Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Feb 15 2014

Second Tri Tip Smoke

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My mouth is on fire!!!  And I’m happy ;)

So this time I wanted to experiment a little more.  I got 4 tri tips and marinaded 2 of them in red wine, pepper, salt, garlic, ancho, and a few more spices.  I’d had a few beers and wanted to get them in the fridge overnight, so I may have been a bit too generous with the spices ;)

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I decided that I’d rub 2 of the tips, and leave the others plain.  I mixed up some pepper, salt, sugar (just 2 teaspoons), chili flakes, ancho, garlic, and onions and rubbed that on one plain and one marinaded tip.

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Then into the smoker with all 4!

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On our trip to Santa Maria, I’d picked up a couple boxes of red oak sticks, so I cut those down and used 3 chunks.

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I could probably have just used one!  After 3 hours, while I’d had plenty of smoke, the wood looked only half burned.

I let the meat temp get over 135F this time, to firm the meat up a bit and to see what the flavor might be like if it was less rare.  When I checked, some of the pieces had even gotten up to 145F.

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Out they come, and into the pan for 30 mins of foil covered resting.  Next came the slicing!  Here’s the plain:

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It was a lot firmer and easier to cut thin than the rare tips I made last time.  The beef flavor really came through.  Next was the rubbed, non-marinaded one:

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While it tasted great, I should have skipped any spice hotter than black pepper.  The heat just detracted from the beef flavor and the rub flavors were too complex for such a great piece of meat.  Next was the marinaded non-rubbed:

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I’m trying not to cut my glove, and fingers, open ;)  The wine smell and flavor were very strong.  Quite salty too.  Last was the rubbed and marinaded and, again, there was too much going on in the flavors.  I’ll take it a LOT easier on the rubs next time.

Here’s the bunch all together:

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I didn’t slice it all because I’m going to chill it down to see if I can slice it even thinner.

My wife mixed up a little Santa Maria salsa to add to the meat:

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All in all, a pretty good Saturday!  ;)

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Feb 08 2014

Santa Maria Roadtrip

In researching tritip for my smoking experiment, I learned that it was “invented” in Santa Maria, CA, so I’m sitting in a hotel here now!  I live in San Diego, so the wife and I jumped in the car and drove 5 hrs north and started hunting for good tritip.

Our first stop was at the Rancho Nipomo, and it’s been the best one so far!  The tritip is sliced very thin, and made into a sandwich.

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I was more interested in the meat than the bread, but then the owner, Richard, came over and said he forgot to tell us about the salsa that we HAD to put in the sandwich.  Wow!  It’s a pretty simple, fresh tasting salsa – made with canned tomatoes.  The combo was excellent.  He also had us try a hot salsa, made with Manzano peppers.  I think I’m still sweating!

You can tell he loves what he does.  He threw in a pulled pork sandwich

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and kept bringing us over other stuff to try, like the amazing chili on some chips.  My wife had the pork with a red sauce and nopales.

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It was great, with a good heat.

For Saturday lunch, we tried out Jocko’s in Nipomo, CA, but failed to read that the BBQ pit doesn’t open til 4, so I got a pretty good bbq sandwich.

Next, we headed up the coast, stopping for a bit to see some Butterflies:

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And llamas:

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But the pony ride was a lie!

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Very disappointing ;)

We headed back to Arroyo  Grande, CA to the Oak Pit BBQ.  I couldn’t decide what to get, so I got the sampler, which at $15 isn’t too bad!

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Pork rib, beef rib, tritip, pulled pork, and sides.  Oh, and corn muffin.  mmm! Like Rancho Nipomo above, their tritip was not cooked rare.  It was good, but not as good as Rancho.  Or mine ;)

Elaine was missing vegetables, so she got a salad.  A tritip salad!  ;)

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The cook was VERY nice and told us that they smoked on red oak, just like I’d learned from my research.  I asked where I could get some and he pointed across the street to a market.

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So now I have a trunk full of red oak pieces that are too big to fit into my smoker.  Elaine thinks my solution will be to cut it down, but it occurs to me that maybe the REAL solution is a bigger smoker!  ;)

On Sunday morning we got up and headed back to Rancho Nipomo for more BBQ!  Here’s a tri tip sandwich with the proper salsa:

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Also tried his ribs, which were very good!  Not as smokey as I like, but still great!

