The Minimus shoes are remarkably lighter than the already light H Streets.
Exercise, Journal, Running

New Balance Minimus HI-REZ Shoes

For the past several years, my running shoes of choice have been the Puma H Streets. These are a favorite of the POSE running crowd, although they were never meant to be used as running shoes. Today, they are harder to find in my size (women’s size 10, since I can’t seem to find the men’s version anymore). So, when I finally decided that the holes in the shoes were getting too big (check out the photo below), I started looking for a new pair and brand of running shoes.

Felix was telling me that a few of his friends were using New Balance Minimus shoes, so I went over the NB site to check them out. The Minimus is actually a series of lightweight, minimalist running shoes, and the one that struck my eye was the Minimus HI-REZ. The specs show it to be lighter than the H Streets, 3.7 ounces versus 5.8 ounces. Judging solely from the photos, I liked the thicker sole in the front; one drawback on the H Streets was that the bottoms wore out so quickly. I tend to strike the ground on the outside front part of my foot, and that’s where all the holes formed.

The shoe is not inexpensive at nearly $100/pair. While the HI-REZ in black looks better, the green was cheaper. Found a $10/off coupon on the Internet and a few days later, they were in my hands. At first glance, the shoes were as light as advertised, and I can see where New Balance was able to shave the ounces from the shoes. The tread does not cover the entire bottom of the shoe. Rather, there was little hexagonal EVA pieces glued onto the bottom. The shoe seems to be constructed out of one piece of fabric and wraps around your foot almost like a slipper.

I went for my first run this morning in the shoes, and I could easily feel the weight difference. This was surprising to me since the H Streets already felt like I was running barefoot (and with those holes in the soles, that’s not too far from the truth!). I went at a moderate pace and was pleased to see that I finished my typical 3.1 mile around the block at an 8:07 pace with a fast mile of 7:57.

As far as wear goes, it’s too soon to tell, but I did notice the outer part of the sole was already starting to wear. The little rubber nubs under each foam piece were almost flat on that part of the sole. This happened to me with the Puma’s as well, so I’m not too worried yet. I’ll keep monitoring it to see how quickly the foam pads go from full height to zero.

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Journal, Musings, Rants, Technology

Bye Bye GoDaddy, Hello Hover: An Ode to a Dead Elephant

It may come as a surprise to some, but I can be unusually resistant to certain kinds of changes. For the longest time, I have used and recommended GoDaddy for domain registration services. When it first appeared on the scene, GoDaddy was a viable and affordable alternative to Network Solutions. Over the years, I’ve found myself biting my tongue whenever it came time to renew. The dozens of advertisements for “additional services” had become too in your face and annoying. I had become programmed to scroll down to the bottom of the page, looking for the “No Thanks, Continue” text link that would take me one step closer to the Checkout page. Nevertheless, the inertia to change (i.e. laziness) was too great, and I found myself renewing my domains every few years and continuing to use GoDaddy for my new registrations.

That processed ended for the most part today after I read the tweets and articles about GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons shooting an elephant in Africa. Since its racy Super Bowl ads, GoDaddy has never shied away from the public spotlight, and I’m not sure which way the pendulum will swing as a result of this incident. While Eric tweeted that people are abandoning GoDaddy in droves, it remains to be seen if people aren’t just raising a stink about leaving. Domain transfers involves time, money, and multiple steps to complete. For people who have dozens of domains like myself, even the plight of the now dead elephant might not be enough to overcome this inertia.

For me, however, the elephant story forced me to say, “Enough!” This afternoon while in Hawaii, I transferred 14 out of my 16 domains over from GoDaddy to Hover, a domain registrar owned by TUCOWS, a long-time player in the Internet scene. I found a 10% off coupon for Hover, and the company itself is offering domain transfers for only $10. Hover has a good tutorial which walks one over the multi-step process to go from GoDaddy over to its service.

As for the other two domains, I have to wait until a 60-day grace period is over before I can transfer one of them. I’m just going to let lapse the other when it comes time to renew. So with that said, goodbye GoDaddy and hello to Hover!

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Apple, Journal, MsgFiler, Software

MsgFiler 3.0 – Coming Soon to the Mac App Store

MsgFiler

Update February 27, 2011: The wait is over. MsgFiler is now available on the Mac App Store!

While I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch, I’m happy to announce the upcoming release of MsgFiler 3.0, available exclusively on the Mac App Store. I submitted the app for approval last week, and it’s currently awaiting review.

