Tuesday, May 27, 2008


As an amateur aviation designer, I've always designed with the whole, "if it looks good, it will fly good" mentality. Engineers comment that this methodology is TLAR, or The Looks About Right.

I really like how the X-48B looks with its blended wing/body design. As you can imagine, internal volumes are huge with a design like this, and performance is excellent as well.

This is a small RPV test vehicle that's flying at Dryden. Very cool stuff. If I could have been alive and present at any point/period in time, I would have been at Edwards in the 50's and 60's when real flight testing was going on at a pace that was providing breakthroughs almost daily.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Final frontier...

Today we're gonna bear witness to two pretty cool events.

First, a Canadian is going to take a balloon up to around 130,000 feet, hopefully eclipsing the previous world record of 123,000 feet. But that's not why he's going up in the balloon - his real intent is then to jump from the balloon and freefall back to earth faster than Mach 1 and be the first "verified" human being to break the speed of sound in free fall. (some confusion exists around some previous jumps by the US Military some 40 years ago).

Ok, so that's pretty cool. I'll bet before he steps out of his capsule, its gonna be one heck of a view!!

Early this evening, NASA will be landing its Phoenix vehicle on the surface of Mars. This time they're putting it fairly far north so they can get good hard data back on ice/water content on the surface. NASA will be steaming it live here in case you don't have NASA TV on your cable or dish system.

UPDATE - NASA lands perfectly. Mach 1 skydive postponed til Monday.

UPDATE 2 - Dude didn't tether his balloon and it floated away. Doh!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Brilliant return...

I finally got a chance on my current road trip to listen to the new B-52's release. I'm a longtime fan, but I was pretty suspect of the new album (why do we still call them albums? I can't call it a CD either since I got it on iTunes...) but anyway, I digress.

I think they nailed it with this return and they're still true to their original sound with some new tweaks that I think really work for them.

I saw then live back in 1988 in Milwaukee when Toad The Wet Sprocket opened for them. Amazing live show - sounded better live than recorded. I recall that some asshole threw crap at one of the girls and they almost walked off stage (can't blame them!) but the crowd outed the jerk, ejected him and they played on and stayed another 30 minutes to boot.

Check it out on iTunes or wherever you buy your music these days.

Call me crazy

So, Microsoft wants to buy Yahoo!, supposedly to go after Google.

Hmmm, Microsoft lost search marketshare in March, as did Yahoo! all while Google gained share.

So, following the logic here, we're gonna mash together two declining marketshare loosers to go after a gainer?

Uh, yeah. Brilliant strategy.

Hey Microsoft, perhaps you should focus on something perhaps a little more relevant to your longevity ... I dunno ... perhaps shipping an operating system that isn't total crap?

I know. I know, I'm crazy for thinking this way.

So insanely crazy with my twisted logic.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Fasten your seat belts while we reboot the plane

Today I had the lucky experience of having the flight crew "reboot" our Embraer 175 before takeoff this morning. It seems this is a common software bug with this particular aircraft that sometimes (but not always) can be rectified by completely shutting down the aircraft, waiting a few minutes and then powering it all back up again to clear the computer(s) that are displaying the faulty message.

At least they're not running Windows - that would give a new meaning to the blue screen of death!

Pure showmanship

Do yourself a favor, and check out Kid Rock live if you can. Heck of a show and one of the few performers who, live in person, really knows hows to entertain.

Obviously I loved the show, but I didn't like waking up at 4:30am to catch my 6am flight to Detroit. Ug!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Anyone seen this? Egon?

Another odd vehicle over southern Cali. Caught this over at a blog at AvLeak.


Why is it that when I look at the Enron stress cube on my desk (I have 3) I correlate that image with what's currently going on with the price of oil these days?

Where's your data?

What if your smart phone was stolen? Your contacts, email preferences, calendar and all things you were in someone else's hands?

Have you ever sold an old laptop, desktop, smartphone or ipod? Chances are that even though you wiped the hard drives/memory, your important data was still on the device.


While you may have reset or deleted the files, the actual data is still there. All that was changed were the pointers to the data. Someone with the right tools and know-how can easily pull partial and complete files from your device in minutes of having it in their possession.

This article about data in iPhones brings up a good point that I think everyone should be mindful of.

