Thoughts & Tips For October 2018

Image-from-rawpixel-id-433988-jpegImage by rawpixel.com

Health Update

Things are slowly getting better.  The Pilates classes I have been taking are really making a difference.  My core is really getting stronger.  I did pretty well on my 2nd Sprint Triathlon beating my expected time by a couple of minutes:

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I finally broke down and got some Bluetooth workout/running/gym headphones.  I think I picked these because of the price, they were from Anker which I think has good Q&A, and the overall reviews.

Thankful For

This past September had a lot to be thankful for.

My friend Mark Horstman from Manager Tools was in San Diego teaching a group of leaders at my work how to do Better Interviewing.  I highly recommend this training:

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I got to see my favorite band Chvrches with my family.  My daughter and I were in the front row with my friend Bruce from Texas.  It was a very memorable show:

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Also the opening band was Lo Moon and they are awesome:

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My nieces wedding was also wonderful:

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And my last training class for Getting Things Done (GTD) at work in FY2018 was great.  It is awesome to be able to help others better manage their lives in a productive and effective way:

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Future

I have a couple of work related trips that should be very interesting and I am planning to learn a lot at them.

Another great musician - Maggie Rogers -- and her opening band Mallrat are coming to San Diego in September and I'm so looking forward to seeing them live.

Tips

Do you have a Roomba that is running slow because of old batteries?  This was out situation over the summer.  I'd charge the Roomba and then it would only be able to do half the room before needing to be recharged.  I got this battery replacement and it is like we have a new Roomba.

I have probably said this before, but 3x5 cards seem to be the best possible note taking solution for me.  I recently bought some cards that were "not the cheapest" and had some  thickness to them.  The newer cards are very nice to write on and because they are firm and solid, more enjoyable to use.

Quote I'm Thinking About

“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” — Jack Kornfield


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


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 January 2018

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Technology

I got a Zoom H6 Portable Audio Recorder for Christmas (see below).  I'm really excited to try it out in Hawaii (see below).

Thankful For

The A Holiday Variety Show in Hollywood, CA at the Fonda on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 was awesome.  My favorite band CHVRCHES played three songs.  It was awesome.  UPDATE (1/23/2019): More details if you are interested. 

Christmas was awesome.

Future

My son won a trip to Hawaii and is taking me - January 2 - 7, 2018.  

We also have tickets for the musical Hamilton in San Diego, CA in January 2018.

Uncomfortable

I'm still prepping for teaching my first set of classes using Vital Smarts material for a new 1-day Getting Things Done (GTD) training class at work. 

And I signed up for a two-day course way out my comfort zone - Rescue Academy with Mike Foster - in February 2018.  I'm going to learn a lot, and hopefully help more!

Running Tips

Stretch (~10 minutes) plus do several different sets of situps and pushups before a run. Do pull-ups after your run.

Rotate shoes everyday.  I have 5 pairs of shoes and rotate through them.  I usually just get the basic running shoe at Costco.  This has worked better for me than having two high-end running shoes and rotating between them.  I switch out a set of shoes after about 6 months.


Back In Time (2006) - My Podcast Queue

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Below is my list of iPodder (now Juice) podcast feeds from October 2006 that I use to listen to on an iRiver:

