Please visit my new blog, richardboardman.com for my latest posts. Thanks! I’m keeping this one here for posterity.
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Please visit my new blog, richardboardman.com for my latest posts. Thanks! I’m keeping this one here for posterity.
Here’s another post from my business blog! Thats right, for those of who who don’t know, I’m no longer at Google …
Image credits: Remixed from JD Lasica’s original.
Having just set up a tech consultancy, I’m pleased to confirm that the process of setting up a business in San Francisco is relatively straightforward. So far anyway (check in with me again at tax time).
That said, there’s still a few hoops to jump through. Here’s my rundown of the steps involved in setting up a consultancy in San Francisco – including paperwork, training, coworking and networking …
Read on here.
I’ve setup a new blog richardboardman.com for my freelance UX research consultancy business. I’ll still keep posting personal stuff on travel, Hundi, inane stuff here. However, posts related to technology, user experience, usability and other “serious stuff” will be over there.
Sneak Preview: The anti-social uses of highly social check-in sites
My first post discusses how location-based “checkin” social networks can provide a useful personal history of your journey around the physical world – for one’s own use. Thats right, this most social of web applications can act as a personal information management tool for the most anti-social and introverted of people. I discuss why I find this useful (in addition to the social side of things) and how to extract your history foursquare into your personal calendar. Read on here.
Fantastic visualization of where geotagged photos are upload from, for two groups: (1) locals in blue, (2) tourists in red.
Today was spring-clean day for my dear ol’ Mac. Over the past few months, my Macbook has started to slow down, showing the spinning wheel of dayglow colours more and more often. My hard drive is getting full. Firefox keeps locking up and consuming ever vaster amounts of memory. I get multiple popup notifications whenever I boot up from Norton Antivirus (which I don’t even have installed anymore). Its like my Mac is slowly becoming a cluttered, tetchy PC. Aggh, what a nightmare thought.
Happily, I found a bunch of excellent optimization tips online, on sites including lifehacker.com, lowendmac.com, and thexlab.com. However, each article differed in terms of the tips offered. Therefore here’s my attempt at a full superset of tips, with highlights of those which worked for me. Please see the original articles for extra detail. I’ve included references below.
I didn’t get round to the following yet:
This is the first of several long-delayed posts of tips from our trip to South America in 2009. Here I cover our visit to the Chilean and Argentinian Lake Districts.
We flew into Bariloche from Patagonia, rented a car, and crossed into Chile over the Paso Cardinal Samore. In Chile we stayed at Puyehue hot springs for 2 nights, and then drove down to Chiloe for 2 nights. We then returned via the same route, staying at Villa L’angostura and just outside Bariloche.
Tiptop travel tip – Go to Chiloe
Okay, so if I had one tip for the area – its this – go to Chiloe. Its an island off Chile which I’d never even heard of until I was in Chile. The people there are allegedly from Polynesia and there’s certainly a Polynesian influence – Easter Island-ish statues, cuaranto (seafood and potato stew). Also of note, it was the last place in Chile occupied by the Spanish so lots of forts.
Chiloe also has the Churches of Chiloe, a dozen or so beautiful wooden Jesuit chapels scattered around the island. There’s a couple within easy reach of the main road when you trundle down to Cucao.
To be specific – go to Cucao, Chiloe
Now, if there’s one place you should go to on Chiloe, its Cucao (map). Its halfway down Chiloe on the west coast. Very remote. Very beautiful. There’s the Chiloe National Park for hikes, epic beaches (think Point Reyes meets rainforest), and I’m pretty sure its the southernmost inhabited spot on the Pacific seaboard of the Americas. Everywhere further south is on some fjord. Amazing boardwalks (easy for kids or sore hips), beach to infinity, friendly park rangers. Slightly out of the way and hence quieter than some places. Note the road is now tarmaced (shown as dirt on some maps)
Aside from Cucao, we also visited the following places in Chiloe.
Cuaranto restaurant in Ancud
Elsewhere in Chile
We stopped briefly at a couple of places between the Argentinian border and Chiloe.
Puyehue Hot Springs and resort
The border crossing
I don’t often say this – do the drive. Skip the Cruce de Lagos bus/ferry option. Its pricey, you have limited flexibility to wander, AND its hyper touristy. We met a few other travellers who regretted taking this route.
We drove the Paso Cardinal Samore (1314m). Its got some cool history – Argentina planned an invasion of Chile via 3 mountain passes, including this one, as late in the 70s. Luckily they got distracted by the Falklands War and Mrs Thatcher. There are separate customs on each side of the pass, with a beautiful 20 mile drive through No Mans land between them. Allow at least 30 mins for each customs and all the lovely paperwork. I believe it gets quite backed up in season so take a book and fill up your tank. The American in our group were not charged any fee to enter Chile.
Its interesting how the landscape and fauna changes on each side of the Andes.
Paso Cardinal Samore
Argentinian Lake District
The Argentinian Lake District has a distinctly Italian Alps feel. Its beautiful, but in a very different way to the Chilean side since the mountains are much denser. The food is stunning and much richer than Chile, but be prepared for some nutcases on the road. We also found it a lot busier with tourists than in Chile.
Noe the St. Bernard on the Circuito Chico.
