Tour of The University of Alabama’s Athletic facilities 2010

This was my second time to enjoy this tour! They really have state of the art facilities!

The tour started with the Mal Moore building then over to the Bryant Denny Stadium then back.

We got to see the Hall of Champions, weight room, practice field, locker rooms at both places, the zone, new concessions, and the very top of the stadium.

Here are the photo’s from the trip:
Direct Album Link

Last Years Visit’s Post:

Why I passed on the iPhone (again) and got the HTC Aria! (Android)

For any of you that read my post and follow me on Twitter probably can tell that the Mobile Phone Space is what I’m interested in and very excited about.

A little history:

I got my first cell phone back in 1997 and I went with AT&T because they were the only carrier that worked where I lived in west central Alabama.
I got my first Pocket PC (Windows CE, what became windows mobile) back in 1999.
In 1999 The internet was still something you had to use a dialup phone connection to access however broadband was starting to no longer be a luxury item for internet access.
Ever since then I knew it was a matter of time before we all had handheld computers with internet access everywhere.

1st iPhone pass:

Apple released this 1st iPhone in 2007 and it caused a lot of hype (or iHype as it was later referred).
I was never into Apple computers for no particular reason, it’s just my career lead me into windows development and business application development, you can’t really do any of that on Apple so I never considered them in a Phone purchase.
In 2007, I got my first Windows Mobile Phone with a data connection and loved it! It was the AT&T Tilt.
Just the idea of posting real time pictures and updates of stuff going on was just revolutionary shift in the way things were and where they were going.
So, for the next 2 years I got to see friends and family with their iPhones and I began to see the appeal of a nice user interface and how touch screens was really where phones were going. That’s what got me thinking that the iPhone would be my next phone purchase (windows mobile wasn’t keeping up).

Windows Mobile downfall:

Windows Mobile began to show it’s staleness by the end of 2009 (probably earlier by what I was reading online around this time). By that I mean they really never changed the UI in ten years. Most phones were still resistive screens instead of the new capacitive screens. But what was the final straw for me was that developers (my peers) where no longer creating/updating apps like Android and the iPhone were getting. Twitter clients were horrible. The one I found that i liked quit updating the program so it didn’t recieve the new retweet format (essentially you missed some updates). The facebook app was horrible as well. What’s a phone that can’t do Twitter and Facebook (LOL, can’t believe i just said that)?

A tough decision:

My contract for the Tilt ended in late 2009.
I could either get the iPhone 3GS which came out about 6mo’s earlier or wait another 6mo’s for them to release a new one (if at all). I decided to wait.
Android 2.0 was just picking up steam about this time, however AT&T had no Android phones.
Rumors of 5 Android phones the 1st half of 2010 was finally announced by AT&T.
In March, the Motorola Backflip was announced but it was still running an older version of Android and the design was just not what I was interested in (including the hardware specs).
Now, what is really interesting and perhaps ahead of it’s time, Google announces the Nexus One. A phone you can order online unlocked ($530) or subsidized through some carriers ($179 or so).
Several advantages to getting an unlocked phone include: no contract, no plan change, no AT&T software, android market freedom, and quick updates from google.
After being underwhelmed by the Backflip and not seeing any more Android announcements from AT&T, I seriously considered the Nexus One but just couldn’t justify the unlocked cost.
Again, I decide to wait.

Final decision:

After being in wait mode for over 8 months, Apple and AT&T announces the iPhone 4.
I had every intent to get this phone on the 24th but still said unless there is an HTC Android phone announced before the 24th.
1 week after the iPhone annoucnement came the HTC Aria announcement for the 20th. I still had a week to make up my mind between the 2 phones. I was disappointed that the Aria didn’t have a 1Ghz processor but other than that the phone looked great. I did a ton of online research on the Aria and by Friday my mind was made up.

Fathers Day Present:

After a lunch, with the family in Tuscaloosa, I went to the AT&T store and picked up the Aria and have been very pleased with it. While it doesn’t have a 1Ghz processor that 600Mhz does a fantastic job. If I didn’t know that’s what was in there I probably couldn’t tell. I also got a $50 loyalty credit, so I got the phone for under $100 plus I didn’t have to change my data plan. I grandfathered in a truly unlimited data plan from my old Tilt phone (no 5gb cap even). I wasn’t going to the iPhone and loose that!

A Quick Review:

AT&T has locked side loading apps from outside the android market as well as select apps in the market (namely Easy Tether). This is very BAD AT&T and against what Android stands for!! This will not allow you to beta test software and such.
I like The HTC Sense Software! I don’t run everything they offer because I do like the android version pretty well and I prefer to run apps like Twidroid and the Facebook App intead of using the HTC version that merges them both. While that is very cool you don’t get functiality like in the main apps.
The HTC Contacts are cool because you get a favorites widget and you can link you google contacts to facebook and get notifications when a contact you are looking at or a favorite updates.
Facebook Sync is cool because now my contacts have pictures without me having to add them manually.
The GPS locks on very fast, I haven’t played with it very much because the network location is usually all I need, but it was like under 30 seconds for a lock where as my old phone it was serveral minutes. (standing still).
Google! If you run many of the google services Android is the way to go. My particular favorite is the Google Voice app! You also get push gmail and push google apps email, google maps, googles, skymap, earth, reader via the browser, buzz, latitude, and the list goes on.
The Aria has an optical trackball which frankly is not useful to me and I wish it didn’t have it. I would have rather seen a larger screen than that. The trackball isn’t really needed with touch screens in my opinion.
I like that it does not have a slideout keyboard even though I can type faster on them.  Without, makes the device so much thinner and lightweight.  Since you have a landscape keyboard typing is pretty accurate.
7 home screens (no sure what i’ll do with all of them)!
Android 2.1.

