A very megnut.com birthday

Today is the sixth birthday of this site. Sixth! It's hard to believe it's been going for so long (and by "going" I mean "hanging on by a thread for weeks on end when I barely bother to update"). I've — really I'm not lying — been working on a redesign for the past two weeks, and I'd hoped to launch it today for a birthday present. But as these things go, it's not done, and I now actually don't like the design anymore. But I do have changes planned, and will probably roll things out gradually. For now, let's just all sing "Happy Birthday megnut.com!" and I'll get started baking the cake.

The very long half-marathon

Saturday morning I ran the Brooklyn Half-Marathon, a supposed final "tune-up" before the Paris Marathon which looms before me on April 10th. Since I've been skiing a lot more than I should be, and running a lot less (with the slim hope that all the skiing will be close enough to running to "count"), I'd lowered my goal for Paris from Sub 4:30 Marathon to Just Finish and Have Fun. Judging by my performance on Saturday, Just Finish will be a challenge, and Have Fun will be unachievable.

Guh! Who would have thought 13.1 miles could be sooooo looooong? Perhaps it was because I skied for nearly seven straight days, then headed to San Diego where I barely got any rest and conferenced up a storm, then flew the red-eye back to NY and two nights before the race had only 4 hours sleep? Perhaps it's because I just haven't done the work. Either way, my legs felt like lead, and I had to coax them through the flats of Brooklyn and then plead with them through the rolling hills of Prospect Park. Final result? 2:18:52. I'm really beginning to dread Paris.

Dwindling Etech links

As you can see by the number of links posted over the course of three days, Etech kicked my butt and exhaustion took hold. By the end just being able to follow a talk was about all I could muster. Dare I say I'll write up my thoughts about the conference in the next few days and post something about my experience? A wiser woman would not, but I still dream of the day when I actually take the time to summarize a conference.

Links from Day 2 of ETech

This is a dump of lnks of interest to me that come up during talks during the second day at Etech. Newest at top. Late start because I was running in the AM.

Ta-da Lists
Really simple to-do list management.

Cory Doctorow's notes
Cory's notes from James Surowiecki's talk, "Independent Individuals and Wise Crowds, or Is It Possible to Be Too Connected?"

The SchoolTool Project
"SchoolTool is a project to develop a common global school administration infrastructure that is freely available under an Open Source licence."

Instiki
"Instiki is a Wiki Clone (What is a wiki?) that’s so easy to set up and so pretty to look at, you’ll be wondering whether this is a real wiki at all…Instiki only relies on Ruby—no Apache, no MySQL, or other dependencies(yay!). Instiki runs on Windows, Linux, OSX, and any other platform where Ruby does."

Dodgeball
"A service which aims to coordinate social interactions between mobile users"

Pac-Manhattan
"Pac-Manhattan is a large-scale urban game that utilizes the New York City grid to recreate the 1980's video game sensation Pac-Man. This analog version of Pac-man is being developed in NYU's Interactive Telecommunications graduate program, in order to explore what happens when games are removed from their 'little world' of tabletops, televisions and computers and placed in the larger 'real world' of street corners, and cities."

Links from Day 1 of Etech

This is a dump of lnks of interest to me that come up during talks during the first day at Etech. Newest at top.

Citizen journalism, one-handed department
"There has been so much debate over whether bloggers are journalists, the real issue has been obscured: are IRC chatters journalists? Mr. Sun has done some careful investigation and found that the IRC conversation logged below preceded the supposed revolutionizing of journalism by bloggers." Totally unrelated to the conference, but a funny reminder that I don't read Mr. Sun enough.

Ten Hour Takeover
"Ten Hour Takeover is your chance to choose the music Radio 1 plays." The BBC asked listeners to send a text message song request. Ten hours of music totally driven by the listening public. Awesome.

"Average UK adult listens to 24 hours of radio a week" according to Paul in the presentation, BBC Programme Information Pages: An Architecture for an On-Demand World. Wow. That's amazing. For comparison, I found this document about American teenage radio habits stating that US young adults agee 12-17 listen to an average of 13.5 hours of radio a week. Maybe it's because we've got more Clear Channel and they've got Radio 1?

Cory's notes from George Dyson's talk
Dyson's talk on "Von Neumann's Universe" was one of my favorites so far, and makes me want to take a field trip to Princeton to visit the Institute for Advanced Study.

Near Near Future
A blog from a woman who's, "currently working as a new media consultant for a multimedia and virtual reality park in Turin." I like the way she's got her categories displayed across the top of the page, using a larger font to display categories with more posts.

pasta and vinegar
"A blog by nicolas nova about pasta (human computer interaction, innovation, technologies, futuristic trends, location based services, mobile computing, user-centric stuff, video game design) and vinegar (digital culture and various weird stuff)."

The real digital divide (The Economist)
"Encouraging the spread of mobile phones is the most sensible and effective response to the digital divide"

(The above link is not from the conference, I read this on the plane and it's very interesting, I recommend the whole Technology Quarterly in the March 12th-18th The Economist. A lot of what I read in it feels relevant to what I'm thinking about and hearing at ETech.)

