August 30, 2004

What Is Up With The San Jose Public Library Site?

I've been trying over the weekend and today to get to the San Jose Public Library website but it has been down the whole time. The important functionality that this site has is that I can find materials that I'm interested in checking out and request them online. They will then notify me when the materials are at the branch closest to me and I can go and pick them up. The other cool functionality is that I can log in and renew materials that I already have. But with the site down for three days now I'm out of luck. They need to figure out a way to get this site up and keep it up and running. My expectations are pretty simple on this.

Posted by troutm8 at 05:07 PM | Comments (70)

August 27, 2004

National Parks Pass

I went to REI and bought a new National Parks Pass today. I bought one last year for $40, and it got me thinking about how many trips I had to National Parks or National Monuments in the year that I had my pass. Here's a breakdown:
Yosemite NP 8/10/03 -> $20
Arches NP 8/25/03 -> $10
Canyonlands NP 8/25/03 -> $10
Mesa Verde NP 8/27/03 -> $10
Natural Bridges NM 8/27/03 -> $6
Bryce Canyon NP 8/28/03 -> $20
Zion NP 8/28/03 -> $20
Yosemite NP 10/20/03 -> $20
Yosemite NP 11/28/03 -> $20
Crater Lake NP 5/8/04 -> $10
Lassen Volcanic NP 5/9/04 -> $10
Yosemite NP 6/6/04 -> $20
Denali NP 6/19/04 -> $10
Yosemite 8/1/04 -> $20
Kings Canyon NP 8/22/04 -> 10

Total National Park visits = 15
Total Cost = $216
Money Saved = $176

Posted by troutm8 at 11:16 PM | Comments (61)

August 26, 2004

Snatching Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory

I left work yesterday in time to see Timber's last softball game of the season. She played in her company's softball league this year. The added bonus to the game was if they won the game then they would make it to the playoffs. These games are a little different from regular softball. First, this is slow pitch softball, and second they only plan for 1 hour. So if you only get through three innings in the one hour that's all you get to play. With that being said, her team started off great and was scoring runs at will. For the game Timber was 2-2 and she was walked twice, so she was a solid contributor. But in the last inning, with her team leading 14-6, the other team finally remembered how to hit. They reeled off 10 straight runs to win the game and send Timber's team packing. It was a sad sight, but they played hard and gave it their best.

Posted by troutm8 at 08:08 PM | Comments (862)

August 24, 2004

Article About IBM Interns

Since the San Jose Mercury new now requires a login I decided to post this article straight to my blog. This article is about two interns that go to work at the Almaden Research Center this summer. They worked on the same overall project that I'm working on and they had a very specific task within the project. I think their work was pretty good and I got to see their presentation twice. I definitely think that they got to work on cooler stuff than I got to work on when I was an intern at IBM. But it's all good.

Posted on Tue, Aug. 24, 2004

IBM interns are a breath of fresh air

By Mike Cassidy

Mercury News

If you were a college kid who liked to sing and you ended up spending the summer at Carnegie Hall, you might understand how Linda Nguyen and Stephanie Sun feel.

If you liked baseball and your summer job was to play with the Yankees, you'd get the idea.

You see, Nguyen and Sun are wrapping up a summer in IBM's Extreme Blue program. (Blue for IBM. Extreme for, well, extreme.)

The two college students from San Jose have spent the summer at the Almaden Research Center. They are among a group of elite interns -- 4,500 apply, 120 land spots -- who join the giant technology company to learn what it's like to shape the future.

The students work in teams, usually three technologists and one business student. They have 12 weeks to complete a project that leads to a bit of technology that IBM can actually deploy.

And you know what it's like? Hard, yes. And ``pretty darn cool,'' as Nguyen puts it.

``I think that's where the fulfillment comes from in technology, making something that will be used,'' says Nguyen, 21, who is studying computer science at Cornell University. ``Something that will have an impact.''

The internships are no doubt good for Nguyen and Sun, a 26-year-old MBA student at UCLA, and the 118 others. But they are good for us, too. Or at least, talking to these students can do us some good. They have a fresh way of looking at the world. They are excited, not weary. Optimistic, not pessimistic.

And why not? By all accounts, they sprinted to success and after 12 weeks they don't even look winded. If you must know, Nguyen and Sun's team focused on a new way to slice up Web searches into very specific categories. Want to know what bloggers who appeal to the 18-to-24 demographic are saying about your product? Nguyen and Sun's effort can help.

And that's great, but what really excited me was the way they made it clear that this isn't the end -- not for technology, not for their ability to shape it and shape the world with it.

``From here,'' Nguyen says, ``I think I could go anywhere.''

Sure, both students have read about the faltering tech economy, about jobs moving overseas, about how the idea of inventing the future is losing its luster among students making career choices. Are they worried?

``I see a lot of signs that the economy is picking up,'' says Sun. (MBA, remember?) ``There is more recruiting at business schools.''

Oh sure, the women's world view includes a dose of post-boom realism. Nguyen remembers having a front row seat to the dot-com run-up while at Lynbrook High School. She remembers thinking that among other things, a technology career offered the promise of being able to retire at 30.

