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Happy Birthday Danielle!

Last year at this time I posted a blog entry to my beautiful daughter for her 20th Birthday. I was titled 20 years, 20 photos,   In it I profiled 20 of my favorite pictures of her

Today she turns 21. Now she is a true adult. Asa result, I thought I would take a second and post a few more pictures (21 actually), that did not make the original cut a year ago.

Although I love you buggy - this just goes to show that you are never too old for me to embarrass the hell out of you - and don't forget - I've been taking these pictures for a long time now!

I love you more than life itself. Have a very happy 21st! - and I continue to be very proud of you!

 - Love 

your Daddy




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I'm Moving To Hawaii!


Well, After trudging away in the corporate world for 25 years, and raising a family, my wife and I now find ourselves as empty nesters. Thus begins the next chapter in our lives.

Since both of the girls are off to college, we have some time to enjoy life and explore the world, before we are dragged back into reality by the birth of grandkids, or some other mundane thing, like having to get a real job again. As a result we have decided that now is the time to explore, have some fun, and enjoy life for a while.

It has always been a plan of ours to 'retire' to someplace warm and sunny. We just can't figure out where… We have always liked the beach and being landlocked all our lives, take any, and every opportunity to get to a beach someplace and stick our big toes into the ocean. For those that have been following along on this blog, this is clearly indicated by the number of cruise vacations we have taken over the last several years.

In an effort to figure out where we eventually want to retire to permanently, our plan was to rent a furnished condo in some beachy town and spend six months exploring. That way we can actually get to know the location, and explore more than just the touristy stuff you do when you are on vacation there for a week or two. We had thought about Jacksonville Beach Fl, possibly the gulf coast of Florida or even Puerto Vallarta. 

Last year in April, we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary and I had always promised Colleen that I would take her to Hawaii. So for our 20th, we did a vow renewal on the beach on Oahu and took, of coarse, a Hawaii cruise where we got a chance to explore all of the islands.  If you missed the post and picks… you can see them here.

On the cruise we spent a day in both Kona and Hilo on the big island. Something about Kona just spoke to us. As a result we have decided that that is where we will start our journey. We have both quit our jobs, and are busy packing up all of our stuff to put into storage.

The plan at this point is to go with nothing but a couple of suitcases and the Jeep. We are going to drive to LA and drop the jeep off at the Matson shipping terminal and hop on an airplane. With any luck at all, the jeep should arrive two weeks later. We have rented a vacation condo right on the beach, and that will be home for at least the first 90 days or so while we explore and decide where on the island we want to live for the rest of the year.

We have found a bunch of great houses on Craigslist but it is just too hard to make a long term commitment to something without actually seeing it first. The countdown begins…. we should be there the beginning of March!  In the interim, as always, I will likely be blogging about the whole thing. Hopefully anyhow. since it appears I have not blogged for more than six months. Something tells me I will have some time on my hands.

Even Colleen is getting into the blogging spirit! She has decided that she is going to take up photography and take a class or two at the local community college once there - and blog about her hawaii experiences and post a bunch of photos. Stay tuned for that. 

well, Aloha for now! - more soon.



NCL Jewel Suite 14,000 - North to Alaska!

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This last week my family and I were fortunate enough to be able to travel on the fabulous NCL Jewel to Alaska. Traveling along the inside passage, we visited Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway, along with a short jaunt up the Tracey Arm fjord to Sawyer Glacier. Without a doubt, the most amazing part was the fjord, combined with the fact that we were in the amazing three bedroom suite. The views were incredible and the weather was completely cooperative, providing sunny port days and refraining from raining except in the early mornings.

If you ever have an opportunity to tack this particular itinerary, I highly recommend it. - Plus the great room we had, made it a trip of a lifetime.  Here are a few shots:



Leaving Seattle

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Suite 14,000

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The Bar

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The tub and courtyard

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Breakfast nook

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Master Bedroom

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View from Master

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Private Verandah

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With a hammock!

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Bedroom 2

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Bedroom 3

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View from Suite


Sawyer Glacier


whale swimming by


More Wildlife

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Getting ready to zip line

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Forrest canopy

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The Boat…. The boat, the boat the BOAT!

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The old red light district

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Downtown juneau

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The tram

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Iceberg - dead ahead.

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Sawyer Glacier

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Tracey Arm Fjord

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Glacier run off

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In Skagway

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The Choo Choo

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The obligatory towel monkey

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Sunset over Alaska

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In Victoria BC

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My next office appointment

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more amazing scenery

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bye bye!


The Maker Bot Petting Zoo. 3D printing technology in the main stream.