So, I have 18 to 24 months before i have to do all this again will i get the iPhone then?Probably not but only time will tell.  I really like Android and I think it will be even better by then! The power of open source vs closed!!

Xterra Oak Mountain Mud Run

This was my first race at Oak Mountain. One of my running guys at work and I did almost the same route as the race a few weeks prior to the race so we would know what we were in for but it was much hotter and humid on race day.

I thought I was getting there early on race day morning but when i was nearing the entrance the traffic came to a stand still. luckily, they pushed the race a few minutes later so i had just enough time to get my bib number and get in line before the race started.

the race went pretty good for me at the beginning but when we hit the infamous yellow trail it all went down hill. I got a heart rate monitor earlier this year and was checking it pretty often throughout the run. On the yellow trail i managed to stay at about 84% of my max on the down hills but on the up hills (and by hills i mean mountains!!!) it was about 94%. That’s 94% while WALKING up a mountain VERY SLOWLY!!!. Typically on normal runs i can maintain about an 82% for a whole run. there were three water stops and I took them all! I was pretty exhausted by the end.

The end of the race was different than what i ran previously in that they took you down by the lake and made you go through a mud pit at the end. I was in my good Nike running shoes and had my Nike plus chip in so i took a penalty and bypassed the mud pit.

Here are a few race pictures:

65240-007-001f 65240-012-024f 65240-025-006f


Here is a link to the race website:

Warrior Dash 2010 – My first obstacle race!

The weekend of May 21st – 24th was a fun weekend all around!  About a month prior my brother sent me news of this race he was interested in called the Warrior Dash which was an obstacle coarse type race we both agreed to run it.
Since it was a long way away I decided to take Friday and Monday off and just make a long Atlanta weekend of it.  My family and I headed out Friday morning, we were in sort of a hurry since we had to be at the Georgia Aquarium just after lunch (it’s an impressive aquarium if you have never been).
We took most of the day Saturday to visit the outlets.
Sunday was race day.
Monday we hit the World of Coke tour before heading home.

On race day my brother and I were in the 3:30 wave. We got on the road around lunch time since it was about 2 hrs from Atlanta. We had just enough time to get to the camp ground and get our packets and such before the race started.
The obstacles consisted of a wall jump image , field of tires image , mud pit image , junk yard of cars image , logs in water image , tunnels image , wall climb image , cargo net climb image , run through a forest image , and floating platforms! image


Here are a few pictures from the event!

My brother and I jumping over the fire:
 64888-155-016f 64888-155-017f 64888-468-022f

Me in the Mud Pit:

Here is our finisher photo! WE ARE WARRIORS AND VICTORIOUS!!
 64888-731-017f 64888-731-018f

Here is the aftermath… my clothes……
 IMG_7957 IMG_7958 IMG_7959

Hotmail: Do you want us to hate you?

I just found out today that 2 of my hotmail accounts were basically reset.  When I logged on I had no email and no folders with my saved data in them. It’s like I had just created them.

1 of the 2 accounts just so happened to be the first email account I ever opened from 1999!  I lost a great deal of email with sentimental value.  It was also the first address with my old Ham call on it. I also lost many of my early ham radio contacts I had saved to that account.

I do seem to remember that you have to periodically log in to let them know you still use the acct, I guess it had been a while… that said this is horrible and it appears to not be reversible.  While I didn’t loose the address the data was really important to me as well.

Hotmail is probably one of the least popular of all the web based email services out there today, however, back in the day when that WAS the best option some of us signed up and are still loyal to the service.  I feel that loyalty was betrayed today.

If anyone knows of anything I can to to recover it please comment!

So frustrating!!

Tip: Setting up a Developer Machine w/ Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server

I ran into an issue when setting up a new machine with Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition.

The Management Studio was not installed??? with some digging on the internet there is basically an issue when you install sql express before the developer editon. Express is loaded with Visual Studio.

My solution was to completly remove sql server and visual studio.

For future reference I’m going to get SQL Server installed and patched before loading Visual Studio.

I hope this helps someone in the future (including myself).

Of coarse next is to work on SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2010. let’s hope that goes better!

UPDATE: I think you can also do a custom Install with VS and just not install SQL Express. I’m not going to test that right now though. 🙂

Alabama’s 2009 National Championship Celebration

January 16, 2010 I headed to Tuscaloosa, AL to meet my brother.  We wanted to do a little shopping before we got in line at the stadium so we shopped around on the strip but most all the retailers had the same gear. I got the official locker room gear from Nike.
image image

Once we were done shopping we stopped in at Buffalo Phil’s for lunch.

The stadium gates opened at 12pm.  We managed to get in line early enough to be in the first 3,002 fans. Those fans were lucky enough to get on the field to watch the ceremony.

Once in, we still had to wait about 2 hrs before they started. They played highlights from the championship game and various other clips while we waited.

The speakers ranged from Mal Moore, Nick Saban, UA’s president, various players and coaches. Nick’s speech was the best when he said “it’s only the beginning!!

Congratulations to the University of Alabama on their 13 National Title, I’m a proud Alumni (2001)!! Roll Tide Roll!!

Here are some photo’s of the event:

Photo Album Link:

Update: This video was played at the statium!: