Matt RaibleMatt Raible is a Java Champion and Developer Advocate at Okta.

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Over 10 years ago, I wrote my first blog post. Since then, I've authored books, had kids, traveled the world, found Trish and blogged about it all.

Happy 8th Birthday to this blog!

Eight years ago today, this blog was born in the wee hours of the morning. I was inspired to start it after reading Dave Johnson's article on Roller. I have to say, it's been a great ride and I remember the early days like they were yesterday. Many of the Java bloggers wrote daily and shared short tips, tricks and snippets on their blogs; much in the same way we do on Twitter today.

A lot has happened in my life since this blog was started: Abbie was born, Jack was born, I started AppFuse, wrote Spring Live, had some really cool gigs and gained a whole new perspective on my life.

For those long time readers, you might've noticed the vacation posts have picked up recently and the technology posts have subsided somewhat. The good news is this indicates I'm having a lot of fun; the bad news is I'm not learning as much as I'd like. Hopefully that'll change soon and I'll be writing about developing apps for the online video space in the near future. There's a good chance the posts about my life and how much fun I'm having will continue, especially as Abbie and Jack continue to grow into world-class skiers.

As usual, I have many ambitions for this fall, including helping Apache Roller, finishing AppFuse 2.1 and learning how to play the guitar. Along the way, I'll be helping build/release some kick-ass software for a major cable provider, building a sauna in my basement and enjoying the hell out of Devoxx 2010. You can sure I'll be blogging about these along the way, as well as many years into the future.

Thanks for reading all these years, it's been a fantastic experience. :)

Posted in Roller at Aug 01 2010, 03:48:38 PM MDT 10 Comments

My Summer Vacation in Montana

My favorite time of year is summertime. My favorite place to spend it is in Montana, often called "The Last Best Place" by natives. This year was no different and I spent the last two weeks at my family's cabin celebrating the 4th of July. Shortly after returning from our Father's Day Camping Trip, my parents packed up Abbie and Jack and headed on a 3-day road trip through Wyoming and Montana, camping and sight-seeing along the way. I followed them a few days later and made the 950-mile drive in just over 14 hours. With scenes like the one below, the trip was very enjoyable, despite it being so long.

Big Sky Country

The first week I was there, I worked remotely. It's always fun to tell people The Cabin has no electricity or running water, but it does have DSL. To be fair, it does have electricity, but it's not "on the grid" electricity - it's my Dad's concoction of generators, batteries and inverters. While I worked most of the week, I did manage to get a nice mountain bike ride in along the Foothills Trail to Holland Lake.

My real vacation began on the 4th of July weekend and we did it up right with the Swan Valley Parade and lots of big fireworks I picked up in Wyoming. The kids dressed up as Woody and Jesse (from Toy Story) and walked in the parade all by themselves (first time w/o me). They were especially excited when their pictures appeared in the local paper the following week.

Ready for the Parade Tossing Candy in the Parade Woddy and Jesse in the 4th of July Parade

Last week was spent hiking to Glacier Lake in the rain, golfing in Seeley Lake and Columbia Falls and hanging out with my good friend Owen Conley and his family.

Made it to Glacier Lake Chris Auchenbach Meadow Lake Golf Course in Columbia Falls Sunset from The Conley's

The kids and I drove home last Sunday and it only took us 15 minutes longer than it did for me solo. I think they're quickly becoming road-tripping professionals. :-)

My favorite part of this year's trip to The Cabin was seeing it as a home again. My Mom retired in April and my parents moved back to Montana shortly after. Seeing how happy they are there is truly magical. I especially enjoy the thought of visiting them and all the wonderful folks in the Swan Valley many, many times in the future.

To see all the pictures I took on this trip, check out the slideshow below.

P.S. An interesting note about all the pictures I took - they're all from my iPhone 4. I forgot my camera's battery at home and it seemed like a good experiment.

Posted in General at Jul 13 2010, 08:12:02 AM MDT Add a Comment

Another Fun Father's Day at The Great Sand Dunes

For this year's Father's Day Camping trip, my parents drove down from Montana and we headed to the Great Sand Dunes (like last year). My friend Jason and his Dad joined us, as well as my co-worker Noah and his family. The weather was beautiful, the sand was hot and we had a blast flying kites while admiring the Medano Fire.

