Friday, October 16, 2015

Teaching Yoga Is Unlike Anything I've Ever Done!

Today I taught my first 60 minute yoga class. I spent weeks planning the asana sequence, timing the breaths, counting the in-between spaces. More hours choosing an exactly timed playlist, even calling upon my beau to assist with a recommended playlist, knowing he has a better grasp of recording artists who create primarily instrumental tracks.

I deconstructed every yoga class recording I had. I was attempting to distill the essence of what makes a good yoga sequence and a rewarding yoga class.

What I can tell you is that there is no app that can make sequencing easier (at least not for free or one that works offline), there are no hard fast rules for how long you should hold Warrior I versus the first Utkatasana. I came up with some general guidelines based on the excellent classes I've taken at Breath and Body Yoga in Austin TX.

Online resources:

I took class audio recordings and put them through a speech to text translator, creating a written transcript of an excellent yoga class/sequence. With this transcript, I could see how many words fill the spaces where we are holding poses and breathing. I had practiced at home many times to these video/audio classes but I had never actually watched the video to see how the instructors words are landing with the students. As I began to dissect a class recording and note what pose we were in (including drawing my own stick figures) and counting how many breaths we were taking in while in the pose, I realized how many students make time for fixing their pony tails or straightening out their mat towel for the tenth time (guilty as charged!).

Armed with this timeline information I created a spreadsheet which I used to keep track of each pose and how long each pose would take, or should take to equal out to a 60 (or any other variant) minute long class. I also resisted the temptation to copy the class pose for pose (that was hard!).

Each time I would practice the planned sequence at home, it never seemed to add up to 60 minutes. I wasn't talking myself through each pose out loud when going through the asanas, but I probably should have - so speaking the verbal alignment cues would be familiar.

Turns out when teaching this sequence for real at Jai Dee Yoga in Tampa, I had to cut a couple of poses for sake of time. A couple of asanas got done out of the planned sequence, but nobody was the wiser.

Of course, doing all of this pre-planning is completely overkill for preparing to teach an hour long yoga class, but as they say "How you do anything is how you do everything". I typically break things down into their smallest common denominator (the breath in this case) and then figure out how best to put it all back together. 

Now I know that I have a solid foundation for building, time checking and playlist creating for the next opportunity to teach on the mat. I made an audio recording of my first time teaching and I'll post it once I've checked the audio levels.

Also, sticking the printed sequence on the wall to look at while teaching was a great help!

Here's the sequence in an image layout:

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Mail Order Film Developing: 110, Minox 8x11 cassettes and more!

I've been solely shooting film for the last few months and the time had come to mail away my 110 cartridges for developing. Several years back I could get 110 film developed at Wal-Mart but that's not possible anymore. C'est la vie, I'm saved from having to step foot in Wal-Mart, there's no down side to that!

I use Blue Moon Camera for my mail order film processing. They're consummate professionals when it comes to their customer service and the quality of their prints.

Much to my surprise when I landed on their site was this advert for the MINOX spy camera film they make!

Shop SPY FILM for MINOX Cameras

Typically I'm not the target audience for advertising, but they got me. Hook, line and sinker. I've seen MINOX cameras for sale on eBay for years and years. I never thought anything of them, since what is the point in buying a camera if you can't get film to put in it?

Well, that's all changed. I'm late to the game on this one, Blue Moon has been an authorized MINOX film manufacturer for a while now. It was news to me.

What did I do? I immediately found a MINOX C with a reasonable Buy-It-Now price on eBay, bought the battery adapter for the MINOX C and two cassettes of film from Blue Moon.

Now I must wait patiently for it all to arrive.

Here are some shots I've taken with the Pentax 110. It's a fantastic little camera and I'm super excited to see how the MINOX shots turn out!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Wireless Field Day Approacheth! #WFD8

I received the good news that I'll once again be attending a Wireless Field Day in San Jose. This time around we'll be visiting Aruba, Cisco, Fluke Networks and Zebra so far. As the event gets closer the full list of sponsors will be unveiled. I will be spending quality time with some familiar faces, and getting to socialize with a couple of delegates whom I've only met once or twice. It's always sure to be a good time!

