Author: Nolan Carson

Moving…

I/We are officially moving. We’re moving houses as well, but I was talking about my blog.  It has been hosted with Newtek (formerly Crystaltech, http://thesba.com/) and running on BlogEngine.NET (http://dotnetblogengine.net/) for years and it seems like I spent more time updating it then posting.  I know that’s mostly my fault since I enjoy the technical side of it as much or more than the writing.

My work has slowly got me dabbling in WordPress, so I figured it was time to dive in and play with it more.  I’ve officially made the move and it caused me to clean things up some in a good way.  Though I’m not completely satisfied with the move yet, I’m glad I’m going through it.

For the most part WordPress is a huge upgrade from BlogEngine.NET.  I did the whole .net thing because I worked with it and thought it would get me a good introduction into what was going on in the back end.  Well it didn’t directly apply to what I was working with so it helped a little, but not a ton.  The technical part of the blog should be a good adjustment for me to get used to php & Apache.  Its the design part of WordPress I’d love to learn more about.  I know enough CSS to cause problems and fix most of them, but I know I’m not doing it the “right” way.  So the next big step for me is finding a theme I like and can play with, then to eventually try to build my own.

By the way the family is moving from Omaha, north a few miles to Bennington.  I’m ecstatic about the move and our house should be completed by October.  Maybe in the future I should write more about the specifics of both moves, that would be fun.

Interesting approach for Quora

I’m no writer, and really I’m not much for answering or asking questions on Quora, but I love to read it.  I could easily go down the rabbit hole and spend all day reading questions and answers on here.  It seems like everyone is a master at something.  I’m sure I could be helpful in some area, but I just feel like I wouldn’t be quite as helpful as everyone else out there. 

This brings me to ask, why would Quora start blogs.  It actually makes me feel like I could contribute without being put on the spot and being graded.  I’m allowed to be a little wrong or not know everything, but still contribute my opinion or possible answers that could be used by someone.  I’m not ready to dive in to using this as my only blogging avenue, but my mind is racing with possibilities of how to take advantage of the platform and audience.  That’s what I think Quora really offers is a focused audience that always has the right answer. 

My ideas still need a little focusing, but one thing I thought of is to use this as a way to start my football coaching blog.  I think there are things I could offer in this area if the football coaching audience was a little more tech savvy.  Again, its not that I have all the answers, but I’d love to make myself available in this area and learn about it at the same time.  So we’ll see where it goes, but I’m excited about the possibilities that Quora Blogs offer.
 

cross posted from my new Quora Blog https://oneniner.quora.com/

My Playing Career

I am originally from Newton, IA.  I grew up playing any sport I could.  I started playing YMCA soccer at 5 years old, flag football and basketball at 9.  I also started tee ball at 5 and baseball was always my favorite sport.  For soccer, I got involved with NASA, the Newton Area Soccer Association, from its begining.  My dad was one of the early coaches and was on their board.  Once there was more than one team, I left the Eagles to start the Rockets.  We were pretty successful and went on to win the Iowa Games.  Which was a pretty big deal when club soccer was just getting started in Iowa.  We competed agains the Iowa Uniteds and other select teams from the area, but didn’t go to the same regional tournaments they did.

Once school associated sports started in middle school, I played football, basketball and track.  Soccer and baseball weren’t associated with the school until high school.  In track I threw the shot and discus and ran a few shorter races.  I was never much of a distance guy.  Middle School football also meant the first year of pads for us.  Everyone had played YMCA flag football moved on to 1 padded middle school team that played 3 or 4 games in 7th grade and 6-8 in 8th grade.  I was always a heavyweight and played running back.  In baseball we were at the Babe Ruth level by that time.  I pitched and played basically any position but catcher.  I did try it once, but spent most of my time at short stop or 3rd base.  Our club soccer team was reaching its final years before high school and we peaked competitively around this time as well.  Most of the time I played center midfielder, but was able to help where ever needed.

