Near Real-Time Tracking

You can find out what I'm up to in near real-time via: Twitter (@sholden) or Google+. I also recommend checking out my AztecMedia.net produced sites: Chvrches Fan Podcast (@chvrchespodcast), Tech News Radio (@technewsradio), Air Gapped Networks (@airgapnet), Jersey Boys Podcast, and Veteran Stories.


Thoughts & Tips For July 2018

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Picture from RawPixel

Thrown For A Curve

On the morning of June 5th I tried to sit down in my office chair before going to work, and suffered some major lower back pain and sciatica down my left leg. In an instant was pretty much in deep pain and immobile. Luckily my son Conrad was able immediately take me in to see my doctor, and I was given some medication to ease the pain, relax the muscles, and hopefully heal the back pain area.  I am slowly recovering, but I am still experiencing some tingling in my left foot, so I have an MRI being scheduled and physical therapy planned for early July.  I pretty much can't run (which is a big transition for me), however I can swim, walk/hike, and ride a bike so that is better than being on bed rest for sure.  Currently most of my exercise is being supplemented with 45 minutes of daily stretches and strength training.

Technology

I was able to move to Windows 10 on a new Dell tablet at work before the end of June 2018 deadline.  All in all it is working great, and I like having Type-C connectors on my work tablet and my personal HP Chromebook 13G1. For instance the same power adapter can be used on both.

Thankful For

My 5oth birthday party was great.  I had it at one of my favorite breweries -- Burning Beard.

I am thankful that I have improved as much as I have, and I need to realize how much my current mobility is when compared to June 5th.

I wasn't able to finish the MBSE class in early June because of my back injury, but the 2nd course at the end of June was good.  I passed so I'll be completing my certification in Systems Engineering (Level 2) soon.

Future

I am offering three more Vital Smarts' 1-day Getting Things Done (GTD) classes at work -- one in July, one in August, and then one in September.

DEFCON is coming up in August.  That should be fun.

We also have a camping trip to San Elijo State Beach planned for the end of July.

Tips

One of things that made it possible for me to sleep during the first two weeks of back pain & sciatica was a TENS machine that I got on Amazon last year  to help with healing an achilles injury I had.  I am now a super big fan of the TENS devices.    

I am pretty excited to share my Retro 80's Synth playlist (also on Spotify) that I started as part of www.chvrchespodcast.com. It is especially cool when fans of the podcast say they are enjoying the playlist.

Quote I'm Thinking About

"Your word is pure magic, and misuse of your word is black magic.” - Don Miguel Ruiz


Thoughts & Tips For June 2018

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Technology

I took one of my Wyze cameras on travel in May to Washington, DC with me to watch over all my gear in my hotel room while I was at out of the room.  It worked out well.  No issues.

I am moving from a Windows 7 HP tablet/laptop to a Windows 10 Dell tablet at work by the end of June.  A lot of stuff to do to make that transition happen.

Thankful For

Mother's Day was great and Memorial day weekend was a lot of fun around our house.  We also had a good time seeing the Star War's Solo movie for Spencer's birthday.  The previous week Spencer and I saw the very funny Deadpool 2 movie.

My favorite band CHVRCHES released their 3rd album "Love Is Dead." If you are a crazy fan like me then please listen to the CHVRCHES Fan Podcast.

Future

June is going to be busy: my 50th Birthday Party, a lot of high school graduation parties with friends' kids graduating, and a possible trip to DC at the end of the month.  Plus I am taking two big courses in June - one on Systems Engineering (late in June) and another on Model Based Systems Engineering (early in June).

I also have three more Vital Smarts' new 1-day Getting Things Done (GTD) classes scheduled for the summer at work -- one in July, one in August, and then one in September.

Tips

I really like these instant coffee packets from South Korea -- Maxim Mocha Gold Mild Coffee Mix.  They are great for travel, camping, and mixing it up from standard coffee. And these sugar free sweeteners are great with sparkling water plus your favorite adult alcohol like vodka -- Jelly Belly Liquid Drink Mix.

Quote I'm Thinking About

"Society has arisen out of the works of peace; the essence of society is peacemaking." - Ludwig von Mises


Reflections On Mike Foster's Rescue Academy

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Back in February 2018, I was blessed to be able to take a two-day course taught by Mike Foster at his Rescue Academy live event.  I was introduced to Mike via his Fun Therapy Podcast from the Relevant magazine, and many of the stories in Season One of Fun Therapy deeply touched me.  

I personally try to be pretty aware of my strengths and weaknesses, and having a caring heart for those who are hurting is one of my strengths.  Showing it -- putting it in action -- and doing something constructive with that caring heart -- is another thing.  I know I could use some improvement in that area, especially in one-on-one situations.

So the big attraction for attending this event is Mike's tagline for Rescue Academy is "Helping You Help Others." That is what I wanted and needed.