UPDATE - "format" your iPhone

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Uh oh

While cycling the boat lift, there was a little mishap.

Hope to have this all rectified by the coming holiday weekend as the weather is supposed to be pretty decent and I'd like to get the boat here.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Life is great!

A pile of gear (mine and friend's) in the rigging area behind the surf shack, boards on the beach and the flag is still straight out with the fresh NW winds.

Tonight I'm doing a mix of meat on the grill. From hamburgers to hotdogs, seared tuna and a few blue marlin steaks. Should be interesting to be sure.

I'm sooooo guilty of perma-grin. ;-)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Pssst! Wanna buy a watch?

Ok, perhaps not a watch, but lookie here : AT&T has another batch of refurb iPhone's available at decent prices. (I got mine as a refurb from Apple and couldn't be happier)

Click here to check out the phones....

But then again, the 3G iPhone is just around the corner in June....

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Slow kills

I subscribed to Mozy last week. With all my travels, it makes sense to have my important files backed up to the cloud.

Great idea, but in reality, it just takes too long to backup over the net. I dunno what kind of soda straw they have in their facility, but there's no way I can sit for all these days while my data is backed up. And this is just my mail folder! I had other docs and things in there as well, but it was forecasting 18+ days for that so I scaled back to just my mail folder.

I'm gonna call them tomorrow and cancel the service. Bummer 'cause this would really be nice for a mobile warrior like me. (sigh)

On the plus side, my 1TB Apple Time Capsule arrived today. I'll be posting my experiences about that soon.


My quest to reduce clutter and a few ounces from my bag has lead me to a product that I saw at MacWorld last January. The Eye-Fi SD card combines a 2GB SD card with 802.11 WiFi capabilities which essentially eliminates the need for cables for sucking photos and video off of your digital camera.

I thought the $99 price tag was worth it, though I think over time the price is gonna come down and 2GB of storage isn't great, so I expect to see a 4GB model soon.

Setup is super easy and also includes the ability to automatically upload photos directly from the camera to online photo sites like Flickr. (they have about 15+ sites that they'll work with which is pretty cool) I've just opted to upload locally to my MacBook Pro, but I could see how great it would be when you are traveling to just upload directly to the web and not need to crack out the laptop, or even bring it.

My only complaint is the speed of import - its slow. I didn't check, but I'd assume that even though this is 802.11 technology, I'd bet it's A/B : no way its G or N. And at that, I'd bet they have the data rate scaled back for power reasons.... but still, its a great idea and really makes you think about where technology like this would really be useful.

So, if you're looking to travel light (you know I am!) and eliminate hassle and wire clutter, then check it out!

Which would you rather have?

If you were a new band looking to score big, which would you rather have?

1) a contract with a lame record company?

2) Apple use one of your songs in an iPod ad?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Ensuring you don't overdeliver

Take a look at the screen shot closely (click on it for large image).

As you can see, the item that I ordered (from Apple if you really want to know) was locally available for delivery last Friday, but they didn't deliver because technically they didn't have to.

So, what kind of message does this give to the customer?

"Gee, we could have given you your items early, but no. We're not gonna do that, regardless of how cool of a thing that would be for us to do."

What would it take for the corporate culture to be changed in order to take advantage of situations like this? Is there a real cost to Fedex to deliver early versus waiting until their required delivery date? The kicker is that the package was actually OUT ON THE TRUCK FOR DELIVERY on Friday, but then it was returned to the facility. So, someone had to make the decision NOT to deliver.

Freakin' amazing.

In this case - what was the cost of NOT delivering? (you be the judge)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sunset alert!

I'm a sucker for a sunset. What can I say?

18 knots of wind from the NE, a decent swell rolling down the bay and a perfect ending to a dull, grey day. What more can I ask for? (Oh yeah, warmer temps, but I'm still ok with the card dealt.)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Docks in!

I had a nice surprise when I came home last night (Friday). The dock crew had been by and got our dock and boat lift in! Way cool!

We didn't put the dock in last year since we didn't really get moved in until the first of July, but this year we're one the first to have it in and once I get the new bunks for the lift, we'll put the boat in next weekend. I can't wait!

