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Blast From the Past Link Day

Okay, I'm two days late on this, but I love the idea.  Shawn Blanc (via Marco Arment) proposes that every January 20th, bloggers post five links to previous posts they've written. Since I haven't had time to write new posts recently, I love this idea!  I'll just keep linking to old stuff.... read more →

Raising the Aeron

Almost every high-tech startup in the Bay Area outfits their office with Herman Miller Aeron chairs.  And as some of the startups inevitably go out of business, the Aeron chairs hit the surplus office supply market, where people like me pick them up at a big discount. After bringing home my ... read more →

Suntory Yamazaki Whisky | Uncrate

The Uncrate “buyers guide for men” has discovered one of my favorite beverages. Suntory Yamazaki Whisky | Uncrate Here’s what Uncrate has to say: Born from the pure waters of the Vale of Yamazaki and handcrafted at Japan's oldest distillery, Suntory Yamazaki Whisky is a great way to ... read more →

A Cheap Grind

Most coffee aficionados (like me) insist that whole bean coffee should be ground in a conical burr grinder. Never use a blade grinder. The typical reason is that a burr grinder creates a more even grind at a lower speed, as opposed to a blade grinder’s uneven grind at a high speed.  An uneven gri... read more →

Komo Store Kona Coffee

Every time I visit the Big Island of Hawaii, I buy fresh Kona coffee.  I love driving through Holualoa and Captain Cook, where you can buy freshly roasted coffee right from the coffee groves and roasting companies.  There is a lot of good coffee to choose from in the Kona region, but my fa... read more →

Tucano WorkOut Laptop Bag

With the iPhone replacing my iPod, cel phone, PDA, and camera (for casual use), and with my switch from older, clunky laptops to the svelt MacBook Air, I decided to downsize my laptop bag / briefcase. My previous bag was pretty small to begin with, but it couldn't beat the slim and lightweight 1... read more →

Fun with Funambol

In my quest to find the ultimate solution for contact list and calendar synchronization, I decided to try out Funambol. Funambol is an open-source product formerly known as sync4j, which provides client and server sync applications, as well as a sync portal service at http://my.funambol.com. Funam... read more →

A Syncing Feeling

Like many people, I store and use Contacts and Calendars on several devices and computers. At home, I have a personal address book and calendar, and at work I have the global company address book and my shared work calendar (on Exchange Server). Other family members also have their own address boo... read more →

Yahoo Mail Filter

Here's the new filter I set up on my yahoo.com email address: If... From contains "@" Then... Move message to Trash folder There. That should be a nice and effective improvement to Yahoo's spam filter. ... read more →

Calculate Commuting Costs

The always useful 511.org web site has a new feature: A web page where you can calculate your average out-of-pocket commuting costs. I just did these calculations myself a few weeks ago, and reached the same conclusions as the 511.org calculator. My commute costs me about $22 a day. Sheesh. ... read more →

Moon and Venus Alignment

Did you see the Moon and Venus in tonight's sky? Even through the Bay Area haze… wow. ... read more →

Custom E-Mail to Deflect Spam

I own a few domain names, which means that I have the ability to create an unlimited number of email addresses. This is a cheap and effective way to reduce email spam in your inbox. Whenever I purchase something from a web retailer that I've never used before, I create a custom email address th... read more →

5 Things You Don't Know About Me

I've seen this all over the net these days, but I thought I was too far out on the fringes of the blogosphere to get tagged. Well whaddya know, Anthony just tagged me with the "5 things you don't know about me" meme . Basically, the way this works is that someone "tags"... read more →

REI Sahara Technical Tees

I recently did a couple of weeks of traveling. Over the years, I've learned to pack lighter and lighter, so on this trip, I brought only one kind of shirt: The REI Sahara Tech Tee. The tech tees are 100% polyester, but they feel as comfortable as cotton. They breath very well, and amazingly,... read more →

Remembering GEOS

One of the coolest things I ever saw on my Commodore 64 was a Mac-like graphical OS environment called GEOS . OSNews is running a really nice article about the history of GEOS, and if you're are old C64 hack like me, it is a must read. ... read more →

Keeping or Tossing Old Magazines

In my office closet, I have about 6-8 years worth of Stereo Review / Sound & Vision and Guitar Player magazines. I've kept them because the stereo mags contain reviews of now-vintage hi-fi equipment (which I consider buying now and then), and the guitar magazines have equipment reviews as w... read more →

How to Ship a Boat: On a Ship

My friend Joe may have sailed solo across the pacific from Mexico to Tahiti, but he's taking a commercial airplane home. According to his latest email update, he's actually shipping his sailboat back. On a ship. I don't know anything about yachts or sailboats, but apparently, you can h... read more →

