Biting the Apple Bullet

Over the past few months I have slowly been acquiring Apple products. It all started with a MacBook that I purchased since my desktop was starting acting weird. Good thing I did as my desktop will currently not even start! I’m suspecting something is awry with either the power supply or mother board. The thing that made me actually spend the money on the MacBook was that I got a free iPod Touch with it. I figured at the least I could sell the iPod to help offset the cost of the MacBook. My MacBook has been great (it’s what I’m writing this on) and I for one believe that it is worth the money. I know people say that Apple products are over priced but I strongly believe that a quality product is worth the money. In this case I think they are worth every cent. The only thing I didn’t like about my iPod was that I wasn’t always connected with it and it had some duplicate functionality of my phone (lots of foreshadowing here).

Soon after I purchased the MacBook I convinced my roommate that we needed a Time Capsule. We went down to Best Buy and purchased on of their new 1TB models. The set up for the TC was a little more involved than I had imagined it would be but it did get us set up with the Time Machine functionality, a private network and a public network. Each of which required different privileges and passwords to get set up “correctly.” After the initial set up we haven’t had any issues with it and it is amazingly faster than the old wireless router we had. The only thing that is limiting us now is our slow connection to the internet. Transferring anything on the local network is by far the fastest I’ve ever had.

After having the iPod for a while I finally decided to make the leap; I went and purchased and iPhone. This was definitely the next step for me. It got rid of me carrying around two different devices (my phone and the iPod) and has become my connection to the world. It is synced with my MacBook and my online accounts so any changes that I make anywhere are propagated to all the others. No more trying to find email addresses or phone numbers. If I don’t have it I can add it instantly and looking up anyone’s information is always at my fingertips. I’m not quite sure how I ever lived without it.

Last but not least of my personal summer Apple purchases was Snow Leopard. I wasn’t sure I really wanted to spend the money to upgrade my OS right after I got my MacBook but the upgrade was only $30 and was well worth it. Apple definitely spent some time making sure it was well polished. I have been completely impressed by my MacBook and OS X. I wanted my computer to just work and for the most part it has succeeded in doing that. I think I’m now an Apple convert for life!

My enthusiasm for my Mac prompted my to buy one for my parents. My father’s computer had been in a sad state for months but I was putting off getting him a new computer. I haven’t really stayed up with the latest specs so I didn’t want to try and build one myself and I also wanted to stay away from the Windows debacle (Vista and Windows 7). I also didn’t want to have to put my parents through a big OS change; they aren’t the most computer savvy people I know. I figured since they’d have to get used to a new OS anyways I’d get them a Mac and hopefully it would be simpler for them to learn. Their first impressions of it were very positive but the final verdict is still out. I’ll check in with them around the new year and see if they still like it. If they don’t it looks like I’ll be buying myself a Mac Mini!

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Dane Cook

This past Friday Tim, Zach and I went and saw Dane Cook on his Isolated Incident tour. Before Dane took the stage we saw two great opening acts consisting of Al Del Bene and Robert Kelly. Both were great and an excellent precursor to Dane Cook. When Dane took the stage the audience went crazy. Having floor seats at the Amway Arena gave us a perspective of what the entertainers and sports figures hear when they are in the arena. It’s quite a deafening sound.

An interesting thing to note about the show was that the audience was rather young. Most of the people looked as though they were in college. This isn’t that surprising since that is Dane Cook’s largest demographic, it was just strange to see.

The show ended and the three of us decided to grab some food since we hadn’t eaten before the show. We wandered to downtown Orlando and got some food. We spent another hour or two at Church Street but nothing to exciting was happening and we were all pretty tired so we packed it up early and headed home. I had the back seat so I slept most of the ride home. It was a long day but a great finish to an even longer week.

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Ignite Orlando/MP3 Experiment

Last week Orlando hosted its second Ignite Orlando (@igniteorlando). Ignite Orlando consists of presentations that are 5 minutes each with twenty slides that rotate every 15 seconds. Topics at Ignite Orlando 2 included legos, creativity, txting, and even tuna. Going into this I wasn’t sure what to expect. What kind of people would I meet? What would the presentations be like? I have to say it was awesome. Public speaking is not most people’s strong point, but here we were in a room full of strangers and people were giving great presentations. There were a few mistakes here and there but the audience didn’t care, they wanted to know what you were going to stay for the remainder of your 5 minutes. Before you knew it 5 presentations had been presented and an hour had past.

