Pyslent at Dinosaur Place!

Brandon & Quincy having a blast as Dinosaur Place!, originally uploaded by jakerome.

In what may be the first ever Pyslent meet-up in Connecticut, I took my 3 nephews to meet the Sung clan at Dinosaur Place. After being out of sync for a few hours eating lunch & getting soaked at the SplashPad, the kids had a great time running around the Mazesaurus & playground set for a couple more hours.

Quincy & Brandon were fast friends, especially when racing through the maze and then flying down the dinosaur slide. Derrick & Emily turned the tables and took most of the shots today, so we’ll have to wait just a little bit to see his pics. Meantime, D probably needs a password reset so he can get busy posting on The Board again!


Apple iPad gripes

I thought it would be beneficial to compile a list of major and minor gripes that we all have with the iPad. This will serve as a useful resource for anyone shopping for a tablet, because I truly believe that unless something on this list is an absolute deal breaker, the best tablet for any buyer is whichever iPad fits their budget. I’m also hoping that we might be able to find solutions to each others’ complaints.

I’ll start some annoyances off the top of my head.

1) Tapping the location field in the calendar app doesn’t seem to open the location in Maps (instead it allows you to edit the text)

2) Can’t attach items from the mail app, which sucks when replying to someone with an attachment or when you want to send more than one photo at a time.

3) Can’t swipe to switch days in calendar.

4) Making a new calendar entry is harder than it should be (should be able to tap the open space to prepopulate a calendar entry with that time and date.

I’ll add to this list over time. You are all welcome to do so as well.


Hermosa 24 Wrap-Up

It’s 3:30 AM, I’ve been awake about 20 hours and I’ve already run 20 miles, barefoot, in the deep soft sand between the Manhattan & Hermosa Piers. My knee is starting to bother me, and I’ve returned to base camp ready to pass the baton to the next relay runner. But none are here– 2 gone home with burnt feet, 1 left limping with leg cramps, one half wrecked knee, one gone due to nasuea along with a medical transport. Among the 17 members of the Team CORE and Team Structures relayers, only 3 of us remain in the wee hours to run back & forth. So I turn around head back for another 3.4 mile lap. Without getting so much as a sip of water.

Staggering along the beach, forced to walk and unable to run due to ITB tightness. There I sat, on a swingset not far from Longfellow, trying to massage the pain away. No go. And so on I went, finishing the lap in 67 minutes and still with no one to run the next lap. I was half delirious due to knee pain, dehydration, sleep exhaustion, cold, sweat and lightheadedness. The dream– organize & run on 2 teams and keep them both on the course for the entire day– was slipping away. How the heck did I get myself into this?

Tent city

It all started nearly a year ago when Christian Burke set out to run 24 hours and set a new world record of 83+ miles on the soft sand. And he did it! A few months later, I was helping to organize the Operation Jack Marathon and Christian gave us a lot of useful advice. And then Christian won the dang thing! BTW, we’ll back for the 2nd Annual Operation Jack Marathon on December 26. Christian was already planning the inaugural Hermosa 24, and I asked what I could do to help.

Clapping for Patrick Sweeney

That’s when I started running on the soft sand, Januaryish, quickly building to 20 miles, later running back-to-back 15 milers. I knew I’d be ready for anything, but I needed a team. So after 3 months of cajoling co-workers, I had convinced 10 to join the race. Meantime, CORE co-founders Todd Dipaolo & Chuck Trucker helped formed the core of the CORE team, and Todd recruited 4 friends to join and I found another runner, so we had 8. Of course, that meant I’d be running for 2 teams. More on that later. Of these 16 other team members, I think about 3 ran regularly. So we had our work cut our. The day began inauspiciously, as the sun was out full force at noon and despite the cool temperatures and strong breeze, the sand was hot. Hot enough to burn the feet of the first 2 runners for the Structures team– the last 2 to run barefoot. Well, besides me. My feet were tough enough to run an hour at a time, although they got pretty toasty too. And then we got in a good rhythm.

Keep on truckin'!

Through all that, I was running for 2 teams, 5 laps by 9:30 before a much appreciated rest. The running, I could do. Problem was, I hadn’t slept well the night before. I didn’t know what the heck to do for fuel besides drinking Gatorade and sucking down junk food. And I was spending all my down time walking around chatting & trying to coordinate our next laps as one runner after another went down with various ailments. So after lap 4, I was looking pale and forced myself to sit in the shade for an hour and consume some mad calories. Much better. After lap 5, I took a break and had some tortilla soup, chips & dip then laid down to rest. And as I rested the team disappeared.

Scott finishes lap 2!

