Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘vacation

Victory…Kind Of

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Well, I’m back from the Watson Bubba team’s participation in the Denton Country Club Member-Guest golf tournament.  My dad was the member, I was the guest.

We fought a valiant fight, especially the first day, whereupon it rained down on us our entire round.

Day 2 (Friday), Bubba Watson Jr. (Me) was prepared to give a clinic the first six holes, shooting 4-4-4-4-4-4.  But as I joked in the 19th hole later on that day, “golf struck” — as in, golf reality — and it was a roller coaster from there on in.

I shot a nice, well-rounded 88 both day 2 and day 3, and Watson Bubba Sr. (My dad) shot in the low 80s.  It was just enough to give us a piece of the pie, whereupon we took third place.

The most important thing was, my dad and I got to spend some quality time together, and I took the luxury of a few days of not working or blogging, really my first all year.

So let me pick up the ball where I left off, so to speak.

From a sports perspective, it was an almost overwhelming weekend to keep track.

Saturday saw the kickoff of the Euro 2012 Soccer Championship, with host country Poland forced to take a 1-1 draw against Greece after both teams lost key players to red cards. Russia crushed the Czech Republic 4-1, Denmark beat the Netherlands 0-1 in a surprise win, and Germany eked out a 1-0 victory over Portugal, although I was certainly expecting more in the first game from the Germans.

Spain and Italy probably fought one of the hardest matches of the weekend, ending up tied 1-1.  On the agenda today are France v. England and Ukraine (another host country) and Sweden. If you’re a soccer fan, crank up that DVR and get those pizza coupons ready, there’s plenty more to come and it lasts three weeks!

The Belmont Stakes saw its 144th running, but without Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, “I’ll Have Another,” who had to retire from racing Friday afternoon due to a tendon injury.  No Triple Crown winner this year, but boy did Union Rags go from rags to riches in that photo finish a neck ahead of Paynter in the Belmont Stakes Saturday afternoon.

On the ice, NHL’s Los Angeles Kings lost more momentum back in the New Jersey Devils home stadium, and now return to the Staples Center tonight in LA looking to finally close the series they lead 3-2.

On the boards, of course, the Miami Heat return to the NBA Championship two years in a row after deflating the Boston Celtics Saturday night, this time in a matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder, whose league scoring champ Kevin Durant will face off against league MVP LeBron James.

And back on the Links, the FedEx St. Jude’s Classic was being played in Memphis, and Irish golf phenom and U.S. Open defending champion Rory McIlroy was playing beautifully and leading the tournament up until near the very end before Dustin Johnson, who had to dust himself off after being out over two months due to a jet ski injury, made the game look simple and win with a −4 under 66 in the final round.

All this just in time for the 2012 U.S. Open this week at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, which I aspire to blog quite a bit about here over the next week!

Written by turbotodd

June 11, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Details From The Turbocation: All TurboTech, All The Time

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Greetings from Bonefish Cay in the south Atlantic.  Think Nassau, Bahamas, fly NNW on a prop plane for an hour, land in Marsh Harbour, then take about a 10-minute boat ride.

Turbo is currently on vacation on Bonefish Cay in the Abaco Island chain in the Bahamas. However, despite being on a near-deserted island, he's not without satellite Internet and TV technology, and in terms of NCAA football, the English Premiere League, and Facebook, he's hardly missed a beat.

I’m staying with old friends, and I won’t rub in how remote and islandy this place is.  I came down for a week to visit, do a little scuba diving, maybe play a little golf, and generally speaking, just chill out.

But the winds haven’t exactly been cooperating — it’s been averaging 14-20MPH gusts since I arrived, and the temp has been in the low-to-mid 70s, so despite one trip into the water to search for some conch for dinner, we’ve mostly stayed out of the water.

Speaking of water, the island has to produce its own fresh water, so I got my first ever gander at a desalination system. The primary device is an SK HC 5,000 desalinizer, which produces 5,000 gallons of fresh water from sea water per day.  That averages out to around 210 gallons per hour.

The primary power source here is a Northern Lights 125KW diesel generator, which sends current out to 4 different inverted battery banks, to several houses located here on the island.

The Internet access here is provided by HughesNet, so as not to be completely cut off from the world.  Hey, just because I’m on vacation doesn’t mean I completely gave up my ability to communicate with other humans!  And anyhow, how was I going to post all those cool pics on Facebook if I didn’t have some form of Interwebs!

So here’s how this Hughes thing works: You send a request from a Web page that the Hughes satellite dish devices sends to a satellite that’s situated about 22,000 miles up in space.

