Friday, October 29, 2010

Journal of Serendipitous and Unexpected Results

There's a delightful piece at Byte Size Bio about an article in the excellently-named Journal of Serendipitous and Unexpected Results. The piece is called "But did you correct your results using a dead salmon?" and it uses the MRI of a dead salmon to illustrate the fallacious results possible from bad use of statistics. It also has a nice (simplified) explanation of the logic underlying multiple error correction.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Nicely done, SoCal Edison

I had the surprising experience of getting a smart automated call today. I called SoCal Edison after the power was out today for about an hour. They told me it was out for some 400 people in my neighborhood. I later received an automated call, asking me to press 1 if my power had been restored. It was a short, efficient script. Brilliant: they followed up with me, and they got a sense of whether their job was done.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Wheeled carry-on backpacks

After traveling to six cities and staying in nine different homes over the course of a month with my bargain bag, I've identified things I want in a travel bag.
  • wheels
  • backpack straps and hip belt
  • can be carried on and fits in the overhead bin (typically airlines limit carry-on luggage to 22" x 14" x 9")
  • can be checked. This means that I want to be able to cover the backpack shoulder and hip straps.
  • as big as possible
  • as light as possible
  • not hard to look at
Here are my candidates:
  • Rick Steves Autobahn 21" Rolling Backpack, $140, 7 lbs , 13 oz. I think it's ugly and the straps don't look very ergonomic.

  • Eagle Creek Switchback Max 22, $300, 9lbs, 6 oz, detachable daypack. It’s not horrible looking, reviewers like it, it has Eagle Creek’s fantastic warranty, and I like the daypack option.

  • Osprey Meridian 22”, $300, 8 lbs. 14 oz. Fantastic looking, technical reviewers love it. Zip-off backpack.

Not considered:
Victorinox E-motion 4.0 22" Trek Pack Plus. It's too deep (22" x 14.5" x 10.75").

So the products I like are in the $300 range. That seems like way too much to pay for something I'm not sure I'll like. Maybe I'll find that the combination of backpack straps and wheels takes up too much space to be able to fit my stuff in it. Maybe the combination will be too heavy. I'm considering buying a less expensive one to get a feel for the combination, but even a relatively inexpensive one will be a commitment. Hmm.