Travel Planning With a Visited Countries Map

I really love to travel, I find the experience of being in a new culture absolutely exhilarating.

I found a great that that allows you to create a map of the countries that you have visited. It really helps to put everything into perspective, I thought that I was well traveled but after seeing this map. I have some serious work to do. I am planning a trip to Turkey in June, but with the political upheaval I am not so sure that I am ready to go there. I have checked the government sites and it seems safe. As soon as I have made a choice I will update everyone.

create your own visited countries map

If you are interested in seeing some photos of places I have been check out my pictures of Croatia, Prague or China.

Happy Birthday to the Internet

Tomorrow April 7th 1969 the first “request for comment” or RFC was published. An RFC is a template or road map that helped to pave the way for the creation of the Internet. Here is a link to the original document, it was written by Steve Crocker who has worked can continued to work on the Internet after all these years.

It’s not about what was said but the RFC process that he developed created a way for engineers to share new ideas in a public forum. Without RFC’s the Internet would not be as open and available as we know if today.

Well Happy Birthday to the Internet, Happy Birthday to You.

Big Bear Trip

The last few weeks have been a little stressful, so I needed a little break. A great friend of mine Aaron said that he had a house at the lake and it was time to open up the cabin for the summer. The goal was to clean up all of the winter items and get ready for the summer fun. This meant putting the boat in the water, doing a little cleaning of the refrigerator and just making sure that things were in tip top shape.

We left San Diego at about 2pm on Friday and headed up the 15, we were expecting the trip to take about two and a half hours but with all of the construction traffic I was a grueling three hours and forty-five minutes in the car. When finally made it up the mountain we saw some posted signs by the marina that it would be open for Summer April 1st. No big deal today is the 30th we could just put it in the water tomorrow… Right, them we remembered that 30 days have September, April, June and November all the rest have 31… Ouch.. That’2 two days away and we did not have that much time. Was the weekend going to be wasted?

Not at ALL! Aaron really knows that mountain and he was able to secure us a launch at a different slip and we were going to take this boat out tomorrow. All that we needed to do now was charge the battery and to startup the engine in the driveway – no big deal. We were able to trickle charge the battery all night long and on the first time the engine started – we were on our way.

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Flying High – Life is About Possibilities

My life has been amazing of late, I am going through some really horrible personal issues but that aside – life is beautiful and I am open to the possibilities of absolutely anything. And with this new possibility and sharing myself with people you would be amazed at the results.

My last few weeks have been charmed to say the least. I have written about Kart racing at K1 Speed and this was a great event, I went to the Google main campus and was treated fantastically well and my good fortune just seems to be continuing.

My great friend and confidant Troy who just sold his business invited me for a spin in his new plane. For a split second I was thinking about crashing and how that would really suck and realized that it as the old me and the new me that knows that anything is possible and that possibilities are endless decided that the experience would be worth dying for. So I drove about an hour north of San Diego to Temecula and I was pumped for the experience. It had been a while since I had seen Troy and it was going to be a great chance to catch up. When I got there Troy was just pulling up in his new BMW M6 in black and he lead me around a few corners to his hangar.

He hit the garage door opener, the hanger door opened and inside was this polished and pristine new plane. Wow, this was going to be fun. We pulled the plane out for the garage (literally pulled it, you would be amazed at how easy it was to move) and after a few quick checks and some new oil we were ready to go.

First thing i noticed was a sign that said “EXPERIMENTAL” on the inside door…

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Google All the Day

A few weeks ago I received an invitation to go to the Mecca of the Geek – the Google Campus. Even though I know a number of people that work there it is still a once in a lifetime opportunity.

I went there with Wayne to meet our dedicated account representative Christian. We flew into San Jose from San Diego and it is just incredible to see the number of people that commute every week from one part of the country to Silicon Valley. These are people who live weekend to weekend and work out of the house every week. There is real dedication to commute and be a part timer in a full time relationship. But enough about that lets get the show on the road.

We landed and went to pick up our rental car, and we picked up the new Dodge Nitro. I loved the look of this beast – Wayne was less than enthusiastic about its appearance. Well I was driving and I dug it. The car is just a very chunky machine and other than the spongy breaks it was very cool to drive and easy to navigate. Not like there was much navigating to do because the Google offices are just a few miles from the airport.

We got to Google a few minutes early for our appointment and met in a smaller building just the the west of the Googleplex. We signed in and went up to Christians office, he shares this office with one other person and her dog. Man that dog was cute.

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Montana Meth Project

For those of you who question if the message is the medium take a look at Montana Meth Project. It has one of the most powerful anti-drug messages that I have ever seen…This is not the old eggs in a frying pan slogan of “this is your brain on drugs, any questions?”.

These images are powerful, potent and really speak with a potent level of authenticity, clarity and honesty. You really need to check them out.

If you have not yet experienced their message – watch each and every one of their Television Ads.

The Montana Meth Project is a large scale prevention program aimed at significantly reducing first-time meth-use through public service messaging, public policy, and community outreach.

Take Action.

A Need For Speed – K1Speed

Last week I set up an engineering field trip. Unlike our previous outings this trip was not filled with wireless site surveys or any computers at all. The team really needed this, there have been some huge issues with communications in the last few weeks and it was just time to blow off some steam. Nothing like a little friendly competition to open up the communications again.

As a team building event we choose to go to K1 Speed and it was an amazing experience. K1 Speed is the thrill of high performance Italian kart racing mixed with some friendly racing competition. If you are not familiar with electric Karts these little rockets are fast. They have an amazing amount of torque and power and because they are electric there are no fumes. Electric Karts are like having fun and saving the environment at the same time 🙂

The facility is about 75,000 square feet with a track that twists and turns for an absolutely amazing experience. The staff was professional and if you asked they gave helpful hints about getting the fastest time possible. It felt as if we were professional drivers getting ready for Formula 1 excitement.

