An F/A-18C Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 113 experienced an engine fire following a touch-and-go landing aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) April 11. The pilot was able to execute a single-engine approach and land on board. Upon landing, the aircraft fuselage became engulfed in flames. Carl Vinson’s Crash and Salvage team, assigned to Air Department’s V-1 Division, responded immediately with the P-25 mobile fire fighting vehicle along with the flight deck emergency hose team. The aircraft fire was extinguished using aqueous film forming foam (AFFF), and the pilot exited the plane uninjured. No flight deck personnel were injured in the mishap.
I’ve never cared for moving. I like going new places, it’s the process of getting there that isn’t a lot of fun. We are getting to the point where we have to deal with a lot of the less fun parts of moving to Hungary. I found this video of Budapest to be motivating, as it reminds me of how cool it will be to live there. Technically we wont reside in Budapest. We will be living in Diósd, a small town between Budapest and Erd. But it’s close enough that I’m sure we’ll get to enjoy the beauty of the city regularly.
Here’s a map that shows Diósd in relation to the cities around it.
In keeping with my fondness for Drupal, I’ve got another impressive project that is built on top of Drupal. This one is the Federal IT Dashboard. This is how the site describes itself,
The IT Dashboard is a website enabling federal agencies, industry, the general public and other stakeholders to view details of federal information technology investments.
The purpose of the Dashboard is to provide information on the effectiveness of government IT programs and to support decisions regarding the investment and management of resources. The Dashboard is now being used by the Administration and Congress to make budget and policy decisions.
The site was developed by REI Systems. They are unabashed fans of Drupal. And they’ve taken the time and effort to lay out some great information on why they decided to use Drupal to build their project including the advantages it brought as well as some of the challenges.
I was messing about with some Drupal stuff this week and ran across Open Atrium. Open Atrium is a collaborative suite built on top of Drupal. It is now a product of Phase2 Technology, a company with a slew of Open Source based solutions in their stable. It originally started life as a Development Seed project.
As I mentioned, Open Atrium treats Drupal as a platform and I think they have a really good thing going with that choice. The install is a Drupal install. Including time to create a mysql database, database user and uploading the package it took me about 10 minutes to have an Open Atrium site up and running. It probably could have been quicker if I’d done it from the shell rather than cpanel.
Once the install is done, the site presents a custom admin interface, hiding the Drupal admin screens beneath. Setting up groups and users is pretty straightforward and there are 3 roles pre-built for managing rights.
The dashboard presented to the Admin on the home page.
It is possible to dig deeper into the Drupal settings via the admin toolbar. This toolbar initially only shows up for the original admin account created during setup but it can be given to other users.
Since it’s Drupal underneath it can be extended, and the Open Atrium folks call these Features. Right now there are a few built in features and hooks are provided to add others. I would hope that if the Open Atrium community grows that there would be a sharing of new features and extensions to give more functionality. I for instance, would be interested in being able to use the CAS module that is available for Drupal.
The built in features available are Blog, Calendar, Notebook, Case Tracker and Shoutbox. I hope Blog and Calendar are self explanatory. Notebook is a place for sharing and storing notes, files and other resources. It supports tagging of pages, organizing pages in books, notifications to people connected to the notebook and viewing revisions. Case Tracker supports the creation of tasks for work to be done and the creation of cases for bug tracking. The forms are very similar to those for the notebook allowing for tagging, notifications, revisions, file attachments, etc. Shoutbox is basically a little built in microblogging tool to facilitate team communication.
Member's dashboard within a group.
What Open Atrium does right now, out of the box, is impressive in my mind. It certainly would be a great jump off point for anyone looking to build a teamwork solution for their own organization. I think it would be especially attractive to working in an environment where internet connectivity was an issue. Open Atrium would provide a rather useful teamwork environment that could very easily be locally hosted. I’ll be keeping an eye on this product as well as the offerings from Phase 2 Technologies.
I got an email from Amazon today that their Appstore was open. I was able to install the Appstore app without any issues (apparently AT&T customers will have issues or have to do something different, that’s what the install notes said anyway. sucks to be them.) and hopped right in.
They are doing a free paid app a day for an unknown number of days. Today’s free app is Angry Birds Rio. It’s there to grab for the next 10 hours or so. My son is going to be beside himself when I let him know we’ve got new Angry Birds levels to play. This time it’s setting other birds free rather than fighting the pigs. Man I hate those pigs.
Installing Angry Birds Rio was a piece of cake, pretty much like installing it from the regular Android App Store. So not a ton to say other than I’m pretty stoked about this. I do a lot of business with Amazon and this just pulls my mobile and shopping world a little tighter together. I like having everything rolled up together like that.
But – and this is important – I don’t have to have it that way if I don’t want it to be. And if Amazon makes any large missteps, I’ve got other options. Which is why you’ll see me sticking with Android unless something better comes along that is also open.
