Category Archives: Toshiba

Looking back on 2016, and looking forward to 2017

I keep hearing about how awful 2016 was and how 2017 should hopefully be better. There were a lot of celebrity deaths in 2016, and I was devastated by the presidential election. More personally, I was laid off from Toshiba in a huge reduction-in-force, and my roommate had to put our two dogs to sleep. Yeah, there were negatives. And yet I’ll be lucky if 2017 lives up to 2016.

I traveled to Europe and saw eight countries with three of my closest friends, gem, Antonio, and Anela, and visited two great friends, Jessica and Andrew, who had recently moved to Paris. I saw Denmark, the UK (including England and Northern Ireland), the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, and Sweden. It was amazing, and I swear I’ll get to sorting photos and blogging eventually.

I saw Disneyland Paris and our hometown Disneyland’s Season of the Force. I attended Devin and Lorena’s 30th wedding anniversary party that included a face-painted bar crawl and a 1920s speakeasy party. I saw Kristine’s first exhibit that she curated in LA – Firsts, Seconds and Thirds: African American Leaders in Los Angeles During the 1960s & 70s.

I watched Anela dance a few times, including Shimmy Shakedown featuring her and Melissa. I saw the Wet Silk art exhibit, met Jon Klassen at the LA Times Festival of Books, and watched an LA KISS Arena football game.

The Holi Festival was a colorful blast of fun. Here I am with gem, Tory, Sean, and Nicole. I also went to the Huntington Beach Cherry Blossom Festival!

I went to a number of photoshoots with Anela, including this Fourth of July shoot that I really enjoyed, a fairy photoshoot, cherry blossoms, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall and train tracks in LA where I also got to shoot gem!

I took a bunch of friends to the Alpaca Hacienda for Anela’s birthday, and we got to see feed and pet alpacas and a llama!

I watched Sherlock Holmes and the Time Portal as well as Sweeney Todd, and gem surprised me with tickets to see Patton Oswalt. I’d been wanting to see his stand-up for a long time, and he didn’t disappoint. I had the three most amazing meals of my life – two at Frame in Paris and one for Edward’s birthday at Alexander’s Steakhouse in Pasadena.

I participated in a high-altitude sleep and cognitive ability sleep study at Barcroft Station, White Mountain Research Center where I witnessed some of the most beautiful views of nature I’ve ever seen. I saw the B-52s and Flight of the Conchords live as well as a number of local ska bands that I see regularly. I went to Allison’s awesome gaybut party and finally made it to one of Bryan’s parties where I participated in some of the most stimulating conversation I’ve had in a while.

I cosplayed Luke while gem cosplayed Professor Layton at San Diego Comic-Con. I also cosplayed Fix-It Felix Jr., and a Pokemon Go trainer. I got to dress as a zombie later in the year as well! I attended the Sonic the Hedgehog 25th anniversary party and saw some improv such as Spectacles, ImprovCity, and more.

Two great friends, Gracie and Jon, got married, and I got to watch.

I worked for three months doing server and other hardware installation for California DMVs. While I was traveling across the state, I got to visit my friends Matt, Katie, and Marc. I also had the chance to have lunch with Chuck Sommerville, a game designer whom I’ve admired for a very long time. He’s incredibly fascinating and has done many interesting things, and he was every bit as nice as I could have hoped.

And I even got to meet Alex and Darnell’s beautiful new daughter, Meredith.

Now I’m sure I’m missing many awesome things about 2016, but that just proves my point. If 2017 is half as good to me as 2016 was, I’ll be very grateful. Happy New Year.

Thanks to 2015 and everyone who made it great

Crow on the lake

This was quite the year filled with many fun activities. It seems like a nice time for some reflection. I went to Michigan, which was beautiful, with Duncan. I’d never been that far north or east.

Niagara Falls

On that same trip, I left the country for the first time to visit Niagara Falls.

Lee's Palace

I also visited Toronto! It was an awesome city.

Holland Tayloe Gedney as Elsa

I went to San Diego Comic-Con again. Here I’m dressed as an Aquabat with Holland Tayloe Gedney’s Elsa.

The Aquabats!

It was also my first year cosplaying – not counting the Aquabats costume I’ve worn to SDCC previously for concerts. This is Professor Monty Corndog from the Aquabats (with the Aquabats)!

Snapchat magic by gem

And let’s not forget Fix-It Felix, Jr.

Bay Area friends

I visited friends in the Bay Area when I went to San Francisco for a conference.

SoCal Paddle Yoga

I did a lot of yoga, including paddle yoga. I started practicing yoga in the summer of 2014 and continued in 2014. Starting in June, I did yoga daily, never missing a day. I took over 130 yoga classes in 2015. My wrist is still healing but is feeling much better. I think the glucosamine sulfate (thanks to the pianist from Intergalactic Nemesis for the suggestion) and vertical mouse is helping quite a bit. I also hurt my knee, so for the past few months I’ve only been doing restorative or yin yoga. Honestly, I can see the good in this. I’ve learned to appreciate yin and restorative so much more, which helps give me a deeper understanding to my practice and myself.

dancing

Speaking of hurting my knee, I’ve also been dancing a lot more. I took 40-something dance classes this year. While I tried a lot of different areas, I like Balboa, Argentine tango, and Lindy Hop the most. I’m glad I have fun friends who like to go dancing.