  1. - ChuckChat Technorama -
  2. 43 Folders
  3. Alternative Classix - The Blog
  4. altNPR Groove Salad -- Taste of the Week
  5. APMs Future Tense
  6. AttentionTech
  7. Behind the Mic
  8. BusinessWeek - The Cutting Edge
  9. Career Opportunities The High-Tech Career Handbook
  10. CBS Fall Premiere Interviews with Dana Greenlee
  11. Celtic Music News Celtic Music News
  12. Christ Lutheran Church Messages
  13. CIO Podcast
  14. Coverville
  15. Dan Bricklins Software Licensing Podcast
  16. DARN PC
  17. Digital Experience Podcast - MP3 Feed
  18. Distributing the Future
  19. Docs Podblog
  20. Endurance Radio Audio Interviews
  21. Engadget Podcasts
  22. Eric Mack On-Line
  23. Eurythmics - The Ultimate Collection
  24. Evil Genius Chronicles
  25. Friends in Tech
  26. Gillmor Gang
  27. Home Network and Computer Help - HomeNetworkHelpInfo
  28. In the Trenches
  29. IndieFeed ElectronicaDance
  30. Internet Pro Radio icannBlog
  31. Jazz Music - RedJazz Radio
  32. Jimmy Jett
  33. Jons Radio
  34. KFI Tech Guy
  35. Killer Innovations
  36. Lessig Blog
  37. MacCast - For Mac Geeks, by Mac Geeks
  38. MAKE Magazine
  39. Manager Tools
  40. MobileTechRoundup
  41. Morning Coffee Notes
  42. Music4iPodscom - ElectronicaDJ
  43. Network World Radio
  44. Old Wave Radio New 80s Music!
  45. On The Media from NPRWNYC
  46. OnTheRun with Tablet PCs Podcast
  47. OpenPodcastorg
  48. Ottmar Lieberts Listening Lounge
  49. PaulDotCom Security Weekly
  50. podbat podbat podcasts
  51. Podcast Brothers
  52. Pritzker Military Library Podcasts
  53. Radio Leo
  54. Reel Reviews Radio
  55. Rip & Read Blogger Podcast
  56. Slashdot Review
  57. State Dept - Daily Press Briefings
  58. Steve Holden Tech Rag Tear Outs (TRTO)
  59. Steve Holdens Weblog
  60. Tech News Radio
  61. TechPodcastscom Network
  62. Terry Storch
  63. TGN Behind the Scenes
  64. TGN The Living Word
  65. The Bag and Baggage Podcast [now This Week in Law]
  66. The Bitterest Pill
  67. the Eric Rice Show
  68. The Golden Hammer Tech Watch
  69. The Invisible Hand
  70. The Invisible Hand, Enhanced Version
  71. The Pentagon Channel
  72. The Roadhouse
  73. The Rock and Roll Geek Show
  74. ThePodcastNetwork The Gadget Show
  75. ThePodcastNetwork The Mobiles Show
  76. ThePodcastNetwork The TabletPC Show
  77. ThePoint
  78. These Days [@KPBS]
  79. They Might Be Giants Podcast
  80. this WEEK in TECH
  81. todbitscom
  82. Typical PC User Podcast
  83. Ultima Thule Ambient Music Radio
  84. Valid Syntax
  85. vinyl podcast
  86. Voices in Your Head wDave Slusher
  87. WGBH Morning Stories
  88. Wi-Fi Networking News Podcasts
  89. Wizbang Podcast

I found this while recovering my old iBook backup drive using SpinRite.  I was actually trying to find some older TechNewsRadio podcasts that were posted on a server that no long exists.  I seem to have a gap of ~200 with bad links.


Nexus 7 vs. Nexus 6 - Different GPS Driving Notifications With Google Maps

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I think I've found a good reason to keep my Nexus 7 (2013) as my daily GPS unit in my car compared to my new Nexus 6.

Here is a Screen Shot #1 comparison (click on image for bigger resolution):

Google Maps

And here is Screen Shot #2 comparison (click on image for bigger resolution):

Google Maps1

It appears that since the Nexus 7 (left images) is a tablet and has more screen real estate then the smartphone Nexus 6 (right images) you get the alternative route time notifications as you are driving your selected route in Google Maps.

These notifications are actually a great feature, and I use it all the time for making real time route changes.

If anyone knows if there is actually a way to enable this on the Nexus 6 then please let me know.  

NOTE: I did load up Waze on the Nexus 6 to see if that application had the route time notifications but from what I could tell it doesn't.


Google Nexus 7 (2013) Review

I have decided to upgrade my Google Nexus 7 (2012) to the new version (2013) that was released at the end of July 2013.  Here is a link to my previous review of the 2012 version.

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The main reasons I think this new version (2013) in the base model configuration (WIFI only with 16-GBs)  is a big improvement over the last base model version (2012):

  • Form factor: the width is less so it is easier to hold in one hand
  • Upgraded internal specs (processor, sensors, etc)
  • Front and back facing cameras
  • Improved speakers
  • Improved screen
  • Also comes with Android v4.3 (the 2012 edition is also supported)

That being said, one of the reasons that it took me more than six weeks (I'm writing this on 9/2/2013) to feel comfortable recommending this version was that the GPS interface had a bad hardware bug that made it pretty much useless for navigation.  Since this is a critical feature for me I wanted to make sure there was a fix (released late in August) that addressed the problem. The fixes to v4.3 list below from Google did solve my issues.  These fixes were also suppose to fix some touch screen issues but I never had those.

