Sunday, September 30, 2007

Apple's iPhone Mistake

Recent software and firmware upgrades for the iPhone are causing hacked iPhones to "brick".

If you've unlocked your iPhone to use it on a network other than AT&T, then recent firmware "upgrades" might make your iPhone unusable. And if you hacked your iPhone to add 3rd party applications, then you might find that those applications no longer work after the upgrade.

That's because Apple wants to keep you on the AT&T network, because Apple skims something like 30% off your AT&T phone bill each month.

But in the US, how many people are going to unlock their iPhones and switch networks? The only other GSM carrier is T-Mobile.

I think Apple should follow the example set by Palm with the Palm OS. This operating system is ancient and has never been significantly improved. But it's still the best OS for a PDA/phone because of the thousands of free 3rd party applications written by enthusiasts.

If thousands of Apple fan boys are happy to write applications for the iPhone, then Apple should encourage them by hosting an iPhone developers conference.


Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Different Rietveld Chair

Here's a chair that's instantly identifiable as a Rietveld, and I haven't seen it before!

The High Backed Armchair shares the same basic design as the Red & Blue Chair. But while the Red & Blue chair is all about Mondrian-like colour and angles, this Rietveld chair has curves. The back and seat have ergonomic shapes. And the timbers are rounded.

Thanks Architonic

Friday, September 28, 2007

Soft Sell

This is a German market Renault advertisement.

Thanks Jalopnik

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I Like Cats

There! I said it.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Tyrant Opens Mouth, Spews Nonsense

[From the St. Petersburg Times editorial published September 26, 2007. I replaced the name of the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, with "George Bush"]

The President, in New York on Monday, fully availed himself of the right of free speech to suffer the idiocy of his own words. George Bush, who has said some ridiculous things, added to that impressive record. He claimed his country was democratic and free. His speech at Columbia University gave the world another unvarnished glimpse of an unhinged leader, and for that we can thank Columbia and the First Amendment. George Bush, a provocateur, surely saw Columbia as less an opportunity to learn or engage in open, honest debate than as a forum to score political points. He rambled and dodged and twisted the questions. "We love all nations," was the throwaway line as he downplayed his support for terrorists, and his repression of gays, intellectuals and political dissent. Many critics were outraged by Columbia's decision to invite George Bush to speak. But as Columbia's president, Lee Bollinger, aptly pointed out:" Having the leader on campus would help the nation, he said, "understand the world we live in," And Bollinger made it clear what he thought of George Bush in an unusually blunt introduction. "Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator," he said, adding, "You are either brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated." George Bush complained of "unfriendly treatment" at Columbia. It is safe to say he does not have to face unfriendly audiences back home that laugh and boo at his performance. His spinning, defiance and perversion of reality should embarrass his countrymen.


Monday, September 24, 2007

Construction at Laguna Honda Hospital

While I was up at the Hospital on Friday, I took these photos of the new addition under construction. The construction company has wrapped the frame in plastic to protect it, and the workers, from the elements. The huge white structures look cold, mysterious, and sterile.

Categories:San Francisco

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Blow the Wheels Off

The Lug nuts "... were SAE and should have been Metric. This resulted in lugs that felt as if they were torqued down, but loosened when a substantial amount of force was applied against them." -MySCCA

I don't buy that excuse. When you hand start the lug nuts you can feel whether they're the right ones or not.

I am surprised that the wheels all fell off at the same time!

Categories:Cars Movies

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Goats in the City

Hundreds of goats are down the street from us, on the hillside below Laguna Honda Hospital. I'm guessing they are the Goats-R-Us goats employed around the Bay Area to clear noxious weeds.

This is their 3rd year at this site, eating their way through 22 acres of thistle, brush and poison oak.

I got quite close to them. Unlike sheep, each goat is different in size and markings. They're also much smarter than sheep, and interesting to watch. To see them, drive around the back of the hospital, through the parking lot, and down in to the lower parking lot.

