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I made it to Denver yesterday with the MacBook Pro, which is operational if not fully well. Friday (recall that I don't work on Fridays....) I was in the office until 8:30 pm, mostly spent wrestling with the computer.

The saga: after the overnight effort, I had a disk image of the hard disk with the problem...and with all my data and applications. I did a system re-install but that didn't fix the problem--the startup process hung before getting to the login screen. I'd had consultations and hand-holding via IM with [ profile] kd5mdk (thanks again!), but he was away at this point. I called the Apple enterprise support folks again and was told that the next thing to try was to erase the hard disk, then install a clean system. After that I could move stuff (i thought this guy told me both data and applications) from the disk image, and see what I had.

So, I erased the disk and installed a new system, then contemplated my situation. It was mid-afternoon, I had to leave for Denver Saturday, and I really needed the computer with some fairly complicated software pieces, not all of which I had to hand for new installations. I decided I really wanted to try to use Migration Assistant to move substantial parts of my old account over, and I made one more call to Apple and got a different support guy who felt I could only move documents from the damaged disk image--MA would be right out. [ profile] kd5mdk (consulted for a third opinion) agreed that was the best procedure, but that if I wanted to try using Migration Assistant it *might* work, or I might go a step too far and have to repeat the disk erase and re-install.

I took a deep breath and did it--used MA to move Documents and Applications from my old account, and crossed my fingers as I re-started the computer. And it booted! Rather slowly, and shut downs are slow, so I desperately need to do a new set up properly when I'm home--clean install again, then do the software installs one at a time and discard the accumulated detritus from years of using the Powerbook G4. I still had to work on the VPN installation, and had to re-install AFS from scratch, but the rest of my critical applications are running.

I must mention the yeoman job the iPad did as my chat platform with [ profile] kd5mdk. Office nannyware blocks all Web chats, the old IM installation I used to have on my Windows box got cleaned off a while back (and I wasn't using it anyway), and if there's a way to make Lotus Sametime talk to other chat systems through our firewalls I don't know about it. The iPad G3 connection avoids the nannyware nicely.
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I got home last evening after a full week in Denver, the first of the usual 2 trips there for database testing. I added to the trip this time by going out on Friday, meeting up with friend and co-worker Krissi (same friend as on the recent Disney excursions), and spending the weekend we arrived....working. There was far advance testing prep needed in than we could do (or than the test manager could do), but we did get through a tricky task each and also got our heads in the right place for the coming week of testing.

Sunday afternoon we drove back out to the airport to turn in our personal rental car (the database program manager having refused to pay for our weekend expenses--his budget is *extremely* tight), met up with the programmer for the water-use part of the database at the rental car place where he got a car at the gov't rate, picked up a contract programmer at the airport proper, then drove back to our hotel in Lakewood. Krissi headed in for an early night, but I went with the other two on a drive to Idaho Springs, Central City, then looping back to Golden and Lakewood. It was nice to see something other than Denver, Lakewood, and the Federal Center for a change...we are out here so often, there's a tendency to not do any sight-seeing during the week. The drive was also a chance to get to know Tong (the contract programmer)--I had had no contact with him before, and Todd (the water-use programmer) had been communicating with him by phone and email for a few months but had never met him face-to-face.

Beyond that, it was a full week on the database. We're making radical changes to the aggregate data database (the one that supports The Report) and are 18 months from release, so that testing was in the very early stages. I did a little on that, but spent most of my week in the main NWIS testing the groundwater database, which is adding access to some tables formerly used only by water use.

Today I seem to still be on Mountain Time--I got up late, went to Pastries A Go Go for breakfast as it seemed too much trouble to make coffee at home, went to the library, then home. Lunch was late again at Panera, then I went to the grocery store and home. Final excursion was to the Post Office with a Bookmooch book, then a swing by Whole Foods for creme fraiche, and home again. In between all these trips, picture me either with a book in hand or in front of the computer, but always with a cat in the lap, on the shoulders, or on the desk beside me.
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I'm in Denver for the first of the two annual database tests. I arrived on Sunday to a beautiful clear day, with temps that let me not quite abandon the jacket, but at least leave it open. Flying in there had been some snow cover left over from their blizzard last week, but pavements were mostly clear and grassy areas were getting that way.

When my carpool group emerged from the hotel yesterday, it was into cold and gray (OK, the sun wasn't up yet, but anyway), with some sort of freezing precip blowing into our faces and a couple of inches accumulated on the cars and grass. Looked like pelletized snow, in sleet-sized particles. Uncomfortable, whatever it's called. That cleared up in time for me to make a chilly hike at lunch to Subway (food + some exercise). By the evening lots of the grass was clear of snow again, aided by the drying effect of the brisk wind.

Today is supposed to be clear, high of 45 F. Tomorrow, more snow in the afternoon, maybe another couple of inches. Thursday, clear again (and I fly out that morning, so I'd like that snow cleared in time for the trip to the airport, and clear conditions to fly please....).
nlbarber: (Default)
It's the April-in-Denver database test this week. So far, testing is going well, weather is cold (an inch and a half of snow on the car yesterday morning, more tomorrow evening maybe), hotel, as noted during the January trip to a training class, is adequate. I have punted on the hotel breakfast options, and just finished a bowl of cereal with strawberries in my room.