``Which is not something you can do anymore,'' she says.

But Nguyen and Sun's plans are not the plans of people worried about the future of technology or the economy. Sun says she'd like to advance well into upper corporate management -- maybe even at IBM.

Nguyen plans to pursue graduate work in computer science. Then she'll concentrate on gathering hands-on experience in designing the tools of tomorrow.

From there?

``I personally feel,'' says Nguyen, ``that the possibilities are endless -- to use a cliche.''

Go right ahead. These days, some of us could use a reminder.

Posted by troutm8 at 05:08 PM | Comments (933)

Garmin Rocks!

Back in early June I went on a backpacking trip to McGee Creek in the Eastern Sierras and on the way out of the John Muir Wilderness I stopped to fish for golden trout in a beaver pond. I ended up wading in a little farther than I intended and my Garmin Geko 101 GPS unit got wet. I didn't realize it until later and it seemed like my GPS unit was broken. It wouldn't turn on and it had water behind the screen. After I got home I took the batteries out and put it out on the table to dry. A few days later I put batteries in it to see if it was working and I got no response. So I called Garmin and they said that it should be covered for that and they gave me the information necessary to send it in and have them fix it. Two months later I'm finally getting around to doing just that. Before I was to put it in the package and send it out this morning I decided to test it once more. I put the batteries in and low and behold it worked! I didn't get too excited yet because after all it was just powering on. So on my way to work I brought it with me and tested out all of it's functionality and I am now confident that it is back to normal. I'll be more careful with it from now on around water but I'm glad to see that it is robust enough to be able to work again.

Posted by troutm8 at 03:53 PM | Comments (41)

August 22, 2004

Of Blackjack and Sequoias

Chukchansi ended up ahead in my blackjack exploits this weekend. We ended up staying at a Motel 6 in Madera, CA that had to be the cheapest cheapo cheapskate Motel 6 I've ever stayed in. And that's saying a lot. First, the pillows were so thin you'd think they were a piece of cardboard with cloth around them. Second, there was no shampoo or other amenities usually included in the hotel room. As it turned out the hotel was owned and run by an Indian family. All I can say is that this particular family seemed to be very cheap. Today we decided to make a run for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. We made it as far as the island part of Kings Canyon before we had to turn around and head home. I'll say more about that later, but we made it home in one piece and I didn't even blow my budget gambling. I did notice that I enjoyed the buffet more than I enjoy playing blackjack, even when I'm ahead. I guess that's good for my wallet but it also means I need to exercise more.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:27 PM | Comments (1178)

August 20, 2004


I'm planning on heading to Chukchansi this weekend to do a little gambling with Timber and her parents. I'll probably break even or lose a little money, but here's to hoping I do well.

Posted by troutm8 at 01:08 PM | Comments (73)

August 18, 2004

The Internet Sucks

I started to watch the men's individual gymnastics competition this evening when Timber told me that Paul Hamm came back to win the all around competition. She went on to explain that he had a huge fall on the vault and kicked ass in his last events to win by the slimmest of margins. I would have preferred to watch it develop without knowing what was going to happen. So I'd like to thank the internet for sucking.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:51 PM | Comments (897)

August 17, 2004


I'm starting to see more and more people at work walking down the hallway while looking at the screen on their laptops. This really annoys me for a few reasons:
1. They are eventually going to trip and either get hurt or drop their laptop.
2. They walk slower, and that slows me down if I get stuck behind them.
3. They might run into me because they are not paying attention to where they are going.
4. They think they are being more efficient, but if you pay attention to where you walk and get there faster and when you work on your computer you do that faster and you will be more efficient overall.
5. It seems to have developed a cult following.
6. They send the message to everyone they pass in the hall that they are important and don't have time for interaction with other people when in reality they are probably just surfing the net.
7. I even saw a guy walking into the building in the morning doing this!

Needless to say, I'm going to laugh when someone doing this walks right into a wall. But in the meantime do what you can to stem the tide of "Zombie-Lapwalking" at your work.

Posted by troutm8 at 12:09 PM | Comments (702)

August 15, 2004

Made It Back From the Game

I made it back from the Raiders/49ers game. It was an exciting game overall. You can read about it here. We drove to the Daly City BART station, then took BART to Balboa Park, then took the MUNI bus to Candlestick Park. We ended getting to the game about 20 minutes after kickoff. We noticed that football fans are pretty ghetto by default. We also had the experience of some punks cutting in front of us when we were in line to get something to eat. I also realized that the Raiders/49ers game was a litmus test for me finding out which team I liked better. I found myself cheering for the Raiders when they did something well and I was indifferent when the 49ers did something well. The game wasn't as close as the score because most of the calls were against the Raiders. We waited around after the game and took the same route back home. All in all I think Candlestick Park is just like Network Associate Colleseium except it is not as easy to get to. Out of all the bay area sports venues my favorite is going to Sharks games, followed by going to Giants games, followed by A's games, then Raiders games, and lasty 49ers games.

