Sunday, 30 November 2008

Just a quick note to mention that I've been posting a lot to my flight blog at, which I started in order to document my lessons and experiences as I work to become a private pilot.

My latest flight, which I made to Salem, Oregon on Saturday, is documented both in text and as a podcast MP3 file. Let me know what you think. The entry can be found at this link.

I'm truly enjoying learning to fly. I'd say "I should have done this years ago," but in truth I'm enjoying having something new and challenging at this point in my life.

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Sunday, 30 November 2008 01:28:13 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Friday, 28 November 2008

Not that you'd actually want to do it (or at least I don't think I would), but you have to admit it's pretty cool that you can now run Linux on the iPhone. It's really basic so far, but no doubt it will get better and have more and more hardware/feature support. Maybe a dual-boot option would be cool though, after all...

Details are here and Engadget has info, too. Video showing it off below. What would you use it for?

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Apple | Geek Out | Mobile | Tech
Friday, 28 November 2008 23:35:36 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, 24 November 2008

It seems like just yesterday in many ways, but it's actually been nine years - An eternity and the blink of an eye, all rolled into one. So much has changed in that time, yet so much seems the same.

My son died suddenly on November 24th so many years ago, and while much has happened and changed in the intervening time, there's a slice of me that was sort of put on hold back then - almost as if one dimension of time simply stopped still while another kept on moving along. I miss Brian, but I am also thankful for the time we had together.

So, the Thanksgiving holiday is always a bit of a rough time for me, one with mixed feelings. Each year, however, I purposefully try my best to remember what the holiday is all about and to reflect on the things in life for which I am truly grateful, and there are many. One of the ways I do that is by writing and re-writing this, partly for me and in no small part for others who might be feeling much the same way. Over the past couple years I've published versions of the words things I'm repeating here, but that's what it's all about really - looking back, reflecting on progress, changing and growing as we move forward.

Not too long ago some friends of mine impressed upon me the importance of adopting an "attitude of gratitude" in life. What they meant - at least in part - was that the place where you focus your thoughts is pretty much where you'll end up, and that being grateful for what you have - rather than obsessed with what you don't have - is a good thing to do. For the most part I think they're right. This time of year I tend to think about a lot of things, some difficult and some pleasant. But every year I try to take some Thanksgiving time to remember that even though life is crazy and our time is often too short, there are so many things in life for which I am grateful and give thanks.

Life's not perfect, and from the depths of the desperate situations and experiences that substantially change us - often things that we would never wish to have happen again, to anyone - we are destined to learn and grow, and hopefully to become better people in the end. I know I have experienced that over the years, and my life is quite different as a result.

But, this is supposed to be about what I am thankful for. About gratitude.

I am thankful for my friends, my family, my work, my home, my goofy dog. I am grateful for doctors who fixed my damaged body and for people who cared enough to put their lives on hold when I needed it. I sometimes wish I was better to those who have been so good to me, and I strive to find ways to give back and pay forward. I truly appreciate them, and am thankful they are a part of my life.

There are many people in this world much better than me, and a few of those good people I've had the privilege to know personally. I am thankful for them, even if I don't or can't always show it when it counts. I only hope in the future I can be more much more worthy of their qualities.

Thanksgiving doesn't have to be just one day a year. We can - and should - remember these things every day. But in a busy world of getting from here to there, a strong reminder never hurt anyone.

I'm grateful for my life, the people in it, the goods and the bads, and for the possibilities of the future - whatever those may be. I've been very fortunate in many, many ways, and am truly thankful for that. As they say, "With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world."

Yes, it is.

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Personal Stories
Monday, 24 November 2008 11:37:20 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Portland's Shizzow, a thankfully-simple service that you can use to "shout" to your people and let them know where you are, has announced they're expanding into the California market. The service got its start here in Portland, Oregon and the team has methodically built it out and run it in the home market up until now.

The basic idea of Shizzow is this: A quick and easy social networking service that lets you quickly and easily communicate to your friends about where you are so you can spend more time face-to-face. It's really as simple as that. You don't need to know addresses, you can just provide a name. Shizzow figures out the rest. You can also add custom locations (like Greg's place, for example). There's a simple interfaces for web, mobile and SMS.

Now Shizzow has sprouted wings and is offering the service to people in California, with a focus on the San Francisco Bay Area - That's quite an expansion! The service is available for people living in either area via an invitation, which you can request here. I also have ten invitations available for anyone who asks, until they're gone. Just email me or leave a comment (be sure to provide your email address in the comment form so I can send it to you).

Great job by the Shizzow crew, which (it should be noted) is a small group of people that have built and run this operation outside of the their day jobs. That's how they plan to expand - Bootstrap it along and continue along the lines of their current success. I hope we'll see an API sometime soon, since that would provide the ability to deliver mobile apps and what have you, and could open up the use (and in the end enhance usability) of the system substantially. Cool stuff!

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Tuesday, 18 November 2008 21:11:57 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, 17 November 2008

I wrote all about it on my flying blog, but Sunday was an exciting and cool day, because I flew an airplane solo, all by myself with no one else in the plane, for the first time. This whole flying thing might work out, after all!

The full story is documented on my "Coordinated Flight" blog, should you care to read all about it.

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Personal Stories | Random Stuff
Monday, 17 November 2008 00:42:29 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Friday, 07 November 2008

While at the TechEd EMEA conference is Spain this week, I had the opportunity to visit with Thomas Dawkins from Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing Group. He's the guy responsible for the Microsoft Security Assessment Tool (or MSAT for short). The MSAT is a tool that's been around for a couple of years, but it was recently updated by Thomas with some great new enhancements, including a new user interface and a stronger, more complete set of back end information.

MSAT is a free tool that you can download from Microsoft. It's targeted to companies of 1,500 employees or smaller (as a general rule) and follows a questionnaire format to assess weaknesses in the IT security environment. Bt it's not a parching tool or a scanning tool. Instead, it leverages standards like ISO 27001 and NIST-800.x to baseline the security readiness of your organization.

It enables people to do what we security professionals hope for: analysis across each of the people, process and technology elements of a business' computing environment in order to ascertain how and where we need to spend our time and energy. The tool not only describes the state of readiness of the assessed environment, it also provides best-practice recommendations rooted in industry-accepted standards that can be used to improve the organization's security stance.

One of the most likely users of a tool like this is the IT manager, but one can also picture security consultants, business managers, and anyone else with responsibility for an organization's security operations leveraging the tool and the reports it generates.

You'll also likely be interested to know that Microsoft has released the fifth version of its Security Intelligence Report, which looks at the state of computer and information security over the past six months. You can find links to the full report and the key findings summary documents on Microsoft's web site.

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IT Security | Tech
Friday, 07 November 2008 07:01:17 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, 03 November 2008

Well, we're getting going full swing for a week of TechEd conference in Barcelona, Spain. video, audio and stage presentations will be keeping us busy all week. If you're here, please let me know, or drop by and say hi at the "fishbowl" or TechEd stage.

The weather when I flew in yesterday was bumpy and wet, but today it's beautiful and sunny outside - more like the Barcelona I remember. Not that well be out in the air much, this week - but it's nice to look outside and see sun. The hotel and conference center are right on the sea, and as long as I can stay heathy this week, it will be great.

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Monday, 03 November 2008 04:53:03 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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