Ignite Orlando, or any ignite event, is something I would recommend for anyone. It’s a great opportunity to get out and meet others in your community and to learn a tremendous amount. I’m even contemplating putting together a presentation myself. For anyone that wants to see a presentation and learn how to make a good one check out the following video: Why and How to Give an Ignite Talk.

Following Ignite Orlando was Orlando’s first MP3 Experiment based on the MP3 Experiments of Improv Everywhere. We started at Slingapour’s where Ignite Orlando had been held and then made our way to a park less than a block away. Just as the Improv Everywhere site says we had many spectators wondering why we were running around and attacking each other with balloons. By the end of the experiment a small crowd had formed watching us as we wrapped things up. The only problem with this experiment is that it was extremely hot and humid out. By the end I was definitely ready to get inside and get some water; all in good fun though. I’m looking forward to the next one and can only imagine what may be instore.

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The Hangover

No, I wasn’t out drinking. I’m referring to the movie “The Hangover”. I have to say that I can’t think of any time recently where I have laughed so hard for so long. I was concerned going to the movie that the previews would be the only funny parts of the movie. That was not the case. There were parts of the movie that were much more funny than the previews. This is one movie that I recommend to someone who wants just under two hours of comedy and it’s rare that I recommend a movie. I’d like to go into detail about the movie but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who is planning to go see it. Whether you see it in theaters or at home, you need to see this movie.

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I got my first iPod this past week and decided to give posting to my blog from it a try. Seems to be working well! There may be more mobile posts to follow.

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The truck saga…

I had to wait a while to post this just to make sure the saga had ended. Well it has, I think, so here’s the story.

My truck is approaching 100,000 miles very quickly so I pay a lot of attention to it and the sounds it makes. About a month ago it started to squeak. This isn’t to be confused with the suspension that has been making funny noises for a while. No, this time something under the hood was squeaking. Wasn’t very loud or anything but I could hear it. I decided that the next time I took it in for an oil change I’d have them look at it. It’s probably just a loose belt.

I take it into the shop on Tuesday figuring I’d get it back later that day. In the early afternoon I get a call from the shop. Apparently when I had my clutch replaced 20,000 miles ago, the clutch plate was put in backwards and was causing some parts to wear incorrectly (I won’t bore you with all the mechanical details). This isn’t what I wanted to hear. After making sure I had transportation to and from work I told them to go ahead and fix it which included machining the flywheel and putting in a new clutch.

Thursday rolls around and I get a call from the shop. My truck is ready and I can pick it up anytime. I have my friend drop me off at the shop to pick up my truck. I hop in my truck and before I make it two blocks the clutch goes out. Of course this had to happen to me while I was in the middle of the busiest road around which is completely under construction. I manage to get it off the road and call up the shop. They send someone over who tinkers with the clutch for a bit and then can drive my truck back to the shop. They tell me that it’s going to take them till Friday to tear everything apart to see what’s going on. This isn’t what I wanted to hear.

Friday comes and goes quickly. I do some chores around my place awaiting the call. I hear from them right before they are closing and I tell them I will be there in a few minutes to get my truck. I go and get my truck and head back home.

Since I didn’t have my truck all day I didn’t get to go shopping like I had planned. I call up some friends and we decide to head out and get some dinner. Leaving dinner I hop into my truck and yet again, no clutch. I’m not a happy camper at this point. My friend drives me home and I leave my truck in the parking lot since there isn’t much I can do in the parking lot.

Saturday morning rolls around and I call the shop up right when they open. When the guy answers and I tell him who I am he replies “This can’t be good.” I go on to explain what happened and tell him where the truck is. Since I was heading out of town I had already arranged a ride for Saturday’s trip. This was good because we took a quick detour and dropped the key to my truck off on the way out of town. When I spoke with the guy I told him to keep my truck through the weekend and Monday and drive it a bunch since the truck appeared to be fine when I left but after some driving had issues.

Sunday and Monday went quickly with no truck. Surprisingly I wasn’t too upset about not having it. I was able to ride my bike to the places I needed to go so I didn’t feel homebound. I call up the shop on Tuesday to check on my truck. They tell me they’ve worked on it a bit and have been driving it for the past three days with no issues. I head to the shop and pick up my truck. While I was there I inquired about how they solved the problem. Apparently my truck, a Ford Ranger, has a odd clutch setup which is extremely prone to air getting stuck in the lines. The shop said that they called up the Ford dealer who told them to lift the front of the truck up until the truck was at forty five degrees and then bleed the clutch lines. Whether or not this solved the problem, I don’t know but my truck hasn’t been giving me problems since.

