A Perfect Week of Driving

April 13th, 2014 No comments

I got an early Automatic Link by Automatic late last year. It’s a very interesting device to track how you’re driving with the ultimate goal to improve your gas milage. To further encourage good habits, it maintains a score of how the week has gone. After many very close weeks, I recently managed a full 100% score:

Automatic 100 Score

Well, almost perfect. I did have one hard break and less than a minute of going over 70 MPH–I’ll work on that. Considering my car is only supposed to get 29/37 mpg, a 43.7 mpg average over 740 miles is quite impressive. Driving like this has certainly paid for the device!

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Don’t worry, I’m still married

March 29th, 2014 No comments

Whenever I need to remember something for a short period of time, I’ll move my wedding ring from my left hand to my right one. Since it feels so strange, it encourages me act on whatever it is as soon as possible. As a result, I have a few ‘rules’ that I utilize:

  • Use it for only one thing at a time (no overloading)
  • Either do it or capture it (in OmniFocus) soon
  • Reassure my wife that I still love her

So, when you see me move my ring from one hand to the other, you don’t have to wonder.

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Nice to be part of the family

February 8th, 2014 No comments

I received in the mail yesterday a most interesting package. It was a collection of items from MINI USA as a result of me recently joining the family of MINI owners. It was unexpected as I certainly don’t recall asking for any sort of gift.

It is certainly a nice touch and makes me appreciate the company more than I already did.

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223.27 miles one step at a time

February 2nd, 2014 No comments

I’ve been using a FitBit for two years now and I’m happy to say that it has encouraged me to be conscious about exercising. I now walk regularly which also gets me a break during the day at work for sunlight and reading. For January, I decided to commit to a goal much higher than my typical 11,000 steps per day: 500,000 steps in a month. I made it, but just barely.

FitBit stats Jan 2014

 It’s not a sustainable pace, but I will try to keep things up over the coming year.

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Looking for Retina for my Retinas

December 24th, 2013 No comments

I’ve had my current MacBook Pro at work for over a year and I have really become enamored with the retina display. For the unfamiliar, Apple started the concept back with the release of the iPhone 4 which replaced the previous 640×480 display with a 1280×960 display in a resolution-independent 2x mode. The beauty of the option is a display that looks that much more sharp that normal. Last year, they added retina to the MacBook line which extends the concept to the full suite of OS X applications.

For comparison, here’s a screenshot for normal mode (scaled ~200%):

Finder-non-retina

And here’s a retina version (also scaled ~200%):

finder-retina

At work since I use my desktop setup for the majority of my work, I’ve been researching what options exist for having a retina mode on a desktop system. Normally, retina (also called HiDPI) is prevented from the screen settings, but it can be enabled with the following command:

sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.windowserver DisplayResolutionEnabled -bool YES

Then after a reboot or logout/login you can check the options in the Displays System Preference:

Screen Shot 2013-12-24 at 7.11.54 AM

If you want even more options, you can download Retina DisplayMenu (RDM) from Paul Griffin. On a normally full HD display (1920×1080) I’ve enabled 1280×720 (HiDPI):

Screen Shot 2013-12-24 at 6.16.41 AM

If you’re willing to trade screen real estate for sharpness, it’s a nice usage experience. So now, I’m anxiously awaiting CES next month and the likely release of (semi) affordable Ultra HD/4k displays which have a native resolution of 3840×2160 which will allow for 1920×1080 at full retina (2x). That’d be pretty sweet.

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So it was ten weeks

October 12th, 2013 No comments

Back in July, I shared how the MINI I was looking to get may have to be ordered. Well it was, and after a total of ten weeks of building, shipping, transporting, and prepping, I was able to pick it up this afternoon:

MINI Cooper

Lookin’ pretty nice in the driveway

I’m getting accustomed to driving a manual transmission and how it drives. Tomorrow, I’ll have to run a whole bunch of errands. I’m not sure what, but I’ll come up with something; far away. Now off to read the owner’s manual to figure out all the bits and knobs.

