Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Creative Suite 3

Just a quick link for you to check out the largest software release in Adobe System’s history. Creative Suite 3 was announced today. I just sat through the public web broadcast and I have to admit, my company does some extremely cool stuff. I’m continually amazed at the sheer ingenuity of what is demonstrated.

http://www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/pressroom/pressreleases/200703/032707CreativeSuite.html

 

Cheers

Jeff

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Instant Messaging

Among the things that I love in life is Instant Messenger. For years now I’ve been using it to stay in touch with friends and as a business tool at work.

 

Business-wise

It’s been a godsend to be able to stay in touch as a remote employee. As I’ve posted before most of my team works in San Jose, CA. One of my favorite developers is in San Luis Obispo and she and I used it as if we worked in offices next to each other. It really helped us be productive. I wish more of my reports would use it, but we’ll see.

 

Non-Business-wise

I use it to stay in touch with friends and family during the day. My friend Jason and I chat on it like a couple of old ladies gabbing over the fence at each other. When I was in school (graduate school that is because laptops were still just steno pads when I was an undergraduate), I used it at night to chat with classmates, and even during class. I still hold the TM-MBA record of 7 IM chat windows during class. When my friend Don was in Angola Africa working the three of us would chat and it was like we were all just at work. Although our work was technology and his was land mines and avoiding civil war fire, it was just like a normal day.

 

Naming:

Jason and I like to change our name and our IM Picture daily. Usually to poke fun at each other, but other times just to catch a mood. We call it our “5 seconds of daily creativity.” Some of our most recent names were

 

Jason – I’m Kerberized

Jeff – Pedal; in memory of Susie Stephens

Jason – I’m training

Jeff – Share the road with me damnit!

Jeff – Looking San Jose, Feeling NW

 

Not some of our bests, but you get the point. Want to add me as a contact, use cyclojeff@hotmail.com.

 

Wink smile grin LOL

Jeff

Susie Stephens

Yesterday was the anniversary of Susie Stephen’s passing. She was a good friend and fellow bicycling advocate. Susie was the Executive Director of the Bicycle Alliance of Washington (formerly NowBike). I meet Susie back in 1993 I believe. I was working at the Seattle School District and was the young bike commuter of the building, riding my bike 17 miles one way to work and school. The Recycling Coordinator tipped me off to this great organization that championed for safe cycling in the state of Washington. I called them up and started volunteering. Susie was only a few years older than me at the time, I was 21 and she was about 26 maybe? Not sure. Susie was a vibrant personality and could whip up a room with her addictive enthusiasm. I really enjoyed volunteering for the organization. It felt good to give back to something I believed in and preached every day, safe cycling.

One day in 1995 Susie and I were sitting together at a public hearing that was asking for public comment about extending the Burke Gilman trail (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burke-Gilman_Trail) through Ballard in Seattle. We were quite pleased with ourselves, because a meeting hall that held about 100 was backed with over 200 bicycling advocates and the message to the City Council was very clear, we wanted the trail completed. As we were sitting there, just after I had testified that I supported the trail, Susie asked me if I would consider joining the Board of Directors.

Now this caught me off guard. I mean I’m pretty self-confident, but who was I in the state of Washington to be invited to such a group? I was just a young kid, just out of college. The Board had well established members of the cycling community, an exec (and soon to be CEO) of REI, Bike Shop owners, Founding Board Members, Bank Execs, Former City Officials. I was just mystified why she’d ask. Susie explained to me that the I would bring a very important set of skills to the board, an eye for technology, a younger perspective, advocating for Mountain Bikers (as I was big into that), and she said my passion for what we do was like hers and she wanted that kid of individual on the Board. Plus, she just knew I could contribute a lot.

Those words were all I needed. In 1996 I joined the Board of Directors. Susie was right, from 1998-2001 I chaired the Auction for the Bike Alliance, Chaired their Technology Committee and in 2002 I joined the Executive Committee and was Chair of the Board from 2004-2006. Susie’s belief in me came at a time when a young adult was not getting the respect he felt he deserved at work. She pushed me to not accept that and continue to do better for myself and those around me.

Susie left the Bicycle Alliance sometime around 1999 I believe. She continued her role as an advocate with the Thunderhead Alliance and as a Pedestrian & Cycling Consultant.

