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Time Keeping Cycle

As I sit here today checking the time on my Moto 360 Android Wear smartwatch, I’m amused by a concept I’m calling “The Time Keeping Cycle.”  When I was in high school college I wore watches all of the time (usually a Casio calculator watch, yes I was “that guy”), and pretty much everyone I knew wore wrist watches at the time as well.  They were simple and useful.

I’ve always been one to prefer function over form and even back then I longed for a watch that did more than just tell time.  That said though at some point in the early 2000s I stopped wearing watches (and so did most people).  The few people who still wear watches tend to wear them more as a fashion statement rather than as a utility device to tell time.

Why did everyone stop wearing watches?  Because pretty much everyone started carrying a cell phone around with them wherever they went, and in addition to keeping you in contact with the world around you, cell phones could also tell you the time (and be used as a calculator).  Now over the last couple of years, companies have been trying to get people back into wearing watches again with smart watches.  Thanks to Android Wear, they’ve finally convinced me.

It is interesting though that timepieces have moved from inside the pocket, to the wrist, back into the pocket, and now back to the wrist again.  For the enjoyment of anyone who cares, I’m including a brief history of the watch, ending with my personal history with watches after the break.

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When I was young (somewhere in the early/mid ’90s), I saw some program (I don’t know which) on PBS and they were talking about some guy (I can’t find the program, and don’t remember names, but I presume it was either Thad Starner or Steve Mann) at MIT who is wearing a computer with a Head Mounted Display and a single hand keyboard, and a computer kept in some sort of backpack.  At that point I knew 2 things.

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Just had a very frustrating chat with Comcast Customer service.  My TiVo Premier has been on the fritz for the last several months.  Rather than buy a new one, I decided to give Comcast’s X1 a try.  So Barbara took our cable card into the Comcast service office this morning and asked for an X1.  They told Barbara that the X1 would have to be professionally installed, so they scheduled an appointment to have the X1 installed on the 10th, and gave us a regular Comcast DVR to use in the mean time.  She was told that this DVR would cost us $10/month (as opposed to the $1/month we were paying for our cable card) and that when the X1 is installed it would go up to $20/month because apparently it’s twice as good.

Barbara left the DVR for me to setup when I got home, which because of a GDG meetup I had tonight, wasn’t until about 9:30 pm.  After getting home I spent a good 20-30 minutes reconfiguring our entertainment system to replace the new defunct TiVo with the Comcast DVR.  Once I got everything hooked up, I went to comcast.com/activate to activate the DVR.  I didn’t even get to the point where I could enter in the serial number of the new DVR before I was given the following error message. Continue reading →

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Barbara and I are ready to attend the Rock Your Disney Side 24 hour event at Disneyland Park this Friday.  For the third year in a row, Disneyland will be open for 24 hours from 6 am Friday to 6 am on Saturday morning.  This year’s hashtag is #RockYourDisneySide and the event has a Heroes and Villains theme.  Looking forward to an exhausting but fun day.

We are now a month and a half after Barbara’s last chemotherapy treatment and while we still need to be careful with her out in crowds and sun, we hope this event marks the beginning of a return to normalcy for our lives.  She’s not officially marked as being “in remission” yet, but her counts have been stable for the last few months and she is no longer on the chemotherapy, so we are confident and hopeful that she will be declared in remission soon.  What better way to celebrate than a return to “The Happiest Place on Earth”

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As many of you know my wife Barbara has Lupus and in October she experienced a flare up of her lupus that put her into the hospital.  Before this flare up occurred however, I was already planning on doing a 5K charity walk called the Walk to End Lupus Now.  After the flare up occurred it became even more important to me to participate in the walk and raise money to help fund Lupus research and awareness.  Me and my boss Tim walked the 5K and I’m proud to say the two of us raised $1600 for the Lupus Foundation.

This coming October I will be participating in the walk again.  If you would like to sponsor me in my walk, you can do so at my donor page for the event here.  If you want to help even more though, I encourage you to get out there and walk with me.  You can Join Team Moline and  walk with me at the 2014 San Francisco Walk to End Lupus Now on Sunday October 26, 2014 in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.  If you aren’t in the bay area but want to walk to raise awareness and money for Lupus Research, the Lupus Foundation hosts walks around the country throughout the year.

Just last week Barbara had what is expected to be her last (6th) Chemotherapy treatment of this particular flare up and the doctor is optimistic that this particular flare up is under control.  This is a tremendous blessing to hear as her previous flare up when she was 12 required 15 Chemotherapy treatments over the course of 3 years.  The doctor is also slowly stepping down Barbara’s dosage of Prednisone (steroids).  She is now taking just 1 20 milligram pill per day.  At the height of the flare up she was taking 60 milligrams per day.