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And here’s a picture of that super hot sauce I mentioned above:

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Jul 19 2013

Fun with United

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On Sunday June 23rd, my daughter and I were due to fly home from Montreal, through Chicago, to San Diego.  Our flight was UA3466 at 6:31p from Montreal, and UA1061 at 8:45p from Chicago.

We arrived early, checked our bags for the flight, and got our baggage check numbers UA 5016676576 for mine (Declan) and UA 50155676839 for my daughter’s (Erin).
Due to weather in Chicago, we were hearing that our flight would be delayed until 8p, making our connection in Chicago impossible, so I called the United 800 number and asked what I could do.  There was an earlier flight leaving Montreal so, the United agent moved us to this flight and said we’d need to go see the counter agent to get boarding passes.  I thanked her, hung up, and stood in the gate line for that flight for about 30 minutes, only to be told by the agent there that there were no seats available on that flight.
I asked if my old boarding passes were still good, he said probably and to check at that gate.  So we went over there, waited for an agent to appear, got in another 30 minute line, and was told by that agent that we were ok for this flight, but due to all the delays we’d probably miss the Chicago to San Diego flight – but there was a chance we’d make it because everything at Chicago was delayed too.  So we were pretty much where were at before I’d tried the earlier flight, and we eventually flew to Chicago at 8p.
We arrived in Chicago just in time to watch our San Diego flight leave the gate while we were taxi-ing up to ours, just a little after 9p.  I understand that United doesn’t control bad weather, but they knew we were close and maybe could have held that flight a few more minutes.  United certainly didn’t mind delaying our flight earlier that week to Montreal from Newark for 3 hours for an incoming plane’s delay!
We deplaned, and I immediately called the United 800 number to see what our options were.  The only workable plan was to wait until the next morning and take UA1408 at 9:56a to San Diego.  We’d need to find a place to stay the night and the phone agent said we’d need to talk to someone in Chicago about that.  So we got into another long line for about 40 minutes, with little movement (there were a lot of people stuck in Chicago).
It occurred to me that I didn’t know the state of my bags now…  So as I waited in line to talk to a person, I called the 800 number again, and was told (rather rudely) that there was nothing they could tell me, I have to talk to someone in Chicago.  So I stood in line for another 30 mins, again barely moving, when a roving United person by the line let us know that United doesn’t help people who are looking for rooms because of weather problems.  She had a flier with some a number I could call for a 50% off room.  I asked her about my bag and she said there was a bag office by baggage claim where I could ask more.  I took the flier, left the line, and found the office.
A lady at that desk said that our bags were probably in the system somewhere and would show up at our final destination eventually.  I was good with that, but asked if they were here if we could just get them since we had to go to a hotel anyway.  She said it was possible, but might take hours because of all the mess in Chicago, but I could wait if I wanted to.  I said normally I’d be fine just getting the bags when we got home, but I had a hard time sleeping without my CPAP (a breathing device that helps with sleep apnia).  She was very receptive to this and said to hold on a bit while she looked deeper.
I gave her my checked bag tags and she looked them up, then made a very weird face and explained that our tags were not in the system and that she can see them having been deleted twice – and she said that didn’t even make sense.  She had us wait while she investigated more.  I took the time to call the hotel service from the flier, and got that all set up.  After about 40 minutes she came back and said the bags were still in Montreal.  When I’d called the 800 number and been moved to the flight that had no seats, the bags went into some sort of limbo and got stuck there.  She said that the bags would be put on a Monday flight out of Montreal to Chicago, then on to San Diego later on Monday.  They might even be on the flight we got on Monday, so check the carrousel when we landed.
So we headed off to the hotel, got up the next morning, flew to San Diego without incident, but the bags were not there.  We went to the United bags office, told our long sad story, and the lady there could offer us no more info but that there was a later flight they might be on.  I left my cell number, got a case number, SAN42446M, and waited for a call.
It’s now Tuesday the 25th and no call, and the United BagClaim website just says: Check back later.  The 800 number I was given says the same. I whined on Twitter and @united asked for my info and said someone would contact me.  Nothing yet.
UPDATE:  United did have someone call me and they knew the Montreal story.  Eventually the bags showed up at the house on Weds.  Whee!!!!
As bad as this all was on the United side, and it DID suck that they put my bags into limbo AND didn’t hold that flight… I can’t believe the amount of crap the gate and baggage people absorb without choking someone.  The ladies at the baggage desk were saints.  I saw a lady walk up, still on her cell phone, and start barking at the United person about not being helpful.  She never did get off the phone.  The United lady was patient and kind and I was just impressed.  The lady who helped us was very nice too.

