Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Why Oxford is so great

One of my Oxford Professors, Jonathan Zittrain, was on the Colbert Report last night to promote his new book ‘The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It’. He was just as lively and good humored as he was in the classroom, and his book brings up some interesting points.

Essentially, the book explores how the internet is transitioning from a loose and free playground to a patchwork of walled kingdoms and bespoke devices where applications and content can be centrally monitored, blocked, and manipulated.

For example: why is iTunes only compatible with the iPod? Doesn’t that lock out innovation in music and video devices? Similarly, the iPhone is a closed garden where only Apple approved applications can run. Even then, they can be scrapped at Apple’s command, just as iPhone unlocking software was blocked by code in one of Apple’s endless updates. Is your Tivo really your own if a company thousands of miles away can erase content without your permission? How about that Xbox? How much privacy and control do you really have when you’re tethered to Microsoft?

Seeing Jonathan on Colbert reminded me of just how extraordinary my time at Oxford was.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Weekend in Cancun

This weekend was nothing short of AMAZING! My friend and I decided to take a trip to Cancun to get away from it all, so Friday morning we got up at 3am and headed to LAX for our flight. After touching down around four, we checked into the Westin Cancun, and headed straight for the beach.

The warm, clear waters stretched out to a distant reef before fading into the endless blue Caribbean. The sand, a fine mix of washed up shells, was white and cool under the afternoon sun. I jumped in the surf for hours, drank cold beers in the warm breeze, lounged on weathered beach recliners, and broke up the day with lethargic swims in the hotel pool. That night, I sat on the balcony overlooking the sea and listened as the waves gently washed ashore in the summer night.

The next morning was a leisurely breakfast before catching a van to Puerto Morelos. There, we ventured out in a small boat to snorkel the reefs. Under the salty waves I held large, smooth conch shells and watched stingrays and barracudas idly pass by. Between the first and second dives, the guide abruptly stopped the boat and jumped into the waters. He came up a minute later with a MASSIVE sea turtle struggling in his hands. Its head was as big as the guide's and it splashed around with flippers larger than my hands, but it only seemed mildly annoyed at the interruption and soon slipped beneath the surface and darted off. After the reefs was a lazy lunch of shredded chicken and tortillas in the shade of a thatched beach patio. Upon returning to Cancun, we smoked Cuban cigars on the balcony and waited for the heat of day to fade to night.

On the final morning, I just relaxed and enjoyed a long breakfast. After some last minute shopping, we headed to the airport and made our way back home. It was a perfect escape from the ordinary, but now I can’t wait to travel again.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

iPod + surfing = fun

So this last weekend I got a new toy; an Otterbox waterproof iPod case. I wanted to see if I could take my iPod out while surfing, so this seemed to be the way to go. After giving it a quick test (by throwing my iPod in the pool) I headed out to the beach. The waves were pretty big and I spent most of the day eating saltwater, but my tunes held up; even underwater. The only weak point was my Sony earbuds, which vacillated between heavy bass and high treble. Guess I need to find a waterproof set. For now, it’s a workable combo that makes surfing even more fun.

This weekend I’ve got some big plans though. I’m taking a trip to Cancun with my friend. I can’t wait to go diving in some warm, clear water and drink beers on the beach at night. In August, I’ll be heading up to SF to see Radiohead at Golden Gate Park. This is going to be a great summer.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Kicking into summer

So it's been forever since I've written, but I haven't really been up to much. Didn't do anything Memorial Day; the weather was bad so I just went surfing and hiking. Last weekend was better, so I went surfing and hiking. I saw my little shark friend though.

Along the beaches of SoCal there are a bunch of bottom feeding sharks that hang out close to shore. I was walking out of the surf and spotted one a couple of yards away in the shallows. It looked like a sandy brown log, but it was a 4 foot sand shark. No big, they pretty much avoid people and swimmers rarely even notice them. Kinda cool once you notice though.

Today I had a client lunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel and saw Jennifer Aniston and John Mayer getting lunch. The Fonz was there too. Happy Days.