Widgets Magazine


One of the weekly things that Chris Neto of-*AVNation does is a weekly hashtag game on Twitter every Thursday and Friday. The game for August 6th and 7th was #MyAVday. I thought this one would be fun to participate in as I would be-*traveling the first day and could share the road experience. Some of this information and process might be obvious to fellow road warriors but I think it is worth giving an inside look to share the joy with others who are not familiar. You can see other people’s days by searching for #MyAVDay on the Twitter or review the Storify version which is in chronological order and more complete. (Yes, neither is complete but we are getting our money’s worth.)
I am going to be discreet about the people I am meeting with and purposes of this trip. I cannot and would not share details of the customers or about the subject of the meeting-*even if I wasn’t writing a blog post. This fact and attitude is one of the reasons that I often don’t tell people when I am traveling and where I am going. Discretion is an important thing in business.
In the words of the Beatles, “Woke up got out of bed” at 4:30AM home time/1:30AM destination time. I try not to wake the wife up while doing the morning routine. After the rituals, place the last things into luggage – toiletries and chargers. I travel enough that I have two sets of most toiletries but still need some unique things such as glasses. I do some small tasks around the house before leaving at 5:30AM home time/2:30AM destination time.
The twenty minute drive to the airport goes uneventfully until the last few minutes where construction is taking place. I remind myself to remember this for next trip as it might cause-*a delay during “day time.” I am not worried about the short delay as this trip is 48 hours at the destination, so I just have carry-on bags. I park at 5:55AM walk through security with just a second scan of one bag, fill my water bottle and then it’s off-*to the gate. Traveling with multiple electronic tools typically triggers that second scan. (I have spoken with the TSA agents at my home airport for suggestions on how to pack the bag to make it easier for them to see. Coiled cables not stacked on top of one another is important.) At 6:10AM the flight starts boarding. At this-*early hour it is the first flight for both the crew and the plane.

Remembering the AVHashtag for the week while I am sitting on the airplane, I snap a couple of pictures and send them out to social media. I place-*my devices in airplane mode – my iPhone, work iPhone, work laptop, my Kindle, and my Android Tablet; I had set my personal laptop in airplane mode when I packed it up this morning. After takeoff I decide to start writing this piece. I begin-*typing this piece on my iPhone using Evernote-*as the flight is so short it’s not worth getting my personal laptop out.
Nice day for flying I hope
Nice day for flying I hope
Somewhere over Lake Michigan watching the sunrise
Somewhere over Lake Michigan watching the sunrise
Welcome to Chicago! Local time is 6:05AM/7:05 home/4:05 destination. I turn iPhone radios back on and send out a picture of O’Hare airport. I get notifications from the airline iPhone app that the departure gate had changed. Now to decide if I walk from F3 to C15 or take the shuttle. It’s the same amount of time, so I decide to walk. I type this paragraph up while taxiing to gate.
Welcome to Chicago O'Hare
Welcome to Chicago O’Hare
I make the twenty minute walk to the lounge closest to the gate, hoping it does not change again as the lounge is right across the concourse from my new gate. Now comes about two hours of waiting. I continue working on this post to pass some of the time before getting a snack. I have started using airline miles to pay for lounge-*access-*as the amount of time I spend sitting in airports can,-*at times, be pretty high. So this at least gives me a place to sit, free WiFi access, free beverages, and free snacks. Also, it’s much better than waiting in the Starbucks line to be charged for standard fare. Since there’s-*WiFi, I upload some of the photos I have taken along the way. I wonder how many people will get sick of all of the pictures/tweets/posts/comments from today. On Twitter I am making more inane comments than normal.
Leaving F Terminal
A few sites along the way for your viewing pleasure
Rhapsody in Blue mixed with multiple pages at the same time Ah the morning rush for food and drink. Almost out of Terminal B Stop to see Sue the T-Rex

After that brief respite of playing the #MyAVDay game, time to do some work. I-*sort-*through my work e-mails; even though my out of office responder is on, there is still the need to stay aware of what is going on with other projects. With offices all over the world there is always something to be aware of with a project or product. The iPhone does help to mitigate some of the time, but typing on a virtual and small keyboard is not always practical. Also, when looking at attachments a laptop screen still beats a handheld device. I pack up and leave the lounge at about 8:30AM local/9:30AM home/6:30AM destination to board my flight scheduled for 9:13 AM and, thankfully, the gate hasn’t changed.

