In light of last week's announcement of changes at Blogger, I've decided to go ahead and take the plunge. I'm going to be converting this blog over to Wordpress. Of course, with over 8 years of customizations to the site, it's not going to be a simple process to convert everything, so just be aware that it's going to be going on if/when you see some things looking wonky around here. In fact, the site will probably disappear for a few hours sometime later this week, as I move it to a different server in preparation for the Wordpress install.
Of course, since I have to be in court tomorrow, nothing starts until I'm comfortable with the knowledge that I won't be spending any of my evenings and weekends working, at least long enough to see this transition through. Given the industry I work in, you'll forgive me if plans change and I have to put this off a little bit.
Last week, I was fully prepared to be working long hours for the entire month of February, and things changed suddenly. It's the nature of the business really. You never know when, or if, a case that you're preparing to go to trial, will settle. It often ends up with us doing a whole lot of prep work, only to find that it never gets used, but you still have to do all the work the same way for every case, because some of them don't settle and you have to be ready to go in court!
Anyway, consider yourselves warned, and hang on. It's going to be a bumpy ride for a bit, but I think we'll all be better off in the end for it!
Not to mention the other site I run, for child abuse survivors, and all of the many ways you can interact with that content as well!
So there you go, no matter what services you use or where you like to hang out on the net, there should be a choice for you to keep up with things being posted by me. I thank you for the interest in what I'm doing and talking about, and look forward to connecting with all of you, wherever it may be!
Here's to a getting your 2010 networking goals off to a good start!
Well, it's been an interesting year, that's for sure! Like most years, 2009 didn't turn out the way I expected. Last year at this time, I really had no idea what was headed my way. The biggest surprise, obviously, was being promoted to management. Not only did I not expect that to happen, but I also really had no idea what that would mean for my every day life.
I've mentioned before, management is different. It's no longer about going to the office, doing the work, and going home. I spend so much time planning strategy, evaluating ideas, brainstorming, preparing training materials, reaching out to other areas of the firm, etc. that it can be very difficult to turn that off at the end of the work day. That's not always a bad thing, sometimes I can accomplish much more of that stuff away from the distractions of the workplace, but it has caused some other things to suffer. I find myself with less time to write very meaningful posts here or on the child abuse blog, and I've not managed to blog at all over at Friends in Tech. I simply don't have as much spare mental energy as I used to! :)
On top of that, it's been more difficult to go home and do the social, personal things I'm used to doing. Oh, I may still spend the evening with Angela doing things we've always done, but I may not be 100% mentally there when we are. I may be mulling over an idea I had earlier, or fleshing out details of a plan while also watching The Office or eating dinner. That's not good.
That being said, I suspect that much of the problem lies not so much with a lack of time as much as an undisciplined approach to time. Not that I'm unorganized, I probably have more lists than any three people you know, but when I sit down to write, or brainstorm an idea, it doesn't always keep my focus, and winds up taking much longer than it should. My mind goes in tangents instead of opening up an Evernote page and outlining an idea right then and there while I'm thinking about it.
So that's the plan for 2009. I'm going to be trying to figure out ways to be more disciplined with my time, and learn how to focus on getting all the way through a plan, or activity, then focus on the next one, instead of starting, writing a few ideas, then remembering that I need to email someone about another task, or check the hockey score real quick, etc. Any tips you've gleaned from your own lives are always appreciated!
Since I was in Indianapolis this weekend, for my niece's birthday, a stop at Fry's was on order before heading home. Turns out they were running a special on a Western Digital 1.5TB external hard drives. Until Nov. 19 they are $99.99. Naturally, I picked one up while we were in town, and immediately made plans for rearranging my backup workflow over the long Thanksgiving weekend.
A 1.5TB drive should allow me to take my current dual 250GB drives that currently act as two copies of our photos and other documents, into just the first copy, with the backups being on the 1.5TB, along with my Time Machine backup of my Macbook Pro, and perhaps some video storage. Not a bad pickup for a hundred bucks.
Of course, that was my first impression. My second thought was, of course, about the e-discovery implications of having that much storage available that cheaply. Not that I'm all that worried about being sued myself, but for small business, we've surely reached the point where the temptation to simply keep everything is going to be overwhelming. You can keep a lot of stuff on a 1TB drive, more than a typical 5-10 person office is currently using up, and then you can double that storage for very little by buying a new 1TB drive cheaply. Creating a retention policy is much more work, and maybe even much more cost, right up until they get served with a discovery request for the first time and have to try and find relevant documents.
After all, with storage that available, the days of an attorney coming in and reviewing documents without doing any sort of in-depth search, are gone. There's simply no way to look at everything that might be stored on a 1TB drive, let alone a few of them, at a reasonable cost in a reasonable time.
Good search is definitely the future, at least I hope so! ;)
I forgot to mention this earlier, probably because the "official" announcement came out while I was on vacation sans laptop, but I am officially certified as a Trial Director 5 trainer.
Now, since I can't really do much training outside of my own firm, the certification doesn't mean much. (It'd be a conflict of interest to train other firm's attorneys.) But, since I needed to get as much in-depth training as possible in order to put together our own attorney educational program on how we could use the software at trial, or at depositions, it makes sense to go ahead and get the certification. If nothing else, it tends to make attorneys stand up an take ever so slightly more notice when you can throw some initials on your credentials.
Then again, I'm an SCT, Summation Certified Trainer already, and I have no idea if there are initials in common use for this certification. (TDCT? Anyone?)
At any rate, it never hurts to drop the new certification on a resume or LinkedIn profile. While I don't have any plans to put that to use, you just never know!
So, now that I am armed with all of that technical know-how with Trial Director, the next step is going to be convincing our attorneys to put it to good use, and convincing our clients that the extra cost is worth it for their case. I have a feeling the certification tests are going to prove much easier than the sales job I'm about to embark on, but it's all part it. As with any tech tool, it's only powerful if it gets used. As much as I think we could use Trial Director for, I've got to convince others of that now, so if anyone out there has been through this and has some tips, I'm all ears!
I was approached on the LitSupport Yahoo mailing list a couple of weeks ago about writing an article to talk about social networking by none other than Mark Lieb of Ad Litem Consulting, and author of Litigation Support Department. With his help as editor, the finished article is now posted over at the LSVA forums.
Check it out and let me know your thoughts on Social Networking in the Litigation Support/Legal industries.
Since I respect my followers, and have tried very hard to consistently meet their expectations of providing information that applies to them, and is in the general vicinity of what I do professionally, with a small dose of my personal life, I thought maybe spending a lot of time talking hockey and other sports might be a bit much for them.
So I created another Twitter account, @mikemacsports, just to talk in more detail about sports, and just in time for hockey season!
Feel free to follow me there too if you are a sports fan, but if you're not, I'll keep the sports talk on my main Twitter account, @mikemac29, to a minimum! :)
That's 7 Years and 364 Days longer than they thought!
Yes, that's right, today is the 8th anniversary of one of the greatest things that I've ever done. That was the day my beautiful, talented, and all around awesome wife said "I do" to me, despite all the family drama of the rehearsal dinner the night before!
I'm so glad we can laugh about it now, and that she was kind enough to look past all of that and see how much I love her and wanted nothing more than to be her husband and spend the rest of my days living up to that honor as much as I possibly can. :)
Still trying to get back into the swing of things, and caught up with all kinds of general "stuff" after being out of town for a family wedding, and then the ILTA09 conference. Expect that life will be back to normal, maybe, around the three day weekend.
Then again, life wasn't exactly normal before all of this!
In the mean time, thought you might enjoy a few photos of sunset over the Potomac I took while I was in National Harbor, MD.
There's one more day to the ILTA conference and though I started out well with a couple of blog posts on day one, day two and three have gone by with nothing but a few tweets! Frankly, there is just so much going on here, great educational sessions, good meetings and information gathering sessions with vendors, people to talk to, games to play, drinking, dancing, eating, etc. that it's all a little bit overwhelming!
I've picked up a ton of ideas from the sessions and talking with other folks that I want to think more about, and look into more, that I imagine they will keep me busy, and probably drive much of how I try and accomplish things through at least the rest of 2009, if not well into 2010. That's a pretty good ROI for a conference, I would think!
Above and beyond that, having the chance to speak, working with some great people in planning, and presenting, has been a tremendous experience. I never really set out to speak at ILTA, as I mentioned in the session this morning, but now that it's done, I couldn't be happier that the opportunity presented itself. Not because I love just being in front of people (I actually don't), but because I got to work closely with people I really do admire and enjoy. I have to thank Tony Hartsfield, for suggesting it in the first place and putting my name in front of the right people, Sean Luman, the Enterprise 2.0 track chair, for taking a chance on an "unknown" speaker, and of course Jenn Steele, my co-presenter, who was an absolute joy to work with.
One more day, and I'm sure it'll be filled with more great information, more great ideas and more great people. I've already met and chatted with so many of them, (more than I could ever try and list in this post, but trust me, if we've talked, you're on that list!) but if I've missed you, stop me and say hello tomorrow!
Just a couple of notes from the first part of the long time away from home and normal routine. We drove down to Roanoke, VA for my cousin's wedding, taking advantage of the time to explore around the Roanoke area, visit with some of Angela's friends and family before going to the wedding and seeing a bunch of my family. It was pretty full, but I did want to point out a couple of neat things. First, if you find yourself in Roanoke, take some time to visit the Link Museum. We were blown away by the photography of O. Winston Link, a native Brooklynite like myself, who spent much of his time documenting the last days of the steam locomotive around this area of the country. The photos are really something in the way they capture not only the trains, but the integral part the trains played in the communities surrounding the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Secondly, my cousin's wedding was at Sundara, in Boone's Mill, VA just south of Roanoke. It was such a pretty place for a wedding, right at the foothills of the mountains, in the early evening sunlight. I didn't get to take many photos of the setting, being busy catching up with aunts and uncles I haven't seen for years, but I think Angela managed to snap off a few. Perhaps after she gets home tomorrow she'll post a few.
As for me, I boarded a train early this morning in Lynchburg, VA and am now in Washington, DC for the ILTA09 conference. I'll be blogging/tweeting what I learn, and even speaking on using social networks professionally on Weds. morning, so I'm sure you guys will hear from me a little bit this week. :)
Just because work has been crazy and zapped all of my mental energy of late, it was really nice to spend Saturday afternoon/evening just having a little fun again. Took this with the iPhone, and again, I don't think it compares to the digital SLR, but it's not shabby either.
With last weekend being a three day weekend, and both of us just needing a break away from everything, we took off for Lexington, KY. Taking photos was part of the plan, but not the main focus. It was much more important to spend time with my wife, "running away" together for a couple of days more than anything.
