Thoughts & Tips For March & April 2019

Photos_2016_9_1_fst_840fcd2b47a-9065-4481-98e1-9d5d4f66b32eBrown Wood Plank

Sorry I never got around to posting in March 2019 ...

Getting Back To Healthy

TritonI went a little backwards on my back injury (bulged disc), and issues with my left leg (sciatica) since the last post in February.  The week before my last sprint triathlon I hurt my back trying to lift something that I shouldn't have. I took the next 6 days off, and then I did the UCSD Triton Sprint Triathlon (actually it was Dual-atholon -- 1.5km run, 21-km bike, & 5-km run -- as they had to cancel the swim because of rain run-off health concerns).  The bad news is that I fell off my bike in transition and hurt my knee, hip, elbow, and hands.  I was able to push through it during race day, but by the following day I couldn't run at all.  So, I've pretty much taken the full month off from running, and did a treatment of steroids to get me back to how I felt back in late October (run 60 seconds, walk 30 seconds, repeat 28x times).  Thank goodness for a good stretching routine, walking in the morning (instead of running), Pilates (2 days a week), and swimming (3 days a week) during this non-running time.  Hopefully April will be a month of full run recovery, and then maybe another sprint triathlon early in May.

Thankful For

A bunch of stuff has been going on that has been really cool:

Technology & Tips

I have tried several waterproof headphones for listening to music while swimming. These are the best so far: Underwater Audio's HydroActive Short-Cord Waterproof Headphones.

Since Apple started supporting podcasts in iTunes, I've always used some sort of Apple iPod for my own listening. In my quest to simplify my life, I decided to retire the Apple iPod Touch I've been using the last couple of years with my Android phone. This decision was basically about having one less device to care and feed.  After testing several Android application options, I finally made the switch to using Podcast Addict for Android. (Support) So far, so good!

Bourbon & Whiskey Update

Here is a collage of recent bourbons** that I've tried since January (last post on the topic):

BourboncollectionIf I had to rank these, then it would be in the following order: #1.) Longbranch, #2.) Basil Hayden's; #3.) IW Harper; #4.) Buffalo Trace; #5.) Cooper's Mark; #6.) Elmer T. Lee; #7.) Old Grand-Dad, and #8.) Sunshine Rye Whiskey (not really a bourbon - distilled in Ramona, CA).  The only one I wouldn't buy again is unfortunately the Rye Whiskey.

** Another bourbon that I've tried that I didn't take a picture of yet is Woodford Reserve Double Oaked. It is by far my overall favorite bourbon. #1.

Craft Beer Update

I made a collection of photos of recent craft beers that I've tried over the 1st Quarter of 2019. All of them were good and recommended.

Future

There is a lot going on in April:

  • Carson's play is also playing again next weekend, followed by her Sweet 16 Birthday party the following week.
  • Christy and I are celebrating our 25th Wedding Anniversary this month!
  • Carson and I get to see Chvrches on April 18, 2019.
  • Finishing up Lent and celebrating Easter!
  • We are doing my Mom's memorial on Saturday, April 27, 2019 in Roseville, CA. (RSVP)

Quote I'm Thinking About

"Yesterday's the past, tomorrow's the future, but today is a gift. That's why it's called the present." - Bill Keane


Thoughts & Tips For January 2019

IMG_7779

Photo by Steve Holden**

World Stabilizing

Per my November and December posts -- my Mom's sudden and unexpected passing on October 31, 2018 -- this event is still consuming most of my energy and attention.  I wouldn't be functioning though if it wasn't for the support, prayers, comfort, and help I've been getting from my faith in Christ, family, life group, church, friends, co-workers, CHVRCHES Podcast Fans, etc. Thank you all very much.  I recently found this picture (it was a 35mm slide that I converted to digital) of my Mom with her brother Ludwig in Germany (probably early 1960s before she left German for the United States):

Marlies&Ludwig-WinterTime

As I post this, my daughter and I are making a trip up to Sacramento/Roseville to work on a couple of key projects, and spend time with my sister's family before driving back to San Diego later in the week.

Thankful For

One of the micro stories I vaguely reference last month that was a blessing, but is both sad and happy. When I called my one of my childhood friend's Mom about my Mom passing, she had to share that her husband had passed away unexpectedly earlier in October, and his celebration of life service was the same weekend I was up there.  It was wonderful to attend, and spend time with friends I have not seen in years, and reflect & share about both unexpected deaths. God does work in ways that baffles me at times.

