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


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

B&W-Day-4

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.


Photo Tip - Try Black and White (B&W)

I am not an expert in photography but here is a tip that has been useful for me.  

When I get a picture that has some sort of issue like to much light or not completely in focus, I do a conversion to black and white (B&W) to see what I get.

Here is a recent example (using Picasa 3 on Windows) that looks pretty good to me:

Carson's Birthday Party

Do you have any other suggestions for situations like this?


"New" Things I Did Turn On Apple iOS 6

I was able to successfully upgrade to Apple iOS 6 (Apple's What's New Page) on my iPad without any issues.  Here are the "new" things I enabled:

  • Siri
  • No Not Disturb: 9 pm to 6 am
  • Limit Ad Tracking
  • Reviewed all my Privacy Settings
  • Clock (setup a bunch of cities)

I also had no problems updating Conrad's iPad 2.  Conrad is very happy with the new iOS 6, but when I asked him what specifically made him happy he wasn't able to pin any one thing down. ;-)

I am kinda bummed that Passbook isn't for the iPad yet. And the Panorama feature for the Camera that is in the iPhone/iPod isn't available on the iPad.

I also agree that Maps are in the need of work.  Here is a picture of downtown San Diego where the Star of India is at: just an outline of the Star of India (ghost ship?) and there is a monster of some sort coming out of the water at the pier to the north of where the Start of India is at.

UPDATE (3/23/2012): I was also able to update Christy's iPhone without any problems. 


Reducing Drag - SD-CF II Card Adapter

I recently purchased a Compact Flash (CF) adapter that holds an SD card.  The one I got was: SD-CF II: SD to CF Type II Adapter (Supports SDHC MMC) from Amazon for under $20.

Extreme-CF-adapterThe reason I got this was to reduce some drag that was holding me back from taking my camera when I went out over the last couple of months.  Before the adapter, I had a standard CF Type II card that worked great, but I had created a work flow issue when I moved to my current workspace location at home.

Moving to the new space gave me an opportunity to set up my computer with no USB hub, card readers, etc. (ie. much cleaner and less cluttered).  However, now to get pictures off the camera I had to get out the adapter and hook up several USB cables.  Ugh.

But then I realized my main system has a built-in SD card slot so the adapter streamlines getting the pictures to my computer.  Pop the card out of the camera, take out the SD card, and then put it in my computer for upload.  Simple.  Less drag.

Here is a picture (also on Flickr in a larger format) that I wouldn't have taken without this tweak: 

Cactus

Anyone else have any other tweaks or gear recommendations that have reduced drags in their systems?  Let me know if you do!