Given that, our plans didn't really involve making sure we always were at the best place at the best time for shooting great photos, but even if you're not out shooting at the "golden hour" there are still a number of opportunities to take photos, and do some experimentation. Some of the experimental shots I took worked out just as I imagined it might, others not at all. The important thing was just to take some shots, explore the area of the country and have some new experiences. In that regard, mission accomplished!
All the photos from the trip are over on Flickr. Check 'em out!
So, given the way the new iPhone 3g S release brought in a couple of features I had always thought were lacking in the iPhone (copy/paste chiefly), and happened to coincide with both my birthday this weekend and our AT&T cell phone contract being up for renewal, and upgraded equipments, I couldn't help but assume that getting an iPhone was simply fate!
So, today my iPhone was delivered. It's been activated, and I've downloaded a couple of apps that I already knew I'd be grabbing, like Evernote, Tweetdeck, Google Mobile App, Facebook and Tripit.
What else should I be downloading? What free apps do I need to try out, what pay apps do you find were well worth the price? All suggestions welcome!
Many of you may have noticed that it's been a bit of a quiet week around here, in terms of me writing anything of substance instead of pointing out some other stuff. I can explain. I have been writing a whole bunch of things, just not here. In fact, I finished a three-part series on the recent Sedona Conference Commentary on Achieving Quality in E-Discovery over on the firm's e-discovery blog.
Obviously, by the time I yanked all of those words out of my brain, there hasn't been much left for my own blogs, but hopefully a little R&R over the holiday weekend next week will put me back in the right frame of mind. Not that I don't have a couple of things planned for this week as well, but I'm struggling with the words for those too!
In the mean time, go check out the series, and read the Sedona Commentary itself, it's very interesting reading.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to spend some time with a small group of folks from my office explaining and demonstrating social networking tools. As part of the demonstration, I went live to my Twitter and Facebook profiles, which was actually a little nerve-wracking. I follow a lot of people on Twitter, some of whom don't always come across as very professional in their interactions. :)
As it turns out though, there wasn't much that the folks I follow were saying that was worth worrying about, but it was interesting when I had the screen up and the following conversation took place:
Coworker: "You know that person?" Me: "I know him online, don't think we've ever met, but we travel in some of the same Columbus area tech circles" Coworker: "I was at his wedding" Me: " You know him much better than I do then." :)
That made me think, one, it's obviously a small world, but also, isn't that the power of networking, whether offline or online? You never know who you're going to connect with, and you never know who they're already connected to!
It's June 1, the day the fine folks at ILTA released the full list of sessions and speakers for the annual conference in August. Naturally, I went looking for the session I'll be speaking in, which made the whole idea just a little bit more real, and thus scarier. :)
Seriously, though, I'm looking forward to both attending and speaking at the conference this year. I've never been before, but I hear nothing but good things, and looking at the full schedule leads me to think that I'm going to have a hard time choosing which ones to attend! Heck, even our session is up against some serious competition, specifically that judges panel on e-discovery and a panel on disruptive technologies. I'm actually sort of sorry I'm going to miss those!
The weather didn't always cooperate with our plans this past weekend, so we had to get creative sometimes to get some photos on our visit down to Tennessee and the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC.
Still, we managed to get a few breaks in the clouds to get some photos in the small town where we we married in 2001, and on the campus of Angela's alma mater, as well as a chance to spend some time with Angela's grandparents, so I can hardly complain, can I?
As always, it was just fun to get out and shoot photos and see what we could find, reminding me once again that I need to do that even when we aren't traveling!
I had a rather scary, and odd, experience while we were on the road back to Columbus yesterday. I have my blackberry setup to get email from my main Gmail account as well as my work email account, and as we were driving up Route 23 in Kentucky, I noticed an email to that Gmail account, from my other, much less frequently used, Gmail account that was spam. When I went ahead and logged in to that account, I also spotted 3 autoresponses to the spam email from addresses I was vaguely familiar with, as opposed to the random unfamiliar addresses you usually see when your email address is spoofed.
Sure enough, the spam was in my sent box. Obviously, someone had accessed the account in order to send that email. So, I changed my password immediately and my security question later, when I wasn't working on my blackberry. That account wasn't tied to any other Google services, as I said, it isn't my main account, but I also went ahead and changed the password on that one to be safe, and any other service that I thought might have sent an email to that account. I'm slightly befudded as to how that account got compromised. I don't even log in to it very often, let alone on a public PC or insecure wireless network. Since we were out of town, my immediate thought was that someone had sniffed the password on the hotel wireless, but I don't think I even logged in to that account. Perhaps there's some Gmail notified or other service on my iGoogle page that logs in to it and checks for email, and the password got sniffed there, it's hard to say.
Of course, a little research shows me that this has happened before to others, and it's something that's been happening for awhile now. Still it appears no one has a definite answer as to how the account got compromised, so if anyone has more info on that, I'd love to hear it!
Ran across this idea from a local Blogger/Tweeter, @wyliemac, and I think it has some real intriguing possibility. I've often seen local events that I might want to help out, but because of other commitments I couldn't volunteer, or attend, and even the lowest sponsorship levels are out of the question for an individual, so I wind up not doing anything.
And other than Startup Weekend, the big institutional investors seem reluctant to sponsor small niche tech events like the ones I put on. As a thank you to my sponsors, I’d like to give back by helping tech events in Columbus find sponsors. Little sponsors. You and I. The ones with “personal brands”.
I want to put together a syndicate of people that give a little to pool their money for sponsorship. The event will have a link to a landing page with all of the individual sponsors and we’ll also set up individual pages so you can get some Google juice.
As I said, an interesting idea for local events, which are pretty niche events by their nature most of the time, especially the first event he's trying this with, which is a Ruby developer's conference. Since I'm not a developer, I'll just be watching to see how this works more than being directly involved, but I do wonder if this sort of model might work in the Legal Tech industry. Obviously, with all the vendors in the Litigation Support and e-Discovery space, there's usually pretty good sponsorship, but I wonder if we couldn't get a group of bloggers to create a cooperative effort like this? Maybe not for national events, but perhaps for some regional and local events?
What benefits, aside from the cooperative web page linked and promoted by the event, would make you consider donating $25 towards a sponsorship? What events do you want to support in that way, even without further benefit, if the opportunity was available?
Since it was announced at work earlier this week, and the details were officially accepted by me today, I guess it's a good time to make an announcement here.
Things are going to be changing for me, professionally, yet again. Our little 2 person Litigation Support Department is being overhauled, due to the engagement and subsequent relocation of our current Lit Support Manager. He's agreed to stay on and work remotely for a time, but he won't be in the office to run things on a day by day basis. Thus, I'm taking over as Manager and will be running the department from Columbus, while he continues to do most of the same work he's been doing remotely. It'll be nice to have somewhere to turn when I run into questions, sure beats being the old one-man IT department from back in the day!
So I guess I need to look at our work in a whole different way now, and probably listen to more Manager Tools. I do think I have a number of meetings to schedule and conversations to have over the next few weeks, sort of gathering intelligence to see how this is going to impact everyone and how to best get the work done. I'm going to strive to go with a "listen first" attitude to make sure I've got as much information as possible before making any changes.
As such, I'll also take any managerial advice you guys have as well. :)
Should be pretty interesting, and of course I'll be sharing what I learn about managing right here too!
With the wife leaving for Europe later this week, I'll be the only one of us at home all of next week. As luck would have it, at work we also have a trial next week that I will need to be on site for, at least for a couple of days. That will mean that for those few days, no one will be home. So, we have to kind of plan for that, as well as planning to make sure I've got a couple of suits to wear to court, a bag to pack my stuff in, and maybe some food/drink to take with me.
On the other hand, as those of you in the Legal field know, the trial could very easily settle at the last minute, or get delayed for any number of reasons. So, I have to also plan for the possibility that I will be home, and will be wearing my regular business casual stuff to work all week, and eating at home all week.
As we ran our various errands this week, and stocked up at the grocery store, naturally, we were keeping both of those possibilities in mind, which is sort of a weird thing to do, I admit.
Of course, I've already learned that I may get a request to do some work at a trial at any moment, so I'm always a little prepared for that possibility, but it's a very different planning routine when I know Angela won't be home. Now things like getting the mail, checking the answering machine, etc. become a bit more important, as opposed to when she's home taking care of those things. Alas, as her job requires her to travel, this sort of thing is going to happen from time to time. I don't think when I signed up for this I knew how much you would have to be prepared for numerous possibilities all at the same time, but it seems to be very much part of working in litigation. Oh well, it keeps you on your toes!
Now you know why we can't be bothered with keeping pets, or plants that require much care. ;-)
We had a good time at the games in Dayton Friday afternoon, even though both ETSU, my wife's alma mater, and Tennessee lost. Both games were close, and very entertaining, and that's all you could ask when you're rooting for the lower seeds. The ETSU fans did themselves proud, as they were outnumbered but were quite loud and very in to the game. Of course, many of them used the Tennessee game to get warmed up as they were cheering for the Vols as well. (Though many UT fans didn't reciprocate for the later game and cheer for ETSU very loudly, which was disappointing.) They were certainly more fun that the Pitt fans, who never really seemed to be very interested in cheering or getting behind their players until the very end. Shame on ya' Pitt fans! ;)
Angela got some better, aka non-cellphone camera, photos over at Flickr while I have some more pics from my phone on Facebook.
The videos are up from the Ignite Columbus 2 back in January, so now you can all see my mistake of changing what I was going to say, getting behind my slides and talking too fast in order to catch up, thus making me appear nervous, which I was, but I usually hide it better.
Anyway, here's 5 minutes of why you should be thinking about e-Discovery.
Last week, I was out of the house early to setup some A/V equipment at an all day seminar that one of our departments was putting on. When I arrived at the hotel, the power was out. I walked in with a laptop and projector, and some additional cables and it was all useless without any power to plug in to.
Luckily, the power came back shortly before the program started and we went about getting the presentation running and using the hotel's sound system for the day, but it got me wondering. What would we have done if the power hadn't come back on? Would we have continued on with the program sans electronics? We could have, it was a small enough room that the speakers could have been heard, and the printed materials could have doubled for the PowerPoint presentation, and the emergency lights in the room could have been enough, but it surely would not have been very pleasant, especially for the folks who paid quite a bit of money to be there!
Have any of you guys ever found yourself in similar situations where you had to get creative with contingency plans when things outside of your control go horribly wrong? Share your best stories!
I hope you all will indulge me a post that probably has nothing to do with most of you. Today is my wife's birthday, and as such, I wanted to take a moment and publicly wish her the happiest of birthdays today!
She is truly the woman behind the man for those of you who have spent any time around this blog, or any of my other online endeavors. She's much more than that to me though, not only does she inspire me to do all the things I try to do, she's my best friend and the person most likely to make me smile on a day to day basis. She is the one person in this world that I always want to talk to, laugh with, and share all of my adventures with! I look forward to many more years together as well.
