Monday, December 22, 2008

The Return of Duffergeek

Just before Thanksgiving, my web server in my house keeled over.  More specifically, the boot drive with the OS on it decided to stop being a disk and turned into a clicking machine.  

The computer was hosting a number of web sites along with my DNS service.  It took me a few weeks to get it all sorted out, but Duffergeek is now back in business and with this change, I am no longer hosting web sites from my house.  So, um, there.

You might find a few image links busted for a little while but it should be sorted out soon.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Zen and the Art of Financial Collapse

Last Friday, I twittered:
A message to panicking shareholders: look outside. The birds are still flying, the trees still standing. Nothing is different.
This was just one of the little realizations from taking a couple of days of reflection on Whidbey Island. It was interesting to read about the financial panic around the world, look at the tumbling stock prices, seeing the politicians and stock brokers' distraught faces and then look out at the water from my balcony. The seagulls didn't seem to care at all. Neither did the heron, or the trees, or the dogs running up and down the beach. Why? Because nothing has actually changed.

The companies whose value is dropping so dramatically are really the same companies they were four weeks ago. Or four months ago. For the most part, the same people go to work there and they are doing the same things. Yet, people have decided to have a nice panic. Sure, there were a bunch of greedy and either dishonest or insanely stupid people decided that it was ok to lend people more money than they could afford to pay back, but this has been going on for years. Just look at the crazy number of credit card applications that show up in every college student's mailbox. Debt has become the new patriotism. But it is really no different today than it was 6 months or a couple of years ago when things were "just fine."

The interesting thing is that the banks and others in the financial industry have decided to stop trusting each other. Now they decide to not loan money even to each other because they're afraid they might not get it back. I'm not sure where that thinking was over the past seven or so years when they were making the bad loans, but their new-found realism is causing them to start hiding their money in their industrial sized mattresses.

The fact is, though, that the core of this problem is in our minds. The vast majority of those bad mortgages will still be paid off, particularly if the people who have them can get the interest rates down to a reasonable number. A percentage of them will fail no matter what, but the actual numbers are probably not that high. This is why the government was so excited to get in and buy large quantities of them - it is a good money making opportunity if you can buy lots and lots of loans at pennies on the dollar and then end up with a 10% real default rate.

Ah, but see? I've gotten myself into playing armchair economist when the real point is this: Today is not different from yesterday. The trees are still standing, the water is still flowing and the sun will rise again in the morning. The only thing that has changed is our minds.

We just need to chill out and breathe.

Monday, October 06, 2008

iPhone Applications Ungagged

I've spent a lot of time over the past couple of months working on a couple of iPhone applications including TeeShot and PracticeTee.  Until recently, though, we were not able to talk about what it was like to write these applications, or even talk in public about the APIs used due to an NDA from Apple that applied to all developers in the program.  Fortunately, Apple dropped that NDA a few days ago, so we should start seeing lots more information on the web about how to write iPhone apps and how to work around some of the issues that we run into building on a platform that is new and growing.

With that out of the way, I figured now would be a good time to post a few thoughts about what it has been like to build and deploy several versions of applications for the iPhone.

The Good
Building an iPhone application is remarkably similar to building a Macintosh application.  One of the best things that Apple did in the creation of the iPhone SDK was to start from the Cocoa framework and then tweak some of the UI layers to be more specific to the iPhone form factor.  This means that in many places, I can copy and paste code between a Macintosh application like CourseBuilder and my iPhone application.  Also, since Cocoa is such a mature environment by now, with very strong development tools, much of the underlying framework is very robust and secure.  The graphics capabilities of the iPhone are outstanding, having a full networking stack and the cellular network at your disposal means applications are always connected and the fact that every iPhone comes with SQLite built in means that writing rich data applications is very simple.  This is fantastic.

For the most part, the development tools are really great to work with and I don't just mean the XCode IDE.  The performance monitoring tools are very strong, though sometimes a little quirky still and the iPhone emulator is really top notch.  It is even useful for testing websites to see how they will look on the iPhone.

Even with all of the complaints people have had about the iTunes App store (banning applications, slow to post updates, light reporting) it is a real game changer for there to be a distribution mechanism that automatically hits all potential customers for the application and provides both payment and download/update infrastructure as part of the deal.  Services like this allow very small development shops - like just one developer - to deliver their applications to users much more simply.  I worry about getting the application feature set right, making it simple and stable and Apple takes care of delivering it to customers and getting the money from them to me.  This makes for two very fun days every month - reporting day and funds transfer day.

