HOW conference

This time tomorrow I’ll be gathering my things and heading off to the 2009 HOW Design Conference in Austin, TX. Since it was so close this year I’ll be driving up with a colleague. I’m pretty excited. HOW is the largest design conference in the country. It’s like MacWorld or E3, but just for designers and artists. Adobe will be showing off CS4 and beta versions of features for CS5, designers and pundits like Cameron Moll and DJ Stout will be there along with Photoshop experts like the grand-master Scott Kelby.

It should be pretty awesome. I’m hoping that the Austin Convention Center will have wifi, but I’m not holding my breath. If it does, I’ll probably be live-blogging some of the talks, just for note-taking purposes. If it doesn’t, I’ll try and recap in the evenings back at the hotel.

If nothing else, I’ll at least replenish my supply of crappy trade-show grade t-shirts. You can never have too many t-shirts you can paint in, lol.

What’s in Your Bag

A friend from church asked me last week how I was staying sane with all that was going on. I didn’t know how to reply at the time, but think at least part of the answer is in my messenger bag.

Last November, for our anniversary, my wife got me a really really nice messenger bag. Leather and ballistic nylon, with heavy duty hardware, magnetic closures and a really heavy duty strap. I really like it. I’ve been taking it to work with me every day since I got it.

Since we’ve been making frequent trips to hospitals and the in-laws, I’ve found a need to be prepared for just about anything. My current benchmark is to be prepared for a 48hr stay in a hospital waiting room. We’ve done the 48hr strait waiting game 3 times now, and each time I’m more and more prepared.

I thought perhaps it would be interesting to mention what I’ve got in my bag at the moment. Who knows, it could be enlightening.

Click for a larger image, with labels, but come back here for the explanations.


The Light after the Darkness

When the U-Verse technician told me yesterday I could “get to the TV stuff online” I assumed he meant I could see channel listings. Of course, the downside was having to endure a trip to to do it. I didn’t link that because no one should ever have to see a “portal”  page like that unless they’re being subjected to some sort of web 2.0 tourture chamber. Everything that could possibly blink does, and then it slides, jumps, talks, dances, rotates and eventually bends your browser over and has it’s way with it. It’s not good.

However, there is some light at the end of the browser rape tunnel. Once there, a U-Verse customer can find another link, one to a shiny golden place of web goodness. A place that lets you forget the pain you just went through.

Through some bizarre collaboration between the internet gods, you can, actively, through this second website, access your DVR at home. All because Yahoo and SBC teamed up. AT&T re-borg’ed SBC, and thus Yahoo, and now you can access your AT&T hardware via Yahoo’s homepage.

You have access to it’s recorded shows, it’s schedules, it’s settings. More importantly, you have access to all this via an interactive channel guide. Meaning, you can browse the TV listings for weeks in advance, select a show, set the DVR to record and then come home to find that indeed magic has taken place.

Oh, and did I mention it’s cellphone/PDA/iPhone compatible? Seriously, that’s a cool feature.

Lastly, as I mentioned yesterday, after my U-Verse install I took it upon myself to drop my own cable down a couple walls. Something that I succeeded in, albeit at the expense of skin and the fiberglass insulation that decided to cover it. I can’t really blame it though, I was invading it’s natural habitat. Something I’m not likely to do again anytime soon. That said, the mission was a success. Fiber to my Xbox makes me a very happy person.

Game on.

Only in Texas

I’ll give you a minute to let the full majesty of this small shopping center sink in. That’s either that safest daycare in the world, or the worst place for an insurance agent ever.


Wild Blue Yonder

This Sunday was especially fun for yours truely. It was the first time I’ve ever flown a plane. Yup, me, flying, in the sky. Crazy. My good buddy Matt took me up for a quick hour tour of the coast line and for about 20-25 minutes there he let me take the wheel… or stick… or whatever the hell you call it (yolk?).  I had a blast. It was quite possibly one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. We went up in a Tiger AG-5B, a little 4 seater prop job.

I managed to take a few photos while I was up there and I’ll post them as soon as I can. Even got a video of myself flying.

The weirdest part of the whole thing was realizing how light the aircraft was and how much it was getting pushed around by the wind. It was “sliding” side to side quite a bit more than I expected. I was always having to compensate with the rudder. Keeping it strait and turning wasn’t a problem. I’ll thank my years of video game playing for that. It was amazing to me how many different frequencies and radio towers you have to contact just to fly around. I think it took 4 or 5 different calls just to get up in the air, then various other ones as we went into other airports airspace. I have a new found respect for pilots.

If it wasn’t so damn expensive as a hobby, I’d say this was my first of many trips to come, but alas, unless I win the lotto I’m afraid a pilots license just isn’t in my future. Fun stuff though.

Home Sweet Home

We just got in last night and after the crazy flights we had, I was glad to be home.

We had gotten stuck in Manchester because our plane had “mechanical problems”, which always instills confidence in your travel provider. Apparently it was nothing major, something about the water system not working and the plane was going from there, to Baltimore, to San Diego, and they didn’t want to make a 7 hour flight without water. I can’t really blame them.

That threw off our connection in Baltimore, which they had to reschedule for us, getting us in 3 hours late. I suppose it was better than not getting home at all, which, based on our last landing, was a distinct possibility with Southwest. I swear, those people couldn’t land a plane smoothly if lives depended on it…. which they kinda do. I can’t remember if we bounced three times or four, but my money is on four.

As for the remainder of our vacation, it was nice and relaxing. I say that as if we had a choice. Having not rented a car, we were resigned to be at everyone else’s mercy in terms of schedule. We did have some fun though. We wondered around the lakes region. I’ve got a shit-ton of pictures to go through and post that I think you guys will like.

Christmas was also nice. I think that goes without saying. But having an old fashioned family Christmas was just what I needed.

I got a Sansa, what loot did you guys pick up? lol.