Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Im not here anymore!!

Hey gang, I just realized I spaced and forgot to do this. In case you have been following this blog via Google Friend Finder or the feed, you might be wondering why I haven't posted in a while. That's because I've moved to a real hosted blog. I loved using blogger, and having a free site, but I just couldn't deal with the continual problems that come from their ever changing upgrades.

The straw that broke the camels back was when I went to upload a custom template to acknowledge my becoming a part of Team Eleonore Rocks, and I couldn't save the change because Blogger was broken.

Anyways, to find me now just go to, and if you want to keep using the RSS feed, just click on the icon in the top right hand corner to get started reading the new feed.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

No soup for SOPA

Lot's of sites are blacked out today including everything from Wordpress, which in a way makes me glad I haven't transitioned. See, a blackout of my content today would be against my will, and no matter who does it, I don't want it happening. (I've since been informed that the Wordpress blackout was an opt-in, which is a much better process). I support the general idea of the blackout to educate those who wouldn't pay attention otherwise (teens, less internet or politically savvy folks), and I support specifically sites whose whole purpose is to provide information about someone else's content in joining the boycott (Read the statement at GamingNexus on why the site is joining the blackout). But I don't want to be censored on the one platform I have, even if it's by the people who provide my service.

I know I'm not the original intended target of either SOPA or PIPA, but I know I could be affected just as much as anyone else. I pay for all of my online music (except that streamed freely via Pandora or Grooveshark), I don't pirate movies or video games, and I generally am a law abiding internet citizen.

Except when I do this:
I prefer the term fixation to the term obsession

See, I don't know who originally made this picture, or if the artist even legally had rights to use the Star Wars logo or the likenesses of the Star Wars characters. I don't even know if the link I found this picture at is the original owner. The effort to track down the owner of this picture and provide their copyright information would far outweigh the value of including it in a post. And that's the rub of SOPA. See, under SOPA, if say LucasFilm said "Hey, you have a bunch of people violating our copyrights, shut down", it's potential that the entire Blogger site could be shut down.

Now as Blogger is owned by Google, they could probably fight the shut down order, and maybe even win. But what about the person who is the user of the service. We're down for the whole time that the fight goes on. And what if this shutdown happens to twitter, or just say twitpic, a service that maybe can't afford to fight a lawsuit. Either they take the cost of the shutdown and try to work out an agreement with the IP holder, or they take the cost in both users lost and effort, by removing the images. 

But here's what really sucks: Right now, most internet copyright law is only applied if you're either A. Trying to make money off someone elses work (ie. If I sold T-shirts with the above image on it on my site), or B. Claiming it as your own (anyone who knows me knows I could never make anything this cool). I'm not trying to steal money or credit from anyone, I just love Star Wars and reference it whenever I can because it's had a big influence on my life. Sometimes that's best done visually. And under SOPA or PIPA, I could get shut down, or even get Blogger shut down just by doing what this. No one in the world thinks I'm responsible for creating Star Wars or the above image, but by not citing it (or for that matter not having any way to cite it because I have no idea who created it), I could cause a heap of trouble under the new law. And that's just ridiculous.

So please, look for ways to reach out to your legislators to help work against SOPA/PIPA. Because information used in a non-profiteering or credit claiming way should continue to be treated as "fair use" even if it technically violates the antiquated copyright laws, until such laws are changed. And support content creators who use Creative Commons licensing, which gives you an easy way to find who to cite, and you can use to your hearts content (no limited-use clause) without fear of repercussion.

PS. I know this was way off topic for me, but I think it's an important one.

PPS. If this Pippa wants to target me, I'm good with that.

Oops. I did it again

PPPS. Dr Pain, as I'm affectionately calling my coach, tried to make my quads explode with hill repeats yesterday. The hill wasn't that steep but it's 2 minutes of climbing, and into a gusting headwind that was hitting 20 MPH at points. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Lost Vegas: the gadgets and fun of CES

Each year I go to CES with the thought that this will be the year I eat healthy, exercise every day (beyond the 4-6 miles of walking each day that come with going to the show), win a ton of money, and make a bunch of new industry contacts. Every year, I come home disappointed that I failed at least one of those goals. Usually, it isn't the money one, so I'm often not too disappointed. This year, luck wasn't with me on the casino show floor, but I had some pretty good results against the rest of my goals.

First, let's get into the fun stuff: There were all sorts of great new things to see at CES this year, along with a bunch of stuff that had been previously announced that I finally got a chance to get a hands on look at. The device I went into the show most excited to see was the Garmin 910XT. The top of the line all-in-one multi-sport training watch that people have been clamoring for is finally shipping. My first attempt to get a feel for the new device was at a small event on Monday evening and was thwarted by a dead battery, but I got a chance on the show floor to spend at least a couple minutes exploring the interface of this new summit of triathlon technology. It's at least 10% lighter than my 305, and easily far more advanced. With the ability to track indoor swims, improved open water swim GPS tracking, and a redesigned interface that allows increased user customization, it really has basically everything you'd want in a training device. The reps on the floor said they'd get me a sample to review, which hopefully will allow me to put this thing through it's paces.

This picture of the 910XT is much better than the one I took on the show floor

A few days prior to the show, I saw on twitter that reigning Ironman World Champion Craig "Crowie" Alexander was headed to Las Vegas for CES. He didn't mention what he would be representing, and it turns out that he had joined Jabra, an audio device company, as a spokesman for their new Jabra SPORT headphone line. They specialize in bluetooth/wireless, but also have a couple of nice looking corded earbuds as well. Crowie was on a treadmill for much of the event, getting in almost a full marathon training run while demonstrating how well the product stayed in place for folks on the run. The best part of course was that he stopped to talk to myself and another triathlete for about 20 minutes. A great conversation where I mostly listened (and if you know me, that's saying something). Topics included the WTC point system to qualify for Kona (doesn't like it, and thinks the previous winners get too big an advantage), his race schedule (he's doing 6 races this year including Abu Dhabi in just a couple months), and Lance Armstrong racing Kona in 2012. Crowie says Lance is definitely racing, unless he's in jail. Lances people reached out to Crowies people to get tips. Crowie said they never talked but his advice would have been "don't come!" and thinks Armstrong would bring a lot of attention to the sport if he did line up in Hawaii. Meeting him was definitely one of the highlights of my trip, plus I got to see him ride the mechanical bull!