The full details on the event will continue to expand on the Tech Field Day website for WFD8. Bookmark the site and check back to see how things are unfolding.

The full delegate list for WFD8 is thus: 
Blake KroneChris LyttleDrew LentzJake SnyderJennifer HuberKeith R. ParsonsLee BadmanPeter Paul EngelenRichard McIntoshSam ClementsScott McDermottShaun Neal

Friday, August 21, 2015

How To Restring an Oil Rain Lamp

I am the proud new owner of a Creators Three Goddess Oil Rain Lamp! Sadly, one of the monofilament line got broken during shipping and I had the seemingly odious task of restringing the lamp foist upon me.

Searching online yielded very little information about how to take apart the lamp and what to expect upon doing so. There are two PDFs online describing the process of restringing and one describing repair of the lamp, how much mineral oil to use, but none with helpful photos.

Prior to taking apart the lamp, spread out a large trash bag  or plastic sheeting to catch any oil which might still be in the bottom of the lamp.

Disassembling the lamp is done by removing the three brass acorn nuts which hold the bottom of the lamp (the oil reservoir) to the center portion of the lamp. The lamp pump assembly is affixed to the bottom of the center portion of the lamp. Unscrew the top nut of the lamp where it joins the electrical cord/chain and slide it down the electrical cord and away from the lamp center. Working on the lamp from a position where the lamp is still suspended in mid-air is extremely helpful. Tying a knot in the electrical cord at the top of the lamp will allow you to suspend the lamp while you work on it.

The monofilament line is held taut by a series of interlocking brass couplings. The larger, outer brass couplings are the portion you can see sticking out of the top of the lamp, where the monofilament line appears to come out of the top of the lamp.

The smaller brass coupling is what holds the monofilament lines taut as the filament is threaded through the holes in the bottom of the lamp base and then back into the brass coupling in the top of the lamp. Make note of the threading pattern, you will replicate this pattern when you're replacing the monofilament line.

Using a small chisel or tool with a beveled edge, pry the smaller fitting out of the center of the larger fitting. Collect all small fittings and place them in a lidded container containing a mix of hot water and Fantastik (or some other grease cutting cleaner). Once all of the small fittings have been removed, remove the monofilament line from the lamp by unthreading it from the holes. Remove all large brass fittings and place them in a lidded container with a grease cutting mixture and let them soak. Clean the center of each small brass fitting, ensuring there are no clogs or blockages present. Set aside the small brass fittings to dry. Repeat the cleaning process with the large brass fittings. 

When all fittings have been cleaned thoroughly, restringing the lamp can begin. Work from the inside out to make the process simpler.
I tied the "starter" end of the monofilament line to a pencil to keep a good length of filament on the bottom of the lamp so I wouldn't have difficulty making a good knot in the filament when I'd finished threading it through the lamp.

I used 40 pound clear, monofilament line to restring this lamp. Monofilament line is also commonly referred to as fishing line. Do not use anything heaver than a 40 pound line, as you will have difficulty reinserting the smaller brass couplings (I'll cover this a few paragraphs later).

The inner circle rain pattern on this lamp is diagonal. The filament was threaded from the bottom of the lamp and then two holes to the right of the hole which would create a vertical rain line. The length of the inner circle rain pattern filament line was approximately 24 feet in length. This length will allow for a foot or so extra length at the bottom. This will make knotting the thread at the end easier.

The outer circle rain pattern on this lamp is vertical. The filament was threaded from the bottom of the lamp and straight up into the hole in the top to create vertical rain lines. The length of the outer circle rain pattern filament line was approximately 40 feet in length. This length will allow for a foot or so extra length at the bottom. This will make knotting the thread at the end easier.