Posted by troutm8 at 12:31 AM | Comments (93)

August 14, 2004

49ers/Raiders Pre-Season Game

Some football tickets fell into Timber's lap yesterday, so we're about to leave to go up to Candlestick Park to watch the 49ers and Raiders play their first pre-season games of the season. I'm sure the 49er fans won't be as scary as the Raider fans, but we'll see.

Posted by troutm8 at 02:57 PM | Comments (1931)

August 11, 2004


I got a free month membership to and I'm spending some time evaluating it to see if I want to pay for a year's membership or even go so far as to purchase lifetime access. The cool thing is that it covers all of North America and it covers the following activities:
Hot Springs
Trail Running
Mountain Biking
Road Biking
Rails to Trails
Flatwater Paddling/Canoeing
Whitewater Paddling
Sea Kayaking
XC Skiiing
Backcountry Snowboarding
Ski Resorts
Scenic Drives
Off-Highway Drives
Day Trips
Weekend Trips
Family Trips
Romantic Places
General Travel

Here's an example:
Search for Desolation Wilderness.

You can see the results of the search here.

I got the etrail for this trip and it is basically the chapter on this hike taken out of a book complete with maps and descritptions. I can't post it online due to copyright restrictions but it has useful information that I can use to do this backpacking trip. My biggest question is how many etrails do I get per month or per year with my paid subscription, and once I go over my quota how much does it cost for each extra one?

I'll do more evaluation and report my findings.

Posted by troutm8 at 10:42 AM | Comments (496)

Kerry Purple Heart Questions

I'm not about to question John Kerry's military service but apparently there are those that are. In an email to me, one of my buddies from high school says this ->

A new medal named in honor of John Kerry is called the "Purple Owie". It is worn directly over the wound in question. After use, it is rolled up and
thrown over the nearest fence.......

"Who has 3 purple hearts in 4 months but never spent a day in the

Check out the Pictures...

Posted by troutm8 at 10:21 AM | Comments (1366)

Gmail Update

As an update to my July 8th entry where I revealed my gmail email account, I have yet to receive and spam to that account which is something that I find amazing. I guess there are currently no crawlers out there that parse email addresses and then forward them onto spam lists. That should be easy to do, but I'm not going to do it. :-)

Posted by troutm8 at 10:16 AM | Comments (645)

August 10, 2004

Pizza Making, Motion Sickness, And Changing Careers

I experimented with making pepperoni and banana pizza this weekend. I had heard that it was popular in South Africa but they must make it differently than I did because I didn't like it very much. The banana came out being dry and didn't have much taste. You can check out the menu of a South African pizza chain here. I also got a chance to watch The Bourne Supremacy. I thought it was pretty good overall, but they action scenes gave me a bit of a headache due to all the camera jarring. Lastly, I will not be changing careers to painting any time soon. Timber and I did the prep work for painting the office this weekend and now we still have to do two coats of paint and do the touch up work. That doesn't include the work we are going to have to put in to paint the base boards and possibly repaint the doors and then get the office back to looking and functioning like an office. It is long and tedious work and it makes me appreciate the fact that I don't have to do it every day.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:37 AM | Comments (79)

August 09, 2004

Roaring Camp

On Friday I got to take most of the day off of work and go to an off site meeting here. When we got there we first had our meeting, then we learned how to country line dance, then we ate, then I went for a bike ride on the trails with some coworkers, and then we took the steam train through the redwoods. Seeing a bunch of tech people try to country line dance is very entertaining. I don't think any of us had any rythm. Also, the bike ride through the redwoods was great except for all the poison oak. They really should have renamed it to poison oak trail or something. Luckily I didn't get any on me.

Posted by troutm8 at 10:12 AM | Comments (71)

August 05, 2004

Returned Some Keys

I finally got a chance to return Forrest's keys to him. He had left them in my truck from our trip this weekend and he lives up in SF while I live down in south San Jose which makes it a little challenging to just drop off his keys. After work yesterday I picked up Timber and headed to the Millbrae BART station. From there we took BART to the Powell St. exit and then walked to Forrest's apartment from there. Timber didn't enjoy the walk because her foot has been hurting. Once we got there I returned Forrest's keys and we all went to eat dinner at the Stinking Rose. After we were done we got dropped off at the BART station and headed back to Millbrae. From there we went home. I'm tired of staying up late so I'm going to try to get to sleep early tonight. I feel like I haven't been able to operate at full capacity at work because I have been getting to bed late all week.

Posted by troutm8 at 06:21 PM | Comments (82)

August 04, 2004

Photos From White Mountain Peak Posted

I finished the captions for the photos from this weekend's trip to White Mountain Peak. You can check them out here.

Posted by troutm8 at 03:14 PM | Comments (394)

August 02, 2004

Summitted White Mountain Peak

I summitted White Mountain Peak yesterday and didn't get home until 2 AM today. Gotta love going to work with very little sleep. But since I made it to the top it was worth it.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:08 AM | Comments (472)