Category Archives: Uncategorized

High Power Rocketry at Black Rock

I’m going to attempt the trek out to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada this weekend so I can watch Aeropac’s high power rocket launch. Aeropac has a launch waiver up to 100,000 ft. so there should be some exciting rocket flights!

As some of you know the playa is an interesting and challenging environment. This time of year there can be lakes, floods and lots of mud. Here is a recon video shot yesterday.

Pay Taxes – Get Told to Delete Photos

Treasurer - Tax Collector Donald R. White

This afternoon I had a wonderful visit to the Alameda Government center to visit the office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector. In order to not be hit with a huge penalty for paying late, I thought I’d visit in person and get a stamped receipt as proof of paying in a timely manner. When you arrive at the Alameda Government center on Oak St., you are greeted by Sheriff Deputies and an airport style security arrangement where I had to remove my belt, keys and iPhone and run them through a metal detector. After passing security, I was free to stand in a long line to pay my taxes. After the line seemed to stop moving, an employee came out and told the taxpayers that the, “system had gone down”. Since I just needed to drop off a check and get a receipt stamp I waited another ten minutes to get my property taxes processed.

Happy that I had gotten this chore out of the way, I was walking down the halls of government when I noticed this amusing sign for the Treasurer & Tax Collector. The logo seems to symbolize some kind of Utopian world of money, houses, computers and people! I snapped a couple shots with my iPhone right in front of some of the Deputies when one asked me what I was doing. I told him I was taking a picture of the sign on the wall. He then told me that he thought it was against the law to do that. He then conferred with another deputy that said it was against the law. He then asked me if I could delete the picture. I told him that it was too late – it was already, “in the cloud”! He asked me what I was taking the picture for. I said it was for my blog and that I cover interesting events in the community. The deputy admonished me that this was no good and that I need to get permission to take pictures. He repeated I better delete the picture when I get home and that it was a misdemeanor. I shrugged then left.

Macworld 2009

Macworld is starting tomorrow. I’ll be showing up to check out all the new stuff and more importantly to see and meet friends from near and far. I’ll be tweeting @davebryan for updates on my whereabouts.

Wednesday and Thursday nights will probably be the nights I stay out late.

Who knows what will come out since Apple is trying to downplay the event as a launching event for new products. There will probably be some updates or maybe something big – nice, now that our expectations are lowered!

Copperplate, oh how stylish…

copper_6660fedfe063fdce240557

Yep time to update a little bit of the crusty blog. So I started playing around with Movable Type stylesheets and slapped in my new masthead. Feeling nostalgic, I thought I’d use Copperplate which I actually liked back in 1992. Now my blog looks like a Steakhouse. Care for some cream spinach with that?

Happy Birthday ISSUES!

Mix some of my favorite things – magazines, fun people, snacks and beer and you got the ISSUES One Year Anniversary Party! ISSUES is my favorite shop for many reasons. They have an awesome magazine selection, great music playing in the stereo, interesting books and ephemera. I always leave with one of their bright green plastic bags full of readable delights.

The place was packed by the time of the afternoon drawing and I got to win a prize! I selected the Peet’s gift box of coffee beans. Next time your over on Piedmont Avenue, check them out!

Only in South Park

LOLCAT

Like a bourbon soaked butterfly, I fluttered between Web parties the other night. I started at Webmonkey’s Relaunch event at Gallery Lounge and ended up over at 21st Amendment where the Laughingsquid crew was have a meet’n greet with some of their out of town friends.

During my adventure, I strolled through quaint South Park and saw this funny flyer. I also swung by Vima Dance Studio. The people there are friendly and tear it up on the ballroom floor. My girlfriend wants us to take some lessons soon. I think we’ll start here!

Macworld Saved by David J

davidj

With too much going on at work I had little time this year to indulge in Macworld Expo. On Friday afternoon I was running around trying to find the most interesting booths and displays. Near the end of my trip, in the furtherest corner of the South Hall, I heard some interesting music coming from the shadows. My view was obscured by the hall’s large support beams but when I went to check it out, it was a Best Buy mini-store. Standing behind a mixing desk with some video monitors behind him was Bauhaus‘ David J Djing some soundscape mixes! Now if Best Buy always had members of Bauhaus playing music I’d visit more often!

The Humans!

Human 'Play' EP

Going to high school in late seventies Santa Cruz, my favorite local band was The Humans. They were a mix of the then emerging New Wave scene with a mix of surf, punk and avant garde theatrics. The first time I saw them was after Devo played a show at the Santa Cruz Civic in 1979. I hung out after the show and got to meetup with Devo so I could show them some pics from their previous Santa Cruz show earlier that year. While talking to them they got an invite note from a local band called The Humans that said they were inspired by Devo and that they should come check out their show later that night at JJ’s Pizza over in the East Cliff neighborhood. The guys from Devo and their brother/manager said come on let’s all go!.

So me and my younger brother booked out to JJ’s in my Datsun 510 to go hang with Devo and finally get see The Humans which were getting some considerable buzz at the time. Half hour later, I’m sitting at a little table with a couple guys from Devo, their manager and a pitcher of beer! I guess those times were a little different.