So let’s see. While I rested Vinay’s leg cramped up, causing him to fall and forcing him to crawl for a bit– trooper that he is, he finished the lap. Eron tweaked his knee pretty bad yet volunteered to run more– thankfully we talked him out of that. Jenny had some pizza with ill-advised timing, and left along with Daniel for medical transport. Instead of 5 people to cover the 2 AM – 6 AM shift, we were down to 3 across 2 teams. And I was alone for structures. And that brings us back to the first paragraph. I had just completed my 7th lap, and normally I could easily stretch a 7 mile run to 10. But these weren’t normal times. So I had to just sit and wait. Chuck went to retrieve some fluids for me as I was splayed out on a chair and to check the tent for any hidden runners. No dice. Just then, Nathan returned from his run and we’d have to game plan together.

Last steps

And just like that, Nathan (above) volunteered to run a lap for Team Structures as Chuck headed out for Team CORE. It’s a Festivus miracle! As Chuck & Nathan complete their laps, I dragged a stranger off the street to run for Team Structures and I headed back out for Team CORE. Upon our return, the morning crew (mostly) arrived and our little drama was ending. Oh sure, 3 or 4 or 5 backed out of their last lap, but at the same time others stepped up, as Matt covered 3 laps in the morning. Dave (below), who almost didn’t start because of a bad knee, ended up volunteering to fill a hole in & running our fastest lap of the day as Team CORE completed our 26th & final lap. All the totals for Team CORE and Team Structures are now permanently stored on our Google Docs.

Dave toughs out lap 3!

Let's see how good you look after being up for 26 hours and running 27 miles in the soft sand!

While our drama was unfolding, another drama was playing out as Patrick Sweeney chased down Christian’s 2010 record. He needed 25 laps, and looked solid to take it. I had hoped to run with Patrick the first lap, but he surprised me by blazing through lap 1 in a ridiculous 34 minutes– hard to do running all out, let along simply as a warm up. Of course, Patrick slowed as the race progressed, but he still looked set to run/walk 25+ laps. Patrick was finishing his 25th & record setting lap just as I was heading out for number 9. Pretty cool! I passed Patrick about 16 times on the course, none more memorable than the last lap.

High five!

Patrick Sweeney breaks the 24 hour record for running in the sand

I missed that mini-hoopla, but caught it after his final lap. Was glad to pass Patrick again on my return, and seeing him running lap 26 with 3 of the other solo runners was pretty awesome. What was also awesome was Mickey’s Winners completing 39 laps, 131 miles. Alex Mendoza running over 60 miles… more amazing upon realizing he’s only 15! Many other stories, one sure to follow soon from the verbose one Bourbon Feet (aka Patrick Sweeney) and possibly from Christian Burke. Before closing with a few pics, I’ll throw a quick link to the results & official race photos. I survived pretty good, legs not a touch of sore after 30+ miles barefoot in the deep soft sand (more like 40 effort wise on any other surface) with some tender feet and a sore back. The kids found a good use for those red balls that lined the course, all had fun and the whole group seemed to catch the sand running bug, already setting up monthly runs now and weekly runs later. Enjoy!


The once & present kings!


Meanwhile, back at camp...

Matt & Sara


“When I grow up, I want to be an astronaut!”


Hermosa 24 Relay!


So it’s certainly not the most exciting news in Pyslent land this weekend, but it’s still sure to be tons of fun! Starting Saturday noon and continuing until Sunday at noon, I will be competing as part of 2 teams in the inaugural Hermosa 24 Ultramarathon & Relay. More or less inaugural, as last year Operation Jack Marathon winner Christian Burke ran solo for 24 hours last Labor Day weekend, covering 83+ miles to set a new Guinness World Record. This year, Christian is organizing it while a dozen others take the solo challenge, including pre-race favorite Patrick Sweeney– who won the 2010 Palos Verdes Marathon in 2:37 while wearing Vibram Five Fingers.

Tomorrow’s course is pretty standard, back & forth between the Hermosa and Manhattan piers. I’ve covered that ground before, up to 20 miles in a day and 30 in a weekend– although not always in a straight line! I managed to convince 9 of my co-workers to join the run for 1-4 laps, and found 7 more to run on the CORE team as well. My goal is to cover 10 laps total, tough but certainly doable. No idea how to prep for an event like this, in some ways much easier but in other ways much tougher than a marathon. Probably a good idea NOT to be at a rock concert until after midnight! Will post some pics when I get the chance, in the meantime wish me good luck.



Operating Systems, Apple & the future of mobile

Kelvin & I were chatting on Twitter about RIM and it’s inevitable, even if long overdue, decline. I made the point that Nokia & RIM should’ve been fighting over Palm in January 2009 when webOS was introduced instead of trying to put lipstick on their OS pigs. Kelvin made the point that owning your own OS seems to be doom in the long run with the notable exception of Apple. Of course, there have been many in-house operating systems that enjoyed a decade of success or more– Sun’s Solaris, Palm’s OS, Nokia Symbian (even if nominally not Nokia’s), RIM of course and the aforementioned Apple with now 4 distinct OSes (Apple II, MacOS, OS X and iOS). Looking back through 40 years of operating systems, there are some trends that appear– a new operating system arises that changes the game, then slowly loses its lead. The companies seem be acquired at bargain prices (Sun, Silicon Graphics, Commodore, Palm) or completely reboot their OS. Apple has now made 2 OS transitions, just as the previous generation was running out of steam. Microsoft effectively tacked on Windows 3.1 & 95 onto the DOS core but eventually built Windows NT from scratch and have moved from that base through Windows 7. Ditto the WinMo to WinPho transition.

