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Lotusphere Bound - A Look Back at the Journey

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One might be forgiven for thinking things have been pretty quiet around here considering, well, that it's been pretty quiet around here. But looks can be deceiving, and I figure a 2-hour flight to Orlando is as good an opportunity as any to set the record straight.  You see, the truth is that the little corner of the world occupied by our family has been turned completely upside down in the last few months. Not in an entirely bad way mind you, although major upheavals are always stressful. The good news is that we've managed to land more or less on our feet and things seem to be settling down finally. So, if you've read this far I'll assume you're actually interested in specifics, so here we go:

RECOVERING. As many of you know I was banged up pretty good in July after being on the losing end of a bike vs. car encounter on my ride to work. My left arm took the brunt, featuring a broken elbow and collarbone, topped off with a good dose of soft-tissue damage to upper arm and shoulder.  Easy to write about, hard to live through - both for me and even more so for my family.  Could have been a lot worse, and although it still hurts a bit and I'll probably always be a little stiff in that area, I have for the most part recovered full function for day-to-day purposes. With some work I hope to be able to ride again, and maybe even shag some fly balls with Junior in a couple years.

SELLING. In October we put our house in DC on the (buyer's) market and thanks to a great realtor and hard work getting the house ready (mostly done by my lovely wife), it was under contract in less than a week. Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that is no small feet considering how bad the US real estate market has become. Next on the list, move out by mid-December...

BUYING. Once we had our house sold and knew when we had to clear out, the next question was where to move TO.  Oh, you thought we had that one figured out beforehand didn't you?  Not exactly. Considering the aforementioned crappy housing market, we simply didn't want to buy before we knew we had sold. We knew the neighborhood at least, but now had to find a specific house that we liked, happened to be for sale, AND which could be ready for move-in by our deadline. Again thanks to a great realtor and bit of good luck, we succeeded.

PREPARING our presentation for Lotusphere kept Bruce and I pretty busy right up to the Dec 7th submission deadline, leaving less than a week to go before shuffling house keys.

NEW HOSTING. Both this blog and my Domino mail were transitioned to Domino 8 servers hosted by Prominic before pulling the plug on the home office server. Another reason for this was the recent launch of the Domino/Blogsphere-based ESA Blawg run by my friend Keith. More on that later, but suffice it to say hosting OPS (other people's...stuff) makes one less tolerant of server outages.

UPGRADING. Finally installed Notes 8 on my primary laptop to go with the shiny new Prominic servers.

MOVING OUT. Packing, cleaning, more packing, more cleaning, boxes, boxes, boxes...and more boxes. Five years ago one truck was sufficient to move in, but it took two to clear out. Not surprising I guess considering we had moved from a 2-bed apartment into a 4-bed house but still amazing to see.

MOVING IN. Ah, the finish line. Sort of.  Decisions, decisions. What goes where? Where did what go? At least we had our priorities straight. Step 1) get the keys. Check. Step 2) 3 hours later, get Verizon to install FIOS triple play (fiber optic based internet/TV/telephone). 15 Mb down AND up.  Cool.  Check. Step 3) Fall asleep (like a baby) on the floor because all the furniture is still on a truck (sorry, truckS) that won't arrive until the following morning. Step 4) Meet all the very cool and nice neighbors. Step 5 Everything else...

BUYING NEW STUFF. Ah, the FUN part. First up, a new TV to take advantage of all the cool High-Def channels.  We settle on an an awesome LG 52" 1080p LCD that now sits proudly on a crappy old TV stand - don't notice as we're too mesmerized by the amazing TV picture. Next, new fridge - A nice Kitchenaid with in-door water/ice to replace the 14-yr-old builder's special with the funny smell. All this is just warm-up though because now that we live in the 'burbs, one car won't cut it. Daddy needs his own wheels, even if only to get to the train station on his own.  Hours and hours on AutoTrader.com and CarMax.com, and several weekends burnt up test driving used Camrys, Accords, Altimas, Mazda3s, and Hyundai Sonatas (beautiful car - incredibly fast and smooth by the way), I finally spot a great deal on a beautiful deep green 2004 Acura TL. A good thing too as I REALLY like that memory seat feature you only seem to find in the luxury brands. Not that I expect Mommy to drive Daddy's car too much, but it's always good to be prepared. Even after dropping $1700 on new tires and replacement for a bent wheel rim, a very good deal. XM radio, DVD-Audio sound system, bells and whistles galore, and FAST. Opted for the model without NAV and instead bought a Navigon 7100 portable GPS. Having second thoughts on that one as the screen is quite a bit smaller than the built-in ones (even though the Navigon is a larger model than most). I'm bringing it to Orlando so I can clock our speed in the Boat Race Monday.  Hmmm...wonder if this thing works on the plane...oh well, I'll just hope the pilot knows where he's going.

PREPARING for travel to Lotusphere while working full-time on the day job as usual came down to the wire. I did manage to get a decent amount of sleep last night though, even if that resulted in more morning craziness than we'd hoped.  At least the new place is only 15 minutes from the airport.  The $60 upgrade to AirTran's business class has proven a nice finishing touch. Especially nice as I've been able to type this blog entry comfortably.

NEW RELEASE. SuperNTF has seen a lot of improvements since the current release, but the next one will require a little polishing before its debut. I promise to resist the urge to add any MORE features before then and just stick to finishing the ones I already have.  You will see many of the new features in our "Templates, Templates" presentation (BP304 - Monday 5-6PM in the Swan somewhere).  Hopefully a week or two after Lotusphere you'll all get to have a play.

Riding in the taxi now on the way to the Dolphin, the Navigon is finally proving somewhat useful. Being a diehard "map guy" this drive has always bothered me a little bit because I've always relied completely on the driver to navigate.  Not that I want to tell them where to go necessarily, but I just feel much more comfortable if I CAN tell them.  As many times as I've been to Orlando I have managed to acquire virtually NO road knowledge.  As an example of now useful this device is, I now know that the toll booth is 3.5 miles from the hotel. And since it's also telling me we're travelling at 65 mph now, with 1.3, wait, 1.2 miles left, I should probably just sign off and say "Enjoy the show".

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