Posts from 2004

Vacation Books

I don’t get to read enough during the work week/weekend.  But when I go on vacation, I love to read.  I brought about ten books with me.  As I read them, I’ll add them to my Vacation Reading list on the right column, right above my In Heavy Rotation list.

Cape Town

Hpim1079 As I said in my Getting Here post, Cape Town is the most beautiful city I’ve ever been to. 

And yes Helmar, we are staying right up the street from Sandbar and enjoying the sights and sounds of Cafe Caprice.

We are staying in Camps Bay which is just over Lions Head from the city proper. I like to think of Camps Bay as Cape Town’s answer to Copacobana.

Just as Rio has the mountains and the sea, so does Cape Town.  Here in Camps Bay, the mountains you see are called the Twelve Apostles.  This is a picture of them from the beach in Camps Bay.

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But probably the most spectacular mountain is the one that sits right over Cape Town called Table Mountain.  No picture can do it justice, but here is my attempt anyway.

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My 50 Favorite Albums (continued)

Inspired by the story of Colin Meloy, I am going to go back to my teenage years for my next top 50 record.  Though I don’t listen to heavy metal much anymore, it was the defining music of my teenage years.  Judas Priest, Scorpions, UFO, Van Halen, and plenty more.  But above all else reined Black Sabbath. The original Ozzie Osbourne-led Black Sabbath.

I was at Josh’s school music performance earlier this week.  There were great performances all around, including Josh’s loud, aggressive, and perfect drumming on Foxy Lady.  Near the end, a young guy came out and played Iron Man. Just one chord into that song and I knew exactly what he was going to play.

Black Sabbath’s music is etched indelibly into my brain.  And it has served as an inspiration for lots of other great musicians. The Replacements got started playing War Pigs and Iron Man in Bob and Tommy Stinson’s basement.  Uncle Tupelo often played Black Sabbath encores.

So, which record is it going to be?  There are some great ones to choose from.  For me, it comes down to Volume 4 with Snowblind and Supernaut or Paranoid with all the great classics.

Paranoid Tough call, but the record I reached for to give Josh a taste of the music was Paranoid so it goes onto the Top 50 list.

Welcome Ozzy.

33 1/3

The Gotham Gal found these little books, short stories actually, that are based on great records.  This series of books is called 33 1/3.

I just polished off Let It Be, by Colin Meloy.  Colin Meloy grew up in Helena, Montana and loved alternative rock and roll music.  His favorite band was The Replacements.  They got him through his teenage years.  It’s a nice story, quick, and easy.

I am going to read more of these.

Getting Here

Hpim1009 We left NY at 6pm EST and arrived in Cape Town at 8pm local time the next day.

I was concerned about that length of a flight and that much travel time, but it was really not a big deal.

The kids are pretty good travellers by now and each one carries their own bag and knows the deal with checking baggage, claiming it, getting through customs, etc.

So that made the trip at lot easier. 

Hpim1015 The other thing that made the trip a lot easier was going up front where the beds lie flat. 

We left at 6pm, ate dinner, watched a movie, and then we all got a good nights sleep.

The tickets weren’t cheap, but for a flight of that length, I highly recommend spending the extra money.

We got to South Africa at 9am EST, 4pm local time and had to switch to a local flight to Cape Town.  A 2 hour layover and a 2 hour flight.

Hpim1018 We arrived in Cape Town at 8pm.  Just in time for Josh and me to go for a swim before grabbing dinner.

The trip here wasn’t bad at all.  I fear the way back will be more taxing.

But it was worth it.  This is what we woke up to this morning.

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There’s a cool wifi Internet Cafe down the street.  So I’ll blog some more of this stuff.  This is the most beautiful city I’ve ever been to.  It even beats Rio.

South Africa Bound

Southafrica I’ll be travelling in South Africa for the rest of the year.

Who knows how much I’ll be able to blog, but if I can, I will.

I love to travel blog.

Another Great Gift

It being the holiday season, I can’t help myself from recommending some good gift ideas. 

I blogged the ski hat with headphone speakers sewn into it last month.  I wear it every day and its great.

I also blogged the top 10 CDs of 2004 if you are interested in getting some music for someone this year.

But the gift I am most excited about this year is the one I gave my brother Rod on our timeshifted Christmas last weekend.

I got him the Linksys Music System at Amazon.  Although the list is $264, they are selling it for $99.  This is a great price for a great consumer electronics product.

Lynkys

As you can see, the thing looks like a boombox.

But it’s a wifi boom box that has Rhapsody and Music Match built into it.  And it plugs into any home stereo you’ve got in your house.

Here’s a direct quote from Rod about the "out of the box" experience, including setting up wifi in his house.

"The wireless router was so easy, I just shut off the cable modem, unplugged my linksys router, plugged in the wireless router, turned on the cable modem, turned on the wireless router and it worked. I installed the software that came with the wifi music system to set my computer up as the music server, started Rhapsody on the computer, turned the wifi music system on it, found the music server and rhapsody, I could play playlists that I had on Rhapsody. Took less than an hour to do this and watch a thing on Napoleon on the History channel at the same time."

And here’s another quote along with a couple of more pictures.

Linksys1Rhapsody1 "I built a play list on Rhapsody called green day, turned on the "wifi music thing", found the green day playlist and hit play, It was playing Holiday/ Boulevard of broken dreams when I took the pictures of it outside on the deck, so it works outside."

Vetting Candidates

Doing the work on people we back and people our companies hire is absolutely critical to our job.  We have networks that usually provide a bunch of great reference opportunities.  And we use databases to do additional work.  That doesn’t mean we don’t make mistakes, but we get it right more often by doing the work.

It looks like The White House could take a lesson in vetting candidates, if the job they did on Kerik is typical of the work they do.

This White House may have excellent political instincts, but they sure do screw up the execution.

Is Adsense a Good Deal or a Bad Deal?

We learned at the Majestic Internet Conference on Monday that Google’s average CPC (cost per click) is currently about $0.50.

I’ve been running Google’s Adsense for almost 9 months and I have had 1,796 clicks and have been credited $313.48.  That’s about $0.175 per click.  A lot less than Google’s averages.

But that doesn’t really tell me much.

So I went into Adwords and looked at what "venture capital" costs.  It goes for about $0.60 per click.

But based on the ads running on my blog, I am not getting many "venture capital" ads.

I get mostly "blog" and "blogging" ads.  "Blog" goes for $0.13 per click but "blogging" goes for almost $0.80 per click.  So I really don’t know what these advertisers are paying on my blog.

All that said, I suspect I am not getting a great deal with Adsense.  I think the audience on my blog is worth more than $0.175 per click and I am going to find a way to get that number up when I get back from vacation in January.