Archive for the 'Pittsburgh' Category


The Greatest Home Run Ever: 50th Anniversary

Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ dramatic victory over the New York Yankees in game seven of the 1960 World Series.  For the last 25 years at least one person has listened to the radio broadcast in front of what remains of the outfield wall of Forbes Field.

Sign Commemorating Forbes Field

Given that this year is the 50th anniversary, there were quite a few more people there than usual.

People gathered at the wall

So many people were expected that the city closed off the street that runs by the wall in order to accommodate the festivities.

Street Closed

There were some interesting characters in the crowd.

Super 'stache

Arrr, matey!

There were plenty of reporters and cameramen.

Whoa, I definitely should not have had that burrito for lunch.

People brought along souvenirs and mementos…

Maz and the '60 Bucs

…and maybe a beer or two.

Yinz got an arn for me?

When 3:36 rolled around, it was time to celebrate.


High five!

It was a great event, an opportunity for those of us who weren’t there to experience the thrill of it, and a chance to share it with the next generation.

We had 'em all the way!


Planning my future audio/visual/computer setup (Part 1)

I recall a number of months ago, the pastor at our church talked about how the things you daydream about tell a lot about your priorities. I don’t remember much about the rest of the sermon because I was daydreaming about computer case designs… Time has moved on and now I’m on to new daydreams, though still involving computers. These daydreams are really expanding on a previous post, this time extending the vision to multiple computers and a whole home network. In a subsequent post I’ll talk about how TVs, DVRs, and video players might fit into the equation.

Continue reading ‘Planning my future audio/visual/computer setup (Part 1)’


Steelers win by NFL-first 11-10 score

I find this incredible.  After over 12,800 NFL games on the books, today’s Steelers-Chargers game ended with a score that has never before been recorded.  One touchdown and a field goal gave the Chargers 10 points.  A safety and 3 field goals gave the Steelers 11 points. Continue reading ‘Steelers win by NFL-first 11-10 score’


iPod upgrade

I got my iPod Mini in early 2004 and it’s been pretty solid since, though its relatively small storage capacity has been a source of frustration from time to time.  In the last year, however, the battery life really tanked.  Not only did it not play for long after being charged, but if I charged it up on Friday and didn’t use it all weekend, it would be totally dead on Monday morning.  That got pretty annoying.  So, I had been thinking about buying a new iPod.  I wanted something that had good battery life and large enough capacity to store almost my entire music catalog with some room to spare.  However, I didn’t like the idea of spending hundreds of dollars on a new iPod when my current iPod still basically worked.  So I decided to upgrade my Mini. Continue reading ‘iPod upgrade’


Back online

If you’re one of my, say, 3 regular readers, you probably noticed that the blog was down for the last few days.  On Thursday morning I flew to Pittsburgh for some meetings but before I left, I checked my server machine to see if it seemed safe to leave on for about 5 days with no one home.

Upon inspection, I discovered that the power supply fan had died.  The computer was still working but the fan in the power supply had given up the ghost.  It wasn’t too surprising, actually, since it had been chirping on and off for probably 2 years.  In fact, I had bought 2 replacement power supplies in July of 2006 just in case the existing power supply would fail – an occurrence that actually took a lot longer than I expected.  In any case, I discovered this problem about 15 minutes before the taxi was supposed to pick me up, so I had to just shut everything down.  After returning late on Monday night, I spent some time on Tuesday trying to get things fixed.  However, things weren’t quite as easy as I expected. Continue reading ‘Back online’


What a long, strange (online) trip it’s been

Those of you who know me may have noticed that sometimes I say one thing followed by something seemingly totally unrelated. However, if you were to ask me, I could tell you the entire train of thought that took me from the first statement to the second. I had a similar experience today online. First thing: the Pirates traded Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte to the Yankees. Second thing: an article about the wedding of a girl I went to high school with.

Continue reading ‘What a long, strange (online) trip it’s been’


Mapping Pittsburgh Neighborhoods

Hopefully I’ll be graduating sometime in 2008 and depending on whether certain funding comes through, we may be moving back to Pittsburgh in the not-too-distant future. So, we’ve started looking at potential places to live. If the funding comes through, I’ll be working at CMU, so we’d like to live somewhere close. Although both Heather and I lived both on and off campus during our undergrad years at CMU, we (I especially) don’t know the nearby neighborhoods very well. In particular, I don’t have a good sense of where, for example, Squirrel Hill ends and Shadyside begins, or where Friendship is. I had certainly heard the names of neighborhoods like Point Breeze and Regent Square, but I didn’t have a good idea of where they were. So, I set about to educate myself about these things.

What I wanted was a Google Map with colored overlays defining each neighborhood. However, I could not find such a thing. So, I decided I should make one. I get my data from this site, operated by the City of Pittsburgh. If you click on a neighborhood, it’ll bring up a map of that neighborhood. That page also contains a link to a pdf file of the map, which you can zoom in on if necessary. It’s a little tedious, but I’m copying a neighborhood at a time into a Google Map using the “My Maps” interface.

