Friday, February 27, 2009

A break in the Zabriskie case

News story reports that one of DZ's cars was found.

Not much, but hopefully it's a lead to solving this crime.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

And we thought Lance had a bad run-in with thieves

Apparently, thieves broke in to DZ's house while he was off at ToC and stole ~$160k in stuff, plus two cars, all his old race bikes, race memorabilia, his Olympic ring, even some custom Marvel Comics models he had been given.

Talk about a buzzkill after such a successful ToC.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I'm surrounded! Surrounded!

By incompetence.

I see two ways out of this dilemma:

1) Accept it.

2) Fight it.

Though it seems like option 2 might be the more difficult path, I've come to the conclusion that option 1 would require significant resources. Namely, beer. Beer, and punk music. I'll certainly not drink the beer during work hours, but that's when the punk music would come in especially handy.

I also need to get on my bike more, whichever way I go. First race is in a mere 14 weeks. This is one of the events I've done for years, yet I haven't ever reached my personal goal for finishing time. Granted, that goal was chosen somewhat arbitrarily (I took my best time and rounded it down to the nearest 10-minute interval) so perhaps I should consider it meaningless. However, I've yet to let go of it, so clearly I have the same two choices in my bike life as in my work life:

1) Accept it.

2) Fight it.

I can chose to get over the fact that I'll never reach my goal for this race. Or, I can chose to get on my bike more and actually accomplish something.

The real dilemma, of course, lies in the intersection of these two decisions. In the resultant 2 x 2 matrix of options, are there any cells that are more or less desirable than others? Are there any cells that represent an impossible conflict in resource allocation or outcomes?

Perhaps there is an obvious conclusion?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Change in direction

I've reached that point in a blogger's life where I'm either too bored or my attention span has become too short to actually write in a cohesive sense.

So why fight it? In the future, I plan on less serious and more:

-If I showed up at a Critical Mass in pro-team-kit spandex, would I get stoned?
-Does anyone actually like Rock Racing?
-Why the hell is Wiggle named Wiggle?
-If I showed up at an alley cat in pro-team-kit spandex, would I get stoned?
-If I showed up at a local sprint triathlon in pro-team-kit spandex, would I get stoned? (I actually know the answer to this one and it's less exciting than you might guess)

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Final Countdown

No, not the song from Europe.

Rather, the final countdown to the one and only* ordinal moment in Unix time. Unix systems typically use a method for storing and working with time values based off the POSIX time standard.

The gist of this standard is that all values in time are referenced by the number of seconds they are away from midnight on the first of January, 1970. That date and time is the epoch for timekeeping in the Unix world, and hence has a value of zero. All other dates and times are referenced from that point. So, for instance, midnight on January 2, 1970 was 86400, since it was that many seconds after the epoch. Currently, by this standard, it is roughly 1234555212. Also known as roughly 3:00 PM EST on the 13th of February, 2009.

Astute observers will instantly recognize something. 1234555212 is nearly** ordinal - that is, the digits that make up that number are nearly in numerical sequence.

Astute observers with keen math skills will recognize that the Unix time value for Friday, February 13th 2009, 23:31:30 UTC*** will be completely ordinal. Huzzah for accidental patterns!

So, ladies and gentlemen, perhaps it is time Prince rewrote his infamous (and of course outdated) 1999, because in just a few short hours, it'll be time to party**** like it's 1234567890!

(* - in case there are any true nerds out there, I suppose I should qualify my "one and only" statement by adding the condition of "using every digit available for a positive 32-bit signed value" since technically, there are infinitely other ordinal occurrences according to the pure standard, if you ignore the convention of storing the value in a signed 32-bit integer. But, only two in a signed 32-bit integer with a value in the largest position, and only one that's positive.)

(** - By "nearly" I mean in terms of absolute numerical value, not positionally. In other words, the value of that number is close to the value of a number that is completely ordinal, though that number itself is less than half ordinal.)

(*** - AKA 6:31:30 PM EST)

(**** - screw everyone too busy with V-Day plans***** to appreciate this! Hah! Take that, you happy lovebirds!)

(***** - I have none.******)

(****** - Are you allowed to use *****'s in a footnote to reference another footnote? I don't think so. No more footnotes now, I mean it!*******)

(******* - Anybody want a peanut?)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The fastest guy in the world meets the fastest guy in the world

AKA "My worlds collide:"

It turns out that Carlos Sastre (of bike riding fame) and Fernando Alonso (of F1 auto racing fame) met at a football match some time ago, realized they are fans of each others' sports, and as such, Fernando recently spent a day riding with Sastre's TestTeam cycling squad. Meanwhile, Fernando is (or has, probably, since that link is a few weeks old) letting Sastre into the pits during a practice day at Renault's test track.

