Category: personal


I know summer just started but…I’m ready for snow.

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Mmm…oh so good.

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Good times at BG’s.

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Let’s go Lake Monsters!

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Mark Twain's Brother Lived in Vermont

I’ve been interested in Mark Twain lately, so it seemed fitting to me when this article about Orion Clemens, Twain’s brother, appeared in my RSS feed. It turns out Orion lived in Vermont for a short time and was editor of the Rutland Daily Globe.

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And jump!

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Beating the heat at a local swimming hole.

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It’s crazy hair day at Stowe Elementary.

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I wonder if Micro.blog supports animated gifs.

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You know it’s a long day when you’ve been idled for only 1 hour over the last 19 hours.

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Sweet! My photo upload worked. I’m using Dropshare to upload photos to Amazon S3, then making a micropost on thecave.com that gets picked up on micro.blog.

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Testing photo upload. Nothing to see here except this gorgeous view from yesterday.

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The last two weeks have been crazy, exciting, nonstop fun. I’m ready for more.

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I'm Trying Something Different

I’ve been working for myself for nearly 14 years, and it has been an incredible experience. During that time I’ve had a couple of bad years, but in general, each year has been better than the previous year. In fact, 2016 was my best year ever. It was the year I learned from some amazing mentors how to be a better business owner, which resulted in me working on great projects and having my highest revenue year ever.

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I love being able to board a plane using my Apple Watch.

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It’s a good day to celebrate.

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I share the same love for winter and snow as these kids. Thanks, POW, for making the touching video. https://vimeo.com/214243023

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Congrats to @manton on the launch of micro.blog!!

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Good times yesterday, which was the last day of the season for lift service at Stowe Mountain Resort.

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It’s a perfect evening in Stowe.

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My week of temporary bachelorhood ends in an hour. The wife and kid will be home soon. Guess I need to finish my beer and head home from the bar.

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Day 💯 for my 🏂 season.

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Why didn’t I setup Bitrise to generate thecave.com sooner. It’s so much easier, and faster, to push to master and let Bitrise do the rest of the work for me.

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Another test to see if I got the time zone right this time.

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I’m experimenting with ways to add a new post from my iPhone to thecave.com, which is generated by Jekyll, and have the post show up on micro.blog.

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Mastodon and thecave.social

I first heard about Mastodon last week while lurking on Twitter. For those who don’t know, Mastodon is a free, open source, decentralized social network with instances run mostly by individuals.

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After 17 days of no Facebook, I finally took a peek at my feed. I was totally uninterested, and I signed out after a minute. I think I’m over my Facebook addiction.

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What a beautiful morning. Winter is still going strong here in Stowe.

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I haven’t been on Facebook for 11 straight days. #breakingtheaddiction

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I love this picture of Rowan and his cousin Sedona. Taken last weekend at Stowe Mountain Resort.

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Testing, testing. 1, 2, 3…I moved my RSS feed for micro.blog to thecave.com since I’m no longer actively working on my app, Cross Post.

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Wow! Busy weekends ahead

A friend emailed me asking if I’m around in two weekends. He wants to visit me in Stowe and do a little riding together. I haven’t seen this friend in years, and it will be great to catch up ago. The problem is, I discovered I’m busy every weekend through the end of March. Turns out, when you live in a ski town, lots of people want to come for a visit.

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Hey Siri, Text Evernote

Do you use Evernote? Ever wish you could quickly save a note to Evernote hands-free? I found a way.

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Trying a little experiment

I want an easy way to share certain posts to social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, at the time I publish the post. The more I can automate, the better. The problem is this site is a static HTML site generated by Jekyll and hosted on Github Pages.

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From Trace To Slopes

Need to download your Trace Snow recordings? I did and this is how I did it so I could import the recordings into Slopes.

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Two Years Ago Today

We moved to Stowe two years ago today. It seems like we’ve been here a lot longer, but in a good way.

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Video of Stowe, Vermont

My friend Ashley came across another video of Vermont. This time it’s about Stowe, the town I live in. Enjoy.

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Essence Of Vermont

It’s no surprise I love living in Vermont in part because it’s different from other places I have lived. And this video from Skyworks really captures parts of why I love it here.

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Do I Need Another Twitter Account

Earlier tonight I setup a new Twitter account that tweets a link each time I publish a new post here at thecave.com. The new Twitter account is @thecave_com. Of course now that this is setup, I’m wondering…Do I really need a separate Twitter account, or should I just tweet the links from my @kirbyt account?

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thecave On Twitter

My friend Uli asked:

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Where I Blog These Days

I’ve recently, and “recently” as in the last couple of years, cut back on the number of blog sites I have. I’m down to three sites now, and that seems manageable. The sites are:

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Snow River At Stowe

This looks like it was a lot of fun. Wish I had known about it when it happened last year.

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I Should Feel Guilty But I Don't

I played hooky from work afternoon. I should feel guilty but I don’t.

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Best April Fools' Joke Ever

I met a guy tonight at the bar. He was the victim of the best April Fools’ Joke ever.

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2600 Miles In 4 Minutes

Here’s a very cool video of a guy who did a time-lapse of his Pacific Crest Trail thru hike. Enjoy.

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Driver X

I received my new pair of Burton Driver X snowboard boots this afternoon. Damn, these puppies are stiff, but that’s a good thing. I can’t wait to hit the hill with them in the morning. It’s going to be a whole new riding experience after wearing boots that I probably should’ve replaced a couple of seasons ago.

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I Feel Guilty But

Our local hill received a surprised 6-7 inches of new snow overnight. I feel a little guilty for not letting Rowan skip the first half of school this morning so he could ride the fresh powder, but at the time, he didn’t ask to skip school so he’s loss.

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The Snow Was Better In 2003

During our stay in Whistler last week, I kept saying to my wife I thought the snow conditions, which weren’t the best, were about the same as the conditions we experienced in February 2003. Turns out I was wrong.

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Life Is A Vacation

As we flew home from Vancouver I asked Rowan if he thought it was neat that we were flying from a snowboarding vacation to home where we will go snowboarding again. He said he thought it was neat, but I don’t know if he really gets it. I know it blows my mind to think that we live in a place where people come for a vacation to do exactly what we did on our vacation. The difference though is that we get to continue doing what we did on vacation once we return home.

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Our Return To Whistler Blackcomb

Years ago I, with help from a couple of friends, organized an annual snowboarding trip to Whistler Blackcomb. Even after the annual trips were no more, Melanie and I continued visiting Whistler once every year or two. Our last Whistler trip was in 2007, and we’ve been wanting to return for many years. But it just hasn’t worked out for us. That is until this year when we finally made our return to Whistler, and we brought Rowan with us.

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Raw Denim

16 months ago I bought my first pair of raw denim, a pair of Levi’s 501 Shrink to Fit, and I’m lovin’ the look.

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Temperature Inversion

Seeing “temperature inversion” in the Stowe snow report this morning is music to my ears. It’s -20°F in town but a balmy 2°F at the summit. Time to ride.

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Reliving The Past

I just spent the last two hours looking through past posts here at thecave. I was writing a lot for the four or five years, and some of those old posts are actually good. But more importantly reading through those old posts gave me a chance to relive my past.

