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German bikes

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Since me and Karolina are moving to Germany soon, I’m doing bike-research, and so far I am positively surprised. The photo above comes from a Berlin-based company called Schindelhauer, and there’s many more awesome manufacturers: Diamant, Fokus, Mika Amaro, Nicolai, Bergamont, Crema, Tout Terrain, and more. And most importantly, many German bike manufacturers equip their city/trekking bikes with belt drive and internal gear hubs (sometimes even the most exotic ones), which I’m getting slightly crazy about. It all looks very good. Germany might not be all that bad after all.

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Jazz icon Charlie Haden dies at 76

I am very sad to read that Charlie Haden died last Friday.1 He was one of the first jazz musicians I ever heard about, when my dad bought the now legendary “Beyond the Missouri Sky” (Verve 1997) record, and I immediately fell in love with his great bass lines and compositions. Then I learned about Charlie Haden’s history with Ornette, and I also realized he played with Keith Jarrett’s quartet in the 70s. A versatile, curious musician who always enriched any jazz album he appeared on with his lyrical bass lines. His death is a terrible loss. Seems sadly prophetic that his latest duo album with Jarrett is titled “Last Dance” (ECM 2014).

Below are a couple of my favorite tracks by Charlie Haden or with him as a sideman. Listen and admire.

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“speed” and “aerodynamics”

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

Quickest way to scrobble tracks to Last.fm with iTunes and AppleScript

It’s amazing in how many ways one can waste time. Until recently I didn’t know what AppleScript was, but once I read about it, I quickly came up with what might best be described as silliest “programming” project ever. Based on two threads from SO, I hacked a very short script that is meant for Last.fm cheating. Continue reading

Wayne Shorter Quartet at USF Verftet (NattJazz 2014)

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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). Continue reading

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

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 Continue reading

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The 22 most important things Apple announced today | The Verge

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

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.” Continue reading

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No Smartphone for Lent

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.

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Слава Україні!

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.

Aside

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.

A conversation with a stranger on bybanen