For the past year, I've been taking photos of many of the hockey arenas I've visited in the United States and Canada, with the intent of adding them to my arena database called RinkAtlas.

The current version of RinkAtlas is a Google Maps mashup that focuses on maps and directions to arenas all over North America.  I have a new version of RinkAtlas under development which will attempt to show hockey fans what it's like to attend a hockey game at an arena with which they aren't familiar.

The focus of the new RinkAtlas will be on larger arenas where professional, college, or major junior hockey games are played. But it will also continue to provide information about community ice arenas as well.

The photo shown here is the inside of Centre Recreatif Joé Juneau in Pont Rouge, Québec, near Quebec City.  This arena is named after Joé Juneau, a teammate of mine at RPI who played for a number of years in the National Hockey League and won the Silver Medal for Canada in the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France.  My family and I were proud to be able to visit this arena on our trip to Canada in August 2015.

In Memory of Friends Lost on 09/11

Every year since September 11, 2001 I've mentioned the following people who were victims of the terrorist attacks, in the hope that some of my friends will remember them:

World Trade Center:

  • Vito DeLeo, mechanic at World Trade Center, USA Hockey official
  • John Eichler, retired executive at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, brother of Joan Aiello
  • John Pocher, bond trader at Cantor Fitzgerald, alumnus of Essex County Chiefs youth hockey program
  • Kalyan Sarkar, Port Authority seismic engineer, father of Kishan Sarkar-- a Rensselaer alumnus

American Airlines Flight 11:

In 2014, I added two men lost on United Airlines Flight 175:

  • Ace Bailey, Los Angeles Kings executive, passenger on United Airlines Flight 175. Stanley Cup and Memorial Cup Champion.
  • Mark Bavis, Los Angeles Kings executive, passenger on United Airlines Flight 175.  Former college hockey player.

In addition, please remember the 343 members of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY), the 23 members of the New York Police Department (NYPD), and the 37 member of the Port Authority Police Department (PAPD) who made the ultimate sacrifice on that day.

When you do this, note that all of these people are now famous for how they died, instead of how they lived.

On Sunday I was recognized by the Metro NY-NJ Chapter of NIHOA as a member of their organization for 25 years.  Thanks to Kathleen, Jimmy, and Peter, and to my fellow officials for making this milestone possible.  See you on the ice again next Fall.

Yesterday I was honored to receive a service award from the Metropolitan New York-New Jersey Chapter of the National Ice Hockey Officials Association.  I have been an on-ice official in this organization for 25 years.  I joined the Metro NY Chapter of NIHOA in 1990, which was the autumn after I graduated from RPI.

Back then I felt like I needed a way to stay involved in hockey, and officiating was the best way I knew to stay involved.  I played hockey, soccer, and baseball for Chatham Township High School before I went to RPI, and so being able to officiate games at that level was giving something back to the NJSIAA, an organization with which I am proud to be associated.

Kathleen and our sons Jimmy and Peter were able to attend the end-of-season banquet to see me receive this award.  This is what made the banquet special for me.  My sons are finally old enough to understand how much being a hockey official means to me.  This is partly because Kathleen, Jimmy, and Peter all started playing organized hockey for the first time this year.

Thanks to my fellow chapter members who have made me look good on the ice over the years.

Here's a critical piece from The Chronicle of Higher Education on Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, the President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute ("Behind RPI's Highly Paid Chief, Tales of an Imperial Air and Cowed Staff").

In case you are wondering, here are the major reasons I have consistently backed Dr. Jackson as an alumnus:

  1. She was the person most responsible for defeating an NCAA Division III Legislative Proposal that would have banned the granting of scholarships by Division III institutions that "play up" to Division I in one sport.

    This would have stopped RPI from granting hockey scholarships, along with Clarkson, St. Lawrence, and Colorado College in Ice Hockey, Hartwick in Water Polo, Johns Hopkins in Lacrosse, and Rutgers-Newark in Men's Volleyball.  If RPI had lost scholarships for men's and women's hockey, it would have fundamentally changed our ability to compete in Division I ice hockey.

  2. Dr. Jackson's administration has invested a big chunk of institute resources in athletics at all levels as a key component of student life. By this I mean moves like the hiring of Colonel James A. Knowlton as RPI Athletic Director in 2008 and the construction of the East Campus Athletic Village which began opening in 2009.