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New Site Theme

I’ve been on a website redesign kick lately updating sites such as kirbyturner.com and rowanturner.net. The recent update to my vanity website gives it a more modern look, and Rowan’s website now has a clean, fresh look that focuses on the content.

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Bad Case Of Buyer's Remorse

I’ve very disappointed in my new snowboard purchase. It’s fair to say I have a bad case of buyer’s remorse. I thought I was saving a few dollars by buying online, but at the same time I felt rushed. My gut was telling me not to do it. It told me to wait. But I didn’t listen. I’ll know better next time.

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Consider The Environmental Cost

Two days ago I wrote a post about how I bought a new snowboard online because it was cheaper than buying locally, or so I thought. Turns out a local shop in Stowe was offering a 20% discount on the board I bought, but I didn’t know this at the time since that shop didn’t advertise the sale on their website. So in the end I paid a little more to buy a new snowboard from another local shop located on the other side of the country.

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Finally...

The Northeast has been getting slammed with a major snow storm, but unfortunately Stowe, Vermont, is too far northwest to get the full force of the storm. I had hoped for a bit of new snow overnight, but it didn’t happen. So I waited before hitting the slopes this morning in hopes the edge of the storm would inch its way into the Stowe, but it didn’t happen. So Melanie and I hit the slopes anyways, braving the -26 degrees Fahrenheit wind chill. We got in two runs before deciding today would be a good day for a lunch date. So we left the hill, and headed for lunch in town. And then the snow finally came…guess I’ll be hitting the hill first thing tomorrow morning.

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Snow is White, Not Brown and Green

This screen shot says it all.

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Goodbye Fitbit Ultra, Hello Fitbit One

On November 15, 2011, I started using my Fitbit Ultra, and after only 1157 days I have finally switched to the Fitbit One.

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Checkout The New Rowan T Site

If you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to checkout the new Rowan T website. I moved it to Jekyll, updated it with a new site template, and I’ve starting sharing more about what’s going on with Rowan…after a two and a half year hiatus. So pop over to www.rowanturner.net and see what the kid has been up to lately.

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Despite A Rainy Start

Despite a rainy start this morning, I was able to get in a few snowboard runs on the hill before crowd arrived. And I had great visibility top to bottom on the last two runs. I think that might be the first time this season I’ve had great visibility top to bottom.

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A Tradition Comes To A Close Tonight

On December 22, 2001, I was in Whistler with my friends Dave and Joe. We spent the day snowboarding, then that night we went to see the first Lord of the Rings movie. Little did I know that night would become a tradition of sorts for me.

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Amy Bradstreet

I learned this morning that a friend of mine, Amy Bradstreet, was murdered last night by her boyfriend and father of her kids. I’m left without words. I’m sad, stunned, stocked, and some what angry. Amy was one of the most fun loving people on this earth, and she did not deserve to die this way. My heart goes out to Amy’s family.

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Still Enjoying the Snow

Top of Nosedive I refuse to accept that winter is over. For instance, today I hiked up Mt. Mansfields to do a snowboard run on Nosedive. And based on the crowd, I wasn’t the only one who thought today was a good day for a hike.

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Still No Regrets

I pierced my ear when I was 16 or 17 years old. I did it myself on the way to school. I stopped by my mom’s place to pick up my little sister. While my mom was busy getting my sister ready, I grabbed two ice cubes from the frig, and I used them to numb my ear lobe. Then I took a piercing ear ring, the kind with a pointy end, and shoved it through my ear lobe. It made a pop sound as it pushed through the backside of my ear lobe. I felt nothing. It was easy peasy.

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Not Organizing Events

When I lived in NYC I organized and ran events for computer geeks like me. It was a lot of fun, and a great way to meet new people. Then I moved to Salem, Mass, a suburb of Boston, and again I organized and ran events in Salem and Boston. And again it was a lot of fun and a great way to meet new people.

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Cross Posting

I decided to go back to cross posting between ADN, Twitter, and Facebook. I’m not as active as I once was on any one of these social networks, so I figured cross posting won’t cause too much noise in the streams of followers.

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I'm Having a Bad Day

I’m having a really bad day today. First, I had to rush to get Rowan to school. He was being his normal slow self, but thankfully we made it there before the bell rang. Then I get to the hill to ride the new snow when I realized I left my snowboard gear at home. So back home I go. But I had to drive behind a plow the entire way home turning a 15 minute drive into a 25 minute drive. And now I have to drive with the stream of traffic back up the hill.

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Day 25

Today marks my 25th day snowboarding this season. While this might sound awesome, it’s fewer days than I was hoping to have by mid-January. I snowboarded 21 days up through Christmas. That means I have only snowboarded 4 days since Christmas, which is why I thought I would have more days by now.

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Rowan on the Balance Board

Rowan on the balance board I wanted to play with a GIF animator, so I used a few photos I took yesterday of Rowan playing on the balance board. That kid is going to be so much better than me at just about everything.

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Whale Watching Tour

Here are some pictures from our recent whale watching tour out of Gloucester, MA.

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Pawleys Island with the Davis Clan

Here are pictures from our visit to Pawleys Island. The whole Davis Clan was there for this trip.

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Camp Murphy

Pictures from this year’s Camp Murphy. Great time as always.

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Andy's Wedding

Here are pictures from my brother Andy’s wedding.

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I Knew a Drug Dealer in Memphis

I just received a spam email saying, “A well-established company wants to offer you a telecommuting opportunity in the business of mail management.The position requires no professional skills besides basic computer literacy. The key responsibilities are to receive correspondence at your home address, repack and resend it to our customers.”

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Congratulations to the Kid

A big congratulations to Rowan, aka the kid, for graduating from pre-school. He’s been at Run-a-Muck for three and a half years. Seems strange that he’s done - though officially his last day is tomorrow. I’m very proud of the kid.

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I'm an Idiot

I am, what I like to call certain individuals, an idiot. Yep. I too am an idiot.

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We're Moving to a Ski Town...Finally

It’s official. It’s really going to happen. We’re moving to a ski town! We’re moving to Stowe, Vermont, in August.

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Kayaking the Ipswich River

Yesterday I did a 16 mile paddle on the Ipswich River with my buddy Shawn. It was the perfect way to spend a Saturday morning. We put in at Thunder Bridge, made our way east through the Ipswich Wildlife Sanctuary, and finally stopped in the town of Ipswich.

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Our Visit to the Eiffel Tower

Melanie was working a flight to Paris this week, and as luck would have it there were seats available on the flight. So Rowan and I decided to join her. Rowan has wanted to visit the Eiffel Tower for as long as I can remember, so that’s what we did on this trip. We flew to Paris, went to the Eiffel Tower, then flew back home. Pictures from our short trip are available here.

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Simple Bank, My Kind of Banking

Earlier today I posted on ADN that I love banking with Simple. My friend Daniel asked if I could summarize in 250 or less what sets Simple apart from other banks. I did my best to summarize what I thought was different/better about Simple, but I still felt a blog post would be better.

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What the Hell

That’s right. What the hell?

