Tagged Posts

As we get older, we get more nostalgic. As both my parents have aged, my brother and I have spent time going through things they have kept/collected throughout the years. In doing so, you come across all sorts of interesting things, I feel like the older you get, the more interesting some of those things become.

One thing I came across a few years ago, and flagged for future research, was a newspaper clipping. Actually it was more than a clipping, it was the entire front page of the May 13th, 1924 Sedalia Capital. The headline at the top of the newspaper read

Things have been quiet around here, so I figured it was a good time for a status update that is longer than 140 characters.

We are in the middle of the process of planning our next move, true to our nature, we’ve been in Half Moon Bay for less than 18 months, and we’ll be heading back east. We’re going back to St. Louis in December, and currently looking for a place to live. I’ll be working from home and travelling back to San Mateo at least once a month to be in the office at DNNCorp.

The move and planning for such is taking up most of our time, though I am also travelling a lot for work lately, headed to Columbus next week and San Antonio after that.

Here’s a photo of Natalie and Jacqueline taken earlier this evening.

Mommy and Jacqueline at Sunset

The 2012 Bay Area Maker Faire is coming up this weekend in San Mateo, California. It will be about a mile from the offices of DotNetNuke Corporation so we will be heading over on Saturday as a family, and then I will likely go again on Sunday.

All the info about the faire can be found at https://www.makerfaire.com

After having attended last year, I have a couple of tips if this is your first time going. Here’s a list of what to bring, along with an explanation for each item.

  1. Bike – Ride a bicycle to the Maker Faire, you can save $5 on your ticket, and get access to the bike valet, plus you’ll be doing something good for the environment, get to avoid some of the traffic, and the parking last year was kind of nuts. I think I parked about 1/2 a mile away in a building’s parking garage.
  2. Cash – You will find so many things you want to buy, it will be better to have cash on hand Open-mouthed smile Bring lots of cash if you want to buy something like a 3D printer. I really wanted to last year, and will want to again this year, but the budget just won’t allow it yet. Maybe later this year. You should definitely check out the MakerShed, I did end up spending way more money than I planned last year after making a long stop there. There are also plenty of food options on site as well.
  3. Backpack – There will be plenty of swag to pick up, things to see, things to buy, have a backpack or something else to haul all your scores back.
  4. Camera – Screw it, you won’t need a camera, you need 3 cameras! I think I had 3 last year, seriously. I had my GoPro mounted on my head (video down below), my Motorola Xoom and my Motorola Droid. This year I plan on taking the GoPro, along with multiple batteries and SD cards, my Galaxy Nexus, and perhaps my Canon 5D Mark II. What kind of things might you take pictures of? Cupcake Go-karts, R2-D2, need I say more?
  5. Hat – It will be sunny and most likely sunny, and while a lot of Maker Faire is inside, even more of it is outside. Though if you don’t want to bring a hat there was a pretty cool custom leather hat stand (steam punk style) last year, perhaps I’ll break down and buy one this year.
  6. Family – I went to Maker Faire 2011 expecting it to be a male dominated tech event. Boy was I wrong. As soon as I walked in I regretted not bringing the wife and baby along. This year I won’t make that mistake, and the baby being 19 months now should definitely get a kick out of it. If you’re a single male, don’t let that scare you, it will be well worth attending for you as well.
  7. Time – There is so much at the Maker Faire, be sure to give yourself all day. I got there last year right as they opened up, and spend a good 4 or 5 hours there before I was baked and ready to go home. I’m in much better shape this year, hoping to last all day both days!
  8. Water – it may be warm, bring something to drink, preferably in a refillable container

What to expect at Maker Faire?

I seriously can’t even begin to describe what all you will see at the Maker Faire. Big mechanical dragons spitting flames, little Android robots, R2-D2 robots, steam punk hipsters, the Rally Fighter open source car, Wooden Bicycles, Rocks as big as a car that you can move,

Here are two videos from last year’s Maker Faire

and a time lapse of my day (at least most of it)

freshbandThis week I started reading a new book. It is a book from a course I took in college. I left the book at the office today (mistakenly) so I can’t tell you the title of the book, but basically the book is about programming language design. I noticed that while reading it, it is like I am reading it for the very first time. To be honest, it probably is the first time I’ve read the book. I couldn’t even tell you what course it is for, or when I took that course in college, though I can probably guess the outcome of me taking it, I likely dropped the course.

