I just checked in online for my brief trip to California tomorrow. I’m flying down to Oakland, where I’ll be meeting other family en route to Carmel, CA. Overnight in Carmel, back home to Seattle on Sunday evening. I may not bring a laptop; just a camera, and my Sony PSP (with Brave Story: New Traveler loaded.)
I’m flying on Alaska Air. I think that this is the first time since about 1987: ((Wrong: I flew SEA-SJC in 2004. Oh, well.)) Barry Folsom and I were visiting the Sun headquarters in Mountain View, discussing the 386i project, and we had to make a side trip to Seattle, to talk to Microsoft about running DOS apps on the Roadrunner. I seem to remember that the Alaska DC-9 in which we flew had elastic netting baggage racks instead of overhead bins, and a huge placard on the cockpit door describing the fact that it was leased from some finance company!
It’s sobering to think that an earthquake 4,300 miles away could trigger a tsunami advisory here. From Yahoo! Weather: TSUNAMI MESSAGE NUMBER 4 NWS WEST COAST/ALASKA TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER PALMER AK 715 PM PDT WED AUG 15 2007 ...THE TSUNAMI ADVISORY FOR ALASKA/ BRITISH COLUMBIA/ WASHINGTON/ OREGON AND CALIFORNIA IS ENDED ... NO - REPEAT NO - WATCH OR WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR THE STATES AND PROVINCES LISTED ABOVE. A TSUNAMI HAS BEEN OBSERVED ON A DEEP OCEAN PRESSURE SENSOR OFF NORTHERN CHILE. REPORTS FROM CHILE INDICATE THAT A DESTRUCTIVE TSUNAMI WAS NOT OBSERVED IN CHILE. THE TSUNAMI IS NOT EXPECTED TO THREATEN THE U.S. WEST COAST BRITISH COLUMBIA OR ALASKA.
EVALUATION BASED ON THE LOCATION - MAGNITUDE - HISTORIC TSUNAMI RECORDS AND OBSERVED TSUNAMI EFFECTS THE EARTHQUAKE WAS NOT SUFFICIENT TO GENERATE A TSUNAMI DAMAGING TO CALIFORNIA/ OREGON/ WASHINGTON/ BRITISH COLUMBIA OR ALASKA. SOME OF THESE AREAS MAY EXPERIENCE NON-DAMAGING SEA LEVEL CHANGES. PRELIMINARY EARTHQUAKE PARAMETERS MAGNITUDE - 7.9 TIME - 1541 AKDT AUG 15 2007 1641 PDT AUG 15 2007 2341 UTC AUG 15 2007 LOCATION - 13.5 SOUTH 76.7 WEST - NEAR COAST OF PERU DEPTH - 29 MILES/47 KM THE PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER IN EWA BEACH HAWAII IS CLOSING ITS INVESTIGATION AND WILL ISSUE A FINAL MESSAGE FOR AREAS OUTSIDE CALIFORNIA/ OREGON/ WASHINGTON/ BRITISH COLUMBIA AND ALASKA. THIS WILL BE THE LAST WEST COAST/ALASKA TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER MESSAGE ISSUED FOR THIS EVENT. INFORMATION ABOUT THIS EVENT IS ALSO POSTED AT WCATWC.ARH.NOAA.GOV.
Today marks my first anniversary at Amazon. This time last year, I walked into orientation in the US1 building just across from Uwajimaya; afterwards I got my badge photo taken and found my desk, one floor up. I remember that the most pressing matter was my login: I thought I was going to get “geoff“, but instead the system decided to dub me “gearnold“. Ugly! It took a week to complete the switch to something more acceptable (“arnold“), and even now that other identifier still crops up occasionally.
So what have I learned over the year? The brute facts of massive scale. The relationship between business agility and engineering compromise. Version skew as a way of life. “Q4”. The irrelevance of most formal distributed computing standards. The challenge of accommodating all kinds of business logic within a clean architecture. Harry Potter. The necessary evils of hardware load balancers. The emergent benefits of massive monitoring and instrumentation. The three dimensional vastness of our fulfillment centers. The fact that the local “Starbucks” and “Tully’s” both show up in the conference room reservation system.
It’s been a fascinating year: sometimes frustrating, always instructive. The time flew by. The opportunities are mind-boggling. And the cool thing is that we’re just getting started.
Alec blogs about the girl who overdosed on seven double espressos, and writes, “Nowadays I have a hard stop, and move to decaf after a max of four singles.” Hmm. My normal breakfast begins with a quad espresso macchiato, which is just over 300 mg. caffeine. I frequently have another quad EM later in the day, and occasionally a caffeinated drink with lunch. ((However I’m surprised to see that one of my regular choices, WhoopAss, only has 50 mg. of caffeine, about the same as a cup of tea.)) And I’ve never knowingly OD’d on caffeine, though I have experienced caffeine withdrawal. Perhaps it’s a function of body weight…
Watched: La Belle Noiseuse (1991). One of the longest films I’ve ever seen (236 minutes), and I loved every moment of it. As one reviewer put it, “it actually feels liberating to watch a film that doesn’t limit itself to a predetermined time constraint.” The tempo here is that of real life, not the urgency of storytelling. The film is an extraordinary investigation of the relationship between artist and model, between subject and object. If a great painter were to capture your essence on canvas, could you handle it?
This is the perfect Netflix film: Few DVD rental places will carry it, I doubt it will ever be shown on cable TV, and having seen it once I don’t want to do so again. Read: Hugh Laurie’s The Gun Seller. Not quite sure how I missed this when it came out in 1998, but I’m glad I got around to it. Imagine Ian Fleming’s 007 as interpreted by a tag-team of P.G.Wodehouse and Douglas Adams.
I hadn’t realized until I’d finished (at 2am – it’s the kind of book that you can’t put down) that it was published before 9/11. These days, satire has a hard time keeping up with reality, but Laurie’s still ahead. I see that he has a new novel out next month…
***You Are 98% Feminist***
You are a total feminist. This doesn’t mean you’re a man hater (in fact, you may be a man).
You just think that men and women should be treated equally. It’s a simple idea but somehow complicated for the world to put into action.
Everybody here at Ignite Seattle! seems to hve a Macbook [Pro]. The talks start in ~20 minutes. Conveniently, this place is just around the corner from Elysian Fields…
[LATER] I thought that was an excellent evening. Less time on fun and games, and more (and higher quality) talks. My favourites:
Sheer fun: Scotto Moore on Make Art Not Content ((Small world department: Scotto (Leri) says “hi” to Spivey, and admires what you’re doing.))
Essentials of business: Dave McClure on Startup Metrics for Pirates: AARRR!
Prognostication: Beth Goza on Is 2008 the year the â€œThird Screenâ€ takes center stage?
Just do it: Brian Dorsey on An embarrassment of riches – the story of Noonhat
The bigger picture: George Conard on Mifos: Open Source Software for Microfinance ((Hint: when you’re living on a dollar a day, you don’t care if your microfinance provider uses OSS.))
But they were all good. The next one is in October: I’m planning to be there. (There were a few Amazonians there tonight: more next time.)