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NSSnow 2013

Last week Melanie and I had the pleasure to join 13 others in Courchevel, France, for NSSnow 2013. NSSnow is a gathering of mostly Mac and iOS developers who love to ski and snowboard, well, mostly snowboard but skiers were welcome - Melanie was the token skier at this year’s NSSnow.

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Super Long Day with the Kid

Melanie’s out of town enjoying some quality vacation time with one of her girlfriends leaving Rowan and me in Salem to enjoy some quality father son time. We made the most of it today, which has turned into a super long day.

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Our Christmas 2012

We spent Christmas in Salem this year. Mother Nature was kind and gave us a little snow this morning, but it melted by mid-afternoon. I repeated the tradition I started a few years back by smoking a turkey for dinner. It’s was delicious, but not has favor packed as it was 2 years ago. I blame it on the lack of thyme. The grocery store was all out when I went shopping.

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Back from the Long Trail Hike

My southbound hike of the Long Trail didn’t go as planned. I had to stop after 13 days due to a knee injury. As I said in a tweet, “Th-Th-Th-Th-Th…That’s all, folks. I’m not continuing the hike due to constant pain that has zapped all the fun out of the journey.” I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to hike the trail end to end, but I’m glad I at least tried it. And I will be back next year to complete the remaining 182 miles.

An Amazing Experience

Despite not finishing and having to deal with knee pain for weeks that followed leaving the trail, I still look back to my days on the trail and think to myself, “What an amazing experience.” Leaving the trail was a hard thing to do. I struggled with mixed emotions. My heart was into the hike and I wanted to continue. But my brain, and the pain, said it was time to stop. Even after I decided I would not continue the hike, I would stare out at the mountains and daydream about being on the trail. Even now, weeks later, when I see a tree covered mountain I think to myself how great it would be hiking up and over the summit. But a thru hike wasn’t meant to be for me this year.

What’s Next

This is not it for me and the Long Trail though. I’m planning to complete my hike next year, and I hope to re-attempt a thru hike again the following year. Also, I want to write up a blog post about my experience hiking the first 90 miles of the Long Trail from the Canadian border to Jonesville, Vermont. I hope to do this within the next week or so, but I also need to finish writing the second edition of my iPad book. Time will tell if I actually write the blog post. Meanwhile, enjoy the pictures I took during my journey.

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Weighing In

I decided to weigh every item going with me on my end-to-end hike of the Long Trail. I’m unfortunately carrying about 5 pounds more than I was hoping, but I remind myself this is a month long hike, not a 3 to 5 day trip. I can do without some gear, such as the Solio charger, on shorter trips.

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Pack Unpack Repeat

With only 5 days left before I start my hike, I spent the day packing and unpacking my backpack. To my surprise, every thing fit. But also to my surprise, the unofficial total weight is 45 pounds. This includes food and water. I was hoping my total weight would be 5 to 10 pounds less.

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The Weight Lost Continues

Weighed myself today. I’m down to 153 pounds. That’s 17 pounds lighter than I was 4 months ago. Only three more pounds to go before I hit my target weight.

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Planning to Thru Hike the Long Trail

One week from today, on August 23, I start a month long journey to hike the Long Trail from end to end. I plan to start at the Vermont-Canadian border, and hike south to North Adams, Massachusetts. I’m not exactly sure how long the hike will take me, but it should be somewhere between 25 and 35 days depending on my daily mood, how much or little I hike each day, and so on.

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Test Run on My DIY Pot Cozy

The other day I mentioned I made a pot cozy for my cooking mug. Today I decided to test it by cooking up a box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. I’m happy to report the test was a success.

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Yankee Game

Rowan has gone to at least one Yankee game a year at Yankee Stadium since he was born in March 2008. The only year he missed was 2009 when the new stadium opened. And yes, he attended a game - though he slept through most of it - at the old Yankee Stadium.

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DIY Pot Cozy

I’m preparing to take a long distance hike in a few weeks (more details on that coming soon), so I’ve been researching different ways to reduce the amount of fuel I need for cooking. I came around this neat posting that explains how to make an backpacking pot cozy. It sounds like a neat idea, and perfect for me since I plan to eat a lot of Mac-n-Cheese on the hike. So I took a stab at making my own pot cozy for my Snow Peak Trek 700 titanium mug. I’m happy with the end results, but I have yet to test the cozy to see how effective it is. That will be my next project later this week.

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Silver Lake

We took a 3-night/4-day camping trip to Silver Lake in Vermont. We had a great time. Our camp site was on top of a hill surrounded by trees, and the lake was just a short walk down the hill. Pictures from our trip are available here.

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Sleeping In

Rowan has recently been sleeping later into the mornings. This is great because Melanie and I both prefer sleeping in as well. I remember when Rowan first started sleeping through the night. He would wake up at 5:30 in the morning to start his day. I used to say, if only he would sleep until 6 am. And of course he did start sleeping until 6 am over time. When that happened, I starter saying, if only he would sleep until 6:30 am. As he slept later, I continued saying to myself, sleep until 7 am. Then it was 7:30 am. Then 8 am.

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First Two Trips with Goruck GR1

I returned from my second trip using the GR1, and I can now say the Goruck GR1 is now my favorite everyday backpack. My latest trip was to WWDC, and the GR1 kicked ass. I packed everything I needed for the week in the ruck, and I used it as my daypack each day at the conference. I especially like how slim the bag is even when stuffed full. I had no problems sliding it in and out from under the seat on the plane. And the zippers are quiet enough when opening and closing as to not disturb those sitting around me at the conference during talks.

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Only 9 more pounds to go

I weighed myself today. I’m 11 pounds lighter than I was 7 weeks ago, and I’ve lost a little more than an inch off my waist.

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Goruck GR1 Review - First Impressions

IMG 6146 My Goruck GR1 backpack arrived today, and so far I’m very impressed with it. The construction of this bag is top notch, and the bag screams quality. I love the minimalistic look and it’s low profile. It is a little stiff coming right out of the box, but it’s already loosening up after packing and unpacking it a few times and wearing it around the house.

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The Cave Tent

I’m not sure I would buy this tent, but I do like the name. An inflatable tent does sound interesting, but at 11.5 pounds plus a hand pump, I’m not sure it’s for me. Then again, my current “big” tent does take 5 to 10 minutes to setup and teardown.

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Things I've Done This Weekend That I Normally Don't Do

I’m in the final stagings of writing my book, and to help out, the wife gave me the okay to spend a few days in Vermont along. No wife. No kid. Just me and my laptop.

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Welcome Back

Hey! What’s going on here? A new blog post after more than a year and a half?

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Salem The Bike City

Salem Mass is often known as The Witch City, but it’s also trying hard to become a bike city. One example of this comes from today’s announcement about a free bike sharing program here in Salem. The city has also made improvements to off-road bike paths and recently completed the striping of on-street bike lanes. The problem, however, I have with biking in Salem is with the North Shore drivers.

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Pictures from Recent Long Trail Hike

I finally got around to uploading pictures from my recent Long Trail hike. Thanks Shawn for taking the pictures.

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My Thought on the FaceBook Privacy Issue

It’s the Internet. If you post it then you are sharing it with someone. And who knows what that someone will do with it. You want privacy then get off the Internet and stop sharing.

