Delete those photos

I love tak­ing pho­tos with my iPhone. It’s easy, fast and fun to grab quick pix that will remind me of enjoy­able days or quirky stuff I see in this wild world.

a totally covered Toyota Land Cruiser But there is a down­side — server farms. When peo­ple take six pho­tos of some­thing they only really need one of — and store them on the cloud — that’s six times more hard drive space taken up. And six times more elec­tric­ity needed to keep them there forever. And six times more hard dri­ves that need to be bought by Ama­zon, Google or Apple.

So you — please delete those poor qual­ity pho­tos.

Just so that you know I am prac­tic­ing what I preach, the above photo of a server farm is not hosted on my web­site. It’s hosted on the orig­i­nal web­site. (Thanks, Tek-Think. I did click on one of your Google ads.)

And for the really geeky tech peo­ple out there, I do know that those crappy pho­tos are prob­a­bly backed up forever, even if some­one deletes them. But if they aren’t uploaded to the cloud before they’re deleted, we’re mak­ing some pro­gress.



Port­land is a crazy place.

(We just returned from a fam­ily vaca­tion that included a few days in Port­land.)

I knew that I wanted to get to know the city ever since see­ing Port­landia.

I was not dis­ap­pointed.

  • Powell’s is per­haps the finest book­store on the planet. Besides stock­ing an amaz­ing range of books (both new and used), they have the most incred­i­ble array of stuff from inter­est­ing water bot­tles to funky back­packs to weird socks.
  • Food trucks (often food trail­ers): a huge col­lec­tion of semi-fast food out­lets are all over the Port­land, often in col­lec­tions fill­ing whole city blocks. Wide offer­ings of eth­nic cuisine are avail­able.
  • hipster lampShops: If I were rich, I would have gorged on the incred­i­ble vari­ety of cloth­ing, trin­kets, hand-made art in many use­ful forms such as fur­ni­ture and all man­ner of hipster-oriented stuff. One of my favorite shops was Boys Fort.
  • Bicy­cling: In spite of the gen­er­ally dreary weather, bicy­cling is a huge part of life in Port­land. Bike paths are preva­lent across the city, and as our Airbnb hostess explained, bicy­clists there often feel like they rule the world, whether or not that is the case.
  • The river: Bike paths go along the Willamette River, allow­ing you to explore the water­way with­out get­ting wet (unless it’s rain­ing).
  • Trash: There are very few trash cans around the city. Thus, trash accu­mu­lates in all the nooks and cran­nies. Seat­tle, in com­par­ison, seems to have a nor­mal amount of places to dis­pose of your waste.
  • Home­less­ness: I’m not sure what attracts so many home­less peo­ple to Port­land. Den­ver, the city near my sub­ur­ban home, seems to have a smaller home­less pop­u­la­tion. I have noth­ing against home­less peo­ple — drug addic­tion and men­tal ill­ness are crip­pling — but per­haps Den­ver pro­vides more places for the home­less to find a home. Or pos­si­bly Col­orado has more restric­tive laws gov­ern­ing home­less activ­i­ties (like no sleep­ing on side­walks).
  • Maybe a lit­tle too much indie-hipster-ness: Though I love sup­port­ing small busi­nesses and appre­ci­ate cre­ativ­ity, I was almost over­whelmed at the extreme hipster-ness of Port­land. One morn­ing, I even wanted to visit Star­bucks, believe it or not.

If you can, you sim­ply must visit greater Port­land.

Foot­note: I only spent a few days there, so these are just a few sur­face obser­va­tions.



escapeEscape from your already fab­u­lous life.”

That’s an assump­tion a lux­ury hotel chain made about all of us. Or maybe they are pitch­ing to the group of read­ers who feel that they do have a fab­u­lous life and don’t care about the rest. Or maybe they want the rest of us to think, “Well, my life isn’t fab­u­lous — but I do like it!”

If your life is fab­u­lous, why would you want to escape? I guess that liv­ing a life of ease, where every­thing is catered to and all wants met, gets bor­ing.

We all need change. Kit­tens don’t stay small forever. God cre­ated sea­sons for a rea­son.

Embrace change. If it’s a hard change, see what you can do to find the beauty in the pure white snow. Even when it’s freez­ing out­side.


A tepid shower

shower head

Why would you want to take a tepid shower?

  1. If the water is cool enough that it’s slightly uncom­fort­able, you will use less water — because you’ll want to end sooner!
  2. It’s refresh­ing, par­tic­u­larly on a hot sum­mer day.
  3. Your pores won’t open up and soak in as many soap chem­i­cals.
  4. Some even say it relieves depres­sion.