By the time high school sports started Newton Football was the program to be in.  We were very competitve at the varsity level.  The school was one of the smaller ones in 4A, the largest class in Iowa.  We competed in the newly created, Central Iowa Metro League, Iowa Division, against West Des Moines Valley, Ames, Marshalltown, Fort Dodge and Mason City.  There was also a Central and Metro division that consisted of another 12 schools that rounded out the CIML.  The football stadium was the place to be on Friday nights.  Everyone in town crowded into the stands.  You had to have your name on a list for years to get season tickets in the home grandstand.  Lines formed overnight to watch us play in the play offs.  I forget the exact number, but we made the playoffs something like 27 years straight.  If I remember right it was the 2nd longest running streak at the time.  I was a quarterback until my senior year.  Those of you that know me are either saying, “What!?, you mean the guy that throws the ball?” or you are the ones that know I’m kinda proud of that fact.  Our high school didn’t throw much at all, even though my arm was one of my strengths.  The coaches decided early that another quarterback my age was their starter, so as a freshman I went both ways, starting at Linebacker and backing up at QB.  Then as a Sophomore we split time on the Sophomore team and he dressed Varsity as the backup.  As a Junior I was the official signal caller and Varsity backup.  Before my Senior year, the coaches decided to move me to Defensive line to get me on the field.  My Senior year ended with a loss to the eventual state champion, Ankeny Hawks.  We had defeated them 2 weeks before, but lost the rematch.  High school also brought along the first year of 1 team for soccer and baseball.  My freshman year was the first year of high school soccer in Newton.  It was played in the Spring, so the upper classmen that had ran track the previous year were allowed to do both, but as freshman we had to choose.  I went with soccer.  We were competitive, but it broke up our NASA team that had played together for almost 5 years with 1 coach.  We made state in soccer my sophomore year.  Baseball and basketball were a different story when it came to our records.  I would guess that the football team won more games than we did in varsity basketball and baseball combined and there are about 5 times as many games in those sports.  Don’t get me wrong, we still had fun and had the ability to play close with all teams and a chance to win with most teams we played.  I played varsity as a sophomore in baseball and even got the chance to start pitching a couple games.  Mostly I played outfield or 3rd base.  Basketball wasn’t my best sport, I was a guard due to my height.  I didn’t have bad ball control, and I thought I was a great shooter, but I guess the coaches didn’t agree.  We were one of the more competitive conferences in the state at all sports and I got the chance to play against many future professional athletes.  Maybe someday I’ll round up their names for a “Where are they now post”.  I did finish all 4 years of those 4 sports.  I think I finished with 7 varsity letters.  Honorable mention all conference in football my senior year, and 6 academic all-conference awards.

My senior year of high school I decided to attend Simpson College to play Football and Baseball.  Like I said before, I enjoyed baseball more, but I had the size and ability to make me a better football player.  My high school baseball coaches were Simpson legends and played for Coach Williams my football coach for my first 4 seasons at Simpson, so knew quite a bit about him coming into the season. I lasted through the first 2 and a half weeks of 2-a-days before breaking my foot, causing me to be sidelined for the next 8 weeks and giving me a medical hardship for my first year.  It happened in the preseason scrimmage, making a cut.  This was my first major sports injury.  I had sat our for a few practices from illness, but never missed a game due to an injury.  It was hard to attend practice and watch that season, but it gave me another year to come back and play football so it worked out.  My first year we were preseason number 1 in the nation.  Coming off 2 years of undefeated regular seasons, and a semi-finals loss.  I was part of a large recruiting class to play defensive tackle, in their 4-3 defense.  I was a little under sized for them, but put on about 40-50 pounds in the off season from training.  It was mostly good weight.  Dont’ get me wrong, I enjoyed having cooked meals whenever I was hungry at the cafeteria, but I spent a lot of time in the weight room.  While playing baseball in the spring.  That football season we were 7-3, which was much worse than expected. I had healed up by the end of the football season, but stayed out to keep my eligibility.  Then started playing baseball in the Spring.  The baseball team was also pretty competitive and well coached.  I played JV until I was a Senior at pretty much all positions.  I know I didn’t play any catcher, and I doubt I played any short stop or 2nd base those years, but I remember playing outfield, 3rd base, 1st base, then pitching once.  That was a pretty eventful day, I think I gave up 17 runs in less than 1 inning.  I didn’t have the best college ERA, even though it was against one of the best Junior Colleges in the nation and probably had many eventual D-1 players.  My junior year of baseball I traveled and my senior year I started at DH.  I also played a little 1st Base and lettered.  I had a lot of fun, and learned a lot from playing college baseball, I played with some great guys that are now baseball coaches at the college and high school level.  I also go the chance to be coached by some great coaches and trained with some professional players.

