NHC Wrap Up

On June 21, 2009, in Craft Beer, Family and Friends, Homebrewing, Technology, Travel, by Mark Ranes

Stephen (formerly known as Some Guy:) and I got back home from NHC shortly after 11:00 a.m. this morning.  As much as I really enjoyed NHC, it was nice to get home to familiar, comfortable surroundings and my family.

The 2009 National Homebrewers Conference was without a doubt one of the best organized conferences, on any topic, I’ve ever attended – and working in the education field, I’ve attended my share of conferences.  I was really pleased with the variety of the breakout sessions, as well as the fact that everything started and ended on time.  Timeliness sounds like a given, but when it comes to conferences it is an often overlooked aspect.    The Oakland Marriott was a gracious host for NHC and they seemed to roll well with 1100 people wandering around with ale, armfulls of brewing stuff, crazy costumes and generally eccentric people.  Finally, considering that alcohol was a key component of the conference, I was very pleased to not see a single incident of stupidness or assholiness by conference attendees.  Amazing:)

Jay and Shannon from Utah

Jay and Shannon from Utah

I had the opportunity to meet some really nice folks, like Jay and Shannon from Utah.  Rights like homebrewing are something that I take for granted, living in California, but I found out that Jay and Shannon were just recently legally allowed to homebrew in Utah.  They can now let the aromas of wort and boiling hops flow liberally from their brew house without fear of a visit from the local police department.  It amazes me there there are still antiquated laws on the books like prohibiting homebrewing in several states.  It’s really sad.  Jay and Shannon sat next to me at the Grand Banquet last night and I really enjoyed their company (and they put up with my jabs at Utah very graciously for most of the evening:)

Brett Glenna - my Twitter buddy!

Brett Glenna - my Twitter buddy!

I also got to meet up with someone I’ve been Tweeting with for a while, @BrettGlenna, and we got to visit a couple of times.  We talked about setting up a future beer exchange.  Brett has access to many east coast ales I’ll never be able to buy in California, and I found out he’s a bit of a hophead.  Boy, is he in for a treat with some of the aggressive west coast IPAs I have access to!

Stephen and I are already kicking around the idea of attending the 2010 NHC in Minneapolis.  I should be ready for a beer by then:)

Even though I previously facetiously blogged about coming home today to lovingly open arms on Fathers Day, I’m happy to report that it was indeed the case.  I had a shower of Fathers Day gifts from Brenda and DawBoy, and a nice “Happy Fathers Day” phone call from Meagan ( I drove past her apartment building, within 100 yards, leaving Oakland this morning)  this afternoon.  Brenda made a wonderful rigatoni dinner and we shared a lovely bottle of Merlot (yea, I said I was going to give my liver a break today, but Italian food screams for a glass or two of nice red wine!)

I also picked up my new iPhone 3GS, and I’m pleased to report that the migration went smoothly.  I simply backed up my previous iPhone and then restored the backup image on the new iPhone 3GS via iTunes and everything was there – even all my apps were in their same locations on the various screens.  Bravo, Apple for making things as simple as they should be!

The upgraded camera, with spot auto-focusing and metering, and 30 fps video are incredible.  The voice dialing (that should have been included in the iPhone Day 1) works perfectly and I was able to dial 3 out of 3 contacts perfectly each time, with no training.  Amazing!

Anyway, it’s good to be home:)

Here are the last couple of pictures from NHC:

Stephen, with his second wind - after a rough bout with Club Night

Stephen, with his second wind - after a rough bout with Club Night

Sean Paxton - the Homebrew Chef

Sean Paxton - the Homebrew Chef

View of Oakland from my hotel room on departure day

View of Oakland from my hotel room on departure day

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Off to NHC!

On June 18, 2009, in Craft Beer, Family and Friends, Homebrewing, Technology, Travel, by Mark Ranes

NHC2009

Stephen and I are off to the National Homebrewers Conference, in Oakland, tomorrow.  The conference is being held at the Oakland Marriott City Center, and there is a BART station right across the street, so the family is joining me to take in the sights of the city.  Stephen and I are staying one night longer than the family so that we can take in the Grand Banquet and National Homebrew Competition Awards Ceremony.  We’ll be heading home on Sunday (Father’s Day) where we’ll be showered with the love of our children and partner parenting units.  I will need to stop on the way home, at my local AT&T retail store, to pick up my new 32 GB iPhone 3GS (happy Father’s Day from me to me:)

The conference schedule looks interesting and comprehensive.  I can’t wait to hit the conference floor.  I just hope my liver holds out for three serious days of all things beer and homebrewing!

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iPhone Heaven!

On July 27, 2008, in Technology, by Mark Ranes

I picked up my new iPhone 3G Friday afternoon when we got back into town. The process of porting over my number from Verizon took about three and a half hours, but went smoothly. I spent several hours setting up the iPhone – importing contacts, dowloading apps from Apple’s App Store and trying to get MobileMe set up.  By Saturday afternoon, I was completely moved into the iPhone and I now feel pretty comfortable with using it on a day-to-day basis.  I’m anxious to get my new work Mac set up so that I can sync info on it with MobileMe, my home MacBook Pro and my iPhone.

I’ve noticed some quirks (c’mon Apple – where is cut and paste?), but overall, the iPhone is an awesome device!  It is so much more than a cell phone.  It is more of a pocket-sized computing platform.  I’ve turned off 3G to conserve the iPhone’s battery, but I’ll be anxious to try out the speed boost the next time I’m in Modesto, and look forward to 3G coverage coming to Turlock.

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iPhone has Shipped!

On July 22, 2008, in Technology, Travel, by Mark Ranes

Woohoo!  My iPhone 3G has shipped!  It is on a FedEx truck, in-route to my local AT&T store, as I type this!

Camping and Computing

Camping and Computing

I’m camping at New Brighton State Beach in Capitola until Friday, so I’ll have to pick it up when I return on Friday.  The weather here is beautiful and the family had a nice beach adventure yesterday afternoon when we arrived.  I like hanging out at the campsite with a book, an ale and some clam dip.  I figure I’ll have more of the same this afternoon when family and friends head to the beach:)

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