Whereabouts – week of Sept. 15

Sept 15: Monday, Cotuit

Sept 16-19: Morrisville, NC

Sept 20-21: Cotuit

First week in North Carolina since July. Lots of meetings and catchup, focus on HR stuff, strategy. Then off to Chicago and New York the week of 22nd to speak at the Folio Show and AdWeek. Vacation is needed, but may be deferred until October at this point.

WordPress auto-update — first time results

I’ve been blogging on WordPress since 2004, when Om Malik suggested I get back into blogging after a brief, but discontinued foray on Blogger back in 2002. I have my own host — Churbuck.com — at Cape.com (now Meganet) and had been running a simple Frontpage-built set of static pages for a couple years, primarily tending to the domain so I could enable the churbuck.com email address.

I installed WordPress and after some serious stumbling and fumbling, figured out MySQL, Php, and the old days spent in front of IPswitch’s FTP client transferring files and building directory structures on my host.

I love WordPress — indeed I would go so far as to claim it is the most significant and beloved piece of software in my life over the past twenty years — and it just got better.

Much better.

While I was in my admin dashboard this morning I saw the suggestion that I “automatically” upgrade to the latest version. In the past, any time I attempted a maintenance upgrade of my blog I would usually kill it, requiring the intervention of more capable minds, such as Mark Cahill to get thing sorted out and running again. Mark told me when he last upgraded me in July that the auto-update would be coming, and well, yes it is.

About one minute, a simple, straightforward set of questions, and ta-da, I am up to date with the latest verison. Gratitude aside, this auto update is a big step towards making WordPress the defacto opensource content management system for the world, taking out the technical/sysadmin barrier to entry that makes self-hosting so challenging for people like myself, who don’t have the time or cause to get good at the essentials of open source LAMP based hosting.

I love WordPress.

New music meltdown

I had a ton of photos to edit and sort, tag and upload, so what better thing to do than download a bunch of new music.

It started on “Surviving Grady,” my favorite Red Sox blog, where co-blogger Red expounded on a few of his favorite albums, citing The Killer’s Sam’s Town, which contains the Guitar Hero classic When We Were Young. That sparked a visit to iTunes where I was immediately diverted by the banner announcing the release of Metallica’s Death Magnetic. Bought that, downloaded it, then moved onto The Killers. Pluged in the iPod, synced it up, hit play on Metallica’s first tune, That Was Just Your Life, and gave up all thoughts of going to bed early tonight.

So while cranking some head banger music directly into my head at high volume, I was browsing through Google Reader and saw the hyperperceptive Jon Udell point to Andy Baio’s masterful analysis of Girl Talk’s Feed the Animals.

For those unfamiliar with Girl Talk — it’s a dude, Gregg Gillis who makes mashup albums from heavily sampled music — stuff the New York Times once called a lawsuit waiting to happen since its entirely comprised of other people’s music. Think of M.C. Hammer’s Can’t Touch This taken waaaay further.

Baio broke out the Mechanical Turk and analyzed the source, duration, era of the tunes that went into Feed the Animals.Intrigued I bought a copy directly from the label —

Baio blogs: “Girl Talk’s Feed the Animals is one of my favorite albums this year, a hyperactive mish-mash sampling hundreds of songs from the last 45 years of popular music. Gregg Gillis created a beautiful, illegal mess of copyright clearance hell, which you should download immediately. (It’s free, but I kicked in $20 for Gregg’s legal fund and a copy of the CD.)”

Girl Turk: Mechanical Turk Meets Girl Talk’s “Feed the Animals” – Waxy.org.

PS: Metallica’s That Was Just Your Life, just became a staple of the Power Erg playlist for rowing entertainment and inspiration.

Rowing in Bangalore

There is rowing in Bangalore. I suspect this rowing takes place in the lake I could see from my hotel room window. When I drove to the office I passed this sign inviting people to become rowers. I think that lake is Lake Ulsoor as I saw some kayakers, canoers, and sailboats on it one morning earlier this week.

The man on the billboard is PT Paulose of Kerala who sculled for India in Athens, the first Indian sculler to qualify for the Olympics.

I need to get more focused on sculling my way around the world. I used to carry around a letter of introduction from my club, The Union Boat Club of Boston, and have been able to borrow boats in a few cities, including Zurich and Newport Beach. It’s not easy persuading a club to let a stranger borrow a $10,000 shell, but then again, it takes about two seconds to figure out whether or not the person is qualified as the typical novice capsizes the instant they push off from the dock. Flipping a new racing shell is not recommended.



Randomness from Fungalore

I fly out of Bengaluru in five hours on British Airways to Heathrow, then onwards to Boston where I arrive Thursday evening at 6:30 EST. If I do the real-time conversion for actual travel time, that will mean about 26 hours from the time I leave the Hotel Ista on Swami Vivekananda Road to the time I roll down the clamshell driveway on Main Street in Cotuit.


