100% walkable


Notches has a handshake agreement for some shared office space in SOHO! I’m very excited.

I wanted to get a sense for what’s around there, and I used a nice mashup from WalkScore.com which builds an index for any address that computes a value for how walkable the area is. And while it makes me feel great that we got a 100 for the new corporate headquarters, I get a 100 at my home address too, and most of the other Manhattan addresses I tried. This makes sense since no-place in America can match Manhattan for walkability, but it would be nice to see how the different neighborhoods related on this scale.


And I’m looking to get some new development workstations. I’m toying with building instead of buying (using Ars Technica’s latest Hot Rod as a base). I need Newegg.com for businesses — we’d want a business line of credit — does anyone have any suggestions?

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push to hear – I need that!

imageSince I wrote my Etymotic earphone review way back in December of 2004, I’ve worn them nearly every working day on the subway, on the streets, on airplanes, trains and treadmills. I’m forever spoiled on sound isolating earphones and until we all get brain-implanted Bluetooth modules I’ll continue using them.

I only have two problems with this setup. 1) Fragility. Etymotic has been pretty excellent about fixing them for me so far, I hope this continues.

2) Not being able to hear outside sounds when you need to. I’m embarrassed to say how many times I’ve been riding the subway — particularly on weekends — and missed the “this train will run express to 125th street” type announcement. I could tell something was being announced, but you don’t know if it will be the “packages are subject to search” speech for the 9000th time or something important. (The MTA really needs a hearing impaired/earphone wearing friendly system to alert passengers)

But I just found a solution from Shure. Push to Hear. This module goes inline with your headphones and when you push the button it turns on a microphone and pipes in outside sounds. They aren’t specific to Shure earphones, so anyone can use it, Bose, Etymotic, Ultimate Ears, etc.

$59.99 from Amazon.

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serial sciral consistency


One of the holes in my todo system is recurring tasks. These are things that need to be done on some kind of recurrent schedule and don’t fit well in most tools out there.

Here’s a tool that does just recurring tasks. The visualization is just great for getting a real sense of when things need to happen. I just set it up so I expect I’ll be tweaking it heavily as I go, but so far it is helping quell that sense that there’s stuff out there that I need to be doing and it isn’t already on my standard list. (For the record I use a combination of Remember the Milk and a steno notebook for my normal tasks.)

Sciral Consistency

[via LifeHacker] available for Win+OS X for $25, trial download avail.

And the name is confusing to me too.

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mcmillan running calculator

Here’s a really useful tool for runners. McMillan Running, a run coaching company put this together. You enter in a recent race result and it will spit back this table with equivalent performance times for all sorts of race distances and optimal training zones. I have found it to be very accurate and I try follow it precisely for my training paces.


Similarly you can calculate your VO2max from racing performance here: http://runningforfitness.org/calc/vo2.php 

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lazyweb: green datacenter cooling

imageI help my father’s company with their IT stuffs and work (on Notches) out of their office. The room next door to my office is the server room. We control the environment completely.

To keep things cool there is a standard window air conditioner, which the building facilities people cut power to once the cooler weather set in, and a giant APC NetworkAIR PA unit like the one pictured at the right. It has a network interface with all the alarms and whatnot you’d ever need and works fine.

Except it is nearly winter time here in New York and the air conditioner is running nearly 24×7 using gobs of power to cool air that is available for free. If I could guarantee a temperate range, I could just open the window!

So LazyWeb: Does anyone know of a cooling solution that has a thermostat and network monitoring but that just uses cold air from the window that is three feet away from the servers?

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green power activate

imageGreen stuff excites me. It appeals to my innate desire for optimization. I’d be doing this even if the Earth wasn’t in trouble.

It feels too good to be true, but my carbon profile is getting damn near neutral these days. One change I made a couple of months ago was to switch my home electricity to 100% renewable. I think most New Yorkers would be surprised to find out this option even exists.

With the deregulation of power, Con Ed is forced to allow customers to choose their own electricity supplier. If you look at your current bill you’ll see that it is broken up into supply and delivery sections. I went to this site [Power Your Way] which lists all the power suppliers in New York state, went through one by one looking for 100% renewable options and ended up going with Energetix.

Sign-up was incredibly simple since there is no bill. They just piggy back on the ConEd bill and I make my payment just like before. Nothing changes for me except now I get my power from 75% hydro-electric and 25% wind power.

I waited to blog this just because I was worried about “catches”, but there haven’t been any. While I don’t have an exact price comparison for you, I know it is within 15% of my previous rate (and remember this is just the supply portion). My bill for October was $75 which is normal for this time of year for me.

Bonus links

  • I posted this before, but I use My Personal Kyoto every month to track my electricity usage. Here’s my yearly usage graph: http://www.personal-kyoto.org/energy_usage/share/61 
  • It isn’t perfect, but I Am Green, the Facebook app is interesting.
  • I buy carbon offsets for my car (which gets 40+ mpg, drive very little and nearly always with a passenger meaning 80 mpg-per-person) and whenever I fly from TerraPass.com
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welcome to America, the only industrialized country in the world without nationalized healthcare

imageI blogged my medical fiasco this past summer race report good then real bad and since I’m a pre-money startup guy, I have no health insurance.

I was dreading the bill for an ambulance ride and ER visit, but was actually somewhat relieved when I got the bills.

  • Ambulance ride – $626
  • St Vincent’s hospital – $438

St Vincent’s was originally $1,250 or nearabouts and had a “self-pay” adjustment.

Fine, it sucked big-time, but they let you put this stuff on credit cards and I kicked that can down the road. I grumbled a bit, but moved on.

Nearly three months go by and I get *another bill*.

  • Emergency Medical Association of NY – $445

Apparently the first bill is just for the use of the hospital facilities. The doctors bill you completely separately. W-T-F.