January 2008 Archives

NSPE Fellow Nomination Done

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I finished the nomination of a colleague for Fellow of NSPE today. And not a minute too soon! I printed it, went online and logged into my FedEx account, printed the shipping label, and requested a pick up at the conference hotel tomorrow. There are still things I would like to do to improve the nomination but there is only so much one person can do given all that has to be done.

This nomination is payback for my nomination. I was elected fellow last year due to the tremendous effort put forth by a colleague and friend. I offered to repay him by taking him to dinner and he said the better payback would be for me to do the next nomination. The Mississippi Engineering Society officially nominated the person but I worked up the package. I have learned several things in the process. First, this is a difficult thing to do when the nominee is not as “connected” (in the electronic sense) and the nominator. For my nomination the nominator and I went back and forth numerous times, often several times in a single day or night, clarifying information. Two, it always takes longer than you think it will take. Three, I think future nominations would benefit from a committee review. We all know the guy is good and is deserving of the honor, we merely need to make sure that the write-up reflects such.

I will propose to the state society president that we form a Council of Fellows who will be charged with nominating members for the status of Fellow and then sheparding the nomination as a committee. Naturally there will be one person tasked with being the primary scribe, but he or she will benefit greatly from input.

CWID 2008 MPC Day 1

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The CWID Mid-Planning Conference (MPC) began to day. There is a lot of work for us to do to get ready for the exercise in June, but it is fun.

The guest speaker today was Major General Koen A. Gijsbers, Royal Netherlands Army. He spoke about interoperability between nations and pointed out that single nation warfare was essentially a thing of the past. I must say that I agree with him. We have all become too interconnected and the communications technology has brought so much news, so quickly, that it does seem unlikely any major power will go to war alone.

Given the audience he was speaking to, interoperability was a key point. As he stated: We do not do a very good job of communicating between services within a nation; in fact we do not always do a good job of communicating between branches within a single service, so how can we communicate and operate better between nations? This is indeed the purpose of CWID.

General Gijsbers mention one general officer who had 7 computers (and many phones as well) on his desk because they were all attached to different networks and different domains. Although technology would allow them to be interconnected, policies and standard operating procedures would not allow it. He correctly stated that we must not only work the technology side of interoperability; we must also work the policy side. In fact, I wonder if the policy will not prove to be the most difficult piece of the puzzle.

BZ to our SysAdmin

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A Bravo Zulu for our SysAdmin. He came in early on a Saturday morning to get me connected to the network so I could have the appropriate user profile set up for reinstalling my programs. Given I'm leaving town, it was very kind of him to come in and help me.

But First!

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When things are going well, then you know you are in trouble. I was nearly complete with my configuration of my M1530 and had most everything installed. I then loaded PGP Whole Disk Encryption. I ran into an installation error and PGP WDE recommended that I uninstall the software and reinstall. I did the uninstall but when I tried to boot, I got the screen asking for my PGP password. I never entered one. In fact, the program never fully installed.

It was getting into he afternoon on Friday and I was worried. I emailed PGP tech Support (they do not list a phone number to call) but figured I would not get a response for a while. The university closed early due to pending inclement weather, so I headed home.

Once I got home I called Dell XPS tech support and got a guy who was helpful, easy to understand, located in Phoenix, and had lots of stories to tell. After minimal troubleshooting he gave me the news I knew was coming…reformat and reinstall the OS. Arrrgh! Off we went. We loaded the Windows Vista DVD and began to repartition the hard drive and install the OS. All was going well and then we tried to install Dell Media Direct 3.5. The software prompted for disk partition information. Uh oh! Yep, the tech confirmed that we should have installed MediaDirect 3.5 first. After I opened the sealed bag containing the disk and the manual, I too saw that is what we needed to do. The instructions pretty much read do A, then B, but first, do C! So, off to reinstall again.

We finally got everything up and running, the XPS Tech Support was top notch—hence why I paid for the XPS machine (but I didn’t think I would need to use so quickly).

Dell has regained my confidence based on their order support and tech support. If they can only get the manufacturing piece of the puzzle fixed they would be 100%.

Props for Dell

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I’ll give my props where the props are due. I received my XPS M1530 and it is all due to two people who work in Dell Customer Service. It was indeed an ordeal getting the computer, and it was delayed, in fact the reorder had been cancelled and re-ordered extending the delivery date even more. One person at Dell in particular did some hard work, found out what the problem, had the order expedited, and I got the computer today. Without her help, it would have been another two weeks.

As for how I like it? So far; so good. Now to set everything up.

Love my Tom Tom

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I knew that having my Tom Tom navigation system that my wife gave me for Christmas would be fun, and I had hoped that it would be useful. Today it proved to be both. I am in New Orleans for drill and this is the first time for me to drill here and it has been a long time since I was in New Orleans.

I left a little later than I expected so I got stuck on I-10 in rush hour traffic and my gas was getting low. I figured I could make it to the hotel on a tank of gas but it would be close. Since I like living on the edge every now and then I thought I’d try it out. Well, as I sat in traffic I started to doubt I could make it all the way and I did want to be sitting in traffic waiting for AAA to deliver gas. So, I punched the screen a time or two and the Tom Tom was displaying the gas stations near me. I told it to navigate to one and I got there without a problem. Then I told Tom Tom to navigate to the hotel, expecting it to take me back to the Interstate. Nope, it found a faster route (especially given traffic) through some back roads.

It is a great toy and even greater tool. Thanks Sara!

McCain Wins New Hampshire

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Needless to say I am pleased that John McCain won the New Hampshire primary. It was not unexpected nor is it ia sign that he has the nomination wrapped up. He also won the last time he ran but it did not result in becoming the President.

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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