The Bad
Application Security
While the app signing features make it significantly harder for users to get your application without paying for it, they also make several parts of application development harder.  Every time you build the application for a device, it must be signed before it will install or run.  This process, though, is full of issues that pop up and when they do, they are extremely difficult to work through.   I set up a new development machine after a hard drive failure and while I can build applications that are signed for distribution, my development certificate have never been the same since.  The errors are vague in these cases and there is not much you can do to track it down. 

Yes, the iTunes Application Store is a godsend for many reasons, but waiting for weeks for an application to go from upload to release is frustrating for developers and customers.  It looks like Apple has started working through the kinks in the system because my last update was much faster than the previous ones, but when developers are used to immediate updates for our websites and desktop applications (thanks Sparkle), waiting days or weeks for an application to be released is a drag.

Customer Access
The downside of Apple handling distribution is that we lose a direct connection with our customers.  While they can and often do contact us with support or feature requests, we don't have a direct way to let our customers know about upcoming features, issues to be aware of, or special offers that are available for them.  The only information we get from Apple is how many people from each country have purchased the application.

The Ugly
I think one of the biggest issues is how the iTunes Application store currently makes it difficult to market our products effectively.  There is currently no way to offer discounts to repeat customers or customers of business partners.  There is no way to charge for major upgrades to products without effectively releasing an entirely new product.  There is no way to give out free copies to reviewers or influentials without using up a very limited ad hoc device key.  My product is a very seasonal product and it would be nice to be able to have a bundle with another product or service, or offer it free to users who have purchased other products or services but currently the store is too limited for such promotions.  The good news is that this is a very solve-able problem.

Assuming Apple doesn't change their mind, I hope to do several more posts about writing iPhone apps in the coming weeks.  Hopefully, I will even be able to compare it with writing for other platforms and frameworks.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The End of a Good Thing

While we've known it for a little while, today the web site made it public. DeepRockDrive did it's last show on August 1st and is being put in mothballs for now. I still think it is a great idea and we did some amazing shows but it turns out the money can't last forever. You can still catch a number of our shows up on YouTube though.

At least we didn't have any drummers die. One got sick, but I hear he is feeling much better now.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

RSVP - The Ride!

We just got back from the RSVP. It was really a great time. A ton of riding and a huge challenge (at least for me) but it was really great to have been part of it.

Oh, you want details? Well, ok. :)

Day One
We started off at around 7 am on Friday morning. The first 13 miles or so were a piece of cake along the Burke Gilman trail. This is part of the trail we did a lot of training on so it was simple, flat and familiar. Once we made a turn in Woodinville, we hit our first big hill and while it took a bit of time, I made it up with no real problem. Just one quick stop to catch my breath. Then we rode on to Snohomish.

One thing that I had noticed was that my bike made an annoying squeaking sound when I was pedaling. This was mainly annoying because it meant that some of my energy was being converted to sound instead of speed, so I was wasting effort, but it had done this before and I had just had a tune up a week before the ride, so I figured it wasn't a big deal. This will prove to be wrong much later on...

After Snohomish, we hit hte Centennial Trail bike path which was a nice path with only one annoyance - at each intersection there are large metal posts that cross the path to keep cars, motorcycles, etc from getting on, but they mean you need to stop on the bike and carefully maneuver between them. Sometimes you could go off the trail around them, but with 1400 other bikers in the same general area, they tended to get a bit backed up. Otherwise, it was a nice section of the ride.

Then we started up a gradual, but very long climb past Lake Stevens, ultimately reaching the highest point on the ride. It was interesting because there was no really steep part here, just lots and lots of climbing. It was also getting warmer so this started to really take a bunch out of me. We had a nice downhill section that followed (what goes up must come down, thank goodness) and we rolled through Arlington to meet up with our support folks at around Bryant.

Here... I bonked. I ran out of energy and found myself sitting on a low wall just staring at the ground. I couldn't really eat anything and Gatorade was just gross. The rest of the crew was ready to go on, so I took a little break and Leslie and Zach drove me to the next stop about 17 miles ahead in Mount Vernon. By the time I got there I was starting to feel better. I had one of the techs look at my bike to see if he could figure out the squeaking but it would have taken too much time to really dig in to find it. Clue #2 that there was something amiss...