Palm tried the move to webOS, it didn’t take. And RIM has made a far-too-late move by adopting QNX, a decent kernel that will probably be two years before it matches webOS/iOS circa 2009. As Kelvin points out, when it’s your OS, you’re blind to its flaws. Microsoft has made the transition because they got feedback from customers. Everyone seems to make the move 2-3 years late– Nokia & RIM are probably the most egregious examples. As anyone that used OS 9, WinME, or a Treo 700p can attest. Of course, much of these obliterations can be laid at the feet of GNU/Linux, which ran roughshod over the Unix server industry and now, in the form of Android, is decimating the last generation (and some of the this generation) mobile OSes. Maybe this pattern explains why Google is developing Chrome alongside Android– by the time Android becomes dated and limited by its own architecture, Chrome will step into the void. Now given the anemic track record of Linux on the desktop, that might not be much of a fear. But who knows.


The HP TouchPad

We now know the date & price for the PrePad lauch. You’ll be able to buy one on July 1, $499 for 16GB and $599 for 32GB with 3G models set for AT&T and other GSM networks later this summer, via every tech site on the planet including this one. That’s pretty much exactly one year since Palm was subsumed by HP, and all but ends the Palm brand– with a new, true flagship device that doesn’t carry the Palm name anywhere on it. It’s been 4 months since the TouchPad was previewed way before its time, but at least that time is a mere 3 weeks off. The prodigal Palm tablet has been speculated about on Pyslent many times, including during the iPhone 4 launch. Alas, there will be no sliding keyboard for the would-be PrePad. Enthusiasm still runs high among the small cadre of remaining Palm enthusiasts, with 50% of PreCentral readers planning to buy a slab.

Looks like I’ve been predicting the Palm Tablet since January 2010, although in retrospect the Foleo II name might not have been the best choice. By March, after the iPad launch but before the app onslaught, others joined in my clarion call. In November, I was getting impatient, to the point where I could likely have skipped out on the platform for a bit and returned a year later without having lost much in the webOS world. By December, the tech world was gearing up for tablet wars, but not long before it turned into a tablet massacre.

And against those long odds, HP/Palm joins the battle. I’ll be stupidly buying my copy on launch day, and we’ll see if a webOS tablet can be as fun as an iPad. Will there be millions of others joining me, or hundreds? Only time will tell. But there it is, I’m in, soon to be complaining about the lack of apps apart from Flickr Mundo II. Will this be the device that finally turns the rout into a contest?


Another blast from the past

Serena, Kelvin, Brandon & JakeWeekend gadgetsTiVo at Derrick'sSatellite dishDish on the balcony was sheer brilliance!Kelvin the cook
Backyard viewReflectiveGooseWandering gooseQuaintBrandon peers under the sofa

Marathon Weekend, a set on Flickr.

Was reminded of the 2006 Santa Clarita Marathon weekend when the photo below showed up in my stats. Lots of fun memories– another Pyslent BBQ, the UTAV rides again, 90 degree marathon and Kelvin & Serena’s “surprise” announcement. Here’s the contemporaneous account.

Kelvin the cook


PlayStation Vita

With all the Apple cross talk today, the gaming news was lost in the din. I don’t follow the market much, but specs look fine per Engadget. It also reminded me of the PSP launch nearly 7 years ago, which seemed so promising at the time. In hindsight, it’s clear that Sony missed an opportunity to develop a symbiotic ecosystem with the PSP by instead choosing to rigidly control what could be easily done on the device. Certainly, it had a fair chance to be the iPod Touch of its day and perhaps outsold the DS. Now, no matter how compelling, it seems destined to be forever a major player in a niche market, losing sales to the Android devices and iPhones in the pockets of 20% of all Americans. Here’s what Pyslent thought closer to launch.



Lone PineGuess where I'm going today?SkisFallsFirst ViewDang. White. Sweatshirts.
Green (Yosemite Trees)TunnelValey ViewV&SThe Two TowersVKG
YonderThe Future's So BrightThe Crew againSerenity Pine Force!SoakedWindshield wipers?
Matt & VinayThat's Dr. Rome to you.Orange (rock)FrothyGo Sox!Whitewater

Yosemite!, a set on Flickr.

Half Dome

Went to Yosemite over Memorial Day weekend. Other than the massive crowds, it might’ve been the best time to visit in the past few decades. W00T! And here I thought it was this epic all the time.

Serenity Pine Force!