According to Hughes, at that altitude, the satellite’s period of rotation (24 hours) matches the earth’s, and the satellite always remains in the same spot over the earth. Because Internet via satellite is now so technologically advanced, this distance hardly makes a difference, even with rural Internet connections.

Next, the satellite contacts the Hughes Network Operations Center (NOC), which locates the specific Website you have requested.

Finally, the Website beams the information back along the same path to the NOC, then to the satellite, and then to your computer through the HughesNet dish and modem.

What I’ve discovered is that even though the signal travels a great distance — when’s the last time you travelled 22,000 miles in a millisecond or two — there’s only a fraction of a second delay during the transmission.

Not unlike the delay you may have experienced when you using a cell phone.

And anyhow, you’re on an island, you shouldn’t be surfing the Internet anyhow.  And if you are, you should at least have a glass of rum and coke next to your computer.

Me, I’ve never had to lean on a satellite dish for Internet access for so long, but so far I’m sold…and hey, it beats sitting around talking to a volleyball named Wilson.

If you want to have a quick Walter Mitty moment, check out my takeoff from Nassau airport. This was in a 9 passenger Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander, which has a top speed of 170MPH and a range of 874 miles.

And it’s really, really loud.  Just how I like my prop planes while on vacation.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go make sure the Dish network is ready to deliver up the Dallas Cowboys/Arizona Cardinals game.  It’s now windy AND raining on the island — oh thank heaven for high technology.

Written by turbotodd

December 4, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Off To The Rich Coast

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I’m off to spend a week with mi padre playing golf and running some rapids in Costa Rica.

We arrived at Juan Santamaria aeropuerto last evening and are staying in the “Gringo Gulch” area near downtown San Jose.

I’ve never visited Costa Rica before, so I’m learning as I go.  Some factoids from Wikipedia:

  • Costa Rica is bordered by Nicaragua to the north (where I haven’t been) and Panama to the east and south (where I have), and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south and the Caribbean Sea to the east.
  • Costa Rica has been ranked as one of the happiest places on earth, and consistenly been among the top Latin American countries in the Human Development Index
  • Costa Rica is expecting to become the first carbon neutral country by 2021 and is already the “greenest” country in the world.

Economically, Costa Rica has historically centered on coffee, which was first planted here in the early 19th century and first shipped to Europe in 1843.

Bananas later came to rival coffee as the principal Costa Rican export, which were initially shipped primarily back to the U.S.

More recently, turisma (tourism) has become the headliner of the economy here, although high tech is no stranger to Costa Rica: IBM, HP, even Intel, which has a $500+M assembly and test plant here.

So, I’m off to do my part to contribute to the local economy.  If  you don’t hear much from me in the Turbo blog this week, it’s because I’m chasing little white balls through the rainforest.

But, I’ll be back…Well, maybe.

Written by turbotodd

February 21, 2011 at 4:13 pm

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I was out of the office the past several days working on my golf game.

The PGA Tour Championship, which kicked off today at Atlanta East Lake, has nothing to worry about from me.

But it was nice to get out and hit the links here in Austin with my retired father, who was down Austin-way visiting with my mom.

Our first round was played out at La Cantera, which until this past year was where the Texas Valero Open was played. Gorgeous golf course, and now I can see why that course looked like there was so much up and down — because there was.

I shot a 91 at La Cantera, and dad an 88, before we turned our sights to the recently reseeded greens of Shadow Glen in Manor. There, I shot an 89, dad an 86.

But in the final two rounds, down at Grey Rock south of Austin, it was all Watson, Jr, shooting 84-83 to pop’s 90-86. Dad let me try his out new Taylor Made Tour Burner, which I ended up using for most of the last full round at Grey Rock. I was probably averaging drives around 250-260 yards with that sucker. Needless to say, I’ve already ordered one for myself.

Where I’m Doing Well: When I can hit it straight off the tee, my driving is fine, but I’ve been having some errant drives (both left and right). Hopefully the Tour Burner will take some of the errant shots out of my drives (although I recognize it’s not all club).

I’m still missing too much right on my long irons, especially my fours and fives. When I get down to my sevens and eights, I’m much more accurate. And with my pitching and A wedges, I’ve been getting downright lethal, even on ~ 100 yard shots (which used to be nemesis). I hit an A wedge to a well protected 17th green (par 5) in my last round at Grey Rock and left myself a short 4 yard birdie putt (which I sank).

I made a similar wedge shot on 18 for another birdie. I don’t think I’ve ever finished a round birdie birdie.

Where I Could Improve: Course management. I still make some stupid decisions that put the big scores up that are keeping me out of the high 70s and low 80s.