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Short in iPod touch Connector Port

We have the Griffin Evolve sound system for the iPod, which I use from time to time to listen to music from my iPod touch. Unfortunately the sound system was within reach of Rowan who decided yesterday to pull back and forth on the docked iPod touch. This unfortunately bent the connector pins in the iPod touch connector port. And now whenever the iPod touch is docked the music starts and stops, plays out only 1 speaker, and or sometimes it makes an awful noise.

Okay, so I can’t use the iPod touch with the Griffin system by docking it. That’s fine. I’ll just connect it using the headphone jack. Problem solved, or so I thought.

Today I discovered the iPod touch shorting out when connected to my laptop. It didn’t occur to me yesterday I would have this problem but an electrical short is an electrical short. And no matter what I try the device keeps disconnecting and reconnecting every minute or so when plugged into the laptop.

I’m debating whether I should try getting the device fixed or just buy another one. If I get another one I can let the kid have the broken one. It could be fun to see how long it takes before he completely destroys it.

Regardless of what I decide to do, I did learn my lesson and now the sound system is out of the kid’s reach.

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Hiking the Long Trail Division 1

Last month Shawn and I hiked Division 1 of the Long Trail. The hike was mostly enjoyable - we had to cut the trip short which meant hiking in the dark with pouring rain and high winds. That part was not enjoyable. But the trail is clearly marked making the night hike easier than expect.

Here are pictures from the trip. If I have more time in the near future I will blog more about the trip.

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Halloween Pictures

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Pictures from Recent Memphis Trip

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Lake Champlain Trip

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Wedding Pictures

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Pictures from Dave, Lexi, and Lucy's Visit

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Salem Bloggers Unite

The fine folks at The Salem Insider are compiling a list of Salem-based bloggers. If you live in Salem Mass and have a blog, you should add your blog site to the list. And no, your blog site doesn’t have to be about Salem. They just ask that you be a Salem resident. It’s a neat way to see what others in Salem are writing about.

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Pictures from Recent Trips

While my travel schedule is not like it was last year, we are finally traveling again. And I have finally posted pictures from recent trips. Enjoy.<ul>
<li>East Durham Irish Festival</li>
<li>Southern France</li>
<li>Camp Turner 08</li>
<li>NASCAR Weekend - Loudon NH</li>
</ul>

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Recommended Software for Mac

A good friend of mine, who just bought an iMac, asked what Mac software I use regularly and recommend. Instead of emailing a reply to him, I decided to post my list of recommended software here for all to see.

<ul>
<li>VMware Fusion - Although I spend less time in Windows these days, I still have to use it for various development projects. So when I need to use Windows, I rely on VMware Fusion, which allows me to run an instance of Windows from within OS X.</li>
<li>Mail.app - This is the email program that comes with OS X. I use it to manage all my emails.</li>
<li>iCal - This also comes with OS X and I use it daily.</li>
<li>Spanning Sync - I used this gem to synch my iCal calendars to Google calendars. I currently synch 5 different calendars, a birthday calendar that I share with my wife, my personal calendar, my wife’s calendar, a calendar for trips, and my work calendar.</li>
<li>YAI (You Are Invited) - This is a Mail.app plug-in that translates and transfers calendar invites from Outlook, Google, and others to iCal.</li>
<li>Address Book - Another piece of software that comes with OS X.</li>
<li>TextMate - Damn fine text editor.</li>
<li>Evernote - For tracking various notes.</li>
<li>Open Office - For word processing, spreadsheet, etc. I’m using the beta for version 3.0, which support the Aqua interface and does not require X11.</li>
<li>Adium - My IM client of choice. Adium supports different IM services including Messenger, Yahoo!, AIM, and Google Talk.</li>
<li>iPhoto - From the iLife suite. I store all my photos in iPhoto libraries.</li>
<li>Aperture - While I store all my master images in iPhoto, I do all my editing, rating, etc in Aperture.</li>
<li>iMoive - From the iLife suite. iMovie makes publishing to YouTube a snap.</li>
<li>iDVD - From the iLife suite. Easy way to record movies for family members who can’t view my movies online.</li>
<li>GarageBand - From the iLife suite. I don’t use this much. Typically I only use it to lay down background sound tracks to movies I create.</li>
<li>VLC - For view various media files.</li>
<li>Unison - For reading newsgroups.</li>
<li>NetNewsWire - For reading RSS feeds.</li>
<li>SuperDuper! - For making back ups of my MBP.</li>
<li>Skitch - For capturing screen shots and sharing images with others.</li>
<li>FireFox - Safari is nice, but I prefer FireFox. I use it the majority of the time, and Safari only once in a while.</li>
<li>CoRD - Enables me to remote desktop into my various Windows servers.</li>
</ul>That’s my list of Mac software that I use regularly.

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Follow Me

I know I don’t blog as much any more. There just never seems to be enough time. But I’m still around. You can follow me at:

http://twitter.com/kirbyt
and
http://friendfeed.com/kirbyt

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Boston Marathon 2008

I did something a bit different today. My friend Dana invited me to tag along with him as he took pictures at the starting line of the Boston Marathon for Boston.com. Despite having to get up at 4:30 AM this morning, it was a lot of fun. I even got a few shots in myself like this one of Lance Armstrong just before the start of the race.

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ANN: Rowan Andrew Turner

Today it occurred to me that I never mentioned the arrival of my new son, Rowan Andrew Turner. It slipped my mind because I have been blogging over at the Rowan T site. But that’s no reason not to mention his arrive here. So Rowan, aka Baby T, is here! And he is a bundle of joy. You can read more about Rowan, see pictures, etc, at his blog site http://RowanTurner.net.

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Jet Lagged Alex

My buddy Alex was on NBC’s Today Show this morning in a bit about jet lag.

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My 2008 Trips

Last year I kept a travel log to see how much I really travel in 1 year. It was interesting to see that I do too much travel and explains why it seems like I’m always on the go. While I do not plan to travel nearly as much this year - actually my wife and I recently realized nearly 6 months will past between airplane travel for us, something that has not happened for me since 1997. I’m usually on an airplane at least once a month.

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Update on New House #3

We’re finally in the new house. Woohoo!! Work on all the rooms is basically complete with one exception, the upstairs half bathroom, which can wait a couple of weeks. We’re slowly settling in with a little more than half the boxes already unpacked. And we’re planning a shopping trip for later this week to purchase new furniture for the baby’s room.

I’m so glad to be done with the majority of the renovation work. Overall I’m happy with the end results, but there are areas on some walls I would like to redo someday. But I can’t complain. After all, this was my first time doing home renovating work like this. I definitely learned a lot and will do much better work faster in the future.

I would like to send out a special thank you to my mom and brother for helping prepare the house. Without their help on the final days leading up to the move, we might have had to postpone the move in date a second time. Thanks for the help mom and Andy.

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Home Improvement Before and After

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Update on New House #2

Work on the house is nearing completion. 4 rooms are now ready to go and I hope to have 2 more rooms completed by Saturday night. This leaves 1 room left to complete before we move in, which is now scheduled for Thursday, January 24. If I stay on track, I’ll have the final room completed on Monday. New carpet on the stairs will be installed on Tuesday. And we clean, clean, clean on Wednesday to get up all the dust and dirt from the floors.

