“speed” and “aerodynamics”

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Cycling

I used to laugh at people paying $7k for bicycles with handmade steel frames and all the hype that surrounded the whole NAHBS community. After some months of reading PinP aka The Radavist, however, I’ve changed my mind completely.

Modern competitive cycling is, to me, completely uninteresting sport. I don’t watch the big races, I don’t care about the pros.1 Doping is so prevalent that following these events makes no sense to me, and in the same way I don’t give a shit about carbon frames designed in wind tunnels. What John Watson’s community represents is the opposite: yes, it’s nice to crush KOMs2 and go as fast as you can, but that’s not why we ride. We ride, because riding a bike is rad, because the experience of being outdoors in beautiful mountains is fantastic, and because riding a bike is part of our lifestyle – we love bikes. And yes, if I’m to choose between a Taiwan-made carbon frame wind-tunnel-developed bike from one of the major manufacturers versus a steel frame bicycle US/UK-made by guys who love the work, I’m gonna pay those guys, and I’m gonna pay them more than I should. And I’m still gonna be faster uphill than the 50+ overweight fellas on their Pinarello Dogma bikes.


  1. Except for Maja. Maja is awesome. 
  2. Though even Strava says that riding is not only about KOMs

Wayne Shorter Quartet at USF Verftet (NattJazz 2014)

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Jazz / Personal
Wayne_Shorter_Quartet_Credit_Dorsay_Alavi_-_Reduced-1400509067 (1)

I first heard about Wayne Shorter when my dad bought the brilliant “1+1″ (Verve 1997) album he recorded with Herbie Hancock. I listened to it and was blown away – the soprano saxophone in the hands of Wayne Shorter sounded like nothing I heard before. I had a “jazz band” in my music school at the time,1 and I told the guys “Look, Shorter and Hancock play without drums and bass, so we can do it too!”, but obviously we couldn’t, and we all quickly understood that we know nothing about improvisation.

I haven’t bought any Wayne Shorter records for a couple of years. Some time ago I bought two of his classic albums – “Juju” (Blue Note 1964) and “Speak No Evil” (Blue Note 1965) – and enjoyed them, but of course this was the old post- hard-bop sound of late 60s, significantly different to Shorter’s current music which I didn’t know. That is, until last year’s release of his new2 quartet’s “Without a Net” (Blue Note 2013). Read More

Strava’s Cycling App Is Helping Cities Build Better Bike Lanes

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Cycling / Technology

Wired:

Current methods of counting cyclists take a ton of time or a ton of money. The DOT can videotape traffic and have someone sit at a monitor and count cyclists, or it can send someone to sit on the sidewalk and watch them go by in real time. Neither method is terribly efficient.

You’d think that the problem of building cycling lanes is a simple one, right? Well, it’s not. Apparently most cities struggle with obtaining data; no one really knows where and how many cyclists ride, and the only method available until now was installing bike counters, but these are expensive and measure bicycle traffic only at fixed points. So now, apparently, you can buy data from Strava, and this is brilliant.1 Read More

The 22 most important things Apple announced today | The Verge

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Technology

The 22 most important things Apple announced today:

Today’s news for developers was surprisingly compelling, thanks to a brand-new programming language, a move into the smart home, and new tools for letting apps interact with one another on iOS.

— The Verge.

Exactly. Everyone was expecting new versions of OS X and iOS, and we got them, but the iOS SDK and the new programming language are the real big thing. iOS apps can finally talk to each other, and they don’t have to be written in Objective-C anymore. Finally.

Hit & Run

Personal

Last Sunday night I was walking home and I got hit by a car on a zebra crossing.1 It was pretty late (around 11:30pm) and there was very little traffic. I was on a green light and while I was in the middle of the road, a black car came from behind me (he was making a left turn). I stopped, turned right, and as I was facing the car it hit me on my left leg knocking me down, and then just drove off. Before we get any further, I am happy to assure everyone that I’m perfectly fine, and that I did not sustain any serious injuries. But here are some of my thoughts about the accident.

I remember very vividly how I felt immediately after the accident – I was mad. The guy didn’t stop. In Norway. The best country on earth. I mean, seriously. If this happened in my lovely homeland or anywhere else in the world, I would still be outraged, but perhaps less surprised. But it happened in Norway – someone2 just hit me with a car on a zebra crossing, and then ran away. So yes, my very first feeling when I was lying there in the middle of the street was outrage mixed with bewilderment. This feeling didn’t really pass when another car stopped and called the ambulance – “Call the goddamn cops!” – I yelled – “I don’t need a doctor, I’m fine, just get that guy who nearly ran me over!” Luckily the person who rescued me was a little more lucid and called the ambulance first – “You got blood all over your head man, you need an ambulance.” Read More

No Smartphone for Lent

Personal / Technology

No Smartphone for Lent | Matt Mullenweg.