It’s been interesting so far and some things have been a little surprising. For example, did you know that CMU is technically in Squirrel Hill, not Oakland? Despite having spent 4 years at CMU, I did not know that. I would have said that Squirrel Hill starts immediately to the east of CMU. However, as far as the City of Pittsburgh is concerned, that is not the case. Also, there are a bunch of neighborhoods that I had never heard of, like Terrace Village.

My map has existed for less than 24 hours and has already been viewed almost 300 times, so I’m hopeful that people are finding it useful despite its incomplete status. If anyone would like to help me in this endeavor, let me know, and I’ll invite you to collaborate, which will give you the necessary permissions to edit the map. I think you may need to have a Gmail account for it to work, but I’m not sure.


Myron Cope (January 23, 1929 – February 27, 2008)

He was a Pittsburgh icon and he was my neighbor for a few years in high school.  Pittsburgh will be worse off without him, but at least he left a lot of good memories.


Unusual modes of transportation

Since I can remember, I’ve been interested in antiquated or unique modes of transportation. Generally, my exposure to such transportation has come as a result of traveling to some new place where said transportation is or had been used.

Upon moving to Pittsburgh, I became interested in the inclines, which are technically known as funiculars. These are basically railways that go up the side of a mountain at a steep angle. Not to be confused with cog railways, funiculars are drawn by cables and generally include two cars which counter-balance one another, one going up while the other goes down. There are two left in Pittsburgh: the Monongahela Incline and the Duquesne Incline, both of which are on the south shore of the Monongahela River and take passengers from river level up to the top of Mt. Washington, a bluff on the south side of the city. While there are only 2 left today, 19 inclines have called Pittsburgh home over the years. Furthermore, though my exposure to inclines has been limited to those in Pittsburgh, there are inclines all over the world, including all continents except Antarctica.

Another form of transportation that captured my imagination during a trip is the system of canals in England. Obviously, I had seen boats and rivers before, but I was fascinated by the man-made features of the canals that enabled them to negotiate difficult terrain. During our trip to England, I saw plenty of locks in person and read about other interesting parts of canals elsewhere, including canal tunnels, navigable aqueducts, boat lifts, canal inclined planes, and marine railways. A number of years later, during my year in Germany, I saw a boat lift in person: the Henrichenburg Boat Lift on the Dortmund-Ems Canal. Shortly thereafter, I decided that when I retired, I would build an elaborate model of the British countryside, including railroads and canals, with particular emphasis on including the interesting features listed above. I’m less committed to this plan now than I was at the time, so we’ll just have to see if this works out or not. I’ll let you know in 40 years or so.

A third form of transportation to which I was introduced during a trip is what might be called a cable car or aerial tramway. During a trip to Germany with my parents in 2000, we rode up to the top of the Zugspitze in a cable car. The Zugspitze is interesting because it’s right on the border between Germany and Austria and you can actually go back and forth between Germany and Austria on the observation deck at the top. Not only that, getting to the top involves taking a cable car or a cog railway, so it offers two unique transportation options. While the cable car was interesting, it didn’t really capture my imagination in the same way as the canals or even the inclines had. Perhaps this is due to it being more modern and not seeming to belong to a different era.

The last form of transportation to which I was exposed on a trip involves much shorter range transport than the others. The year I lived in Germany I got to take a tour of the WDR studios in Cologne. In their main building, they had a crazy elevator-type contraption called a paternoster. Basically, it’s like an elevator with no doors that never stops. There are two shafts side by side and a series of cars on a continuous loop travel up one shaft and then down the other. This means that you simply step in on one floor and step out when you reach your desired destination. If it’s not clear what I’m talking about, check here. These really fascinated me for a while because they’re unique, very efficient, belong to an earlier era and are disappearing. Right now, there aren’t many of these left in existence and those that survive seem to be getting phased out as buildings are renovated or demolished, since they’re more dangerous than normal elevators and they’re not handicapped-accessible.

The 4 modes of transportation mentioned above fall into two categories for me: those that I have used and those that I have not. I have been in inclines in Pittsburgh and I rode a cable car in Austria. However, I have never been on a canal boat, much less on a boat while it went through a lock or some other interesting canal feature. In addition, I have never been on a paternoster. I hope that I’ll get the chance to take both of these modes of transportation in the not-too-distant future.  If I do, I’ll let you know.


Flight Cancelled…

I flew to Pittsburgh on Thursday for a meeting in Ohio on Friday.  I was supposed to fly back to Boston today, but my flight was cancelled more than 3.5 hours before it was supposed to take off due to the weather in Boston.  My flight got rescheduled for tomorrow morning at 8:35 AM.  That’ll make for an early rise.  Good thing I get an extra hour of sleep tonight because of the time change.


June 2022

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