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Apr 21 2012

Music from Aunt Frances’ Mass

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My aunt Frances passed away recently, more about that here.  Frances was a founding member of the Glasnevin Musical Society and many of her great friends are also members.  Frances left specific instructions for her mass, and one of the Society friends took over and organized the whole thing, including liaising with the church folks.  She was awesome!  They sang at the service on Saturday and they were beautiful!  I captured some of the sound on my iphone.

 

Hail Queen of Heaven

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Kyrie Eleison 

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The Lord’s My Shepard

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Seinn Alleluia

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Ave Verum

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Sanctus

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If I Can Help Somebody

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Va Pensiero

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Ag Criost An Siol

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Jesus Remember Me

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How Great Thou Art

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Jan 21 2012

RDF Nuts and Bolts or Get me a “LASER”

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I’m obsessing about a talk I’m giving at one of my favorite conferences, code4lib.  My talk proposal is about how we deal with whatever metadata comes our way.  For those of you not inside my head at this moment, “we” is where I work, part of which is in developing software for and maintaining a Digital Asset Management System (DAMS).  A digit asset is just a computer file, or set of files – often a picture, sound file, PDF, or video – that you have some desire to promote beyond just sitting on one person’s computer, unmanaged.  We all have computer files coming out of our ears, but we know there are some that are more “valuable” than others that we’d like to give special treatment.  So we call them digital assets and get then moved into some sort of management system beyond the random file systems on our desktops.  This system is a DAMS.

I see a DAMS as a secure, reliable file system set up with good organization rules, and a goal of making the assets easy to find.  Here are some of the rules I like to see followed:

Good Organization

  • Describe the assets as thoroughly as possible and/or practicable.  This is your metadata.
  • Save this metadata and keep it associated with the assets.
  • Keep the metadata in a system that is flexible enough to be able to accomodate attributes that you didn’t know about when you started – people change their minds about what they want all the time.  We chose RDF for this and this is what my talk will be about.
  • Create unique identifiers for the assets.  We chose the ARK spec for this.

Reliability

  • Store the assets as simply as possible – don’t create a new file system because no one is going to understand it 30 years from now.  We chose the Pairtree spec for this.
  • Back your assets up – think like an IT person and have a data lifecycle plan.
  • Preserve your assets and metadata – think like a Librarian/Archivist and store the assets in at least three, geographically separated places.  We use Chronopolis for this.
  • Export your metadata to the file system on a regular basis – this way the metadata becomes a digital asset/computer file too.

Discoverability

  • Put all that lovely metadata into a full text search index.  We use solr for this.
  • Tie all of the metadata to the unique identifier for the assets.

 

As I noted above, I’m only talking about RDF and metadata at code4lib.  What I’m obsessing about is that the talk is only 20 minutes.  I usually talk about our DAMS in about an hour, and I’m only getting warmed up in the first 20 minutes.  So I’ve got to empty my head of all this other DAMS stuff and laser down on just the RDF and metadata part.

We didn’t choose RDF because of the newish Linked Open Data (LOD) movement. Our (now retired) architect, Chris Frymann, was aware of the possibility but this was nearly ten year ago and LOD was barely a twinkle on the horizon.  Previous to this job, I had been working in industry for years, so this approach looked silly and academic.  Once Chris had me drink the RDF Kool-Aid, we envisioned a system that embraced flexibility from the start.

RDF is so simple and so terrifyingly different from the fixed database world that I was used to.  Instead of a well defined table, or tables, we had millions of triples.  We didn’t even have a triple store, just three columns in an SQL database.

