May 31, 2006

Things You Can Do With a 20D

Things You Can Do With a 20D
I came across this site a while back. This guy does most of his shots with a Canon 20D and really illustrates many of the cool things you can with with it. But then of course a camera is only as good as the photographer.

Posted by troutm8 at 09:01 AM | Comments (50)

Congrats to Mike & Claudia

Mike and Claudia added Logan to their family on Friday morning. He was 7 lbs, 15 ounces. Congrats!

Posted by troutm8 at 08:55 AM | Comments (98)

Vespa Riding and Garage Shelving

I had to work over this past weekend, so it was the first Memorial Day weekend that I can remember where I didn't go out of town and do something fun. At work they powered down the entire site to do yearly mantenance, and as a result by the early afternoon on Friday all of my servers were down for the count. On Saturday Timber and I took the Vespa for a ride. Along the way we picked up strawberries at a fruit stand and they turned out to be really good. On Sunday we spent a small fortune on garage shelving from Lowe's and spent time prepping the garage for them. On Monday we put in about 1/3 of the shelves and went to visit Dio. Mixed in with the activities on Sunday and Monday was work. It wasn't all that bad, but I would have much rather gone and done something cool. But that's ok, it is going to be a long summer.

Posted by troutm8 at 08:43 AM | Comments (86)

May 23, 2006

GM Doesn't Get It

According to this article, GM is offering gas price caps for people who buy certain SUVs and cars. I don't think they get it. If you build and attempt to sell cars that get really crappy gas mileage and people are paying $3 and upward for each gallon of gas people are not going to buy your cars and SUVs. You can put marketing gimmicks and have balloons and clowns and stuff like that and it may help things in the short term but it will not move your company or products forward in the long run. What I don't understand is that the management at GM is not paying attention to their customers and are continuing downward. If I were a shareholder in GM I'd get rid of the entire management team.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:28 PM | Comments (82)

Castroville Artichoke Festival

On Saturday Timber and I went to the Castroville Artichoke Festival. On our way down (101 South) we saw probably the highest concentration of bikers that either of us had ever seen before. They were all heading south for some biker rally in Hollister. They even had a police escort which slowed down traffic significantly. But there were all sorts of bikes and bikers in the train moving southward. While at the Artichoke Festival we checked out the different booths, the agro art, and tried some tasty artichoke dishes. Among the various artichoke dishes (artichoke heart with stuffed crab, deep fried artichoke rings, artichoke burrito) the one the stood out the most was the artichoke cupcake. Keep in mind that I've had a deed fried twinkie (never again) before, so I'm down with trying just about any type of food. Imagine taking carrot cake and taking out the carrot, raisins, and nuts and then replacing all that with artichoke. Overall it wasn't bad. So now that we've finally been to the Artichoke Festival we probably don't need to go back for a few years.

Posted by troutm8 at 09:28 AM | Comments (59)

May 21, 2006

Fun With Ajax

I'm playing around with Ajax on one of my projects and I thought I could use my site at part of the experiment. You can see the Ajax stuff I have here. This is basically taking some of the examples that come with the Google Web Toolkit and turning knobs to see what happens. The cool thing about GWT is that you can write the code in Java (which is supposedly very popular) and then have gwt compile it into Ajax. Ajax is actually nothing more than javascript, css, xml, and html but if you are going to try to do ajax apps with nothing more than a text editor then you'll quickly run into browser compatibility issues and all sorts of other problems. Right now I'm playing with gwt to see if it is something that I would like to use for my project, but I will also check out the alternatives.

Posted by troutm8 at 10:35 PM | Comments (82)

May 19, 2006

Mammoth Mountain Panorama

I put together a panoramic shot of the view from Mammoth Mountain. If you want the full sized versions you can grab them here.

Posted by troutm8 at 10:15 PM | Comments (86)

Convict Lake Panorama

I put together a panoramic shot from Convict Lake. If you want the full sized versions you can grab them here.

Posted by troutm8 at 10:03 PM | Comments (87)

Bodie Panorama

I put together a panoramic shot from Bodie. If you want the full sized versions you can grab them here.

Posted by troutm8 at 06:43 PM | Comments (60)

May 17, 2006

New Cap Arrived

I ordered a truck cap a while ago and it finally came in. I had to go drop off my truck to have it installed but I now have it in time for the summer. In addition to the regular truck cap I had a Yakima rack installed, vented windoors (put gear in from the sides), and a bed rug put in the bed of the truck. It's going to be a fun summer.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:43 PM | Comments (60)

Blogging from the Backcountry

If you want to post to your blog from the backcountry (who doesn't?) here are some ideas on how you could do it. This page lists a good starting point, obviously they are doing more than just blogging from the backcountry. But my list for being in the backcountry a week or more would consist of:
*12 inch powerbook with photo editing software and plenty of hard drive space
*Hughes R-BGAN Satellite Modem to upload your posts and photos
*Camera (Canon 20d of course)
*extra lenses if you want to take good photos
*Power Supply (Brunton SolarRoll 14)

If you are going to be in the backcountry for less than a week (and won't blog) but still want to take great photos, you can take this kit:
*Camera (Canon 20d of course)
*extra lenses
*60 GB iPod
*Apple iPod Camera Connector (to upload your photos from your camera to your iPod)

Posted by troutm8 at 07:29 PM | Comments (82)

Around the World by Bicycle

Here's a link to an epic journey around the world by bike.

