My newest phone is also my first flagship phone ... the Google® Pixel 2 XL.
The man, the myth, the legend (in his own mind)...
Work and Paying the Bills
I graduated (Picture) from Worcester State College (now Worcester State University) in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in computer science. While in college I worked part-time for Fallon Clinic (now Reliant Medical Group). I worked in an office setting rather than actually at a clinic and performed such functions as data entry, document scanning and supervisory duties. In September 1998 I started working for Medical Information Technology, Inc. as a Programmer in the Service Division. I was responsible for providing technical support and implementing upgrades as well as programming customizations to the standard product.
Fast forward to 2006 and I moved to be a Programming Supervisor, still at MEDITECH, in the Implementation Division. In this capicity I continued to serve many of the same responsibilities but in addition to that I led a team of programmers dedicated to assisting our customers in implementing our software within their organization. Over the years since becoming a programming supervisor I have moved around to different groups and supported various applications in our product offerings.
Riding and “Wind Therapy”
When I’m not working I enjoy riding my motorcycle. I ride with a number of friends as a group as we traverse some wonderful roads throughout MA, NH, CT, RI and VT. Nothing beats getting out of the city and riding along tree lined roads. Whether simply enjoying some fine twisties or headed for some mountains we always have a great time. I also enjoy participating in charity rides such as the Toys For Tots ride which is held annually and draws 100’s of motorcyclists bearing toys for the children. I’ve ridden in a number of charity events and the feeling of helping the cause is wonderful.
Some days I come home from work and just want to sort of clear my head and let the worries of the day be carried off by the wind. I jump on the motorcycle and head out! Often it doesn’t take long to simply forget about those minor problems of the day. Sure, they might not suddenly disappear but often it can also provide a fresh perspective and then the big problems get a little smaller.
In 2012 I began to get involved with the Worcester County Motorcyclists’ Survivors Fund after reading a wonderful article a friend had pointed out in a local newspaper. The article was about a local man which the WCMSF had assisted following his motorcycle accident which struck a chord with me. In June of 2012 I was elected as Clerk and continued to invest more into the organization. We helped many riders and their families through some very difficult times and provided assistance for their immediate needs. The work is difficult at times but extremely rewarding. In 2019 I was nominated and elected as President continuing to ensure we stand by our mission and show compassion to our fellow riders and their families.
As you can tell I also enjoy a bit of online fun. I first created my site back in college and since then it has undergone many changes. Noteworthy was my decision to eliminate the use of frames back in 2003 while still retaining consistency and ease of navigation. Although I’m not terribly talented in graphic design I was able to find a template that fit my needs and designed the site using that basic template as a starting point and tweaked it from there. I was quite happy with the outcome which I felt provided a cleaner, less cluttered site. That basic design held for quite a number of years before I began to feel that it just didn’t work anymore. With the prolific use of mobile devices it didn’t scale well at all and was almost a nightmare to navigate. I began looking around and happened upon HTML5 UP which provides a number of free, fully responsive, templates. I ultimately pulled together elements from a couple of their templates, merged them and slightly modified things until settling on what was my own style.
Relaxing and Getting Out
There’s also simply sitting down, relaxing and watching a good movie after a long day. You can check out my DVD/Blu-ray collection at Film Aficionado. A modest collection of movies really but they fit the bill when just wanting to chill out.
In late 2014 I also began exercising in an effort to stop the trend of ever increasing waist line. To my pleasant surprise I actually found I was doing well enough that I was beginning to lose a few pounds. I then invested in a nice recumbent style exercise bike which proved far more comfortable and thus less of a chore. The weight continued to melt away. That encouraged me to do more of course and the weight seemed to keep coming off with almost no end in sight. I lost about 30+ pounds and since then I have done well in maintaining my weight. In doing so, I’ve done more walking outside and riding my bicycle around.
The Smart Home
I’ve also gotten rather inticed by the home automation bug and began outfitting my home with smart switches and smart bulbs to control all of the lighting. Like so many, I even have several Amazon Echo devices which allow me to control things with my voice. The ability to group lights to control together and to create “scenes” to turn on or off lights in multiple rooms at once is a fun convenience! Since I began prior to Amazon adding a hub into the Echo device I also have a Wink Hub 2 in my setup which gives me wide support for various protocols and simplifies the search for products.
Of course the Echo devices offer more than just voice control of smart home devices but admittedly that’s probably my biggest use aside from setting timers or alarms. Combine IFTTT into the mix and things can get pretty interesting. For example, when my alarm goes off in the morning IFTTT also triggers my lamps to turn on in the bedroom to encourage me to wake up.
I certainly haven’t gone crazy with automating based on times or geolocation but even just voice control and a few scenes makes it a very simple matter to adjust all the lights throughout my home from virtually anywhere. Given how much more commonplace it has become it doesn’t have some amazing wow factor and to some it might even be considered that I’ve gone overboard. In the end, the more lights I converted to smart lighting the more I found I wanted to convert.
Newer into my mix is Google. Google entered the game with the Google Home device and is basically on par with the Amazon Echo having many of the same features, most importantly in the area of home automation. Since you can use Google Assistant to control Google Home this brings me to control things from my phone simply by asking Google Assistant. No new devices to buy either, simply install the Google Home app on my phone and add my Wink account to it. Yes, with the Wink app I could already control things from my phone but that wouldn’t give you the ability to voice control those devices. And with Google Assistant so easy to activate on my Pixel 2 XL I can turn on the lights as I approach the house without taking my eyes of the road.