A new federal law aimed at protecting children
from lead in toys has also forced a nationwide halt in sales of
off-road motorcycles and recreational vehicles built for young riders,
killing off a multimillion-dollar industry that was thriving despite
Thousands of powersports dealers were told to
halt sales of vehicles designed for children 12 and younger because of
new lead restrictions in an act of Congress that took effect Feb. 10.
Read more here. I can only hope this is an unintended consequence of a poorly written law that will be rectified quickly. I got my first dirt-bike when I was 10. Many pro-racers today started riding as early as four, and managed to survive without putting any motorcycle parts in their mouth. This isn't going to help the economy much either:
The ban hits California especially hard.
Off-roading is hugely popular among families in the state and several
state parks are devoted to dirt riding.
Kevin Matty, finance director at Temecula
Motorsports in Temecula, Calif., (where the desert is a big draw for
dirt bikers) estimates the ban will wipe out half of his business sales.
"I thought it was a joke," Matty said, until the
manufacturers told him he had to take the youth vehicles off the
It appears the AMA is all over this, but I have to wonder why they didn't catch it when it was moving through congress.
Many of the folks from the original Macintosh team had a gathering a few days ago to celebrate the Macintosh's 25th anniversary. Guy Kawasaki posted the pics and writeup here. Congratulations guys. I consider the Macintosh an astounding achievement for simply enduring. Twenty five years is an epoch in the tech industry; it's just amazing how long it's lasted. Now arguably the original team didn't have much to do with that legacy after the first few generations. I'm sure much of their work was passed on to others, and by now not a shred of the original code remains. But when you look at the philosophy and design of the Mac software today, it's incredible how much they just got right from the start.
Apart from all that, this gathering has a bit of a personal connection for me. Of course, I would have loved to have been a part of this team, but I missed the opportunity due to being born in the wrong place and about a half a generation too late, among other factors. However, in the years since I have been lucky enough to have worked with some of these
Rossman was the Chairman of my most recent former employer Vudu, Scott Knaster did some tech writing for Danger during my time there, and while I was at WebTV, so too was Larry Kenyon doing his thing on the firmware side. Also, it's cool to see them celebrating at Alain's palatial house in Palo Alto, since that is where we had the Vudu launch party a few years ago. The Vudu seems unlikely to last as long as the Mac, but there's a lot of my code still running on the Vudu boxes out there, so I'll be holding out hope for an invite to Alain's place in twenty years or so.
If you're in the mood for a good stickin'-it-to-the-man story, check out this letter from Kurt Denke, the proprietor of Blue Jeans Cable, in reply to a cease and desist his company received from Monster, Inc. alleging intellectual property infringement. What Monster apparently didn't know is that Kurt is a retired lawyer with 19 years of litigation experience. His response, especially the last few paragraphs for us non-lawyers, is priceless.
After reading this I couldn't be more happy about my decision to place a big (for me) order with Blue Jeans a couple of years ago. Go Kurt!
Microsoft is acquiring Danger. Imagine my surprise. Now we wait for the next shoe to drop: the financial terms of the deal. I don't expect much, but if I see a buck a share after all is said and done, I will be ecstatic.
The storm that has rolled in over the last day or so is living up to the
hype. It has already knocked out our power. The hiptop is now my
internet lifeline. If the power is out for an extended period, getting
ready for London could be...interesting.
In other news we discovered that some mice had infiltrated our
bird-feeding peanut stash. We placed some live traps and have now
relocated no fewer than six specimens. Ugh.
I just had one of those lucid moments of awareness, or maybe I became aware of a moment of lucidity. I suddenly became aware of my life, and all the things in it, and how remarkable it all is. I know it sounds absurd when I put it that way. I was standing in my workplace bathroom, of all places, and just for a moment my brain expanded, and then it was gone, and I began to reflect on it. I even wrote this blog post in my head right there, I knew I had to post it because of the Escher-like recursion it creates.
I bet that's what enlightenment feels like, only bigger, but just as fleeting.
Last Sunday was the day of the great resurrection of the V-Strom. It had been steadily collecting dust for several months while I rode the Aprilia. It wasn't entirely the allure of the Italian that relegated the Strom to its sedentary state. The early 2002 Stroms have some sort of design flaw in the drivetrain that resulted in an extremely annoying vibration under certain engine load conditions. This became known among Strom owners as the dreaded "chudder". Not all Stroms were affected equally, but mine gradually became very unpleasant to ride. It got to the point where I lost confidence in the bike. Suzuki eventually updated the clutch basket with thick metal sleeves around the springs which seemed fix the problem. Because of my phobia of dealer service departments, I ordered the parts myself, and let them sit in my garage for a few months. On Sunday, I finally performed the install, and all went well. I've since ridden the bike to work a couple days this week and it is, in fact, much improved. Pretty much as smooth as when I bought it. I'm not entirely over the moon, because I'm still getting reacquainted with the bike. It's big, heavy, and slow compared to the Tuono, of course, but it is quite comfortable. The nice wide seat, and tall windscreen is very welcome during the commute. I'm still nervous that the "chudder" will suddenly return at any moment, but the confidence is gradually building.
If you want to see what's involved in the repair procedure, Dan O'Brien has some nice pics.
MST3K lives, sort of. I was just thinking how much I miss these guys as I was watching a bit of MST3K: The Movie, the other day. Now Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy are once again riffing on bad movies, this time sans robots. Their site has some samples, and they still have it, but I do miss the rest of the crew. I remember enduring their cinematic torture and feeling quite rewarded by the cut scenes in between. I'm not sure if I could manage to sit through an entire craptacular feature without a break.
Got a new MacBook Pro on Saturday. It was just about time, ya know? I haven't been using a Mac regularly since 1996ish. It feels a bit like coming home again, except that someone completely redecorated the place, and things don't look strangely smaller like they did the last time I visited my old high-school. The last system I used was version 8 or 9? I can hardly remember it, other than it crashed a lot in those days. Now, thanks to Yooniks, not so much. This machine is also the first laptop and first unix box I have owned. I'm liking it on both counts.
As for what I plan to do with this thing, right now it's serving as a portable WoW and web browsing station. I may start lugging it to work, but the daily jostling on the motorbike might be a problem. I installed the developer tools, so I might poke around with them a bit. I plan to do some more blogging (yeah, right!), and I might move all my picture processing over here too. Hmm, maybe I can mooch a discounted copy of Aperture from my friends at Apple.
I missed it in theaters, so I only just watched The Prestige on DVD. Wow, it did have me guessing most of the way through. I definitely need to see it again to pick up all the cues I missed. Maybe not quite on par with The Usual Suspects, but damn close. Nice twists, a convincing performance by Jackman, Caine, and most others. I have to say I thought Bale's performance felt a bit forced early on. It was good to see the cameo by Ricky Jay too.