for a way to get more out of it.  He doesn't treat his personal life and his work as disparate elements but as part of a whole to be managed. 

treadputer_small.jpgAs an example of what he does, check out this example of how he's integrated his running and work with a custom treadmill workstation in his office.  Now, how many normal companies would ever think of allowing people to do this....we can all dream.