Sailboat Racing Tips – Main Sheet, Spinnaker

I spent last weekend doing the 2016 POD Regatta which was my first race. There was a lot to learn, even for a somewhat experienced sailor. I made some notes on the two jobs I did over the weekend:

– Tighten boom vang
– Crank on the main sheet, center the boom where possible (without excessive heeling)
– Use traveller to keep rail out of the water, ease fine-tune also if need be, re-trim when possible
– Use fine-tune to bury the top tell-tale

– Release fine-tune back to neutral
– Pull traveller to windward side
– Switch sides
– Be ready to adjust

– Ease boom vang
– Ease traveller
– Ease main sheet in stages as boat rotates until all the way out

– Move to leeward side
– Pull main sheet over and try not to let it flop too hard
– If blowing too hard, will need to trim main in, pull main across to gyb, and then ease it

– Fine-tune to neutral
– Trim boom vang
– Trim main sheet hard
– Trim traveller
– Adjust fine-tune to bury the top tell-tale

– Deploy jib (if not already deployed)
– Deploy pole and tack line into position
– Bring spinnaker head to center of jib for raising
– Hoist spinnaker main behind jib
– Trim spin sheet
– Furl jib

– Ease working spin line
– Pull in lazy spin line to clew
– Pull clew around forestay, down to the deck and back
– Make sure spin foot clears bow pulpit
– Trim lazy spin line to become working spin line

– Deploy jib
– Make sure lazy spin sheet is on the leeward side of the hatch
– Open hatch, squirrel ready
– Ease working sheet
– Pull in lazy spin line to clew
– Get clew into hatch
– Release spin halyard at measured pace
– Make sure foot of spin gets on the boat and into the hatch

How to cook a great steak

NOTE: This only applies to “baseball-cut” steaks (aka really thick, hard to get the center cooked)

[My steaks are usually 14-16 oz filets so cut down the time for smaller steaks as needed]

1. 2-3 hours before you’re ready to start cooking, take the steaks out and season them generously (I use Siesel’s Meats San Diego seasoning: 4 types of
salt plus other stuff)

2. Pre-heat an oven to 425-500 and put a Pyrex dish in

3. Get a pan red hot (many use cast iron, I just use a regular one) for searing

4. Put a big pat of butter on top of each steak and throw into the pan

5. Sear for 2-3 mins each side (or as much char as you want) – I like the char so I actually roll mine around on all sides to get color/char all over
and soak up butter

6. Once you’re done searing, just use tongs to move them to the oven and bake them for 6-7-8 mins each side (depending on the size, and desired
temperature – aka “doneness”). I don’t know if you have to flip them, in the middle, but I do because I’m retarded like that (symetrical and all).

7. You can tell when they’re done by meat thermometer or by pressing on the top of them (takes practice)

8. You want to pull them slightly under your desired temperature, and then let them rest (under a tent to keep them warm if so desired)

Once you do this a couple of times, it becomes second nature. For as simple as this is though, you’ll find that all kinds of things can change the
result: oven temp fluctuation (especially if not gas), meat quality, the way the meat was cut (is it enlongated or more spheroid) missed cooking time,
etc. Always an adventure cooking meat..

Is it just me or is the tech industry getting ridiculous?


Videos on Ocho — as the free app’s name hints — are eight seconds long. That’s two seconds longer than a Vine loop and seven seconds shorter than the max-length Instagram clip, and that’s not by mistake.

This instantly reminded me of the ‘8min vs 7min vs 6min Abs’ scene in “Something About Mary”:

What a joke..

Syria’s wide open escape hatch

Perhaps I’m being too cynical, but Syria’s willingness to give up their chemical weapons so easily when they had never even admitted to having them in the past just seems like a stalling tactic, especially when they have a wide open escape hatch to derail the whole plan:

“The inspectors responsible for tracking down Syria’s chemical arms stockpile and verifying its destruction plan to start in Syria by Tuesday. They will face their tightest deadlines ever and work right in the heart of a war zone, according to a draft decision obtained Friday by The Associated Press.”

Who’s going to protect these inspectors? The Syrian troops? That’s funny. If the Syrian troops don’t shell the inspectors themselves (and blame it on the rebels), they will allow any of the various extremist rebel factions to attack. A few dead UN inspectors and the whole operation halts. Syria says, “Don’t blame us, we’re fighting these guys too! We can’t protect our own people either.”

