Tuesday, 30 May 2006

I was in Washington DC today (in fact I still am - our flight through Chicago is delayed by a few hours) for a business meeting at the OCC. After the meeting ended we had some time to spare , so my coworker Milind and I spent an hour or so checking out a few spots around the city.

Grandfather Fremont Stanley marker at Arlinton National CemeteryOur last stop before heading for the airport was Arlington National Cemetery. Milind had not been there before, and it had been more than a year for me. The last time I went, they were just closing for the evening, and also at the time I did not get a chance on that trip to find out where my grandpop and grandmom are buried.

But today we had plenty of time, so I went to the location office and the nice people there pulled out the old rolls of microfilm (seriously - someone should digitize all that for the cemetery, for free, as a donation. It's sad that they have to use Microfilm for anything before 1999) and found my grandpop's burial location.

I'd hoped our flight in on Monday would arrive in time to let me go there on Memorial Day, but no such luck, so today - Memorial Day +1, so to speak - was a good day to go.

He served in the U.S. Army - including service during World War Two and Korea. My grandmom and their three kids - my mom and her two younger sisters - traveled to Germany when he was stationed there. I'm told they moved around a lot. Probably typical army family style.

At any rate, what I remember of Grandpop was bouncing on his knee when I was very small. That and him singing "Little David Play on your Harp" to my little brother (David, of course). Of my Grandmom I remember much more. She was a very nice lady and a good person.

Grandmom Stanley marker at ArlingtonAnyhow, it was good to go there and spend a few minutes. Their marker (it's a shared one, because they intern couples together at Arlington) is under a big tree, and it's just a beautiful place. I snapped a few pictures before I left. I'm sure I will go back again, hopefully soon.

Arlington National Cemetery is simply an amazing, thought provoking, emotional place.

Milind and I went to the U.S. Capital building earlier in our trek, and walked in the east-coast summer heat for a while and took some pictures. The capital city has moved into that hot and muggy phase of the early summer, and today was a perfect example. We just don't get that kind of humidity in Oregon. Thank goodness.

UA Capital Building
   The Capital Building

milind-capital1
   Milind's presentation style pose



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Personal Stories
Tuesday, 30 May 2006 16:55:17 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Sunday, 28 May 2006

Take the time this Memorial Day to remember. Put the memories of those who have sacrificed or gone before you at the front of your thoughts, and their families and friends in your prayers.

This day I remember many who have gone before me: My grandfather, who served in two wars and rests in Arlington National Cemetery and whose grave I hope to visit in the next couple weeks when I am there. My son. Family. Friends. And many people I never knew, who made a decision to sacrifice their lives to make ours better and - in their own very individual ways - to do the right thing.

Dear Madam,

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General from Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours very sincerely and respectfully,
A. Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864

Do not stand by my grave and weep ... I am not there;
I do not sleep.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds
circling in flight.
Do not stand by my grave and cry ...
I am not there. I did not die.

-- Royster



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Personal Stories
Sunday, 28 May 2006 19:50:31 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Cathy Rigby as Peter PanIt's slightly out of character for me to go to a live theater performance, but I'm glad I bought a couple tickets in early April to the stage production of Peter Pan, starring Cathy Rigby, for the second to last night of the show's farewell tour. The show was performed last night in downtown Portland at the Keller Auditorium, and I can tell you this: It was a lot of fun and an amazing show, both technically and for it's entertainment value.

First of all, no matter who you are, Peter Pan is just a great story. It speaks directly to the kid hiding within each of us and reminds us that youth is something that passes, but growing up is something that happens in its own time and in accordance with our individual wills. Few stories can make you think about what's possible like Peter Pan does, and for that it's a timeless classic story. It was actually written a hundred years ago.

