Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Taking a break

512 consecutive posts.  I am worn out.  Time to take a bit of a break; no daily posts for a while.

Thanks to those of you who read and comment.  I'll be back.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Underwater atomic bomb test

This video is pretty impressive:

The website offers the following description:
The Hardtack Umbrella event was a Los Alamos and Dept of Defense nuclear explosion shallow depth underwater shot (150 ft.), June 8, 1958, at Enewetak. The test was weapons effects related and the yield was 8 kilotons.
Hard to believe anyone would leave a ship there like that, though.

Monday, January 24, 2011

JFK's watch

As the President prepares for his State of the Union speech, it is remarkable that John F. Kennedy gave his first State of the Union speech 50 years ago this week.  He wore an Omega wristwatch; a few years back, Omega purchased the watch that JFK was wearing at that speech:

The company says it spent $350,000 to acquire it.

It has also created for sale a commemorative version, a copy of the one JFK was wearing at that speech:

This is so classic it seems almost too perfect.

Unfortunately, at $9,100, I am going to have to pass on this beauty.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Spring in January

Sunny and almost 70 degrees here yesterday.  I know it's fun to have snow in the winter (we don't really get too much in the way of seasons), but the the type of weather we are having here this weekend is one of the few remaining things that make me glad to live in California.

Spent much of yesterday working on outdoor yard and car sort of things, but it must be time for a round of golf.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

Goalie for a night

The Sharks lost one of their goalies, Antero Nittymaki, before the game against Vancouver last night.  They didn't have time to bring up a minor league player, so they signed Jordan White, a college goalie at the University of British Columbia, to a one-game amateur tryout.  White is a star goalie with UBC:

He spent the entire night on the bench, ready to back up Anti Niemi, but never had to come in, as Niemi put up a brilliant game and the Sharks won 2-1 in a shootout.

What a dream night for White, though, and he leaped onto the ice to join the celebration at the end of the game.  He may never play in the NHL, but he is going to remember that game for a very long time.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

This is what an electric car should look like

Now I am not dissing my soon-to-be delivered Nissan Leaf, but take a look at the alpha version of the Tesla S:

Model S Alpha Hits the Road from Tesla Motors on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sargent Shriver - a life of service

Sargent Shriver died yesterday at the age of 95.  He was one of the most influential people of his generation, having started the Peace Corps in 1961.  He did so at the request of his brother-in-law, John F. Kennedy, saying that JFK had told him that so many people viewed it as a likely fiasco that it would be easier to fire a relative than a friend.

Here he is at the ceremony creating the Peace Corps:

Shriver ran for vice-president on the George McGovern ticket in 1972; he also served as the U.S. ambassador to France, and he was in charge of Lyndon Johnson's war on poverty.  Shriver was married to JFK's sister Eunice for 56 years and their daughter Maria just finished serving as California's first lady.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps; it was well served by Sargent Shriver and he will be long remembered for his leading role in bringing it to fruition.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Watches - No. 4

Another watch in the series.  This one is unique in my collection - it is my only Tourbillon watch:

It is made by WM of Switzerland, a company that uses Swiss traditions but lower-cost techniques. The result is an elegant watch without the high price tag.

The Tourbillon is special because it includes an addition to the traditional parts of the watch.  It offsets the effects of gravity by mounting the escapement and the balance wheel in a rotating cage.  Like all Tourbillon watches, this  model shows the effect via an window on the face:

Monday, January 17, 2011

Golden Globe moment

Highlight of the Golden Globes last night: Chris Colfer winning for his terrific role on Glee and saying:

"But mostly importantly to all the amazing kids that watch our show and that our show celebrates and are constantly told 'no' [by] people and environments and bullies at school, that they can't be who they are or can't have what they want because of who they are, screw that, kids."

His role on Glee provides a terrific role model for every kid who wants to be something and who faces bullies telling him that he can't. I'm very glad he won an award.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Social Network

Finally got around to seeing this movie.  Not bad, interesting story, makes Mark Zuckerberg out to to be an unimaginable jerk.

But much like the website itself, I don't quite understand all the hoopla. This does not feel like an Academy-Award winning film to me.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Angry Panda

There are 5 commercials here - watch all of them.

It's a product of Arab Dairy in Egypt.  Great commercials.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Real time conversation translation

Here is a great new feature from Google Translate for your phone.  It's called Conversation Mode and it lets you use your phone to converse with someone in a different language.

In it's initial incarnation, you talk into the phone in English, and it reads back a translation in Spanish.  The person you are trying to talk to can respond in Spanish and it will read the response back to you in English:

Can you imagine how useful this could be for travelers?  It's only English/Spanish for now, but no doubt other languages will follow.

