Recently @VenusBarbie visited Europe for the ILATweetup and SpaceUPEU events. I wasn’t able to go due to other commitments, so Rob had to take over escort duties for our traveling Astronaut Barbie (@venusbarbie | Technical Barbies on Facebook). The truth of the matter is that we humans officially get the invites, but we know that it’s really the space mascots that are wanted due to their celebrity status. Rob also took along a 2D version of Commander Chris Hadfield (@cmdr_hadfield), AKA #Chris2D
I have some other photos to share, but the set I found most interesting were those with European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli showing Rob how to ensure that Barbie’s hair is just right before a photo shoot:
I guess all that centrifuge training she did at the DLR comes in handy when she hangs with other astronauts.
Once VenusBarbie was set, then all four (Rob, Paolo, VenusBarbie and Chris2D) were ready to pose.
Good job, men. And @VenusBarbie.
I’m a gadget girl. I collect them like other people acquire coffee cups on their desk. I also love my data. So this list of gadgets and apps focuses on my loves of technology and data. None of these is required, which is why they make great gifts. No sane person would ever buy them for themselves. This is also why I own all of them.
Agloves (what I call my “Twitter Gloves”) www.agloves.com I love the fact that I don’t have to mess with uncovering fingertips or worry about what part of the glove works. It all does. I am currently using their Sports Agloves. My test review of the regular gloves http://blog.infoadvisors.com/index.php/tag/aglove/ I love that for travel I don’t have to worry about taking them off to use all the kiosks I have to use.
These say "I support your Twitter addiction and I’d like you to keep all your fingers, too." What else could say "I love you" more than that?
Fitbit www.fitbit.com Nifty tiny device that tracks my every move, even my sleep. As a data person, I love knowing how many steps I’ve taken every day, how many calories I’ve burned, how many I’ve eaten, how long and how well I’ve slept. Being able to compare my data over time helps, too. You can get this at Best Buy.
Withings Scale and Blood Pressure Monitor
Withings Scale www.withings.com Not only a digital scale that measures weight, body fat and BMR, but it sends that data via WiFi to my account. It can also Tweet that data, but I’m too chicken to do that. Maybe later. Probably not. I’ve asked the engineers if they could just do the math and Tweet the weight difference…but they must be all males, because their response was "Why would anyone want that?". We need more female engineers.
I should also point out, guys, that buying a bathroom scale for your loved one may or may not be the best idea. It only works for real gadget freaks. You have been warned. Ladies, get your credit cards warmed up. You are good to go.
Withings Blood Pressure Monitor www.withings.com Don’t have this yet; it’s on my list.
I’ve seen these at ThinkGeek, Apple stores, and Best buy online.
Runmeter app www.runmeter.com A GPS running app that provides audio feedback while I run – pace, distance, etc. It even lets others’ talk to me via Twitter. During a race or long run this sort of cheering is amazing. It’s one of the reasons I keep on running longer distances. This is a real #SQLFamily benefit – we aren’t just about databases. Maybe we are database pros with a running habit?
The easiest way to buy someone an app is to buy them an iTunes gift card. Available everywhere, it seems, including on iTunes.
Some other things to grab for the data gadget lover in your life:
- External battery for his or her phone, tablets, devices.
- External Bluetooth keyboard
- Extra nice stylus (not the ones with cheap foam rubber on the tip)
- Tiny memory card / USB stick for keychain or badge lanyard
- Cord/accessory organizer
- Extra chargers (always appreciated)
You can also check out these gadget recommendations from fellow Boingo Superfans. I have most of those things and I can vouch that they really do make a difference.
No need to spend big. Just make a Twitter addicted gadget lovers’ lives a bit more reliable. And save their fingers from frostbite.
As I previously blogged, a group of PASS Summit attendees ran events in the Portland 40th Anniversary Marathon. And we all finished. Some with amazing times, and others (like me) with a "I’m happy to finish upright and smiling".
I nominate this as one of the best #SQLFamily photos ever. I get all teary-eyed every time I see it. This was taken after the people running the Half Marathon finished and went to breakfast. Look at those happy "I just ran/walked 13.1 miles" smiles. I can’t tell you how much more fun it was to run my second half marathon with a group. My first, a Nike Women’s Half, I ran all by myself. Literally, as it was a virtual half using the Nike+ system. The difference was astonishing.
