Lost and found

sittin in the snow fort

After completing a very long haul for work, I had to cover Noah’s winter break. There’s only so many days Lisa can take off after all. And while watching Noah can be tiring (he doesn’t stop moving), it’s also an enormous joy that I do not partake of enough. Every day I make a choice… sometimes many times a day, to finish up something for work, or play with him, to take care of a chore or read him a story, etc. I do not always make the right choice. I try to, but I fail. But this day I could do right, and while the baby sitter was an option, I really wasn’t interested in missing this opportunity to take care of some chores that would wait for some other time.

Noah was sitting in the snow fort we built. Snow fort building followed sledding, which followed snowman construction, and inscribing a heart on the base of the snowman for mommy when she got home from work.

There was also the requisite snow ball fight, and general rolling around in the copious piles of snow.

Everything was awesome until in one blinding second I realized I had lost my wedding ring. This was not one of those where did I leave it deals. I *knew* it was gone the minute looked at my hand. I ran back outside, but saw it nowhere, and there where no telltale holes or indications as to where it might have gone. It was very upsetting.

I’m not so foolish as to believe that the ring is anything more than symbol. Lisa is equally clear about this. The rings change nothing. I didn’t even get married with this ring. I purchased rings for Lisa (with her, I guess I should say), and my family passed on a wedding band from Mother’s mother to her. I received a similar gift of a wedding band from her family. But we put off buying me a ring. I don’t recall why. Expense? Sure. Uncertain of what I wanted? Nah. I knew exactly what I wanted. I don’t recall, but clearly the time wasn’t right, and waiting would fill. It always does. It is the pattern of our lives together.

Roughly two years later we stopped into a jeweler to have something fixed, and there it was. The ring I desired, in my size, and on clearance (I never knew this happened to things like wedding bands, but I guess even the timeless styles have their moments.) I had my ring. More recently, we’ve considering what to do since I’ve lost quiet a bit of weight and the ring is now loose most of the time. Especially in the cold. And a glove can pull it right off. See another pattern developing?

I had pulled my gloves off a bunch of times while playing with Noah. I’m usually fairly aware of my ring during these “transitional” moments. But one of those times, I had clearly missed my ring pulling loose. And now it was gone—lost in three foot piles of snow.

I looked a few more times but found nothing. All that was left besides moping around was telling Lisa, who said “Don’t worry. We’ll find it.” I thought she was trying to make me feel better, but having looked fairly carefully by that point I was confident that it was gone. It would melt into the ground and then get flung by the gardeners to heaven knows where with the mowers and blowers.

A coworker of Lisa’s owns a metal detector. Lisa arranged to borrow it and went to fetch it today. We place her ring on the driveway to get some sense of what it would sound like, and I hoped that there wouldn’t be too many screws and nails swept off the driveway to make this a silly quest. I started where I thought it had fallen and got a quick hit. I dug up the snow down to the grass and went through it finding nothing. This could be a long day. I checked another long section around the snowman, and a place where I know I had put my gloves. Nada. I couldn’t believe I would have lost it further along by the fort, because I built the fort with my gloves on (as I recall. Who knows at this point). The lack of false positives made me more hopeful. So I continued. And there in the front of the fort on the inside was a chirp. I needed sharper shovel especially if I was going to get down to the grass, the fort had frozen fairly solid in the last two days.

I got the gardening shovel out of the garage, and with Lisa spotting grabbed the whole section down to the grass and spread it out on the now snow free driveway. I went through a bunch of clumps without finding anything, and I was beginning to be very wary of finding anything. But I was going to go through every clump… I broke open another clump and there it was! Yes! Some things are meant to be.

alentines day is not much of a deal around here. Lots of reasons, but if nothing else I don’t need the retail and card industries telling me when to appreciate my wife, nor how. Still, it makes a nice story… Ya remember back in 2010 when I… You can almost see my most doddering old self from here. Frankly, it’s not that far away.

On an entirely different topic… my latest bike build has started. It’s been taking a while since figuring out the parts took longer than I expected and some parts are still being anodized. But a few parts have made it to the bike including the 36-11 SRAM XX cassette, rear der. and the BB7 brakes. It’s going to be fairly spectacular… if it works. Time will tell. Prolly be another week or so.

moots rear cluster

Interesting developments a link dump (some HTML5, some nosql, some Rails, some Agile, some Redis, a touch of Scala, etc., etc.)

I should try and not let these lists get so long. This is some of the stuff I’ve been looking into at work as we prepare for the next set of projects, and to help clean up some of the current work. Looks like it’ll be a fun year on the web.