My putting is definitely getting better, but I could still make more of those 10 footers and less and eliminating three putts (particularly in long putt situations). And my short chips are keeping me from parring those holes that I don’t get on in regs and am too far away for easy two putts.

My risk/reward ratio for birdie and par putts that then turn into pars and bogeys is still too far off.

All that said, considering how much I’ve NOT played this year, I’m pleased with how my game has improved (including my mental game). With a little more play I expect to start consistently seeing the early 80s.

What does this have to do with technology? Very little — but a gentle reminder that this blog’s tag line does mention some golf thrown in for good measure.

My dad DID bring his SkyCaddy out to the course, which was hugely helpful on the un-GPSed Grey Rock. GPS is extremely helpful on keying in the yardage for those short and long iron shots.

So that I wouldn’t go into complete golf withdrawal after playing four out of five days straight, I went out yesterday and bought the Tiger Woods EA Golf for 2010 on the Wii.

If you’re into playing some virtual golf, I have to say it’s a huge improvement over the X-Box version.

The Wii controller stands in for a golf club, but because the game uses full swing, putting, and chipping motions just as you would play on the course, it’s much closer to playing the real thing than previous game box versions I’ve tried.

I think I shot 6 or 7 over my first round on the Banff Springs course, and that was not fully knowing the sensitivity of the controls.

Oh, and IBM helped build the microprocessor for the Wii.

Three more days for The Tour Championship, and then next weekend the U.S. and Europe square off for the 2010 Ryder Cup in Newport, Wales.

And then I head into the end of year major golf depression. Thank Heavens for college football.

Written by turbotodd

September 23, 2010 at 10:49 pm


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I spent the last week on an island.

But, thanks very much, I didn’t get there via Oceanic Flight 815.

In fact, as I wandered around the outer Bahamian island of Eleuthera, taking in some scuba diving and lots of conch fritters, Jack, Kate, Sawyer and the gang were the furthest thing from my mind.

But after arriving home safely in Austin from the real world islands, I discovered along with everybody else what ultimately was the fate for those in the virtual island that was inhabited in the six-year running TV show, “Lost.”

Worry not, you’ll not need a spoiler alert here, as I don’t have the time nor inclination to go into all the details (and I’m not sure I could accurately navigate the maze that was that TV show if I wanted).

I will say I was most satisfied with the ending. 

It seemed fitting for its characters and the wonderful world that producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse had created, and yet left enough other questions unanswered to keep Lost fanboys guessing for years.

My vacation seemed like its own Lost episode or two, with a week seeming to stretch into a temporal realm that felt much, much longer.  Always a good sign of a well-spent vacation, methinks.

And it seemed like a heck of a week to have missed in the working world.  I’m sure much of the business news escaped my island solitude, but I did get a CNN sound byte the day of the falling stock market.

This week, however, seems off to a more promising start, and IBM is right there in the mix.

This morning, IBM announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Sterling Commerce from AT&T for approximately $1.4B in cash.

The acquisition of the Dublin, OH-based company will expand IBM’s ability to help organizations create more intelligent and dynamic business networks by simplifying and automating the way they connect and communicate with customers, partners and suppliers both on-premise or through cloud computing delivery models.

Today, more than 18,000 global customers use Sterling Commerce offerings. The company enables more than 1 billion business interactions a year for clients in the financial services, retail, manufacturing, communications and distribution industries.

IBM sees these interactions growing dramatically due to the proliferation of electronic business transactions, from banks exchanging transaction data and manufacturers sourcing raw materials electronically, to retailers automating stock replenishment and managing orders online.

Such intelligent transactions, and the software that supports them, help deliver the agility businesses need to be successful.

Sterling Commerce offerings strongly complement IBM’s middleware portfolio.

By acquiring Sterling Commerce technology and its large trading partner network, IBM anticipates it will be able to deliver powerful new cross-channel solutions to its clients.

In addition, Sterling Commerce technology will complement IBM’s industry-focused software offerings, enabling the addition of capabilities to IBM’s frameworks supporting the retail, manufacturing, communications, health care and banking industries.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to try and find my way back from all the islands real and fictional and back into the working world. 

Written by turbotodd

May 24, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Swimming With Sharks

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It’s Friday.

Which means tomorrow is Saturday, and the start of some holiday time.

I’m hopping a plane down to Nassau, Bahamas, in the morning to visit with an old college friend and his wife, and to do some scuba diving (my first dive trip since last year this time, whereupon I was down in Grand Cayman).

I was last in The Bahamas in December, 2001, stopping off for a day port there with the rest of my family while I was on a cruise.