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Many people have long lamented that unlike Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and many other services, Google+ does not let you use an API to post.  There is an API for posting to Google+ Pages, but Google is restricting this feature to approved services.  Apparently WordPress.com is one of those services, and in the latest 2.7 version of the Jetpack plugin for self-hosted WordPress blogs released yesterday, they are extending that service to your own self hosted WordPress blog.

It is interesting to note that the blog post on Jetpack’s blog indicates that this feature works both for Pages and individual profiles as well, which the Google+ Platform API documentation specifically says you cannot do.

This helps save time and energy when posting blog posts, and also helps if you schedule your blog posts for later.  With this feature you can now schedule your blog posts to post at a specified time and rest easy knowing that it will be shared to Google+ at the same time.  This is also a great feature for multi-author blogs.  You can add multiple Google+ Profiles and Pages to the feature and have your posts post both to your individual profile as an author and to a shared page for the blog as a whole.

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For Many months now I’ve been recommending MoviePass to everyone I talk to who likes movies. It always had several restrictions that made it hard to justify:

  1. Only one movie per day
  2. You can only see each movie once
  3. No IMAX or 3D (you can’t even pay the upgrade cost)
  4. You can’t pre-buy your movie tickets, you have to go to the theater, check in, and then buy your movies (and if you have multiple people in your party with passes, you have to each make your transaction separately, which causes longer lines at the box office)

These were annoying restrictions but overall I still considered the pass to be a good enough deal to lock myself into a year contract at $34.99/month each (Me and Barbara) and do it. It gave me the opportunity to budget my love of going to the movies to a set amount per month and not have to think about “Do I really want to pay to see this movie in theaters or should I wait for BluRay?” If I was remotely interested in a movie I went to see it, and if it turned out to suck, I didn’t care because I’ll just see another movie the next day for no additional cost.

Unfortunately yesterday MoviePass made a sudden change with no warning that I find absolutely unacceptable, and to make it worse they tried to pass it off as if it was some exciting new feature for their customers.  Yesterday I received an email from MoviePass with a subject line of “New Features.”  This is what MoviePass had to say Continue reading →

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1 Year ago today, I went to El Camino Hospital to have my Gastric Sleeve surgery.  One year later I have lost 96 pounds since the Surgery, a total of 195 pounds since I started my weight loss journey.  It’s a shame I didn’t quite make it to 200 pounds total loss, but I’m very proud of my weight loss progress and I’m nowhere near done.

Today to celebrate my 1 year anniversary from the surgery I took a day of PTO to have a little stay-cation.  Now the old me would have used an anniversary celebration as a reason for cake, ice cream, or other treats, but this is an anniversary of weight-loss surgery.  Instead I chose to celebrate my weight loss by having an amped up day.  I started by making a high-protein low calorie hot breakfast.   Barbara and I then went down to the gym for an amped up version of my normal workout.

A couple weeks ago I ordered a Spanx for men compression T-shirt.  I ordered this not to make me look thinner, but because as I have lost those 195 pounds I now have a lot of loose hanging skin in my abdomen.  This skin makes vigorous cardio very difficult as with every step it flaps and smacks against the rest of my skin.  When I have tried in the last couple years to jog or run, this has become very painful very quickly and has prevented me from doing anything vigorous.  Today, wearing my Spanx I was able to get up to 6 miles per hour and maintain that for several minutes.  I did the rest of my 30 minutes on the treadmill at a still brisk 3.8 miles per hour.  I then followed up with 25 minutes of strength training doing more sets at higher weights than I’ve done in the past.  I’m very proud of what I was able to do today and I intend on spending the next several months continuing to amp up my workouts.

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After my blog was hacked a few months ago, I’ve been understandably more security conscious on my blog.  One of the things I’ve done is install a few security plugins (most notably Wordfence Security).  Wordfence is an absolutely fantastic security plugin, it monitors the files in your site to make sure that they don’t change unexpectedly, and more importantly it monitors login attempts (and other page requests on your site) for potentially harmful login attempts.

Over the past few weeks a global brute force attack has been targeting wordpress installations.  I first found out about it because Wordfence started notifying me that there were more failed login attempts than usual.

Protect yourself and your blog with the following crucial steps:

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It is hard to believe that it was just 1 year and 1 week ago, Google uploaded to its YouTube channel, a teaser video for a project they had been working out of from their top-secret “moonshot” [x] Labs called Project Glass.

The project was ambitious, an augmented reality layer over your very life, answering questions before you even asked, and all around simplifying your life.

2 Months later at Google I/O 2012, Google staged a “demonstration” involving a blimp, skydivers, BMX Trick bikers and more to show off the device as what seemed like little more than a network connected GoPro camera.  They then asked Developers who are interested in getting an early look at the technology if they would be willing to fork over $1,500 for the chance to be one of the first non-Google employees with this whole new class of Technology.

I and 2,000 other attendees happily stood in a long line to put down our commitment to try it out.  Then, months of agonizing waiting began.  Waiting for a future that was so close we could taste it.

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