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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
My true love drowned in a dirty old pan / Of oil that did run from the block / Of a falcon sedan 1969 / The paper said '75
— Neko Case, Star Witness
July 30, 2006

Computing’s Weakest Link

Over at Newsweek, Steven Levy has an article about the 50th anniversary of the hard drive.

The Hard Disk That Changed the World
IBM delivered the first disk drive 50 years ago. It was about the size of two refrigerators and weighed a ton.
by STEVEN LEVY, The Technologist

August 7, 2006 issue — If there’s a bottle of vintage champagne you’ve been saving, next month is the time to pop it open: it’s the 50th anniversary of hard-disk storage. Don’t laugh. On Sept. 13, 1956, IBM shipped the first unit of the RAMAC (Random Access Method of Accounting and Control) and set in motion a process that would change the way we live.

Continue reading "Computing’s Weakest Link"

Posted by skooter at 3:51 PM This entry is filed under Technology.
Tags: Data, Storage, Technology

Technical Changes

I’ve spent much of this sunny, gorgeous Vancouver morning indoors making some technical changes to the structure of the site. Things should appear to be completely unchanged — these are performance related improvements for the most part.

Some of the galleries have been relocated as part of a physical content restructuring which may affect any bookmarks. Apologies for any confusion caused.

Posted by skooter at 2:27 PM This entry is filed under Narcicism, Technology.
Tags: Movable Type, Personal, Technology

July 27, 2006

Uh oh. This is not good.

This is really well beyond not good. Let’s all keep in mind that the B sample hasn’t been tested, and there are legitimate reasons for an elevated testosterone level.

Still not good.

Phonak confirms Landis rider in question
This report filed July 27, 2006

The Phonak Cycling Team confirmed Thursday that Tour de France winner Floyd Landis is the rider who submitted a positive “A” sample following the 17th stage of this year’s Tour de France.

Tour de France winner Floyd Landis’s testosterone levels were found to be unusually high in an official doping test during the race, the Phonak cycling team announced Thursday.

Posted by skooter at 8:24 AM This entry is filed under Sports.
Tags: Cycling, Tour de France

July 23, 2006

John Irving, The Fourth Hand

John Irving is one of the great authors of his generation, having produced novels which are simultaneously popular and literate. This is no mean feat. A Prayer for Owen Meaney is one of my favourite novels of all time.

The Fourth Hand is an entertaining read that demonstrates Irving’s unique way of looking at the world — slightly askew, but not so much that you won’t recognize it. The story of a television reporter who loses his hand and slowly gains a soul is deftly interwoven with actual historical events.

Coming on the heels of reading Joshua Then and Now — another darkly comic novel — I have to say that The Fourth Hand is the more enjoyable of the two books. It’s an aproachable novel, with characters that are easy to relate to.

Posted by skooter at 11:26 PM This entry is filed under Books.
Tags: Books, Fiction, John Irving

July 22, 2006

Vancouver, from Watergate

View from Watergate The backdrop to many of the best times I’ve had in the last few years, this view has never been better than it was in late June and early July this year.

Many more pictures provide just a small clue into why.

Posted by skooter at 7:56 PM This entry is filed under Camera, Friends.
Tags: Bowen Island

Tour de France 2006: An American In Paris

It’s old news by now that Floyd Landis has won today’s time trial, all but clinching victory in Paris tomorrow.

This has been the most exciting tour to watch since 1989, when Greg LeMond faced Laurent Fignon in the final time trial and snatched the closest victory ever: 8 seconds.

That Landis’ victory today came as much as a result of Oscar Pereiro’s failure as his own effort does not diminish from his achievement.

This was a great race.

Posted by skooter at 12:40 PM This entry is filed under Cycling, Sports.
Tags: Cycling, Tour de France

July 21, 2006

3 men, 57 km, 30 seconds

As expected, after one of the greatest days in the history of the tour, Floyd Landis and the other race leaders took it easy today and hung together in the Peloton.

Tomorrow’s penultimate stage is a 57km kilometre time trial. They call the time trial the race of truth — there is no hiding in the peloton, no group times assigned, no moments of rest to be found in the French heat.

3 men are separated by only 30 seconds, a difference so small that it will be impossible to know who has won this race until the last man crosses the finish line — barring major incident.

The evidence of yesterday’s ride suggest that Landis is able to dig deeper than most at moments that matter to find those extra precious seconds that separate those who have the will to win from those who have the desire to win.

All bets are off, but if I were a betting man I’d put my money on that will.

Posted by skooter at 8:16 AM This entry is filed under Cycling, Sports.
Tags: Cycling, Tour de France

July 20, 2006

Tour de France, Cote de Chatilon-sur-Cluses, July 19, 2006

Cote de Chatilon-sur-Cluses

Not taken by me, but by a friend.

