Pumpkin Patch!

Two weekends ago, we made a lovely drive up Highway 1 (the Pacific Coast Highway) to a pumpkin patch just south of Half Moon Bay. In October, farms dotting the landscape along Hwy1 open up pumpkin patches were people can come pick out pumpkins for Halloween and general purpose fall decorations.

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Luna had a great time but was scared of the giant turkey, pigs, and goats they had on show. We climbed a haystack pyramid, got three pumpkins (big, medium, and small) and made our way back down the coast. It’s beautiful at sunset — especially when you past by the small crescent of beach where dozens of kite surfers and paragliders zip around. Pit stop at Duarte’s Tavern to pick up a dinner of cream of artichoke & green chili soup with a mound of too-good-to-be-real sourdough bread, and that’s a nice evening spent.

The iPad Lineup Muddle

I think this TechCrunch article by Sarah Perez on the convoluted Apple iPad lineup hits square on the mark.

Last Thursday, Apple announced new iPads and Mac products, along with officially releasing the next generation Mac OS X operating system (OS X Yosemite). Nevermind the Microsoft-esque naming scheme with mouthfuls like “iPad Air 2″ and “iPad mini 3″, the older models of the iPad Air and iPad mini are still continuing to be sold too. So the lineup for fall 2014 consists of: iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad mini, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3. Which one are you going buy?

16 unique price points from $249 to $829, across 5 different models, encompassing 22 different SKUs (ignoring color choices).

The iPad mini 3 seems particularly lackluster to me. Its predecessor was released October 2013 and was the first mini to have the Retina display. I have one, and it’s one of my favorite Apple products ever. This past year, its big brother the iPad Air got updated with Touch ID, the new A8 SoCprocessor, M8 motion co-processor, improved camera, next-gen 802.11ac wireless, all while slimming down. The iPad mini 3 only got Touch ID. Same processor, same display, same wireless, same camera, same dimensions as its predecessor.  Yet it costs $100 more. Huh? I’m sure that is great for Apple’s margins, but not a great deal for customers.

Giants Advance to the World Series!

On Thursday, my company’s executive team took the whole gang out to Game 5 of the National League Conference Series, where the San Francisco Giants played the St. Louis Cardinals. The Giants were leading the series 3-1 in a best of 7 series, so if the Giants won the game they would clinch the series and advance to the World Series.

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And win the did.

It was a close game throughout and the Giants tied it up 3-3 with a home run in the 8th inning. Then, bottom of the 9th with two runners on base, Travis Ishikawa slams a walk off home run to end the game in spectacular fashion.

The Giants now play in their 3rd World Series in 5 years, having won in 2010 and 2012. Let’s go Giants!

Complexity of Presidential Speeches

Cool analysis on complexity of Presidential speeches by Vocativ, using the Fleisch-Kincaid reading level score. I’m currently reading 1776 by David McCullough and I’m reminded at just how high brow the discourse was in the era of the Founding Fathers.

Smart takeaway is that the downward trend over the years is more attributed to the wider, more diverse audience of the voting public compared to rich, educated, land-owning, white men at the nation’s founding.

(h/t kottke.org)

Congrats to John and Rosie!

Last weekend Chrissy and I attended the lovely wedding of our friends John and Rosie.

Chrissy and John were Apple summer interns back in 2007, and I first met John when Chrissy invited me to a game watching party at his house (Stanford vs USC). Must have been 2009. I remembered that John a) he complimented my guacamole and b) liked the same music I liked. We became good friends — I credit him for introducing me to so much good music (Delorean, CHVRCHES, Antlers, etc.). Fast forward, he was roommates with Chrissy in San Francisco and myself when I moved in.  Great roommate! Saved us so many times taking care of the dog when we got home late, and one time went out of his way to go buy bread at Tartine to take back to my family before Thanksgiving because I couldn’t make it home before closing.

I met Rosie for the first time at at Bon Iver concert at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley. She was a grad student there, doing her Ph.D in mechanical engineering. John and Rosie were both undergraduates at Stanford and were part of the Stanford Solar Car team together. I still smile when I think about her effect on John.  Incredibly sweet and incredibly smart, she expanded John’s experiences. Every weekend I’d hear about another great outing with those two.

I’m so happy for both of them and wish them all the best for the years to come! Congrats!

Sapana taking it to the N&O

My sister Sapana had a letter published in yesterday’s News & Observer newspaper (the local paper for Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, NC). In it, she takes the N&O editorial board to task for their lazy journalism in profiling US Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) compared to the firebrand Republican Speaker of the (State) House Tom Tillis.

In her bestseller “Lean In,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg notes that the typical media narrative of a woman who succeeds in a field dominated by men focuses on external factors, such as the assistance she received from (usually) male colleagues or family members. In stark contrast, a man who climbs the ranks in the same field is hailed as a capable “natural leader” whose charisma and exceptional qualities earned him his position.

Way to go, Sapana.

Chaos came early this season

I can’t remember a week in college football quite like the one that wrapped up yesterday:

  • #2 Oregon loses to unranked Arizona
  • #3 Alabama loses to #13 Ole Miss
  • #4 Oklahoma loses to #25 TCU
  • #6 Texas A&M loses to #12 Mississippi State
  • #8 UCLA loses to unranked Utah
  • #16 USC loses to unranked Arizona State
  • #17 Wisconsin loses to unranked Northwestern
  • #18 BYU loses to unranked Utah State

#9 Notre Dame squeaked out a win against my #15 Stanford. This was one hurt. Both teams were slugging it out in cold, rainy conditions showcasing some of the league’s best defenses. However, Notre Dame scored their winning touchdown with 61 seconds left on a blown coverage by Stanford. Our linebacker went into the flat, but the safety didn’t pick up the receiver like he should have, leaving the Notre Dame wide receiver wide open in the end zone for an easy pass. I would rather get beat by 20+ points than to lose by a single blown play.

And NC State? Well….they lost  0-41 against an unranked Clemson team. This just one week after leading the #1 team in the country through 3 quarters. C’mon Pack, you gotta win an ACC game sometime!

The Hollow Allure of Wall St.

Michael Lewis writing in a recent Bloomberg op-ed:

Technology entrepreneurship will never have the power to displace big Wall Street banks in the central nervous system of America’s youth, in part because tech entrepreneurship requires the practitioner to have an original idea…but also because entrepreneurship doesn’t offer the sort of people who wind up at elite universities what a lot of them obviously crave: status certainty.

I remember being slack jawed when reading about on the staggering number of Ivy League graduates who go to Wall Street. Vox featured an interview by Ezra Klein of Kevin Roose which sheds light as to how Wall St firms accomplish this, and how Silicon Valley compares.

Reza Aslan destroys dim-witted CNN anchors

This is a must-see. Reza Aslan intellectually destroys two dim-witted CNN anchors on the issue of how the mass media portrays Islam.

It’s like you see almost see the moment that they start to realize their naively constructed world view begins to crack.

Following this clip, I quickly looked up a sampling of population numbers for Muslim majority countries:
Saudi Arabia: 29M
Iran: 75M
Iraq: 34M
Syria: 23M
Afghanistan: 31M
Arab Subtotal: 192M
Pakistan: 182M
Total: 374M

Total number followers of Islam: 1.6B (Wikipedia)
% those countries listed above represent: ~25%.

Yet, as Aslan suggests, the US mass media (and these CNN anchors) can’t shake the idea that they want to portray the actions of those countries as representative of the “common place” of life in Muslim countries.

a thought, a spark