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Quick thoughts on Milan

Posted by – April 23, 2018

Seven days after getting back from a half-recreational, half-business family trip to Milan, Italy, I think I’ve finally got the sleep hours re-banked to share some short insights. I’d been to Italy along the Italian Riviera and in Venice before, but this was my first time to Milano — and my first time trying to make a weeklong trip abroad work while exploring one-on-one with a 16-month-old.

It was a great expedition. The architecture, the artwork, the history, and the people were overwhelmingly beautiful on a daily basis. I’d hoped to have some more sunlight, but unfortunately the rain drove us inside for much of four out of the six days that we got to spend there. The nice side of that deal was that we got to learn how few Milanese patrons show up to the Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna on an alternatingly overcast and rainy day.

And by the way, see the modern art museum in Milan. The Picasso, Gauguin, and Boccioni works were all rich and worth the visit, but the real surprise of the day — in addition to the yard of flamingos down the street — was the slender hallway of Toulouse-Lautrec items, including some ink illustrations that brought me a few steps closer to the personalities in his faces than I’d ever been before.

The rain again put a damper on the Naviglio Grande, a spot that some friends had highly recommended. As a result the sidewalks and bridges were a little empty when we arrived, but I did catch the end of a storm at the right moments as sun came through and cafes began setting up for the their aperitivo customers. (Sidenote: Aperitivo time is one of the best reasons to spend time in Milan, for the socializing, for the small plates of incredible things that come served alongside the drinks, and for the people-watching that can be done on any given patio. Moreover, you can by three-packs of single-serving Aperol spritzers at the grocery stores, which just wonderful.)

As for the architecture, the Duomo di Milano was every bit as impressive as people say, though the many other churches and basilicas throughout the city are worth a reasonable, meandering walk to seek them out and experience the flow of the residential areas into piazzas, business districts, and other public spaces. The Basilica di San Lorenzo was especially worth the hike; and when you see it, take note of the colonnade out front that’s left from the structure that used to lead up to the old Roman road system. The complex itself is a magnificent three-dimensional view of the historical periods that built and folded together to make Milan what it is today.

And though the rain did keep us out of the parks for a few days, I was happy that we saved up the Friday full of sunny skies to visit Castello Sforzesco, the castle up the street from the Duomo that was built in the 15th century by the former Milan’s former duke, Francesco Sforza. It’s got works by da Vinci and Michelangelo among its treasures, and there’s a sprawling Parco Sempione behind it is a wonderful place to let a small kid burn off some energy and yell back and forth at a pond full of ducks.

Originally, I’d gone into the week hoping to make a day trip or two out of the city by train — Lake Como came up as the most likely option. In the end, however, I got a little shy over the weather and not wanting spend the hours of transit time necessary to end up in yet another storm.

Fortunately, Milan had plenty to offer, especially at Potafiori and Note di Cucina, the two real dining out experiences we got to experience as a family, the latter of which was for our wedding anniversary.

 

Paper clothing

Posted by – December 3, 2017

I had no clue. What are the chances this ever makes a comeback?

End of 2016

Posted by – December 5, 2016

San Francisco Ferry Building

2016 has a been a busy year (to put it mildly) in some sad ways and wonderful ways, and we’re not done yet. You can see some more about what I’ve been up to since the move to California if you follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Apple’s share of the smartwatch market

Posted by – April 30, 2016

Apple shares (NASDAQ: AAPL) went into a funk this week after slowing iPhone sales gave the stock its worst week since 2013 and high-profile investor Carl Icahn announced that he had completely sold his position in the Cupertino-based company due to concerns in China. On the far periphery of Apple’s consumer tech interests, however, is another product that generated huge waves up hype in 2016 – and that’s the Apple Watch.

Wearable tech – including smartwatches – is still a niche category without a clear path to challenging smartphones among consumer tech products right now. But Apple’s command over marketshare is still impressive. And a new report that came out on Thursday from the research firm Strategy Analytics shows where Apple stood in that marketplace as of the first quarter in 2016.

Apple shipped 2.2 million units in the smartwatch category in Q1, down from 5.1 million during Q4 in 2015, according to Neil Mawston, the executive director at Strategy Analytics. Those numbers may not be surprising to some observers noting that Q4 including holiday shipments, but Apple’s marketshare also dipped from Q4 of 2015 going into 2016, going from 63 percent to 52.4 percent.

Apple is obviously still the king of the space (as seen in the chart below), but slowing iPhone activity together with this marketshare drop mean that there’s going to be added pressure on the next Apple Watch to outperform its predecessor. (On a personal note: I’m still among the unconverted.)

