Sunday, February 20, 2005

Amazon Prime Impressions

Now that I've been using Amazon Prime for a while I've noticed a few things. I don't see much of a difference in my purchasing behavior when it comes to things like books and music. However, I've really enjoyed having Prime for consumables. I buy as many consumables as possible from Amazon. Everything from mouthwash and dental floss to trash bags and dishwasher detergent. The prices are reasonable and it cuts down on the size of grocery store trips. Anyway, before Prime I would leave a few consumables in my cart and use them as filler to get over the $25 threshold. Even while doing this I tended to forget things. Prime has changed all of that. Now, as soon as I realize I need something I hop online and place the order. No batching, no waiting, no thinking. Notice you're out of trash bags as you're putting out the garbage? No problem. Hop online, click a few times and it's taken care of. Very nice.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Why Cyclists Wear Black Shorts

Ted passed on this hilarious link:
http://www.alivewithlove.com/cyclists.html

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The Unthinkable

[ reposting ]

It's hard to believe. I still haven't quite internalized it myself, but it happened. I was hit by a car. Here's how it all went down.

After being away for a week and spending my time running (in between eating all that yummy holiday food) I was anxious to get back on the bike. So, Thursday morning I set out for a loop around Lake Sammamish, a route I am intimitately familiar with. About halfway around the lake I was at the 1 hour point in my ride and was looking forward to enjoying my PowerBar went it all went bad. As I was approaching an intersection with no light I noticed a car was starting to make a left right in front of me. The road had was a slight downhill at this point and was wet. I figure I was doing at least 20 mph. When I realized the driver didn't see me it was already too late. I slammed on my brakes, but my wet rims weren't providing much stopping power. The car continued to turn and I knew was about to happen. I slammed into the front of the car and landed next to the driver's door.

Right after hitting the ground I got up, did a quick survey to make sure everything important was still attached (it was) and looked back at my bike. It was lying at the front of the car literally in two pieces. The frame had snapped completely in half. I was in shock at the severity of the damage and amazed I wasn't in a similar condition.

Fortunately, a FedEx driver was at the intersection and witnessed the whole event. She immediately called 911 and stayed with me until help arrived. After going through the usual book keeping with the police I went to the hospital to get checked out, just as a precaution. Turns out I am just fine. I have some bruises on my left side (the one I landed on) and a nice dent in my helmet (never leave home without it!), but that's it. I am very lucky.

So what now? Well, I'm not going to let this stop me. In fact, I borrowed a friend's bike and was out riding today. I've also started shopping for new bikes... but that will be the topic of another post. In the mean time, here are some pics I took of the bike after the accident (and you thought camera phones were just for identity theft and dirty old men):


Saturday, February 12, 2005

Camera Phone Pics

Jeez, sorry about the crappy camera phone pics. Been playing around with Flickr a bit. Unfortunately my camera phone isn't very high quality and the lens tends to get covered with pocket lint. Oh well.

Dinner on lake washington

Dinner on lake washington

Track Changes

The more time I spend in software development, the less time I spend actually writing code. Now I spend time thinking about code or designs or other high level things that are somehow less rewarding than actually sitting down and typing some code. Inevitably this means I spend a lot of time using Word (hey, I should really switch back to TeX if I want to feel like I'm coding). I think the track changes feature is simply great and use it all the time, even for documents I'm working on solo. It got me thinking, why not have a "track changes" like feature in your development environment? It would certainly make code reviews much easier. The reviewer could simply edit the code and add comments inline. All comments would be stored with the code itself. IMO, this would be much more convenient than conducting code reviews via email. Perhaps some nifty GUI that I'm not familiar with has this feature, but if not, it probably wouldn't be terribly difficult to build.

Friday, February 11, 2005

HID Headlights

I use a high end HID headlight for riding at night. If you've seen cars who's headlights have a blueish tint and are very bright, then you know what I'm talking about. My bike headlight uses the same technology. I got it because I sometimes ride on roads and trails with absolutely zero light.

However, once in a while I find myself getting yelled at by other bikers. Last night, on a trail, some guy screamed at me "Your light sucks!". I guess this is the cycling equivalent of flashing your high beams at someone, or more likely, giving them the finger. I assume people aren't happen that my light is so bright. Did I violate some kind of biker ettiquete? What are the unwritten rules on this one?

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Amazon Prime

If you have a second, check out the new Prime program over at Amazon. For $79/per year you get free 2 day shipping and overnight shipping for $3.99. Plus, you can share the membership with 4 people. There no minimum bar to get the deal, as with the $25 free shipping. Just join and 1-click your heart out. I joined... we'll see if it is worth it.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Cannondale R5000 Impressions

I wouldn't make a good bike reviewer. Many of the bikes I've ridden feel the same to me, so I'm clearly not good at picking up the subtle differences. That said, I have a few thoughts now that I've spent some time on my new bike.

Not surprisingly, it is light and stiff. Acceleration and climbing are very good, which you would expect. The Arione saddle is extremely comfortable, though I can't tell if the carbon seatpost does anything to dampen vibration. I do know I have far fewer saddle sores than before. :) The carbon cranks feel stiff and I there is no derailleur rubbing, even during heavy acceleration.

However, the shifting performance is the stand out feature. The 10 speed Dura-Ace drive train is simply amazing. Shifts are so effortless that you might forget you're actually pulling a cable. The best part is that this is even true for the front derailleur. A light one finger click will lift the chain on to the big ring. I still have to look down to convince myself it actually happened.