Riding Mt. St. Helens

Approaching Mt. St. Helens, originally uploaded by mathowie.

I rode Mt. St. Helens today on the Ape Canyon/Plains of Abraham trail. It was incredible with 360 degree views of several major peaks at the top, and the descent was fast and fun after a couple hours of climbing. There were dense forests, barren lava flows, and some piles of trees still left from the 1980 eruption. It’s a pretty amazing place.

A set of iPhone photos and video is here.

It’s the infrastructure, stupid! | MetaFilter

Basically the US, as a country, is like a rich person that spent an amazing shit ton of money on the best imaginable security for his house, ringing it with multiple moats, missile launchers, thousands of full-time heavily armed guards with the best possible weaponry and equipment, and on and on and on. In fact, this person went so overboard that he borrowed from anyone who would lend to him for all this crazy security. And while the multi-decade project of building this security apparatus was going on, he neglected to pay any attention to the source of his wealth. One by one, the companies he held stock in dissolved, the buildings he owned fell empty because of neglect, the partnerships and social contacts that ensured he stayed on top of the game fell away. His industries were eclipsed by newer, nimbler players. And by the time his security was perfect, he knew nothing but fear and hadn't yet realized that he no longer had anything worth protecting.

We're currently at the point where the creditors can still be kept from collecting by the massive military machine we've built, but eventually we'll run out of money to pay them, too. And then the whole house of cards comes down.

via www.metafilter.com

Health Month (so far)

Health Month is a new game (currently in beta) designed to help you find that ever-elusive motivation that you need to improve your health. 

via healthmonth.com

I've been playing the Health Month beta this month and it's been a great motivator to get out of my office chair and onto my bike and into some running shoes. I set some pretty high goals for myself and have been doing my best to try and hit them. As crazy as it sounds, I actually forced myself to take a long bike ride the other day when I was still tired from the previous day's exercise simply because I was low on "life points" in the game.

Screen shot 2010-09-15 at 9.38.50 AM

I've lost five pounds in two weeks because I set a goal of exercising 5 times a week instead of the typical 1x or 2x per week I've been doing lately. Due to some of the medications I take, I've been gaining about 3-4lbs a month since last December, so having my first significant weight loss has been satisfying and I'm feeling better than before. The game is just enough to motivate me to try a little harder while still being fun.

The site runs as a month-to-month thing, so be sure to sign up so you can try it out in October.


Bjørn Lomborg on global warming | MetaFilter

Alex Steffen at Worldchanging has mused about an "Outquisition" movement that points in that kind of direction. I was in Toledo, Ohio, recently. It is a shell of a city, a place where it would seem impossible to maintain the fiction that all was well in the republic. Its university, unbeknownst to much of the city itself and the whole of its state energy department, has very quietly developed possibly the most important advanced solar energy research cluster on the planet. German towns are now surrounded by thin-film solar arrays developed using innovations made by Toledo's glass industry. There's not a single commercial-scale installation in Ohio. In light of the challenges we face, that's just insane, the size of that oversight.

via www.metafilter.com

My first art show: Songlines at PointB

My stuff at the show

Last year I visited my friend Becky’s gallery at Point B Studio while driving up the Southern Oregon coast. She mentioned the idea of including my stuff in an upcoming show and I filed it away under the “someday, yeah, that’d be cool” pile. Fast forward to earlier this year and Becky asked me to submit something to a show with several other artists. I kicked around ideas for the past few months until I came up with something I’m calling Twitart.

I went through my most favorited items at Tweeteorites and Favstar, picked ones I liked and then went through my 30,000 photo archive of stuff I’ve shot over the last seven years, looking for images to match. My favorite piece is this one:

Twitart: Superhero

It was fun to see other artists and talk with other photographers in the show. I particularly liked Christopher Garcia’s work that combined pixel art in digital prints with hand drawn elements and finished with screened inks. The pieces were really beautiful:

Cool digital/drawing/screenprints

If you’re headed up the Oregon Coast, stop by and check it out.

Art show logo/sign

Apple’s September 1st Special Event

Screen shot 2010-09-01 at 10.10.59 AM
First impression of the video stream viewed in Safari 5 on my mac: insane, like watching a 480p video on YouTube without a single hiccup or buffering message. Back in 1999-2002, I used to be able to try and watch Macworld keynotes and even the times I was at UCLA using Internet2 with their prioritized feeds, the online video barely worked and I usually gave up. Today's perfect streaming to many, many more people is a pretty impressive accomplishment. In the end, I got about 30 seconds of flashing video about halfway through the stream, but otherwise it was perfect for over an hour.

Airplay teaser: whoa, my favorite and most often used app on the iPad, AirVideo, is dead. I'll get the same functionality without the app in iOS 4.2

iPods: Shuffle seems like a step back, but probably a good idea. The Nano is barely bigger than a Shuffle, but the video screen looks very small (is watching video on a 1" screen even possible anymore?). The Nano is so small that Steve Jobs' fingers look too large to even use it in the demo. The Nano does have a dock connector on it, which means it can be used in every sort of iPod accessory, especially cars with iPod connectors. The iPod Touch finally gets cameras, and even gets Facetime. Pretty nice updates all around.

iTunes: The new icon is kind of ugly, and still music-centric even though it does a lot more.

Ping: Holy crap, it's like Napster 1999! Seriously, Napster perfected new music discovery in 1999 (for me at least) and it worked better than anything I've used since, but Ping is looking pretty strong. Last.fm and Rdio must be crapping themselves right now. I wonder if it will log songs from non-iTunes sources though (like Amazon MP3s)? In the demo, Ping looks a bit like a Facebook clone with tons of "buy now" links everywhere. There's also an event planner, like upcoming.org. Comments, photos, and video seem like a stretch for iTunes, it's almost as if Apple looked at iTunes usage of people hitting play and minimizing it and wondered how they could instead have people use it for hours a day.

AppleTV: Holy cow, 1/4 the size, and a better remote. No more purchases is weird, my 5 year old daughter likes to watch the same movies over and over again. Looks like it's going all-streaming like people predicted. Netflix streaming means I now have 6 devices in my house that can do netflix streaming (Wii, PS3, iPhone, iPad, TiVo, AppleTV). Airplay looks good, but I wish I could send any video from my desktop Mac to my AppleTV. $99 seems like a no-brainer given there's no hard drive in it anymore. I suspect someday they may even be free given they drive so many sales to iTunes.

Why not just do it now?

Another thing: getting enormously wealthy selling your company for ten million or fifteen million dollars is obviously pretty freaking awesome, but having had a bit of money in the bank the past couple of years I have come to realize what I really wanted in life was a job I liked going to every day and people I like working with. Because if I did end up fabulously wealthy that's pretty much what I'd end up doing, so why not just do it now?

via notes.torrez.org

I've heard a lot of friends come to this realization in the past few years — instead of putting off those someday fantasies of how they'd like to live their lives, they just start doing the things they've always wanted to do. If you make it a priority in your life, it certainly is possible to live how you'd really want to.