    The development of ECAV has allowed RPI to attract student-athletes in sports like soccer and football who are capable of attracting national recognition. Athletes like Andrew Franks who was a 2014 National Pre-Season All American Kicker for Division III.

  3. The construction of major campus facilities such as EMPAC and the Center for Biotechnology (CBIS).  All of them are world-class, and take Rensselaer in directions that it has never gone before.

  4. The hiring of high-achieving faculty such as Robert Linhardt and James Hendler has changed the strategic direction of RPI faculty research.  They fact that they have stayed 8 to 10 years is an indication that Rensselaer is retaining world-renowned people who are doing cutting edge work in fields in which RPI is not traditionally strong.

I'm sure that Dr. Jackson is a hard person for which to work.  She was hired at Rensselaer because we had lost our way institutionally after President George Low was taken from us.  How she presides over the Institute has always been controversial with some faculty and administrators.  Most of those people are now either retired or at other institutions achieving great things in a different setting.

Managing a small, world-class institution like RPI is difficult when many of its competitors have access to the public purse or have much greater endowments or patent libraries than RPI did when Dr. Jackson took office.  But Rensselaer is a great institution that can be world-class if it focuses on the right things.

I think Dr. Jackson and her team are doing that, and the results are still emerging.

Our son Jimmy was chosen to be the Weather Kid on The Doc and Andie Show on 92.5 WXTU in Philadelphia this morning.  He had a lot of fun and did a great job.

Jimmy had to get up at 6:30 in order to talk to Doc and Andie during one of the breaks when they were not on the air.  During that time, they asked him about Goodnoe Elementary School, who his favorite guitar player was, and whether he wanted to play for the Flyers some day.  Doc and Andie's producer, Crockett, recorded his answers and his weather report during that call, and they used portions of it at the scheduled times for the weather report.

He had a great time listening to himself on the radio.  A lot of people emailed, texted, and connected with us on Facebook and Twitter, saying that they heard Jimmy and thought he sounded great.  I'll bet a lot of the kids at Goodnoe will want to be the Weather Kid on XTU now that Jimmy has done it.

I recorded Jimmy's appearance on 92.5 at 8:40am, and created a sound clip that's embedded in this post.  I hope you'll take a moment and listen to it.

If you like what you hear, send me an email, tweet to me @daveaiello or post a comment on my Facebook Wall.

Explosion of Antares Rocket at T+6 Seconds

I came home early from work to meet my sons and their sitter, so we could watch the Antares launch.  I got home about seven minutes before the launch, put NASA TV on via AirPlay to the Apple TV in my living room, and sat down to watch.

Jimmy and Peter were excited to see this launch and to see the rocket in the sky, in part because they saw Reid Wiseman appear via teleconference from the International Space Station to the RPI Reunion on October 10, they knew that Antares was a supply mission going to ISS, and that Reid would play a big role in making sure Antares docked correctly.

The plan was to watch the launch, then go out 90 seconds to two minutes later, and look for the rocket and its bright tail flying off to the southeast, over the Atlantic and into space.

The countdown hit zero, the rocket lifted off and cleared the tower.  It looked good.

My sons Jimmy and Peter ran out the front door to see if they could see the Antares.  Peter is five years old, and he has no concept of how long 90 seconds is.  Our sitter Joan and I were watching still watching the rocket trying to climb out from the launch pad.

The next thing we knew, there was a bright flash from the first stage of the rocket, the rocket stalled in its climb, and started falling almost straight back down but tailing slightly off to the north.  Seconds later a big explosion happened, although the explosion wasn't obvious right away due to the camera angle that NASA chose for that part of the ascent.

I ended up calling Jimmy and Peter back in from the driveway, saying, "There was a problem."

I was glad that NASA TV didn't show the explosion over and over, like the networks did 10 minutes later.

I was also glad that the fire, which NASA did show, was minimized in size by the lack of reference points in the camera shot.  That would have indicated how huge it was.  The video that CNN showed later that was taken from across the bay did a much better job of illustrating how large the explosion had been.

Why I Went Back to Running

Baker Rink, Princeton University, post-game, September 13, 2014.

A lot of friends have seen the posts on Facebook that I created over the past six months related to running.

The goal here was not to run a half-marathon or a marathon, although I might do that some time; It was to get back to a point where I am able to skate for 2 1/2 hours in a college hockey game, and be as strong at the end of the game as at the beginning.