Is it just me, or does unprofessional stuff showing up in marketing materials change your impression of a company? Case in point, when they send marketing emails as high-priority items, or send an email with so many included images that it slows down your Outlook, do you think less of the product they are selling?
Yes, today I got an email marketing a conference marked as high-priority and including 19 images of all the sponsor logos. It doesn't do much for how I feel about that conference, I tend to feel like if you're this careless with technology in your marketing, you wil be with everything else too.
Same thing goes for obvious mistakes in your marketing materials. You may be pushing a great product, but if you can't be bothered to get spelling, grammer, or minor details correct, why should I think you'll get other things correct?
Or maybe I'm just getting grouchy in my old age. :)
Well, I know it won't be something I do a lot of, but in the last week or so I've had to do some researching and writing at work, starting with that blog post last week, and it's just killing my motivation to write anything here in the evenings. Heck, I've been struggling just to post anything to Twitter! I'm not suffering from writer's block, but perhaps writer's burnout?
It's a bit like spending a good part of your work day fighting malware infections and coming home to an infected PC, there's just no spare mental energy for that, so it'll sit until things change.
I won't let the blogs just sit, that's not acceptable to me, but you may see just some shorter thoughts, and just some link with a pithy comment or two of my own. Of course, as soon as I post this, there's bound to be some idea floating around the 'Net that makes me want to write multiple paragraphs! ;)
Anyway, bear with me while I figure out the best way to adjust to these new writing responsibilities, and if you have any suggestions that might help, I'm all ears!
Basically, a bunch of interesting things too long for Twitter, and dumped into one post. :)
The Typical Mac User podcast this week had an interesting interview covering Mac Forensics. There was some good info regarding the general idea of how forensics works for all OSes, and lots of good stuff about Mac forensics that you don't hear as much about in the e-Discovery world, but which does come in to play!
Speaking of e-Discovery, I was asked to start blogging as part of the day job, and posted my first topic over there yesterday. It feels weird to have a blog post showing up on the firm's site with my name on it. I spent a lot more time and mental energy on that post than I normally do on things here, that's for sure, and I still published with a feeling of abject terror that I was getting something wrong and it would cost me. I guess, as much as we all need to get ourselves more visibility in this economy, actually having more is going to take some getting used to.
One way to create more visibility for yourself is networking internally in your organization. I wrote about that in terms of getting the IT department out of their silo over on Friends in Tech this week, and also heard more about in on the Career Tools Podcast entitled An Especially Important Relationship In A Downturn, referring to your boss's peers. I think there's some real validity to building good relationships within your organization and making sure people are aware of what value you are bringing to the table.
As if we didn't know things were bad all over, they're already trying to decide what to call yesterday, as law firm layoff announcements came fast and furious all in the same day! Those are just the BigLaw firm numbers too, they're not tracking small to mid-sized firms like the one I work for, and all the layoffs that occurred in most of those places lately.
On a more lighthearted note, after ranting about the utter junk that retweet this to win contests were last week, I picked up a few followers on twitter that, I suspect, are following me because of the wording I used. Unfortunately, it appears to be a case of poor use of search terms, as the context of my posts about social media and contests would normally have led people using twitter to promote contests not to follow me. However, they appear to have found the terms in my tweets and followed away!
Today, I've learned how to use Tweetdeck's filter feature. That's the little option at the bottom of each column that lets you filter out certain tweets based on any word. I was filtering out everything with MVDAY, a hash tag being used to enter a local contest.
The contest gives you a chance to “Tweet” your sweetheart to a Steak & Seafood for Two dinner at Morton’s The Steakhouse, complimentary valet parking, and roses from Connells Maple Lee Flowers and Gifts on Valentine’s Day. To be eligible to win, Tweet about why you want to take your significant other to Morton’s Columbus on Valentine’s Day in 140 characters or less. You must follow these rules:
Participants must live in Central Ohio
Participants need to include this hash tag in the tweet: #MVDAY
The words “Morton’s Columbus” must be included in the Tweet (exactly as written, but without the quotes)
Participants can enter multiple times as long as the Tweet is unique every time and the above rules are followed.
As someone who follows a number of local people on twitter, let me rephrase the contest into what it really means. Spam the hell out of your followers with inane tweets mentioning a restaurant on the outside chance that you might actually be the one person to win a nice dinner from them, in fact, the more you do it, the more likely you'll be to be the one winner!
Shockingly, despite this absolutely outlandish request to bug the heck out of tweeters in Central Ohio, many, many of the people I follow spent the day telling everyone how much they want to eat at Morton's. Personally, I may just decide to never eat there, and instead donate some money to a tool that let me filter out all of that crap and see the tweets I actually cared about.
Oh, and I may have to rethink some of the people I follow too....
I've been holding on to this thought until the videos were up from the second Ignite Columbus event, but since it's been a week and a half without them, I figured I'd better share it before I forgot, and I'll be sure to link to the video later.
As I mentioned the first time I presented, it's very important to stick to the script, and not ad-lib anything. That keeps you on time with the slides, and lets you speak very naturally.
This time, my turn came later in the evening, and during the other presentations, I made a huge mistake. I decided to change something I was going to say. Needless to say, it threw off the timing and I wound up having to speak very quickly, which I think caused me to appear nervous and hurried. It wasn't a huge deal in the overall scheme of things, but it definitely caused the presentation to be less than perfect. In fact, I knew there was a problem before I had even finished.
Oh well, lesson learned, and shared with you so you can avoid the same mistake. :)
We did have some plans yesterday, but I fully expected to be able to spend some time online getting some things done during the afternoon before heading to a party.
Unfortunately, fate had a different plan, this was the scene about 2 blocks from our house, and was also the cause of our power being cut all day, and our internet/cable service being out until this morning.
Some of you may know, that there's another Ignite Columbus event coming up on Jan 21, and I've already submitted a talk proposal. I wanted to take 5 minutes to talk about what I do for a living, at least in terms of trying to explain electronic discovery to people who are not in the legal field. Now, granted, I am not a lawyer, so I have no plans to turn this into any sort of legal advice, (that would be very, very bad for my career) but I think there are a lot of misconceptions about what e-discovery is, and why people are so freaked out by the concept. Basically, I want to spend 5 minutes covering what happens when your stuff is discoverable from a technology stand point. What's going to happen to your PC, your phone, your data, etc.
So, nearly a month out from this event, I am seeking some advice. What do you, as an IT professional, internet guru, or just personal tech geek, want to know about electronic discovery? Conversely, what do you, as a lawyer, want to know about the technology side of things? Any and all input will be considered for the talk, depending, obviously, on the ethics of me talking about it. :)
Of course, one other aspect of e-discovery that I am also contemplating presenting on is the career path from IT to Lit. Support. How much technology we deal with, how my IT background comes into play, and how important technology has become as part of the practice of law. Any thoughts on that front?
We got all bundled up last night to check out the new and improved holiday lights display at the Columbus Zoo. Yes, it made for a cold trip, not to mention a shorter one than usual, but it was fun, and despite the difficulty inherent with shooting holiday lights without blurriness in the dark of night, and the difficulty of keeping from camera shake because of the cold, we still managed a few decent shots to show you what it was like.
I shot exclusively with the Nikon 50mm f1.8D lens, which I think helped me eliminate some of the blur, but certainly not all. Of course it also meant I had to move more instead of zooming in/out to frame the shot, and that was a bit difficult. Since I knew it was going to be a fairly quick trip, I opted to only bring the one lens. Besides, the last thing I wanted to do was take my gloves off to switch lenses!
I'll get another chance to experiment with photos tomorrow, though I don't think I'll be able to share any of them on-line. I volunteered to shoot at our firm's children's Christmas party. Last I heard there were 91 children scheduled to attend this party. Given that, rather than shooting with multiple lenses, I'm going to bring multiple cameras with different lenses attached. So I can play with the 50mm for lower lighting on my D50, and also check out the D70 with 70-300mm zoom that we recently picked up used for my wife. With that many kids running around, I'm going to need some speed! Better get some serious caffeine before that one!
The Tweetup that turned into the Discovery Channel
Today, I had the freedom to skip out of work (due to the overtime on Sunday/Monday) and go to the November Columbus Tweetup - Tour of Ohio Stadium. Despite the cold, there was a pretty good turn out. Probably the fact that there was an OSU-Michigan ticket giveaway helped there, eh?
Anyway, after some socializing, and drawing for the tickets (I didn't win, though my name was drawn for another one of the giveaways. Alas, that giveaway was being organized by my wife from the Alumni Association, so it wouldn't have really been fair for me to win it, so I didn't. This now marks the second time I've won a drawing at a Tweetup, and had to give up the award. Last time I won Opera tickets, for a weekend I was going to be out of town, so I gave them away. I expect this will be the last time my name is drawn..*L*), we all got to take a guided tour of Ohio Stadium.
Obviously, walking on the field, and getting a tour of the band rehearsal space from the Assistant Band Director, Jon Waters, were huge highlights and a ton of fun. But the real unexpected "highlight" came in the press box for our little group. While showing us the view from way up there, the hawk that has taken up residence in the upper reaches of the stadium flew by. The guide proceeded to tell us that they had nicknamed it A.J. (get it, A.J. Hawk?) and that at first they didn't mind it being up there, but that it had gotten a bit aggressive and so they would remove it's nest whenever they could find it. Obviously, he kept building new ones though, because it was still around and still being rather aggressive.
Just as we were getting ready to leave the area and go down to the field though, our friend decided to turn this into a nature documentary, as he swooped down and plucked a pigeon right out of the air, and proceeded to have lunch in the NW corner of C Deck. Unfortunately, he was quicker than my camera, so I didn't get any shots of him swooping, and since I hadn't brought a zoom lens, I couldn't capture any shots of him way up in C Deck, cleaning his kill. Still, it's something we'll all remember for years to come!
You can see my handful of photos from the tour, including us goofing around on the field, here.
Thanks to the folks who organized this great event, the sponsors and the people I got a chance to talk to today. It was great!
As many of you already know, the very first Ignite Columbus event was last night. It was pretty good, and since we were basically in a garage, there was definitely an underground vibe. That was cool, but a couple of professional touches wouldn't have hurt either, IMHO. (Nametags anyone? *smile*)
Still, the most interesting thing, aside from getting a chance to meet some folks, were the presentations. True to the Ignite ethos, they were pretty varied, and all really interesting. You can see them all, complete in underground video feel, here. ;-)
The concept of an Ignite presentation is an interesting one. 5 minutes, 20 slides advancing every 15 seconds. Makes for quite a challenge! As I began to work on my slides, I realized quickly that if I had 15 seconds to talk for each slide, I couldn't have very much on each slide. Really, 15 seconds is about one point. Making multiple points on a slide was a sure fire way to fall behind your slides!