This show was very well done all the way around. The set was terrific and the lighting made it all work. Of course, one of the most amazing aspects of this show - and the thing that truly sets it apart from most others - is the fact that Peter quite literally flies in the window and all around the stage. At one point, Cathy Rigby, who plays Peter and has done so for years, even flies out into the audience, over your head while the orghestra plays loudly and the crowd cheers (see some back-stage footage here). And when she flies, the former gymnast in her shows through, as she twists and turns and somersaults and spins through the air. Let's just say it's a fantastic flying effect. There's something about the Peter character, one of a young boy who is determined never to grow up, a desire many of us probably share in our own individual ways - and who can fly because he believes, something we all wish secretly we could do. If only wishing and believing could make magical dreams come true and keep us young forever... It's a universal appeal that the story of Peter Pan carries.

When Rigby and the other actors fly across and around the stage, one can't help but wish there was some way to give it a try yourself. It's powerful enough to invoke a wish to actually be able to fly, the same feeling I had when I was a kid lying on the grass and getting dizzy watching birds circle around overhead in the summer. I always wondered what it would be like to be a bird. Tonight I wondered what it would be like to be Peter Pan.

From what I've read, it seems this is Cathy Rigby's farewell tour and therefore the final weekend for this show - it will be no more after Sunday. She flies out in true style, as incredibly athletic as ever (this is an amazingly energetic and athletic production). Sunday evening is the last performance on their schedule during this "farewell tour," which is a sad moment because the filled auditorium tonight was quite pleased and into the performance. Certainly there's more opportunity for the next Peter to take on the role of a boy who woudl not grow up, to please future crowds of both young and old. I am glad and feel quite fortunate to have seen this show before it closed. Magic and pixie dust can really make a lasting impression.

A few press links from the Portland final run of Peter Pan:

It looks like a few Sunday tickets are still available, and if you like the story and can swing it, you should check it out. There's an afternoon show plus one final evening performance. Here's the link for tickets, which will be good only on Sunday - After that, this particular Peter Pan will have grown up, and will be gone.



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Sunday, 28 May 2006 09:14:30 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Chris Pratley (Microsoft's Group Program Manager for Office Authoring Services) mentions it's now possible to blog directly from OneNote via a connection with Word 2007, which has some late-addition features that let you use it to create blog posts directly. Gone is the messy Office markup/HTML gobbledy-gook, as the code if cleaned up and made quite basic. Finally! I've blogged from OneNote using the email integration capability in the (distant) past, but this makes it much more practical and "real."

Bonus Track!
Also - Rob Bushway at GottaBeMobile.com has a quick audio interview with Chris Pratley - lots of great information there. Chris discusses small software teams and the many benefits of staying small and focused. While a small team means high demand, it also means agility and a powerful sense of ownership and intimate knowledge of the codebase. Chris also discusses the use of Ink in OneNote and why they didn't use the basic Ink control in the OneNote 2003 release, as well as what they're doing with ink in the new version.



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Office 2003 | OneNote
Sunday, 28 May 2006 07:01:17 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Friday, 26 May 2006

unitedIf you're like me and spend 50% or more of your life reading the Sky Mall and United Airlines magazines in the seat back pocket in front of you, and if you also happen to have a Blackberry with a web browser enabled, or some other SmartPhone-ish thing that lets you browse the web, be sure to check out United 2 Go:

http://www.ua2go.com

Among the things you can do or check on this mobile-enabled site:

  • My itineraries: View your United Airlines and United Express segments regardless of where they were booked.
  • Flight availability: View domestic and international flight availability up to 331 days in the future on United flights. For Palm OS device's without a wireless connection, the downloadable electronic timetable is available monthly on united.com.
  • Flight status: This gives you up to the minute flight status that includes departure/arrival times, gate numbers and departure/arrival status for United flights.
  • Flight paging: Much like the Flight status alerts feature on united.com this allows you to request flight paging for future United flights
  • Mileage Plus summary: This function provides you with access to a summary of your Mileage Plus account.
  • Red Carpet Club locations: View Red Carpet Club information including location, hours and phone numbers.
  • Airport codes: An easy to use airport code lookup tool is at your fingertips for reference.  

If you're a frequent traveler on United, it's worth a bookmark.



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Friday, 26 May 2006 22:40:20 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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I've been testing the Office 2007 beta releases for awhile now (without blogging about it really), ever since the Beta 1 version came out. Just the other day Microsoft released Beta 2 and it's significantly improved. Outlook is snappier and lots and lots of bugs are fixed across all the apps. Plus the new OneNote is just sweet and the integration between OneNote 2007 and the awesome new version of Outlook is greatly expanded and improved.

