Category Archives: RandomThoughts

Akamai NetSession Required to Try Out SQL 2014?

I went to download the 180 day trial of SQL Server 2014 today, and after being forced to log on to Live and verify a couple screens of data (annoying), I then got prompted that to complete the download I would have to install the Akamia NetSession Interface.

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Just how annoying can this be? Is it Microsoft’s goal to purposely make it difficult for people to try out SQL Server 2014? It seems that they should want the lowest possible barrier to entry for people to get this. If it’s a great product, which I suspect it will be, then make it super simple for people to use so that you can get them hooked on it and they’ll make a purchase.

I’m annoyed enough with this process so far that I cancelled the download above and I’ll look for another way to get the software. The last thing I want is to install some unknown piece of software on my test machine – just to get a download.

Royal Caribbean–Freedom of the Seas

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We’ve been back now for a week and I’m finally getting around to writing a post about our Eastern Caribbean cruise via Royal Caribbean on their Freedom of the Seas ship.

Overall – it was a good trip and excellent value for the cost. I’ve been on better Caribbean trips, but certainly none this affordable. Enjoyment per dollar was pretty good. :)

 

The ship

The ship was in good shape. There were only the smallest hints of age and wear. I’ve owned boats before so I know how hard it is to maintain them – I can only imagine the work to keep one this large in good shape.

The Promenade was pretty cool. A couple of pictures from different angles and times of day (which had different lighting and decorations) are shown.

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We had an “issue” on a couple of windy days (more on this later) where the wind caused a horribly loud whistling noise through our balcony sliding door. A short call to maintenance and someone showed up, banged on things for a bit, and fixed the issue – whisper quiet after that.

The dining

The buffet (Windjammer) was good considering what it was – bulk food sitting under warming lights. The My Time dining was excellent. The service was *fantastic* and the food was fresh and tasty. The variety was appreciated also. We did one breakfast, and couple of lunches, and a couple of dinners here.

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The first night we did the Mystery Dinner meal – that was a lot of fun! And the food was from Portifinos (their paid-extra Italian restaurant – dessert pictured to the left here) and was very good. The cost included wine, so that was a nice surprise.

We also did one night in Chops – their pay-extra steak restaurant. It was excellent! Again, great food and great service.

There was also a Johnny Rocket (“free” but a $4.95/person cover charge – doesn’t sound free to me; we skipped this), a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream shop (not free – wish it was), a Cupcakes (not free – also wish it was), and a Starbucks (again, not free, but there was free coffee – just not the Starbucks brand). There were just enough non-free places to be annoying in my opinion.

The stops

The first stop was Coco Cay in the Bahamas. This was a great little spot to sit on the beach. We wish it didn’t have the non-stop band playing. It would have been perfect if it were a bit more peaceful and quiet. The beach was great, plenty of seating was available, and the water was crystal clear. The water was cold, but it was cold at each stop this trip.

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The next stop was St. Thomas.

We didn’t actually get onto St. Thomas. We stepped onto the pier then onto another boat to do a snorkeling excursion on St. John. The snorkeling was great (Cruz Bay) but about half of the excursion time is spent just getting to and from the location, so for the cost, it was a very small amount of snorkeling / beach time. Probably wouldn’t recommend this.

This first picture is Cruz Bay. The second is the view from our balcony just before leaving.

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The third stop was St. Marteen.

We went ashore here just to check out the downtown area, but found out that just off the ship is a tourist trap of little shops and actually getting downtown to check out the town is either a hike or ride. We decided to head back to the ship and enjoy the peace and quiet.

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It was very pretty thought for sure!

The journey (travel between stops).

This trip was the last week of February and I’m not sure if this is normal or not, but it was WINDY! The winds were blowing about 20mph and when the ship was traveling against them, it meant gusts to around 40mph. Serious if you were on the top deck you needed to hold on to the railings near the steps because it would blow you over. That was a bummer.

The wind also caused a bit more ship rolling than we would have preferred. Thankfully someone working on the ship recommend Motion Ease, which is a all-natural oil that you put on your finger then dab behind your ear. Surprisingly (yes, I am a skeptic) it worked quite well.

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Our cabin dude was very professional, called us by name when he saw us in the halls, and set up these neat little towel animals.

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Overall, again, it was a good trip for the money. We’d do it again if we were trying to fit vacation under a certain budget that fit this cruise. Depending on the time of year, it looks like you can get some really great rates (like $800/pp for a balcony room) – making it all the more of a great deal.

I’d recommend Royal Caribbean as a cruise line, and even this specific trip and ship. Happy cruising!

How many jobs have you had?

How many jobs have you had? I’ve had a lot. At least it seems so to me. So many that I thought I’d sit down here and try to remember and list all of the different jobs I’ve had in my life. I may have to come back and edit this list if I remember something I’ve forgotten, but I can probably put together a pretty good list in one sitting. BTW is in order except the first and the last.

  • Washington Post newspaper delivery (first job ever – middle school)
  • Highs Dairy Store
  • Porter (car washing) at a Ford & Dodge dealership
  • Rental car department at a Ford & Dodge dealership
  • Ace hardware (very cool job – learned a LOT of things)
  • Movie theater usher (free movies!)
  • Construction summer job
  • Perkins restaurant (realized I’m not a good waiter)
  • Quick Shop (gas station)
  • Little Caesars (“pizza pizza”)
  • Pizza Movers (delivered pizzas)
  • Bagging groceries [added]
  • Painted house exteriors with a friend in high school
  • A small video store during college (can’t remember the name)
  • College landscaping work (lasted just a few days – not for me :\)
  • Blockbuster video during and after college
  • All-Comp (small ISP and computer hardware sales/repair)
  • Real Estate sales
  • NASD (parent of NASDAQ)
  • Consulting for Bank of America, Wachovia, and Sprint
  • LendingTree (“where lenders compete for your business”)
  • OrcsWeb

I wonder what I’m missing. There is probably one or two that I’m forgetting at the moment.

So, that’s 21 jobs (updated to 22 now). I’m not counting little things like babysitting or lawn mowing because I would really call those “jobs”.

What development language is in the most demand right now?

This is far from a scientific test, but I’m curious what programming language seems to be in the highest demand right now. To check on this I’ll look on Dice.com to see how many job postings mention a specific language.

As of 2/3/2014 and looking at postings within the past 30 days…

VB.NET: 1,447
Ruby: 2,439
PHP: 3,466
Python: 4,210
Perl: 4,067
C#: 8,198
C++: 16,125 (wow)
Java: 16,229 (wow again)

What does this mean? Who knows. Maybe nothing at all. I was just curious.

If I were even semi-logical though, and needed a job (or change in job if my job sucked [it doesn't]) then I think I’d probably look into one of the many online free training resources and start learning how to program.

There are a ton of open programmer jobs right now. And guess what? Programming jobs generally pay pretty well.

BTW – best way to learn how to code? “Just do it” (thanks Nike!). With almost every programming language you can obtain a free tool to help write the code and both write and test it right on your local PC. The more you tinker with it – and solve the problems that you’re sure to run into – the better you’ll be at it down the road.

IO7 Calendar Tip

My long-time friend and co-worker Pam has a great tip for dealing with the new IO7 calendar view formatting.

If you are like me, and her too apparently, you enter *everything* into your calendar. If it isn’t on my calendar, it doesn’t really exist. :) So when you depend so much on your calendar, you want to be able to manage the views and gauge what is planned with minimal hassle. Some changes in IO7 actually made it a bit harder to deal with rather than easier. Pam’s tip linked above may provide useful to help minimize some frustration and make life easier for you. :)

Cheers!