Wedding anniversary

You know when you first start going out with someone (well, when you were a kid anyway) you’d mark various anniversaries: first week/month etc. Then maybe you’d progress to first year, first year of living together and the like. There was always a little voice in the back of your head saying “yeah, it’s lovely, but it isn’t really a real anniversary is it?”

Well this is the real deal, first wedding anniversary. First anniversary of being married to the best girl in the world in fact.

In fact, seen as we are in Boston and five hours behind at the moment it has almost been and gone, but nevertheless we are just about to head out to celebrate with dinner at L’Espalier, a swanky restaurant that, notwithstanding the fact that The Michelin Guide don’t cover Boston yet, seems to have won a good deal of plaudits and is the #1 Boston restaurant on Yelp.com (including a glowing review from my work colleague Suzanne!)

I said I’d never buy a GPS unit…

But I was wrong.

I’ve just purchased a Garmin Nuvi 270. It is part of the entry level range of Garmin devices. No bluetooth, fm transmitter, traffic data, teasmaid or any other superfluous features. It just does a good job of directing me from point a to point b. It is also very small and unobtrusive.

What’s more it works in most of Europe and the US/Canada as well thanks to the built in maps of both continents, something you don’t get on TomTom save for the top of the range 930. US coverage is very useful given the fact we are currently on holiday in New England, in Washington DC in December and I also have the odd work trip out here. Garmin’s Irish mapping is also meant to be much more up to date than TomTom’s and they have loads of Mac friendly software for playing around with.

So, why did I get one after previously saying I wouldn’t? Well mainly because I have come to find them useful outside of the UK or Ireland. We’ve had Hertz Neverlost a few times in the US and mainland Europe and it is very useful for finding your way around somewhere strange. The ability to find points of interest is also useful.

I really can’t see me using it much at home as I can always pull out the iPhone with Google Maps there to so some quick route planning. However given that the iPhone doesn’t do turn by turn and data access whilst roaming is an expensive no-go, having a full fledged GPS unit for travel is worthwhile.

iPhone – the first month

Today, 11th August marks the first full month with my new iPhone. Thoughts so far:

  • The back is proving to be very resilient to scratches, more so than my metal backed iPod Touch proved to be
  • Battery life is reasonable for me now that the novelty factor has worn off. I mostly get away with charging every other night
  • Having data access everywhere is fantastic. I love being able to check Twitter whilst standing in a queue for lunch 🙂
  • Having data access everywhere is a curse. I’ve been told off by my wife a number of times for checking email etc. 🙁
  • I’ve only used 28MB of data in a whole month.
  • GPS and Google Maps whilst not true sat-nav can be very, very useful. It navigated me around a number of flooded roads on Saturday.
  • Not having data when roaming is really annoying (unless you want to pay the huge roaming fee)
  • The length of time that backup takes when syncing is annoying
  • Twitteriffic, Facebook and Texas Hold ‘Em are my top three apps.
  • It does seem kind of slow to draw/refresh/respond to touch when doing some tasks such as opening contacts or the settings page.
  • All in all, I love it.

Forthcoming trips and talks

I’ll be out and about over the next month and a bit doing a few talks on Lotus Connections:

First up I’ll be at the IBM Lotus Premium Support Seminar in Boston, MA on Wednesday 27th August where I’ll be presenting with Heidi Votaw, Program Director for Social Software. We will be talking about “Leveraging Social Software to Boost Innovation and Productivity Today” with an obvious focus on Lotus Connections 2.0. Unfortunately this is an invite only event.

Next, I’ll be at the IBM Lotus TechJam event being held at IBM in Staines, UK on Wednesday 2nd September where I’ll be doing a dive on Connections 2.0 with a definite technical slant. I’m not entirely sure how people can sign up for this event, but you can try contacting Dave Hay via the blog link above.

Finally (for now I guess) myself and my colleague Karim Heredia will be at the UK WebSphere User Group meeting in Edinburgh on Wednesday (why are they all on Wednesday?) 17th September. This talk will be titled “Lotus Connections – the WebSphere perspective” and will focus on deployment and administration considerations as well as how you can extend the social computing power of Connections out into other applications. You can join the WUG and sign up for the meeting on their web site.

Golf lesson #7

Was actually a week ago, but I’ve only just got around to this and #8 is tonight…

The most notable thing was that I played my first round since starting these lessons last week. A work colleague is a member at Ashbourne Golf Club, North of Dublin and invited me out for an evening round. He plays off 18, so it was always going to be interesting, and the course itself is a step above anything I’d played before – with some very challenging holes and a fair bit of water about.

Needless to say things didn’t go well. My 3 wood off the first tee set the tone, skying almost straight up and landing short of the fairway. From there the slice came back big time and I found every bit of water and OOB going. I think I went through nearly ten balls. I was analysing my swing too much and ended up overswinging and not relaxing. There were some higlights however, some of my drives were pretty good, and there were a few good shots around the green. It was certainly a lesson in the fact that the game is easily as much mental as physical/technical. As such I’ve been reading Golf is Not a Game of Perfect by Bob Rotella.

The good news is I had a lesson the next day, so it was a case of back on the horse.

The focus of this lesson was very much back the the beginning and the swaying out movement in my right leg on the backswing which had returned. The drill this time was to place a small rubber block (or a ball works as well) under the outside of my right foot to get the body used to feeling the weight shift onto the inside of the right foot, encouraging the knee to stay put. This worked almost immediately (along with a smoother, more relaxed swing) and the shots I were hitting were lovely. I’ve since been on the range almost every day working on this and things have definitely improved.

I also treated myself to a couple of new clubs at the weekend.

When I first got my set of irons they came with a couple of hybrid/rescue clubs as replacements for a 3 and 4 iron. However they were heavy (75g shafts) and never inspired confidence hence never came out of the bag. After reading up on some magazine reviews I decided on getting a TaylorMade r7 CGB Max 19° rescue club, which TaylorMade claim is as easy to hit as a 7 iron. So far on the range it has proved to be lovely, with shots from the mat soaring out.

I also bought a new putter, in anticipation of spending at least one lesson on the putting green. Again, I’d had a cheap and cheerful blade putter which I knew wasn’t helping my alignment and instead splashed out on an Odyssey White Hot 2 ball SRG putter instead.