Saturday morning coffee [January 12 2013]

Welcome to my first Saturday morning coffee post of 2013. Here are some of the tabs that are open in my browser this morning along with some random thoughts….

The coffee mug below was a Christmas present from my youngest daughter, Mikaela. Apparently she reads my blog; yeah, I’m as surprised by that as anyone. She thought I needed a customized coffee mug to go along with my Saturday morning coffee post. I’m thrilled to be displaying it here today for the first time. I had to move it down because it deserved an image from both sides.

Christmas SMC Mug
Continue reading Saturday morning coffee [January 12 2013]

Saturday morning coffee [December 8 2012]

So much happens each and every week that it’s hard to keep up sometimes. Here are some of the tabs that are open in my browser this morning along with some random thoughts….

The coffee mug to the right comes from Jason DeVillains, better known to many as The Cynical Pharmacist. Jason and I met via Twitter (@TheCynicalRPH) and have been chitchatting via the web ever since. I mentioned that I was running low on coffee mugs and he decided to help me remedy the problem by sending me four of them. When my daughter and I opened the box this particular mug made her laugh, so I felt that it only fitting that it be the first one to make an appearance online. Jason also has a blog aptly called The Cynical Pharmacist, where he talks about all kinds of stuff; some healthcare related, some not. He has an interesting blogging style where he makes good use of video clips. Check it out.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 2 was #1 at the box office last weekend pulling in just about $17.5 Million. Skyfall was a close second with $16.5 Million. That says something about the quality of Skyfall as it continues to draw big crowds even after being out for four weeks.
Continue reading Saturday morning coffee [December 8 2012]

Saturday morning coffee [November 10 2012]

So much happens each and every week that it’s hard to keep up sometimes. Here are some of the tabs that are open in my browser this morning along with some random thoughts….

The coffee mug to the right is from Chicago, Illinois, obviously. The first time I was in Chicago was in October 2011, so about a year ago. I’ve been in and around Chicago three times since. I find Chicago and the surrounding area fascinating. It is one of the few places that I would consider spending an extended amount of time. I’ve really enjoyed my time there. I say all of this with one giant caveat, and that is that I’ve never been there in the dead of winter. Based on what I know about the winters in Chicago that could be enough to quickly change my mind about staying. One thing that I really need to do before I die is attend a Bears game at Soldier Field. I’ve wanted to do that for a long time now, at least since the days of Walter Payton.

I have been systematically going through all the coffee mugs in my cupboard to generate these posts. All my mugs used to reside on a single shelf in one of our cupboards. After using a mug for one of these poses, and using it for the weekend, I move it to another shelf; simple way to remember which mugs I’ve used. Well, this morning when I went to retrieve the next mug in line, the cupboard was looking a little bare. It looks like I’ll be out of mugs by the end of the year, which means I need to either get more mugs or find something else to do on Saturday mornings.
Continue reading Saturday morning coffee [November 10 2012]

My initial impression of Microsoft’s Surface RT Tablet

First and foremost I haven’t purchased a Surface RT tablet. While traveling this week for work I found an opportunity to stop by a Microsoft Retail store in the area and finally get my hands on one for about half an hour. There is no question about  it, Microsoft has done themselves proud with the Surface hardware. The tablet is beautiful from the kickstand to the angular features and even the touch cover, which is surprisingly nice to type with and gives the tablet a finished look when closed. The UI works great on the tablet and everything operates smoothly. I put it through its paces by opening as many programs as I could and just bouncing around from a Word document and SkyDrive to taking photos and video. I even spent time browsing the web from within the new IE. Everything worked as advertised.

Continue reading My initial impression of Microsoft’s Surface RT Tablet

Saturday morning coffee [October 27 2012]

So much happens each and every week that it’s hard to keep up sometimes. Here are some of the tabs that are open in my browser this morning along with some random thoughts….

