Thursday, August 28, 2008

Shuffling moneys

I finally decided it was time to trim back my holdings in Apple to something a bit more reasonable. I rode the stock up through about 1000% of gains and it was starting to completely dominate my portfolio, so today I went in and had a chat with my investment advisor.

I sold down about 90% of my Apple and bought up some Palm, Intel, nVidia and AMD, as well as a few financial company stocks to round things out. My portfolio still isn't the picture of balance and diversity, but it's at least a bit more spread out.

More balancing will have to wait until I have more money to invest.

Home sw... well, home.

I'm home. I've actually been home since Monday evening, but I've been too busy to blog. The final day of driving was boring, windy, and mercifully short. The border crossing was equally quick and uneventful.

Rather than bore you with a final travelogue, I present to you Alice tripping balls:

Monday, August 25, 2008

It's not something you just throw something on

Today was rather boring. Drove from Twin Falls to Glendive. I didn't get snowed on like I did on the way out, and I only passed one accident (luckily on the opposite side of the road).

For the morbidly curious among you, it was a rather crumpled Big Truck that had spilled a Series of Tubes all over the Super-Highway that is the interstate. Somewhere deep in Alaska, Ted Stevens must be having an aneurysm.

Map later.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

One point Twenty-one Jiggawatts

Not one to waste time, I hit the road with a vengeance this morning. I managed to get everything loaded up and ready to go by 9:30 pacific and I was on my way.

Things went fairly smoothly until I got to Sacramento for lunch. The lunch itself was fine, but when I got back out onto I-80 the traffic had ground to a halt. A few miles up I finally passed the burnt-out husk of what was once a very nice Class-A RV, sitting rather sadly charred at the side of the road.

The traffic didn't ease for long, though. Things slowed down again pretty quickly as I got toward the mountains, and this time I passed a wrecked box-van that had ran over what looked like a good 1 ton boulder that had fallen onto the road, and to make matters worse the van then collected a car with its rear-end.

So that's 3 people so far who have had a rather upsetting start to their weekend.

Luckily things went much better for me, and after I passed Reno the traffic pretty much disappeared. I set the cruise control for 88 miles an hour, and arrived at Twin Falls at about 10pm pacific (11 local), in the year 1958. ;)

I kid, of course, but there actually is a pretty fancy looking olde-tyme hotrod parked at the Motel 6 I'm staying at.

I should take a moment to digress; there's a few things one should know about Nevada that make it quite distinct from the Californian experience I've been getting used to all summer.

First, it's full of bugs. I must have got over 100 huge bug-splats on my windshield crossing the state. It was disgusting! By the time I got into Idaho I could barely see, and that was after scrubbing the windshield clean in Elko.

Second, the sky really is full of little fluffy clouds, and the sunsets are gorgeous. The little fluffy clouds also rain every now and then, which makes for the first precipitation I've seen since my trip out in April.

Third, Nevada knows how to make interstates. They really do. Best roads around to rack up the miles.

And lastly: Nevada has insufficient air density for my poor little jellybean. Really saps the power.

Hopefully I'll make it to Glendive tomorrow. We'll see what the day brings.

I'll paste a map in here later, Google Maps is being a pain in the ass.

All good things must come to an end

And yesterday was my last day working at Palm this summer. Thankfully I had managed to finish up my work on Wednesday and Thursday so I didn't have much to do but chill out and wait to see if anything huge blew up that would need my attention (and luckily not).

Lunch was of course provided. We were originally going to go to Tied House, but when we got there we discovered they had a sewer backup and wouldn't be open for another hour, so we all walked over to Temptations instead for some chinese/indian fusion cuisine. Good times were had by all.

At the end of the day I was sad to leave and everyone there was sad to see me go, but on the whole it was a really great experience, and one I plan to repeat next year.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Have you no sense of awe?

In here, you *whisper*.

