Tuesday, March 31, 2009

#2

Once again, after a win tonight, the Nuggets are in 2nd place in the division. This is after a nice run lately and a collapse after the All-Star break that had them in 7th at one point.

I'm not sure how good they are, or if they should be 2nd. Most likely there is so little separation between 2-6 in the west. Almost makes me want to go down there for a game.

The Young Scout

Tonight was Delaney’s scout meeting and he went, in full uniform, and got to learn a bit about what he needs to do for camping with the Scouts. I wasn’t in the room with him, so I have to take his word for the supplies he needs. Also time to dig through Kyle’s old Scout stuff and see what’s still around. I still remember Kyle crossing over and getting going in Boy Scouts. An exciting time, and I’m a little sorry he didn’t stick with it longer.

Delaney also had the chance to do some service work the next two Saturdays. Since those projects were hard to come by, I asked him if he wanted to do it. One was an Eagle project for a boy, and Delaney said he definitely wanted to do that one. We found out tonight that his 8 hours of work for the Citizenship in the Community involves him working for one charity, so we need to do both this Sat and the next.

He walked around after the meeting and got his blue card and book for the badge himself. He’d asked me to do it during the meeting when he was busy, but I said he had to do it, and so he did after the meeting. Nice to see him getting moving on his Eagle.

The Prius Update

Our second major repair will take place on the Prius, and once again it’s a cosmetic item. In fact, we’ve had 3 incidents in the Prius, none of which has affected the mechanical or electrical systems. It’s 2 years today what I bought the car, and so far we’ve had:

  • Rear hit by someone when backing out of a space
  • Passenger front hit our fence
  • Inside eaten by our dog.

The first incident was a mistake when backing out of a space. It wasn’t me, but it resulted in about $1100 worth of replacement panels on the read of the car. The second incident was me. The car slipped coming down our road, I had no control, managed to slow and just slide into part of a ditch and hit the vinyl fence I’d put up. A year earlier and I’d have just gone into the pasture. The front quarter panel snapped one tab and so it doesn’t quite fit flush, and we lost part of the lower grill around the fog light, but no damage. Alignment was even fine.

deuce_car

This is the latest incident.

Our dog got accidently locked in the car one night. My wife was going out, opened the car to turn out the light, didn’t see Deuce race in (he hates to be left behind), closed the car and didn’t find him until about 8am. It was a cold night, Deuce is fine, and we can’t blame him at all. He tried to get out, as you can see, and also ate through part of a seat belt that I think we need to replace. This door panel will probably be a nice charge as well.

In the 2 years, we’ve had just oil changes and a 30k service for maintenance. I think we’ve averaged close to 50mpg year around in this car across almost 44k miles. We’ve driven a lot, and with the tax credit we got, I think we’ve covered any “hybrid tax” that we paid. We’ve also replaced the tires.

The car has worked out very well for us. For a family of 5, it’s a little small, though we can all go to out for the night in it. We can carry quite a few groceries in the back, and while gas mileage suffers, it works fine.

This winter I even went skiing 6 or 7 times in the Prius. I took the little kids (7 and 10) a few times and piled in my snowboard, my son’s small one, and my daughter’s skis along with a big bag of clothes and we did fine.

Overall, a great purchase for us.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Word Games

Kendall and I went to Noodles and Company after we dropped off Delaney for a little dinner. She had asked nicely, a rarity, and I like to encourage that behavior.

We ordered and sat down and she asked if we would play a game. She had a word game she wanted to play and explained the rules to me. One person says "I have a synonym and " then you give a word. So she gave me "simple" and I said "east," which apparently was right. We went through 2-3 iterations of this before she was done.

I picked up the Kindle, then put it down when Kendall told me I had to pick a card. Apparently we were playing some version of "go fish" where we had imaginary cards and had to guess each other's cards. We had give and I couldn't apparently guess hers.

Then she told me you could "cheat" once each game. You could say it wasn't the correct guess when it was. I told her if we could each do it once, why not just play fiar. She agreed I was right, but then decided we could stop playing.

Always interesting with that girl

Cold, but not too windy

Coming back from karate, it was getting late, I needed to get kids to bed, and I was slightly dreading feeding horses. It's cold and my normal plan is to get Kendall in bed and then go feed. That didn't sound fun tonight.

As we came up the driveway, the trees weren't blowing too much and I rolled down the truck window. It didn't seem to bad, so I told the kids we'd drive to the barn to feed real quick. At least as quick as I could get 3 bales outside.

I went in and loaded up one, intending to take 2 to the west buckets, but there weren't two ready. So I had to climb up on top of the tack room and drag more over and drop them in our middle stall. Not my favorite job, I'm always worried about stepping between bales and pulling something.

I tried to toss 3 or 4 over, but that was bugging my wrist, so I ended up dragging them and dropping them. Then down the ladder, load up the 2nd, walk outside and get them into  buckets. A pain as Nina wants to pull the hay off right away and gets in my way. She knocked the bale off once before I could shoo her away.

Then back to the barn, load up one more bale and drop on the South before letting the caged horses loose. I didn't bother to see how much manure was in the stalls. I'll deal with it tomorrow.

The CEO Reaction

Some interesting reactions from other CEOs to GM's CEO being forced out by the government. I think there are some good CEOs out there that take responsibility for their companies. And they are likely the ones not troubled by this. I think some of the ones that think this is a bad idea have the lottery mentality and don't like seeing one of their own ousted.

Those are gross generalizations and I'm sure there are opinions all over the board, regardless of how the CEO runs their own company.

A CEO should not be some super position that is way out of line with everyone else. All compensations and responsibilities should increase as you move through positions, but the jump from COO or VP to CEO shouldn't result in some lottery winnings. Just like moving from a director to a VP or CIO shouldn't be a lottery.

That kind of power and jump creates a problem in how you view your job. You'll do what it takes to get there, and what it takes to stay there, regardless of the impact on the company and others.

Not everyone, but enough that the system breaks down. We need a little more leveling between workers and management, which should help make all our morals a little closer to each other.

Snowy Monday

It was supposed to bypass us, but we woke up this morning to snow coming down. Not a lot, but it’s blowing all around, and a little cold (25F).

We need it, so that’s good. It also means we might get a bit more skiing this year. I was a little annoyed no one wanted to go yesterday, but Delaney had a project to finish, Tia a horse lesson, so I didn’t push it. Plus Tia travels this week, so we were talking about going Fri, and I might try to sneak out for a half day on Wed.

Tiger is the Man

Tiger won at Bay Hill again, and actually had me interested in golf a bit. I wasn’t sure when people said last year that he has a big effect, but I did watch the last 6-7 holes of the US Open last year because of him, and he’s my “yardstick” check every week. If it’s in contention, I pay attention. There are also more stories, it seems to me, if he is, but I’d have to pay more attention to be sure.

When he was in fifth Sat morning, I didn’t think he’s get close. Like 8 shots back, but when I saw he was in 2nd Sat night, I was surprised. 5 shots back, however, and I didn’t think he’d win.

However last night, after getting everyone ready for bed, I had to check, and sure enough, he had come back to win it.

He’s exciting, and I’m not sure why. I think for me, his minority status, more than the dominating performances, get me excited.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Smore-Pops

I was killing time this morning and got in the mood to cook. So I wandered over to Christy Cooks, the site run by the wife of a friend. I was looking for soup, found the Chicken Caccitore Stoup, and decided to make that. Since I was thinking that I'd make something yummy for the kids and found a recipe for Smore Pops.

Kendall and I went to the store and bought ingredients and lollipop sticks, and then I started assembling them when I got home. I skipped refridgerating the cream cheese/graham cracker mix, which was a mistake. Once I got chocolate on them and tried to stand some up, a few fell apart.

However they were a hit, and the kids enjoyed them. We ended up with steak for dinner, a request from Kendall, so the chicken is off until tomorrow night.

A Quiet Morning

I slept in a bit and then got to spend an hour in bed reading. Tia had the kids downstairs and I enjoyed the quiet time. A little work, a little cleanup, and now time to run a few errands. Want to get some projects done today.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Family Cleanup

The kids wanted more horse sledding today, but we told them that they’d need to help clean up the barn after the blizzard this week. So Tia, myself, Delaney, and Kendall went out to work on the barn.

We all started mucking out stalls, and the kids decided that was hard work quickly. I agree, with the wet hay and manure, a shovel-ful is heavy. So we had them sweeap out the barn, which is a good chore while Tia and I mucked. Kendall even scraped manure off the back pad, which is a good chore as well. A 30x20 slab of the cement that the horses try to completely cover with manure each week.