Suddenly, people aren’t talking about the chemical attack any more, it’s about how to protect UN troops – speeches will be given, votes will be proposed and vetoed, and the endless cycle of war goes on. Actually, if you think about it, it’s the perfect way for Syria to put the “bad guy” label on the rebels and put itself back on the side of good. “Hey, we’re trying to do the right thing here and these terrorists are screwing it up. C’mon guys, let’s go get them!”

I think we’re playing checkers while others are playing chess.

Goodbye Google Reader. Hello Bazqux!

Well, yesterday was the first day without Google Reader. I honestly expected to be posting an epic rant here complaining about whatever replacement I ended up with. The announcement was made in March, but I figured it was best to wait until the end and see who had implemented the best option. Plus there was always the possibility that GReader ended up surviving somehow.

Last week, I realized the end was getting very close and I still hadn’t even started exploring any options. I needed to find some place to park my 700+ feeds, hopefully without having to change my reading process too much. Ideally, it would have a minimal interface like GReader, and an API so I could tag articles and pull them out later with an automated script.

My preferred client is Feeddler Pro (just a kick-ass reader for the iPad), so whatever I chose needed to work with that – definitely limiting my options. I tried FeedHQ – didn’t like it. I tried The Old Reader – it functioned very similar to GReader and I definitely considered it, but it seemed a little slow UI/UX-wise. I even tried some options that were not compatible with Feeddler Pro (HiveReader, Feedly, and a self-hosted option: tiny tiny RSS). Nothing really seemed to fit.

Feedler Pro also mentioned supporting Bazqux – what kind of name is that?! I would have NEVER tried it had it not been listed as being supported.

Well, Feeddler certain chose right! Sign up was easy (though I would have preferred not to have to use an OAuth2 service). Imported my feeds, no problem. Started to explore the interface – very, very similar to GReader but it can also track comments – interesting! Not sure if I’m going to do this going forward because I have enough to read/keep up with, but it’s nice to have the option. And it is ungodly fast – much faster than GReader. Same keystrokes too, so nothing new to learn.

It’s missing some features (no way to bulk set the preferred order to Oldest), and it’s got some bugs – I went through manually setting the Oldest first, and ended up with a 1G Chrome session, so it has some JS memory leaks on extended sessions, but I’m sure they’ll get those under control. And it’s got a drop-in replacement API (same URL structure, same functionality) – I’ve already got my ‘starred article‘ script working again.

So farewell Google Reader – you really helped me process a lot of valuable information and I’m grateful, but I’m happy that I haven’t had to change much (anything) with Bazqux so onward and upward!

You can learn more about Bazqux by reading the FAQ.

Slick billiards game built with HTML5 technology

I came across this neat little billiards game:

built with in Rails with JavaScript. In fact, you can fork it on Github here:

Pretty impressive!

Referrals are an exercise in trust

This is a message to startups worldwide – don’t ask for referrals from people signing up to a landing page with no information. Why on earth would I spend my personal “capital” referring my friends to your service when I don’t even know anything about it? That is just completely insane.

Let’s be clear – I’m NOT talking about websites that have a tour of the features and discusses what the company does or provides. If you don’t describe the features or show screenshots, you shouldn’t be asking for any of referrals. Referrals are an exercise of trust – you’re basically asking me to vouch for you to my friends based on.. what?

My rant for the day.

Economic mirage of the past 30 years

I’m surprised that this is my first economic blog post, considering that a large portion of the stuff I read every day is financially related, but something on (via John Mauldin) caught my eye:

I am reminded of former Vice President Dick Cheney’s comment that “deficits don’t matter.” He is right, if the deficit never grows past the rate of the growth of the country (nominal GDP). It might not be wise to approach that limit, but it would not necessarily be a disaster. And, to be charitable to Cheney, I’m sure it never occurred to him that the US could run a deficit close to 10% of GDP. Such a notion would have been preposterous to him. Unthinkable. The US government would pull back from anything even close to that. And that remained true – until it happened and we didn’t pull back.

This guy is a “renowned financial expert, a New York Times best-selling author, and a pioneering online commentator” (according to his website) and he is unwilling or unable to admit that our debt has been growing faster than GDP for the past 30 years. Don’t believe me? Check out a table of the History of the United States public debt and cross reference the growth of the federal debt vs the growth of GDP – the numbers don’t lie.

