One Month Later…

February 26, 2007

I’ve been heading to the gym and working out in the early morning hours for a month now. Here are a few things that are different, and a few that arent:

  • I have more energy through the day
  • I get up early every day, not just gym days
  • I enjoy getting up early and exercising
  • I want to do more exercise
  • My weight hasn’t dropped a whole lot
  • My back still hurts a bit
  • My overall fitness level is better, albeit not as good as it was a year-and-a-half ago
  • I get hungry after my workouts
  • I still feel a little weird after playing basketball (like I’m low on sugar)

Overall, while I’m a little disappointed that I haven’t lost weight, but at the same time, I have a few suspicions that I have gained some muscle at the same time.  One thing that really messed up the schedule was that half way into the month, I came down with a nasty sinus problem and was unable to exercise for a whole week.  But, the eagerness inside me made it easy to get back into the gym as soon as I was ready.

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Project: 3 Pictures a Day

February 1, 2007

I’ve seen several photography projects on the web with the One Picture per Day theme. The idea is to use your camera on a regular basis. Now, I’m not trying to out-do those ideas with this 3 pictures/day project. I really just want to have my own variation on it. Here’s my motivation:

After seeing those projects, I thought what could I photograph every day that would be interesting. Part of the idea of a photo a day is to take a picture of something new. My primary subjects have always been my kids. I thought it would be a good idea to take a picture of my younger daughter every day and see her grow. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for sure. Then I thought, why not get my other daughter involved, so that would be two pictures a day for the next year at least.  Then I thought, why not have a picture with both of them together (doing sometime different each time, perhaps).  That’s 3 pictures per day, and with a 3 year old and a one year old, that’s also a lot of work.  We’ll see how this project goes.

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Update: Project Me

February 1, 2007

It’s been a couple weeks since I started going to the gym and exercising on a regular basis again. Here are a few things that I have noticed:

I’ve lost only 2 pounds (currently at 195).  That’s about a pound per week.  That rate is ok, because the weight will stay off longer if I ever have a year like last year. Also, I feel I have more energy than before. It’s nice to be able to no be so tired when I get home so I can play with the kids.

While I’ve only lost 2 pounds, I feel much more firm.  I believe that my body fat percentage is dropping more than my weight. I’ll take that over just pure weightloss, but it does make tracking such a measure that much more difficult as most measuring devices are not accurate enough for tracking daily progress.

That initial stigma of being a hampster on a wheel (or on a treadmill) is mostly gone. I try not to think of it like that anymore. Also a lot of that was just due to the start of a new routine where things just feel weird.  It feels weird no more

Since I have to get up at 5am to exercise nowadays, getting up early isn’t that hard anymore.  I’m a little tired when I wake up, but after that first 5 minute warm-up, I’ve been good to go for the rest of the day.

The workouts from have been a good way to have the workout set for you, however, they have a definate pattern, and seem a little predictable.  Some exercises vary, but I loved the initial feeling of a new workout everytime. I think I need to tweek some settings to get that randomness back.

I’ve tried to track workouts in a couple of places. First, is the Discovery Channel Body Challenge web site. I only put stuff here becuase it offers the chance of a million dollar prize when you enter your info there. When that promotion stops in March, I’ll just keep only one “journal” at a site called The thing I really like about this site is that you don’t enter too many numbers (you can track as much or as little as you want).  But reallu the best part is when you sign up, you submit a list of people whom you want to hold you accountable for losing weight. This site will send them emails on your progress. Its up to these motivators to help keep you on track. I think people can do a better job of motivating than a single website can.

So, overall, it’s only been 3 weeks, but things are going well.  At this rate, I will lose the weight I want by April or May. Not bad.  I just have to remember now to eat smaller…

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Update: Project Me

January 27, 2007

The other day, I stood on the scale and gazed with wonder at the number that appeared on the LCD readout: 196.  It has been a long time since that number has represented my weight.  So far, after a week of exercise and trying to eat a little better, it has resulted in a 2 pound weight loss.  Not a record for sure, but a good starting point.  Losing 1-2 pounds per week is the long term way to lose weight.  Now to keep this trend going for another 15 weeks.  I can surely have this project done in 3 months, right?

Newest Project: Me

January 21, 2007

My whole life, I’ve been overweight.  For a time, I thought I was destined to be fat and ugly. After all, I grew up (and still have) parents who embrace the large lifestyle, although sometimes they either didnt know it or wouldn’t acknowledge it. Growing up fat wasn’t fun, as more and more people are now finding out.  Still being fat is just as bad. However, I think the worst scenario is to have been fat, then in shape, and then back to fat (or at least out of shape).  This is what happened to me.  When I was 24, I started riding my bike. Within a month, I lost about 20 pounds.  Another year later, I had lost another 20. I’ve been at that level since.  Just over a year ago, I was having my best year on a bike so far. I had achieved platinum status at the El Tour de Tucson ride. I was starting to reach 190 pounds; a level I have never achieved. And I was pretty fast on the bike. But it all came tumbling down when my second daughter was born.  Granted I could have kept going as I had before, escaping some of the stresses of fatherhood to go for a healthy bike ride, but then I would be pushing even more stress onto their mother, and that was just not good for anyone.

