Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Techstars making Movies

Techstars 09 has started once again up in Boulder, and I'm sure we'll hear a lot more about the companies involved over the summer. To wet your appetite a little, the first in a series of videos is below, so check it out...

The Founders | TechStars Boulder | Week 1 "The Selected Few" from Andrew on Vimeo.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Colorado License Plates - they're in the news

Given someone's love for Tofu wasn't allowed on a plate, it seems strange that this one got thru.

(via Westword)

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Colorado Tornado

It seems the tornadoes are gradually getting closer and closer to the city over the last couple of years (although people swear that there was one that hit downtown in the mid 90's before I got here). This was from Sunday night, the photo taken by Chip from his deck. He does live way out east, but technically it's considered Parker still, and to me, that's way too close for comfort. Somehow there were 4 of these things that touched down on Sunday evening, and they all managed to miss buildings and people.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Non Camping Post

The Vegetable Garden, originally uploaded by Aaron in Denver.

My initial intent was to post a gorgeous photo of where we camped at the weekend, basking in sunshine, with a beautiful stream flowing next to the tent (or something like that). However, no sunshine, 5 inches of rain and a little sleet and hail meant the stream turned to a river, we sheltered (shivering) in the tent and I never got the camera out. And we left after (just) surviving one night in the elements. It's not often the weather sucks in Colorado, but last weekend wasn't good.

So, instead, I've posted our (or really the wifes) ever growing vegetable garden. If you take a look at this pic, you'll see that the tiny boxes sitting on the table have turned into something a little special. We picked the first cucumber last night, and I can't wait for the tomatoes to be ready - there's something strangely satisfying about picking stuff out of the garden for your tea, even before you realize it saves you dealing with the lines at Safeway.

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Sunday, August 03, 2008

Cloud Level

IMG_2091.JPG, originally uploaded by Aaron in Denver.

So we decided to take a little day trip out of town yesterday, as the last few weekends had been a little hectic. We kicked around a couple of places and ended up heading to the top of Pikes Peak. Only 14,000 feet high! The good thing about this fourteener is that you can drive all the way to the top (or take a train as well), so it involves little exercise, which is always a bonus for me.

Given how steep the road is, there's plenty of restrictions on speed both up and down, and even a brake heat check half way down to make sure you're not riding the breaks. I was hoping for some a little quicker (but not this quick), but in the end, it was still fun. I have no idea how they send the race cars so fast around the corners, especially with the huge dropoffs and ever changing concrete to dirt road.

Plenty more pics are here if you're interested.

Now heading out to the ESRI User Conference in San Diego for the week, so there may not be many posts this week (but you never know).


Sunday, October 07, 2007

BMW Performance Driving School

So yesterday was finally the day that I got to drive my car like it was supposed to be driven (well, at least sort of). It was the BMW Car Club's High Performance Driving School down at the Pueblo Race Track, and I had been waiting for far too long for it to actually happen. The run up involved the purchase of the new helmet, as well as a tech inspection and brake flush, but it was all worth it in the end.

The class itself was an all day affair, which involved getting up at 5am to get down to Pueblo in time. Not fun, but Red Bull gives you wings, and although I was a little late and slightly panicked on the way down, I made it in time to not miss anything. As it was my first time, I was in D class (it goes from A to D based on experience and skill, and all first timers end up in D from what I can tell, unless you've had prior to race experience, or done some other classes). You start off with classroom sessions where they tell you about the track, the racing line and some basics about how the day will go in terms of building up speed gradually, and getting the racing line down before you start to push it. The instructor was a guy called Bill, and it was obvious that he really knew his stuff - very knowledgeable about everything, and able to deal with all the questions, while making the classes fun.

After the classroom session, you go out with the instructors for a "brush the cone" exercise - the instructor takes you round twice, nice and slow, showing you the correct racing line around the corners. There are cones out on all the corners for the turn-in points, apex and track out point, which help a lot. So once you see the line, they let you go out, nice and slow to get the feel for the right line. It still feels pretty fast - 50 million things to do, all at once, and the instructor giving you step by step instructions. Overwhelming, but lots of fun.

Then a quick break, more classroom, and back out on track again. When you're in the D class, you get the same instructor again, and I have to say Peter, my instructor, was great. He was very patient and encouraging, and really knew his stuff. So, the second time out was a lot quicker, and some corners came a lot easier than others. Pueblo has some pretty technical sections in there (well they felt pretty technical to a novice like me) with 3 or 4 corners linked together in close succession, and not much straight to get set up, so the concentration on the line was very necessary.

After this run, it was lunch, and the instructors get some track time as a reward for putting up with us lot. Peter volunteered to take me out for a real lap as a passenger, and to be honest, it was one of the best rides of my life. He has a tuned E36 M3 with R compound tires, race brake pads and upgraded suspension, and at full blast, it sounds great. I learned a lot, mainly about how fast you could actually take the corners, and how late you could break before you hit the turns. We were flying, and staying ahead of a lot of supposedly faster cars - the Z06 in front stayed right in our sights, but it had way too much power on the straights for us to pass him. If you ever go on this course, make sure you take up the chance to go around with the instructors - it's amazing.

