From the Boston Globe: A North Shore man who is sailing around the world by himself has rounded the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa and is heading east into the teeth of a storm. “We’re pretty much on edge here right now,” said Rich Wilson, 58, of Marblehead, who has been sailing the 60-foot Great American III in the Vendee Globe solo yacht race for a month. “I’m tired. The boat’s going very fast. We’ve got a storm coming tomorrow night, so there’s a very high tension level not knowing how strong it’s going to be,” he said in a satellite telephone interview this afternoon from his boat. “This is the scary part of it all because you’re so far away from anything,” said Wilson.

Wilson said injuries he received earlier in the race to his back and ribs are much improved, but it’s grueling work sailing his boat, which was hitting 18 knots — that’s water skiing speed, he pointed out — under winds of about 35 knots this afternoon. Raising and lowering the boat’s sails is hard work and the craft is constantly in motion, he said. “This thing has been going on and on and it’s going to continue to go on and on and on,” said Wilson. “It can be pretty violent. You’ve just got to be holding on all the time. It’s tough … You’re going to have a nice night’s sleep, but I’m not.”

The race began Nov. 9 in the French port of Les Sables D’Olonne. It’s expected to last about 100 days. Stormy weather hit the participants just after they left the starting line, and some were forced to turn back.

Wilson is the president of sitesALIVE!, a company that works to connect students to learning adventures on land and sea. He is participating in the race to share his experiences with schoolchildren through the Newspaper in Education program. He doesn’t expect to win and is currently in 20th place out of 24 still in the race, with more than 17,000 nautical miles to go.

His log entries, photos, and podcasts can also be found at the website, where he also answers students’ questions. The site also contains essays from a team of experts on topics related to his voyage

Wilson was distracted for a moment during today’s interview by a loud noise outside the boat’s cabin, but then decided with relief it was “just a wave against the hull.”

“I’m tired and I’m probably not being particularly joyous today,” he said. “Tomorrow night’s going to be a tough night.”

-ByMartin Finucane, Boston Globe Staff.

Link: Great American III

This holiday season I’ve decided that I am going to try and entirely avoid gift cards. I want to give people gifts which are a little more thought out. While I acknowledge that gift cards allow the recipient to have their own choices in what specific gift they want, I don’t really feel that gift cards fulfill the true intention of what a gift should be. Sure there’s some cases where giving a gift card is really the only way to ensure that the person gets what they truly need, but in that case I’d rather just let them get that item on their own. Many gift cards expire after a certain amount of time passing with out use. Some states have laws which prevent this practice, but even in those cases there is a service fee charged for the time passed where the card is not used. On top of everything else, it’s important to take the recent change in our economy into consideration and look at a companies future. No one wants a gift card to a store who has gone out of business. Recently I had an email passed onto me from a friend which really opened my eyes to this.

Here’s a heads up in case you intend to give gift cards around the holidays. Be careful that the cards will be honored after the holidays. Stores that are planning to close after Christmas are still selling the cards through the holidays even though the cards will be worthless January 1. There is no law preventing them from doing this. On the contrary, it is referred to as ‘Bankruptcy Planning). So take a look at this partial list of stores that you should be cautious about.

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Nearly a year ago I signed up for a beta of a new web browser for my phone. Everyone makes a really big deal about the iPhone’s browser, but this application looked to me like it could potentially be as good or better. Recently I finally got the text message I had been waiting for. It was an official invitation to download the Skyfire beta. I was psyched! So I download Skyfire & let the beta testing begin. On first loading I remember one of the reasons I was so excited about this browser; it’s fast! It actually runs the website content through an off sight server and sends a “down res’d” (squeezed) version to your phone. That’s great, this allows your phone to give a full web experience while leaving the “heavy lifting” to be done by a more powerful computer. I suppose this brings up concerns of who else is seeing what you are, but as long as you’re at least aware of this you can use the program accordingly.

One of the main features which brought me to find this program was it’s native flash support. Once I had downloaded and installed the program I headed over to YouTube and was greeted with the full web version including videos that played right from the website without using any sort of external playe. There’s still lots more testing to be done, but this is quite a nice program. If you have a Windows Mobile phone I would highly recommend checking out this great piece of software.

Link: Check out Skyfire