December was great. I love, and my family loves, Christmas ... so we made the most of it all month. This year's Christmas Party at our house was one of the highlights. I made four crock-pots of chili, and most of it was gone by the end of the night!

Podcastgraphic

I managed to end 2018 with a heartfelt CHVRCHES Fan Podcast.  In November, Chvrches releases a great acoustic EP called the Hansa Sessions that I adore.  I already knew this (I'm a little bit bias), but for an electronic synthesizer centric band -- they are really talented. 

Health Update

I believe I have had a bit of a breakthrough thanks to regular pilates classes and daily stretches as the numbness in my left foot related to my bulged disk (L5-S1) [see July Update] has gone away completely some days.  I haven't figured out a pattern, but as I write this, I currently don't have any numbness that I use to have all the time.

Technology

I am still loving the new Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, and the new Acer Chromebook Flip 13 has been working flawlessly.  I highly recommend both of them.

Future

There is not a lot on the horizon for January 2019.  There might be a work trip back to Washington, DC, and our family is going to host some Australian high school students at our house for a week or so.  That should be exciting!

Tips

I can't say more about trying this Hof Breathing Method that Kevin Rose posted on Instagram if you are feeling stressed out, or want to go to sleep after practicing the steps. It has really worked wonders for me.

One of my most read and reference blog posts I have ever posted is "How I use Google Keep to do Getting Things Done (GTD) in my personal system."  As of yesterday though (Sunday is my weekly review day), I moved my Personal GTD system to Nirvana.  And I am not looking back! More updates probably next month, but if you are struggling with your GTD tool, then you might want to try Nirvana. Here is a link to a recommended setup guide ($10).

Quote I'm Thinking About

"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." - Gandhi

**This photo was taken on December 26, 2018 at the San Diego Zoo.  There is a new walkway near the large birds of prey that links the pandas (at the bottom of a hill) to the polar bears (near the top of a hill).  This was part of the walk way.  It was very new (less than a week old?).


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

Kindfolk-703-unsplashPhoto by kindfolk on Unsplash

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


Near Real-Time Tracking

You can find out what I'm up to in near real-time via: Twitter (@sholden) or Facebook (sholden). 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. [Updated: Nov. 20, 2018]


Back In Time (2006) - My Podcast Queue

  Podcasts-listened-to-in-2006

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.


Some Recommendations For Headphones

Headphones

I am pretty happy with my Sennheiser HD202 headphones that I use at work, my Sony MDR-XD-200 that I use at home, and my travel  audio-technica Quiet-Point ATA-ANC7.  

I picked each one specific to issues I was trying to resolve where I use headphones.  The HD202 cover my ears very comfortably, but aren't so noise reducing that if someone knocked on my office door I would still hear them.  The MDR-XD-200 were 50% off, have excel sound quality, and are something you can wear for hours without much fatigue which is great for movies and audio editing.  The Quiet Points were cheaper than the Bose that I had before the were stolen, and fold up pretty well in thier protected case for travel.

Even though I'm content, I find it very interesting to get other folks opinions, suggestions, recommendations, etc. on headphones.

A recent This Week In Google (TWIG) [#234] recommended the following after discussing the recent ad during the Super Bowl for Beats:

Leo also mentioned that Headroom was a good site with more info.  And the Home Theater Geeks podcast have several very detailed podcasts in their library about headphones.  If you want to get very technical on headphones (and even some ear buds) these podcasts are highly recommended.

So ... do you have a favorite headphone? And why?

 


Quote from John Brown's Body poem by Stephen Vincent Benet

My friend Mark Horstman readily shares that his favorite part of John Brown's Body (Poem) by Stephen Vincent Benet is ...

If you take a flat map

And move wooden blocks upon it strategically,

The thing looks well, the blocks behave as they should.

The science of war is moving live men like blocks.

And getting the blocks into place at a fixed moment.

But it takes time to mold your men into blocks

And flat maps turn into country where creeks and gullies

Hamper your wooden squares. They stick in the brush,

They are tired and rest, they straggle after ripe blackberries,

And you cannot lift them up in your hand and move them.

It is all so clear in the maps, so clear in the mind,

But the orders are slow, the men in the blocks are slow

To move, when they start they take too long on the way -

The General loses his stars, and the block-men die

In unstrategic defiance of martial law

Because still used to just being men, not block parts.

