Category Archives: Rants

There is a Speed Limit on Multi Use Trails

I don’t know what the speed limit on Multi Use trails (MUT) is, and I have to admit I do go over what the limit may be, but there are racers out there who think the MUT are their race course.  It definitely is less than 20 mph, and you don’t pass someone on the left who is already in the process of passes another.  That’s what happen to me today.

I was on the Stevens Creek MUT in Mountain View, and was on my way to pass a rider on the left then suddenly a guy in a full Bianchi kit squeezes by me on my left.  What a freakin moron!  I was probably going 18-20 mph, so if this guy was passing me at that rate, he had to be going 25 mph.  Thus should not be happening!  That was followed by another guy who passed me too in a 5 second period.  What’s worse, they didn’t yell out “on your left”.

Ettiquette folks!

Tale of Two Bank Related Customer Service Experiences

Shouldn’t a bank have customer service available 24×7?  I recently had to call BofA because of an ATM card issue for my dad, but when I called customer service, they said it was closed, and office hours were something like 8 am to 8 pm … must have called after 8 pm, but wouldn’t you think they would be available 24×7?

On a happier note, we had a mix up with ATM cards, and we accidentally cut up the good one.  We had to go into the bank the next day to order a new card, thinking we’ll have to go 5 days without an ATM card, and needing to withdraw about $200 just to get through the week.  Much to my surprise, they did give us a temporary card, which lasts for 1 month, right on the spot.  So this was a good and bad story of customer service … bad that it wasn’t available 24×7, good in that they gave us a temporary ATM card on demand.

I had a separate issue on my debit card with Chase, and I had to call them for that.  I did this at 8:30 pm, and I was able to get to customer service immediately.  This is exactly what I expected.

Happy Thanksgiving

This year, I’ll be spending it here in the Bay Area, and not making the drive down to LA, just because I have to work the weekend.  I’ll make it down during Christmas … besides, since this is the busiest travel time of the year, it may be a better choice.

Ok, rant time … I just saw that K-Mart opened at 6 am today … on Thanksgiving.  WTH.  I also see several malls open today Thanksgiving night at 10 pm, and other department stores open tonight at 8 or 9 pm.  What is wrong with you people … is nothing sacred?  Oh, and there are the people who have been camping out in front of Best Buy for the past week, in anticipation for them opening on Black Friday.  I heard one quote on the news “… family has not had a thanksgiving dinner in years” … that is just wrong.

Ok, rant over … what will I do?  Ride of course … Diablo today, and spending time with friends for thanksgiving dinner afterwards.  A huge thanks for that.  And Friday?  Ride of course … not stepping into any department stores or malls this weekend at all.  I may do my shopping online.

BTW, do you really save that much on Black Friday?  And is it worth it?

Snow in SF??? What snow?

image

Weather reports were all about the big storm that would produce snow in San Francisco.  Major preparations made for snow plows, sand, etc … and yes, it is cold, but in the end, all I saw was rain in Sunnyvale, and by the time the temps dipped down, there was no rain.  In fact, all the clouds disappeared.  I guess Mt. Hamilton and Mt. Diablo may have a dusting of white stuff, but in SF??? Not a chance.

Meteorologist predictions fail big time.  It’s actually a nice day out.  Too bad I’m on call, and can’t enjoy it.  Would have been a perfect time to go up Mt. Hamilton.

Rants Regarding Early Morning Ride on Bike Trails

Ok, I admit, I am nuts, riding on the San Tomas Aquino Bike Trail at 6 am, where it is still pretty dark (although it is getting lighter).  There aren’t many people on the trail at that time, but there are a few.

There are joggers out there … now I commend anyone who gets up that early, to do a workout, quickly get home, shower up, then fight traffic … woof … but if you are going to be out there in the dark, wear something reflective, or better yet, blinkers.  When I come behind you, I can only see you and react in a split second.  Very dangerous.

Other cyclists … same goes to you too.  Wear something reflective, and something that blinks informing the world that you are here.  I’ve got reflective bands on both my ankles, a blinking strap around my left leg, front and rear facing blinkers on my helmet, blinkers on my handlebar, blinkers under my saddle, and a forward facing headlight.  I want to let people know I am out here.

Lastly, to continue on the bike trail, we do have to cross a street with a traffic light.  Now I realize there is no one out there at 6 am, but don’t just cross the intersection on a red light (even if there are no cars around).  That leaves a bad precedence.  I guess they haven’t seen Harold and Kumar, and the scene where they step off the curb, and immediately get pulled over for J-walking, completely out of the blue?

Ok, glad I got that off my chest.

Hit and Run is Okay in Colorado if Car vs. Bike

Okay, I will admit, I am flying off the handle on this, but this just makes my blood boil.  Judge has accepted plea bargain deal from the multi-millionaire money manager, who runs over cyclist … the judge dropped the felony case.  They dropped the felony charge, and only have to face misdemeanor charges.  Well, I guess it really does pay to be rich and wealthy.  This encourages upper class to run over any cyclist on the road they see, and will not suffer any consequences.