Google Sets
"Automatically create sets of items from a few examples." Here's an example with peanut butter & jelly.

Tech Buzz Game
"The Tech Buzz Game is a fantasy prediction market for high-tech products, concepts, and trends."

applied minds, inc.
Danny Hillis is talking about walking dinosaur that's electrically driven and fully articulated and all kinds of amazing robots that I'll find links for and pictures of later, I want to listen now.

Flickr Graph
"Flickr Graph is an application that explores the social relationships inside flickr.com."

Flickrfox
"flickrfox is an extension for Firefox (version 1.0) that lets you browse your Flickr photostreams in a sidebar."

Baby Name Wizard's NameVoyager
Baby Name Wizard's NameVoyager looks really cool but doesn't seem to work in Firefox. It graphs the popularity of baby names over time.

Get yer free land!

Please note: this is only a link to an article about free land. I do not know anything about getting free land so please don't email me asking how to do so. Thanks.

The Mid-West is offering free land! To stem the exodus of its populations to cities, many small midwestern towns are offering incentives to folks who'd be willing to move there, according to this New York Times article, Empty House on the Prairie. As a fan of the Little House on the Prairie, I must admit I'm tempted. On my one visit to rural Nebraska, I was stuck by the beauty of the prairie landscape. And then there's this:

In some of these towns, a commute to work is four minutes; crime is all but nonexistent; at night you half-believe you can look toward the soundless sky and see the outskirts of heaven. And isolation, in our age of 500 channels, of easy Internet access and e-mail, does not mean the same thing it did to generations past.

Perhaps I'll load the covered wagon, hitch up the team, and hit the trail. When you next see me, I'll be running down a hill in my calico dress, my arms outstretched at my sides, my bonnet flapping in the wind.

Soon I’ll be in San Diego

You may have noticed over on the sidebar (unless you're an RSS reader, in which case here's a special message for you (non-RSS readers, feel free to skip ahead): you're missing new content that I don't syndicate! I put little messages and pictures in the sidebar! Come back to the lovely old HTML megnut.com!) that I'll be attending the 4th Annual O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference later this month in San Diego. I've been to every Emerging Tech conference and am once again looking forward to the trip and the experience.

I'm especially looking forward to hearing New Yorker columnist James Surowiecki speak (Independent Individuals and Wise Crowds, or Is It Possible to Be Too Connected?), as he's one of my favs from the magazine. And there's a hardware hacks (Hardware Hacks from the Far Side) session that piques my interest as well. I always find I go to the sessions about hardware and then envision myself soldering things and building my own army of robots once I get home. Alas, I have yet to build one robot arm or leg, so there's nothing even close to a company or regiment of robots in my apartment. But maybe this is the year! Of course, my army of robots would be a peace-loving type of army, tasked with feeding the cat while I'm out of town and emptying his kitty litter. Maybe they'd do some dishes too.

In summary, in case you had trouble following that crazy post: I'm going to the Emerging Technology Conference. And: yay!

Digital Lifestyle Day

Digital Lifestyle Day 05 is underway here in Munich and happily my panel was not only the very first one, but I was the first speaker. So now my work is done and I can enjoy the conference and the mingling and the snacks and coffee! It's been very interesting so far and fun to share the stage with people like Caterina (from flickr.com) and Michael (from last.fm). My brain's bubbling with lots of thoughts, most of which would be clearer if I weren't quite so tired. Still, the conference is fun so far. Check out the website for more information, I believe they're putting up streams of the presentations so you can see what's going on.

Paris Marathon training plan

I've begun my training for the Paris Marathon though I haven't really been running much yet. I've been doing some swimming, a lot of downhill skiing, ice skating/hockey, and some snowshoeing. I guess you'd call that cross-training, wouldn't you?

When I trained last year for the New York City Marathon, I followed this Marathon Training for Beginners program from Runner's World. It worked great and I felt 100% prepared when I got to the start. But when I looked at their Intermediate Program, it seemed awful long for someone who was already in marathon shape, especially since I was hoping to give my body a little time to recover from NYC.

After talking with some more experienced marathoners (including a sub three hour runner), I gravitated towards a shorter program that encourages less running per week but stresses higher mileage. I'm using Hal Higdon's Senior Marathon Training Program. It has three major benefits for me right now:

1. It's only eight weeks long, meaning I don't have to really start running regularly until the week of February 13th. That gives me a little more recovery time for my achy hip and lets me do more fun outdoor activities. Otherwise I'd be using up nearly all my energy running, and that wouldn't be much fun!

2. It (hopefully) gives New Hampshire some time to warm up! It's been brutally cold here, around -10° F (-23° C) at my usual morning running time. I don't mind running in the cold, but -10° is a little too cold.

3. With only three days of running, I have time for cross-training. For the two Stretch & Strengthen (S & S) days, I'm going to a Masters swim team program (no racing, just good organized swim workouts) and doing weights when I get home.

Will the less is more approach work? A big test will be the NYRR Brooklyn Half-Marathon on March 19th. My goal for Paris is 4:30, which means I need to do 2:15 or better in Brooklyn. That's less than two months from now, so I guess I'll find out soon enough!