College football at Simpson was the highlight of my playing career.  I moved from playing defensive tackle to defensive end by the time I was a 5th year senior.  We played about every different defense.  Over the 5 years I had 4 different defensive line coaches, 3 different defensive coordinators and 2 different head coaches.  Our best year was 7-3, worst was 6-4 I think.  We never beat Central or Wartburg while i was playing. Central was our big rival and Wartburg, Central, Coe and us were probably the top teams.  Occasionally Buena Vista, Loras, Luther, or Cornell would have a good year.  The rest of the conference consisted of Upper Iowa & William Penn (both of which are either D-2 or NAIA now, and Dubuque.  I ended up getting 3 letters from football.  Those were some great years, I’m sure I’ll have more stories to share from those days.  I’ll have to have a whole catagory of stories to share about Coach Williams.  He was a great guy, with a lot of charisma and a dry sense of humor, not to mention a very successful football coach.

I went on to play a little semi-pro baseball, but most of my playing is in recreation leagues.  From racquetball to team sports such as dodge ball, indoor soccer, slow pitch softball, basketball, Iowa games soccer, 5 mile runs, and even wining a decathlon at a USATF meet.

from Coach Carson

Opening Post

I've been deciding how I want to approach this for far too long.  So I figured it's time to hit the ground running.  I have so many ideas, that I would probably never be able to do all of them, but I want to do the best I can.  We'll just have to see what happens.  I want to create a go to place for coaches of all levels to come for ideas on coaching philosophy, drills, documentation and eventually maybe a system to help manage the off the field activities that none of us are real fond of.

The blog will be a wide variety of everything coaching.  Much of it will be focused on football, but I have also coached soccer and baseball.  As well as playing basketball, track, soccer, baseball, & football.  I also have many family members and close friends that coach at all levels and sports.  I hope to get guest posts from them as well.  Which leads me to the part that is new for me; podcasting.

I hope to have a weekly podcast with someone I coach with.  We want to keep things under an hour and approach all things coaching and football on a weekly basis in anywhere from 15 minute to 1 hour sessions.  We plan to have guests and to take live interaction from Twitter.

The official blog address for now will be coach.oneniner.com, my twitter handle will be @thecoachcarson, I can also be reached at coachcarson at oneniner dot com or through voicemail at 619-ONE-NINER (619-663-6463).  We'd love to have your interaction through comments, twitter mentions, or email.

from Coach Carson

Google CR-48 Cromebook

I got home the other day and saw a package on the front step.  I didn't think much of it, I kinda have an addiction to ordering stuff off of Amazon.  Then my wife said, "What'd you get now?".  I got to thinking, I haven't ordered anything in a few days, I wonder what it is.  I picked up the box and brought it in.  It was delivered by UPS, and I didn't recognize the return address.  I started to open the outside box and saw a box a little smaller with a design on it.  I thought that's weird, I that design looks familiar, but I'm not sure from where.  I continued to open the box and then it hit me.  I had received one of Google's trial/beta Chromebooks.  I couldn't believe it.  Is it possible they finally got around to sending me one from when I had requested it in December 2010.  I had read somewhere online that they sent all that they were going to send out, so I had forgotten it. I mean, really, why would some regular guy from the mid-west get a free laptop from Google.  I thought to myself, was this an accident.  I had just bid for one on ebay 2 days earlier for way less than it sold for.  I think I offered $150 and it went for $455.  I obviously wasn't that serious, but every once in a while you get that feeling that you will get a deal on ebay.  I could see paying $500 for the laptop… if I didn't have a wife that would've killed me for it.

