Sunday, January 10, 2010

Taking the plunge.......quitting smoking

I am finally ready to do it this time.  I seriously am.  I have tried many times before and have failed.  Failure is something that I do not like to admit nor is it something that I believe can happen to me.  Yet it has.   Many times before.  I think part of the reason why I went back to smoking all those times was because it filled gaps in my day, or I was bored, or I was stuck on some technology based problem that kept me working till all hours of the night.

Whatever the reason was, it was never good enough.  I have to say that I am pretty embarressed to have begun smoking to begin with.  I have always felt that smoking has given me something to hide behind.  It numbed my brain, from thought and conversation and of course as I said, it filled gaps in my day.

I was always surprised when I first started smoking, when I was 18, the sheer number of people that I was serving with in the Navy that smoked.  I look around now at the younger guys and have seen those numbers dwindle to almost nothing.  Maybe it is because I am older and with older people and see less of the younger/junior crowd.  Or maybe the Navy has done a pretty good job to remove the stigma attached with smoking and drinking and in the Navy.  The culture of fitness that the Navy has instituted has made "old dogs" like myself rethink their habits.  Gone are the days of coasting by.  Gone are the days of squeaking by in PRT.  Now you have to work for what you own.  If you don't make it, it's on to the fat boy program. 

I feel that these things make you reassess yourself.  If I want to retire from my Naval career I would need to shape up so to speak.

I think in any means that in order to be successful you have to have a plan.  I joined the group, http://www.becomeanex.org/.  They have great tools and videos and from what I have seen from surfing around, they have a great support system.

No plan is really that good unless you have a great support network to back you up.  I've even created a group myself, for us IT Professional type folks.  Throughout the day I've lit up, when talking to friends, or thinking about a solution to a problem, or while waiting for a system to rebuild/reboot/confgure, etc.  Finding reasons to smoke are a waste of time, just as much a waste of time as actually smoking.

I am hoping that with my support system, God, and a whole lot of will power that I to will be successful and be able to smell/taste/see and experience the world from a new perspective.

If you're ready to quit, thinking about quitting or have already quit and you work in technology.  Come and join http://www.becomeanex.org/ and while you're on check out the community and join IT Professional Quitters.  We're small and we're new, but we understand the stresses that affect our smoking and our profession.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Speco 16 Channel Hybrid DVR Record Setting for Optimum Network Viewing

I am always amazed by the abilities of technology.  Today I am writing about the Speco 16 Channel Hybrid DVR and setting the recording options for optimum viewing over a network connection.

Not many people have the ability to constantly view and review video feeds and recorded video from security cameras from the monitor on the DVR.  Speco offers their equipment with a network interface for real time viewing and playback of cameras.  For cameras with remote control you can easily control the camera from within the web interface.

I can safely say that initially I had my growing pains with their cameras and DVR.  After much tweaking and hours of reading and reading product documentation, and not to mention hours on the phone with tech support, I have the configuration that I initially wanted.

I have crystal clear video with no pix-elation while viewing from the web interface.  I was even more impressed to have this issue resolved prior to deploying the web interface for my management team.

My configuration is very basic in their are only 8 cameras in the system currently with one of those cameras being remote controlled.

The video compression, resolution, format and PPS (Pictures Per Second) all came into play in the change.

My network is a true 1GB Switched Ethernet environment, which led me to believe there was  a problem with the recording.

In order to correct the viewing problem I accessed the main menu on the DVR and entered the Record Setup screen.

I modified the resolution to 720 X 368, changed the format from MPJG to MP4 and set the PPS to 120.  These settings will give you near a near realtime view, both in active viewing and in playback. 

I will warn you though that if you change the format to MP4 from any other format, the DVR basically will format itself and reboot.  It also helps to have your recording set to BEST QUALITY.  I highly recommend backing up your recorded video prior to making these changes.

That's it in a nutshell.  I hope these changes help you with your Speco DVR in obtaining the best picture quality you can get.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Tony Dungy: Quiet Strength

As a diehard New England fan and a fan for many years I almost felt like I was betraying the team I have been rooting for. I was searching around on the web for some new reading material and happened to come across Tony Dungy's book, Quiet Strength.

At first I was like "Nah", but I do have alot of respect for the man, rivalries aside. I see a man so involved with his family and has been able to perfectly balance the difficult see-saw of work and family. I know for me this has been a difficult task. I would imagine it's even harder as an NFL Head Coach.

I hesitantly bought the book and had it shipped. I finally sat down to give it a read and I couldn't put it down. I was impressed and I could relate to some of the issues Coach Dungy went through. His experiences, his wisdom and his examples make it easy to relate and see how things are different when you put your spirituality and your family above everything else.

The biggest parts I took away from reading this book were that my job is not my "life's work", but my job. My job does not define who I am as a person. It defines my career. This is an area that I have struggled with for many years.

The second part that hit me like a ton of bricks was a exerpt from scripture. Matthew 16:26 " And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul"

I highly recommend this well written book to anyone who finds themselves having trouble balancing family and work, and those who have put their careers before their families. I think even if you come away with something from this book, you will have gained more in your family life.

Check it out on Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Quiet-Strength-Principles-Practices-Priorities/dp/1414318014/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-9631306-6521669?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1194317816&sr=1-1

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Ubuntu Rhode Island Community Team

I have recently begun working on the team resources for a Rhode Island based Ubuntu Local Community Team. Establishing these resources has been relatively simple, but as expected building a team and getting the word out has been relatively difficult.