Each run of filament is tightened by pulling on the filament enough to stretch it enough to allow you to press the small brass fitting into the larger brass fitting with the filament pinched in the center. As the filament is pulled/stretched, the diameter of the monofilament will decrease by a very small amount, allowing you to pinch the filament in place with the smaller brass fitting. Use a tiny hammer to tap the smaller brass fitting into place. It does not require much force, tap gently.

When you've successfully threaded the new monofilament line through the lamp, tie a knot in the filament underneath the center of the lamp. Tying three tight knots, one after the other will be sufficient to keep the filament in place.

The oil ran lamp uses mineral oil to give the effect of rain drops cascading down the monofilament line. Mineral oil is readily available at drug stores or grocery stores. The typical cost of a pint of mineral oil is just over $5.00. The lamp will take about 2 pints to fully submerge the intake hose of the pump in the base of the lamp (2 pints = 32 ounces). This equals ~$15 in mineral oil. People are selling 32 ounce bottles of mineral oil labeled as Rain Lamp Oil for $24.95 plus $13.00 S&H. Don't be pulled in by this tactic! Buy your oil rain lamp oil from your nearest grocery/drug store! 

If the pump is the problem with your rain lamp, replacement pumps have been seen selling on eBay for $65.00 plus S&H.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Introspection, Basic Truths and Transformation

”Be at least as interested in what goes on inside you as what happens outside. If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

I wouldn’t have ever imagined the personal transformation I would undergo as a result of beginning a yoga practice. Admittedly, I first came to yoga for superficial reasons. I had become bored of running and I was seeking a new challenge. What I found on the yoga mat was more than a butt-kicking workout. I found myself. I jokingly refer to the time spent on my mat as ‘forced introspection’. Taking 75 or even 90 minutes a day to turn inward and focus on the self, the breath, was not something I had done. As I faced each physically challenging asana with calm, measured breath, I also began to face myself and the choices I’d made with the same calm determination. “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” was starting to make sense. With each conscious decision, I was cultivating my own new reality. Turning inward each time I got on my mat was helping me clearly define the direction I was moving toward off my mat.

I marveled at how the simplest truths became profound when combined with a physical challenge I did not initially envision myself capable of achieving. Shifting my perspective allowed me to see that what I could or could not do was not bound to the past simply because things had always been that way. If I had the strength for wheel pose, I had the strength to manifest a new reality of my own choosing.

I have let the specter of judgement keep me hidden away for too long. I shied away from social media for fear of saying the wrong thing, or saying too much. Instead, I said nothing which might reveal the personal revolution I was undertaking. I will no longer be silent about what I think or how I feel. This journey has just begun, but I feel I must share my truth in this or else I will be incapable of sharing anything else.

I recently enrolled in a 200 hour yoga teacher training program so that I may give back some of the power of change and mindful, determined living into my new community. The experiences I’ve had through coming to my mat each day have been so profoundly rewarding, I am called to pay it forward.

Sharing my story allows me to blog again about Wi-Fi without me feeling that I’m not saying something which I feel needs to be said. We only get one go around in this life. I think it is of upmost importance to be mindful in one’s intentions and move from a place of authenticity.

Do not be surprised if you see more posts from me on this theme. I briefly considered starting a different blog to separate the technology from the spiritual but quickly rejected the idea. I think I would be doing everyone a disservice by compartmentalizing myself to suit an presumed audience. If I’ve written about cookies and cameras, why would I not write about the most meaningful choice I’ve made - to begin and continue a yoga practice.

It has been three years since I started this journey. I had no idea where it would take me when I began, but I am plotting a clear course for where I want to go.

