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Showing posts from August, 2006

Cable Internet as your DVR

Follow my logic here: Computers: Most homes now have a computer. Most computers are hooked up to the Internet. Most homes have broadband now. Entertainment: Digital entertainment has exploded, especially with the advent of MP3's. There is already a massively successful business model around downloadable digital content: the iTunes store. DVR's are already in more use than VCR's, and are set to become a mainstay of the home: people like watching their programs, when they want to. Placeshifting, the method of using one's digital content where ever you are, is starting (Slingbox). And YouTube is becoming one of the most trafficked sites online, because people like to watch video. Gadgets: cellphones are becoming smartphones. The screens and memory are already there, and are set to become the mainstay of the cellphone set. The iPod Video has already proven there is a market for people to watch video, wherever they go. Piracy: DVD's are routinely ripped and put online wi

Biking on the Golden Gate Bridge

I've recently been talked into biking home occasionally from work. Normally, I bike to the Sausalito Ferry, and then to the office, and then back the same, but Charles has been taking this biking a lot more seriously. His enthusiasm is infectious, so I've been talked into, after a long day at work, riding through the city, then over the Golden Gate. First, I've come to one conclusion: I hate hills. I don’t know why, but even though I have been doing this bike thing for a while, I still can’t stand going up hills. I am absolutely unashsamed at walking the bike, when needed, and the ride to the Bridge has two major ones that I can’t quite get up and over: a Charlie Horse (why the hell do they call it that???) always strikes. Luckily, Charles is patient, and puts up with me. Second, I never thought biking could be anything but a solitary endeavor. Yet, with Charles as a companion, we talk and ride, and, 13 miles later, I'm amazed I survived. Of course, he rides another 10

San Diego: Day 2

A wonderful night's sleep in our Chinese wedding bed, followed by coffee, fresh fruit, juice and pastries delivered to the room, and we were ready for the next day of exploration. We intended to head straight to La Jolla, to the north, and started through Balboa Park, when Amy looked to the right, and said, "That's an interesting building. I wonder what that is?" I turned off to get a better look, and we found the magic that is Balboa Park. Balboa Park is from the same vein as San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Built in the early 1900's for an Exposition (why don’t we have more of these now?), it is a monument to the combination of classic architecture, art, and soul-enriching spirit. It's HUGE, and the landscape is lush, meticulous, and a discovery around every corner. For instance, the seemingly innocuous parking lot disclosed a glimpse of an amazing architectural gem; we headed in, and found an incredible theatre! Through the courtyard, we could see even

Dining Review - San Diego Edition: Dakota Grill

In the heart of the Gaslamp quarter, the Dakota Grill was one of several theme restaurants in the Cohn Restaurant Group's repertoire. Elegantly appointed, with the right mix of casual and class, the place was big, but not cavernous. Tinkling pianos came from the upstairs lounge, and we were seated on a Thursday night immediately. First, the wine list. Nothing terribly remarkable, especially for a semi-chain in SoCal, but they did have a great option: flights! If you are not familiar with wine flights, buckle in. For a little more than the price of a single glass, a flight usually gives you a taste of three different wines, paired to let you really taste the difference. Usually, they are the same varietals, varied by year or vineyard, but Dakota offered a little different: irreverent pairings, titled "Red Red Wine" or "Sideways" and the like. I went for the Red Red Wine: Charles Krug Cabernet, a Zin from Paso Robles, and a blend from Alexander Valley. Ok, the f

San Diego: Day 1

Coronado Island is home to some of the most tranquil harbors and beautiful Southern California beach land ever. Of course, it's also got the requisite tourist village and some fun restaurants; we ate at a 50's joint, called the Beach-N-Diner : nothing special but HUGE salads. Really loud music they were accommodating enough to turn down so we could all catch up. After filling our stomachs, we headed to the main draw of the island: the Hotel Del Coronado. A sprawling, beautiful wooden hotel, it evokes the '30's sense of splendor. Everything too perfect, with the Pacific as the ideal backdrop. We toured the lobby, then headed to the deck to sit with drinks and take in the scenery. After, we peeked in the courtyard: the architecture is magnificent. Like the Levi Strauss building grafted to an oceanliner. Private decks, soaring palms, and a gazebo. Magnificent. A short drive around Coronado to see the naval installations, then back to the Inn for some respite. Then, dinner.

