Category Archives: General

New Gig

About two years ago, I started work at Time Warner Cable on what is easily the best team I’ve ever been on in my career. During that time, I helped build some amazing web applications including services that powered an iPad streaming application that won an engineering Emmy certificate.

Not much could have pulled me away from that team, I think. However, I got offered a position as a founding engineer at a new startup in the Denver area that got me really excited. The idea is something that has the potential to really disrupt the space and no code has been written. Me and my team will be able to decide exactly what the toolchain and technology stack will look like from the bottom up with no legacy considerations. On top of that, we’ll be able to define how engineering works for us without existing bureaucracy or established practice that often tailors to the lowest common denominator in larger organizations.

It’s a risk, of course. But one I’m excited to take.

While there’s not much there yet, watch www.MapVine.com to see the latest developments. I’ll also be discussing more here on some of the decisions we make and why.

I’m really looking forward to this move and I think it has the potential to be pretty amazing!

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Cycling Season 2011 Event Recap

Last year, I wrote about the cycling season and the events a group of friends and I participated in. This year, we got together at the beginning of the year (again) and mapped out the rides we wanted to do. This time around, however, we were happy to have our wives along for the ride. Thus began yet another epic year!

(Click on the links below to see the associated Garmin data if you’re interested in that type of thing.)

  • Elephant Rock (06/05/2011): This was the first big event of the year. I said last year that I wasn’t planning on doing it two years in a row, but it’s a great training goal and a nice “big ride” experience for the girls.

    The group at Elephant Rock

    The girls rode the metric century version of the ride, and we took a nice even pace with them until the course split. After that, we raced to try and catch them at the last aid station. We didn’t quite make it there in time (they had been waiting for about an hour when we showed up), but we had a great, albeit hot, ride in to the finish together.

    Posing at E-Rock

  • Denver Century Ride (06/12/2011): This ride began at Invesco Field (now Sports Authority Stadium) right by my house in downtown Denver. We again rode a century taking it easy until the course split away from the metric option. It was a nice ride, but we had some criticisms.

    Kevin and Leslie climbing Lookout Mountain

    The route was a bit rough with traffic and the jersey and T-shirt weren’t very attractive (I joked that I was even embarrassed to wear it to bed!) However, they took our feedback seriously and showed up this year with a brand new jersey (one that looks pretty darn good) and a completely re-designed route. I’m already registered for the 2012 version and I can’t wait!
  • Mount Evans (07/10/2011): This wasn’t an organized ride, but it was likely the most difficult ride I’ve ever done. The final ride was almost 130 miles and well over 12,000ft. of elevation gain. Mt. Evans is the highest paved road in the US; so high, in fact, that my Garmin stopped being accurate up above around 12,000ft. (it shows our max elevation as around 13,000ft. when it was easily a thousand feet more).

    The climb to Mt. Evans beings

    We were hailed on and blown all over the place on the climb up, and one of the guys in our group even snapped his rear derailleur right off his bike! (Luckily, we found a car driving down from the mountain with a bike rack that was gracious enough to drive him back into Denver) When we finally finished the ride, I wasn’t sure exactly what to think or say. It was simultaneously the most physically painful and wonderful thing I’ve tried and I can’t wait to do it again!
  • Copper Triangle (08/06/2011): This was year two of the outstanding Copper Triangle Ride.

    Finishing at Copper

    This time around, both the fellas I typically ride with got to participate (last year it was just two of us) and we all had a great time! Our three families got a cabin right in the middle of the Copper Mountain Village and we all had a blast just enjoying each other’s company and relaxing before and after the ride. I don’t think we’ll do it again next year (three years in a row is pushing it just a bit), but we’ll definitely be back soon.

    The Crew

  • Dear Creek Century (08/21/2011): This event labels itself as the “hardest century ride in the US” Considering how difficult Evans was, I went into this ride thinking I’d be able to skate through it. I was very wrong. My first mistake was riding a fair amount during the week leading up to the event. I put in around 60 miles before even starting the ride. Beyond that, I didn’t hydrate properly and ate very poorly during the week. In short, I didn’t take it seriously at all and it definitely cost me. After about 50 miles, I started feeling sluggish. After the finish, I got pretty sick and got home to see I had dropped about 10 pounds of water weight during the ride. Not good.

    Feeling bad at Deer Creek finish

    I’m not sure if I’m going to do this ride again, but if I do I will definitely take it seriously.
  • Tour de Fat (09/10/2011): This year, I rode a B-Cycle while Amber pulled Ryker in the Chariot.

    Killing it at the Tour de Fat

    It was just the three of us this year, but we had a great time and enjoyed ourselves (as usual).

    Ryker and I at the Tour de Fat

    The tradition of cycling with at least 1000 other folks in a giant parade topped off with a beer or two after the ride is something I look forward to every year.

    Amber and Ryker at Tour de Fat

  • Other Rides: Alongside the rides here, the girls did the Venus de Miles ride while the boys volunteered.

    The girls at Venus de Miles

    Beyond that, there were numerous rides in Golden, Boulder (Jamestown, Sugarloaf, Flagstaff, Nederland), Colorado Springs, Castle Rock, Monument, Lyons (Oscar Blues is a fantastic destination), and the list goes on. I also had a great time riding with my beautiful wife multiple times during the year including climbing Lookout Mountain, riding to Golden and just getting coffee in the early spring. Often, riding is about enjoying the scenery and talking with interesting people and she’s definitely the most interesting person I know.

    Getting coffee on a ride

I’m not sure we can seriously top 2011 and I’m not looking to try, really. So, here’s to 2011 and having fun, doing hard stuff, drinking good beer and making worthwhile relationships even more so. 2012, you have some big shoes to fill!

 

Hulu is Likely Hurting More Than Helping

Lately, I’ve been “hooked” on the television show Fringe. I don’t typically get into shows much, but this one is well written, has decent effects, and I’ve been surprised by the no holds barred science fiction in prime time vibe.

I started watching Fringe a bit into the second season and it occurred to me today that I haven’t seen the first season at all. I went on iTunes to check out how much the first season download costs and immediately decided against it. I simply balked at the $39.99 and $59.99 price points for standard and high definition downloads.

It’s not that I believe those are horrible prices per se, but that I’ve been used to getting content for a much lower price. We pay for Netflix and Hulu Plus; we don’t have cable or broadcast TV. Our bill for both services is under $25 per month. While we could afford it, I have a hard time justifying $60.00 for something I’ll only watch a couple of times.

This is a very bad thing for content providers. The market price of their content is getting closer and closer to zero and, perhaps even worse, people who could pay more are getting conditioned to paying less for consuming content. Pricing is all about setting expectations, and it’s very hard to change them once they are set.

You could argue that Hulu, even Hulu Plus, is partially add supported and that allows networks to continue to get paid, but adds are becoming a less and less effective way to pay the bills. Most networks rely on syndication and sales of physical media to help make ends meet. However, physical media like DVD and Bluray are rapidly being replaced with streaming services and syndication’s sole purpose, offering more options for watching a back catalog, becomes unnecessary if an entire back catalog is available for streaming online.

We’re not far off from being able to access just about anything we want to online for little to no cost. It’s where the momentum is. However, this is likely bad for the industry as a whole. If the streaming services had been structured more like a cable offering (perhaps ala carte) and opened their content up for distribution on every platform from the get-go, things might have been different. As of now, I see content providers demanding more and more from their high paying customers (those subscribing to cable or satellite television) increasing the likelihood that people will simply cut the cord as their cable bills, and the number of viable low-cost alternatives, climb.