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The Cavalry is Here

My very good buddy Darren has come up from TampaSt. Pete to help with work on the new house for 3 days. I can’t begin to say how grateful I am having Darren here to help. Work on the house is progressing nicely now and we’re hoping to have most of the rooms completed by the end of the weekend.

Thanks for the help Darren. I owe you big time!

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They iScrewed Me Again

This spoof from MadTv is too funny especially if you are one of those individuals who keeps buying a new iPod each year. Me? I’m happy with my oversized, first-generation iPod Classic which is incompatible with almost things iPod these days.

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Update on New House

I can honestly say I have bitten off more than I can chew when it comes to prepping the new house for our move in. I have developed a new hatred for wallpaper. Pulling down wallpaper and prepping the walls for priming is a very time consuming process. But with luck I should be ready to start priming walls by Thursday.

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Too Much Travel

2007 is winding down and I return home later today from my final trip of the year. I started a travel log this year to see how much I actually travel. 46 trips in total for 2007. Too much in my opinion. I hope to see a lot less travel in 2008.

The travel log idea is cool, and I plan to do another for 2008 even though I’m hoping for fewer trips. I wish I had travel logs for past years. I think the biggest difference I would see for past years compared to 2007 is the diversity of trips. Vermont and New York City were my most common trips in 2007. In past years, I traveled more with Melanie on flights she worked and got to spend more time in places such as France. I made only 1 work trip with her in 2007, to Belgium, and I missed out on trips to France and Ireland this year which really disappoints me.

Even though I hope to travel less in 2008, I’m hoping to join Melanie on more work trips (as soon as she returns to work). And the best part of work trips in 2008 with Melanie will be bringing Baby T with us.

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Why No Baby Announcement Post?

Some might be wondering why I didn’t post a blog entry announcement that I’m a father-to-be. After all such big news rightfully deserves a posting. Truth be told, I didn’t want to share the news publicly until after the closing on the new house for fear that the mortgage company might find out and decide not to provide us the loan for the house. I’m sure I was being a bit paranoid but given the current state of the leading market I did not want to chance it.

I did, however, post a slight hint on July 23. The posting title is “Excited About Expected New Arrive” and while the posting talks about arrival of my new MacBook Pro, I was actually more excited about finding out I’m going to be a dad. July 23 is the day I found out.

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Wallpaper

It should be illegal to sell a house with wallpaper. And the punishment should be double for those who wallpaper the ceiling too.

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Wallpaper Should Be Outlawed

It should be illegal to sell a house with wallpaper. And the punishment should double for those who wallpaper the ceiling too.

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Long Time No Post

I know. I know. It’s been a very long time since my last blog posting. I have never gone this long between posting since starting this blog back in March 2002. The longest delay between postings until now was back when I made the move from NYC to Salem. The delay was almost 2 months, but this most recent delay has been just over 4 months. Way too long to go without a posting, especially considering all that has happened in the last 4 months. Needless to say, though, with all that has happened over the last 4 months my schedule has been unusually busy which is why I haven’t had time to post. Staying in hotels without Internet access hasn’t helped either.

So the 2 biggest events that have happened are:

1) My wife and I are expecting a baby boy at the end of March!!!! I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am about this. Already it seems like I discovery something new about being a daddy-to-be on an almost daily basis. For instance, just the other day I could see the baby moving around in my wife’s belly. I heard this was possible and I thought it would be freaky, like watching Aliens or something. But it turned out to be really cool. And the movements seems to be more frequent and more visible each day. I’ll be posting more about being a daddy-to-be / new dad. Meanwhile, check out our baby blog.

2) We bought a house! Yep, after living most of my life in rental property and all of my adult life in rentals, I can finally say I’m a home owner. I still don’t think owning a home is a wise financial investment, but I can say I love the idea behind owning a home. There’s nothing quiet like it. The freedom to do what you want such as paint, remodel, etc, to make the place your own is awesome.

And on the business front, White Peak Software continues to grow. Yes, I know I have fallen behind on release the next Killink CSV and SMTP Diagnostics updates and for that I apologize. But it has been very important to me to put certain “ducks in a row” so I can focus on time on these products in 2008.

So that’s it for now.

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Long Time No Post

Since starting this blog back in March 2002, I have never gone this long without a post. The longest time before now was when I made the move from New York City to Salem Mass, which was about a month between postings. This time around it has been nearly 2 full months between postings. Needless to say, I have been extremely busy in through 2 months.

First of all, I have taken on new customer work to help pay the bills while I continue working on the product side of White Peak Software. While this has helped financially, it is taking it toll on my available time. The main reason is I am now traveling weekly. Combine this with my already busy travel schedule and I’m left with very little time.

Another activity keeping me busy is the purchase of a new house. Melanie and I have never owned a house before so the process is totally new for us. We found the house we really like and plan to close in December. I can’t tell you how excited we are about owning our own house and how anxious I am to be done with the buying process. It’s almost like a full time job shopping for mortgage and dealing with all the other tasks that go into buying a house. And add to that my travel schedule…

But wait. There’s more. The new house is not the only thing we are excited about. Melanie and I will soon be parents. Yep, that’s right. I’m finally going to be a daddy.

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MP3 Ringtones on Sprint RAZR V3m

My new Sprint RAZR V3m phone can play MP3 music files, so it seems only logical to me that I should be able to use MP3 files as ringtones on the phone. It turns out you can but it involves a few steps.

The steps below are for MacBook Pro users. Windows users can probably use a similar approach but I don’t really know for sure. So please no questions about how to do this using Windows.

First you will need an MP3 file. A ringtone only play for 30 seconds so I suggest you edit the music file down to a maximum duration of 30 seconds. I used GarageBand to edit the MP3 file down to the desired duration and to contain the sound bit I wanted as a ringtone.

Once you are done editing the track in GarageBand, select Share > Send Song to iTunes from the GarageBand menu bar. The song will be mixed, copied to your iTunes library, and iTunes will be launched. In iTunes, select the new song, which is probably playing in iTunes, and select Advanced > Convert Selection to MP3.

Congratulations. You now have an MP3 file ready to use as a ringtone.

The next step is to copy your newly created MP3 ringtone to your Sprint RAZR V3m phone. Using Bluetooth, pair your MacBook Pro with your phone. Select Browse Device… from the Bluetooth menulet. Select your phone in the list of devices and click the Browse button. Make sure your phone has Bluetooth turned on and that you grant access to your computer.

Assuming all is right up to this point, you should see the Browse window displayed on your computer.

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Way to Go Brenna!

Brenna Davis, my sister-in-law, isn’t joining my wife’s family this week for the Davis clan’s annual family vacation. Instead Brenna is representing the USOC at a sport festival in Turkey. What an awesome opportunity for Brenna.

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Making iSync Work With Sprint RAZR V3m

I mentioned earlier today that I had to do a little tweaking to get iSync, running on my MacBook Pro, to work with my Motorola RAZR V3m from Sprint. Here are the steps I followed to get it working:<ul>
<li>Download and install latest software updates on the RAZR (Settings > Phone Info > Update Phone SW).</li>
<li>Download latest Motorola RAZR V3m iSync Plug-in.</li>
<li>Created the directory ~/Library/PhonePlugins.</li>
<li>Extracted the iSync Plug-in to the ~/Library/PhonePlugins directory.</li>
<li>Launched iSync.</li>
<li>Followed the iSync instructions for adding the new device.</li>
</ul>That was it. It was all goodness for me after that.