I’ve had my truck for just about a week now and it hasn’t given me any problems since. I’ve been a bit nervous about it though and am very cautious where I drive just in case my clutch decides to go out again.

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Yellow Dog Cafe

For a while now I’ve heard about the Yellow Dog Cafe. I had heard great and wonderful things about it but until recently I had not given it a try. Recently I got the opportunity to check it out and it was amazing! The following is my short review/plug for the restaurant.

My parents had decided that they were going to come visit for a weekend. It just so happens that the weekend they chose to visit was right around their anniversary. Being the good son that I am, I decided I would take them out for dinner. I had been trying to come up with a good place to take them for a while. I eventually came up with the idea to take them to the Yellow Dog Cafe. I ran the idea past a few friends and co-workers and they all agreed that it was an excellent idea to take them there.

Let me start out by saying that they were all correct. Everything about the place was superb. The atmosphere, the food, the staff, the view; all were excellent! To one side of our table we had a view of the Indian river and the other side we could see the kitchen. You could see that they were not taking anything out of a can and throwing it on a plate. We watched as the kitchen worked furiously to create outstanding plates for everyone in the filled restaurant. As time went on we started trying to guess what was on each of the plates and even which ones were ours. Needless to say we were not very good at guessing. Our plates finally arrived with much anticipation and it was even more than I expected. I ate much more than I should have because it was so good that I wasn’t going to leave any behind.

Of course with a meal this good you know their desserts have to be great as well. Needless to say, they do not cut corners on their desserts either. All three of us ordered something different and we all ate every last bite. I left knowing that I wasn’t going to be able to eat anything else for the rest of the night; I was already filled past capacity.

On our way out we decided to take a little self guided tour of the remainder of the restaurant. We went and checked out the deck out back and the other dining rooms. On our tour we found a wedding reception and my parents made a point to congratulate the bride. The bride was all excited since my parents were celebrating their anniversary and she was celebrating her wedding. After our quick tour the valet retrieved our car and we headed off for some relaxing at home.

In short, if anyone ever needs a place to go for a top of the line meal check out Yellow Dog Cafe. You won’t be disappointed.

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Mike Thomas – Creative Genius

A few weeks ago Tim sent me a link to a pretty awesome video: My Friend is a Pro. After watching it he informed me that the guy who did the sound and some other various parts of the video, Mike Thomas, was a friend of his from back home. Pretty sweet. Cruising through the site there is a bunch of cool stuff in there.

Well this past weekend at the BBQ there was a video that Tim wanted us to see that Mike had put together. We searched high and low on Mike’s site trying to find it but it was gone. Just on a whim Tim hops on to the social-networking-web and low and behold Mike is online. They exchange a few messages and poof, Mike hooks us up with the video. And as always, it was a GREAT video. Thanks Mike!

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2009 Melbourne Art Festival 5K

This past weekend was the Melbourne Art Festival which is kicked off every year with a 5K. This is a huge race and I think this year there was just under 1500 runners. This was my second time running this 5K and when I ran it two years ago it was my first race ever. My goal this year was an average pace of seven minutes per mile. This normally isn’t a big deal for me and I can accomplish that but this 5K requires you to run over the causeway, twice. That adds a bit of difficulty to it.

The morning was beautiful and my friends and I left for the race around 7:15 that morning. I wanted to leave early, the race started at 8:00, since I knew parking may be an issue. We quickly found a parking spot and then walked over to the starting line where we signed ourselves in. We did a bit of wandering around and warming up and before we knew it we were being instructed to line up for the start.

The biggest problem I seem to have with racing is that I never start in the correct place. I always feel like I get stuck behind someone who is going at a slower pace then I am and then I have to pass them. I’m now convinced that this is slowing me down a bit. Once I had cleared the people in front of me though I was cruising right along. I had ran the course a few times the week before so I knew what my pace would be and would know how to conquer the causeway.

I ended up crossing the finish line with a time of 23:09 which equates to and average pace of 7:28 a mile. Not a bad time at all considering I came in 9th in my age group and 157th overall. Here is a link to all the times: I know there were some photos taken as well but I don’t know where they are. If I find a link I’ll update the post.

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Method Naming

Many of my fellow developers agree that one of the most difficult parts of our job is naming things. The names we are supposed to select should be clear, concise, explanatory and short. There are always comments during a code review about how something was named; it either wasn’t clear or was too long or was just flat out bad. Well during a code review the other day we came across this little chunk of code. You can imagine we all had something to say about it.

Funny Method Name

Funny Method Name

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