Ooey Gooey Berry PieI baked an ooey gooey berry pie for Anela to celebrate the fact that she passed the bar. I also got to attend her bar admission ceremony and law school graduation. Folly at Dapper Day

gem and I went to the Dapper Day expo at Downtown Disney and to Folly, the afterparty.

gem on stage with Suburban Legends!gem and I were extras during the filming of The Big Day, and gem got this great photo of her with Suburban Legends. Free Comic Book Day and ImprovCity's Comic Book Day show!

I saw so much talent in my friends. This is Free Comic Book Day show at ImprovCity with my friend Alex Bower front and center. Besides some regular shows, I saw him in Scary Pants (which he wrote), Millennial Falcon at Second City, and HIStory/HERstory.

UntitledSpeaking of talented friends named Alex, I saw Alex Foster clowning around and got pulled on stage for more participation (just like the last clown show I saw before this one). Little Jimmy the Robot of the Aquabats

I painted a little Jimmy the Robot.

Adventure Time mug painted at Color Me Mine! Idea by reddit user /u/Just-Another-Teenage in a post by /u/Corrupt_CoreI also painted this Adventure Time mug. Adventure Time mug painted at Color Me Mine! Idea by reddit user /u/Just-Another-Teenage in a post by /u/Corrupt_Core

You have to see both sides.

That’s not to mention the cool Christmas gifts and cards I made this year. I haven’t given them all to their recipients yet, so I don’t want to show anything.

IMG_3833gem took me to a sushi class where we prepared sushi rolls! She’s the best 🙂Coup de Comedy 2015

We also saw Kindred Throats, an amazing musical comedy duo. She liked them so much, she baked them cookies. Twice.

Anela's graduation

I attended Anela’s law school graduation from Chapman.

bar admission ceremony

…and her CA Bar admission ceremony.

Kurios

gem and I saw Cirque du Soleil’s KURIOS! Amazing!

Me and Anela at the Bellydance IDOL presents Om Kalthoum Tribute Show

I saw Anela dance a number of times, including the really fun Bellydance IDOL presents Om Kalthoum Tribute Show.

watson adventures

I helped solve a mystery at the Watson Adventures.

Blacklight Run

I ran (jogged/walked) a Blacklight Run with these two fun people.

Snow photo shoot with gem and Anela

I even got to see snow for the first time.

Heck, the year even started with my friends getting engaged.

I did so many other cool things too such as…

  • Reading all surviving plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides that I hadn’t read previously.
  • Having agents draft social media responses for me at work
  • Participating in a behavioral study
  • Becoming friends with Bryan Lackey, awesome ska trumpet player
  • Wakeboarding
  • Watching my brother perform in the Spectacles Improv Engine’s Student Showcase
  • Seeing a meteor shower
  • Attending a sand sculpture festival
  • Jogging/walking a Blacklight Run
  • Running the Walking Dead Experience
  • Seeing bands such as the Aquabats, the Interrupters, Starpool, Suburban Legends, LA Swing Barons, Imagine Dragons, Metric, Halsey, the LA Philharmonic, and Scott Bradlee and the Postmodern Jukebox
  • Vacationing with my roommates and friends in Vegas
  • Swing dancing in Downtown Disney
  • Visiting the OC Fair and OC Night Market
  • Watching Rocky Horror Picture Show
  • Lots of blogging (see my earlier post)

And I’m sure I’m forgetting to mention a thousand things. Thanks to everybody who helped make 2015 such an amazing year.

Bay Area vacation and the Lithium Network Conference 2015

Bay Area friendsLast week I was attending a conference in the Bay Area, so I went a few days early to visit friends! I stayed with Katie and Matt, hung out with Marc as well, coincidentally saw some Southern California friends, and attended the Lithium Network Conference. I had a great time!

Lithium is all about social: they’re the providers of Toshiba’s forum as well as Lithium Social Web, the web application that I use that pulls the forum, Facebook, and Twitter into one screen.

Friday

I flew in Friday night after some delays. Matt and Katie picked me up from San Francisco International, and we headed back to their place in Fremont after a quick stop for some tasty In-N-Out. It was late, so we mostly talked, and Matt and I played games.

Saturday

Saturday was the action-packed day! Marc came over, and then we visited Matt’s university, San Jose State University, where we failed to return library books and failed to see a flight simulator. We tried at least. Luckily, San Jose is also filled with delicious foods.

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At SmokeEaters I ate some delicious wings, onion rings, fries, and a beer. This was the start of a bad day for my stomach.

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I was kind of excited to see a banner for Fanime. I don’t know. I’m sorry.

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After our unhealthy lunch, we stopped at Psycho Donuts. Just look how good they look! Yes, yes, yes!

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We walked past a place called Iguanas just because I wanted to take a picture of their sign. Burritozilla! I want to eat Burritozilla!

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When we got back to Katie and Matt’s, we tried some of the donuts. Another bad stomach decision, but a great decision for my taste buds. The top-left one was the Cookie Monster donut. Reminds me of Afters Ice Cream! 🙂

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We made some White Russians, watched some YouTube videos, listened to Spotify, and talked. The White Russians were the final bad decision for my stomach, haha.

Matt found this playlist on Spotify – 2000’s Rock by Scott Sweatman. It’s… kind of great. It caused a lot of nostalgia, but at the same time, I can tell why I don’t listen to this music anymore. It was pretty perfect.

This might sound uneventful, but it was a pretty important evening. I had a lot of fun with them. Marc’s friend even came over as well.

