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Impressive Geo-tagging Camera – Casio EXILIM EX-H20G

Casio has launched a 14.1 megapixel camera with full geo-tagging capabilities built into it. Beyond that, it leverages the GPS and internal memory to maintain maps and a database of popular sightseeing locations. The camera is able to detect whether you are within range of one of the 10,000 popular locations and alerts you to the photo opportunity so you don’t miss it. This is definitely cool for the casual traveler who likes point and shoot convenience.

One thing I would like to see beyond this would be crowd sourcing based on the geo-tagged photos. Imagine having the coordinates of all photos taken uploaded to a central database, and then having the top 10,000 of those distributed back out to the camera. This would be a great exercise in statistical analysis, but would also provide an easy way for updating popular locations based on the actual users.

 

Check out the features and specs here -> Casio Camera Bundles Advanced GPS Functions and Sightseeing Tips

Dell Consumer Electronics – 10 Years Later They Still Need Help

Last July, a piece was published on Wired.com called Delusional Dell Planning a Smartphone. I was reminded of the Dell DJ Jukebox that I purchased back in the 2002/2003 timeframe when MP3 players, particularly the iPod were becoming very popular. My Dell player was heavy, with a non-elegant display and scroll wheel much like the one found on PC mice. I remember that I was pretty happy with this device, until it came time to create playlists and move music around. I don’t recall what software came with it, but I remember purchasing an upgraded version that was good for a lifetime (about 24 months for me until I got my first iPod and never looked back). The whole experience was a pain in the rear! Instead of playlists on the Dell simply being file pointers, it seemed that it was copying the files over again – almost as if it was just copies of the mp3 file in a different folder (it probably was, but I don’t want to assert that here since I didn’t reverse engineer it or research it).

Given that Apple clearly won the mp3 player battle and already had made huge inroads into the smartphone market, I found it surprising that Dell was launching a smartphone. I was even more surprised to learn that it wouldn’t be a Windows 7 phone, but would instead run the Android operating system. Perhaps this would bode well for them since a large number of people I know have embraced Android based phones.

Today I see this article -> Dell’s Aero Smartphone: An Embarrassment to Android. It turns out that the version of Android they launched with, version 1.5, is older than the press release I linked to above indicating that they were planning a smartphone! I cannot imagine the product marketing decision making process that thought it would be ok to launch in August 2010 with an OS that was 16 months behind phones coming into the marketplace today made by LG and HTC.

Dell is great at making desktops and laptops. It is the only brand I have used/purchased since 1998 and I have been through 6 or 7 models at this point. Clearly, they still need help in the development of their consumer portable electronics!

2010 Ironman Augusta 70.3 Race Report

This race marks my fifth race at the 1/2 iron distance triathlon, but my first of the Ironman-branded variety. I personally had a tough time with this some years back, because an Ironman is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run. But there are some people that do these Ironman 70.3 races and then call themselves an Ironman. Whatever – that’s between them and their conscience. With Lake Placid and Wisconsin in my rear view mirror, I decided it was time to take advantage of the big crowds and support crew of these bigger 70.3 races.

This race also marks my first under a new coach. I hired him last month and have only been through roughly 4 weeks with him, so I assured him that if this race resulted in a poor outcome that I fully accepted the responsibility. Once this season ends in late October, I will post more about my thoughts on my coach and the future. But let me say that his past experience at this race greatly helped keep me focused on what I needed (and didn’t need) to do in the few days leading up to the race.

I arrived at the race site on Saturday afternoon and was greeted by a huge line for athlete check-in. The line was occupied by many non-athletes, but once you reached the actual check-in point they weeded all those folks out so it wasn’t congested where the actual work was taking place. It is funny what a matter of a few minutes makes – at 4pm the line wrapped around the corridor. At 4:45pm it was about 1/3 its size. After picking up my packet, I took my bike down to the transition area (roughly 1 mile away) and checked it in. The logistics of this race really bothered me up until I went to sleep Saturday night.

Sunday I awoke thinking to myself “Self, this isn’t fun any more.” I had always told myself once it stopped being fun I would stop doing it. Of course, saying this to yourself once does not really mean anything. If I said that over and over for a year I would have to give it serious thought. I shaved, showered, packed the Xterra (I wouldn’t be coming back to my room after the race) and began the walk with my transition bag down to my bike. This all went smooth. Light drizzle began to fall at 6:30 as I was leaving the transition area.


Savannah River – Ironman Augusta 70.3
Originally uploaded by Iron Mike Schubert

Swim 1.2 Miles – 30:10

It’s raining now. Not that it matters – I’m getting wet anyway. The physically challenged athletes went off a few waves in front of mine. Of note was a blind guy and a guy with one leg. I saw them both later on the bike course and was thankful that I am able to compete with no physical impairments. This event is a river swim and while you don’t feel it, it is definitely there. There was the usual jostling for the first 1/4 mile or so but then everyone found their place and just swam. The only sighting issue I had was at swim finish. The buoys were still way to the left and it was not obvious that I should be turning right. I think I wasted an extra minute or two here. No big deal though – I’m very happy with my time.