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Major Technology Upgrade

Those that know me well know I tend to hold on to and use older technologies (i.e., computers, mobile phones, iPod, etc) longer then I should. Once a piece of technology is working for me I don’t see much reason to upgrade. But every few years I must go through a major technology upgrade, which is what I have done over the last week.

I replaced my aging mobile phone with a sleek Motorola RAZR V3m. I admit I’m addicted to this phone. While I was able to do Internet and text messaging on my old phone, my new phone makes it easier and allows me to do more such as check email and watch live TV. The built-in Bluetooth is awesome too. I’ll talk more about that in a minute.

The new mobile phone required I get a new headset. I prefer hands-free talking especially on longer calls. My wired headset is incompatible with the RAZR so I bought a new Bluetooth enabled headset, the Motorola H700C. Of course I look like I have joined the collective when I wear the headset, but fashion aside this is a really nice headset. It works well with the RAZR phone. Calls are clear, and according to those I’ve called there is no problem hearing me talk.

A major technology upgrade is not complete without a new computer. I mentioned the other day that I bought a MacBook Pro. It arrived yesterday and after spending a few hours with it I can’t image going back to a Windows only machine. I’ve tried various favors of Linux over the last couple of years but I always encountered some type of problem. This made me a bit concerned about switching to Mac OSX, but I now know I had no reasons for concern. Everything just works. Some tweaking was needed in certain cases but in general everything work.

One area that required a little tweak was adding iSync support for my RAZR phone. Apparently the latest OSX updates from Apple support the RAZR V3m but not the Sprint version, which is what I have. Luckily I learned about ClockSkew and his iSync plug-ins for the RAZR phones. Now, using Bluetooth - gotta love that technology, I’m able to sync my calendar and address book between my phone and MacBook Pro. Awesome stuff, I tell you.

Speaking of Bluetooth, I decided to go with the wireless Bluetooth keyboard for Macs. Once again it just works.

To continue working with Windows, which I must do, I installed VMware Fusion. This product is awesome too. I find my virtual machines run much better under OSX as the host operating system compared to Windows or even Linux. Of course having 4GB of RAM doesn’t hurt either.

So new phone, new headset, new laptop…what else? That’s it for the moment but I do plan to buy a new SLR digital camera within the next couple of weeks. I wonder if digital SLR camera come with Bluetooth to transfer pictures?

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Excited About Expected New Arrival

Things are really busy for me right now. I’ve just started two separate customer projects, sales of Killink CSV and SMTP Diagnostics are climbing, and I’ve been doing a lot of travel. But one thing has me really excited. I ordered a MacBook Pro and it’s expected to arrive in a couple of days.

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Not Bill Gates's House

I’m making more of an effort to check the log files from my web sites. During a recent review I noticed a number of hits coming in for the search term “bill gates house”. I investigated this more today and was surprised by what I found.

Go to Yahoo’s Image Search and search on the phrase “bill gates house”. The 4th image across the top links back to a blog posting I made 3 years go about a virtual tour of Bill Gates’s house.

The funny part in all of this is that the image displayed on the Yahoo Image Search is NOT Bill Gates’s House. It is the Round House Lodge on top of Whistler mountain. But apparently because my site is listed as number 4 people come to the blog posting in hopes of seeing Bill Gates’s house.

Sorry to disappoint but that picture is not Bill Gates’s house.

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Meet the Beemers

Here is an interesting read about my Dad and step-mother and their passion for motorcycles. Scroll down to the section titled “BMW MOTORCYCLE RIDER SPOTLIGHT: Two Beemer Riders Overcome Adversity For the Love of the Ride”.

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My 2006/2007 Snowboard Season Comes to an End

Monday night my wife and I made a last minute decision to make a quick trip to Killington for one last day of snowboarding. Well, skiing for her. We hit the slopes yesterday and had a blast. But our 2006/2007 season has officially come to an end.

This season turned out to be a great season for me despite the rough start. By mid-January I had far fewer days riding then I had hoped for or expected. New England wasn’t getting the early season snow it typically does. But in the end I got 32 days of riding and a few of those days included some of the best riding experiences I have ever had. Also, I can now say I have snowboarded in May and I snowboarded at least once a month for 7 consecutive months. Now if I can just get 40+ days next season…

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New Pictures in the Gallery

I finally got around to posting pictures from the last 4 months. Check them out in the gallery.

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I'm Nerdy

I am nerdier than 79% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

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I'll Take 2 Rat Tacos with Cheese

I have eatten here countless time. I’m not surprised there are rats.

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My Trips in 2007

It’s been over a month since my last blog posting. I’ve been very busy the last 2 months and haven’t had time to make any thoughtful postings. Today’s no different.

For those who don’t know me well I travel a lot. Not as much as I did a few years ago but enough. I have definitely scaled back on the travel in recent years, but I’m still out of town at least twice a month on average. So I thought I might be fun to track the places I visit in 2007.

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What a Different 4 Years Can Make

4 years ago my best friend Dave was fighting cancer. He had a rare form of leukemia called granulocytic sarcoma.

4 years Dave was fighting for his life. There were times we didn’t think he would live. I remember talking with Dave’s dad in December (4 years ago). He said to me “We thought we lost him last night.” That conversation really sticks in my head, and it was one of the worse nights for Dave during his 9 month hospital stay.

4 years ago Dave struggled to walk. Just walking to the bathroom across the hospital room was a major challenge for Dave, many times requiring assistances.

4 years later (today) Dave faces a different kind of challenge. Today Dave runs in the Charlotte Thunder Road Marathon. The guy who 4 years ago could barely walk and was fighting for his life is running a marathon. Dave’s cancer has been in remission and he’s healthy again. Dave is the most amazing person I know.

Dave, have fun in today’s run!

Read about Dave’s struggle with cancer and his turn around in this Charlotte Observer article.

Update: Dave’s final time: 4:42:55

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New Pictures in the Gallery

I just posted a bunch of photos (200+) to the gallery for the photo-junkies out there.

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Explosion in Danvers MA

Early this morning, around 2:45 AM, my wife and I were woken up by a thunderous boom that shook the house. We both jumped out of bed, looked out the window, but all was quiet. I thought maybe the explosion was downstairs in the basement so I went down to check it out. My wife turned on the TV and tuned in to local Boston news channels but there was nothing about an explosion. No breaking news. Nothing. Finally I went outside to see if I could tell what happened. Still not luck.

We were up for almost an hour worried that something bad had happened. It was hard to go back to sleep. For us, being from New York City, it was strange how quiet the streets were. It seems the explosion did not wake any of our neighbors. And there was nothing on the local news. As a matter of fact the local news was nothing more than a re-broadcast of an early news broadcast. Boy, we miss NY1 at times like this.

Well, the mystery of what happened was uncovered this morning when I checked Boston.com. Seems there was a major chemical explosion in near by Danvers.