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How A Car Engine Works

September 7th, 2013 No comments

I’ve always enjoyed the complex-yet-simple mechanical design of a combustion engine. This infographic by Jacob O’Neal does a really nice job of explaining how one works.

(click for full size)
How A Car Engine Works, by Jacob O'Neal
Infographic designed by Jacob O’Neal

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It could be two days or eight weeks

July 28th, 2013 No comments

I’m a reasonable man. No shock for anyone that knows me, but I like to think through most any situation so I can determine the best option. Sure, sometimes I intuit things with only a fraction of data, but the more information I have, the better I feel.

This situation of late is related to cars. Like most every Southern California family, we have two cars; one for me and one for my wife/family. Technically, both are for the family since mine is a very practical four-door Civic, but with my commute, it’s the secondary car for the family. My daughter, however, turned 16 this past Spring and while she is only moderately interested in driving, we started the analysis of adding a third car to the mix.

With my commute, my car accumulates miles quite quickly. I log roughly 500 miles each week and while my car is holding up quite well at 180k miles, the longer I drive, the shorter its usable life becomes. With that in mind, the search began. Consumer Reports was my first stop looking at the top rated and best value cars. On a lark (isn’t that how these things always start?), I took a test drive of a MINI Cooper Hardtop. The rest of the list became irrelevant. After some continued discussion (e.g. my daughter doesn’t even have her learner’s permit yet), we sealed the deal yesterday.

Here’s where it gets interesting. They found the model I decided on at the docks near LA destined for Seattle. They made the request to trade it but it’s (on paper, at least) on the truck already. They’ll find out tomorrow if it can be successfully re-routed. If they can, I’ll be good-to-go Tuesday or Wednesday. If not, they’ll probably have to order one which will take two months.

We’ll find out tomorrow. I’ve mentally ‘moved-in’, already, so I’m on pins and needles.

Wanna see it?

Tee Hee

Tee Hee

UPDATE: It turns out that the car was already loaded on a truck and in-transit when they called on it Monday morning. They tried to re-route it as well as looking for a similar replacement. No luck. This Wednesday, they’ll place the order for my CTO MINI which will arrive in about eight weeks. Fortunately, the website has a way to track the  status of the order (i.e. in production, on ship, in dock) so I can generally know how it’s going rather than just waiting for a phone call. It reminds me of ordering something from the back of a comic book. The waiting is going to be tough.
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Validation of being me

July 20th, 2013 No comments

As can be easily learned as you look through my blog, I am a productivity-minded geek. I have been ‘doing’ geek for nearly my entire life and have become increasingly interested in productivity over the last 5-or-so years. That combination worked out perfectly this past weekend.

As a IT professional, I know that backups are important. If you don’t have any (or recent) backups of your data, can you really say that it’s important to you? As a serious GTD‘er, I don’t trust my memory and create repeating tasks in OmniFocus to help remember what I need to do when I need to do it.

Those two things came together to my advantage on Saturday. Friday night, OmniFocus reminded me that it’s been six weeks since I had backed up my PlayStation 3. No problem, hook up a spare USB drive, kick off a backup, and go to bed. Saturday afternoon the system died. The dreaded flashing red LED which indicates there’s a hardware component problem. Bummer. No worries, though. At work, one of the perks is being able to get a dead console repaired or exchanged for free. In about a week’s time, I should have a replacement restored and back up and running.

If you’re going to have something fail, see if you can have a recent backup of it, first.

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Some Good Reading

April 30th, 2013 No comments

We were discussing notable books at work so I put together the below list and decided that it might also be useful here. The links go to Amazon if you’d like to read a synopsis. If you’d like my take on any of them, just let me know.

 5/5:
4/5:
Non-business favorites:
Ready Player One: A Novel by Ernest Cline
Ender’s Game (Ender, Book 1) by Orson Scott Card
Daemon by Daniel Suarez
Freedom™ by Daniel Suarez
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