Weekend in San Diego

One of the better things about living in California is the relative closeness of major parts of the West Coast. When I lived in Boston, I never thought of heading to Florida for the weekend, or even Virginia; out here, heading to Southern California is a 1 hour flight. Heck, I've even flown to LA for a speech in the morning, and been back for lunch in San Francisco! This weekend, my Dad (Lou) and stepmother (Fenna) were in San Diego. Fenna had a conference there all week, so my Dad opted to come out and join her for a few days of R&R. A few months ago, we had thought this sounded great, so we arranged to meet them there. After all, how often do you get to see great people who you are related to, in a nice place? Anyway, on Thursday, we headed to Oakland Airport. We left the car with Expresso Parking : they are an outfit that has really tried to take off-airport parking to another level. They offer Outdoor parking for about $8; Indoor parking for about $10, and Valet Indoor park

Let the Web help you fight the airlines

How many times have you been deciding to look at buying a ticket to fly, but you just know that the airlines will lower the price, right after you click the buy button. What if there was a way to know if you should wait?   Farecast aims to do just that: using really cool technical analysis and a good common sense, it recommends if you should wait or not, with amazingly good accuracy. It's still beta and free, but only works for Boston and Seattle and the destinations thereof, but WOW. UPDATE: Farecast must have read my post, because they are out of beta. Lots of cities now available!
The First Example of the Reality Distortion Field If you have ever been a Mac fan, you've heard of the famous Steve Jobs "reality distortion field." He speaks, and it becomes...overwhelming. Having been privvy to it many times, as well as having seen what it takes to build up to it (yes, Steve even fired me, even though I did not work for him :-)), it's even more impressive to see how well he pulls it off. Have a look at the very first example: the introduction of the original Mac in 1984, over 22 years ago. Wacth the crowd. Remember: this was a tiem that the personal computer was barely understood as a concept, and Atari video games ruled the world on the TV. Then...this.

Highlights from San Diego, this weekend

The Museum of Man, Balboa Park

The Revenge of the ABA

Wow. Talk about foresight. These brothers, Ozzie and Dan Silna, co-owners of the long-forgotten ABA team, the Spirits of St. Louis, make $24 million a year and haven't had a team in 30 years, thanks to a single line in a contract. Amazing. read more  |  digg story

A Tale of Robots, Parking Garages, and Labor Disputes

This reads like a sci-fi story from the near future. In, of all places, Hoboken NJ, the city has a parking garage that is the pinnacle of technology: no ramps, or spaces, but instead a full suite of the most sophisticated elevators. Of course, it's operated by software: no people. Twice the capacity of cars, half the time to retrieve your car...and a raft of unexpected consequences. Now, imagine what happens when the city gets into a dispute with the company that operates the technology. Espionage, intrigue, and customers who can't get their cars out of the garage. Wired News said it best: Giant Robot Imprisons Parked Cars . Welcome the brave new world.

Dining Review: Boca

What is it about Marin? One of the highest concentrations of $ in the world, and yet the dining options are hardly commensurate. Sure, you have a few exceptions: Lark Creek Inn, Kitchen, Fork, but few others. That may just starting to change. In the last year, several new restaurants have opened, and Novato seems to be the center of some of the best. Rickey's was one of the first. Then came Kitchen, with a flourish. Now, we discover Boca. Now, I'm no talented foodie blogger, like the Restaurant Whore , but I think I need to share some of these places with the fellow Bay Areans, as well as Marinites. Boca is an Argentinean steak restaurant: think lots of great meat, with a plethora of sauces. The location is odd: it's in a part of Novato lacking any appeal and charm, and it seems completely out of place. It's definitely upscale, next to a nondescript office suite, and surrounded by gas stations, dry cleaners, and other daily necessities. Don't let that puzzle you t

Customer Service held hostage

The following is a true story. I've been playing around with Skype more, especially now that SkypeOut is free in the US (able to call US phone numbers at no charge). So, I wanted to see if I could use my Plantronics Bluetooth headset with my PC for this. After all, my computer has Bluetooth; should be a no brainer. I even searched online, and found a few examples. Paired it just fine. How, you ask? Well, I consulted Plantronics' support website, where I found this helpful document: Question How do I switch my Voyager 510 from PC to Phone and vice versa? Answer After connecting your Voyager 510 base to your phone following the setup instructions in the Quick Start Guide, you should be able to use the headset with your desktop phone. Next you should pair the headset with your PC by putting the headset in discovery mode and going to My Bluetooth Places on your PC "search for nearby devices". When the "PLT 510" is found, right-click on its icon and sel