One of the greatest tour days ever

Posted by skooter at 12:51 PM This entry is filed under Camera, Cycling, Sports.
Tags: Cycling, Floyd Landis, Tour de France

July 19, 2006

Some Things Should Not Be Necessary

Technology has, and will continue to, provide solutions to many everyday problems.

Then there are the things that shouldn’t be problems at all.

Reuters is reporting that hospitals are considering embedding RFID tags in surgical tools to prevent leaving them in patients. After closing a patient, doctors would wave a receiver over the body to look for the chips which would indicate that something was left inside

Posted by skooter at 11:44 AM This entry is filed under Inanities, Technology.

July 18, 2006

L’Alpe D’Huez, site de triomphe

Alpe D’Huez is steeped in history, the site of so many historic moments in Le Tour that it has become the stuff of legends. Last year’s time trial (the first up this mountain road with 22 leg burning switchbacks) was, perhaps, Lance Armstrong’s greatest single moment of glory, in a career with many to choose from.

This year is no different.

Continue reading "L’Alpe D’Huez, site de triomphe"

Posted by skooter at 10:11 AM This entry is filed under Sports.
Tags: Cycling, Tour de France

July 16, 2006

Semantic Hairsplitting

Concern over Olympic costs running amok are legitimate, given the lessons provided by history. Jack Poole’s continual assertion that no additional funding will be required for Vancouver’s 2010 Olympics is almost comical on its face, considering the cost of construction in this city is sprialing out of control

It is, therefore, with little surprise that I greeted this news.

Wood roof to cover Olympic oval in Richmond
When construction of Richmond’s Olympic oval is finished in 2008, one million board feet of pine beetle lumber will cover the roof.
(Black Press) - Richmond will make the biggest statement of B.C.’s number one resource when the Winter Olympics come to town in 2010. The provincial government will announce it’s contributing $1.5 million toward the engineering and design of a wood roof for the Olympic oval.

Richmond’s $178-million oval budget included the cash needed for a steel roof. The province’s ante now gives the city what it really wanted for a community legacy facility.

“The wood design is not only unique, it is also preferable to steel in many ways, including superior acoustics and sustainability,” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie.

The emphasis is mine.

Continue reading "Semantic Hairsplitting"

Posted by skooter at 10:31 AM This entry is filed under Politics, Vancouver.
Tags: 2010, Olympics, Vancouver Olympics

July 14, 2006

Cabin, Britannia Beach, British Columbia

Cabin, Brittania Beach, British Columbia

Posted by skooter at 11:13 PM This entry is filed under Camera.

July 13, 2006

Le Maillot Jaune

George Hincapie has slid, as I expected, off the back of the peloton and into the history books of American cycling: Le Tour 2006 is not his to be had.

Instead, Floyd Landis sits in first by the thinnest of thin margins and takes his place at the vanguard of the future of the post-Lance era. His lead going into Bastille Day is only 8 seconds.

Of course, any devotee of the race will recognize that number and its significance. 8 seconds can be all it takes to win.

Posted by skooter at 12:38 PM This entry is filed under Cycling, Sports.
Tags: Cycling, Tour de France

July 12, 2006

Seed Magazine

My new favourite online magazine is Seed Magazine, a science publication I stumbled across quite by accident.

My introduction was a pointer to a short film titled Lords of the Ring which is, in fact, quite a brilliant little piece about a complex subject: the CERN Particle Accelerator located 100 metres beneath the surface of the Earth in Geneva, Switzerland.

Well worth watching and checking in with regularly.

Posted by skooter at 9:38 PM This entry is filed under Science, Technology.

July 10, 2006

Yellow Jersey

This years Tour de France was rocked by scandal the day before the start, with the top contentders — Basso and Ulrich — pulled from the race.

It’s been an interesting first week, with George Hincapie the top American in the race and placing very well in the general classifcation.

Until the first time trial.

Continue reading "Yellow Jersey"

Posted by skooter at 2:24 PM This entry is filed under Sports.
Tags: Cycling, Tour de France

July 4, 2006

At What Cost?

Perhaps we, as a society, should not be pushing the space race at any cost.

It’s possible that this is a less noble cause than it seems, and it’s likely that less is being learned than NASA appears to admit.

It’s also possible that three problematic missions in a row is a sign that the Space Shuttle, the gloriously elegant transport that inspired the dreams of my generation in the same way that the Apollo missions did for an earlier one, has outlived its life.

If this ship launches, against the advice of numerous engineers and scientists more knowledgeable than I, I hope that all goes well and that — if it does not — those who pushed this for their own political purposes pay an appopriate price.

Posted by skooter at 9:27 AM This entry is filed under Technology.
Tags: Exploration, NASA, Space