Sunday

gem was in te Bay Area to go rafting with a group of friends, which included one other person I knew – Vivian. Marc came over again, and then he drove us to Berkeley to meet with them.

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We decided to meet at Sather Tower, a bell and clock tower, commonly called The Campanile.

You could hear the music from a pretty good distance.

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I liked the bears at the base.

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After realizing you could go up the tower for a nominal fee, we had to check it out.

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I wish this photo offered a better sense of scale. The bells could totally crush a person.

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gem, Katie, and Matt!

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Here’s where the musician sits to play the carillon, which is the bell system.

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Here’s the view.

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And here’s a group of photos of a lot of us.

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Here’s gem, Marc, Katie, Matt, and myself. I was trying to spread the Half Past Two, So Cal ska love to the Bay Area.

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We stopped at Sheng Kee Bakery, where I tried some of Vivian’s tea eggs – basically eggs boiled in tea rather than water. Delicious! Then it was off to Sliver Pizzeria. Each day of the week they feature a different pizza, but that’s it. That means that each day they only have a single kind of pizza. On Sunday, it was roasted potatoes, roasted onions, mozzarella, jalapeño jack cheese, Italian parsley, oregano, thyme, and olive oil. I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did. It was great! I’m going to need to try to make something like this some time.

Over lunch, someone I had just met that day asked me what I did for a living. I said, “I work for Toshiba…”

He replied with “hey, that’s my line!”

I’m paraphrasing, but he works for Toshiba as well, although he works for a different Toshiba company. Small world! And speaking of small worlds, another person was going to take the BART back to Fremont, so Marc just gave him a ride too.

It was cool seeing the university as well as the city. The city was pretty interesting. I can understand how it gets the reputation it has, because the people clearly cared a lot more about the environment and helping each other than I’m used to seeing in Orange County.

Once we got home, we had a quiet evening mostly of watching TV and chatting. I got some work done as well, and we watched American Ninja Warrior. It’s a cool show pitting athletes against insane obstacle courses that require a great deal of strength, agility, and balance.

Katie made an amazing fish dinner that made my stomach feel much better. It was super good!

Monday

I started Monday morning by working before Matt drove me to the BART station.

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When I got into San Francisco, I took a picture of the building outside the Powell Street station like I always do.

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This was the view from my hotel room. Not amazing, but I like that Scalzi always posts photos of his view, so I like doing it too. I stayed at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis, which was right next to Saint Patrick’s Chuch, where Patrick and Caroline got married. Pretty cool!

Anela gave me some recommendations of things to do. Some of them I’d done previously, and some, like hike recommendations, just didn’t fit with my schedule. But some things had to be done!

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Did you know that at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory you can watch people make fortune cookies? Well, she did, and now I do, and now you do.

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They start out round, while they’re still hot, she shapes them into fortune cookies. I got to try some nice hot ones that were still round, and I bought a bag of normal and chocolate fortune cookies.

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I tried one chocolate one from the bag, and my fortune was “Your luck will soon be at a high point.” That seems good, but what if it just means my luck is going to be terrible for a long time after that? Uh oh.

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I took some other random photos too.

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Building art.

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Yummy not-quite-a-fortune-cookie!

I had to stop at a bakery too, so I got a pineapple BBQ pork bun from The AA Bakery & Cafe. I love pork buns!

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Anela also recommended I get pastries in Little Italy, so off I went. I often say I don’t really like looking up recommendations because it’s more fun to find stuff on your own, but I wasn’t sure about Italian pastries, so I turned to reviews and found Stella Pasty and Cafe. Everyone seemed to recommend their Sacripantina.

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According to their site, it contains “vanilla sponge cake, zabaione (a delicate custard made with egg yolks, sweet butter, marsala and sherry wine) cream, and rum.” It was light yet rich. I could only eat about half of the piece actually.

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I knew I wanted pizza while I was there too, and I felt like looking around to see what caught my eye. Spoiler alert – it wa Golden Boy Pizza. I just liked the feeling and look of the place. Foursquare recommended the garlic clam pizza, so I went with that.

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It was a thick slice, and I put red pepper on it. It was good, although I didn’t find it amazing. Still, I liked the place enough that I might try to go back and get a different kind if I can. It was small on the inside but was covered with stickers and similar art.

I also want to mention Victoria Pastry Company. I didn’t eat there, but I got detoured as I followed the amazing smell. I just wasn’t hungry enough.

My final goal was Ghirardelli Square. Anela recommended this as well, although I’d actually been there already. However, I just love chocolate. On the way, I stopped at Dennis Rae Fine Art. They had an exhibit on the art of Theodor Seuss Geisel – Dr. Seuss. It was neat.

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I bought a few things to take home at Ghirardelli before purchasing a hot fudge sundae to eat! The fudge was just so awesome. I kinda sorta maybe love hot fudge.

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Even so, I couldn’t do it. There were just too many things to eat that day and not enough room in my stomach.

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Here’s a nice view from the Fisherman’s Wharf area near the San Francisco National Historic Park (or maybe it’s part of it).

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Look, a ship.

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This was a really heroic ship, but I heard it killed its family once.

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I liked the view from the end of the pier.

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Hey, it’s me!

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On my way back to the hotel, I happened to walk past Lombard Street at it’s famously twisted block. This was actually another recommendation from Anela, although I wasn’t aiming to see it this time since I’d already seen it. I just happened to walk past it, so I took a picture because of how beautiful it looked.

