Saturday, June 30, 2007

Friday, June 29, 2007

iPhone Soup Line

Justin is streaming live video from outside the Stockton Street Apple store in the countdown to the iPhone unboxing.

As more details about the iPhone are leaked, it seems that concerns about the virtual keyboard and battery life are non issues.

Some concerns remain:
No Third party applications. Applications must be synced from iTunes.
No external memory expansion.
No ability to copy/cut/paste text.
Camera doesn't record video.
ATT/Cingular Edge network is sloooow.

Never-the-less, the iPhone will be a huge hit despite these problems and the $500-600 price tag.

But I'll keep using my Treo 650 until the second generation iPhone is released (in early 2008 during MacWorld Expo SF?).

Photos from
Categories:Gadgets San Francisco

Thursday, June 28, 2007

My Addiator

I bought one of these Faber Castell Addiators on eBay a few years ago because I was curious as to how they worked, and how useful they could be: They're very simple to use. But it's still quicker to use pencil and paper for addition and subtraction.

However, in combination with a slide rule, the addiator is useful. The results from calculations on the slide rule can be stored on the addiator for later use.

Video from rregister
Thanks Retro Thing
Categories:Gadgets Science

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

DIY Dali-esque Clock

I once made a clock from one of those "Back in x minutes" signs you see in store windows. But this clock is so much better! Knuttz shows you how to make the clock.

Thanks Make
Photos from Knuttz

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Discovery Channel Stores are Closing

The Discovery Channel store in Embarcadero 4 is still open for another five weeks, and everything is 30-50% off the usual retail price.

This was a good opportunity to get some gadgets at discount prices. I bought two electronic gadgets:

The Remote-N-Go, which can control any TV/cable box. It's as small as a book of matches, and it changes the channel or volume, and mutes the offending Sellevisions.

The LED Message Badge, which can be programmed to display any message up to 126 characters long. I don't know what I'll use it for, but I wanted it.


Monday, June 25, 2007

Lloyd Francis at Carnegie Hall

Lani and I are very proud of our friends Lloyd and John. Here is a recent post from Lani's blog:

Yesterday, our dear friend Lloyd (whom we met through Josh) performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Although Lloyd has a day job, he has always been in the performing arts since we've known him. Lloyd is the spectacled, cheery fellow on the far right.

When he and his partner John lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, he performed with the Masterworks Chorale of San Mateo. We attended at least 2 of his performances.

Now Lloyd and John reside in Spokane, WA. We haven't seen them since they moved there and we miss them very much. We keep in touch periodically via e-mail, and that's how Lloyd let us know he would be performing at Carnegie Hall. Pete and I really wanted to go, as we always have a free lodging option in NYC (my little brother Sherman), so the only major expense would be our airfare. But Pete was unable to get the time off from work, so we regretfully had to decline.

So John was kind enough to share pictures from the performance. Sigh. It would have been wonderful to see him perform, as well as an excuse to visit New York. Next month, Lloyd gets to tour Italy (John has been invited to join the group).


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Bike Barn

Bike covers offer only the minimum of protection for a motorcycle, and the cover can melt to a hot exhaust pipe. The Bike Barn is tent-like, and the large version gives you the room inside to put on your gear or work on your bike. They even make a version to fit the Smart car.

Photos by Tim Chelmsford from

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Formula Ford vs Ford GT

My money was on the GT...
If the GT was on race tyres the result might have been closer.

Categories:Movies Cars
Thanks TechEBlog

Friday, June 22, 2007

Found Art

This is the underside of a work platform under the truss section of the GG bridge.
I like the red/blue/yellow. It reminds me of a washed-out Mondrian.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

J-me Shoe Rack

When I was a boy our shoes were neatly left by the back door or stored in the bathroom/utility room next to the back door (1940's health and building codes didn't allow inside toilets in NZ). We didn't wear shoes inside beause we had wall-to-wall wool carpet.

In California we have hardwood floors and we store our shoes in the hallway closet and the bedroom closet. Between the two of us we have a lot of shoes. Especially Lani, who likes to keep here footwear in rotation. I'm more likely to wear the same shoes for a few days.

The problem for us is storing all these shoes. I've been assigned the job of finding an elegant solution.

