Post Number 1000!!

1000

I started blogging in 2005 and after 9 years I’ve finally hit 1000 blog posts.  A lot has definitely changed in 9 years since I started my blog.  If I hit the time machine button, I can tell you that I was living in Tampa FL when I first started my blog and my posts were really short back then and was mostly rants about my commute into work.  Its morphed over time but not that much.  It definitely reflects my career and family progression over the last 9 years.  With the way I write these days, it’ll probably be another 10 or more years until I can make 2000 posts.  Oh and just for giggles, happy Chinese New Year!  It’s the year of the Horse and thats my year 🙂

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Tablets in the Air

Tablets truly rule the First Class cabin on domestic flights.  I’m on my 3rd flight of 2014 (this was last week btw) and I’m in First Class for the second time and all I can see from the people sitting around me are nothing but tablets.  I am personally using my iPad Mini with Retina Display and around me I see a few more iPads in use as well as a smattering of androids and even some Kindle’s (just the eReader type).  Tablets certainly have become prolific and it definitely makes travel a bit more bearable.  I don’t use my tablet for work really, it’s mostly an entertainment device to help me keep sane as I travel for work.  I use it as my news hub, my all around video device, a place to read my ebooks (paper backs are too heavy these days ;))and of course I play my games.

I mostly see people just like using their tablets to while away the boring time that we all share in the middle of the sky before we reach the next airport.  It was great that the FAA came to its senses and let tablets be used through all stages of flight.  I remember the first an last 20 minutes of any flight being extremely boring since I couldn’t do anything but watch the sky through the window or read the inflight magazine.  If you travel as much as I do, there’s only so many times one can read the same magazine or read Skymall.  A real killer feature would be free wifi on airplanes but I assume Gogo and the airlines make way too much money to ever let that happen.  Although I do hear that JetBlue offers it but they don’t travel to Chicago directly from Miami.

The one thing indefinitely won’t welcome will be inflight phone calls.  I’m sure that would cost a pretty penny and I’m definitely not going to use that option if ever offered since I know it would be distracting to those around me.  What would be awesome would be to use a tablet on an international flight.  The seats in international first look way more comfy than domestic.  I’ve ha a similar experience when going to Hawaii, those lie flats are super sweet!  But the private cabins I’ve seen in ads for some of the carriers like Singapore Airlines put domestic first to shame.

Tablet computing is definitely here to stay and I’m sure more and more people will be bringing them along when they fly.  It certainly makes the case for the airlines to stop buying in flight entertainment.  Maybe they can use the savings from that and let us check a bag without any fees.  Yeah right that’s obviously wishful thinking since they make a killing with those fees these days.  Time to get back to my movie that’s running on my iPad Mini 🙂

Using the Unused

As I start 2014 I’m going to start trying out more of the apps that I’ve downloaded to my iPad mini that I have basically neglected. One of those is Pages. This is the word processing program by Apple to rival apps like Google Docs and Microsoft Office. When it comes to work I have no real choice but to use Microsoft office and I’m ok with that. I have office on my Mac and my PC at home but there really wasn’t any need for me to use them. To do some basic document collaboration with my wife I tend to use Google docs since we’re both heavy Google users. What I intend to do is start using Pages for more of the draft work that I do with my blog posts. I considered doing it on Evernote but it doesn’t open a window in full screen mode so there looks like there is less writing space. Pages has the benefit of using my iCloud account as well so I know that it will be synced across my devices. The downside is that is just one more place where I am storing stuff. There are so many different cloud services that I use it’s starting to get a bit unwieldy. I’ll have to do more consolidation at some point (most likely on box.com) but for docs I need to pic one soon.

Skitch might also start getting some additional attention this year. I downloaded it a long time ago but I haven’t really learned how to use it but from what I understand of the program it’s very powerful and can be used for annotating pictures which is something that I do a lot at work. I know it does a lot of integration with Evernote and that’s why I got it in the first place but just haven’t gotten past the learning curve yet. It’s all a matter of changing some of my workflow in how I do work to make things snazzier for lack of a better word.