This is nearly an intercontinental flip turn. Not as epic as the McKinsey director who allegedly flew to Paris from New York and returned the same day on the Concorde, but close enough for stupid-traveller-bragging-rights. I arrived at 6 am on Tuesday, went to the hotel, showered, went downstairs and had breakfast with my colleagues, and was in a day long “summit” by 9 am in Lenovo’s global marketing hub, sucking down waaaaay too much caffeine and feeling utterly vulnerable, clumsy, and addled. Now it is Wednesday night, I am vulnerable, clumsy, and addled, and by the time I depart will have been in Bangalore 45 hours having travelled a grand total of 48 to get to and fro ….

WTF is wrong with me?

Tuesday ended in a thumping roof-top night club eating mystery kabobs in the dark with a view of Bangalore all green trees and tropical below me. I crashed hard, slept six hours, than ran 3K on the treadmill before another breakfast of masala dosa and sambar. Today,  Wednesday, was more meetings, a solid moment of narcolepsy around 4pm during a discussion on metrics and analytics which ended when someone noticed my snoring and loudly volunteered me for a project I still haven’t figured out yet. Another roof-top restaurant, more meat on a stick, another cab ride through twisty little streets where packs of dogs roam and cows pick through the piles ….

Then back to the Ista where I am resisting the bed like my final resting place, convinced if I nap I will miss my flight and get another day of meetings and more meat on sticks for my troubles. I ate something in the interesting category and am doing the Pepto Bismol thing so I don’t end up spending the first leg of my flight in my own private cabin.

I’d post pictures of cows and crowds but I left my card reader on my desk at the Cape.

ESPN – Report: Armstrong to come out of retirement and ride for Astana – Cycling

This is a good news and will get me watching cycling again.
“Seven-time champion Lance Armstrong will come out of retirement and compete in next year’s Tour de France, VeloNews reported Monday, citing sources close to the situation.

“Armstrong, who will turn 37 on Sept. 18, will join the Astana team and compete in five road races, the sources told VeloNews.

“He will compete in the Amgen Tour of California, Paris-Nice, the Tour de Georgia, the Dauphine-Libere and the Tour de France. The sources told VeloNews that Armstrong will receive no salary or bonuses.

Armstrong’s manager, Mark Higgins, would not comment.

ESPN – Report: Armstrong to come out of retirement and ride for Astana – Cycling.

In the heart of Air World

A four hour layover at Heathrow would knock the enthusiam out of a televangelist. Being of Anglo/Celtic descent, I feel a genetic bond to the doughy middle-aged faces on British Airways, that slightly deranged, broken nosed, shaved head-butting boyo look that indicated past excesses on the rugby pitch or time spent terrorizing the continent as a soccer hooligan.

The pod seating thing that BA businessclass has going is totally creepy, with privacy screens erected to keep the bad dentistry of the bloke in 10D out of one’s own bleary face. The airlines have to fire Recaro, the Italian bucket seat designer, and do away with the modular pod thing that is absolutely useless to anyone over 6 feet tall. I’d prefer to lie on the rug and curl into the fetal position. Dude to my left looked like Gordon Gekko, right down to the blue shirt with the white collar and cuffs and the pound of vaseline in his hair. He spent the first half of the flight trying to barter for a pair of duty-free Bang & Olufsen ear buds for his iPod with the purser arguing that the price was the price and the 777 was not the Dirt Market.

Heathrow — grey, tubular, about three degrees too warm on a classic English morning where the sky looks like a stewed sweatshirt — is one of the singularly depressing travel experiences. Aside from the multicultural paegant of Asians, Africans, Sub-continentals, and other colonial descendants packing their villages into the overhead compartments, aside from the peevishly quaint terminology (Border Control, the Luddington Suite), the atrocious pub/breakfasts in the concourses, there is the oasis of the British Airways Lounge, a sort of hipster purgatory with genuine Oliver Twist porridge, unlimited espresso, and gangs of gesticulating Russian businessmen who bellow and drink white wine at 9 am.

Settling in is a ritual. Plug in the notebook, boot up, read a book while that happens, look at the Blackberry, charge that, set the clocks on the PC and phone, get a coffee, get some food, take off the blazer, reassure self that wallet, passport and ticket are in place, find wireless, curse wireless pain-in-the-ass effect, look out at the grey landscape of tarmac, English suburbs, highways, wait for PC to finish booting … read email. Wish you hadn’t. Write an aimless blog post. Wish you hadn’t. Think about taking a shower but wonder how weird that will be but how great it will feel.

Three more hours till I board for Bangalore — nine hours then onwards to the Hotel Ista where I intend to eat a dosa for breakfast.

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