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Learning the Diabetic Spikes


TriscutsSince I have switched to strictly insulin, I have learned some valuable lessons about serving size and what spikes blood sugar. All doctors will tell you that you don’t have to stop eating sugar or sugar based products just because you are a diabetic. You have to learn how much to eat, in what portion and with what other combination of foods to fight the sugar overload that causes high blood sugar. Actually, for the most part a good, balanced diet will minimize the need to over use insulin to compensate for the high glucose levels.

Of course the need for exercise is important too, but that is another discussion. What I have found is that certain foods will nuke your blood sugar level even with an insulin injection. The reason is the serving size that the label states is not realistic to what any reasonable adult would eat. Examples are Wheat Thins which has a serving size of 16 pieces. Those 16 pieces have 21-22 grams of carbs (really sugars since carbs turn to sugar in the body) and who eats JUST 16 in one sitting? The same for Triscuts and Doritos who have serving sizes almost the same with of 7 and 11, but with the same amount of carbs. Geez, I love those Triscuts and Doritos so much that I think any normal person would eat half the bag in one sitting.

As for meal foods, unless you aren’t real hungry who can only eat 1-2 slices of pizza? To eat rice or spaghetti you can only eat two spoons full or you will need 20-30 units of carb covering insulin.

What have I done to combat these unrealistic serving sizes? The first is to eat a meal with high protein content to slow the ingestion of the sugar from the carbs. Taking the insulin 15 minutes before eating and adding the units needed to move my number from it’s before meal reading to 80 is another. The last thing besides exercise is that I skip the Wheat Thins, Triscuts, Doritos and full servings of Pasta. Remember, you don’t have to eat everything on your plate. Eat the right amount, leave the extra and ask for a take home box.

It’s up to you to make the right choices.

Canadian Olympic Sour Grapes


sour grapesSkating is just the gossip, spoiled sport. It hasn’t grown up at all, even after rewriting the scoring system after massive corruption. It seems that the Canadian Ice Dancing team is upset that their coach, spent more time with the winning American team. Also, Canadian skaters and fans are complaining that the scores were fixed.

Accusations from fans on social media and the Canadian press say that Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were “robbed” of the gold medal in ice dancing. Read More Here

Well, no one, not the Americans said that in 2010 when the teams had the same coach and the medal places were reversed. Davis and White have spent 17 years together, they have worked extremely hard and have changed the sport. They skate so effortlessly and they skate flawlessly every time they skate. It comes from effort, determination and hard work. They were gracious 4 years ago, they learned a lesson and they worked hard to earn what they got. I watched the whole program and thought Virtue and Moir were extremely good, but I did not feel them as a couple, it was a great performance, but not something that just flowed. Watching Davis and White was like watching a couple as one. They flowed and made me feel a part of their performance.

It’s like performing a kata at a martial arts competition. You have to be the kata, you have to express it to the judges. They have to feel they are a part of the performance. I’ve won a fair share of trophies this way. I’ve had judges come up to me and tell me that they could feel me coming through the kata.

Sour Grapes, poor losers, call it what you want. You are never really a champion until you can lose graciously.

Are You Doing Incognito?


incogYesterday I wrote about Why Use Google+ in which I talked about why do we even use Google+. I definitely feel the ghost town effect at Plus, while using other sites to just push information to Plus for me. I could do it for other sites, but don’t because those sites are actually useful and user friendly. At the end of my post yesterday I told Google “if you want to know about me here it is.”

One of those things was that I browse private all the time using incognito mode with a shortcut on the desktop. Do you use Incognito? It’s easy, no tracking, no cookie saving, just a little work to get going with it. You create a link to Chrome on your desktop and add the –incognito parameter to the target in the shortcut properties you created on the desktop. The first time you open incognito you will need to enable the extensions that you wish to have enabled. Google lets you know that those extension can leave you open to some degree, so I recommend that you enable wisely. I enabled LastPass, AdBlock and AdBlockPlus, Gremilus for Gmail, Evernote Clipper, FlashBlock and Feedly. That covers all the things I do in Chrome on a regular basis:

  1. Passwords
  2. Blocking Ad’s
  3. Blocking Flash
  4. Mail
  5. Evernote for note keeping
  6. RSS reading

Each time I open Incognito I have to log into LastPass and it then will log me into every other page that needs a password. But, that is the price for private browsing and it’s not that big a price. If you can put up with that, you can enjoy private browsing in piece. In a future post I will add onto this with the use of Sandboxie, a virtual sandbox to keep the browser in it’s own safe area away from the rest of your system.