I cracked open the laptop, charged it up.  Then went and checked my email just to make sure I hadn't missed something from Google or the ebay auction.  Then searched Twitter and realized a bunch of people were receiving them.  I'm not sure if Google was trying to clear their inventory before they are released, just passing them out to Google I/O wannabes, or really thought I would get good use out of it, but now I don't care.  I rushed back to the Chromebook to boot it up and set things up.  Still a little bit in shock, I flew through the setup and customized the it to match my Chrome browser.  Tested out the obvious things like Google Music, Talk, Reader, News, and of course Gmail.  Then tried Amazon music and our work websites that I've helped build.  Everything was so quick, crisp and easy.  I'm really happy with the experience so far.

The hardware is sturdy, I figured for the price, they couldn't be this well built.  It feels solid, better than my Dell Mini Netbook really.  It's a little bigger, but not near the size of my Dell Latitude Laptop I use for work.   The size is just right, it's thin and still has enough real estate that my fat fingers still fit and feel comfortable on the keyboard.  The new keys are a nice touch, I'm kind of a keyboard shortcuts guy, so I like them.  I guess it has an Intel Atom processor, 2 GB of RAM, a good sided solid state drive, a webcam, and a battery that lasts for days.  Ok, I've only gotten it to last for a day and a half, but I was playing on it a ton and that's crazy good.  

I do have to be fair and give a couple downfalls or room for improvement.  The trackpad is really glitchy.  It seems like it doesn't pick up all of my touches.  The multi-touch stuff is nice, but it doesn't work everytime.  Maybe I just don't have the magic touch.  I like how big the trackpad is, but I'm not used to not having a button yet.  I have the Magic Trackpad, or whatever they call it, for my iMac and it works great, but I haven't gotten used to the Mac Book styled one yet.  The other thing that seems weird is some of time after I wake it up I am unable to connect to the internet.  I have to disconnect or restart, but that hasn't been a big deal.  I guess I forgot to mention that the major problem I had when I first turned it on is that it wouldnt' connect to my home wifi.  I got it connected to my phones hotspot, so I wasn't sure what the problem was.  I changed the name of my network, changed the encryption and the key, no luck.  After reading some forums, I restarted everything a few times.  Then finally tried to update my routers firmware and that was it.  I have a Linksys WRT110, so it's not even that old.  It has wireless N, so that just shows the firmware can't be that out dated.

As for the software, I'm really happy with it.  I put one of the original versions of Hexxeh's ChromeOS build on my Dell Mini and liked it, but things have come a long ways since then.  It booted much faster, the graphics are better.  Browser is faster.  I don't even remember using extensions or "apps" from my netbook.  Speaking of which, I really like how Google has created an ecosystem around things that have been around for years: Extensions, app shortcuts, tabbed browsing, locked tabs.  What's nice is they really made it their own.  And it's an ecosystem that is actually flexible, open and welcomes everyone to use it.  Unlike the iOS app I've been thinking about for 4 years, my websites all work natively.  The Google talk is nice how it pops over whatever window you're already in.  The settings are simple, almost too simple.  I'd like to be able to control a little more with file storage, but I'm not sure what I'd do.

The laptop really has done 2 major things to me.  1, it made me a Google fanboy for life.  I already use all their services and have a couple android devices.  I also have a Google Apps account and have been influencing my work to seal the deal on theirs as well.  I don't see any reason to turn back now.  I agree with almost everything Google does about an open internet and giving people the opportunity to get involved in whatever they want from anywhere.  In my opinion, Google is a large part of what makes the internet great.  2, it really renewed my excitement to make stuff.  Instead of just talking about some of the plans I have, I'm starting on making them a reality.  There's all kinds of areas I want to expand my reach in the web development and design areas, but this has fueled me to start doing them.  I can't wait to say that the Chromebook was a big influence in that process.