On March 21, 2002 she was in St. Louis in a consulting role to the National Center for Bicycling & Walking (NCBW), helping manage a two-day training conference on innovative approaches to transportation, sponsored by the USDA Forest Service and the US Department of Transportation. While crossing a street in a marked crosswalk she was struck and killed by a moving vehicle. I still remember the call that day from Barb Culp the Executive Director of the Bike Alliance that took over the role from Susie. Every year this is a sad day for me as I remember some one who meant a lot to me and all cyclist every where.

Information on Susie’s Accident

http://home.swbell.net/mpion/susiestephens.html

From every tragedy I like to learn something and take a positive away. It’s my way of dealing with the negativity that comes from loss. Susie will continue to be a role model to me on so many levels. First, to always believe in and encourage others to contribute and reach their potential, just like she did for me in 1995. Second, to always look around you and ask “how can I make the world a better place for others and myself.” I’ll continue to be an advocate in life, whether that is for cycling, customers, family or friends.

Finallly as Susie would always say; “If you don’t like where you are in life, pedal.” Best advice I've ever heard and used.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Flake & Sister Psychic - Reunion Show

This past weekend I joined my friend Rod and his wife Lisa at the Comet Tavern in Seattle’s Capital Hill area for a the Flake & Sister Psychic reunion show.

 

The History:

Sister Psychic is one of my favorite local bands. Their music is a bit grunge, a lot of pop and with some catchy funny lyrics. Rod and I saw them play a half dozen times in the early 90’s. Andy Davenhall is the lead singer and the driver of the band. They have 3 albums and he has a more recent one from his band The Lawnmowers, which is okay. Fuel, is the first album and has so many of my favorite songs; Hangtime, Birdhouse and Painting all are great catchy songs. Their sophomore album “Surrender, You Freak!” is just as good. The production value on the album helped a lot. More great songs like Velvet dog and Little Bird. But my favorite is their cover of “Kim the Waitress” a Green Pjamas song. Their third album “Catch & Release” is good, but not as good as the first two for me.

 

Andy put this show together actually and he asked his friends in Flake to reunite and play as well. In fact, it was a Sister Psychic CD release party for “Surrender, You Freak!” that we first saw Flake.

 

Flake will always have a special place in my heart. I think Rod has seen over 100 shows and I’m sure I’ve seen at least 40 during the 90’s. They are just a trio band, with various drummers (my favorite being Rob Cunningham from the Lemons), with Ken on bass and Rob on lead guitar and vocals. To say they have a garage sound is understatement. I loved them because the music was very raw and Rob sings with a lot of feeling. He’s engaged in the sound and that comes through. To be honest Rob’s lyrics are hard to understand at times, but that has never bothered me. In fact, I think that is more me than the singer at times.

 

Flake’s first album “Box” was a good album. It contained all the songs they had been playing live. They later released it with a new cover (thankfully because the first was just hideous) and with 4 new songs on it. Some of my favorite songs are “The Rough,” “Emily,” “Natalie” and “Fun and Games.” Rod and I actually made the credits on the first album. It said “Rod & Jeff” which made us sound like a gay couple, but we were cool with that. I got dropped for later records, but Rod continued to make the credits.

 

After “Box” they produced “Wild Cool Anger” on their own record label, Y Records (yours is not to question Y). This album plays in my shuffle at least once a week. Flake covered Elton John’s “Harmony” during their early shows and recorded it on their “Wild Cool Anger” album. A crowd favorite for sure. On top of “Harmony,” “Equal Beast” and “This House” always stand out for m.

 

The Memories:

I hate to even admit this but I don’t think I had ever been in the Comet before, which just seems simply wrong. Not that I was missing much. It is your typical Capital Hill bar. But the history of the place is there and you can sense it when you walk in. The show kicked off at 10am with opening act Dollhouse. We skipped them and went and had coffee at Café Vita, the site of the old Café Paradiso. Rod spent more time in that coffee shop then he did at home some years. Together we walked memory lane for a while, recalling the times we had seen Flake & Sister Psychic. The memorable ones were

  1. Jeff & Lavi – Sister Psychic opens for Black Happy (show in April 1993, I remember because I took Lavinia out that night. My bike had just been stolen from the UW Campus and this among other things was the pick me up).
  2. Jeff, Rod & Lavi watch Sister Psychic open for Lazy Susan at the Backstage in Ballard
  3. Jeff & Rod – Sister Psychic CD release party with Jason, Tim and Dad (Kevin Kent). Flake opens
  4. Jeff & Rod – Flake at the Off Ramp, Tim falls asleep during the set.
  5. Jeff & Rod – Pick a Wednesday in 1994 and we were at the Crocodile Café watching Flake with maybe 10 other people.
  6.  Rod – acting as a road crew travels with Flake to Portland.