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I just thought this door was cool.

The welcome event for the Lithium Network Conference was held at Jillian’s. There was a variety of food and an open bar. I know what you’re thinking, but actually I only had a small glass of wine. Too exhausted, so I didn’t stay long. After a detour at Target to buy water, I went back to my room for the night.

Tuesday

Tuesday was the first actual day of the conference. After a quick breakfast, I was off to the weird introduction!

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That woman was a bunch of bananas.

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And that woman was the whole city!

The opening was about three and half hours, and it mostly talked about what customers expect from social engagement. Blah, blah, blah. You don’t care about that.

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But then there was lunch and time to socialize! Yes, some of that was through texts to home, but I also talked with some cool people at the conference.

After lunch, I went to a session on “Self service content publishing” and another on “How to get content in the right place at the right time” that were both interesting. They were more about developing applications and custom modifications to the Lithium platform, which isn’t something I have the power to go implement, but I like seeing new ways to think about the process.

The conference ended for the day with two pretty great speakers. The first was Sal Khan, founder of the Khan Academy. The Khan Academy is a free online tool for education. It originally sprang from him tutoring his cousin on the phone, then tutoring many of his cousins, then making custom tutoring software to help him tutor them, and then creating videos to help as well. I can’t really do it justice. He discussed how school goes at a certain pace for the whole class and then judges them rather than helping them master something before continuing. He wants to bring this free education to everyone in the world. It’s a beautiful idea, and a couple parts of his talk made me tear up. Shh, don’t tell anyone.

The second speaker was Orny Adams, a comedian. “Let’s talk about what we really wanna talk about. We hate our customers. Because they’re stupid.” He was joking, I swear. Yeah, he didn’t really care about crossing any lines as he also made fun of people who avoid gluten or are scared of germs (uh oh) and even had to end with some differences between men and women. He was pretty hilarious.

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That night’s party was held at City View on the fourth floor of The Metreon.

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There were a lot of people inside and out. I talked to some cool people, including a long conversation with a Greek woman who compared Greek family members with me! She’s actually a contact at Lithium I hadn’t met, so that was very cool. I also had a great conversation with a man from Zürich.

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The view was nice!

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There were oh so many desserts. Combined with all the normal food I had that night, it added up to another terrible health night.

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Oh, and then after all that I discovered more food.

Wednesday

I didn’t really take many photos this day, but I did attend sessions on “Master social lead generation” and “15 tips for new community managers.” I don’t really need sales leads, and I’m not a new community manager, but I like looking at new ways of thinking.

Later I had a meeting with my coworker, the VP of Global Strategic Accounts & Value Engineering at Lithium, the Chief Revenue Officer of Lithium, and a woman in charge of Customer Success at Lithium.

Dr. Michael Wu, Chief Scientist at Lithium, did a talk about how customers perceive brands, customer expectations, and a lot more. He wears a distinctive hat and glasses, so the conference gave a hat and glasses to everyone in attendance!

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I didn’t take the glasses since I already wear glasses, but a free hat? Sure.

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I also took an accidental selfie on the way to the BART.

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And the last photo I took in the city was this. It reminded me of the RISK! podcast.

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It was a great trip, but by the end I was exhausted and happy to get home. If only I didn’t have two work days left in the week.

Thanks for the wonderful time, Bay Area.

And the best part? I didn’t really gain much weight!

There are more photos in my Flickr album.

Hello, 2015

Last year was a pretty fun year. I was pulled on stage during a clown show, went stand-up paddleboarding, and went wakeboarding. I attended Katie and Matt’s wedding. I started doing yoga this summer and have stuck with it consistently. I switched to a bodyweight workout routine and have been doing that regularly. San Diego Comic-Con was a lot of fun, and for the first time, the roles were reversed; people asked me for pictures. (I was in my Aquabats costume.)

I attended a ton of concerts, including but not limited to Reel Big Fish, The Maxies, The Originalites, The Aquabats, Koo Koo Kangaroo, GOGO13, Half Past Two, Sugar Stems, The Interrupters, The Holophonics, The Skatalites, Suburban Legends, Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, Los SuperSpies, and so many more. I watched a bunch of improv, mostly at ImprovCity and Spectacles. I attended some Risk! Live. I went to a Teenage Mutant Pizza Party and the Scott Pilgrim Picture Show with CinemAttack! There was Dapper Day, Walking with Dinosaurs, a Civil War reenactment, The Great Gatsby party, the OC Fair, and LA Kiss. There was some Yadi Presents burlesque, a performance of Wizard of Oz, Chicago, Big River – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Man of La Mancha, and other performances. Lots of fun stuff.

Edit: Oh, man, how can I forget the Tall Ships Festival or being a guest on the Twisted Nether Blogcast?!

Work continues to go well. I cleaned out my closet. And yes, that’s worth mentioning. I attended Henley’s first birthday party and gave him a big smile with his present. I finished off Mists of Pandaria and started Warlords of Draenor. Sorry, but a little video games had to leak into this too. I got my backlog (my list of games, books, movies, etc.) that were purchased but never finished down to 340, which is pretty good. When I started counting in April, I had 471 items that needed to be beat/watched/read. I got rear-ended while driving for the first time. That’s not really much of an accomplishment, but I handled it at least. It was my 10-year high school reunion a few months back, and that was a lot of fun. I also cooked a bunch – stuffed bell peppers, pizzas, calzones, salads, salami wraps, pork chops, steaks, a cake, lemon bars, brownies, and more delicious things. I, a straight man, went out for a drink with a man I met on a dating site. I got stung by way too many bees.