The shoe racks we have and the shoe racks I've seen all have the same problems: They really only fit small dress shoes. We have lots of trail/running/gym shoes. The racks are just too small and poorly designed for these larger shoes.

Possible solution: The j-me shoe rack. $150 (gulp!) at DWR. If Target doesn't sell something like this for $10, then it would be an easy DIY project using timber. I think I would add felt to the shelf to protect the toe of the shoe from abrasion.

Thanks CribCandy

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Cars, Bicycles and Pedestrians

Before I cross the street, I take a look to make sure cars aren't turning against the light (in the US, cars can turn right after stopping for a red light). However, many motorists take this to mean that I've seen them and that I wouldn't dare cross the street in front of them.
If I ignore the car and cross the intersection, then motorists will stop to let me use the pedestrian crossing. But that's not safe! It would help if cars weren't allowed to turn right at a red light.

When I'm cycling I used to keep all the way over to the right of the road. But that only encourages cars to pass me without giving me any space. If I "Take the Lane", as the SF Bicycle Coalition encourages me to do, then motorists must cross the physical and psychological barrier of the centre line. It seems to me that motorists will try everything not to cross over the centre line. But force them to cross the line by a little bit, and then they're willing to cross over by a lot, and give me plenty of space. It is the safest way to ride.

Images of Tehran by Ali Torkzadeh

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

1974-1976 Alfetta GT 2000

The Alfetta GT was based on the Alfetta saloon, but with a shorter wheelbase and 2 door hatchback body. This is a federalised model, but it still manages to look handsome despite the bumpers and side lights. The similar GTV(1976-1987), and GTV6 are more common in California.

The rev' counter is directly in front of the driver. The other instruments are mounted high in the center of the dashboard. I remembered that the gearbox was mounted with the differential(transaxle?) at the back of the car, so I had to take a peek: Things to notice are a de Dion axle with a Watts linkage. Inboard disc brakes. And torsion bar front suspension.

This Alfetta has only 25,000 miles, and it's in good original condition.

It was cars such as this that stirred my boyhood imagination.


Monday, June 18, 2007


This sculpture was on the front lawn of the Mill Valley Middle School.

I've seen these logos on bumper stickers for some years, but I never knew what they meant. It turns out that Kiddo! is a non-profit corporation that raises money for Mill Valley public schools.

The logo was designed by illustrator Craig Frazier.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sausalito Sturgeon

46 inches is the minimum size to catch sturgeon in SF Bay. This one measured just 45 inches.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Panton Chair in Polypropylene Plastic

The original 1967 painted fiberglass cantilever Panton chair by Vitra is heavy and sells for almost $1000. It was the first chair to be made from a single moulding.

The new Panton chair is made from a lighter molded plastic, and sells for $225. I'm sure this is the way Verner Panton(1926-1998) would have wanted it. Made in Germany by Vitra.


Friday, June 15, 2007

Bruno Dies, Zam Zam Survives

I try not to visit the Haight/Ashbury more than twice a year. The nouveau hippies, hippie nostalgia, street kids and homelessness grate on me.

On this visit I noticed the Cala market is still standing empty. Further down the street, the Red Vic movie theatre is still there. They put brewers yeast on the popcorn. Yum! But I keep moving because my destination is City Optics on the next block. I need new specs.

After City Optics I walk another block, and stand outside the Zam Zam Room. It's open. I get up the courage and walk in. I remember the drill: Sit at the bar, not the tables. Order a gin martini, not vodka. Be serious, and speak when spoken to. Wait for Bruno to warm up to you before you start a conversation. But Bruno isn't there. Then I remember; he died 7 years ago. I haven't been here in a very long time.

Bruno did not tolerate fools. If you didn't show respect. If you weren't dressed right. If you didn't order your drink correctly. Then he asked you to leave! He could do that. It was his bar, and before him it was his father's bar. I miss him.

Categories:San Francisco

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Passing under the Bridge

On my way home from mountain biking on the Marin Headlands I spotted these container ships passing under the Golden Gate Bridge. I'd always thought the pilots timed their progress so they wouldn't have to squeeze through at the same time.

Categories:San Francisco

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Herman Miller, meet Sharper Image

Herman Miller has established an excellent reputation over the decades by selling licensed versions of beautiful modern and mid-century modern furniture.