What is wonderful about this approach was that each triple is somewhat self documenting.  A triple is made up of a Subject, a Predicate, and an Object:

 

RDF Triple

 

We use our asset’s unique identifier, the ARK, as our Subject.  Now we needed to describe the assets with their metadata – so we started creating Predicates that could hold types of metadata.  Three years later…. no really.  This was probably one of the hardest things to do, and I’m not sure we’ll ever stop doing it.  Some of our original assets had MARC records, and there were ways to convert MARC to RDF.  Lots of deep discussions among metadata librarians, asset owner librarians, and the tech folks came to the conclusion that we wanted to cast our metadata into specific namespaces, namely MODS, PREMIS, and MIX.  This was way beyond the Dublin Core defaults that other products were using, but we knew RDF was flexible enough to accomodate just about anything, so we just did it.

Guided by the head of our Metadata Analysis and Specification Unit (MASU - lots of great detail at that link), Brad Westbrook, we started specing out what the metadata needs were for each asset.  Ok, that’s a lie… We did it per “collection” which was how we actually received assets from the librarians.  Our DAMS works at the asset level, but our librarians normally think at the collection level.  This was just another layer of translation that the MASU group stepped up to play a liaison role in getting the assets ingested.  Over time, this became a workflow where:

  1. Collections are identified/approved for ingestion into the DAMS.  (The project management and institutional buy in on this process is another talk!)
  2. MASU creates an Assembly Plan that maps the assets into collections and specifies what namespaces the metadata pieces are placed in and hand it off to IT Development
  3. IT Development creates mapping scripts from what the Assembly Plan calls for into RDF.  This is done in XSL.
  4. IT Development ingests the assets into the storage system and parses the metadata into RDF in the triple store.
  5. Profit.

Ok, someone tell me how to get all that into 20 minutes… ;)  The Assemble Plan alone is an intense spreadsheet and text document that explains what is needed.  Then the translation scripts are another challenge to present without everyone going cross eyed.  Not to mention this thing of beauty!

DAMS RDF Graph

That’s all of the metadata and relationships of one asset.  Maybe I’ll just put that on the screen and take questions for 20 minutes… ;)

5 responses so far

Jan 10 2012

The Missing/Stolen/Returned iPad Saga

Saturday 12/31/11

So, I have an iPad – 64G, 3G, ATT.  It’s a work device that I use all the time, especially for travel and in the gym so I have something to distract me from 40 minutes of hell on the elliptical.  Over the holiday break, I committed to getting into the gym every other day.  Our YMCA was open until 4p on New Year’s Eve, and I was sweating my fat butt off right up until the place closed.  I took a quick stop in the men’s room, and hustled out the door as they were closing up.

Sunday 1/1/12

It was later on the next day that I realized that I couldn’t find my iPad.  I looked in all the usual places, scoured the house and car, and tried out the “Find My iPad” app on icloud.  Once it didn’t show up, I realized that I must have left it in the men’s room at the Y!    Well, the Y was closed all day, so I left voicemail there and told myself to get to bed early so I could hit their door at the 5:30am opening on 1/2.  I also changed all my passwords, and deactivated the device from all the important services.

Monday 1/2/12

I actually went to bed at 1am (damn Skyrim), but was up and out the door at 5:20a and at the Y at 5:30a.  My buddy Damon was also just pulling up for a very early swim class, because he is insane.

We walked in and I asked at the front desk if the iPad had been turned in, but nope.  I wasn’t surprised, as they’d been closed up solid since I left it, so I walked over to check the men’s room.  Uh oh, no iPad…  I went back to the front desk and I filled out a slip saying what I’d lost and the nice young lady said they’d talk to more staff as they came in later.  In fact it might take until tomorrow as there were people still out on the the holiday break.  I was upset, but mostly at myself for leaving it behind. I kept trying the “Find My iPad” app, but nothing.  I saw there was a way to send a message to the iPad, so I put my phone number in there.  I also noticed a switch that would send me an email when it was found – so I hit that too.  I printed some LOST IPAD signs, and went back and stuck them up around the Y.  Worried, but feeling like I’d done all I could, I went about my day, keeping my eye on my email and occasionally trying the app again.

Then at 9:29p:

Woohoo!  Someone at the Y found it and turned it on, right?!?  I ran to the computer and hit the location link, expecting to see a map of my neighborhood and the Y.  Instead, the device is showing up about 24.4 miles to the south, in a town called El Cajon!

