Thingelstad Superfeed

untitled.jpgI am an RSS addict. I admit it. I probably use Google Reader as much as I use email. I’ve got over 150 RSS feeds that I subscribe to. Several of those feeds are watching my friends blogs so I can keep up-to-date with new things they post. The majority of people that read my own blog read it entirely in their RSS reader and almost never go to the site. I just love those little feeds all over the place. I consume almost all of my news via RSS.

A few months ago Yahoo! launched Pipes, there new product that allows you to play with feeds in new ways. I was recently thinking about all the people that subscribe to my blog and wishing that it would be easier for them to also get RSS feeds of my other content. Pictures posted to Flickr. Claims made on Jyte. Websites claimed with ClaimID. Thus the Superfeed was born.

The Superfeed combines 14 (at present) different RSS feeds into one big Superfeed that you can subscribe to and get a full feed of my content on the Internet. Or at least most of it. I will add feeds to it, and remove some as needed. But with Pipes this one feed will stay current of all my content that I create around the web. (RSS)

The Superfeed is a big enough innovation, but wait, there is more! I’ve also created a Highlights feed. The highlights feed brings you a unified feed of items I digg, things I share from other RSS feeds and items I tag in del.icio.us. With one simple feed you get to see what things I found interesting enough to share with all of you, assuming you care. How awesome is that! (RSS)

So go ahead and fire up your feed reader and add the Superfeed and the Highlights feed. Let me know what you think of them. I can add or remove some stuff. Here are the links for convenience again.

PS: It’s really easy to make your own superfeed using Yahoo! Pipes. Go ahead and make one and share. I’d love to get some Superfeeds from others!

Update (June 4, 2011): The Superfeed that I was running in Yahoo! Pipes has been deleted. If you wish to find other RSS feeds to subscribe to related to my stuff on the web see my feeds page for an index.

2007 Minneapolis Bike Tour

Tammy and I got to be one of the 4,500 participants in the very first Minneapolis Bike Tour a couple of weekends ago. I road with my Ironman Brother-in-law. We road the short route and Tammy and her sister rode the longer route.

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This was a really great ride. It seems like it’s Minneapolis’s answer to the St. Paul Classic. I’m really glad they started doing this and even more glad it was so popular. I’m looking forward to riding it again next year. If you enjoy the bike, make a point to do this ride in 2008.

Electric Arc Radio

A little over a week ago Tammy and I went with some friends to see Electric Arc Radio. You may have heard about this group of writers under their other (or previous?) name, the Lit6 Project. The show is hard to describe, this excerpt from their website sets the stage well:

Imagine this: four writers living together in a little house on a city street, with Alan Greenspan (yeah, that Alan Greenspan) holed up in a back-yard treehouse and a punk poet next door. Greenspan plays the clarinet, badly, the poet steps up on occasion to lay down a few soft words about life, living and the pursuit of whatever, and the writers invite a band to stay with them as they all scramble around each other’s egos.

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The performance was really cool and very fresh. There were a lot of laughs. Tammy was head over heels for it and can’t wait to go back. It’s a bit quirky, entirely in a good way.

There is another show this coming weekend, Sept. 29th. Go check it out! I think you’ll enjoy it! That’s really the only point of this article, to try to raise awareness of this cool thing going on in our city.

Etymotic Research ER6 Earbuds for iPhone

er6i-sidejpg.gifOne of the unexpected byproducts of getting the iPhone is that I’m listening to a lot more music on the go. There are two primary reasons for this. The most important one is that my phone is almost always with me (unlike an iPod). Since the iPhone is much more than a phone, but is my phone, I now almost always have music with me. The second reason is that the experience is just so nice that I really enjoy using it. The integration of the phone and music player into the same device has some nice other benefits, like still being able to receive a call while walking around the city or working out and listening to music, or books, or podcasts.

Listening to more music I decided to do an upgrade of the earbuds that come with the iPhone. The included buds are okay, but you can do better. This is a tricky upgrade however. The iPhone comes with the customized headphones that have a mic in them for making phone calls (which is great by the way, it’s really nice to do calls with both ears). Of course you can plug in normal headphones and they work fine, but with less functionality.

