Review: Samsonite Midtown Backpack

I’ve decided that I will start putting reviews of various products and services I use here on the site.  I typically only write about things I like, but I may put some reviews that are more honest. To begin, I’m going to start with a purchase that I just received last night.  As you may know from my post on travel, I get around, all over the country and world.

I have been using computer bags, gifted backpacks and various other satchels for hauling my laptop around all my business travels.  The last one I had said Samsonite on it, but I am fairly confident it was a cheap Chinese knockoff.  The zipper ties continually pull loose as the metal that secures it to the zipper is easily bent.  I finally gave up on it and decided to invest in a real Samsonite back.

I did a lot of research on Amazon and came to the conclusion that Continue reading “Review: Samsonite Midtown Backpack”

Chris Shaul’s Instagram Feed

I’ve always enjoyed photography but have never pursued it seriously.  I’ve always enjoyed the creative process of taking a scene, capturing it on film (or in a data card) and then presenting it.  I’ve learned a few rules along the way that help to make my photos better, but I am by no means a professional. Continue reading “Chris Shaul’s Instagram Feed”

8 tips that can make business travel a little more bearable

Business Travel Tips

I travel a lot for work, probably not as much as some people, but a lot more than most people.
According to stats, I have been to 69 cities and have flown 176,000 miles in the past few years.  I’m not a million miler and I admit for some hard core travelers that is not much.  But for me that has been a weary adventure in the air and at the airport.   Along the way I have discovered a few things that help make life a little easier.  Here are some of my business travel tips. Continue reading “8 tips that can make business travel a little more bearable”

How I use my Android Tablet for Business

I’ve been a fan of Android for years now. I’ve been using the operating system on my phones Ellipsis 7 Android Tabletfor the last 4 phone purchases, including my current Samsung Galaxy Note 3. But I have only had one previous Android Tablet, the Nexus 7 tablet.

Last week, I went to Verizon to upgrade my son’s iPhone. While I was there, the sales rep suggested that I consider a free Verizon Ellipsis 7 tablet. (The tablet is free, but requires a $10 per month access fee for my account for 2 years).  I thought that would be perfect for my wife for her birthday. She has wanted one for a while and other than the monthly data access, it was a free tablet. I didn’t even consider Continue reading “How I use my Android Tablet for Business”

My Top Life Hacks that make my life a little easier

I’m a software consultant and project manager.  As such, I am busy and need to find time each day.  I try to be as optimized as I can be with tools such as my task manager and my methods for getting things done.  But there are things that I have discovered over the past 8 years or so that have made my life a bit simpler and faster.
Please let me know in the comments if you have any other cool life hacks that make things easier for you.  That being said, here is my collection of My Top Life Hacks that make my life a little easier.  (I am sure there will be follow-on posts as I learn new things and tools!)

Continue reading “My Top Life Hacks that make my life a little easier”

Personal Computing: Your Four Choices

My wife recently asked me for my personal computing recommendations for a laptop as she is considering a more mobile computing option.  I haven’t looked for a computer in a few years, so I needed to start my research.  What I am sharing is both what I found and some of my own opinions of things.

First off, you really have only four choices in Personal Computing:

  1. Get a Windows PC with Windows 8
  2. Get a Mac
  3. Get a Linux-based computer
  4. Live in the cloud with Google Chrome

Windows PCs with Windows 8

Let’s start with an analysis of a Windows PC.  The good thing about Windows PCs these days is the inexpensive price.  You can get a real deal for about $500 and if you put a few hundred more into it, you get a really nice hardware system. The interesting thing is Continue reading “Personal Computing: Your Four Choices”

Are Expectations a Function of Ego?

Today I was running through a drive-thru to get a quick breakfast.  Little did I know that this would be a moment that would allow me to explore my feelings to understand and ask “are expectations a function of ego?”

The car in front of me pulled forward after getting their food and then stopped just far enough that I could pull up to the window.  I paid, got my breakfast burrito and was ready to jet out of there.  Well, the guy in front was still sitting there.

I let out a friendly tap on the horn, this was the type of honk that says “excuse me”, not the type that says “move your ass.”  Just a quick note on the horn to let him know that I wanted him to stop digging in his bag of food and get going.

I expected he would wave and move along.   Well, he didn’t. Continue reading “Are Expectations a Function of Ego?”

Top Cloud Computing Providers that I recommend

I work in the Cloud. What is “The Cloud”? It is a collection of computing services that you can access from any place and from any device. You can store your data in a virtual storage location and use your phone, a computer, or a tablet to access it. Music, documents, databases are all now accessible in the cloud. I am always being asked about what tools and vendors I recommend for people who want to use the cloud. Here are my top top cloud computing providers recommendations:

My List of the Top Cloud Computing Providers:

Staying Organized

Nozbe – A great solution for staying organized and getting things done.  I would be lost without this one.  I keep track of my Projects, Tasks, and all the various things floating in my mind.  Get them out of the mind and into a system. Keeps the brain free for more creative tasks.

Evernote – Capture everything, and I mean everything, in Evernote.  Coolest feature is the ability to OCR (recognize writing) on photos of whiteboards.  I use it for meeting notes, a place to capture scans, storing restaurant info, web clippings, etc.  All searchable, like my own personal Google repository.  In fact, it integrates with Continue reading “Top Cloud Computing Providers that I recommend”

5 Things to Expect from Crossfit

Crossfit ® became part of my life just over a year ago. It has been one hell of a journey and it is continuing for me. During this past year, I have learned a lot, I have grown physically and mentally, but most of all I have become fit. I’m not anywhere near my fitness goals, but I am on my way. I have learned some things about Crossfit that I thought I would share here, most importantly, what people should expect when they start doing Crossfit.  I should note that I do not work for a Crossfit gym or have any other relationship with them, other than being a paying member.  I am just sharing my experience here on how it has changed my life for the better.

First, let me tell you my story on this Crossfit journey.  I began a couple years ago weighing in at 274.   This was not something I wanted, the overweight guy who started huffing and puffing running up a few stairs.  You see, my father died at age 54 and was well over 300 lbs for a long time.   He was also an alcoholic and due to his physical situation, he was at least a dozen meds.  Back in the 80’s there was no real control over the pharmaceuticals that a patient was taking, so different doctors prescribing different medicines was a recipe for disaster.   This is what we think killed him, but the weight and the prior heart problems didn’t help.

Despite knowing all of this, I swore I would not follow his path. Continue reading “5 Things to Expect from Crossfit”

Why Lifelong Learning is Important and Three Things You should Know

Lifelong learning is a way of living that I work to continue each year. It is one of three areas that I work on maintaining in my life. The other two are growing my fitness level and building a strong spiritual base.

When developing the theme of this blog, I wanted to focus in on the things that I am always trying to expand, my mind, my body, and my spirit. I learned of these three themes years ago as a child at the YMCA. My parents used to send me there in the summer for camp, where I made friends and learned new things. I have since moved on from my days as a camper at the “Y”, but these three principles remain with me.

One should always work to make sure that these three areas are always in balance. Unfortunately, it is easy to become unbalanced. Focusing entirely on learning and expanding the mind, while neglecting the spiritual aspects of our lives can be detrimental. Focusing in on becoming scholarly or entirely absorbed in learning our jobs, while neglecting our physical health is also not good. Continue reading “Why Lifelong Learning is Important and Three Things You should Know”