I don’t know when I became a bad student, but I can tell you, I am a bad student. I don’t think I ever really learned how to study. In grade school, middle school, and high school, I didn’t have to study. I took AP classes, was enrolled in an IB program my freshman year (before moving to Indiana where it wasn’t offered), I was considered bright.

frenchclass95I got good grades, played football my final two years of HS (or watched mostly from the sidelines), played tennis one year, golf one year, was in band all throughout. Up through 12th grade school was easy, if anything I think the only class I really struggled with as Calculus. After high school everything changed.

I started college in 1995, planning on getting a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Missouri – Rolla (UMR) (now known as Missouri University of Science and Technology, MST). I struggled at Rolla. I joined a fraternity, I met a girl, I went to class, I discovered this new thing called the Internet (this was in 1995, before going to college all I was exposed to was Prodigy).

15569_1182361751660_1006680206_30450552_6095236_nWhile at Rolla, I did okay in some classes, and poorly most others. Towards the end of my time there I was dropping half of the credit hours I was taking each semester, and not doing great in the classes I remained in. Needless to say I didn’t do well at UMR, after 4 years of school, with one semester off to work, I left Rolla and decided I was going to work full time and go to school part time.

I moved to St. Louis, lived with my parents for 6 or 7 months, until they up and moved to South Carolina. I stayed in St. Louis, took a few CS classes here or there at UMSL, but struggled in those as well, working full time wasn’t conducive to me getting good grades. Eventually I took a year or two away from classes at UMSL, but I talked myself into going back and meeting with a counselor to figure out what I could do to finish. We looked at my transcripts, and figured out what I needed to do to finish. With 110 or some odd credits under my belt, in order for me to get a BS in Computer Science at that point in time I needed another 70 credits, a lofty number at the rate I was taking classes.

We looked at switching to an MIS degree, that wasn’t that much better, maybe 63 credits remaining. Ultimately we figured out that I could get an economics degree in just 36 more credit hours, I had to take 6 hours of humanities (not something that Rolla had in the requirements) and then 30 hours of economics. I had taken two economics courses during my time at Rolla, they came easy, so I thought, what the heck, 30 hours of econ and I’ll have that degree I need (as in I wanted to complete A degree, which one wasn’t that important to me).

I think around 2006 I started taking UMSL seriously again, taking 2 classes in the evenings during the week so that I could get the credits I needed out of the way. I did fairly well in my studies at UMSL in Econ, better than I had done in CS at either UMSL or UMR. In May 2011 I was officially done, I completed my Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Missouri – St. Louis. I was rather proud of finishing. Did it change anything? The only thing it changed is I can now officially say I am a college graduate, not one other thing.

But here we are today, March 1st, 2012, I’m a college graduate, I have a good job, a wonderful wife, a beautiful daughter. But I still am a bad student.

A couple of weeks (months?) ago the CEO of DotNetNuke Corporation gave a presentation to some employees about learning. Pushing yourself to spend 30 minutes a day learning. After school, you really don’t do that, or at least most people I know don’t. I know I haven’t pushed myself to learn anything outside the scope of DotNetNuke in many years.

It is time to finally change that. I want to learn, I need to learn, about what? Everything. For now, I’m going back to my computer science dreams, I’m going to read the books I have on my bookshelf. I’m going to learn things outside of my current comfort zone. To start off I am learning how to build and program hardware. I’ve been working on the web since 1995, it is time to break into the real world.

I’ve dabbled in that a bit already, I’ve been working on a project that we call DNNFoos (www.dnnfoos.com) a black box that is used to keep track of the score of foosball games. I’ve been building and testing and debugging the project for a few weeks now, and I am now at the point where I need to learn more to make it work reliably. I need to learn threading, I need to learn how to write code that fits on a Netduino and doesn’t throw out of memory exception errors. Now is the time.

