New Directions

Just wanted to announce here that I’ve recently left Google, and planning to do some more blogging. Here, and elsewhere. From now on, I get to choose which problems to work on. Global warming. Social disconnectedness. Collaborative consumption. Collective intelligence… Excited? Me too! 😉


I’m Running Barefoot With Vibram FiveFingers

Oh my! Love these new shoes.

Just did a quick run this morning with them for the first time… such freedom of motion.

I’m anxious to wear them again but I washed them in the shower after my run and they’re hanging out to dry.

Oh, and my feet look a little like those of a gorilla when I’m wearing them… but I’m not wearing them for looks, promise.


I’m “Going Green” – Here’s How

I’ve been ever more attracted to a "green" lifestyle recently, and here’s a list some of the things I’m doing and planning to do.

Alternative Transportation. I love driving, and I love my car. However, it’s really expensive, and usually not necessary. I just fixed up my bike, which I rode yesterday, along with Caltrain and the Highway 17 Express bus to get to class at UC Santa Cruz. Total cost: $16 (versus est. $22.50 for gas, plus $4 for parking). And I get some exercise as an added bonus.

Of course, I do need to drive sometimes (I can’t really carry large objects on my bike), and I’m really attracted to electric vehicles. Mainly because I could charge an electric car from solar panels at home (which I don’t have yet either).

Alternative Energy. I want cheap solar panels. And they’re apparently coming, from Nanosolar, a startup right here in Palo Alto, who’ve developed a new way to manufacture solar cells at 1/10th the cost, and reduce most of the waste and energy involved in traditional solar cell manufacturing. Hopefully we’ll start seeing some consumer products soon. Once I have solar cells on my roof, I’ll have an abundant, and essentially free source of electricity. I want to replace gas-using appliances like the old stove, but also maybe use electric instant hot water heaters instead of that big tank outside.

Alternative Eating. Food prices are going up, and America is slowly starting to realize that our society is not eating right. Maybe hamburgers are not good for you. Wouldn’t it be great if we could grow all our own food? (and cut out all the transportation costs!). Well, you can either move to a farm if you want to eat meat, or, start eating primarily fruits and vegetables, and grow them in your garden. Tear up that lawn and plant some tomatoes and carrots.

I’m probably extreme here, because I’m trying to eat only raw fruits and vegetables, and maybe nuts. This is the raw food diet that I’ve written about before. However, you probably already eat some raw food, like apples, bananas or oranges. Supposedly raw food is much healthier to eat. (for example, I heard a story that a farmer tested feeding his pigs raw potatoes instead of boiled potatoes and even though they ate the same amount, they lost weight instead of gaining like usual).

Ultimately, the goal is self-sufficience, or living "off the grid". Here in suburbia I’ll still need to use the sewage system among other services, but someday I hope to build a place on a hillside where I can take care of even that, and my only reliance on "civilization" would be an internet connection.

Fitness Personal

Raw Food Diet

Inspired by a blog post from a high school classmate of mine (on his blog about organic food and his adaptation to a raw food diet)… I’ve spontaneously embraced the idea and just had a 99% raw dinner in the dining hall (about 50% organic). Here’s what I had:

Garbanzo Beans
Shredded Carrot
Sliced green bell peppers
A few small cubes of tofu (not raw)
Cherry tomatoes

And 2 glasses of water

That’s probably not the best meal, but it was actually rather tasty, and the whole experience feels good so far, but I of course haven’t seen any real health benefits yet.

Why the spontaneous life-change? Well, I had just stuffed myself with fast food, and was feeling guilty and bloated… So, the promise of feeling healthier was, and is, quite attractive. And it all started with this video:

Here are some other good videos:
and more from the same guy:

Naturally, I was a little suspicious of some of his scientific claims, however, I’ve seen nothing to dispute them, and the Raw Foodism Wikipedia article is encouraging.

My plans? I’m really hoping to feel a noticeable difference within a week… reduced stress would really help in this last 2 weeks of college. So, my fingers are crossed and let’s see where this goes. But also, a raw food diet totally fits in with my solar power, sustainable housing and transportation ideals, so whatever happens, my diet will definitely have a much higher percentage of raw fruits and vegetables from now on.

Mac Personal Productivity

Dictation Software

I’m considering using MacSpeech Dictate for blogging. However I can’t decide yet whether using dictation software is more liberating or more constricting in the writing process. So far I feel I have a limited vocabulary, and the dates it and the dictation software can’t pick up on my implicit punctuation. However the software is otherwise quite fast, and generally highly accurate.

The next thing that I would like to see, is MacSpeech Dictate implemented on the iPhone. A dictation application on the iPhone would be really awesome. However, I wonder about the accuracy of the built-in microphone. Although I imagine a Bluetooth headset, along with noise reduction technology, could be a solution.

