Review of Six Flags Magic Mountain

IMG_20150529_104124-COLLAGE

On Friday, May 29th Carson and I went on a day trip up to Valencia, CA to ride roller coasters at Six Flags Magic Mountain.

Here are the rides we went on and they are prioritize with our favorites (high to low):

  1. Scream: Smooth, fun, easy to see where you are going, 
  2. Batman: Smooth, fun, easy to see where you are going.
  3. Twisted Colossus (new!): Very fast, long, not as easy to see where you are going, intense
  4. Gold Rusher: very simple, classic easy style
  5. Ninja: a lot like Batman but not as intense
  6. Viper: Very fast, bumpy for Carson
  7. Orient Express: slow and clam
  8. Grand Carousel: great way to end the day [only horses though :-( ]
  9. X2: Way to scary
  10. Full Throttle: huge loop; slow at top (feels like falling - yuck!), plus one "trick" that we won't tell you about but we did not like it
  11. Apocalypse: Very jerky, long wait

Basically we both agreed that we like smooth and easy to see where we are going roller coasters.  We don't like: feeling like we are falling, bumpy, and going backwards.

All in all we really liked the majority of rides and look forward to going back sometime in the future.


Google Reader Replacement Analysis Starting

As a long time Google Reader user I am not very happy with the recent news that Google will be shutting down the service on July 1, 2013

I just finished reading some of the latest coverage, analayis, and recommendations at:

At this point I don't have a good solution recommendation for myself or others that like what they have currently in Google Reader.  I'll be check options out over the next month or so.  I don't have a huge sense of urgency as there is still time to make a discriminating decision.

Things I liked about Google Reader:

  • mostly text-based outline views;
  • can view content & sync in browser, iPad, & Nexus 7;  
  • simple to add & delete feeds;
  • search through all my feeds;
  • can organize feeds in folders;
  • easy to mark folders read;
  • see only new posts;
  • star/mark posts for future reference; and
  • easy to share what I find interesting.

If you have a good recommendation then please let me know.

UPDATE (7/10/2013): I decided on Feedly.  It works well via the Web and on Andriod.  I've had no issues and would recommend it if you need an RSS reader.


Book Review - "Wait" by Frank Partnoy

Wait Book Cover Image After hearing a recent news blurb from The Economist on a new book called "Wait" by Frank Parntnoy I put this book in my queue.

I just finished reading the book -- well to be completelly honest, I listened to it via my Audible.com subscription -- and here is my review.

I found the book very interesting and a good balance between some of the "physical" and "mental" reasons for how we make decisions, and why waiting before making a decision is a valid decision making process.

The book moves through examples of "waiting" from a series of perspectives that drive home the point that waiting is a natural course of activity and something that should be a valid alternative to snap decisions and first-imrpessions.

Here is a list of highlevel topic areas where waiting is analyzed:

  • Relationships (Baby to Parent, Dating, etc)
  • Financial (Lehman Brother's collapse, )
  • Athletics (Football, tennis, baseball, cricket , )
  • Humor (Commedian's and their punch lines)
  • Fast Food (just seeing a logo can speed you up)
  • Military (OODA loop)
  • Politicans (and the art of the apology)

In addition, one of the main themes of the book is that "managing delay", which we called today "procastination," is actually something we really need to cultivate more or we will continue to have growing problems with time-based decision making.

In summary, according to Professor Partnoy the best decision makers are those that can gauge how much time they have to react, and then wait the longest possible amount of time before making/executing on a decision.


