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Archive: August, 2010

Back in the saddle :)
----- 2010.08.06 --------
Although I still haven't worked a 5 day week yet in my new job, this week was as close as it got. Because Monday was off for the long weekend, I just finished a 4 day week. Funny, I wish it were much longer. I'm on a roll and its great to working on a big project again. I have some many thoughts and all fall in the scope of the project, but the effort involved in working on them really needs to be managed well so that critical items are done first, etc. I find that using some mind map software really helps get things out of my head, regardless of which one I happen to be thinking of in any given split second. The software that I am using in particular is xMind. And best of all, it's free!

OK, before it seems like I'm about to Geek out on you (again!), I haven't displayed the usual "geek alert" warning in advance. So, I'll keep this short and not ramble too much about it. But I think the info is super valuable to anyone, especially anyone with my "condition" (more on that later in this post!). OK, so I start with a central topic, then hit Tab to create a subtopic. I'll start with something big in the center like "Infrastructure", and then have subtopics such as "Servers", "Networking", "Licensing", etc. On a topic like networking, I'll piece together the parts needed. In this case, I have a subtopic for iSCSI, another for "10 GbE", another for "Switches", etc. I know... I said I wouldn't geek out too much on you and maybe it was a grey lie... but I'm almost done (I think!). But here's where it gets good...

So one of my subtopics is "Switches" (hardware required for your network). Under that, more subtopics, right down to where I am mind-mapping potential switches I may purchase. As I explore the features, I put the notable ones underneath my sub-sub-sub-sub topics. At this point, I usually right-click on the switch families I am considering (example: "HP Procurve 6600 Series" and "HP Procurve 2100al") and choose "Hyperlink", then point to manufacturer's site for easy reference. Under the Series, I include the exact models I am considering. I right-click those and choose Structure and change it to something, such as Tree Left, so it stands out. Additionally, press CTRL+B to put a border on item. Under it, I'll put key features so I can contrast and compare to the others in my mind map, hyperlink to more details, add detailed PDF's and other docs, include pricing, module options, etc. And once I feel I have all the major details out of my head, as well as many of the small details, I can take this info and construct my different drawings and budgets, based on the options. When laid out like this, it's much easier to include upgrade plans to enhance the system, but not spend the $$ up front.

OK, so my "condition" I just eluded to... do I give it away now, or have you hang in there for another paragraph (or more) ? Hang in there...

So what else is new? Kim & I celebrated our one year anniversary on Sunday (August 1st). What an amazing year it's been!!! I am so lucky to have found Kim and we make a fantastic team. And we make a great baby too, if I do say myself! :) Speaking of Alice, she's doing great! Hard to believe she's already 4 months old! And wow is she growing fast!!!!

And since last update, Kim, Alice & I went out to Alberta for Yvonne (Kim's sister) and Steve's wedding. Great ceremony, and an awesome trip! I hope to get some of my pics up, especially the ones from our one day, 900 KM road trip through the Rockies, which I hadn't previously seen before. Saw lots of wildlife: elk, deer, bears, mountain goats, and more... and got some sweet pics. Unfortunately, I'm having some issues with my camera (Sony Alpha 700) and Lightroom. I've had this problem in Lightroom 1 and 2, so now I just upgraded to 3 and the problem is still there! I wish Sony and Adobe could get together and fix their issues handing Sony raw files (.ARW). Lightroom mangles them REALLY bad and it's a lot of work trying to get the pic to look like it did in the camera. OK... I'm rambling again... I do that. I'm also on my laptop on a train to Windsor at the moment, did I also mention that?

Oh ya... almost forgot... my condition! This will come as no surprise to any of you who know me, or have even only met me briefly once or twice. Hell, it's probalby obvious from the paragraphs above. I have ADHD. That's right: Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder. ALso known to many as "A.D.D." (Attention Deficit Disorder). And am I happy about this new diagnosis? YES! I am super excited about it! Instead of blindly dealing with the way my brain works, I now have a blueprint of symptons to recognize when the disorder is kicking in and curb it. And since I've spent the last 33 years developing coping mechanisms, such as lists and appts in my blackberry (thank you technology!!!) and some self-help cognitive therapy, I have done about as much as possible without some professional help. I started taking a new med yesterday: Adderall XR. Days 1 and 2 on the it have been great. I have more concentration, but it's very subtle. I'm starting on a very low dose (10mg) and will ramp it up by 5mg week after week until we find my sweet spot.

I am very excited about this new diagnosis. I've been struggling lately, spinning my wheels like crazy all over the place, yet my personal productivity felt low. Time to get rid of the piles and strike off items on the To-Do lists!!! :) My shrink (who was absolutely amazing! - Thank you Dr. John Fleming!!) gave me some reading suggestions, including "Driven to Distraction". Unfortuantely, ADD/ADHD makes reading quite a chore. In fact, I already addressed that problem by switching to AudioBooks a few years ago. So I checked Audible and they didn't have the book, but they had a newer book by the same authors called "Delivered from Distration". I just finished listening to it today and it was very insightful and helpful. If you have ADD or ADHD, or suspect you might or a loved one does, this book's a good start. Because it was in Audio format, I was through it in less than a week (thanks long commute!). If this were the paper version, I'd still have a book mark somewhere in it.

OK, rambling again... but now we know why! Thanks for letting me clear my mind via my blog and if you're still reading, I'd like to hear from you.... I always like hearing from you :) OK, best to all of you... I have a new audiobook to get into and this train to Windsor (1 hr 20 mins late to leave Toronto!) will be hitting it's destination sooner than not. Cheers!`


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