After that? Who knows, maybe I’ll learn a new language. That could be rather useful living in California where 43% of the population speaks another language at home (census stats)

What are you going to learn today?

This year I said one of my goals is to ride in a century, a 100 mile bike ride. I’ve chosen the LIVESTRONG Challenge in Davis California on June 24, 2012.

As part of the ride I have set a goal to raise $1,000. You can donate to my campaign at https://laf.livestrong.org/goto/chrishammond

All I am asking is that you donate $5 (more if you like) to the cause. Just $5 to help people around the world effected by Cancer. Below is more info on why I am riding in the LIVESTRONG Challenge this year.

My Story

I am riding the 105 mile distance at the 2012 Team LIVESTRONG Challenge Davis for four special people in my life, all affected by cancer. As part of the event I have set a goal of raising $1,000, I would appreciate any amount that you can donate to my cause, you can use the link on the left side of this page to DONATE NOW.

Who am I riding for?

I am riding the #LSCDavis for four people, all affected by cancer.

My father and daughterMy father Bill was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in August 2011, he had treatment for the cancer in November 2011 and we are hopeful that it was caught early enough to be eradicated by the treatment. (Photo right with my daughter Jacqueline on her first birthday 10/9/2011)

My uncle John, married to my father's sister, has been battling cancer for a number of years now.

My auntie Carol was diagnosed with breast cancer and successfully beat the disease.

One of my best friend's mother Janice was very recently diagnosed with breast cancer and is going through the treatment process now.

These close friends and family are my motivation for doing the LIVESTRONG Challenge in Davis this year. As of January of 2012 the longest bike ride I've ever done was 30.3 miles, that was in August 2011. If all goes as planned, I will surpass that total multiple times this year. Please stay tuned to my training and ride results by checking out the LIVESTRONG blog posts here no my site.

If you are looking for tips at taking 365 photos in a year, check out the list at the end of the article. As many of you know, or should, I planned to do a couple of things in 2011 in terms of blogging and photo taking.

  1. Blog every day
  2. Post a photo of myself taken every day #Flickr365
  3. Post a photo of Jacqueline taken every day #Baby365

Well, I only completed one of those things (#Baby365), but I must admit I am glad about which one I did complete and the ones I didn’t!

Every day in 2011 Natalie or myself took a photo of Jacqueline, and while we didn’t always get them posted to flickr the same day, I think we did get that done on at least 355 of those days. You might think, oh that isn't hard, taking a photo, so what. Well I tel you what, it wasn't easy. Try doing ANYTHING out of the ordinary for 365 straight days, it takes some effort.

#Baby365 Photos

You can see the full collection of the #Baby365 photos in the Flickr Set found here (https://www.flickr.com/photos/chammond/sets/72157625597966645/).

All along I had plans of doing something more with the photos, and while I am not completed with everything, I have two things you can see online now.

#Baby365 Videos

The first is you can see a compilation video of the 365 photos set to music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kHmTe2hNMM

Then of course there is the faster cropped version, which I personally prefer. I think it shows an interesting view of Jacqueline growing up over the past year. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFnhpweyzoE

She has grown up a lot over the past year, too fast if you ask myself or Natalie, but that is how parenthood goes.

2012 #Toddler366

Stay tuned for #Toddler365 #Toddler366 here for 2012 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/chammond/sets/72157628676234297/)

Some tips if you are thinking of doing any #Baby365, #Toddler365 or #Anything365.

These are just a few things I can think of off the top of my head that should help you with your project. I will try to update the list if I think of anything else.

  1. Set a reminder on your phone/computer to remind you EVERY day to do something, possibly two reminders
  2. Don't clear the reminder until it is done, there is no snooze here, leave it on
  3. Use a good camera, we have a number of days that were taken with Natalie's phone and they leave a lot to be desired
  4. Be diligent about tagging and uploading photos into a Set on Flickr. If you name them, tag them, etc, it makes them easier to find/organize later
  5. Check out Downloadr from https://janten.com/downloadr/ at the end of the year to download and organize the photos if you want to create a video like I did. You might think you can pull all the photos from your original collection, but that can be a bear depending on how you organize things. Also if you don't have all the photos in your collection (I use Lightroom) but you do have all the photos on Flickr, Downloadr helps immensly.
  6. Try to take a full face photo every time, we didn't for 2011 and I think things could have turned out a lot better if we had tried to do that.
  7. Make sure your camera keeps EXIF data and you have it enabled in Flickr, it makes sorting things a lot easier (sorting your set of photos on flickr, sorting your photos to create a video, etc)

Nine months ago today, Jacqueline was born. I can’t believe it has been 9 months already, she’s growing so fast. I’ve got some video I took today, I’ll get it posted tomorrow if I can get time to put it together.