It was a cool year.

2015 started with a party with close friends. Just a minute or two into the year I got to witness a friend propose to his girlfriend.

We’re off to a good start.

Toshiba Chili Cook-Off

chili cook off

Yesterday was the Chili Cook-Off at Toshiba! Joseph made a delicious chili using ghost peppers, so we went with a Ghostbusters theme.

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Pete made a large Ghostbusters sign, and I brought the inflatable proton pack and a copy of the movie. We also had little rice ghosts.

chili cook off

Sadly we didn’t win. It seems like most people like a pretty basic chili, while Joseph wants to spice things up. I prefer his way of thinking, but I don’t think it’ll lead us to a win. Maybe the fourth attempt will be better next year. On the plus side, I got to eat a bunch of different types of chili and listen to some great live music!

Reggae and the Toshiba Tall Ships Festival

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I did two interesting things this weekend, but I don’t have enough to say about each of them to make individual posts! First, I went The Point Restaurant and Bar in Dana Point with Anela and gem. Our friend Sean invited us to watch his dad’s reggae band. It was also Sean’s dad’s birthday! He seemed pretty popular!

The band was fun, playing a variety of reggae and classic rock covers. The venue was pretty cool too. It’s a bit far to go just for drinks, but if I was in the area or there was something happening there, I’d definitely go again.

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The 30th annual Toshiba Tall Ships Festival was also in Dana Point! It was a beautiful day.

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gem and I watched some pirates learn about Pirate High Tea from their admiral. It was an amusing performance in which the pirates struggle to understand the delicacies of having tea.

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They also had dancers!

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We met an adorable rat named Izzy the Pyrat! He had a little pirate’s hat and everything.

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This blacksmith was making dice. He was pretty interesting and answered many of gem’s blacksmith questions.

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He even made this rose.

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Aboard one of the ships was a band playing amusing songs about being pirates. They’re called The Boo Hoo Crew. Despite claiming to be a children’s band, I liked them. “Old McPirate had a ship. / E-I-E yo ho!”

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Then it was snack time. gem wanted to get corn, and it was buy two items, get a third free. I bought a corn dog with the corn so I could get an Arnold Palmer for free. They didn’t have any corn dogs ready unless I was willing to accept one with a split in the breading. Because I was okay with it, they even threw in an extra corn dog for free!

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We got our corn all lathered up in mayo with a variety of delicious toppings.

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gem was hungry!

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While watching a weapons demonstration, we met the most adorable dog. His owner didn’t mind, so we showered him with attention.

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Oh, right. Here’s the weapons demonstration itself.

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And then we had dinner!

Two years at Toshiba

Thursday marked two years working at Toshiba. If I’m going to post at all, I really should have posted on Thursday, but oh well. Toshiba’s a fantastic employer. I love my job, and I enjoy my coworkers as well. Besides scripting videos, voicing videos, responding on social media, testing hardware, and other special projects, I’ve posted over 11,500 messages on the forum. They really add up!

Mike Franklin

My coworker Mike Franklin passed away on Saturday, and tonight was his viewing. I didn’t know him very well, but when he joined Toshiba last year and I first met him, I liked him right away. He was a really nice guy who always seemed willing to tackle a problem with a smile on his face. While some people stress over a difficult situation, he seemed optimistic that a solution would be found. He looked at things pragmatically and didn’t let a problem get the best of him. He was also willing to make changes. Some people like the status quo, but he was willing to shake things up for the better.

His family was at the viewing of course, including his three children. The youngest was very cute and probably didn’t understand the full ramifications of what was happening. The oldest, on the other hand, was definitely old enough to comprehend the events. It was difficult to watch him hugging his dad.

I know that we’ll miss him at work. I was just talking with another coworker on Friday about what a great guy Franklin was.

I guess there’s always more to say, but I’ll leave it at this tonight. I just figured he deserves to have me write something down to remember.

A Note For Toshi

I saw this on Toshiba USA’s Facebook page, and I had to share..

A Note For Toshi (my Toshiba PC)
Hello sweet Toshi I know your there’
Wake up Wake Up if you Dare
U R so sweet U R so Kind ‘
I Push all of Ur buttons
and U really don’t mind,
U let me talk to folk all around the place,
and harvest all sorts of crops,
He He even let me fly into space,
oh Toshi U really R Tops’
Ur buttons so shiny, ur screen so sweet ,
the real world finds it hard to compete,
Oh Toshi i really am sorry
I must press the OFF button till Tomorry!
He he he I was only joking !!!
Lets Play some Music and get the housework done ‘
So this Granny and Toshi can have some more FUN

Toshiba USA Facebook Timeline, 1/11/13

The Verge Reports on Toshiba’s Windows 8 Devices

Toshiba shows off first Windows 8 prototypes: convertibles, sliders, and tablets | The Verge
The Verge offers a nice little article on Toshiba’s new Windows 8 devices. These include a tablet that connects to a keyboard similar to the Asus Transformer as well as a tablet that slides open to reveal a keyboard. It can also slide up to look like a standard laptop.
I hope I get to beta test these.

