Archive for January 2008
January 29th, 2008
I think this sums up the Buenos Aires experience pretty well. You can see the all of the pictures from our trip to Buenos Aires on Flickr.
We got back safely to the USA yesterday. The trip went pretty smoothly – just your average 10 hour flight, 3 hour layover, and 5.5 hour cross-country flight. Now we get to adjust back to west coast time, short days, colder weather, and go back to work. Ah, it’s good to be home!
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January 26th, 2008
After only one beach day in Punta del Este, Emily and I both managed to unintentionally burn ourselves to a crisp (Tip: don´t try to apply spray on sunscreen on a windy beach). So rather than spend another day on the beach hiding from the sun, we decided to take an earlier bus/boat back to Buenos Aires.
We only ended up spending 2 nights in Punta del Este, but that was enough for us. It was nice to get out of B.A. for awhile and see somewhere new (and get another stamp in the passport), but Punta del Este isn´t our favorite place ever. It reminded us of Surfer´s Paradise in Australia a little bit in that it was packed with highrises on the beach and the town didn´t seem to have much character. There were also 3 cruise ships there the same time we were, and the prices in Uruguay (or at least in Punta) are about the same as at home which is way more expensive that Argentina.
We took the long way back – 4 hour bus to Colonia and a 1 hour fast ferry to B.A. The bus was supposed to leave at 1:45pm and after putting my bag on the bus at 1:15, I went inside to get some lunch before we left. After I had ordered some food to go, I saw the bus start to pull out and Emily run up to talk to the driver. She got them to wait for me and I ran back and hopped on. The bus left 20 minutes early….I have no idea why but I was just glad that I made it back in time.
The rest of the trip went smoothly and it ended up being a great travel day. The drive through the Uruguayan countryside was very nice and relaxing, and was somewhat reminiscent of our long bus rides on our big RTW trip.
We are just going to hang out here for a couple more days, eat a lot of steaks, and try to see a couple different parts of the city before we leave on Sunday night. I´ll be posting pictures as soon as we get back to the US.
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January 22nd, 2008
Things have been going well here in Buenos Aires. Emily and I have been keeping up with our training for the SF half-marathon by doing a 5, 10, and a 4 mile run since we´ve been here. We found a great park that we can run to that has a one mile loop that is packed with other people running, biking, and roller blading. On Sunday, Emily and I went over to San Telmo and walked around the Sunday market there. The San Telmo area has lots of cobblestone streets and a very distinct look and feel.
Unfortunately, Emily got sick the other day (our guess is the ice in her drinks…) and spent most of yesterday recooperating in bed in the hostel. No need to worry, though, she is already completely recovered and back to normal.
Tomorrow we are off to Punta del Este, Uruguay. We have to wake up at 7am to catch our boat to Montevideo (3 hour boat ride and then 2 hour bus from there). Wish us luck as we haven´t been able to get up before 11 all week!
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January 20th, 2008
- For some reason we were under the impression that Buenos Aires was in the same time zone as the East coast of the US, but it it actually 3 hours earlier here.
- It is summer here and the weather is great! It has been sunny everyday with temperatures in the high 80s. Luckily there is usually a nice breeze and there isn´t much humidity either. We have been enjoyed being able to eat outside (or in open air restaurants) for most of our meals. Another great thing about it being summer is the long days – the sun doesn´t set until after 9pm.
- People in Buenos Aires are on a very late schedule. We have been eating dinner around 9:30 or 10 every night and we are on the early side. When we finished our meal at midnight last night, there were still several people waiting to be seated.
- The food is amazing. There is a ´parilla´ (Argentinian steakhouse) on just about every corner, but some are definitely better than others. Last night we ate at La Cabrera and it was one of the best meals of my life. We had to wait about 40 minutes for a table, and they gave us free champagne and chorizo (sausage) while we waited. Then the meal itself was amazing – the steak was perfectly cooked and we got so much of it we couldn´t even finish it all. And even when splurging on this feast of appetizers, salad, steak, dessert, and a bottle of wine, the total was still less than US$60.
- The subway is really cheap (US$0.30 per trip) and easy to use. On the trains people come through each car trying to sell you things, but what is interesting is the way they do it and how accepted it is. They walk through and set an item on everyone´s knee that is sitting down. Then they walk back through and pick them up again and if you want to keep it, you can pay them. Surprisingly, nobody seems very pushy in trying to get you to buy it, they just give you the option and if you like it, you can buy it. Also, everyone riding seems to accept this without question or objection. Even if they have no interest, they will not stop the person from putting it on their knee. They just ignore it and let it sit there until it is picked up. This is probably not interesting to anyone but myself, but I found it rather peculiar.
The trip is going great. Emily and I are really enjoying Buenos Aires. More updates to come in the following days…
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January 18th, 2008
Emily and I have arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina! Our flight out of San Fran was delayed and we ended up having to sprint through the Atlanta airport to make it to our second flight. We ended up making it in time and the flight got delayed so our baggage even made it too.