 

The Show:

The shows were good. You could sense that neither band had played much in the past few years, at least together. Flake actually messed up a few lyrics. I think the sound in the Comet was simply poor, maybe a better system would have helped. Rob of Flake said that he couldn’t hear a thing up there so it was hard to gauge.

 

Flake played a good set. All my of favorites, with the exception of Harmony. They looked like they were having fun. Their songs did have me drifting back a few years. I enjoyed their set this time as much as I did in the past. Sister Psychic played more songs off their 3rd album than I cared for and I felt that leaving “Velvet Dog” off their set was an injustice.

 

The average age at the show was easily mid-30’s. Such a change from when we had seen these bands earlier. I figure in the future I’ll have to explain this music to my kid(s). We’ll just have to wait and see if they dig it at all.

 

Thank you Flake & Sister Psychic for the good times over the years, and the chance to have one last time together.

 

Jeff

 

Sunday, March 18, 2007

McClinchy Mile Trip Report

This weekend I rode the McClinchy Mile ride that the B.I.K.E.S group of Everett hosted. It was a ride that start and finished in Arlington, WA and the loop went out to Granite Falls. The day was threatening to rain on us from the start. I meet some friends there at 8:30, registered and took off for the longest loop of 47 miles.

The start was very hilly to begin. As far as warm-ups go hills just suck, pure and simple. The first 25 miles were just that, rolling along. We saw a Bald Eagle soaring over the farm land and it matched us in a parallel pac for a bit. We were sailing along at 20mph pedaling, the Eagle never once even flapped it's wings. The scenery was very nice farmland and we only had one driver who was annoyed at us. So a big thank you to the residents of Arlington.

The last 15 miles of the ride were on the Centenial Trail. It was a great ride. After the hills and the arrival of the rain we welcomed a nice flat ride. It was great.

After 65 miles the weekend before this week's ride wasn't that bad. The hills were a good thing for us to tackle as well.

It felt good to get out and pedal a new route. The scenery, company and temperature made fora a good ride.

On your left,
Jeff

Paris-Nice, Discovery Wins Again

Alberto Contador won the 7 stage Paris-Nice race this week. Contador rides for the American Discovery Channel Team. Contado won two stages and fellow teammate Yaroslav Popovych won a stage as well. It sounds like the Discovery team really came to play for this.

Read about it here:
http://www.velonews.com/race/int/articles/11902.0.html

It wasn't all good news for the Discovery team this week. Ivan Basso, a big favorite to win the Tour de France this year, crashed in the third stage of Tirreno-Adriatico, a 213km leg between Marsciano and Macerata. Basso injured his left wrist and actually finished the stage, but later left the race because of the injury. It doesn't sound too bad, but I'm sure Basso is looking for some form as the Giro di Italia looms.

If you can't tell, I follow bicycle racing all year around. I really enjoy it. Having dabbled a little myself I have a lot of respect for what it must take to ride at that level. The conversation of doping aside, to be tackled another day for sure, to ride at the level of the guy finishing last in the race is my goal one day. We'll see.

On your left,
Jeff

Friday, March 16, 2007

Hot Pockets

Jim Gaffigan is one of my favorite stand-up comics. You should definitely TIVO his specials on Comedy Central.

 

Enjoy this little Hot Pocket video, you’ll never look at a Hot Pocket in the same way.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUVmSBGyKm0&mode=related&search=

 

Cheers
Jeff

The week in review

This week came and went faster than a housewife’s first curry. I spent 2 days and nights in sunny San Jose, CA for work. It was almost a little too hot for my liking, ringing in at 80 degrees one day. I will admit that eating outside and watching the sunset, and planes scream by over head, was pretty fun.

