Real Life

Would you like to sponsor me on a 5k Run this month?

Yes I know it has been ages since I posted on this blog and I apologise. Real life and taking up running has meant my priorities have been elsewhere but I do have some techie posts coming up shortly (I promise).

Logo for Tyler's Home Run 5k So I’m almost ready to run my first 5k Run on Oct 29th in aid of Tyler Burchett, the son of a work friend who suddenly became paralyzed through Myelitis a couple of months ago. The run is a fundraiser to help support the family with medical bills and home modifications.

So, if you’d like to sponsor me and will see me in person before (or shortly after) Oct 29th 2011 then I’ll gladly pass your donation on. If you are not going to see me in person but still want to sponsor me or donate to help this family then you can use this paypal link

(Note that the money will go into my account which I will then transfer to the Burchett family – You will have to trust me on this – it was the best way of reducing the credit card fees. Incidentally if you have a paypal balance there are no fee’s. Otherwise there is a small credit card fee that I will cover up to the first $1000 of donations if you do not wish to pay the credit card fee – let me know on the sponsor form)

If you are a runner in the Columbus,OH area and want to run a 5k to support a local family then there is still time to sign up at the official race page – all the race fee’s have been covered through corporate sponsorship so your race fee goes directly to help the family.

If you want to bake some food for the runners afterwards I’ll also take this down to the race too. (Just please make sure it doesn’t have nuts in it so I can eat it 😉 )

If you subscribe to my feed here, my IRL and Facebook status, I apologise for sending this out multiple times.

Kroger $30 Giveaway

In a somewhat different blog posting (but don’t worry this isn’t going to be a regular event) I have a giveaway for one of my readers.

Kroger is one of the sponsors for the Pound for Pound Challenge – a US wide version of the Biggest Loser. You can go to to sign up and pledge the amount of pounds you will lose by the end of June 2010. For every pound pledged, 14 cents will be donated to Feeding America which is enough to deliver one pound of groceries to a local food bank.

Unfortunately I only heard about it two weeks ago and it expires at the end of the month but I’d like to lose a bit of weight – my target goal is to lose 11 pounds – probably not healthy to do this in 4 weeks but that is my final goal no matter how long it takes me – after that it’s another 10 pounds but that is another story 😉

So far (depending on the time of the day) I think I’ve lost about 4 pounds so I have some way to go 😉

Anyway, as part of the event I will have a $30 gift card to give away to one lucky reader – just leave a comment on this blog post and one lucky winner will be drawn at random on the 26th June (contest closes midnight on Friday). I’ll contact you via email to get your address details so please ensure your email is correct (it will not be displayed on your comment). If you do pledge for the pound for pound challenge then please include this information in your comment but it’s not a strict requirement.

The Kroger Family of Stores gift card, information, and giveaway were all provided by the Kroger Family of Stores and General Mills through MyBlogSpark – a service that provides access to review new products, services and survey entries – and occasionally giveaways to your readers – hence this post. Contest not applicable to family members.

Update Congrats to Deanna who won the competition, replied with her details and the gift cards are on their way.

Hospital tech.

Kristen woke up in the middle of the night with chronic stomach pains and so at 5am I was searching through the United Health Website trying to find the nearest Hospital/ER to where we are staying. The strange thing is that the hospital 11 miles away was not listed. However this doesn’t seem to mean it is not “in-network” as other hospitals were listed ok. Their 24hr careline is only open from 8am to 8pm which is not much use when trying to find out whether your hospital costs are going to be less than $3600 or up to $10,000
So, we ended up going to the hospital anyway as by that point Kristen was in too much pain. The hospital was pretty good with not a lot of waiting to see someone – thankfully Kristen has been ill early in the morning both times we’ve had to go to ER so we’ve not had to wait for too long. Whilst Kristen was being looked at I was reading my book (when the needles came out) and looking at the technology during other waiting periods.
The triage area was computer driven using citrix to connect to their health system. This seemed to be a little slow, but still faster than the triage nurse could type. Extensive use of lookups ensured that data was entered correctly into the database, but meant that “daily” was not recognised and therefore a lookup was provided with options such as WEEKLY or DAILY. You’d have thought that the nurses would have realised to push the caps lock button OR a UCASE function made to ensure that the text typed in was correctly matched. I must admit I was impressed at the medicine lookup – it must be pretty tough keeping all the medicines in the db up to date.
GoogleShirtWhen we were moved into the ER Room itself, I was suprised to see a computer mounted high up on the wall with a flat screen monitor on a swing out arm. I was also surprised to see that they were running Novell for their network (and Mcafee antivirus). I wasn’t sure why the people would need icon’s on the desktop for “my computer” and network neighbourhood – with a locked down desktop I would have thought that the programs needed would already be on the start menu or the desktop.
One of the amusing conversations occurred when one of the nurses took a double take at the t-shirt I was wearing (shown in the picture) and then said that my t-shirt looked familiar. I really would hope that the Google logo is now familiar to most people!