I have a screen grab of the map with the green dot locating the iPad right on a specific address, but I’m not sure of I should post that.  I’ll get into that more later.  Basically, I KNEW where my iPad was, and it was nowhere NEAR the place I’d lost it.  Suddenly I had a theft situation rather than a dummy-lost-his-iPad situation.  So I did what a normal person would do and called the police.

I called the San Diego Police non-emergency line and explained the story so far to what sounded like a very overworked lady.  She asked if there was a police report, and I said no because I just now discovered that it was stolen.  She directed me to a web site to fill out a form to get the police report started.  I got a little panicked and said “but I can see it now!  Why can’t we go get it?!” to which I got more of a push toward the web site to fill out a report.  I’m sure those of you who know I run an IT shop and highly promote a central ticketing system are just laughing your heads off at this delay… but, to my mind, time was of the essence!  I pressed harder and she said she could give me the El Cajon Police Dispatch number, but wasn’t sure what they might do for me.

So I called them and they listened to the story, then asked for a police report.  Le Sigh – I don’t have one because… blah blah – go fill one out and call us back.  Ok, back to the web site, filled it out, grumbled about UI design, got the confirmation email and number, and called back El Cajon.  They said come on down and we’ll have a squad car meet you by the address and do a “Peace Call.”  It’s 10:30p by now, and I’m all amped up from the situation, so Elaine says she’s going with me.  We hop in the car and head south for the 20-30 minute drive.

On the drive, Elaine has the “Find My iPad” app going on my iPhone, but it goes red, meaning that the device is no longer on.  We’re committed tho, so we keep going – at or below the speed limit, of course.  We get to the arranged meeting spot at 11p, on the same block as the address that showed up on my map, and wait.  In a little bit of a sketchy looking place.  Surrounded by suspected iPad stealers!  At about 11:40p I call back to dispatch and they say no one is available, but they know we’re waiting.  About five minutes later, 2 squad cars pull up and I get to tell the story again.

The cops were great, and offered to go knocking on doors, but that address is a 50 unit apartment complex.  Given that GPS can be +/- 25m, the dot on my map could encompass 6-8 apartment units in the 2 story building.  Added to that, the building is “known cop-unfriendly” and not a nice place.  As soon as they started asking questions, everyone would know about it, and I’d probably never see my device again.  And since the device was no longer responding to the app, I couldn’t make it sound off to make it easier to find.

At this point, I was frustrated to know that I was within a block of my iPad, but could do nothing about it.  The cops offered a few suggestions, such as sending a message to the unit offering a reward, and to watch Craigslist, – something I should have thought of myself!  They were both adamant that I NOT meet with anyone from Craigslist without the police.  They told me of someone who’d been killed in San Diego not long ago after confronting a Craigslist person.  They also suggested sharing the address with the people at the Y to see if an employee or member matched.  We drove back home, defeated and deflated.  I sent a lock command to the device, setting a password and with the reward message,  then we headed to bed.

Tuesday 1/3/12

On the way to work on Tuesday, we stopped into the Y and talked with a manager, telling her the whole story.  She happened to also be the HR person and said they had no one working in El Cajon, but that they contracted out their cleaning and they’d follow up with them.  I then headed into work and one of my guys suggested that I send a wipe command from our email server.  Even though I’d changed my email password, I thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea to also wipe my work email from it, so I did.  More on that later…

Wednesday 1/4/12

In the meantime, I’d been watching Craigslist, and got a match!  64G iPad, 3G, ATT!  So I set up a fake gmail account and mailed the Craigslist email address.  I also mailed one of the cops for advice about how to deal with the mails I would send, and he got back to me with some thoughts.  I got a response back soon after I went to bed from the Craigslist person, asking how close I was to his asking price, and if I could come get it now.

The facilities manager at the Y called me on Wednesday, very upset about the whole situation, and said he was following up with the cleaning people.  I later ran into him when I was working out and he was very nice and concerned that the cleaning company hadn’t gotten back to him.  I could really tell he cared personally and as a representative of the Y.

Thursday 1/5/12

The Craigslist response back was from a hotmail account with a person’s name, so I passed that name on to the cops in email and with a call to the Y facilities manager.  It was probably a made up account, but it was worth trying.

I had to run out of town for a day for work, so I didn’t reply back to the Craigslist person until tonight, asking for more details about the iPad he was selling – as advised by the cop.   I got back a very short reply saying “Too bad, I sold it for $200″ and that was it.  I mailed back thanking him for the info, thinking that I might be able to squeeze more info later by being nice.

