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Archive for April, 2003

Off to the airport…

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It’s Sunday, in a few hours I’ll head to the airport, spend 14hrs on a plane and it will… still be _Sunday_. Seems wrong somehow. Finishing up the last minute shopping, then it’s time to return the rental car and settle down for some quality “seat time” with our friends at Air Newzealand. Here’s hoping I haven’t totally destroyed myself for left-hand drive.

Written by jthurber

April 26th, 2003 at 4:41 pm

Posted in General

A week without email is like…

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Vacation?
A quick rundown: Started in Auckland, went to the Bay of Islands (4 hrs to the north). Stayed at an excellent B&B for 2 days, spent a day sailing on a 60-something foot sailboat. Drove down to Waitomo (8hrs south… ouch), beginning to feel quite worn out from all this vacat’ing. Stayed at a farmstay for one night (very nice, got to do a bit of rally-style driving at night on 12+ km’s on gravel road :). Went to the glowworm caves at Waitomo (which was surprisingly cool). Drove to some volcanic park, it was raining so we flipped a U-turn and drove to Taupo Lake (very much like NZ’s answer to Lake Tahoe) where we’ve been for the last 2 days (now that’s more like a vacation). I’ve got something like 1.3gb of photos (and most of them are pretty good, not all pictures of bathroom-humour-type signs, which is something of a departure for me). We’re heading back to Auckland this morning to meet up with our travelling companions. We’ll try and hit the Auckland Zoo before we leave and see a real Kiwi (the bird, not the fruit, we saw the fruit at Pak n’ Save yesterday). Then it’s back on the plane to the land of left-hand drive…

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April 25th, 2003 at 3:24 pm

Posted in General

Over the rainbow…

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Well, 13hrs of quality seat time later we’re in New Zealand. Unlike SF which was raining and overcast when I left it’s rainy, humid and overcast here. Plus they drive on the “wrong” side which, compounded by the rain and jetlag, has turned me into exactly the sort of driver I love to make fun of in the states? Well, isn’t that why we travel anyway, to give other cultures the opportunity to feel superior?

Seriously, from the point we left the ground in LAX everyone has been really (perhaps even suspiciously?) nice (a bit difficult to parse at times, but still nice). The customs agent in Auckland actually said “Good on ya’ mate” to me (after telling me which line to get into) which made my morning.

We grabbed showers in the hotel room of the couple we’re meeting here and went out for the requisite “American abroad” experience in the 21st century. That’s right, Starbucks! It tasted just like home… We then ate Kebabs (pronounced Kee-baabs, no ka or bob in the word over here) and saw Johnny English (the new Bond movie spoof) which was just the right speed for today. As an aside: it is my deeply held belief that the first day in a _totally wrong_ timezone should be taken as easily as possible, if at all.

Not a bad start the jet-lag is unnoticable (perhaps this can be attributed to my unusually low/normal when I left the states after a week+ of working WAY too many hours) and I haven’t wrecked the rental car yet. Oh well, there’s plenty of time left in the trip.

Written by jthurber

April 19th, 2003 at 8:04 pm

Posted in General

Being something of a consumer myself…

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More Photo.net goodness:

When shopping decisions are easy, it’s because there’s a clear distinction. Like Goldilocks, we can see that one’s too this, one’s too that, and one’s just right. However, when shopping decisions get harder and harder, it’s usually because all the choices are getting closer and closer together, and one choice doesn’t jump out as being clearly better than the others. This should make shopping decisions less important. Or so I’d think.

Strangely, though, what this makes people do is buckle down and work harder and harder to reach their conclusions Ñ and then it makes them doubly partisan and belligerent about the rightness of their choice. What’s the point here? Ego? Arguing for the sake of argument?

For Pete’s sake. Here’s the question: You’re considering three competing cameras. They’re all decent. Which one should you buy? And here’s the right answer: one of ‘em.

Written by jthurber

April 17th, 2003 at 1:02 am

Posted in found-on-web

The sweet sound of consumer validation…

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From Photo.net:

I’ve bought a 10D. I think it’s the first really usable Canon EOS DSLR and the price $1500, while still high, is low enough to make the move. Think of it this way. If you bought a new D30 two years ago and wanted to sell it today, you’d lose maybe $2300. If you bought a new D60 last year and wanted to sell it now, you’ve lost around $1100. With the 10D I don’t know what it will be worth in a year’s time (that depends on what else Canon introduce), but I doubt you could lose more than $500. $500 is 50 rolls of film.

In case you were looking for a reason

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April 17th, 2003 at 12:58 am

Posted in review-lite

A short break from neverending WORK

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Found this. If you haven’t read the Cluetrain Manifesto then you should skim it before reading the Gluetrain Manifesto. Some highlights:

Companies make a religion of security, but this is largely a giant red herring. Do you know how tough it is to worship a giant red herring?

Today, the org chart is hyperlinked, not hierarchical. Just try to find out who you have to make your vacation request to.

Already, companies that speak in the language of the pitch, the dog-and-pony show, have seen their IPO share price quadruple on the first day of trading.

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April 9th, 2003 at 6:42 pm

Posted in humor

XSLT

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In the course of my new job I’ve been learning a lot more about XSLT (and related XML technologies). This quote really sums up what it’s been like:

… the learning curve for XSLT is quite high, and deciphering it can be a challenge for newcomers. In fact, creating, deciphering, and modifying complex XSLT examples can test the mettle of even the best application developers. To exacerbate this problem, familiar design, development, debugging, profiling, and testing tools used to aid the creation of robust code cannot be used with XSLT. – Source Article

Apparently what I’ve been experiencing is “mettle testing”.

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April 3rd, 2003 at 1:47 pm

Posted in pointless

Some real commentary

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From John Robb’s Radio Weblog (thanks Scott).

A war for liberation requires that we arm, train, and support freedom fighters in Iraq. We haven’t even tried to do that. We didn’t even start serious talks with the Iraqi National Congress until last week. The Kurds have languished in silent obscurity until recently. The propoganda we sent into Iraq doesn’t (as far as I have seen) incite people to revolt. Clearly, the US military didn’t want to deal with armed freedom fighters in the post Saddam military protectorate. We didn’t want their participation. Our inaction means that a popular revolt won’t happen. It can’t happen. This portion of the US strategy is clearly schizophrenic. We want popular support, but we don’t really want it because it can get out of hand. – Source Blog

This guy is worth reading!

Written by jthurber

April 2nd, 2003 at 11:18 am

Posted in found-on-web

Serious war commentary

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I really do enjoy The Onion.

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April 2nd, 2003 at 9:39 am

Posted in found-on-web

Airport announcements

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Saw this over at Holy Schmoly!. You should listen to the recordings… they’re awesome!

Just a bit of humor for a Tuesday morning.

Written by jthurber

April 1st, 2003 at 9:57 am

Posted in humor