Why Visit Google+


ghost townI signed up for Google+ (Plus for the rest of this post) a long time ago when they were first opened to the general public. I did it just to have the account and online presence because I am in the computer field and need to know about it. In the beginning I was on the site a lot to get it set up, understand how it worked and learn something about it. As time has went along it has changed, not all for the better. I was on Plus today to change something on my profile and was really turned off by the experience. It runs down the middle of the browser with so much white space on either side that I thought my browser was broken. Facebook is more popular because it is more people friendly, period.

I do contribute to Plus, but it is through other sources like connecting to it through IFTTT, or WordPress Publicize. I don’t have to log into Plus to post, while I don’t need to log into any of the other services either, but I do log into Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. So, why visit Plus? There is no reason to until it becomes more user friendly and lets you control your friends (people in your circles) and wants to be a real platform for users. Right now it is just a data mining platform for Google. If you want to know about me Google here it is:

  1. It’s all in my Google Profile
  2. I use Chrome as my primary browser
  3. I use Private browsing ALL the time
  4. I use extensions to block Ad’s in all windows including Gmail
  5. Most of my posts are pictures of the kids

No need for Plus.

 

Are You Going to Fail?


Success-Failure-SignI’ve talked about my career and it’s hiccup this past year when I had to get my degree to continue a career path at the ripe old age of 53. Yes, it took almost 38 years to go from graduating High School at 16 through the night classes from ECU at Cherry Point MCAS extension campus to the graduation from SCF in the summer of 2013.

Each step of the way after high school I found an excuse to not reach for great. To not do my best, to not get it done. In fact, lets be honest, I just didn’t want to put in the effort to do it. I was lazy and I will admit it. Working for the Sarasota County School Board I have always given my best. I made it to where I was last year because I had finally decided to work hard and stick with one thing and do it well. I thought that  doing a great job and being the best was good enough, but it wasn’t. I hadn’t paid the price of admittance, which is a college degree. The work, the proof that I could learn, I stayed with it to get the degree and went down the proper path.

When the department reorganized I had to do it. I had to make a decision of whether I wanted to be where I was or if I wanted to just go back to the easy career which was a dead end. Well, I obviously went back to school, took my four courses, made the Presidents List with straight A’s and graduated. I also got a position at the district level that is even more challenging than what I did the last 4 years and I get to tinker with cool technology. As an example, in the last week I worked with coworkers and vendors to finish moving our SharePoint implementation to the Big-IP F5 load balancer. It’s fun, we move a major application that all district employees use everyday from an ISA server implementation to the F5 for authentication and load balancing. I also learned how to code a mobile site, cool stuff!

I cared to follow my dream to do cool things, I didn’t say, “but”, or take the easy way out and take a step back. I am doing “Great.”

Enjoy the video below about Failing to get  that Great Job by Larry Smith from Ted Talks.

Problem Solving and the 2014 Sarasota Regional Science Fair


Science FairThe Sarasota Regional Science Fair concluded this afternoon with the Middle and High School judging of over 200 projects, while on Tuesday the Elementary 3rd through 5th graders participated with over 300 projects. It was another smashing success for the students and judges with a lot of happy students showing judges their projects, answering questions while the judges scored them on Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets.

We have used the tablets two years in a row now with great success. The judges have provided positive feedback, while at the same time growing in numbers because of the positive experience they are having. Last year we brought 120 tablets, having enough the first day with only 60 to 80 judges. The second day we ran out of tablets, having to give 4 judges pencil and paper judging forms. The reason we ran out? Because we had judges that were so happy with their experience that they came back on Thursday for the second day of judging even though they had not signed up. Some judges even brought coworkers with them too.