Big Omaha 2011

I finally got the opportunity to attend the 3rd annual Big Omaha event, hosted at Kaneko by Silicon Prairie News and many other sponsors.  The 2 day, 3 night event hosts many speakers of all areas of technology and entrepreneurship.  Some notable ones this year are Aneesh Chopra, Mark Ecko, and Gary Vaynerchuk.  Of course there are many more, but the event is truly a driving force in getting people together to discuss ideas, find answers and network with people that have similar interests.  I don’t really consider myself an entrepreneur, but I really enjoy technology and putting ideas into action.  You’ll also notice I’m not a writer, so bear with me.

I finally decided to attend for many reasons and I’m not sure why I waited for so long.  Sure I saw the past presentations online and have read up on SiliconPrairieNews.com, but with the price tag and not being directly related to entrepreneurship, even the proximity of the conference couldn’t get me to attend.  I’m not the best at networking in person, so watching from a distance was enough.  Boy was I wrong.  I talked my employer into footing the bill and attended the 2011 conference with an open mind.  I planned on hearing personal stories from the technology field and hoping to be motivated to work on some of the personal projects that get put off in my everyday life.  I was blown away by the atmosphere and it exceeded my expectations.  The speakers where great, the atmosphere was amazing and it really shows what this city has to offer.

The conference itself was very well executed.  Everything stayed on time, we were greeted every morning by coffee, Red Bull, snacks, and a continental breakfast.  The branding around the event was beautiful and I don’t use that word very often.  The cow/moon theme went from the $5 t-shirts, to the free stickers, coffee & bathroom labels, to the accordion style program, charging station, stage decorations, photo booth, and pretty much everything you could see.  It wasn’t overpowering or in your face, just perfectly styled to prove that every little detail was planned out.  Everyone that helped host was very nice and helpful.  The venue, Kaneko, was the perfect setting.  I can tell why they don’t want to grow too much, it did a great job of offering a blogger lounge, side rooms, and greeting area so that even the speakers were always accessible and everyone was openly approachable.  The walls were full with local artwork and gave the vibe of open minds and creative ideas.  Not to mention that what Jeff Slobotski, Dusty Davidson and their staff have done to Silicon Prairie News and this event are great for the community.  I haven’t met either of the guys, but you can tell they stand for what they believe in and are great characters.  They were constantly thanking everyone else, when I’m sure they could have taken more credit.

I had such a great time I would recommend this event to any one in Omaha interested in tech or not and to anyone in the US interested in the ideas and topics that were discussed in Omaha.  Some day we will look back at this and say how Big Omaha put the Silicon Prairie on the map.

Opening day at TD Ameritrade Park

I had the chance to attend the opening night game at TD Ameritrade Park.  The Creighton Bluejays played the Nebraska Cornhuskers in some frigid weather.  I’ve been to a lot of baseball games, but this was one of the coldest.  I even talked my wife into staying for the whole game.  Its a good thing, because it was a great game.  Creighton had a great chance to win in the bottom of the 8th with 2 outs, the bases loaded and their best hitter at the plate.  The freshman pitcher for the Huskers from Nebraska City, Ehlers, was able to strike him out to end the inning.  The Jays had another chance in the 9th, but left the runner on. 

The stadium is really nice, I was impressed by the size and atmosphere.  I think it will be hard for Creighton to get that many people there again, but it will be great for the College World Series.  A few more reserved seats, hopefully I can get some when the time comes.  I think parking will be just as big of a problem if not worse, but we didn’t have to much of a problem and I’m used to walking a ways at CWS games.  We sat in the upper deck and it seemed as though any seat had a good view and angle of the field.  I’m looking forward to enjoying some games there in nice weather.

 

I took a couple pictures and then a couple videos from my phone.  The first video is of Creighton taking the field and a brief scan of the stadium.  The 2nd is the first pitch of the game, it was a flyout to the right fielder.
 

 

 

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