You Are Invited To Christmas Eve Services 2012

Church

Our church - Christ Lutheran La Mesa (7929 La Mesa Blvd., La Mesa, CA 91942) - is having three Christmas Eve services in 2012:

  • Saturday, December 24 - Family Christmas Worship with Children's Message at 3:30 p.m. in the Church Sanctuary. This service is designed for young families and incorporates traditional Christmas carols that are family friendly to sing as well as a special children's message geared for our kids, led by Cheri. Childcare is available in the nursery.
  • Saturday, December 24 - Christmas Worship with Communion at 5:30 p.m. in the Church Sanctuary. This service features the celebration of Holy Communion as we celebrate Christ's birth. Join us afterwards for hot cider and cookies on the patio. Childcare is available in the nursery.
  • Saturday, December 24 - Candlelight Worship at 7:30 p.m. in the Church Sanctuary. This service features our choir as well as our traditional "candlelight ending" as we sing together the great carols of Christmas for those passing by on La Mesa Boulevard. As we conclude, we will have the opportunity for hot cider and cookies on the patio.

There will also be a service on Christmas morning:

  • Sunday, December 25 - Christmas Day Communion Worship at 10 a.m. in the Church Sanctuary. As we celebrate the birth of Christ, we celebrate the gift of His Supper, receiving the body and the blood of Christ for the forgiveness of our sins. The message is from John 1, the Christmas Day Gospel reading, and speaks of God among Us which the Christ Child brings as He moves into our hearts and lives.

Will The Motorola Zoom Replace My Apple iPad?

I got a question from a friend asking if I was considering replacing my Apple iPad with a Motorola Zoom now that Best Buy is running ads for them.

The short answer is no.  I am still very happy with my iPad and use it every day as my primary personal "knowledge navigator."

Motorla-zoomAfter reviewing the Best Buy ad (the Zoom is expected to be released Feb. 24), I think the things that are attractive about this device:

  • 10.1" screen
  • 32-GB memory
  • Adobe Flash support
  • Front (2-MP) & rear (5-MP) camera for pictures & video capture
  • Andriod OS
  • 3G upgradeable to 4G LTE

Some things that are big negatives for me:

  • $800 price range
  • WI-FI can only be used after paying for a 1 month data subscription with Verizon

The other thing that is going to be hard for iPad users who are comfortable with using iTunes as their primary media sync tool (podcasts, music, movies, etc) is finding that same experience in the Android/Zoom eccosystem.  There are some good alternatives like doubletwist, but they are different.

The other big negative is going to be people's investment in iPad applications.  I know that is going to be something I'd have to consider because I do have some key applications I've purchased and use everyday that paying for them over again isn't very appealing.


Good News Twitter Feeds In San Diego?!?

Recently on a KPBS These Days podcast there was a segment on the state of fire preparedness in San Diego County.  It got me thinking that I needed to update my "near real-time local news" Twitter feeds.

This is my first pass (2010-09-10):

Any other suggestions?


Does The Apple iPad Violate Steve's Best Practice For Tech Purchasing?

Steve's Best Practice for Technology Purchasing was developed during the Apple Newton years (1993-1997) as the editor and publisher of NewtNews - a weekly newsletter that covered the Newton marketplace and community.

The basic premise is that Steve will never purchase the 1st generation of any technology product.  After what seemed like countless painful experiences buying every Newton device, software, etc. released, this best practice has proven very helpful over the last 13 years.  Some successes - TabletPC ( HP TC1100 vs HP TC1000) and Apple iPod Touch (2nd generation vs. 1st generation).

Now that the Apple iPad is coming out (pre-orders start on March 12, 2010), I'm torn on whether or not to purchase the new iPad 1st Generation vs. the iPad 2nd Generation with a ton more features and more MTBF (mean time before failure) engineering. 

I am pretty sure the Wi-Fi only model is better for me than the WiFi + 3G version so that decision is easy for me.  

As a very happy iPod Touch (2nd generation) user I can really see how a bigger screen would be a major improvement.  And many of the applications that I use every day would seem to be very compelling on the iPad form-factor: Pandora, Evernote, Peggle, Facebook, TweetDeck, Stanza, Kindle, Toodledo, and Safari

The other bonus is that I'm pretty much using my older HP TC1100 as an "iPad-tablet" device already.  In the morning as I'm getting ready for the day, I listen to news podcasts via iTunes, catchup with social media sites, and check in on my news feeds.  And then in the evening, some of the same activities happen.  But the iPad form factor (smaller, thinner, etc.) plus battery life will be an improvement.