So here we go again, we’re less than two weeks out from our scheduled move. Time to start throwing things away!

This weekend will be spent going through the closets, and mainly through the garage. I am hoping to get a collection of things together to take to the Goodwill store this weekend.

We’re also hoping to get out to the bay shore trail. Natalie got a new bicycle for Mother’s day, so we are hoping to make our way out to the trail so she can ride as I push the baby along in the running stroller. I’m hoping I can skate with her, we’ll see how that goes.

Part of our move to California I planned to travel less. I actually made that decision before knowing that we were having a baby, after finding that out the motivation to travel less increased.

Since Jacqueline was born I have definitely had less desire to travel and be away. I’ve been in Chicago for the past few days, and don’t get home until Thursday. Natalie has been great with all my travels, taking care of our beautiful baby and sending me photos so I can keep up with #Baby365!

We are at Day 123 for the year, here’s a photo of Jacqueline and her grandpa Gra.

Day 123 #baby365

All signs point to yes! So here we are, a year after moving, and what are we going to do again? Move, of course. I hate moving, but you couldn’t tell by my history of moving!

So we got verbal confirmation from the real estate agent in Half Moon Bay that she’ll be getting us a lease this week for the place we looked at over the weekend. Now I need to get a moving company over here for a quote on packing and moving out stuff!

We spent today doing family things, and I must say, it was a great day!

First we all headed down to Half Moon Bay to check out two rental houses down there. We need to find a larger place, I need an office, and Natalie needs a bedroom, so we are looking for a 3br place instead of our current 2br place.

We looked at two places, one that was a 4br with 1100 sq/ft, and one that was 3br and 1700 sq/ft. The 1100 sq/ft house had nicer amenities, new appliances, bathrooms, etc, but the master bedroom was barely big enough to fit our california king bed, there’s no way it would also fit the rest of our bedroom furniture.

The second place was perfect! While the appliances aren’t updated, size wise it should work out great. We told the agent that showed it to us that we were very interested and got an application to fill out. I sent that in this evening, I had intended to do it earlier, but as I was filling it out, I realized that I didn’t have my driver’s license. I left it at Safeway yesterday, so I had to run out and get that.

We’re hoping to hear back on the rental here in a couple of days, it would be nice to lock that down so we can give our current landlord notice about when we are leaving. He’s been great, he understands why we are leaving, and has been very willing to work with us as we look for something else.

After looking at the houses, we drove around Half Moon Bay a bit, realizing it was much larger and nicer than we had originally thought. It’s about 14 miles door to door from the place we want to get, and the office, so that shouldn’t be too bad a drive every day, assuming traffic doesn’t bite me!

From there we went to the mall for pictures with the Easter Bunny. Here’s the result

Jacqueline and the Easter Bunny Jacqueline and the Easter Bunny Jacqueline and the Easter Bunny Jacqueline and the Easter Bunny Jacqueline and the Easter Bunny Jacqueline and the Easter Bunny Jacqueline before the Easter Bunny Jacqueline before the Easter Bunny

I took the day off of work today, and took Natalie and baby Jacqueline to the baby’s first baseball game.

I went to the Oakland A’s game (playing the Red Sox of course) with Mike Walsh, a fellow coworker at DotNetNuke. I wanted to scout out the stadium, and figure out how taking the baby to today’s day game was. The seats last night were great, section 111 row 12, just up from the field. The weather was perfect, the game, eh, not so much, the Sox lost 0-5.

Today’s game was different. The weather, not so great, more on that later. The seats, they were even better, though only one row closer and 2 closer to home plate.