The final analysis is that Kristen likely has a kidney stone on it’s way out, but as the CAT scan equipment is broken we won’t really know for sure (although all the signs are there that this is the case). For an amusing (PG rated) description of Kidney Stones, read this Blogography Kidney Stone metaphor posting.

4 Years in the States.

Monday was our fourth anniversary of being in the States. As it is now Wednesday you can tell I forgot! I did actually realize it yesterday but I ended up working until 8.30pm last night on a very weird networking issue so didn’t have time to celebrate or anything.
I was back in the UK for 5 days over Easter to attend the funeral of my Uncle which was a sad occasion, but it was nice to meet up with other family members and some relatives I’d only met a couple of times.
People often ask me if England is much different to Ohio and normally I would have said no, but having been back I would have to say it is fairly different. When Kristen’s parents came over to the uk when we were living there, they would often remark how narrow the roads are, how green everything is, people’s accents are so amazing and does it always rain this much? My observation whilst I was back was how narrow the roads are, how green everything is, people’s accents are so strong and I wish it would stop raining! Actually that last bit was not strictly true as the weather wasn’t too bad – it rained heavily on the day we drove back from Croydon to Chesterfield – a 180 mile journey that took 6 hours – NOT fun – but the rest of the week was pretty good with just a few scattered showers.
I was pretty amazed at the strong accents I heard whilst I was there – although I was in Chesterfield there were a lot of people around with strong yorkshire accents but it was so different to hear all these different accents that I would have normally not paid any attention too. I still get comments about my accent over here in the States and still get asked to record people’s voicemail messages and to “just say something” to people when I’m introduced to them.

New number plate.

form4tc number plate It’s that time of year again when we have to renew the tags on the car.  As we’ve had a shuffle around of the cars and I now drive Kristen’s old car,I now have the chance to choose the number plate again.  It is amazing how many techy/geeky options have already been taken. The funny thing is that entering reb00t as a number plate gives the error message “Your request has been found to be inappropriate, you have entered too many characters or your plate request has been found inappropriate due to its meaning.”  I’m not sure what is inappropriate about reb00t (reboot was already taken).

Some of the suggestions that we came up with were bloggr (I can’t get blogg3r back as I guess it is still in the system from the old car even though I actually have the plates themselves already), iblog, googlr, ktxbai, igoogle, wonky, havepwd, r3boot, form4tc and hey up.

Can you think of any other good ones that aren’t already taken? You can check availability online at

Flickr RSS feeds

As part of my effort in trying to improve my photography skills I have set up a PicADay set in Flickr. The most efficient way to view these photos is with an RSS reader but unfortunately Flickr doesn’t easily provide the links for the RSS feed. However by installing the Flickr RSS greasemonkey script you get one click access. Alternatively you can create an RSS feed using the Yahoo Pipes interface and a nice web page builder kindly provided by alto maltés. The end result is my PicADay RSS feed. I have include these pics automatically on Absoblogginlutely! – IRL but for this I used the Flickr Widget (unfortunately the authors website is broken so there is no point in linking to it).

Welcome to 2008

Happy New Year everyone – I hope you all had a good evening. This is a quick post to announce my new blog, Absoblogginlutely! – IRL (IRL stands for In Real Life) and this will continue my no techie posts. I have had several users say that my main blog is too technical but they would still like to keep up to date with the news so feel free to head on over. I have been working on some of the content and posts over the Christmas break, but you’d be surprised as there doesn’t look like there is actually much there at the moment but the About Me page and the Contact Me page will make an appearance on this blog eventually.
There will be some cross posted content where appropriate, but this blog will focus on more of the Tech content and IRL will contain other things. This year I also intend to work on my photography skills and related content to that will be on IRL.

The snow is here!

I woke up early this morning (3am!) and it was light outside – not sure if it was the brightness in the room or the cheese I had at the works Christmas do last night. It had snowed overnight (and still continues to snow). After about an hour lying in bed I got up and caught up on some blog reading and patched some customer servers and did some reboots. I then went into work early to beat the mad traffic rush – I’m glad I did as one guy took an hour to drive his normal 3 minute route to work!

Happy Thanksgiving.

This is now the fifth (I think) Thanksgiving celebrated in the States. It’s a funny holiday as part of it is so traditional with the relatives around, Turkey dinner and the listing of things that we are thankful for (and the football game) .  Kristen’s brothers and family are up for Thanksgiving which is cool, Brian’s daughters have been keeping us amused with Kate’s love of spaghetti and attempts at clicking her fingers and Mia’s pride in the pink cake we had last night and it was cute when she couldn’t wait to give me the pretzel they had brought from the mall (and waited patiently for her tip – a piece of Kristen’s pretzel).  I’m really thankful for the 4 day break as I need some rest and a chance to recharge my batteries. No studying will be done this weekend.