And to add ANOTHER adventure…

As if being acquired, a new job, and an international move were not enough, let’s just add getting the helm of Commerce Server back. No, that’s not a mis-print, as captured by:

This certainly was almost as much of a surprise to us (and has been only a short time that we have known) as I am sure it is to customers. However, this is one challenge I relish – as the opportunity is great to truly take the product now, evolve it into what customer’s want and need, and do so free of the many constraints under which it has been placed in the past…

The Next Adventure Begins

On September 6, Cactus Commerce, the company for which I have worked for the last for years, has been acquired by Ascentium Corporation of Bellevue, WA. It’s truly ironic that after moving to Ottawa from Seattle, we’ve been bought by a Seattle-based company – and now I’m being relocated back to Seattle to take on a new executive role within the combined organization. With this, I expect things are going to be quite busy. And not as many posts for a while.

But in the meantime, you can read all of the details here:

Stay tuned…

Audi S8 – 2-year update

It has been about 2 years since I have been driving the S8 every-day as my Ottawa daily driver. The short-take:

  • There is not much to dislike!
  • Power and performance is amazing – in any weather (caveat: must have right tires).
  • Absolutely comfortable for 4 adults + luggage.
  • Fuel economy is abysmal in town – but it gets 25MPG+ on the highway
  • Best electronics I have seen in a car ever both in terms of features and usability
  • Non-ostentatious – totally a stealth “bahn” burner
  • No real maintenance issues – despite having a Lamborghini-sourced 5.2L V10
If anything, it’s biggest detractions are that it lacks style and soul – but then again, that’s also one of its selling points. It just depends on what you’re looking for. In short – there are not many performance cars that could survive daily driving in Ottawa. This did – with aplomb.

Dubai – remarks

And that is the tallest building in the world. Live in Dubai – captured on my iPhone as we drove through the city. My remarks:

  • The architecture is more amazing than anything I have ever seen. Anywhere. Period.
  • The country is run like a company – that is the philosophy. Everything is about renewal and efficiency – with an incredible air of competitiveness. Nothing lest than the best will suffice.
  • It’s very liberal for an Islamic nation (e.g. – women can be uncovered, there are bars & nightclubs) – but values are strictly upheld and observed (e.g. – Ramadan, Internet censorship of inappropriate content).
  • Almost everyone is an immigrant. And it’s all about business. It is one of the most pro-business places I have been.
I hope I have the opportunity to go back! (And, at some point I’ll do a Flickr gallery of the iPhone posts.)


The DB9 is here.  The photo above was taken on delivery in Seattle. It is AWESOME. A full review comes later when I have lived with it for a while. But the short take:

  • Nothing sounds like an Aston V12 – it rocks!
  • Great balance of comfort – without sacrificing handling or performance
  • Seemingly limitless power
  • You can feel the road – but it won’t knock someone’s fillings out
  • Nice balance of amenities – but not too much; it still feels like a sports car
  • Quite usable for city driving
  • Cornering is amazing (with the Sport Pack) for a large car
Be seeing you!


I made a joke earlier I would hit 100,000 miles by July. I guess I was only joking with myself. That’s a lot of travel. Ironically, my trip from hell last week was what pushed it over the threshold. Fortunately, this has been a week with no flights!

O’Hare Mayhem

Without a doubt, today has been the worst travel experience. Ever.

I’m finally getting on a plane, but not by much. I landed from a redeye at Chicago O’Hare (ORD) at 5:15 AM – looking to fly to Ottawa (YOW) at 6:30. As I disembarked, the airport was very dark. And there were buckets everywhere. And water everywhere.

Turns out Chicago got about a foot of rain in 2 hours. Whoops.

The consequences of that are pretty bad. First, the roads flooded. Nobody can get to ORD from within Chicago (more on that).

Second – this means canceled flights. All flights to YOW before 1PM canceled. Re-booking looked attractive until I was told that all the connecting fights through IAD, YYZ, etc. would also be canceled – due to no aircrews able to get to the airport on the ground.

Third – getting help is a challenge. I had to wait over an hour to get a boarding pass and get officially rebooked, despite a handy SMS notification. The kiosk was not working. And the line was super-long – because – again – no airport staff. I tried calling the premier reservations lines. No dice. Those are not answered offshore, but by people in Illinois. Who also couldn’t get to work.

Fourth – no food. Nobody could deliver supplies. Roof leaks ruined a lot of the rest.

Fifth – the mayhem continues. My 1PM flight is leaving at 4PM local time. It is confirmed to go. It will be the first flight to YOW. There are many not getting through until tomorrow. And many more trying to get into Canada in any way – given same or worse situations.

Sixth – staying cool? Forget it – the airport is a mess with all the water leaks and damage.

I’ll be 10 hours late by the time I get home. The consolation – there are others in worse shape. I owe the good folks at United Airlines and the ORD Red Carpet Club a big thank you for making things as best as possible under the circumstances. They did not have much to work with.

Instagram & Customs Hell

I have broken down and joined Instagram. Look for me on there under ryan_donovan. My first picture? My Continental Express flight to Newark…right next to my fiancee’s flight to Vancouver. Next to each other but separated by the glass of the secure pre-clearance area of US Customs within a Canadian airport.

And speaking of customs…I almost missed my flight. The computers were down. They had no way to let anyone through. So, processing is supposed to begin at 5AM; it was closed until 6:15 when computers were restored. All of the 6AM flights were over an hour late. And the line extended to hundres. Luckily I was early – or I would have missed my flight as they departed at 6:45 (once the flight crew got through) pretty much regardless if folks were there nor not. This in my mind is a huge weakness that should be remediated – otherwise if something really bad happened – the nation’s commerce would potentially suffer as much of a hit as it did around 9/11.

As it was I made my connection and landed in Vegas later (second Instagram photo).

All is well that ends well – and I have a fun, addictive new hobby. But no thanks to a huge liability in the nation’s border system.