Sailing With A Bunch Of Geeks

We Sail In 1 Week!

I was greeted with this news when I woke up. Shannon and I are going on the inaugural RIA Adventure Caribbean Cruise and we are ready to go.

We've both been looking foward to white sandy beaches, water and sun for a while now and with only a week to go, are getting rather excited. We have a little pre-trip trip to the everglades to look forward to and expect to get a full dose of what Florida looked like many thousands of years ago, before the modern inventions of Steam Engine, Air Conditioning and Beach Front Condo.

I know a lot of other cruisers are getting into Miami and might be looking for something to do. We planned to go for a nice dinner on Sunday evening at an authentic Cuban restaurant. It looks like Aaron West is organizing so if you get into Miami in time for dinner on Sunday, head over to Aaron's Cruise Announcement and get on the list.


I've recently signed up to go on RIA Adventure. By now, everyone knows RIA Adventure is a fun filled cruise containing all of your favorite Adobe Geeks. I totally dig the networking at conferences so I'll really like hanging out with a bunch of fun people that know the difference between coldfusion and ColdFusion. Can Ya Dig?

I don't mind getting away to the tropics in February. In February, I'm usually ready for a little sun anyways. I also don't mind my girlfriend Shannon getting to know some of the people I'm prattling on about. She's heard enough stories, that's for sure.

Last I heard, this RIA Adventure cruise was filling up pretty fast. If you've been on the fence about participating, time to whip out the visa and book some February Fun in the Sun.

The Greatest Chicken Dish in the World! (with video)

Last night we had dinner with some dear friends, Jessica, Kyle and their baby Hunter. (Remind me one day to tell you about the fun I had feeding lemons to Hunter).

We had dinner at Sitar Palace, an Indian restaurant in North Durham. Of course, all the items on their buffet were awesome, but the standout was a dish cryptically called Chicken 65. Move over Chicken Makhani, make room for my new favorite chicken dish, Chicken 65.

Shannon and I searched the Internet for a good recipe and found some rather interesting descriptions for this dish. Apparently, no one can be sure of the origin of the name.

Wikipedia on Chicken 65:

The number 65 is variously said to be the number of days taken to prepare the marinade or the year of the dish's creation. One account claims that the dish emerged as a simple meal solution for Indian soldiers in 1965. Others accounts claim that an "enterprising hotelier" targeted macho diners with a 65-chilli recipe and named the dish accordingly. It is generally acknowledged that no one knows which (if any) of these anecdotal theories are true.

Enter Vah Chef

Vah Chef is apparently an Indian Celebrity chef from Chennai who is absolutely hillarious. He is infectious with his energy and has a simple cooking style. Anyone who has ever tried to make Indian food knows it can be involved and require WAY more ingrediants than typical American food. Vah Chef has a very popular website with videos and recipes of popular dishes. If you like Indian foods and like to cook, Vah Chef is a must-see website.

Where's the video you promised us?

Vah Chef has a video on Chicken 65 where he demonstrates step by step how to make the delicious dish. While preparing, he enterains by going through the history and misconceptions of the dish as well.

Do you cook Indian food? Do you have good resources you'd like to share? What is your favorite dish?

Dan's Latest Home Improment Project

I like doing Home Improvement projects in my spare time. I find the manual labor to be satisfying, especially during stressful coding stretches. I'm on a project that just launched a revamped eCommerce project and there was some stress, and of course, an accompanying Home Improvement project.

The area on the side of my house that holds my garbage cans and recycling bins is very shady, so shady that nothing grows over there. I kept it covered in mulch in the past, since that has a nicer look than just pure North Carolina clay, you know what I mean?

Last winter, I cooked up a plan to make a fieldstone pathway/patio for that side of the house and I just completed it.

Here is a before shot, taken after I dug out most of the pathway. :

Here is an after shot, taken after finished setting the fieldstones and completing the edging:

Like most Home Improvement projects I do, I got a nice excuse to buy some tools (Rubber Mallet, Mason's Chisel). I bet I could do the next similar project a faster and better but the important thing is the side yard area is much improved and I had a good time getting this project done.

Happy Mike Brunt Day!

Today is a special day for Mike Brunt as this marks the day he will be sworn in as an American Citizen. Becoming a citizen is a long involved process and getting to the finish line is an achievement and a great milestone in one's life.

So a raise of the glass to Mike Brunt, my newest fellow American!

iPhone Problems? Does the iEmperor Have No Clothes?

If you open a window and listen carefully, you can hear the moaning and wailing of the iPhone crowd as their iPhones are malfunctioning today. (This post isn't about the pure and flawless Blackberry Pearl I carry around and I promise not to bring up the fact that I've never had an update to that phone that left me stuck in 'Emergency Call Mode Only'.)

This post is about a statement of affairs on what I term 'the iPhone Crowd'. You can identify the iPhone crowd by their closely cropped hair, (a la Steve Jobs), their black turtlenecks (a la Steve Jobs), their jean pants (yep, iSteve again) and their mindless raving about how Apple products "Just Work" TM.