Monsters V Aliens

We went out to watch Monsters V Aliens last night. Since we cancelled the ski trip, the kids were excited to go. After some sledding, I got out the tractor for the first time this winter and plowed down the driveway. Not a lot of snow, but a few sections of drifts that would have given us trouble.

Tia fed horse, and then we all headed out to dinner, grabbed Kyle's glasses from the optometrist, and then the movie. The little ones were excited to go to a 3D movie, and maybe Tia and Kyle as well. The glasses are annoying to me and the whole process gives me a slight headache, so I wasn't expecting much.

I was disappointed. The 3D was actually pretty good. The movie was funny, with some good adult jokes in there as well. Not quite "Kung Fu Panda" or "Bolt" funny, but entertaining. The whole audience, which was pretty full, laughed out loud a few times. The 3D was mixed in well, without an effort made to show off things, it was just part of the movie, and I can see where this will be more commonplace at some point.

A good family night, the kids went right to bed, and so did I. I then got up 3 or 4 times at night because something I ate didn't agree with me and I had my stomach cramping all night, actually waking me up. Better now, and getting ready for Delaney's red belt test.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Fun in the Snow

video

After work we decided to get outside a bit. The kids wanted some sled time, so Tia obliged with Rain doing a little work. I snapped photos before clearing out the driveway with the tractor. First time on the tractor this winter clearing snow. I tried to shoot more video, but I think I wasn't hitting the button or something because I only had one clip worth putting in.

The kids had a blast, the dogs had fun, and Delaney got a little snow-water-skiing on his snowboard.

Vacation on the Canal

I was watching a little of My Name is Earl after my run today. In this episode they flash back to the time when Earl was a kid and he vacationed with his Aunt in a trailer on a lake. They were skipping rocks and it reminded me of my childhood.

I had some friends as a kid, I think I was 12-14, and they lived in the next neighborhood. I used to ride my bike over there all the time, and hang out with the three brothers. One was a year older, one a year younger, and one the same age as my brother. We had a great time and a few times my brother and I went with them on a vacation trip.

They had a trailer in North Carolina, about halfway between Virginia Beach and Nags Head. It was on a series of canals that opened to the intra-coastal waterway, there was a trailer park that people either rented or owned a piece of land on. My friends had a trailer on it, not a big one, maybe a sleep 6 sized one that was permanently parked there. Along with a small boat and an outboard, it was a neat place.

We went down there a couple times, us boys riding bikes around, fishing (not my favorite thing) going to the small gas station at the entrance to play video games, and lots and lots of Uno games. I know we had a day or so when it rained all day and we just played cards over and over.

We grew up later and I had other friends with other vacation spots. I had one that had a house in the mountains of Virginia, another that rented a house in the Bahamas every year, and eventually friends that had timeshares as well.

I think, however, that being grounded to a spot is good. It's a simpler life if you have a place that you go to, not wandering around somewhere new every time you look to get away. I've found that we tend to like to go to the same places, but it's never our place.

Maybe I ought to look for a small piece of land, put up our own trailer or cabin. With the high cost of air travel, that might be a nice way for us to get away on a more regular basis. And if we get a place near the National Forest, Tia can take her horses as well.

I'd prefer

Poor Dog

Deuce, our mid-sized pound puppy, got locked in the Prius last night. Tia said she went to turn out the back light and he must have jumped in there and she didn’t see him. This morning she found him when she went to feed horses.

The car looked like this: 

deuce_car

He ripped up a seat belt as well and scratched the window a bit.

Poor dog!

He ran out this morning first thing and hit the yard. At least we don’t have a big cleanup.

Just $1

Not $1 plus a bunch of options, bonuses, etc.

The two founders and CEO of Google have again taken only $1 in salary with no other compensation. Granted they’re billionaires, and some perks were given to Eric Smith, but still it’s nice to see some examples being set from the top.

There is enough money. It doesn’t give your measure as a person, and it certainly isn’t all there is in the world.

I know that the AIG execs think they were doing the best job they could, and they had contracts for bonuses, but honestly do we believe that their best effort is good enough? Would they reward their subordinates for their “best effort” when they didn’t achieve results?

No, they wouldn’t.

Working Along

I got up at 6:10 this morning, checked the CDOT cameras, forecasts, and then talked with Tia. It didn’t look too bad, but there was snow everywhere and things were moving slow. We decided not to risk an accident or a good portion of our day stuck in traffic, so we stayed home. Sunday’s a possibility to go, if my baseball game is cancelled.

Tweet Your Job Away

A great example of how to “Tweet” poorly. This guy got fired before he started work.

Twitter is a series of hallway conversations. I think that’s a great description, and I’ll write more about that at some point. However just like those hallways, you need to be aware that you don’t necessarily know who’s listening. Putting it in writing means it could be overheard by anyone, and send on.

In case you’re interested, here’s the tweet that got him fired.

twitter_fired_2

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Blizzard of '09

Today is supposed to be the blizzard of 09, the worst storm of the season. It started late morning, and it's pretty white outside, but it's not that bad around here. Lots of accidents, lots of road closures in places, but I just checked the CDOT cameras and it doesn't seem that bad in the mountains.

I called a friend who is heading to Breckenridge tonight and he's still going. Said the city streets were bad getting home from work, but he didn't hear any bad reports in the mountains.

I'm going to wake up early and check cameras, but I'm hoping we can still ski tomorrow.

Internet TV

The Cube is right! Internet TV is not likely, at least not for awhile, to blow away traditional TV. I won’t repeat a lot of Mark’s thoughts, but I think he’s pretty much on target here. I do think that there could be more done with Internet type integration, but it’s a long way away, especially in the US.

We have an above average connection to the Internet, 1.5Mbps down, through DSL. Now we live in a semi-rural environment with people that are across the board. No one is likely to invest in fiber to my area, and I’m not sure Wimax will give me a better link. I have neighbors in a new development with 20Mbps down through fiber, I have friends stuck with 256kbps with copper DSL and older DSLAMs, I have people getting around 1Mbps through Microwave, friends on dial-up, and others that use 5ft satellites, no Internet, and land lines.

Even with my connection, the streaming downloads from DirecTV through the Internet are too slow. I can start an PPV now, or in 30 minutes, or I can wait while something takes > 30 minutes to download. The wait is annoying. It makes me lose interest.

Streaming video, or even iTunes downloads, don’t satisfy the experience. Either quality is low so that they get down quickly enough for me, or they take too long to get quality. HD TV shows in 10 minutes? Ha, not for most of us. I can drive to Blockbuster (10 miles away) and get a movie and return quicker than most shows download.

The TiVo is a great step, but it needs to improve. OnDemand would be nice, but it’s not necessarily quick enough for most of us. You’ll overrun the buffer too quick. I’d be happy with my TiVo recording the START and END of shows, not going by times. When a game goes into overtime, RECORD THE WHOLE THING. When Two and a Half Men starts at 7:59 or 8:02, start there. Include the commericals, I’m OK with that. Some are actually good.

But record the whole show.

The Internet gives lots of people a chance to produce their own show. I think we’ll get lots more creativity and ideas. More shows/choices for networks to spend money on and bring out better quality without being limited to a few pilots. However the majority of people will still use TV for the time being.

Pony Express

Last night as I took the kids to karate, Tia decided to get the mail. So she tacked up and rode her horse to the mailbox, 1/2 mile away, just like the pony express.

She's laughing in the office, reminiscing with a friend about her little adventure.

Android v Windows Mobile

I’ve had a number of cell phones in my life, probably more than many people. Typically I’ve just grabbed a low end phone that serves as a phone and does a good job there. However as I’ve traveled more over the last few years, and have a need to be connected, I’ve been looking for a more advanced phone.

A year and a half ago I got a T-Mobile Dash, which runs Windows Mobile. I ran through 3 of those in about a year, having issues with their durability, and eventually moved to a Sidekick 3. Then earlier this year that phone started to die and I settled on a T-Mobile G1, the new phone made with Google’s Android OS. Since then I’ve been thrilled with it and decided to do a comparison based on my experiences. Especially after a little exchange with Buck Woody.

All of the phones I’m looking at here are made by HTC, and while I think the Dash was less durable than the others, the others were well made and worked fine.