The other thing I had to do differently than I normally do is actually rehearse, and work from a memorized script. A lot of the time, when I'm doing training or educational presentations on tech stuff, I have a rough outline of what points I'm going to cover, but I'll allow myself to ad-lib depending on what kind of "feedback" I'm getting from the audience. By feedback, obviously, I'm not talking about what they say, but how they look, body language, eye contact, etc. Obviously, when you have 15 seconds per slide, you can't really ad-lib much. Even adding a few extra words can through off your timing, and get you, again, behind your slides.
Of course, there are a few tricks you can use, stuff like throwing a transition slide with a photo that you can talk over and catch yourself back up, or instead of having one slide with a bulleted list, add each bullet point as a new slide. That helps keep you on the one point per slide ratio.
I think these tricks helped me out with my presentation, I managed to stay with my slides for the most part, and get everything in my 5 minutes. I've gotten some positive comments on the presentation, especially from people who are somewhat shy and wanted to learn more about networking, so I feel pretty good about it. The direct link to my presentation is here.
I'm looking forward to the next Ignite Columbus. Hopefully it will grow and we'll see some more interesting presentations!
We went to the Ohio Historical Center this past weekend to take in the Norman Rockwell exhibit, Rockwell's America.
Now, I've never been a big Rockwell fan. If you know anything about my childhood, you know that the idyllic scenes of small town America, and the exuberance of childhood are not something I could have wrapped my head around. Even now, there's not much in the themes of Rockwell's work that I connect with.
On the other hand, given the opportunity to see all 322 Saturday Evening Post covers in one place, it's easy to appreciate the quality of the work. The rest of the displays really put the pieces in context, and help you appreciate the effort that went in as well as the stories that were being told.
I'm still not the biggest Rockwell fan, but I do encourage those of you in the Columbus area to take advantage of the display being here, and check it out.
At lunch today, a friend asked me how I found out about all the various activities going on around Columbus. She mentioned that I had talked about going to a couple of things that she didn't even know about.
After a moment to think about where I had heard about them, it struck me that I was more "in the loop", if you will, about local events because of the very strong and active Columbus Twitter community.
Take a look at the tracking page that someone put together for Columbus Twits, you'll see a bunch of local media folks, people from the various museums and theaters, some convention and visitor's bureau folks, and just a wide variety of people who are out and about town talking about upcoming activities. You can't help but know more about what's going on around town if you start following some of these folks.
Of course, after mentioning I was learning about events on Twitter, I had to then explain what the heck Twitter is, which I probably did a horrible job of. I followed up with a link to Twitter in Plain English, to help correct my poor explanation.
We'll see if she becomes the next Columbus Twit. :)
Angela and I went on a Columbus Landmarks Foundation Ghost Tour last night. For the last 20 years they've been doing these tours during the Halloween season. It wasn't all that different from the Ghost Tour we took this Spring in Gettysburg, you went to some old, spooky places and heard the local ghost stories.
That, in itself, is pretty fun and interesting, but what really strikes me about them is just how much history you pick up from these stories. Last night, we toured an Antique shop on South High Street, that I used to live close to and never noticed before. This building had previously been a private home, a funeral home, and an Elk's Lodge. We got the chance to go down into the basement, the old embalming and crematorium areas, and look around for ourselves. We heard about the two children who had died in the house when it was a private residence, and other stories about how the building was used through the years.
We also went down to the Jury Room, a tavern across the street from the Court House downtown that has been in the same building since 1831. Again, we had the opportunity to learn about the history of the building, and walk down to a basement that still had coal soot coated on the floor.
We heard stories about Columbus ' history as a British prisoner of War camp during the War of 1812, and how the British prisoners were left to die on an Island in the Scioto River that is no longer there, and also about the many places where Confederate Soldiers were buried from the prison camp located in Columbus . We heard about where Mound Street got it's name, from the old Indian Mound that was dug up in the heart of downtown so that bricks could be made of the earth and used in the Statehouse, and many other interesting tidbits about Columbus .
So, even if we didn't see any orbs, or really get all that spooked on our tour, we sure did learn a lot, and that's a great reason to take a Ghost Tour in and of itself, even if you don't like ghost stories.
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago the question I had about Bloglines, a commenter suggested I contact them. So, I went over to the site, filled out the contact form. I got the automated reply, and two weeks later, I still have no answer.
I thought about it today after seeing Ed Bott's post about the many problems Bloglines has been having lately. Maybe they were busy with that, but somehow I doubt it. I'm not holding my breath waiting for any kind of answer to my question about the number of subscribers. For all I know, the function on their site that shows you the number of subscribers is wrong, I haven't seen it change in a long time. It's certainly possible.
Of course, Bloglines isn't the only place I've filled out a contact us form lately. I also filled one out with a question about membership at the Columbus Zoo, and I'm still waiting for a response to that. We'll see how long that takes, or if I even get a response.
I don't really understand why places have a contact form and then don't respond. Seriously, this is 2008, soon to be 2009. We have instant communication all over the place, and it takes an organization weeks, or longer, to respond to email? If it's going to take that long, don't bother suggesting that we contact you that way. Having a form like that, with a promise for a timely response leaves the user with the impression that you will, actually, respond in a timely manner. When you don't it makes you look bad. Not good, especially for organizations that I like and respect.
When other organizations are on Twitter, and I'm interacting with the people who work there every day, it makes this response time look even worse.
Update: Naturally, the next day the Bloglines subscriber count according to Feedburner changes. At first it had the old count, plus the new, reduced count, for a new high, then it went back to the old count. Still no sort of communicaton from them about what happened.
We made it back Tuesday night. We enjoyed our stay in Orlando, spent some time at Sea World, Epcot and the Kennedy Space Center, met up with Kevin and Merrin Donahue for some delish Cuban food, took a whole lot of pictures, got rained on pretty heavily, and generally enjoyed some time away from work, and as it turns out, an Internet connection!
Meeting the Donahues after all these years of commenting on each other's blogs. That was fun, not to mention the fine food, and Sangria, I enjoyed at the Columbia.
Feeding the Dolphins at Sea World, as well as the Shamu show, and numerous photo opportunities around the park.
At Epcot, Soarin' was a lot of fun, touring around the different "countries" definitely got me stoked to do some more traveling, and we managed to find some unexpected photos there as well!
On the down side at Epcot, when choosing between the less-intense and more intense options on the MISSION: Space, there are quite a few warnings about not choosing the more intense option if you suffer from motion sickness. They're not kidding. It's a great ride, but I had to stop and sit down for a good 15 minutes afterwards. :)
The other downside was the humidity. Those storm clouds that were around all day brought plenty of that with them, but that was easily rectified by hitting the pool before heading to dinner at BB King's. (Which was a highlight as well, the white cheddar mac and cheese was awesome, and the band was pretty good too!)
On Tuesday, the threat of rain forced us into a last minute change of plans, instead of going for an airboat ride, we drove out to the Kennedy Space Center. That was a really cool experience, and we learned a lot about the Space Shuttle program, the history of NASA and the International Space Station. We even got out there during a time both Shuttle launch pads had shuttles on them, even if the tour only brings you within view of the backside of the launchers, it's still pretty cool to see how they get out there and where they take off from.
Of course, this was also where we got soaked, Angela taking the worst of it. But, it made for a good story to tell about our vacation, and all of our electronics seem to have escaped damage, so it's all good.
You can catch the full set of photos, so far, over at Flickr. Be aware though, that some of the photos look better at full size, so you might want to click through and check them out!
Well, maybe not rescue so much, but I can say that as much as I like Twitter currently, I really gained a new appreciation for it last night. Within about 10-15 minutes of returning home from Dayton/Cincinnati on Sunday, the remnants of Hurricane Ike, which seemed to have moved at quite a pace up from Texas, knocked the power out in our neighborhood. (We were 1 of about 2 million people without power in Ohio because of up to 75mph winds!)
Our power remained out all night, and into Monday morning. (Thankfully ours was back on by the time we got home from work on Monday. We are lucky, many are still without!) With no power, of course, our house digital phone line was out as well. My blackberry, however, was working quite well, and thanks to constant Twitter updates from local friends, and news media members, I was able to "check-in" with the outside world and keep track of what was going on without having to call individual folks to get the scoop. Twitter was where I found out how wide=spread the power outages were, where I learned about schools being closed, and where I learned about time frames being given for power to be restored. Twitter was where I kept on-line friends informed that we were home, and safe. Twitter was where I got updates from around town from various local tweeters. Twitter, was, for all intents and purposes, our lifeline to stay connected.
I mentioned this a while ago and have had some conversation about it on-line, but I'd really like to hear from fans of mind-mapping software. Doesn't matter which software, any will do for this discussion.
What I want to know is, what is it about mind-mapping that attracts you to doing it? Every time I have sat down to try it out, I wind up opening this very complex tool that would allow me to do all sorts of brainstorming, and using it to create a list or outline.
I can create a list anywhere.
Is it simply a matter of the way my mind works, and thus this tool wouldn't be overly useful to me, or am I really missing something here? I've seen people rave about doing mind-maps, and I just don't see it when I try.
In the end, I like my lists. I don't see a huge benefit to moving away from lists, but maybe I'm not quite wrapping my head around it the way I should.
I wanted to try and post something yesterday about the presentation after it was done, but we had plans to see Dave Matthews last night and didn't get home until late, so I wasn't on-line.
It went pretty well. The immediate feedback was pretty positive, but of course, the folks who had feedback for me were the handful of people who really learned how to use Google Reader and "got" the power of RSS feeds for the first time. I think there may have also been a couple of folks who got lost and/or bored during the presentation, but I think that was bound to happen somewhat. There was a broad range of technology backgrounds in the room, from folks who have been working in the legal industry for years and are still learning the tech side of things, to folks who were the Sharepoint Admins for their organizations and obviously knew a lot of what I was covering already.
Still, at the end of the day, I got a couple of people interested in subscribing to RSS feeds who had been confused about the concept before, so I feel like I've done my duty as an evangelist for the cause.
Like I always say about this site, I'm happy anytime someone comes and learns something from what I have to say, so I'm happy about the presentation. We'll see if I get the opportunity to do something similar with our staff/attorneys, as we encourage more RSS use in the office. I think it's a fun thing to talk about.
For my birthday, Angela got us Photo Tour and Photo Pit passes for the Dayton Air Show this year. This was the first year they did this early morning tour, and it kinda showed. It wasn't the most organized event I've ever attended. But, it was a chance to hit the flight line to get up close with planes you normally don't get to, and see all the static display planes before anyone else, so we got up ridiculously early and made the drive over to Dayton Saturday morning.
The tour basically consisted of going in groups to each of the different areas and taking photos of the planes. I had hoped for an actual guided tour, with some information about the planes, maybe even a chance to chat with some of the crews, but the only information we got was that we would get in really, really big trouble if we took photos of the rear end of the F-22. Apparently, the engines are still classified. (Even the demo of the F-22 in flight, as impressive as it is, mentions that they can't show you everything it can do. As Angela said, "I'm glad we have that and not some other country..") As it was, they had inserted plugs into the engines, so we wind up being able to photograph it any way, we just couldn't get too close to it.