Now they're set to squander that reputation and test our credulity by selling the $300 C2 Climate Control heater/cooler/air filter for cube workers. My guess is that the C2 will be everything the Ionic Breeze is: Overpriced and close to useless.

(Josh has a Sharper Image Update at Tretakoff Musings)

Thanks Gizmodo

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

1959 El Camino

I spotted this 1959 El Camino in Sausalito. I'm not a fan of wrap-around windscreens, but the profile of the goldfish bowl 'cab' looks interesting with its' cooperesque white roof.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Science Podcasts

Here, in no particular order, is the current list of free science Podcasts and Videocasts I'm listening to:

1) Scientific American 60-Second Science
Got a minute?
2) Mac OS Ken
Daily Mac news from Ken Ray. Dry, tongue in cheek delivery.
3) Tech Nation
4) CNET TV: The Queue
Well produced
-NASACast Audio
7) NYT Technology
David Pogue
8) NOVA ScienceNOW
9) NPR:Technology
10) All in the Mind
Topics in Mental Health from Australia


Sunday, June 10, 2007

G-Voice 411 for Your 'Phone

Its full name is Google Voice Local Search, and it's free! It looks up business telephone numbers from your 'phone using voice recognition. It gives you the address and dials the number for you. The voice recognition software is very good.

For now it only searches for business numbers. When you ask for a residential phone number, it reminds you that the function is not yet avalible.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Treo Wireless Webcam

One gadget I've always wanted to have is a wireless webcam to display images in the sidebar of this blog. For the last month I've had a mobile webcam on the dashboard of the Mini while I drive to work between 2:45 and 4:00pm M-F. I thought this might be interesting to my family and other readers outside the States.

Here's how to do it:
I use free Cellicast software on my Treo 650 to periodically capture and upload images to the Cellicast server. I then use Evocam software to copy the image from their server and display it on the sidebar. That's it!

The Evocam software can be configured to make the Treo webcam active at certain times of the day. As with any webcam, you'll need to search the web for the HTML to include in your blog to automatically refresh the webcam image.


Friday, June 08, 2007

Once - When Your Mind's Made Up

"Once" is a small movie set in Dublin that views like a documentary. One camera. Few edits. It's the story of two musicians who over the period of a few days write and record songs. There's not much of a plot, but you still care deeply about what happens to the characters. The acting and singing is heartfelt. The songs are beautiful.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Sikh Demonstration

Hundreds of Sikhs rallied outside the Indian consulate on Arguello Blvd in SF yesterday to remember Operation Blue Star, the June 6th 1984 Indian Government storming of the Golden Temple in Amritsar that left thousands of Innocent bystanders dead.

From the BBC:
"It was a justified act to flush out militants... But the costs were enormous. There has never been agreement on how many people were killed in and around the temple, and how many of the dead were innocent bystanders, rather than militants."

Categories:Politics San Francisco

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Photographer Mark Luthringer has grouped similar objects to form a mosaic.
"It sometimes felt as if I was just tracking down the subjects and putting myself in position to throw a net over them."

He has grouped together images we notice and loath:
The pancake buildings in an industrial estate. The trucks and SUV’s, whose popularity he sees "as a metaphor for the growth and intensification of anti-social tendencies".

Thanks core77

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Fuselage Trailer

Spanish organisation Avion uses this refurbished DC-9 fuselage for exhibitions and performances.

Thanks Superuse

Monday, June 04, 2007

Bicycle Tube Camping Chairs

I patch my bicycle tubes three times before I replace them. But from now on I won't throw them out with the trash. Wheels-on-Fire has plenty of ideas for using old tubes, including these cool camping chairs.

Thanks CribCandy

Sunday, June 03, 2007

1965-1966 Alfa Romeo Giulia GTC

I first noticed this car a few weeks ago in Sausalito. Today I asked the mechanic a few questions: He said it's a factory cabriolet with a 1570cc alloy twin-cam four-cylinder engine, all-round disc brakes, and is one of only 1000 built.

According to Motorbase, the Giulia GTC had a top speed in fifth gear of 112 mph with the top up.

The Giulia name comes from the 4 door Alfa Romeo Giulia Berlinetta on which the coupe and cabriolet are based.