Well, actually you yell, since you can't hear anything over the roar of cooling fans sucking heat away from the over 14 thousand CPUs in one system alone.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to be shown around the Ames supercomputing/visualization center. I got to see the Columbia supercomputer, a few other systems, a few petabytes of tape robot, and the really awesome hyperwall.

I also got a chance to take a few pictures of the afore mentioned items, though they really don't capture the full experience. The only thing I couldn't take pictures of were the army's Cray systems (I think an X1 and an XT5) even though they were completely standard off-the-shelf crays. I'll be putting the pictures up on my site as soon as I get things back up and running properly.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Big wheel keep on turnin'

Rode my unicycle in to work today (the 29). Got kind of sweaty from the effort so it was a good thing I packed a clean change of clothes in my bag.

Folks around the office were very entertained, and Johan even gave it a test-spin. He has a 24" KH unicycle back in Sweden, so he managed to make a fairly good show of it.

As for the commute itself, I managed to make fairly good time (though much slower than biking) and I only fell off once; on the way home.

Lots of fun.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The countdown begins

In less than a week I'll be hitting the road like a man on a mission, and thus the final countdown begins.

I've really had an awesome time being here in California and I'm really looking forward to coming here again next year. What I'm not looking forward to is spending another few winters in Winnipeg, but this is the cross I bear.

I should also take the time to mention that I have successfully passed on the torch^Wunicycle to Candy and Ryan, though they couldn't give it a try right away as Candy was having some trouble with her foot and Ryan had sprained something the week previous. That said, I do have confidence that by the time I return next year at least one of them should be able to ride it, or at least have made a good effort.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The miracles of technology

So this evening I was playing around with my Centro, mostly checking what part of the world is in shadow in the nifty world clock app, when suddenly my computer made this bizarre noise and an icon popped up in the task bar saying "A computer is near by, would you like to transfer files?".

This came as a bit of a shock to me, to say the least. I wondered if I had fallen victim to some form of malware or trojan, so I quickly googled the error code and discovered that it was windows itself popping up the message, in response to a successful connection via IRDA.

It then occured to me that both my laptop and my phone have IR ports on them, a fact that I had up until this point completely and utterly ignored (and/or forgotten).

After a little bit of fiddling around, I managed to get the palm hotsync to sync my Centro over the IRDA connection. I've never done that before.

It's funny to think about IR port: a barely noticed flash in the pan of technology that had come and gone almost ten years ago, nowadays completely and utterly replaced by bluetooth and other RF technologies. Now, all these years later, almost entirely forgotten and on the eve of its final demise, the dusty corpse reanimates like a silicon zombie to wirelessly fling my bits of contact information back and forth over an invisible link.

I wonder: if technologies were really alive, what they would think of their passing... For me, it just makes me feel old.

Friday, August 8, 2008

My luck finally ran out

This morning I noticed something a little odd when I unlocked my bike; the rear seemed to bounce a little oddly on the ground when I moved it around. Upon closer examination I discovered, to my dismay, that the rear tire had gone flat overnight, under the influence of a rather large thorn wedged through the tread.

Thus I had to go back inside, change my shoes, and sadly drive to work.

I picked up a new tube on the way home (though annoyingly the first bike shop I visited was closed), and installed it without too much trouble.

Up until today I had never had a flat on this bike from a puncture. (I've had one or two from valve separations before, but those don't really count)

It's a good thing tubes are cheap.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Through BOB and back again

Well, this Saturday I took another stab at Bohlman - On Orbit - Bohlman, and in 1 hour and 35 minutes I made it from the bottom all the way up to the top (with the aid of a second bottle of gatorade I bought at the bottom).

Then in 10 minutes I made it from the top all the way to the bottom.

That works out to about 4.4 kph (2.7 mph) on the way up and 41.5 kph (25.8 mph) on the way down.

I have conquered the beast!


View Larger Map

Up and down and up and down

My car window works again. Total damage was about the same as estimated, about $275. Got a free car wash out of it too, which is good 'cause there was some bird shit on the side that I was meaning to clean off.