Bright Stove

Reflecting information risk journey

Archive for September 2008

Knowing the ground

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Sep 11, 2008 – After struggling through the time zone change and jet lag for three nights, I finally got back my rhythm and able to get up early enough to go for a run this morning. I checked Live map the night before and planned an approximately five km run around the Hyatt Bellevue area. The route starts from Hyatt at junction of Bellevue Way and 8th Avenue, running westward along 8th Ave towards the Washington Lake, then turns southwest to Lake Boulevard bending slowly towards the east and then back to Hyatt from the Bellevue Way.
 
Bellevue in Seattle, Washington, unlike Beijing, is not a highly populated area. Even at the peak of the day, there aren’t many people on the street (maybe to the locals here, the notion of many is quite different than people who live in Beijing or Singapore). At 6.30am, the streets were all quiet, and the air was cold (probably around 10 degree Celsius) as the region enters the autumn season. Without checking the temperature, I was dressed as per normal, a thin T-shirt and running short, and it was a little chilling. The place itself looks flat from the 16th floor of Hyatt, but on the ground, it is actually quite different. The straight road runs up a long slope then tapered down around mid-way. So my speed follows, as shown in the chart below. At the downward slope, I was able to pick up from the speed that I loss during the long up-slope. That gives me the "fastest speed so far" score announced by a Tiger Wood recording from the iPod at the end of the run, which is pretty encouraging, given that this is actually the shortest distance (5.4km) I have made in the previous 10 runs. (Note that the time reflected on the chart is GMT+8, which is Beijing time even though it was actually completed at around 7am here in Bellevue.)

    http://nikeplus.nike.com/nikeplus/v1/swf/scrapablewidget/rundetail.swf

As mentioned earlier, the perspective from the top and the actual experience on the ground were actually quite different. As in many other things we experience in life, we can only see and observe so much from the top and afar. Without being on the ground, there’s no way to learn about the terrains and the ground challenges. The experience is also different on the ground when you are in a vehicle than when you are actually running or walking. In the latter, we can then really feel the distance, the altitude, and any irregularities that are present and danger.

 
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Written by mengchow

September 12, 2008 at 6:10 am

Posted in Running

Joy of technology

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It often excites me when new technology is made available to make my daily work and lifestyle more digitally enabled. The Personal Information Manager (PIM) devices are one of those innovations, and have now converged to become one with the mobile phone, camera, voice and video recorder, music and video player, and continuing to grow to become an Internet device for web browsing, and GPS device for location finding, and in the very near future, location-based services. But as the device capabilities increase every so often, the reliability and stability of the machine seems to often take a back seat. So we kind-of always in the cycle of waiting for the next version of the device so that it becomes more reliable and usable, and when the next version is introduced, due to new features/capabilities, even though previous features have become better, new capabilities kill that and we are back to the waiting point again. Writing this, I’m actually missing some of the older devices that I could only hope that they are still around but in a form that is more stable, reliable, and usable. One of them was the Psion machine, and the other the HP Jordano. Both PDAs were great for keeping track of schedules and to-dos, and also for taking notes and writing stuff on the go. However, both no longer exist, and the beefed up version today is the UMPC. While UMPC has very rich functionality–since it is running Windows Vista, it takes a much longer time to boot-up and restart from either sleep or hibernation mode, and the worst case is that the battery lasts only a fraction of the simple PDA devices of the past. The Palm Pilot was meant to take their place a few years ago, but again seemed to have got sucked into the features/functions quests and now disappeared apparently.

Sometimes I wish that the technology providers or someone would just realize the importance of making simple, usable, and reliable devices instead of competing on having a longer list of features, and get us back to the basic, so that we could enjoy those yesterdays’ innovation with today’s standards and quality of productions to get things done more efficiently. Having said that, I still love to try out a new gadget when I see one. So perhaps we need to have two types of providers, one to continue to make yesterdays’ innovations better without adding new stuff unless really useful/needed for the purpose of that device, and can be done reliably, and the other to bring the future now, with the expectation that the future is full of unknowns and uncertainties (i.e., can be unreliable, insecure, and inefficient as a result). This would probably give us the best of both world. 🙂

Written by mengchow

September 6, 2008 at 2:55 am

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