Thursday, January 31, 2008

Cold in Chicago - AM-105

Jan 28 - Feb 1


It's cold here in Chicago... like 0 degrees when I walked over to class yesterday - with a wind chill in the -30 range. Of course I only have my trusty vest with me.
The hotel doesn't look anything like this picture - it's all covered with snow.
Yesterday a couple of inches - another 8 inches today and supposedly 6-7 more tomorrow. And did I say it was cold here? So cold the snow doesn't melt... just gets 'crunchy' on the roads.
The hotel room is so much better than last week, I know it's only a LaQuinta... but hey - when compared with my drop down bed of last week... this is looking mighty fine.
Flights out of O'Hare were delayed about 4-hours today and I lost 3 of my students who opted to go home a day early... My flight tomorrow is late enough that I hope it will be back on time.I had an extra student show up for class on Monday - but Ryan was great and got a student kit shipped out - delivered Tuesday morning and the class has gone fairly well. But i am looking forward to coming home tomorrow night.

Both to check on Alysha's hurt back, and to visit with Jill's parent's who are in town.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

'European' Hotel in Sunnyvale

Jan 23-25

It was all my fault... I was originally scheduled to go to Sunnyvale a day earlier... but since I picked up a couple of days at the mine in Arizona, I thought my origional hotel reservation was still good.

But since I missed the first day, the hotel sold the rest of the week to someone else. Doh! So when I showed up late one night - no hotel room. No worries, lots of local hotels, right? After calling 10 hotels, physically visiting another 5, I finally tracked down a very cheap hotel. How bad could it be? (there was a large conference going on)

It was a 'European' style hotel - well, that's what the web site said. It was getting late, it was raining, so I checked it out... only $40 per night in Silicon Valley. What they should have said was a situation where you had a 'shared' bathroom and shower down the hall, and the room was so small, the bed folded down from the wall.
Oh yea, I also taught an AirMagnet class during the week...

Out walking one night in downtown Sunnyvale (trying to not have to be in the small hotel room...) I came across a new target store - it had an escalator for shopping carts... cool.

Safford Mine

Jan 20-22

Another trip with Todd Lammle out to Safford Arizona to an open-pit copper mine to reconfigure and re-design the Wireless LAN in their San Juan test mine. They decided to start moving some rocks (like a small mountain worth) out of the way so in the future they can better start mining copper after getting approval.
So we drove around the mine a couple of times trying to find better locations for their Mesh network AP locations. It should be only one more trip before turning this over to the local IT team.A couple of photos of the area, and the current plan.

More Aruba Training...

Jan 14-18, 2008

Ok, another week of Aruba Train The Trainer in Sunnyvale. Learning about their new 802.11 N products, Mesh products, and inculcating myself with the Aruba culture.

Learning how to configure and teach others as well. Here are a couple of samples of what I
worked on.

The team went out to dinner a couple of times - Kapp's Pizza in Mountain View and then Black Angus for the last night. It was a great team of folks to work with.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Brent's Photo in the MCLA Lacrosse Magazine!

Earlier this year we went down to Las Vegas for the 'Best of the West' Lacrosse tournament and had a great family time with Joe, Karrissa and McKinley (oh, and Tasha too) watching a day-long tournament.

I took a bunch of pictures of Brent and his teammates. There was another guy there also taking pictures of his son (Bill Nixon of DC) - and so we swapped some of our photos.

Earlier this year I subscribed to the MCLA Lacrosse Magazine - for the league BYU's Lacrosse team plays in. This is the national tournament BYU won last year.

Brent was at the house yesterday and saw the newly arrived magazine, and while thumbing through saw this picture:
It was submitted by Bill Nixon and made it in the inaugural issue of the MCLA Magazine.

Though that picture made it in the magazine... I still think this is the better shot from the day...

Aruba - Train The Trainer

This week I had a couple of days in Sunnyvale, CA.