We live a few miles from Danvers and we felt the affects of the explosion, so it must have been one heck of an explosion. As I said it woke up from our sleep and shook the house. And we live a few miles away. It’s amazing no one was seriously hurt.

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Naked man arrested for concealed weapon

Boston.com is reporting a naked man arrested for concealed weapon. So how can a naked man conceal a “6-inch metal awl wrapped in black electrical tape” you ask? You’ll have the read the article. Ouch…

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Surge in Email Spam

I don’t know about you but the number of spam mails I receive daily has definitely gone up in recent months. And I’m not just imagining it either. There has been a surge in spam.

Update: More on the surge in spam.

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White & Nerdy

Weird Al’s new video White Nerdy is too funny. He even makes a reference to my favorite programming language Pascal saying “At Pascal, I am number one”.

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I Wish

I wish I was having one of these days today.

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Gluten-Free Gourmet Dessert Recipes Book

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When in Rome

Here’s a nice camera phone picture of Melanie in Rome taking earlier this week. Wish I could have gone with her.

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Finally! New Pictures

This goes out to those of you [Brenna] who have mentioned [Brenna] I have not posted any new pictures in over 8 months [Brenna]. The gallery now has 552 [Brenna] new pictures for your [Brenna] viewing pleasure. Enjoy [Brenna].

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Last 2 Weeks

I’ve been away for the last two weeks, which means I have a back log of emails waiting for responses. Since it will be a few days before I can answer all of the emails I thought I sled light on what has happened over the last two weeks and the events that caused me to go dark.

Rip VanWinkle

VanWinkle Family
First, my cousin Michael, aka Rip, aka Mike, died unexpectedly on Sunday, June 30. Michael and I grew up together and he was like a brother to me. I haven’t seen Michael as much as I would have liked over the last few years because I live in the Northeast and he was in Jackson, Tennessee. I only saw him, and his awesome wife and daughters once or twice a year. But I still think of him often and exchange the occasional email, phone call and text messages from time to time throughout the year.

It’s been almost two weeks since I got the phone call about Michael and there is still a part of me that is in disbelief. I believe this is due in part to the fact that we only saw each other a couple of times a year. But I know it is going to hit me, as it already had a few times, when I don’t receive any more picture emails Rip’s cute daughters, or I don’t hear his laugh at the next Redneck Shindig.

I love you and miss you. Farwell buddy.

Time Away

After receiving the news about Michael, my wife Melanie and I headed down to Memphis to be with the family. It was a very emotional week, which left Melanie and me both thinking a lot about death. We had a vacation planned for the week of the unfortunate event so we postponed it by one week. This gave Melanie and me time to talk to each other about Michael, death, funerals, family, and so on. But we also enjoyed some time being disconnected from the world.

We went to Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island in Maine. We stayed at the Bass Harbor campgrounds, which is a great place to stay by the way. We rode bikes through the carriage roads of Acadia, drove up to the summit of Cadillac Mountain, dipped our toes in the frigid ocean waters, took a swim in Echo Lake, ate lobster, and saw amazing sceneries. It was the perfect getaway.

On the drive back home from Acadia we decided to surprise the Davis clan by making a quick visit to Killington, Vermont. Melanie’s whole family was there. Seeing them was a great way to end the events of the last two weeks.

We’re back in Salem now, which means a return to reality of emails, work travel and more new security changes at airport ports. May be it’s time for the whole world to take a vacation, disconnect, and get a fresh to outlook on things.

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Essex County Tops Most Overpriced List

I lived in the West Village, Manhattan for just over 6 years. Earlier this year my wife and I moved to Salem, Massachusetts. We have a number of reasons for moving such as a change in life style, wanting to be closer to the mountains of New England, etc. Cost is definitely one of the reasons. We were spending more and more time outside of NYC making it hard to justify paying high rent for an apartment we didn’t see much, especially in the winter time.

I was surprise to learn that Essex County, Massachusetts, which is where Salem is located, is ranked at the top of the recent Forbes most overprice places in the United States. (New York is ranked number 6.) Granted we don’t live in one of the awesomely big water front homes mentioned in the article. I wish we did. But homes at a million and more is beyond what we can afford. I will say, though, that $1.4 million for a 4,000 square foot water front home does seem like a better deal to me than a $1.4 million, 2 bedroom, 900 square foot condo in downtown Manhattan.

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No more physcial data disc please

I received a DVD containing a database backup from a customer yesterday. This morning I go to restore the database backup and I quickly realized I can’t. My DVD drive is still packed away, which means it has been over 5 months since I have had to use it. I didn’t realize until now how little I use physical media these days. Downloads regardless of size are simply better for me.

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Driving in Boston

I biggest compliant, and possibly our only compliant, since moving to the Boston area is driving in the Boston area. I some times think the area has the worse drivers in the Nation, but it’s not the fault of the drivers. Poor signage…actually the lack of street signs in many places…construction, construction, construction, poor markings on the roads, and more have probably contributed to creating bad drivers. Just the other day I saw two slow speed accidents. Yes, cars travelling at about walking speed collided. I didn’t see this happen once, but twice within a 30 minutes time period.

It’s no surprise to me that the Boston area doesn’t even have a safety ranking in the AllState best driver report for 2006. Okay, to be fair AllState does not issue car insurance here which is why the Boston area is not on the report. But still.

So what’s the point of this blog entry? Simple. I cracked up this morning when I read Erik Sink’s entry on Notes from TechEd in Boston. Further proof that driving in the Boston area is a real pain.

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Setting up my Technorati Profile

Nothing exciting to say here. Just adding the link Technorati Profile so I can complete my Technorati setup.

Speaking of, those readers still using http://www.thecave.com/rss.xml will notice you are now redirected to http://www.thecave.com/rss.aspx. Use of rss.xml was stopped back in November.

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A fishy story

Wow, a write up about a family member in a Memphis paper that doesn’t involve guns or the police. Nice work, Jay.

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Mike Eberhart is now Blogging

Mike Eberhart of the Cleveland based database developer shop Intersoft Development, and long time friend, is finally blogging on investment news and opinions, software and technology thoughts, and more. Should make for some interesting reading.

Welcome to the blogosphere, Mike.

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Killington Season Ends May 1st

I was hoping to make one more trip to Killington this season before packing away the snowboard, but it doesn’t look like it going to happen. Killington announced today it will close on May 1st for the 2005-2006 season. Looking at recent pictures I’m surprised they are able to stay open that long but Killington does have its image of staying open longer than any other East Coast resort to keep.

What a crappy season the East Coast had this year. Here’s hoping there will be much more snow next season.

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First Visit to Fenway

My wife and I went to Fenway the other night to see the Redsox play. It was our first visit to Fenway. I like the stadium despite the small size. As a matter of fact, I said to me wife I felt like we were at a minor league game because of the stadium size. Plus, the stadium seems to be very family friendly with a kid throwing the first pitch and a kid making the standard “Play ball!” announcement. The vibe and stadium size reminded me of the two minor league teams in New York. However, that opinion changed once the game got started. The crowd definitely fills the stadium with cheers and you definitely feel like you are at a major league game once the first pitch is thrown.

