Sunday, January 14, 2007

Higher Education

I am 2 courses away from my MBA in Technology Management from the University of Phoenix Online. I have that feeling when you see the finish line in race. It is a good feeling of accomplishment. You might have been thinking of getting a degree on line, but all the ads and scandals about online schools make it seem like a scam. I was skeptical at first but a co-worker was enrolled in the program so I was able to see for myself what they had to offer. They have an extensive MBA program with specific concentrations such as technology management. It has taken me about 2 years, but it would have only taken about a year if I hadn’t taken some breaks. In case you’re wondering how it works here is a brief explanation. The courses are 6 weeks in length (5 weeks for undergraduate courses) spanning year round. You can have class through the summer and holidays (the school does close for a week or two during Christmas). Course work and participation is run through a forum like site. Grading is based on papers, group work, and class participation. Class participation consists of discussing topics that the instructor of the course determines. I have had a few final exams which were multiple choice based on course material. The course materials can be purchased in printed form or can be downloaded in pdf format. One aspect of the program that I found interesting and helpful is the Adobe Flash based simulations. These workshops simulate situations that are found in organizations where you usually role play as the manager in the organization and the decisions you make effect the organization positively or negatively. Most traditional MBA programs require that you intern at a participating organization to learn how the concepts you learn in the course apply in real world situations. The University of Phoenix does not have this requirement but they do require that you are employed so you can apply the concepts at your own organization. There are quite a number of military people that are enrolled, some of which are in the Middle East. An online program like this is sometimes the only option working people have with busy schedules. But the online craze has caught on to more and more local Universities. If you are thinking about enrolling in an online program, check out your local Universities first to see if they have an online or “distance learning” option. If you do go with University of Phoenix, it is a reputable school and a well known for its online program so you won’t get a strange look at a job interview. As for what I will do with the MBA, I’m not sure yet. My goal is to run my own business, we will see what will come of it. Next up, PhD?

Saturday, January 6, 2007


Today is my son’s 7th birthday. Happy Birthday Frank Jr.! Today my server also crashed. As a good systems administrator should, I had a back up of the server so I went through the standard process of restoring the data. But it is Microsoft Windows and it just never goes that smoothly. The hard drive died and I had install a base operating system on to the new drive before I could restore the data. After that I restored all the data overwriting all files and registry entries. That should have been it, but it did not boot after a restart. I tried a few things like safe mode but finally I had to repair from a Windows install disk. To my surprise it worked and all the setting were intact. I had to remount the drives and set up some shares but that was it.

I installed a new 250GB SATA drive in my wife’s computer but that also gave me trouble until I realized that I was plugging the drive into the RAID ports instead or the SATA ports.

My brother-in-law’s laptop was not connecting to the network so I help him out with that and top it off, the flusher handle on the toilet broke. So I fashioned a temporary handle from my son’s TinkerToys. We call it our “TinkerToilet” now.

I am now at ease with everything working functioning again.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Pre-packaged food is no diet

Quite a number of people are starting their New Years resolution to lose weight. I’m sure the number of health club memberships skyrocket this time of year. For the past 3 months or so using the NutriSystem diet and along with twice a week exercise program I have lost about 15 pounds. But you know the saying, “No pain. No gain”, and I have experienced some pain. The pre-packaged meals, which do not require refrigeration and contain things like mozzarella type cheese, are portioned and labeled for each meal of the day. This setup is geared for the busy or undisciplined person to grab a days worth of meals with little or no preparation. The plan has you eating frequent small low calorie portions throughout the day which boosts your metabolism and doesn’t leave you hungry. In theory these are very good eating habits and can be followed without pre-packaged meals. However, the food is less than appetizing and while there are a variety of choices, you will soon find that you gravitate toward the few that you can tolerate. In addition to the pr-packaged meals you need to supplement your diet with veggies and proteins like low-fat yogurt. The plan even has “snacks” and desserts for your cravings, which compared to the rest of the food is a welcomed relief.

If you don’t want to have to think about what to eat or don’t have time to prepare your meals ahead of time and you can stomach them, then these pre-packaged meals are the way to help you shed some weight. The real key is to get more regular exercise and to eat small partitions all day to keep your metabolism up and hunger down. You cannot spend the rest of your life living off of pre-packaged meals so you may be better off learning to eat right and get into healthier habits that will keep you on the thin side.