The Reagan era was the start of the debt-fueled “boom” – in the vast majority of years, the debt was growing faster than GDP. And something that many people don’t realize is that deficit-spending gets added into the GDP calculation. That’s basically how we’ve been “growing” over these past 30 years.

Let’s run the numbers up to 2007 (before the crisis) from that table above  just to be clear – in 1980, the inflation-adjusted debt was $1.808T, and the GDP was $5.422T. In 2007, the inflation-adjusted debt was $7.419T and the GDP was $11.329T. GDP increased 208% over that time period but debt increased 410% – *FAIL* (note: this doesn’t include the past 6 years where things get REALLY ugly because of the crash)

I don’t mean to pick on Mr Mauldin – I actually receive his weekly newsletter and it was there that I first started to open my eyes about our problem. Krugman and others on the left fail to mention or acknowledge it either. All they talk about is “growing our way out of it” when it’s plainly clear that’s bullshit.

I will leave you with this – 2012 had a GDP of 15.094T and a growth rate of about 2.2%, which means an increase of $332B. Except that our deficit was $1.1T.. oops. We spent $1.00 to get back $.33 but hey, I guess we’ll make it up on volume!

Take a boat trip to Bainbridge Island on a bright sunny Seattle day

Office Nomads had this great blog post (which I now cannot find the link to) about visiting Office Xpats on Bainbridge Island, and I had made a mental note to do that one of these days. Which ended up being today.

I got into the office at my regular 6am time today, cleared my inbox and worked on some things that had popped up over the weekend. About 9:30am, I looked outside and discovered it was going to be one of those gorgeous Seattle sunny days. I checked my schedule for the day and figured I could use a break to get outside. And that’s when I realized today would be the perfect day to go check out Office Xpats – wasting some time on the boat commute each way, sure, but I could still get some stuff done while I was out there.

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I just barely made the 10:40am ferry after mis-timing how long it would take for me to get to the bank. The great thing for me is that there’s a foot bridge starting on 1st & Madison right outside of SURF that runs under the Viaduct directly to walk-on ferry terminal. The ticket was $7.40 going to Bainbridge (return ride is free). It was pretty cold for being so sunny; I could only stand on the foredeck for so long before my eyes were watering and my ears freezing.

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I haven’t been to Winslow since before I first left for San Diego in 1996, which means it’s been  at least 17 years, and realistically more like 20-22 years. It still seems like a neat, sleepy little town – lots of little shops and stores along a laid-back main drag.

It’s about a 10-minute walk from the ferry terminal to Office Xpats, which is on the second story of a mini-mall, complete with a theatre, a small gym, some restaurants and shops. I think they did a great job fixing it up – lots of little partitioned spaces with comfy chairs, private meeting rooms and a kitchen.

I had a quick lunch at Casa Rojas on the 1st floor, then went up to to Xpats. It was pretty empty owning to the fact that the owners were at a coworking conference in Austin, and also presumably because everyone was out enjoying the sunshine.

I worked for a few hours and decided to call it a day to head back to SURF. A quick walk back to the ferry terminal (and a detour to the Blackbird Bakery for a delicious cranberry Oatmeal raisin cookie), and I was aboard the boat heading back to Seattle.

I wish I had a panoramic camera right now – on the boat ride back and all the mountains are out, from Mt Baker up north to an unbelievable shot of Mt Rainier to the south, plus the Cascades behind the city. Just breathtaking!

I would highly recommend this day-trip to everyone – you can have the veneer of doing some work, but also be able to get out on the sound, enjoy a quaint little town and hopefully some sunny weather!

Learning how to program iOS – Part 2

A quick update on Chapter 2 of “iOS Application Development” which covered Xcode and the iOS simulator. I had played with an older version of Xcode (3.2 I think?) with the current version being 4.6 as I write this – seems like a lot has changed. I think the IDE has greatly improved – I like the Assistant Editor which pulls up header (.h) files in a separate side window from the current implementation (.m) files, and I like snapshots and the visual diffs they show, plus the error/warning feedback seems much better than I remember it.

I think the one thing I really like about learning from a book as opposed to finding stuff on the web – it’s great having everything in one place, and it’s great having stuff grouped together. It was nice to read a quick overview of the iOS Simulator’s capabilities, something I had never even thought to look up.

Now comes the actual learning part – starting the Objective-C portion next..