20 min walk to lounge near gate. I pay for it each year with miles. Always worth it. Off to the gate, board indicates on time


More AV. Not pictured onboard WiFi. 4 hours ahead of me. The flight shows-*as being seven minutes late, which is not bad. I am-*one of those people that puts their headphones on as an anti-social device, and-*recently I have started to do it in the boarding area just to keep the noise down. There is DirecTV and WiFi on the plane, but I need to get some work done and then hopefully take a brief nap. Being loyal to an airline has its perks as I get Economy Plus seating and am on the aisle which means I have enough room to actually use a laptop. I usually don’t buy the WiFi for work on flights as I know that it does not have the speed I need. I also try to keep all my devices off on planes as the network is very open, meaning everyone can see everyone. If you are interested, here is a network scan I did while in flight. This openness means that one can see all the shared resources. I do a scan on most new networks to check the security, but that is another post.

In reality, the flight arrives 23 minutes late. At least I reach the destination-*early enough to pickup the rental car before I had to pick up my coworker from another office. The traffic with tourists getting out of the rental car area was worse than expected. It took almost five minutes just to get out of the parking garage. I circle the airport to get back to pick up my coworker. I have done this trip so many times, I did not need GPS. However, I do always either pair my work phone with the car or use my Bluetooth headset. Even with these measures-*I try to avoid talking and driving.

Not quite accurate. But you can see the real values Good location again, gate to exit. No bag to claim Nice feature Hertz,, also enjoy that I got upgrade from compact

I call the client to let them know we are on the way and ask about-*the plan for lunch. Being that this is a client I have been working with for about 15 years I know the area pretty well and have my own preferred locations. We meet up with the client for lunch at 1:00PM local/4:00PM home time. Of course I still need to look at the AV install. Since I am taking pictures of everything, here is a picture of my food.

Client lunch and look a display properly mounted Got to go to ... well some of you know where
Time to dive into the networking. All the dongles... Then it’s-*back to the client’s office for some troubleshooting. The time was 2:15PM local/5:15PM home time. There were major anomalies happening on their network. One of the challenges is to be able to monitor and view the network traffic with as little disturbance to-*the configuration as possible. There are two basic ways to do that, either use a network hub or a managed switch with a monitor port. Either way, there are lots of dongles and cables to configure and route. All of this technology is to allow for Wireshark to capture the traffic so that it can be examined. Yes, my test system is a Mac. However I run a VMWare machine to use Wireshark.
Three hours of looking at the network traffic later and we have gathered enough information to have an idea about the causes of some of the anomalies. It is now up to the software engineers to do their testing and fixes. For now, we’re-*off to look at a console in a venue. Yes, the field trip is on the same campus so there is-*a ride in a golf cart – which is more than Tim Albright has provided me so far.
At about 5:15PM local/8:15PM home time I am looking at a console and studying some of the challenges that it is having within the network. The system has CobraNet, Dante, and control all to be routed and addressed correctly in the system. It is no longer just one network for everything, there are thoughts of proprietary transports, networked licensed transports, open network transports, proprietary control, and open control all commingling on the networks and having to get to the proper location. The challenge of making sure that everything is communicating requires careful consideration of clock syncs and network paths, routers, gateways, and wireless access points. Now diving not into consoles
Always need to check the racks , notice we play well with others. To fully understand the system, the network and systems beyond the console need to be viewed as well. At 6:00PM local/9:00PM home time, it is off to look at the racks for the second system. Yes, multiple brands, multiple networks, and the system is in use so not much can be tested. We-*talk through all of the issues at the venue and-*decide it is time for the dinner bell to ring.
And now client dinner 17 hours and counting 7:00PM local/10:00PM home time and it is definitely time for dinner. We talk through with the client what was accomplished that day and the resulting what action items. There are hardware issues to address, software issues, and network issues. Everything being intertwined makes the process of solving the problems take longer than just putting an XLR with a ground lift in the path. The discussion takes a while to go through all the problems, processes and steps. However, it is a good discussion to figure out all the items under consideration as well as good food and company. MMM BBQ
We agree to meet up again the next morning at 9:30AM to see if our overnight tests are fruitful then part ways. I get to the hotel at 10:00PM local/1:00AM home time. Just because I have arrived at the hotel does not mean that the work day is over. I setup the hotel office to be able to check both work and personal e-mail and voice-mails. Needing to take care of other projects and tasks does not stop just because I am out of the office. There are some things I addressed during the day on the iPhone, but not everything can be addressed that way. Also, I believe if I have traveled a few thousand miles to meet with a client and my employer has invested hundreds of dollar in the trip, I should be paying attention to them not my iPhone.
Hotel 21 hours in to the day Time to look for information and catch up on the rest of the work as best I can

I answer the critical items and then start to upload the data and report from the day so the rest of the team knows what we-*found. I also had to download some additional information for the office. At some point the coherence after 22 hours awake starts to wain. Time for bed.

Time for sleep approximately 23 hours after I woke up

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Bradford Benn

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