Sastre apparently commented that he was surprised at Fernando's fitness. Knowing what conditions are like during an F1 race, it shouldn't be surprising at all - intense heat, extreme g-forces, and other unrelenting factors certainly demand a lot from an F1 driver's body, fitness-wise.

What a neat experience for both of them.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

For those with no thumbs

I present the SealSkins Technical Winter Glove:

Coffee, leading the way to office productivity

Want to improve office productivity? Offer coffee instead of water!

No, really. And it's not the caffeine. Read on. . .

So, one of the clients I'm spending a lot of time with lately has a little break room with a water cooler and one of those automatic pod coffee machines - the kind that let you select from a variety of coffee and tea products in little single-use pods, pop one in the machine, hit a button, and wait a few seconds. To be honest, I'm not a big fan of most mass-market coffee products, but the stuff this one produces is actually pretty good. And the people in this place go through enough of it that it's usually fresh.

Now, about that water cooler. The office recently switched vendors, so the old machine went away and a new one took it's place. It's slow. s. . . . .l. . . . . o. . . .wwwwwwww. . . . . . . . . Slow to the point that some of the diehard water-drinkers started pondering the coffee machine, instead.

So, I timed them. (yes, I'm a geek.) As it turns out, assuming an astute and proficient user, the coffee machine is FASTER than the water cooler. Yes, it takes less time to heat up 8 ounces of water and force it through a small puck of coffee than it does to simply dispense it from the water cooler.

So, want to increase productivity in your office? Ditch the water cooler and get a coffee machine, instead. People will be back at their desks several seconds faster after each refreshment break.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Help me out here, people

So I noticed that Wiggle, the UK equivalent to Perfnashbance Bike (though arguably with better selection and higher quality goods), has an add on that orders over 100 GPB get free shipping to the US. Last time I checked, they didn't ship to the US, so this was news to me.

I eagerly clicked the add, then tried to find how to get their US-targeted site. Near the top, there's a section displaying that you're viewing prices in X currency for shipment to Y location - X and Y are links that allow you to change. So, for instance, you can specify shipment for the Vatican City State, if you so desire. There's even text that proclaims the site will be filtered to show only the goods they can ship to your locale, with correct shipping costs, etc.

I clicked the currency link and changed it to USD, then clicked the location link and changed it to USA.

Immediately, I noticed the currency had defaulted back to GPB. So I changed it back to USD.

. . . at which point the location defaulted back to UK. So I changed it back to USA.

. . . . which caused the currency to bounce back to GBP.

To make sure I wasn't off my rocker (I say this ironically, since I was sitting in a rocking chair at the time), I checked from another browser. Same result. I checked from a third browser, on a different computer. Same thing. Yet another browser, on a different computer. Same thing. I tried obscure combinations of the two, and each time, when I'd switch one variable, the other would default back to the UK-centric choice.

I even went to the length of finding the cookie had put on my computer and manually editing it to reflect the correct choices.

Defaulted right back.

So here's my challenge - can anyone out there in blog-land get this site to recognize a non-UK currency AND a non-UK ship location?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Ok, for real now:

Catching up:

1) I had two races last season I never posted about. One kicked ass (hard to argue with an age group win) and the other sucked (almost 15% off my goal pace).

2) I really like my Garmin Edge 305. It makes for an interesting conversation with other geeky cyclists I know. We can all sit around and compare heart rate graphs for that big hill on such and such street. More than anything, it's a motivator, in the sense that it doesn't lie. It's easy, when training, to either lull yourself into underperformance or work yourself to death. Having data at your fingertips can help prevent either of those extremes.

3) Also really like the new trainer. I dunno if it's pure luck or something special about this particular model, but it doesn't seem to eat tires like other trainers do. Right now I have cyclocross tires on one of my bikes, and I ride it on the trainer often. I'd expect a trainer to shred a cross tire, but it shows no wear.

4) Need to get/stay motivated. See second set of race results mentioned up top. In addition, lots of other things going on in life right now (not about to yack them all over this blog, don't worry) so it's been tough to stay in shape. I think I'm finally getting back on top of my game after months of crap, so hopefully this is the "real thing" and not a fake motivational boost.

On a related note, how do you know if a year is going to be "the" year? I feel like I've had certain bike-related goals for a few years in a row and they've never been realized.

This just in. . .

I have recovered from the freak dirigible accident (which involved a bird, a remixed jazz album, some red paint, the language of automation, and a spoke wrench) and promise to blog regularly once again.

So for all .03 of my fans, I'm back.

(No, I was not in a hot air balloon accident, but it sounds more interesting than the truth.)