Chris Pratley, program manager for OneNote, tells all on his blog entry, "OneNote 2007 and Outlook: Best Buddies."

"When we did 2007 planning, it was clear from our user surveys that anything we could do to integrate better with Outlook would be most welcome. So here it is, my long-awaited post on all the great things OneNote can do with Outlook (and some additional goodies at the end)."

Read all the details here.



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Office 2003 | OneNote
Friday, 26 May 2006 21:37:48 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Thursday, 25 May 2006

I’m sitting here at work at 7:30 p.m. on a Thursday along with Philippe, one of the guys I work with. He’s over glued to his laptop there running SQL queries and doing randomly crazy, scary-smart developer stuff like writing WinForms apps to parse and munge huge datasets and other stuff I really only pretend to understand. Good to have the brainiacs around, let me tell ya!

Anyhow, I asked him what he thinks I should blog about. You see, I’ve not been as prolific recently in the writing department and have been a bit short on ideas, so was fishing for topics. He says – now get this one – it’s not his job to think for me. Hehehehe… Nice one. Actually, I was looking at more as thinking for himself and sharing some topic ideas with me, but hey whatever. Heh.

Then I realized – he hasn’t posted anything to his blog in the past five and a half months. And I’m asking him for writing advice? What the heck was I thinking??



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Thursday, 25 May 2006 18:45:31 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Overwhelmed my the sheer volume of email and the work assignments and stress that go along with it? Help is available. Microsoft's Leadership Forum event for June 8th will be "Getting to Zero in Your Inbox."

Link to register for the LiveMeeting event - http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=4949828

Speakers:

  • Sally McGhee, Founder / Managing Partner
  • John Wittry, Executive Consultant, McGhee Productivity Solutions
Seminar Overview:  Using the McGhee Productivity Solutions E-Mail Processing Model
 
Is your e-mail in box managing you or are you managing your e-mail inbox? Is the constant influx of e-mail keeping you in reactive mode rather than strategic? Are you spending too much time opening and closing e-mail looking for what to do next? Learn how to use your objectives to prioritize your e-mail, how to reduce the amount of e-mail you get, how to differentiate between reference information and action information, and how to set up a system to handle reference and action information.  Clients who use MPS methodologies for e-mail management have seen the number of e-mails in their inboxes reduced by as much as 80%, and spend 1/3 less time in their e-mail on a daily basis.  There is relief for e-mail overload!

In this seminar you will learn:
  • How to Get to zero e-mails in your inbox
  • How to Use a clear focus on your objectives to manage your e-mail inbox
  • New and effective ways to prioritize your day
  • To Free up at least an hour a day


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Office 2003 | Tech
Wednesday, 24 May 2006 23:11:36 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, 22 May 2006

Brent Strange (some dude I know from somewhere, heh...) discusses Virtual PC and the relative performance impact of using differencing, undo and fixed virtual disks. While there are many things one can do to improve performance of virtual machines, having a good, clear understanding of the performance characteristics of different virtual disk types is basic and fundamental. You can tweak all you want, but if you have a slow disk set up, you can only get so far.

A while back, Scott Hanselman also summarized some useful Virtual PC performance optimization techniques.

Virtualization capability is a terrific tool, but there are always tradeoffs. You'll sacrifice at least some performance for the convenience and flexibility you get with virtualization, but depending on your configuration and the specific purpose and requirements of the system you're setting up, it's often well worth the performance costs.



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Tech
Monday, 22 May 2006 22:10:33 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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If you're not into x-rays or thinking about surgery and stuff like that, you can just skip this one. Many people have had me promise to show them pictures of the artificial disc that was implanted in me three months ago once I got them, so - well - here you go. This is a pretty amazing and relatively new (in the USA anyhow) area of medicine.

