On the Highway to Dental Healthcare

Jett finally learned to ride his bike last weekend. He’s not as naturally gifted as some kids at physical activity, so this is quite an achievement and he should be very proud. We’ve had him practicing his balance by riding on his Razor Scooter for the last two weekends, and he finally got up the courage to tackle his bike sans trainer wheels. I wanted to have a ceremonial tossing of the trainer wheels into the wheelie bin, but he still wants to keep them around in case he forgets how to ride. It followed pretty much the same script as how most kids learn to ride: dad holds the back of their bike for a few test runs, giving pointers on balance and steering along the way. Then on one pass, dad keeps running along while the child is unaware that dad is no long providing any support after surreptitiously removing his hand from the back of the bike. Sometimes panic sets in and the child realises that he’s no longer being held up and is under his own power, but Jett had such a look of exhileration! It was a good moment for him.

It didn’t quite end all that well, though. He still has trouble pushing off from a standing start so he needs a hand to get going but once he’s got a little speed up he can keep going. At least, he’s OK until he needs to turn. Still needs to practice a bit.

And, yes, he did have a spill. I thought he was going to keep it under control but he got a bit of a slow motion “death wobble” happening and the front wheel slid out. He landed pretty squarely on his face, cutting his lip and leaving a couple wobbly teeth. This was ironically after we agreed that safety is important, and wearing a helmet would be a good idea. I’ll bet he’s wishing he was wearing a full face helmet. He didn’t cry as much as I expected, which is good, and I think he’ll be ready to give it a go again next week.

The Wave crashes

According to Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President at Google, Wave will no longer be developed and will be put in maintenance at the end of this year:

We don’t plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone product, but we will maintain the site at least through the end of the year and extend the technology for use in other Google projects.

This is pretty sad, really. Wave was a product ahead of it’s time and, despite a legion of loyal fans (including me!), didn’t have the uptake that Google had hoped for. I had plans on moving my blog, and pretty much my entire online life, over to Google Wave and other Google Apps.

Perhaps Google will be incorporating what they’ve learned from Wave and Buzz into their social networking foray. Google recently dropped $100M into the laps of games developers Zynga.

The most recognizable opening lines in literature

So, I was reading through this list from Entertainment Weekly, feeling chuffed that I instantly recognised about half of them (I haven’t read Harry Potter, but I guessed it from what I’d seen of the movies) and reflected on number 15:

The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.”
NEUROMANCER (1984), William Gibson

Gibson meant the sky was grey and cloudy, but for the kids growing up today and reading this book they’ll interpret it to mean that it was clear and dark blue. D-oh!

Whenever I tell people about why I read Gibson, that’s the line I always use as an example. It manages to combine a great visual, the voice of the author and the protagonist, while at the same time giving you a fair idea of what the rest of the story will be about. His new stuff is good, but nothing beats the Sprawl stories. Nothing.

My own list would have had more Sci-Fi:

  • No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own.
  • Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.
  • I always get the shakes before a drop.
  • Everything starts somewhere, although many physicists disagree.
  • His name was Gaal Dornick and he was just a country boy who had never seen Trantor before.
  • I looked at my notes and I didn’t like them. I’d spent three days at U.S. Robots and might as well have spent them at home with the Encyclopedia Tellurica.
  • Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living.
  • When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton

To these you could also add:

  • In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth
  • I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents