Category Archives: Life

2011 and Beyond..

As 2010 comes to a close, and everyone is blogging and tweeting their goals and what’s up next for 2011, I figured I would get some out there, as well as make sure I get at least one post in December this year, I have been slacking.

  • Blog More
  • Complain Less
  • Lose Weight
  • Spend more Time with Ella and Emily
  • Learn to Cook (more)
  • Develop a cool application/site/thing and ship it
  • Drink less coffee, and beer
  • Purge things I don’t use
  • Organize things physical and digital
  • Consolidate Services I use
  • Take more pictures
  • Ride my bike more, maybe start running again
  • Go camping often

probably could keep going. Some are quantifiable, some are more broad. Just a small list on things to look at and try to do. When we come back in a year I can look back at this list and see what I did and didn’t do.


Vacationing with the iPhone and iPad

Was just on vacation since Sept 3rd through today.. Drove up to Nisswa to drop the little one off, then down to the Twin Cities for 4 nights, then back up to get the little one in Pierz, then back down to Eau Claire for 2 nights, then back home for 2 nights.. fun time. I didn’t really connect to work (only to extend my holiday by 2 days!) but I was still *connected* to everything I wanted to be.

First, I shut off email/exchange sync to my iPhone/iPad, easy enough in the settings. Turned off the calendars too so I didn’t get any new meeting alerts. Good to go.

How else did I use my devices?

Well beyond the basics (on the iPhone – Phone, SMS, Email (personal), Taking pictures and videos, weather, calculator, maps, maps, maps, maps..)

1. Gowalla/Foursquare – I recently just killed both my accounts and started fresh. I tried to see the usefulness and benefit of these. I like Gowalla better – just prettier. Foursquare tells me what is trending better. I use them both to find things around where I am, and check in to keep track of where I went :)

2. Twitter/Facebook – just killed my Facebook account again as well, I think I have 15 close friends on there now, so it is pretty quiet, but nice. Twitter I use to just keep up on the real time stuff going on, track favorites, as usual.

3. Soundhound/Shazam – used these to lookup songs I heard at bars or wherever, it is a given pretty much anywhere.

4. Flixster – used this to find movie theater near by and showtimes. Couldn’t buy tickets at the theater I went to, but I could have with fandango, just not worth the hassle I guess.

5. Yelp/OpenTable/Urban Spoon – more targeted in finding foodie places. OpenTable to reserve.

6. SportTacular – to keep up on the Twins and Vikes :)

7. WF (mobile site) – to view my accts and transfer and what not

8. Nice Ride and Train Brain – these are where it gets good. Downtown Minneapolis has these cool bike stations you can rent out a bike (for free for under 30 minutes!) or for a small fee (http://www.niceridemn.org/_ (FYI Trek has a similar offering, called B-cycle). Ride it all over and drop off at another station. We rented two and drove them from Uptown to Downtown. Was pretty awesome. The app shows you the stations and has a timer, it could do much more though :) Train Brain shows you the light rail schedule in town, we took the train from Govt Plaza to Mall of America, and back. Was pretty cool.


9. Scanner – QR codes are all over in Uptown on shops, etc. I used this to scan their codes and open links.

10. Reeder – on the iPhone and iPad – used this to keep up on my Google Reader :)

11. iPad – in general used it for mostly news apps, and surfing the web, used it as a “computer” – did you know on maps.google.com on an iDevice, if you click on the icon of a “place” it does much more than the native Maps app on the device? I thought that was cool.

I also used CityPages app on the iPad to look up some things going on.

Saw a Twins game vs the Royals (they won!) and Wicked as well. Got a little sick Wednesday morning through Friday so that was a bummer but overall it was a good vacation


Europe

Last month, I was in Europe for a week on business. Madison to Chicago, To London to Milton Keynes, to Zurich, back to London and then to Chicago and Madison.

Was a real good trip (the business side, and seeing UK and Switzerland), but there were some things that just seemed.. well, weird.

Driving on the other side of the road.. yet using Miles instead of Kilometers in the UK. Also, instead of using “feet” for exits (Exit 1500 feet) they use Yards.. the only thing I know that uses yards is American Football. And that there are 3 feet in a yard.

GBP.. the pound. or lbs or # .. since I don’t have GB English keyboard setup. First off, the exchange rate is crazy, and then, the coins?! It was hard keeping all the denominations straight. 1 pence, 2 pence, 5 pence, 10 pence, 20 pence, 50 pence, 1 lb, 2 lb then 5 lb note and onward. Bills were too big for my wallet too.

The signs. “Give Way”, “Kill your Speed”, “Mind the Gap”. and so forth..

