Indoor Spinning

September 22, 2014

revmasterpro

The sky gets dark at 7pm now. And that means the end of outdoor riding during the week. Not enough light.

I prepared my indoor cycling studio yesterday for my first major spin this morning at 6:30am:

  • Floor mat: to absorb copious amounts of sweat
  • Fan: a way to try and evaporate some of the copious amounts of sweat
  • Stand: to hold the bottles of water necessary to hydrate and replace the copious amounts of sweat
  • Training videos: to motivate the desire to generate copious amounts of sweat
  • LeMond RevMaster Pro spin bike: to generate the copious amounts of sweat

You’ve probably noticed a theme. Indoor spinning is suffering. It is hard work. I can easily ride several hours outdoors. An hour indoors seems like a very long time.

This year I will be using Robbie Ventura’s training videos from RealRides. These are not for the weak at heart. I used some of his videos last year and they really hurt.

The first ride this morning was tough. But I felt great once I was off the bike.

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Odds and Ends

September 18, 2014

iOS 8. It took over twelve hours to download. Maybe that’s why Apple called it the biggest release ever?

Changed my pedalboard. Where should the volume pedal go? Start? Middle? End? I picked the middle. After the drives and before the delays. Like this guy.

How much power does an Alpha Dog distortion pedal draw? A measly 5ma.

Photokina announced a lot of cameras this week. I like this one: the essence of photography.

Everything I wanted to know about cleaning car windows. And then some.

I’m 57. I was born in 57. And this guitar is also 57. Significant right?

I learned all about gravel driveways last week.

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Name Your Fears

September 17, 2014

Most of our fears are imaginary.

We don’t know what comes next, so we make projections about the future. And in our imaginations, the potential for catastrophe is alarmingly high.

But we’re not actually scared of the experience. We’re scared of the unknown: the vague, monster-shaped outline in our imagination.

Take Away Its Power

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Paperless

September 15, 2014

scansnap

After 57 years on the planet, I decided to finally take the plunge and go paperless. Okay. Mostly paperless.

Lorraine and I receive thousands of pages of documents each year. Financial statements, invoices, receipts and other documents that often fall into the important to keep category.

Over the past few years, a number of our providers switched over to electronic statements. And trying to keep a decent filing system on both electronic and paper media was proving to be quite challenging and frustrating.

I decided to make a change and get better organized.

I use three tools: the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i scanner, Evernote and my iMac. The Fujitsu scanner, which is amazing by the way, handles the incoming paper. It is configured to send the scanned image in PDF form directly to Evernote. Within Evernote, I have a local notebook called “File Cabinet”. Everything I scan goes into the File Cabinet. I give the document a title and a date and, almost instantly, I have a well organized virtual filing cabinet. Other electronic documents that are already digitized get added to Evernote. And, because of Evernote Premium, I have OCR against all of the documents which allows me to issue very sophisticated searches by keywords.

I processed most of the papers by creating three stacks.

Stack one: papers I do not need to keep. Not surprisingly, we were holding on to a lot of papers that we really did not need to keep. I estimate that well over 70 percent of the paper documents we receive can be shredded and recycled.

Stack two: scan and toss. These are the papers that we want to store in digital form only. We do not need a physical copy. This seems to be about 20% of the papers.

Stack three: scan and keep. These are important papers that we scan and hold. Things like signed contracts. And this represents a very small percentage of the total. Let’s say about 5%

I am about two thirds of the way through all of our current papers. The process has been fast and quite liberating. The electronic copies are easy to store and easy to find. Much easier than flipping through a huge, two-drawer filing cabinet. And we have a lot less physical paper occupying our lives.

That said, we have banker boxes full of paper files dating back well over three decades. My plan is to tackle one box a month. In a couple of years, we will have completed the move to a (mostly) paperless home.

This post on going paperless was very helpful to me. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to get this system working.

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Open Road

September 14, 2014

I was finally able to use our new driveway today. Funny how you miss certain conveniences in life. Like walking out into your garage and driving away in your car.

I went out and took a few more shots of the new drive. It is so different from what we had before. Hope it holds up.

Gravel Drive

Gravel Drive

Gravel Drive

Gravel Drive

Gravel Drive

Gravel Drive

Gravel Drive

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Gravel Doctor After

September 12, 2014

More work will take place on the drive today. When finished, we won’t be able to drive on the surface for a couple of days so I will be stranded at home. 300 tons or so of gravel has been dropped. Surprised by the smooth surface. It is hard for me to tell that it is gravel. It feels like a paved surface.

Gravel 4

Gravel 3

Gravel 2

Gravel 1

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The Gravel Doctor

September 11, 2014

gravel1

The Gravel Doctor is in the house. And here is why. Our drive, about 900 feet long, is covered in vegetation.

gravel4

gravel5

And several areas have washed out completely. The gravel you see below is not on our driveway. It is off to the side of what remains of our driveway.

gravel6

This is a shot of the drive as the team started working on the remediation.

gravel3

And this is what it is looking like as they prepare the drive for the new gravel.

gravel2

Today we will receive somewhere in excess of 300 tons of gravel. The after shots will be forthcoming. I expect to see a little bit of a difference in the drive.

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Will Robots Replace Executives?

September 11, 2014

There is no organization that shouldn’t be thinking about leveraging these approaches, because either you do — in which case you’ll probably surpass the competition — or somebody else will. And by the time the competition has learned to leverage data really effectively, it’s probably going to be too late for you to try to catch up. Your competitors will be on the exponential path, and you’ll still be on that linear path.

Let me give you an example. Google announced last month that it had just completed mapping the exact location of every business, every household, and every street number in the entirety of France. You’d think it would have needed to send a team of 100 people out to each suburb and district to go around with a GPS and that the whole thing would take maybe a year, right? In fact, it took Google one hour.

Now, how did the company do that? Rather than programming a computer yourself to do something, with machine learning you give it some examples and it kind of figures out the rest. So Google took its street-view database — hundreds of millions of images — and had somebody manually go through a few hundred and circle the street numbers in them. Then Google fed that to a machine-learning algorithm and said, “You figure out what’s unique about those circled things, find them in the other 100 million images, and then read the numbers that you find.” That’s what took one hour. So when you switch from a traditional to a machine-learning way of doing things, you increase productivity and scalability by so many orders of magnitude that the nature of the challenges your organization faces totally changes.

The whole article is well worth a read but that part on Google was downright frightening.

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