ski trip

a rest stop 1/3rd the way down Blackcomb Mountain

A few weeks ago we spent a long weekend up at Whistler, BC. It was Nick’s Spring Break, which happens too late in the year for us to visit my parents in Colorado (their snow is usually bad, or gone by then.) This year one of Sue’s law practice clients traded her some time in a condo in Whistler as partial payment, so we took advantage of it. The snow was fantastic, and we had three sunny days of skiing, and one very cloudy one. Nick & I skied together for two days… Sue’s back gave her trouble so she could not ski as much.

If you are a skier, and have never been to Whistler, make a point to do so before too long. After the 2010 winter Olympics the secret will be out and it will likely be too expensive, and too crowded.

The two mountains there are truly HUGE. The runs are all phenomenally long. The really long runs in the Rockies are merely “average” here. I’ve never skied on the east coast but the runs there must be mere hops compared to the leg-busting monsters on Whistler & Blackcomb. This photo was taken about 1/3rd the way down the far run on Blackcomb’s “skier’s right”… meaning Blackcomb Glacier, and down to the top of the Gondola.

Here is a trail map for reference

From the top of the Showcase T bar, you climb up to the entrance of the Blackcomb Glacier, then traverse out onto the steep upper slopes, and down the bowl to this spot. That alone would rate an awesome run anywhere in the world. The day that Nick & I went down and I shot this photo above it had snowed about a foot of powder on the glacier. Visibility was poor, but the snow was awesome. By the time we reached this point my thighs were on fire and I needed to lie down and rest. Nick, being 13 years old was ready for more! Ah to be young! After the rest, we then ran for what seemed like miles down the cruiser run that leads to the top of the gondola. I swear this lower part was as long, or longer than Vail’s longest front-side run, Riva Ridge. We could have continued down to the village, but instead opted to download on the Gondola. It was our last run and we were pretty worn out. “Spring Conditions” ruled on the lower mountain, which means that it was slick and hard since the snow had gone through countless freeze/thaw cycles and who knows how much rain for good measure! The day before I had skied the “Peak to Creek” route on Whistler… in 25 minutes… so I don’t think I could have done the Glacier to Village run at Blackcomb and survived.

You can see all the pics from the trip here.

It was a fun few days, with the only real bad thing being Sue’s sore back and Nick having his rental skis mistakenly “stolen” the last day at lunch. He and I came out of the Roundhouse on Whistler and his skis were missing. We searched everywhere for them and finally found a nearly identical pair one row closer to the building than where he left his. When he tried them on they were just a hair too short, so we know that whoever took his was releasing out of the bindings all the way down! We ended up downloading instead… very bummed out. The rental shop was very cool about the whole situation thankfully.

The drive home was interesting, as they are tearing up all of highway 99 to get ready for the Olympics. They have a real challenge to get that road done before 2010! I miss the old 2-lane harrowing cliff-side road up Howe Sound’s stunning fjiord. Hard to see a challenging road fall to the inevitable “progress” of safety and ease of travel. Sigh.

Datacenter Caption Contest

sorry... no pretty geeks here

In the tradition of “Fake Steve Jobs I’d like to do a caption contest.

We have a very nice datacenter facility, and a local photography studio asked us to use it to capture some images for sale as stock photography. They spent a half-day in our facility with, models and lights, and a stylist taking over our conference room for makeup, plus one of us d.f geeks watching their every move in the facility to make sure they didn’t touch anything the wrong way!

I found it funny what they chose to shoot, and where they chose to shoot. For some reason they were obsessed with this particular part of the facility. It is a “hot aisle” meaning the backsides of the servers are all pointed inward here. The HVAC systems dump cold air on the front sides and a return removes the hot air from above. It is also the “ugly” side of both of the aisles. Power and network cables everywhere and of course all that hot air blowing on you. It is also a part of the datacenter where our “single server” colocation customers are housed. This means that the variety of hardware is astounding. This of course makes cable management a real PITA. I’m not particularly proud of this view, but what can I say? They took some good shots, which have ironically turned up in print advertising and websites of our competitors! Gotta love that. I’ll share more shots later, but let’s talk about this one.

Anyway, whenever I see stock photography in a “geek” context it really stands out to me. I mean NONE of the geeks that I know and certainly none of them that work at digital.forest are this attractive. 😉 None of them have clothes this nice. None of them have this level of … what shall we say… “personal grooming.” And most importantly, none of them have two X chromosomes.

So my caption would read “We are too attractive to work here!”

What would your caption say?

blast from the past

What house is this?

