Personal Fitness

It seems like all the sudden towards the end of 2007 everyone was concerned about their fitness. At least the people I surround myself with.

One of my personal goals from last year was to continue my weight loss that I had started in mid 2006, and I set a goal of losing an additional 30 lbs by the end of ’07. Well the fact of the matter is until the middle of the year I hadn’t put an honest effort into making this a reality, and as a result I had actually slipped back 10 lbs and was sitting at about 240 lbs.

September of this year I got really serious, following the lead that my wife had set forth with her nearly 27 lbs lost. I began running 2 miles each day, until that became less and less of a challenge so I started moving up the intensity and made it 4 miles each day. This is still what I am doing today although to save my shins and tendons from the wear and tear I have pulled back a bit and only run every other day. Additionally I have begun working in strength training and I am starting to see some great results from that as my muscles snap back to shape.

I have lost 30 lbs to date, however as Winter has rolled in and a number of other major events have gotten in the way my workouts have been stalled a bit. I do however fully expect to pick them back up very soon! Overall I think I have hit the mark on this one and fully expect the loss to continue into next year!

In the Work Place

This year was a strange year at the office. Starting about mid year when the departments Director took a new job which started an avalanche of other issue leading to defectors, and other issues. Well the dust has cleared and the department is about 7 staff members leaner, however things are starting to come back around with a few new staff members coming on board in recent weeks, and more on the way things should begin to smooth out quickly as more come on and the reorganization continues.

I have been the only acting member of the Web team here for nearly 4 months now, so projects have come to a stand still as I simply maintain the sites that we already have. Some interviewing has been done, and hopefully that will lead to a couple of new hires here sometime soon to get things rolling full steam again.

In terms of awards 2007 brought a couple of new awards including the Best Redesign award from the American Marketing Association, as well as the Best Web Site award from the Omaha Press Club. Although these are some great awards, we were hoping on many more, however the events described above derailed out plans for the site considerably. Given the circumstances I would say this was an enormous success!

Conferences

2007 also brought the MIX07 conference in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Venetian Hotel and Casino. The MIX conference is a Microsoft conference held at the Venetian Resort and Casino, with a focus on Microsoft Web development platforms, services, and best practices. Although I didn’t care for the narrow scope of it featuring Microsoft products the whole time I was impressed by the conference itself. There were a number of great gatherings, sessions, and events to keep you busy all 3 days.

Aside from the great times at the events hosted by MySpace and others Microsoft also focused on its newest technology Silverlight. Basically what amounts to a flash competitor the demos that were shown during the various sessions showed the raw power of Silverlight engine. Playing High Def video is no problem for Silverlight and for that reason MLB.tv, and Netflix are making the move to the technology.

MIX was a great conference however I think I would like to broaden the scope of things and go to a conference like SXSW where there is a huge spectrum of different sessions dealing with just about everything Web related.

Photos from MIX07

Designs By Johnson Turns 3

Designs By Johnson the domain was purchased back in September of 2004. The site was intended to be the home for a new business, however I really never moved on with it, and so it became the home for my personal blog primarily in late 2005. Since then I have been writing for two years semi-regularly. Hopefully things can pick up again, however it seems as time goes by I get busier and busier all the time.

A Move Across Country/New Job

One of the biggest changes for me is very new, and still in progress actually. Back in late November I began talking with Children’s Hospital in Seattle, WA. This started a number of interviews and conversations that ultimately led to me accepting the Senior Web Developer position with the organization. A huge 1,700 mile trip is in the works and we will be leaving the Omaha area on the 21st of January and I will be starting my new position on the 28th.

A lot of people ask me why I would make such a drastic move and the reason is really two fold. First and foremost is that my wife and my hobbies aren’t a good fit for the area that we currently live. With our recent fitness goals the Winter has thrown a huge wrench into the mix and it would be nice to have a more moderate climate to be able to workout outdoors year around. On the same token we have been trying to take up hiking and backpacking however there are only so many hills you can walk around in Iowa and Nebraska. I have always been a fan of bicycling as well, and as I visited Seattle a few weeks ago I found that Seattle is extremely bike friendly.

The second big reason for a move like this one is the difference in Web culture. I have written before about some of the trials I have dealt with in trying to get people and management to move in directions that should have been taken years ago however because we are so far behind the technology curve here things don’t move along as they should. Seattle on the other hand seems polar opposite. It is a tech savvy region and people and businesses there just seem to get it, and that will be refreshing!

Top 10 Albums of 2007

2007 was also host to a rather large change in my musical tastes. Although the list here doesn’t necessarily reflect that it happened mid to late in the year to where the albums didn’t get as high of play counts throughout the year. Not having to try to compile this list manually is why I love Last.FM. It takes care of all this for me! Here are my top listened to albums for 2007 in order of number of plays. There is not a lot in terms of new albums there, but a lot of great tunes none the less.

  1. Zero 7 – Simple Things
  2. Zero 7 – When It Falls
  3. Breaking Benjamin – We Are Not Alone
  4. Breaking Benjamin – Saturate
  5. Dave Matthews – Some Devil
  6. Death Cab for Cutie – Plans
  7. Tool – 10,000 Days
  8. Carbon Leaf – Indian Summer
  9. Fuel – Natural Selection
  10. Breaking Benjamin – Phobia

2008 Predictions

  • Further development and implementation of OpenID however just like RSS it will fail to catch on with anyone but the geek population.
  • A small Web 2.0 bust. Nothing to the scale of the dot com collapse.
  • More homes begin to have televisions that interface with Windows Media Center. Media Center positions itself as a household platform.
  • Explosion of touch based interactive devices
  • Major music record labels continuing to sink themselves
  • Another 20 lbs lost
  • Attending SXSW
  • Finally buying my bike, and using it to replace my car (maybe)

I am sure there are things here that I am missing here and there are other things I would like to touch on, 2007 was an amazing year all the way around. So much so it will be difficult for 2008 to top it. I have to say though with a new location and a new job it’s a definite start in the right direction! 2008 is less then a week away and things are moving along at light speed and the momentum going into next year should be a great thing.

With all that said let’s wrap this thing and move on! Happy new year, and see you in ’08.