Our refrigerator has been leaking water. It took us a little time to figure out where the water was coming from and for a while it seemed it might be coming out of the wall from behind some cabinets. So the fact that it was the refrigerator was actually a relief, because even if we had to buy a new one, that would still be cheaper than if the water were leaking through the wall.
Of course the next step was to figure out where the water was coming from. Ingrid nailed down that it leaked out when she used the water dispenser on the door. So she turned off the water at the wall where it led to the back of the fridge and that took care of the immediate issue. Today I finally got to dig in and take a look.
The water runs from a little spigot in the wall to the back of the fridge, where it goes into a valve. From that valve water runs to a filter up inside and then back to a second valve, and from there to the ice maker and dispenser. It’s an interesting design.
The very first valve, the one that is connected to the external water tube, has water coming out of two points rather than one. So one tube goes in, two come out and then connect to a little Y shaped plastic piece that then connects to the single line that goes to the filter. I have no idea why they decided to make it that way. It makes no sense and of course it was that tiny plastic Y piece that broke. So when the valve opened, water was leaking out of it.
I got online, looked up the model number for the refrigerator and then browsed through part diagrams. And here is where we come to the kicker. They don’t make or sell that little Y shaped piece any more. They figured out it was a crappy design and came up with a new valve that has one inlet and one outlet. That eliminated the need for the Y. What that means for me though is that instead of buying a 25 cent plastic piece I had to order a $40 valve. The valve I have now works fine, it just wont hook up to the line any more. I could go to home depot and see if I could find something that I could rig together, but we’ll be renting this place out soon and I don’t want to leave something like that behind for someone else. Should have the new valve next week.
In this life I’ve chosen to lead (to the extent that any of us choose) I do a decent amount of travel. Not a lot, I’ve got friends that do a lot, but not a little either. It’s sort of middle of the road like a lot of other stuff I do. Last year I did do enough that I got “gold status” with Delta. It comes with some nice perks and fortunately Delta is almost always my most inexpensive option and so I get to take advantage of those perks.
One perk is upgrades. Last summer I flew first class for the first time in my life. It was a free upgrade on a short flight, but still, I got to sit up front and eat with silverware while drinking from a real glass. In back it would have been a bag of peanuts and a plastic cup of soda. Pretty cool. Though I try not to get used to it. I’ve found that I’m happier when I’m satisfied with the not so fine things in life as most of them are out of my reach.
This week I was coming home from a work trip and had 2 legs to get home. The first leg was the long one, and I confess, I was really hoping for an upgrade. Alas it was not to be so. I felt a momentary twinge of disappointment, but quickly got over it. I didn’t pay for riding up front, and I’ve gotten to do it a few times now. Those were special gifts and I shouldn’t expect it.
What took the edge off it, was that another perk is I get first pick on the better seats when I book my flight, another perk of status. So I wouldn’t be up front eating a nice meal, I still had a nice exit row seat where I could stretch out.
I spend a lot of time picking my seats when I book a flight. If two routes are equitable in time and price I’ll go with the one that has better aircraft or seats available. The Seat Guru web site has become my favorite tool when I travel.
When my boarding zone was called, I got in line, and handed my ticket to the gate agent when it was my turn. Exit row tickets make the machine beep more than normal. There was no excited beeping. I felt a twinge in my stomach. I walked down the jetway, hung out waiting to get on the jet, and then quickly found 23C. There must have been an equipment change because this was nothing like what I saw when I booked the seat, and when I reviewed it the night before. The exit was rows away. And this is where the confession part comes in, because in that moment I was very disappointed. I looked forward and back, thought about the 3 hours I would spend sitting here and wasn’t too happy. I mean, I’m a Gold Medallion Sky Miles member. I’ve got a little gold plastic card with my name on it that says so.
It’s funny how quickly I get used to something that I haven’t earned and don’t deserve. I did travel enough to get that status, but it wasn’t like I personally paid for the tickets. My work did on the long hauls that made the difference. I’m lucky that I can hop on a jet and be home in just a matter of hours rather than the days it would take to drive, or the months it used to take not all that long ago when horses and wagons were involved. I was able to partake in the miracle of human flight.
I should also mention that the couple who ended up sitting next to me were absolutely delightful people. They had been in Phoenix to watch their son play baseball for the Chicago White Sox. He’s in the minors but had been called up for a couple spring training games. I had so much fun talking to them. The flight flew by and I was sad to see them go when we parted ways at the gate.
I was embarrassed inside for how I’d been about not getting the kind of seat I’d wanted. It reminded me of the now classic video with Louis CK about how everything is amazing but nobody is happy. It’s below here. I do have to give my Louis CK disclaimer. He’s very funny and I love this clip. I loved it enough to look for his other videos on youtube and learned quickly that he’s crude and vulgar way past what I can take. So you’ve been warned. This is from network t.v. and is much tamer than what he does in other venues apparently.