Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Training and work

I've had a good year at work as far as training goes. I've been sent to SQL Server 2000 training, I was sent to Anaheim California for FileNet training. FileNet is an application that we use here at work. I was sent to a custom training by a group called ThoughtWorks and I was taught about Test Driven Development and the Agile development methodology. Now I am sitting in training for an application that we are about to use now called Composite Applications.

I'm pretty excited about the amount of training that I've been to recently. I'm looking forward to picking out which training I'm going to try to attend next year. I am hoping to attend some training about Design Patterns for C#.

I've had some good fortune with my training this year.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

A few days with Erin's niece

It's been an interesting few days with Erin's niece Brianna. She's been interesting to get to know. I've tried to spend some time getting to know her, and she's a little shy with me. I don't feel that I've gotten to know her much yet. I keep hearing about how smart she is, but I wasn't able to see her in a situation that let her display her intelligence. She watched a lot of TV and I did a little exercise with me (I tried to get her to do more, but 3 pushups and 5 situps was all she would do). She did sit with me and play a few games on the computer, and we did some Harry Potter trivia together. I was amazed at how little of it I knew the answers for, there were some really detailed questions about minute things in the stories. It made me want to read the stories all again to see if I would do better in the trivia afterwards.

Other than that I don't really have much more to say about Brianna. She was helpful a little bit, but didn't want to help, and I didn't want to force her to help cook or anything. I tried to get her to run to the store with me this morning so we could make lunch, but she was engaged with the TV again.

I was told that she wants to learn to paly guitar and I offered her a teach yourself guitar book, but she turned me down opting instead to get a book from the library. She's pretty happy with the library, because the last time she was here we tried to give her some books (not just loan them to her) and she wouldn't take them because she could get them at the library.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy thanksgiving everyone!

So today I did what most people probably did. I stuffed myself for one giant meal and snacked a little bit (a lot) throughout the rest of the day.

It was a great day. The family that was here was all very talkative and we had a lot of good times. Too bad the morning football game wasn't any good, but the men were at least kept busy by the afternoon game of Dallas and Denver.

The best part is that Erin's niece Brianna is going to spend a few days with us now. This will allow me an oportunity to finally get to know her. I am constantly hearing about how incredibly smart she is and I hope I get to see it in action.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Almost Thanksgiving

I've had my oldest son with me now for 2 and a half weeks, and they have been some of the best days of the past year. Yes there have been stresses, but I enjoy being able to come home from work and see Jonas every day. He always has something that he'll do that surprises the heck out of me.

The other day we were working on his letters and he was learning new letters and it was great. We worked on an alphabet puzzle this week and he knew all the letters on sight. I was totally amazed by that. Even last night he said he wanted to talk to me (all grown up like) and sat down and started asking me questions, I couldn't help but smile. Late last night I went to check on him and he was uncovered so I situated him on his bed and covered him up and he woke up just enough to say "I wished it Daddy" It was in the sweetest 3 year old voice imaginable. I almost dropped to my knees to cry for joy (almost, but I don't cry when I'm happy). I hope whatever his wish was, he gets it.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

OK So I'm a nerd

About 2 months ago my work finally decided to go ahead and replace any developer desktop PC with a laptop if we wanted it. We are going through a change at work where we are also trying to use Agile development methods to get better quality on our work. I've been very adamant that agile practically requires laptops in order to have the type of mobile work environment that really makes Agile development work. To learn more about agile see the Agile Manifesto.

Anyway, 2 weeks ago the first laptop was handed out, and I was a bit frustrated that it wasn't mine. I waited and waited and waited until yesterday when I got mine 14th. I was really frustrated and felt that I was unappreciated because my computer was the oldest in the department and I am the 3rd most senior developer. I actually fumed for 2 weeks until I got it. But now that I have it, I'm not bitter at all about not having had it for the previous 2 weeks. In retrospect I was being very silly about the whole thing and made myself look like a fool in front of my team at work. Now I'll have to figure out how to make it up to them.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Reading more Maxwell

I started reading another Maxwell book. So far it's been really good. It's called Winning with People, and I expect that it covers a lot of the same topics as How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It has 5 "People Principles" and they are simple enough that anyone should be able to quickly recall them. It's actually a simpler list of principles to follow than some of his other books. So far the book really has you asking yourself some tough questions. If you don't sit down and really think about the answers, you won't gain everything that this book has to offer. And of course, chapter 1 is examine yourself. More to come later...

