New Exercise Plan

Well, I think I’ve come to the realization that doing exercise after work is just not a feasible option for me right now.  I get out of work around 5:30PM, and by the time I get home, eat, do the normal stuff around the house, etc., it is at least 8PM, and usually I need to spend some time reading and doing homework for my class.   My goal right now is to lose about 15 pounds (though more wouldn’t necessarily be in bad, haha) in order to have a more healthy lifestyle.

To assist in that effort, I’ve been attempting to run a few days a week in the morning before work.  I need to get up at 5:30AM in order to allow myself enough time to get ready and run before work, which is early (!), but something I need to do.  I did really well two weeks ago, but last week I didn’t go running at all (had to wake up early to go to work everyday and had a lot of homework/personal stuff to do after).  So this week I will be getting back to the swing of things.  My goals are as follows:

  • Work out 5 days a week
  • Work up to doing 10minutes per mile for a total of 3.5miles

Once I complete those two goals consistently, I will try to keep conditioning myself and making new goals.

I am using Runkeeper (awesome app) to track and record my progress.  You can follow me here.  I appreciate any encouragement, this will be a tough journey!

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AT&T and Unlimited Data

Well, as I am sure many of you have heard, AT&T has taken the step that all phone companies have been wanting to do for some time: removal of the unlimited 3G data plans. As usual, there is so much misinformation going around and people don’t bother to double-check your facts, so here is the most important point:

If you are a current iPhone user with the unlimited plan, you will not be forced into the new plans, even if you start a new 2-year contract.

As far as the tiered pricing goes ($15 for 250MB, $25 for 2GB), there are actually some plusses to it. Frankly, I could easily downgrade to the 2GB plan (my average monthly usage is about 800MB on the iPhone), but I’ll probably stick with the unlimited for the $5 difference. Also, this allows people who wanted an iPhone but didn’t want to pay $30 a month to reconsider. When I told my dad that he could get the the $15 plan, he immediately said he would be willing to get the iPhone. He’s just waiting for me to get the iPhone 4.0 so he can take my 3GS 🙂

What I do think is asinine is the new tethering option. You pay an additional $20 and you get no extra bandwidth?!? If AT&T had just made it so you get 5 additional GB with the tethering (so $45 per month for 7GB and the ability to tether), I think that would have made it an awesome deal.

By the way, all the people saying that they are going to leave AT&T because of this, I will just laugh when Verizon introduces the same thing. Trust me, it won’t take long.

As far as the 2GB with regards to the iPad, I am a little worried there. Most of my iPad surfing is at home, though if I decide to stream music and such while on travel, I can see that being used up. I’m torn as to whether to just keep my unlimited 3G plan and not cancel so I will be able to maintain it. Thoughts?

Apple iPad Review

Well, it has been exactly three weeks since I received my 64GB Wi-FI + 3G model.

BLUF: The iPad is an amazing piece of hardware that I would highly recommend. While your initial thoughts may be “why do I need this in my life and how will it benefit me”, once you start using it, everything just flows naturally.

Note: For the non-military folk, BLUF is Bottom Line Up Front

As a general note, I’m not going to harp on flash (I rarely use it except for Hulu, see below), and multitasking (which is slated to be released in Fall 2010).

Positives:

1) Screen – I know a common retort is “The iPad is just a big iPhone”, but that statement misses the point entirely. The extra screen real estate compared to the iPhone is game changing, and though it is hard to explain in words, everything you view on it looks sharp. It changes the way apps (and eventually web sites) will be able to display content to the user.

2) Applications – Apple isn’t stupid, and knew going in that most of what was not going to be pre-installed on the iPad could always be filled by the App Store. Netflix, ABC Player, AirVideo, GoodReader, NY Times (just to name a few) all provide added benefits to the iPad. The best part: the longer the iPad is out, the likelihood that even better apps will be released.

3) Portability – I travel a lot b/c of my career (approximately 25% of the time), and the iPad is a much more portable system than a laptop. Longer battery, faster startup, and a more convenient size (plus you don’t have to take it out of your carry bag for security) make it a more versatile piece of equipment. Also, it alleviates a common problem I have when travelling – I save my iPhone battery and don’t have to worry about running out while taking connecting flights that total a 9hr+ travel day.

As far as typing goes, it does take some getting used to, but in landscape mode, I can type at roughly 80% of my normal typing speed. However, I don’t plan on writing a 20pg test report on it ever. The keyboard is perfect for what you will be doing on the iPad 95% of the time.

And of course, what it does best is watching Netflix while lying on the bed/couch. 🙂

Negatives:

1) 3G – I purchased the $30 for unlimited data for 1 month to try it out, and I find it to be slightly faster than the 3G on the iPhone. However, on principle it bothers me that we have to pay an additional fee to use 3G when both devices are under the same company (AT&T). They should implement a system that allows you switch the 3G access between the two devices (maybe by exchanging SIM cards?) or through some alternative method. There are rumors of tethering being allowed with the iPhone OS 4.0, so maybe someone will come up with a clever solution for this?

