Geared up for SF Marathon

Organized for the 2006 SF Marathon
Originally uploaded by Lyndon Wong.

Gathered up some key items on the evening before the 2006 San Francisco Marathon, and found the montage of gear and fuel rather eye-catching, so I caught it for posterity.

The event was great fun, shared with various SFRRC running friends under beautiful weather conditions. I came in around my goal, completing the 2nd half course in 2:01:33, beating my time in the first half of the 2005 SF Marathon by nearly 10 minutes.

Leo Hindery Issues Fatwa on Portals

Hindery Fatwa on Portals
Originally uploaded by lyndon.

After the final demise of ExciteAtHome in 2002, I reflected a bit on my experience with the Internet Bubble, and among other things, read “The Internet’s Coming of Age” a 2001 publication of the U.S. National Academies drafted by a committee including ExciteAtHome CTO Milo Medin and future Google CEO Eric Schmidt. This monograph outlined how the architects of the Internet foresaw the relationships between content (data), services (software applications) and distribution (network connectivity). One key attribute of the Internet architecture is the separation between the network layer and the application layer, deliberately putting the ‘intelligence’ of new services at the edges of the network (where servers executed software), and keeping the pipe ‘dumb’ (see CSTB 2001). The architects expected this would make innovation on the Internet easier, by eliminating any network dependencies when deploying a new application. If Internet application developers seem to be eating the lunch of the cable and telecom companies, it’s in some respects a natural consequence of how the Internet was designed to work. Had the arrangements been different, the concept of “Internet-speed development” would not have arisen, and today’s Web would have evolved for the worse.

Because each of these three legs – content, applications and distribution – requires substantial investment in capital, human or otherwise, I find rather comical the recent remarks by former @Home board member Leo Hindery on the impending death of the major Web portals. The economic role of portals is more accurately reflected by the Web applications they host than by the content they present. The expertise required to conceive of and deploy these software applications is quite distinct from the talent to create content (merely data to a software developer) or the logistical muscle to build physical networks (all those truck rolls for installing broadband access everywhere). The disparate nature of these talents contributed to the failure of convergence via vertical integration at AOL-TimeWarner and ExciteAtHome.

But there’s no need to belabor the point further. The reaction of the blog-o-sphere (e.g. TechDirt, John Battelle) makes better reading. Twenty years from now, we’ll all share a good laugh, because these bits will still be around for everyone to read with bemusement. In the meantime, let us hope that only a minimal amount of investment capital will get mis-allocated along the way.

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SF StadiumToStadium Run, Sunday, 13 August 2006

SF StadiumToStadium Run, Sunday, 13 August 2006

Here’s an interesting new civic-minded recreational run, set along San Francisco’s eastern shoreline:

StadiumToStadum Run/Walk
Sunday, 13 August 2006
San Francisco, CA
Start: 8:45am at Monster Park (SF 49ers stadium)
Finish: ATT Park (SF Giants stadium)

From the event web site:

“Join San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, and world class runners Dean Karnazes and Marian Lyons in Shape Up San Francisco’s first Stadium to Stadium Run/Walk for Health. From Monster Park to AT&T Park with a “Keep it Movin’ ” Health Fair at the finish line. Get in motion today! The purpose of the Stadium-To-Stadium Race/Walk is to raise health awareness in the southeast sector of San Francisco, especially among youth. The proceeds will benefit sports, health and educational programs for children.”

The event is a nice idea, addressing important social issues at several levels. Along with many members of the San Francisco Road Runners Club, I plan to participate in a show of support.

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YHOO and the ‘user-generated’ look

YHOO and the ‘user-generated’ look

If we drink the current digerati kool-aid (e.g. The Economist New Media Survey, 2006), user-generated content will inherit the Earth, and everything will look like it came out of the living room of Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar. Yahoo co-founders Jerry Yang and David Filo try the approach with their own product plug (Announcing the new Yahoo! homepage ), perhaps not nearly as funny as the beloved Wayne and Garth, but still impressively charming for a couple of billionaires:

Ironman in Action at Wildflower 2006

Ironman in Action at Wildflower 2006

Tom Knauer, a Hawaii Ironman qualifier and tireless evangelist of the triathlon sport, generously led over a dozen friends on a weekend RV trip to Wildflower 2006. He showed us all a wonderfully fun time, no matter what event we took on.

Here’s a much-deserved digital media toast to Tom:

May your pre-race bike tuning always go without a hitch:

Race prep at Wildflower 2006
And may you always finish with cheering crowds (note: video requires broadband connection and contains VERY LOUD crowd noise – adjust your speaker volume before play):

Thanks for sharing the joy of the sport , coaching a few of us through our first tentative steps, and for suffering all the unforseen headaches of pulling together this road-trip.

If we are what we eat…

Lunch 2006 May 3 Wed – sandwich
Originally uploaded by lyndon.

… then this flickr feed is my self-portrait in the making:

I recently volunteered to subject my eating habits to analysis as part of a sports nutritional study. I’ve never known much about the topic, other than the notion of fueling up on carbohydrates before endurance activities like long runs.

To minimize the tedium of recording every little thing I ate, I had the brilliant idea of photographing my food (…a picture can capture a thousand calories in an instant, and digital cameras make it viable to record everything). Of course, vanity quickly set in, and I started to:

1. adjust my eating habits to make the photo stream look more flattering

2. leave out photos of some between-meal snacks

OK, so I cheated, just slightly… but overall, my little experiment hints at one of the many potential benefits of leading a transparent life, aided by social software. Imagine if all of us had photo streams of our daily food intake… and concerned friends, strangers, and nutritionists weighed in with comments.

Since the public appetite for ‘reality media’ seems quite high, this could one day trump watching silly television shows. I personally would love to follow what Lance Armstrong eats week-in and week-out.

Transparent or Opaque: a generation gap in progress

My new homepage, 2006 Apr 23
Originally uploaded by lyndon.

Over the weekend, I re-organized my homepage and briefly mulled over whether to incorporate a 30Boxes calendar badge. Was I comfortable with anyone being able to see my calendar? My little dilemma seemingly frames the new generation gap, between the young who eagerly live their personal lives transparently on the Web, and the old who cautiously debate what to make private or public.

The new applications categorized under the “Web 2.0” moniker cater to a willingness to be open about one’s opinions, travels, schedule and interests. The old, especially outside of software-focused fields, find these ‘digital life’ sharing applications of limited relevance, and even caution the young to beware of the consequences of public expression when seeking future employment.

But how carefully groomed and scripted should all of us be from the moment we exist on the Web? What should a prospective employer, customer, friend or romantic partner think of any person who surfaces nothing authentic from a Web search? Whom should we trust? In the Internet Age, the important choice facing all of us is not whether to be digital or analog, but whether to be transparent or opaque.

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