Sandwiches.. what is up with the sandwiches in the UK? Tons of different types and “flavors”. Odd for an American I guess.

Internet: no free wifi. Anywhere. UK or Switzerland. You pay by the hour, or 24 hours. What a rip.

Mobile service. Roming charges are through the roof, data roaming 20$/1MB – wtf! 50 cents an SMS..

Food.. proper english breakfast every day.. and for dinner, random things .. everything is similar to US, but slightly different. Just odd.

Country Pubs – loved these in the UK.. very laid back, my type of place.

Bacon. – wtf? real bacon is called streaky bacon. UK bacon is like, canadian bacon/ham ..kind of. Give me real bacon, any day.



Public transport – trains, the “tube” (subway) and other things, just way more advanced than here. Things are closer together, you can walk.

Roundabouts – there are like 6 in Sun Prairie, about 600 in Milton Keynes.

Beer – usually good beer on tap, no Bud, Miller, Coors, etc, etc. The crappy beer is good beer in the US.

Toilets – I never met one that flushed right, or some at all

TV – in the UK.. BBC 1,2,3 and Sky.. and thats it. In Switzerland, a few more channels, but after 11 PM, every commercial was an ad for .. well.. x rated things. Much different than USA

Zurich airport was the cleanest I have ever seen. Welcoming too.

Easyjet – boarding from the Tarmac

Downtown Zurich – very nice. Tons of bikes and walkers and train riders. Cobblestone walkways, just a good area.

Swiss Francs – worse that GBP. More denominations (1/2 francs?!?) and the conversion rate is horrible, not only that , but inflation rate is horrible. 2 beers for 17 francs? phhhh

Swiss.. most people can talk “baby” words in English.. Hi, Bye, Yes, No, Thanks, etc, etc.. some are real good at english, some have none. Your mileage may vary. If you go to a bar, just as for “Beer” and you might get something good, or bad.

Soccer – world cup was going on. I could hear vuvuzela’s everywhere i went from the TV’s having the games going.

Taxi drivers take credit cards in Zurich.

You can get Kangaroo and Ostrich Fajitas in Zurich..

There is a huge snow dome in Milton Keynes. You can go snowboarding any time of year.


The weather was nice, didn’t rain at all, 70’s.. but learn to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit.. since they all report in Celsius.

The iPad made it from Chicago to London, on the whole time, reading a book, and lost only 40% of the battery.

The trip was awesome, I had a good time, learned a lot about our business in Europe, met some great people, put faces to names, and just all in all had fun. The only downsides were, I missed my family and I wish had more time with each country and group in Europe. Two conflicting things!


Challenges: Stepping Up vs Running Away

Challenges. Every day, everyone faces some kind of challenge. From the most lazy point of view, “Can I get out of bed today”, to “Making it to work on time”, to also “Making sure my children are taking care of”, and “Making sure we have enough money”, and then with work, “Making sure we get this project done on time” to “Making sure we are under budget”, to things you might do in life, “Try to run 5 miles today” and “Do the half marathon” and also things like “Don’t eat the whole carton of ice cream” and “Stop smoking” and the list goes on and on. You get it, there are an infinite number of challenges in life, no matter what you do or who you are.

It is what you do when faced with them that defines you.

What can you do? Well, you can walk (or run) away from challenges. It is the easy thing to do really. Just give up, walk away, go on to something easier, don’t get out of bed, don’t finish that project, light up the cig.

Or, you can step up to the challenge. You can take the mountain of problems facing you (don’t worry – everyone else has their own mountain) and you look at it as opportunity. Start figuring out how to make things easier, change processes, get things done and keep a level head, always looking ahead to the progression of what you are doing and how it will make things easier for yourself going forward.

There aren’t many challenges that can’t be stepped up to, and worked on, and overcome. Ask any survivor, or anyone that was ever told “no, you can’t do that”, or “it can’t be done”.

In the face of hard work and adversity, the people that rise to the challenge to get things done and still handle themselves are the ones that move forward. The ones that run away, sure they will continue on a path, but they missed something. That big mountain of opportunity to take and do something with.

One of my favorite movies is “Prefontaine“. Pre was an awesome runner. In the movie, he wants to run the one mile so bad, it is all he can think about. Being the one mile champion, having the best time, etc etc.

Before season starts, the coach, Bill Bowerman (of Nike fame – played greatly by R. Lee Ermey) – says something like, “Pre, you are never going to be the best miler, but you could OWN the three mile, make it your race“.