Astute readers might stop and ask, “Wait a minute, aren’t Mail plugins not allowed on the Mac App Store?” You’re right that they aren’t, but MsgFiler is no longer a Mail plugin! In a way, MsgFiler has come full circle. The original release was a separate application built using AppleScript Studio. MsgFiler 2.0 was rewritten as a Mail plugin. Now with MsgFiler 3.0, it’s back to being a separate application that communicates with Mail via AppleScript. Longtime users should not worry; there’s still tight integration between MsgFiler 3.0 and Mail.

I’m excited about the new features in MsgFiler 3.0, many of which were direct requests from users over the years:

  • Favorite mailboxes
  • Recent mailboxes
  • Ability to create new mailboxes from within MsgFiler
  • Configurable default action
  • Exclude mailboxes
  • Match on mailbox names only
  • Restrict search to selected accounts
  • Full keyboard access

Check out the MsgFiler 3.0 product video. I’m sure it will get you pumped up and ready to buy it when it becomes available!

There will be a special introductory price of $4.99 for MsgFiler the first week it’s on the Mac App Store. That’s right, you’ll be able to get MsgFiler at 50% off for one week only!

I’m really excited about this new release, and how it’s going to help Mac users save time decluttering their inboxes!

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Apple, Journal, Rants, Technology

Can You Connect To The Internet Now? Verizon, iPad and the MiFi

Update November 23, 2010: Updating the MiFi to firmware 7.3.11 appears to resolve these problems for me. The updater is currently available only for PCs, so Mac users will need to borrow a friend’s computer or use Fusion or Parallels to install the firmware onto their MiFi. Daniel Odio has additional details on his blog.


The following post was written using the MiFi with firmware 7.1.6. The problems listed below manifested itself for me and several other people. Read the update above on how to upgrade your MiFi to the latest firmware which has resolved the problem thus far for me.

So, Verizon is now selling the iPad bundled with the MiFi wireless 3G hotspot. Unless Verizon and Novatel (makers the MiFi firmware) have solved MiFi WiFi disconnect problem, there are going to be a lot of unhappy customers.

Many users of this setup for the past year have experienced random disconnects with the MiFi when used in WiFi mode. As I pointed out in my post on the subject back in April, the device works fine in tethered mode, but fails horribly — disconnecting sometimes every minute — in WiFi mode. To my knowledge there hasn’t been any acknowledgement of this problem on the part of Verizon nor Novatel, nor has there been any firmware update to rectify the issue.

Verizon MiFi Problem

Now that more customers will be “enjoying” this problem, perhaps a solution is not far down the road!

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Decluttering, Journal, Tech, Travel

Lightweight Travel to Maine

Rae and I are at SFO right now, awaiting our red-eye flight to Boston. We are headed to Maine for a Labor Day weekend wedding at which we will be the photographers. For the past several years, I have endeavored to lighten our luggage on all our our travels. While I didn’t think it was a problem at the time, I seriously overpacked when I was studying in France during college. I brought way too many clothes packed into two suitcases and a garment bag. In addition, I had a backpack and a laptop with me in the City of Lights.

Since then, I have flipped to the other side of the equation. I am constantly looking for better ways to pare down my luggage load. This trip is a little different in that we are bringing a lot of photophores gear to Maine. Still,we are not checking in any luggage on our flights. Some of my photo gear and laptop are stored in a LowePro CompuTrekker AW backpack. The tripod, camera bodies, some lenses, and accessories are in a Pelican 1510 hard case. Rae is carrying all of the clothing in a soft bag that’s backpack sized.

Why travel so light is a question I have been asked before. While I get to save a few dollars avoiding the airline check-in baggage fees, the main reason is that I enjoy having everything with me at all times. There’s a certain sense of freedom and liberty when you don’t have to lug and drag tons of stuff with you everywhere. Rae and I still remember all the steps we ascended and descended in the Paris metro stations; it’s not a good memory to have! From that point forward, both of us have followed a minimalist approach to travel. Furthermore, I enjoy the challenge of reducing what I bring to the bare essentials.

We are about to board the airplane, so I’ll be signing off now. We have some new gear to test on this trip, which I will describe in a future post on this site or on the Autumn Gem site. Stay tuned!