I was originally going to spend a week off on PTO to enjoy the Quiznos Challenge in August.  Now, I won’t … they run over cyclists in Colorado.  Who knows … maybe Martin Erzinger will run over the entire pelaton, and claim he didn’t know he hit anyone, and claim sleep apnia.  Expect copy cats and try to get away with the same thing.

You may want to watch the race in person, but I won’t.  I prefer to live beyond the year 2011.  This is clearly a upper class vs. the rest of society issue … I guess we are not good enough to be in the same vicinity as multi-millionaires and their mansions.

http://velonews.competitor.com/2010/12/news/colorado-judge-oks-controversial-plea-deal-in-vail-hit-and-run_153281

http://velonews.competitor.com/2010/11/news/the-explainer-is-having-a-mercedes-an-affirmative-defense_149196

I guess Tony Kornheiser is laughing at all of this.  Perhaps Martin Erzinger followed his advise, and run over any cyclist in his way?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnHmOLpjKys

Moving to Smaller Confines

Time for a move to another building, once again.  After 11 years, this is now my 5th building I am moving into.  That’s not bad … the latest stretch was actually longer than I thought.  I stayed at my last building for 5 years.  It didn’t seem that long ago that we were shocked by our company being bought (NetScreen bought by Juniper), but it was 5 years ago.

Of course, staying in one place for 5 years, it is expected you will accumulate junk, lot of junk.

First order of business … cleaning up my messy desk.  Wow, I’m surprised I didn’t get more sick after looking at all the dust and grime that collected there.  I guess all that cycling did build up my immune system?  Second, looking at all the files, paperwork that I have collected over the years.  Since I have been in so many moves, I previously just kept a lot of things in boxes, anticipating I would be moving soon.  Well, 5 years is not soon.  What did I find?  Documents from when I first started 11 years ago, functional specs from the NetScreen days that were 6-8 years old.  Wow, I had paperwork going back to the original program plans from ScreenOS 4.0.  So I literally took one box of files, and threw the whole thing in the recycler dump.  That’s one box I got rid of.  It got to the point where this would be more than a 1-2 hour operation.  This would have to go over several days.

When cleaning up junk you have compiled over the years, you kind of reminisce about old times.  From awards, coffee mugs, stress balls, commuter cups … you never realize what you really have until you clean it up.  For example, how many commuter mugs can one guy have?  I think I may end up just giving some of this stuff away for those that were not part of the whole NetScreen experience.

I wittled my collection down to 4 boxes, and still, that was a lot of junk.  I think I have enough equipment in my junk boxes to even create a new ISP.  I mean I had 3 routers, 2 firewalls, and even a file server.  I ended up taking that one home (IT and the lab didn’t want to support that web server … hey it they don’t want it, I’ll take it).

My old building was a 4 story building, and now, we’re moving into a one story flat building.  Why are they doing this?  Well, they are consolidating one big department into the same building.  I have mixed feelings about this.  On the one hand, I like having the entire group together once again (especially when doing labs, recreating problems in the same lab, without having to send traffic across the network just to get to another lab).  The drawback is that some other departments, where we need constant interaction, is now in separate buildings, meaning we gotta drive.  Oh, that’s gonna suck.

Ok, move into the new building, and one thing that’s cool is they have a monitor

swivel.  This allows you to free up some real estate on your desk.  I use split screens, so one thing I never tried out is putting the external monitor on top, and the laptop screen on the bottom.  Initially, it seems like a great idea, right?  First, I did end up having to tilt my head up on the larger screen, and for a while there, I thought it might have some ergonomic neck stress.  Later on, I started to really get dizzy spills.  I was typing along, and suddenly, I couldn’t focus, and everything started spinning … arghhh … make it stop.  I got to a point where I had to just look away, stare into space, and just try to focus on some objects, making sure they stay still.  I eventually move to a more standard orientation, where my laptop screen is on the left, and my external monitor is on the right.  I did this, and it all felt a hell of a lot better.  What’s odd is another colleague, who moved in 2 weeks before we did, was also complaining about some dizziness, and some had to call in sick a few days.  That’s not a good sign, moving into a new building, and getting sick.  That can almost be deemed a little hazardous.

The next big issue for me was now where am I going to put my bike?  In the old building, we had a stairwell, with a nice solid bike rack post there.  Since it was in a secure building, having it in the stairwell is really secure.  Now that we don’t have that, where do I store the bike?  I looked around, and there are no racks to lock up, nothing … WTF!!!!  This is more important than any work related issues.  I need a place to park my bike.  Now there are a few empty cubicles around, but soon, they will be filled up.  For now, I rolled my bike in the office, and just to give you an idea how much room there is, I rolled my bike in my cubicle.  There seems to be enough space for me to roll around, but it does seem cramped, doesn’t it?

