My First Christmas Letter


I really enjoy getting those Christmas letters where people tell us all about their lives, what they did, where they traveled, what their kids did, etc., but we’ve never written one ourselves. It’s probably because we don’t have any kids. People will stand just about any amount of bragging you do on your kids’ behalf because it’s only human to do that, but when you don’t have kids, it’s a challenge not to come across as a pretentious twit, or, worse yet, as an insufferable bore. Getting something akin to a form letter from a friend or relative can be a little ‘off-putting’ because it loses that personalized touch. Of course, it can always be signed by hand, offering at least a modicum of personal attention to the recipient. Regardless, I can’t wait to dive in and read them whenever they arrive.

So I’ll offer something like an end-of-year posting for those who might care enough to read my blog, a no doubt small and, with the lack of recent updates, dwindling audience. I’m afraid it won’t have the personalized flair of my signature.

We started the 2006 year with a trip to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show. It had been about 8 years since Terri and I had been there when we did a few stints at the since-discontinued Comdex computer show. CES is a lot more fun than Comdex because it’s easier to personally identify with the products being showcased. Terri came down for a few days and we got to see Jay Leno perform at the Mirage and had a few nice dinners at the local restaurants. The rest of the time was spent performing obligatory booth duty at the Blu-ray and HD-DVD displays. A highlight of the show was running into a high school friend, Bob Wanat, who I hadn’t seen in nearly 20 years. I was almost interviewed by Andy McCaskey of SDR News, but declined because I didn’t want to contribute in any way to the controversy surrounding a format war about to commence between two competing HD formats. I wish I was going this coming year, because I’d be able to wax lyrical about my new product, the HP Media Vault, and would welcome the opportunity to get it on SDR News.

In June we took a trip to Europe for two and a half weeks. I wrote about it quite a bit in this blog although I never did finish the complete write-up. I’ll have to make it a New Year’s resolution to get all the writing finished. In short it was a wonderful trip with visits to Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, and Amsterdam.

In July I traveled to Suzhou, China for the production start up of HP’s Media Vault, which is a a new product category for HP (Networked Storage for the home), and spent a week making sure everything was going OK and the product was ready to ship. I started a new FAQ and user group for the product. Shortly after arriving back in the U.S., I traveled to Oshkosh for my 15th Airventure and had a great time. There’s a blog entry about it here and here, describing my little side adventure on the way home.

In September, we went to Long Beach, CA to update firmware and software on the first two containers of HP Media Vaults prior to having them shipped to retailers. Terri came out for that visit too because it extended over the weekend. That part of the trip also got its own blog entry.

In December, we spent a week up in Steamboat Springs to do a little early season skiing and just enjoy the sights in and around Steamboat, which is one of our favorite places in all of Colorado.

This past week, we had what was by far the biggest blizzard Terri and I have ever experienced in Colorado with most places shut down for at least 2 days and a White Christmas is now guaranteed…a white New Year’s too. Judging by the mountains of snow piled up everywhere, the evidence of this storm will take weeks to melt even if we get warm weather. Five days after the storm and it still requires 4WD to get out of our neighborhood!

Terri shoveling snow
Merry Christmas,


Oshkosh landing


Someone with a professional grade digital camera snapped my picture when I was landing at Oshkosh this year and put the photo in a very nice photo archive. I’m in good company too since the photo archive included Harrison Ford, seen in backseat of a Blue Angels FA-18 jet. If you click on the photo, you’ll the full sized image as I land at the ‘busiest airport in the world.’

September update


It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted anything so I just wanted to give a quick update about what I’ve been doing. About 2 weeks ago, I traveled to Long Beach, CA for some work-related business and it required that I stay over the weekend. Terri flew out and joined me for the weekend and we spent some time exploring the Los Angeles area. I had been to LA previously, but never got more than about a mile from the LAX airport. Terri hadn’t spent much time in the area, so there were a lot of things for us to see.

My hotel was located very close to the Queen Mary, the ship that brought my mother to the U.S. from England in 1953. It was retired about 40 years ago and parked in Long Beach as a hotel/tourist attraction. On Friday evening, we took a self-guided tour of the ship and then had dinner in its restaurant. The ship had her maiden voyage in 1936 and had a long life of sailing around the world, mostly from Europe to the U.S. under the Cunard Line and was retired in 1967. I can still recall an old suitcase of my mom’s with the Cunard Line stickers from her trip over on the Queen Mary. The suitcase and its contents were all she had when she arrived. The RMS Queen Mary has now spent more time as a tourist attraction that it did as a form of transportation. I guess that’s a fitting tribute since the whole cruise industry has become more about the tourism than it is about transportation. Airplanes are just too fast and convenient when compared with ships.

On Saturday we drove up to Santa Monica to walk along the pier and the beach and eventually ended up down in Venice beach which has a kind of carnival atmosphere. There are many T-shirts vendors, artists selling their work, fortune tellers, and performance artists. It makes the Boulder Pearl Street mall seem very tame by comparison. We resisted the temptation to get any tattoos or body piercings even though we felt quite out of place without them. We had beautiful sunny weather with a nice ocean breeze, enough that I got nasty bad sunburn which I’ll not soon forget.

