Thursday, July 24, 2008

It's Your Ship

A few months ago I heard the author of It's Your Ship on the a local radio station. I read some reviews and an excerpt on Amazon. This was part that made me think I should get around to reading the whole thing.

"Pondering all of this in the context of my post as the new captain of Benfold, I read some exit surveys, interviews conducted by the military to find out why people are leaving. I assumed that low pay would be the first reason, but in fact it was fifth. The top reason was not being treated with respect or dignity; second was being prevented from making an impact on the organization; third, not being listened to; and fourth, not being rewarded with more responsibility. Talk about an eye-opener.

Further research disclosed an unexpected parallel with civilian life. According to a recent survey, low pay is also number five on a list of reasons why private employees jump from one company to another. And the top four reasons are virtually the same as in the military. The inescapable conclusion is that as leaders, we are all doing the same things wrong."

Surpised by Apple

On Monday evening, I sent my 3 year old PowerBook G4 in for repair under my Apple Care service plan. The display had a 3/4" wide area in the lower right of the screen that was slightly grayed out. I'd dropped the powerbook from about a foot onto the concrete a couple of times, so I thought they'd say this wasn't covered because of the visible dents in two corners.

I was pleased to see, via the on-line Repair Status system, that the repair was completed the next morning and the system was awaiting shipment. I received it on Wednesday morning at 10:15 AM, and quickly booted it up to see how the screen looked and confirm that my data survived the trip.

Because my battery is so dead, I usually receive a low battery warning shortly after booting up. To my surprise, this didn't happen. I turned it over and pressed the battery monitor switch. The LED's indicated a full charge. Weird. So I checked the estimated time remaining on the battery, 2:56. I was shocked. I even checked the paperwork and indeed it was true and not an error, they had thrown in a new battery. I never imagined they would do this. Batteries are not a covered repair.

Thank you Apple! Depending on how you look at it, they saved me $137 or extended the useful life of this little beauty.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tour de France Summary for Newbies

The BBC has a nice summary of the Tour for newbies.

A leisurely 3,500 km (or 2,175 mile) bike ride around France and neighbouring countries. That's roughly the distance from London to Cairo or Tel Aviv and an incredible 15m people line the route.

As many as 180 riders will set off from Brest to Plumelec in 20 teams, but many will have dropped out by the time the race finishes on the Champs Elysee in Paris on 27 July.

Le Tour Podium Prediction

1. Evans
2. Menchov
3. Sastre

The order may vary, but it will be these three.

Font Conference

What would it be like if the fonts gathered for a meeting? Thanks to this
Font Conference, you don't have to wonder a moment longer.

via Daring Fireball.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Think you're poor?

If you think you'report, check your work ranking here.

via Big Contrarian, Jack Shedd

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Key Tour Stages to Watch for 2008

If you don't have much time to watch the Tour, you'll want to watch the stages with the greatest probability of being decisive to the race's outcome. Here they are.

Five High Mountain Stages

Stage 9 Sunday, July 13th

Stage 10 Monday, July 14th, uphill finish

Stage 15 Sunday, July 20th, uphill finish

Stage 16 Tuesday, July 22nd

Stage 17 Wednesday, July 23rd, uphill finish on L'Alpe d'Huez

The uphill finishes in the mountains are significant because often on descents riders will lose some of the advantage they gained by working hard on a climb. Riders will often attack aggressively on uphill finishes, it can change the outcome of the race and it's exhilarating to watch.

Two Time Trial Stages

Stage 4 Tuesday, July 8th

Stage 20 Saturday, July 26th

Who will win the Tour?

VeloNews profiles eight favorites for the Tour this year.

Rider (Country), Team

CADEL EVANS (Aus), Silence-Lotto


DENIS MENCHOV (Rus), Rabobank



KIM KIRCHEN (Lux), Columbia (High Road)

MAURICIO SOLER (Col), Barloworld

ALEJANDRO VALVERDE (Sp), Caisse d’Épargne

You can read the complete analysis of each riders strengths and weaknesses here.

My Prediction: Barring a crash, Evans will ride into Paris in the Maillot Jaune. He can hang with the climbers and he can put time into them in the time trials, as he demonstrated yesterday. Yesterday, during the Time Trial, or what the French call the race of truth, Liggett and Sherwin kept talking about how Cadel has spent a lot of time working on his climbing. I expect this will pay off. He'll be the first Aussie ever to win the Tour.

Th exciting thing about the race this year is, anyone could win. As the roads turn upward, we'll see the contenders separate themselves from the pretenders. The attacks in the mountains and the ripping apart of the peleton is quite fun to watch. The hills begin tomorrow, but they hit the first high mountain stage on Sunday.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Tour de France cliffhanger

In 1951 Wim Van Est, a Dutch rider was in yellow and crashed twice descending Col d'Aubisque trying to catch the leaders. The second crash took him off a cliff. Spectators had to squint to see him. After they rescued him with a rope made of bike tires, he asked for another bike. Gotta love it.

Get the full story, with pictures here.

Get your brain in gear for Le Tour

I've been holding out on my readers. There are several great sites I've discovered on cycling. One of these is It's a combination of racing news and mere mortal rides in some beautiful locations. The race coverage is convenient because it provides the basics plus images. I think what sets this site apart are the photos and videos and great outside links. Go check it out.

The Tour de France Dashboard has some great images and videos of the mountain stages for 2008. The Alpe d'Huez page has highlights of Lance's 2001 "look" and subsequent obliteration of Ulrich. If this doesn't make you want to go ride, you never will.