Frosthaven near Harriman

In a book we’re reading to Noah the characters get blown in a balloon to an arctic town called Frosthaven. It’s become a metaphor for my winter riding. The residents of Frosthaven are most proud of their ice sculptures. ‘Round here, where proud to not let the winter prevent us from enjoying the outdoors, though it takes some preparation. Long live the Frosthaven Winter’s Day rides.

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Above is not a graphic of my speed (sadly), but the wind speed. Ouch. But it was a bright sunny day to be enjoyed as much as possible. We were lucky and the snow storm that covered the mid atlantic states in 2 feet of snow stayed south of us and here it’s sunny and bright. So despite the 18 degree temps it was a day to ride. And because it’s been fairly dry around here, I thought heck, I’d take the carbon rocket out for its first spin with its new parts.

I picked a route with the maximum amount of uphill for the distance (climbing equals warmth) and pulled on a merino base layer, two mid layers, a winter jersey, and a jacket. On my head was a windblocking beanie, the hood from the top midlayer, and a winter collar that I could pull up. Long winter bibs were covered by winter tights. Not a bad mix considering the conditions.


First new part was the Revl carbon brakes by theHive. They turned out to be really nice. They’re light but feel solid and produced well modulated stops. They look spiffy too. Look how nice and salted up I got them already! (Oy, where’s that rag…).


And key here is that they fit nicely on the wide rims of the Hed Ardennes.

I predicted that wide rims would rule the minute I rode them. Now, besides the wide rims made for mountain bikes, and of course the four levels of wheel from Hed (Ardennes, Bastogne, Kermess, and the top of the line Flamme Rouge version of the Ardennes with ceramic bearings, titanium spokes etc.) Velocity is testing the A23 wide rim, and some new hubs to go with. Looking forward to trying those out. Zipp has widened a number of their rims as well. I tell you what, them wide rims sure ride purty right there. Truly they do.

Another change was the front fork to an Edge 1.0. It’s wonderfully smooth and plenty stiff enough, and of course more than light enough. I like the flat look and quiet graphics, something I wish the industry as a whole would embrace. Imagine if everyone drove around in cars that looked like they’re Nascar equivalents. Essentially, that’s what many of us are forced to do. (I know some do it by choice, that’s fine, but I’d rather not.)


The hill pain was acceptable, the ride shorter than I had wanted because the wind was pushing me all over the road. On one laughingly sad uphill section the wind forced me out of the saddle because the road was already at 11 percent, it basically blew me to a stop, and had it lasted any longer would’ve forced me to dismount. That blast changed my mind about continuing, and took the first exit off the mountain and headed home glad I got out for over an hour.

What the iPad changed

Not that long a go a “workstation” implied an integrated effort. Hardware and Operating System engineered by the same company which ensured a more seamless experience. There have been many companies that have produced these integrated efforts including Sun and Apple.

Certainly the out of box experience of Lisa’s iMac was exceptional The unit was unboxed. The power cord was attached to the back and the wall. The power button was pushed. The computer suggested putting the batteries in to the wireless mouse and keyboard and connected them to the system when that was complete, and a few clicks later Lisa was ready to get to work. One wire. If only Shipstone existed outside of Heinlein books.

That experience, as great as it is diminishes over time. Why? Because after all that is over, it’s still a computer. You have apps to install, files in a file system, bookmarks in multiple browsers etc. Essentially, all the baggage of computing that has accrued over the last 25 years or so.

The iPad is yet another step along the path of washing all that away. Many of us are used to a near continuous connection to the nets. Many of us have storage “in the cloud” that makes our work available where ever, whenever. The IPad hides the OS, it hides the file system, it hides the computer. It make software as much of an appliance as the hardware has become. It seems, while you use it, do only do one thing. As if at that moment it’s nothing more than a email device. Or a “todo” list. Or a spreadsheet.

Once again it’s about simplicity. It’s about making choices as a designer, having an opinion about what’s needed, for whom and when. Will it be all things to all people? Of course, not. But it could well be a device for many people for much of the time. And easier and more convenient to use than a laptop or desktop computer. We’ll see.


Deriding Apple

The can’t help themselves. Even when they’re bashing Apple they praise Apple. From “Why the iPad will fail and help Windows 7 to succeed.

Firstly this new type of device, obviously based on something that’s been around since 2002 but we’ll skip lightly over that one, is a very interesting form-factor that, now popularised will enable just about everybody to produce a clone tablet.

So now that Apple has shown everyone how it should be done, they’ll be able to clone the device and stick Win 7 on it? That’s exactly what hasn’t been working since 2002 that you skipped so lightly over. Next! BTW, It would appear that “popularised” is misspelled. Maybe that’s a Win7 bug? Heh. Just funnin ya’ll.