Starting in back left going clockwise: Brent Ozar, Rob Drysdale, Rob Farley, Jes Borland, Erin Stellato, Karen Lopez, Yanni Robel. Missing from this are the people who ran other events, namely Doug Lane (10k) and Allen White (Full Marathon). Doug blazed a great time in the 10k and for Allen this was his 26th state in which to run a marathon. He ran ANOTHER FREAKING MARATHON the weekend after PASS, too. Amazing.
Allen blogged about his races here: http://sqlblog.com/blogs/allen_white/archive/2011/10/07/so-much-to-do-so-much-to-see.aspx
The Fun in Fundraising
We didn’t just finish our races; we raised a pile of money for great charities. Jes, Rob, Erin and I raised money for the Ray of Hope, a tiny charity based in Portland that provides services to women and children in Kenya. In total, forty runners for Ray of Hope raised almost $20,000 for a charity that normally has a budget of about $50,000 a year. Do you see how we in the #SQLFamily made a real difference to this group? Rob and I raised $1,850, which I was impressed by until I saw that Erin raised more than $2,250 and Jes raised more than $1,100 all on their own. So the four of us, as a #SQLRun informal team, managed to motivate all of you to help the works of Ray of Hope to the tune of $5,200. That’s 10% of their previous budget and more than 25% of their goals for this event. I’m so proud of all of us who ran for them and all of you who helped them continue their work in Kenya.
Ray of Hope fell just short of their goal of $20,000. So if you were thinking of making a real difference with a charity that has almost no overhead and only a tiny administrative budget, this would be the time to pony up a few coffees’ worth of cash.
Jes Borland blogged about her race and fundraising experience at http://jesborland.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/portland-half-marathon-2011/ Her fundraising page is at http://www.active.com/donate/roh2011/grrlgeekPortland2011
Erin Stellato’s fundraising page is at http://www.active.com/donate/roh2011/erinstellato
Rob and Karen’s fundraising page is at http://www.active.com/donate/roh2011/karen-rob
And then there are the people who ran for Team in Training, a fundraising group for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Yanni Robel, Rob Farley and Brent Ozar ran or sponsored for this great charity that directly contributed to helping Yanni survive blood cancer. Yanni is a huge inspiration to me: she survived while training to climb a mountain, then trained to run her first half marathon and is now training to run another half and a full marathon. I think there’s more; I can’t even keep up with all she has signed up for. All after taking up running just this year. Amazing woman.
Yanni raised just over $2,200 and inspired Rob Farley’s LobsterPot Solutions to be a corporate $1000 sponsor for Yanni’s team. Team in Training raised $316,455 for their charity at the Portland Marathon. Across both the Portland and Nike Marathon, runners raised $760,340. That’s a lot of life-saving dollars. I’m still amazed.
Yanni blogged about her race and fundraising efforts here: http://yannirobel.com/archive/2011/10/week-11-portland-half-race-recap/
Getting to Meet my Running Guru
You’d think that with all that magic going on, my race weekend experience couldn’t have gotten better, but you’d be wrong. At the Marathon Expo, I briefly got to introduce myself to Jeff Galloway, Olympic athlete, author, and trainer. I have been reading his works and using his running methods since I started running again after shaming my middle school track team one time too many. Jeff’s methods involve a run/walk interval for training, something that just works for me. This sort of not-running-the-whole-distance method is controversial in the running world ("You aren’t a real runner"), but I don’t care. At my age and ability, this is the only way I can cover distances like 13.1 miles. Meeting Jeff with a brief handshake and babbling "You are the reason I am here" was a great addition to my race experience.
But wait! It gets better.
After the expo Rob and I walked over the the Starbucks to get my daily fix of Quad Tall Soy Latte (QTSL). As I looked around for a place to sit, there was Jeff, sitting next to the only two open seats in the place. We sat down next to him and I dithered about bothering him. I, who had pushed Barbies in the faces of astronauts, Homeland Security officials, pilots, Twitter friends, politicians, celebrities…was afraid to say "Hi" again. But you know what, Barbie gives one courage, so I dragged her out of my bag and said "Jeff…Hi…It’s me again and I need to take your picture with this Barbie." And guess what? He was fine with that.
