Friday, May 11, 2007

Upgrading the Dash to Windows Mobile 6

I upgraded my Dash to Windows Mobile 6 earlier in the week. It's prettier, sounds better, and they've fixed a lot of little things to streamline messaging and calendaring, etc, reducing some nuisance. But by far the biggest "WOW factor" is the Voice Command application. I can ask my phone, "What is my calendar today?" and it will read it back to me. It will announce the name of incoming calls (over the speakerphone or bluetooth headset, configurable), read the header of an incoming message, I can ask it to dial a phone number, call a contact, play an artist or album in Media Player, read me the list of available artists, read me my missed calls, my battery level, my signal strength, start any name a few features. All of this with no voice training; the speech to text is solid. It successfully knows that when I say (phonetically), "yahn why-check" that it should load "Jan Wasiek." Now, I admit this won't be a huge deal in my daily routine, but next time I'm driving and an email or text comes in, I won't take my eyes off the road to see what it is; my phone will whisper it into my ear.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Relay

I just got back from running The Relay out in California. It's an intense, sleepless, 199-mile, 12-person relay race over about 36 hours from Calistoga to Santa Cruz. Everybody runs three legs (well, sometimes some people run extra legs) of about 5 to 7 miles each. At the end of the race, I was talking to a couple of other runners. They had both run marathons in the past and they were talking about how this race requires a whole different kind of endurance. Funny stuff. I know that I could not go out and run a marathon tomorrow (maybe next year?), but it made me smile to hear a marathoner talk about how challenging this race is.

Overall, I had a blast. I was there with great people, and the constant activity meant we never had a chance to get bored or annoyed with each other :) I plan on doing this again next year!

Here are my pictures from the event. To give you an idea of how intense this was, here's a timeline from when I woke up on Friday morning to when I went to bed on Monday morning.

Friday 6:00am CDT, Wake.
7:00, Out the door to ORD.
12:15pm PDT, Arrive at SFO, pick up vans, head north to Napa.
3:00, Arrive in Napa, eat dinner, buy groceries.
8:00, Team meeting, plan directions for the next day.
9:30, In bed.

Saturday 5:20am, Wake.
6:00, On the road to the starting line in Calistoga.
8:00, Race starts, Zach runs leg 1.
8:20, Van gives Zach water at mile 2.
8:45, My leg (leg 2) starts.
9:05, Van gives me water at mile 2.
9:30, Jan runs an extra leg.
10:15, Ghost runner runs (in other words, we chill out and wait 45 minutes).
11:00, Sarah runs, we hand her water at 2 miles (this pattern continues).
11:45, Jan runs his second leg ("I came here to run, so I am going to run.")
12:30pm, Van exchange. Jan finishes his leg (6) and hands off to Adam to start off Van 2. We (Van 1) chill out at the exchange point, eat, lay in the sun, try to sleep.

6:00pm, Van exchange. Nellie from Van 2 hands off to Zach from Van 1, I run, Jan runs an extra leg, ghost runner, Sarah, Jan runs his assigned leg.
Sunday 12:30am, Van exchange. Jan hands to Adam on the south side of the Golden Gate Bridge. Jan just ran across the bridge at midnight under a full moon. He raved about it.
1:00, Van 1 arrives at our hotel in downtown San Francisco.
1:30, Everyone has showered and is asleep.

4:00, Everyone is awake.
4:30, Van 1 is on the road to the next van exchange.
5:30, Arrive at van exchange.
5:45, Nellie hands to Zach. Then I run (boy was I in pain; my legs felt like stilts and it took me 3 miles just to warm up). Ghost runner (Jan didn't run an extra leg...slacker), ghost runner, Sarah, Jan.
10:30, Van exchange.
11:15, Van 1 arrives in Santa Cruz, we have brunch (so good and necessary) and then go to the beach to wait for van 2. I fall asleep on a bench on the boardwalk. The water is freezing, but feels really really good on my sore feet.
3:15pm, Van 2 arrives in Santa Cruz.
3:45, Nellie and the group crosses the finish line.
4:15, Both vans are back on the road to SFO.
5:15, I'm checked into my flight at SFO, but am too early to check my bag. So I take the tram to the International terminal where there is a food court and I open a beer. I'm too tired to read, so I send some emails and texts from my phone to pass the time.
7:30, I'm through security. I chill out with another beer and some sushi. Still too tired to read. Try talking to a girl who is also alone with a drink and get shot down.
10:45, Board flight, fall asleep before we even leave the gate.

5:15am CDT, Arrive ORD. Get bags, struggle to stay awake on the L so I don't miss my stop. I definitely fell asleep on the bus that I transfered to, but wasn't worried because I was going to the second-to-last stop.
7:15, At home. Take a shower.
8:00, Asleep.
11:00, Alarm goes off, snooze until..
11:45, Hobble out of bed, run errands, sort through my pictures, go about my day.
9:30pm, Asleep.