The Photo Pit wound up being a fenced off area near the end of the runway. It was not show-center by any means, but it was pretty cool to be able to get some shots of planes as they taxied and warmed up for flight. The area came complete with folding chairs. and free bottles of water all day, which we took much advantage of, since the heat was brutal! Which brings me to another recommendation, bring the sunblock in with you. The tour starts at 7, the show ended at 4, somewhere in between, our sunblock quit working as well as it should have. (Not to mention the spots I didn't get covered completely, and in turn baked to a bright red. OUCH!)
I did have some lens envy in the photo pit. There were some people there who obviously had, at minimum, 5-10 grand invested in their photo equipment, some much more! My little 200mm zoom just felt puny next to them. Oh well, I can't afford to drop that much cash on a hobby!
One last lesson, when your wife tells you to go ahead and walk over to get a t-shirt now, you won't miss anything, don't believe her! After spending much time "admiring" the male pilots, when the one female pilot of the FA-18 Super Hornet, Page Felini, call sign Pie, strolled by the photo pit area and said hello to some of the folks, I wasn't there. By my wife's own admission, she put to rest forever the thought that only the male pilots are hot.
Overall, the Photo Tour and Pit were pretty cool, once. I don't know if we'll do it again. I don't know what else would be worth it once you've had the one chance to get the photos this way.
The rest of the Photos are over at my Flickr, and Angela's are over on hers.
Today was the last scheduled Summation training class for this batch of training, and it proved to be one of the most interesting.
Breaking the training up into hour long segments, each focusing on an individual part of the Summation tool, was definitely the right way to go. Instead of trying to cram things into a shorter time, or putting more information into one training session than anyone was going to remember, this allowed me to go in depth into a specific area for a full hour, then give the attendees a week to digest that before getting into the next hour's worth of training.
Of course, the other thing it allowed people to do was pick and choose which areas they wanted to know more about, as well, as opposed to committing to all 4 weeks. That was the case with my students today. As luck would have it, yesterday the class was all folks who are really brand new to using Summation, and I had to spend quite a bit of time covering some very basic things when it comes to using the tagging features. That was ok, because really, even with the extra time to cover the basics, we finished in under an hour.
Today, my luck stayed good. All of the students today were folks who would not need to go over those very basic things, and, quite coincidentally, they were also folks who wanted to learn more about working with transcripts but had conflicts that caused them to miss last week's session over that topic.
You know where I'm going with this, don't you? Naturally, we managed to cover both sessions in the hour allotted for today. Because I knew these folks, and I knew what areas I could breeze through quickly with them, we were able to cover both class outlines, and even have some spare time to answer some random questions for them. It was a great lesson in being able to adapt your training to your audience so that they get the most out of it. (At least I think they got a lot out of it, they could just be lying to me...)
It also occurs to me that the next step in training is not just breaking the sessions down into different specific areas of the program, but also breaking it down by the audience. I had originally planned to cover the same material in both sessions this week, but wound up covering something quite a bit different because of the different audiences of each class. It might be good to keep it somewhat segregated by experience level in the future. At least it's worth considering.
Those of you who follow me on Twitter could probably guess that yesterday was the first Podcamp Ohio "Unconference". I haven't actually been to a podcamp before, but I've certainly heard plenty about them from following tech folks online, so I was looking forward to the chance to attend one locally.
At first, I think there was a period of "getting used" to the Podcamp ethos. Maybe it's Midwestern politeness, but I got the impression that people were generally reluctant to interrupt a presenter to share their own ideas, or throw in a comment. As the day wore on though, I saw some more examples of being getting up from one session to attend another, and more interaction. Of course, that could be just an impression I got from the sessions I was in. Following along on Twitter, I can tell that some of the other sessions may have been different.
I do like the idea of podcamp, and being able to be more interactive than you normally can be at traditional conferences, where the speakers speak, and then answer questions. On the other hand, that makes it a bit difficult to determine what a session is really going to cover. You can go to a session that promises to be a sharing of tools that are used to do audio or video, or even blogging, and wind up spending the whole session talking about hosting options and code editors. Meh! Of course, on the third hand, you can feel free to get up and leave a session like that and hit another one. (I didn't leave in this case, for reasons that will become clear later..)
Some general thoughts abut the day:
Summize was a great tool to track the Twitter conversations going on from the different sessions. I got to read some various ideas without having to be in every session and found a bunch of new local folks to follow.
The portable power strip I picked up at Fry's a few weeks ago came in handy, as the session rooms had one or two outlets each. I got to share an outlet with someone in the afternoon as the Macbook was running low on juice. (The downside, you can't really leave a session when you're powering up, let alone sharing power.)
I spent more time using Evernote yesterday than I have since I first got it, and learned something I didn't know about it before. (More in another post) Given the interactive nature of Podcamp, I did not attempt to keep notes on the blog the way I did at ABA Techshow opting, instead, to jott random things down in Evernote to think more about later. Some of which will become blog post fodder during the week, as I let my thoughts ferment a bit.
The 2-hour lunch was a great idea. I got a chance to chat with someone new in line for the taco/burrito bar, sit and catch up a bit with someone I've known for awhile, and then also get to spend some time with a group of folks I've been following on Twitter, yet hadn't met in real life. All that without having to skip out on any sessions.
On the other hand, there were a handful of folks I wanted to meet up with, who I know were there but we never seemed to be in the same room at the same time. Since I had to run before even the last "closing" session due to other plans in the evening, and obviously couldn't hang around for the after-party, I didn't get the chance to say hello to them. Perhaps next year? :)
Of course, that also bring up the point that maybe the date could have been better. This weekend is a busy one around town, with Comfest, (where I was headed last night) the Pride festival/parade, and various other events scheduled. I'm not sure how much that interfered with others plans to be at Podcamp, but I'm sure it did hurt attendance, even if just a little. That being said, you do need to do something like this in a warm weather month, you don't want folks unable to come from around the state because of snow and ice, either. Still, the event was well attended, and definitely was a good time. I'm already looking forward to doing it again, and thinking about what kinds of things I'd like to see sessions covering, even if I have to moderate it myself!
Looks like the fine folks who run the LexBlog service are also getting into the same Blog Aggregation service that the ABA Journal's Blawg Directory has been in for a little while now, with the "soft" launch of LexMonitor today.
I've been seeing some things on Kevin's blog about the work being done on it, and I've been looking forward to the launch. I'm sure I'll be checking things out over there as time goes on.
One thing I did notice today, was that my blog is listed! (well, the Lit Support part of the blog posts anyway), here. That's pretty cool.
If you go over there now, be aware that, yes, an email has already been sent to the editor about the description. As regular readers know, I'm not an attorney. :)
It's been corrected, nice response time on a Saturday night!
All of these services should make it easier to find good legal blogs, and since I'm going to be doing a presentation at the end of July to the local ILTA group specifically about using RSS, this launch couldn't be more timely!
I am looking forward to checking out Podcamp Ohio on June 28th. Obviously, I'm pretty interested in see how the unconference works out, and meeting other folks interested in blogging/podcasting/vidcasting, since I'm giving up a perfectly good early Summer Saturday to go hang out at the ITT building. *L*
Any of my readers going to be there who haven't already talked with me about it? If so, please look me up and say hello!
In retrospect, there's another reason I'm very glad we took our trip when we did a few weeks ago. Having just been to Arlington, and the WWII Memorial, Antietam and Gettysburg, etc. it's much easier for me to come into today with the proper level of remembrance.
It's certainly nice to have a three day weekend, and I'm glad the unofficial start to the Summer season is upon us, but this day is about more than that. Amid your celebrations today, take a moment to remember those who have made it possible and say thank you to those who are still with us.
Our Wii Fit arrived today, around 6PM, which was a good thing, I'm not sure Angela could have waited much longer. :)
It's an interesting game. It's fun, and it definitely gets your heart beating and, I assume, increases your metabolism. I won't say it's the same as going to the gym and doing 30 minutes on the bike, but it's not bad as an in-between routine, and it does keep track of how you're doing for you, which is nice. The other nice thing is that by tracking your center of balance, it helps you not "cheat" when doing things like torso twists, and yoga. You have to do the exercise properly and not use your legs to "help" the muscles you're supposed to be working out.
Interestingly, while the initial profile setup said I was obese (Granted, I could stand to lose 20-30lbs, and the NHS definition of obese is ridiculous like that, so I accept that), it also said my Fit age is 37. I'm really 39 so, apparently, I'm pretty in shape for an obese guy. *L*
Yes, it's true, I finally have worked my way through all the photos from last week's vacation and have them posted to Flickr. You can see the week on the Archives over there. Not only are there a bunch from DC but also from Old Town Alexandria, HarpersFerry, WV, and the Antietam and Gettysburg battlefields.
Next up are the handful of photos I took at Race for the Cure with my cell phone today. We'll see if any of them are worthy candidates. We had a good time doing the 5K and I want to say thanks to all my family and friends who helped me raise $225 towards what appears to have been a $2 million dollar day for the Komen foundation.
Update on my previous whining about Facebook's "People you may know" feature. Apparently, they fixed the X. Now when I click the X to not show this person again, it actually does not show that person again.
There's still a whole lot of people on the list I really do not know at all, and have no idea why they are on the list, since they took away the "friends in common" list, but it's nice to know that I can slowly weed them out, or just ignore the feature altogether. ;)
Just a quick note. I threw a few photos from Arlington Cemetery up on Flickr today. That's not the only place we took photos, but it's getting late, I've been up since very, very early and that was about all the time I had tonight. ;)
Arlington is a great stop, and viewing the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns is truly impressive. To think that only 500 people have ever qualified to guard to tomb, in it's history, and that the post has never been unmanned, even during a hurricane, is really something. The photo's title above is based on the fact that during the 30 minute shift, the guard will take 21 steps, then pause for 21 seconds, before taking another 21 steps in the reverse direction. This is a symbolic representation of the 21 gun salute.
The cemetery certainly gives you some perspective on life, and on the meaning of sacrifice.
A few weeks ago I mentioned that the Facebook feature for friend suggestions could use some improvements. Well, today was the first time recently that I went over to Facebook and noticed that they've made some changes to it.
They made it worse.
Now instead of suggesting people and telling you what friends you have in common, they put a larger list in three columns, and quit telling you what friends you have in common. So now, there are the same people there all the time, with no indication of why, and no way to just say "hey, I don't know this person, try again". Blech.
Update: I didn't notice until later that there is an "X" next to each suggested friend. When I hover over it, there's a message that says "don't show this person". I got excited, thinking I could actually get rid of some of these A-list tech guys that I have no interest in reading any more, let alone trying to friend them on Facebook. However, after I clicked the X for a number of them and went back to the "people you may know" list, they were right there again! Grr!
