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My 5k Run in the Snowstorm

Some say that you can’t call yourself a runner until you’ve actually run in a race. I’m happy to say that on March 8th, 2008 I accomplished that feat by running the Slainte Irish Pub St. Patrick’s Day Road Race.

This wasn’t your everyday run however, as you can see from the picture below, there was a bit of a snowstorm going on around us!

The snow on race day
A look at the snow outside before the race

It definitely wasn’t the warmest I’ve been while out for a run, but as you can tell from our faces in the picture below, we were doing ok.

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Joe, Dorothy and I ready to go

The route was pretty good, we started just off Concession Street, ran along the mountain brow and then made our way down the Jolly Cut. The whole time down I was telling Joe how nice it would be to have one of those x-games head mounted cameras, that way there would be some evidence for how much snow was coming down.

Considering the weather I was pretty happy with my results, my goal was to not be the last person to cross the line and I beat that by about 50, sweet!

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Joe and I busting for the finish, notice the snow!

The best part about the whole day was the hot Irish stew and beer waiting for us at the pub just over the finish line. Definitely helped us get warmed up quick!

For those thinking about entering this race, go for it! It’s a lot of fun and from what I could tell everybody had a fantastic time. I’ll see you there again next year for sure!

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The three of us at the finish line, we made it!

I’ve Moved to a New Host

After a year of nearly constant frustration with my previous web hosting company I have decided to switch. If you are seeing this page that means that the DNS updates are nearly complete.

You may also notice that the site is a bit different, during the host migration I decided to switch from PostNuke to WordPress since most of what I do is blogging anyway and PostNuke seems to have fallen quite a bit away from the competition on that front.

I’ve migrated most of the stories that actually mattered from the old site, and there will be plenty more to come in the near future.

Check back soon for much more frequent updates.

Wally

Getting things done…

Wow, what a busy holiday season that was! Always is this time of year, Christmas, the New Year, my birthday and anniversary all within a two week span. There was so much going on that it is all very overwhelming and exhausting. Even after the holidays it felt like no matter how hard I worked nothing seemed to get done.

Finally I have been able to start digging myself out from underneath the pile. Many of the things that have been on my todo list for months have suddenly been completed, plus many more recent items. Here’s the plan I have been following to keep it going:

  • Keep a detailed list of everything that I need to do
  • Get rid of anything on the list that doesn’t actually matter
  • Finish things before I move on to the next, don’t leave items @ 90% complete
  • When something is finished, put it away so that it’s out of my mind
  • Re-prioritize my to do list often in achievable chunks, starting the whole process over again

The results have been good, as I get caught up, my head feels more clear and I’m actually able to get things done even faster. This week I’ve scratched 3 times as much stuff off of my lists as I have in previous weeks, and we all know how good it feels to get out that marker and cross something off our list. I no longer feel like I’m buried under a pile of stuff.

So give it a try if you like, let me know how you make out.

Avoid Comwave like the plague!

This is a head’s up to anybody who is thinking about signing up with Comwave for their VOIP service. I have been a customer of theirs since June of 2005 (1.5 years) and until recently had been generally satisfied with the service they provided. There were a couple of instances of dropped calls, but nothing terribly bad.

That all changed just over a month ago. During the entire final weekend of August my iPhone refused to make or receive any calls. I was unable to get through to Technical Support on numerous attempts. I would wait on hold for 10+ minutes before the call was dropped.
On August 30th I received an e-mail from the president of Comwave apologizing for a botched upgrade, at the time I thought it was a nice gesture. That was until the problems that were apologized for never actually went away.

I started to hear from friends of mine that they were having difficulties getting through to us, they would call our number and get a busy signal right away. They would sometimes get through on the 3rd or 4th attempt. Under normal circumstances they should have at least been forwarded to my voicemail so that I would know that I had missed some calls, this was not the case.
I attempted to contact Technical Support again, I waited on hold twice for more than 20 minutes before my call was dropped.

Shortly after this started I began having intermittent troubles making calls out, when I picked up my phone I would get a busy signal, that doesn’t seem right does it?
I was starting to get really angry about the whole situation so I dedicated an entire Tuesday night to trying to get on the phone with somebody at the company. On my first attempt I waited on hold for 22 minutes before getting through to a technician. I explained all my problems and we did some basic troubleshooting to make sure there were no problems with my Internet connection, which there wasn’t. I then reluctantly installed their remote control application so that the technician could look at my settings himself. While he was in control of my computer the phone got disconnected, noticing that he was still moving my mouse around I opened up notepad and informed him that the line had been dropped and gave him two (non-VOIP) phone numbers to call me back on. I never received a call and about 5 minutes later the technician disconnected the remote session. Not one to give up, I called right back, waited on hold for 20+ minutes again, but finally got another technician on the phone. I went through the whole spiel again (apparently my previous technician did not make any notes on my account) and finally the technician gave up and said he would have to elevate a support request to figure out what was going on. Apparently this means that a higher level technician would look into my problem and get back to me within 24 hours.

So much for that. Two days later I had not received a call so I got back on the phone again, this time getting through in a surprisingly quick 5 minutes. When the technician pulled up my account he said there was no record of the elevated support request that I informed him about. Trying to be helpful, he insisted that we go through the entire support process again. Another 10 minutes of him poking around in the iPhone settings and he agreed that there needs to be another elevated support request entered.

I let him do this, and got his name this time, Leonard, as he assured me that it was entered on my account. It’s been a week since that call, my friends still say that they have to call 3+ times to reach me after getting a busy signal. I called back this morning from work mentioning my history to the operator who then informed me that they cannot troubleshoot my problem unless I am at home with access to the iPhone. I tried to explain that these steps had all been tried before but got nowhere, she did however offer to schedule a time for a technician to call me at home so that I wouldn’t have to wait on hold. I agreed to that and we booked the call for between 5:00 and 5:30 EST (I made sure), I also gave them my cell phone number in case they were unable to get through.

The current time is 6:46 EST (just for consistency), and I have still not received the call. I just got off the phone with somebody in Customer Service (since I don’t have any reason to trust the tech support people anymore), who said my only course of action was for him to schedule the next available technician to call me when they get off the phone. After waiting 35 minutes I received a call from a technician, his only recommendation was to do a factory reset on the iPhone and waiting a day or so to see if the problem goes away. Not exactly what I would call helpful…

I am going to be switching to Cogeco ‘s Digital Phone Service tonight, hoping that they can install it soon. My next challenge will be to try to wrestle my $50 deposit from the incompetent hands of the people over at Comwave.

Any suggestions on a good way to handle that?

Am I turning into an Apple fan?

I’m not even sure how they did it, but Apple is definitely doing something right. I have always been against Apple and their Macs because of application compatibility and the fact that being a .Net programmer, the Mac platform isn’t really available to me.

Lately though, I’ve been finding myself more and more interested in what Apple is doing and some of the new products they are releasing. I even watched the Developer Conference keynote awhile back and found myself getting very excited about what they will be offering, much in the way that I did when I started seeing Vista webcasts.

Even more scary, I find myself seriously considering getting a Macbook Pro or a Mac Pro for my next notebook/laptop. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I can run Windows / Linux etc. on it, I don’t know…

So, kudos to you guys Apple, you’ve caught my attention.