It’s always amazing to me that 1) I have the courage to ask people to have their picture taken with Barbie and 2) That they say "yes" on a regular basis. In fact, I’ve only had 2 people ever say "No". Jeff was great about my story of @data_model and how Barbies help me talk to people about STEM education. For about 30 minutes Rob and I chatted with Jeff about his training programs, his experiences coaching people like me, his travels and how race registration websites are less than optimal. I talked to him about using his Twitter account more often. I told him how he really made an impact in my life. Even though he had never met me. The whole time I was thinking "You really should attend one of his retreats or training runs". I need to add this to my 2012 goal list.
Our Scream Team
I said that I ran my first half marathon virtually. The best thing about that is I didn’t have to follow a course. Most of my run was via the Waterfront Trail along the shore of Lake Ontario. The worst part was that there were no water stations, no candy and no portapotties anywhere along my route. I had to carry all my supplies with me and hope that I didn’t need to powder my nose anywhere. There was also no one cheering along the way. You’d be amazed at how motivating having a Scream Team can be.
In Portland, I ran with an app on my iPhone, Runmeter, which allowed people to Tweet supportive messages and have them read to me while I completed each mile. I can’t tell you how wonderful this simple technology was. I wish I’d remembered to set up a log of these tweets; I so want to read them again. Perhaps when Twitter gets around to letting us see Tweets over 5 days old I’ll go get them. Every single one of your Tweets made a real difference.
In person, Harry Chandra, Ryan Malcolm, Bill Fellows, Mike Decuir, Camille Warwick and John Robel were part of our in person scream team. I saw some of them a few times. My friend Kirstin was there, too, cheering from her hotel window. I think there were others, but I didn’t do a good job writing them down. If I missed you please let me know. I want to thank you here.
#SQLRun is Now a Thing
Given the success of our first #SQLRun, Jes Borland added at #SQLRun event during the PASS Summit and Steve Jones blogged about it. This was a fun training run, but it looks like she had 40-50 people out early in the morning running the streets of Seattle. I ran on my own so that I could get back earlier. I wish I had just been late. The pics look amazing.
Looking back now, I couldn’t imagine that one short Twitter discussion with Erin Stellato led to all this coming to be. If you’d asked me then how much money we’d raise, how many people would join us, etc. I’d come up with a number no where near these numbers. I learned we can make a difference as a group of dedicated data professionals who have come together to enjoy something else we have in common. I’m also excited to see how our stories have inspired others to take that first step in getting in to or back in to running. You can follow the future success on Twitter by searching for #SQLRun hashtag.
So at your next SQLSaturday, or even the next conference, consider seeing of anyone else wants to get together and go on a run. You never know how you might just change some lives.
Several weeks ago NASA announced a new Tweetup for the launch of NASA Juno, a mission to collect data about the origins of Jupiter. Rob and I were not selected in the first round, but waitlisted (lovingly referred to as being on the #WaitUp List). Just a couple of weeks ago we both got news that we were moved up to the invite list. That made me happy, as Rob has not yet had the opportunity to attend a NASATweetup before. This time we can share the experience…and I hope the blogging and picture taking duties.
This rocket launch is scheduled to take place Friday 5 August around 11:34 AM ET. Right now it’s looking like the weather is still at 70% go, even with Emily forming in the Atlantic.
Like the NASATweetup I attended in May, NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) will be providing briefings and demonstrations the day before the launch. Notice that you can watch some of the NASATweetup activities on NASA TV starting at 10:30 AM ET on 4 August. Since NASA provides this stream for free to most TV providers, you may get this channel for free. If not, you can also live stream via the links provided.
The Juno spacecraft will take five years to reach Jupiter. In 2016 it will spend about a year orbiting the red-eyed planet then "deorbit" into Jupiter to end its mission. The spacecraft is solar powered. You might notice how large those panels are in the NASA artwork. That’s because Jupiter is 25 times further away from the sun as the Earth is, so it has less sunlight to power the craft.
Our agenda for the 2-day NASATweetup will be:
Thursday, Aug.4/L-1: Tweetup Day 1
(8:00 a.m. – Tower rollback)
11:00 a.m. – Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator
11:10 a.m. – Steve Levin, Juno project scientist
11:55 a.m. – Steve Matousek (@SteveMatousek), Juno proposal manager, and Jan Chodas, Juno project manager
12:15 p.m. – Chris Brosious, chief systems engineer for Juno, Lockheed Martin
2:00 p.m. – Tour of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, including stops at Launch Complex 17 (GRAIL), the Atlas V Spaceflight Operations Center (Juno/Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity), Launch Complex 41 (Juno), and the Vehicle Assembly Building
Friday, Aug. 5/ Launch: Tweetup Day 2
8:30 a.m. – Group picture beside the countdown clock
8:35 a.m. – Mike Ravine, JunoCam instrument manager, and Mike Caplinger, JunoCam Systems Engineer, Malin Space Science Systems
9:00 a.m. – Group 1: "Eyes on the Solar System" demo with Doug Ellison, JPL Visualization Producer (@NASA_Eyes) in press briefing room
Group 2: Gravity table demo with Dan Goods, JPL Visual Strategist, and What’s Up? astronomy demo with Jane Houston Jones, JPL Outreach Specialist, Cassini mission (@CassiniSaturn) in the tent
9:30 a.m. – Group 1: Gravity table and What’s Up?
