Tech-Ed 2009 Arrival

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

The day almost didn’t happen when I realised I'd left my wallet in the car after being dropped off at the airport. Some frantic phone calls managed to catch Narelle before she'd driven too far! Boy did I feel silly!

The flights to Melbourne and then to Brisbane were uneventful, and made a bit more comfortable by being upgraded to exit seats (my legs appreciate the extra room). I'd had some of my Melbourne flights automatically upgraded when I was flying over to see Nanna before she died and for her funeral, and I also discovered that often you can ask to be moved to an exit seat – if you don't ask, you won't get.

Next the AirTrain down to the Gold Coast. I took advantage of booking the taxi when I collected my tickets at Brisbane airport, so they were there to pick me up from the train station and drive me directly to my motel.

The motel is directly opposite the convention centre, so you can't get a more convenient location. My priorities were to get something as cheap as possible, and it probably is a case of getting what you pay for. The room is very simple – bed, TV, bar fridge and bathroom. No, it isn't the Sydney Hilton by any means, but as I'm paying for it out of my own pocket, I'm quite content.

After dropping of my bags in my room, I wandered across the road and met up with Rob. Wearing our shirts we looked like the Lobsterpot Solutions Twins :-)

There was a nice dinner on offer as part of the welcome party (I do have good memories of conference catering at the Gold Coast!) and a chance to be introduced to many of Rob's contacts, survey the expo stalls and grab a few freebies for the kids.

One interesting thing I learned while chatting to one of the guys (I think it was Vaughan Knight) was that he had to change the topic of his talk because Microsoft were dropping the Live Services Framework – including Live Mesh. I've been using Live Mesh a bit (including as a way for the band-members of sevenfold to collaborate and share lyrics, recordings and other documents), but apparently it will shortly be no more, which is a real shame.

Catching up

Monday, 7 September 2009

It's been a little while between posts, and there's been a couple of reasons for that..

Nanna was 96, and had pretty much been living independently in her house right up until she suffered a massive stroke. She hung on long enough for the family to travel interstate to Geelong Hospital to spend time with her before she died.

I flew over to say goodbye to her (she wasn't able to speak but was alert and had limited movement), and then returned to Geelong a week later to attend the funeral service. Then last week her body was brought back over to Adelaide where she was buried.

My back injury seemed to be healing well initially but a work field trip (spent largely sitting in a car) was not helpful and things seemed to plateau for too long. I've taken to avoiding sitting as much as possible – including standing on the bus to/from work and even standing in some meetings.

Some more "enthusiastic" (aka painful but effective!) treatment from my Chiro and a follow-up remedial massage session seem to be helping. I'm sure my work colleagues would prefer to see me being able to sit down for most of the day rather than doing yoyo impersonations :-)

Ironically my iPod Shuffle appears to have succumbed to the dreaded "flashing LEDs of death" – annoyingly on the flight home from the Geelong funeral service, so all those podcasts will have to wait until I come up with a replacement plan.

And to top it all off, tomorrow I'm heading off to the Microsoft TechEd Conference 2009 at the Gold Coast Convention Centre. I well may be the conference delegate who stands up in the sessions rather than taking a seat.

Oh, and additional congratulations to LobsterPot Solutions, as they are now a Gold Certified Partner. Was it that long ago they were just plain Certified?! I'll be proudly wearing a LobsterPot shirt at TechEd and lending my support to raise the profile of Rob's company.

No doubt I'll be posting more about TechEd in the next few days..

Media Browser for Vista Media Center

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

I came across this useful Media Center plugin recently. As well as providing an alternate interface to browse media files it also includes an RSS reader which I've successfully configured to watch some interesting video podcasts:

It is free, and is being actively developed on Google Code.

Podcasts I'm listening to

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

For a long time now I've been listening to podcasts – first on on the iPAQ rw6828, then a HTC TyTN II, and more recently my iPod Shuffle.

My original subscriptions were:

At the suggestion of Ben and Nigel I added:

And I've also added:

The best way I've found so far to get the podcasts onto the Shuffle is to use WinAmp and the ml_ipod plugin. WinAmp does come with an built-in iPod plugin, but I've found ml_ipod provides superior support, including synchronising podcasts – something iTunes won't do for a Shuffle at all.

Ouch again

Sunday, 9 August 2009

I'm a sorry and sore case again. My back gave out a few minutes into the first half of a game of Basketball on Saturday. Despite initial cries of "foul" from my teammates I quickly realised that the only reason I'd fallen to the floor in pain was an all too familiar but dreaded feeling in my lower back. One I'd hoped I'd never have to endure again.
It's so annoying as I'd been trying really hard to keep up the stretching and strengthening exercises given to me since the last incident. I realise this also doesn't just impact me - it messed up the rest of the weekend for my whole family, which is extremely frustrating.
Maybe it's an indicator that I need to think about other forms of exercise, and my body isn't as young and flexible as it once might have been? Or maybe the timing is appropriate for me to make the transition from player to supportive parent. We'll see.