Category Archives: Family

10 Years

September 24th, 2005. I got hitched. To the most amazing person I’ve ever met.

10 years later, she’s still amazing, still my best friend, still the person i want to see when i go to sleep and when i wake up (and the times in-between! LOL)

10 years later and we’ve said good-bye to 4 dogs (Mojo, Scooter, Terrence and Phillip), welcomed 2 new ones (Paco and Winston) into our lives.

10 years later and we’re happy and thriving, living in an awesome city, walking and biking where ever we can.

10 years later and we’re still trying new things.

10 years later and we’re camping when we can and experiencing nature more than we ever did before.

10 years later it’s still the adventure of a lifetime.

 

I love you Nicole! And can’t wait for the next 10 years!

Why I voted No on 66

For those who are quick to judge, it’s NOT because I’m anti education, or anti kids, or anything like that. In fact I’m very pro educated populace. I’ve seen idiocracy and if you haven’t you should. It’s one of those parody movies that hits a little close to home…

To me, Amendment 66 had a huge flaw that made it a ‘no’ vote for me. It took two things that are very separate issues and tried to shove them together. I don’t know why, I don’t know if any thought was given to it, but it took a tax increase to the tune of 950 Mil. That’s almost 1 Billion dollars, and lumped it in with reforms to the way money for schools is handled.

School reform is a big deal and long over due. I’m all for it. In my high school years I was really involved with how my school and district ran. I knew my way around the District Office, the school office etc. I saw the spending. I want our public education system to be completely gutted and started over. I think a District office should be 10 people in an office onsite at a school. I think a building with any marble in it is wrong. I think teachers should be paid like the rock stars they are. I think Bad teachers need to get the boot and tenure be done away with. Show me and the voting public a bill that does that, and I don’t think there’d be a no vote in the house.

All of that can be accomplished without more money. None of those things cost more to implement. I’d have voted a resounding yes on 66 if it had focused solely on reforming schools and education. The transparency and spending rules sounded like great starts. I have no idea why they had to be tied to a tax increase.

I’m also not opposed to spending more on education, what I am opposed to is throwing money at a borked system. To me amendment 66 would have been a home run if it focused on fixing (even in a smaller way to start) the education system. A tax increase would be easier to swallow if it came on the heels of “Look what we’ve been up to. We’ve cut spending here and here. We’ve implanted these rules that puts the money in the classroom.” etc. Instead of the standard refrain of “we just need more. Give us more money. Please, we need more. more more more.”

I really wish (maybe they did and I don’t know) there was a poll of voters who said no, asking “why?” I think the authors of the amendment had great intentions, i know it was a long time coming, but i think the execution was wrong. At least it was for me.

 

Life with Nest

So My friend Tom gave me a Nest. Which is good because no matter how much I tried, Nicole wasn’t that keen on the idea… actually the expense. A Nest ain’t cheap. I definitely think it’s one of those products that once installed and in use for 6 months to a year pays for itself or at least shows the potential to, but until then it’s an expensive thermostat.

Photo Nov 03, 10 18 08 AMInstallation was pretty easy, though I did end up having to give in and call Nest support (which was awesome!) because my homebuilder was a moron. For whatever reason there was an entire extra wire bundle connected to the old thermostat. Nest support was great, I’d email them a pic and he’d immediately know what to do. Once he and I got that part tackled, viola!

(please ignore the gouges above the Nest, they were there already hidden behind the old thermostat.

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Once installed it walked me through the set up process on screen. Downloaded a new firmware update that was waiting, and showed me what I needed to know to get going. You can do all the programming and such on the device, but I found it quite a bit easier to do via the mobile app. (see the pics below)

 

Once you get things like a basic schedule setup (I set ours just like the old thermostat) you can start letting it learn. Since our Nest is located in the dining rom, I’m not using the auto-away feature.  We rarely eat in the dining room and since it’s a nook, we don’t pass thru it. So I don’t want the Nest trying to learn our patterns that way. I’d rather it learn from our adjustments.

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Our basic schedule. This was the starting point I wanted the Nest to work from.

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The main screen of the iOS app. Super simple and easy to use.

We’ve only had it about a month and a half or so, so I’m excited to see the results on our energy bill down the road. Especially in the use case of vacations. Before we’d have to remember to turn the old thermostat off or heat or cool the house when we’re not home. Now with the push of a button on our iPhones we can tell it we’re not there.

The other feature I really like is the leaf. There’s the training we’re giving the Nest, and then there’s the training it’s giving us. Now when I crank up the heat it tells me that it’ll be 25 minutes before I get there. I grab a sweater.

