Fall regattas

Hope springs eternal and so I filed my application to scull in this fall’s Head of the Charles Regatta. Having turned 50 in May, this would be my first year in the elder statesman category of Grand Master, but first i need to have my application accepted as it is a tough ticket to get into the Head unless one competes and finishes within 5% of the winning sculler’s time. My last time racing the HOCR was in 2003 — my first time as a sculler — and I performed horribly, coming in third from last with a terrible time and twenty seconds in penalties. The low light of that October morning was hitting the Weeks Footbridge in front of the Harvard Business School and being urged to capsize by drunken frat boys there for the WASP equivalent of NASCAR crashes.

Thats the bridge I am about to hit in the background ...
That's the bridge I am about to hit in the background ...

Whatever, I rowed my first Head of the Charles in the early 70s when I was rowing in prep school, kept doing it through college, and a couple of other times in my college alumni boat. I’ve done the Head when no one but a couple hundred rowers were participating, and I’ve done it as a parent watching my daughter row it for my alma mater.

But, application acceptance or not, I did file my forms for the Green Mountain Head, which according to my good friend Charlie Clapp (silver medal, US Men’s 8, 1984), is the best of the fall regattas because it is so darn pretty, has no spectators, and the prizes are a bag of apples, a block of Vermont cheddar, or a jug of maple syrup. I’ve rowed only one GMH and thought it a most wonderful experience.

So — all this time in the garage gym working off the excess poundage now has an immediate goal. Don’t hit the Week’s Footbridge and try to do better than 2003.

The State of my Alimentary Canal

Yeah, so I got scoped today — but not through the netherlands — but an endoscopy to check out my upper G/I tract. Nice doctor put me to sleep, waving a menacing hose with decimeter marks on it before I nodded off, I woke up an hour later feeling most soporific. I went in with symptoms of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) , came out diagnosed with NERD. (something like Non-Erosive reflux disorder) When I got home I fell asleep for five hours.

The big ugly is this fall for those of you faithful who have inquired.

Vista does not suck

Major admission made by me last week — that while I work for a frigging PC company I had yet to experience (for any extended period of time) Microsoft Vista. Having spent the early part of my geek career as a reporter covering Microsoft, I used to get semi-aroused by new operating systems, and indeed still own a copy of the first version of Windows as well as IBM’s failed bid for GUI dominance, TopView. However, given my decline into the ranks of management in the mid-90s, the last significant OS I cared about was Windows 95 (Rolling Stones, Start Me Up).

Vista just never made it on the radar. I never felt compelled to upgrade the home machines with it, and the company hasn’t made the switch. So I did. Last week, when I took delivery of this new X200, it configured with Vista Business. “I’m screwed,” I thought. “Must send this back to IT and get downgraded to XP.”

Ah, but what a shame to take the best piece of hardware I have used and stick ancient software on it. So I resolved to figure out how to get the three essentials of life at Lenovo installed and running — SameTime — our Lotus/IBM instant message client, the Cisco Web VPN for getting into the internal systems securely, and Lotus Notes, the productivity equivalent of the heartbreak of seborrhea and psorasis.

Well, one week later and Notes stirred itself, found its server, and replicated, making me and my X200 members of the corporate network via Vista.

Yes, imagine that. Instead of being a bad man and hacking Ubuntu or OS/X onto the hardware and then onto the network, I took our default OS that we ship to customers and got it to work ….. (end of irony).

First impressions of Vista:

1. It is paranoid. Anytime I do anything it wants permission. Not once. Not twice. But three times.

2. It is pretty. Aero is good eye candy. I like the animated windows, the transparency of the menu bars, the bling bling is good.

3. It is pretty stable. Not a lot of lockups to report.

4. It is incremental to XP — sure the kernel may be all new, who cares?, magic smoke as far as I am concerned — but the U/I is an improvement. (The window switcher-thingy is most cool). Vista may not tie my shoes and walk the dog, but I like it and I am not going back.