By the way, I've gotten a couple of friend requests over there from people I don't recognize, and don't have an friends in common with. If you're a reader and want to connect, I'm more than happy to, but add a message to the standard friend request, so I know who you are! Thanks!
This morning, my wife was hosting a bridal shower/brunch at our house, so I needed to occupy myself away from the house for a couple of hours. Given the gray, cruddy weather, my options were somewhat limited, but I had read a number of positive reviews of Shine a Light, the Martin Scorcese filmed Rolling Stones concert flick, so I figured that was about as entertaining a way to spend the time as any.
I was completely blown away. I know, as they've aged the Stones have become a bit of a parody of themselves in their public appearances, so it's easy to forget that these guys are a great rock and roll band at the end of the day. This film reminds us that on stage, even at 60 years old, the Stones still put on a show that is better and full of more energy than most bands out there today.
Not only that, but there are some great lines in the footage of old interviews. Pretty much everyone laughed out loud, for example, at footage of a very young Mick Jagger being asked about being together for 2 years now and how long he saw it continuing, then responding "I never thought we'd make it two years, but I figure maybe we're set for another year or so".
Anyway, I highly recommend going to see this, and reminding yourself, or learning for the first time for some of you younger folks, just how great a rock and roll show the Stones can still put on!
Besides, if you don't think watching Ron Wood, Keith Richards and Buddy Guy on the big screen in surround sound trading licks on Champagne and Reefer is worth the price of admission all by itself, well then I fear you have no soul.
With the weather turning toward Spring this week, and the rain holding off until tomorrow, I decided it was high time to get in a little walking to prepare for my commitment to walk the 5k Race for the Cure next month.
Thanks to Gmaps Pedometer I can go back and figure out how far I walked today (2.2 miles) compared to how far the 5k is (slightly over 3.1 miles) and I have a pretty good idea that I should be able to do the walk without too much struggle. (We'll be in DC the first week of May for a few days, after that 3.1 miles should be a breeze!)
Anyway, thanks to Douglas Welch for talking about the idea of a Google Maps mashup that would calculate how far you walked. He talked about it on one of his Live from the Library podcasts, but I honestly don't remember if he talked about Gmaps Pedometer or another service. He inspired me to go to Google for my answer though, and that's what I found. :)
Now, for the important part of this entry. Yes, I'll be walking to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. The firm I work for usually puts together a team of employees and family/friends. This year, since a friend of ours had expressed a desire to do the walk, and didn't really have anyone to do it with, when I saw that the firm was paying the entrance fee for any employee plus one family member or friend, I volunteered to go ahead and do the walk with her, so she could part of our team and well it certainly won't hurt my karma any to do a good deed too.
If you wish to help the cause, (And really, why wouldn't you?) or you just know that you're going to delight in the idea that I'm getting up early to walk 5k on a Saturday morning and want to make sure to contribute to causing that to happen, you can donate online here:
Some of you probably know by now, that I'm a sucker for note taking applications that help me be more organized. I often say, if it's not on my to-do list or calendar, it may as well not even exist. (Case in point, this weekend I had planned to catch up on the John Adams series that is sitting on the DVR, but as I went through the list of things I needed to do last weekend, that wasn't on it, and I forgot to watch them.)
Anyhow, my current note-taking organization method involves two tools, OneNote and Google Notebook. I love OneNote, but since I currently use 4 or 5 different computers during the course of any given day, let's face it, the really current to-do lists need to be online, hence the reason they are on Google Notebook. Of course, for more in-depth stuff, notes I don't particularly want to share with the Google machine, or information I absolutely need to have during times I may not be able to get online, OneNote works just great.
Now comes the new version of Evernote. I took advantage of the offer on giveaway of the day last week to grab a copy of the Mac beta for my laptop, and this was really the first time I got a look at the web client. I currently use the old, free version of Evernote at work for some specific things, like using a time tracker to jot down time that I need to bill without opening up our billing system to enter it completely or keeping track of work info that I really don't want to put online, even in a private notebook, so I am somewhat familiar with the Windows version, albeit in an earlier form.
Might this be the answer to the vexing conundrum of having information available from any computer, and also when I'm offline? It might just be, at least until Google gets their Gears hooked up to Notebook, which to my mind should have happened already, shouldn't it?
I haven't even begun to test out Evernote on the Mac, but when I do, I'll be sure to let you all know if the trial brings about any change in my current organization routine. It's certainly possible!
Naturally, there were bagpipes everywhere in Chicago this weekend, even at the lobby bar on Friday night! I guess they were just getting warmed up for the parade Saturday!
It was quite a lot of fun to get to see the Parade, and the Chicago River dyed green later on. After a few long days spent at Techshow then taking in all the sites, and finally flying home to a busy Sunday, I decided to sleep in today, in honor of St. Patrick's. I do, however, need to go get ready to head to work for the afternoon.
Just a few thoughts, now that I've had some time to think about it rather than live-blogging it:
1. I've never been a big fan of live bogging, but I felt like I needed to really give it a shot. Doing it over the 3 days of Techshow helped me see where the value is, but I'm still not the biggest fan. Simply put, while it allowed to me to share what I was hearing and learning immediately with folks back in our office or all over the world, (And that has tremendous value, don't get me wrong), I still think my writing sucked because I was trying to keep up. :)
2. Live-blogging and Twitter gave this conference a different feel for me personally. I'm not normally very good in social situations, but having the handful of other folks who were blogging and twittering actually follow what I was doing and want to chat with me helped me feel a bit more comfortable, even when it came time to interact with the far larger number of people who were simply attending and not reading blogs or Twitter.
3. As much as I learned in the sessions, and with the vendor booths, the most important benefit I saw from Techshow was the people. Getting the chance to chat with other folks doing what I do, the speakers, the other bloggers, etc, and share ideas and experiences will make me a better Litigation Support professional, and a better blogger.
4. I met a bunch of great people at this conference that I hope to stay in touch with. I have read some blog entries of folks who were there or speakers who I heard who I didn't get a chance to meet, not to mention all the other attendees I couldn't possibly have had time to met. Whether we met or not, feel free to drop me an email and say hello! (Email link over on the right column of the blog, or connect with me on Facebook or LinkedIn.) Being relatively new to the Lit Support world, I'd love to build upon the network of folks, and their knowledge, that I have access to!
5. Now I have to go back through all these blog posts and pull out the best ideas and bits of knowledge that I think apply to our firm and how we're doing things. I didn't stop to think about just how much I was blogging over those 3 days, but now that I look back, it's A LOT! Hopefully anyone who actually followed along with all that drivel found some value as well.
I found it interesting how much of this session was absolutely dominated by cost concerns. This is obviously a hot-button issue. That's totally understandable. The cost of collecting, processing, searching and reviewing gigs and gigs of data is huge, and not only that, it's a cost that you're going to have to pass on to your client, and that's not going to be a fun conversation.
There were a number of suggestions on cutting those costs, including narrowing by file types, or dates, or anything else you can think of! Probably the best advice though, was to collaborate with the opposing counsel, which I know has not been the model in the legal world, to narrow down what you really need to process. If you have 20 custodians of interest, rather than processing all the documents and emails belonging to those custodians, can you come to an agreement on the 2 custodians who are the really key custodians, who will get you 90% of what you need, and process those? Of course, you preserve all 20, to go back and get that 10% that you might need, but you only process and review those 2 custodians. Cuts down on costs immensely to be able to come to those agreements.
Afterwards had a chance to chat with Brett Burney, a fellow blogger, and some other folks. Lots of interesting war stories, etc. I enjoyed it so much I didn't get to any of the vendor booths during the hour break. I need to make a concerted effort to do that tomorrow!
In a fun, odd story, I was walking past the Conference Concierge Booth and overheard someone reading off things I had Twittered, and someone recognized me from the Twitter profile photo. That was cool though, gave me an opportunity to chat with Tom Mighell, the conference chair this year. Never hurts to get the ear of the chair..:)
I think the fact that we've had two people make plans to come to our house for dinner, shortly after we got the Wii sort of gave me the impression, but last night cinched it. It really is more fun to play with other people. For example, when my wife's here, we will play together and that's fun. Last night a friend of ours came over and played some with us, and that was fun as well. Today, I'm home by myself, (I have the day off to be home for utility people to come to the house) and playing doesn't really interest me that much. The games we have are relatively simple, but fun for every one to play. It doesn't take mad gaming skillz to bowl, or to play Skee Ball on the Carnival Games, but it is fun to compete against other people in the same room. Playing golf, or baseball, by myself is ok but not that exciting.
Seems somewhat ironic that I'd be talking about a video game as a social product, but I think it really is.
The interview Douglas Welch did with me about transitioning from the IT Help Desk to Litigation Support is up over on his site. It was a lot of fun to sit and chat about what I do, and what I'm learning. Hopefully it'll be as interesting to some of you!
Check it out here if you're not a regular subscriber to Career Opportunities. (If not, you should be!)
It occurred to me earlier today, while I was sharing my love of the new Macbook and running VMWare Fusion on it, that I have become the thing I've always hated, trendy. Just since the new year I got a pretty trendy new lens for my camera, a Macbook, and now my wife and I have a Wii in the house!
See, the thing is, I've always fought against trendy tech tools because many times, they simply weren't the best tool for the job. Yeah Mac's have been the sexier choice for computers, but they never really made sense in terms of doing what I need to get done. There have been more trendy gaming consoles, but my Gamecube has always had what I wanted, so it was the right tool for me.
I realize now, that I haven't become trendy, the trendy tools have become tools that do the job better. There's nothing like the Wii on the gaming front, and now that Mac's run on Intel chips and allow me to access the Windows tools I need for my livelihood, it makes sense to own one. The 50mm lens adds a tool to compensate for some areas of photography that I had been ignoring for too long.
It's not that the old un-trendy tools I had weren't working, it's that, finally, the trendy technology isn't just trendy. It's actually a better fit for what I want to do.
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get some ice, or a heating pad for my arm. Yeah, day 2 of having a Wii in the house, and my arm's sore. How cliche.....
My wife and I had seen the Wii a number of times, and talked to some people who owned one, and thought it definitely looked pretty cool. With her birthday coming up, not to mention Valentine's Day, Angela was the one who finally pulled the trigger and asked for one. After some fruitless searches to come up with one, I was finally able to locate a bundle on Toys 'R Us the other day. Granted, some of the games in the bundle, I wouldn't have bought, but I knew it was the one thing she wanted, so I forked over the extra cash anyway. Hopefully we can get some store credit at Gamestop and turn those into a game or two that we would have bought, but if not, I went over budget to get my wife what she wanted for her birthday, shoot me! :)
Heck, after the money I spent on myself getting a MacBook, seriously, how could I not fork out some extra to get her the Wii as soon as I found it?