Categories:San Francisco

Friday, September 21, 2007

Aerobatic Airbus A310

If nothing else, each day I read the Engadget and Gizmodo gadget blogs.
This video is from todays Gizmodo.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Lani's Dad

(1982) R-L Dad, Mom, Lani, Cindy, Grandmother, Grandfather

My partner Lani tells me stories about growing up in Columbus, Ohio. I love to hear them. Here's a story about her Dad from Lani's blog of September 19th:

"Today is his 72nd birthday. He's the only one among my immediate family that I haven't blogged about. Probably because of the language barrier we have. My command of Cantonese is poorer than his in English. We may not have ever had long meaningful conversations, but as a kid, he did his best to be a good father.

"When my brother Sherman played baseball and me with softball, he would make an effort to come to see us play at the park at least a few times a season, sometimes with our dog Sil-Sil in tow. He played catch with Sherman in the backyard up until Sherman was about 10, as Sherman's hard throws made Dad's hand sting. He once came to one of my high school basketball games and let me invite the coaches and their husbands to dinner at the restaurant after the game.

"In the summer months, the Guertals used to clean their next door neighbor's pool, which was next to our backyard. When Mr. Guertal finished cleaning the pool and the chlorine dissipated, we'd go swimming. While it was Mr. Guertal who taught me how to swim, it was Dad that would come over as the overgrown kid. He loved to throw us into the pool or challenge us to a race.

"If we didn't go swimming, then he'd take us bowling late Sunday nights and meet up with staff from the restaurant. Dad had his own bowling ball and shirt with our restaurant's name on it. We often bowled so late we'd go to out breakfast afterwards. He even sponsored Sherman's American Legion baseball team while Sherman was in high school. It was a sight to see a predominantly Caucasian team wearing baseball shirts reading "Jong Mea" (including Chinese characters) as the uniform's logo.

"After Dad got off work at 4 a.m., he'd read in the family room for many hours before finally retiring to go to bed. He'd often make noodles or rice with enough for us to share, so it was awesome to have what I considered breakfast. If he wasn't reading, he often had friends and restaurant staff over for cards or mah-jongg. Strewn boxes of White Castle burgers and ashtrays full of cigarette butts were all over the family room. When Dad and his buddies got together, they made college fraternity parties look like afternoon tea.

"From elementary school age into our early teens, Sundays became family nights out. Dinner and a movie, usually an action flick. One of the first drive-in movies I saw was Ian Fleming's "Thunderball". But no dinner and movie if Mom didn't want to go. By the time I was a student at Ohio State, summer on Thursdays was a prime rib dinner and harness racing at Scioto Downs. I was never much of a gambler, but Dad would often give me $20 as an incentive to place a bet. Cindy was much better at winning than I ever was.

"Dad may not know much English and is probably better at partying than parenting. But I also know there aren't many that can brag about bowling with Dad at 2 a.m."


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Orbit Sofa by Artifort

Artifort is a Dutch furniture maker with over 100 years manufacturing experience. The Artifort name is derived from the Latin word ‘ars’ meaning art, and ‘fortis’ meaning strong or powerful.

These pieces attracted my attention because of the bright colours and simple rounded forms. They're like a cartoon version of an airport couch. Fun and utility.

"With the Orbit, Wolfgang C.R. Mezger designed a classic piece of Artifort furniture. Round, supple curves and upholstery that follows them effortlessly typify this striking sofa. And it’s certainly comfortable thanks to the horizontally sprung seat and the undulating back ... Its circular, coated aluminium base completes the picture."
- Unica


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Monday, September 17, 2007

Expedition 6

Expedition 6 is a play created and directed by Bill Pullman. Performing at the Magic Theatre, Fort Mason through October 7th.

The play is about the Expedition 6 Space Station crew who were stranded in Earth orbit after shuttle Columbia disintegrated on re-entry in 2003. There would be no more shuttle flights for 2 years.