The Kineflex artificial lumbar disc is a three-piece metal-on-metal mechanical replacement, which is used to treat chronic and severe lumbar pain due to degenerative disc disease. It's in FDA trials right now, which makes me a bit of a guinea pig. It's not the kind of surgery you decide to do without a lot of serious thought and only after trying every other option. It replaced my natural disc, and now my severe back and leg pain that I lived with 24 hours a day for years is practically gone - and as a bonus I am a little bit taller than I was before the surgery. As I've said here before, I have my life back thanks to the doctors and the people that built this little device.

How'd they get it in there? The made an 8-inch horizontal incision just below my belly button (yep, they approach the spine from the front), spread the bones apart, removed the disc that was damaged, and put this new one in place.

You can click each image to view them larger-sized. I've removed any sensitive personal information.

Kineflex - High contrast side view

Kineflex - Reverse image high contrast



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Kineflex Artificial Disc Surgery | Personal Stories | Random Stuff
Sunday, 21 May 2006 23:58:57 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Thursday, 18 May 2006

More official information has been made available about the DualCor cPC, a new computing device that will run both Windows XP Tablet PC Edition and Windows Mobile. Dave Ciccone, DualCor Director of Strategic Alliances, sent me and other other DualCor advisors some interesting details. I'm a bit late getting this post online because I'm off hosting a security conference, but here's the highlights:

  • Cost: $1999
  • It will be sold at authorized reseller in the US, and in certain other countries (TBA)
  • It will ship in the next 90 days
  • It will ship with a Compact Flash WiFi card included in the package
  • For phone use, you can add a CF card or a USB device
  • Digital Ink is supported and OneNote works
  • Video can be portrait or landscape oriented
  • Video resolution on the external VGA port/device is spec'ed up to 2048x1536, and it's been tested as high as 1600x1200
  • The syncing capabilities between Windows XP and Windows mobile is a proprietary piece of software just for this device
  • Accessories will be announced soon, and DualCor is open to suggestions - leave a comment here or email if you have one and I will see it is passed along. Instead of a formal docking station, there will be a "picture stand" and a "desk stand"
  • It has a 1.8-inch, 30GB hard drive. Windows XP boot from that, and the Windows Mobile software boots from the ROM
  • It's designed to run applications developed on the Microsoft SDK for Windows Mobile and Windows XP Tablet PC applications


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Tech
Thursday, 18 May 2006 22:24:47 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Tuesday, 16 May 2006

Google Maps Mobile Beta on my Blackberry 8700CMy friend Jim reminded me the other day about an app I recently installed and have not taken the time to write about, despite the fact I've been using it - namely the Google Maps Mobile (beta) client that I have running on my Blackberry 8700C.

Available for a number of handheld platforms, this network-connected client software allows you to do a lot of what you've already come to expect from Google Maps on the web, only now you can take advantage of the service your handheld. Everyone I've shown it to in the past couple weeks has agreed that it's pretty darned awesome.

Things you can do with the Google Maps Mobile client:

  • Search for nearby businesses cataloged in Google Local (via the "Find Business" menu option)
  • Specify a location to show on the maps (it remembers locations you enter, too)
  • Get driving directions to or from any location (just click the location and choose from the menu)
  • View locations either in map or satellite view, and toggle between views
  • Zoom in and out, and pan left/right, up/down

It would be nice to have a feature for the driving directions to be listed on a single page, turn-by-turn, rather than only on the map at the waypoints (which works just fine, just not what I'm used to). But hey, who's to complain? It's free. Heh...

The mobile client seems to be available for multiple devices, so read the list to see if yours is supported, and to get it point your mobile device at:

http://www.google.com/gmm

I installed mine by visiting that page and installing over the air - the best method there is, really.

And for a bit more information in your regular ol' (non-mobile) web browser, see the Google Maps Mobile (beta) page and read the FAQ.



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Mobile | Tech
Tuesday, 16 May 2006 22:28:22 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, 15 May 2006

I had to go to the Seattle area for my three-month post-op followup with my surgeon today. My back is in great shape he says (more x-rays were made today that look pretty darned cool), and the doc thanked me for doing so well. Heheh... I think maybe he had a lot to do with that, though. So I thanked him, again, for helping me get my life back. I owe him a lot.