 


My Bike in Transition Area – Ironman Augusta 70.3
Originally uploaded by Iron Mike Schubert

Bike 56 Miles – 2:46:36 (20.2 mph)

It rained. The entire time. The bike course is great – rolling with only 1 or 2 real climbs that I recall. Early in the ride, I hit a hole in the road that was filled with water (that’s why I didn’t see it) and my sippee cup flew off my bars and landed in the road. Evidently I had missed a hole or didn’t double the strap back when securing it in the dark this morning. Of course, that was all my fluids for the first 19 miles, and I hadn’t drank anything yet since I had just gotten on my bike 15 minutes ago. So already I knew this would be interesting.

Mile 19 came and I was very happy to get water and dump in some of my concentrated Infinit. Nutrition began flowing instantly and I was feeling great. I guess holding my mouth open to catch the rain was a good strategy. Had it been warmer that day, I would’ve been screwed. As it was, I was able to maintain over 20mph across the bike course and have good legs to run on.

 

Run 13.1 Miles – 2:09:53 (9:54 / mile)

The run was pretty flat. There was a gradual grade that was virtually unnoticeable. Fortunately, it stopped raining when I hit mile 2. Unfortunately, I did not have dry socks in my bag in transition so by mile 4 my feet were starting to blister. And oh by the way, I found that my Garmin 405 had frozen at 9:25 am while I was out on my bike – so I was flying blind on the run. Yikes! 

When I ran past the finish line the first time I saw the time clock say 4:45:00, so I knew getting in under 6 hours was within my reach. I felt like I was dragging on the run and would be cutting it close. Without my watch, I really had no way to know. The second loop I walked a few times, but once I hit mile 11 I started motoring. When I came around the corner into the finish chute I looked up and saw 5:58:10 on the time clock and knew I had blown 6 hours out of the water. That clock started with the pros and I was somewhere between 20-24 minutes behind them! I was so overjoyed and overwhelmed that I was near tears. After crossing the line, I turned around to look at the clock again just to make sure it said the same thing on both sides!

Overall time – 5 hours 38 minutes 27 seconds. My best at the 70.3 discipline.

Parting Thoughts

A lot of folks sit back in retrospect and look at what went wrong. This race represents a lot that went right for me. Speed work on the track on Wednesday nights. The Thursday night hammer fest in Roswell after work. A decent amount of time in the pool and practicing in open water. And above all else, a well executed game plan. I was concerned that the logistics of the race would stress me out. Losing my fluid & nutrition for the first 19 miles was almost my demise, but a huge lesson learned as well (even that needs a plan B on the bike). Not having a watch to pace my run presented a huge challenge. Having a mental plan (or formulating one on the fly) and then executing to it made me very successful on this day.

Would I race Augusta again? Probably. It gets dogged because of the river current. But fine, add 10 minutes to my swim time and I’m still well under 6 hours. Triathlon is about more than just the swim. I still had to propel myself over the open road by bike and foot.

Do I love this sport? Definitely. I shouldn’t take myself too seriously at 4:30 on a race morning!

Engaging Your New Hires

An article in the Wall Street Journal this week talked about a great technique for getting new hires excited about your company. It involves figuring out who the employee’s support system is behind the scenes, and then sending visible signs of appreciation for them to enjoy. I personally experienced this over a decade ago when I arrived home from my first day at Solarcom to find a flower basket had been delivered as a welcome gift. Of course, that is where it ended, but it was a good start nonetheless. Michalowicz says:

Here’s the key to winning over an employee’s family: Start from day one. The first thing your newly hired staff member will likely hear from a significant other when he gets home is, “How was your first day?” If he spent it mostly filling out a three-foot stack of forms, ordering his own business cards and eating lunch alone, he might rightfully answer: “Lousy.”

His solution is to get all of the paperwork out of the way before the new hire walks in the door, and instead have the employee spend the day with his new manager learning about the company, going out to lunch with co-workers, etc. While this probably works well for a small business, I couldn’t imagine spending an entire day with the new hire. And doing the paperwork before starting?? What a waste of my personal time Wink

However, I do believe that he’s on to something by appealing to the support system. If you win them over, then they will be much more supportive when you have to travel, work a late night, or some other event occurs that requires a change of plans back home. 

Read more -> Impressing Your Employee’s Better Half

Race Weekend Coming Up!

Here are my pertinent details:

NO.   LAST NAME       FIRST NAME      DIVISION WAVE  CAP COLOR   WAVE TIME
648   SCHUBERT        MICHAEL         M 35-39   7     SILVER       7:54

My coach has me well prepared. I have my mental game plan laid out and in general know where I am going. Now I just need the weather to be nice. This weekend is not a defining moment, it’s just a benchmark. A ‘B’ race. A training race. I will post a race report on Monday.

 

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