iPhone vs. streetsweeper

Earlier this week an employee at my office couldn’t find his iPhone.  So we pulled it up on Find My iPhone and saw that it was at our office.  So we started looking around for it, and then a curious thing happened.  It started moving down the street.

We figured that someone picked it up and made off with it, so a couple of folks jumped in a car and started after the blip on the GPS screen.  When they finally caught up with it, they found a Chicago City street sweeper vehicle.

The iPhone had fallen out of a pocket, was swept up by the street sweeper and then dragged for blocks.  The entire time it was still giving out its signal for Find My iPhone despite the fact that the handset itself was fairly destroyed.

So Find My iPhone is a pretty cool feature, and can stand a beating to the phone itself.  Good to know.

The Good, The Sad and the Meh

This has been a rather interesting week for me from a technology perspective.

First, at the day gig, we are launching a new piece of software that effectively runs our entire business.  It’s a big change, so myself and Declan have been traveling and helping answer questions during training.  It’s the largest software launch that our company has probably ever done, and it’s all written in XPages.  Yes, XPages.

Declan has put together an incredible application and I’m very excited for it to go live.  It requires Lotus Domino 8.5.3 for some of the functionality, and lo and behold, that was released by IBM on Tuesday.

We’ve been testing 8.5.3 for quite some time, and actually wrote this application in all of the betas.  So we’re confident that 8.5.3 is going to work well, and very happy that it finally shipped. :-)  That was the good…

On that same day another company in Cupertino, California announced a product of much speculation.  The general consensus on the iPhone 4S was “meh” but it’s still a pretty damn cool phone.  I’ve already gotten floods of requests for the new device (especially since it is now on Sprint) so that’s going to take off quite a bit I think.

Lastly was the sad news of the death of Steve Jobs.  I know there have been tons of eulogies out on the web, so I don’t have too much to add other than it does make me sad to see such an innovative person leave us so young.  56 IS young folks.  And cancer… well just fuck cancer.

Anyway, think of how profoundly Steve Jobs changed everything about computing.  From creating the first truly “personal” computer to revolutionizing the phone and tablet market.  There was no smart phone market five years ago.  No portable music market ten years ago.  No real tablet market two years ago.  No app stores.  Sure these things existed in small pockets, but no one ever really got them to work, and to take off, and be as wildly successful as Apple made them.

Jobs got the music industry to sell unprotected DRM-free music.  Got movie and TV studios to rent movies digitally.  Got periodicals to create digital versions.  Hell, they even got Adobe to create tons of support for HTML 5.

Let’s not forget his time running Pixar, the most successful digital movie creator in the world.

Steve Jobs was a one of a kind individual.  And one that I admired, and try to emulate on certain levels.  It was a sad day for technology, and a sad day for me personally.

I wore a black turtleneck and jeans today.  My little way of paying homage to someone I admired.  RIP Steve, you’ve made a huge impact on me, and how I compute on a daily basis.  Thank You.


Kickstart My Heart

Recently, I’ve supported a couple of projects on Kickstarter.com and I realized that it’s possible that many of you don’t even know what Kickstarter is.

Kickstarter is what is called “crowd-funding.”  Simply put, inventors or artists or anyone with a dream can try to raise money for their dream via Kickstarter.com.  They place the project online, and let people know how much money they are trying to raise.  People can then donate to the project and help to make the project a reality. If enough money isn’t raised, then you aren’t charged a dime and project doesn’t get made.

I’ve helped two projects recently.  One is for my favorite lounge music cover artist, Richard Cheese and Lounge Against The Machine.  Richard covers contemporary songs in a lounge style, and he’s quite funny as well.  I’ve purchased all of his albums and even seen him in concert.

Well it takes money to make an album, and they weren’t sure they were going to be able to continue making music.  So they decided to try to raise money on Kickstarter to pay for the recording of the new album.  If you donated a small amount of cash to the cause, you would get the album, a little more and you would have it autographed all the way up to paying to get your name said in a track on the album.  So you weren’t just donating, you were getting something back too.  Needless to say, they raised enough money to make the album and I now have an autographed copy featuring awesome new lounge covers like Tik Tok, Like A G6, Boom Boom Pow and even Rebecca Black’s Friday.  :-)

The other project I donated to will probably get it’s own blog post because it’s a pretty cool new piece of tech, so I’ll hold off until then.  That said, I wanted to clue everyone in on how cool Kickstarter is.  Go check out the site, and you may be able to help some really cool ideas come to fruition.

Smelling my roses

What a wonderful weekend this has been.