After that break, though, I was ready to go again so we set out from Mount Vernon and headed into the valley. No real hills here, but we hit a big headwind, so while the ride was flat, it was a ton of work to press through the wind. Most of the crew was up ahead of me so I did this part alone but after the rest I was still feeling pretty good and we made it up to the next rendezvous spot with our fabulous support crew in Bow at the Rhododendron Cafe.

The next section was the last section of the first day - the ride up Chuckanut Drive to Bellingham. I had been dreading this through training because it was so hilly and late in the day, but it ended up being a real treat. Tony, Jason and I stuck together for this part and while it was a bunch of rolling hills, the scenery was gorgeous. Sammish Bay off to the left, lots of trees along the road and it had cooled down from earlier in the ride (and no wind!) so we just cranked up each hill and took as much as we could from the downhill segments. This turned out to be my favorite part of the whole ride. There were about seven hill segments to it, and then we entered Bellingham and had a surprisingly long ride through the streets before we got to our meeting point for the end of day one, but once there, it was great to be through with it.

We all met for a nice dinner in Bellingham and then headed back to our hotels for some sleep.

Day Two
We started out from Bellingham at about 7:30. The first few miles of the second day are challenging only because my butt was so sore from the day before but that went away pretty quickly. I must not have had the best breakfast, though, because on the second hill out of Bellingham, I fell a bit behind the group and was on my own for the next 14 miles or so. Not all alone, of course, I would pass the occasional other bikers and be passed by the zippy group must have started a bit later than us. The destination for the first segment was Lynden, where Jason had pre-ordered an amazing banana cream pie which he called the "best in the world."

I rolled in to Lynden and we got in line for pie. I'm not much for banana cream pie, perhaps because, as Leslie points out, those are the ones you are supposed to throw in people's faces. Their chocolate caramel pie, though, was delightful and after a good amount of pie eating and bathroom breaking, we headed out for the Canadian border. The rest of our group actually left about 10 minutes before we did and that was the last we would see of them until Vancouver, but Tony, Jason and I headed up to the border and crossed at the same time as our support crew were driving through.

We were driving along 0 Ave right on the border when we had our only real accident of the trip. Tony's front tire hit my rear tire and he dumped along the road. Fortunately, he landed about as best you could when rolling at 17 miles per hour and there wasn't anyone behind him to roll over him, so we picked up the spilled bike bits and after briefly admiring his skinned knees, we continued on.

The next big challenge was "The Wall." A very steep section which I ended up having to walk up but once we were over that, it a windy stretch and then downhill into Fort Langley. We picked up more refreshments from Leslie and Zach who were waiting for us at the ferry crossing, crossed the Fraser river with them and a bunch of other bikers and then rode to a quick pit at the only real food stop of the second day.

By this point, it was quite hot. Somewhere around 90 degrees and no real cloud cover. Most of the roads from here on in are city streets and highways so the heat was a pretty big factor. We drank a lot of water. Crossing the Pitt River, I hit my gear to go into the high gear for some more flat roads and my chain fell off. Ugh. I stopped and put it back on, started going again but it was making a grinding noise now and just a couple blocks more it fell off again. Looking down, something was really wrong now. Basically, the derailleur, instead of going from gear 1 to 2 to 3 was going from 2 to 3 to dump the chain. Climbing was going to be much harder now and even in the regular gears, there was lots of grinding as I pedaled. We were still eight miles from the next pit stop and any hope of a bike tech being able to look at it so we pressed on through the streets of Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam and Port Moody.

As I was going up the last hill to the Port Moody mini-stop, I took another look down at my right pedal and noticed that there was about a 1/4" gap on the crank. Well there's yer problem right there. The whole crank had started to come apart and the gears were not where they were supposed to be. Hence the gear shifting issue and grinding. We made it to the mini-stop where the whole support crew was waiting for us having just seen off the rest of our group for the last leg of the ride into Vancouver. I found the bike tech at the stop and he took a quick look at it. Basically, the crank assembly was broken and needed to be taken apart and re-assembled. Any further riding would just make it worse.

I was done. Hardware failure.

Tony and Jason continued on to Vancouver. Leslie, Zach and I headed to our hotel in Vancouver.