I managed to leave my wallet on the plane when I returned home. I have to hand out the good karma points to Alaska Airlines. They found it, called me right away and I was able to return to the airport and pick it up with very little wait. Thanks to the good Samaritan that found it. I hope a good turns come to him/her soon.

This week in the office was busy busy busy. Lavinia is working hard too. In fact, she’s working so hard I feel like a slacker, which is comical. I hear Mark is equally busy.

This week found some good tunes in the shuffle:
Mark Lanegan’s “field songs” and “Whiskey for the Holy Ghost”
Madonna’s “Confessions on the dance floor”
Huey Lewis and the News “Sports”
Living Colour’s “Pride”

This weekend I will be riding the McClinchy mile ride for training. The goal is to put together the 20 mile loop with either the 46 or 34 mile loop. The ride supports the Bicycle Alliance of Washington.
http://www.bikesclub.org/html/mcclinchy/mcclinchy.htm

That night I’ll be celebrating my Irish Heritage at Seattle’s Comet tavern. Sister Psychic and Flake, two of my favorite 1990’s Seattle bands will be playing a “re-union” show. My buddy Rod and I will be on hand. Mark is right when he hopes that audience will be able to get sitters. We’ve all grown up a bit. It’s funny to look around the room. I no longer have the long hair and I don’t choose to wear flannel that much. My take on Pearl Jam has changed over the years as well. You can still find these two bands in my weekly shuffle mix. In fact, I’m making the change now as we speak.

Hopefully Mark will find time to post to tell us all what keeps him so busy these days. I know his Mother and Father do worry.

Cheers
Jeff

Thursday, March 8, 2007

More than meets the eye

The question on my mind is will Mark go see the new transformers movie that is coming, and secondly will he start collecting again. Growing up Mark was, how you say? ah yes,... addicted to the transformers cartoon. If I close my eyes I can still hear the noise the autobots made when they "transformed" and I know Mark can too. In fact he's probably giggling with laughter like Chewbaca from Star Wars right now as he's thinking about it.

I recall when Mark went to see the animated movie in the theater, he must have been like 12 or something. He comes home to shock me with the news that they actually killed some of the transformers in the movie. I think Mark grew up that day and still misses his childhood.

I shouldn't diss him too bad. He did have his older brother watching most of those shows with him.

I hear that the dude that was Optimus Prime's voice in the cartoon is in the new movie too. How cool is that?

Anyway, between Mark drifting back to younger years, and Lavinia recalling the cartoon in Spanish and English the new movie promises to be a trip down memory lane fo sho!

Night.

My Spidey Sense is Tingling

I'm such a Spider-man fan it's funny at times. I know Mark is an anti-trailer kinda guy, but you must check out the 7 minute vid here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LKsdU_nKO8

Excelsior!


What's a shuffling hot stuff

Maybe my post on iPods has me thinking music right now, but what is currently shuffling this week on my iPod?

Lilly Allen
Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Once More With Feeling
Van Halen's - 5150

that is one messed up mix, but then again I didn't promise much more.

Hey Mark, St. Patty's day at the Comet in Seattle, reunion shows of Sister Psychic and Flake. Ha ha ha.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

100 MPG, $25 million dollar race

Business week reports on a race to build a commerically viable car that gets 100 miles per gallon. The race winner will get a $25 million prize from X Prize. The article is a good read,

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_11/b4025403.htm

Check out the Chev Volt pictures in the slide show.

Perhaps my brother can post about how fuel cell cars measure up and the reality of seeing one soon (without betraying company secrets of course )

Mark?

Cheers
Jeff

55 miles

So last weekend I did a 55 mile ride with my buddy Tommy. The day was nice. For those of you outside of Seattle that means it was not raining basically. We did the north end of the Lake Washington. I think the key to the milage this early for my season has been eating a lot as we ride.

I leave with a good breakfast and then 20 minutes in, and every 20 after, I try to eat something. A 1/3 of a cliff bar, 2 cliff shots or some gel delivery goodie, and I drink a lot of water as I ride. Staying fueled has allowed me to get a lot more out of my rides and I can feel the strength coming back. I still have no speed though and I must say I miss it. Gone for now are the days of cruising lightly at 20-22mph. Hopefully by the time June hits I'll be near that. I know I'm a ways from Big Ride shape (no doubt to be blogged about at a future date), but still I still dream.

