New Gig, Less Hotels

A few months ago, I decided to join ioBridge full-time. I will be leading the software development for a whole bunch of commercial products that license our technology. ioBridge will announce a few major developments in the coming weeks that made this transition possible. I am excited for the new challenges and look forward to working with a start-up company.

My first project with ioBridge was building a remote sensor network web interface on top of the Google Maps API. The sensor network allows for the real-time monitoring of tide levels. The project got written up on MIT’s Technology Review blog and the ioBridge Projects blog. You can demo the tide monitoring application at www.TideAlerts.com.

Change is not always easy. I had a great job and got to see all of the United States minus Alaska, Hawaii, and Idaho (yes, Idaho, I have flown all over you but never landed on you…). I got to design, maintain, pen test, and provide training for some of the largest networks in the US for utilities and telecommunications providers over a 10 year period. Yes, you can blame me the next time your call drops.

This also means I saw a lot of hotels and airports. I probably stayed at a Hampton Inn from 30 different states. I can’t tell you how many times I woke up to a USA Today being crammed under my door. For whatever reason on my first trip to a DSL testing company in Manchester, New Hampshire, I saved the room key. I know you are supposed to return them, but maybe in the excitement of it all, I kept it. This tradition continued with my next project in Lincoln, Nebraska and the next and the next. When I got home I would shove the room key in a box. I just dumped it out and could not believe it…Here’s a photo so you can see what I am saying…

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I don’t advocate stealing room keys, but this pile is  a quick snap shot of 1000’s of trips and projects and experiences. With the new gig, I will travel less and that might be good. I am looking forward to it and might even join a bowling league where I can actually make the games. I will keep you updated on the progress. It’s time to start-up (.com).

I am LOST

All of this snow caused me to get trapped between two airports recently. And when I say, “trapped,” I mean I had a cell phone, food supply, laptop, and stable wireless Internet connection. I had some time on my hands. Between runs to Panda Express and the restroom, I was able to watch the first season of LOST.

Over a period of 3 months, hints were dropped which lead me to want to start watching LOST – I finally “listened to the island.” I saw a speech by J. J.“ Abrams, 3o Rock made a LOST reference, my friends were talking about the show, the answer is 42, and I heard a faint radio transmission on my XM. I finally broke down and watched the pilot episodes of LOST on Hulu. I was hooked.

Over the next 24 hours, I watched the entire first season – all 24 mind-bending, awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping, uber-frustrating episodes. I see why this show is popular, it has all of the elements that I love – great mystery, tied with philosophical nuances and solid characters who I love to learn about. I want to figure it all out, but I am being messed with. Numbers and non-linear flashbacks spliced in the real-time storyline all make for a fantastic mind trip.

The final season starts tomorrow. I am so glad to hear there is a final season. It will make my LOST time seem worth it, since I know it will have to have an ending and soon. I look forward to the rest of the seasons and catching up to the new episodes. I will be DVR’ing the new ones and maybe I will be able to finish this series with everyone else.

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People Watching at the Airport

I travel a lot and find myself watching people at the airport to pass the time waiting for flights to depart. I watch them as they walk by Cinnabon and pretend not to want one. I am fascinated by how people behave – whether it’s good behavior or bad, I still find it interesting. After a canceled flight and Chicago weather, I finally made it back to Pittsburgh International Airport. If you have never been, it’s like a mall that opened up an airport. I was waiting for my luggage to come from the airplane. We are all standing around a belt that turns in one direction and carries our luggage from a down ramp. The first thing I noticed is that half of the crowd was on one side of the ramp and the other half was on the other side. So, half of these people are going to be waiting the entire trip around for their luggage and the other half are going to get their luggage first. A lady in her late forties and a scarf had an entirely different agenda. She was going to stand clear and wait for it to start turning and sidle up and grab her bag. I could see the anticipation well up as the horn and spinning light announced our bags were coming. She got up and cut right to the side the belt was turning ignoring the people who were there first. My page came out soon, but I wanted to see how it played out. The lady grew impatient and sighed with the exaggeration of a stage actor. I waited 10 minutes and nearly all of the bags were taken minus a few stragglers – a taped up duffel and flower print roller were the only ones left spinning. She stormed into the bag claim office. I took my flower print roller and headed to the parking shuttle. On the ride to my car, I thought about the events of the lady and her missing bag. She probably asked for it and had it coming.