On Tuesday I was able to attend a couple of sessions at AirMagnet for their annual sales training - as well as sitting in on their quarterly 'All Hands' meeting. It was good to get a feel for their corporate culture. I mean I deal with a lot of these AirMagnet folks all the time, sales and SEs in the regions I teach, tech support, R&D, during course development, and G&A for administrative issues... now I was able to meet them all, put faces with names and e-mail addresses.
Then onto Aruba Wed/Thurs for a Train The Trainer session. We had a 13-hour day on Wednesday... whew! - learning, and then doing 'teach backs' of the course materials. Its a bit disconcerting to have to teach in front of a bunch of other instructors who are there evaluating your every gesture... but it's over now.

Then there was the flight back... It was on a little regional jet. Not the bigger newer ones, but one of the older versions. Luckily I was able to get an aisle seat on a very full, in fact overbooked flight. Boarding early, getting all set with my stuff put away, headphones on, trying to fall asleep... then I noticed a bit of commotion ahead of me as a VERY large guy tries to fit down the aisle - but he was too fat to fit in between the seats on either side. So he just asked the people in the seats to 'push' his fat in a bit as he pushed forward to go forward. Ok, I know I'm 'a bit more robust' than others... but this guy easily had 100-150 pounds on me.

The irony, humor, or just plain bad luck, was he had the seat assignment on the window next to me. So when I got up to let him into the seat... the folks around me broke out in spontaneous laughter! I guess it must have looked fairly funny. What could I do?

When I went back to sit in my seat, there was only about 2/3rds of the seat left for me to squeeze into. And because this was a very old version, the armrest on the aisle side didn't raise. Needless to say it was a bit 'different' of a flight - just glad it was only 90 minutes...

I was able to get home in time last night to visit with Ken and Bev Uptain - showing Grandpa the Amazon Kindle, and helping reload Genealogy data to Grandma's laptop.

Post Snowmobiling Photo

My daughter snapped this after I took off my snowmobiling helmet... Perhaps I should go for this look all the time. (probably just using 'product' instead of riding around with a helmet on for four hours...)

Optical Illusions

I've always been intrigued with Optical Illusions... the ones that were really straight lines, but look crooked. You know the type. But I've found a couple of these that are examples of Optical Illusions that *seem* to move. There is something that happens between your eyes, and your brain that 'induce' movement to compensate for the information your eye is sending your brain.

To see movement - just move your head, or look at different parts of the pictures.

Caution - some might make you a bit nauseous.


Monday, January 7, 2008

12 hours door to door...

On Sunday I drove Karrissa's Malibu down to Las Vegas. (They bought a new Honda Pilot while up here over the Christmas holiday) Just a bit of a drive from Orem, down I-15 to their new home in North Las Vegas. I planned on a couple of extra hours because of the pending storm - but only had Snow from here to Beaver - just wet and raining from there to St. George, and then dry the rest of the way to Las Vegas.So I ended up with about an hour and a half of 'extra' time to play with baby McKinley. We played on the floor, read books, played with magnetic letters, and watched her dance-dance-dance.
Karrissa was so nice to make me a Turkey dinner... but I had to get to the airport to catch a flight home.
Jill picked me up at the SLC airport and we got back home 12 hours after leaving. Amazing. 450+ miles driving, 400+ miles flying, McKinley play time... all in time to come home and sleep in my own bed. What would our ancestor's have thought...

It really wasn't a bad drive - I just put on a 'story tape' from Alexander McCall Smith - and was entertained the entire way down. Now the only problem is when to find the time to listen to the last hour...

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Keith's Upcoming Calendar

I use Microsoft Outlook for all of my E-mail, To Do's, Contacts, and Calendar. This also easily sync's to my iPhone so I can have a portable version with me all the time as well.

But when I interface with a variety of vendors and clients I teach and consult with, I don't want to share with them *ALL* of the items I keep in my calendar.