Posted by troutm8 at 10:16 AM | Comments (82)

Google Trends

Check out Google Trends. It will show the trends in search queries for the terms you put in and reference them against news as well. Too bad I can't be more specific in my query. I'd like to see what kind of trending there is for the ruby scripting language, but it can't tell the difference between that ruby and any other type of ruby out there. Dangit!

Posted by troutm8 at 09:54 AM | Comments (88)

Rooftop Tents

This is a pretty cool site that lists tents for the ultimate car campers. I still prefer backpacking.

Posted by troutm8 at 09:15 AM | Comments (66)

Adventure Trailer

We saw an Adventure Trailer while at Convict Lake on Monday. They seem pretty cool, but I would think that if you had to pull something you may as well make it a bit bigger. I do like the minimalist features and wouldn't mind trying one out at some point.

Posted by troutm8 at 09:12 AM | Comments (81)

May 16, 2006

Mammoth Trip Photos Posted

I haven't added any captions yet, but you can check out my trip photos here.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:34 PM | Comments (55)

Bodie Stop

We stopped in Bodie on the way back to the Bay Area on Monday (5/15). As we were driving the 13 mile road (10 miles of it paved) from highway 395 up into the mountains toward Bodie I wondered why anyone would live all the way out there. Admittidly I didn't know much about Bodie other than there are some cool old buildings there to take pictures of. When we got there I learned that Bodie was an abandoned gold mining town that was founded in the mid 1800's and had a population up through the mid 1900's. I also read that Bodie was a tough town and a man died roughly every day. They had two morgues and 64 bars in town. Sounds kind of like Alaska. :-) At any rate it was a cool side trip on our way home.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:17 PM | Comments (59)

Second Day @ Mammoth

After we were done with dinner on Saturday we looked up Bill (the guy that got of the $40 lift tickets) and checked to see if he had any more. He did, and we were able to get them for $35. So for two days of snowboarding I saved $37. :-) Timber and I got to the mountain a little late on Sunday (May 14th) because we had to repair a leaky tire on her car. Once we got there we met up with Jackie and Will and then hit the slopes all day. We spent a little time in the terrain park but for the most part roamed all around the mountain. The conditions were very similar to the previous day except a little softer. We also saw that Mammoth plans to stay open through the 4th of July. This was officially our last snowboarding day of the season and the official transition into summer.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:02 PM | Comments (78)

Mammoth Mountain Spring Snowboarding Day 1

We went snowboarding at Mammoth Mountain on Saturday, May 13th. When we got to the parking lot a somewhat weird guy named Bill approached us asking if we
wanted a good deal on lift tickets. I was a bit wary, but his story actually checked out, and we got lift tickets, which are $56 right now for $40. The snow on the mountain was soft corn and it only got softer as the day wore on. It was warm and we saw people skiing in shorts. We saw Bill at the outdoor bar at the main lodge during lunch time. He was no doubt having a good time on his day off. He was an interesting fellow. For dinner we went to the Whiskey Creek restaurant which is formerly known as the Mammoth Brewery. The food was pretty good and we also sampled the beer that they brew. Not a huge selection (Hefeweizen, IPA, Pale Ale, Nut Brown, and Amber Ale) but the beer was decent.

Posted by troutm8 at 10:56 PM | Comments (76)

Path To Mammoth

On Friday we took 680 north from San Jose to highway 4 east in Concord to highway 160 north to highway 12 east going toward Lodi. Once we got to Lodi we continued on highway 12 east which became highway 88 which became highway 89 and then hit 395. We then turned south on 395 heading toward Mammoth Lakes. It was definitely an experimental way to get to Mammoth Lakes, but we got there in one piece and saw some spots that we hadn't seen before.

Posted by troutm8 at 10:47 PM | Comments (680)

Darth Vader Calls the Emporer

Thanks to Dave for this link.

Posted by troutm8 at 10:38 PM | Comments (149)

May 12, 2006

Mammoth Bound

Timber and I are taking a few days off to head over to Mammoth Lakes so that we can meet up with Jackie & Co. and do some snowboarding. The condo we are staying at allows dogs so Wookie is also coming with us. We're definitely bringing our sun block and anticipating spring conditions. We are also bringing our fly rods so we can hit Hot Creek and some of the other pretty good trout streams of the Eastern Sierras. It should be fun!