Very cool.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pay what you wish

Panera Bread has announced that it is opening its third "pay-what-you-wish" restaurant, this one in Portland, Oregon.  Under this fascinating business model, run by Panera's charitable organization, customers are invited to pay a suggested price for their food, but they can pay less or more.  According to this article about the program, about 20% of customers pay more than the suggested amount, 20% pay less, and 60% pay what is suggested.

It is part of their "Community Cafe" program.  I like this quote:

"In some ways it is a test for humanity," said Ron Shaich, founder of Panera who launched the concept for the company. "Will people step up and help each other or will they take advantage?"

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Stopped for lunch in Sausalito this weekend while Karen was out of town.  Here's the view I had while eating my hamburger:

Cloudy and cool, but very relaxing.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Wavejet surfboard

I don't surf, but I have lots of friends who do. I've never quite understood the whole "paddling out to the wave" thing.  But now there is a new surfboard with a battery-powered motor.

Watch this:

That seems pretty smart to me.

(And the report came from La Jolla, where Sarah goes to school when she is not traveling overseas.  Must be nice to have waves like that.)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Smart parking

Spotted in San Francisco this weekend:

That is a good use of space.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


I don't know why mass shootings, in the U.S. or elsewhere, surprise me anyway.  But a premeditated attack on a U.S. Congresswoman at a constituent event, resulting in her being gravely wounded and many others (including a Federal judge) being killed or wounded, is just beyond imagination.

Gabrielle Giffords, by coincidence, happens to be my mother's representative in Congress.  I am saying a prayer for her recovery and another for those killed or injured in this tragic event.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Profile Valet

I need my phone to have different settings depending on where I am.  At home, I want Wi-Fi on, Bluetooth off, and the ringer on.  In meetings, same, except the ringer should be set to vibrate.  In the car, I want Wi-Fi off, Bluetooth on, and the ring loud enough to hear.

So I have to constantly adjust the settings.  Kind of a pain.  But now I have a free app called "Profile Valet."  It lets me set a number of different settings, with multiple items.  So I can pick "car," and it sets the phone the way I want it.  Plus, it can be triggered automatically by your location!

Here's a look:

Pretty simple.  Pretty smart.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Starbucks logo

This seems odd.  Starbucks has decided to drop its name and the word "coffee" from its logo:

Does this herald some sort of major change?  I am reminded of an article from a ways back:  Starbucks To Begin Sinister 'Phase Two' Of Operation

On the other hand, I like this suggestion for the complete logo timeline:

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Bad decision

The California Supreme Court has ruled that if you are arrested, the police have the right to search the contents of your cellphone without a warrant.  Not that I see any reason to keep anything illegal on my cell phone, but come on.  This is going way too far.  How can the contents of your phone be subject to disclosure just because you have been arrested (not even convicted)?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Back to work

I went back to work yesterday, after what seemed like a lengthy holiday break.  Lots of enthusiasm for the new year, though it was a bit hard getting started when I went out to my car at 6:30 am and it was covered with ice.  It's not supposed to be so cold in California.

The second half of last year involved a lot of business travel.  Not sure what is coming up, but I hope there is quite a bit less.  It's funny how business travel sounds glamorous (planes, hotels, restaurants), but none of it turns out quite that way.  Well, we will have to see.

In the meantime, it's a new year, with lots of new opportunities.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

May the (up) force be with you

Our garage door opener has been working and not working intermittently, sometimes only raising the door partway and stopping.  We called a repair shop today and they said it might be all the rain and the settling of the ground. Given all the cracks in our walls, that would not be a surprise.

But they also asked what kind of opener we have, and when we told them, they let us know that those openers have a control on the side that regulate the amount of "up" force.  They suggested we increase it a bit.  So far, all is well.

Who would have known?

(Note - the opener also allows you to regulate the "down" force, but I am leaving that alone.  Don't want the door smashing through the ground.)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Recommended movie

The King's Speech.  Very well done.  Brilliant acting by Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush, top-notch performances as well from Helena Bonham Carter, Derek Jacobi and Timothy Spall:

(Side note:  I saw Derek Jacobi in person as Prospero, in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre's production of the Tempest in London, back in 1983.  He still has a strong presence.)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year's Eve Dinner

We had a wonderful evening out with our friends Theresa and Doug at Oliveto's in Oakland. The restaurant has been there a long time, since I lived in Oakland before Sarah was born, but it continues to impress.

Here was the special menu for this year:

And the two desserts, beautifully presented:


All in all, a very nice way to welcome the new year.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Said best by one of my favorite cartoons:

P.S. - Did you notice the date today?   1/1/11.   I like that.