The Back-Logged Life

Getting the sense that you are completely overwhelmed with data, from emails, newsfeeds, DVR, etc.? This dude totally nails it: …these days, my feed reader pulls down megabytes of data – a large portion of it, of course, cat pictures… A must read rant. Found on furrygoat ... read more →

Joe Sailing Solo Across the Pacific

Wow. Joe up and decided to sail his boat Music across the pacific ocean, from Panama to The Marquesas Islands ... solo. Man, what an adventure. He's reporting via YOTREPS, and you can see a plot of his progress overlayed on a Google satellite map here: http://pangolin.co.nz/yotreps/tracker.php... read more →

Smartwool Socks Rock

I've been trying various brands of running and hiking socks. Without a doubt, the Smartwool socks I purchased at REI are the best. A wool+synthetic blend, Smartwools come in bunches of different sizes, shapes, and thicknesses, all of which are stay plenty comfortable and dry. No more blisters... read more →

Replacing a Norelco Beard Trimmer

I've been using a Norelco Maverick T-1000 beard trimmer for several years. It is a durable, battery-powered trimmer that has an easy-to-clean trimmer head. You just press a button and the trimmer head swings open to allow for trimmings to be brushed out. I use the trimmer once a week to keep ... read more →

Virgil's Micro Brewed Root Beer

When I was a kid, A&W was the pinnacle of root beers with "that frosty mug taste." But today you can find dozens of specialty root beers and other sodas at places like Beverages and More. The best root beer of the bunch by a mile is Virgil's. Instead of the syrupy thermonuclear ... read more →

Upgrading Comcast Cable Modem

My old DOCSIS 1.0 cable modem can't keep up with the new high speeds on Comcast, so I decide to upgrade to a DOCSIS 2.0 modem. I chose the D-Link DCM-202. Compared to my old modem, it is super fast. I'm getting download speeds of well beyond 5 megabits per second (compared with a little ... read more →

Shadows of a New Ballpark

The Oakland A's are trying to build a new ballpark in Oakland. While I'm pretty excited about the possibility, something really bothers me about the proposed new design. Check it out below: Notice anything missing? I do: sunshine. Compare the rendering above with the picture from my las... read more →

Sportin' a FlexFit

I picked up a new baseball hat at the company store last week. Rather than having an adjustable fit, the hat has spandex band around the base. One size fits all, and it seems to fit my head fine. Upon reading the label inside the hat, I noticed that the brand is called FlexFit, and get this: the ... read more →

Scotty Never Did Like Klingons

Most news feeds have reprinted the same generic obituray for James "Scotty" Doohan, but the most insightful one I read was in the Washington Post. The real tribute to James "Scotty" Doohan, 39 light-years after he first saved the USS Enterprise's heinie (and did it many times... read more →

Crunch Mode Life Stats

In the past 8 weeks or so of crunch mode, I've managed to: Read ¾ of one book Play 12 hours of one video game Go to one movie However, during the same period of time, I've somehow managed to buy: One HDTV Five DVDs Four books Four CDs A Nintendo DS Five video games One DVD drive One ... read more →

Advanced Home Power Meters

Starting this year, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) is planning to replace every power meter in their territory with a new, remotely controlled power meter. According to sfgate.com, the new meter is actually a node on a vast new powerline network called Advanced Metering Infrastructure. This P... read more →

Sunday Baseball in Oakland

There aren't many better ways to spend a Sunday in July than to sit in the stands and watch Barry Zito pitch eight innings for an Oakland Athletics win. To increase revenues, the A's are planning to build a new baseball-only stadium in the next couple of years. While no one yet knows the l... read more →

Choosing the Right Light Bag

I like to travel light, so I try to carry the smallest, lightest bags possible. However, I tend to carry a lot of gadgets, which can include any number of the following: Cel Phone PDA Laptop iPod GameBoy (or DS / PSP) Digital Camera Assorted Cables Various Power Converters When I need to carry al... read more →

Just Another Saturday at Best Buy

I stopped by Best Buy after work on Saturday to buy a new DVD player and ask about calibrating my new DLP set. Here's how the experience went with Best Buy's Blue Shirt crew: MikeyP: Hi, what's the return policy on this DVD player?Blue Shirt Guy #1: 14 days, no restock fee.MikeyP: Thank... read more →

Touring a Retired Lightship

We were strolling around Jack London Square in Oakland last weekend, when we stumbled upon a docked ship with an "Open for Tours" sign posted nearby. The ship turned out to be the decommissioned US Coast Guard Lightship RELIEF – WLV 605, and the tour was fascinating. The Lightsh... read more →

Space Shuttle Replacement Concept

The June issue of Popular Mechanics has concept pictures of Lockheed Martin's Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) proposal. The pictures are really fun to check out, but what I find most interesting is the notion that the US just might get it right with this new space ship design. I can't wait t... read more →

