TLFT*: Michael Phelps

Watching some recent olympic track and field events still sitting on TiVo, I’m finally starting to understand how amazing it was for Michael Phelps to swim 17 races and win 8 medals and break multiple records over the span of just a few short days. For some reason I wasn’t really that impressed by the announcers constantly repeating it. It’s just swimming in water right? You don’t even sweat while doing it!

Watching the track events and seeing the people that do multiple events have to go through heats (like Phelps did in the water), I’m completely and totally amazed by some track stars doing three different events over the span of a couple days. I guess it’s because I ran cross-country and longer track events at one time in my life, and that I can see they are totally exhausted at the end of each heat, but I am amazed at the insanity of running full bore several times a day over the course of a couple days.

Then I realize Phelps did about three times as many heats/races in a similar timespan, and that the few times I’ve been in an olympic-sized pool exhausted me almost instantly, and I have a new appreciation for the insane amount of sheer exertion that kid put himself through.

* too long for twitter

Becoming an old (blogging) man

Today I realized that I’m part of the “old guard” of blogging because I remember a time when blogging was so new that very few sites had comments (it seems like MetaFilter was one of the first few?) and after a few years when they started to become commonplace, people were generally decent to each other because it was very literally turning a blog into a face-to-face conversation.

But I think the root of the problem (described in various media outlets over the past year or so) of snarky, or mean-spirited, or generally unhelpful comments becoming the norm has to do with the distance we’ve achieved from those original link-and-essay heavy blogs.

I have a feeling that if you’ve only seen blogs in the past five years (which is probably 95+% of people reading blogs today) you consider comments to be de rigueur and they are entirely divorced from the original concept of a conversation between the reader and the author of the original post. It’s not an intimate conversation, it’s just another content management feature available to you on the web.

This has a de-humanizing effect that I’m seeing play out more and more often in the weirdest places. People will post about their idle curiosities on their personal blog (“Why does x happen when I do y?“) and instead of seeing friendly answers I would expect many years ago, I’ll often see someone early on read into the question and assume all sorts of accusations (“well, maybe it’s because you are a, b, and c, and everyone knows it!“) and watch most followup comments start from there and go into darker directions.

It’s tough because I love blogs and I love comments in blogs, but I’m starting to think there’s this “new generation” that has grown up online only knowing blogs as having snarky comment areas and never realizing it used to be a personal, intimate space where you’d never say anything in a comment that you wouldn’t say to a friend’s face. Also, know that I mean “new generation” in a way where age of person in it is irrelevant. You could be 50 years old and started reading blogs last summer and I’d put you in that group.

Of course, I could just be talking out of my ass, old people tend to do that…

New iPhone car adapter worth having

I got a 3G iPhone as an impulse buy the other day (they’re plentiful in Oregon it seems, no lines, got one in ten minutes at 2pm on a Friday) but the big downside aside from the higher monthly cost was that my trusty old Belkin car adapter with pre-amp line out sound no longer charged the iPhone. The newest iPhone accepts power on the USB architecture instead of the old firewire one, so most every old car charger no longer charges your iPhone (and being the battery killer the 3G is, this is important to charge it as often as possible).

A bit of research the other day uncovered this list of compatible car chargers (with and without sound output) and I decided to bite the bullet and buy the Kensington LiquidAUX car kit.

After getting the package and setting it up, I have to say it does exactly what it should, charging the 3G iPhone and transmitting sound via the line out cord into my car’s aux-in jack. The extra cool bonus feature is that the wireless remote actually works on my iPhone, allowing me to now skip songs, pause playback, and toggle shuffle directly from my steering wheel without taking my eyes off the road. I really didn’t expect the wireless remote (with included steering mount) to function on an iPhone, but it does and it’s great.

So high marks all around for this. If you have a new iPhone, and you want to charge/listen to your iPhone in the car, this Kensington option is a good one (there’s a $5 more expensive version with a iPhone holder on a stalk that I didn’t need, but you might).

The first 24 hours of Fuelly

Holy cow. 24 hours ago, I took the stage at the START conference and explained some of the thinking and process behind me and pb’s new site Fuelly. I knew it was an influential crowd, and I knew if it was good it might take off, but I thought maybe we’d hit 1,000 users by the end of the weekend at most.

Thanks mostly to twitter and other blogs (like Lifehacker and Get Rich Slowly) it’s grown a bit faster than we expected. A cable network is doing a piece on it. Various awesome iPhone developers are wanting to plug into the API we still need to build. It’s really been a crazy 24 hours.

Our inboxes are bursting with feature requests and bugs, but I’m really happy with how far we got building a site in just a few weeks. I’ll be posting a full story of the development and creation of the site on fortuito.us in a week or two when all this dies down a little, hopefully inspiring other developers to try building their own similar projects.

Apple’s lame DRM

Not to turn this entire site into an “apple sucks for the following reasons…” blog, but I expect more from them and feel that pointing out their faults and design decisions that go against their typical fine work is worth mentioning.

Today, I’m pissed at their iTunes Store DRM. I have two computers I use daily, an iPhone, and an AppleTV. All four devices allow me to buy things directly from the iTunes Store, but wherever you purchase a file, it stays. Sometimes when I’m traveling and I’m on my laptop but I wish I had a show I left on my desktop at home, I’ll break down and go to the iTunes Store to get another copy. When you do something like that, you get this screen:

The thing that is broken for me is that you can playback iTunes purchased files on up to 5 computers, which I’m currently using less than the maximum of. Apple knows I’ve purchased the audio/video file before, and they know how many devices have ever played back that purchased file, but instead of allowing me to re-download the file to another computer capable of playing it, I’m forced to purchase a second copy.

I know I can just FTP the audio/video file from one machine to the next but sometimes you forget to do that before you leave the house. Or, you buy a TV show on your AppleTV, and that syncs to one computer, but not the other.

I really wish Apple would allow at least a few extra chances to download purchased media files. I’ve lost hard drives and had backup drives die as well, and it sure would be nice if they could let you see your entire purchase history and let you get things back you might have lost, or get second copies for your other devices.

July cycling/diet

Me in last night's Portland Short Track race July was a good month for riding and I rode over 250 miles in the first couple weeks of the month. Unfortunately, I spent the following two weeks mostly on family vacation down in San Diego. I did get a few rides in, but I forgot how slow city riding can be with all the stoplights blocking you. Overall, I finished the month with only 333 miles ridden due to the time off for travel. On the plus side, August is my last chance to cram in the miles and climbing to train for Cycle Oregon in September. I’m hoping to hit 600 miles in August.

On the diet front, I shed a couple pounds more but I think I’m going to finally stop drinking soda completely for a month to see how much it affects my weight.