Jason is an IT specialist and systems engineer who stares frequently at screens of various sizes, often with a puzzled expression on his face. He presses buttons with letters and numbers on them until tiny dots illuminate on a flat screen in front of him and appear in a manner and order that he (or someone who is paying him) finds pleasing.
Just a quick post comparing a photo I took almost nine years ago with one I took this past weekend. We took a stroll from Epcot to the Swan and Dolphin and took a shortcut through Disney’s Boardwalk resort. After sampling a bit of the food from the International Festival of the Arts, we stopped off for a nice bite at the Big River Grille & Brewing Works. My first trip to the Swan and Dolphin was for a conference back in 2010.
The picture/camera quality is quite different between the two pics, with the new picture being much clearer and sharper, but there’s something about the lighting, the stillness and the sunset in the first picture that makes me prefer it.
So, what a year it’s been. My family and I have seen more change this year than ever before. In April of this year we started our trek south to central Florida. There have been so many ups and downs throughout the year, but I wouldn’t change anything.
It’s been a great change of climate! I do not miss the snow! And as of yet, I’m not tired of the heat. The hardest part? Missing our friends and family. However, there are just so many things to see and do around central Florida — and not just Disneyworld and Universal. I’ve had so much good food — and put on a little weight in the process. Here’s a sampling of some of the sights we’ve seen, some of things we’ve experienced, and maybe a few familiar faces from 2018:
(There might be a picture or two of some food in there too!)
I love Cadbury chocolate. I really do. I think I can probably blame this fact on having British relatives and having a deep English family connection. Cadbury Flakes? Yes, please! And of course, “no bunny” knows Easter like the Cadbury Bunny.
But I did not come to you tonight to talk about chocolate. I came to talk to you about Easter Eggs. Not even the Cadbury Crème ones… or even the ones you hide in early spring that occupy the kids for hours on end, and you end up finding in July after playing a long guessing game of “where’s that smell coming from?”
I’m thinking more of digital Easter Eggs. Hidden rooms, messages, inside jokes or simple artwork found in video games (especially early games) that were part of the inspiration of the movie “Ready Player One.”
So, the first example of a hidden “Easter Egg” comes right from the movie itself. One of the most prominent “eggs” in the movie involves this one from the Adventure game for the Atari 2600, released in 1979:
Well that was fun. Ryan and a few of his friends headed to Morgantown last week to get Taken. Not literally “taken,” but instead, participate in Morgantown’s premier escape room experience.
The four of us had participated in an escape room in Ocean City, Maryland over the summer. It was a fun experience, but it was definitely a work in progress in O.C. I’m sure over time, the O.C. escape room will be terrific. But this one in Morgantown was the full package.
The general idea behind an escape room is to solve a series of logic puzzles, have keen observation and great teamwork. You must use all of these abilities to escape a room or series of rooms within a certain time limit. In the games that we’ve played, we’ve had one hour to escape. In this case, the kids had just 54 seconds to spare… Nothing like cutting it close guys!
One week after Microsoft Ignite 2017, and I think it’s a good time to take a look back. The keynote speech by Satya Nadella was inspiring. I have to admit, the discussion about quantum computing went over my head. The one question I have: If Windows 10 crashes on a quantum computer, does the universe come to an end?
I enjoyed connecting with and meeting several of the speakers and presenters. A few to point out: Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President of the Enterprise Client & Mobility Team; Michael Niehaus, Microsoft DIrector of Product Marketing; Dona Sarkar, Head of the Windows Insider Program at Microsoft, along with the other #NinjaCats: Blair Glennon, Jason Howard, and Jen Gentleman, among others.
Listening to some of the Windows deployment speakers, such as Mike Nystrom and Johan Arwidmark was incredibly informative. These guys are well-known for their blogs relating to SCCM deployment and it was great to talk with them in person.
Also, this is cool:
Brad Anderson’s Lunch Break featured Brad riding a golf cart around the bus loop at the Orange County Convention Center. Participants could ask Brad anything… My question for Brad didn’t make it to the video, but my selfie did! The entire video can be seen here:
The most beneficial speakers and sessions I’ve linked to below:
All presentations and slide decks are available at the Microsoft Ignite website for viewing. Nerds of the world, tune in and see what you think!
This year I am experiencing my first Microsoft Ignite conference in Orlando, Florida. I was prepared to be blown away by all the innovations, and it sure is overwhelming!
To follow along this week, just follow #MSIgnite on Twitter.
I will (probably) write up something a bit more comprehensive when this is all over. I don’t want to spend all this week in Orlando typing behind a laptop when I could be experiencing Ignite. So, more coming soon!
After a one week delay, classes are underway at SCAD, the Savannah College of Art and Design. We are so proud of Allison for being accepted to this college! Tina and I attended family orientation sessions on Sunday where we were incredibly impressed by the staff and faculty, facilities, and overall planning and coordination of the school.
We were able to keep in contact with representatives at the college during Hurricane Irma by using a variety of online/social media outlets. The parent Facebook page, SCAD’s twitter account, and of course the school website at scad.edu were all valuable resources during the week of uncertainty. Even upon arriving at the school, with all the chaos of registration and getting kids moved in over a shortened weekend — the staff did a fantastic job.
For those not familiar with SCAD (me, a couple of years ago!) here is a video shown during parent orientation that provides a glimpse into the school:
When we arrived at check in, there was a large presence of SCAD personnel ready to assist and answer any questions we had. There was a party-like atmosphere setting everyone at ease in this new environment. We had some time to explore Savannah and visit the on-campus bookstore, Ex Libris. Shortly after that we arrived at Allison’s new dorm to move her in. There was a long line of vehicles going in and going out, but the security and staff at SCAD had the line moving efficiently. By the time we got to Allison’s building we were the only car unloading at that location. SCAD had organized move-in teams with students volunteering to help move freshmen in. With assistance, we had Allison moved into her new room in no time.
Thanks to SCAD for the wonderful experience! And here’s to four successful years at Allison’s new home!
So, thanks to our wonderful, outstanding, useful, totally not-bought-and-paid-for United States Congress® combined with our Reality-TV-star president, there is a very good possibility that your online activity soon can and will be collected and sold without your express permission.
Up until now, Internet Service Providers, who can track all of your online activity, had to get your express permission to collect and sell such information. (Of course, how many people read the entire Terms and Conditions before clicking “OK.” But it was at least nice of them to ask. So it’s likely that we’ve already voluntarily signed a lot of rights away in exchange for a service.)
But there are ways to obfuscate quite a bit of your online activity. In this video, former hacker and current author Kevin Mitnick explains some things you can do to protect yourself.
Now, some of these suggestions only help protect your information and not necessarily your browsing habits. If you visit bankofamerica.com, even with secure sockets layer enabled, your ISP will still know you’ve visited the site. They just can’t see what you’ve done there. Using TOR, as also suggested in the video, would help prevent that type of monitoring.
None of these suggestions is a guarantee of safety or anonymity. They just help.
I was just discussing with Allison the legendary West Virginia University sports broadcaster Jack Fleming and recounting how he could set the scene of any Mountaineer football game. Home games were especially exciting, as his tone would rise and fall with that of the “Pride of West Virginia” performing their pre-game show behind him.
As an example, watch below as Jack sets the scene for a Halloween matchup with the Penn State Nittany Lions:
A true West Virginia treasure, the “Voice of the Mountaineers.”