After passing my Instrument Rating Airman Knowledge Test last May, I began working through the flight training over the summer.  Unfortunately work and life just got in the way but I have recently picked up the training again and will hopefully be able to complete the complete certification this time around.

I had a training flight scheduled with my instructor, Martin Michaud, this past Friday which happened to coincide with the arrival of an arctic storm system blowing into the bay area.  As I was watching the weather come in, I pretty much gave up hope on making our flight.  The way things were trending, it looked as if the icing layer would be dropping down to 4,000′ MSL.

On Thursday evening I was going over the weather for a planned flight to Stockton (KSCK) and, based on the AIRMETs available at the time, it appeared that the icing layer would be down to 5,000′ MSL for our area, actually for a significant portion of the western U.S.  Ceilings were forecast to be in the 2,000′ to 3,000′ range which would be more than adequate but winds in the Stockton area were forecast to be 12 knots gusting to 20 which would make approaches difficult for a fairly green IFR student.

I got on the phone with Martin to discuss the forecast mentioning my findings.  When we discussed the icing forecast, he directed me to the Aviation Weather Service’s Advanced Digital Data Service icing forecast. The graphical forecast closest to our time of departure had the icing layer between 9,000′ and 10,000′ which would be well above our altitude.  The winds at KSCK were an issue so we looked at Salinas (KSNS) which had more favorable winds (i.e. no significant gusts forecast).  After discussing the weather and route a little further we decided to check back in before I left for the airport in the morning.  If the forecast held with no significant changes we would make the trip.Read More »

Slides: 1964-67 Utah and Nevada

My dad, Joel Dalrymple, used to love taking pictures and giving slide shows.  I was really young when he would give the occasional impromptu slide show at our house but I do recall them being lively affairs.  I can’t do the presentation any justice but I’ve started getting some slides from his collection scanned and posted on Picasa.  This first carousel was titled “Friends Utah and Nevada 1964-67”.  The following are some choice shots, you can see the full collection or download full sized images by visiting the album on Picasa.

I don’t know who the people on the left are but that’s my mom on the far right.  Many years after this picture was taken, I would be curled up on or hiding apple skins under the afghan she’s sitting on.Read More »

Symphony: Numbered Headings

I want the headings in my documents to have heading numbers.  That way when I’m speaking to someone on the phone or via email, I can have them quickly navigate the document (e.g. “It’s in the first paragraph of section 2.2 on page 14.”).  If you’re coming from Word, figuring out how to do this in Lotus Symphony isn’t necessarily easy but this lesson should show you how.Read More »

Lotus Symphony

Last fall IBM introduced their Lotus Symphony product (re-introduced really).  This time around Symphony is a reworked version of the Open Office suite of business applications (word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation) integrated with the Eclipse application framework.  I’ve been a huge fan of Eclipse since it first appeared as a replacement for the IBM Visual Age development environment.  Eclipse has since grown into a multi-purpose framework for developing cross-platform applications.

So, why am I writing about this?  Well, I’ve become increasingly frustrated with Microsoft Office and I’m at the point where I think it’s time to make a fresh start.  Given the amount of time I have invested in learning Office, that’s not a decision made lightly.  Symphony is still in beta release so my hope is that IBM will listen to user feedback and make an office suite that meets my needs.

As I go about my learning process I’m going to post my experiences here.  Hopefully I’ll be able to provide some useful information for others making the transition.  Stay tuned…

SSH Tunnels

Usually the Internet works great and I can get to everything I need to from wherever I may be.  Sometimes, however, I find myself in a network with a firewall that blocks access to something I want.  At times like those I revert to using SSH tunnels.  Unfortunately (depending on how you look at it) I don’t find myself in those situations often enough to memorize the proper command syntax.  Hopefully this blog entry will save me the hassle of sifting through Google results for the solution.Read More »