We got to the parking lot just as the Star Spangled Banner was being sung. We got into the game and to our seats, after walking through the rain! It started raining on the way into the stadium. By the time we got to the seats though it actually stopped raining.

We watched the first couple of innings, and the baby enjoyed looking at all the new people around. About the third inning we brought out some formula and the baby took a bottle and passed out in my lap. We shifted her over to Natalie so I could run up to concessions and get us some lunch. While I was up there I missed a homerun, and then the rain started.

I ended up back at the seats for a couple of minutes, but then we decided to call it a day. Too much rain, no ponchos, and the stadium staff told us out umbrella was too big! So we headed home.

Overall a good day with the baby, even if we missed the end of the game.

Today, Natalie and I took Jacqueline to the park down the street to get outside a bit. We stuck her in the swing and let her play in the grass.

Day 106 of #Baby365Baby in the ParkBaby in the ParkBaby in the Park

The swing just kind of exists for her, she can’t really do much except sit there and hold on! Here’s a video of some of that excitement.

Jacqueline on the Swing

The grass was much more entertaining for her, she has never experienced grass before, and she found it useful to hold on to while trying to maintain her balance.

Baby in the ParkBaby in the ParkBaby in the ParkBaby in the Park

Jacqueline in the Grass

How do people get things done? I get home from work, spend some time with the baby, have some dinner with the wife, and then try to do some work. I don’t get anything done, then it’s time for bed.

Up at 6am tomorrow and then start teaching at 8am, back at it.

Sunday when I was getting ready to come back, I got an automated call from AA telling me that my flight was cancelled. They fortunately rescheduled me through Dallas instead of Chicago and I made it home, later than initially planned, but at least I made it home.

Today, Natalie and the baby get to the airport in STL and find out that their flight to LA then SFO is cancelled. So they also get routed through Dallas. They were supposed to be home 3 hours ago, and they are still not scheduled (due to consistent delays) to actually arrive at SFO until almost 11pm tonight.

Thanks American Airlines. Now that my frequent flier miles are used up I think I will ditch using your airline and use one that actually has flights.

Tonight (written last night) on my flight back from St. Louis (via Dallas) the in flight movie was the documentary “Waiting for Superman”, I had briefly overheard people talk of the movie before, but didn’t really know specifics about it. I wasn’t going to watch it, but went ahead and plugged my headphones in to listen to it rather than my Zune for the first portion of the flight. If you haven’t seen this, YOU MUST WATCH THIS DOCUMENTARY. Especially if you are a parent, want to be a parent, or might accidently become a parent (I’m look at you Jeef). View the full blog post for more

Those of you from Vacaville may recognize the title here, those of you who aren’t, maybe you’ve heard of a little band called Papa Roach.

Anyways, today in St. Louis I ran around a bit. I went to lunch with a guy who got me where I am today. My first real boss after college, though I also worked for him before I left college. Bobs as I like to call him (Roberts is his first name) is the guy who got me into the .NET world, and without that I wouldn’t be doing what I am today, I am very thankful for all that he has done for me over the years. Though I really should thank my dad, because had they not played golf one day back in summer 99 I wouldn’t have met Bobs to begin with!

After lunch I ran up to UMSL (University of Missouri St. Louis) to see if I needed to do anything while I was in town for my final course that I’m waiting for the grade to come through on. I had to fill out a change of graduation date form, but other than that there wasn’t anything else to do.

This evening we went to a little party put on at the Nelson’s house. It was great to see a lot of my fraternity brothers and their wives and all the kids running around, We had a little graduation party, and it even included cake! I hope my Final score was enough to get me to graduate, otherwise I probably need to give the cake back! Unfortunately we had to cut short from the party as Natalie came down with some sort of stomach bug this afternoon, hopefully she feels better tomorrow.

Tomorrow is my last full day in St. Louis, we’re planning on heading out to a barn so the baby can see her first horse, hopefully they scare her and she never wants to ride them! Daddy can’t afford two ladies in the family riding! Open-mouthed smile

St. Louis

We’re headed back to St. Louis for the first time as a family tomorrow. I’ll be in town until Sunday, Natalie and Jacqueline will be there until the 4th of March.