One thing that I know I would like to do more of but I know that I’m pretty terrible at is drawing. My mom used to say that I was pretty good at it but I haven’t really graduated from modified stick figures since high school. About a year ago I got an app called Paper which won a design award from Apple for being one of the best drawing apps in the store. You have to buy a lot of the brushes that are in the app via in app purchase but I was thinking that I should start out with some simple sketches or something and go from there. I’m definitely trying to release the more creative side this year but it’s very early in 2014 so I guess we’ll see how long this kick lasts before I go back to my old bad habits.

Both of my other apps are pretty well used but they all have some sort of purpose as it relates to work or getting things done at home in my personal life. There is a lot of things that require my time both on the road and at home but I want to try and do something new other than play games, spend money on home or car maintenance, or plan traveling. I think I’ll start small and just start trying out apps that I’ve downloaded and ignored and try and see if they can make my life easier or get me to change a habit or even start a hobby that isn’t expensive. (Right now my motorcycle and technology gadget hobbies are a little on the pricy side so finding something cheap to do might be the thing to try in 2014).

So far so good, I’ve thought of 2 blog posts in just one airplane ride. I guess the 3 hours of distraction free time helps a lot too. No one is asking me for anything and no one can bother me all the way up here. Let’s hope they keep it that way, I don’t want to be online while in flight or be reachable by phone. I think flying for work is one of the last distraction free areas I can find for small spurts of time where I can work on just my stuff and not stuff for work or home. Ahh gotta love it.

Let 2014 travel begin!

My 2014 travel has begun and so far it has been quite good to me. I’m continuing to take United Airlines for my flights because this is the only airline in which I have any status anymore. Not only did I get TSA PreCheck, I also got a first class upgrade this morning. Overall that makes my first Monday flying up to freezing Chicago a good one in my book. This is a personal plus for me but maybe not a good thing for work, my flight is now later in the morning which means I can sleep in a little longer on Monday mornings instead of getting up at 4am and being all bleary eyed when I walk into the office.

Another change for 2014 is that I’m going to start staying at the Hilton in Northbrook rather than continuing at the Westin. I have my platinum status with Starwood for the year so if I have to stay at one I won’t be starting at zero. I was looking at Starwood properties over the winter break that I had and there was nothing that stood out that screamed “you gotta stay here”. I have almost 800K in points with Hilton so that can go pretty far in terms of stays and what not. I also like that there are more choices in a given city with Hilton than Starwood overall so I have options if something is completely booked and I need to stay some place else.

I haven’t gotta to Chicago yet so we’ll see if my string of good luck passes on to rental cars. An upgrade would be nice from my normal Chevy but I’ve already had good luck with my flights so I’m not going to push things. The entire family was approved for Global Entry so in the next 5 years I hope to take advantage of that as well by being able to get through customs nice and fast as well as going through TSA PreCheck lines more often. That will definitely make the travel experience for my family way better.

Here’s to hoping that 2014 will be a good travel year!

Windows 8 is a FAIL

Okie dokie.  I’ve been a Windows user since I was a freshman in highschool and back then I wasn’t even allowed into Windows unless my teacher said I could go because the programs that I was using were DOS based (thats Disk Operating System to you youngins).  Windows 3.0 and 3.1 were pretty horrible.  There really wasn’t anything fun you could do with the thing and it looked aweful because of the 16 bit graphics and the windows themselves really didn’t do anything but piss you off.  Windows 95 through Windows 7 has been pretty consistent, it has a start menu, it has search (for the most part), and it lets me get to my programs easily and I know where everything is.