My total distance for the ride was 150 miles. Even with the missing finish, it was still one heck of an accomplishment, particularly given how the whole idea started.

Now I need to head to the bike repair store for a bit of a repair and start thinking about training for next summer's STP.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Tomorrow I'll be riding in the RSVP - The Ride from Seattle to Vancouver and Party! 183 miles of joy and sweat. We've been training a lot, so I'm pretty excited about it. The only real downside is it's gonna be hot! The forecast calls for temperatures in the 90s.

Wish me luck :)

Saturday, August 02, 2008

That was a crazy long ride

After watching the Mötley Crüe show at DeepRockDrive last night until 12:30 am, I got up at 6 to meet folks for a long bike ride in preparation for the RSVP which is less than two weeks away!

We started on Novelty Hill then rode down through Carnation, Falls City, then up to Snoqualmie Falls and around North Bend before heading back down through Carnation and finishing up with the grueling 8 mile climb-from-hell that is Novelty Hill. All in all, a ride of 72.5 miles.

Clint kept saying that "hills are your friends" but I'm pretty sure we have a different definition of friend. Friends don't make friends feel like they wanna puke.

But, we got back safely, after only two flat tires and 6 hours (flat tires take time to fix, and fortunately, Clint is very good at fixing them). I'm sure once I've recovered, I will think it was a great ride. It was certainly an accomplishment!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

TeeShot Review at

My iPhone Application, TeeShot, got a great review at today. 4 out of 5 mice and listed as "The best of the bunch!"

This is amazing! Lots of traffic coming into TeeShot Live right now. I am sooo psyched to see the great feedback on TeeShot so far. Now I just need to find the time to get out and play-test version 1.5.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Motley Crüe at DeepRockDrive. How cool is that?

Motley Crüe is playing at DeepRockDrive on August 1st. This promises to be our biggest show yet, and our first from a venue outside of DeepRockDrive's own blue box. We will be deepcasting the sold-out show from Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Sold out for people in Las Vegas, that is, but not for you!

Click now to grab your FREE ticket to the show.

How cool is that?!?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Finally living up to the title of Duffergeek

TeeShot Live
Some of you know about this already, but I figure now is a good time to let everyone take a peek :)

A few weeks ago, I started building an application for the iPhone and iPod touch that lets me track my golf score while I'm out playing. The first version is done now, as is the website and blog that accompany it. The application, called TeeShot, will be available for sale through the iTunes application store on Friday - the same day that the new iPhone 3G is released.

You can check them all out at the TeeShot Live website and at my new Talkin' TeeShot blog.

TeeShot Live, is more than just an "about this application" website. It is the place where users go to upload and download courses and will eventually be a place where they can keep in touch with their friends who are out playing golf. Today, though, it shows off the features of TeeShot and lets users start downloading courses (there are already over 100 courses up there).

I am really excited to see what folks think of the application and how it does at the iTunes Application Store. TeeShot costs $19.99 (less than a half dozen golf balls) so I'm hoping lots of people pick it up just to give it a try.

The cool thing is that the new iPhone 3G has a GPS receiver in it, so an upcoming version of TeeShot will use that to help golfers figure out how far they hit each shot and how far they are from the green and more!

Check it out!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Best Fireworks Photos Yet

At least for me- this year's batch of 4th of July fireworks photos are my best yet. Perhaps it is the Canon 1D Mark III which is new for me this year. Perhaps it is just figuring out a few more tricks in Lightroom. Either way, I am quite pleased with this year's batch of shots.

Two things that certainly helped were being invited by Megan and Anh to their gorgeous home in Seattle (thanks again!) and the clearly improved Seattle fireworks - nice new pastels this year. Sweet!

Check them out at at SmugMug.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

DeepRockDrive - The Video Vault

The interactive live concerts at DeepRockDrive are an amazing experience, but most of the internet, it turns out, didn't get to see all of the shows, so we've created a new feature on the website to answer our most common email request.

"Can I see a replay of the show?"

Starting yesterday, we are uploading full songs from our catalog of shows and you can watch them in our vault player, where you can pick the songs you want to hear and discuss the shows with other fans right in the player.

The first set includes Divide the Day and Ari Hest (a personal favorite).

We will be putting more shows up every week so keep coming back if you're looking for a particular show that isn't there yet.