Tonight I refereed an ACHA Division II men's game between Princeton and Army. This is club hockey.  The game was certainly slower than a men's varsity game, but was still a good pace.

The key was that I skated end-to-end for 2 hours and 15 minutes, because I was the referee in the 1 referee-2 linesman system.  This is more skating than I do in a game where I am a linesman in a Division III varsity game.

Running is different from cycling or in-line skating, because when you run, there's no way to coast. I'm convinced at this point that I can bike or skate and become reasonably fit, but greater fitness requires a significant dose of the intensity of running-- or perhaps something like swimming-- activities where there is a lot more resistance for me to fight against.

It was amazing how much better I felt tonight than I did at the end of last season.  Mission accomplished.

Reflecting on 9/11

9/11 Memorial Service, September 11, 2014

Every year since September 11, 2001 I've mentioned the following people who were victims of the terrorist attacks, in the hope that some of my friends will remember them:

World Trade Center:

  • Vito DeLeo, mechanic at World Trade Center, USA Hockey official
  • John Eichler, retired executive at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, brother of Joan Aiello
  • John Pocher, bond trader at Cantor Fitzgerald, alumnus of Essex County Chiefs youth hockey program
  • Kalyan Sarkar, Port Authority seismic engineer, father of Kishan Sarkar-- a Rensselaer alumnus

American Airlines Flight 11:

In addition, please remember the 343 members of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY), the 23 members of the New York Police Department (NYPD), and the 37 member of the Port Authority Police Department (PAPD) who made the ultimate sacrifice on that day.

Congratulations Peter on your graduation from Wrightstown Friends Nursery School!

Peter graduated from pre-school today-- Wrightstown Friends Nursery School. This is a great school for young kids that is about all of the things that our sons needed: some independence, some play, some socialization, some learning, and less about drills and skills.

One of the things I'll always remember about this place is the end-of-year picnic with the piñata. A great tradition.

If there had been a piñata at the end of each year of school, maybe I would have stayed on into grad school....

Thirty Years of Macintosh

Jimmy's Drawing of Daddy Working on His Mac

On the 30th anniversary of the launch of Macintosh, I'd like to share a couple of memories with my friends.

The first people I knew who had a Mac in their house were Rob Nardone, Andy Nardone, and their parents. In 1984, the three of us used that Mac to create some primitive graphics that appeared in various places in and around Chatham Township High School.

When I went to RPI, the Mac community was very small and only people who had a bit of a counter-cultural streak had Macs. I convinced the RPI Hockey Team to buy one, with a LaserWriter, for communications purposes.  I spent some time teaching the late Nancy McGrath how to use it.

Martin O'Donnell, the best man at our wedding, had a Macintosh II at RPI when I first met him in about 1988.  I think this was the first Mac with a horizontal desktop case. He has been at least a small part of every one of my business ventures since then.

Guy Kawasaki gave me a huge break and helped me get into Macintosh database consulting in 1989. He gave me some frequent flyer miles so I could afford to come to MacWorld when I was still an RPI student.  At MacWorld I met the other members of the 4th Dimension developer community. I think my RPI classmate Russ Woodbridge was out there with me.

Peter Plaut and his father David are also pretty aware of what I was trying to do back then, at the time that I founded my first company. David's company GCF has been a customer of my companies for about 25 years.

The first Macintosh that I considered truly mine was a Macintosh IIci that my first company CTDATA bought after we got angel funding in 1989.  I later purchased a classic Mac, probably a Macintosh SE, which I still have in an original Mac carrying case in the basement of my house.

Peter Frank, my friend who passed away in 2003, was the person who epitomized bleeding six colors. He was the only person I ever knew well who bought a 20th Anniversary Macintosh.  That was an incredible machine and he deserved it.  (BTW, It's called a 20th Anniversary Macintosh because it was created for the 20th anniversary of Apple, not the 20th anniversary of the Macintosh itself.)

My wife Kathleen and I met when we both worked at J.P. Morgan in 1994.  We were both working for the Emerging Markets business unit, which was the only part of Morgan that used Macs as desktop computers and as part of bond and derivative traders' workstations.

In the past 10 years, Kathleen and I have acquired six Macintosh computers, three iPads, and seven different iPhones.  I don't think our sons Jimmy and Peter have used any other brand of computer, mobile phone, or tablet.