Boston fans are definitely loyal fans. But unlike St. Louis where just about every wears red, Boston fans have no one color. Sure the Redsox fans are wearing some type of Redsox shirt but some shirts are blue, some are white, some are red…I even saw a green Redsox shirt. Go figure. One of the things I like about going to a Cardinals game in Busch stadium is seeing the sea of red.

Contrary to popular belief, I thought the ticket prices were reasonable and definitely cheaper than a Yankees game. Granted I paid for my tickets through the normal channel and I didn’t get ripped off by some scalper selling a $40 ticket for $150. The food is also cheaper at Fenway compared to Yankee Stadium. The only thing that was more expensive is the beer.

Fenway charges way too much for beer. Yes, a beer at Yankee stadium will run you something like $8 but it is twice the size of the wimpy $6 beer at Fenway. So by the end of the game we spent as much as we would at Yankee stadium but that was only because we had to buy more beers at Fenway than we typically do at Yankee Stadium.

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Celebrating 4 Years of Blogging

Four years ago today thecave.com changed its look and became my personal blog. A lot has happened since that time. I got married, left my corporate job to start my own company, made trips to Paris, Nice, Brussels, and Italy, was the ICCA NYC chapter president for a year, and most recently moved from New York City to Salem, Massachusetts. It’s been an incredible ride that is showing no signs of slowing down.

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Finally Home Again

March has been an incredibly busy month for me with the last week being the craziest. Since Friday I have been at an airport every day except 1. In other words 5 out of the last 6 days I have spent time at an airport in some city. But finally the travel is over…for the time being.

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Do you miss New York?

A common question I get since moving to Salem is “Do you miss New York?” I was thinking about that question this morning as I was standing on the 4-5-6 platform at Grand Central Station. For those who don’t know, that’s in New York, and the answer is “No”. I haven’t spent enough time in Salem or enough time away from New York to miss it yet. It will probably hit me some time this summer but for now I haven’t missed the Big Apple. Heck, Melanie is still based out of JFK and sees the city more than I do. I wonder if she misses it yet.

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Where has the time gone?

Wow! Has it really been over a month since my last blog posting? I guess so. I didn’t realize so much time had passed. Guess that’s what happens when you are busy.

I’ve been traveling back and forward between Salem and St. Louis this month to teach a series of classes on XML, XSD, XSLT, and Web services. As expected the first class was a bit rough but the other classes have been a lot of fun.

I never realized how much work goes into preparing for a class. I have been putting in countless hours preparing course materials, demos, hand-ons exercises, and labs. And let’s not forget the prep time for speaking. I’m heading out tomorrow morning to teach the last two days of the class. It will seem weird not having to think about the classes next week.

For those wondering about the status of SMTP Diagnostics 1.6, it’s coming. The beta release is available from the download page and the final release will be available within 2 weeks.

I’m also working through the marketing research for another product idea. I should have more to report in 6 to 7 weeks if I decide to go forward with the new idea. Meanwhile, Vertigo is still in the works but it’s turning into a much larger project then I originally expected. A release for this summer is unlikely.

That’s a quick update of what’s happening. Hopefully it won’t be another 4 to 5 weeks before my next posting.

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Spam Posting

This blog site has been up since March 2002 and since that time it has never once received a spam comment posting. That was until Tuesday of this week.

The site gets lots of traffic. Not as much as this person or that person, but enough to make me happy. I knew the day would come when a spammer would finally make a posting but I didn’t think it would take this long. Now I’m not asking for spam comments to be posted on this site but I find it interesting it has taken almost 4 years before a spammer successfully posted comment.

What makes this more interesting is that a number of attempts by spammers to post spam comments have been made over the last 4 years. This is especially true for another site I have, the Melanie and Kirby wedding site where attempts by spammers to post comments in the guest book are made daily.

So what’s my secret to warding off spammers? I’m not 100% sure. All my sites including this blog site are custom written using ASP.NET. Maybe that has something to do with it. What I do know is that I will probably start seeing an increase in successful spam comment posting to this site unless I make some changes.

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It's Surreal

My wife and I have actually moved from New York City to Salem, Massachusetts. It’s still a bit surreal for us. As we were driving out of the city yesterday, it didn’t feel like we were really leaving. It felt more like we were making a quick trip and will be returning in a few days. I think it will hit me in a few days that we’re not returning to the city to live. Then again it might take longer for that to happen since I will be returning to New York next week for a meeting.

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Farewell New York, Hello Salem

Today is our last full day in New York. The movers arrive tomorrow at 8 AM. We have almost everything packed. We ran out of boxes last night so we couldn’t finish.

I’m not sure how soon we will have Internet access from the new home. That’s one of my projects today…to schedule cable TV and Internet hook up. So don’t expect a quick reply to emails and forum postings for the next few days.

So how will we spend our final day in New York? We have a few more things to pack, and the DVR/cable boxes need to be returned to Time Warner. I’m meeting a good friend this afternoon for a quick happy hour drink followed by date night with my wife. We are going to dinner at the place of our first date. Unfortunately it won’t be a late night because the movers are coming early tomorrow but I’m sure it will still be a special time for us.

I thought leaving New York was going to be hard, but as it turns out I’m ready to go. The fact we spent our last weekend up in Vermont is probably a sign that we need to move. We just don’t enjoy the city the way we use too, and there are so many other things we want out of life that are hard to obtain from here unless you have lots of money. So it’s farewell to New York, hello Salem.

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My Dead Or Alive 4 Review

For Christmas Melanie gave me a copy of Dead Or Alive 4 for the Xbox 360. The game wasn’t released until the end of the December so I had to wait. But it finally came in this week and last night I got a chance to play it.

My review can be summed up in 4 simple words: My thumb is sore!

I must have played 8 hours or so last night. And yes my thumb is sore. The game is awesome. Story Mode can be frustrating at times but I was able to finish it in one night. The frustration is not a bad thing although it seems like it when you are playing. The AI in this game is incredible, which made Story Mode challenging and frustrating at the same time.

Like other Xbox 360 games DOA4 supports leaderboards. You can, for example, compare your best Survival Mode score against other players world wide. My current ranking is around 10,500 out of 25,000 players. I definitely need to work on improving that ranking.

As I have mentioned before, Xbox Live really makes Xbox 360 a great console. Having the ability to compare my ranking and achievement to other players causes me to play more, and in turn leaves me wanting to buy more games. Xbox Live is really the shining star of the Xbox 360 for the moment. But this review is about DOA4, not Xbox Live.

DOA4 comes with online play as well. I played “Versus” challenges for a bit last night online. Unfortunately I didn’t do as well as I had hoped. There are some top notch players out there. Online play was fun but the game play was a bit choppy. I couldn’t tell if the performance problem was caused by my DSL line or if the problem was coming from the DOA4/Live servers. I need to check the forums to see if other DOA4 players are experiencing the same choppiness. I have not noticed any performance problems with other Xbox Live enabled games so I have to believe it is not my DSL line.

Another feature I like about DOA4 is Sparring Mode. There is a feature within this mode called Exercise, which is a great way to learn all the button combinations for a given character. I will definitely spend more time in this mode to learn more of the advance moves and combinations.

Overall, DOA4 is great. The graphics are amazing. The game play is fun. The leaderboards are addicting. And online play is a blast.

Thanks Melanie for getting me this great game.

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