Check them out!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

O.A.R. live at DeepRockDrive

O.A.R. is playing at DeepRockDrive next week. If you're into the Dave Matthews Band you should check it out. There are definite similarities, in fact, they tour with DMB and will be playing together at the Gorge this September.

Also, check out this Sprout I made - what an amazing site for creating live web widgets. Amazingly simple and hugely powerful.

Thanks, Jeff, for making me build my first one. I'm hooked!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Rush at The Gorge

Zach and I went to the Gorge Amphitheater last night to see Rush play. It was really fantastic! The location is really quite stunning with the Columbia River gorge as a backdrop to the stage and with no roof, there is very little echoing so the sound was really clear for a big concert.

Those guys still have it. They played for about three and half hours with a brief intermission and played a good blend of new songs and old songs. I've been a fan since the Permanent Waves album in 1980 and this is fourth time I've seen them live. They do a great job of recreating their complex songs live and the huge crowd was really into the show. Sure, we're a lot older than we used to be though it was fun to watch a new generation of people who are getting into Rush thanks to either overenthusiastic parents such as myself, or to the prominent position of Tom Sawyer on Rock Band.

If only I'd brought my big camera with me, I could've gotten some much better shots but they were pretty clear that professional cameras were not welcome. That said, the guy next to me had a 30D. Perhaps I should have just tried :)

If you're curious about what they played, the whole set list is on Wikipedia here. My one disappointment was that they don't seem to vary their setlist from night to night. With as much material as they have, it sure would be great to see a bunch of different songs at each show.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Disturbed at DeepRockDrive

Wow, we had an amazing show at DeepRockDrive tonight. Disturbed played to a HUGE crowd of 10,000 people and the show went great! It wasn't that long ago that relatively tiny shows had our web servers overheating but DeepRockDrive 2.0 really showed its stuff yesterday handling 10,000 people from 71 countries and over 1.34 MILLION interactive events(*) without breaking a sweat.

Disturbed was really great too. I hadn't heard them much before but I'm a fan now.

You can check out some hi-def highlights from the show at Vimeo.

Here is the smaller version:

Live at DeepRockDrive: DISTURBED from DeepRockDrive.

It took a ton of great work from the dev team in Seattle and and the production team Las Vegas to pull this off but it was an amazing feeling to watch so many people really enjoying the show and to see everything working just like we thought it would.

Woo hoo!!!!!

(*) What's an interactive event? That is either a vote for a song, a shoutout to the band, or a click on an emotapplause icon to clap or send a fist in the air to the band

Thursday, May 22, 2008

DeepRockDrive Demo Video

We put together a cool demo of how the DeepRockDrive interactive experience actually works. Not just how the video looks, but how to use all of the interactive features. Check it out!

DeepRockDrive's interactive live concerts from DeepRockDrive on Vimeo

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Another big ride

A bunch of us went out for a bike ride today. We went 26.25 miles round trip at a pretty good pace. It was a blast and the weather was fantastic. This is my 3rd ride in 4 days (having ridden to work on Thursday and Friday).

Now if the weather can just keep cooperating, I can do my part to avoid the insane gas prices and reduce both my carbon footprint and my own girth :)

Plus, it is great training for the rapidly approaching RSVP.

Marié Digby at DeepRockDrive

Marié Digby played a show at DeepRockDrive today and it was fantastic! Thousands of people from around the world came together to watch the show. It was crazy busy with shoutouts and emotapplauses flying like they never have before. Her performance was great and she was all over keeping the fans engaged and involved.

This was a great example of the kind of experience that can only happen on the 'net. She was "discovered" on YouTube and has used the social networking sites to build her name. The show at DeepRockDrive is another step in building her career and what a great way to reach her fans all around the world. 66 countries, to be exact - 1/3 of the world's countries tuned in to today's show.

Thanks to Pepsi for sponsoring today's free show. Check out the schedule for upcoming shows!


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

DeepRockDrive 2.0

Well, we shipped a big release of DeepRockDrive last Friday. We are now available on Facebook! The site has been streamlined to let us really focus on delivering great interactive shows and leaving the social networking features to the social networking sites!

The Spokane Spokesman Review did a couple of vidblog articles on us, including this one where they take a quick tour of our office in Bellevue.

Heck, you can watch it right now!