The Russian and 2 Americans on the Space Station would eventually return to Earth in a Soyuz capsule (A re-entry vehicle unfamiliar to the Americans, and designed for the smaller Russian Cosmonauts).

The Soyuz landed in Kazakhstan 275 miles short of its' target, and was not heard from or located for 4 hours. During this time it was not known whether the 3 men were alive.

The men, weakened by having spent 161 days in micro gravity, crawled out of their capsule and lay on the Kazakhstan dirt while they waited to be rescued. To the Americans, after their long ordeal, this Kazakhstan soil was their home soil. Earth.

In conjunction with the play, there is a very good exhibit of space memorabilia by the Chabot Space & Science Center. Guests are invited to examine the objects: I tried on the Russian space glove. It is so well designed that I was easily able to write in a notebook while wearing the glove. I didn't try sitting in the Soyuz re-entry 'couch'. I would fit, but at 6', I would be too tall.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

New New Zealand Sports Car

Autoblog is reporting the new Hulme sports car will be delivered in 2008. As many as 25 cars will be built each year.

"Powered by BMW M5 V8 producing 550bhp, running through a six speed sequential gearbox, and weighs in at the curb with all bodily fluids topped up at a very slim 1175 kilograms. The body is a carbon fibre shell." -Gizmag

The car is named after Denny Hulme, who was F1 World Champion in 1967.

The styling is not to my taste. But then again, I'm not keen on the styling of the Enzo, Bugatti, or R8. I still think the best looking super car is the McLaren F1 (named after another NZer, Bruce McLaren).

Another name they might have considered for the car:
Amon (pronounced "aim-on")
Chris Amon won Le Mans in 1966, co-driving a Ford GT40. The next year he drove for the Ferrari F1 team. He drove for a succession of F1 teams, finally retiring in 1978.

I wish the Hulme builders the best of luck.

And if there's anyone thinking of making their own super car, please consider "Amon".

Update 5/26/10:
Hulme is now taking orders for the car. Twenty cars will be made, and will sell for ~US$700,000.

Update 8/8/11:
Now taking orders for delivery in mid 2012. Now with a GM V8 engine. Now I'm not interested.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Green Hornet Moped

This bike was parked outside my local coffee shop today.
It's selling on eBay for $545. Or, for $350, they will sell you a kit to build your own moped.

It uses a 26" wheel cruiser-style bicycle and a 70cc 2-stroke engine. It's not an elegant design, but it's not supposed to be elegant. It's supposed to mimic the look and function of early motorcycles.


Friday, September 14, 2007

Biomega Copenhagen Bicycle

A beautiful and simple double triangle frame, uncluttered by derailer, cables, or chain.

To accomplish this, Biomega used an 8-speed Shimano internal gear hub, routed the cables inside the frame, and used a shaft drive.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Canceling My Sprint Service

Today I closed my trial Sprint service. I had imagined all kinds of contract clauses that Sprint would quote to me. But there were no pitfalls, and I give Sprint 10/10 for customer service! (I'll update this post when I get my final bill)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Monday, September 10, 2007

AT&T to Sprint and Back Again

Today I switched back to AT&T after just two weeks using the Sprint EVDO (wireless broadband) network. I went to the Cingular/AT&T store and opened an account and transferred my 'phone number. ATT charged me a $35 activation fee, and I was using their service in just a few minutes.

Tomorrow I'll close my Sprint account.

So now that I'm back using the GPRS GSM Treo 650, I must say that it is slower, but that's just fine. I'm comfortable and familiar with the way it works. And now, when I'm ready, I can buy the iPhone!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Cam Twist for Ustream

When I started using Ustream I thought it must be possible to stream movies from my iMac. Well, Ustream only lets you stream movies recorded with your webcam. But I want to stream short movies I've made.

The solution is Cam Twist: Download and install Cam Twist. Restart your computer. Open CT and choose a movie. Select your settings.

Now go to the Ustream website and select "Go Live". Under "Advanced Settings" select "Cam Twist" and then "Start Broadcast". Voila!

