Month: September 2016

Hanging out on the coast

Laurie and I just returned from 10 days on the road, taking a nice vacation where we both mostly unplugged. This trip was originally going to be a visit to Yellowstone, but between the 100th anniversary crowds and the fires, we’re both happy we decided to put that off in favor of going some place a bit less crowded and hectic. Where did we end up? A little bit of familiar, a little bit of new: we spent some time in Newport, Oregon and Astoria, a couple of favorites, and then wound our way up the Washington coast and spent some time embedded on the coast in Olympic National Park, which is an area I’ve long wanted to explore. These areas are two day drives from Silicon Valley: we typically drive to the Medford area day one, which is 6-7 hours driving, and then for day 2, it’s off to the destination — 5ish hours to Newport. Newport, Oregon Newport’s one of those cities on our “if we ever leave Silicon Valley for good” towns. It’s small enough to feel like a town and not a city, but it’s definitely not a suburb (like most of Silicon Valley is), but it’s big enough to have services and things like restaurants (and a Starbucks, or a Dutch Bros.). It’s also got nice beaches, great views, and that Yaquina lighthouse and...

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Occam’s Fireaxe #2: Hiding on a Desert Island

About this episode On this episode of Occam’s Fireaxe I talk about the ten authors and books I’d carry with me when I go off to hide on a desert island to avoid the upcoming zombie apocalypse. About Occam’s Fireaxe Occam’s Fireaxe is written and produced by Chuq Von Rospach. Join us in two weeks for another episode where we will discuss and review books, primarily Science Fiction and Fantasy works. Don’t forget to read my blog at at, on twitter as @chuq or facebook, and please send us feedback via twitter at #occamsfireaxe. I’d love to hear what you like or how I can make this podcast better, so please let me know what you think. The goal is to publish an episode every two weeks, each about 15 minutes long, with a review of a book I’ve read or listened to — mostly Science Fiction or Fantasy, but occasionally something non-fiction because I have a strong interest in military history and biography as well. There will also be a short commentary on some topic of the day, hopefully one that ties into the book in some way. Things noted in this episode: Desert Island Books J.R.R. Tolkien: Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit Michael Moorcock: Elric of Melnibone Gene Wolfe: Latro in the Mist Ray Bradbury: Something Wicked This Way Comes Larry Niven: Ringworld Arthur...

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First impressions of the Fuji X-T2

I took the X-T2 out for its first photos yesterday to a favorite spot for this kind of testing: the sewage settling ponds on Radio Road in Redwood Shores. This is a great place for this kind of work because I can guarantee both close and distant birds, birds in flight, airplanes on landing pattern to SFO, and typically, clear skies with some humidity and haze. I went in the middle of the day, or course sticking the camera with harsh shadows and glare to deal with, because I assume if a camera can do decent work in poor...

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Apple Event: No Major Surprises

Appleinsider: For regular AppleInsider readers, last week’s Apple event came with no major surprises, as the rumor mill signaled exactly what to expect from the iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2. Well, except for…. Nintendo, which was the opening act for the event. The W1 chip. The upgraded CPU and GPU and power increases. All of the neat new stuff Apple is doing WITH the new two-lens camera on the 7s, like Bokeh Basically any of the stuff inside the casing, which we’ll ignore because all of the rumors were about the lack of major change to the casing rather than things like, oh, how the phone works. The iWorks upgrades. Pricing and Availability. That the headphone jack dongle was in the box. That the headphone jack was only $9.99 and not $19, $29 or more as some speculated. So yeah, except for about half the show and basically all of the important parts, they kinda nailed it. Just your occasional reminder that rumor sites get a lot right, but they don’t get a lot right, too, and they’re really good at patting themselves on the back and declaring success and making your forget about the bits they didn’t figure out, or that they don’t really matter — when in fact, the bits they miss are most often the most important parts. But unfortunately, since the media eats...

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Going, going… (and jury duty!)

It’s been almost exactly a month since my doctor and I started tinkering with the prescriptions. First up we swapped out Actos for Victoza, and then a couple of weeks later, we swapped out my blood pressure pill (bisoprolol and lasix) with Amlopidine. In both cases it was about trying to encourage weight loss (Actos has been implicated in encouraging weight gain, or at least making weight loss difficult, and ditto the bisoprolol) and reduce some of the water retention in the legs to make pushing forward my exercise work easier. And a month later, how are things? I tolerate the new drugs well, which is a good start. The blood pressure change takes me from a beta blocker, which regulates blood pressure by slowing your heart rate, and lasix, which makes you pee and look for a horse track to race on to a calcium channel blocker, which relaxes your blood vessel walls and opens them up to reduce the pressure. A side effect of the change, I’ve found, is that my pulse goes up faster because it’s not being suppressed, so I feel even more out of shape than I did before (because it’s true), and the first day or so of the conversion it sometimes felt like the heart was racing, but it quickly settled in, and I no longer have the ritual two hours after...

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