The iPhone crowd is in an uproar because a software update (just made available) rendered the iPhone unusable (for a little while). In modern day society, we are quite used to ubiquitous reachability. Our social and professional lives kind of depend on it. I take the pain of being out of contact seriously. My point isn't that the iPhone not working isn't a big deal, but the fact that people are surprised. Maybe to an iKoolaide swigging SteveClone this is unexpected, after all, what part of "It Just Works TM" doesn't the iPhone team understand.

To many of us, this is simply another software release that has hiccups out of the gate. I've been a part of a number of software released in my time. Most, had great intentions, a nice start, a rushed end, and some issues on deal day. This has been true across the board. From projects of 2 developers working from a napkin-spec to a developmental army augmented with a cadre of PMP certified project managers furiously tracking deliverables, timeboxing effort and managing the Critical Path.

Software development is not easy. In fact, it is downright hard. I'd be willing to bet 99.99% of all software projects have problems when they go-live. Even the best tested applications find gaps in their testing. Spots where the ugly Real World messes up their nice clean model. It is just how it is.

So, since this software 'upgrade' is going just like all other software projects, you can bet these problems are actively being worked on right now by stressed out, hyper-caffeinated people who really want to fix this problem. My iPrediction is that in a day or two, definitely by Monday, the iPhone problems will be largely forgotten. The iPhone Crowd will be back to prancing around in their black turtlenecks, jeans and closely cropped hair and spouting off marketing babble like "It Just Works" all the while sophmorically pointing and laughing at those with other handset brands...

The problem I have with it all is it doesn't "Just Work TM". Actually, it often "Just Doesn't Work", (Remember the Leopard release?) but no iSteveClone worth his black turtleneck would dare utter such a thing.

Business as usual, right?

I'd Like To Meet You At CFUnited

I'll be at CFUnited 08 this week and am looking forward to seeing my buddies whom I only see a few times a year. I am also looking forward to meeting people whom I've only interacted with via Message Lists, blog comments and other anti-personnel means. Digital communications has been a boon for our civilization and for my career, but it is a little less than fulfilling for High-Extroverted personalities like me.

I'm friendly, wash behind my ears and am nice to animals. Here is a picture of me, if you see me at CFunited before I see you, come say Hi!

Personal Liberties

This blog focuses on Technology issues, by and large. I do not make political statements, endorsements or other such posts, as much as I can help it. I am not endorsing any particular candidate or party with this posting either.

That said, Bob Barr was elected the Libertarian Candidate for President of the United States. I took a quick poke around his website to see what the fuss was about and came across this gem:

At the core of libertarianism is a trust in and respect for the personal choices of every individual. All Americans should be free to decide what is best for themselves and their families. At the same time, they must bear personal responsibility for the consequences of the decisions that they make, whether those decisions prove to be good or bad.

I could not agree more. On this Memorial Day, 2008, hearing those words brought a tear to my eye.....

Happy Skip Krenek Day

This probably isn't news to most of my readers, but in case you missed it, April 25th is Skip Krenek Day. While a special day isn't enough to pay tribute to such an excellent person, It is important to tip the virtual hat to Skip for all he has contributed to our society. I appreciate the many who have worked hard behind the scenes to make this particular Skip Krenek Day special.

Here's to Skip and to his many years of continual success!

Kudos to the TSA

I'm a pretty seasoned traveler and have been through many security checkpoints. I am also deathly afraid of the TSA. I have a recurring nightmare the TSA agents will find a 3.5 oz container of liquid in my bags and send me to Guantanamo Bay Prison. Every time I pack, I empty all items out of my backpack and make sure all pointy objects are left at home where they belong.

This last trip was no different. Before I left, I checked all nooks and crannies in my backpack. Finding nothing, I headed to the airport with bags in tow. After removing my belt, shoes, keys, 2 laptops and other assorted bits, I walk through the metal detector. No Problem.

As I wait for my baggage to clear the X-Ray, my nightmares become real. "Sir, you can not carry this Knife on board!" said the TSA agent...

He held my Gerber Multi-Tool in his hand, which apart from a bottle opener and needle nosed pliers, also has a 2" knife blade. I must have hooked the sheath to the outside of my backpack at some point and didn't even notice. "Oooohhhhhhffffff", I said, having nothing more intelligent to say before the imminent firing squad. I looked at the TSA agent knowing I was in big trouble.

Fortunately, this must have happened before. The friendly TSA agent calmly gave me my options and we chose to walk to the unsecured area of the airport to the cleverly located mailing facility used to mail prohibited items back home. $9.99 later, I was Gerber tool free and back in the security line. I was at my gate with plenty of time to spare.

This blog post is dedicated to those men and women who keep us safe in the friendly skies, and who also are patient with the (occasionally forgetful) flying public.