Makerbot replicator

Back in March of 2011 I wrote a blog post about 3D printers and how I thought it would change the lives of our kids, kids.  I don't think my foreshadowing was too far off the mark. This last week, the creators of the MakerBot held Maker Faire, their expo for fans and enthusiasts. If you are unfamiliar, MakerBot is a company that makes the Replicator (right) an affordable, home version of the 3D printing technology that previously was only available to major manufacturers due to the cost. It appears that it has taken off. One of the very cool things they did for the fair was to create a 'petting zoo' with a band of misfit robots that were all created using the Replicator. All I can say is hey, - isn't Fathers Day right around the corner?

Check out these two very cool videos on the project.

Another interesting side note… I have had this blog for about 18 months now and during that time have written 65 posts. Based on my traffic flow statistics, even 14 months later, that original post still drives more traffic to my blog than anything else I have written. It must have gained some traction in Google search results on the topic. Yet another indicator that this technology will likely be ubiquitous when our kids have kids.

--- Bonus material

If you are interested in this stuff. Cory Doctorow wrote a great book (fiction) called Makers that utilizes 3D printing technology as a central character. Its with a read, and its free from his site.





Inspiring personal philosophy - and great advice.



Each spring, schools from across the country produce another graduating class of seniors, and occasionally a commencement speech or two bubble to the top, (and as a result to my attention) Many are worthy of worthy of consumption. This year is no exception and a recent speech by Neil Galman to the University of the Arts class of 2012 tastes especially good. Mr Galman's soft spoken philosophy on life is spot on, and is something it took me more than forty years to realize. With my youngest daughter set to graduate in just a few days, this information is timely and my hope is that she discovers her passion - what ever it ends up being, and pursues that with reckless abandon.

Taylor, I am immensely proud of you!

My personal favorite part is his take on 'three important values'

1) Do Good Work (make great art).

2) Always be nice to people.

3) Meet your deadlines.

He further riffs: 'Only achieving two out of the tree is just fine, and it does not matter which two… You can be an ass, if your work is good, and is on time. You can be late if your work is good and you are nice to people. Your work does not even have to be that good, if its is on time and people like you (because you are nice to them!)'  - A truer statement was never spoken.

The speech is most definitely worth the twenty minutes.




Bonus content….. if you have the time.

Steve Jobs' excellent commencement address to Stanford in 2005.


Personal Data Lockers, the Semantic Web and Digital Exhaust. (Tangent of the week) - If you have a few minutes…. 


Personal Data Lockers and the Semantic Web.

Today I was wandering amlessly about the inter webs and discovered something very cool and amazing. It was akin to the very first time I ever saw Google Earth. I knew technology was at a milestone, and our lives were about to change for the better. - Now, five years later, everyone has a smart phone, and communicates ubiquitously.  Between Google Earth, Google Maps and Google Street view - you can see anywhere in the world (and even Mars!)

Thats how I feel again. I consider myself pretty tech savvy, however I must have been under a rock for the last couple of years, because apparently this concept and stuff has been out for a while now, but this is the first time I am hearing about it. I'm talking about the concept of Personal Data Lockers and the Semantic Web.  Are you not sure what the heck that is?  Well rather then try to explain it to you, David Siegel does a very nice job in this little video.


Ok, so I know what you are now saying to yourself.  Sure, thats a pretty utopian prediction of what could be an Orwellian future. - So stay with me for just a moment. Toss in the vision of a company like IBM and you get the Semantic Web. Here are some of the possibilities.


This led me to a new term I have never heard of. Digital Exhaust. In essence all of the footprints left behind from your and my web searches, browsing activity, check in's, etc. Aggregated, this data has proven to be very powerful, and also predictive of our future needs. This makes a lot of sense to me - as humans are repetitive by nature, and as a result, their future needs can be predicted by their past behavior. As your high school Social Studies teacher often said - History repeats itself. Here is another take and "intro for Noobs" on the semantic web.


 So now your thinking - well, thats all good and fine - in ten years…

-  No. There is currently an open source project called The Locker Project.. Founded  by Jeremy Miller. There is a couple of pretty interesting articles on what he is trying to accomplish here and here.


Well - if you have made it this far, here are a couple of more interesting videos on the possibilities of this kind of data aggregation and use.

Back to David Siegel again - this time on the concept of pull.

 Well now that I've taken up an hour of your life… you may return to what ever it was you were doing - with your head spinning as to the possibilities. I know mine is.





I Love Sunday Mornings!


What happens when you put a 3D printer in the hands of a pastry chef?

