Category Archives: Life

FIOS update

As mentioned last week, I have switched at home from using Comcast for cable + internet to Verizon FIOS. The install ended up taking a bit longer than I would have hoped, but in the end, seemed to work out okay. Speed on the internet was good and the picture quality also seemed good. Went away for a couple of days for the Seacoast Safari. Got home on Sunday and was going to watch the stage from the Tour. Switch on the Tivo and see it wasn't recorded. Checking why and I see that Versus isn't tuning for some reason. Call up tech support, they reauthorize the cable cards, no dice. So set up a tech to visit. Unfortunately with the business trip being this week, the first time I could really be around for them to come out was this afternoon. This left me Tour-less for a few days, to my dismay :-/

But today, the tech showed up and he seemed to have a pretty good knowledge of cable cards and had even set up a couple of Tivos. But we just went straight to swapping out the cards. Take down all the info, get the infamous 161-4 authorization “error” (which means things are working) and wait for the auth to finish. And then Versus starts to come in, but it comes and goes. So, switch some cables out and things seem to be working well. So now I can get my Tour fix for the final time trial and the last stage. Would have been nice to have gotten to earlier, but c'est la vie.

As far as the network side of FIOS, I'm very impressed. I've got the 10/2 plan and downloaded a test livecd from my box at the office to home over wireless + vpnc and averaged 1.17 MB/sec for the entire file. Which is pretty awesome.

So at this point, pretty happy overall with the service. And looking forward to the massive HD rollout that's planned for the next few months on FIOS.

I do also have to give a nice nod to Comcast — when I called to cancel, they asked why and didn't try to be a pain about it when I told them. It was nice to not really have any hassle about it at all. And they gave two weeks for returning the equipment after already turning everything off (and thus stopping billing me)

Seacoast Safari tomorrow

FIOS install today went okay, although it took waaayyyy too long for the cable cards with the Tivo. For some reason, they weren't getting signal at all at first. But eventually got things straightened out. The process was a lot like that of a cable install, but just a bit more involved and with more steps. Installer was nice, though. And thus far, connection speed and the like seems reasonable.

Tomorrow is the Seacoast Safari. And it looks like tomorrow is going to be a scorcher. Temperatures in the mid-90s, heat index of around 100. So the key will be to drink a lot of water and stay hydrated. Luckily, the ride starts nice and early so that we beat some of the traffic. Unfortunately, it leaves nice and early and I still need to finish packing. So now, to go do that 🙂

Another busy day

Another busy day today. Started out with Systems Engineering in the morning and Professor Dan Frey talking about the Design of Experiments. Another session where I can easily see where in a physical engineering field, it would have a lot of relevance and could be easily applied. Software, still, not so much. Maybe if you're doing human factors/user interface you could take advantage of some pieces of it but I'm not entirely convinced. And if you're doing things at a lower-level, then almost certainly not. When you're designing a software system at that level, you don't really have knobs and levers to adjust and then see how they change some sort of outcome — instead, your design is focused on functional requirements and just meeting those requirements. And then adjusting as the requirements inevitably change.

Later in the day, I had my final-for-now FESCo meeting. As some may have noticed, I have decided not to run for FESCo this time around. There are a variety of reasons why this is the case and it's really not worth going into all of them. One thing that will be nice will be having one less meeting a week to need to attend. Although I'll probably still chime in frequently enough from the cheap seats.

After that, it was off for a trip to the dentist. Biked there, got there right on time and then got to wait half an hour for the dentist. *sigh* Eventually got things taken care of and was on my way, if a bit later than I had intended.

Then, this evening, we had another SDM Connect event. I tried to organize it more in the fashion that Alyson had started things off in last year — very informal and low-key. And so I asked the inimitable Yoav Shapira to come and talk about his startup/entrepreneur experience and what helped (and didn't help) from his time at SDM. As usual, he gave lots of good information and insight and it was good to see him again. Everyone seemed to enjoy it and I think that the format kind of “clicked” with people to some extent. Or so I'm hoping. A few people had some ideas about future speakers and I told them to let me know and hopefully we can get SDM Connect to happen again on a more regular basis.

Then, home and now it's time to head to bed. Tomorrow, I'm getting FIOS installed… hopefully they've figured out cable cards (as I'm still quite happy with the Series3 Tivo) by this point and it'll be painless. But, I'm going into it expecting basically the worst given that it's a telecom company. We'll see how it goes.