The goal of LoCo teams is to build a stronger relationship between the community and the Ubuntu Linux distribution. Areas in the community can benefit from local support, installations, and a closer relationship with those who manage their IT assets versus getting an impersonal conversation with a tech support representative.

I feel as though our communities in Rhode Island, and non-profit organizations can benefit from the support of local experts. These experts can build friendships, network and a sense of accomplishment for something that does not feed the machine.

I am only one person and I feel that Rhode Island can benefit from such support and a strong team. Please check out the Ubuntu site. This team isn't just for developers, bug fixes, or geeks. If you are interested, curious or a newbie you can build upon your existing skills and network with other's that share your interest in Ubuntu.

http://www.ubuntu.com/

Check out the Ubuntu forums at:

http://www.ubuntuforums.org

Friday, August 10, 2007

Autism Speaks

I am somewhat embarressed to say this but I was watching Oprah, yeah Oprah cuz there isn't much on tv. The show was very informative and a silent killer for children is Autism. Normal child development and those of us that see a future for our children would never imagine anything being wrong with them. I can say for me that frightens me to lose my son to a life long imprisonment. From the information I've gathered Austism affects 1 in 150 children. That is more than Pediatric Cancer, Aids and Diabetes. The hardest part to handle is that there is no known cause and there is no cure.

I watched these parents online talking and feeling my own heart break as I watch these images and hear the words of their daily struggles. My own mother has worked with Austistic people and have felt pain for their families having to watch their children grow up in a world locked in their own mind.

I truly do feel for these families and I hope the cause and the cure are discovered very quickly.

I found a site for the largest Austism Organization available. They have great information, forums, and additional links. I highly recommend researching this site for additional information:

http://www.autismspeaks.org

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Slow Internet Links, Alienware & Linux

I am sitting here probably over the slowest Internet Link I have ever encountered trying to go through all of my RSS feeds. Everything is clicking by ever so slowly and I long for the days of dialup it's so bad. Maybe in a short period of time I will be in a place where I can get WiFi access or broadband. It's amazing what you take for granted.

That kinda of gives me a little segway to my next point. Linux. I've looked around the web and only see Dell selling proprietary systems with Ubuntu preloaded. I have absolutely no clue on how well these systems run, so I figured I would spec one out to see what I could get. I was rather happy with the price of the XPS system I configured. It looked good the price was under $1000, I didn't chose a monitor, and had alot of bells and whistles I wanted. I then chose a laptop and did a spec on that too. I wasn't happy with the offering at all, especially at the price. The embedded Intel Graphics card has to go. I wanted a graphics adapter that could handle the 3D rendering I have come to love with my HP DV2120 NVIDIA Card. I love that system. I then decided that the Dell desktop offering would be the way to go. I just have to justify it. I have just become so attached to using a laptop that I don't think I could really go back to a desktop. I'd feel weird and chained.

This then pushes me to look at Alienware. Maybe they have something that I could buy with all the toys I would expect from Alienware. I was disappointed but not too surprised that their wasn't a Linux offering. I did however find a survey asking how I felt about a Linux based Alienware system. I gladly completed the survey hoping this will spur their efforts to produce a product that I know I wouldn't mind purchasing.

My general feeling is that the marketplace is partially skiddish on accepting Linux as an alternative to Windows in their product offerings. I understand the need to educate the support staff and produce a quality product. These are the same growing pains they have had to go through when different versions of Windows are released. These pains are different from others but growing is just that, growing.

I am slightly disappointed in HP not offering a Home Linux based product line. I took my HP laptop and turned it into an Ubuntu system and I am rather happy with the end result. It's a matter of effort and jumping in with both feet. Dell did it, and I think HP is just testing the water to see how Dell's profit numbers are going to add up. In all reality I probably won't purchase a Dell Ubuntu system. Not because it's Dell, but because the product line is so slim. Their is no AMD processor offering, no NVIDIA chipset in the notebook offering and I can't have that. I hope they expand the offering once positive numbers are produced but who knows how that is going to be.

I hope Alienware follows suit and begins offering systems that the Linux community can be proud to purchase. I filled out the survey stating my case for Alienware to jump on the bus. If only HP and other's were so bold.

In case you want the link to the Alienware Survey here it is:

http://www.alienware.com/Surveys/AlienSurvey.aspx?Id=29607129825

Until the time comes where I can purchase what I want in a system I guess I'll just stick with my clones and my trusty HP laptop. It actually runs better than Windows ever did. Hint Hint HP.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Biggest Loser

I had the pleasure the other evening to catch the latest episode of "The Biggest Loser". The show was pretty interesting like how the contestants were suspended from air like 20 feet up and peddling like mad on bicycles. Contestants were crying due to fear of height, and images of them working out like animals.

The point I want to raise is that one of the contestants didn't have a weight change. His weight stayed exactly the same way. He worked out like crazy. They said he was in the gym multiple times. What happened is that they are only looking for weight changes. Now this guy prolly didn't lose any "weight", but he gained muscle. I think in order to make the game fair they should have male and female separate competitions. They should weigh each person and then do bodyfat composition testing. I feel as though this guy didn't lose any weight he probably lost bodyfat and increased his lean muscle mass in the process. Many fitness people know that mucles weighs more than fat.

I just feel that the game requirements need to be changed to ensure that the biggest loser, is the Biggest Bodyfat Loser, versus the Biggest Weight Loser. That would only make sense and would be fair to all the contestants.