Windows 8 is a step away from all that.  Microsoft has decided to unify the user experience by using a bunch of tiles.  I’ve seen it in Windows Phone, Xbox 360, and now in Windows 8.  I must say that I thoroughly despise it.  My sister in law bought a new computer and wanted me to help her set it up and it had Windows 8 on it and it also had a touch screen (thats definitely new).  I know that Windows 8.1 brought back the Start Menu but Windows 8 lacks any start menu whatsoever.  To me thats is the most important thing in Windows.  To get to the traditional desktop I had to click on a tile that looked like a desktop but it wasn’t labeled “desktop” so I would know to click on it.

After some initial struggles I was able to finally get the hang of it and attempted to get the programs I needed on the computer installed and move some data around from an external drive to the computer.   Needless to say it was a less than stellar experience and it took longer than it needed to if I was using regular Windows 7.  I don’t think I’m going to upgrade to Windows 8 or potentially buy a new Windows based PC if the interface remains the same or if this is the new direction of Windows.  I need a traditional desktop experience.

My future most likely will be OSX Mavericks since its still pretty traditional in terms of how it works.  I’m hoping that they don’t try and merge too much of iOS with with OSX and make it more like Windows 8.  I have to admit that OSX has definitely grown on me since I’ve owned a MacBook Pro over the last 2 years.  The swipe gestures are definitely helpful and since I do most of my stuff using a web browser I don’t have a real need for a whole lot of programs except for iPhoto, iTunes, and Safari.  I’m another 3 years from my next upgrade so I’m hoping that they don’t mess something up that will force me to keep my old PC and MacBook running until something better comes along (hopefully I won’t be forced to use Linux, that would really suck).

Avoided the Deep Freeze!

This week I was supposed to up to Chicago for work but some strange thing happened with the weather and this crazy deep freeze set in. Now I’ve been in the cold (I worked in Minneapolis for a winter once) but man this one took the cake! I checked the forecast and there was a high of -11 on Monday when I was supposed to fly out. I got a notice that my flight was canceled and I tried to get another flight out but everything was booked until Thursday so I’m glad I didn’t have to go.

I definitely don’t have the winter clothing to survive -11 weather with windchills of up to -40. I don’t think I had this kind of clothing when I loved in Connecticut. I think the airlines did the right thing by canceling most of the flights to Chicago. I probably would have gone a step further to close down flight ops because it’s kind of cruel to expect the ground crew to work when it’s that cold outside.

The winter storm should be gone and things will be normal by next week. The storm even slightly affected me here in South Florida because I had to switch the A/C off and put on the heat for a day. Of course I put the A/C back on, I live in Florida after all! I hope that’s the last time this year a deep freeze like that comes around. I certainly don’t want I be stuck in Chicago of another deep freeze comes around.

Happy 2014 Interweb Denizens

As is customary during this time of year, I’ve decided to add my first post of the new year.  I’ve been doing this for almost 9 years now (since 2005 when I started on Blogger) and I’m still pretty sure no one reads anything that I post.  Thats ok, I’m mostly posting for me and not really the masses.  The picture above is what I assume happened last night in Miami during the countdown to 2014.  I do know that Pitbull was playing at the American Airlines Arena too but alas I was at home with my family.  With my daughter sound asleep, my wife and I decided to watch We’re the Millers that we borrowed from my sister-in-law.  We did stay up to watch the ball drop (to my friend Wyatt’s credit, it does look like they put a bunch of Triforce symbols all over it).  I definitely didn’t meet my goal of 100 blog posts for 2013.  I fell way short by only posting 44 times which is really low for me but I guess that goes in keeping with the time that I have to blog which isn’t a lot. So today is actually new years day, that means its time to take down all the Christmas trimmings and box them away for another 11 months.  The best part though?  I still don’t have to even think about work until Monday since I took the rest of the week off 🙂

Time to get to work on those Christmas trimmings, the daughter is asleep for her nap so I “should” be able to get a lot done but procrastinating online is one of my few vices and I’m doing it right now with this blog post.  OK seriously, I’m OUT! Until the next post that is…….