There were nine of us that went racing, we signed into their computerized system that creates a unique drivers profile for each racer and it is the basis for the statistics that are provided after the race. We had a 14 lap qualifier that measures the fastest single lap and uses that data to determine the starting position in the MAIN event.

I know that they were just being kind but I won the qualifying round with the fastest lap time of about 33.04 seconds a full half second from the next person..these Karts are fast and have enough power to make the back end drift!

Oh, yea – crashing and careening into a wall is not an unusual event. Staying out of these pileups is a great way to gain position as the others untangle themselves.

The main event was potent, we were all driving like our lives depended on it, if it were not for the SMILES 🙂 that were plastered into our faces you would have thought that this was a life or death challenge. After 16 long and well fought rounds Mike, Paul and Chris rounded out the top 3 positions.. I came in fourth and without glory.

After the event each one of the guys let me know how much fun they had had and how just hanging out together in a relaxed and offsite location really helped. K1 Speed has my vote for a great team building event – pizza, fast cars and computer controlled statistics – who could ask for anything more?

A Punch Biopsy

Today I finally went back to the dermatologists office after my initial visit late December when I complained that a piece of metal that got stuck in my finger from about a year ago was beginning to hurt. It was like nothing that I have ever felt before. I am sure that it is a piece of metal but there seemed to be a hard ball surrounding the site under the skin and I was concerned that it was something a little more serious than that.

During the initial consultation Dr. Stuart told me that foreign bodies in the skin usually make their way out after a few months and that I should give it a little more time and let nature take its course. She also told me that I might be able to use a clean needle or razor blade to try cox it out and have it come out. So for the past few months i have tried everything short of minor surgery to get this out of my finger.

Finally it got to the point that it was actually irritating to type because each push of the keyboard would cause the ball under my skin to hit some nerve and it was beginning to freak me out. So at 8:10 this morning I went to get it looked at one more time and this time she offered me the solution…a punch biopsy.

Basically a punch biopsy for those of you who are not skincare professionals is where the dermatologist numbs up your skin with an injection, and after the initial pain of the needle and the stinging caused by the medication proceeds to do the real work. She took what can only be described as an amazingly sharp cookie cutter and pushes it though the skin (like the needle piercing the heart in Pulp Fiction) and remove the foreign body by taking a “core sample”. What she removed was about the size and shape of the tip of a q-tip, it was white and honestly gross.

She dropped it into a formaldehyde solution and screwed the lid onto the jar, she then looked at it and said what had to have been the funnies thing that I have heard all day which was “well I don’t think that was going to make its way out by itself” and then she sewed me up with four stitches and sent me on my way.

It was really an strange experience, I could see what she was doing the whole time, I could see the blood but because my finger was numb it seemed as if it was happening to someone else.

It was quick and painless and the only sign that I have is a finger that is all bandaged up and it looks like E.T. trying to point the way home.

Blackberry 8800

So my story for today is the absolute pleasure I had switching from the 8700 Blackberry to the 8800. I don’t quite know if I like the new one more than the old one but there are just some things that Blackberry gets done PERFECTLY and so few people ever write about it.

Brad Slavins' TechTalk

I went to Cingular Wireless today I arrived at the store at 8:45am for a 9:00am store opening, but it seems that someone had been out partying all to late the night before and they opened the store at 9:30. Holy sh*t, who can get away with this in modern mall society? This is a Cingular / ATT corporate store and not some independent who opened up late… Well enough about that, back to the phone.

I have been a Blackberry user for about 4 years, I have had the 7100, 7290, 8700 and now the 8800 and the thing that keeps me coming back is the provisioning feature of the phone. I am connected to a BES server and all of my contacts, calendar events and emails are stored on the server and I wirelessly sync to the phone to keep everything updated.

This is how it went:
I walked in and asked them if they had the 8800. They said yes, and I let them know that I wanted it. They provisioned it on my account within 10 minutes and while I was waiting I performed a wireless sync from my 8700 to the BES. After the sync was finished, it took about 30 seconds I performed a “wipe handheld” and typed in the security phrase “blackberry”. The old phone completely wiped all of my pertinent information and it was now factory fresh. I called the office to have them set me a new BES activation password (which took longer than the entire process at Cingular) and then I inserted my old SIM into my new phone. It took a little getting used to but finally I figured out how to do an Enterprise Activation, I entered my password and within 5 minutes I had synced the data.

I have about 900 active contacts and I keep my calendar for 60 days on the handheld so there was quite a bit to do. The phone finally displayed Activation Complete and there it was… all of my contacts, all of my calendar items and all of my tasks where there… Amazing!

I also discovered that my settings had also transfered to this new phone – one of my biggest and must do settings is to update the Auto On/Off settings. I like my phone to wake up at 7am and go to sleep – without this I would be on with clients 24/7. I navigated to the settings and I was AMAZED to find that it kept everything from the old phone.

So I migrated to the latest technology in less then 10 minutes including all contacts and I am just thrilled about RIMS tight integration.

If you want to know what I think about the phone? I am disappointed by the lack of 3G and WiFi but I can live without these. I am not enthusiastic about the missing thumbwheel on the right side of the phone but from what I understand the little nipple trackball is going to become the standard. So there is no time like the present to adjust and just move on.

The display is amazing, the color and the clarity is fantastic – there is no font that does not look great on the screen. I am told that the usability and functionality will usurp the previous models, I’ll just have to wait and see.

I’ll give it a few weeks and let you know how it goes. Oh yea – for those of you that PIN the text of an incoming PIN is red so that you don’t miss it in your inbox.