I've tried the Google Calendar and Yahoo Calendars in the past. (Not bad... but not easy to keep sync'd with the master in Outlook)

So for the last year or so I've used a VERY SIMPLE calendar in Excel - and this one is very easy to share, update, and maintain. So here is my upcoming calendar for the next couple of months... hopefully I'll fill in the 'open' weeks with work...

Holiday Project - Ripping Movies

Ok, I admit it, I am a geek... and so for a 'geek project' this holiday I went and 'ripped' a bunch of DVDs into the iPhone/iTouch format. I travel alot, and this way I can have a bunch of videos to watch on the plane with me all the time.

I watched a couple of movies on my older iPod... but the screen was pretty small. Since I started using an iPhone, I've found watching movies on the bigger screen wasn't bad, wasn't bad at all.

So if you have either an iPhone, or iTouch (they both have this beautiful big bright screen) I've got a bunch of movies you might want to borrow.
I thought they also might worked on the smaller iPod screens... but alas, the Joe tried it he found all he got was an error message.

I had up to 7 laptops and two Macintosh comptuers all ripping at the same time in order to work through this project. I used software from for the ripping on the Windows machines and 'Handbrake' on the Macintoshs. Handbrake was a bit slower, but did a easier job when a single DVD had multiple episodes (like on the series)So here is a little graphical look, as well as a listing of the Movies I've completed already. Perhaps I'll get some more added in the future as well.
I also added a bunch of 'Series' - mostly from the BBC to this iPhone format as well:
  • Agatha Christie Mysteries- 10
  • Cadfael Mysteries - 12
  • Extras - 17
  • Firefly - 21
  • Foyle's War -8
  • Homicide - 14
  • Horatio Hornblower - 8
  • Robin Hood - 13
  • Sherlock Holmes - 40
  • Star Trek - Enterprise - 75
  • The Office - UK Version - 6

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Disney's 'Enchanted'

After a nice Fried Rice dinner - we decided to let Alysha watch McKinley (she was already in bed) and have Joe, Karrissa, Jill and I all go to the latest Disney movie 'Enchanted' - we also had Karrissa's friend MJ come along on the 'date' as well.

It was a fun show - lots of laughs, great entertainment - highly recommended. It's not just for kids.

An animated fairy tale meets modern, live-action comedy. The beautiful princess Giselle is banished by an evil queen from her magical, musical animated land and finds herself in the gritty reality of the streets of modern-day Manhattan. Shocked by this strange new environment that doesn't operate on a "happily ever after" basis, Giselle is now adrift in a chaotic world badly in need of enchantment. But when Giselle begins to fall in love with a charmingly flawed divorce lawyer who has come to her aid - even though she is already promised to a perfect fairy tale prince back home - she has to wonder: Can a storybook view of romance survive in the real world?

The Chipmunk 'Pip' does a great job in telling a story!
I'd want him on my pantomime team.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Years Snowmobiling

Years ago we took the family snowmobiling with Kenny & Cathy (Jill's brother and sister-in-law) and so this year while everyone was home we thought it'd be a good idea again.But since Karrissa is pregnant, and McKinley too small to ride... they stayed home with Jill and I took the rest of the family up to Daniel's Summit - about 20 miles South of Heber for an afternoon's recreation out in the cold out of doors.I forgot how much physical effort it takes to ride a machine for four hours. My arms and hands are a bit sore today from gripping the handlebars. But we had a great time out playing together. Here are a bunch of photos from our day out on the mountains and high meadows near Strawberry Reservoir.
Alysha and Ryan - A great big-brother!

Maybe this will become an annual Parson's family winter vacation activity. Next year Alysha will be able to have her own sled. She did great hanging on to her big brother Ryan all day.

Joe all ready to go

They were all very helpful in digging out, and 'righting' the sleds whenever someone got a bit off track. We raced around groomed trails, up hills, jumped some jumps, went across meadows and hills of fresh snow, and got very cold.
Brent's First Crash - Fence

Brent's Second Crash - Tree...

Brent's Third Crash - over a stream and into a fence

Catching a little 'Air'