Off to testing!
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The weather is back to Wintry, after being sunny but cold yesterday and most of today. When we emerged from the building after work the snow was coming down at a good clip. No significant accumulation is predicted, though there may be showers all evening. We did get a very cool picture (just wish I'd had a camera, though it might just have been impossible to capture): we were headed towards the mountains, with snow coming down sideways so everything was soft gray. Put a few skeletal deciduous trees in the foreground. The sun was just setting below the first line of hills behind the trees, so that we saw a bright glow in the clouds, cut off along a sharp line underneath by the top of the flat hill, all of this well above the apparent "horizon". It was a study in grays, and beautiful.

Tonight we're having a group dinner for the class at Old Chicago, which has the great advantage of being a short walk from the hotel. Might be a little cold, but then all those who want to drink can do so without concerns about driving home.

More on the 'new' hotel )

The DBA class )

Time for the group dinner....must go see if the snow has stopped.
nlbarber: (Default)
The Training Center staff member who gave the introduction session this morning included a few warnings about watching out for altitude sickness, keeping hydrated, and watching for abrupt weather shifts while in Denver. He threw in that tonight's forecast was for 'chance of scattered snow showers', and that that was Code Red for 'could snow like h*ll'.

The day was pretty, temps dropping some--the high was around 50, I think--but windy as the front moved in. Gary and I hiked the short mile or so to Subway for lunch, past the prairie dog colony with all the curious-but-alert prairie dogs keeping an eye on us and the magpies scolding in nearby trees. Now (9 PM) I can hear the wind still blowing hard, and a quick look shows snow blowing every which way.

(5 minutes later) No snow, still windy. Tomorrow is supposed to be clear, regardless of tonight's precip or lack thereof, but the high will be mid-30's. A lunchtime walk will be less attractive, I'm sure.
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It was a smooth trip to Denver, with most middle seats on my AirTran flight (including the one next to me) empty, no screaming babies, and good weather for flying. Good weather all 'round, in fact--it was warmer in Denver than in Atlanta, hitting the upper 50's. That won't last, however.

New/old hotel for this trip. Instead of the Residence Inn we've been using for several years (and which got busy enough to not offer the low group rate any more), we're at a Hampton Inn. Which used to be the quite upscale Compri when I first started traveling to Denver for work in the late 1980's, then became a Sheraton Four Points, and now to a Hampton. It still appears to be kept up pretty well...will judge the quality of the free breakfast tomorrow. Rooms have been retro-fitted with a mini fridge and mini microwave, which I much appreciate as a diet aid. I do somewhat regret the closet space sacrificed for this.

The Hampton is a lot closer to the Federal Center (across the street, actually, though it'd be quite a hike to the USGS Training Center building with laptops and other paraphernalia), and with a number of restaurants in easy walking distance. I do like the Residence Inn's full kitchen, but this may do just fine.

240 Union

Nov. 18th, 2005 12:19 am
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With both the workshop and the afternoon meeting over, a group of us made plans to go to 240 Union, a restaurant a couple of blocks from the hotel. It's one of my favorite restaurants in Denver, and I try to splurge and go there at least once a trip. My meals there generally cost the entire daily per diem allotment for Denver, but it's worth every penny.

I was even more impressed with their service tonight. We were meeting a local USGS person and her husband at the restaurant, and she thought it would just be 5 of us. I arrived with a crowd of 7 and we knew of 1 more coming, so they graciously moved us to a table for 10. And the latecomer arrived with 2 others, so we ended up in a separate room with our crowd of 12. Believe me, we tipped above their automatic 18+%.

Very nice evening--I had a glass of wine, ate duck breast (as I do about half the time there), and chatted with either end of the table rather in the Regency style: the course changes, and you turn to your dinner companion on the other side. One end of the table tended toward gossip and tales of software tests past (the local person is on the programming team, and several of us know her mostly from those tests), and the other was more general conversation with a heavy sprinkling of water-use issues. So to speak...

I'm now a little over-full, have the suitcase mostly packed, and will shortly head to bed. It was a good week, but I'm now completely out of energy.
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The workshop ended a little early--we were scheduled to go until 11:30, but we wrapped up closer to 10. And when the big shades in the hotel meeting room were raised, outside were big white flakes drifting down from the sky. I guess I didn't hear all the weather report on the radio this morning, cause I didn't expect it at all. At the moment the roads are wet, not icy, so hopefully it won't snow much and won't affect my travel home tomorrow. This is Denver, after all--they expect snow and are prepared to deal with it.

The workshop seemed to end with most people feeling good about it. I had some nice complements on my talks, not only content, but the fact that I repeated the questions asked by the audience so everyone could hear them, etc. I'm just relieved that it all came off with no major hitches.

Oh, one incident that could have affected the workshop occurred just after it ended--a fire alarm went off on the 9th floor of the hotel, so they stopped the elevators, blocked the stairs from people going up, and checked it out. Turned out to be a false alarm on the 9th floor. And I don't think anyone who needed to get their bags and leave for the airport was prevented from getting to their room on time.


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