Friday, November 11, 2005

More Fuel efficiency

I know I've ranted in the past about the fuel efficiency issue, but today I happened to read a few articles that made me smile. There happened to be a couple of announcements at the same time about improvements that may help the industries that actually drive the most. Taxi's and Semi's. The Taxi story is out of New York, and now the Taxis in New York are allowed to be Hybrids. Apparently New York is listed as one of the 3 worst cities for Air Quality in the US and they have a lot of Taxis that put on a lot of miles each year. The story cites 100,000 miles a year. Wow!! Can you imagine the saving in polution and gas that can come from NY alone by having all of the taxis being hybrids? I don't think that the car manufacturers acutally make enough hyrbrids for all of NY to switch en masse, but I do like to dream. What if all of the major cities did the same thing? Come on Chicago, LA, San Francisco, Dallas-Ft.Worth, Seattle, etc. Let's all get on board. Hell not that I'm a fan of government, because I'd prefer that in general they stay out of things. But they could mandate that Taxis have a certain fuel efficiency in these cities.

Similarly There is some research on Semis that has gained the heavily loaded trailers 0.6 MPG. This is small, but they only normally get 4-6 MPG, so 0.6 is at minimum a 10% improvement, just by putting an extension on the back to help fight the drag from the wind. They are going to be running a year long test to see if the results hold up in all kinds of conditions. I wish they would run it for 3 months, publish results and make the product available. Sure they can keep testing for the rest of the year, but some may start to take advantage of this earlier. Again I am elated to hear of semis saving up to 10% on their gas. This can save a lot of gas and reduce overall shipping costs. What other aerodynamic options are available to save us money with these? Can we plug something onto the nose too?

Finally, there are some scientists in Canada that think they can make the cost of Hydrogen viable by combining wind power and nuclear power in generating the hydrogen. Wind power is free and the nuclear power would keep the system producing hydrogen at full capacity when the wind is not blowing. However, it also says that when it's windy additional energy would be sold back to the power company. Wouldn't that mean that the nuclear power is being used to run the Hydrogen generation at near 100% and the wind power is just being used to offest the cost of the nuclear by selling power back to the power company? I don't think I like the way that it sounds, but you can read what they say about green nuclear power here.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Jaden & Ady

Jaden (2 days ol) and Adylynn before having to go to the ER. Posted by Picasa

More Jaden

Jaden at 2 days old. Posted by Picasa

Another good Maxwell book

I have just finished reading "The 21 irrefutable laws of Leadership". Just like his other books, this is a masterpiece of leadership. For just over a year now, I have been soaking up every bit of knowledge I can from John C. Maxwell. He may have a religious slant to his leadership and the stories he tells, but I believe that he has the right leadership develoment process in mind. My goal is to become a good leader myself and help bring others along with me. Unfortunately my current job hasn't recognized these leadership talents in me yet and promoted me to a position that I think is in accordance with my leadership ability, but at some point it will be seen. My goal though is not just to have a position of power. I want to help others. My biggest challenge in this area is that my default personality can be a bit brash. I am constantly trying to temper my response and be conscious of what I say and how I say it. Over the past two years I have made a lot of progress in this area, but there is still a long way to go. There was a really good quote on leadership in this book that I want to share.

Acheivement comes to someone when he is ble to do great things for himself.
Success comes when he emplowers follwers to do great things with him.
Significance comes when he develops leaders to do great things for him.
But a legacy is created only when a person puts his organization into the position
to do great thins without him. -- John C. Maxwell