After my appointment with the doc, I drive the ten minutes from the hospital over to the Microsoft campus and met up face-to-face with my online acquaintance, Trevin Chow. He's on the Windows Live ID team there, and I've always though he was a good guy. Come to find out I was right - we had fun meting and discussing a variety of things. And Trevin, thanks for the coffee!

Shameless plug time: Go read Trevin's blog - it's well worth the read. And, of course, subscribe. Here, let me make it easy for you: Subscribe to Trevin's RSS feed.

It was especially fun because although we'd never met face-to-face, it was much like the natural continuation of a conversation. Trevin emailed me this afternoon in reply to my saying thanks and said, "Your personality oozes into your blog, so you weren't a surprise in any way :) " Well, I hope it's not an infection, or we're all doomed... Heh...

Seriously though - that's exactly the impression I got from him. Glad to have met ya, Trevin. And he'll laugh that I posted all this, heheh...

Random Side-bar: Trevin has his motorcycle endorsement, but he's smart enough (read: much smarter than I) not to buy one because a couple people he knows have been in bad motorcycle accidents recently. I worry about that, too. If you ever ride a motorcycle, you must pretend you're invisible on the road - others simply will not see you. And even then, there's no guarantees.

So... Who was the last person you met, whom you met first online, but eventually caught up with face to face? And, who is the one person you've met online, but not met face to face, whom you'd most like to meet in person?



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Blogging | Personal Stories | Random Stuff | Tech
Monday, 15 May 2006 19:42:57 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Sunday, 14 May 2006

My friend and coworker Alex and his brothers Robert and Ben are in Montana with family and most importantly their mom, who had a stroke last week and is not doing so well. It's a hard time, and I imagine it's both extra important and extra difficult today, since it's that one day a year we define as Mother's Day. Robert's been writing about some of the experience on his blog, and it's been a daily read for me. I don't know Robert as well as I know Alex, and I've never met Ben, but somehow it's good to know they're all together at an important time.

Mom and GregI talked to my mom today using the webcams I bought a few months back along with Live Messenger 8's video conferencing capabilities. She let me know yesterday she wanted to do the "video camera call thing" and I've been kind of bad lately about having my camera hooked up when she wants to do a call. She really likes being able to see the person on the other end. The things that many of us take for granted are really pretty special for others, you know?

We had a good conversation about it all today. Mom asked me why this video chat thing is free - almost like there must be something wrong with it if you don't pay for it. I explained it's not really free, there's advertisements and all. She said something like, "Ahhh" and then paused and got that thoughtful look on her face (which I could actually see, of course, since it's video chat heheh), and then she asked me the zillion-dollar question:

"Well if that's the case," she said, "why do people use telephones, then?"

Ah hah, she gets it! Heh... I explained the whole "telephone of the future thing" to her. She sees the light.

After talking throughout the day to people about moms, reading about moms, and of course sending my own mom some flowers and doing a live Internet video chat over the thousand-plus miles between us, I was left with one thought. Why do we relegate this celebration to one day a year? Moms truly deserve more than that.

I was thinking back about life recently. When I was a kid, my mom was a single parent faced with real challenges. I realized that it must have been a darn scary time for her, really. It took real courage and strength to handle a couple of growing boys like she did. She sometimes tells me she wishes it could have been better for me and my brother. For my part, though, I can't imagine having it any better than we did - with a mom who really and truly cares and who pushes on - even if it is scary, and hard, and tough.

Thanks mom. For everything. You're awesome. Truly.



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Sunday, 14 May 2006 22:15:11 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Recently I've been speaking with a lot of reporters and other media-types about the work we at Corillian do on financial services security. It's fun to be taken back to my old journalism days, and I've come to find there are a lot of very smart people out there working the security technology beat. In addition to speaking to the media, I've also been presenting in person at a number of conferences, and have quite a few more coming up over the next several months.