Toshiba Golf League

Tomorrow will be the second week of our golf league. I’ve now played golf a total of three times, so I’m, surprise surprise, not very good yet! There are 20 people in the league. Last week, three didn’t show. The worst score you can get per hole is three over par for a total of 58. I had 57, and I was the worst. The next worst was 54 though, so I guess that makes me feel better until you realize that who knows how bad I might have been if there wasn’t a limit. Still, I ended each hole near the hole, which was good. Tomorrow Pete and I play the two best players in the league.
I just hope that I can hit the ball when I swing at it.

Lithium Network Conference Part 2 – The Play

In addition to the conference proper, I got to enjoy seeing San Francisco a bit. I took a 6:40 AM flight from Orange County to San Francisco so I could have some time to see the city. After eating in the airport a little, I took the BART to the Powell St. station, which is where I always get off when I visit SF. It’s also where I always take a picture of the same building.
Powell St.
Then I headed to the InterContinental San Francisco Hotel, stopping to take a picture of the hotel, to drop off my bag.
The InterContinental San Francisco Hotel
Then I headed back to the shops near the Powell St. station. After getting bored of that, I checked out some little parks and then looked on Google Maps for interesting sites. I realized that it wasn’t far to reach the water, so I started walking that way. There were plenty of interesting things along the way, including a restaurant called Crepe & Curry in the Financial District. I had a quick snack and then checked out Justin Herman Plaza, which had a really awesome fountain.
Fountain at Justin Herman Plaza
Then I walked along edge of the bay, heading north toward what Google Maps told me was a submarine. I did stop to take some photos too of course, like this cool snack shop.
Snack shop
I eventually reached an arcade that featured very old attractions. I wouldn’t even call most of them games. Put in a coin to see the figure dance – that kind of thing. But outside was the cool part. The submarine, the USS Pampanito, was out back!
USS Pampanito
I took a bunch of pictures of it.
Gun of the USS Pampanito
I also paid to walk through it!
USS Pampanito
After I was done, I stopped to take a quick picture of a seagull before continuing on my way.
Seagull
I headed toward Fisherman’s Wharf and wandered around for a bit, getting a delicious crab sandwich. When it was time to head back to the hotel, I took the cable car back to the Powell St. station, which I guess acts as a landmark for me!
View from my room on the 30th floor of the InterContinental San Francisco Hotel
At the hotel I went up to my room and took a photo before heading to registration. I discovered that the payment for my registration didn’t go through. There was some confusion and phone calls to Julie back at the office, but things were fine of course. Then there was a fun reception full of delicious foods (mmm pork buns) and beer.
Thursday was packed full of fun and went fast. Before I knew it, it was evening and we were piled into buses to go to Bimbo’s 365 Club for dinner, drinks, and music.
Bimbo's 365 for Lithium's Heropalooza featuring Tainted Love
There was an 80s band playing called Tainted Love (who, by the way, never did play Tainted Love). They were really good. But then again, I was drinking a lot of Heinekens. There was a pair on the dance floor who were more entertaining than the band. She was really into the music and getting flipped all over. Half the dance floor must have belonged to those two!
Friday didn’t go quite so smoothly. There was an announcement of a security breach of some sort at SFO. As it turned out, it was at my terminal. “Expect delays,” they said. Well, my flight was scheduled to leave at 3:59, so I figured I’d leave the session at 11:45 to pick up my bag from the bellman. That way, I could probably catch the 12:15 BART train, get to the airport by 1:00, and still have time to get through security with the delays. If I got through quickly, great, because I hadn’t eaten anything that day and would appreciate the time for lunch.
Well, it wasn’t that easy. There were malfunctions on the tracks apparently, and they made us all get off at some random station between the hotel and the airport. We were told we’d get further instructions, but I could also see a lot of people with bags waiting at that station. We must not have been the first train to unload there. Soon after we were told to get on a train that would take us to the end of the line, just past SFO. Then a shuttle would take us to the airport. When we got to that station, we were told that now the shuttle was going to go to the station just on the OTHER side SFO. We had to take a train back there. Guess what? After getting there, they changed their minds again, and we were headed back to the other station again.
There was also the bit where they told everyone to get on the train no matter where they were headed and then said “whoops, if you were heading to the airport…” Anyways, then a train took us from that station to the airport. Having to manually flip the switches probably didn’t help. (Nor did the trains travelling at 20 MPH so that the track could be watched by eye.) My 40 minute train ride became over two hours. Regardless, my flight was delayed about a half hour, and I got through security in decent time, so I had more than enough time to eat and read my novel. And then I got to finish my novel on the plane!
I just wish I knew who got my sick on that plane!
All in all, it was very fun trip. I enjoyed the conference itself, and I enjoyed getting to see a bit of the city. I’d certainly love to spend some more time there. Hopefully, I’ll get to visit with gem next time! And as you might have seen, I spent some time after getting home uploading some photos to Instagram!