After walking back to Santa Monica, we decided to drive over to Hollywood to see the Walk of Fame. It was very touristy, but since we had never been there, we figured we might as well do the touristy things, even if it included purchasing a ‘Map of Movie Star Homes (and Shocking Crime Scenes )’ We drove on Santa Monica Boulevard, then crossed over to Sunset Boulevard, and eventually got on to Hollywood Boulevard which is where we knew we had arrived at a tourist trap. I always wanted to see the ‘stars’ on Hollywood Boulevard and the handprints/footprints outside Grauman’s Chinese Theater. We even strolled by the Church of Scientology where they offered us ‘free stress test’ which involved being hooked up to E-Meters. That made us feel like real Hollywood celebrities. We were waiting for Tom Cruise or John Travolta to show up at any minute.

Later we used our ‘Map of the Stars Homes’ to get as close as we could to the Hollywood sign for a photo op and then cruised Mulholland Drive from the 101 to Laurel Canyon. We got back into Hollywood and headed west on Sunset through Bevery Hills, Westwood, Bel Air, Brentwood (right near where OJ used to live), Pacific Palisades, and eventually got to the coast. Then we went north to Malibu where we ate dinner at a nice little Italian restaurant. There was a major traffic jam on the Pacific Coast Highway southbound due to an accident so we decided to use the Malibu Canyon road to get back over to the 405. By the time we got back to Long Beach, it was nearly 11:00 p.m. We decided the next day we’d take it easier.

On Sunday we drove back up to Hollywood to check out the La Brea Tar Pits, another attraction that we noticed on our tourist map, and we were quite astonished at what we found. It was a genuine Tar Pit/museum right on Wilshire Blvd between Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Imagine that! You’d figure that by now a tar pit on valuable real estate would have been sucked dry, turned into oil and paved over but there it was. It even had working archeologists in it, pulling prehistoric fossilized bones out of one of the pits. The museum was amazing, one of the best I’ve seen in terms of archeological treasures. I’d highly recommend that if you’re ever in Hollywood that you check out the La Brea Tar Pits.

Later we came back to the hotel and visited a Russian Scorpion submarine which was set along side the Queen Mary as a tourist attraction. It was a fascinating experience to think that it was operational until just a few years ago. Although it was built in 1972, the technology in it looked ancient, probably because that type of sub was designed in the 1950s. I had only been in one other sub before, and that was German U-boat in Chicago and that was also quite fascinating. It amazes me to think of the number of people that can live in these cramped quarters for months at a time.

So we got to see a lot of things in a short time, many of which were on my ‘list’ for whenever I got a chance to visit LA. We avoided the really touristy things like Disneyland and Universal Studios…maybe we’ll see those on a future visit.

I’ve stored some pictures of the trip here.

My Soliloquy


I read recently that a blog is often like a soliloquy.

so·lil·o·quy n., 1.a. A dramatic or literary form of discourse in which a character reveals his or her thoughts when alone or unaware of the presence of other characters. b. A specific speech or piece of writing in this form of discourse. 2. The act of speaking to oneself.

That fits the description of this blog :-). I’m essentially talking to myself, and sometimes I go back into the archives and see what I was thinking about at some point in time. I have virtually no subscribers on Bloglines or Newsgator and no links on Technorati, yet my RSS feed for this blog is one of my most frequently accessed files according to my web access logs. It’s hard to explain. I can generally find the topic I’ve blogged about on Google just a few days after I’ve made the entry, so I guess search engines like RSS feeds, and people who read this blog are finding it through searching on topics.

Today I checked out the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, a website founded by Brewster Kahle to archive the whole Internet. I was stunned to find my very first attempt to create web pages unmercifully stored in the archive for the rest of the world to see (from AOL, no less!).

The Internet has always struck me as an ephemeral medium, with stories that age off systems, websites that go away completely, broken links, and people who come and go. The fact that someone is trying to take periodic snapshots of it and store it away for posterity is absolutely mind boggling to me. I’d heard about this service many times, but never thought to go out and see if any of my stuff was on it. I figured, quite incorrectly as it turns out, that only important websites would be archived but I found that there were even a few of my @home pages tucked away in its archive. I found blog posts from many years ago sitting out there by people whose blogs never even had archives. I knew from previous experience with Usenet that it’s generally not a good idea to post anything on the Internet that you didn’t want to haunt you for the rest of you life, but I didn’t think that what I put on my own website would fall into that category. After all, I’m the webmaster of my domain and I can make things disappear. But not with the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine! It can store every embarrassing thing you’ve ever written and serve it out to anyone with enough curiosity to sift through its data banks.

It doesn’t appear to be complete, but there’s enough information on there to be used to piece together what a site looked like as many as 10 years ago. It’s hard to imagine what it would cost to host and maintain a server farm that is basically trying to back up the entire web. According to Wikipedia, it takes on petabyte of storage and is growing at about 20 terabytes per month!

So go ahead, write what you want on the Internet, but know that there is a veritable Akashic Record being stored of it somewhere…and it’s beyond your control to erase any of it.