Hiking up the Rockies

This last January Stephanie and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary.  We knew we wanted to do something other than just a cruise or going to some tropical island.  After some discussion we landed on going to Colorado with no plans other than general ideas of what we wanted to do.  This served us pretty well when we vacationed in San Francisco a few years prior.  I must say that Colorado in the early summer is absolutely gorgeous.  We were there for a full week and if not for us missing our kids we would have stayed longer!

Day 1

Pretty much a travel day.  We rented a car from Avis which turned out to be a Toyota FJ Cruiser.  Overall it’s a nice SUV, however I like our Honda Pilot much better.  We drove strait into Estes Park from Denver which was a very beautiful drive.  Texas has beautiful scenic drives too but never have I seen snow-capped mountains in June :).  Once we got into Estes Park we did a few touristy things including taking the “Tram” to the top of one of the mountains.

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California vs Texas

I get a lot of emails from recruiters wanting me to fill some position for X months at some company I’ve never heard of.  My general MO is to not respond unless I’m looking, which I’m not at the moment, but occasionally I get something from a more prominent company that you don’t just ignore.  After emailing back and forth we finally hit the tipping point

Recruiter,

I checked out the video, looks like a combination of what I used to do back in the operations team I worked on as well as my current role as a site commander on call.  Is it safe to assume that the SRE and Sr SRE positions are only in the locations you mentioned below?  Doing a little research on how much these compensation of these positions it’s comparable to my own at USAA.  Having said that, he cost of living differences between those locations and San Antonio is night and day, especially California…

To be fair the recruiter listed a few other locations outside of California but they were all big cities in the East/West coast.  Advantage, Texas!

 

A New Adventure

It’s official, we’re moving!  After eight and a half years in our house on the NE side of San Antonio we’ve sold it and moving into a new one.   Our new house is more central to town and inside loop 1604 which is a Godsend in of itself.

Here are a few pictures of the new house, I’ll post some more once we get moved in

Chill’n with my kids

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Yeah, we’re like that.

James Thomas Kerr

James entered the world at 7:51PM on Friday 5/18 weighing in at 8lb 5oz and 20.75″ long!James Thomas Kerr

To JavaOne I Go Again

I’m going back to JavaOne again this year!  I enjoyed the conference last September and I’m looking forward to this year’s conference.  A little bummed it’s not in the Mascone Center (again) this year but  overall I thought Oracle did a good job with the Hilton, Niko, and Parc 55.  Sessions are booked, flight reserved, and hotel ready.  San Francisco here I come again!

Father’s Day Joys

This is what makes Father’s Day memorable.

The Nothing Box

This video was shown to me just the other day and I couldn’t stop laughing.  Let’s just say, there’s truth in humor.

This week I’ve been able to utilize my nothing box to it’s upmost potential, probably more than I ever had.  To be honest, I find it hard for me to just do nothing on a regular basis but I managed to do it this week.  I turned off the work phone, didn’t check my work email, and just enjoyed some family time.  Sometimes, that’s all you need to have a great vacation, do nothing.

Picking a language

Every year at work we review our development and performance objectives.  How did we do on them, what are the objectives for this year, etc.  Since I pick my development objectives I’ve decided that one of them will be to learn three new languages/frameworks.  There are plenty of languages and frameworks to choose from, so much in fact that I have had a hard time nailing down which ones I want to try and tackle.  Of the many options to choose from I’ve narrowed down the list to the following six:

  • Grails
  • Python
  • Objective C – really get into it this time especially now that I have my new MacBook Pro :)
  • Scala
  • Ruby On Rails
  • GWT

I actually jump started my goal in the beginning of the year by attending one of the SATJUG meetings which was over Grails.  The presentation at the JUG was enough to grab my attention and bump it up in my list.  Groovy is an interesting language and I’m really liking how the Grails framework makes use of it’s dynamic nature.  There’s also some entertaining value of having a class called GString in the core language.  Scaffolding is nothing new but Grails does it with flair.  Throw GORM into the mix and you have yourself a pretty slick web framework.  Despite all that I don’t see it having a home at work other than for prototyping due to our ‘culture’ which saddens me.  Regardless, this framework has a lot going for it.

I still haven’t picked my next language/framework, I’m open to suggestions, but I hope the next one I pick is as unique and versatile as Groovy/Grails :)

Pro, MacBook Pro

After much deliberation I finally broke down and bought a new 15″ MacBook Pro.  Thank God for the USAA employee discount because it saved me a lot of money.  I decided to not get the SSD at this time going for more hard drive space over the speed.  The 128GB SSD just doesn’t seem like much when you have 80GB of music and 10GB+ of videos and pictures….

Tech Specs:

  • Processor – 2.2GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7
  • Memory – 4GB DDR3 (who actually pays for the upgrade?)
  • Hard Drive – 500GB SATA 7200
  • Upgraded display and a few other small upgrades

My existing MacBook, that’s MacBook not MacBook Pro, is a good 4 years old and has served it’s purpose of watching movies and surfing the web well.  I’m looking forward to actually being able to code and run services without waiting 10+minutes for anything to load.