Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert

Today I bought my first full-suspension bike, a 2007 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert. I bought it at Bicycle Sport Shop here in Austin, after visiting several stores and trying quite a few different bikes. Before deciding on the Stumpjumper, I also tried the Gary Fisher Hi-Fi Pro and the Giant Trance 2. They were all great bikes, and I'm sure I would have been happy with any of them.

I plan to ride the new bike at least a few times before brining it back with me when I return to Sweden. I also picked up a pair of new bike shoes and a helmet with a chin guard.


Mac Pro

I recently bought a new Mac Pro. My brother ordered it for me and had it shipped to my parents' home in Austin. Because my bro works for Apple. he was able to get be a nice discount. I also ordered extra memory and a second hard drive for the Mac.

The box is sturdy, and like most things from Apple, is made with a great attention to detail. Just from looking at the box, I knew I had purchased a quality product.

Let the sacred unboxing ritual begin!

Pretty cables.

The plastic foam bag around the computer was sealed with a sticker admonishing the reader that he must agree to a software license agreement before using the computer. Whether this is legally binding is up for debate.

Oooh, Ahhh.


The case, opened. I installed a second hard drive and two gigabytes of additional RAM.

The RAM is installed in pairs of FB-DIMMs on two riser cards.

The hard drive installation is so easy that other manufacturers would have to be stupid not to copy this design. The drive carriers come with the Mac Pro, and are made from a single piece of metal. The screws to affix the drive to the carrier are lovely little steel machine screws with a brushed finish. Everything about this machine has the feeling of quality.

Documentation, OS DVD, batteries, and cordless mouse were included in the black cardboard box at the top of the package.

I was pleased and a bit impressed to see that Apple included quality Energizer batteries instead of no-name ones. The two for the mouse are actually Lithium batteries. Nice.

The batteries, installed in the mouse and keyboard.

When I turned the computer on the first time, I was presented with graphical instructions on how to install the batteries and turn on the mouse. I had already installed the batteries, so i simply switched the mouse off and back on again. Then it paired with the Mac and began to work. I did the same thing enable the keyboard: I just switched it off and back on again.

Welcome to Mac OS X. Very nice.


Well, I thought it was gonna be just a little bit of snow. Apparently not.

I walked from IBM down the hill to Kista Gallerian because the bus was stuck behind cars that had slid off the road.

Here, I probably should have taken the subway. Subways go underground, you see. Where there's no snow. And no idiot drivers who forgot to change to winter tires. But it was still just a little bit of snow, I thought. So I caught my usual bus, number 178.

The bus got stuck halways between Helenelund and Sörentorp, behind a couple of other busses. I sat on the bus for 20 minutes before giving up.

Along with several other commuters, I walked back to Helenelunds station.

There, I just barely made it on the Southbound train. The train managed to take me two stations toward the city before stopping at Solna station. There it remained for 15 minutes before we learned that the train would be severely delayed due to a frozen switch in the line.

I stayed on the train for a few more minutes, hoping that the problem would be resolved. But eventually, I gave up and stepped off the train. Others did the same.

I walked toward Solna Centrum, leaving the stuck train behind me at the station.

On the way, I passed many cars stuck on the road. Here two Stockholmers help another get her car up a slippery slope. Every year people put off changing to winter tires until too late, and every year the first snowstorm takes Stockholmers by surprise. "What, winter again? Didn't we have that just a year ago?"

Long queues.

"Not maintained in winter."

I took the subway from Solna Centrum down to T-Centralen. There, I just barely made it into Ålens before closing time. I did some last-minute shopping for my trip to the U.S. and then grabbed a bite to eat a Burger King.

Sergels Torg tonight.

I finally steped into my apartment well after nine o'clock this evening, exhausted from my commute. Not counting the shopping and dinner, it took more than 3 hours for me to get home from the office — a trip that normally takes just twenty minutes. Now I have to pack for my trip. Because of the snow, I'll probably take the subway and express train to get to the airport, rather than taking a taxi. That means I'll have to wake up even earlier in the morning. Fun!

Bloggerbot is going away soon

This morning, BloggerBot presented me with the above message, informing me that “Bloggerbot is going away soon.” BloggerBot is my primary method of posting photos to my blogs. BloggerBot lets one post photos quickly and easily via the excellent picture-sharing program, Hello. It's faster and has fewer limitations than the “Blog This!” feature Google suggests as an alternative. The “BlogThis!” feature has several annoyances that have, in my opinion, precluded its more widespread adoption:
  1. The “Blog This!” window that pops up takes over the whole screen when it's in use, blurring everything else in the background. I'm sure this is meant to be cool and high-tech, but it's actually quite bothersome. When I post to a blog, I may start the post, switch to another window to find a link or to copy some text, and then come back to writing the post. I don't want my style of editing to be dictated by the program.
  2. “Blog This!” allows one to post a maximum of four photos at a time. BloggerBot imposes no upper limit of which I am aware. It is possible to post multiple times to post more than four photos, but this means multiple blog entries. If I want to post all the photos in a single entry so that they all appear in the desired order, “Blog This!” doesn't help.
  3. When one activates the “Blog This!” feature, the window takes too long to load. The delay is made worse if one wishes to post to a blog other than the one to which one posted the last time. The window content appears to be loaded over the net, so the interface doesn't have the immediacy and responsiveness of Hello. With Hello, one can begin posting as soon as the Hello window appears. No one likes waiting twenty seconds for a dialog box to appear.
I trust that Google is working to address these limitations of Picasa's “Blog This!” feature. I only hope the problems have been resolved before BloggerBot is retired. Otherwise, BloggerBot will be sorely missed.

First snow of the season

Eva took this photo of me the other day. She said I looked good in the scarf. It's getting to be scarf weather here in Stockholm.

In fact, the season's first snow began to fall this morning.

The snow continues to fall in big thick flakes, although it isn't lasting long once it hits the ground because the surface temperature is still a few degrees above freezing.

Today I'll do some last-minute shopping before my trip to the U.S. tomorrow. I have a meeting after lunch with some representatives from a potential customer. They're interested in TWS, the software that is my primary area of expertise. So I'll give a brief presentation of the application and then answer any questions they have. This particular customer is a rather large one, so it would be a boon to IBM if they chose to use TWS. It would probably also mean more work for me here in the city. More work is always nice.

Later in the afternoon, I'll finish up some paperwork at the office. I might go dancing for a while at La Isla this evening, but I can't stay out until one o'clock in the morning as I usually do when I go dancing. My flight to Newark leaves tomorrow at nine, so I'll have to get up pretty early to make it to the airport and allow time for the necessary security checks and what-have-you. From Newark, I'll catch a connecting flight to Austin. I'm flying Continental because they were several hundred dollars cheaper than SAS/United. Continental must have just recently added the Stockholm route because I'd never seen it offered in previous years.

I'm getting excited about the trip. I was in Austin just this past Summer for Ethan's wedding, but it seems like it was a long time ago.