Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mud Island

Today we went to Mud Island to the Mississippi River walk. The river is in flood stage which made the presentation seem even more powerful.

Here is a picture of Sarah and her brother taken at the River Walk:

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Today, I Was the Idiot in Church

Every Sunday in church, someone's phone rings. Everyone looks offended, gives the half look of disapproval, and thinks "What an inconsiderate idiot!"

I was that guy today in church. Ironically my parents were visiting our church today. We met them before service and I tried to get my dad to allow me to put his phone in airplane mode. He Would not, but put his phone in vibrate mode.

I use my phone as my bible in church and also to take notes. As the pastor opened the 9:15 service, the 9:20 alarm I put on my phone for one day but meant to take off sounded. Because alarms bypass vibrate mode on iPhones.

Yeah, I was the idiot today. :/

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I Am GLAD I Don't Have Comcast Phones!

I use Comcast for my primary business internet connection. In addition to Comcast, I have an AT&T DSL backup connection. I run my phones on a PRI; the T1 for this is provided by AT&T. Of all my local services, telephone is the most critical (I of course host my web sites off site at a data center).

Comcast regularly calls my business trying to sell phone service. They have great rates on phone service, but they do not offer guaranteed up time according to the reps.

Memphis had a serious wind storm the evening of April 19, 2011 (Tuesday). You can see what it did in my area in one of my earlier posts.

I'm glad I don't use Comcast for phones because I would not have phones right now with Comcast. It's that simple! Several businesses in my building use Comcast's phone service, and they have effectively been out of business since yesterday morning. I pay more with my current method of phone service, but I am ALWAYS up. In the event of an outage, AT&T guarantees a work crew will start fixing my system within 4 hours.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

That is NOT My Car... Thankfully.

As I went to my vehicle today, I could not help but be glad that I has parked my car a few car lengths behind it's normal position. That was almost me! Yikes.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Upgrading to Watchguard 11.4

I've been planning the upgrade of my XTM505 to Watchguard's 11.4 release for some time now. This version of came out in March and I have been waiting to see if any major issues were noted. It appears stable, so I'm making the upgrade.

This was my first Watchguard upgrade, and as such there were a few things I didn't understand.

My questions were:
  1. What is the preferred order of upgrade?
  2. How does the software get to the actual XTM 505?
The preferred order of upgrade is Watchguard System Manager (This will also upgrade the Server Center) on all systems running System Manager. Yes, The 11.4 System Manager can control your device while it is waiting for the upgrade and still running an earlier version (11.3 is the only version I can confirm 11.4 will run from personal experience).

The software "gets" to the XTM 505 by you downloading the update and "installing" it one the box running Server Center. You don't install to the Firebox, you install to Server Center, in other words. Then, you connect System Manager to the Server and schedule the upgrade. Pretty nice!

Sticking to My Guns

I have had great luck with diet change in the last couple of years, but I've always gotten to a certain point and then started to fail. This is normally the holiday season (imagine that).

I made a grocery store trip last night and did some healthy cooking. Packed my bags for work... And then forgot them. Oh well... I won't just give up!

To home at noon go I!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

I Still Can't Believe the UCONN / Butler Game

I enjoy championship games, but I was very disappointed in the NCAAB Championship game. the 2011 Championship just didn't deliver.

I don't have much time (I'm on lunch) but the reason for the disappointment is that Butler just wasn't a well rounded team. They were fantastic on defense - majestic even. but they shot something line 18% from the field.

Any team that lopsided will fail eventually. I can't help but admire Butler, but what a low-scoring, disappointing game!

Personal Improvement

I have been thinking about the subject of personal improvement lately. Like most other things that I spend a lot of time thinking about, this has been sparked by my upcoming marriage.

I believe that improvement requires an honest assessment of the current state of that which a person is attempting to improve. I suppose that technically one could improve something without understanding the degree of improvement that is taking place, but personally I don't feel that there is any point to improving something if a difference cannot be noted. Improvement requires a before and after comparison point to be fulfilling and worthwhile.

Benjamin Franklin wrote about several of the methods he used to improve himself in his autobiography. My favorite method was his systematic documentation of his flaws. He divided his life up in the 13 areas and would daily document his feelings in each area. One week he would focus on area A and document only his flaws in that area, the next week he would focus on area B – again only documenting his flaws in area B. He called this his path to virtue.