Check out some of the great upcoming shows on the site, grab a ticket and I'll see you at the show!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again

I rode my bike to work today. It was a long ride, over 22 miles round trip, and just like my ride to Microsoft only about another 4 miles each way.

The good news is that if this is like last summer, the hills get easier after a couple of times so I just need to keep at it. Here's hoping for good weather!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Some of the writers from the Onion left and started an e-card company called The e-cards are absolutely brilliant!

Check 'em out!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Back from Japan

We got back from Japan on Friday morning. We had a lot of fun, first in Tokyo and then in Nagano. I've got some pictures up at SmugMug with more to come (really!)

And if you look at the time of this post, you might correctly assume that my internal clock has not quite readjusted yet.

Perhaps tonight...

Wizard Page 1

"Welcome to the Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac 12.0.1 Update Installer"

Um... Thank you?

Honestly, I didn't expect to be at page 1 of the Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac 12.0.1 Update Installer. I just wanted to install PowerPoint so I could read a funny stick figures explanation of the subprime mortgage crisis from Tony's Blog but 4 wizards later, here I am.

And in the time it took me to read it, decide to blog about it, launch FireFox and actually blog about it. It is still running.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Heading to Japan

We're headed to Japan tomorrow morning. The whole family plus Kate's friend and her mother. You can follow all of the excitement at the Six Gaijin blog created just for this event.


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Ari Hest at DeepRockDrive

Ari Hest played at DeepRockDrive today. It was a really great show! He has a project called 52 where he is releasing a new song every week for a year. His show at DeepRockDrive was an acoustic set and was just fantastic.

You can check out my photos of the show here.

That's a lot of RULES for sushi...

I'm in Las Vegas this weekend for a couple of shows at DeepRockDrive including the Ari Hest show later today. Last night Kurt and I went to the Ashana Japanese restaurant at the Rio that had an all you can eat sushi menu option. Looking at the prices for regular stuff, this looked like it would actually be one of the less expensive options so we went for it. The sushi was actually pretty good. Not Nishino good, but the maguro, by which many restaurants can be measured was tender and fresh.

Apparently, this place was very concerned about only catering to the "clean plate club" because there was a sheet of rules that they left on the table once we started ordering. Rules! At a restaurant. Some of theme were:

  • All-You-Can-Eat is limited to 1.5 hours and begins when your server places your first order
  • All-You-Can-Eat may not be shared with others. If your All-You-Can-Eat order is shared, you will both be charged the All-You-Can-Eat price.
  • No "Orders to go" or "Take Home Bags" permitted
  • All of the Main Entree portion must be eaten before your next order can be placed. For Sushi Entrées, all sushi (including sushi rice) must be eaten before another order can be placed
  • Customer must pay for food items at regular menu price if

    • it is ordered but not eaten

    • it is ordered past the 1.5 hour limit

    • sushi rice portions are not eaten

Wow! I've never heard of a place that charges you more to NOT eat something! This takes the whole soup nazi thing to a whole new level. Kurt and I were immediately concerned about strict enforcement. If we didn't eat the edamame shells, would we get no more food? What about the shrimp tails? When the bill came, would stray pieces of rice left on the serving tray be used as evidence against us to justify an additional $30.00 and marked "incomplete spicy tuna consumption"? Did the bowl of rice count since technically it isn't sushi rice (which is called out in the rules) yet once placed on a plate with teriyaki chicken, it becomes part of a Main Entrée, right?

In the end, there was no strict enforcement. We could order our teriyaki while there was still a Dragon Roll on the way and the bill at the end of the evening (well before the 1.5 hour limit, I might add) the bill included no penalty charges or late fees.

Oh, and overall, it was pretty dang good.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Today I learned: Lincoln is my hero!

I just finished Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Fantastic book, but even moreso was the brilliance and goodness of Lincoln himself.  I knew most of the history, but this book really focuses on how he worked with his cabinet - his leadership style and deep understanding of human behavior and motivation.

I recommend this to everyone!

Hmmm... Lawyer from Illinois, from humble beginnings, one term in Washington, running for president.  Everyone counted him out, no one thought he had the experience to survive, let alone thrive, in Washington DC.  That sounds vaguely familiar...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Political Songs

In my brief speech for Obama, I referenced this song:

But if you prefer, there is always this song:

See? Now I'm fair and balanced!