We’re trying to see as many friends as possible, but will also be spending a lot of time with Natalie’s sister, brother in law, and our nieces.

See you there!

Today was our longest day away from the house with the baby, and all in all things went very well.

We left around 10am and headed up towards Vacaville, timing it so that the baby had a bottle around 8:30, and was up until we hit the road at 10. She fell asleep and woke about 20 minutes into our lunch at Panera Bread at Nut Tree in Vacaville. From there she had a bottle and was awake for more of the next couple of hours as we did a little shopping at the outlet mall in Vacaville.

Then we headed off to a Super Bowl party in Fairfield, Jacqueline got another bottle there, but didn’t get down to sleep till probably almost 5pm, it was loud, and she wasn’t too big a fan of the cheering (mostly from silly Steelers fans) but she held up very well.

She got another bottle right before we left and slept the whole ride home. Natalie fed her again when we got home, though I think she slept through most of that feeding. We’ll see how she sleeps tonight, hopefully most of the night! I’m off to bed early as well, I am going to hit the office early so I can spend a few hours in the  afternoon dealing with the Nissan Leaf which is at the dealer waiting.

Seriously, where does the time go? I get home from work, spend some time with the family, eat dinner, start working and next thing I know it’s 10pm.

I would write a longer blog post but I really don’t have time! I’m going to study now and get my final assignment done for my Economics of Money and Banking course so that I can get the final requested and hopefully take that in the next two weeks to finish things up!

So what’s gone on so far in 2011? Let’s recap on this 33rd day of the year.

So far I’ve kept up with my blogging commitment, every day, You can find a list of all the blogs at https://www.chrishammond.com/

I’ve managed to post 33 photos of myself for #Flickr365 and 33 photos of Jacqueline for #Baby365. The baby is growing! She’s up to 13lbs 13oz last time she was weighed and in the 95th percentile for height at her age, a jump from her last measurement.

I’ve managed to autocross the 350z once already this year, and have at least 2 more events coming up this month, with a possible 4th as well.

The Super Bowl is coming this weekend, I’m ready for it, we’re going to finally get up to Fairfield and see some friends we haven’t seen in probably 8 months!

Six years ago today I met the most beautiful woman in the world. We met for dinner at Applebees, we closed the place down. We had talked on Match.com for a few days prior to meeting, but January 29th, 2005 was the first time we saw each other face to face.

Less than nine months later we were engaged, and less than two years later we were married. We’ve been married 4 years now, and have a beautiful baby girl (almost 4 months).

I love you Natalie.

So this post is not meant to be rude, even though it might come off that way, so here it goes.

Do I know you? Do you know me? Do you want to know me? Do I want to know you?

These are questions I ask almost every day. Every time someone sends me an invitation to connect on LinkedIn, or a Facebook Friend request, or an Instant Messenger buddy list add, I wonder: Who are you? Do I know you? How do you think you know me?

For some people it’s easy. Yesterday I got a LinkedIn request from Natalie Hammond, that’s an easy one, my wife, though I had to think about accepting it (just kidding) I knew who it was.

Today I got a linked in request from another person, and for the life of me I have no clue who they are. Looking at their profile doesn’t tell me anything except their name and where they are/went to school. Other than that, no hints as to how I might know that person, or if I don’t already, why I might want to know them.

So a word of advice, and a small request. When you send me a LinkedIn request, or Facebook friend request, please include a brief message, remind me who you are, or intrigue me as to why I should know who you are.

That being said, Facebook is for friends, family, and past classmates. LinkedIn is for professional connections, so if you are a DotNetNuke user feel free to send me a LinkedIn invite (with some info about why), but don’t bother with Facebook friend requests please unless we are already friends.

LinkedIn Profile

Facebook Page




Chris Hammond

Chris Hammond is a father, husband, leader, software developer, photographer and car guy. Chris focuses on the latest in technology including artificial intelligence (AI) and has spent decades becoming an expert in ASP.NET and DotNetNuke (DNN) development. You will find a variety of posts relating to those topics here on the website. For more information check out the about Chris Hammond page.

Find me on Twitter, GitHub and LinkedIn.