Friday Breakfast Hot, hot, hot! Aaaahhhhhh!! Fire in Background, 100 foot tall flames

Nice Grill At the Top Dillon Colors

On Saturday, we spent several hours on "the beach" watching the kids play, flying kites and sipping on cold ones. A good time was had by all.

Inventing Stuff Where did Jack go? Push me again! Smile!

Ela and Jack Abbie and Mimi Sweet Sunset

To see all the pictures I took on this trip, see my Great Sand Dunes 2010 set on Flickr.

Posted in General at Jun 25 2010, 04:22:36 PM MDT Add a Comment

Abbie and Jack's Field Days

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending my kids' field days. For those who aren't familiar with field days, it's basically a sports day for elementary schools. The best part of this year's field days was seeing my kids have so much fun with their classmates. Of course, it didn't hurt that their teachers were also smitten with the thought of the school year coming to a close.

I took a few pictures and shot a bunch of video to remember how much fun they had. I know most readers won't enjoy these as much as I do, but I always like posting fond memories on this blog. Below are a couple videos I compiled and enhanced with appropriate music.

I especially like Jack's friend's dance moves at the end of the video below. ;-)

If you have trouble viewing either video here, check them out on my YouTube channel.

Posted in General at May 26 2010, 06:49:39 AM MDT 1 Comment

Celebrating My Mom's Retirement

A couple of weeks ago, after attending Abbie's Talent Show, the kids and I packed up and headed to Oregon for a weekend. This weekend marked a special weekend for my parents. When we arrived, my Mom had a week left of work before she retired from the Bureau of Land Management. You might've read about my Mom in the past. And you might know that my Dad retired last year.

My Mom has always enjoyed her career and I like to think I get a lot of enthusiasm for my own career from her. She taught me to love what you do for a living. When we lived at The Cabin, she had the drive and ambition to go back to school to get her degree in Forestry. Upon graduation, she got a job with the BLM and we moved to Oregon. My parents have lived there since 1990.

The weekend we spent in Oregon was somewhat magical. My parent's house sold in March after being on the market for only two weeks. They had a week left before they packed up and moved back to The Cabin. This meant the outside was pristine (because they fixed it up for the new buyers) and the inside was mostly packed. It was a sunny 3 days that weekend (which is rare in Oregon) and we had a blast at the Oregon Garden Brewfest, enjoyed a sunny BBQ with old friends and shared many memories derived from their 20 years in Oregon.

Huckleberry Aficionado Jack and Mimi The Crew Fountain at The Oregon Garden

It was a somewhat bittersweet experience, meeting with all their friends and talking about their move to Montana. Many expressed sadness that they were leaving, but that didn't stop my parents from grinning ear-to-ear. You could see the excitement of moving back home sparkle in their eyes.

Oregon Garden Brewfest Happy Beer Drinkers Old Friends

They have a huge challenge ahead of them and it seems they couldn't be happier. They'll be working on The New Cabin many long days and expect it to take a year or two.

I think my Mom said it best in an email she sent my sister and I a few days ago:

It's 9:30 and we are at Quinn's Hot Springs. Your father is snoring, he didn't last long when his head hit the pillow. We got here about 3, had a glass of wine and then soaked in the pools for an hour. Had a good dinner (I had buffalo short ribs -- mmm delicious) . They have a network, so I'm using my ipod for email.

I was crying when I drove across the state line because it felt so good to be home!

We are having a very nice drive home!! We love you!!!

Congratulations on Retiring Mom! You deserve it more than anyone else I know.

Abbie and Mimi Abbie and Mimi

Enhanced Version » My Mothers Day Card

Posted in General at May 07 2010, 12:18:24 AM MDT Add a Comment

Jack's Skiing Like A Madman!

My kids have been skiing since they were pretty little. Abbie started when she turned 3 and Jack started when he was 2. I don't know that I'd recommend starting kids that early because it's taken a long time for them to get good. Abbie was good last year and it looks like Jack is coming on strong this year.

On Saturday, I took Abbie and Jack up to Copper Mountain's Tubing Hill. It was a balmy 45°F day and we had a blast flying down the mountain. I especially liked run #3 that had a double jump in its path.

Tubing at Copper

After tubing, Jack proved he's a crazy 5-year old; then we grabbed our skis and hit the slopes for a couple runs. By the 2nd run, Jack was flying past both Abbie and I and giggling while doing it. It was a special moment for me considering he's been skiing since 2 and only recently let go of me.

