Great time in NYC

Well, we’re having a great time in NYC. It was a little cold yesterday (my wife says no matter when she comes from now on she’s bringing a coat). We went to the Natural History Museum and walked around for hours. The coolest thing (for me anyway) was the pieces of meteorites they have displayed in the back corner of the first floor. These are pieces of rock that traveled billions of miles and are potentially billions of years old, and here they are in front of me. Not sure why, but that gives me an incredible sense of place in the universe.

We went to Union Square Cafe for dinner and it was excellent. Had a special rib steak for two that was out of this world and an incredible bottle of 2001 Origin Meritage. Definately have to find some of that in the local wine shop.

After dinner we went to Fiddler on the Roof, which was probably the best musical I’ve ever seen live. OK, maybe a tie with the Producers, but it was close. There are so many levels that I appreciate the play: as a father with daughters, as someone who has never had to deal with real persecution but when I see people that do am greatful for what I have, and as someone living in rapidly changing times. All in all a great day. Hope today is as much fun.

New York, New York

My wife and I are taking a little trip up to NYC tomorrow. I have a conference to attend there on Monday and Tuesday, so I set it up for us to go a little early and see a show and have some dinner.

I love NYC. We went there about a year ago and had a great time, even though it was well below freezing and there was alot of snow on the gound. This time promises to be much warmer.

We have tickets to see Fiddler on the Roof and dinner reservations at Union Square Cafe. We’re going to try to make it to the Natural History Museum and Central Park as well, but not at the expense of a giant piece of Cheesecake (and that is with a capital C) from the Stage Deli.

Maybe I’ll get a chance to add a few posts (and pics!) while I’m there.

Spiffing up my blog

Well as you can see via the post below, I am spiffing up my blog with the addition of pictures, thanks to Jeff. The more I play around with my site, the more I find its alot like messing with cars. A tweak here, a tweak there and all of the sudden you have something cool…or you’ve made everything stop working.

Anyway, the site should be a little nicer with pictures. Thanks Jeff.

School for my kids

My kids are getting to the age where we need to do some serious homework on where to send them to school. We live in one of the worst states for public education, so we knew even before we had kids that we’d have to be sending them to a private school.

Most of the private schools around here are catholic, which we are not, but that’s not a problem since I went to all catholic schools and turned out just fine. (no, really). So that brings us to option 1: my grade school alma mater. It’s a really good school, reasonably priced and it feels “like home” to me since I spent 7 years there. However,

Now on to option 2 (through n). My daughter is currently in a Montessori pre-school and will be in Kindergarten there next year. I really like the Montessori method. It has made a tremendous difference in my daughter’s self confidence and I think the method results in skills that are going to be much more useful in the workplace of the 21st century: self reliance, discipline and self-motivation. There are an amazing number of Montessori options in our area. Which leads to a problem of an over-abundance of choices…and price ranges.

We’ll be making some visits over the next few months. We’ll look for all the usuals, but in the end it will come down to how it feels. I guess I’m appropriately worried about this, but it seems like one of the most important decisions I’ll ever have to make fir someone else…I really don’t want to screw it up!

Happy B-day to me

Happy B-day to me. Turned the calendar another year today. Doesn’t seem like I’m much older, but my kids sure do. Spent the weekend in Lexington at Keeneland horse track. Lost some money (that’s what it’s there for, after all), but had a great time. Hope 31 is as good as 30 was.

The Future of Engineering Software

Finished up in Seattle (be back there next week) and am now in Scottsdale for a conference on the future of engineering software (COFES). Listening to John Koza from Stanford discuss genetic programming. This conference is always interesting and despite the rain (yes, its raining in the desert!), it promises to be again this year. Always a unique mix of users, vendors and analysts/media…all at the fringe of the engineering profession.

Platform versus apps

Attending a Microsoft conference this week on the future of their platform. I thought this was going to be at the MSFT campus, but it turns out that its just at the hotel were we’re all staying because there are too many attendees.

It’s been very interesting and I’ve reconfirmed my belief that despite what some may think, MSFT is a company firmly commited to product excellence. This is not so much a comment on their product quality as it is on their never-ending quest to push the state of the art in a cost effective ownership model.

As a partner, it requires us to be continually on the cutting edge as well, since what was great new stuff in our apps a release ago is all of the sudden in the platform. I don’t consider this to be as insidious as many of my ISV colleagues…rather it’s good for the customer. Much like Walmart drives cost out of the supply chain to deliver every day low prices to its customers, Microsoft drives innovation into its partner ecosystem to deliver increased application value to its customers. And the same way that Walmart is considered a hero and a villain, Microsoft also plays both roles. The lesson for ISVs is clear: get ready to run if you want to partner with MSFT. If you can stay ahead, you’ll reap great rewards…if you fall behind you’ll soon find your apps in the platform.

Off to Seattle

Leaving for Seattle tomorrow morning. It will be my first visit to the Microsoft campus and I have to say I’m interested to see what it will be like. After 3 days there, I’m off to Scottsdale for a 3 day “Conference on the Future of Engineering Software”. I’ve been going to this “conference” for the past few years and its always interested to see what everyone brings. The speakers are always interesting and the private meetings are even better, so who knows what will turn up.

Last year I met with a guy that had developed a really cool decision support tool based on Baeysian statistics. It basically allowed groups of people to “vote” on what they thought about a particualr decision and the confidence they had in that knowledge, and then would filter out someone who was BSing. Pretty interesting stuff. Can’t wait to see what turns up this year.

Too busy

This blogging every day thing has turned out to be more of a problem than I thought it would be. Its not that I don’t have anything to blog about, but this past week was filled with too many 15 hour days. The new ownership of my company has made everyone feel under the gun as we try to make sure we’re not seen as the one slacking off if there should need to be a slight “reduction in forice”. So after working 10 hours in the office in meetings all day, I found myself needing to work another 5-6 hours at home ach night just to keep up with the volume of email, voicemail and all the tasks I get assigned in those damn meetings!

As the subtitle says, its no wonder we’re in a jobless recovery. I know I’m doing the work of 2-3 people and I’m certainly not alone there. Maybe I’ll adjust my resolution and just start blogging once a week…

Sold!

For the first time in over 7 years, I find myself working for a privare company. No more quarterly reporting…no more stock options! I’m in these circumstances not exactly by choice, but it’s still fairly agreeable, especially considering the state of my former employer (although I wish you luck, all that are left behind).

I hope our new private owners don’t screw with us too much, but at the same time I hope they don’t stay too hands off. If they can find the right balance, we’ll be set.

On easier news, my kids had their 3rd and 5th birthdays today (yes, I planned things that well ;-). I think they had a good time, but I’m amazed how quickly the time has gone. I guess that’s one reason I’ve started blogging. As long as my computer doesn’t crash, I’ve got at least some record of the comings and goings of every day life…maybe one day it will slow down.