Monday, November 07, 2011

IP devices at home

Read a tech blog post about how many IP devices people have at home.  The author had 34, although he is a tech blogger.  We have 11:

 1  powerbook
2  mac mini
3  ipad
4    iphone
5  voip modem
8  airport extreme
9  HD homerun
10  toshiba laptop
11  cable modem

which is probably not a lot, considering we don't have any tvs or game consoles.

Monday, September 05, 2011

It's the unofficial end to summer, and it looks like the weather got the memo.  It's only 20C outside.

I was at Kirk's cottage for the weekend.  Heaney came down and so did all of us from university (the same guys that went to the Bahamas), plus a bunch of other people.  Kirk had a DJ on Saturday night and a band on Sunday.  It was a fun weekend.  Some came with their kids, mostly aged 8 - 12.  The first night the older kids were getting into the beers in the coolers, so the 2nd night we set up a little bar area and Doaner and I bartended all night.  Kirk's neighbours from around the lake joined us -- there were about 40 or 50 people each night.

I got a ride to Kirk's from Panko, in his new toy, a Tesla roadster.  It's a fully electric car, and goes from 0 - 60 mph in 3.7 seconds.  Because it's electric, there's torque at all rpms, and so there's no gears.  Kirk has a 240V outlet in his garage (for welding) and so Panko was able to recharge in about 90 minutes.  It took about 75% of a full charge to get to Kirk's.  One of the controls shows the g-forces when you accelerate.  The highest I saw was 0.68G.  Anyways it was pretty cool to ride in.

I was going to start looking for a job in August, but there's not much going on because of vacation, so instead I wrote my PMP exam in mid-August.  The exam is changed on Sept 1, so I wanted to write the exam before then, because it takes some time for the study guides to catch up.  It's 200 multiple choice, and all you get is a pass-fail, so I don't really know how I did, except that I passed.  It's computer-based so you find out right away as you leave the exam centre.

I thought about doing other credentials such as Six Sigma, but I haven't seen many jobs looking for anything other than PMP or ITIL (both of which I now have).

So the next thing on my list over the summer was to develop an iPhone app.  There'a a card game called Wizard that my Ultimate team plays after games.  It's a trump-based game based on bids.  Generally no one likes to keep score; so I thought it was a good task to write an app for.  It's also relatively simple, because it's just form-based.  So I dusted off my C+ text books and with considerable help from Google, I wrote the app.  As a developer I can only load it by cable onto my iPhone, for testing.  The next step is to submit it to Apple for approval, which I did last Thursday.  If I'm lucky it will get reviewed (and approved) by Apple by end of this week, and then it's in the App Store! (where anyone can download it).  I'm just putting it up for free at first.  I wrote the app more for the sake of figuring out the process, and also to use it amongst my friends, so I'm not too concerned about how many other people download it.  As per Apple rules, I had to set up a support site, so that's all ready to go too.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

The weather is finally warming up to spring temperatures. Every year (well, two so far), I've taken a picture of the maple tree that I planted on Heater's birthday in 2009. I looked back at the picture from last year, and the tree was full of leaves. This year they're still just buds. Our irises and tulips have yet to appear.

Thursday was the first nice day since we returned from vacation, so I drove up to Humber Nurseries. I bought some perennial grasses for the front planters, which we're hoping will look good right through winter. The nursery folks said I need to transfer them to the ground over winter for them to survive (I'm guessing otherwise they'll die from the cold?); but I'm going to leave them in and see what happens. We need to replace our front door (it's the original door from the house), so maybe the draft of warm air escaping will keep the grasses alive :)

Most of the potted perennials in the backyard made it through the winter. The clematis also survived -- we weren't sure if it would, as it's planted in the ground surrounded by limestone screening (which is basic (as opposed to acidic)). Also, one of our neighbours (Walter) have a nice elephant ear plant that is spreading too much, and he's offered a cutting (or whatever it would be called). I had planted one years ago in the front yard, but it died in the sun and dryness. I'm hoping by potting it in the shady backyard it may live.

I've been looking for a job primarily through LinkedIn. I signed up for a premium account for $30 / month, just to see if it's worthwhile. It lets me see who's visited my profile and some other features. It's almost like a dating site, except I'm trying to meet companies :)

I also signed up to become an Apple iOS developer (which means I can develop and distribute iPhone and iPad apps). I did most of my computer science assignments in C, so it's not too big a deal to learn Objective C. Apple has some nice tutorials for free on the web. I dug up my old "C programming language" text book by Kernighan and Ritchie (it should be a Penguin Classic!) to brush up on my C. I did pay the $100 to Apple so I can actually distribute the app (which is sort of the point, I just want to become familiar with the process). Soon enough I'll be writing my "Hello World" app for practice.

Also on the career side, I'm trying to get my PMP (Project Management Professional) certification. I have the prerequisite qualifications; I need to submit them and have them approved, and then write a 200 multiple choice test. It won't make too much of a difference to my experience, but seeing as I have the time I might as well get the letters after my name.

On Wednesday I went out for wings with Marissa, Tony and Bernice, at a bar in Bloor West (Whelan's Gate). It was a nice little pub, they had buck-a-shuck oysters (malpeques) (the 1st Wed every month), and the wings were pretty good. Bloor and Keele is central between the four of us, although it's still a 45 minute trip from our house by transit. I just missed the bus transfer coming back so walked home from Pape Station.

We tried fish from the new fishmonger in our neighbourhood, Hooked. They had a feature story in the Star last week, including a pickerel recipe, which turned out pretty good. We had it with a side of arugula and new potatoes, and a petit syrah.

Rack of lamb was on sale at Loblaws yesterday (about $7 per full rack!) so you can guess what we're having for dinner tonight. We normally have lamb loin, so it will be an experiment in barbecuing. I better get started though.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Heather and I are back from a six week trip to South America. We were originally going for three weeks but extended it to six. We've been back for a couple weeks now, Heather's finishing her dissertation and I've started looking for a job.

My resume is up-to-date and I've sent it out to a few places so far. (If anyone has a VP IT role available, please feel free to let me know!)

Sports is in between seasons. Summer hockey has started up already, but Ultimate doesn't start for a couple weeks. I'm playing Ultimate on Sundays and Tuesdays, and hockey on Thursdays.

I've started looking into home automation again. A while back I was thinking of buying an Arduino. However I've had second thoughts about using the Arduino as the gateway to connect devices. I think it will be better if each device connected using wifi (or maybe Bluetooth, in any case, some standard wireless protocol).

I surfed for a wifi temperature monitor, but just found products targeted at businesses, with data centres or other things to monitor, priced at business prices ($450 and up). Then found this wifi thermostat at Home Depot for $99(!), unfortunately just in the US. So Lloyd bought it for me, my parents will bring it back shortly. The company has just released APIs so I can write my own app to control it.

Well I have to get ready for hockey.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Most people already likely know that I'm no longer with the Star. I took a buyout package on January 27th, and now have a bit of time to figure out what I'm going to do next.

In the short term, there's been good-bye lunches and getting ready for our trip to Chile, and getting financial and career stuff in order for when I get back.

In the meantime I've also set up my Top 100 Travel Sites, a la Hillman's Wonders (I've been to 58 on his list).