travel ramblings

Global-travel-packing is mentally exhausting. I ask myself “What will I want to have with me, read, listen to, wear, etc for the next two weeks?” A tremendous amount of predictive thought exercise ensues which is taxing on the brain “What if.. what if.. what if”

How will I know what I am going to want to listen to next week? These digital music days mean I’ve grown accustomed to having huge libraries of music available to me at all times. My ultra-portable laptop (Dell C400) just doesn’t have the HD storage to lug it all with me. I have to preemptively DJ my trip which I don’t like at all. Now listening (Roots, The Tipping Point)

The good news on the computing side is that I’ve gotten very good at synchronizing my data on my primary devices (work PC, home PC, Laptop, Smartphone). And what I don’t synchronize I have ready access to via VPN + remote desktop.

I have a variety of posts in my blogjet queue to go, but I’ve landed in Hong Kong, which is starting to feel not-so-foreign anymore which means I spend entirely too much time here.



I’ve been using Audioscrobbler for a while now to suit my OCD music telemetry needs. It works as a plugin to whatever media player you use, Winamp 5 for me, and uploads every song you listen to for analysis at their site. They offer a host of features like creating a network of like users for you to browse and hopefully pick up new artists and such.

You can browse my history here – and always on the left nav link under Music + (what I’m listening to right now).

Now of course with the massive amount of data available they put together a top 100 list – but see the difference here is this is the top 100 songs people actually listened to. Not what they bought or what they called into Carson Daly to request. Granted, these are internet savvy people listening on their computer who are willing to let the world know how much they love Abba so they don’t represent the total population but still very valuable data.

Check out this week’s top 15 artists: 1. Radiohead 2. Metallica 3. Nirvana 4. The Beatles 5. Modest Mouse 6. Red Hot Chili Peppers 7. Linkin Park 8. Beastie Boys 9. Muse 10. Coldplay 11. Pink Floyd 12. The Cure  13. Weezer 14. Incubus 15. Franz Ferdinand

The top two tracks: 1. Franz Ferdinand – Take Me Out 2. Modest Mouse – Float On

Note Modest Mouse’s success here. I’m a big fan of theirs but how many people have even heard of them, let alone would guess they would be the #5 played artist.

More charts are available here: Rising and falling tracks, artists + Top 100 Tracks + Top 100 Artists


smartklamp better be a freakin genius

Great writeup from Lev @ Gizmodo on a new robotic device available on the market.

I’m all for the future. I mean, look at where you’re at, who you’re talking to. I like the future so much that I even like the past’s futures, futures that were planted with love but never quite formed into a fully blossoming flying cars or whatever. But in the future, as I’m lounging around with my dome open, instructing technicians to lift my brain onto a substrate of pure electrical joy, I will never, ever, ever let a robot cut my dick. I might have sex with a robot, that’s fine; looking forward to it, actually. But at no point will I be placing my penis into a tube filled with knives. […]

I’m a penis slicer luddite, I know, but no, for real, no. So why do the people that make SmartKlamp think that — when I wouldn’t let a robot, which can maneuver with mathematical precision, touch me — I would use a Bris-O-Matic on my or my progeny’s spurters? Is there a market need here? Are scapel-wielding doctors and rabbis not fast enough to get the job done? Is there a worldwide circumcision shortage?

Fine, I’m overreacting, but look at the pictures on the SmartKlamp page (warning, bloody boy genitals ahoy!) and think about the possibility of malfunction. (Thanks, Steven, for the ‘tip.’)
Read – Fiddish [Forward]
Read – Product Page [SmartKlamp]

Note: Gizmodo and Engadget diverged not long ago and the resulting editorial competition has been great for readers. Except for the fact that I can’t stand the idea of missing something so I read both and end up reading about the same gadgets twice 85% of the time.



BBC’s The Office is a great show, but it can be tough to follow some of the dialog as an American. The BBC has a bunch of videos up of Ricky Gervais explaining a bunch of English lingo for us.