  My first impression of the Dash, which I got with Windows Mobile 6, was that it was a huge step up from my previous phones. It had a full QWERTY keyboard, and was relatively small. It is a little wide, and had all the familiar Windows type features. Overall I was thrilled and was quickly up and running with this phone, browsing the web and viewing attachments. The ability to read Word/Excel documents was nice, but it didn’t happen a lot for me. They seemed to render well when I viewed them, but this wasn’t something that was critical.

Windows, however, wasn’t as stable as I’d like. If I switched tasks, it seemed that anything I put in the background didn’t run as well. There were more crashes than I’d like, and it was relatively slow to render things on the web. I had this OS freeze numerous times over the 9-12 months that I used it, and I don’t think I stressed it a lot. SQLServerCentral, ESPN’s mobile site, Twitter, Slashdot, Google, Joel on Software, these were my main sites.

The browser was a POS as well. So many pages didn’t render well, and it was hard to scroll around using the interface on the Dash. I’m not sure that’s as much a Windows Mobile issue as the Dash layout (no trackball), but I wasn’t thrilled with it. Email worked well, which was nice for me. I used POP and IMAP and things seemed to work well.

Adding ringtones and downloads wasn’t something I did much, but there was no central way to add applications to the phone. It was cumbersome and I was a little worried about random add-ins since there wasn’t a central source.

The radio, however, didn’t seem to work well. Granted I’m comparing this device 6-9 months ago to the other ones, but it seemed to have less hold on the signal. Again, not sure if this is a Windows Mobile issue or hardware, but I noticed that the signal across my other phones, a RAZR, a Nokia, the Sidekick, all was about the same.

Sidekick 3

tmob_sidekick_3_1 I liked this OS pretty well at first. It has tight integration with the T-Mobile network, but it flaked quickly for me. The device has a full keyboard underneath a rotate/flip out screen. There are multiple buttons that control various aspects of the OS.

Email worked well for POP, but I couldn’t get IMAP to work on this OS. Text messaging was fine with the standard inbox/outbox format, but browsing the web was very slow. Even on an Edge connection, and when compared to the G1 in the same places.

Ringtones, and other downloads worked well, and were easy to find.

Navigation wasn’t great. The trackball makes it hard at times to ensure that the OS receives a left v an up. I know that’s the hardware more than the OS, but they’re tightly integrated here.

It’s easy to jump back to the home screen and quickly choose a new area. The OS didn’t multitask, but it did allow me to quickly move between items. It also was limited in that I couldn’t easily add items or shortcuts to the screen. Learning keyboard shortcuts, however, was invaluable.

The one thing here was the stability of the OS. In 7-8 months of using this device it never locked up on me. Updates came down smoothly and occasionally asked for a reboot, but it never locked up. There were network issues in that I lost my contacts sometimes. I’m not sure this was OS or network since a reboot sometimes would bring them back. Sometimes I had to wait, but that was the biggest hassle.

TMobile G1

gphone The G1, running Google’s Android, has been my favorite phone to date in my life. At first I wasn’t thrilled with the form factor, but I’ve come to enjoy it.

However the OS is just solid. I haven’t had any crashes of the OS. Updates do come down periodically, and they’ll reboot the phone (I  accept them first), but when I go over 6 applications, it just closes something. I have had Twitroid crash a few times. But it easily starts right up.

The touchscreen is great, and it’s very handy for scrolling around web pages. This is supposed to be the same technology as the iPhone, and it’s worked great for me. I touch the screen and can move it around with my finger, and zoom in/out buttons appear at the bottom, allowing me to change the size of the screen.

The integration with a marketplace is great. I can easily see reviews, download items, and they just install. It’s the smoothest process I’ve seen.

I get a little multitasking, or it appears that way to me. I can easily move from an email to a Tweet to a web page, and those apps keep running in the background.

One annoyance is that my applications run 6 at a time, and while I can easily switch between them, or start a 7th), I can’t control which one closes. That’s a hassle, especially when I’d like to shut down Twitroid at times.

Notifications are handled well in the upper bar. They appear, I can easily clear them, view them, etc. Adding/removing items from the main screens is easy. Integration between apps and the OS is consistent and works smoother than on any phone OS I’ve seen.

Summary

Durability was an issue with the Dash. One break was my fault, but in another the phone dropping from my car seat to the floorboards and the screen cracked. Another one was me leaning against the sink, and not hard IMHO, but another screen cracked. The Sidekick withstood numerous drops and always seemed to work, but the trackball was dying, not accepting clicks and so it became impractical to use.

The G1 is clearly the best phone I’ve ever owner. It runs smoothly, has the best radio and reception, handles data and voice smoothly, and even integrates multiple apps, and the data in them, better than even my desktop.

If you get the chance to use it, I think you might agree. I’d still like to use an iPhone for a month or two and then decide, but for now I’m sticking with my G1.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cross the T

I went to karate tonight, thinking with snow coming that we might miss tomorrow and wanting Delaney to get a bit more practice. My plan was to take it easy with the wrist and not injure it. I ended up witnessing someone else getting injured, the worst one we've had in karate since I started.

My normal partner, who was working with someone else since I was taking it a little easy, went to kick low and must have caught his second to last toe on the guys gi or maybe pad. We started limping and we looked over. The toe was bent sideways, crossing the pinky toe at almost a right angle. Not sure if it was dislocated or broken, but someone ended up driving him to the hospital to let them look at it.

It happens. It's one of those things, and it's possible that he didn't have his toes pointed, but maybe not. I'm glad it wasn't my fault.

I actually took it easy, not hitting pads at all, just doing the motion. My partner was pretty good about not beating me up as well. It felt about the same at the end, but I still iced it down in bed tonight.

How far do you push through injury? I'm not sure, but you should push. As long as you're not making things worse, I think you keep going. At least if you're a pushy person and driven. If you want to take care of your body, you have to keep pushing it, which often means dealing with pain. I've had a sore left elbow, maybe some low tendonitis on it for 2 weeks, a pulled and tight right hamstring for a couple weeks as well, and now a sprained wrist.

I've avoided lifting, but I'm still running, and I played baseball. Planning on playing this Sunday again. My thought is that I'm going to have a sore wrist for 6 weeks before it heals. That's if I do nothing with it. Likely that with some playing baseball, it will extend out to 10-12 weeks, but that's the price I'll pay since I don't want to stop and I don't think I'm making it worse. It's just healing slower.

Dog #4

No, we haven't gotten another dog, at least not a permanent one. Somehow, sometime over the last month, Kendall's switched from horses to dogs. She now talks dogs, reads about dogs, wants to train the dogs, etc. She even pretends to be a dog. I thought we were done with that as she grew up since her days of being a horse were quite annoying. However they're back.

Today she showed me this:

These are her dog names for different days of the week. Apparently some days she's my dog, other days she's Tia's. The names vary a bit, but last night when we got home from Outback, she told me that she was my dog and that I couldn't tell Kendall to get into bed, I had to tell "spudnick."

One one hand it's pretty cute, on the other it's annoying when you're trying to get a little girl to do something and she wants to pretend she's a dog.

Tune Deaf

The other day Kendall wanted to make up a song, so we did it while driving home. I started with "Kendall loves grapefruit", picking on her a bit, and she then chimed in "No, I don't" and we sang along, trading lines for awhile.

This morning I woke up and asked her if she wanted to sing and she told me that she was "tune deaf" when she first got up and couldn't sing with me. I thought that was pretty cute.

Frustrating

There is perhaps not anything as frustrating to me at work as a slow Internet connection. Today’s site issues, where I can’t post in the forums, might be a very close second. The worst part is, I’m not sure if it’s just me or others.

Bonus Don’t Help

An interesting post from Mark Cuban on bonuses, and one that I think is pretty accurate. People tend to act in their own interests, for the short term, and don’t really have loyalty.

Why should they?

At least in the US, most people don’t see loyalty from their companies. It’s not that people are fired or laid off without thought, but they aren’t treated well. They aren’t necessarily appreciated, and they certainly don’t get their bonuses that often. At least not great bonuses. While executives often receive good bonuses, the rank and file, who contribute a great deal to the success of the company, don’t. I’ve seen plenty of cases where the bonus plan wasn’t met for employees, but executives were still well paid.

Setting a bonus plan is hard. Owners, executives, they do deserve to get more, but not an outrageous 10-20x more. They don’t really produce that much value. A bonus plan shouldn’t be a lottery.

I say let people go, find employees that want to work for you, pay them fairly, and build your business. Overpaying someone because you think they make a huge difference, is almost always, a mistake.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sore

I'm definitely glad that I didn't lift today. I've avoided doing any weights, not wanting to make my wrist worse. It was feeling better, but I think I had a bit too much activity today.

