Our family decided to spend Thanksgiving a bit differently this year. On the day before Thanksgiving, myself, my wife and our three kids took the Metro North train into New York City. It's roughly a one hour ride, depending on the train (local/express) and having done it with before it's alot of fun for kids. It's also very inexpensive (the kids only pay 75 cents each way) and relaxing (no need to fight with traffic and parking in NYC). Once at Grand Central, we took a subway (also a fun adventure with three young kids) down to our old neighborhood - the East Village.
One of the best things about living in New York city was the food which is both tasty and cheap (if you know where to go). We started out with Pomme Frites (French fries) for an appetizer, and then moved to Ray's Pizza. Personally, I'm not a big fan of any NYC Pizza (if I had to pick one, I'd pick Two Boots). My favorite pizza is Pizzeria Regina from my home town of Boston, MA. I decided to have a Tahini falafel instead.
After eating, we headed uptown to the Agora gallery in Chelsea to see an art exhibit - Nathan Sawaya: the are of the brick. My boys are really into Legos and we thought this would be a great (and free) way to introduce them to art. While the exhibit was rather small but the the kids enjoyed it, particularly a sculpture of a "hand" where the kids could add a red Lego brick to the sculpture. After the art exhibit, I took my son uptown to the top of the Empire State building (decorated in Thanksgiving yellow, orange and red lights). We walked by Macy's department store where the parade preparations were underway before taking the subway back to the East Village. We had some pastries from Venieros up the street for dessert.
On Thanksgiving morning we took the subway uptown, bright and early to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. My wife had seen the parade in person before but for me and the kids, this would be our first time. We camped out on 72th street, right by the Dakota building with our breakfast from Le Pain Quotidien. It was cold and overcast and we didn't great viewpoint of the parade due to all the people (we arrived an hour before the pararde started). However, but we had no problem seeing the hot air balloons which we my kids' favorite. We watched the parade for a little over an hour before the kids started to get tired and we left.
Since it was still early (just after 10am) we decided to go to the AMC Lowes Lincoln Center movie theater and see Megamind. We rarely go to the movies as a family since it's so expensive (we prefer to watch movies at home) but we thought it would be fun thing to do. The movie is in 3D which I'm not a huge fan of since it drives up ticket prices even more. However, we did take full advantage of the free soda and popcorn refills (3x!). Both the kids and adults liked the movie.
After the movie, we headed back to the East Village to rest up (and to watch the Patriots/Lion football game) before going back out for Thanksgiving dinner. It was drizzling so we decided to take the bus downtown (also a fun adventure with kids) to Chinatown. One of our favorite restaurants is New Green Bo. On a "normal" day there is usually a long wait but given this was Thanksgiving, we got a table right away. While not a fancy restaurant by any means, the food is excellent (my favorites: dumplings, Shanghai noodles, twice cooked pork) and very reasonable (the five of us ate for $28 including tip). Since the rain had let up, we decided to walk back home through Little Italy. We stopped at Ferrara's for pastries and headed back home and called it a night.
The next morning we stopped at the East Village Cheese Shop for H&H bagels, cream cheese, and grape juice before taking the bus to Grand Central to take the Metro North train back home to Connecticut. Once home, we started decorating for Christmas. In short, it was a great, and different, Thanksgiving with just our immediate family and one that I will always remember.
2013 IBM Impact conference summary
Sun, May 5th 2013 7:25p Christopher Pepin I attended the IBM Impact conference last week in Las Vegas. I blogged a conference preview earlier in the week and the following are the key highlights:
IBM press release: "IBM Unveils New Technology to Connect a Smarter Planet New Appliance, Software and Services Extend the IBM MobileFirst Strategy."
IBM press release: "IBM Drives Enterprise Adoption of Big Data, Cloud, Mobile and Social Business Technologies WestJet Improves Traveler Experience with Real-Time Interactions."
The Internet [read] Keywords: ibm
The Internet of Things: Connected Car
Mon, Apr 29th 2013 3:31p Christopher Pepin IBM's Impact conference kicked off today in Las Vegas and the first guest up on stage was Vijay Sankaran,
director of application development for Ford along with a 2013 Ford Focus up on stage. While smartphones and tablets get most of the attention, there are over 9.6 billion devices to connected to the Internet, including connected cars like the Ford Focus. Over 20 billion are expected by 2029.
Wikipedia defines the connected car as: "A connected car is a car that is equipped with in [read] Keywords: ibm
IBM brings ROI to BYOD: new report from Forrester
Fri, Apr 26th 2013 2:22p Christopher Pepin IBM recently commissioned Forrester Consulting to examine the total economic impact and potential return on investment that companies realized by engaging IBM to implement a “Bring Your Own Device” or BYOD program. it's a great report and available for free from IBM. From the study:
"Interviews with two existing IBM customers yielded a compelling 108% return on investment and payback in less than one month."
In addition to the report, IBM has released two new infographics with the [read] Keywords: ibm
Take your child to work day 2013
Thu, Apr 25th 2013 11:05a Christopher Pepin Today, Thursday April 25, is take your child to work day. I had the privilege of participating at an IBM event in Southbury, CT. Roughly 40 students, ages 8-16, participated in a full morning of activities and talks including:
IBM Apprentice: two teams of owners and sellers had to stratagize on how to improve sales of a fictional company through the use of mobile technology
What do you know about mobile phones?
Green Data Center tour
Are we secure?
While this was the first take your chi [read] Keywords: ibm
IBM Impact conference 2013 preview
Mon, Apr 22nd 2013 5:28p Christopher Pepin I'll be attending the IBM Impact conference next week in Las Vegas. From the conference website:
"Impact 2013 is designed for IT and business leaders who understand that to lead in today's economy, outperforming organizations are especially focused on combining technology with the business to drive innovation and growth. They understand that to succeed - they have to leverage Mobile, Social, Cloud and Big Data and re-imagine their operations, their processes, and their technology."
He [read] Keywords: ibm
Business value of mobile enterprise
Mon, Apr 1st 2013 7:08p Christopher Pepin Yankee Group has released a new study focusing on increased enterprise adoption of mobile. Specifically:
50% of companies will be increasing their budgets this year for mobile applications
34% of all companies are planning to develop 10 or more applications
51% of companies will be increasing their in-house development, 31% their outsourced development
56% are allowing employees to access apps through public app stores, 43% are centrally distributing them directly to employees’ devices, and [read] Keywords: apple
IBM Torque Conference Australia: Summary
Fri, Mar 22nd 2013 12:25p Christopher Pepin I returned home to Connecticut after a successful business trip to Australia for the IBM Torque conference. Highlights:
The focus of the external conference was cloud, mobile and security and took place over the course of a week in three Australian cities: Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. There were over 100 participants for the three sessions.
I led a panel discussion on mobile at each of the three events. Key observations: Few enterprises have a mobile enterprise strategy in place. [read] Keywords: ibm