So, a year after my worst year yet, I have finally found ways to get exercise back into my life. The most important ingredient is getting a gym membership.  I’ve been going for a little bit now, and it still seems weird how people (and myself) spend endless hours on these machines that get you no where fast instead of doing something active and fun. I mean, spinning has to be the most pointless exercise I can think of…but riding a bike is just a million times more fun.

And so begins project Me.  I guess I may be a little selfish in putting myself before my family, but if my health fails, I won’t be here long enough, or in a capacity where I will be able to do anything fun with them.  I want to be a fun active dad. For a while, that was me…when I was riding my bike. But since then, it’s been harder to keep up with children so full of life.  That’s where the exercise comes in.

In order to help achieve my goals (which are: lose 30 pounds, get back to platinum time in El Tour) , I have taken a look at  It basically builds workouts for you to download and follow along with on your ipod. A great idea. I just need someone else to tell me what to do, and I’ll do it. Great.  When it comes to exercise, I don’t have a whole lot of time (or expertise) to devote to designing my own workout routine, and having the voice there counting my reps, and telling me which exercises to do is the best way to get me to the gym.  Actually, I look forward to my workouts now…awesome.  I guess I am just seeing myself without fat on my belly and trying my best to get there. If I keep going, I think it will be easier than I would have guessed…

Flickr Elements

October 31, 2006

I like Picasa, and Photoshop Elements. Both do a great job of managing my photos. Right now, PSE is my manager of choice because of the tagging and excellent editing capabilities. However, I have yet to find a Photo manager, free or paid, which utilizes one or many of the free online hosting services. Granted, some of these sites create their own photo manager software such as Ofoto, Shutterfly or Imagestation. However, those are all closed source and not open for development.

Again, in my spare time, I’d like to be able to develop a client application (not a web based app) that will manage my photos on Flickr as if they were on my local drive. Here is a list of my requirements:

  • Add and update photos from the client
  • Choosing the source of your master copies of images (either your local drive, or, or both)
  • sync up your master source with your other area.
  • Create a slideshow
  • Create a screensaver
  • Create a collage
  • Rotate your desktop background

Coders Block

October 31, 2006

These past few days, I’ve been pairing on a rather large refactoring. We’ve been at it for a week now, and the data model is still rather confusing to me for some reason.

Our task is to represent a 2-dimensional graph of pareto data. The axes change because we can click on a bar and drill into a particular column of data. Nifty yes, annoying to code though. So, we decided to use a hashtable of hashtables so that we can easily store and retrieve the different buckets of data along each axis according to its value. That is, the hash of hashs allows us to retrieve a point in the coordinate system using a string name on each axis.

There came a point in our problem where we realized that we needed to be able to sort this data according to the y-value of each group of data (the second level hash was a sigle group). I’m still not too sure about the whole thing, luckily my pair wasn’t as confused on this as I, and coded up a solution that we will now start writing some automated tests around. (I’ll post a pseduo-algorithm later).

As I was pondering this, I couldn’t help but wonder what is wrong with me lately. I’ve solved problems much more complicated than this 2-dimensional data sort. I think I’ve reached a point where what I have what is essentially writers block. I’ve got a lot of distractions going on at home that are taking away valuable brain cells from my code.

Desert Code Camp

October 29, 2006

Today, I had the opportunity to attend Desert Code Camp (Dessert code camp would be good too).

I attended several informative sessions on the following topics:

  • .NET Extensability Best Practices
  • Ajax Introduction
  • PIC Development (Programmable Chips)
  • Advanced CSS
  • Ajax.NET Controls and Extendors
  • C# 3.0
  • Windows Presentation Foundation

I found nearly all the presentations to have many useful nuggets of information. However, I had hoped that many sessions would go more in depth than they did. Although other sessions did just that.  It was a good balance of intro sessions and advanced information.

I marked on the survey that I would help present at a future event. Maybe they’ll call.

Code de Mora Launched

October 29, 2006

#include <stdio.h>
printf(stdout, "Hello World...");

My name is Saul, and I’ve been writing code since my freshman year of college back in 1995. Those were the days: HTML was the hot language, the dotCom bubble had yet to burst, and I was only 18. I’ve come a long way since then. I finished school with a degree in Computer Engineering, and I picked up a few languages as well: C, C++, Java, C#. Do you notice a pattern?My goal with this blog is to have a place to put my notes, post learnings, and in general to try to integrate myself more into the developer community. I hope to give back to the community through code, ideas, collaboration and projects. I only hope I can have enough spare time between my family, and my work.

Happy Coding!