Sunday, January 28, 2007

Portland Aerial Tram

The Portland Aerial Tram opened today. Cost overruns aside this is going to be a nice addition to the neighborhood. Welcome Jean and Walt, the names for each of the trams.

Chubby Bunny

In the middle of winter in the pacific northwest the days are short and the rainy nights are long. To pass the time a variety of pasttimes have been adopted. One of them is called Chubby Bunny. The goal of Chubby Bunny is to stuff as many marshmallows into your mouth as possible. The winner is the one who has the most in their mouth for the longest period of time. Some recent photos of the action on a rainy weekday night are here.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Arbitrage via iPod le canada!

Using iPods the worlds currency movements are predicted here.

Fantastic Cabernet Sauvignon

Since committing to avoiding the Trader Joe's wine aisle and all wines with animals on the logo I've been exploring some of the regional wines at the local Fred Meyer. I have found a fantastic 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon from Columbia Winery in Washington. The reason I think its so delicious is it has a perfect balance, low tannin taste. This is not a peppery or particularly bold wine, just incredibly smooth and drinkable. Total gem. David Lake (no known relation) is the winemaker at Columbia and is known as the Dean of Washington Winemakers.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Video Games used for education and training

Good article on using video games to educate in the future.

From article here: But young people in the United States today are being prepared for standardized jobs in a world that will, very soon, punish those who can't innovate. We simply can't 'skill and drill' our way to innovation."

Shaffer argues that youngsters heading into the work force will, from day one, have to compete with skilled workers from around the world with years of technological experience.

For this reason, children should be given the chance to use their innate skills of simultaneously listening to music while playing games, watching videos, surfing the Web and messaging friends from computers or cell phones, while learning about things like biology, history or physics.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Motivation through play

You can motivate people if they can see how what you want them to do is FUN. Output and employee productivity seem to be defined by the creative capacity of the manager or leader to describe the problem or issue to be solved in terms of a puzzle or challenge for the individual to solve. In finance it may be the analysis of a balance sheet, ROI calculations, valuations…all estimates playing with a set of numbers in a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet is a toy, not a tool, to play. The investigative journalist is essentially satisfying their instinctive curiosity, digging through real world records and files, to uncover something previously unknown. For graphicists, it’s a matter of scientific archaeology, digging around the stacks of physics and math to see what we can use as a starting point for modeling real world behaviors. Implementing these ideas, exploring the various options, to get something that looks and feels as intended.

You’ll know when you’ve succeeded because you will see a rapid acceptance of ownership of the idea by the individual. Leadership in this sense is not so much a manager but a chief inspiration officer, delegating these challenges to the folks that are interested in actualizing themselves. The tool for this is the following algorithm:

[a] task to be accomplished
[b] motivational profile of employee (what interests them: math, public speaking, programming, proving you wrong)
[c] describe [a] in terms of [b] with a reasonable deadline to solve the problem
[d] track progress and speak in terms of [b].

Windows Desktop Search removal

Windows Desktop Search took over my computer. This resulted in 20-30 minute times coming off standby, and a collapse in battery performance (likely due to hard drive spinning). MS vehemently states Windows Desktop Search will have no impact on performance, they are wrong. Every time I logged out and logged back in was torture. I removed it, the problem is gone. Now, maybe it was just a coincidence. I suspect they are saying ‘no impact on legacy desktop systems’. The problems were on a mobile IBM T40. The install occured as an update to the office productivity suite, outlook 2007 to be exact. Office 2007, in a seperate entry, i'd exclaim that I truly love, the ribbons truly rock! However, Windows Desktop Search has got to go for now.

To remove: Control Panel->Add/Remove Programs (wait 5 minutes for list to populate), go to Windows Desktop Search and select Remove. It is not under the Microsoft list of programs, its down lower in the alphabetical listing under 'W' for Windows.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Parallel Lines

Watching a movie, a documentary called Parallel Lines that tracks a women as she films her way across the US from San Diego back to her hometown NYC after 9/11. Mostly, she interviews lonely people in their struggles to survive in the world. The struggles to make ends meet and the struggle to come to terms with what had just recently happened in the world. I think, especially in the coastal cities, the middle of America can be so easy to forget, so hard to understand. This movie allows a perspective inducing portrait of middle America.

Bush should be announcing the 20,000 troop surge tomorrow. President Clinton mentioned recently that one of the problems he sees in the world today is that people are spending more time on the differences between us than what we have in common.

“Anger destroys the container its kept in” --a hunter in Ohio

Monday, January 01, 2007

Gears of War Insane!

Spent the past week playing Saints Row and Gears of War. Allen Hux and I were online for 3 days, one session lasting about 6 hours, to complete the entire game on Insane difficulty level. This was a total blast playing on Xbox Live with friends. Highly recommended!

The final RAAM was killed by repeated Torque Bow and Sniper shots, standing close by to partner and getting lucky with RAAM staying back long enough with a few good head shots.

29 out of 30 COGs….argh!

Saints Row Hints

Figured out a few things playing Saints Row the past few days that may help others: why buy clothing? For the respect bonus. Missions gain you territory, new cribs, etc. These are the main goals of the game, not the actitivites. Activities get you respect and money to do missions. Also, call up your homies or have the maximum number helping you out on every mission and activity you can. This helps out a lot.

I completed the final mission of the Los Carnales. I found this particularly frustrating and had to repeat the same first scene several times before completing the mission. Basically, the key was to ignore being chased (shoot at drivers early on but don’t make it a priority), use the AK-47 to take out the guys shooting the rocket launchers—this is made easier because the rocket launcher baddies are located near fuel tanks, so you can shoot at the enemy or the fuel barrels. After this stage of the level you proceed to taking out the jet, switch to the rocket launcher, 3 shots should take it out.