Video Clip Bender Video Clip Blue Peter Video Clip Buckaroo Video Clip Bunse Video Clip Cheeky Video Clip C.V. Video Clip Divv Kid Video Clip Dixon of Dock Green Video Clip Doodling Video Clip Formula One Video Clip Duncan Goodhew Video Clip Howard Jones Video Clip Hob-Nob Video Clip Knackered Video Clip Mac Video Clip Minge Video Clip Mother’s Meeting Video Clip Orienteering and T.A.s Video Clip Peter Purves Video Clip Red Nose Day Video Clip Scotch Egg Video Clip Slapper Video Clip Yates [all in Real format]



edwards kerry

I was an Edwards man before the primary so I’m very pleased with today’s announcement.

William Saletan in Slate makes the point here that Kerry, who has the credentials for the job, isn’t so great about selling himself and that Edwards is a great pick to sell Kerry.

It all seems more real now for some reason. Go team!




[via jwz]

Published knee-jerk contrarian game

Here’s a fun game… First, look up the most popular and critically-acclaimed books, movies, and music on Amazon. Click on “Customer Reviews,” and sort them by “Lowest Rating First.” Hilarity ensues! It’s the Knee-Jerk Contrarian Game!

The Wizard of Oz – “For one thing, I don’t like to watch things with witches in them, especially if one of them is portrayed as a ‘good witch’ – that’s an oxymoron I can’t reconcile with.”

The Shawshank Redemption – “And finally … what kind of ending is it where two dudes are together on a beach.”

Psycho (original) – “This film is so boring and in the shower scene it was obviously Bates the wig even from shadow was awful. SEE THE REMAKE FAR MORE ENTERTAINING!” or “This has got to be the worst movie ever. A plot about a guy that keeps his dead mother’s body around and kills people in the shower. Lame”

Simpsons: The Complete First Season – “What is this!?!?! Homer Simpson acts like Yoge Bear!!!! The animation has to be the worst animation I have ever seen!!!!! Come on!!!!”

Beatles, Abbey Road – “I bought this album because I totally thought the guy on the right was Kate Hudson’s husband.”

And one final gushing review that probably doesn’t deserve it: “This book was one of the most interesting books i’ve read in my life.” — Come and Knock on Our Door: A Her’s and Her’s and His Guide to the TV show Three’s Company.

This stuff and more at [via MetaFilter]



ivan drago

I can’t seem to consistently workout unless I measure it obsessively. (Russian in Rocky V style)

A key instrument is the heart rate monitor. I wear mine everytime I run or bike. The older model Polar served me well for a solid four years now, but last week it finally gave way – either that or my heart rate is indeed 224 bpm. Now the search is on for a replacement/upgrade.

Polar has an array of options (ahem ahem), many with uplinks to the computer for analysis. I’ve been toying with the idea of making my workout information public here on as a incentive device. If I knew that everyone could see the gaps in my workout I’d be less likely to talk myself out of it.

I haven’t gotten to this level yet, but only because I think some of the stuff he carries around is too heavy:


drunk ocd

Out at ol’ Irish McBar watching the Red Sox Yankees a drunken guy starts chatting up Vinod and me. He goes on and on and since we’re watching the game and not really paying attention, we let him keep going.

At some point he mentions that he collects DVDs and that he sometimes finds himself watching them over and over.

“For a whole year I would come home from work every day and put on a movie and watch it.” Us 20%-interested: What movie? Men in Black… I just had to have it on whenever I was home; I slept on the couch so I could fall to sleep with it on. I saw it 317 times.”


big blue

Our company is undergoing a “server consolidation project” aka “Our CIO thinks we ought to have another mainframe”. Yesterday we took a bus load of folks from the IS team over to be wooed by IBM, their snazzy conference center, and the free schwag.

They lead off bragging about how many patents IBM submits and segue into how Linux is the future of absolutely everything and it can do magic. Choice quote “Linux is the only OS that can run on devices that haven’t even been invented yet.” At this point I had to challenge at least some of the major distortions emanating from the sales force. I made several challenges to the “data points” being presented. The best part was they seemed to get the message and follow-on presenters were much less likely to spin their products in such a manner.

It was a lot like going to the car dealership to buy a VW Golf. The dealership happens to sell Mercedes also and the salesmen spends the day walking you through the Maybach’s every luxury and feature, presenting it as an alternative to the Golf without mentioning the price differential.