Friday 1/6/12

So, now we’re up to Friday, and nothing seems to be happening.

Saturday 1/7/12

On Saturday morning the phone rings at 9am.  It was a lady from the Y asking if I’d lost an iPad, because they had it at the front desk!  I said “very interesting!” and that I’d be in to pick it up.  I went right over and it was my iPad, grey cover and all!  I asked the ladies at the desk if they knew more about where it came from.  One of them said that she’d closed the night before and that it wasn’t there, but when she’d opened this morning, there it was on the front desk!

The device was all out of power, so I got home and plugged it in, trying hard not to touch it too much because I had some thoughts of trying to lift the fingerprints I’d see on it (this is a lot harder than you’d think… ;) ).  I’d fully expected the device to be wiped to factory default – especially if it was being sold off – but it popped up with my background screen (which includes my name) and all my apps installed.  It also started syncing with my Mac over wifi, so I left it alone to charge up and get caught up.  I was a little worried that maybe it had some phone home software installed or something, then I remembered that I’m not that interesting.

I did not have a password on the device when I lost it, mainly because it’s a pain in the neck to use it all the time, and because my wife and kid use the device sometimes and I didn’t want to keep reminding them of the password.  I thought I’d dealt with this by sending the lock and password command when it was gone, but I was surprised that the device asked for no password when I turned it on.  In fact, I was able to play around with it for about 20 minutes with no problem.  I also noticed that my reward message wasn’t on it.  It wasn’t until I ran the “Find My iPad” app again from icloud that the lock came on and the message appeared.  I don’t know why the lock didn’t happen as soon as the device got power.

Another lovely feature was that work email wipe command I’d sent.  I assumed that it would wipe my email – but nope, it wiped the whole device!  The iPad had been prompting me for my email password, since I’d changed it days ago.  I went ahead and put it in, looked away, and when I looked back, the device was wiped and asking for a setup language!  So, no worries about spy software, but that was a surprise.  I ran a restore from my computer and it all came back in about 30 mins.

Sunday 1/8/12

Imagine my surprise this morning when it was wiped again!  I guess I needed to totally delete the device from my work email server’s awareness for it to stop trying to wipe it.  I’m afraid to put my work email password into it now tho!  ;)

By now the device is in full working order and I’m back on track!

Monday 1/9/12

But I’m left with a LOT of questions!  I called and left a voicemail with the Y facilites manager.  He called back, unaware that I’d gotten it back!  He was thrilled and I asked, “What did you do?!?”  He said he still hadn’t heard back from the cleaning company, but he was even more interested in talking to them now.  I am dying to hear what he learns!

Tuesday 1/10/12

I’m gonna go ahead an publish, even though there are a lot of questions unanswered.  I’ll add more later as I know it.  I’ll also tack some other lessons learned on here, and more as I think of them:

  • I should have put a password on the device.  Even if it’s a pain in the neck.  I could have reduced the stress of the situation by knowing that the data were safe.
  • I thought that having a map with a green dot on an address would ensure I got my iPad back pronto.  Thank goodness, cops follow the Constitution and won’t kick doors in based on a map I printed up.  I REALLY wanted them to, but it would have been dumb.  Now, had the device been active and I could have made it make a sound, the cops would have done a lot more.
  • Fill out a police report as soon as you can.  No one will do anything until you have that magic report number.  I learned during filling it out that I could have filed under “Lost Property” when I knew the device was missing.  I didn’t have to wait until I thought it was a theft.
  • Don’t hold your breath waiting for the cops to do anything.  I have never heard from the San Diego police.  I just filled out a web form and it went into a black hole.
  • The San Diego area has a lot of police forces.  El Cajon is a totally different jurisdiction.  I remarked to the cops I met how it seemed that they cared a ton more than the police closer to my house.  They said that while El Cajon is certainly underfunded for police (hence my 45 minute wait in the parking lot), SD City is decimated.
  • Wipe means wipe!  Well at least from the Outlook web client.  And don’t forget to take the device out of the known list and re-add it later, or you’ll get wiped each time the devices talk.
  • Customize your device if you can.  I had a known dent on mine, but think about the Craigslist picture and how you could help convince the cops that it’s your device that’s listed.  No, don’t dent the device, work people… ;) But silly stickers don’t hurt.
  • The folks at my Y are great and take member concerns very seriously.  Well, except for widening the entrance turnstile for my fat butt!  ;)
  • Tweeting vague references to a big story you are going to write up really aggravates people.  Do it often!  ;)