Group 2: Eyes on the Solar System
10:00 a.m. – Rex Engelhardt, (@NASA_LSP), mission manager, Launch Services Program
(window closes at 12:43 p.m.)
~1 p.m. – Post-launch news conference on NASA TV
What an agenda. Bill Nye the Science guy. Investigators, Scientists, Project managers, Mission managers. What I found so great about the previous Tweetup I attended was having the opportunity to chat with people who are making a difference in the lives of millions of people, even for generations to come.
The tour is one of the most amazing parts of being a NASATweetup attendee. Special access to launch pads, the Vehicle Assembly Building, operations centers: these are really once in a lifetime experiences. We’ll be tweeting most of the event and posting pictures using the #NASATweetup and #NASAJuno hashtags, along with 150 other lucky space geeks.
Rob and I will be running the Portland Half Marathon (that’s 13.1 miles) on 9 October 2011. We’ve even created a hashtag, #SQLRun , to help follow our plans and races. Other #SQLRun participants will be using it, too. You can help us by donating and being part of our scream team.
As part of our entry, we must raise at least $1500 for a charity, Ray of Hope. We chose this charity because:
- It’s a small charity. No multi-million dollar advertising campaign, no lawsuits to enforce their alleged trademark on certain colours, no primetime commercials.
- They are program-oriented. There are no spew of pink/green/bluewashing third party products in weak fund raising schemes, no celebrity endorsements, no product deals with companies hoping to make their products look better. They don’t pay any salaries at all, just a tiny budget for office supplies and marketing.
- They need our help. With such a tiny budget, I imagine that our data community could make a huge difference in what programs they are able to deliver. With almost all your donation going to programs (see below), you personally can make a big difference in someone’s life.
- Let’s just say that Kenya is well-known for their running expertise. We will be drawing upon our inner Kenyans to complete this race.
A great fit for us in that we I love fund raising for causes where the charity meets those requirements and they sound as if they could use some help getting more of their programs in the field. I’d love to blow the top off our fundraising goal for them.
From the Ray of Hope website:
What does your contribution to Ray of Hope provide for our programs in Kenya?
- $20 Gives labor support and nourishment to a woman delivering at the Bware Maternity Center
- $25 Water for one week at the ROH Clinic and Learning Center in Kawangware
- $50 School supplies for one primary school classroom per term
- $100 Monthly salary for an HIV/AIDS Outreach worker in Kawangware
- $250 Cost of a Girls Empowerment Seminar for 100 girls in a rural community
- $750 Full year sponsorship for one student at a secondary boarding school
- $1200 Cost of a 6,000 L water harvesting tank and roof gutters at a primary school
You can see how even a small donation can make a difference.
Be on our Scream Team
What if you aren’t able to donate at this time? We’ll, we’d love to have you on our scream team, either in person or virtually. As we get ready for this race, we’ll be training and running local races to help whip us into shape…at least in shape enough to finish the race upright and smiling. Your virtual shout outs on Twitter and Facebook will mean a lot to us and the other #SQLRun participants. So when you see our Fitbit, Runkeeper, Runmeter, Nike+ , Garmin or other data collection/reporting status updates "cluttering" our timelines, remember that we are training for a very long run as well as raising money for a great cause. Tell your community members running #SQLRun that you support them in their efforts.
If you are going to be in Portland the weekend of 8-9 Octobers (remember, there’s a Portland SQLSaturday on 8 October), you can come downtown Portland to cheer us on. The race has a cut off of 8 hours, but we don’t expect to take nearly that long . All the #SQLRun participants would LOVE to see you on the side the course, cheering them on.
You can be part of our team by running, walking, fund raising, donating, cheering our training or cheering for us during the race. Just do it. (Apologies to Nike).
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