Luxury at Design Suites Bariloche
Villa La Angostura
Park Los Arroyones, near Villa La Angostura
One of my best friends died in June. Randomly, from meningitis. Out of the blue. He was healthy, young, and living life to the full. He was born and bred, in East Germany, in Bismark, just west of Berlin. He had 2 kids – Olly and Carla (see the pics below). He had a Doctorate in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Imperial College London, and had a successful career, working at Altera in Southeast England. He was planning to run the Berlin marathon in the Autumn. He had traveled the world, and was continuing to do so. This is the kind of thing which isn’t meant to happen, and I’ve been trying – and failing – to make sense of it for 2 months. I miss him so much. I thought he would be here for ever.
One of the greatest honours of my life was speaking at his cremation. Here are my words from the crematorium on Monday June 29th 2009 in Amersham, UK:
It was an honour and a privilege to know Joern. He was such a wonderful friend, father, and family member. He was so young, and was due so many more years of happiness and bringing happiness to others.
Talking to many of you other the past few days, several aspects of his rich life and personality keep coming up. I’m going to touch on a few of these aspects so we can remember what a tremendous, well-rounded guy he was.
Joern was a wonderful friend. He was loyal, dependable and strong. He was always there to listen and offer his unique blend of support, calmness, and humour. His friendship helped many of us through our PhDs. This often involved a pint of beer down the Union Bar. In Klaus’s words, “The PhD years were quite demanding. Joern was calm and helped keep things in perspective.”
Joern was a leader and a founding member of the Imperial College Postgraduate Society, PostSoc. He served as president for over a year. In Jon’s words, “Joern was always there for support – always the consistent, stable foundation of the group – always pleasant, reassuring and tempering”.
Joern was a keen traveller and we couldn’t keep up with all the places he got to go to. Many of us were lucky enough to travel him. I’ll never forget a Winter’s night we spent in a draughty dorm in a youth hostel on Sardinia. It was so cold, we collected blankets from all the other beds in the room, to huddle under on our bunks. I think we slept maybe one hour. The next day, Joern in typical understatement and with a wry grin, summed the night up with “that was quite chilly, wasn’t it?”. This was typical of his wit and charm.
Joern was a keen sportsman and sportsfan. He loved hiking and running – he planned to complete the Berlin marathon in September. However, above all, he loved football – in particular Hertha BSC, Lok Stendal and his beloved Deutschland. He also delighted in making fun of his friends’ teams, who were never as good as his own of course. How we’ll miss his lively commentary through games.
Finally, Joern loved a glass of beer – be it over a footie match, halfway through a hike, or just to get away from our desks. He’ll always be there at our sides, whenever we raise a pint.
Joern – we’ll never forget you.
Family man! Joern, looking busy(!), with Daniella and his kids, Olli and Carla. Joern and Daniella had recently got divorced but remained friends – and of course, wonderful parents.
Olly and Carla at the Hit or Miss pub near Amersham after his cremation. It is amazing how much Olly looks like Joern!
Daniella and Olly with some sunflowers. These were Joern’s favourite flowers. My heart misses a beat whenever I see sunflowers now.
Joern had many nicknames – Jorni, Beany, and Superjorni. The photo below is taken from a T-shirt is colleagues were inspired to race in, during a run dedicated to Joern’s name, to raise money for the Meningitis Trust.
Joern with his girlfriend – Kerstin. He split his time between his work and family in the UK, and visiting Kerstin in Germany. Happily, they had many great times together in his final year of life.
I last saw him in person in April 2008 during our wonderful weekend in Rome. We got thrown out of a church (OK, so Joern wasn’t meant to be videoing the monk’s skeletons in the catacombs), hiked all the seven hills, and ate and drank our fill of wonderful Roman fare. Spot the hangovers.
Here is a photo in the back garden of a pub in Berkshire:
Here are some pics of us on the prowl in London. The pub is the Churchill Arms, one of Joern’s faves. Other fave drinking establishments included the Victoria in Paddington, and the Union Bar at Imperial College Students Union. The other bloke is Jon Smith, another best friend of Joern:
Joern, Jon and myself used to run regularly in Hyde Park / Kensington Gardens together during our PhDs. Often, we ran the next day after a night out at a local pub, to burn off the hangover. After his cremation we ran around the parks, and dedicated them to his memory.
The Hit or Miss pub in Penn Street, Amersham, where we remembered him. Joern would have loved it here.
Rome in 2 days? Sounds like a rush … however, the news is it can be done. And you needn’t spend all day “gladiating” tourist hordes in the Colliseum.
Neighbourhoods with fewer tourists:
Hikes and hills
View from Giancolo hill
Place to stay
The touristy but absolute must do’s (take a deep breath, and alternate with a hike)
The quietest photo ever taken of the Vatican from St. Peters Square (seriously)
The travelators in the bowels of the Vatican (where the nuns go on the run?)
The quietest photo ever taken on the Spanish Steps (seriously)
Guide book and maps
I’d often wondered about the accessibility of Mount Sutro (207m), one of the 7 hills of San Francisco. Seen from afar, it looked enticing – thickly wooded slopes rising up in the middle of the city. However, on maps it always tended to be marked “UCSF” so I assumed it was private university land.
I was really happy when a friend told me there were paths up there, and sure enough, there are lots thanks to the folk at Nature in the City who have been clearing paths (volunteer details here). We hiked up there on a Sunday in June and didn’t meet a soul in the lush Eucalyptus woods.
The only downside is the lack of view from the top. Those Eucalyptus trees are just too tall. But its still well worth the trip.