And Cam Twist can do much more than this.


Saturday, September 08, 2007

AC Cobra Replica

The polished aluminium body of this AC Cobra replica is made in Poland, and the car is assembled by Kirkham Motorsports in Provo Utah.

Seen today at the Shelby Club event at Sears Point Raceway.


Friday, September 07, 2007

While My Car Gently Weeps

The Mini has a cracked windscreen, and I've been putting off having it replaced. I don't want to replace it myself because it's a dirty job, and it's been fifteen years since I did this kind of work. And I know all the problems that might occur:
The new windscreen might not fit. The mouldings may not fit back in place. The seal may leak. The paint may be scratched. The pinch-weld may be scraped down to the metal, and then not primed. The installers might use butyl instead of urethane.

Jalopnik has the story. The comments echo my concerns.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Treo 650 vs Treo 755 vs iPhone

Two weeks ago I switched from a Cingular Treo 650 to a Sprint Treo 755.
Both 'phones use the Palm OS. Both phones have similar features. Both services cost about the same. The main difference is the Sprint Treo has EVDO ("wireless broadband").

In my ignorance, I thought "wireless broadband" would be as fast as the broadband service we have at home. Nope. It is much faster than Cingular GPRS service, but not fast enough to justify being called "wireless broadband".

So, given that:

1) The EVDO is not as fast as I'd hoped.
2) The Sprint Treo 755 won't function as a mobile webcam (Cingular Treo 650 plus Cellimation is soooo cool!)
3) I can cancel my Sprint service before 30 days.
4) Apple yesterday announced a $200 drop in the price of the iPhone.

I've concluded that I'd be happier going back to Cingular and buying an iPhone when the time is right.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

St. Louis City Museum

An adventure playground for adults, the museum features found art and industry leftovers.

"Housed in the 600,000 square-foot former International Shoe Company, the museum is an eclectic mixture of children's playground, funhouse, surrealistic pavilion, and architectural marvel made out of unique, found objects. The brainchild of internationally acclaimed artist Bob Cassilly..."

Thanks Blu Dot News

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Matinee by Vladimir Kagan

Lani and I are looking for a couch. The first step for us is to look at and discuss as many different styles of couches as we can. To that end, we went to EQ3 and Bellachs yesterday.

EQ3 is always interesting. Mostly knockoffs of furniture you might see at DWR. It was fun discussing the furniture, but we didn't see anything that we agreed suited our apartment.

Bellachs has a huge selection of couches. And that's were we found this jewel:

It's called the Matinee. It's made by American Leather, and was designed by Vladimir Kagan.

First, and most importantly, it's comfortable. The back is low, but angled just right. The tight armrests allow maximum seating space. More space if you remove the Tootsie Roll throw pillows. Ingeniously, the back lifts off to convert to a day bed.

The Matinee we saw was in contrasting colours, but we'd like it in black or a very dark blue. American Leather will make it in any of there colour choices.


Monday, September 03, 2007

Labour Day

Australian Workers concerned about the future of labour.

Categories:Work Politics

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Styrofoam Tree

I was on my way to the Magic Theatre at Fort Mason to buy tickets for the Bill Pullman play Expedition 6, when I noticed this tree made from discarded electronics packaging.


Saturday, September 01, 2007

Formula One Team will have Link to SF

It's a tenuous link for sure, but Vijay Mallya will purchase the Spyker F1 team.

His links to the Bay Area include a home in Sausalito, ownership of the Mendocino Brewing Co., and a marvelous car collection stored in a Sausalito warehouse.

Malcolm, who manages the collection, has been very kind to give me a personal tour of the collection twice in the past. The collection is not open to the public. However, you might see one or more of the cars on display next weekend at a car show in downtown Sausalito.

You can read all about Mallya in this 2003 article by Dan Frost for the SF Chronicle. It's very well written, and I recommend you read it if you're interested to find out what this Indian billionaire is like.

Categories:Cars San Francisco