What did I get out of the event?  In summary, I'll share four things with you here (see my contact info below if you want more):

  1. I learned a lot!  I ended up with 8 pages of notes plus the class workbook, several of Mike's books, and a copy of Five Dates (which Christy and I have been doing). In the end, the best thing from a "knowledge & skills" standpoint was Mike's practical counseling model for sitting down with someone who is hurting, deeply listening, and then helping them without judgement.
  2. I was really inspired by the other people taking the class.  It was a diverse group, but everyone had a heart for service, helping others, and encouraged each other.
  3. As we unpacked where hurt, shame, and pain comes from, I realized that my own inner critic has been one of my biggest personal struggles, and something that I needed to work on, forgive myself for, and lean more on Jesus to heal the damage I've done to myself. 
  4. Mike is a dynamic and well organized presenter! Not only did I take notes on all the material, but I also learned a lot on how to effectively deliver course material to a class of students. This has helped me to better deliver the Vital Smart's David Allen Getting Things Done (GTD) course at work. Double-bonus points!

Mike's next class is May 17-18, 2018.  I highly recommend considering attending if you want to learn how to help others and yourself.

If you have any questions, comments, thoughts, etc. then please let me know via email or connect with on Twitter (@sholden).


Thoughts & Tips For May 2018

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Photo by Tod Seitz on Unsplash

Technology

The new Wyze camera is working out great.  I've also gotten the Android app to run on my Chromebook which makes monitoring at home much easier.

Thankful For

I have completed three Vital Smarts' new 1-day Getting Things Done (GTD) at work and I'm now a Certified GTD Trainer!  I have another class the first week of May. And I'm planning to deliver three more classes before the end of September.

I really enjoyed Infinity Wars.  Great movie. The ending is massive.

Our trip to Disneyland was a blast.

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Future

It looks like in May there is of course Mother's Day, a possible trip to Washington DC, and Memorial Day weekend.

Our church is planning to pack 100,000 meals on May 6th.  This is double the 50,000 we did last year!

Tip

I really like this computer reading glasses.

Quote I'm Thinking About

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." - Winston Churchill


An Audio Excerpt On Management From "John Brown's Body" By Mark Horstman

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Mark Horstman at Manager Tools has a great weekly newsletter called "Things I Think" (subscribe here).

This past week Mark had a reference to a fellow Manager Tools listener -- Robert Greiner -- who posted a blog post about a great quote about management that Mark has been sharing for years from Stephen Benét's Pulitzer-Prize winning book "John Brown’s Body."

I've loved this excerpt so much that one time, I think in early 2013, that Mark actually read it outloud in a podcast.  So on Feb. 18, 2013, I took that podcast and abstracted the audio of Mark reading the poem.

It's been sitting in my library for only me to enjoy.  So, that ends today.

Here is Mark Horstman reading that excerpt from "John Brown’s Body."

I hope it inspires you as much as it inspires me.


Thoughts & Tips for April 2018

 

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Photo by Hudson Hintze on Unsplash

Technology

I used the Pisen Wireless Presenter Laser Pointer 2500 for teaching my first GTD course.  I found myself using the mouse I had hooked up to my computer more.  I think that when I'm teaching, at least in the beginning, I like being anchored to my workspace with all my references.

I ordered another Wyze camera to do some physical security testing around the home. I think the new upgraded one is going to have better tracking capabilities.

Thankful For

My first Vital Smarts' new 1-day Getting Things Done (GTD) went well and so did my 2nd one.  I have another in April and then I should get my certification.

Easter was on April 1! (TODAY!)  And it was wonderful.  Here is a picture from the top of Mount Helix with your Praise Band playing:

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I really enjoyed re-reading Ready Player One and then seeing the new movie.

Future

My first Vital Smarts' new 1-day Getting Things Done (GTD) training classes at work is scheduled for March 8, 2018.

I think we are going to take a day in April and go up to Disneyland.

And my 24th Wedding Anniversary is coming up on April 9th.

Tip

Get a labeler and label everything.   It got mind from Costco - Brother Model 1890.  I use it for file folders, boxes, cables, etc.  Here is another great testimonial. 

Also these CHVRCHES sessions at Power Station on the Honda Stage are excellent: Mother We Share, Get Out, XO, and Never Say Die.

Quote I'm Thinking About

"A problem well stated is a problem half solved." – Charles F. Kettering


Black & White (B&W) Photo Review

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A while back my friend Kreg Steppe challenged me to post a black & white (B&W) photo everyday for 7 days on Facebook.  Here are my seven photos with some background information on each one.

Photo #1:  Construction Material

B&W-Day-1This photo was taken on my Samsung Galaxy S8+ in the Fall of 2017 while I was on a walk during lunch near my work.  There was a ton of construction going on with the water and sewer system being upgraded by the City of San Diego on the main road going out to Cabrillo Monument.