Lithium Network Conference Part 1 – The Work

Lots of interesting things at LiNC this week. I couldn’t cover all of it, but here are some highlights.
The “Me too” button was discussed a little bit. It’s a button on posts that allow people to say “me too,” like “I have that problem too” or perhaps “that solved my issue too.” I’m not sure how you’d educate forum members to use it if you get a lot of forum members, but it’s an interesting idea.
Someone brought up the idea of losing control of your brand due to social media. The response was that opinion always existed even before social media. Social media gives brands control and data on opinion.
Ipsos
Andrew Leary, Executive Vice President of Ipsos, discussing having overlaid their social network on other applications and automated escalations based on popularity. Someone could grab a tweet and publish it on the forum. When it reaches enough kudos, it would automatically be escalated to e-mail and sent to people who relate to the tweet’s content. It’s interesting, but it doesn’t exactly apply to a support forum like ours. It also would require heavy text analytics it would seem.
giffgaff
Vincent Boon, Head of Community for giffgaff, a mobile phone company in the UK, discussed how giffgaff uses social networking for all marketing. It’s kind of amazing. They have a forum, and they payback community members with points that can be used for products, donated, or redeemed for money. People create or change banner, design fliers, pass out fliers, and even create websites to get people microsim cards. giffgaff gives all fonts and logos to anyone who needs them but doesn’t hold onto the brand tightly. If people want to create their own logos, that’s fine. It’s interesting to me how responsive and willing to help giffgaff’s community is. Their forum escalation time is set to 24 hours (if a post doesn’t get a response after 24 hours, an employee is e-mailed), and it’s never been triggered.
Sephora
Bridget Dolan, VP of Interactive Media for Sephora gave a talk about the cool things Sephora is doing in the mobile space. Of all social networks, Facebook has been the most useful for them. No real surprise them. Following Facebook is Pinterest. What? Yeah, Pinterest didn’t get a lot of attention at LiNC, but it’s apparently working well for Sephora. When they relaunched their desktop site recently, they created a whole new mobile site as well. They also have iPhone and iPad apps, each with a different purpose. While Android overtook iOS last year among giffgaff users, Sephora is seeing the vast majority of mobile users on iOS, so all their focus are on that OS. The mobile site appears to focus on a similar thing as the desktop site – sales, product information, tutorials. The iPhone application focuses on being able to scan products to find more about them. Every product sold within any Sephora store can be scanned using an iPhone.
For Sephora, the iPad isn’t just a larger iPhone. It’s more for shopping and entertaining because most iPad users aren’t using them on the go. It features more rich materials, for example. It also has a “Today’s Obsession” section, showing trends as well as the latest Facebook and YouTube posts. The iPad app is designed to look like a flipbook or magazine.There’s also a promoted question, pulling people in to answer it (Beauty Talk). They also run contests, such as asking the community for nail looks. One of the coolest ideas I heard all weekend was what Sephora calls the Beauty Studio, which is like a virtual mirror. The iPad is held in portrait mode. After finding a makeup tutorial, a video is played in the bottom half showing you what to do. The top half of the screens shows what the iPad’s front-facing camera is viewing – in other words, it shows the viewer. This allows you to follow along with the tutorial video while putting on makeup.
The iPad isn’t just for use at home. Sephora is experimenting with iPads in store, both for customer use and cast member (employee) use. In-store, you can e-mail yourself steps, product lists, and YouTube videos to ensure you can replicate what was done to you in-store if receiving help. They’re also beginning to use mobile point-of-sale in stores (like Apple Stores I suppose).
Cisco
Joe Clarke and Gonzalo Salgueiro gave a talk about their implementations at Cisco. They’ve done extensive customizing that’s very cool. They wanted to create an exchange of information between internal and external support that would appear seamless to customers. They didn’t want to have solve the same case multiple times, so they focused on how to reuse solutions. They call their forum and knowledge base Tech Zone. My favorite quote of the day? “This lustful union (of Cisco and Lithium) created the love child that is Tech Zone.” Keep in mind that Tech Zone is for internal, Cisco use only. First, to promote sharing of information, they’re pushing reputation hard on the forum. There are many ranks, and when mousing over the rank, you’re shown exactly what that person did to earn the rank. That doesn’t mean saying simply “2000 posts.” It’s in full paragraph form and specific to that user. Besides rank, which is using the out-of-the-box system, they’ve also introduced a separate scoring system used for leaderboards. The reputation worked so well that when they offered their top contributor the role of moderator, he was excited but turned them down when he realized he’d lose his reputation.
When the two speakers traded off, Clarke said, talking about the PowerPoint clicker, “I won’t need this because I, like any mad an, am going to attempt a LIVE DEMO!” Very entertaining guy, and the live demo was impressive as well. Because Tech Zone was designed engineers for engineers, they didn’t want to make it look pretty. They wanted to contain condensed information. They use an expandable tree structure to browsing the forum with short sub-forum titles and mouse-over descriptions. This wouldn’t be good for a customer-facing site in my opinion because mouse-overs aren’t very helpful on touch devices, but can work well internally. To save space and get things above the fold, they use tabbed viewing.
Their very ugly case management tool for support agents uses fuzzy logic to take the call notes and determine the primary and secondary categories of the case. If the tech needs help, they can click “Post question to Tech Zone.” This takes the information from the case and creates a post on the forum, automatically populating the correct fields and placing it in the correct subforum. It doesn’t submit, however, so that the tech can make changes if he wants. He needs to set his own subject. As soon as stops typing in the subject bar, a list of related threads is shown below. This helps decrease redundant threads. It uses metadata as well, like kudos and linked cases. What are linked cases? Well, if the tech decides that some other thread is related, he can press “Link your case” to show that it helps him as well. This also makes a note on that post that it helped another case. If the thread doesn’t help, the tech can return to the form with which he was working, and everything’s still populated.
To help get things answered, there are easy to use filters showing questions without replies and questions without solutions. They also added a “raise hand” feature. The raise hand button isn’t available right away, but after a certain amount of time, the original poster of a thread can click “raise hand” to indicate that he still needs more help. This is used for the same reason bumping is but has the benefit of not increasing the reply count, making it look like the thread is already being considered. This sounds like a great tool, but I think the community would need to be educated on how it works. It probably wouldn’t work for a community that gets many people who sign up, post a couple times, and never return.
Cisco is also using Apache Wave (Google Wave) for collaboration before publishing to their knowledge base or forum. Because their KB is internal, they’ve also added a “Flag for external publication” and can pass the data to their external publishing system. It’s not all about exporting either. They have a content import feature that takes a link and will take the site, formatting, images, and call, and pull it into the knowledge base. It’s all very cool, and Cisco shares all their code. It was all created by the two speakers present at LiNC as well!
Jane McGonigal
Jane McGonigal, game researcher and developer, also gave an interesting talk. She discussed how the majority of both boys and girls now play games, and how even 92% of all two-year-olds now play video games. Video game usage can even be used to fight depression in moderation. Studies have shown that children who play video games are more creative than their non-gaming counterparts. Take that, non-gamers!
Conclusion
I’m sure I’m missing a ton of stuff. I know I have notes that I didn’t discuss here, and there was plenty of interesting conversations that didn’t end up in my notepad. However, that does provide a nice segue into another topic. I had an iPhone and an Android tablet with me. I could have brought a laptop. My note taking was done with a pen in a pocket-sized notebook. Of course, that isn’t to say that I wouldn’t use electronic devices if they were adequate. With all the advances, what happened to Palm’s Graffiti (and I’m thinking of Graffiti, not Graffiti 2). I miss it. Many other people were using devices, although I don’t know if it was for note-taking. It’s no surprise that at a conference about social networking, I saw a lot of Facebook and Twitter on computer screens!

