Monthly Archive: December 2009



Originally uploaded by kaiyen

There is a really great spot north of the Golden Gate Bridge, to the eastern side, that offers a really spectacular view that is not photographed nearly as often as from, say, the Marin Headlands. Not that it’s inaccessible or anything. It’s on the grounds of Fort Baker.

This particular night, the sky was not cooperating, going from a solid gray in evening to a very slightly textured look as the night went on. While I’m happy with some of the photos of that night, they didn’t feel like anything different than what I could get on most nights.

So…I decided to try something different.

I had to use a flashlight to even see these plants in order to focus on them. And I opened the lens wide so that I could blur out the bridge just a bit.

I’m not sure it’s even a good photo, but I like it, and it’s different, and sometimes we have to make ourselves try something in order to keep our minds fresh.

more thoughts on Google diaspora

A few days ago, I wrote about my thoughts on how Google is going nowhere in particular, and everywhere in general.  I was being generally being pretty fair about it, but the fact is that with all the power and personnel that Google has, why are there still so many items disconnected?  No integration, having to invite the same 5 people to each of 4 different Google Apps that are supposedly all part of the same “suite” of tools.

And, again, google seems to be missing the boat on a few things.  For instance, if I were looking at Google’s market opportunities, I would not only revisit the integration with TripAdvisor’s wealth of information, but let’s look at how TomTom has added Google features to their latest GPS units. If you get a TomTom unit, then you aren’t getting a whole lot.

Now, to their credit, you can go to Google Maps and then send the address to your TomTom Live unit.  That’s pretty cool, and it is something Google did.  So kudos for them.  But for the most part, it’s about pulling traffic data.  And…that’s far from disruptive.  It’s far from anything special.

But…why can’t I search google from my TomTom?  Get Google reviews from it, in exactly the way I suggest they do with TripAdvisor?  Why…is Google just presuming that everyone will come to them, rather than the other way?


Review: Hiking around Bishop’s Peak in San Luis Obispo, CA

the trail

On a sunny late morning in mid September, I set off towards Bishop’s Peak in San Luis Obispo, which is a decent-sized hill/mountain/whatever featuring a number of trails up, down, and around.  Most start off pretty steeply, then either fall off or, if you’re headed to the peak, almost 1800 feet higher in elevation from the trailhead, just keep going up.

I have not done a lot of steep, sustained hikes lately so I went with a more flat route.  Starting from the Patricia Lane trailhead, I went along Felsman Loop.  This is a bit of up and down, but we’re talking mostly 30 feet from trough to crest so not too hard at all.  Due to time, I cut the loop basically in half by going across the Shady Grove trail, then back down, splitting off to the left when I reached the Cattle Pond to get back to the trailhead.  The pond, by the way, is a dry indentation in the ground.  I wonder when was the last time any cattle actually congregated there.

rock and branchIt’s an easy hike other than the inclines.  Part of the beginning of the loop is even paved, though right after you swing around the Water Tank it feels like you’re trying to circumvent security or something – you’re on a 1′ wide trail that falls off the hill quite steeply to one side, and hugs the fencing on the other.  But indeed it is the trail.

It’s a fairly exposed trail so bring sunscreen and/or a hat, though there are patches of trees that provide some shade.  Overall a nice hike, and one I wish I could have devoted more time to.  I did the loop – Felsman>Shady Grove>Felsman in about 1.5 hours, stopping for pictures along the way.

Giant iceberg heading towards Australia –

Giant iceberg heading towards Australia –

This is pretty bonkers.  Not only is the satellite photo that shows the iceberg…kind of boggling, but check out these quotes:

“We pulled out the binoculars that we use for work on the seals and, sure enough, it was a huge floating island of ice

So…they could see it with plain binoculars.  I’m trying to imagine something big enough that I could see that way, that was an iceberg, and not an oil tanker or some other giant ship.  This thing is bigger than Manhattan.

Three years earlier, another family of icebergs led to a small tourist boom when they drifted along the east coast of New Zealands South Island.

Of all the reasons to go to New Zealand…

The myth of “faux friends” « Feral Librarian

The myth of “faux friends” « Feral Librarian.

Another excellent post from Chris on the topic of the “destruction” of real friends and friendships because of Facebook and other sites.

What steams me about this is that…this is an article that appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education.  There are a lot of dumb people in academia…hopefully I’m not one of them.  But who knows.

Chris isn’t, though.  Feral Librarian is a good read.

does anyone know where google is going next?

Honestly, does anyone have any clue as to what google is doing, or what its priorities are in terms of products and services?

There, I got to the point.  So now allow me to preface…I know that Google is working on a ton of things at once and that none of them are easy.  It’s not easy to make something like Google docs.  So I know it takes time, and that there are going to be lags that make it seem like Google is disjointed when in fact each product team is working diligently on their little areas or features or whatever.  But I still can’t figure out why they have their heads so far up their butts.

Also, please note that I don’t think of myself as either a Google hater or a fanboy.  Google has some good stuff, and they are pretty darn creative.  But they also have their flaws.  My issue, here and now, is that they clearly have resources of amount X, and that they have shown at least a few times when they have not spread that amount effectively.  I’ll give examples of both great and terrible allocation of resources.


Review: Hiking at Los Osos Oaks State Preserve (CA Central Coast)

rising from the earth

While visiting my wife at her workplace down in Templeton, in California’s Central Coast region, I took some time to do some hiking.  First stop was the Los Osos Oaks State Preserve, which might actually be in Morro Bay rather than Los Osos.  It’s pretty close, I think.  Quite accessible from the Templeton/Paso Robles/Atascadero area – maybe 30 minutes if you average all three starting points.

I read about the preserve in the Sierra Club’s Trail Guide for San Luis Obispo County.  I was drawn by the description of these 800 year old “dwarf oaks,” which are HUGE and have branches so long and so heavy that they have touched back down to the ground for support, then grown out from there.  path They really are impressive.  It’s described as “mystical” in the book and that’s actually not a bad description.  I went around noon which made it a bit less so, but I can see a morning hike being quite atmospheric.

The hike is also a level one, and relatively short.  Maybe 100 ft in elevation change and about 2 miles, I think, based on the loop I did.  I spent about 2.5 hours there (note: I’m a slow hiker due to stopping constantly for photos).