You get the hat if you ride the bull... I didn't ride the bull

Along with the expected of CES, there were also the unexpected, particularly a couple of fitness tech devices that caught my eye. One of these was the Basis, a new device that uses 5 sensors to provide a more accurate reading of your activities throughout the day, and what stress and other daily effects can have on your body. Starting with the 3D accellerometer, but then adding skin tempreature, galvonic skin sensors, heart rate, and a couple of others allow the device to give a more complete picture of not just what you're doing but how you're doing with what looks like ti will be a pretty snappy web interface. They're still a ways from being available, but at $199, it's likely to give the fitbit a run for it's money.

There is so much to talk about in each of the "extreme sport camera" and headphone spaces, I'm going to devote blogs to those over the next couple days. I'll try to space them out so that everyone isn't bored to death with new tech geekery. Because I know you're all really here to read about me and how I'm doing.

On that point, I'm doing great! Training has been going well, and I lost 2 pounds in Las Vegas (it was that and the $300 I lost in vegas that prompted the title of the blog). Oh, and I'll have more info about my Team Eleonore Rocks fundraising this week too.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Breaking News: Ben Berry to race for Team Eleonore Rocks in 2012

Las Vegas, NV 1/12/12

Today we are happy announce that Ben Berry has accepted the opportunity to race for Team Eleonore Rocks in 2012. In an official statement issued by his press agent dog, Stanley, Mr. Berry was quoted as saying "I was more than pleased to learn of Eleonore Rocks interest in my racing for them. It has been a long time goal of mine to wear the Maglia Rosa at the Giro d'Italia, so in order to prepare for that eventuality, racing the 2012 season in a partially pink kit really appealled to me. Plus, as member of the CAHL Kings rec league hockey team will tell you, purple jerseys are slimming, and I need all the slimming I can get." Ben further stated "When Andy Potts heard I'd decided to join the team, he did the copy cat thing and agreed to help the program again this year, though he wasn't man enough to go all the way and race in a pink kit." Mr. Berry's statement looked to go on for pages and pages, but Stanley edited them for brevity chewed them to shreds, leaving only the final paragraph intact. "In closing, I want to thank the Eleonore Rocks staff for putting faith in me to race on their behalf and be the kind of competitor that can proudly represent their cause on and off the course. I'm going to give 100% to training and helping them help little tiny future triathletes and their families in a time of great need."

The Eleonore Rocks Triathlon team is sponsored by the following companies whose donations assist in making the procress of training and racing easier so that athletes can focus their efforts on fundraising and preparing for racing:
Rudy Project
Kestrel Bikes
INFINIT Nutrition
CEP Socks
ISM Saddles
Tribike Transport

(In all seriousness, Eleonore Rocks Foundation is a terrific charity, working on the front lines to help families whose newborns are experiencing serious health conditions. None of the money I raise on behalf of Eleonore Rocks will go to offset race fees or anything else. Every dollar goes directly to the charity, and will help fund the purchase of rocking chairs for Neo-natal Intensive Care Units, or to directly assist in helping these families. As I've also changed my Ulman Cancer Fund/Team Fight fundraising to go towards the Half Full Triathlon, a new Rev3 race where all race fees are donated to Ulman Cancer Fund, not $1 of the money I raise this year will go towards anything but the benefit of the people these charities help fight. I'll begin my fundraising in ernest as soon as I have all the details. I have some great things planned to meet my goals for the season, so please stay tuned over the next couple weeks.)

PS - Vegas is awesome. I'm super sore, tired, and I'm ready to get home to Rachelle and Stanley, but I've met great people, had fun, and I have a whole bunch of new stuff lined up for the blog for the next few months.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Week 1 endeth, Vegas awaits

I'm about 15 hours from touching down in Las Vegas, and I'm nearly ready. A little packing, a little sleeping, and I'm on my way. It's bound to be an exciting and fun week, and I've actually got appointments this year specifically for the blog. Bloggers aren't invited as press this year, but because I'm going as press for the gaming site, I was able to schedule a couple appointments and another meeting or two for the blog. I even bought business cards. Kinda funny, but it will help me to talk to folks about the cycling/tri/sports/health technology that will be on display. I can't wait for it to start, but I also know it will be over faster than I'll want it to.

While I'm looking forward to Vegas, this past week has been quite the interesting experience. My first week of coaching included the following:
- 4 rides totalling 52 miles
- 3 walk/runs totalling 6 mi, including 2 VO2 test runs (5 x 1:00 uphill runs)
- 1k yards swimming, which should have been 2k, but the pool was closed

It was a really great week of starting to train again, but hopefully the memory of how hard I had to work to get started again will stick with me when next off season roles around. My legs are pretty tired from back to back days of 17 mile rides. But I really did enjoy the work. Sadly, with the conference schedule and already planning for the sore feet I get each year for all the walking, I won't be doing quite as much next week, just riding each day unless it turns out the Excalibur pool is open (they say it is, and that it's heated) and worth doing laps in.

Word from the team I applied for is that they're going through the applications now, which is exciting. Plus, I sent it a good part of my planned race schedule for next year into my coach to get her input. I can't wait to start sharing all this exciting news with everyone.