Recommendation - Family & Kid Camping In San Diego Area

Yesterday, I went with Conrad's 3rd grade class on a field trip to Indian Hills - a family and kids camp in East San Diego County. 

I took a ton of video and I plan to build them a little DVD scrapbook. 

But I was really impressed with the facilities and the things to do.  Check out the link above if you are interested.

Brewery Recommendation: Mad Anthony in Warsaw, Indiana

I am working through my stack of stuff to blog about and I am up to my endorsement of a great brewery in the Warsaw, Indiana area:

Mad Anthony's Lake City Tap House

113 East Center Street, Warsaw, Indiana 46580


We had a great dinner there, amazing microbrews, and a great cover band called The Fabulous Rhythm Kids was on stage for several hours. They played some very good rock and blues covers.

Google 3D Map Advertising Thoughts

Dann Sheridan had an interesting observation recently about a potential Google Earth advertising opportunity.

It triggered my memory on a question I had a while back that was similar. My thought was based on noticing that Google 3D Warehouse City Collection has a good number of virtual buildings built by Google.

Is Google poised to put in virtual ads within a building based on map searches that lead to virtual tours?

Two Great Food Recommendations for Washington DC Area

I had two great dinners at two very good restaurant during my recent business trip to Washington DC:

I had the four cheese ravioli at San Vitos which was very cheesy and had a great sauce.  And I had the bison meatloaf at the Montana Grill which was very flavorful.

I highly recommend both places.

Trip Summary - "You got 45 minutes"

So I travel on Monday feeling under the weather.  I think I get about 10 hours of sleep on Monday night, and wake up on Tuesday feeling about the same first way as I did on Monday.  A cup of coffee, a series of nose blows, and a really hot shower, get me into an operational mode and cruise through PowerPoint until I have to get to the offices for the program review.

When I walk in, its been changed from 1400-1600 to 1430-1530.  By 1430, it has been changed to 1445-1530, and the main decision makers all have to leave at exactly 1530 to make another meeting in a different location by 1600.  And we have been moved from the conference room with working A/V equipment into an executive office with no working A/V.  So it is just my little Toshiba M400 screen, and quickly printed (ink still wet) handouts.

Then as I start my presentation, I learn that the 1530 exit time also requires the decision makers get interrupted about every 8-10 minutes for 1 or 2 minutes to review some documents that they need to take with them at 1530.  Now that was probably the biggest challenge of all that I have faced so far in the day, because having to rewind/recap before moving on is not something I've really experienced a lot of in the past.

But hey, that is the job, and I got through it in time for questions and decisions.  I'm not even remotely bothered by this type of chaos, but I could  tell others in the room were.  Things like this usually work themselves out in the end.

Bottom-line, the focused feedback when the decision makers were engaged was positive, the financial numbers were not ideal but are all workable, the workload is doable, and all-in-all its probably a great program review because no one is yelling and screaming. Smiles all around the room.  Take it when you can!

I head back to the hotel and fall asleep for 12 hours, and wake up basically feeling the same way as Monday and Tuesday.  The good news is that Wednesday had no hard deliverables or meetings, just a plane trip home in the evening  Which goes pretty well, but I land with a major headache that was cured by a Starbuck's Cafe Mocha and some aspirin.

It is now Thursday morning, and I woke up feeling much better than the other three days that if it was any other week would have been rarely used sick days.  Happy trails are now again on the horizon ... now back to work ...

Forced Travel - Taking One For The Team

I woke up this morning feeling absolutely terrible.  But as time moved on in the day, I got to a point where I figured I could make my scheduled trip (1300 PST flight) to Washington DC for my program review with my sponsor.

Program reviews ... especially when they include details and decisions on Fiscal Year 2007 ... is not something a IT project manager really wants to miss.  But boy did I consider it after I woke up.

The trip turned out to be fine. But I am exhausted and headed for bed.  The good news is that the meeting isn't until 1400 EST so I can sleep in and work on slides from the hotel until around 1100.

Two New Interfaces - One I Liked And One Made Me Feel Uncomfortable

I had to deal recently with two new interfaces in dealing with two familiar products.

The first one that I liked, was the new EasyCutter that is shipping on Costco food wrap rolls.  You just pull out the wrap and move the slider over and your wrap is cut.  No more worrying about cutting yourself when you want to wrap some leftovers or a desert.

The one that I didn't like was at National Car Rental (but I might learn to like it) during my recent trip to Washington DC.  After finishing the paperwork and getting registered for my rental car, the customer service Representative said something like "Go out into the mid-size area and pick the car you want."

I was like "What?" and I said, "I don't understand."  I'm use to getting assigned a car, not to pick one out.  He told me again, "Just go out in the mid-size area, and find a car you like and then you can go."

So ... as uncomfortable as it was, I went out and sized up the selection, decided on the PT Cruiser and was off. 

Changing interfaces always has a challenge - even ones that are suppose to be beneficial.  I need to remember that for future systems that I'm supporting and designing.

Tablet PC Update - Moving from Toshiba Tecra M4 to Portege M400

Over the last week I have been transitioning from a Toshiba Tecra M4 (aka The Beast) to the Toshiba Portege M400 (aka Not-The Beast).   Both Tablet PC based systems.

So far I am very happy with the performance (dual-core fast), form factor (compact), weight (less) and the screen resolution (same but smaller screen).

The other big news for this transition is that I did not take my GBs of items from C:/Data directory.  I moved over completely fresh and I have only been moving over data that I need.  This included Outlook .pst files which has made syncing with the Cingular 8125 significantly faster and more reliable.

Another big bonus is that I got all the "spyware" or "not need software" off of the M400 before I started using it full time.  I was not able to accomplish this with the M4 which still has some AOL stuff I can't remove for some odd reason.

Only down side so far is the biometric finger print reader is very unreliable.

More to come ...

Mini-Link Fest - New Media Focus?!?

I made a recent dent in reading through my RSS feeds, and I have the following items to check up on when I'm working through @Internet, and I thought I'd share them:

Survived the DC Trip - Theodore Roosevelt Island, Beer Recommendation, & W.E.B. Griffin

I managed to survive and still have a good time on my recent business trip to Washington DC (the way back was DCA to Dallas to SAN). 

One of the main reasons I had a good time, was that I managed to sneak in three great runs in the Rossyln area of Virgina. One of the better ones included an exploration of Theodore Roosevelt Island which is part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway that is operated by the Virgina Turkey Run Park.

I'm also going to have to recommend the following beers:

Lastly, I have to admit I'm becoming a fan of "reading fiction books" while in transit, vice pulling out the work Tablet PC or the personal iBook or a tech journal.  Right now, I am busy quickly turning pages of W.E.B. Griffen's By Order Of The President.  This is my first Griffen book (definitely not my last Griffen book). I had heard his name before, but never got introduced until I listened to his recent podcast at Pritzker Military Library.