Today I Learned... WA 202E is 2 lanes to Sahalee

The construction has been going on for years, but today was the first day I could go from Redmond all the way to Sahalee Way with 2 lanes the whole way.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Washington Democratic Caucuses

We went to the caucuses yesterday - what a cool experience!

Celia, a neighbor of ours, is the precinct captain and she encouraged us to go. It didn't take much effort. On the night before the caucus, she sent us mail asking if either of us would be willing to make a one minute speech on behalf of Barack Obama. Well, I hadn't prepared much but having had several discussions with people about how inspirational he is (particularly when compared with any other candidate) I volunteered and spent a few minutes on Saturday morning scribbling out a few sentences that captured my thought - and fit in one minute.

We showed up at the caucuses a couple of minutes after it was scheduled to start, but having gone to caucus training earlier in the week, we knew that nothing really started until 1:30. The parking lot was full. Cars were parked along the side of the road and we had to go several blocks before we could find a spot. Lots of people were caucusing at this school! As we walked in, we saw Celia who let us know that our precinct would be meeting in the library. As it turns out, two groups were meeting in the library so the room was packed with nearly 100 people.
The caucus got rolling with the standard script and as we got to the speech part I went second (after the Clinton speaker). While I tried to focus on my group, my presentation really went to the whole room.

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are great candidates. Both are focused on fixing health care and the economy, ending the occupation of Iraq, combating global warming and reestablishing the United States as a respected international leader.

But only one candidate, Republican or Democrat, has the proven ability to not just lead, but inspire. Inspire us to do great things. To shake off the past 8 years of fear and darkness, divisiveness and mistrust and inspire all Americans to get back to our own business of working to make this country not just stronger, but better.

We’ve seen this potential - this hope - with Bill Clinton back in 1992 and John F. Kennedy a generation earlier. Candidates like Barack Obama do not come along every four years, but this year we have a chance to nominate, and then elect, a president who can inspire the people with his words and actions.

Words so powerful that musicians are inspired to write songs about his speeches. That thousands of people stand outside in a Seattle rain just to be close enough to hear them.

The office of the president is about leadership and the best leaders do not dictate.

They inspire.

After the speech, the attendees finished filling out the registration and first round of voting. Judging by the enthusiastic response to my presentation, and the significant number of people wearing Obama '08 gear, it was looking pretty positive for Barack. After our first count, Barack had 4 delegates and Hilary had 2. When the call was made for people to change their votes, if they so wished, a number of people came up to the voting table and changed their vote. On the second and final tally, Obama had 5 delegates and Hillary got 1.

The final step (after a brief fundraising attempt) was to elect the delegates to represent our precincts votes to the county caucus in April. After seeing this bit of democracy in action, I was curious about what the next stage would be so I volunteered and after a few minutes was elected as a delegate! Cool!!! Leslie was also elected so we will be headed to the 45th legislative district caucus on April 5 and the King County convention on April 13. Who knows, maybe we can ride this train all the way to the Democratic Convention in Denver this summer.
One of the most remarkable thing to me was the number of long time Republicans who were there to vote for Obama. There were A LOT of them and they were honestly excited about Barack Obama - and equally unexcited about the other options on both sides of the fence. Is this the start of something big?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Vigilante Parking Patrol!

Leslie showed me this site.  I love it!  If someone parks like an ass, now you can leave them a little citation with an explanation of what they did wrong.  It is so much nicer than dinging their door or letting the air out of their tires...

Apparently, though, some people who get these notes don't take it so well...

Time to fire up the printer!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Today I Learned... I have cancer!

Sure, most of these posts are nerdy, but this one certainly fits the category of something I learned today.

Rather than fill this blog up with details about it, though, we've started a new blog called the Mutant Kidney and you can read all about it there.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled nerdiness.

Friday, January 04, 2008

DeepRockDrive on TechCrunch

Our public launch is at CES next week. TechCrunch has picked up the story here.

Next week should be really a blast with a couple of good shows during CES.

The Maine on Tuesday at 8:00 PM Pacific
Big B on Tuesday at 10:00 PM Pacific
One Pin Short on Wednesday at 7:00 PM Pacific

Join us for the fun!


Thursday, January 03, 2008

Your love is like what?

Bon Jovi - Bad Medicine

When I first heard this song, I could've sworn they were saying:
Your love is like bad venison
And bad venison is what I need
I just checked and guess what, it still sounds like that.