I had to take Khali to the doctor for more pills (she has a urinary infection) and another Adequan shot. This is 3 in 3 weeks and she was looking better, but not today. She rode around with me on a few errands, but at the vet, she wasn't happy. I'd forgotten a leash, and she was pulling on my constantly to try and leave. Not pulling hard, but a constant pressure on the choker chain.

Normally not a big deal, but it was wrapped in my right hand part of the time, so she was straining my wrist.

Between that and lugging some packages around to mail, my wrist felt sore when we got home. I could feel it carrying the laptop two handed, so I wrapped it in ice as I try to finish work.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Karate

I actually did a good job holding back tonight and not hitting pads, giving the wrist a chance to heal a bit. It helped that there were only 6 of us, so the energy was down, and we did a lot of kicking, so not a lot of contact or drills where I'd hit something.

We haven't had a class that small in a long time. It was kind of strange to have so few people in there. I've skipped a bunch of Mondays since Delaney and I don't have class together, and we've been so busy, that's been a good night to take off. Plus our sensei has been taking his own jujitsu classes on Monday night and we've had senior students teaching. They're OK, but not great.

Delaney turned in his testing form for his Red Belt test this Saturday. He must have been feeling good as he had good energy in his class and was working hard.

Loud Kids

The kids are home today for Spring Break. It hasn't been too bad for me, though I did have to remind Kendall not to ask me more than once for something in a few minutes. However Tia has had a couple calls, so it interrupts me when I have to manage kids.

Delaney has a friend over, and they seem to be including Kendall so that helps, but we're slightly dreading the rest of the week.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Dog Park

We haven’t gone in a long time, and everyone wanted to go, so we packed up 2 cars, 3, kids, 3 dogs, and went to the Cherry Creek dog park. Delaney was a little upset, but we brought his bike, and he seemed to have a good time.

It was a beautiful day, sunny, not very windy, and lots of people out walking dogs. We let the pound puppies run wild, and Delaney circled us on his bike. I thought about running, but I’d left my Nike Plus at home, and there was enough chaos, so I didn’t want to leave Tia out there with no help.

So I walked along, the dogs ran and swam a bit. Kendall had a good time throwing the tennis ball for Deuce, and he got very wet. We got to a place where there was deep water, and we threw the ball in there, but Deuce got scared when his couldn’t touch bottom and wouldn’t go get it. Luckily another dog grabbed it at one point.

Kahli wasn’t that well behaved. We had her off the leash a bit, but she growled at so many dogs and even started to attack a dog that sniffed her, we put her back on. She was a little nervous with all the dogs and people, and I’m glad we kept her close.

A nice sunny afternoon, with some good pictures.

Slow Sunday

But I feel very refreshed. I blew off the baseball game today to give my wrist time to heal. It feels like it did yesterday morning, better than last night, so I know I aggravated it playing. However it's not hurting when I type, which is great.

I feel asleep early last night (9?) with Tia reading and Kendall watching TV in our bed. I slept through, woke up at 7 feeling refreshed, and then read in bed for an hour before Kendall got me up to come watch TV with her. We had bagels, hot chocolate, and coffee and I read more while she watched a movie.

A very nice, relaxing morning.

Now a family day of the dog park, and who knows what else.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Apex

My baseball game was way up north today, so I took the little kids with me, they played in the park and watched some DVDs in the car while we played. Afterwards we went to the Apex center and they got to swim. Surprisingly Delaney doesn't really want to swim that often, but he went for awhile and had some fun.

Kendall loves it and didn't want to leave, but she's on this dog kick, wanting to act like a dog all the time, and it's tough. It gets annoying when she wants to crawl around, jump on my, she won't talk (we get barks) and wants to play fetch over and over. Still I'm glad she was out there moving around a bit and not just sitting around the house.

Scrimmage 1

We had our second scrimmage today, my first, and it wasn't great. I was hoping to get two in this weekend, but with the sore, sprained wrist, I think it's a bad idea.

I fell yesterday and the wrist was sore. Despite ice last night, when I went to bend it, I had pain, and when I made a throwing motion, I knew I wasn't playing right handed. That wasn't good because I played 1st and 2nd today and struggled to catch with my right hand. Every time the ball hit my glove I had a nice bolt of pain shoot in my wrist.

Swinging a bat wasn't batter, and I struggled to get around quickly. A strikeout and a foul out and I was really done. Glad I didn't bat again.

We played OK, a mix of fielding errors and throwing errors. I missed a sharp grounder, and couldn't pick up a bad throw at first. I did recover nicely to make a play at second, but I felt really, really rusty. Sorry I'm not playing tomorrow, but I think it's a bad idea to go stressing the wrist more.

Very Cool Idea

If you can afford to do it, this is a great way of looking at the slowing economy and trying to stimulate things. Mark Cuban blogged about Tees and Tats, a shirt company. They decided they’d rebate customers if the economy continues to fall.

It’s a gimmick, but it’s also here, now, and relevant. As long as they can follow through, it builds a bond with the customer.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Nerd Grammy

My gifts for the MVP award came while I was in Cambridge and it was a big heavy box that the kids wanted me to open. So I did it awhile back with the little ones and unpacked my award.

Here it is, christened the "Nerd Grammy" by my oldest son.

I thought that was a pretty good description of what I received this year. I appreciate the recognition, and it was nice to get something from Microsoft, but I honestly don't need stuff like this and I soon recycled it.

Last year MVPs received a certificate and then a set of bluetooth devices. We got headphones and a bluetooth credit card mouse. The headphones were pretty cool, with an adapter for any headphone jack, but since I had to charge both the adapter and the headphones with one cord (alternating), it was a pain. They also didn't seem to have great battery life, and connectivity was flaky for me. I never used the mouse, but it was a cool idea.

I think Microsoft wants to do something memorable for MVPs. After all we provide a lot of community support that promotes their products. However what should they do? I think they'd be better off just giving MVPs a little more "Microsoft money" and letting them pick what they wanted from the Microsoft store. Picking gifts yourself is guaranteed to upset some people, and make no impact on others. A few will appreciate it, but why not just let them pick what they want.

Kindle – DCMA Invocation

I’m not sure how I feel about Amazon invoking the DCMA clause to prevent other e-books from being read on the Kindle. On one hand I think that if encryption on other books is being cracked to put them on the Kindle, that’s an issue for other e-book vendors, not Amazon.

However if this is to prevent Barnes and Nobles from selling e-books that can be read on the Kindle, I think that’s a mistake. In that case, Amazon isn’t pushing the e-reader as a platform, they’re pushing it as a service.

I can already get books from Mobipocket, or the Gutenberg project, or any number of other places and convert them on my PC, load them on the Kindle, and never pay Amazon for that privilege.

I think most customers that get a Kindle, will do so to buy books conveniently from Amazon. Lots of people won’t worry about saving $.50 to drive to a bookstore to get other books. Or bother going to another web site, downloading the book, connecting the Kindle, etc. It’s way more convenient to use Whispernet to grab books. I’ve done it both ways, and the convenience factor wins out for me 90% of the time.

Trying to get that last 10% of sales, or some similar percentage, will do more damage to the Amazon reputation than just allowing this to take place and pushing out more, and better, content from Amazon.com.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tough Work Day

Not for work, though I have had a lot of work. Mostly because the little kids are home today. Delaney's keeping busy, but Kendall wants friends and keeps checking to see if I'm done working. She definitely needs friends.

On top of that, the maids came today, so I needed to clean up, Tia cleaned up, and we needed to get the kids to help, which takes more time, but it's good to get them to do some work.

Audi A4 Production

I found a cool video on the 37 Signals blog that showed the Audi A4 production process. It’s relatively low budget, not background noise or narration, just clips of the car being assembled.

A nice marketing move. For owners or potential customers, to feel a little closer to the car.

You can see it here on YouTube.

Parent Conferences

We had our spring parent/teacher conferences this morning for the kids. We had to take them with us, so it was another early start. We barely made it, everyone being tired this morning.

First was Delaney's conference. He was supposed to lead us along, and he showed us what he had been working on and some samples. His teacher monitored and she talked about how well he's doing. She did have concern over his handwriting and wanted an occupational therapist at the school to watch him write and see if there's something they can do to help. She did say she expects that he will be in advanced Language Arts and math for next year. Delaney's scores were 93%, 98% and 98% for testing.

Kendall's was next, we got her scores, which were good, but lower. She was fine in writing and math, actually very good in math, but low in reading. So we need to do more reading with her, but the teacher isn't concerned.