Very powerful, thoughtful, and meaningful words that have now become one of my favorites also.

I recently noticed that Mark (who is co-host of Manager-Tools.com) read this part of the poem in a Career Tools podcast entitled How Not To Multi-Task (Part 2).

I took the liberty to edit a version of just the poem from the podcast.  It is going in my Monday motivational playlists and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


Will The Motorola Zoom Replace My Apple iPad?

I got a question from a friend asking if I was considering replacing my Apple iPad with a Motorola Zoom now that Best Buy is running ads for them.

The short answer is no.  I am still very happy with my iPad and use it every day as my primary personal "knowledge navigator."

Motorla-zoomAfter reviewing the Best Buy ad (the Zoom is expected to be released Feb. 24), I think the things that are attractive about this device:

  • 10.1" screen
  • 32-GB memory
  • Adobe Flash support
  • Front (2-MP) & rear (5-MP) camera for pictures & video capture
  • Andriod OS
  • 3G upgradeable to 4G LTE

Some things that are big negatives for me:

  • $800 price range
  • WI-FI can only be used after paying for a 1 month data subscription with Verizon

The other thing that is going to be hard for iPad users who are comfortable with using iTunes as their primary media sync tool (podcasts, music, movies, etc) is finding that same experience in the Android/Zoom eccosystem.  There are some good alternatives like doubletwist, but they are different.

The other big negative is going to be people's investment in iPad applications.  I know that is going to be something I'd have to consider because I do have some key applications I've purchased and use everyday that paying for them over again isn't very appealing.


An Apple iPad ~2 Month Later Review & Update

Ipad2

Here is a follow-up update to my one week review of the Apple iPad.

Overall, I am still extremely happy with the device.  It has become my primary personal device when I'm at home eliminating my Microsoft Windows 7 TabletPC I was using before the iPad.  I have also travelled with the iPad twice since the initial purchase, and I have found it a great device for reading material (books, PDFs, magazines, saved offline web content, etc) and for consuming videos (podcasts, TV shows, and movies).  Taking the iPad on travel vice the personal TabletPC has also meant that I had over 6 pounds less in my backpack than normal.  This made travel much more enjoyable.

NY Times' BOB TEDESCHI recently did a review on his impression of travelling with the iPad.  The only thing I found different from Bob article is that TSA at both San Diego (SAN) and Washington Dulles (IAD) wanted the iPad in a seperate container to scan vice stored in my backpack.

Things that continue to make this device enjoyable:

  • Excellent form-factor, screen, and battery life
  • Internal speaker is well suited for casual listening
  • Consumption of media when and where I want to is ideal
  • Applications customized for the iPad are compelling

The one thing I did have to figure out was how to seemlessly as possible listen to "new" news and video podcasts directly on the iPad without having to do a regular desktop sync.  I tried using Safari and Google Reader to manage the feeds but playing MP3s in Safari has proven to be buggy for me.  Safari would play them for a while but then become unstable and quit, especially for large shows over 15 minutes long.  I then moved those specific news and video podcasts to my desktop iTunes to get the subscriptions loaded on the iPad.  Once loaded you can then play them from the iPod application.  But if you want new podcasts you need to click "Get More Episodes ..." which then launches the iTunes application.  You then need to click on the Free icon for the newer podcast items you want to download directly.  The Free icon then changes to Get Episode which when you click on that icon will download.  You then need to application context switch back to the iPod application to play the new content.  It works but definitely not seamlessly.  But the benefit of using Apple's iPad and iTunes applications on the iPad is that you can listen to content and launch other applications.

The biggest negative continues to be lack of multi-processing. Switching between applications is fast but swapping context is mentally challenging.  Plus, I'd love to be able to run Pandora in the background and then go about whatever else I'd like to do.

Ipad-apps1 

My top ten most used 3rd-party iPad apps seem to be:

  1. TweetDeck (Twitter app)
  2. Kindle (eBook reader)
  3. iThoughtsHD (MindMap tool)
  4. Evernote (online notes and reference library)
  5. Toodledo (projects and tasks management)
  6. Goodreader (PDF reader)
  7. The Weather Channel MAX+ (check the weather)
  8. Dropbox (online, multi-computer file storage)
  9. Atomic Web (multi-tab browser)
  10. QuickVoice (audio recorder)

Ipad-apps2 

Next on the list is to consider trying out some of the remote access solutions to see how well you can run a Mac or PC from the iPad.  If you have a favorite then please let me know.