I recently had a chance to speak with one reporter to discuss the state of the industry in terms of online financial services and recent FFIEC mandates on banks to implement strong authentication for their online banking web sites. Eric Norlin is well-known to many, and he writes for some well-respected publications, including Digital ID World and on ZDNet.com. We talked about the risk management components that go into deciding how to solve the authentication problem. The strong authentication software we build at Corillian uses a risk-based model, and Norlin's approach to the story is (I think) spot-on, especially his recognition of the need for an identity-first/identity-risk mechanism:

"Corillian is one of those interesting companies that you hardly ever hear about: several hundred financial institutions as customers; running back-end financial industry specific software; aware of all of the stringent requirements of financial institutions. So, its not like Corillian is just "getting into the game," its more like they're adding to an already deep bench. They're adding their Intelligent Authentication product.

"The interesting thing about Intelligent Authentication is that it begins by recognizing the risk management approach to strong authentication. Accordingly, it uses a variety of methods to authenticate you based upon the interaction (or transaction) that you're having. These methods include: client OS and browser checks, behavioral pattern analysis, geo-location (via a partnership with Quova), challenge and response questions (chosen by the customer), and my favorite - out of band phone authentication (via a partnership with StrikeForce)."

(Link to Eric Norlin's story on ZDNet.com)

He also noted that we at Corillian have already done some early, in-depth work in conjunction with Microsoft integrating a new authentication technology code-named InfoCard, which places the control, proof and credentials used in the authentication process back in the user's hands (in other words, right where they belong) while also helping to solve weak authentication problems. What I especially like about InfoCard is the community support and open-ness, as well and the user/identity-centric approach, which ties directly to Kim Cameron's Laws of Identity and the concept of the Identity Metasystem (an interoperable architecture for identity on the Internet). The security model on the desktop (it will run in Windows XP and 2003 Server and will also ship in Windows Vista) is also very interesting and encouraging. It will be quite interesting to see how, where and when InfoCard is adopted. I'll be speaking and writing here about InfoCard more in the future.



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IT Security | Tech
Sunday, 14 May 2006 00:11:41 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Scala1The sun has finally come back out in the Pacific Northwest, which means it's time again to get on the bike. I went riding today with Matt and Dan. We cruised a long loop in Columbia County that goes past my house. It's a great ride with lots of fun turns and rural scenery. It was in the mid to upper 70's today and the next couple days will be much warmer than that.

But spending time on the bike means when the stupid cell phone rings, it goes unanswered. I know what you're thinking - why am I worrying about the stupid phone when enjoying a day on the bike? Yeah, yeah... Okay, I get the point. But since I will probably ride it to and from work more and more now that it's nice out, it would be nice to be able to answer the phone in the helmet - but only if I never have to take my hands off the motorcycle controls. It would also be a very cool way (with free mobile-to-mobile minutes) to do a full duplex intercom between riding partners.

Scala3So, today I ordered the Cardco "scala-rider" Bluetooth headset that's made specifically for use in motorcycle helmets. It clamps on (no glue, which is nice) and allows you to answer the phone, as well as (if your phone allows) place calls using your voice. Plus it automatically adjusts its own volume to accommodate for road noise. It's built and designed for use at highway speeds and has some special circuitry to deal with the noise. Plus, tons of standby and talk time, and a good all-around feature set.

  • Receive and initiate calls.
  • Weather protected headset fits open-faced and full helmets.
  • Self-installation within 5 minutes, leaving no traces on helmet.
  • High impact balancing microphone for inter-city speed conditions.
  • AGC Technology automatically adjusts volume according to noise and speed levels.
  • VOX Technology enables you to receive or reject calls by voice control.
  • Special clamp allows attachment and release of the headset within seconds.
  • Up to 7 hrs. talk time / 1 week standby (recharging from regular outlet).

Once I receive it and have a chance to try it out, I'll post a review.



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Geek Out | Mobile | Tech
Saturday, 13 May 2006 23:24:10 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Thursday, 11 May 2006

Anymore I'm not even sure what city I'm in on any given day. It's been a bit hectic in the travel department lately. I shifted jobs at work a few months ago, and as a result of that change and various circumstances I have been flying all over the place. It's tiring, and I have a new-found appreciation for the similar difficulties that others I work with have had to deal with. I do enjoy meting a lot of new people and seeing some nice places, but it will wear you out, for sure. That and my dogs and cat hate me (but at least they like my Neighbor, Mike. Thank God for Mike!).

