Thursday, February 24, 2011

Contra my earlier plans I won't be assaulting any time trials (although the snowpocolypse probably makes me more competitive). Instead, I will be racing Mason 1 and both Sequim races. Why? Cause that's what my old dude team wants. And they're old and they get what they want.

It'll be interesting to see if I am able to get faster using Masters races. My approach has always been to race up for training but that just ain't gonna play this year. And, given our line-up, I probably will spend most of the race sitting in the group waiting for the break with Andy Lamb up the road to come back. Can I be patient? We'll see.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It's hard to take ignorant people seriously.

As the saying goes, everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts. But, if you enjoy watching fact-free people pontificate about stuff they know nothing about the comments section of any newspaper is the perfect place to entertain yourself.

In the comments section of this report on very serious allegations of fraud in the Seattle School District is this jem (among others)from Allan in Gig Harbor (emphasis mine):

a lot like the corruption that was investigated over at the Port of Seattle. It's way too easy to steal money from the taxpayers in this country. Non-tax-paying folks need not comment on the rest of us who do pay income and property taxes

I love this quote because, referring to examples of fraud and abuse at the local level, manages to imply that people who disagree with him don't pay taxes while at the same time demonstrating ignorance of what taxes we pay at the local level.

Everyone who has ever spent money in Washington state has paid taxes. That's cause we have a sales tax. On the otherhand, we don't have an income tax-- you are confusing state, local and federal taxes which pay for, well, different things.

Beyond that, fraud exists in the private sector so I don't see why we should expect the public sector to be any different. I guess I am not awesome enough to see why this is somehow worse than a bunch of private lenders paying off private appraisors to inflate the value of a house to convince borrowers to buy overpriced homes. Or setting up an extra-legal system of tracking mortgages to save on title recording expenses.

This seems like run of the mill fraud that combined one person or persons skimming money through a shell company enabled by executive management that didn't provide proper oversight. Sounds like a good candidate for a job at a major US Bank to me.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Get in touch with your inner geek

You should go ahead and a buy a tablet. It doesn't matter which one; it'll be five years before one brand dominates and you'll need one by then anyway. In the meantime you can start taking your tablet with you everywhere and use the various cloud services everyone loves so much to store and access your data. Heck, get a laser keyboard and you won't even need to use the touch screen.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Open mouth, insert foot

Without additional ellaboration I simply say to the UCI: good luck with that.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Trash Talking Old Guys

Now that the season is about to start I can stop posting about economic, politics and Erik Scheller's horrible bike handling and get to the good stuff. Old Guys Racin' Bikes.

So the question is how will we beat you the most? Will it be one of our rolleurs driving and winning from the break? Or will it be one of our sprinters showing you a clean pair of wheels at the end?

Will we be a great team or the greatest ever?

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The Urban Core

When I read articles like this I wonder two things: who decides what the metro area is and do most people understand that the area, as defined in the article, is mostly outside Seattle?

I ask because it seems like every article I read about home prices uses a different statistical set depending on whether it wants to claim the housing market is up or down but presents it as "the Seattle Metro-area".

Also of note, the use of the term "strategic default" to describe individuals walking away from their mortgages. Is that the beginning of a trend where we no longer treat contracts as something business have the right to walk away from if default is a cheaper option but individuals are morally obligated to fullfil?

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

My Skillz Pay Teh Bills

My only dispute is it ain't luck baby, it's skill! Two videos of Juan Antonio Flecha showing you how to handle your bike

Video One (watch past the initial replay of the crash for the payoff)

Video Two here. Payoff at 1:29.

Don't let the door hit you

For years Kemper Freeman has been the poster boy for the (not well understood) economic reality that successful business people don't actually like the free market*. They like regulation and government intervention that increases the barrier to entry and/or extracts rents from their competition. So it's good news that Kemper Freeman is out of the Bellevue Business Association.

*One of the most annoying aspects of the Republican Party is their success at taking words that mean good things, like Free Market, and applying it to policies that are something else. Today's Free Trade policies are crony capitilism and Free Market policies are lemon socialism. And that's to bad because real Free Trade and Free Market policies are generally good for everyone.

I'm shocked. And Stunned.

Apparently The Cobra, known to his close friends as Ricardo Ricco, and simple The Asshat to the rest of us wasn't quite ready to race clean after all. The system is corrupt and beyond fixing. It's time to burn it to the ground.

Listening the UCI try to put a happy face on for the public sorta reminds me of the Rutles..

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Green Shoots

With the pending financial collapse once the big banks start suing the hell out of each other over home title ownership it's good to that the real engine of our economy is doing well. Star Wars is booming biznatches. And the toys they make for it are selling like hotcakes (even regressing out the $50,000/month I spend on them). I do find it funny that the headline picture of toys your see when you click the link is from 2005 though.

Friday, February 04, 2011

I Haz Critikal Think

Related to the previous post I noted the quote by Maureen Downey were she questioned how investing $500 per student for an iPad would save any money.
Figuring there are probably about half a million middle school students in Georgia, how are we saving any money spending $500 per student per year, which is what Williams said at the press conference today? (This morning, I received the actual numbers of middle schoolers: 377,478 middle schoolers reported enrolled this fall. At $500 apiece, that's $188,739,000. Thanks, Quanalyst)

Since she's the eduction blogger for the Altlanta Journal Constitution and it really isn't hard to explain the cost/benefit analysis I checked her blog to see if that's really what she said in context. Alas, that is what she said.

If Ms. Downey read my blog I would proceed, in the most condescending way possible, ask her a series of questions designed to show that, while this may seem like a legitimate question to someone who isn't familiar with education issues and costs, it demonstrates a lack of subject matter expertise or willingness to apply that subject matter expertise to education is a way that actually informs readers. Again, she's a professional blogger for a real newspaper and is paid to do the analysis she didn't do here.

Since Ms. Downey can't be troubled to actually do her job I will break it down for you, my lucky reader.

How are we saving any money spending $500 per student per year? The answer is that the goal of introducing tablets is to eventually eliminate the need for pen/paper testing and printed copies of text books. This may not seem like a big deal, but both these areas are major spends for schools. For example, pen/paper tests may not seem like a big deal but they are expensive. They need to be printed and shipped, which isn't cheap. You need to have a proctor, you need someone to scan the tests into a reader if they are scored automatically but usually they are hand scored. And Highstakes testing are all or nothing propositions since they need to be take by all students at the same time. It's a pretty penny.

Now, Ms. Downey has brought up some good points, specifically durability. Apple products are delicate animals that must be coddled and loved. They are not designed for durability and that is a huge must-have in education. Kids break stuff. But, durability will come as manufacturers start honing in on this niche (which includes hospitals and airlines).

My point, though, is that if you want to claim authority about a subject then make sure you actually know what your talking about. Or else Prudog will call you out on a blog no one actually reads.

The seeds of the future lie buried in the past

News today that Georgia is considering a pilot program of iPads in schools. I want to be on record as saying that the convergence of cloud technology to store data and tablets that work will be the dominant educational and commercial data toolset of the next 50 years.

Why? Because tablets have the benefit of being portable (even laptops are awkward to carry around to meetings and work locations) and social (you attend a meeting and take notes without the monitor acting as a barrier) and processing power / memory have advanced to the point where a tablet has medium to high performance and can store moderate amounts of data. At the same time cloud- and mobile- app technology means that it is easy for users to use the tablet as a thin-client/terminal to access work data, send messages, read books, etc. This is a big deal (although to be clear it's not an innvoation, just the natural progression of technology) and may be the tipping point for both cloud and tablets which could not survive independently.