NE Snowboard

After over five years in New England, I finally hit the frigid slopes this weekend. It’s been a long time since I’ve been on skis, and since I was renting anyway, I thought I’d try boarding instead. I’ve actually gone boarding one other time, but it’s been over ten years and, well, it wasn’t like riding a bicycle.
The interesting thing about today’s snowboard lesson was the instructor, Chickie Rosenberg, a sixty-seven year old grandmother who has written two snowboard books and is “sponsored by Burton”. She has lots of news clippings on her website.

Champagne Chair Contest

Every year, DWR has a contest to design a tiny chair using only the cork, wire, and foil of a champagne bottle. I really like this idea – I even have a poster of the first year’s entries. There aren’t a lot of creative store-sponsored contests these days, and this one has simple rules, simple supplies, and great looking results.
This year, DWR is letting the public vote for the best designs. It’s unfortunate that you can’t vote without signing up for their mailing list. My least favorite entries are the ones that try to mimic real-life chairs, using standard or famous designs. Unfourtunately, that’s what we have to vote on this week, but I’m looking forward to the winners in the following weeks.

Netflix Movie Streaming

Hacking Netflix has a video clip of the new Netflix feature that I am not lucky enough to have (yet): streaming movies. Despite what the New York Time’s says, I think Netflix is poised to continue their success. They’re smart enough to have known that DVD-based distribution has a limited life span and that online distribution will be huge. They’ve come to the market early with a huge subscriber base, and there’s no reason they won’t perfect online distribution just as they perfected mail-based DVD distribution.
It was obvious (and preannounced) that Netflix would have some sort of online offering this year, but I do find the pricing format interesting. In the same way that $0.99 gets you a great – or a horrible – song on iTunes, Netflix seems to have streaming minutes that all cost the same. A good minute is the same as a bad one, but a per minute charge is nice you end up disliking a movie. This could even change attitudes about the home movie walk-out. (I have a hard time stopping a bad movie because I feel like I’ve invested something in it. That feeling could be reversed if it was costing me to continue watching.)
I have to wonder whether Netflix royalties will be paid on a per minute basis too. If they were, and the Netflix market was big enough, longer movies would actually be worth more per viewing. I assume the industry currently prefers short movies whenever possible, as they can have more showings in theaters.

Warm Weather

It’s been exceptionally warm in the Northeast this winter, and for a society that generally interested in weather – enough to make it the default small-talk topic and even build a business model around its unpredictability – I’ve been surprised at the lack of commentary.
Then there was a joke on last night’s Saturday Night Live and an article in this morning’s New York Times. It seems people are thinking about the weather after all, though many find convenience in the warmth, seemingly oblivious to certain less-than-convenient truths.
It’s incredible how much the temperature, and weather in general, affects our lives and our legacy. A quick Google News search for “warm weather” reveals the following articles (selected from the first 20 results):
“Warm weather taxing some businesses, helping others”
“Warm weather continues to limit ice fishing”
“Confusion blooms in warm winter weather”
“Warm Weather Boosts Construction”
“Mild winter kind to animals”
“Early Warm Weather Wakes Russian Bears”
“Warm weather sees oil prices hit lowest level since 2005”
“Warm winter hurting Adirondack businesses”
So it can be good and bad, at least in the short term, to be warm. Maybe not so good in the long term though.