So Long 2011 – Metrics

2011 won’t be missed for many reasons, three months living in a hotel being one of them, but in terms of races, the year wasn’t bad.

By my record keeping, I logged, 1 Ironman, 2 marathons, 1 1/2 ironman and three Olympic tris. Personal best times in each category, an ambitious schedule in ’12 will make beating those times challenging, especially with IM St. George on tap, but hopefully on the marathon and Olympic distance races I see potential.

According to my TrainingPeaks account, which I only started updating as of May 9 this year, and through today, December 31, I completed:

1482.96 miles bike (Garmin connect said 2,248.75 miles, exc. commuting)
191,226 yards swim
58.69 mountain bike
242 miles brick
447.36 miles run (Garmin connect said 864.53 miles)

I can imagine maybe 1k miles on the bike, several hundred running and a few tens of thousand in the pool before then. Plus several hundred days of commuting to work.

All in all, not a bad year, and hopefully a good foundation for IM St. George in May and a run for a Boston slot in October.

TouchPad Update

A couple of promising updates for the HP TouchPad. Though there are still no more on the market, progress is coming on several fronts.

CyanogenMod had now got an Alpha of Android 2.3 Gingerbread running on the TouchPad. It’s still very Alpha, but I think once they have some time to fix bugs and maybe start playing with the Ice Cream Sandwich SDK, there should be some very usable beta and release candidates over the coming months. I am happy to wait before pushing the install, but I think the itch will get the better of me in the coming weeks. Install guide here.  

For those who said the TouchPad is dead, well, it is, but I was pleasantly suprised this AM to see the HP team is still on the case, and in fact releasing an OTA update for WebOS – read more about it here.

I think this devise has a good (immediate) future, no regrets at all in buying it.

ChesapeakeMan Ultra Triathlon Summary – Lengthy

Training for this race started on May 9, and about 250 hours went into it. Plus the forgiveness of the family to embark on such a foolish venture. Full metrics are pending. This was an intimate race, well organized, with great volunteers and participants. If Eagleman is as good, that must be a great race. It’s the people, not the landscape on this one…

I arrived in Cambridge, Maryland on Thursday afternoon, with the goal of scoping out the bike course and taking a swim before checking in and eating the pasta dinner. The course was less than two hours from DC, an easy drive. Continue reading

HP Touchpad – Initial Thoughts

The venerable HP launched their competitor to the iPad earlier in the summer. As with most things slated to be a killer of any Apple product, it was not to be, and it’s a real shame. 

With a price of $499 for the 16 gig and $599 for the 32 gig version, the Touchpad was close, but not enough to really pick up market share. This lead to a huge write off for HP and a sweet deal for those of us who had been on the fence about a tablet. With a firesale price of $99/$149, I couldn’t resist, and after a few weeks of patience following a cancelled order, CDW came through with the 16 gig version for me.

It arrived late last week, and immediately it felt far superior to any of the Android tabs I have tested, including the Xoom and several Galaxy tabs; that made it worth it, if nothing else. The build quality is good, and never having played with the Palm Pre, I now see why people are big fans of the WebOS.

The home screen is clean and simple, and much like the Vista screen scroll feature, going through cards (or apps) is a visually appealing way to see what’s going on. The keyboard doesn’t offer haptic feedback, but is fast and allows for multiple digit entry. Same goes for copy and paste – it’s functional and effective.

I was nervous to tweak the OS, but simple online guides had me overclocking and turning off nannies in no time. I turned off much of the logging, overclocked to 1.5ghz and made a number of other tweaks to vastly improve how it works.

If a Android were immediately available for the Touchpad, I think I’d stick with WebOS and what I have because it works effectively. The browser leaves a good amount to the imagination, but is functional. The inability to organize and rearrange favourites is a bit of a pain.

I haven’t fully got Skype up and running, but voice works fine, there just seem to be some issues with the video. Similarly, have other apps to try out, but Google docs and WordPress (on which this post was written), among others work great. The app ecosystem may not be so rich as Apple or Google, but if clean and simple – with a lack of bloat, is the goal, this is what you want.

All in all, this is a great tablet, and if nothing else, you can’t get a digital photo frame with this quality for the money. With an iPad case from the VZW store I’m good to go, I think I will invest in the touchstone charger and stand at some point. It doesn’t take well to charging from standard USB phone chargers. People say the ecosystem is dead, but I think this WebOS tab has some life left in it, numbers alone I think will make that happen. Plus, if a good Android tablet build comes out, it will be interesting to see how the tablet takes to it.

But for HP, I think this about sums it up, via the WSJ:
Let’s say you were given a year to kill Hewlett-Packard. Here’s how you do it: http://goo.gl/Kr002

Will add more as I get my hands dirtier.

Updated iPad Initial Thoughts

A great Red Cross comms training in Tampa (and subsequent recovery) kept me from writing this sooner.

When I reviewed the iPad shortly after it first came out, I was pretty downbeat.

In an incremental move at a March 2 presser, Apple has updated the iPad, making it thinner, offering it in white, and adding two cameras and the dual core processors. The cameras have me sold – but from the reading I’ve been doing, this upgrade seems akin to the iPhone upgrade from 3G to 3Gs. The screen didn’t see any real improvement, leading me to believe the true iPad next-gen will have a high-end screen a la iPhone 4.

Another problem remains, if the iPad is to be for consuming, surely one could put an SD slot in it, or at least a way to USB/connect to other third-party devices without needing their proprietary dongles.

From a value perspective, the camera was my main gripe, so knowing this iPad will be faster, I could definitely see myself buying the base wi-fi model (or 32 gig) once the next generation is announced.

It’s not earth moving advances, but certainly enough to keep me on the fence about the Kindle, and the various Android tablets (which can’t meet or exceed Apple’s economies of scale).

Hurry up and wait…in the meantime, I think the HTC Thunderbolt is calling my name as an update to my HTC Droid Incredible.

I Opted Out

Inevitably, the law of averages caught up with me today. As I waited in the Transportation Security Administration line at National Airport, I had a sneaking suspicion they were pushing everyone through the millimeter wave scanners. Sure enough, after I had stripped down to be sure I wouldn’t trip the mag, I was directed (as it seems, were the majority of passengers) to the wave machine.

Faced with the choice of the pat down or the scan, I took the option to “Opt Out” and have the pat down instead. I stated my intention in a friendly manner as the TSA agent directed me to enter the wave machine; he asked me to stand to the side and called out for a male screening. Continue reading

LASIK, One Year On and the Full Story

In late 2009 I made the decision that I would investigate having LASIK surgery performed on my eyes to correct my fairly abysmal vision. This was a good time for me have this discussion with my eye doc, Dr. Bindal,  because I had somehow lost or had stolen from me a very expensive pair of Oakley glasses on the Amtrak from NYC.

Scaredy-cat is an understatement for how I was at the time about having anyone touch or even put drops in my eyes, which was the reason I had procrastinated for so long. I also was aware that the technology behind the surgery has progressed at a healthy clip over the year, so why not, I thought.

One of the first tests the doc gave me was to see if I was even a candidate for LASIK. This test involved testing my eyes, an in particular, the cornea depth. They accomplish this by poking a lighted probe into your eyes after administering a drop to numb the eye. Brilliant. I mean really, who came up with the winner of an idea that poking things into eyes is an effective way of determining the candidate. Anyway, I somehow managed to make it through having my eye poked, I recall this took some time, as I backed away from the probe each time the probe came near. Continue reading