The Superpedestian office is what you would expect of a startup on a tight budget. The pair of buildings we occupy are rather nondescript and look more like a bike shop than anything else. We are rapidly running out of space and have to share what little remains with dozens and dozens of bikes. I believe we have more bikes than employees at this point and they are even used for wall art (which I find very cool).
As much as I enjoyed my failed attempt at retirement, it was very exciting to be back in the thick of a high tech startup environment again. Today was my first day on the job as VP of Engineering for Superpedestrian. A very early arrival and late return from our Cambridge office helped me avoid the worst of what can only be described as a miserable commute. Traffic in the Boston area has been getting worse every year, a function of the city’s booming economy. Our office has a very hip vibe and feels more like an urban bike shop than anything else. We are already crowded in the two adjacent buildings we lease and it is clear we are going to need a new location sooner than later. I was warmly welcomed by my new colleagues and found myself very well ensconced, dare I say already productive, by the end of what turned out to be a very long day.
It has been 17 years since I transitioned from film photography to digital. My first DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera was the Canon EOS D30 which sported a resolution of 3.1 MP, 3 frames per second shooting rate and 3 autofocus points. Today, I sold what will be my very last DSLR, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, a 30MP, 7 fps, 61 point AF camera that is considered by many to be one of the best in the world. I am transitioning to interchangeable lens mirrorless cameras and from the Canon to Sony brand. My 5DM4 will be replaced with a Sony A7r3 due in by the end of November. It has a resolution of 42MP with 10fps and 399 point AF system. Most importantly it replaces the mirror found on all DSLRs with an electronic viewfinder capable of delivering better than optical performance and a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) preview. Sony has leapfrogged both Canon and Nikon with this technology and I feel it will take both many years to catch up since they have such a vested interest in perpetuating the DSLR architecture. Of equal significance, Sony has started to make some seriously impressive lenses that are every bit as good or better than their “Canikon” equivalents.
I was back in action on the soccer pitch this morning and my hamstring seems to have fully healed. I managed a very pretty goal from the top of the box, one timing a perfect cross and sending it rocketing past the keeper. Although the game was close through the first half we were overrun by numbers in the second (their squad of 22 versus ours of 11) and suffered a 2-6 loss. Hard to beat a team with fresh subs every 10 minutes when you have none. Still, I was happy to be back on the pitch again.
With my new job starting on Monday, Jeanine and I decided to share some couples time making a day trip to Turners Falls where we enjoyed an out of this world lunch at the Great Falls Harvest restaurant. A leisurely walk along the river and through the town made for a delightful afternoon on what is likely to be the last perfect day of fall. We also visited Millers Falls and the Quabbin reservoir.
Jeanine spotted this magnificent tree which is no doubt the prettiest of the season. It was located on private property and guarded by a rather threatening dog so I had to make do with a photo through the open car window. The full resolution original image is simply amazing.
One of my soccer teammates is now coach of the CCHS Freshman Women’s Soccer Team. He contacted me yesterday wondering if I would be available to photograph today’s match. He would like each of the girls to have a nice photograph to remember their season by. I was happy to do it even though I am between camera systems right now and had neither the proper body or lens for the assignment. I made the best of my available gear and in the end was reasonably happy with the results. I couldn’t help stopping on the way to the game to capture the swans below.
Normally I drive into the mountains to find fall color. Today the color has come to Concord. The range on my electric car is 81 miles and I used about two-thirds of a “tank” to enjoy my own neck of the woods where autumn foliage is now at its peak. Leaves were not the only thing I found that caught my eye.
The best way I know to get up to speed on a new product is by taking it apart. This morning I dissected a non-working Copenhagen Wheel I obtained while visiting superpedestrian last week. What appears very simple from the outside is actually quite complex internally. I worked very carefully out of respect for the powerful magnetic fields and high-power 48V battery present inside the housing.
After two weeks of complete rest I was hopeful that my injured hamstring would have fully recovered. Fifteen minutes into my soccer match this morning, however, it became abundantly apparent that was not the case. Fortunately, I stopped at the first twinge of pain and did no further damage to the muscle. With any luck I will be back in action next week.
We are currently very near peak color in eastern Massachusetts and I spent as much of the afternoon outdoors as possible. I just love this time of year.
Since its origin in 1965, the Head Of The Charles Regatta has welcomed the world’s best crew teams to the banks of the Charles River for the ultimate two-day rowing competition attracting over 11,000 athletes and tens of thousands of spectators. Kyle and I were among the later group this morning enjoying the racing and a spectacular autumn day. Kyle wondered if boats often collided. I told him it was rare and not 10 minutes later we witnesses a three way crash. Two racing fours collided side-to-side and were then carried by the current into the reverse direction “lane” where they were T-boned at high speed by a double traveling in the opposite direction. It is very fortunate that no one was seriously injured although the double rowers seemed none too happy with their short swim in the frigid Charles.
The geese pictured below managed to just dodge the advancing shell but one was not so lucky with respect to the sweeping oar.
As the resident biking expert in the family, I asked Jeanine to test out a product called the Copenhagen Wheel. It is a retrofittable rear wheel that turns an ordinary bicycle into an electric motor assisted speedster instilling in the rider a feeling of super human strength and endurance . Her smile reveals the verdict and validated my decision to join the company that literally reinvented the wheel. Superpedestrian is a startup, founded in 2012 by one of the wheel’s co-inventors, with a mission to transform urban mobility. Over the last 18 months I have been heavily recruited for various head of engineering roles both here and on the west coast. Most were interesting, all were lucrative, but none till now stirred my passions enough to coax me out of retirement. The superpedestrian mission, its technology and design sensibility, the culture and team of exceptional individuals all spoke to me on a very profound level. My first day in the office will be a week from Monday. Although I have failed at my first attempt to retire, I feel I made great use of my time off. I enjoyed travel adventures in a dozen countries, visited more than half the US states, and built a tiny house with Maya.
I had to swerve violently to avoid running over this snake in the road today. Confident I had missed it, I circled back for a photo (taken with my telephoto lens). I have no idea what kind it is but thought it wise to keep my distance despite its relatively small size (about 2.5 feet long). If anyone knows what species this is, please drop me a note and I will update the post. My current best guess is a Northern Water Snake.