Good to see the kids are all doing well in school.

SQL Saturday #14 - Pensacola

I committed today to attend SQL Saturday #14 in Pensacola on June 6, 2009. I'll be giving The Modern Resume - Building Your Brand talk down there and taking a couple days to enjoy the gulf coast with my daughter. I've never been to this section of Floriday, so it will be an interesting trip for me.

You can register on the SQL Saturday site.

AP

I'm slightly surprised he was picked, but not surprised he's smart enough. Kyle got tapped for AP English, or an equivalent yesterday, based on some of this writing and scores. Very cool!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pierced

Kendall hasn't really worried about it, and a few times we've mentioned it, she's cringed a bit. However Friday or Saturday, for some reason, she wanted to get her ears pierced. She was upset we didn't go Sat, forgot Sun, and then got upset, so we told her it would happen soon.

Last night, while I took Delaney to Scouts, Tia took Kyle to get his eyes checked (he needs new glasses) and Kendall to get her ears pierced. I wasn't sure how it would go, and she was asleep when I got home, but she showed me this morning and I got some pictures.

Kendall_pierce_c

You can kind of see them here, plain gold balls for now. A close-up as well

Kendall_pierce_A

I'm sure the calls for new earrings every time we go to the store will begin shortly.

Presenting Remotely

Yesterday I presented to the Charlotte SQL Server User's Group. Since I live in Denver, it didn't make a lot of sense to travel to Charlotte, as much as I would have liked to see Peter Shire of SQL Sentry and a few other friends in the area. I'd watched Joe Webb do a remote presentation a few months ago, so I had an idea of how it would go, but this was the first time I'd tried it.

I realized that I had a few things in my slides that were looking for audience input, like some survey questions, so I ended up changing the slides Mon night, and then Tues night not wanting to use my other email accounts, so getting in a rush to set up a web page and email for my site at The Modern Resume. BTW, I have a blog for The Modern Resume that should get the redirect. If it doesn't, use this link.

So I made a couple mistakes in making last minute changes, and afterwards my web redirect was broken.

It was a hard presentation. I like interacting with people and this was the first time I'd done a remote talk. The talk was through GoToMeeting, set up by SQL Sentry (Thanks for that), and they showed a few slides from their side before making me the presenter.

I'd never used GoToMeeting, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I had closed all my software on the desktop and started the Powerpoint deck. I had a phone I was using (landline) for the audio, I was in the basement, dogs locked away, my wife quiet upstairs, it went well.

However I felt like I was speaking in a black hole.

It's really like giving a lecture, and for the most part, I could have just been recording things and not really live. There was only one question during the presentation and none afterwards. Not sure if that means I was good or bad. I'm hoping for some feedback from someone that attended.

I only had an hour, lost a little time at the beginning, and with the changes I'd made, I had to speed things up a little at the end. I hate doing that, but I wanted to leave time for questions, expecting a few. Every time I've done this (4 so far), I've had questions.

My wife later gave me a few things I should have done. She's done quite a few webinars with GoToMeeting and she suggested:

  • Configure my desktop to show questions during the presentation.
  • Upload my slides and have them delivered from GoToMeeting so I can keep my desktop running.

I also had a few other things I did.

  • Cleared the desk so I wouldn't fidget with pens, etc.
  • Set my watch on the desk so I could see it and monitor time (Powerpoint does a bad job here)
  • I had water and coffee handy
  • My cell phone was next to me with the conference number entered in case things went bad. I also had the PIN code on a sticky.

Things I wished I'd done:

  • Uploaded Powerpoint deck.
  • Monitored Twitter during the talk (not sure I could have typed, but I wish I'd see things go by)
  • Fixed the web site up front (worked on my machine, sigh)

Presenting remotely was definitely different than live and I'm glad I made a few changes. I'm not really sure how it sounded and flowed, so I'd love feedback if anyone has it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Scout

The Troop 636 Court of Honor was tonight and Delaney got his official Scout rank badge, and I got my pin to wear.

Nice to see him get it, he was excited, perhaps not as much as getting his Wolverine Patrol badge, but still excited. They also recognized a boy that just was approved for his Eagle scout. The troop had 5 other Eagles, including a gentleman that earned his in 1961.

Presenting Remotely

Actually I have two presentations tomorrow. One for the Charlotte, NC SQL Server User Group that I'll do remotely, and then I drive down to the Springs for a presentation tomorrow night to the Colorado Springs User Group. Gonna be busy.

I was going over my presentation the other day and realized that remote will mess up a few of the things I do, like surveys. So I spent some time today going over and redoing a few sections of the presentation. I'll work on it more tonight as well after Boy Scouts.

Topless

I went to lunch with Dean, one of my former-JDEC friends, and since he was car-less, I picked him up. He remarked that I should have had the top off on the 911. I agreed since I was in shorts and a T-shirt, in 75F Denver weather.

After lunch I dropped him off and decided he was right. I pulled off the top and drove home, enjoying the beautiful day. Even posted a photo to Twitpic:


I had a great meatball grinder and decided to bring one back for Tia. She decided not to join so she could get some work done and then head outside on her horse.

Keeping the Streak Alive

My wife and I were talking the other night and it was getting late. She has been working too much, much more than she'd like, is stressed, and was laying in bed at 10, not having run, trying to decompress a bit.

We were debating spending time together, and was she going to run tonight. She's on her own streak, 100-some days behind me, and she couldn't decide if the running was adding more stress or taking more away. The pressure to keep going, on top of all her other commitments and desires, including kids, is hard.

After an hour or so of chatting, about this and other things, she decided to go run. I completely understand and support her. She's helped me on some days when we've been skiing, or I needed to find time. Having someone support you, especially when you're trying to take care of your body and get some release from physical exertion is nice.

We both agreed that ending the streak should be because of injury or because we ran out of time due to family commitments. Not because we're tired.

I'm glad I could help her keep her streak going, and I'm sure I'll need more help myself somewhere down the road.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Public Microsoft Bridge

I have to admit, after the news of AIG bonuses over the weekend, this looks bad. In fact, it annoys me. Microsoft is apparently getting $11 million dollars for a bridge to connect the two halves of its campus.

I get that this will be an improvement to the area, it’s (I think) spanning a highway, it’s an improvement to the area, but Microsoft has no need of this. I’m a Microsoft shareholder, but with the economy doing poorly, and Microsoft making money, should the public be financing any of this?

A bad call by Steve Ballmer and company to even lobby for this.

Vet

Khali hates the vet, and she gave me a few good pulls on the leash when I dropped her off. She always is looking at the front door, trying to leave and ignoring the ladies as they talk to her. I walked her to the exam door, which was good because she tried to turn a few times and we might have had a vet-attendent-linoleum-skating session if I hadn't.

AIG Bailout

I sent this to my Colorado representatives today:

[representative name],

As a Colorado resident, I am asking you to please increase the oversight on federal spending, especially with regard to the bailout money being distributed to companies. AIG should not be giving out large bonuses, of which I would consider anything approaching $100,000 to be large.

This article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/aaron-zelinsky/larry-summers-stop-the-ai_b_175151.html showcases how this can be done.

And if these are retention bonuses, I would argue those people ought not to be retained. They have not run the company well, and while it is relatively few people that made mistakes with managing AIG, if we as taxpayers suffer, so should they as employees.

Steve Jones


I saw this article yesterday on the AIG bonuses, which says that they are legally bound to pay bonuses, and these help with retention.

First, none of the AIG execs deserve to be retained. They aren't the "best and brightest" and they haven't done a good job. On what measure of performance could you say that they've achieved anything?

I'm sure it's relatively few people that mismanaged things, but with the rest of the country suffering, so should employees of AIG. I bet that bonuses would not be paid if people were fired. So fire them.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sore

For once I'm not sore where I was expecting it. I had baseball practice today and was a little worried about the elbow. However it only bothered me in one area, which surprised me. The sore thing isn't something I was expecting.

I got there, changed shoes, and started warming up with some throws. I decided to throw right handed first to give the left elbow a break. So I got out there and a few times when I caught calls it was sore on the elbow. Mostly catching across my body. But it was just little twinges, so I didn't worry. When we were done, I picked up a ball and tried the throwing motion with my left arm and it felt OK, so I changed gloves and went to warm up with someone else. It felt fine, no issues at all, so I was relieved.

We had some good infield, with me taking a bunch of time at 2nd. We had one guy that was sick playing first, and another lefty that wasn't used to infield, so I let him play first. I ran around a bunch, moving for double plays, covering behind first, a lot of running around. 2nd is work! But I did OK, and didn't make more bad throws than anyone else.