 

PSA after reading last week’s CDC suicide report

Posted by – April 23, 2016

2016 has been a rough year for losses, both in my personal life, for a few of my close friends, and in the public sphere for some great artists and entertainers. One of the toughest things to deal with after losing a loved one can be wondering after the fact if something could have been done to save them – if only someone would have said something in a different way, urged the person to see a different specialist, or even just spent some more time listening.

In the cases of old age, long-term battles with cancer, and auto accidents, there isn’t usually an answer, but sometimes in the cases of of suicides, intervention is possible. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week released a troubling report on U.S. suicides that showed significant rises, both overall and in various categories. In fact, suicides across the board were up 24 percent in 2014 from 1999.

If you or someone you know need help, there’s a 24-hour hotline available by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Chart via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Chart via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Recent write-ups at work

Posted by – March 2, 2016

As always, the best way to follow my new work posts is to follow me on Twitter or watch the Inno sites directly. Here’s a quick overview of new stuff I wrote in February, though:

Some U.S. economic indicators

Posted by – February 7, 2016

I didn’t really have a great reason to reference these numbers for work recently, but I wanted to grab some accessible stats from the Federal Reserve and Bureau of Labor Statistics that have been in the news lately, just to see how they would look in an amCharts visualization.

AmCharts has a pretty nice customizable library of chart and map options that I’ve been looking at recently. I’ve been encountering some issues across different browsers with their behavior, but I like the toolkit and documentation.

New Newsletter

Posted by – May 31, 2015

I know this may sound an antiquated move to some people, but email newsletters are actually a hot thing right now, and I launched a new one this morning. It’s just a weekly thing outside of work, though you may see some work references thrown in from time to time.

Here’s all the info: https://tinyletter.com/warmoth

Down from the mountain

Posted by – May 3, 2015

Sugarloaf MountainWe hopped out of the city briefly on Saturday to hike Maryland’s Sugarloaf Mountain. It was gorgeous, and there’s a winery up there that’s not too shabby. There’s nothing like a good binge on fresh air to cap a week. Here’s a recap.

Avengers: Age of Ultron


I appreciated the ideas behind the dream sequences for the purposes of character development. But they really did seem like under-cooked, over-extended abstractions that didn’t need to be there. That, said, James Spader was a phenomenal villain (even if Ultron’s lip movements looked completely out of place), the Whedon-era spirit was strong during the film’s lighter moments, Stan Lee probably had his best cameo in a Marvel movie yet.

Additionally, the movie really does go all out to remind you that Marvel is part of Disney now with its use of “I’ve Got No Strings” from Pinocchio (1940) as Ultron’s personal song.

That actually worked for me as a meta-reference, as did Whedon’s Archie Comics-inspired naming of the Hulkbuster armor satellite, “Veronica” (named because Bruce Banner’s comics love interest is named Betty). That was clever.

I kind of wonder if Quicksilver’s fate wasn’t sort of a slap in the face Fox, given all the inter-company drama with the Marvel film rights, though.

Regardless, Age of Ultron was a great watch.

UFO sightings

I stumbled upon a great interactive map for visualizing UFO sightings since 1933. I brought up how no one seems to see anything in the District, but it uses records from all over the world. So no matter where you live, it’ll show where people have reported seeing strange things in the sky.

Metro’s funding on the chopping block

WMATA deserves some scrutiny and pressure right now, given its recent disasters and reluctance to spend money on maintenance. But the move in the House to halve federal funding in the coming year seems like it’s a little risky at a time when D.C.’s public transit system needs to get safer and more dependable.

Abe’s train dreams

Japan’s prime minister visited D.C., though he picked a bad week if originally had any intentions of discussing Baltimore. He has pressured Obama in the past about a high-speed rail project that could get transport people from there to D.C. in 15 minutes. And he’s still pushing to get more Japanese train technology into the U.S. as a part of his plan to get his country’s economy into better shape.

Allerton in the spring

Posted by – April 28, 2015

We hit Illinois over the weekend for a wedding at Allerton Park. This is a place familiar to a lot of Central Illinois/UIUC people. If you’ve never had the chance, though, I recommend making a day trip out of it in Monticello and hiking every inch of the property.

And (if you can) catch the Carl Milles statue “The Sun Singer” sometime in the morning.

Here's Carl Milles' "The Sun Singer," singing at the sun

A video posted by brianwarmoth (@brianwarmoth) on