And there are many more rea­sons — as well as an expla­na­tion on that last one in this arti­cle. Dis­claimer — some of the ben­e­fits apply only to men.

Finally, a hat tip to my son Jay, who got me started in this prac­tice. I don’t take it quite as far as he does — my “cold” show­ers are merely tepid.


Because I’m selfish

motorbike riders in Phnom PenhI love free­dom. But when free­dom costs me some­thing that could be eas­ily avoided, I pause.

For peo­ple liv­ing in the US, depend­ing on your state, you can ride a motor­cy­cle with out a hel­met. It’s super enjoy­able to zoom along with the wind in your hair.

But then that dri­ver doesn’t see you, he turns into your lane — and your dreams of motor­cy­cling dis­ap­pear into years of surg­eries, phys­i­cal ther­apy and pain.

This is not the­o­ret­i­cal — a good friend of mine expe­ri­enced that. And he was wear­ing a hel­met.

So here’s the self­ish part of the equa­tion… when the helmet-less rider ends up in the hos­pi­tal with years of med­ical appoint­ments ahead, it costs me. My insur­ance pre­mi­ums rise.

The same holds true for bicy­cle rid­ing.

I have to admit that I am not super rigid on that — some­times when I go for a quick ride to the cor­ner store on my (slow) moun­tain bike, I don’t put on a hel­met. And yes, I know that most acci­dents hap­pen clos­est to home.

So I leave it up to you where you draw the line between your free­dom and your respon­si­bil­ity to soci­ety.

The photo is Cre­ative Com­mons licensed by Sara y Tzunki (Cecilia e Francesco) and was taken in Phnom Penh.


Great app — Prisma

This lit­tle app has given me more fun than the last three photo apps com­bined — Prisma.

Here’s the orig­i­nal photo:

Jay, pre-Prisma app

And here are some of the results (tap the right side of the image to get to the next one):

So if I con­vinced you to try this app, here’s where you can find it: Prisma. Cur­rently, it’s just avail­able for the iPhone, but if you have an Android, you can sign up to get news about the beta ver­sion.

Spe­cial thanks to my son Jay, the model.


airbnb plus hotels mashup

You heard it hear first — my star­tup idea.

Busi­ness peo­ple who travel a lot often sleep in a large hotel room with two beds — and one is always empty.

What if they used a ser­vice like airbnb to get a room­mate for their two-or-three night stays?

Poten­tial prob­lems and solu­tions:

  • You could get some­one annoy­ing. Solu­tion: the app would allow you to can­cel and pick a dif­fer­ent room.
  • You’re an intro­vert and require your space after a drain­ing day of con­fer­ence activ­ity. Solu­tion: the app allows you to select a room­mate who also val­ues quiet and per­sonal space.
  • Pri­vacy. Solu­tion: the app allows you to pick peo­ple of the gen­der you’re most com­fort­able with.
  • Get­ting the word out that this app exists could be a prob­lem if hotel com­pa­nies use all their neg­a­tive mar­ket­ing tricks to make the app look bad. Solu­tion: have airbnb buy the app idea and han­dle the mar­ket­ing. (Airbnb — are you lis­ten­ing? I’m open for offers.)
  • I’d never use an app like that.” Solu­tion: don’t.

The beer can net

When I was a sopho­more in col­lege, I was coun­sel­ing a very young fresh­man about the ways to dec­o­rate a dorm room.

Some peo­ple hang a net from their ceil­ing and fill it with beer cans. But that’s really tacky.” (I don’t know what word I used to say “tacky.”)

Less than a month later, I passed by his room and saw just such a net hang­ing from his ceil­ing.

Some­how he missed the part about “really tacky.”

Moral of the story — lis­ten to all of what some­one tells you.


But is it good?

weird signage for littleton village, coloradoArt is very sub­jec­tive. One person’s favorite is another’s hated reject.

But when art meets com­merce — what used to be called, “com­mer­cial art,” there is another stan­dard. It must com­mu­ni­cate.

The artists behind the sig­nage of the new Lit­tle­ton Vil­lage, a res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial devel­op­ment near my home, crossed the edge a lit­tle too far:

1. At each edge of the main corner’s sig­nage area, there are two obelisks that look like some­thing from a sci­ence fic­tion movie.

2. Dur­ing the day, shad­ows hin­der read­abil­ity of the development’s name.

signage for littleton village, colorado

3. What’s with those white ver­ti­cal stripes? Before the devel­op­ment name went up, I thought they were giant adhe­sive strips to adhere the development’s name. No. They are not lighted, either. And then there are a bunch of holes that look like ven­ti­la­tion for an under­ground cham­ber.