As a frequent traveler, the ability to watch videos, listen to podcasts, and ready books plus other references is a great improvement over the iPod Touch I'm currently using in this situation.

The Bluetooth integration seems like another key feature both on the audio side of the house but also for keyboard input.  Sometimes you just need to use a real keyboard!

As I write this and review what I've written, I get a sense I've already made enough case for the device at least for me. 

But the one thing really bugging me is the lack of multi-processing support. When I'm using my current "legacy iPad" (aka the HP TC1100) I have several applications open and I like to bounce between them and also stream music from Pandora or other sources.  Reading something, capturing it, and then sending it out on Twitter or Facebook currently doesn't work well for me on the iPod Touch, and I'm thinking the same is going to be true about the iPad.  The iPad is a content consumer device not a content producer device.

Well, I guess I'll need to make a decision soon or hold off.  To be honest I'm pretty sure I'm going to get one but I'm open to input.  If you have any, then please let me know!

NOTE:  One killer application for the WiFi + 3G version is how well Citrix works on the iPad.  If it works without issue, then the platform will really be compelling for the Enterprise.  And that could make the iPad both a consumer and a business success.


Christmas Services - East County San Diego (La Mesa, Lemon Grove, El Cajon, Etc)

Screen shot 2009-12-13 at 12.49.23 PM

LOOKING FOR 2010 DATES & TIMES?!?

If you are in San Diego County (La Mesa, Lemon Grove, San Diego, El Cajon, etc) then please feel personally invited to my church this Christmas 2009 season.

The church is located at: Christ Lutheran Church Ministries, 7929 La Mesa Blvd, La Mesa, California (Google Map).

We are offering the following opportunities to worship and fellowship:

Sunday, December 20

  • 7 p.m. - Grounded  Christmas Worship in the Church Sanctuary

Wednesday, December 23

  • 7 p.m. - Christmas Family Worship in the Gym

Thursday, December 24

  • 5:30 p.m. - Communion Worship with Choir in the Church Sanctuary
  • 7:30 p.m. - Festival Worship with Classic Brass and Choir in the Church Sanctuary

Friday, December 25

  • 10 a.m. - Communion Worship in the Church Sanctuary

Thursday, December 31

  • 7 p.m. - New Year's Eve Communion Worship in the Church Sanctuary

Some Music Podcast Recommendations - Interviews, Blues, Rock, Classical, Electronic

I have a pretty wide set of musical tastes that includes more than just the Jersey Boys, and Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons.

There were recently several interesting music related podcasts from San Diego's KPBS These Days:

When I'm in the mood for the blues I always turn to The Roadhouse podcast.

When I'm in the mood for classical music, I find WGBH Classical Performance Podcast to be great.  I also find the classical feed on CBC Radio 2 to be a nice streaming option.

The Magnatune "great pianist" podcast is very good if you want something 'lite' playing in the background.

The Alternative Classix Podcast is a well produced and researched 80s 'new wave' radio show you will not be disappointed with.

For those that like electronica and/or techno ... I highly recommend:

If you want something more mellow but still pretty electronic then check out the Ultima Thule Ambient Music podcast.

I also enjoy the Coverville podcast and the Rock'N'Roll Geek podcast.


Making Coffee Better - Some Recommendations ...

Back in late 2007, Kevin Devin and I traded some emails and resources related to coffee storage recommendations and I summarized them in this blog post.

Now a recent article was published in the San Diego Union-Tribune written by Jennifer Goodwin entitled "How do I brew a great cup of coffee?"

The article is worth a read if you have the time, but here is my main next step for getting the best cup of coffee -- "brew between 175 to 190 degrees" with the brew time between "3.5 to 4.5 minutes."

The recommendations to do this include (links to Amazon):

I think I'm going to start with the French Press option and see what difference I can notice.