This week the plans are for 60-65. We'll see how it goes. The weather looks tolerable. Which means that it will be raining on and off. Guess there is a reason we invest in rain gear in this city.

BTW, did you check out the Amgen Tour of California two weeks ago? It was awesome. If you go to http://www.amgentourofcalifornia.com/ and click on the Live Race Tracker link you will see a really cool Flex application that Adobe products were used to create. It was a nifty way to watch the race live. It had streaming video, GPS tracking, course profiles and lots of other information. The best was to Tivo Paul Scherwin and Phil Ligget on VS. at night. It was a great race to kick off the season. I'm looking forward to how Discovery's team does this season and CSC. I think the US should be proud to have had not just the World Champion, but Paolo Bettini himself racing and winning a stage.

On your left,
Jeff

The genius that is the iPod

Think back 5 years ago and try to recall something you really wanted. I mean let it be something you were really focused on. Something that could enter your life and really improve it.

I'm sure you thought about life changing medicines, the removal of certain politcal candidates, the end of suffering and really lofty things that would improve your life.

So turn it down a notch, what abouty your personal daily life? if you could have had anything what would it be? Does your list contain a personal trainer or gym membership? A big screen TV or home sysem? A new car? A new bike (it should)?

Did anywhere in these various lists did you say "I want music delievered to my ears 24/7." I mean I doubt anyone would have said that. We've been able to do it for years with walkmans and CD players. Heck, mp3 players had been available for years and were catching on. Did you ever think, "Lord, I need to watch Pirates of the Carribean on my way to work while I take the train, and it would be nice to hear that radio program from last week on 'not wasting time', etc, etc." The answer is no, no one ever said those things.

And that is the genius of the iPod. Apple created a device that all of sudden caused the entire world, not just our country, to suddenly desperately need music on demand. I mean individuals who never owned a walkman suddenly had to have one and listen to their music all the time, at work, on the commute, at the dinner table, with family, and even when cycling (which I don't support).

Apple made a device that worked simply, it did one thing extremely well, which was to deliver digital music to individuals and provide a way to manage that music via iTunes. They concentrated on what I call the success point. That one tiny point, or even moment of recognition, where the customer realizes that the product is right for them. After they won that battle the sky was the limit and Apple is still flying up.

Personally I waited until the Video iPod before I bought one. I travel a lot and wanted to take my video with me on the plane and in the hotel. Music delivery was not the need I had. I knew Apple would get there, it was only logical. I'm glad I have one now. I'm actually getting back to listening to music I own, taking many a trip down memory lane (trust me that there are artists on my iPod you will not have on yours, can you say Flake?) Now that Tivo Desktop Plus (only $25) will transfer and convert my tivo recordings for my iPod it is even earlier. As an early technology adopter I used a system that required me to manually convert every .tivo file twice before iTunes would see it and sync. Still it got the job done.

I think I've now purchased about $300-$400 in iPod accessories, and actually that would be $1200 if you consider the two pairs of Bose noise reduction headphones that we purchased (btw, awesome if you travel by plane). I've got cases, a car adapter and a mini dock station with speakers for those rooms we work in where the stereo is not piped in. On top of this I've bought other things at the Apple store as well (external hard drive). So Apple has done some things really well here. They've now suckered me into giving them my money (made with a PC btw).

The iPode revolution as I will call it is fascinating. I give Steve Jobs and those at Apple their mad props. Now if they would just help making and supporting software for a Mac as wonderful I'd name my first child Steve Jobs Sheppard-Moran.

Another funny observation, everyone now has white head phones stuck in their ears. I think that in Resident Evil part 10 (which will still be starring the super sexy Mila Jovovich http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c348/juliseckenro/20050617-mjre.jpg) all the zombies will just be ordinary citizens with iPod head phones in their ears. Of course some thing terrible will happen to cause them to eat people, maybe the only song for download will be Achy Breaky Heart. (movie studios you can have that idea for free).

So as I sign off soon, listening to my classic rock shuffle, the Rolling Stones signing "you can't always get what you want," I ponder that they might be right. But some one might just convince you need something you never really considered before and that's a win too.

Cheers
Jeff