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The energy report. Over time this will be more insightful to me, but even now it’s cool to see how we’re doing.

All in all, i’m happy to have a Nest. For one thing it’s much more attractive than our crappy looking honeywell dumb thermostat. And since we’re always looking for ways to save a buck, i think in the long run the Nest will be more helpful in that goal.

 

 

 

Thinking About Death

So obviously with Steve Job’s passing Death has been talked about a lot lately. Of course having such a visionary pass away is a huge loss. But closer to home our downstairs neighbor at Uncubed, Jim recently passed away.

I got back from my trip to LA and found out. I didn’t know Jim all that much, he ran the motorcycle museum below us, mostly opened on the weekends. He’d come up and chat once in a while, lend us a tool during the construction before we opened. He was a good guy, who loved motorcycles.

His kids came by shortly after his passing and held a wake in the museum, and since then it’s been closed up.

Last night I left the office and was taking the trash out and walk passed the dark windows of the museum. Now the lights would never be on at night anyway, but walking past I knew that they’d never be on again, at least not for Jims’ museum.

Death is a funny thing. I’ve been fairly blessed  in that my family hasn’t suffered many deaths. At least deaths of people I knew or had met. Great grand parents passed when I was a child. That’s changing of course as grand parents are getting older, but they’re still kicking.

But now other people in my life are passing, and it really does (as Steve said at Stanford) make you think and evaluate.

This is kind of a navel gazing post, but i just wanted to share that it’s weird as life goes on, that deaths start to occur and you really do start thinking about life, goals, that kind of shit.

 

I almost wrote this up and deleted it, but meh, I figured I’d post it just to put it out there, so that next year I can come look at it.

Buh bye Bubba Phillip

Yesterday we had to send our dog Phillip to doggy heaven. He’s playing with his brother Terrence (Yup, that was their names) who passed two years ago.

It was tough, I’ve had them both since they were about 6 weeks old, Phillip was about 12 years old. They were my campanions thru relationships, moves and more. They even moved across country with me and Nicole from CA to CO.

Yesterday was hard. Just as hard as the day we took Terrence to the vet, maybe a little more, we knew there wasn’t anyone at home waiting for us, to help us grieve and adapt to life without a dog. It’s funny how you get used to their presence, even when they’re just sleeping behind your office chair or down in the living room looking out the window.

In the end I know it was the right decision, he was old in big dog years, and his health was failing him, even though he didn’t always like that. He had a hard time getting on the couch (his favorite place to sleep) and food stopped being appealing (if you knew Phillip, you’ll know how serious things were), he had gotten anemic and there was probably internal bleeding too from who knows what :( He was on IV fluids and tons of pills just keep him from being nauseous :(

Our vet Dr. Graf is awesome! She was very supportive of our decision, even confirming that we were really sure, since there’s no take backs, she loved both bubbas almost as much as we did. In the end his big heart gave out, just with sedation, before she even administered the pink stuff. So we knew he was holding on for us more than anything else, and was more than ready to let go, and move on.

Dogs are so incredible. When they pass it makes you realize how short our time with them is, even small breeds don’t live that long compared to us. Being a dog owner means coming to terms with death, but it never gets easier. I have no shame admitting I cried like a little girl much of yesterday (and for that matter as I type this now), in front of the vet and the tech, Nicole and strangers in the cars next to us at lights. I’ve said goodbye to many dogs over the years and it’s never gotten easier. I don’t expect it will.

I’m certain we’ll get another dog. I almost wish we had gotten a puppy for Phillip to play with and be with at the end, as much for him to have a companion when we travel (I hated leaving him these past few months even for just a few days) as for us to help grieve and move on and focus our energies on someone else. We’ll probably wait a while since we’ve got travel or conferences every month the rest of 2010. There’s never been a doubt in my mind there’d be dogs after Terrence and Phillip, but it’s tough to say goodbye to a lifelong friend and then steel yourself for doing again in 10-15 years with your next friend. I sometimes wish Tortoises were more cuddly.

Goodbye Phillip, we love you and miss you.

Happy Festivus to one and all!

I just wanted to take a moment to reflect on 2008. It’s been a great year with lots of twists and turns.

