A Week With the Family

entering Cowes

Spring break is just about over, and we’re back from our sailing adventures.

On Monday, we motored the boat from Brighton to her new slip in Gosport, a trip of about 45 nautical miles. On Thursday, we sailed to the Isle of Wight and spent the night at the Folly Inn dock. On Friday the weather went terrible and we motored home to Gosport through a gale on the Solent.

A full photo gallery is here–


As a reminder, the temps are quite low here, and most of the time we looked like this–

Steph at helm

Back to school on Monday, and plenty of things to wrap up this year. The new Moodle cluster is now fully operational, and our first load tests will happen when the students are back and start hitting it for real.

Spring Break, Soon

We did the official cut over to the new Moodle cluster yesterday, and overall it went smoothly. It appears to be quite snappy in terms of speed, but I did have a report this morning from a teacher who noted that his course files didn’t copy across. More work there. It was recommended that we consider an alternative content management system that works in parallel with Moode called Alfresco, and we’re looking into it.

I had an interesting talk yesterday with a colleague. It was about “in-house” software development vs. “off-the-shelf.” It’s pretty easy to list the problems with some commercial software that is so rigid that it never changes and doesn’t share information easily with other databases, etc. What’s interesting, however, is that fully custom software can also have faults– such as taking creativity out of the hands of the users. In this day and age, just about everyone who uses data to inform decisions needs to have some Excel or Crystal Reports experience and creative control to fold and unfold data on their own, instead of always having it become a “push button” on an in-house interface.

We have a follow-up meeting with a potential consulting firm today. Interesting concepts to be discussed include off-site rack space and storage, redundant fiber connectivity, and server monitoring software that is both local and monitored by them.

I have a couple of days left, and then it’s time for a bit of spring break. Steph and the kids are already at the boat, and Doug caught four fish yesterday at the Brighton Marina breakwater. We plan to move the boat to Gosport either this weekend or next week, weather permitting.

Life in Balance

It was great at NAIS to meet old friends. Even more fun was that often their first question was “did you buy a sailboat” or “are you sailing?”

Rob Evans did a presentation called “Six Secrets of the Wily Leader,” and this point was Number Six: Nourish to Flourish: get support, go away; drink cognac; lighten up.

Thus, I now have official, documented and expert advice that says I have to go away, lighten up and sail a boat. :)

We did our maiden sail with the kids on Southern Rival just a week ago last Sunday:


We were particularly proud of our daughter Eve, who had been too scared to go out on the test sail of the boat. She was just the opposite on our maiden sail, and felt calmer and more excited and happy as the sail went on. Just as important, she and I had no signs of feeling seasick, as Doug and Steph were both feeling a touch of mal de mer.

We plan to sail again next weekend. Here’s a pic of Doug at the helm:

Doug at helm

NAIS 2008 Ideas and Concepts

I just got back today from the NAIS 2008 conference, and I posted a discussion at the ISEN Ning about the event:


For more details, there were two official “bloggers” at the event with information on the sessions here:


In Daniel Pink’s presentation, he referred to our times as being defined by “Affluence, Asia and Automation,” and I enjoyed the chart he showed that tracked the prevalence of many “conveniences” in American homes (phones, tvs, computers) in growing percentages over the last 80 years. To compete in a world of affluence, one must either create a product we didn’t know we needed (the iPod) or use design to distinguish an existing product (a Michael Graves designed toilet brush). His point was that “right brained” thinking was essential to making a place in the new economy– especially in the area of creative design.

As one might expect, the audience responded positively to this. My question leaving Radio City Music Hall, however, was if he was thinking far enough ahead. My parents were young teenagers in the Depression, for example. They were amused by the development of our age of affluence, but they also had suspicion that it would last. I don’t think they would have thought aircraft aluminum toilet brushes were a good investment of either time or money.

It seems we’re on a wave (inexpensive resources, global production and design, low labor costs), but I wonder about the time frame– 100 years, 50 years, 20 years? Advice to students focusing on Pink’s six recommendations (Design, Story, Empathy, Play, Meaning, Symphony) may be perfect for staying on the wave, but what comes after the wave?

As he noted, India has a billion people, and if only 15% become “routine workers” in the global workplace, they will exceed the US number of workers, and exceed even the entire population of Japan.

I rather like the idea of people around the world having a higher standard of living, and more interesting work (even beyond the routine that can be outsourced easily), but is it feasible for everyone to use resources at the rate that the US does?

I don’t know, but I find it an interesting question to ponder.

7 visitors online now
1 guests, 6 bots, 0 members
Max visitors today: 7 at 12:57 am UTC
This month: 9 at 09-20-2017 05:23 pm UTC
This year: 38 at 05-27-2017 07:36 am UTC
All time: 84 at 05-06-2013 07:12 am UTC