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One of the reasons that I decided to not get the 1st generation of the Apple iPad Mini (released in November 2012) and try out the Google Nexus 7 (2012) was mostly: form factor (pretty wide to hold in one hand), cost ($299), no integrated GPS on the WIFI model, and non-Retina display. Plus I was able to get my Nexus 7 (2012) for $150 used via Craigslist (see review).

The one thing that I'm still not 100% happy about is that the camera on the back for "standard pictures" (5-MB) is not that great except in ideal lighting situations.  But that is pretty much my only complaint.

So, with all things considered, I do recommend the Google Nexus 7 (2013) tablet if you are in the market for a 7" tablet.  I use it everyday effectively for: email; personal productivity; social media; consuming media (news, podcasts, blogs, RSS, video, etc); navigation; games; and tracking stuff (notes, references, health, etc). 

UPDATE (11/24/2013): Now that there is a 2nd generation Apple iPad Mini with Retina display I did consider purchasing it, but decided that since I use the GPS everyday for navigation that I'm staying with the Google Nexus 7 (2013).  Plus the price difference is something to consider.  There are rumors that the 2013 edition will get a new list price of $199 which will mean there is a $100 price difference.


Google Nexus 7 (2012) Review

I've noticed recently that since I carry my iPad around with me everywhere that I've been getting a lot more questions from people I know and meet about what type of tablet they should get.  While I follow the mobile market as close as possible, all my current experiences are with an iPad.

I am a huge fan of the iPad for me (see previous posts), but recently I've been really curious if all the buzz around the Nexus 7 and the latest Andriod OS 4.1.2 and future 4.2 (Jelly Bean) were true.

Related to this topic, is my ongoing evaluation of Windows 8 on a touch screen enabled HP laptop, the release of Microsoft Surface/Windows RT (no experience), and the new Apple iPad Mini (no experience).

So, I decided to expand my experiences and look for a used Google Nexus 7.  I was able to pick one up locally here in San Diego for $150 (25% off list) so that sealed the deal.

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So here is my first impression after opening the box.  Nice hardware -- the rubber back feels great in my hands, and the smaller form factor (~7-inch) is excellent. To be honest it really brings back memories of the Apple Newton.  In fact, one of the cases I had for my Apple Newton, that I was using for my Marantz recorder, easily holds the Nexus 7, so that is my case at the moment.

After using the device pretty much full time this past weekend, the current Andriod OS (4.1.2) is suprisingly easy to use, and I haven't found too many issues or problems I couldn't solve on the device.  It is defintiely more technical than Apple iOS, but that shouldn't cause any real issues, even for a novice.  The comments from others in the mobile analysis arena that there is now parity between this version of Andriod and iOS. I think this is a pretty accurate assessment from my short testing.

I find the integration with Google very tight, and if you are a heavy Google user (Gmail, Docs, Reader, Maps, Play, etc) than the Nexus 7 is an excellent tablet.  The new Google Now is a very good tool that floats up information that is pretty meaningful to me (weather, calendar items, sports scores, traffic, etc).  I also think the Widgets on the home/main screen are very power for getting quick updates to key information.

Some things that are working against me with the Nexus 7: no rear-facing camera (I use my iPad camera daily); trying to not purchase any software that I've already paid for iOS; screen seems to get dirtier than the new iPad (about has bad as the original iPad); and missing some core applications that I have on iOS (some games, native Toodledo app, iThoughtsHD, etc).

Some useful Nexus 7 features: integrated GPS and NFS; micro USB charger; Google Wallet; integrated speaker is similar to the iPad (maybe not as loud but good enough); and software buttons on the front for back, home screen, and running applications (ie. scrolling app switcher).

While I had some application gaps, there was a relatively high parity in standard applications that I use regularly on iOS: Amazon shopping, Bible, Camera+ alternatives, Drive, Evernote, Hulu Plus, LastPass, Dropbox, Netflix, PocketBible (alpha), RedBox, and Stitcher.  It is also good to know that there are really two main application stores: one from Google (Play) and one from Amazon (AppStore).  I recommend checking both to see if there is a possible deal between the two.

So, am I going to keep the Nexus 7 in my toolkit? I think so, but it might not be my main tablet. I'm going to keep using it as my main tablet for the next week or so and then re-evaluate my options.  

That would also include trying out the iPad Mini.  And I think another option is one tablet for home (aka the iPad) and one for being out-and-about (the Nexus).


"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.