The coffee mug to the right is from Galveston, TX. Galveston is an interesting place. It’s a beach town, but unlike any beach town here in California. Galveston has the warmest ocean water I’ve ever been in. Almost like bath water. That may sound like a negative, but it’s really not. Instead of having to inch my way into the water I was able to jump right in and spend some time with the kids without freezing half to death. It was a nice change of pace from the California coastline. The other distinct feature of the beach is that it has a gradual slope into the water from the shoreline. I was able to walk more than 100 yards from shore without getting into water over my head. It made for some great fun as my wife and daughters joined me and we played in the water for quite some time. I hadn’t been in ocean water for a long time. It felt good. By the time we were finished at the beach I was sticky with salt, worn out and slightly burnt. In other words, perfect.

Paranormal Activity 4 was #1 at the box office last weekend. It’s that time of year again. Because we’re nearing Halloween we’re seeing a whole slew of scary movies hitting the box office. Not my thing.  I’m not a big fan of Halloween in general. Give me Thanksgiving or Christmas every time. You can keep Halloween and the movies that go along with it.
Continue reading Saturday morning coffee [October 27 2012]

Microsoft Surface RT is a great looking tablet, but I’ll be holding off for now

The difference between men and boys is the price of their toys” – unknown

I had a Microsoft Surface RT tablet in the shopping cart. I was this close – holding my thumb and index finger very close to each other – to pulling the trigger. Had the trusty credit card out and permission from the spousal unit.

What’s not to like about Surface RT? I believe it’s a more sophisticated option than either an iPad or Android tablet. The starting price is $499 for a 32 GB model with 10.6-inch ClearType HD screen, five-point multi-touch, resolution of 1366 x 768, a NVIDIA T30 chip paired with 2 GB of system memory, MicroSD card slot, USB 2.0 port, HD video out port, has a kickstand and so on. It even includes Microsoft Office 2013 Student Edition for crying out loud! And if you’re willing to drop a bit more cash you have options for a keyboard cover. It’s truly a bargain.

So what’s the problem? There’s really no problem. I want one. I really want one. The issue is that I made a deal with myself a month or so ago that I wouldn’t purchase another piece of technology unless it could replace something I currently have. I have a lot of toys.  And unfortunately the Microsoft Surface RT won’t replace any of the bigger ones because it runs an ARM-based chip that typically powers smartphones and consumer tablets. It could easily replace an iPad or Android tablet, but not my laptop or tablet PC. I suppose it could in theory, but not practically.

Being the logical guy that I am I’ve decided to wait for Surface Pro and shell out the $1K plus in the hope of replacing at least one of my bigger machines. That’s the plan anyway. You never know though. I’ll be in up in Bellevue, WA next week, which means that I’ll end up at the Microsoft Store at least once. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I ended up walking away with a Surface RT tablet. Just sayin’.


Saturday morning coffee [October 6 2012]

So much happens each and every week that it’s hard to keep up sometimes. Here are some of the tabs that are open in my browser this morning along with some random thoughts….

The coffee mug to the right is from the historic Cafe Du Monde New Orleans. I picked it up while in New Orleans for ASHP Midyear 2011. Worst ASHP Midyear I’ve ever attended, but that’s another story. You can read more about my trip here. Café Du Monde is a landmark in New Orleans and you can’t call yourself a tourist if you don’t stop in for some of their famous Beignets (French donuts).  The Beignets was good, but the coffee was better.I liked the coffee so much that I brought some home along with the mug you see to the right. While the coffee is still good when I make it here at home, it was much better sitting at Cafe Du Monde eating Beignets with my wife.

Hotel Transylvania was #1 at the box office last weekend. I haven’t had the opportunity to see it, but it’s on the Fahrni family agenda for this weekend. My wife and I saw Looper last week. Still not sure how I feel about Looper. Typically I know whether I liked a movie or not by the time I leave the theater. Not this time. It was a good movie, but different. I’d recommend you see it given the chance, but if you miss it I won’t hold it against you.
Continue reading Saturday morning coffee [October 6 2012]

HP ElitePad 900 Windows 8 Tablet. Tah-da!

