Humor, Innovation, Travel

Stand-up Comedy (Travel Style)

04.28.06 | Permalink | Comments Off on Stand-up Comedy (Travel Style)

If you read this blog at all, you know one thing I do is travel. I make every attempt to minimize travel as it is very disruptive to my personal life, but sometimes it’s necessary. Earlier this week while driving into the office listening to the radio, I heard a story about “stand-up seating.”

You have to admit, it’s the next “jumbo shrimp” in terms of good oxymorons…but I digress.

Here’s the summary: Airbus allegedly has been reviewing this idea for it’s new A380 aircraft for service in Asian markets. You have to admit, it would help them live up to their name. (An aside, the Airbus website leaves alot to be desired. It’s a resource pig and slow. I’m sure someone thinks it’s pretty, but jeez, make it accessible and useful first.)

Airbus denies that they are doing any such thing. Time will tell. Who knows, standing up might be better than being wedged into current seating. I remain skeptical.


OnStar update

04.27.06 | Permalink | Comments Off on OnStar update

I recently received my OnStar monthly update. A screen shot of the summary is presented below:

I really like this summary, it’s clear, concise and actionable. Here’s a close-up of the Maintenance Section of the report:

As you can see, everything looks like it’s going well (although, one item that’s not monitored needs some service – huge windshield crack courtesy of a gravel truck on 101.)

The Diagnostics section is interesting, looks like I need to schedule some service. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a web-based way to schedule the appointment?

Finally, notification section which has affiliated subscriptions (need to reactivate XM Radio.) All the info is there, it is stunning that the reactivate link doesn’t take advantage of the fact that the info was there.

Stay tuned, I’ll provide more updates as I use the service. I’m hopeful, that tomorrow you’ll get some info from me on one of our new Network Services. Hint: Check the Fresh Tools Tab on My Sun Connection.

Coastal Stuff, Innovation, Technology & Science

A day without ‘net

04.24.06 | Permalink | Comments Off on A day without ‘net

Saturday evening at 8:15pm, my network connection to the world was severed. For many of you this would be no big deal, and indeed, being Saturday, I wasn’t severely tweaked about it. I called my provider and learned of a general outage in my area that they were working to fix.

On Sunday morning I started to get a little more tweaked. Why? I didn’t have any news access – I was reduced to either watching TV news, listening to the radio, or even, gasp, reading a news paper (more about that later – news paper is high irony these days.)

Like most things in life, you don’t really realize how much you depend on something until it’s gone. About 10 years ago I canceled my newspaper subscription to the San Francisco Chronicle on the grounds that a) I didn’t read it and b) it was no longer “news” by the time I had the physical artifact in my hands. We do maintain a subscription to the local Half Moon Bay Review as it has information that is not easily accessible in other places. 7am and the network is still down, I take my daughter to the local supermarket to get a paper, that was 45 minutes of activity that wouldn’t have been necessary if the network link was up.

I’d planned to do some financial work over the weekend and procrastinated until Sunday to get it done. I found that I had to physically go to the bank! Aside from ATM visits and the odd trip to the safe deposit box, this is not something I’m accustomed to doing. Ah, how I long for the online banking experience – what should have taken 15 minutes to do from the comfort of my home turned into a 2 hour odyssey of hassle. 12pm and the network is still down. Another call to Comcast where a very clueless support engineer could only verify that the outage was still in progress (I knew that) and that there was no ETA for recovery. I express my dissatisfaction with this answer and the support rep offers to email me when service is restored. I make a somewhat sarcastic remark and decline his offer. (Side note: this morning at 4:30 am, I did see a note from them informing me my service was up – as I had already deduced from the fact I could retrieve email!)

Given that it’s planning season here at Sun, I thought I’d spend some time on the business plan for the Network Services unit. Working on a non-network accessible computer is something like trying to drive a car with no fuel, it’s not that useful. It really is a typewriter with a pretty interface. No access to dictionaries, no access to research materials, no access to images, it’s crippling. But, it also forced me to focus on the desired outcome. So, I churn out some content – but alas, there’s no way to distribute it to the people I wish to share it with. Rats! 6pm, network is STILL down.

About this time my daughter is reminding me that I promised pizza for dinner (I know, I’m a bad nutrional parent.) So I realize I need to phone the local pizza place for a pick-up (don’t ask, local places that deliver tend not to have very good pies.) Where’s the darned phone number? I normally look it up on the net – guess that’s not going to happen. What did we do before the internet? Oh yeah, the phone book. Hmm, phone book, where might it be? Fortunately, my spouse is not all that net dependent and keeps a phone book in the kitchen drawer. Pizza is ordered, retrieved, and consumed. Daughter happy. Father, not. 8pm and network is, unsurprisingly, still down. 24 hours and counting.

Setting aside my obvious dependence on the network for doing the simplest of tasks. One thing did occur to me during this outage: Most of the humans on this planet do not have access to this wondrous resource. Even as around 3M people per week are added to the amalgamated networks, by the end of 2007 there will still be 75% of the Earth’s population non-connected. One of the things I like about working for Sun is that we’ve made sharing our technology a top priority and we think it will contribute to bridging the digital divide. That’s a pretty cool thing and I’m proud to be a part of it. This much is for sure, not having access to the network can be more than simple inconvenience I experienced yesterday, it has profound impact upon the economic well being of individuals and countries. We all need to do more to bridge the divide. You can participate by donating some old equipment sitting in your garage or supporting the One Laptop per Child Project.

Innovation, Technology & Science, Travel

Trials of Travel

04.19.06 | Permalink | Comments Off on Trials of Travel

So I’m sitting at the San Francisco airport as I write this entry with my plane delayed indefinitely (so the airport info and counter agent say.) Any of you who travel routinely will know this situation all too well. Maintenance issue forcing a switch of equipment.

One thing that’s great now is that because I have access to the network, I saw the state of the flight on the airline’s website 15 minutes before any information was communicated via regular means at the airport. (Though one has to wonder why the airport general means lag the website by 15 minutes….)

No doubt, traveling is still challenging from time to time, but the advent of network connectivity and the abundance of information make it much easier than it’s ever been in the past.

Coastal Stuff

Video clip of Devil’s Slide Geology

04.18.06 | Permalink | Comments Off on Video clip of Devil’s Slide Geology

Thanks to Bill Harper for sharing this:

CalTrans Senior Geologist Grant Wilcox reviews the geology and damage to Devil’s Slide

« Previous Entries