First impression of Buenos Aires is that it does not look they way that I had expected. I was expecting a modern, European-ish city, but it actually appears to be more run down and third-world-ish than I expected. We are staying at a hostel in the Viejo Palermo neighborhood and this is actually a very nice area to walk around with lots of bars and restaurants.
Emily and I had a traditional Argentinian feast for our first meal here. We each had a 3 course steak lunch and a couple of beer…and got it all for about US$25 total. So I guess it is as cheap as advertised here and the food is as good as advertised too, so it is looking like it is going to be a good trip!
More updates later this week…
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January 12th, 2008
When I started designing this website, I had the idea to make a combined feed of all my online activities for the homepage – kind of like a Facebook-style newsfeed covering the whole internet rather than just one site. When I started looking into this, I discovered that my brilliant idea was not quite as original as I had originally thought. These master feeds are commonly known as “lifestreams”, I discovered, and can be implemented in a number of different ways. I first thought about using Yahoo! Pipes to merge the RSS feeds into one master feed, and I also considered using one of the several pre-made solutions out there such as FriendFeed. In the end, I decided to make develop my own custom lifestream so that I could have complete control over the content and display of the data.
I’ve just released the alpha version of my lifestream, which can be seen in action on my homepage.. This is the first of many web development projects. For this initial version of my custom lifestream, I’ve implemented the following features:
Archives all rss feeds locally for performance and longevity
One of the problems with a solution like using Yahoo! Pipes to merge your RSS feeds is that you have no control over how many items are in each feed. You are stuck with the default settings from each site’s feed, which are not necessarily the same. By default, most RSS feeds only include the most recent 15-20 items because that is the way that RSS was originally intended to be used. However, I want to be able to use my lifestream as personal archive for all of my online activity over time. The solution for this is to store the feeds locally and merge the new items into the local copy of the feed whenever the original feed is updated. Feed readers such as Google Reader use a similar approach so that they can both keep the history of each feed and keep track of additional data such as if/when you read a particular item in the feed.
In this alpha version, I am storing the local version of the feeds as xml files. However, parsing these files with SimplePie seems a bit slow and will only get worse as the size of these files increases over time. Therefore, I plan to switch from XML to a MySQL database to store the feeds for the next release. This approach will give additional benefits as well, such as easier pagination.
Aggregates certain feeds by date
For aesthetics and readability, I prefer to aggregate certain types of feeds, such as bookmarks and photos, by date. I think this helps to keep the lifestream manageable, and prevents any one or two feeds from completely dominating the lifestream.
Manipulates feed item titles
The title to every item in the feed is updated into a uniform format that describes the action performed and links back to the source feed.
Customizes feed item content and display
For most items, only the title is shown in the lifestream, but certain items, such as the aggregated bookmarks and photos, also display the content. This content is customized into a standard format for display purposes.
- Improved performance/load time(via a major change in the way feeds are archived locally)
- Load lifestream through AJAX call to improve page responsiveness
- Automated process to keep feeds up to date
- RSS feed of lifestream
- Allow user to choose which feeds to view
- Backload archive with older data
- Endless Scrolling
Category: Web Development
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January 2nd, 2008
Update: Follow-up on 2008 Goals
I don’t really like the term “New Year’s Resolution” because to me it implies an unrealistic goal that will be forgotten before the end of January. I prefer to think of my goals for the year, which is essentially the same thing, however I’d like to take them more seriously than the traditional “new year’s resolutions”. In other words, I actually intend to follow through on all of these goals. I will be writing updates as I make progress on this list throughout the year.
Goals for 2008
- Travel to a new country
- Run 1/2 Marathon
- Finish Olympic Triathlon
- Weigh 215 lbs or less and maintain that weight through the end of the year
- Max out my 401k ($15,500)
- Max out my ROTH-IRA ($5,000)
- Make 10k in outside income (outside of my main job)
- Learn Spanish (conversational level)
- Post to blog regularly (1+ post per week)
- Read at least 2 books per month
- Take one photo everyday (project365)
- Build and launch a website
- Start a company
- Leave on an extended trip
- Learn Yoga
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January 2nd, 2008
2007 was another busy year of traveling for me. Over the course of the year, I took about 15 trips while visiting 11 states (CA, OR, WA, TX, IN, NY, DE, LA, TN, MS, WV) and 1 foreign countries (UK). Just for the fun of it, I decided to compile some stats on this years travels:
- 13.5 roundtrip flights
- 40 total flight segments
- 58,327 total miles flown
||Vacation (tagging along on Emily’s work trip)
||Basil’s bachelor party
||New York, NY
||Lesley Benko’s wedding
||4th of July
||Roadtrip with Cheney to visit Mike McCartin
||Church Boys Weekend
|New Orleans, LA
||BT’s bachelor party
||Matt Stemm’s wedding
||Memphis, TN &
Holly Springs, MS
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