In a way, it’s almost like a brand new start, without actually starting fresh.   Going through the same routine for 5 years, then doing this, is really strange.  We were the first technical group to move in, and in the coming weeks, more will be moving in.  It’s going to be a hard adjustment at first, but I’ll probably make it through.  I mean, it’s only a job.

Oh, one more rant … trash cans.  Usually, you think nothing of it .. but with all these cost cutting moves, sometimes it can get a little ridiculous.  The dark brown, smaller box, is supposed to be where you put your trash.  The big blue container?  Well, that’s a recycle tub.  I’m almost tempted in going to the old building, and stealing one of the normal sized trash bucket.

So now we are in this older building, with smaller cubicles.  I’m trying to stay focused, and say it’s not going to matter … maybe so, but it will take a lot of effort to change work habits to accommodate this move.

On thing I notice after a week in this new building … it kinda makes me feel like I’m back at a startup company.  You don’t need to park in the front … you can park in the back, on the sides, and still get in the building securely.  That’s weird.  Oh, and the cafeteria … we don’t have one.  I guess it’s a short drive down to Togo’s, or remember to bring your lunch.

Death of Tour of Missouri

With all the excitement of the Tour of California, there is a big buzz in the air for US cycling.  The Tour of California was extremely successful, attracting the biggest names in cycling, except for that other race in Italy.  So with all this enthusiasm in the air, you’d think there would be more races in the US.  I was so looking forward to the Tour of Missouri, coming up in September … that is until I found out it got killed.

So check this out … the state of Missouri, had bi-partisan approval from the house and senate for $1 million to support the Tour of Missouri.  With this backing, you’d be sure to book your hotel for the race.  Well, not so fast … these funds have not been released by Missouri tourism and the governor.  Never mind the fact that this is one of the fastest growing races in the past 3 years, and that it gets broadcast to over 150 countries, attracting visitors from about 40 states, and an economic impact of + $80 million.  You’d figure with these numbers, we’d definitely have a Tour of Missouri.  I guess the governor of Missouri thinks it’s not worth it, or is a gas guzzling conservative who favors creating ecologically bad oil spills in the gulf?  It turns out the governor has made up his mind, and simply will not listen to any common sense, or even agree to meet with anyone regarding this subject.

Oh, politics … I just don’t understand it sometimes.

I just hope the Tour of California continues to thrive.

Garmin 500 Losing Data

The most frustrating thing is when you use your GPS to track the progress of your ride, and then you download to your PC to refer to it later, and when you download, there is no data.  Damn.  Well, this has happened to me … twice.

I went out and did a ride from SF, going to Mt. Tam and back.  Great ride, great people.  When I get back to the finish, I hit the start/stop button, to stop data tracking.  Now, while I was chatting, I couldn’t remember if I stopped the GPS, so I hit start/stop button.  I realized I already stopped it, so I hit the start/stop button one more time.

I bring the unit home, try to download to my PC, and nothing.  I check the activities folder from the Garmin mounted drive, and there is no data.  What the hell!  And it also seems that I am not the only one this has happened to … https://forums.garmin.com/showthread.php?t=4996

Wow, this would really suck if I was on a century or a double century, and don’t have the data to prove that I did it.  I have a sneaky suspicion, that whatever change they did in firmware 2.20, introduced this problem.  I should never have upgraded.  I didn’t start losing data until very recently.

Michael Jackson Rules the Media

This is just an upside down world.  With the socio-economic problems we are dealing with, N. Korea being the nuclear threat that they are, Obama and his visit through Russia then Italy, state of California without a budget … and what is the breaking news that CNN devotes so much of its time for???  Michael Jackson.  Sheesh!

This actually reminds me of the circus in the media with the OJ Simpson trial back in the early 90’s.  Back then, I was working at E! Entertainment Television, and it was just a circus.  The entire station was devoted to this entire trial, and what does that have to do with television or entertainment?  Well, as ridiculous as that is, I can’t fathom how CNN is devoting more time to Michael Jackson than to N. Korea, Obama’s visit, and California’s budget problems, combined.  I assume that if California had a 8.0 earthquake, with $50 billion dollars of damages, that CNN would still devote more time to Michael Jackson?

Now I admit, he is the king of pop, and his popularity is tremendous … but I don’t see how this is that important to be the big headline, breaking news.  In terms of impact on others in the music business, the only one I can relate to is the death of John Lennon.  John had a far reaching impact on so many other rock artists, and his legacy has a far greater impact that Michael Jackson would ever have.  At least that’s my opinion.

So for this reason, I have boycotted television.  I can’t stand it.  I fear that if I turn on the TV, I will see MJ’s face, and it will just churn my stomach.  The other thing that churns my stomach is how CNN is devoting so much time on this.  CNN is making me look at Fox News with more credibility.  Now that’s going a little far, but that’s how bad it’s gotten … IMHO.