After that we did some BP and I was one of the last ones, so I didn't have a real pitcher. However I hit well, only having one swing that missed a ball, and it was a bad swing. The pitch was high and I'd normally have let it go, but I was a little anxious to hit it.

A good practice, and afterwards I jogged around a bit while Kendall played. She found a friend in the son of a teammate and was having a great time. So I did my mile and I was beat. I struggled to get a jog in and my ankles were a little sore.

When I got home, Delaney, Tia, and I went for a short hike and I could feel it in the ankles. I think all the movement in lateral directions, plus on spikes, wasn't something I was used to. I wonder how I'll feel tomorrow.

Relaxing Morning

Since I got a few things done yesterday, I don’t feel bad about sleeping in this morning. Tia was out late at dinner and a movie with friends, and I didn’t stay up that late, but I found it easy to go back to sleep every time I woke up.

I eventually got the Kindle and started to read, but then Kendall came up to check on me and that was that.

Working a little, but I don’t feel bad about that. I’m looking to play hooky Friday for some snowboarding.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Puttering Around

It was a beautiful day today, hardly any wind and sunny, 55-60F and the day that makes you feel guilty for being inside. After Thinking Day Kendall played with some other girls at the playground and I read in the car. I felt I should be doing something, but she was having a good time.

Finally she came back, we went to Sonic and sat outside, having a nice lunch together. Tia had called and asked if we wanted to come meet her and bring bikes while she rode. We were thinking to do it, but when we got home Kendall said she didn't want to go. So I decided to get a few things done.

First I got the door closer put on the door to the garage. I've been meaning to do that for weeks and just haven't spent the time to get it set up. So I got that up and adjusted it so we now have the door closing automatically. I went in and out a few times and it was strange getting used to the resistance, but it's nice to have the door closing automatically.

I wanted to clean up a bit, so I swept out the garage and moved a few things to the shed. I started straightening that up since it was a mess, but Kendall came out and wanted someone to play. I got her to play "car wash" and we cleaned out the inside and outside of the car a bit. It really needed it.

Then I decided to stop up the duct collector. I had a joint break and so it needed to be fixed. I pulled that section apart and sealed it back up. I didn't have the parts to get it set back up and wasn't sure what I wanted to do there (how to lay it out), and I wanted to get something done. Then I started working on the lathe until Tia came to get me with horse issues.

Tomorrow I'm hoping to get a little more time out there and start getting more organized.

Close

I was messing in the garage when Tia pulled up. She grabbed me and asked me to walk out to the pasture with her. Abby, one of our boarded horses, was laying on the ground, not moving and the other horses were around her. They didn't come to the fence when Tia drove up, so she was worried.

We walked out there and it seemed as though Abby wasn't moving. We were both thinking she was dead or collicking, but she moved as we got close and stood up. Tia walked her to the barn, but something isn't right.

Might be a long night at the ranch.

Friday, March 13, 2009

XBOX Support - What's Wrong

I went to the XBOX.com to start a repair for Delaney's XBOX. I sent in an email describing the issue after their automated repair system said my console is registered to someone else. I wanted the registration changed so I could start a repair.

I got an email back the next day with troubleshooting tips and asking for more info. So I replied, answered the question, again asked for the registration to be fixed and went on with my day.

I got a 2nd email back saying that I need to check my discs, at least, and in another console to be sure they play. I didn't bother pointing out in the previous email I'd explained that multiple discs didn't work and I had tried cleaning them.

At this point it wasn't worth sending another email. Obviously they want to try and make this difficult to cut down on support calls, but by implementing a stupid system that doesn't entice people to pay attention, they would, IMHO, create more calls.

So I call in and in going through 3 menus, the automated system each time pushes me to go to the web site. I can understand that, but it's incredibly frustrating to hear this over and over. I want to get a repair, but the @#%$#%$# online system says this console is already registered.

Why the #^$%@@#$$^$$% do they care? I mean if I have a console, and I'm going to pay, who cares if it's registered to me, Billy Bob in Alabama, or Ian in the UK? If it's not under warranty, what does it matter.

Why not design a system that says "Are you sure?" or "Should we move this console to your account?" or anything else. Some moron didn't think through failure paths of the system when they built it. This console has been sent for repair, so I'm not sure if the one I sent is the one I got back. For all I know, I got Billy Bob's console that he sent in for repair.

Finally after the agent tried to get me to troubleshoot, take off the hard drive, etc., but my lack of patience convinced him to get up a repair. He said that it was $99 from XBOX.com and $119 from him. I explained twice that it didn't work at XBOX.com and he finally handed me off to a supervisor.

That's a good thing. With the way he processed things, I'm not surprised they don't want him taking credit card numbers.

To be fair, the CS guys probably aren't well trained, they deal with a lot of kids calling in, and there are valid troubleshooting things to do.

HOWEVER. If they want to smooth things out, then let the agents just confirm that I've troubleshooted things and let me pay for the repair. They could have cut 10 minutes off this call by doing that. They could have cut 5 more off by just linking this console to my liveID, or even deleting it from the system and allowing me to go register it new.

Knocking Off

A long day, up too late, up to get kids to work, a long workday, just finished editing a podcast. Still one to go for Mon, but I'll do that tomorrow.

Now to get the XBOX into repair.

Five Device Sync

Last night I was at the store with Delaney after karate and he mentioned that we needed to go pick up snowboards from the shop. I'd forgotten Thur afternoon to get them and wanted to remind myself to go Fri.

I had my TMobile G1 with me, but also my iTouch. I decided to enter the appointment there since I sometimes have that with me and nothing else. So I typed in an appointment on the iTouch. We got home and I plugged it into my desktop to sync it up. That's all I did.

This morning I woke up and checked for my appointment. It appeared:

  • on the iTouch (obviously, this was the source)
  • in my desktop Outlook (iTunes sync moved it over from the iTouch)
  • in my Google Calendar - (google sync moved it there)
  • On my TMobile G1 (syncs with Google automatically)
  • In my laptop Outlook (google sync pulled it down)

5 places, 1 entry, one plug in to sync my iTouch.

Very cool!

Dr Ross and Carol

They're back!! Watching ER from last night as I work. George Clooney was on. Very exciting for me since he was one of the highlights from the early years of the series.

When I had more hair, I had the lady barber cut mine like his on the show :)

Jimmy’s Clucker Farm

Last night I was trying to get out the door for karate. 6:00, I’m cooking some dinner for kids, trying to mentally locate the gi, gear bag, thinking of what we need from the store, Tia’s still working, etc.

Kendall wants cornbread.

I was going to push this off on Tia since I really like to get to karate early and get stretched. Kendall got a bowl out and is standing there holding the pack of Jiffy mix and with a sore elbow, I would be taking it easy, so I agreed.

Grab milk, grab e….wait, we have no eggs.

Mental “Whew, I won’t be late”. Verbal “Sorry honey, we have no eggs. I’ll get some from the store and we can make it tomorrow.”

“Jimmy has eggs”

“Who the @$#$# is Jimmy?” That was mental, not spoken, but I did have a confused look on my face. Kendall says “Jimmy Gilbert” who is just down the road. Jimmy’s in her 2nd grade class and has chickens that he’s responsible for. His parents helped him make a sign and put it out by the road and he has eggs for sale.

So we jump in the car, drive over and Jimmy has 9 eggs left. We grab them, come home, mix it up, in the oven, and as I’m getting ready to leave, Kendall still has her face in front of the oven. She’s been turning on the light and checking the muffins every 30 sec. They’re close (toothpick test), so I pull them out and she’s buttering one as we race out the door.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Khali

She's been struggling to get up sometimes, so much so that we're hesitant to leave her alone. Finally today I took off for lunch and we went to the vet for an Adequan shot. They helped her a few years ago when we did a series.

This time she was 161lbs, our biggest Dane yet, and way too fat. That means it's about $60 a shot and she needs like 6.

Tracking the ISS

When I was in college, actually doing graduate work at ODU, I was working on a project late one night in the Computer Science lab. One of my partners was an admin, so we had unlimited access to the Sparc stations there.

A friend of his, another admin, wandered in to the room that night. This guy was a real hacker, actually having been in trouble with the law. He was on probation, but free and doing work there. Somehow with his connections, he’d gotten a way to listen in to real-time broadcasts between NASA and the space shuttle. Since ODU had a lot of connections with NASA and professors working at both places, I’m not sure if this was unauthorized or not.