Photo #2: Maui

B&W-Day-2This picture was taken in 2014 when Christy and I went to Maui for our 20th Wedding Anniversary.  It is one of those pictures that I converted to B&W because it was pretty washed out in light.  It was more than likely taken with a Canon Rebel SLR.

Photo 3: San Elijo Beach

B&W-Day-3This photo was taken in 2015 while we were beach camping at San Elijo State Beach.  I also used this photo to make the MP3 backgrounds for the CHVRCHES Fan Podcast Bumpers made by fans of the band CHVRCHES.  It was also taken by a Canon Rebel SLR.

Photo #4: The Streets Of Brussels

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This picture was taken on June 26, 2012 in Brussels, Belgium.  We were doing a walking tour of the city with our Belgium Family (Yes, the same great people who filmed the wild San Diego Boat Crash video!) and this just caught my eye.  It was near the Royal Palace, but up by the streets before the public walkways. This was taken by our Canon Rebel SLR.

Photo #5: Atomium

B&W-Day-5This was also in 2012 when we visited Belgium and Germany. Before this picture, we got to visit "Mini Europe" and have some adventures on the public transit system. This was taken by a Canon Rebel SLR.

Photo #6: Ferris Wheel

B&W-Day-6This was taken in the Summer of 2017 at the San Diego County Fair (also called the Del Mar Fair by San Diego natives).  This was taken on a Canon Rebel SLR.

Photo #7: Stairway

B&W-Day-7This photo was taken at the Portland Airport in the parking garage in 2016.  We went up to Portland from San Diego right after the 2016 Election, and there was some rioting in the Portland area before we arrived. We didn't see anything "live" rioting, but we did see some damage in the Downtown Portland area during our exploring of Portland.  This was taken by a Canon Rebel SLR.


Thoughts & Tips for March 2018

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Photo by Robin Spielmann on Unsplash

Technology

I recently picked up this Pisen Wireless Presenter Laser Pointer 2500 for my upcoming GTD class.  It appears to work well has a laser pointer, mouse, and slide forward/backward.  I can also be used as a USB charger and has an internal rechargeable battery.

Thankful For

The two-day course at Rescue Academy with Mike Foster on Feb 8-9, 2018 is was awesome.  I learned so much!

Future

My first Vital Smarts' new 1-day Getting Things Done (GTD) training classes at work is scheduled for March 8, 2018.

Tip

Back in October 2017 I listened to this Tim Ferris interview with Jocko Willink.  This what I remembered Jocko recommending to get started with a new exercise.  He said to just do that thing as much as you can.  And then rest, and then try to do it again. Rest. Repeat trying and resting up to 8 times.  I've always sucked at doing pull-ups.  So every day in November, I just tried to do one. Over and over again.  And by the end of the month I could do one.  Then December became two pull-ups. January ended with 3 pull-ups.  And in March I am doing 4 pull-ups 6 days a week!

Quote I'm Thinking About

"There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know." - Donald Rumsfeld


Thoughts & Tips for February 2018

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Technology

I found out a gotcha with my new Zoom H6 Portable Audio Recorder.  You need to format the card on the H6 before you record anything.  If you don't, then the files saved are in a strange pseudo file system that can't be recognized on desktop OSes (Mac, Windows, Chromebook, Linux, etc).  To get the audio off you'll probably have to use Audio Out and record the audio on another device (like a PC running Audacity).

Thankful For

The trip to Hawaii with Conrad was awesome.  We got to swim with sharks!

Hamilton was good. I am glad I got to see it.

Future

I am still working on setting up Vital Smarts' new 1-day Getting Things Done (GTD) training classes at work.  I need to create a Wiki for the course, use our training system to create a record for each class, and reserve rooms for three dates into the future.

This two-day course at Rescue Academy with Mike Foster from Feb 8-9, 2018 is going to be interesting.

Tips

Regular morning routines before I go on a run have really helped me have the right mindset for the day.  I start off praying and reading a daily devotional (~10 minutes), and then I doing a series of pushups, stretches, and situps before running (~10 minutes).

Google Keep has two good reminder options.  One is time based - like set a reminder for April 1, 2018.  The other is geolocation based.  The next time at "Costco" buy XYZ.


New Ambient Information Display From Lenovo

SmartDisplay_1-COLLAGE (1)Engadget recently published a hands-on review from CES 2018 on a new smart-screen device from Lenovo -- "Lenovo Smart Display hands-on: Google Assistant gets a new kind of home".

It looks like a nice device for not only using Google Assistant, but also displaying ambient information.

I see ambient information as context specific personalized information displayed on a screen that you regularly have access to.  For instance, in my home office I have a laptop running Google Chrome with 7 tabs open and then I use an extension called Revolver - Tab to cycle through each tab every 60 seconds.  I also have the same setup at work, but with a different set of tabs.

I see finding, customizing, and building out these displays in such a way that add value, but isn't distracting to workflow, is going to be an interesting area to study for human factors scientists.

More info from Lenovo's Blog about Smart Display.