So this week, I was first off to upstate New York for a couple days, and not I am in Washington DC, followed by two trips to Seattle tonight and again on Monday (home for the weekend), and finally five days next week in Asheville, North Carolina - where we are hosting our company's Security Summit. I'm very much looking forward to that event, which will feature some darned bright and interesting presenters and attendees. Plus Asheville is simply a terrific area.

I'm hoping to be able to stay a week or two at home after that (but I'm certainly not holding my breath on that one, heh). Between the press interviews, customer visits and all the speaking engagements I am involved with, travel has become a bit of a way of life. One thing's for sure - the automatic upgrade United Airlines gives you to some fancy-dancy fly-a-holic status (and which they pinned on me a couple months ago) sounds cool and all, but in reality anyone who is bestowed that "honor" has truly earned it. Having the elite frequent flyer card is a lot like carrying a Blackberry: People who see it think it's cool, but to the person who actually has it, it's just another reminder that your world is significantly consumed by work.

At any rate - although I am pretty well booked, there are some gaps in my schedule in the different places I am visiting. If anyone is around Seattle on Monday, or in the Asheville, North Carolina area the remainder of next week, be sure to let me know, and if time allows I'll buy the coffee (or whatever suits ya).



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Thursday, 11 May 2006 10:35:29 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, 08 May 2006

I lucked out last night - big time. We dropped by the Best Buy store in Beaverton (that's Oregon) after a fun day hanging out at OMSI and cruising Portland, just in case by some random chance they had any of the complete Xbox 360 kits around (as opposed to the "core" system version). Sure enough, a hand-made sign inside the door read "Xbox 360's in stock!"

We headed back to the place where they have the consoles, and sure enough, there were about 15 white and green boxes stacked behind the table. So I bought two - one for me at home and one for work, where all the people that work for me can play during breaks (I have been promising them one for quite awhile now - they work hard, they should play hard now and then). Added a few games and extra controllers, and walked out poor (for what it's worth, the funds have been set aside for some time waiting for a store to stock them and for me to show up before they got bought up), but also a bit excited and with a feeling of accomplishment. Finally!

I hooked mine up at home last night. I played Battlefield 2 and Need for Speed: Most Wanted. I also got Quake 4, but have not played it yet. Maybe tonight. The graphics, digital sound and animation on this thing are all freakin' A-MA-ZING.

And today, my Xbox 360 decided to start blogging. Yes, seriously. My console has it's own blog. Go figure. I guess new posts will start showing up soon. And you thought those blogging Aibos were cool eh? Nahhh... Heh.

I have to say, this is one seriously nice gaming and home entertainment console. Projected on my wall at 120 inches, that's some serious game play, and of course DVD movies look and sound great, too. I need to fire up the Media Center PC (need to fix a hard drive issue first) and tie these things together - that will be a killer combo for sure.

(Thanks, Trevin for the blogging link)



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Blogging | Geek Out | Random Stuff
Monday, 08 May 2006 19:53:14 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Thanks to Omar for the links: I had already seen Stephen Colbert's roast of President Bush from the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner, but I didn't know about Bush's own roast of Bush from the same event, until now.

    Bushandbush

Now that's pretty funny. Heh...



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Monday, 08 May 2006 19:19:32 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Friday, 05 May 2006

I've been a Vonage VoIP phone service customer for quite a while now, and I'm on their unlimited calling plan. It works great. I am quite happy with the service. And as of today, even more reason to be happy.

They've announced that Unilited plan members can call Italy, France, Spain, the UK and Ireland for free (not cell phones or 900-numbers or anything, but pretty much everything else counts).

So, if you do a lot of calling to those countries (or wish you could afford to on you old-skool regular phone service), you might want to take a look at Vonage. Let me know and I can refer you - then we both get some free credits toward service, which is nice, eh? My email info is over there on the right.



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Friday, 05 May 2006 16:34:35 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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