Andrew Pollack's Blog

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Where's Andrew? Why is this blog so slow lately?

By Andrew Pollack on 05/03/2007 at 08:06 AM EDT




Ok, I admit it, I've been really slow with new stuff up here lately. Let me give you a run down of the last few months, then we can agree that I'm caught up and move on.

First, Soccer season is in full swing here now. Ari's team is out on the grass (well, what will soon be grass) and playing hard. Last weekend, for example, the team was in Glastonbury, CT for their spring warm-up tournament. Ari's team is considered top notch here in Maine, but going south to the soccer capitol of the US they had a rough time of it. They were 1 and 3 for the weekend. The games were good and lessons were good. The coach's goal is to make sure that every game they play that doesn't count toward their "state cup" record will be harder than the ones that do. This counted.

Coryn is busy too, having started on a team with another club this year. They're just getting started but things look good. In the mean time she's kept up with Karate and now wears a purple belt very proudly, and has joined the "SWAT" team at the dojo. The team does flashy demonstrations and includes kids from about Coryn's level up to black belts.

Barb's work has been busy as always. She's still making the world safe for people doing business with her company. I won't talk about that more here because every time I do someone at that company ends up finding it on web crawler somewhere.

As for me, the fire stuff has been busy of course -- we had two snowstorms a week apart followed by a 3 day "spring" that left most of the state flooded and us running around with down power lines for two days.

I spent a week out in Redmond, WA with Gary Devendorf at a gathering he put together. We learned about Microsoft's products and had a good time. I even drank some of the "Microsoft Water" (see picture to the right). Yes, that top picture is at Microsoft HQ and shows a Linux desktop running in a Microsoft VM one of the presenters was using.

Second Signal has kept me REALLY busy writing code. I've gone insane with JavaScript and Ajax building the secure part of the site where users manage their pagers and cell phones, sign up for department access, download audio, and so on. I've learned a lot doing this, and am getting ready to roll out some changes based on what I've learned. The pictures to the right include one of the new thin client machines running at our first paying customer site.

This week I'm getting ready for my first trade show with Second Signal. It's a very small event, but it is a good warm up for the very big one I'm doing in June at the New England Fire Chief's show in Springfield, MA. That one will have attendees from over a thousand departments, many of whom will be high ranking officers.

For the shows, I'm actually going to have a fully working system on hand that includes five telephones connected to my local linux server which itself will be a fully working back end server for Second Signal. I'm also planning to have a workstation set up built on the new thin client platform, a slideshow running in the background (powered by my Zen player!) and some great banners and pop-up graphics. The first graphic is just a 3 foot tall by 6 foot wide banner. That will be here today and will be at the small show. I'm doing that to get a feel for the material to see if I like it more than the vinyl I've used in the past. This stuff is called "Trade Show Film" and is potentially a nice product. I'll order much fancier and more detailed side "stand up" displays that will be 6 feet tall by 2 or 3 feet wide, and have a lot more detailed information on them.

That about catches you up to where I am. I'll try to post more often again now.


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