 

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Jun 07 2010

LA River Ride Century

EDIT: Awesome! Kitchen just posted the Garmin log:

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/36057011

Time: 07:22:09
Moving Time: 06:02:09
Elapsed Time: 07:22:11
Avg Speed: 12.9 mph
Avg Moving Speed: 15.8 mph
Max Speed: 32.8 mph

I survived my second century ride, the LA River Ride!

That’s 100 miles on a bike… and I’m feeling all of them today :) I really should have taken the day off of work, but I didn’t know I was riding before my Monday had already filled up with meetings. I was going to pass on this ride until I remembered that my buddy Tom lives right next to Griffith Park in LA where the ride begins. Tom and Jen just had a new arrival 7 months ago, Charlie:

Mobile Photo Jun 7, 2010 9 55 32 AM

Charlie’s the pudgy one with short hair… ;) He’s a delightful kid who was a lot of fun to play with. So’s Tom! Sorry, Jen, I didn’t get a good picture of you… :)

Anyway, they let me crash on their couch on Saturday night after another buddy, Terri, cooked us a wonderful pasta dinner.

Sunday came too soon and I was up at 5am with cool SMSs from work friends wishing me well. I got outside and started putting the bike together:
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then waited for Kitchen to show up. Of course, he set his alarm wrong and was way late, so I biked the 2 miles over to the park alone to get my registration materials.

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The ride was well organized and I had my bracelet and cue sheet within minutes. On the ride over, I’d noticed that my bike computer was dead, so I borrowed a way-too-big screw driver and got it open in about 20 minutes. It all worked when I shifted the battery around, then promptly died again when I snapped it back into its holder. Damn computers… Kitchen has a fancy pants Garmin bike computer, so I’m counting on him to give me the route and all the stats. Well, I should say he SHOULD have one, but he left it in his car, so when he showed up at 7:30, we picked it up as we started the ride:

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Then we were off on this almost totally flat 100 mile ride! Except they forgot to tell us that the first 4 miles was a climb up the big hill in Griffith Park. That got the heart pumping, especially Kitchen’s as he was riding his brand new fixed gear bike! He had to zig zag up the hill, but he make it! Throughout the ride, people were very impressed with his bike and the effort. They didn’t know he had a motor hidden in the tubes… :) not.

Once we were through the park, we got on the river path:

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The LA River is a concrete bank with water running at the bottom. It runs for miles and makes for a great bike path, but man, it’s kinda ugly. In some places, enough silt has backed up to support trees and bushes. I was surprised how much bird life I saw. Sand pipers, some kind of white hawk, kestrels, and ducks. It might be an interesting place to go up and photograph. I’ll have to go learn about why it was built the way it was. At the very least, many parts of it are a lesson in why to think about aesthetics when you design a city.

Mobile Photo Jun 7, 2010 9 53 56 AM

There are a lot of scary creatures in there too:

Mobile Photo Jun 7, 2010 9 53 43 AM

I liked these bridges:

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As a spoiled San Diegan, I mostly find LA pretty ugly:

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Mobile Photo Jun 7, 2010 9 53 15 AM

but Seal Beach was pretty nice:

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Long Beach was the halfway point:

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A mess of bikes:

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Friggin’ hipster:

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More riding:

Mobile Photo Jun 7, 2010 9 53 56 AM

More posing:

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Then finally, after seven hours, it’s over!!!

Mobile Photo Jun 7, 2010 9 52 49 AM

Time to grab the tshirt and go find a shower!

Mobile Photo Jun 7, 2010 9 52 35 AM

I got some great support on Twitter and Facebook! Thanks for that!

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May 31 2010

Yelp Review for West Coast Tavern

Elaine and I had dinner out at West Coast Tavern and liked it so much that I wrote a Yelp review.

Click here to read it.

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Oct 11 2009

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-10-11

Published by under Uncategorized

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Oct 04 2009

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-10-04

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