Wayzgoose and Golfing

I had another fun and eventful weekend. On Saturday I went to Wayzgoose at UCI with gem, Collin, and Edward. Mostly I ate a ton – horchata, spam musubi, horchata, a chicken quesadilla, horchata, a schawarma, horchata, and a bacon-wrapped hot dog. And horchata. Seriously, I drank a lot of horchata.
We didn’t really spend much time at the medieval part this year. When we went over there, everyone was sitting around tired rather than fighting. Oh well. Collin went to buy an icecream sandwich from a little tent with one simple sign when he noticed it was being sold by the American Marketing Association. He pointed out that they should have better marketing. I have to agree with that. We spent three hours or so there, and the skin on my neck was mildly upset about this for the next couple days.
On Sunday I went golfing at Casta del Sol. Joseph cancelled, so it was just Pete, Jim, and me. While I was still terrible, I was doing much better than the first time I golfed. Too bad I still miss the ball a lot (and can’t get the ball to go far). The league is going to be quite embarrassing next month!
Speaking of next month, I’ll be going to the Lithium Network Conference in San Francisco next week. It should be fun!

Five tablets that beat the new iPad

Five tablets that beat the new iPad | iPad Atlas – CNET Reviews

The Toshiba Thrive is kind of the anti-iPad, with features that would be much more appropriate on a laptop than a tablet, while retaining a tablet’s touchscreen convenience. It’s a honking behemoth of a monster though, measuring a thickness nearly twice that as the iPad 2. As for those laptop-y features? How does a full USB port, full SD card memory expansion, and a full HDMI port strike you? Not good enough? Alright, well the removable (and replaceable) battery should destroy your last remnants of resistance.
While the Thrive ships with Honeycomb, Toshiba says to expect an Ice Cream Sandwich update by the “end of spring”, 2012. Still, while at its current $400 price, it could stand a discount, the Thrive can easily claim a feature set the new iPad can’t.

In case you don’t read the actual CNET article, Eric Franklin, the author, does state that he intends to purchase the new iPad. However, he says that each tablet discussed in the article beats the new iPad in different ways. (And he talks about the THRiVE first.)

Android How-to Videos

I’m the voice of Toshiba in three new how-to videos on Android.
Toshiba How-to: Connect Your Toshiba Tablet to a Wireless Network

Toshiba How-to: Connect A Bluetooth Keyboard to a Toshiba Tablet

Toshiba How-to: Toshiba’s Android Service Station

DIY Laptop Unable to Boot

Toshiba Support – Troubleshooting
Besides monitoring social networks and responding to customers, I also work with my team and various online support projects. One of them was recently posted publicly. We added the “no boot” troubleshooting for PCs to the DIY tool. Select “Laptop Troubleshooting,” and then select “My laptop will not start or display is blank.” The first few steps of this flow were already in place, but we fleshed it out a great deal, making it much more useful.

History of Hard Drives

Timeline: 50 Years of Hard Drives | PCWorld

Over the past five decades, hard drives have come a long way. Travel through time with us as we chronicle 50 milestones in hard-drive development–from product firsts to new technologies, and everything in between.

Fascinating read about hard drive advances from 1956 to 2006. It was brought to my attention by a forum member who worked for them back at the beginning!

Toshiba

Today was my first day of work at Toshiba, and I think it went well! I attended part of orientation (with more to come tomorrow), learned how to use a bunch of resources, met a ton of people, went to a couple meetings, and ate some tasty food from the cafeteria.
I really enjoyed my first day. I think I’ll have a great future with the company!
On a side note, I went to my mom’s after work. She made dinner, and I’m going to go over again tomorrow. That works out quite nicely!