My sincere gratitude to everyone I've crossed paths with at Breath and Body Yoga in Austin Texas, every single one of you have contributed to my growth. To all of the teachers at BBY: you are more powerful and influential than you could possibly know. You all deserve a shout out (in alphabetical order) Christine, Cynthia, Desirae, Diana, G’Nell, Jen, JessKat, Kate, Katie H., Katie O, KK, Laura, Lauren, LouiseMichael, Mindy, Natasha, Sami, Shannon. XOXO

Thursday, June 18, 2015

NetBrain Blew My Mind! #TFDx #CLUS

Many moons ago I was a Network Administrator who managed static IP addresses by consulting the critical IP Networks Excel Spreadsheet. I had to find a free Windows based app which would show me a diff view of two switch configurations during the 15 day trial window. I had to create network diagrams in Visio which never included the information I needed when I was troubleshooting an issue with the very same network which I had previously drawn. I remember the Senior Network Administrator being very leery of software monitoring solutions which monitored by polling the network devices. At the time, I imagined that any additional load on our network devices would cause the whole network to suffer under the load of  any additional monitoring traffic.

This brings me to the software demonstration I witnessed last week. The CEO and founder of NetBrain described the very same way of working which I had lived (albeit thirteen years ago). He then went onto have Ben Abbot (Pre-Sales Engineer) perform a demonstration of their current software product: NetBrain Enterprise Edition.

With my very own eyes, I saw things that I did not know were possible. I saw network diagrams created on demand to show the information necessary to troubleshoot any given network issue. I saw network documentation automated and annotated by multiple network administrators. I saw Qapps written to solve immediate troubleshooting issues by someone who was not a programmer and did not have a programming/scripting/coding background.

I kept my amazement to myself. It had been so long since I had been in charge of a network, surely all of these things were now possible with any number of software solutions. The room stayed quiet. I could not tell if others were as impressed as I, or if they were thinking "Yep, business as usual."

As it turns out, everyone in the room was just as impressed as I was. Maybe they were all shocked into silence in the same way that I was. After all, the NetBrain application they showed us has been 10 years in the making and has 5 million lines of C++ code to make performing complicated tasks seem that simple.

At CiscoLive 2015, NetBrain released their first free DevOps Edition of the NetBrain software. The limit to the free software is that it can only map up to 10 devices. 

As it stands now, Network Engineers are being forced to learn REST API scripting (among others) to do SDN troubleshooting. This free version of software is designed to ease the transition for the Network Administrator to manage the network here and now.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Aruba, HP, MobileIron, PaloAlto, Arista Networks, what do they all have in common?

As you probably know by now, HP and Aruba have announced their intent to merge into a single corporation. Call it an acquisition, call it a sale, call it a merger, call it whatever you like. This week at Aruba Atmosphere 2015, the keynote presentations made it clear that Aruba and HP are all about partnering with other companies to bring the customer the best-of-breed solution set.

The keynote presentation by Dominic Orr gave us the clear message that things were not going to change. Meg Whitman spoke to us live from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona with a full six second delay between Dominic speaking and Meg reacting. The jury is out on whether or not this was actually a live feed, but the comedic effect of the delay was milked for all it was worth.

I found it very interesting to see Bob Tinker, CEO of MobileIron come on stage after Meg Whitman. I'm wondering if we might see another acquisition by HP, simply based on the focus Aruba is putting on strategic partnerships with companies who help Aruba/HP bring differentiated offerings to market. The lack of a built in MDM solution has been a glaring hole in the Cisco product portfolio for a very long time. Sure, Cisco has partnered with at least 6 different MDM vendors, but since they're only parters - your mile will vary greatly when you're seeing support to implement any give solution.

Chad Kinzelberg, Senior VP Palo Alto Networks went on to describe how the Palo Alto firewalls were much more nimble because they don't rely on the port based communication firewall sets like legacy firewalls do (read: Cisco).

Jayshree Ullal, CEO of Arista Networks rounded out the speaker list. She is by far the best public speaker I've heard present in a very long time. It was clear she had given this messaging about Arista many, many times - but she still managed to sound human doing it.

It will be interesting to see how the merger between HP and Aruba plays out over time, especially when there are so many companies relying on Aruba hardware to have a mobility offering in the first place.

Also, the opening act before Dominic took the stage was really cool! The iLuminate dance team from America's Got Talent kicked off the Atmosphere conference in a unique, geeky, Tron-esque fashion! Whoever booked them for this event deserves a pat on the back! Good work!