I started off Friday night hanging at a cigar event with a good buddy. It’s always nice to hang out with friends, and it’s always so relaxing in a setting like that. I need to continue to make time for those types of nights.

On Saturday, my eldest had dance practice and afterwards we went out as a family for sushi, one of my favorite meals. We had a nice afternoon, and then in the evening the wife and I rented a movie from one of my favorite directors. It was another nice relaxing evening.

Well this morning, the girls let us sleep in a bit, and then my youngest woke us up. She lead us into the living room where she had set up breakfast for us. Waffles and coffee made to perfection. We had a wonderful family breakfast, and then all hung out in the living room doing various projects.

Before lunch I headed out to our deck and lit up a nice cigar. The sun was shining, it was a perfect 68 degrees, nice breeze. I checked Twitter and Facebook on the iPad while listening to music and enjoying the calm.

We had a nice family lunch, and then lounged around watching some TV. The youngest headed off to gymnastics practice, and here I am back on the deck. I have a cigar on one side of me and a pumpkin spice coffee on the other. Music once again floats by on a beautiful breeze as the sun warms my face. It really cannot get much better.

This is Labor Day weekend here in the States which is a national holiday commemorating all the hard work people put in all year. It’s a time to relax and enjoy life a bit, and I’m trying to do just that.

I’ve been insanely busy at work as of late, so this weekend was just the thing I needed to recharge a bit. In addition, I’m using it to realize how very lucky I am.

I have a great, supportive, beautiful, caring wife. I have two highly intelligent, motivated, loving children. We all have our health. I have a job I truly love with employees of mine I trust and enjoy working with. I have a few good close friends whom I care deeply about. I have a place I live that is truly a home, with history, and quirks and all. I have the dog at my side, and I have a smile on my face.

Sometimes you have to stop and take stock of all the good things. I’m stopping to smell those roses right now.

Here’s wishing you all the same happiness I’m currently enjoying.

Recommending: Tyrone Wells

Tyrone Wells

Metal & Wood by Tyrone Wells

I haven’t recommended music here on the blog in a long time, but recently I started

listening to a singer-songwriter by the name of Tyrone Wells.

I heard him on a Pandora mix based on Jason Mraz a couple months ago, and thought I needed to look him up.  Well I checked him out on Napster and became an instant fan.  His most recent album, Metal & Wood, has been in constant rotation on the Sonos and in car for months.

Admittedly I’ve been on an adult-alternative singer-songwriter kick lately, so he just fell into that perfectly.  That said, he’s able to encapsulate emotions in his songs so well, and many of his lyrics tend to fit my hippie sensibilities quite well.  For example:

Take all the Metal and Wood
Used in the waging of war
And teach the men that make those weapons
To build shelter for the poor
Take all the money we spend
On the way that we appear
Find the ones that die of hunger
And help them see another year

He also has songs of happiness and hope, like is expressed on And The Birds Sing:

Poor man and a millionaire
Both under the oak tree’s shade
Not stressing over money made
Preacher and the Atheist
Both jumping in the ocean waves
Today they both feel saved

If you see some of his earlier work, you can tell he’s a religious guy, but I like the fact that he’s not judgemental and actually includes an Atheist in his song.  :-)

Lastly, he can really touch a nerve on love lost too.  Songs like Let Go and Give Me One Reason are so packed with emotion that you can sometimes find yourself tearing up when he sings them.

Today, so many artists lack that emotion when they sing, but Tyrone Wells really draws you in, and that rare quality is to be rewarded.  Pick this album up, you won’t be disappointed!

So how did I get here?

I’ve gotten some questions on how I went about migrating from Blogsphere to WordPress, so I wanted to share here in case someone else was in the same boat.

Basically I stood on the shoulders of others.  I followed the directions laid out by Mitch Cohen in these blog posts here and here.  He used some code from our mutual friend Matt White to export the posts and comments into a format that WordPress can use.  Another friend of his had some code that cleaned things up, and then I simply imported everything.

For me, categories didn’t quite come over correctly, so I deleted them all and started over.  I decided to manually go through and clean everything up after the fact.  It’s still something I need to finish up.

As for comments, they did come over, but I wanted to use Disqus instead.  Disqus is a good service for comments that allow people to login with various accounts like Facebook or Twitter.  Pulls in the avatars and everything.  So, I installed the Disqus WordPress plugin and now suddenly all of my comments were gone on the blog and replaced with blank Disqus areas.  Well no fear, you can simply export your comments from WordPress into Disqus using the Disqus tools and then they all show up.