360conferences-logo2008 was the first full year of 360|Conferences, and saw us visit; Atlanta, Milan Italy, and return to San Jose CA, where it all started for 360|Flex. It also saw us start to make some money, enough that we paid ourselves a little money, not a salary, but we’re able to show a bit of income for our efforts, which in a start up never hurts! Lastly, 2008 saw us announce our first non Flex event, 360|iDev, the first and largest iPhone developer conference.

effectiveui-logo I moved from being a Flex  developer consultant, working for some really great companies like Universal Mind, and Esria, to being the Community Evangelist/Solution Engineer for EffectiveUI. I love writing code, and still do, albeit not daily, and I’m trying to learn to write some iPhoneSDK code as well, but there’s something about helping EUI get more out of social media and community. I’ve learned a lot in a short period, and can’t wait to see how ’09 treats me.

img_44272008 was also the year we lost Terrance :( He was 10, I’ve lost a few animals over the course of my life; Chip, Mandy, Hamster Little Tike, Turtle Duke, Rat Eon. The dogs were family pets, and the others I was pretty young, I guess it never sunk in back then.  Terrance hit really hard, I had had him and his brother Philip since they were about 8 weeks old. Losing him so suddenly really hurt.

2008 was our first year in our new house in downtown Denver, w00t! We left Highlands Ranch in December ’07 leaving behind moms in SUVs with nothing to do all day, starbucks on every corner, and more kids than I’ve ever seen in my life! We love it in Denver, if you can’t tell! We’ve enjoyed meeting our neighbors, and exploring our new neighborhood.

I also joined Jeff as co-host of The Flex Show, in 2008, and we just recorded my 1 year anniversary episode. I can’t believe it’s been a year! It’s been awesome, and I can’t wait to spend another year, helping Jeff to deliver the best source of news and interviews in the Flex Community!

Thanks to 360|Conferences, 2008 is also my first year in any type of frequent flier program. I’m finally Ascent level on Frontier Airlines. Granted they’ve been sucking more and more as an airline, and may not exist for all of ’09, but hey, for the time being, I get on the plane first, and get my bags faster, can’t beat that.

2008 also (in December, but still) saw Tom and I launch OurStartupStory, where we’ll be talking about our views and experiences with 360|Conferences. We’ve got some great guys writing with us, so it should be a wealth of view points, definitely something to keep an eye on. (as if I need a new blog to write for, but oh well!)

Here’s to 2008, and an awesome 2009! Can’t wait to see what the new year has in store for all of us!

A lesson in 2008, Don’t F with Community

So last night I saw a very powerful example of not doing business like it’s 1980.

I remember as a kid, and even as a young adult, saying, “Wow, I had no idea a Wal-Mart/Starbucks/McDonalds/You name it, was going in there.”

Those days are no more. The internet has changed that, forever. Builders and land barons can no longer simply build something and slap a sign on it, and move on, not caring whether the community approved or not. It was easy, once built it’s hard for the community to stop something that’s already built.

Last night, hopefully taught Focus development that very lesson. They’ve signed a lease with 7-11 to put up a store at Broadway and Larimer, where the old auto repair shop building is. They did this without ever mentioning it to the Ballpark Neighborhood (where I live). Normally that’d be fine, I’m all for business, especially business coming to my neighborhood.

Unfortunately my neighborhood is a bit teetery. We’ve got 2 homeless shelters a block apart, and about 1.5 blocks from the proposed location of the 7-11. The concern isn’t just bringing the homeless further into our neighborhood; they’re already here, lots of them near my house. It’s the crime, the traffic, the impact on the residents of the lofts immediately next to the 7-11. It’s a lot of things, that Focus Development seems to have chosen to ignore.

The alleyway behind the lofts, apparently is frequented (nightly from the sounds of it) by homeless, drug dealers and takers, and apparently prostitutes. Currently a call to police allows the police to take the offenders, or at least drive them away. However with the 7-11 there, the offenders simply have to say they’re on their way inside or have just left, keeping the police from making that area safer.

So where did Focus go wrong? They never told the community, the community that is directly impacted by this 7-11. They seemed to have thought that they could simply set up this 7-11 regardless of the community’s opinions. Sure that’s how business would like it to be, but that’s simply not the case. Not these days. Business owners and residents alike all vowed to do whatever they could to stop the 7-11, and even more so, every future endeavor Focus Development undertakes in the Ballpark Neighborhood. That can’t be good. And How did this all go wrong for Focus? The Internet. Skabber twittered a blog link, that was an Email from someone else. I twittered the event, and blogged it. Word spread fast. In the ‘old days’ word didn’t spread, fast or if at all. Business should keep that in mind. I suspect there won’t be a 7-11 at Broadway and Larimer, just a hunch, but I’m guessing it’s not gonna happen.

Side note. the only two people “for” the 7-11, 1 that lives in Cherry Creek where the 7-11 there is completely nice and there’s no problems. DUH. And the President of our Association (will have to see how long that tenure is) who lives in Congress Park.