Author: Chuq Von Rospach

My San Jose Sharks Hall of Fame picks

I had coffee with an old friend this last week, and we spent half of the time chatting about an upcoming (redacted) but much of the time was talking about the Sharks, now and into the past. Not surprising when you realize that Laurie and I did 20 years of season tickets starting in the Cow Palace, and he started in as a season ticket holder their first year in San Jose. We’ve both seen a lot of hockey (not all of it… um, good. the name Al Sims was actually mentioned) Of course, this discussion stuck with me, so I decided I might as well write it up… One idea that came up was our choices for the top all-time line: three forwards, two D, and a goalie. My choices were: Forwards: Thornton, Marleau and Nolan. Defense: Burns and Boyle Goalie: Jones (although my heart said Irbe, and it’s hard to not choose Nabokov) We also got into the Hall of Fame discussion. Through the years, I’ve been in god knows how many discussions about Hall of Fame Sharks, who’s jersey to retire, and that sort of stuff. I’ve always taken the view that as much as we loved players like Irbe or Nolan, none of them ever hit the requirements I have to qualify for a retired jersey. Instead, I believe teams should have something like a...

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My Advice for Apple

An old friend caught me in email on my recent piece on Apple and had a very valid criticism: that I’d gone into detail about what I saw was wrong with Apple, but didn’t really offer any action plan on what to fix it. She was right, and so I sat down and thought about what I would suggest if Apple were to ask (which they haven’t, so yes, more unsolicited advice from the peanut gallery). My advice boils down to two key items. Slow down and sweat the details again If I could only offer one thing to Apple, it’s this: “it’s okay to slow down — a little”. The iPhone has to ship a new version ever year, and you can’t take your eye off that for a minute, but other parts of the product line don’t need that kind of continuous update. MacOS would be okay with a new release every 18 months or two years, or a feature release as a tick and a performance release as a tock in a two year cycle. Same with Mac Hardware. I wouldn’t be upset at all if the Laptops were updated one year and the Desktops were updated the year after in a two year cycle: as long as we understood this was what we could expect. And the watch: the series two hardware is surprisingly good...

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Visiting the Central Valley Refuges

During the winter I head out into the central valley as many times as I can to visit the refuges while the winter migrants are living there. I’ve get requests on where to go and what to expect, so I’ve written up a few notes on these trips and what to expect for you. First, the central valley is well known for tule fog, which can hug the ground and make everything grey and in some areas difficult to drive. Every so often it encases the roads out there, and once in a while historically nasty car accidents happen as a result. So be aware of the weather out there, but don’t let the fear of tule fog stop you (but drive carefully), it can turn things magical. And it usually clears out pretty well as the day moves forward.   Where to go There are a number of interesting refuges you can visit depending on where you’re starting and how far you want to drive. The refuges furthest north that I visit are in the Williams and Colusa area: Sacramento NWR just south of Willows on I5, and Colusa NWR on I20 on the way to Colusa from I5. These are right at the edge of a day trip for me here in southern Silicon Valley, but I’ll often overnight in the area to get more birding time...

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Merced and San Luis National Wildlife Refuges, December 14, 2016

In mid-December I took another day trip out to the Merced area refuges and visited Merced NWR and San Luis NWR. It was a cloudy day with hints that the tule fog wasn’t far away, but it left the area with some intermittently fascinating and glorious light. Because of that, I found myself doing more landscape-oriented work than normal, which is always part of my plan but I tend to get a bit focussed on the birds for some reason. The birds were in good numbers, although the Sandhill Cranes stayed out of sight — I could hear them, but they never came to a place where I could see them, much less photograph them. That’s how it works some days. Lots of Greater White-Fronted Geese, huge flocks of Snow and Ross’s Geese mixing in with each other, good numbers of ducks, and multiple chances to photograph American Pipits highlighted the day. This is perhaps my favorite image that I’ve taken to explain the joy of visiting the refuges. And yes, I’m playing with the Velvia rendering intent of the Fuji here. San Luis NWR was simply beautiful. It’s also where Tundra Swans hang out, although they rarely come close to the refuse tour roads. So when you can get some good photography time with them, it always caps off a good day. I’ll be heading back out there...

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2016 Favorite Podcasts

I’m compiling a few lists of favorite things as I exit 2016 and look forward to 2017 because I want to share these things with you in hopes that you’ll discover some new things that might make your favorites list for 2017. These lists are in no particular order, and I’m going to try to keep them short, with some explanation of why they made the list. Hope you find these interesting and useful, and if you have a favorite thing that didn’t make my list, pass it along, because I’m always looking for new things to enjoy as well My Favorite Podcasts, 2016 edition Over the last few years, I’ve really fallen in love with the podcast format. I’ll use them while traveling in the car, or in the office. What I can’t do is listen to podcasts and pretend to focus on other things, because it scrambles my brain, so I can’t use them as background material while doing other things, unless it’s really brainless things — so I’ll often be found catching up on few podcasts while using the Playstation to kill fantasy things in some video game or another. See, I’m really working while doing that. Really. quick snickering, okay? I’ll say up front that 90% of the podcasts I listen to come from two networks: Incomparable and Relay.FM. Jason Snell on the former and...

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