Mini-Rant: What are Those Slooooow Left-Lane Drivers Thinking?

When I was driving nearly-weekly between Princeton and Boston, I would ponder - stew, usually - often thinking: What the hell is that #@&#!% driver in front of me thinking?”  Consider here drivers who ride the left lane, not passing anyone, and generally moving at or below the speed limit …

Diver holding sign "Get our of the fast lane, moron"

Passing on the right because a slow driver is in the left lane

I came up with 3 major classes, each with sub-classes:

A.  Uninformed, Slooooow Left-Lane Drivers.  2 sub-classes: 1. Never learned that cars should travel in the right-hand lane unless passing (napping during drivers ed..) 2. Learned and forgot In either case, these how is it possible that these folks never even get the hint from watching other drivers, or from the dirty looks given by people passing on their right?   B.  Distracted, Slooooow Left-Lane Drivers.  8 (probably infinite) sub-classes: These left lane riders know the rules, but are just not paying attention because they are … 1. Talking on the phone (yes dear, I’ll be home in time for dinner with your mother [hey, another reason to drive slooooow] …) Read more

2014 Boston Marathon and CASA 5K

A quick summary of two races run 5 days and 259 miles apart (April 21st and 26th):  The Boston Marathon and CASA 5K:

Steve and Milo at Finish of Marathon

Steve and Milo at Finish of Marathon

I was the heaviest and in the least decent shape of any of the 20+ marathons I’ve run in the past 39 years. Nevertheless, I did some minimal training during our tough winter and planned to run 9 minute miles to just get through the beast. It was really great to get back to Boston and see many friends, including my old running buddies from the Winchester Highlanders. The daughter of a Highlander was running her first marathon with the intention of running a bit faster than my original plan. I suggested we try to keep each other on pace, and we did a pretty good job of it.

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Miraculously Find: (mini) Photo of Steve in Princeton University Museum of Art

2013-12-31 14.42.28

Pointing to tiny photo of Steve from 2001

My dear wife Amy, dear friend Julie and I paid our first visit to the wonderful Princeton University Museum of Art on December 31st.  And, in what has to be the most bizarre and serendipitous event (not in any way the most important event!) in my blessed life,  I found my ugly face in a work of art!

We came across the piece by artist Joan Fontcuberta titled “Googlegram: Niépce”.  The work uses 10s of thousands of images from the Web to form a representation of the  earliest surviving photograph, Nicéphore Niépce’s View from the Window at Le Gras (1826).

The miraculous part  …

1. A tiny photo of me taken in 2001 while in Vienna was used (see above, where I point to the location, and below for an enlargement).   [read on]
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Was the Web Invented 123 Years Ago? Evidence Surfaces ;-)

Some of my favorite runs with the Winchester Highlanders were through the spacious and gorgeous Middlesex Fell Reservation - directly adjacent to Winchester, MA, USA. One sunny and cool Saturday, we took a slightly different route and came across the mysterious structure below (map).  Looks like an old pump house. Or … is that just a cover?

Pump house on the shores of Spot Pond, Middlesex Fells Reservation, north of Boston

Pump House or Home of the Web?

Check out the inscription (photo below) above the massive doors:  “WWW 1890″. Could it be that this is where the World Wide Web was invented? And could the Web have been invented nearly 100 years before history records that Sir Tim Berners-Lee is believed to have conceived of the world’s most important communications medium?

Inscription above door of pump house reads " WWW 1890"

Inscription reads, “WWW 1890″ .. and also “Big Russ”

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CASA 5K – First Race with Team GS1

201304CASARunGroupOn Saturday April 28, I ran my first race as a Princetonian. The “CASA” in the title CASA 5K stands for “Court Appointed Special Advocates”, and their race benefits their organization’s work to address the needs of Mercer County children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse and/or neglect and are living in out-home-placements. Great cause.

I assessed fairly well my out-of-shapeness, and ran an appropriately-moderate pace that saw each mile split a bit faster than the one before.  Somehow, I was 8th overall (21:04 – 6:46/mi), despite the pounds I’ve added recently  (results:  More detail …

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Steve’s New Gig at GS1, and the Unambiguous Identification of “Things”

BarcodeIt is an honor and a pleasure to announce that I have joined GS1 as the Chief Technology Officer and President of Standards Development.  I’ll be based near beautiful and intersting Princeton, New Jersey, and traveling frequently (as usual).

You may not recognize the name, but you will definitely recognize GS1′s products. GS1 is the international, neutral, non-profit organization that develops and manages the world’s barcodes (40 years old in 2013), RFID tag technology (e.g. electronic tags for vehicles, shipping containers, consumer goods, even running race chips) and other standards for the unambiguous identification of things (entities, assets, products, services) and sharing of data.   All of this is critical for business, health, safety, sustainability and other life-critical activities around the world. Here is what I’ll be doing  …

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Open Data on the Rise

mug with linked data scoring

5 levels of linked data proficiency

There has been a noticeable increase in news about Open Data (news that is more substantial than my last post on running data).  Putting data on the Web in standard formats promises to spur innovation, commerce, cures for diseases, transparency, accountability and collaboration around the world. Linked Open Data takes this a step further, leveraging the power of linking, which is central to the Web of documents, to connect data across the Web like a large, distributed relational database.

See video:  Linked Open Data – What is it? (from Europeana)

Linked Open Data Cloud

Read on for pointers to initiatives at the Open Data Institute, TED, Web Foundation, Orange and the US Gov’t …

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Some Old Running Race Data

Three old photos of Steve Bratt running - 1980 to 1983

1980 – 1983

The Web captures so little of people’s personal histories, pre-Web.  I had a few minutes of time today, and for some reason, dug out old running training logs, and put some of the data on this site.  If interested, have a look at this new page with a summary of race performances by era (high school to the present).  I included some scans of old training logs and race results from the early 1980s.  Ahhh .. those were the days!

Family Affair at the Firefighters 10K

Becky, Steve, Tory before the start of the Firefighters 10K

Before the start of the Firefighters 10K

This was about the most beautiful day for a race imaginable. Temps in the 50s (F).  Slight cool breeze.  Sun.  Fall colors.  Bagpipes. And a flat 10K course that largely hugged the coast south of Boston.   Today, I ran the 30th Annual Boston Firefighters 10K Memorial Race.  However, the highlight was that two of my progeny- Tory and Becky – ran, as well.  As you can see from the full results, we all finished, as did a record 1,160 runners.  Very proud of my daughters for running really well. Most importantly, the three of us had fun.  I heard discussion in the back seat of the car on the way home of running another race.  Cool.

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First Web Index Goes Live – Sweden is #1, US #2, UK #3 …

Web Index Ranking of 61 Countries

I’m extremely please to share the news that the Web Foundation’s Web Index is now public. It premiered today at a symposium in London, headlined by Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee. The Web Index is the world’s first measure of the impact of the Web on people and nations around the world.  This inaugural publication ranks the state of the Web, as well as its political, economic and social impact, across 61 countries on all continents. The plan is to publish the Index annually, and to continue to expand its geographic and analytic scope.

As we conceived the Web Foundation in 2008, I started to formulate the concept for the Web Index. Why?  We needed an objective and powerful tool to help governments, companies and citizens develop better informed and targeted strategies for investing in technology and policy in order to make the Web a better value. The Web Foundation also needed an anchor, metric and compass for the work of the Foundation itself. The Board and many others have contributed to getting us to where we are now (see below).  Methodology and results …

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