Mike’s Blog

class+job+family+business trip = AHHH

Trying to balance all of that stuff can be quite challenging.  Finishing up homework and reading for my class is a little crazy.  On top of that there is not quite as much free time during this rip to Philly I thought there would be.  I still have some job stuff to take care of while attempting to pay attention to presentations. Then I am away from my family for the whole thing.  Good news is I get a little break once and a while which I use to video chat with them. Smilie: 🙂 YAY! The internet rocks my socks!

NANOG day 3

Day three in Philly… I slept well last night – Yay!  This morning has had some fun talks which I have more or less understood.  Another Yay! Last night was the “beer n’ gear” where I got to learn a bit about what some companies do or services they provide.  I also got handed shirts and swag stuff. I met up with my boss and met some cool people that help make the internet work (Yes I really mean that).  The people I am here with make sure that the internet stay up with many different paths available for you to reach the servers you want to!

When I got back up to my room I had a mos excellent video chat with my wife and daughter.  She was smiling a lot and making fun noises! I also think a couple times she realized that the face on the laptop screen was actually her daddy!  That was fun watching the realization. It will definitely be good to see them both tomorrow! For now I am learning a bunch!

NANOG day 2

Day 2 started with the waking me up at about 7am.  Apparently the light blocking shades in the hotel room like to hide.  I got up and pulled them out then went back to bed for an hour. I went to a new comers breakfast and met a couple new people.  In several circumstances in conversation it wound up going to back to the fact that I used to be a software developer. I’m not sure if that was because not many people here are and they are interested in hearing about it, or if it’s because I still want to be one.  Only time will tell.

NANOG

Today I traveled to Philadelphia PA for a networking convention (NANOG 53).  So far it has been interesting. I was able to continue my stellar record for ontime plane rides by taking a flight that was not only on time leaving the terminal, but arrived early to PA.  Being early I tried to check into my room so I could relax before going to the first tutorial. Unfortunately my room was not ready yet so I had to lug all my stuff with me. I found a nice empty area a few floors up to put down my stuff and video chat with my wife and daughter.  It was good to see them and amazing how much more you miss them when your not close by. I had only been away from them for about 5 hours at that time but was missing them like I had been gone for a week.

I got my hands on a LTE mifi from Verizon and am very impressed with it so far.  I was able to play a round of Left 4 Dead 2 with my friend with very little latency (40ms ping)!  My performance was less then stellar since I was lacking a mouse at the time (buried in my bag). I got called by my companies CTO to go grab some lunch which made me very happy since I was getting quite hungry.  I had a great lunch with fun conversation which just made me know taking this job was the right decision.

At about 2pm I was finally ready for my first tutorial presentation at NANOG (You know, the whole reason why I came here).  I didn’t get more than a couple minutes into the tutorial when I got a page from work because the person on call missed the first page.  Of course I was close to figuring it out but missed a word in my command so I only messed it up more. Sever coworkers responded to my escalation but only to let me know they were not available to help.  Finally, the CTO who I had lunch with earlier popped online and fixed the problem. What was very nice though, he then took several minutes to explain to me what the problem was, what he did to figure that out, what he did to fix it, and his thoughts on the situation.  Yup, he is an awesome guy.

That bring us to the current time where I will (hopefully) enjoy this second tutorial.

Insurance

So now that I am in the process of getting my first home, I am searching for insurance. Unlike tangible products, insurance prices seems to vary by very large amounts of money. A policy from company A might be as little as 50 bucks more expensive than company B or as much as 700 buck more for the same coverage.  Oh, and then whatever company you choose you will want to have cover all your insurance needs because you get big discounts for doing that. But if the discount isn’t big enough on your current company then to save the big bucks you will have to switch from A to B for more than one policy. This is one of those times where you wish price matching was easy.

Another things that seems silly about shopping for insurance is just getting simple quotes.  Companies like USAA and Liberty Mutual offer online quotes but sites like Allstate and State Farm require you to call a person and hand out all your private information over the phone.  And of course then the agents try to make you feel bad when you say you don’t want their policy or that you found it cheaper elsewhere. Bottom line here is that it is not hard to allow an online quote.  It makes it faster and easier for the consumer and then gives them the option of calling in the case that they want to try and negotiate something.

Like many things in this new process I am learning, shopping for and getting insurance is much harder and much more of a pain than I feel is really necessary.  Oh well.

another “new” iPhone

Today Apple announced a “new” iPhone.  Their idea of new is some updated hardware.  I realize that iOS 5 comes out shortly which adds some nice features so iOS.  Apple gets so angry that they sue when people do anything that is remotely similar to any of their products.  Now they turn around and add features to iOS that they blocked from developers who actually invented the the app.  Not only that, they are adding features taken straight from Android and calling it innovative.

Yes, Apple does make some very good devices and they are usually rock solid.  I am just disappointed with the way in which they conduct their business. Under the lead of Steve Jobs, Apple came up with some excellent devices – like the iPod.  A great invention that has changed the way people listen to music on the go. Then the first iPhone changed the way people use smartphones. Since then, Apple has become a place where innovation is becoming less and less important and getting a “new” product out the door is the key.  FOr the consumers it is not so good but its a genius move for business. Apple created a great name for itself where people will blindly just buy the product because it is made by Apple. That means it will probably be a good device, but by far not even close to the best product you get for the same or less money.

Should you get the iPhone 4S?  Of course not, why would you waste your money on a new phone without LTE and that does not allow you to expand your storage space?  There are many Android phones out that offer a better experience for much less money. Will it take a little more work – probably, but when you save hundreds of dollars it is quite worth it.

After reading this post you may think that I am an Apple hater, but that is not true either.  In fact, I am writing this post on a mac. They make solid devices with (usually) solid software, you just have to pay a huge premium that it not always worth it.  Using that information, Android is arguably much more impressive since it works on so many different devices. In the world of mobile phones, Android is like Windows where it may have some bugs that appear, but will be much more wide spread and have a much larger market penetration.

Family and Friends

Let me first start off by saying I have the best family and the best friends in the world.  As each year goes by I come to realize more and more the importance of family and friends. When you are young you can’t really appreciate something as simple as the fact that your parents put a roof over your head.  We all just think it comes to us because it always has. The truth is without family and friends, we have nothing.

I graduated from college in the spring of 2010 and that is really when I started to feel bond with my family grow exponentially.  It wasn’t long after graduation that I got married and then shortly after that had a beautiful daughter. All the things I thought I was appreciative of before are now blown out of the water.  Caring for a family is something that really can’t be explained. It is a lot of work (and I don’t even do most of it with my daughter) but getting to go home and spend time with them and see them happy and smiling makes you feel like the worlds happiest person.  People often times say that you can’t truly understand a situation until its happened to you and I tend to agree.

Having a great family is like a delicious fun-feti cake.  Having great friends puts the icing on that cake to make it possibly the most nom nomable item in existence.  I can’t even tell you how many my friends have gone out of their way to lend a hand. Having both friends and family be there for you is simply one of the best things about being alive.

This post was originally going to be about the vow renewal I just had with my wife but while thinking about it I just went off about how much I love my family and friends.  I was so happy and blessed to be able to throw a nice big party for them all to have a great time! There is nothing better than celebrating with the people you love and that is exactly what we did!