Quick update

Lots of things to update on, so it's probably just easiest to do a list-style update ala my good friend SPAM

  • System dynamics continues to be a great class. I can actually see myself using it some to try to justify my intuition on what the outcome of changes will be and then maybe have more effective arguments against (or for) various things. Also the Beer Game was a lot of fun last week. To be fair, some of it is supply chain-y, but that just seems like it's because it's the easy examples, not because of any inherent flaw in the modeling approach.
  • SDM business trip is next week. Will be good to see folks again. Will likely be a busy week though. I should actually look at what is planned
  • Kara's sister's wedding was on Saturday so we went down for that. Was nice although I was tired by the end of the evening.
  • Then on Sunday, Kara and I stood in line for iPhones. Line wasn't too bad but we then had extra time due to the first phone they opened for me had a bad screen. And they were good about just taking care of right away, no questions asked.
    Yes, by getting an iPhone, I'm somewhat of a sellout. But it's a pretty nice phone. Although i've crashed Safari a couple of times. But having a web browser that's actually sane for, say, browsing the web is good and HSDPA is the upgrade I had hoped over edge. And realistically, it's not like the Blackberry is more open, or Symbian (although it may someday be) and Android is a farce of openness at present. I'll save my Android rant for another day, though.

  • Took last week easy on the bike to let my injuries recover. But everything's feeling pretty good and the healing seems to be coming along pretty well. This weekend is the Seacoast Safari
  • Need to figure out a good vacation for the break between summer classes and the fall semester
  • Err, I had more to say, but I've forgotten it now. Suffice it to say that I'm sure it was interesting and would have been incredibly enlightening.

Support me riding in this year’s Seacoast Safari

This year, I am again riding in the Seacoast Safari to help raise money to support the Cycstic Fibrosis Foundation in their efforts. Cystic fibrosis is a devastating genetic disease that affects children and young adults. Advances continue to be made in finding a cure, but your help is needed now—more than ever—to help keep up the momentum of this life-saving research. Too many young lives depend on this vital research to let it go unfunded!

Please help me meet my fund-raising goal by sponsoring me. Your generous gift will be used efficiently and effectively—nearly 90 cents of every dollar of revenue raised is available for investment in vital CF programs to support research, care and education. And, it's tax-deductible. The research being done by the CF Foundation is both important and making great strides — not too long ago, the average life expectancy of a child with CF was 20. But today, one of the people that I regularly ride with has CF and yet he continues to ride on (strong!) in this as well as a couple of other events, including most recently a trip across the Canadian Rockies by bike.

The Seacoast Safari ride is a two-day ride up along the coasts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. Each day is 75 (or so) miles of coastal scenery. The ride was beautiful last year and I'm looking forward to doing it again.

Making a donation is easy and secure! Just click on the link below to make a donation to my fund-raising page where your donation will be credited to my fund-raising efforts. Any amount you can donate will be greatly appreciated!

Donating is such a simple and effective way for you to show your support for this important cause. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of those with CF. Once again, thank you for supporting the mission of the CF Foundation!

If you'd like to help, you can easily donate online at http://www.cff.org/LWC/JeremyKatz7945

Rest of the weekend

In addition to my racing fun yesterday, had a pretty good and full weekend. My parents were up and so on Thursday after class, I headed down to South Station to meet them. We grabbed lunch and then headed back to Arlington. From there, my dad and I headed down to the bike shop so that we could pick up a bike for him to ride on Friday. Thursday evening, we went down to Tanjore for dinner and mostly avoided getting soaked. Given the rain and everyone being kind of tired, we decided not to go down and watch the Pops rehearse and instead just headed back to the house and watched Michael Clayton

Friday morning, woke up and went out with my dad in the drizzle on the Quad ride. He did pretty well and we got in a nice 40 mile ride. By the time we got to Starbuck's at the end, the rain had stopped and it looked like it was going to be a nice day. Go figure. Then, headed down to Braintree and met up with Kara's parents for dinner. We then ended up going and watching the Get Smart movie. I was somewhat unsure how it would be as the reviews were somewhat mixed, but I really enjoyed it as did everyone else. I watched Get Smart a lot on Nick at Nite as I was growing up and so it was enjoyable a lot of the things that they pulled in. It was also good that they modernized it and tried to give some backstory. And I also thought that Steve Carrell made a really good Maxwell Smart and put his own little bits on the part rather than just trying to imitate Don Adams.

On Saturday, we took a day trip up to Vermont to visit the Ben and Jerry's factory as well as a few other things. Vermont was pretty and the Ben and Jerry's tour was cool I guess. But lots and lots of driving. I'd like to go back to Vermont, though, to spend some more time. Seems like it could be pretty relaxing and also have some good biking 😉 When we got home, spent some time watching the end of the first stage of the Tour de France.