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Journal, Travel

New North Face Surge and Recon Bag Differences

Rae and I were at Valley Fair this evening to meet up with Felix, Osvaldo and Cheryl. We went to the Eddie Bauer store to look at their new bag lineup. With its Adventure and Vantage backpacks, the company is taking cues from and targeting The North Face’s Recon and Surge packs. Eddie Bauer is currently having a back-to-school promotion and backpacks are $20 off. While the packs were of lesser quality overall than TNF’s lineup, they are $40 cheaper.

We then went upstairs to The North Face store. A few months ago, I bought a green Surge backpack. While inspecting the display Surge, I immediately could tell that this was the next year model! The new packs sport YKK zippers and have a lightly padded waistbelt instead of a simple waist strap. There are fewer pockets in the secondary compartment of the Surge, and the shoulder straps have been redesigned. The company also moved the top handle to the back. On the previous edition of the Surge, the top handle was attached to the part of the backpack that opens up. If you were to open the bag, the handle becomes useless. Good decision to move it up top.

While I find my Surge to be a serviceable backpack, there’s still room for improvement. Ideally, I’d like something that’s a cross between the Surge and the Recon. Give me the dedicated laptop compartment of the Surge and add the expandable mesh front pocket from the Recon. I could do without one of the front compartments of the Surge but keep the waistbelt and top handle of the 2010/2011 model. In a way, I kinda just described the Eddie Bauer Adventure backpack! One day, I’ll develop some mad sewing skills and fashion my own ultimate backpack!

Update: I just placed an order for an Ivar Revel G2 backpack.
Ivar packs are unique in that they have a shelving system inside the back. Most backpacks, including the Surge and Recon, are basically big pouches where everything sinks to the bottom. While comfortable with light loads, these backs can become a pain when fully loaded. I’ll likely be testing the Ivar in the Bay Area before our Autumn Gem tour to Australia next month. In the meantime, I’ve put up the Surge for sale on Craigslist. As I mentioned above, it’s a fine backpack, but not quite ideally suited for my needs.

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AllThingsD, Apple, Journal, Technology

At the D8 Conference in Rancho Palos Verde

D8 If you love technology, you’ll want to tune into the D8 Conference, where I’ll be for the week in beautiful Rancho Palos Verdes, California. We have a terrific slate of speakers being interviewed by Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, including Apple’s Steve Jobs, on Tuesday evening. Check out the complete list of speakers and visit conference web site for live blogs, photos and video highlights from every session!

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Exercise, Journal

Half-Marathon – San Tomas Acquino Creek Trail

I completed my third half-marathon this morning, running along the San Tomas Acquino Creek Trail near my house in Santa Clara. The first time I ran this far was way back in ninth grade, when I was fourteen years old! I was pretty fast (and light) then, averaging each mile in about 7:51 for a total time of 1:43:00. I didn’t run another half until a few years ago, when Rae and I did our own self-supported run to Cupertino Village and back.

I did today’s by myself, starting out at 9:00 am and returning two hours later. We only recently found out about the San Tomas Acquino Creek Trail, even though we’ve lived in Santa Clara for four years now. It’s great in that you can do most of the trail without ever having to stop at a crosswalk or light. I ran all the way to the old 3Com/Palm headquarters (now it’s the Atheros corporate offices). The first part of the run was much quicker than the return trip, as I was slowed by blisters on my forefeet. I guess I haven’t run long enough to develop callouses on that part of my feet yet. Every step back was somewhat painful, but I managed to truck back home. Fortunately, the return trip always seems shorter (to me at least) than the initial leg.

There were a number of people on the trail today, from walkers to runners to bicyclists. I passed by the parking lot where the San Francisco 49ers and the City of Santa Clara want to build the new 49ers Stadium. I can easily see the trail being used by Santa Clarans to get to gameday. I’m still torn whether to vote yes or no on Measure J. Part of me is still not convinced that the stadium deal works out financially for the city. For instance, there really not much parking around the proposed stadium, unless the Silicon Valley tech companies are going to open up their parking lots of Sundays. I can see traffic being a killer because of this. Second, there’s not much to do or see around the Great America area without driving. With AT&T Park and the Shark Tank, there’s ample shops and restaurants within walking distance in San Francisco and San Jose respectively. I can see people driving to attend after-game parties and events outside of Santa Clara; that doesn’t really help the city then, does it?

If you judge the stadium vote based on the number of Yes on Measure J versus No on Measure J signs around town, you’d think that Yes is going to win by a landslide. They definitely have the money and the backing of the 49ers and City behind them. Still, there’s a part of me that leaning towards voting no come June. What are your thoughts on bringing the 49ers to Santa Clara?

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