The Humans came on stage and did a blistering set of punk/new wave music with great surfy guitar licks. I became a big fan of them that night and went to almost every performance they did around the Monterey Bay area. The band was always so cool and friendly to this dorky teenager with his ever present camera around his neck.

Recently I’ve been going through and digitizing some of my favorite old cassette tapes and I found this aircheck tape of Eric Gies and Sterling Storm of The Humans being interviewed on KLRB – the ‘alternative’ progressive FM rock station that broadcast from the Barnyard in Carmel Valley. Because of this station I was exposed to the Punk revolution, New Wave as well as artists like Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa and anything else weird the DJs felt like playing.

Here’s the cassette tape from November 1980.

WWDC!

dave_wwdc

OSX Leopard
After a fun afternoon driving up to Vallejo to visit my good friend John Zorko, we took the ferry to SF to pickup his WWDC credentials. What’s in store this week? Can’t wait to find out! Probably some cool GUI interface tricks with Core Animation. John is hoping that Apple opens up the iPhone platform to developers to justify an iPhone purchase. I’ll probably look into getting one when my two year contract is up with my Sony/Ericsson W600.

Another fun part of the day was trying out my new Canon SD750. I got it to replace my little Nikon that I squished a bit in NYC last month. This camera is pretty cool. It’s super small but the quality is great. There’s a slow sync mode reminiscent of the rear-curtain sync settings I liked using in the film days. Another surprise is the quality of the video this thing shoots. 30fps – very smooth! My first digital camera, the Canon G2 couldn’t come close to this.

SF Ferry Building

Bye-bye City! Um until Monday morning…

Podcast Fanboy

Over the last two years I’ve become a follower of several of the popular Podcast that emanate from the Bay Area.

As someone interested in the Mac Scene, I started listening to the Your Mac Life show which was a conventional web cast available by download or a live Internet stream. A couple years ago Your Mac Life stopped allowing downloads of their show, only giving the option of purchasing the show through Audible.com a web stream. Since I like to listen at my convenience and didn’t want to pay for the show, I listened less and less as it wasn’t a Podcast.

Annually, the Your Mac Life show would  hype up their  party at Macworld San Francisco, thinking it would be a great way to meet the community of listeners and the show hosts. I would request how I could attend, but instead of getting an invite,  I would get a pitch from YML to have my company buy into being a sponsor for the event in order to attend. So much for the YML community aspect…

Then along came This Week in Tech, or better known as Twit. Hosted by Leo LaPorte and other alumni of TechTV, he started a weekly podcast taking his idea of a lively roundtable of people in the tech field to discuss a range of topics. From this show, I learned of Kevin Rose and his The Broken series and the then new, Diggnation show and Merlin Mann’s 43Folders.com.

What helped catapult these shows to the forefront of the scene and surpassing Your Mac Life, was using RSS to ‘Podcast’ the content for free. This is the best format for me and a lot of other listeners as you can listen when you want on your iPod; riding to work, jogging or on your stereo. And the biggest  aspect that makes these shows a success, is the community that was started around the shows. Leo started taping the shows at various spots around SF and invited the listeners to participate. A few shows were done at the SF Apple store and a few were done at local cafes or beer joints.

The Diggnation shows have also taken on a life of their own. Their Podcast  started with just co-hosts, Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht sitting on a couch, drinking some beers with their laptops on their laps. They discuss top news stories from the reader selected top stories on digg.com. They also had a brilliant idea to help build their community – to record some of their podcasts in public at a local brewpub. Entry into the party event was free! Recently they recorded at the Beach House brewpub in San Francisco. Beer + geeks = good times!

Digg.com recently had a big party for their listeners at Club Mezzanine in San Francisco. They generously gave away two drink tickets and a t-shirt! I even got to meet my organization/life-hack hero, Merlin Mann.

I’m posting some of the pics I’ve taken from the many public shows I went too in the last couple years.

Failure Pile in a Sadness Bowl?

In 2006, I saw Patton Oswalt twice at Cobb’s Comedy Club in North Beach. He’s been a fave of mine and Dru since we heard his bit on Heavy Metal on a mix tape from a friend.

Couple weeks ago, I was coming home alone late at night when I drove by the local KFC. The Sadness bowl was indeed mine… all mine!

Now where was that This Mortal Coil box set?

Rooz Rules

Rooz Café is now my fave Bean Hut. Compfy reasonably quiet interior, great coffee served in nice big mugs and tasty breaksfasts! Oh – and FREE WiFi!

Rooz is on Piedmont Ave. in Oakland.

I’ve been canvassing many East Bay cafés looking for good coffee and free WiFi. Went to check out some I saw listed on the BeastBlog.com site and was disappointed. Next time I’m firing up the laptop before I order. Brewed Awakening and Café Neffeli on Euclid were both a waste of time.

Some might disagree with me that WiFi is important for a Café. I like to be able to grab my laptop and work on projects when I’m out. I also enjoy the fact that people on laptops are usually quiet people. Having to overhear some UCSC TA blab on and on about them selves at the next table is no treat.