What To Do In San Francisco?

I’m leaving for a short trip to San Francisco tonight for — gasp — pleasure! Rachel’s will be in Bozeman for wedding planning and family time, and I’ve owed Matt a visit for a long time. I also have a handful of other friends (Audrey/Griffin, Shanan) Question is, what should I do? I get in late tonight (Thursday) and leave early Sunday afternoon.

I wanted to go to the Exploratorium1, but they’re closed while they move in to their new place.

The Bay Model Visitor Center2 also looks interesting.

I’ll be based out of the Haight neighborhood, what’s a nerd to do on vacation in San Fran?

Also, what’s the best way to get around? I have a free car rental I could use, but will parking be disastrous?

  1. this has been on my list since at least 2007, says my del.icio.us bookmark 

  2. this has been on my list since at least 2007, says my del.icio.us bookmark 

Introducing AFdN.me

Spurred on by the coolness1 that Viper007Bond (aka Alex Mills) enabled with his v007.me site-specific URL shortener, I have also implemented a similar functionality, also using YOURLS.

a-n-d-r-e-w-f-e-r-g-u-s-o-n-.-n-e-t is 18 characters. I’ve managed to reduce that down to a mere seven (a 61% reduction in effort). http://afdn.me is primarily designed to serve at the short URL location and branding for AFdN. This will primarily be seen in social media, such as Twitter, but could also show up in print locations where space may be limited.


Instead of showing a link similar to wp.me/p4tPz-2cP (as shown above), links to AFdN will now appear similar to afdn.me/mg3sm. All previous short URLs will, of course, to continue to function. Only new posts (and old posts that have been edited) will see the new shortened URLs.

The self-referential nature of using AFdN.net did occur to me, but the domain was already taken.

This has also been rolled out for AndrewAndRachel.com, which uses http://aandr.us as its shortened URL.

  1. Honestly, the real reason I implemented this is that http://andrewandrachel.com/wedding/photo-booth is too long to put on a photo strip branding logo 

Bloomberg: The Largest U.S. Banks Aren’t Really Profitable At All

This makes me frustrated. No one should ever be “too big to fail”. That’s a poppycock soundbite to maintain the status quo. How do we, as everyday citizens, bring about actual change for things like this?

From www.bloomberg.com:

“In other words, the banks occupying the commanding heights of the U.S. financial industry — with almost $9 trillion in assets, more than half the size of the U.S. economy — would just about break even in the absence of corporate welfare. In large part, the profits they report are essentially transfers from taxpayers to their shareholders.1

  1. Emphasis added 

Deciding and Executing

In my opinion, there are two critical events that must occur when making something happen.

The first is you have to choose to decide to do it. This may seem intuitively obvious and perhaps even easy, but I think it’s actually the hardest. Decide comes from the Latin dēcīdō…from (“down from”) + caedō (“cut”). Decide literally means to “cut off” other options. And when you truly decide something, there is no going back…alea iacta est, “the die has been cast.”1

That’s not an easy thing, and sometimes we don’t even have complete control over all the factors. Never the less, we choose to jump both feet first into that unknown.

The second critical event is executing on what you decided to do. Often times I’m honestly not sure how something is going to happen. There are all sorts of paradigms along the lines of “time, money, quality: pick two.” But speaking as an engineer, I think figuring out the “how” — the appropriate balance of whatever paradigm you choose that brings about a solution — is often half the fun, and is likely easier than truly committing and deciding to do whatever it is that you’re doing.

NB: This an excerpt of an email I wrote to a good friend. I’ve talked about the etymology of “decide” with several people before, but surprisingly never here. Glad we rectified that.

  1. Caesar used the phrase as a metaphor to express the fact that he had crossed the river, and there was no going back. See also: The End is Nigh…at least the End of the Beginning is Nigh 

How to Improve American Presidential Elections in Four Steps

It’s obviously never as easy as it sounds, but I think there are some good ideas here. In particular, I would be in high favor of amending the Constitution to move our election system to Instant Runoff Voting (or similar) system.

While such a system could be done at the Electoral College level, my opinion is that it would be better to abolish the Electoral College entirely if we moved to an IRV (or similar) system.

via Alex King

The art in assertiveness is to ask strongly for wh…

The art in assertiveness is to ask strongly for what you want then to let go of it if the answer is No. You tread the fine line between consistent perseverance and the stubborn persistence that can feel to others like abuse. Passive people do not ask for what they want. Aggressive people demand (openly) or manipulate (secretly) to get what they want. Assertive people simply ask, without inhibition of themselves or pressure on others.