Anyway, it got delivered to my office on Friday, naturally. I was home sick, and was really in no condition to go chasing it down over the weekend at all. Angela patiently waited for me to get better, and while I'm still feeling pretty rotten, I had enough energy to get through the work day today, and bring home her present. She had it set up within minutes, while I ate dinner. I have to say, after a few games of bowling, and a little baseball, this is totally cool. I can't wait to really dig into some of the sports games, or the Super Mario, and a couple of the other games I got in the bundle. She can't wait to take it up to her parents the actual weekend of her birthday and have fun with the whole group playing. I can see where this is going to be a great party activity!
After years, and years of making my living supporting, and working with, Windows PC's I ordered a Macbook Pro to replace my aging laptop this weekend. There's no hope for me now, is there? I'm doomed to be a fanboy and have a Steve Jobs crush, aren't I? ;)
OK seriously, one of the first things I'll be doing with the MBP will be using Bootcamp to setup a Windows partition, (I need to use a Windows VPN client for work, and the Summation software I am now certified to train on both internally and freelance, won't run on the Mac.) and my main desktop at home will still be my Windows machine, so let's not get carried away. Still, I'm excited to see what the Mac can do as my laptop.
So, now that I'll be getting my hands on my own Mac in a week or so, what are the must-have downloads I need to get? I already know I'll be hitting Firefox, but what else do you guys recommend? I figure I need an FTP client, blogging tool, and pretty much anything else I'd use while on the road. If you were getting a new Macbook, what would be the first things you'd download?
Or, "How bad is the phone company that we have to switch to Time Warner Digital Phone?"
Seriously, we have enough issues with our cable Internet connection dropping out for significant amounts of time, for no apparent reason, that when Time Warner introduced digital phone in our area, I practically laughed out loud at the idea that I'd trust that connection to be my phone connection. On the other hand, when AT&T comes out to the house twice, proclaiming there's nothing wrong at all, despite the fact that there's so much static on the line at random times that you no longer can hold conversations for very long without getting disconnected, or your answering machine records nothing but static for messages, and they refuse to come back out, because there's nothing wrong, what else can you do?
Seriously, if we didn't have some really good reason to want to hang on to our number for a little while, at least, we'd probably just drop the land line altogether and just use our cell phones, but for now, this appears to be our temporary solution.
I hope not, but my not quite 3 year old HP laptop, with Windows XP on it, is having difficulties. It only boots correctly every other attempt, or sometimes the third attempt. Sometimes in the off attempts, it hangs on the HP boot screen, other times it goes all the way to the login screen, then hangs on login. Occasionally it'll even log in, but the USB ports won't work, and other programs get hung trying to open.
For some reason though, powering it off, and rebooting makes it all just fine and dandy again, at least until the next boot attempt.
I'm going to have to take some time to troubleshoot this at some point, in the mean time, anyone got some suggestions on where I should start?
Wow, it's 2008 already. Not that the new year coming was a surprise, Christmas was a week ago, so it's not like we didn't expect New Year's to be right around the corner, you know? :)
On the other hand, I hardly felt like I ever got a grip on 2007. It was here, stuff happened, and then it was gone. 2007 was a strange year. There were quite a few changes that came about during the year, and most of them were pretty unexpected. I didn't go into 2007 thinking I'd be building a career in Litigation Support, or that some of the friendships in my life on line and off would develop the way they did. In fact, I really thought 2007 would be a development year, going into 2008, which would be the year of change. After all, 2008 is the year I'll turn 40 in. Not that I'm expecting a mid life crisis or anything (though I still have 6 months to work on that before I hit 40!), but we had been targeting 2008 as a year of doing some new and interesting things.
After the changes that came on unexpectedly in 2007 though, I've learned to roll with the punches. We'll see if 2008 goes the way I envision it will as the year starts. I'm sure it won't be exactly what I picture, but I also know there are some definite goals we have for this year that we'll be working towards. As with any year, all I can do is work on improving myself, being a better husband, better friend, better worker, better writer, better photographer, and just all around better person. Regardless of how any of the other goals we have in mind turn out, if I can look back at the end of 2008 and see improvements in myself, as I do at the close of 2007, it will have been a successful year.
On the way home yesterday, testing out the new Garmin C-330 I got for Christmas, a couple of things occurred to Angela and I.
One, we wondered if our niece, is recently turned 2, would grow up in a world with turn by turn Google Map directions and GPS units and never need to know how to read a map.
Two, there's a odd balance between the cool factor of having the device tell you exactly where you are, and how to get where you're going, and the fact that there's a satellite that knows exactly where you are the whole time.
Three, when Angela's driving and I'm navigating, having the device tell her where to go instead of me, does not make her less angry. In fact, she found the device to be a bit on the bossy side. ;)
Got the email response telling me that I had passed, and they'd be in touch with the details of the certification stuff. I'm glad to get that behind me before the end of the year.
It is a pretty rigorous certification. You have to apply, telling them some details of how you use Summation, ho you plan to train on it etc. Once your application is approved, you have to pass a pre-workshop exam. Once you do that, then you have to go out to one of their offices for the 3 day workshop. (4 days if you're going for the WebBlaze as well as iBlaze Certifcation).
After that workshop you have 75 days to pass parts one and two of the exam, at which point you'll be given the hands on project. Part 1 is 50 multiple choice questions, and was pretty similar to the A+ exam I took awhile back in terms of how it's laid out. One big difference, of course, is that you take it online, so it's open book for all purposes, and it's not timed at all. You can work on it, stop, and go back as long as you want.
Part 2 is 10 short essay questions. These take a little more time but, again, you can start, stop and go back as often as you need to. Short essay questions are a bit tougher, you don't see those in Tech exams very often, simply because someone has to grade them! In the case of CT Summation, though, they are typically only dealing with the 15 people from the latest workshop at any one time, and I think they maybe do 4-5 workshops per year?
Part 3 was a hands-on project. The idea is to take a case database and follow the directions to do the various work that they require to show that you know you're way around the database and the various features. After all, you can't really use Summation if you can't bring data in, make it usable for the attorneys and then get it back out when needed!
Overall, I'd say that while it's certainly a very specific certification, (If your firm doesn't use Summation, there's not much point unless you plan to become a free-lance trainer.) the rigors of the testing process and the relative lack of large numbers of SCT's out in the field make it a pretty good indicator for skills in using Summation, and that's really the whole point!
My apologies to those of you who might have tried to get to one of our sites last night. As you can see from this forum thread, our hosting provider was on the wrong end of a DDOS attack.
The nice thing was that the forum was available and there were timely updates posted to it, so I wasn't left wondering why I couldn't access anything, so I give them credit for that! Unfortunately, it was down until after I went to bed, so I couldn't get aN.Y. updates out to folks, though I did post to Twitter about it, so if you follow me there, or any of the social media sites where my profile includes my Twitter updates, you would have seen it last night. Just goes to show, that there are plenty of useful purposes for Twitter.
I got an email today with the results from part 2 of the Summation Certified Trainer Exam. Yes, I passed with a 100%. The email didn't include any information on when I'd be getting the project to download and work on, but I'm hoping it will be pretty soon. This time of year is somewhat slower for trials, so I'd like to get to the project while I have some extra time, and before we get into January and the trials pick right back up again!
I submitted my test today, part 2 of the exam. Part 1 was 50 multiple choice questions, which I submitted a while back and got my results immediately, 96%, passing. Part 2 was described as "short answer", but in reality, they were short essays! When you have to give 3 possible troubleshooting problems and their solutions, that is not a short answer!
Anyway, there were 10 of those, and after many hours of writing, re-writing, and testing my answers in a test database, today I finally reached the point where I really didn't have anything else to add, so I sent it in. Now I have to await my results. Which I don't like, especially since there is no real time table on which to expect those results!
Assuming I pass this and don't have to retake part 2, I move on to part 3, which is a hands on project.
Yes, this is a pretty intensive testing procedure. It's no wonder you have 75 days to complete parts 1 and 2, and no deadline for part 3!
So I ordered some stuff on-line last Thursday morning. (Nope not telling you what it was or where I ordered it from, can't give Angela any hints before Xmas!). I got an email confirmation that said it would ship in 2-3 days, and that I could always check the status of my order by following a link to their site. I clicked it, and sure enough, the status was "Will ship in 2-3 Days".
Monday morning, I wondered to myself if it had shipped yet, so I clicked again, and it still said "Will ship in 2-3 Days". OK, no biggie. It had only been 2 business days, and we're not that close to Christmas yet, I'll check later in the week.
Weds. morning: "Will Ship in 2-3 Days"
Weds. around lunch time: box arrives at my office with said order in it.
Weds afternoon: Site still says "Will Ship in 2-3 Days"
Why bother giving people the option to check the status if you don't update it?
My subscription to the print edition of your magazine ran out about a year ago. I didn't overlook it, I didn't just forget to renew it, I made a conscious decision not to renew. (Mostly because just about everything I read in it, I had already seen online somewhere beforehand.)
I could forgive your assumption that maybe I had overlooked it the first time you sent me a notice to that effect, many months ago. I understand that you hate to lose subscribers, and want to make sure. I even appreciated the fact that you were willing to keep sending me a copy of the magazine the next month, just so I could see what I'd be missing one last time, again with a letter to that effect. It seemed a bit desperate, but I understand this is a desperate time for print media, especially tech media.
When the same notices came to my house 3 months later, I laughed at your desperation. It wasn't a nice thing to do, I know, and I'm sorry.
At the 6 month mark, I thought to myself, wow, why would anyone continue to pay for this magazine when they never actually stopped sending it to me?
We're at almost the 12 month mark now, and wouldn't you know it, guess what was in my mail over the weekend? That's right, this months issue of PC World, again with the stipulation that you were giving me one "last chance" to see what I was missing. This would be, I believe, my 6th "last" chance.
I think we've moved past desperation and straight into stalking. It's creepy to think that a magazine I dumped a year ago, still manages to find it's way to my front door almost every month. If you were an ex-girlfriend, I'd probably have to have a restraining order by now, and, frankly, I'm a tad insulted that you continue to think that I'm actually dumb enough to have overlooked all of these pleas to renew my subscription. Do you think so little of your readers?
Let's just agree to go our separate ways, before someone has to get hurt, ok? Can we do that, or will I have to resort to more drastic measures to protect my home?
I had my first experience flying on JetBlue today, from Columbus to JFK this morning. It was pretty cool. I got to watch some TV, catch the beginning of the Michigan-Wisconsin game on ESPN while someone brought me a drink and snack, and the seat next to me was empty. If flying was always like that, I'd probably want to do it more often!
Alas this is probably the last time I'll fly JetBlue, since they are pulling out of Columbus next year. If you have the opportunity to though, I'd recommend it!