UltimateBuds came to the rescue with an innovative approach. You can send them your iPhone headphones and they will detach the Apple earbuds and put the Etymotic ER6i earbuds on in there place. The microphone functionality is not affected, since it is still the same headphone set. Brilliant! I opted for this and sent my headphones in a week ago. The turnaround time was fast and the quality of the replacement is great.

I’ve now been able to try my modified Etymotic ER6′s in a variety of conditions and I am very pleased. I’m typing this while using them on a plane and having used noise cancelling headphones as well, these are far superior. The thing that takes some getting used to with the ER6′s is that they don’t really sit in your ear like typical buds do. They are rather just speakers designed for your ear canal. They go deeper into your and that takes a little getting used to. The sound is great though. Detail comes through crisply, bass is reproduced with depth and boom. Two thumbs up!

My only challenge with them thus far has been on an airplane. I’m a bit more sensitive than most to air pressure and ears. I found that placing the headphones in with a complete “seal” made for a lot of pressure on my ear. Working the earbud around a bit makes it okay though.

If your looking for better sound on the go with your iPhone, and don’t want to sacrifice the microphone, this is a great option.

Stop Drinking Bottled Water

home_img1_water.jpgTammy has been leading the way on a number of environmentally conscious improvements in our house. We’ve done a lot of big things like our solar heat project and buying wind credits for all of our electricity. But these larger efforts are somewhat “mailing it in”. You do them once, write a check to someone, and continue as you always have. They don’t require you to change behavior at all. Recently we’ve been working harder on these types of change, including starting to compost and using air conditioning more sparingly. Tammy however has been pushing even farther, looking at where she buys clothing, where items comes from and what we bring into the kitchen.

Over the last year or so we’ve weened ourself off of the traditional grocery stores. We’ve been longtime co-op members and shop at Lakewinds. However, for a long time we supplemented with occasional trips to “normal” grocery stores for other items. We no longer do this, having pushed those items out of our kitchen. We can happily report there are no trans-fats, and no high-fructose (or otherwise) corn syrup products in our house. Shopping exclusively at a co-op makes this much easier to do. We recently got new sheets for our bed and she persisted her search there. She found bedsheets made of bamboo that have a much smaller footprint on the environment. By the way, the bamboo sheets are awesome.

She has recently declared no more bottled watter. She read Garbageland a while ago and that really got her thinking about trash (hence our push into composting) and bottled water is a huge problem in this regard. We now all have our Sigg bottles and eschew the ubiquitous bottled water in favor of bringing our own along. The September 7th edition of The Week goes into much more detail on this problem in it’s briefing entitled The High Price of Bottled Water. Here are some highlights I felt needed to be shared.

  • In 2006 American’s consumed 30 billion bottles of water spending $15 billion. Think of those 30 billion water bottles in landfills. Only 25% of them are recycled. (Okay, 22.5 billion water bottles in landfills.) That’s 2 billion pounds of plastic.
  • 75% of New Yorkers when given a blind taste test prefered New York city tapwater to bottled water.
  • EPA standards for city water are more strict than FDA standards for bottled water. For example, city water is tested 100 or more times a month for coliform bacteria, and bottled water once a week.
  • It takes 1.5 million barrels of crude oil to create the plastic bottles. 37,800 18-wheelers are in use every day to haul bottled water around the US.
  • If you paid for your tap water at the same rate you pay for bottled water, your water bill would cost $9,000 a month.

The only value being provided here is convenience. The water isn’t better. It’s just in a nice, convenient package. A simple change in behavior could help us out in so many ways.

I’ll be carrying my Sigg bottle more often… get yourself one!

Mazie's First RenFest

This weekend we were adventurous and decided to take Mazie to her first Renaissance Festival! And just to keep things really interesting, we brought Izzy along as well. It was awesome. Everyone had a great time. Mazie really enjoyed it and had fun with just everything going on. Izzy did well, and was very interested when she realized there were bones laying around.

I put up a few photos and here is a quick video from our day…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pwIaBpNk9I[/youtube]