Why I Don't Use Orbitz

There are lots of online travel sites to choose from. For example, I've had good experiences with Expedia. Other sites, like Orbitz, leave a lot to be desired. I tried to find a roundtrip ticket to LA, and here's what Orbitz suggested: If I booked that flight, I just might get to there i... read more →

A Peltier Cooler for Wine

I've been thinking of a solution for cellaring wine at home. I do have room under the house to build a proper cellar, but I won't have time to do a big project like that for many years to come. So in the mean time, I've kept my eye on those 'Wine Cooler Fridge' things that are ... read more →

Unwind and Dine at the Albion River Inn

If you are looking for a nice overnight escape from the SF Bay Area, head up the coast to the Albion River Inn. Located about 15 minutes south of Mendocino , the Albion River Inn has a set of charming cottages perched atop of a cliff overlooking the mouth of the Albion River. Most rooms have firep... read more →

Good Eats: Trader Joe's Blister Peanuts

Trader Joe's is always a great place for tasty organic snacks. Lately, I've become hooked on their Old Fashioned Blister Peanuts. From the label:Generations ago folks soaked peanuts in water to remove the red skins prior to roasting. This caused the peanuts to 'blister' during roas... read more →

Flanimals by Ricky Gervais

Sure, you could read a review of the book Flanimals before you buy it. But wouldn't you rather watch a video description of the book instead? No? What if the video was a monologue by the book's author, Ricky Gervais, star of The Office on the BBC? Yes! Now we're talking. Head to t... read more →

Motor Oil in Plain English

The manual for my Audi A4 says that I should use 0w30 oil, and when that isn't available, use 5w30. Naturally, I can never find 0w30 anywhere. In an effort to understand the advantages and disadvantage of both oils, I did some googling. Along the way, I found a nice, plain-english site descri... read more →

Too Old to be Carded

This evening I stopped by my local liquor store to purchase a sophisticated adult beverage. When I placed my bottle on the counter to pay, the cashier looked at me and said, Alright, finally! Somebody I don't need to ask for an ID! Uh, thanks, I guess. Apparently he'd been getting a bunch ... read more →

Good Eats: Pretzels from Newman's Own Organics

Newman's Own Organics, a company run by Paul Newman's daughter Nell, makes some tasty organic snacks. In particular, they make some damned fine pretzels. Unlike the boring and bland pretzels you usually find in supermarkets and vending machines, Newman's pretzels have a full, wheaty ta... read more →

First Time on Jury Duty

Even though I seem to get called for jury duty every year, this week is the first time I've actually been selected for a jury. The jury selection process and trial so far has been a lot more interesting than I expected. Obviously, I'm under oath to not discuss the details, so I'll jus... read more →

Excellent Teas at Far Leaves

After craving a top quality Japanese Green Tea, I tried a variety of teas at my local coffee places (Peets, Starbucks, etc). While they have good coffee, I was less than impressed with their tea, as well as their annoying habit of serving tea in lip-burning, tea-blanching, boiling hot water. Luckil... read more →

A Consistent Formula

StickyC discovered this years ago, but lo and behold, this consistent formula worked its magic on me last night. Company Party + Gin Martini + Karaoke Machine = SINATRA! Sing along with me:South of the BorderDown Mexico Way… ... read more →

Solving Kryptos with Elonka

My friend and GDC speaking partner Elonka is in Wired today, discussing a cool crytographic sculpture at CIA headquarters. In case you're wondering, Elonka was the first person to crack PhreakNIC. And of course, she has a blog. ... read more →

Winter Sports Sunscreen Tip

Tip: When carrying a tube of suncreen during winter sport activities, put it inside of a sealed ziplock bag before slipping it in to your pocket. That way, you can prevent a mess and some permanent stains when, oh… hypothetically speaking, you're snowboarding on a lovely Thursday afternoon... read more →

Modern Washing Machine

Modern front-loading washing machines are such a cool improvement over the classic American top-loader tub . After picking two highly rated models (Bosch and Whirlpool) and finding out that they won't fit in our circa 1979 laundry room, our third choice was delivered today: Believe it or not, t... read more →

Helpful Japan Travel from JTB

This winter, we spent a couple of weeks in Japan exploring and enjoying the country. Even though I had been to Japan before, I was on business and I never had a chance to really see the country. We initially asked our local travel agents for Japan travel info, and they all pointed us to packages f... read more →

Red/Blue States? How about Red/Blue Counties?

Ever since the 2004 election, the terms Red State and Blue State have entered our popular lexicon. Red State and Blue State pre-election polls and final electoral results were superbly tracked on the web site http://www.electoral-vote.com (maintained by Andrew Tanenbaum... yes, the Andrew Tanenbaum... read more →