I was looking for a VERY old bit of software in order to open some very old files over the weekend, and I stumbled upon a CD-ROM that was an image of a 120mb hard drive out of my Mac IIsi… which I haven’t seen since 1994 or so. Back in 1994 or so I worked for a Fortune 500 company (IIRC it was #50 on the list that year.) I actually worked for a department of a division of that company… but anyway we had big budgets to spend on IT gear, and I was the IT guy. One of the things we had was a CD-ROM burner, which back then was a very exotic “bit of kit”, at the Brits say. We archived our work on CD-ROM and so we bought a burner. Thirteen years ago CD-ROM burners cost about $20,000 and blank discs were around $20 a pop. I remember being thrilled when we were able to buy them in bulk for $17 a disc. Well, I’m happy to say that unlike today’s CHEAP CD-ROM burners and media, the high-dollar Kodak burned media lasted the thirteen years quite well! I have a complete and readable copy of a hard drive from that old Mac IIsi. So I started looking around that old data, and I figured I would share some.

First off, is that photo above. I’m the guy on the right in case you didn’t recognize me. 😉
The real question for you pop-culture mavens out there is: can you name the location? If you are of a certain age, it should be plainly obvious. Everyone in that shot is 30-something then, and is 40-something now, so think back to our teen years and take your guess in the comments section.

I also found some old emails. Some humor is timeless, and here’s an email joke from the past. If you are offended by clinical terms to describe anatomy, stop reading and grow up! If you are a geek of a certain sort, have a look at the ASCII context surrounding the message body and unearth the hidden contextual nuggets. Feel free to quiz me about them in the comments. Don’t worry about the revealed email address… Robert Hess is quite dead, so he’s unlikely to get any spam due to my posting this. I was one of Robert’s beta testers for his wonderful AppleShare admin tool “Shaman” or as it was later known “Sharing Stone”. Robert was a uniquely funny guy, but I doubt this joke originated with him. He and I were very different people, but I enjoy having friends who are very different from me. I really enjoyed the emails we exchanged… both as dev/tester, and as journalist/unnamed source. 😉 There are a group of us that gather every year at Macworld Expo… the roster changes slightly every year. Robert & I always met up for lunch the first day… usually made entertaining by a wild ride in his car. It was shocking when he died so suddenly… at least not in a fiery car crash. Anyway… here is a blast from the past:

Item 6557845 17-June-94 17:10


To: KUECHLE1  Kuechle, Scott
X0357  Microspot, World HQ,GB,IDV
CDA0858  Laser Expressions, N Soltz,PAS
EL.GRANDE  -> DAVE.WINER UserLand SW, David Winer,PAS
JMPDUDE  Puckett, Mike
THEBONMARCHE  The Bon Marche, C Goolsbee,APD
SEIWA.PUBLSH  Seiwa Computing Sys,JHAlexander,PAS
SANTORINI  Santorini Consulting & Design,PRT
SLIPSTREAM  Slipstream Solution, A J Alt,PAS

INTERNET# Document Id:


Sub: Why The Internet Is Like A

---- Internet E-mail Header ----
From: "Robert Hess" -
Precedence: bulk
X-Listserver-Version: 6.0 -- UNIX ListServer by Anastasios Kotsikonas
Originator: shaman
To: Multiple recipients of list - shaman

Mail*Link(r) SMTP Why The Internet Is Like A Penis
It can be up or down. It's more fun when it's up, but it makes it hard to get any real work done.

In the long-distant past, its only purpose was to transmit information considered vital to the survival of the species. Some people still think that's the only thing it should be used for, but most folks today use it for fun most of the time.

It has no conscience and no memory. Left to its own devices, it will just do the same damn dumb things it did before.

It provides a way to interact with other people. Some people take this interaction very seriously, others treat it as a lark. Sometimes it's hard to tell what kind of person you're dealing with until it's too late.

If you don't apply the appropriate protective measures, it can spread viruses.

It has no brain of its own. Instead, it uses yours. If you use it too much, you'll find it becomes more and more difficult to think coherently.

We attach an importance to it that is far greater than its actual size and influence warrant.

If you're not careful what you do with it, it can get you in big trouble.

It has its own agenda. Somehow, no matter how good your intentions, it will warp your behavior. Later you may ask yourself "why on earth did I do that?"

Some folks have it, some don't.

Those who have it would be devastated if it were ever cut off. They think that those who don't have it are somehow inferior. They think it gives them power. They are wrong.

Those who don't have it may agree that it's a nifty toy, but think it's not worth the fuss that those who do have it make about it. Still, many of those who don't have it would like to try it.

Once you've started playing with it, it's hard to stop. Some people would just play with it all day if they didn't have work to do.

R.I.P. Robert.