Matt Mullenweg is trying to give up using his smartphone during Lent, and I’m starting to think it’s a good idea. I notice that I’m dependent on a number of apps on my phone to a great degree – especially Calendar, Reminders, Evernote, Mail, Tweetbot and Google Maps – and I’m starting to think that I delegate too much of my own memory to my phone. I don’t exactly manage a company, and if I forget something then (1) probably nothing tragic will happen, and (2) perhaps it’ll teach me to remember things better, hell, maybe even to write things down on a piece of paper. And I really don’t need to check my email all the time, same way I don’t need to know what’s on twitter right now.

So the plan is to switch to, as Matt puts it, makes-phone-calls-only phone and see how much I can manage with that. My bet is I won’t make it to the end of Lent, but I’m gonna try anyway.

Слава Україні!

Uncategorized

The Economist:

Once you have gained a taste for adrenaline-flavoured simplicity, it can become addictive. Ukraine needs a decade of hard work on reform to recover the chances squandered in the past 25 years, building the institutions, habits and attitudes needed for honest, lawful government. That will require patience and expertise, not courage and barricades.

I love Ukraine and Ukrainians, and I’m so glad that the violence stopped, but at the same time I’m worried about Ukraine’s future. The amount of bad journalism that you can find on the topic online is staggering, but the blog entry on “Eastern Approaches” by The Economist is luckily rather good (as usual), providing a thorough and non-emotional analysis of the whole situation.

A conversation with a stranger on bybanen

Personal

Stranger-on-bybanen: So how come you still don’t speak Norwegian? How long have you been living here? Two weeks?
me: Four years…
S-o-b: Four years?! Well what is it that you do?
me: I work at the university.
S-o-b: Oh. Well what do you do at the university?
me: Well I’m a researcher at the computer science department.
S-o-b: Aha. So you’re a nerd. And you don’t think there’s any point in talking to people.
me: Well… yes.

Put.io – a discussion about piracy on Hacker News

Technology

Put.io – a discussion about piracy on Hacker News

put.io is a service that lets you download and seed torrents, and also watch the downloaded movie files, in the cloud. An obvious question that such a business model raises is a matter of illegal downloads, and that spawned an interesting discussion on HN.

Whenever I read discussions about illegal torrent downloads, I immediately think of three issues.

The first one is convenience – as a Netflix and HBO Nordic customer I miss the comfort of watching great quality mp4 files so much that I… became an IPredator customer, and I download the movies/shows I already payed for simply to be able to watch them without my laptop fan spinning like crazy.1

The second is the whole issue of what’s right, and how human beings aren’t necessarily entitled to watch the latest episode of “Mad Men” whenever and however they want. I used to support this claim and I still think that the argument of “I can’t get it in any other way so I’m gonna download it illegally using bittorrent” is weak, but I find it very unpragmatic to simply forbid downloading. I’m also starting to believe that contemporary TV shows and movies are becoming a significant part of modern culture to a degree that it’s just not right to deny access to that part to people who don’t have Netflix in their countries, or can’t afford going to the cinema very often. Read More

Winter Sports

Cycling / Personal

I don’t ski,1 and every winter doing any sorts of sports becomes a major problem. This year I’m trying to change that. As anyone will tell you, riding a bike or running in bad weather is simply a matter of attitude. One should just embrace Rule #9 and keep on pushing, but I’ve never been able to do that myself. Every year I promised myself that I won’t be paying any attention to rain or snow, but year after year I failed, bought that monthly bus ticket and locked my bike at home.

This year, however, things are different. I just got the lamest Strava badge for 150km ridden in a month:

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but it’s the very first time I got any kind of badge for January.

The surprising thing is, once you convince yourself riding in winter is possible, it’s not that bad. Granted, my times on all segments are considerably worse, but I realized that neither rain nor cold bothers me that much.2 The trick is to convince yourself that it’s ok to ride in bad weather, and that still comes pretty hard to me, but I found another way – I take an indirect and much longer route home from my office, thus having some extra exercise, because I’m carrying a heavy bag on my back, and riding on a cyclocross bike. But it works, I am finally riding in the winter.


  1. Which is kinda wrong. I’ve been living in Norway for almost 4 years now, and only went skiing once. I have a tentative plan of trying snowboard this year, but then again I have this plan every year. 
  2. Most of the time winters in Western Norway are very wet, and not that cold, contrary to popular belief.