This time around, I’ll be going a little more native, staying with my friends, and also spending much of the week on the island of Eleuthera.

Eleuthera is an island in The Bahamas that sits about 50 miles east of Nassau.  Here’s a picture:


The population of Eleuthera is around 8,000, and according to Wikipedia, the name of the island is derived from the Greek ελεύθερος , meaning “free.”

Big smile.

While in Nassau, my friends talked me into going on the Stuart Cove "Extreme Shark Adventure,” a series of two dives which will allow us to get up close and personal with some Caribbean Reef Sharks. 

I’m told the sharks will have had their breakfast.  On the second dive, they’ll be feeding them some brunch while the rest of we divers hang on the bottom of the ocean floor at around the 50 foot level. 

We’ll also be engaging in a “free swim” with the sharks along one of the gorgeous Bahamian walls.

I’m very much looking forward to swimming with all the creatures in The Bahamian waters, even as I pray for the great variety of sea creatures in the Gulf of Mexico and an imminent end to the flood of gushing oil.

It looks as though any of my own plans for the Texas Redneck Riviera for this summer will be dashed – I’m just hopeful that those who make their livelihoods off the Gulf (the shrimpers, fishermen, tourist firms, and yes, even the oil workers) are able to get back to work and soon, and that the impact is minimal to to the sea life in the Gulf.

But currently, the situation looks grim.

I’ll likely not be blogging much over the next week, although I may have to make a guest vacation appearance to relate my experience with the sharks. 

Otherwise, I’ll look forward to writing again soon when I’m back on May 24th. 

Until then, feel free to pray for all the Caribbean Reef Sharks near Nassau to have some very full bellies before I arrive on the scene on Sunday!

Written by turbotodd

May 14, 2010 at 9:19 pm

Football Brain and Lotusphere

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This is the first post of the new year, 2010.

You’ll have to excuse me, as I attempt to string the semblance of a grammatically correct sentence together after the better part of two weeks of mind numbing football and very little exposure to Internet technology.

I did have to work some (see the previous post), but this past five days I definitely allowed my brain to enter full on into football consumption mush mode.

You know, the kind where you’re sitting on the couch with the remote in one hand, a beer in the other, saliva pouring out of the sides of your mouth.

If you’re a married female, you certainly have seen your husband in such a condition at one point or another.

I call it football brain.

I suspect it takes a full week or two to get fully back into game mode, so this blog post is my start.

Speaking of football, I do want to congratulate my Dallas Cowboys for beating up on the Philadelphia Eagles yesterday to take the NFC East (I know you Giants and Redskins’ fans can’t stand that, and well, that makes me smile as well!)

I have to say, it might have helped if Donovan McNabb’s teammates might have shown up to catch a pass once in a while.

His line did their job, but his receivers were MIA.  Which is perfectly fine by me…I hope they don’t show up at the Jerrydome again next Sunday!

Those receivers are probably feeling about as lonely as the kicker for East Carolina University, Ben Hartman, whose four missed field goals against the University of Arkansas in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl Saturday night cost E. Carolina the game, and which set off a cyber frenzy calling for Hartman’s head.

Those fair weather fans forget one small fact: Hartman is the team’s all-time leading scorer.  DOH!  But I suspect that part nobody will remember.  Hang in there, Ben!

Meanwhile, back in Pasadena, your University of Texas Longhorns are on the ground and warming up for their attempt at rolling over the University of Alabama Crimson Tide this Thursday night.

Sports forecasting Website Accuscore has simulated the game over 10,000 times, and currently gives UT only a 35% chance of victory.

To that I say Hook ’em Horns, it’s all about any given Saturday (or in this case, Thursday!)

Okay, that’s enough football brain.  It’s time for me to start crossing my way back into the world of technology.

Did you know that from January 17-21, IBM will be hosting the 17th annual Lotusphere event in sunny Florida?  The 17th!

Out of all the IBM events I’ve frequented over the years, Lotusphere is one that’s never made the list…until this year.

I’ll be joining my IBM colleagues on the ground in Orlando, providing some blogging and Tweeting coverage, and possibly even some Turbo guerrilla video…and I can’t wait.

Considering I’ve been using Lotus products in my everyday existence since about 1993, I’m excited to finally be making the journey to be amongst the Lotus faithful.

You can follow the Lotusphere tidings (no need to wait until the conference…the stream is now conscious!) at hashtags #lotusknows and #ls10 and, of course, here on the Turbo blog.

Welcome back to reality, mi amigos.  You’ll get over it soon.

Written by turbotodd

January 4, 2010 at 3:32 pm

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