Engadget: “…the ElitePad has a premium look, marked by a machined aluminum back cover and 400-nit IPS display coated in Gorilla Glass. Also similar to the EliteBooks, it meets the military’s MIL-spec 810G durability requirements, and can withstand three-foot drops, among other accidents. All told, it weighs 1.5 pounds and measures 9.2mm thick. Going by weight, that’s more along the lines of what you’d expect from a larger, 11-inch tablet, but 1.5 pounds is still manageable, especially considering how armored this thing is.

Add to that 10 hours of runtime, a 1,280 x 800 resolution screen, an SSD, and a gaggle of accessories – docking station, “smart jackets” (seriously cool), NFC enabled pen support – and you have one impressive machine. It’s good to see someone going above and beyond and thinking outside the box a little bit.

The ElitePad 900 is scheduled to be released sometime in January of 2012. I can’t wait to see this thing in person.

Project Austin: A new not taking app from Microsoft designed specifically for Windows 8

Microsoft Blog (Visual C++ Team): “…For the past few months I’ve been working on a Windows 8 app along with a small team of developers from the Visual C++ team, we call it Project Code Name Austin.

Austin is a digital note-taking app for Windows 8. You can add pages to your notebook, delete them, or move them around. You can use digital ink to write or draw things on those pages. You can add photos from your computer, from SkyDrive, or directly from your computer’s camera. You can share the notes you create to other Windows 8 apps such as e-mail or SkyDrive.”

When I saw “Project Austin” start showing up on tech blogs over the last couple of days I have to admit I got pretty excited. I’m a tablet PC guy to the core, and one of my favorite things about tablet PCs is their inking ability, i.e. I can use them in place of pen and paper for a great many things. No other tablet OS – iOS, Android, webOS – has been able to give me the same experience; not even close.

According to the Microsoft blog Project Austin is “a very simple digital replacement to the real paper notebooks people carry around to meetings at work, to school, around the house, where they scribble things and take quick notes.” That’s all I want. That’s what I’ve been waiting for. The blog post goes on to say “Austin doesn’t aspire to be a full-featured note-taking app such as OneNote. It doesn’t give you a way to organize your notes other than by their position in the book, it also doesn’t enable typing or searching.” Perfect.  I have nothing against OneNote. OneNote is fantastic, and I use it all the time, but it’s overkill for most things. And Microsoft Journal, while good for taking quick notes, just doesn’t always cut it.

Two other things that really made me take notice of Project Austin were: 1) it is supposed to be deeply integrated with Microsoft SkyDrive, which is getting better and better everyday. It’s still not on par with many other cloud based storage/syncing/sharing applications out there, but it’s gaining ground; and 2) “ [Microsoft is] making the majority of the source code available for download here.  We also plan to publish a series of blog posts here in the Visual C++ Team Blog talking about our experience building it, and some of the technologies we used.” I’ve been hammering on my brother, Robert, for a few months to build me a better note-taking app for Windows 8. He and I have talked about it a couple of times and I’ve even gone as far as to start sketching out the design and requirements for “my note-taking app“. Microsoft apparently read my mind. Scary and cool all at the same time.

What can I say, I’m excited. I’m newly energized about the potential for the host of new Windows 8 tablets hitting the market over the next year. It’s a great time to be a tablet PC guy.

Saturday morning coffee [September 8 2012]

It’s obviously not Saturday morning. My daughter had a volleyball tournament today. We were out of the house at 6:00am so I obviously didn’t have much time to put this together. Nonetheless I have a cup of coffee in my hand, there are still many tabs open in my browser, and I have some things to say. Let’s begin …

The coffee mug to the right is another from the great state of Texas. I picked it up in Austin while on vacation with my family. We had a great time in Austin. The capital building in Austin is huge and beautiful. We spent the better part of a couple of hours roaming through the building taking in the rich history of the state. After getting our fill of the State Capital we swung over to the University of Texas, home of Longhorns Football. My family and I also found some time to get in some great food from the likes of The Salt Lick in Driftwood, Tx just outside Austin and Gourdough’s Donuts. Both were awesome.

The Possession was #1 at the box office last weekend. Haven’t seen it, and have no intentions to. Not my kind of flix. Lawless was #2 at the box office. Haven’t seen it either. I’m behind.
Continue reading Saturday morning coffee [September 8 2012]