This year I prepared for a higher number by bring just over 140 tablets. The first day we had 85 to 100 judges and I was worried about day two with that turnout because Elementary judging usually has the lower turnout and if some of those judges turned out on Thursday we would be doing the paper judging with more than just 4 people. Well, we came close as we had about 139 judges today! Great turnout and another successful day with the closed system judging that I started last year and continued this year.

I have worked the Science Fair for the last four years. The first two were not the best movement forward into the digital age with the use of Blackberry’s, WiFi and data to a judging form at a remote location. Each year at the debrief I presented suggestions about what I saw and what I felt would help us move forward to a successful fair with no paper judging. Last year our new Director of IT, my former direct supervisor, gave me an open pad and asked me to draw my plan. What I presented is what we have done the last two years, with minor tweaks this year and more from what I saw this year hopefully.

What I had been planning for over a year before being allowed to have a go at it was to use a closed system at the Fair location. I got a retired server, upgraded it to Windows 2008 server with IIS and MSSQL server. The judging form is written in SQL, residing on the server. When we get to the Fair we turn on the server, turn on DHCP and our senior networking technician Jay Solum sets up a wireless controller and a switch that connects 4 CISCO wireless access points spread out the length of the Fair building. We set up the tablets with the address of the judging form on the IIS, let the tablet find, then attach to the wireless SSID that Jay setup. From there it’s just a matter of the judges coming in, giving out the tablets and waiting for any questions. We took a count this year and after handing out the tablets we had less than 30 questions total for two days, with most of the questions being “I touched here and now I can’t find the page I was on.” That is a question I will be happy to have because it’s not a judging or system problem, it’s a normal problem for people not used to everyday use of a tablet. I even lose my place every once in a while with my tablets.

Two years ago I had a problem. I relied on my background in math, which taught me problem solving techniques, to come up with a solution to what was not a positive step into new technology. I moved from small digital devices to large 10.1 inch tablets. George and Greg made an easier judging form and I got rid of the public open network issue with a closed WiFi network that only the tablets were attached to. I wrote a post in 2007 called “The secret to being good at Science: Take more Math classes” which is the basis for the problem solving skills I have today. The students that do the best at the Science Fair are the ones that take a lot of math. They understand the problem solving skills from their math lessons and apply them to the problems that they solve with their Science projects.

Congratulations to all the participants and especially the winners! Keep problem solving, you never know when you will need to solve a problem when you are older that will affect hundreds, maybe thousands of people,  or students and judges!

HTML, CSS, ASP, PHP, JavaScript, SQL Oh My


cssIn my job as an Instructional Technology Technician I help administer the LMS that our students use in the school district I work for. I also have other hats that I wear, one of them being technical support for pilot programs. Part of all this is some programming needed experience from ASP to VBS and everything in between.

Now, that doesn’t mean I have to be a certified expert in any of these, I just need to know how to get around to make things work. I’ve been working on learning skills in writing iRules for our F5 Big-IP appliance which has been fun and fruitful. I have basic HTML and CSS skill, but not enough to write directly in the code window without seeing the design side at the same time in a split window. A recent project that is going to go live in the near future is an implementation of Office 365 that has been in the pilot stage since the beginning of the school year in August.

I am looking forward to it being released to the general student population, while I am also proud of the work that was done by myself, my boss and the Instructional Technology Specialist that spent a lot of hours on the phone with support, making video’s, training staff and following up. As we got closer to the finish line we have hit some speed bumps, which in the long run actually makes the end product look much better and inspired this post.

Why? Because as a group we worked for a week on creating a professional landing page for our Office 365. I did the preliminary work in getting a template that I rewrote and manipulated so that we could add, what elements we wanted. Our boss, who is a geek in and of himself, did a lot of manipulating of both the HTML and the CSS to get things to where he knew the rest of the management team wanted it to end up. Adam worked very hard on content and idea’s including two great instructional videos. He and I sat in front of my computer screens for hours going over ideas, changes and more changes. We would make even more when we got feedback from our boss about changes to the changes.

In the end the experience that I had in CSS and the other acronyms made this a very satisfying project. It also made me think of all the things that I need to do to increase my skills in these area’s that will make projects like this even more fun. At the same time it will make me a more valuable asset to the team.

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Alex posing all handsome. Andrew all handsome. The kids dressed up for Easter
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