Three Years in Boulder

Mingle.

This weekend I fired up the motorcycle and rode until the sun fell behind the flatirons, 65º and sunny the day after Thanksgiving, I pretty much HAD to. But temperate winter isn’t much of a surprise here, I was reminded of why I moved out three years ago; wearing shorts hiking the foothills in mid-November, the trailhead starts a mile from my house.

While working in Detroit three years ago, I was invited out to Boulder by two friends who had made the move from Michigan 6 months earlier. It was time for a break, so I took a week off and flew into Denver. We drove into Boulder at night, I didn’t see the mountains (foothills) until I woke the next morning. Years later, waking up and seeing the mountains still puts a smile on my face, I wondered if it would fade. It has not. That week I attended Boulder’s New Tech Meetup (it was still 25 guys in an unused conference room) and the first Barcamp Boulder. I met startup founders, freelancers and others who liked to talk tech on the weekends. There was interesting work to be done. I took a few interviews. I was back 2 weeks later.

By living in Boulder, I can take a better vacation on my lunch break than I could in a weekend. Canyon ride to a mountain town, mountain park or just a bend in Boulder Creek that I can have to myself for a while. A little further out, Snowboarding, Mountain Biking, National Parks and Rafting. And a lot of people who’ll join you. As a small town, Boulder has short commutes; allowing one more time to spend with friends or family. A small land area allows for serendipity, running across friends while walking the pedestrian mall or the ease of getting a few people together for dinner / drinks, downtown is always just a few minutes away. Everyone here is from somewhere else. There’s not the same lock-in you find in towns where most have been friends since grade school. You become a local once you’ve been here longer than half your friends.

Wether it’s a girl, a job or a university; what brings you here won’t be what keeps you here, but that’s fine. If you want to be challenged and grow as a result of it, stick around a while. You’ll have either found new reasons to stay, or gained experience that allows you to go be awesome somewhere else. Myself? I’m still closer to the beginning of my time here than to the end.

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Fiesta at Pikes Peak

Tanner Foust  & Jeremy Tanner While looking back through photos and videos from the summer, I found a video that wasn’t posted yet from the Pikes Peak Hill Climb down in Colorado Springs. The night before I’d stopped by Cameraworks looking for a good way to mount a camera to the outside of my car. I ended up with a suction cup they gave me a great deal on. As for the racers, conditions weren’t ideal, so no one broke 10 minutes, maybe next year. Here for your viewing pleasure is the trip to the top of Pikes Peak, cut down to about 30 seconds…

Off to Seattle

Blogworld may be sending me to Gnomedex this year… This October will be my third Blogworld Expo, a solid conference in 2007 and even better in 2008. This year I’ll be moderating the “Blog as a Community Springboard Panel” with Jenn Van Grove, George Smith Jr, Bryan Elliott and Keith Burtis. Very much looking forward to it.  Today I’m packing up the Fiesta and heading to Seattle to meet with Project H, a non-profit that uses industrial design to make people’s lives better. After that Gnomedex will be on… I sometimes do, I procrastinated on buying a badge, it looks like my procrastination may have just paid off. Blogword just offered up a badge at the last minute. I’ve intended to go, but this is the first year that the timing has worked. It’ll be good to catch up with my friends in Seattle and those that are in for the conf. See you in Seattle!


20 Hours to Seattle…

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Five Weeks with a Dell Mini 9

Dell Mini 9 - OS X

After seeing how well OS X ran on the Dell Mini 9 and how easy it was to install, I decided to buy one. I ended up with 3, but that’s a story for a different day. It costs about a 1/10th of what a MacBook Pro does so it’s an excellent 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) computer. Audio in and out works, WiFi works, external monitors work, it reads SD cards and has 3 USB ports.

Software
I’m not going to discuss the OS X install as that’s been done here, here, here, and here. OS X is well suited to small screen use, I’ve gained a new appreciation for Dashboard, Spaces and Exposé. Safari 4 beta has a few new features that help keep you from typing urls all the way out; such as the new Top Sites view and they way suggestions and recent searches are laid out in the search box. 1password helps to keep from having to type out (or even remember) complex passwords. Shovebox stores notes and grabs webpages for offline viewing, I usually switch long articles to print view and then store them to read on the plane. Dropbox is an easy way to move files back and forth to your “real” computer. Using MobileMe or Google Sync keeps both computers in lock step.

Hardware
Inspiron Mini 9n (‘n’ is the “Meant to be sold with Linux” variant)
Intel® Atom Processor® N270 (1.6GHz/533Mhz FSB/512K cache)
Obsidian Black
2GB DDR2 PC6400
16GB Solid State Drive
Glossy 8.9 inch LED display (1024X600)
Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 950
Wireless 802.11g Mini Card
Integrated 1.3M Pixel Webcam

To install OS X you’re going to want the 16GB SSD, I’ve found it works just fine with 1GB. Black and White are the standard colors, others cost a bit more. The webcam is only really of any use in well lit rooms or outdoors. The computer is spec’d abut the same as one of the first White MacBooks. The main limit is the screen size. I’ve been using the Logitech VX Nano, the small receiver and overall size make it easy to keep with the netbook.

Music
Most of you are already using Pandora and Last.fm. For listening to music while an interenet connection is present, I’ve been on the hype machine and thesixtyone lately. Both excellent sites with tons of new music.

Video
While Hulu and other streaming sites will work, I find I mostly watch video off of a SD card, USB drive or plugged in iPod; and then mostly on airplanes or airports where I don’t have a decent internet connection.

I’ve used the MacBook Mini for the past few weeks as a travel computer, it saves on space, it fits on an airplane tray, it’s easy to grab and hop onto your flight as there’s nothing bigger than a paperback book to snap shut and run. I’d like to see Apple make the same thing, but I doubt they could do it for the same $325.

Try it. You’ll like it. If you don’t like it and have to sell it off, you’ll only be out $20 or so.

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