Just put up some more of my pics from San Francisco. Now I'm off to bed. There's nothing like being out at training for a week, coming back to the office, and being absolutely swamped with work to make you exhausted!
Not to mention the cold medicine, thanks to being stuck on airplanes and spending 4 days in a small classroom with cold germ carriers. Like I have time to be sick now? ;)
Utilizing the Wi-Fi in the training room to catch up on email, and uploading a handful of photos from the last couple of days.
Class has been good in terms of learning, but it's a mental drain. I'm looking forward to Friday and Saturday and being able to go back to just being a tourist. It's tough to really be a tourist when there are things you have to go to, and times that are totally committed during each day. I've been able to take the camera out a bit after class, in the few hours of daylight and get around to see some of the city that we didn't get to see when we were here last year. That's been fun, and of course, with the time difference, I'm usually pretty wiped by the time it gets dark, and ready to be in for the night.
So, my use of tech has been pretty limited. Once I get through a day of training, the last thing I want to do is go back to the hotel and play around with a laptop. Still, I'm enjoying the trip, and looking forward to passing my certification exams. ;)
Friends in Tech, the group of podcasters and bloggers that I belong to, and blog for, when I'm not as crazy busy as I have been lately, has added a new member, Steve Riekeberg of the Geek Cred Podcast.
I can't say that I'm all that familiar with the podcast, but I'm going to download a couple of episodes and take a listen while I'm out of town this week.
BTW, yes, I am in SFO now. Had a relatively nice trip out today, and got here in time to catch the Blue Angels flying around, and take a nice walk to the Bay for some photos. Training class starts in the morning, but I think I should still manage to find some time in the evenings for photos, and I have all day Friday, and most of Saturday, to myself. So, I'm looking forward to seeing some of the city we didn't get to see when we were here last Spring as well as getting prepared for my Summation Trainer Certification. I should be learning a lot over the next few days!
Since I'm going to be in San Francisco next week, I've been keeping an eye on Robert Scoble's blog for news of any upcoming Photowalks. This morning I saw him mention one on Oct. 9, Tuesday. I thought maybe I was in luck, so I tracked over to Thomas Hawk's site to see if he had more details. He had the link to the event details, which show a 4PM start time.
The training class I'm in S.F. for, lasts until 5.
Oh well, based on the location, and my lack of transportation, I would have had to try to find a ride out there anyway, so maybe it's for the best. I'm sure to get plenty of photos of the city on my own, but it would have been fun to meet up with that crew!
I didn't really know what to expect, other than the collection of WWII-era aircraft, and there were plenty of them.
There were also Air Force demonstrations of the F-15, F-16 and F-22. The F-22 Raptor is the most amazing plane I have ever seen in person. I watched this plane go vertical, into an inverted state, flip back around and stop. Literally, it had an airspeed of zero. It drifted downward ever so slightly while at zero airspeed, the pilot let the nose dip, rise, point to the left and then hit the throttle to accelerate, and was just gone from that spot before you even realized it. If I wasn't there in person I might have thought it was CGI.
I also learned that getting photos of jets, in flight, can be a very difficult thing! Luckily the air force does this really nice Heritage Flight, where the modern day jets, fly in formation with the P-51 Mustangs, to display the history of the Air Force, slowed down to that speed, it was a bit easier to get some nice photos.
It was really a great day! You can see more photos of mine here, and Angela's here.
That's what 3 different people have called me in the last couple of days. I don't know why:
Oct 7-14: San Francisco for Summation training
Oct 26-30: Vacation with my wife to Gettysburg, and perhaps some other stops.
Nov 2-4: Weekend getaway with the in-laws to Sandusky, OH
Nov. 10-14 New York City, a couple of days for me visiting family, hopefully, and a couple of days at the Westlaw E-discovery and Records Retention Conference.
Yeah ok, maybe that's a little more running around than normal.
I have no idea how this will affect blogging. I could find myself pressed for time, or I could find myself with a lot to say. At this point, the only thing I know, is that I probably need to stock up my travel kit sometime in the next week or so!
Six years ago tonight, I was sitting in a hotel room in Jonesborough Tennessee, looking forward to a big day the next morning. While I was somewhat stressed about the details of how the day was going to go, I was pretty confidant that this was going to be the beginning of a great thing.
Six years later, as I look forward to the anniversary of our wedding tomorrow, I can honestly say that I underestimated just how great this would be.
Six years ago this weekend, I was lucky enough to get to marry the woman I look up to, respect, and love more than anyone in the world. This weekend, I'll be lucky enough to spend the weekend with that same woman, who still inspires me to be a better man everyday.
Maybe, in another six years, I'll deserve to be this lucky, but I doubt it. ;)
Today I had mine, even though I switched jobs only 5 months ago. It really seemed a little silly. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the feedback on how I'm catching on to the job compared to the expectations, in terms of knowing where I should be, but it's not really fair for someone to evaluate me based on 5 months of work, when I'm still really learning the job.
That being said, it was a good review, so at least I can take away that I'm picking things up as well, or better, than folks expected me too, so I guess I should just continue to do that.
Still, it's hard to take much away from an evaluation for a job I'm really still learning. It could have maybe waited, but that's the policy, so that's the way it goes. :)
I think I've mentioned before the reasons I'm attracted to photography, but as I've gotten somewhat better at it, more and more I find myself enjoying something else about it.
While I'm certainly enjoying getting better at it, now I'm also really enjoying seeing other people enjoy my photos. Today that really became clear to me. I was volunteering at the library this afternoon, along with a good friend of ours. After our work was done, I presented her with a couple of 8x10 prints of photos that I thought she would like, as a late housewarming gift for her new apartment. Turns out one of them, the photo below of Blackwater Falls, WV, reminded her of a place near where she grew up in upstate NY, and she was really touched by it. (Either that or she's a much better actress than I would have thought she was all these years!)
Later this same evening a friend of mine sent me a screenshot that had another one of my photos from his Flickr Favorites on his desktop. That really cemented for me how much I get a kick out of sharing my work. Not because people tell me how good I am, or how nice the shots are (which is nice too, don't get me wrong), but because I can see where a photo I took is bringing them a little piece of beauty and enjoyment in their life.
Is there anything better than feeling like you've done something that brings a bit of happiness, no matter how small it may be, to the people you care about? I spent my Sunday volunteering to help raise money for the library, and making someone I've been friends with for 10 years smile brightly with a small gift. With my wife out of town, I don't think I could have spent today doing anything better.
The Labor Day weekend here in the US gave us another opportunity for a quick trip, allowing us, and Angela's parents to spend some time in Chicago. We took the Amtrak from Toledo on Saturday morning, coming back to Toledo late Sunday night. It was a good time, both days were warm and sunny, without being overly hot. We got around to see quite a bit, and though we were all tired by the time we rolled into Findlay from the train station in Toledo, it was worth it! Hope you enjoyed your weekend as much.
Thing one is finally getting to plan out the details of my trip to San Francisco in October. I've got the Summation Certified Trainer Workshop Oct 8-11, but it looks like I'll be staying a bit longer than that, catching the redeye out of town on Saturday night the 13th. That should give me a full couple of days to take in some sights and get some more photos. Yes, I'm digging the firm's travel agent for getting all that taken care of for me.
I'm also digging my massage therapist. I had my usual appointment with her last night, but it was this morning before I realized I had forgotten my eyeglasses at her office. Now, I can function without my glasses, my eyesight isn't quite that bad, but it can lead to a few headaches. I left a voice mail for her this morning. she called back to let me know that she had my glasses, but no one would be in the office past 2 this afternoon. Since she assumed I wouldn't be able to get out of the office to get them, she asked if there was somewhere in the neighborhood she could drop them for me. Since her office is only about a quarter mile from my house, she agreed to take them by and leave them on the front porch for me, and sure enough when we got home, there they were. I already thought she rocked, but for going above and beyond like this, I can't even describe the customer loyalty she has from me.
Oh and yes, in true networking/friendship/appreciation/Manager Tools fashion, she'll be getting a hand-written note of thanks from me. This is one of those times when an email just wouldn't be personal enough. :)
I'm digging that there are only 2 days left in what has been a busy week, before we head up to Findlay, to "pick up" the in-laws, drive to Toledo and catch the train to Chicago for the weekend. Again, more good photo opportunities!
I'm digging that on Sept. 16, I'll be volunteering at the Friends of the Library book sale, along with a friend of ours, making good use of the time Angela will be away working the OSU game weekend in Seattle. And while I'm a little jealous, I'm digging that my wife has the chance to get a trip to Seattle.
I'll also be digging a few other trips in the coming months, some that Angela and I don't have finalized yet, some that she'll be taking without me, and maybe one I'll be taking without her. It going to be a busy couple of months, but I'm digging having so many fun things to look forward to!
Does anyone view this site from a mobile device? Would it be worth it to try and create a mobile feed, or does the Feedburner feed work well enough in a mobile device? If not, any suggestions on a mobile feed service that won't add advertising and doesn't just suck?
Douglas Welch sent me a link to BlogDay, coming up this Friday. I'll actually be traveling that day, and may not get to post my 5 recommendations for new blogs, but I'm curious about your recommendations. Leave a comment and tell me about a new blog, or blogs, even if it's yours!
Does anyone out there have a contract template for selling photographs? I've been approached by a couple of folks about using some of my photographs, and thus far I've simply been letting them use it in exchange for a photo credit. At this point in my life, I'm not that interested in being a commercial photographer, but as these credits add up, and become part of a portfolio of work, I might reconsider that. I'll have more details on where my photos might be appearing when I get verification.
Speaking of photos, I now have a camera phone, a Samsung A707 Sync. I'm pretty excited about the Internet access and camera phone capabilities of the phone. It's no iPhone, but then again, it cost me $50. :)
Anyway, if anyone has suggestions for me, leave a comment!
Today was a day for wandering around and trying to get some decent photos. Angela planned out a nice day of driving to Urbana, Ohio to the Robert Rothschild Farm, to pick some fresh raspberries, have a nice lunch, etc.
Unfortunately, the picking turned out to be more work than we had bargained for. Seems the pickings were kind of slim this time of year, and even those you had to find the one's the beetle's hadn't gotten to first!
Still she managed to come away with about three quarter's pounds worth of raspberries to snack on, so not bad.
The lunch at the Cafe was nice, especially the giant cookie sundae dessert. Good thing we had a lot of walking to burn that sucker off, but man it was good!
After that, it was a short drive to the Cedar Bog, which also happened to be a bit of a disappointment, we had hoped to get some nice photos of wildflowers but they weren't really all that spectacular. Still, we managed to get a couple of decent captures, so it was worthwhile.
Anyway you look at it, any day spent taking photos and spending time with the wife, is a good day! As always, there are more photos on Angela's and my Flickr streams.
I've also got an interesting story about one of the captures in there, that I'll share in the next couple of days.