It was such a killer evening last night before sunset that I grabbed one of the paddleboards and did a little sunset standup down the beach. The water was super clear and I was psyched to kick off summer with such an evening. (if you look closely, the board is on the end of the dock.)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Light and fast

This week I decided to see how light (and fast) I could travel in terms of baggage. I was doing a small(er) trade show, and that alone dictates a certain amount of baggage needed for the booth, backdrop, marketing materials, etc. and I wanted to do the whole thing without checking luggage.

Amazingly, this actually worked. The only thing that was awkward was the fact that I didn't have a computer bag. My MacBook Pro was in a neoprene sleeve in my roller bag and carrying it with its assorted support gear was problematic.

On the plus side, I have really bummed down the amount of stuff I carry and next week when I do it again, I'll be better prepared.

On the down side, there are a few nice things that I usually carry that I went without. While the lack of DVI cables was an annoyance, there is one thing that will make the cut next week that didn't this week.

Namely my Bose noise canceling headphones. I ditched my nano and touch and have been running 100% off of my iPhone, but I need those headphones. Its amazing how much better the audio is on a flight versus those little earbuds.

Knee jerk reactions

Funny sign on the flight from Houston to Detroit (on a CRJ-900 - more on that later) in the bathroom. In my worldly travels, I've consumed some dubious water, but I was surprised by the sign in the forward lav warning me not to drink the water.

Now, I'm sure the water in the tanks that feed that faucet are fine to drink, especially compared to any third world country, but some bored lawyers figured its just too much of a risk to chance it.

This reminded me of several times where business decisions that I had made were being questioned by corporate counsel and I overrode their objections and stood firm on my initial decision. No harm befell the company, customers or myself. Had I listened to them I would have missed a great opportunity. This has created a knee jerk reaction over the years that the more the lawyers don't like an idea I have, the better it is.

Scary thing - it really holds true.


A lot about the Hyatt Place that I stayed at this week in Houston was out of the ordinary. Everything was well thought out, and from a design/marketing standpoint, I really thought the hotel directory was cool.

Design like this can have downsid issues when it comes to expectations in terms of I didn't realize what it was and kept looking for what I was EXPECTING a directory to look like.

Sometimes its good to meet expectations for ease of use, but as we all know from Seth's book, its good to be a Purple Cow on the important things.

Eyeballing it

Ok, this is cool. I want one. Even if I had to wear the video glasses that I really don't like. This is just too cool for R/C geeks.

My FPV Movie from Crash9 on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Think about it. Connections matter. Its great when you have them, but when you don't, its a royal pain in the ass.

When I checked into my hotel last night, I did notice the 42" LCD panel, but what I really locked onto was the built in AV connectors for the TV. I mean, seriously, are you kidding me? Someone actually was on the ball with this? I'm really amazed!

And wouldn't you know it, but I forgot to bring the DVI cables for my MacBook Pro so I couldn't take advantage of the opportunity to watch movies in full glory on the 42" LCD instead of my 15" laptop.

There are a lot of connections that you take for granted in business, and there are those that are there, but you are not prepared for. So, be a Boy Scout and Be Prepared! You never know what opportunity your connections will present you.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Bad bluffing

This morning we have Yang over at Yahoo backpedaling in an attempt to bring Microsoft back to the table after their stock has taken a beating with their handling of the whole episode.

One things for sure - Jerry sucks at poker and I doubt anyone would hire him as a CEO either after this.

Hard drive crash

I saw this article early this morning and was amazed. What this drive has gone through and still 99% of the data has been recovered to complete the experiment.

Simply amazing. Very cool.

Monday, May 5, 2008

1,000,000 miles

This weekend I passed 1 million miles flown on Northwest Airlines. While I've been flying NWA for almost my entire life, 70% of those miles were in the past ~4 years.

(these are actual miles flown - no bonus miles in there)

And no, I'm not excited about the NWA+Delta merger. I've flown Delta and haven't been impressed. It reminds me of two other mergers, namely 1) Time Warner+AOL and 2) Daimler+ Chrysler.


Try this : hit a bunch of fast food places through the drive through. Note the tone and candor that you are asked for the order.

Now go to a Taco Bell. He/She isn't asking for an order, they're starting a conversation.

While I'm not sure this really changes the customer experience through the drive-through, its certainly different and when applied elsewhere, might have some seriously positive effects.

A good analogy would be using market-speak on your website, or more of a blog-toned voice for the copy.