Last weekend I did the Bethel Island triathlon, a little race about 1.5 hours drive away. It's olympic distance (that's 1.5 km swim, 40 km bike, and 10 km run in that order) on a completely flat course, so perfect for a beginner like me. A fun race, only the water is a bit brisk without a wetsuit.
It took me nine years to make it up to lake tahoe outside of ski season. Tahoe is just as beautiful in the summer as in the winter, and it's only three hours away from the bay area. The lake is the second deepest in the US and its waters are super clear. We kayaked around Emerald Bay (thanks yi-ling for organizing!) and hiked up mt. tallac. Here's the sunrise over emerald bay and a shot on top of mt. tallac.
Last year I tried twice to do the single day trip to climb mt shasta. and both times i failed. last weekend i finally did the 2 day camping trip. we hiked up to hidden valley and camped one night. then early the second day, we hiked up to the summit. the trip was awesome! despite all the snow melt, there was still enough for some glissading on the way down (that's sliding on your butt down the slope). i'm looking forward to going again next year (earlier in the season when there's a lot more snow)!
Ah, Yellowstone, the world's first national park. I just spent a week visiting Yellowstone and the Grand Teton National Parks with my parents and aunt and uncle. The two parks are spectacular - beautiful waterfalls, mountains, geysers, hot pools, mud pots, and tons of animals. We saw grizzly bears, elk, bison (so many!), pronghorn sheep, mule deer, marmots, a bunch of birds, dinosaurs (well, the skeletonized versions). Of course we viewed Old Faithful, but an even better geyser to watch is the Grand (the world's tallest predictable geyser). Here's a short clip that I made during part of the eruption.
There's a "grand canyon" of yellowstone with waterfalls and cliffs. Here's a short video taken in that area. (Does this feel like a first person shooter? :) )
Earlier this month I went to Hong Kong and Shenzhen on the MJAA annual asia trip. It was a week of visiting 4 companies a day. The trip was great. I got to see a little of what was going on in China firsthand. Met a lot of people. Even got in two runs, but through somewhat congested and polluted streets. Here I am in Hong Kong. More photos here.
Martin Eberhard of Tesla Motors gave an excellent talk tonight at vlab. These electric cars are the future. He should put up his slides comparing the various ways to power a car and their efficiency. It's *very* convincing. I remember visiting the tesla website several months back and seeing a cool new gadget, but what was missing was the punch that Martin gave tonight (that these electric cars are *so* much more efficient than all the alternatives). Another nice tidbit is that lithium ion batteries have improved in efficiency by 8% each year for the last 20 years and there's no reason to see this trend stop in the next 10 years. (another data point for the technological singularity)
Today I was at Community Next, a conference on the future of online communities. There were some interesting talks, so check it out online when it's available. A random coincidence happened during one of the transitions between talks when Noah raffled off a prize. Instead of doing the regular drawing, he asked for the person who could recite the most digits of pi. Surprisingly (or not) I was the only one who ventured to do it. In high school I had memorized it to around 500 digits, and the first 100 got burned into my long term memory. Oh, and the prize was an ipod nano - who knew that useless trivial would pay off years later!
Last weekend I went cross-country skiing in yosemite (thanks to yi-ling for organizing!) This was both my first time cross-country skiing and my first time in yosemite in the winter. Yosemite was spectacular as always. Only difference this time was that it was cold! If you ever stay in the Wawona hotel, keep in mind that the heat is turned off from midnight to 5:30 am (really, the only time I would *want* heat in my room. in the morning, the receptionist behind the counter was wearing a huge coat *inside* - was a funny sight). Here andrew and I are taking a break while skiing up Glacier Point Road. (Round trip is 21 miles. we didn't have time to get there. maybe this could be the next one day trip. it's doable if we leave the bay area at 2am...)
another year has flown by all ever so quickly since the first year's blog post. 2007 is but a few days away, and we head closer to 2030, when, according to a writer i was chatting with at a recent holiday party, the "singularity" will happen and computers will become vastly more intelligent than humans (i.e. they are to us what we are to ants). it's a singularity because there's no way to predict anything beyond that point. i can't say anything about 2030 or beyond, but i can recap 2006 in my little world. some highlights.
january. riya got it's second round ($15 mil) from Bay Partners.
february. riya wins the demo god award at Demo 2006. we're all super busy preparing for the beta launch of our website.
march. riya.com is launched and we get 1 million photos uploaded in the first day.
may. i head to bangalore to work out of our india office. along the way, i visited bangkok (pictured below) and kuala lumpur.
june. attended stanford's commencement. yosemite trip 1, went with my parents following commencement. here's a photo i took of my parents.
november. like.com launched. our new shopping site with visual search.
december. nips conference in vancouver and whistler. my first time in these two places. i managed to squeeze in some running (around stanley park - it's a beautiful park, but since i was running at 6am it was quite dark and cold out) and skiing (down whistler). the skiing there was amazing. there's a run that supposedly goes for 7 miles and drops 5,000 vertical feet.
compared to two years ago, this year didn't bring any big changes. the short cliched summary for 2006 is that i worked hard and played hard. two websites launched. no marathons, but two separate "day" trips to climb mt shasta were marathons of sorts. for 2007, i am eyeing the big sur marathon. happy new year's!