Mobile Personal

One Week With A Nokia N95

I’ve been using a Nokia N95 8GB (N95-2) for the past week. And I just took the SIM card out and put it back in my iPhone. Here’s why:

  1. The user interface feels outdated after getting used to the iPhone. It feels more like Windows than Mac if you know what I mean.
  2. It doesn’t have a full keyboard… only the normal 1-9 number keys. I didn’t know how much I would miss this.
  3. This version doesn’t actually have 3G data speeds, like I had thought. So, it’s still really slow on EDGE.

However, there were some things I really liked about the N95:

  1. The camera is really great. It has a macro mode which is great for snapping notes or text. It will also record pretty high quality video. There’s also a second camera on the front, so you can video chat… or record yourself.
  2. Qik. Broadcasting live video from Qik was fun. I hope I can do that on the iPhone soon. (you can see what I broadcasted at
  3. I finally found an application that lets me broadcast my GPS location to a website. Eventually I want to have a log of everywhere I go, created automatically, and of course private. (but that I could create scripts to send me notifications related to where I am, etc..)
  4. The wealth of available applications. This was my first experience with the Symbian mobile OS, and there’s a ton of stuff for S60 phones. Good looking 3D games, and other goodies.
  5. Also bluetooth syncing. I want my iPhone to do that. I don’t like having to plug my iPhone in all the time.

The 3G iPhone rumors abound, and predict all sorts of things. Like the launch date is mid-June supposedly. And that the 3G iPhone may support video recording, and even include a secondary camera, for video conferencing. Also maybe even GPS. Now, I don’t know how much of that is true, but you can just see for youself over at MacRumors. Anyway, I guess I’ll just suffer with my first-gen iPhone until this summer, when I’ll either get a 3G iPhone or a Google Android phone… or both. =D

Mobile Personal Productivity

Seeking Better Mobile Solution

So, I love my iPhone. There are some things that it can’t do that I really really want.

  1. 3G Data Speeds… EDGE is too damn slow.
  2. Video Broadcasting … no app exists, and it would be too slow anyway.
  3. GPS. Location-based notifications among other things, also broadcasting my location. Also, tracking my whereabouts for posterity.
  4. Ability to act as WiFi hotspot. I want to share that 3G speed to my laptop… or to yours, wherever we go.

These things -might- get updated this summer with the next iPhone, but I doubt we’ll see video broadcasting or real GPS. And frankly, I don’t really want to buy another iPhone. And I also don’t want to wait that long.

So I’m thinking about getting a Nokia N95, or something comparable. There are applications to do all of the aforementioned things. And, I could still use my iPhone to browse the web over the WiFi connection the Nokia creates. One cool thing is that I can just pop the SIM card out of my iPhone and into the Nokia, keeping the same phone number… and my unlimited data plan from AT&T includes 3G already so it won’t cost me any more per month.

The only thing is, I don’t know if it will work the way I want, or if I’ll be happy with the phone itself. Know of a better solution?

Media Organization Personal Web

Tech Gets Crazy

I’ve started a new blog…

I’ve decided to make Rex.FM more of a personal blog, while I’ll post my crazy, tech-related posts over at TechGetsCrazy. I feel like it will be a better outlet for my ideas without pushing my personal brand too much. I mean, I really want Rex.FM to be about me, not my crazy ideas. So anyway, expect some coolness over there, if you’re interested, and subscribe via Google Reader or whatever if you like… feel free to expect some awesomeness.

Fitness Personal

Running, Resolutions follow-up

So I’ve been running a lot last week. I ran 20 miles over 3 days. Which is a lot for me, because I hadn’t been running in a long time.

Why would I do this to myself? I was in a competition with a friend on … we wear our iPod nanos and use the Nike+ device that counts our steps… tracking distance and speed. Anyway, we were competing for the most distance over a month. And she had been running consistently, and I was trying to catch up at the last minute. I came close, but didn’t quite catch up.

I started enjoying running again… especially when I ran 9.7 miles one night to Natural Bridges and back.

I don’t have a weight scale here at the University Inn, but I don’t think I’ve made much progress on that part of my New Year’s Resolutions… yet, at least.

Time for a new Nike+ Challenge? I think so.
You can add me to your challenge:
Nike+ username: rpechler

Media Personal

Posting a lot on Twitter

I haven’t posted here in a while… I’m busy with school, and a bunch of projects. When I do feel like sharing some thoughts with the world, I’ve been doing that over at my Twitter account:

If you’re not using Twitter yet, you can get started by taking out your cell phone and texting “Follow Rex” to ‘40404’.