Today, we headed to Winter Park for a few more runs. Since Jack has become bolder, I decided to skip the lift-walk-bus-walk pain-in-the-ass section at the bottom of Winter Park and park at Mary Jane (where you can easily walk-ski to the lift). We ended up skiing at the top of the mountain most of the time. I recall a couple times where Jack would go flying past Abbie and I and I'd think "I really hope he doesn't wipe out 'cause that's gonna hurt." By the end of the day, he was skiing down blues and even tried some bumps. Great job today Jack - you've made me proud.

Abbie showing Jack how to do bumps Blue Bumps Bumps

With Spring Skiing right around the corner, I think there's gonna be some good races in the next couple months.

Posted in General at Feb 28 2010, 10:56:05 PM MST Add a Comment

Upside Down Man Saves the Day

Yesterday, Abbie and Jack showed you how to be a superhero. Today they're back with an action-packed video titled Upside Down Man Saves the Day. Watch it if you'd like to see how to take out a tiger, wrestle an alligator and diffuse a bomb. This short film was written, directed and filmed by Abbie, the only thing I did was add the music. Enjoy! ;-)

If you have trouble viewing it here, check it out on YouTube.

Posted in General at Jan 31 2010, 04:54:31 PM MST 1 Comment

How to be a Super Hero by Abbie and Jack

For some reason, my kids are very interested in Super Heros lately. In fact, they know so much about them that they've decided to start teaching others how to become one. Checkout the videos we shot earlier today with their step-by-step instructions.

I hope Abbie and Jack's tips help you become a super hero! :-)

Posted in General at Jan 30 2010, 04:42:29 PM MST 6 Comments

Labor Day Weekend at The Farm

The Castle (very solar efficient) This past weekend, the kids and I journeyed into the Colorado mountains for a weekend of camping, hiking and fishing. It was my good friend Matt Good's 50th Birthday Celebration at his place affectionately known as The Farm. We had beautiful weather, wide open spaces and lots of laughs with good friends. Jack even managed to land a girlfriend (Amanda), who somehow became his "ex" in the same hot tubbing session. They got back together the next morning. ;-)

On the way home, we took the long way and traveled from Ute Pass Road to Frasier, stopping at Lake Evelyn Trail for an hour hike and some fishing. I even let the kids drive a few times on the "bumpy road" and we managed to skip most of the traffic on the freeway.

More than anything, I was impressed with Abbie and Jack's ambition on this trip. They really seem to love hiking and fishing and don't drag their feet like they used to. They're also enthusiastic about camping and sleeping in a tent. I'm awful proud of my little munchkins. Below are some pictures from our weekend.

Picking out a campsite Jack getting a cooking lesson Jack and his new girlfriend

Side View of The Castle Crazy Kids Fishy

Thanks to Matt and Pam for hosting us and congrats to Matt on officially becoming an "old man". For more pictures, please see my Labor Day 2009 set on Flickr.

Posted in General at Sep 09 2009, 08:22:40 AM MDT 1 Comment

Happy Birthday Jack!

Five years ago today, Jack was born. I remember it like it was yesterday, even though it feels like it's been ages since he was a baby.

We were renting the house next door (while ours was being remodeled), I was just finishing up a contract with Open Logic (when it was just Rod and Eric) and Julie's contractions had begun. I finished my last hours with perfect timing (around 4:00). Julie was sitting at the kitchen table negotiating with a guy about some house-related stuff (our General Contractor had died and Julie took over 8 months pregnant). She told the guy she "had to go" because she was in labor and off to the hospital we went. The good news is it was only a few blocks away, so we made it there in short order. Our friend Tonya drove us.

Miraculously, Julie was able to "hold Jack in" until her sister flew in from San Diego. He was born just after midnight.

A few days later, my good friend Ryan called me out of the blue (hadn't talk to the guy in years). He asked me what I was up to and I told him I was a father for the 2nd time and just had a baby boy at Porter Hospital. He said, "No way - I just had a baby girl 2 days ago!" Turns out, his daughter Sophie was born 2 days after Jack, only a couple doors down. We'd left the hospital only a few hours before they arrived.

This weekend will be filled with multiple birthday parties, happy kids, and lots of good memories. I love this time of year. :-D

Happy birthday Jack!

Jack is 5!

Posted in General at Aug 28 2009, 03:12:45 PM MDT Add a Comment