All done working in Canada!

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I’m finally all done traveling to Canada (aka Canadia or Canuckistan depending on your point of view)!  That means I can finally put away my passport and global entry card and just run around with my drivers license again to get through security.  Despite the bitter coldness, there were a few things that stand out that made my time in Canada pretty cool.

  1. I saw Toronto from the top of the CN Tower
  2. I discovered 2 awesome thai restaurants that received a disproportionate amount of my money during my 13 weeks
  3. I saw my cousin almost weekly after not seeing him for about 13-14 years since my last trip to Canada with my father
  4. Saw my aunt and uncle as well so as much as it was a work trip most of the time I did my best to also include family time (mostly on Wednesday evenings)

I’m ready to do another US project though, there is some satisfaction that at least here I can run through security really fast using TSA PreCheck, I have status on my airline of preference which means no more boarding in Zone 5 and not having to fly Air Canada (my most hated airline at the present moment), and I don’t have to worry about foreign transaction fees on my credit card.

I have a good indication that I’ll be heading to Boston for my next project, that should be interesting since I haven’t had a project up there yet.  I try and get a souvenir like a hat or something from places I visit for work but I think with Boston I’ll pass, although I’ll be very tempted to bring my NY Yankee jersey with me once baseball season starts, just to stir the pot a little in good ole bean town.  Until that assignment starts, I’ll be here in South Florida trying to thaw out from the deep freeze of Canada.

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No snow for me!

This weekend the NY Metro region and basically the entire north east is getting its ass kicked by a blizzard.  There are tons of news reports about how much snow is going to fall and blah blah blah (because there’s nothing more important happening in the world other than this epic snow storm).  When I used to live in CT, yeah the amount of snow was a concern but it was also a joyous occasion because there was the possibility that I wouldn’t have to go to work on Monday.  It was even better when I was in school, snow days were always highly anticipated but back then you had to listen to the radio to see if your school was closed.  I would have killed to have a text message come through telling me to stay home instead of getting ready and then anticipating the school being closed by listening to the radio.

One of the side benefits of living in FL is that there really isn’t a winter.  Going down to 60 degrees doesn’t count on any measuring stick as “winter”, at best it’s spring weather but there also isn’t a lot of the white stuff coming from the sky.  While I might miss seeing it from time to time, I do not miss all the back breaking work of shoveling away all the snow.  The first snow fall is always the prettiest but anything after the first day is just misery that I’m glad I can do without here in the sunshine state.

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Winter in NYC

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Winter in Miami Beach

Finally used the Camera App on my Apple Watch

6a00e55225079e88340133ed129c9a970b-piIMG_9310-0This past New Years Eve I finally  found a use case for using the camera app on my Apple Watch.  We wanted to take a group photo and silly me I forgot my selfie stick!  Bad Asian!!  Anyway, I remembered that my Apple Watch is hooked up via Bluetooth to my iPhone 6 and that there is a remote camera app so that I can take photos.  I had to position the camera on a table and stand it up but what was cool is that I could use my Watch to  see what my iPhone was going to shoot.

I was going to use the 3 second timer but at midnight with a few 4 year olds, even 3 seconds was too long.  I was able to shoot the picture just fine but what I didn’t know is that it shoots in burst mode to ensure that I get an awesome picture!  I’m going to have to start using this app more and more when I want to take photos of things.  I just need a mount of my iPhone so I can take awesome stills from hard to reach places and when i can’t see my iPhone screen.

I need the Apple Watch to be more useful, and downloading more apps is helping but I think the real usefulness would come with syncing it with my work phone but I’m not ready to take that step.  I’ll keep it synced to my personal phone for now, besides I don’t want to see work emails on the weekends on my wrist anyway 😉

Duet Display has given me back my second screen

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This past week I decided to plunk down $10 for Duet Display which made my new iPad Air 2 into a second screen for my work laptop.  I can use it for my MacBook Pro too but I suspect I’ll be using this for work more often.

A long time ago in an office cubicle far far away, I had an external display to help me do my job when I was in IT since it involved doing work orders and shuffling around IT assets in a database to keep track of everything.  Since I became a consultant, I’ve suffered through using a single screen for the past 8 years.  Granted I was able to get my work done just fine but I always felt something was missing since I didn’t have the ability to utilize a second screen to do something simple like moving my email program to the other screen so I can just glance at it every once in a while to see who dared to interrupt my thought process.

I tried Duet Display last week and it worked like a charm!  It connects via the lightning cable and I just had to install a small program on my laptop so it could detect and connect to my iPad Air 2.  After that, it was just like using a second monitor in terms of setting up what position it was in.  On the iPad I just had to launch the app and presto, it was working!  I could even use the touch screen which was pretty sweet but I preferred to use the mouse anyway since thats what I’m used to using when working on a laptop.

I’m going to  keep using this for work and maybe for my MacBook Pro when I’m at home but I doubt it since I’m never doing anything data intensive while at home.  Needless to say, this is totally awesome and brings me back to my days of having a second monitor.  Granted its not as big as the 23″ monitor I have in my office but this will do the job and hopefully make work a little easier for me going forward.

Hey 2016… Can I skip working this year?

It’s my first travel day of 2016 and man it’s sucking already.  I’m in Toronto and its 12 degrees outside.  2015 was a pretty good year overall but now it’s time to look forward once again and get used to writing “16” instead of “15” when I date something.  I don’t think I’ll make a goal of having 100 blog posts like I tried and miserably failed last year.  Maybe something closer to 30 (twice or three times a month seems plenty) and I’m running out of things to blog about anyway.  Besides I’m starting to get into posting pictures again on my posts but WordPress doesn’t give me that much storage and it’s kind of a pain to link to a picture from the WordPress iPad app.

Since I’m coming up here for work again, it seems my taxes will be crazy since I’m doing international travel.  I just wish I could come here when it was warm or something so I don’t have to pack so many winter clothes with me or have to brave the outdoors and almost freeze to death.

I’m coming off a 2 week vacation back home and just yesterday I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt and now I’m wearing my ski jacket.  Those 2 weeks weren’t long enough, I could use a couple of months off not just a couple of weeks off.  Maybe that was a brief taste of what retirement will be like.  Hmm only 22 years to go unless I strike it rich somehow.  Since I got this blog post out of the way, I only have to make one more for the month!  SWEET!!