Yesterday, my parents headed back home and I raced. After the race, came home and made some lunch and then watched the second stage of the Tour. Spent the evening between catching up on some email for work and getting started on the System Dynamics assignment for the week.

All in all, a good weekend. The next few weeks are pretty busy for me, but busy in a good way.

Short weeks

With the 4th being tomorrow, this is something of a short week for most people in the US. For me, my parents are coming up to visit, so mine is even a little shorter. While they're up, we're going to try to get out and do some different things. For one thing, we're going to try to catch part of the rehearsal by the Boston Pops later on this evening rather than fighting the full crowds for the real deal tomorrow. Then, tomorrow, we're going to try to avoid crowds — I'm going to take my dad out on a bike ride with the Quad folks and then we're hoping to watch the Get Smart movie later in the day. Then, Saturday we're headed to Vermont for the Ben and Jerry's factory and a few other things. Then, they fly back on Sunday and I'm intending to race at Wells Ave. So it should be a pretty good weekend.

Update

The spring semester ended and since then, I've been spending time in the office and also trying to get some time in for relaxing. Overall, the spring semester was good. The classes I was taking for the most part were very applicable and I can even see some of the value of ERBA, although I also can think of some ways that the class could have been better and more applicable for people. Everything else was very good, though. The couple of weeks of break have been nice too, although I'm looking forward to classes spinning back up for the summer. Given that there are basically four classes offered over the summer and I have two summers to take them, I'm just going to take two classes over the summer and then return to the more full load in the fall. But my summer classes are going to be Systems Engineering and System Dynamics. The former is a class that continues to be in flux as SDM tries to find the right mix of things for the class to really work; more changes are in store for this year, so I'm trying to keep a positive approach to the course. System Dynamics is a class I'm really looking forward to — I sat in on a day of it last summer and thought that the material seemed very useful. And with things I've learned during the spring, I'm looking forward to it even more.

As far as other things going on, I think I'll resort to list form

  • Been working on cleaning up my outstanding bug list. There were a number of outstanding pirut RFEs and with the move to PackageKit, I've just been closing those out. Also, spent some time cleaning up livecd-creator bugs and have got that down to just a small number of RFEs that I think we should be able to get taken care of for Fedora 10.
  • The rest of Bike Week was good… got in some good biking and also went to the Redbones Bike Week party which was a good time as usual. Even if I didn't win anything in the raffles. Hrmph.
  • Been biking quite a bit as the weather has gotten substantially nicer. Been shooting to get between 200 and 250 miles a week over the past couple of weeks and have largely been succeeding. Doing some commuting to the office helps there
  • Raced at the Lake Auburn Road Race this past weekend in the 4/5 field. The course was nice, but I ended up off the back of the pack partway through the first lap due to some accordioning and not being as comfortable going down the hills at 40 mph on wet roads in a large pack. Decided against time trialing in cold rain so didn't finish. But, I learned from it and have some ideas on how to get some improvements over the rest of the season
  • Watching as gas gets ever closer to $4/gallon… more and more glad that I bike as much as I do, but looking at what other trips I can switch over. Also, need to stop by the hardware store so I can get some p-clamps and put the other rack on Kara's bike
  • Mario Kart Wii is fun.

Now to see if I can finish up my presentation for the Red Hat Summit today as well as finishing closing out a few of the aforementioned livecd-creator RFEs.

Not dead yet!

Just really, really busy. Between the end of the semester and chugging towards the Fedora 9 release, haven't had a chance to write much. Highlights in bulleted form…

  • Birthday was good. Had some people over for a game night and I think everyone had a pretty good time
  • Prototype for our product in PDD is finished and it looks really nice. It's cool to have an idea and then see it realized in a physical form. Something you don't really get in the software world
  • Tech Strategy continues to be good… I want to write up summaries of some of the classes, but just haven't gotten there. Maybe I'll do a whirlwind pass through them late next week
  • Summer schedule is out… I think I'm going to take Systems Engineering and System Dynamics this summer, leaving the finance/accounting and supply chain classes for next summer
  • Fall schedule is also out… pretty much have to take System Architecture and Systems Project Management then. But also have room for at least one other class, just need to decide what. On the plus side, lots of good options to choose from
  • Fedora 9 is shaping up quite nicely — only the last minute “oh no!” types of things cropping up now. Feeling a little bit more confident today about getting the release out “on time”
  • Big presentation for PDD on Friday, big paper for Tech Strategy the first of next week… lots to do, not a lot of time
  • Warm enough that I'm not letting rain stop me from biking… realized that I didn't take the T to class at all during April. I did let the rain stop me from racing, though
  • Just another week and a half and things get a lot better…