Posted by troutm8 at 10:21 AM | Comments (78)

May 11, 2006

GOP Embarrassment

I'm a Republican, and as part of being a Republican I will sometimes contribute time and money to campaigns. Well, yesterday I got an email about some Republican fundraisers and parties around the country on May 22nd, and a price for the top 10 (or something like that) was a GOP Special Edition iPod. I've included the picture in this entry and I have to say that it is an embarrassment. It looks silly and like someone did a poor job of photoshopping the images. My guess is that it looks like crap because all the good graphic designers are Democrats.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:26 AM | Comments (115)

Car Wreck On Bernal

I left work at 5:15 PM yesterday to go home and take Wookie on a 5 mile run, and on my way down the hill from work I stubled across a car wreck. I was the third person on the scene behind a 14 year old kid on a motorized razor scooter and a guy in a grey Honda Civic. The car wreck was a white, late model BMW, driven buy a guy that looked like he was in his early 20's. As I got out of my truck I turned on my flashers and then I walked toward the overturned and slightly smoking car. As I walked past the guy standing outside his grey Honda I confirmed with him that he was calling 911. Then I looked closely at the car to assess whether or not there was any immediate danger to the driver. At the same time the 14 yera old kid came closer to the car and recommended that we pull the guy out. I told him to hold on a second while I looked to see if the guy was hurt and what the situation was. The guy inside the car was upside down and his airbag had deployed. Blood was dripping from one or more lacerations to his face, and we asked him if he was hurt anywhere else. He said no. Then he unbuckled his seatbelt and started trying to get out of the car. At that point I took his right side and the kid took the left side and we pulled him out the shattered window. We then walked him over to the guard rail and visually inspected him for more injuries. Then I checked with the Honda guy on the phone to see if he had gotten through to 911. He was on hold. So I called the San Jose Police Department from my phone, told them what happened, and then I got patched through to the first responders. While I talked to the first responders and while the 14 year old was attending to the guy I walked back to my truck and backed it up the road about 100 meters so that people coming down the hill would be able to see better (since there are blind curves on the way down) and parked my truck with the flashers on. Then I walked back down to the scene of the accident and saw the first responders arrive. From the time I got connected to having them show up was maybe 2 to 3 minutes. The kinds of questions they asked me on the phone were:
Where are you (with cross steet information)?
Did you see the accident?
How many people were in the car?
What is the condition of the person in the car?
What is the condition of the car?
Once the first responders got there they checked out the guy, put a brace around his neck, and put him on one of those long boards to immobilize him. Then a fire truck came and the fire fighters starting cleaning up the shattered glass and putting some sand or powder on the spilled oil and gas. At that point we checked with the Highway Patrol officers that arrived to see if they needed anything else from us and then we went on our way.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:20 AM | Comments (85)

May 07, 2006

Kayaking @ Colero

Timber and I are getting ready for an adventure race in two weeks, so we did some kayak training today. It just happens that one of the kayaks that she owns is the same type (Ocean Kayak Malibu II) as will be used in the adventure race. Based on our training she is the cadence girl and I'm the rudder guy. We were slowed down a little bit by having Wookie in the kayak with us, but it was fun to get out on the water with him. After we were done I tried to get him to do some swimming, but he definitely is not a lab. I'm pretty sure he has never been swimming before but with a little coaxing I was able to get him to swim around a little bit. At this point I'd say he definitely likes the snow better than the water.

Posted by troutm8 at 12:52 AM | Comments (78)

May 06, 2006

Illegal Immigration Rallies

Forrest sent out a collection of pics looking down from his office at the protest that took place on Monday, May 1st in downtown San Francisco. Included in this entry is one of those pics. I'm glad that people are getting out and expressing themselves in non violent ways. I'm still not sure exactly what they want, after all there are legal ways to immigrate to the United States, I'll include this link to an article giving specific details about the load that illegal immigrants put on the systems in Colorado. It is food for thought, and hopefully people will take in the wide array of information and decide on an intelligent solution. My opinion on an intelligent solution to this problem is to work to develop the economies of the countries that send us the most illegal immigrants. But then again that isn't the silver bullet that voters are looking for in an election year. Too bad for us...

Posted by troutm8 at 11:25 AM | Comments (75)

May 02, 2006

Productivity Questions

I often think about productivity in general, how productive I am, and how I can become more productive. I always get back to the basic question: How do I measure my productivity? Since I'm a Test Manager I spend a lot of my time reading email, sending email, attending meetings, managing my team, managing projects, and sometimes getting to do what I would consider real work. Luckily for me I have been able to work on a few small side projects that have allowed me to do some real work and even some development (huray!). It helps keep me sane. But since I don't make widgets or build houses or pick fruit or do anything where my output is directly measurable in a product it is difficult to say how productive I am. One possible way to measure my productivity is to look at the emails (spam removed) that I send and receive throughout the week. When looking that that I see that the amount of email I receive generally goes down a bit as the week progresses. The same can be said about emails sent. I would interepret this to mean that I can get more work done as the week goes on.

Posted by troutm8 at 10:26 PM | Comments (81)