The URL’s to the emoticons got converted to text only, so you’ll have to go back and edit those if you need to as well.  Otherwise it just looks a little messy.

Next, I always used FeedBurner for my RSS feeds, so I just pointed it to the new feed here and I was done.

I’ve added some plug-ins like Jetpack and WordPress Mobile, but I’m still looking for other good additions.  Also, I need to find a nice theme I like as the default one (while easily readable) needs some style…

One last cool thing I did was import some REALLY old Blogger based blog posts.  You see, I had written a private blog for awhile before going public and using Blogsphere.  I still had them in Blogger and it was easy to export to a format for bringing into WordPress.  It was kind of nice to see the old diary entries and incorporate them into the overall blog here.

Anyway, I hope that helps you out if you are in the same boat.  It was really a lot easier than I thought it was going to be, so don’t be scared of diving in!


Cats in the Cradle

One of the things that kind of sucks about the growth of my pointy hair is the travel I find myself undertaking as of late.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind travel at all.  Hotels, airports, rental cars.  None of that bothers me.  It’s being away from the wife and kids that’s been harder to get used to.

Take today.  I had to travel to Orlando.  The plane was filled with families with excited kids going to Disney.  Made me think of my girls and how much they liked coming down here back in June.  Then I made it to my hotel, and all I could think about was how much they would have enjoyed where I’m staying.

I keep hearing “Cats in the Cradle” in my head every time I check into a new hotel, and I sometimes wonder if I’m neglecting my duties as a parent a bit.  That’s a hard thing to come to terms with.

That said, I get to video chat with the girls while I’m away, and that actually helps a lot.  It’s so much better than a simple phone call.  When they kiss the screen and tell me good night, it makes me feel better.

I write this tonight, from a hotel room in Orlando, to remind myself that I need to continue to make more time for my kids and wife when I’m home, as that will make the time I’m away easier on us all.

But for now, it’s back to work…

Hello World… again

Hello all. If you are seeing this, then I actually did quite a bit correctly in my blog move. I decided to move to WordPress and host it through my own webhost. It was just time to move on from Blogsphere and investigate different technologies.

I do want to thank Declan and all the contributors over the years to Blogsphere. It facilitated my blogging addiction for nearly 8 years. That’s no small feat and I’ve always liked the software.

That said, I needed a change. Something to kickstart the blogging habit again, and I think this is it. I’ll be keeping the old blog up for awhile, but all of the posts and comments are now here too. I plan on setting up some re-directs so the google juice on my posts will follow me here at blog.roling.com.

Right now, the site is very raw. I need to settle on a theme and get all the info in place that I want to utilize. So over the next couple months you’ll hopefully see some nice re-designs on the site. If you are a reader via RSS, nothing much will change on your end :-)

Thanks for sticking with me so long folks. I plan on being around (now on WordPress) for a long time to come.

Where to go from here?

Well folks, I’ve come to a crossroads of sorts. For nearly eight years, I’ve had my blog on Blogsphere running on the Domino platform. I’ve loved it, but as blogging and social networks have grown, there are so many other options out there that I could maintain and keep up-to-date with a little less work on my end. It’s obvious that due to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and now Google+ that I have less time to spend on blogging in general and blogging maintenance in particular. In addition, as the pointy hair grows, I think it’s good to look at all the options available to me.

So with that said, I really think it’s time for me to switch platforms.

So, the million dollar question is, which one? I have a good hosting company, and I could install WordPress, Drupal or Joomla rather easily. I also already have Tumblr and Posterous accounts that could easily be converted. I want whichever platform I choose to have the following:

  • Good mobile apps for iOS
  • Ability to utilize good commenting systems (like Disqus)
  • Easy to maintain themes
  • Ability to customize and add plug-ins
  • Ability to hook into all the major social networks

Next, the billion dollar question is, Do I attempt to migrate all of my old data, or do I just start fresh?

This is the harder one. Many of my technical Domino posts still get hits every single day. So as a resource, it’s a good one. In addition, I’ve always looked at it as a diary of my past. Something I can look back on and see where I was in my life when I posted. So migrating makes some sense, but then the new blog would have all new URL’s. So do you move and hope Google figures it out? Or do you leave the old site up and start a new one? It’s a hard decision, and I’m not sure which way I’ll go.

So, my loyal readers, what do you think? Do I abandon this house and leave all my belongings behind with a note where to find me now? Or do I attempt the migration? And lastly, which platform would YOU choose? Thanks for any help you may be able to offer!

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