On this night, we ended up with a real time audio link of the feed between NASA and the shuttle. In 1992, this was amazing to me.

Nothing interesting happened, we listened to the routine release of some satellite, but it was exciting and cool. Definitely a geek thing to do.

Today someone noted on Twitter that Nancy A was posting regarding a potential issue with the ISS. A piece of debris, possibly part of an Iridium satellite, might hit the ISS. I checked out the feed, and there were updates every minute or so as information came in. The astronauts moved into a Russian capsule for awhile, but the danger passed with no issues.

A very cool use of Twitter, and a little exciting. Definitely had me hitting “refresh” on my Twirl client for a few minutes.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

You Aren't That Interesting

Fundamentally as I get older, I think more and more men are pigs. There is definitely something wrong with them, as mentioned by Mr. Denny, and in the US at least, there's a Culture of Assholes, from Alan, which I blogged about on my personal site briefly. I'm not sure I can express things as well as those two gentleman above, but I'll try.

First, my apologies for the language, but it expresses things nicely, though not quite as eloquently as I'd like to express it.

What I'd really want to know is who the eff does any man think they are by coming on to a woman, in public, at a professional environment?

Really, dude, you're not that interesting. The women attending the event, the women hosting it, and even those working there aren't looking to you as a future mate or spouse. If they are, they'll let you know, but recognize that you chances are on the low side of the 5 9s. 99.999% of the women you meet don't want to sleep with you.

I'm no saint, and I'm certainly not politically correct. I recognize inherent biases, bigotry, and prejudice in myself. I think I do a pretty good job of controlling it and dealing with it, but I regularly do and say things that are inappropriate or are approaching the line where I offend or insult someone.

And I'm sure I have hurt people at times. I can only apologize and strive to do better.

I've heard numerous jokes about "booth babes" at conferences, woman hired to help attract people to booths because they're attractive, not because they're engineers that can teach you about the product, but because they are "eye candy" for men. Men seem to make up most of the audience at technical events I attend, big and small, and while it makes sense to attract them, I think in a business environment this is an issue. We see or hear something enough, have a few drinks, and somehow think we're more attractive than we are.

I'll bring up an event that I'd glossed over, but I think should be addressed. At the 2008 PASS Summit, on Thursday night, there was a large party in the main auditorium. A band was playing, lots of drinks, games, etc., but near the stage there was a motorcycle set up. You could get on it and get a picture taken, with a scantily clad young lady.

Now I'm OK with men getting up there if they want. Moral standards vary and that's fine. If you can justify that with your significant other, or God, or yourself, then have fun. I have no issue with people that want to live their lives on the looser side. It's their choice, and as long as they accept and deal with the consequences, I'm OK with that.

But I thought it was in poor taste, and more, I thought it was something that would make women uncomfortable. After all, I didn't see a Chippendale-type guy up there taking pictures with girls. If they were there, my apologies, but I still think this display, which was put on by PASS and/or Microsoft, was inappropriate.

Sexual harassment seems like a joke when you see the videos at orientation for your company. Or you have to read a handbook. Or you see it mocked on some TV show.

It's not.

It's a fact of life for many women. It happens all the time, and honestly, they have no recourse. You are cutting your professional throat in many ways if you make a stink. Most men keep their distance and even casual friends pull away.

I think that men are getting more educated about this over time, but it's still a problem. It seems that too many men, married men, men that have been in business a long time, still have trouble getting their minds off sex. And they have even more issues when they drink.

Men, you aren't that interesting no matter how much you drink.

And for those of you that are offended as much as I am. If you witness something, you don't need to "protect the lady", but you should make it clear that you don't condone it.

One Thing Fixed

I grabbed Kendall's iPod as I was going to lunch today and decided I'd give it a try. I now feel like an idiot for not working on it sooner.

2 minutes to find a small drill bit.
30-45sec of drilling in there just a fraction of an inch.
3 good shakes and the headphone bit fell out.

Headphones now work in there and Kendall is happy.

Dedication

People always think I’m motivated, I’m type-A, and I get a lot done. That might be true, but I am in awe of my wife.

She’s working a lot, busy all day, she tries to get her horse time, chores, managing bills in the household, and trying to run every day like me. She was about on day 30, and got done with her day about 9:30, getting Kendall to bed and she was exhausted. She crawled into bed, still dressed, coat still on from horse training and fell asleep.

I was still up, answered a few things from work, got Delaney to bed, and then lay down to unwind with some TV. Usually when I do that, Tia wakes up to tell me she’s tired. She didn’t.

So I leaned over and kissed her, rubbing her shoulder, and expected a response.

Nothing.

She slept away and I was torn about waking her. After 30 minutes of TV, I decided that it wasn’t worth it and I should let her sleep. I didn’t think her running streak was that important.

This morning she woke up late and surprised me. She got up around midnight, did her run, and then worked for an hour or so to get things done.

Amazing. I’m not sure I’d have gotten up at midnight to run. I’d like to think I would, but I’m not sure I would.

Half a Revolution

183 days of running on The Daily Runner.

Excellent Post

I’ve wondered how to deal with inappropriate behavior, and I have to admit, I wasn’t sure. I don’t see it too much, and I don’t know how I should react.

This post on sexual harassment in IT is a great one and has an idea that I think I’ll adopt. Take someone aside and tell them they were out of line, in my opinion. Not the lady’s.

I’ve had friend deal with this, and it’s a problem. Many women I know deal with issues. Some better than others, but I’m sure it bothers them all.

Behind on Chores

I grabbed Kendall's iPod from her bed this morning as I got her up, wanting to update some songs for her. She's synced on my computer, and I'd put some on there for Delaney, but need to remove them. Also need to add a few for her.

As she was sitting at the breakfast counter, she said "I want headphones for this" and that reminded me that I needed to drill out her jack. Either she or her brother broke off a headphone plug in there and it needs to be removed before headphones will work in there.

A chore I've been meaning to do.

Add to that I need to still trim out the shade shelters, add a door closure, put more weatherstripping on the garage door, paint and replace two broken ballisters, and tile our bathroom along with a few more things and I feel overwhelmed. I know I need to just tackle one thing and then the next, but I've been avoiding all chores.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Behind On Blogging

Not so much on this blog, but on the work blog. I've let things slide and just noticed that tomorrow was my last scheduled post.

So I'm working on getting a few things done for that blog today, along with writing editorials.

The 2009 MVP Party

At the Experience Music Project, Microsoft had a karaoke band going by Rockaroke, where people get up on stage and sing with the band. They did this last year and it was funny, so this year I shot some video. Here are some highlights.


video

The Kindle Alternative - Humor

Kind of funny. I saw this on Twitter the other day from @DanNunan and then someone sent it to me today.

 

kindlecartoon

I still like my Kindle more than books, mostly because I can carry so many around. I’ll also note that I get lost in the stories and the Kindle, or paper, disappears. I just read.

Not sure how it will do when I head to the beach, but I’ll let you know.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Sick House

Kyle had a fever this morning, so he stayed home and slept in our bed, watching TV on and off all day. When I picked up Kendall, she said she was a little sick and wanted Motrin. I think knowing Kyle had stayed home contributed to her symptoms, but she might be a little sick, so I have her some Motrin and said she could watch TV in our bed. I'd cooked her a panini, and armed with a plate of ham and swiss panini and The Chronicles of Narnia #2, she went upstairs.

And came back down.

Apparently her being sick meant she wanted to be alone, and not watch TV with Kyle. That girl is something. So I went up stairs, gave her my old laptop, and she put it on the floor of her room, lay down with a movie and her food, and was content.

Linksys WGA600N Game Adapter

Delaney was having issues with his Xbox adapter, so I gave him the one from our DVR. We don't really use the on-demand feature, so I thought this would work out fine. He took it down, plugged it in, got lights, and came back to give me a hug.

And then came back to say it wasn't working.

So I went to try and get it to connect, but it seemed to be flaking and I decided to reconfigure it. I hooked it to my laptop, and it seemed to be detected, but when I tried to enter the admin password, it didn't work.

Short answer to fix it: disconnect from other networks.

I looked around, searching a bit, but no one had a great answer. I did try a few things, but nothing seemed to work until I disconnected my laptop from the other network. I have a wireless network switch on the laptop and turned it off. Before that, I entered the password I thought it was, and that didn't work. I then searched around, saw notes that said I had to press the reset switch for 5 sec, for 30 sec, stop and start. Nothing seemed to work. I held the switch and once the lights started to alternate red and green, I stopped and pulled the power and reset it. That, along with disconnecting from my network, allowed the default administrative password of "admin" to log into setup.

