15 March 2011

Why I Love My Bike

Ever since I first learned to ride a bike, I have loved it. My mom and dad taught me to ride a little blue Schwinn bicycle when I was four or five years old. I remember learning very quickly to skid down the sidewalk across some gravel and I thought I was so cool. But just riding my bike made me happy and to this day that is still true.

As a kid, riding a bike meant freedom. I could ride just about everywhere I needed to go in the small town where I grew up in Illinois. And nearly everything we did as kids included riding our bikes. We rode to school, to the park, to soccer practice, to swim practice; I even began going out on the road to neighboring towns. Not only did I enjoy it, but it was good transportation until I was old enough to drive. But even then I kept riding my bike when I could.

During my college years, I bought my first mountain bike. Friends and I would go out riding together in the parks and wooded areas around where we lived and we loved it. Then, a couple years after graduating from college, we moved to Colorado. Then I really got a taste for true mountain biking and it has been in my blood ever since.

When we first moved from Illiniois to Colorado in 1995, one of the reasons we came was for the outdoor activities all year round. Mountain biking was number one on my list and I was out riding in the mountains practically every weekend back then. A few years later, we started our family and our lifestyle really changed (raising kids will do that to you).

When our girls were really young, they had miniature big wheels and then small bikes with training wheels. But once they each got old enough, I got to teach them to ride without the training wheels. For me, this was definitely a highlight of their younger years. Seeing how much they loved it is difficult to describe. Seeing the look on their faces as they realized that they were pedaling all on their own is such a memorable moment. Riding a bike is something I hope will stick with them for the rest of their lives. Every time I see my kids on their bikes, it makes me smile.

To this day, I still ride my bike and I still love it. Though I've moved on to more serious mountain biking and road cycling, part of what I love about it is being outside, seeing the beautiful scenery and getting away from the computer. After all, living in Colorado, I no longer need to look in books and magazines to see such amazing sights. I just go outside and ride my bike to see them.

08 March 2011

ActiveMQ In Action Going to Print!

This week we received the final cover art for ActiveMQ In Action and the book went to the printer! Yay!!! It's been a long road, but Dejan, Rob and I can finally celebrate all our hard work on this project.

You can check out the cover art here and be sure to mouse over the image and click the link to view the full size.

There are certainly many people to whom we owe a great deal of gratitude including:
  • Jeff Bleiel, our development editor - Without Jeff's input, the book would not be what it is today
  • Gary Tully For his tireless technical reviews of the entire book
  • The Manning staff - For their arduous work on the book
  • Filip Hanik - For his assistance with Tomcat
  • Jan Bartel and Greg Wilkins - For their assistance with Jetty
  • David Jencks and Kevan Miller - For their assistance with Geronimo
  • Jaikiran Pai - For his assistance with JBoss

We would also like to thank the following list of reviewers who read the manuscript at different stages during its development and provided valuable feedback:
  • Jeff Davis
  • Deepak Vohra
  • Robert Hanson
  • Davide Piazza
  • David Strong
  • Tijs Rademakers
  • Prasad A. Chodavarapu
  • John Merryman
  • Jeroen Benckhuijsen
  • Pratik Patel
  • Scott Dawson
  • Jason Kolter
  • Rod Biresch
  • Roberto Rojas

Finally, a big thanks to the readers of Manning’s Early Access Program (MEAP) releases of the book for their comments and input via the Author Online forum.

We authored the book using DocBook XML and it was processed using the Docbkx Tools Maven plug-in on Mac OS X (To those folks who keep asking about my experience with DocBook, yes, it is worth it! Shoot me an email if you have any questions). Other items that went into the book include MacBook Pros, Google Docs, GMail, Foonz (until it shut down), FreeConferenceCall.com, barking dogs during conference calls, company acquisitions, lots and lots of music, loud construction next door, sleepless nights, too much work on airplanes, and plain old exhaustion.