While Benjamin franklin and I would most likely disagree on the source of virtue, I appreciate his efforts to be virtuous, and feel that what he learned offers a lot of insight. Of particular interest to me is his admittance that after he documented his flaws he realized they were far greater in number then he had ever thought possible. Documenting his flaws allowed Franklin to successfully identify trouble areas, work to master them and, finally, to verify his mastery of them. Of course, as a Christian I don't believe that true defeat of vices is possible with out the regeneration of the Holy Spirit, but that is an issue for a separate post.

Enough about Franklin: what are my personal flaws? What areas do I, Matthew Nowlin, need to improve on?

I'll keep this to fairly nonpersonal issues – but know that more introspection is going on here then is readily obvious.

The first area that I feel I can improve on is my physical fitness. The serious and an ongoing battle for me and I'm going to attempt to use Franklin's method of daily journaling and analyzing to help me here. I am also going to rely on Sarah's help in this area. Honey, please hold me accountable!

The second area that I feel can be improved using the methods discussed here is overall discipline. I'm not a loose cannon or a rebel without a caused by any means, but I do not feel as disciplined as I would like to. I do immature things and I flat out do not like that.

A subset of discipline is mastering my time. I hope that in time I can develop a much greater discipline in this area and master my calendar. Like a child, I often have difficulty doing basic things like going to bed on time and waking up early in the morning. Sure, I get everything done that I need to, but those two basic daily tasks left unmastered have left me with a feeling of immaturity. I think that when Paul said " I beat my body and make it my slave" he probably did so with a sense of glee - if his body was indeed a slave to him, he had to feel incredibly empowered.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Lesson Learned: Be Quiet and Go Away (sometimes)

Sarah and I had a great weekend in Chadron, NE. My former youth pastor and good friend is performing our wedding June 11, and we needed to spend some time counseling. Sarah and I both come from good backgrounds, but just like every other person in the world, we have preconceptions that can add baggage to a relationship. Our goal has been "To do things right" throughout the relationship, and the purpose of this was to be another stone laid in that relationship.

So we flew into Rapid City, SD and then drove down to Chadron, NE. By the way, if you need a car rental in Rapid City, SD, I recommend Dollar Rent-A-Car. They had a price that was about half of what the airport based rentals were charging because they didn't have to pay airport fees, and it only took us 7-10 minutes to get from the airport to the car rental place (yeah, I know, great job timing there Matt). I have family in the area in addition to the friends we visited, so I can say with some certainty that I will use them again.

We got in midday on Friday and received some counsel. Part of our homework for the evening was a test that involved us answering questions about ourselves in several areas related to marriage, and also answering how we felt oLinkur to-be would answer. Saturday was grading day for the questions, but I'll jump the gun and let on that having dated for four years, we were both accurate guessing what our to-be would answer.

Saturday, we hopped in the Subaru rental (which I loved, by the way) and went to Mount Rushmore. The goal was to have an enjoyable day and knock out the counseling we went to get. Doing the counseling in the car was a fantastic idea for me at least. The scenery offered me something different to look at constantly, and relaxed my mind. I felt much more "involved" with the conversation at the end of the day than I would have if we had simply stuck ourselves in an office and yelled "Go."

I learned a lot and was reminded of a lot in counseling, but had one truly epiphanic moment when we were talking about conflict resolution and handling emotions. To be honest, this wasn't even only about conflict between Sarah and I, but also helping the other person work through conflict with others.

Anytime Sarah has had any type of problem with me, another person, or a situation, I have tended to want to destroy/fix (same thing) that problem. Whether it meant sitting down right away and talking about it, making a run to Wal-Mart at 3:00 am, or having a come-to-Jesus talk, I have wanted to solve the problem now. That is a personality strength and weakness of mine.

Through this weekend, I came to an understanding that Sarah needs time to process things and that I am not abandoning her or shirking my duty if I simply leave her alone. This is perhaps obvious to many people, but to me it was a revelation of humongous importance.

Also, I haven't worked out since Thursday, so I'm going to hit it hard this afternoon.

The Memphis Storms of April 5, 2011

Memphis had bad storms on Monday, April 5. While the storms weren't as bad as Hurrican Elvis, there were extensive power outages and a lot of property damage. We had to shut our business down due to an extended power outage. That speaks to me, since we have invested a lot in battery backup. :|

Our power was out until close to 10:00 PM.

On the home front, a car was destroyed near my home. A tree landed on it. I was interested in this since the tree hit a car parked where Sarah normally parks when she visits me.