From there, it detected my Wireless-N router, which is secured by WEP, but I couldn't get connected. Finally I powered up another network, disabled security, and it connected fine. Since I'm far enough away from other houses (1000+ft), I left it like that.

From there I saw the Internet on my laptop, so I moved the adapter to the XBOX, plugged it in, and it worked. A smile on my kid's face.

DST

Didn't seem like a big deal yesterday, and it was nice to have it light out until 7, but this morning it was tough. I was the first one up, everyone else sleeping in, and Tia exhausted after working late last night. I managed to get kids up, but we were late for school.

Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Netbooks - Hands On Review

The other day I was wandering around Best Buy and noticed that they had a few netbooks for sale. I stopped by because I've considered using one for presentations and some light travel, instead of lugging around my full sized notebook. Vacations, maybe short trips, things where I don't need to full horsepower of my main laptop, and to reduce the risk of carrying it around everywhere.

All of these netbooks ran Windows XP, and I'm sure most people are familiar with XP, so there isn't anything major to test there. What did I look at? I checked out the following:

  • Display
  • Keyboard
  • Size and weight

The three notebooks were these three, with the prices I found in the store:

  • HP - Mini 1030NR
  • Acer Aspire One
  • Asus EePC

My impressions of these three devices are below:

HP Mini 1030NR

This was the only device that I couldn't physically pick up as it was locked with some bar device and I didn't have time to try and get a salesman to unlock it. Actually I didn't feel like talking to a salesman. However it felt light and small, perhaps slightly smaller than the Aspire in depth, slightly wider, perhaps heavier, but these are all lightweight machines.

The keyboard here was really good. My test was to pop open Notepad and type a few sentences, include capitals, periods, backspace, etc. The keys worked well for me, were a good size, and easy to hit without a lot of mistakes.

The display looked good, it's 10" and is a good size for working with text and writing, browsing would be a little tight compare with the Toshiba Qosmio I normally use.

Later I found this has Wireless G and a 60GB HDD.

Asus EEE PC

I ran into one of these in September or October and thought it was cool. At the time that one ran Linux, so I was concerned about using some of the apps I would want to use here, like Powerpoint.

I picked this up and it's light. It's something you could easily carry around, and if it were smaller, it would be a like a heavy point-and-shoot camera in a jacket pocket. It's larger than that, slightly larger than the Kindle and felt larger than the HP. More a 4:3 ratio where the HP is more 16:4 ratio. I'm not sure if those are accurate, but those were my impressions.

Typing was easy on there, though the shift keys are to the far right and left of other keys and I struggled slightly to hit them. After a few minutes, however, it became easier, so I think this keyboard would work for my writing. This device also has Wireless-N, a big plus for me. I need to check if the HP has that. You have the option of a 16GB SSD here as well.

Acer Aspire One

This is the smallest device I tried and it is small. It feels like a kid's Leapfrog laptop or something and the white and pink colors didn't help. It's not quite small enough for a pocket, but it's close. This device is about the size of my Kindle, although thicker.

The display here felt really small, and at 8" or so, it's much smaller than the others. It looked bright enough and had enough resolution, but I felt it was small.

However the killer here was the keyboard. It's just too small for me. I couldn't ever get the shift keys or the backspace to work without looking for them and lifting my hands, something I'm not willing to do. Perhaps if you had smaller hands, it would work for you. Definitely try this one out if you type from memory or touch type. I spent 5 minutes or so and couldn't get this to work for me and I'm not confident I ever would.

Result

If I had to buy one today, it would be the Asus, but I'd like to find out more about what will actually run on these machines.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Working Boy



Delaney wants Halo Wars, the new game about Halo. The other day he asked Tia while I was in Seattle if we'd advance him some allowance. She told him to wait and talk to me, and when I got back, I told him "no." I said that he needed to earn the money somehow, either wait for allowance to build up or do some work for Tia. Something to learn what it takes to get money and how hard it is.


So last week he did some work for Tia, and he had some money, but he was still short. He asked today again for Halo Wars, and I said "no" again and both Tia and I said we were a little disappointed that he didn't want to work. So 30 or 40 minutes later he bucked up and went outside, got on the ATV, and spread some manure and harrowed out the arena for an hour or so. That got him to the $60 he needed for the game.


Then he came out and said the "map pack", which was something he wanted, wasn't in the regular edition, only the Limited one. It was $20 more and he was sad again. I talked a bit about either waiting longer, or working more. I didn't think there was anything he could do, and he accepted that. As we were packing up, I remembered I have some points and money at Best Buy, so we checked, and sure enough there was $15 in certificates there. I printed them off for Delaney and he got motivated. He ran outside for another 30-45 minutes and shoveled some manure for Tia so that he could get another $5 and get his game.


Good to see him working for things.

Friends

Finally Kendall had a friend over. We'd called a friend from school the other day, but they wouldn't let their daughter come over until they'd met us. I haven't been overly concerned, but that's not a bad policy. This morning they called and said they'd be happy to come by, so they did around lunch time, we met them, the kids saw horses, and then they left, leaving their daughter here for a few hours.

It was great, Kendall was occupied, and we got a few things done around the house.

Booking

Normally I think Expedia is one of the easiest sites to book travel with, however today it's giving me fits. I was booking Delaney's trip to DC this summer for the leadership conference. We decided that we'd fly him back on Jul 4 since that's an easy day to fly. I heard from the group running the conference that they'd get him to BWI on the 4th, so I'm booking those flights.

My first spot was the United site, where I booked two tickets for free, well for $15, using my miles. That covered Kendall and me. Then I went to Expedia to get Delaney's ticket. I found the same flights, and then looked for a hotel. However for some reason my flight was gone. So after I picked a hotel, I picked the flights, using the "add a flight" option and my hotel disappeared.

Grrrr

So I just bought the flight. Now booking hotels and then need to get a car.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Disappointed Kid

Delaney was supposed to have a sleep over tonight with a friend. I'd never talked to the parents, but the boy and Delaney have been talking for a couple days, Delaney got his address, and I thought things were planned.

So we went to karate this morning, then ate lunch and took Kendall to the pool since she didn't have any friends to play with. None of the neighbors are answering phones and the one friend we called was hesitant to let their daughter over until they had a chance to meet us.

The kids swam, I got Kendall on the diving board on video, and I got to jog through my run. We ran to get movies, pizza for dinner, and came home. Delaney ran inside to call his friend. I walked in and saw a crestfallen look on his face. Apparently his friend is going skiing tomorrow and can't come over. Not sure if this was a miscommunication between boys or a last minute thing.

To make matters worse, his friend is going with his other friend and they didn't invite Delaney. I don't know if he's being excluded or forgotten, but he's disappointed. I feel bad for him.

We did get some good pool video, though


video

Heavy Weapons Guy

We got home from the pool and I checked email. Delaney ran in the office, grabbed some batteries and then ran out. I heard a funny noise and wandered upstairs to see this.

video

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Lunch Guest

It was too quiet at the house today with Tia on a field trip with Kendall, so I decided to head out for lunch. I went down to Mark Pi’s in Parker, one of my favorite restaurants and a place that I go 3-4 times a month, sometimes every week.

I walked in and ordered, and was looking for a seat when I found someone I know sitting there. It was a lady I knew from Cub Scouts and haven’t seen in awhile. She was still eating, so she invited me to sit with her, and I did. We had a good chat, and even though I didn’t get a chance to read, it was nice to see her.

Tweaked

I knew that I’d tweaked my elbow a bit last night, but I had no idea how bad. This morning I get up and it hurts when I do anything. Not swollen, or tender to the touch, but any use of my arm extended, like even pushing open the car door, sends some pain through the elbow.

Kendall had her field trip today and Tia was a chaperone. She’d forgotten to get a lunch, and I knew Kendall would be upset with a sandwich, and she’d give Tia a hard time, so I left at 6:10, drove to Wal-Mart, grabbed a couple lunchables and bars and came back. I went to get out of the car at Wal-Mart, and extending my arm and pushing with the hand, brought pain.

So luckily I can adjust my chair and rest the elbow on it so that it’s not moving when I type. I don’t know if it’s bad, and don’t think so, but likely I need to sit out a few days and rest.

The hamstring was much better today, but still sore. However I wanted to get the run done before lunch, so I went and jogged through just over a mile. The first real test of injury on the streak and I made it through fine.