3d chocolate heart

Why a 3D Chocolate sculpture of corse!

Last year on my blog here, I profiled an emerging technology that is very interesting to me and although still in its infancy, will likely continue to evolve into some amazing things. 3D printers have been used for the last several years to make some amazing items and with the Makerbot home hobbyists can play with the technology for a minimal investment. Now a UK company Chocedge has designed a food based version of the technology that uses chocolate rather than resin to design 3D chocolate sculptures.

This is almost scarily parallel to the foreshadowing that Cory Doctorow did in his book Makers (also previously profiled here). In it he writes about a couple of kids who hack and combine commercially available products of the time, like Tickle Me Elmo's together with remote control servos in a mesh network to operate a vehicle. He also suggests that 3D printer technology can be used with food products rather than resins to create hot pockets, or burritos.

Soon we will all have one of these in our kitchens, right next to the microwave and will buy 'food cartridges' of ingredients like you buy different color printer ink now… The book is a great read and better yet is available free as an open source creative commons product from his web site here.

By next Easter, we should see these things pumping out bunnies and cream filled eggs.



Not into NCAA March Madness? Time to rediscover a classic old game!

Riven Coverart

Never having been very much into basketball, March Madness just does not do anything for me. I would not know the first thing about trying to pick my way through a bracket pool, and would rather not spend the next several weeks glued to my TV or streaming games to my iPhone. Alas with some extra time on my hands - why not get fully emerged into a great graphic adventure game.

I suppose I can thank my brother Peter for getting me hooked on great adventure games. I distinctly remember back in junior high when he brought home his first Apple Iic computer. One of the most amazing things you could do with it was dial up the Mountain Bell main frame with a 300 baud modem and play Zork! The game was something HUGE (at the time) like 300-400k and with the Apple's 64k - you needed a mainframe space to support it. I would spend hours on the text based adventure game, drawing maps and solving the puzzles. Still a classic today - you can plait in HTML on this website.

Cyan Worlds took up the baton with Myst and its trilogy, including one of the best games ever produced, Uru. I have never been much into first person shooters. There where a couple that where fun, Wolfenstein and its follow up Return to Castle Wolfenstein. I remember when my kids were little they would sit on my lap at the desk and my wife would look sideways at me while I killed Nazi's. "Nice parenting influence there dad," she would say. The current generations of first person shooters just doesn't thrill me.

Enter Riven:

One of the Myst series produced in 1997, this adventure is completely immersive and had some of the most stunning graphics produced at the time. 15 years later, they still stand up well and the game is still as intriguing as ever. One of my favorite things about Riven and the entire series as a whole, is the inability to die. No one is trying to kill you and there is no requirement to get good at some cryptic series of keyboard combinations in rapid succession just to advance in the game - rather just a simple, strait forward interface while you explore strange lands, solve puzzles and waste time - Careful -  if you start, a week or two of your life will be gone before you know it (fair warning).

Because the game is so old, it is now available for download from Steam for just $5.99. If you have a Mac running Lion, you will also need to download this piece of free software from some enthusiasts who created an engine to run it on OS X.

So turn the lights out, turn the speakers up and sit back for a great adventure. I just started it again myself. …. I'll see you sometime in April!

Screen shots below.

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Cool Free iPhone App-O-The Day: Pedometer Free


Recently I started working several medic shifts at the Colorado Convention Center. This mammoth of a building has more than half a million square feet of space on one level, and has three levels! After about two weeks of being here I started to wonder how much I was actually walking in a day. I found myself wishing I had one of those little plastic pedometers so that I could track if I was getting my requisite 10,000 steps a day or not. I suspected I was probably way over on shifts where I had to respond to the convention floor several times, like the recent statewide volleyball tournament.

Then I realized - hey I have an iPhone… I wonder what is out there.

Pedometer Free is a very cool app that not only tracks your steps, it then converts that to miles, calorie burn rate, and average speed. It seems to be relatively accurate based on my simple little test of counting my steps vs what it said. If you enter your height and weight the 'step' distance auto calculates for you making the mileage more accurate and best of all it tracks the whole thing on GPS so you can see a map of where you have been.

I was able to determine that one lap around the 'ol convention center was 981 steps or 0.534 miles.  I walk at 1.7 miles an hour and burned about 83 calories a lap. Pretty cool!

I believe the paid version (only $2.99) maintains a longer history, integrates Facebook or Twitter posting, and allows CSV data outputs to other physical activity tracking applications.

I'l let it run here for a few days and let you know what my average daily walk consists of… Should be interesting.


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