Yes, that is the quote. “Make it your race”. Being a huge runner in my heyday, I love that quote. Take your opportunity that is staring you in the face, even though it may be tough, you might not like it or it doesn’t seem like something you want to do, and make it your race. Make it yours. OWN it. Be awesome at it. Show everyone that you can do it, and make a pile of problems into your golden opportunity.

Make it your race.


Yo Steve, Where You At?

Well, I had a good run, like a full week of a blog every day, then sputtered out. I hate blog posts about blogging as much as the next guy, but I feel like I need to write. Between tons of stuff going on at work (Trek World is coming up next week!) – which means multiple awesome projects coming to fruition and implementation, as well as some person dealings I am well, dealing with, there hasn’t been much time to get things typed out in blog form. I do have a list of things to blog about though, so it will come, in good time.

Also, I have piped off my old lifestream using soup.io and I am now using posterous at http://stevenovoselac.com , so most everything non tech/geeky/business intelligence/non blog post will go over there.

In other news, I did pick up a Dell Studio box, 64 bit, 1 TB, 8 GB ram. Running Vista right now, running two VM’s on it, Windows 2008 and a Vista VM, on its own Active Directory. That way, when Win7 comes out I can just keep my VM’s and be good to go. I also got a free Dell Mini 10 netbook with the deal. Not sure I like it. The resolution is just 1 setting to small (or big) for me. I am sure I will find something to do with it though.

I have to move to a new place, or find one anyway, in the next 2 months, so that is thrown into the mix as well, always something to stress ya out, always :)

New Bike, iPhone, RunKeeper

Since working at Trek, I have been hounded to get a new bike, even more so than by my friends in Portland when I lived there, and EVERYONE has like 5 bikes there.

So, I finally decided to pick up a new bike, a Trek 7.2 FX, Newport Blue, 22.5 inch. It’s a Hybrid – not a road bike, not a MTB, but somewhere in between.

Some pictures are here, of the bike building process, because when you work at a bike company, you take 25 minutes of out of the day to build a bike.



http://www.flickr.com/photos/scaleovenstove/sets/72157619164047726/

So after getting my bike, I had to get some more gear. The usual, helmet, lights, pump, bag, tools, all that stuff. Most other people will get a “computer” for their bike, a little electronic device to track speed, etc. Guess what? I already had one, it is called an iPhone (what doesn’t the iPhone do.. “there’s an app for that”.. is true.)

I jumped on Amazon and looked for a good armband for the iPhone 3G, with good reviews. This is the one I ended up with

So what other parts are there to this equation? The app of course. RunKeeper Pro. (http://www.runkeeper.com) It lets you set your activity type, you start the music before you start RunKeeper, lock the GPS on, and start your activity. You can “lock” the screen so you dont bump it, and then tap it to get pace/speed info. It will also tell you every 5 minutes and/or every mile what your speed/pace is. Once you are done with your activity, you upload it to their site. It maps it out, elevation, speed, nice google map interface. Aggregates miles over weeks/months, and lets you share with your friends.

Here was a ride I did the other day, http://www.runkeeper.com/ui/activities/1000402


RunKeeper really keeps you motivated. I haven’t used Nike+, but I am guessing it is pretty similar. But Nike+ doesn’t work on the iPhone, just iPod Touch.

I really like my bike, there was a Gary Fisher I had my eye on though, so maybe that will be my next bike. Using my iPhone and RunKeeper, I can keep track of my rides, miles, and share with my friends (which kind of helps you stay motivated too). Fun Stuff – Go By BIke!


Apple Time Capsule Rocks – Microsoft needs to make one.

Since I make a living and love working on Windows, SQL, Windows Server, Office, Exchange, etc, it is kind of weird I am a Mac guy. Never thought it would happen. iPhone, Mac, Macbook Pro, Apple TV, Time Capsule, accessories…

Anyways, since Ella was born, I have TONS of pics and videos of her, on my laptop. And it auto backs up to my Apple Time Capsule. Well, iMovie auto imports videos from iPhoto, and then removes them? I am not sure, but long story short, I was missing some videos from when we got home from the hospital.

So what do I do? Freak out? No.. just fire up the Time Machine on my Mac, go back to February, and there is my iPhoto Library, I restore it, and get the videos back.

Now, I just need to offload it offsite someone, there is MacMini Colo – Transport – http://www.macminicolo.net/transport/ which looks promising, just a little too much $$, but maybe my next step.

But really, Windows needs this. We have a few Windows machines here at home, and I just feel like, umm, stuff is volatile. Thank god for flickr..that is all I have to say. I know there is Windows Home Server, but that is another BOX and updates, and whatever. I just want a device, a dumb device. I know I can get NAS and whatever, but I just want simple. Where is the Microsoft Time Capsule?