The afternoon sessions were the two best drives. It was suggested that the third session was going to be the best, as the 4th is late in the day, and all the concentration and processing you've done takes it's toll. It didn't quite turn out like that for me - 3 was great - lots of speed through the corners, but for some reason I was having a hard time hitting turn 9 right. It didn't slow me down too much, but it was a little frustrating. I went into a couple of corners a little too hot as well, but nothing too serious.

By the time session 4 came around, I was tired, but still completely wired with adrenalin and smiling like someone possessed. Another different instructor, so a couple of warm up laps hitting the line, and then we were off. This was by far the best session - I was about 3 times quicker than the first run, and there were some sections that I came out of knowing that I just nailed completely. My instructor, Doug, was pretty excited, especially through turns 5 and 6a and b. We took over a few cars, and had a decent little cat and mouse with a 997 S for a couple of laps before I let him past to see how fast he actually was. It turned out we were just as quick as he was, so we tracked together for a lap or two before the chequered flag ended the day.

So, I want to say thanks to all the instructors, corner workers, fellow students and other helpers. It was a great day out, and if you ever think about doing this, I'd definitely recommend it whole heartedly. The next one is going to be scheduled on my calendar as an immovable object, and I'll be waiting anxiously until that day...

One other (non-driving) highlight of the day - I got to meet some of the Lijit team - they're the smart people who make the widget over there on the left that makes searching for stuff so much more helpful. It had a special significance on this particular day, as the main reason I ended up at the driving school was through one of those 6 degrees of separation things that happen on the web. I had added Lijit, and found Tara's website, and she does some interviews of co-workers on Fridays. One of the first (or maybe even _the_ first) was Leslie, and she seems as obsessed about her car as I am (red S4 if you see it blasting around Boulder making wonderful noises). She had a post about the driving school, and how amazing it was, and that's what kicked off my plan. So, I saw a Lijit t-shirt floating around, and basically just went over to see if I could get one 8-) They're a very necessary commodity in the fashion world, so as it was probably my only shot to get one, I removed the typical English "don't speak until spoken too" part of my personality and went for it. And well worth it it was - business card duly dispatched to Todd, so I'm going to spend the next few weeks waiting for the post to arrive, and getting to hang out with a group of smart and fun people was a definite bonus.

So, class day all round, and as Nike keeps telling you "Just Do It". You won't regret it.

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Lijit - the new way to search

So I'm always interested in cool techie stuff, especially the stuff that actually happens on your own doorstep, and through a wild journey through the interweb place (via Brad, MyBlogLog, WanderingStan and Tara) I finally ended up taking the plunge and signed up for my latest widget over there on the right.

So, here goes, I'll try and explain how it works. It's basically recommended or personal searching. I sign up and say which blogs and websources I typically read (including my own, although looking at some of the typos that get in here I obviously don't read it very well). Then, when you search, it searches those sources for the links and answers to what you're looking for. So, if you think I am probably an expert in for example cars, or gadgets, or button nosed puppies or whatever, you're much more likely to get something that you actually think is relevant. Now I'm obviously not suggesting that I am an expert in anything really (although the cars and over-priced techie toys I do spend an inordinate amount of my limited free time researching and playing with) - that's for you to decide, and then either use the search or not.

So anyway, I still need to add in a couple of (hundred) more links on stuff I read regularly for the answers to start coming back in a somewhat representative fashion (and if you Lijit guys are reading this, being able to suck in my Google Reader feeds would have made me smile even more when I signed up....) but given all 4 people who read this site are probably already down the pub wondering where I am (see previous post), it should be up to date by the time you try.

Anyway, give it a shot and let me know what you think. I can hear the guinness calling.....

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Snow buries car, Aaron cries

Not really (the crying bit), but I'm sure I will be when I have to start shovelling (i'm holding out until the snow actually stops, unlike our super keen neighbours who are giving it a go as we speak).

I had a couple of questions about how bad the snow is this time, so finally got around (or the wife did actually) to loading up the photos I've been taking over the last 24 hours, to give you a picture of what it's like in our street. All are of the car, which is relegated to the driveway until we complete the bathroom remodel (or at least start moving the stuff out of the garage into the bathroom).

First pic - I took this coz I thought it was pretty impressive (or it would be to the people back in Newcastle). It was about 11 yesterday morning I think.

It kept snowing, so I took another one after lunch - there are tracks to the left, as Heidi's work made her go in the office first thing, only to send everyone back home after an hour, when they realized that the weather forecast was right. We had to push her car up the driveway to get it back under cover, and that was around 1pm.

This one was around 9pm - as you can see, the car is completely buried. The weather forecaster said we'd had over 16 inches and it wasn't going to stop until lunchtime today (still snowing now....). After this, I went back and opened another Guinness. Not much else to do when all the TV programs are repeats, and you're stuck in the house ;-)

Last pic for now, taken at about 8.15 am. It's still snowing, and the car has disappeared completely. If there were some really clever thieves out there, they could have replaced the car with a big box and I won't find out about it until much much later.

Beer and food hasn't ran out yet, and we've still got power, so all is good.

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