2) Hulu – Probably the only thing I’d want flash for. If more television companies released apps like the ABC Player (which frankly is Hulu for ABC), then this really wouldn’t be a concern. There are lots of rumors that the Hulu app will be coming (and will include a subscription that will allow much more access). The open question is how much and what exactly will it provide me. If it could provide multiple seasons of shows, Netflix + Hulu would be an incredible combo.

Note: I wrote this whole post on the iPad 🙂

Apple Customer Service = The Best Ever

So, I had two important pieces of equipment near and dear to me have problems 😦

1) My battery on my MacBook Pro was dead. It wouldn’t hold any charge, effectively making it a desktop. I had forgotten to get the extended warranty on it, and the laptop is past the deadline (I purchased it back in Feb-March 2008)

2) My iPad (I’m not sure how I did it), had a pretty noticeable scratch in the middle of the screen. I was very very sad when I noticed it 😦

So I go ahead and make two appointments (one for the iPad, and one for the MacBook) at the Apple Store near my job. Given that the Apple warranty doesn’t cover cosmetic damage, coupled with the fact that my laptop was out of warranty, I mentally prepared myself to have to pay a good chunk of change ($130 for the battery, plus whatever it took to fix the screen).

When I arrive, I showed them my iPad and the crack. After inspecting it, the guy says he’ll see what he can do and goes to the back room for a few minutes. He returns with a new iPad (!!!) and while he reminds me that normally the warranty doesn’t cover it, they are giving me a break and exchanging it. Happy face 😀

With that done, I proceed to my next “appointment” with my MacBook Pro. They run their battery diagnostic test (which by the way, is pretty cool how they do it. They plug in an iPod with proprietary software which checks out the battery, connectors, internal parts, etc.). After confirmation that my battery was indeed dead, he went and provided me a battery free of charge, as well as a 1 year warranty on the new battery (!).

Apple could have (and definitely was entitled to) charge me for both services, and to be honest, I would have been fine paying it. However, I was impressed with how understanding and generous they were in approaching their customer’s problems. I guess buying an iMac, iPad, MacBook Pro, and all three generations of the iPhone helps out in the long run 🙂

Thanks Apple!

Update: For those with MacBooks, here is the site for optimal charging and maintenance.

First iPad Post

Well, I am blogging live from my iPad! I will be writing a full review in a couple of weeks, but I want to take it with me on TDY and try out the 3G first. So far, I love it 🙂 I have used Netflix more in the last few days than since I signed up 5 months ago. A lot of it has to do with the size of the iPad; it makes it such a great bed/couch companion.

Things are going well otherwise. I also need to post summaries of my last couple of classes (we have been focus on parables). I hope to have them up in the next couple of days.

If you have any questions about the iPad that you want me to answer, just post a comment!

Interviewer vs. Interviewee

Last Thursday I had my first chance to actually be on the other side of the table.  I must admit, when my boss first asked me to be a part of it, I was taken aback; I had never interviewed anyone, and since the interviewee had a PhD in Chemistry, with my Masters in Chemical Engineering I would be the most competent in asking and evaluating her answers to technical questions.

With only one day to prepare, I set off to review the resume and put together a list of questions.  I suppose in my case it was a little different as the interview was for someone with a lot of experience, but it took a considerable amount of time to put together thought-provoking questions that capture the generalities of her experiences to see how they would fit working in a Government setting.  This is also compounded by the fact I am 27 and she had almost the same amount of years in job experience alone.

I was a little nervous at the beginning, but 10-15 seconds I felt much more comfortable.  I only relied on my prepared list occasionally, being able to just ask questions based on where the flow of the conversation was going.  She was a very good interviewee, I am sure it would be more difficult when the person you are interviewing does not elaborate or explain much in their answers.

Overall though, it gave me a different perception of interviewers.  It takes more work than I realized to review a resume and develop relevant questions for the interviewee.  Compound that by getting dozens of resume per week and it can get hectic.  However, I enjoyed it and look forward to the next interview I can participate in. 🙂

UPDATE: Safe to say the interviewee was none of these.

On The Road Again

Well, I’m sitting here at Newark airport, so I figured I’d write a post. I’m on the road again, this time to Louisiana and the area I’m going to is pretty remote. It is a group of us going though, so will be fun. Kim, if you are reading this, I’ll be sure to drink a sweet tea for you! 🙂

Went to Philly yesterday for the day with my hon; we had a great time. Met up with her college friend Mayra and her bf Chris for lunch, then took in some of the historical things Philadelphia has to offer (National Constitution Center, Liberty Bell, Penn Landing, Old City, Drexxel, among others) and them finished the night eating at a Cuban restaurant.

I supplied to Jess all the pictures I took since she is better at getting pictures posted. 🙂 Once she puts them up I’ll provide the link.

Almost time to board, catch you later!