Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Obligatory South Park quote: "Spare some change?"

The aura of change is growing stronger every week: our politics are changing, our weather is changing, and even our financial markets have changed. My personal life is no different, so I though I would take this opportunity to list a few of the changes that I have made in the last few months:

Work smarter, not harder: 
I started using the time management software from RescueTime a few months ago and have found that it helps keep me from venturing too far off track during the work day. I had previously been using a small app built by the Software Jedi (my hero! I still use it for making my time cards), but it is buggy and lacks any real analysis features (still not bad for being built in one day). I was planning on building a bunch of macros and pivot tables in Excel for it when I ran across RescueTime, which is free for personal use and actively being developed. It keeps track of all the websites and applications you use on your computer and sends this data to their servers to let you tag each item as productive or not-productive. From all this tagging you get a bunch of pretty pictures saying how much time you spend working and how much you spend wasting reading web comics. They even have live widgets like the one that I added to the sidebar to spice up the blog.

Try new things: Part I
Chrome, the new Google browser has been the talk of the town lately, so I figured I would give it a try and see if it was all that it was cracked up to be. It started off a bit bumpy, as I ran into a Java plugin error right away, but after that it really did seem like it loads much faster and works better with Javascript laden sites like Gmail and Google Docs. There are still plenty of bugs to be worked out, but it is fun to work with a fresh new browser designed to maximize productivity. I’ll post another review after I spend more time with it, but for now try it out for your self or read the Google Chrome Comic to get a better idea what the buzz is all about. Did I mention it works with RescueTime too :-P

Try new things: Part II
Outside of work and web, I have also been making changes to my personal life. Having a Korean girlfriend means that I have been eating a lot of new foods and shopping at oriental markets too (a first). For example, tonight I had Yeul Ramyon - Hot Taste soup for dinner, which I had to admit was way better then the Oriental Top Ramen that I usually buy. I added some green peppers and one egg while cooking on the stove (another thing I would never do with regular Ramen), and I must say it was very delicious. I was a bit let down by the spiciness: it was hot enough to clear my sinus and leave that wonderful chili breath taste in your mouth, but it did not send me running to the fridge in tears for a glass of milk. I have two more Korean spicy ramen packages to try out, as well as ingredients for spring rolls, stir fry, and fried rice, so hopefully one of these days I will have the ulcer-inducing spicy hot meal that I have been craving (Anyone interested in a jalapeño chipotle chicken pizza?).

Try new things: Part III
In addition to eating new foods, I am starting to notice that we Americans are very overweight. It use to be that I could say I was not part of the problem, but my teenage metabolism has been gone for quite some time now and all those “extra curricular” activities in college have left me with a bit of pudge around the mid section. Since I am planning my next vacation at a Cancun resort with one of the largest pools in Latin America, I would say that means I need to start working out again; however since I have only been to the gym a few times in my lifetime I don’t thing “again” is the correct term. Instead I decided to utilize the equipment I already own (namely an exercise ball, some free weights, and a mountain bike) as well as adding some new tools like a jump rope and medicine ball. So far the bike and jump rope feel like they have the best chance of lasting long term. I can get in a half hour of jump rope every day and hope to bike at least 5 miles each week. My real goal is to bike from my house all the way up to Olympus Cove, which by my estimate is 4-5 miles away and 500-800 ft of elevation change. Luckily the ride back home is all downhill.

I will keep you up to date on these new endeavors, as well as any other new changes that I come across. That is unless I happen to win the lottery, in which case the only change I will be mentioning is my new job of not doing a damn thing :-J


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Please keep your arms and legs inside the Omnibus at all times

It has been over a month since I last posted, so I thought I would get back into the groove with a Omnibus Update. Things have been über busy this summer and I have not finished even half of the things that I wanted to, but such is life. The condo still does not have any pictures on the walls and I have not even used the porch yet, although I did finally get a nice TV stand on clearance at Shopko for $33! I don't actually have a TV, as I always use a projector, but at least now I have somewhere to store all my DVDs and the Wii. I still need to get some plants and various other thing, but overall it is coming together quite well and definitely feels like home.

Last month flew by at light speed, yet I somehow still managed to meet a girl (Jihyun, aka mamacita bonita, now my "official girlfriend"), present at the Flash Memory Conference in Santa Clara (Nailed it!), have an awesome vacation in San Fransisco (best picture ever :-), and get back into town just in time for a killer Big Wednesday (Luau themed bar crawl). In San Francisco we stayed at a really nice hotel called the Prescott right next to union square and had a lot of fun: we went to a comedy club, a dueling piano bar, the wax museum, and walked around the Pier. We were suppose to drive out to Napa Valley for a wine tour but ran out of time. It was a good vacation, but next time we need to schedule a couple more days to get everything in.

I went to a cousin's wedding in Oregon over labor day weekend, where I got to help serve Pinot Noir grape juice, setup and tear down all the tables and chairs, and even run to the hardware store to fix the backdrop. I am more than happy to help out though, as it helps avoid the inevitable question of "So when are you getting married?" (answer is 2012 :-) We still had fun too: I went bowling with my brothers, cousins, and nephew and went mountain biking down Mount Ashland (the same trail they use to do the Super D run). I did fairly well in bowling, but trying to keep up with my younger cousins made it clear that I am in no shape to be riding down the mountain on a bike. I told them to come to Utah sometime and I will teach them a thing or two on the snow.

That brings us up to September, where I have been busy testing a new software release and getting ready for the roll-out later this month. I am very glad that I do not have to go back to school this semester, as it leaves a bit more free time to hangout and have fun. September seems to be a popular month for birthdays, and we have a camping trip to Flaming Gorge planned for this weekend to celebrate at least 4 of them. Should be a lot of fun and a good break before work starts to pickup at the end of the month.

And lastly, this week the Large Hadron Collider came online, which is designed to try and find the Higgs boson particle among other things. So far it has yet to tear apart the known universe (a shame really), so in the spirit of advanced particle physics and tearing a new one, I will leave you with the video that recently won the MTV Video Music Award for "Best Big Bang Theory Related Video". Enjoy!