June 28, 2015

Ron White at Mystic Lake Casino

Ron White at Mystic Lake Casino
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for June 28, 2015

Miss Sheri and the boys spent their week at a Robotics summer camp hosted by KING TeC for elementary school students.

Luke helped mentor a team in partnership with his friend, Aleks.  Their team was named Crazee Fries.

Avery ended up being a mentor for a team on his own and their name was the Hot Dog Stealing Squirrels.  There appeared to be a lot of food themed team names this year.

The Crazee Fries ended up winning the tournament out of 14 teams.  Now everyone knows why they should "Fear the Fry"!

On Friday night, we hooked up with the Browns and the Zitzewitzes for dinner and a comedy show.  We ate at the Artisan Bistro in Prior Lake.  I really liked their bacon wrapped steak bites and mashed potatoes.  Mmmmm.  Bacon Wrapped Steak Bites!

We went to Mystic Lake Casino for the comedy show.  The opening act was a guy named Vic Henley.  He's from Alabama and does a lot of southern themed humor.  He was pretty funny.

Ron White was the headliner and was really raunchy.  If you've ever seen any of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, you can probably guess how the night went for us.  White was absolutely hilarious telling stories from his life including a crazy episode where he did a comedy performance on Dr. Phil's yacht while he was absolutely hammered.  Good stuff!

On Saturday, we stopped by Dan Patch Days in Savage, Minnesota to visit the food trucks and see what else was going on.  We used to live nearby this festival and would look forward to attending it every year.

Beyond the food trucks, there wasn't much for us to do other than play on the inflatables.  I remember when my boys used to love doing that!  But when I asked them if they wanted to do it this year, they weren't at all interested.  When did that happen?

June 27, 2015

Report: Intel May Hold On To 10nm Cannonlake Microarchitecture Platform

Todd Swank, senior director of product marketing at Equus Computer Systems, a Minnetonka, Minn.-based system builder, said system builders are currently more focused on Intel's Skylake platform and whether that will drive new business with customers. 

"This doesn't shock me at all -- you get down to 10nm and it's hard to conceptualize products that are so small," he said. "But typical system builders not too concerned, as they are more focused on Windows 10 and Skylake. We are hopeful Skylake will bring a new generation of performance, and it seems like it is on track, so no one's concerned with Cannonlake yet."

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June 22, 2015

System Builders: AMD Split-Up Reports Don't Add Up

But system builders like Todd Swank, senior director of product marketing at Equus Computer Systems, a Minneapolis-based custom system builder, said the idea of AMD splitting up wouldn't make sense, as the company's strength is in its APUs. 

 "I find it hard to believe that this would go through," said Swank. "The fusion of its CPU and graphics together on the same silicon seem to be a strategic advantage of AMD, so I don't see how either segment would benefit from not having the other. You feel for AMD, as it has always had a long history of being a scrappy competitor despite going against some of the toughest competition in history, like Intel and Nvidia. But I don't know if this would get AMD back on track."

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June 21, 2015

Jet Skiing on the St. Croix River

Jet Skiing on the St. Croix River 
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for 6/21/15

Our week started with a boat ride with the Walters.  It's a good way to start the week.

Monday night brought us Blue's first visit to the dog park.  He did pretty good, but we can't completely trust him off the leash yet.  He likes to run away and not come back.  We're pretty convinced he'd go home with any family that would take him, but we're hoping his love grows stronger for our family after some time.  Right now, he'll love anyone.

Hey, can I have a turn with the ball?

Saturday brought us to the St. Croix river for a boat ride and some jet skiing with the Zitzewitz Family.  They named their boat Kaatiana Z using the first two letters from each of their names.  Karl, Ana, Tina, and Aaron.  I was hoping to get in there also, but I guess they didn't like the sound of Kaatianato.  

It was supposed to rain all day, but we were pleasantly surprised that there were blue skies and sunshine.  Perfect weather to get in some jet ski action!

I used to get to drive the jet ski all the time, but now that my boys are old enough to drive, I get shoved to the back seat a lot.

The boys keep asking me how to drive crazy like Karl does and I told them that step one is you have to buy your own jet ski.

Here's a couple of minutes of video of our rides:

We didn't just jet ski and boat, though.  We also went on turtle watching expeditions.

On Sunday, the boys volunteered to help run the hot dog booth at a local grocery store to support their high school robotics team.  What a bunch of good wieners.

For father's day, we went to Benihana to gorge ourselves.  Mmmmm. Yum Yum Sauce.  

Happy Father's Day!!

June 18, 2015

Intel Snaps Up Recon Instruments To Muscle Into Wearables Market

"Intel sees that computing is entering the next wave, and it wants to be a part of that," said Todd Swank, senior director of product marketing at Equus Computer Systems, a Minneapolis-based custom system builder. "First it was desktop, then mobile, and now we're integrating computing into wearables, whether it's a band on our wrists, to vision and virtual reality."

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June 14, 2015

Prior Lake Graduation 2015

Prior Lake Graduation 2015
Todd Swank's Diary Update for June 14, 2015

Blue is still a pretty ornery puppy and has a long way to go until he can be trusted, but he is starting to grow on us.  I think it's because he's striving so hard to be just like Sunny.

We had some rain this week, but a beautiful rainbow made it seem to be not so bad.

Thursday was the last day of school, so our boys are officially Juniors in High School now.  They celebrated the occasion with a couple of friends, one of which who had left by the time we thought we should take a photo to mark the occasion!

Friday night brought the graduation ceremony for the Prior Lake High School seniors.  It's hard for us to believe that in just a couple of more years our boys will be in this situation.  Where does the time go?

Luke played in the band.  Just the same old Pomp and Circumstance kind of stuff.

Prior Lake is a pretty big school and there was something like 600 kids graduating.  It takes quite awhile to read all those names!

We woke up early Saturday morning and thought a boat ride sounded like fun.

Not sure if this is what Luke had in mind when I asked if he wanted to go for a boat ride, but I felt that the kid could use some exercise.  Next week I'm going to make him row with me on board as well.

We then went to the Prior Lake Farmer's Market to get some breakfast.  Those farmers sure know how to cook!

They do the Farmer's Market in Prior Lake every Saturday during the summer.  There's a lot of different vendors that set-up downtown to sell their wares.  And we like to wander around and sample all the goodies!

These farmers sure know how to play some good tunes!

Have a listen:

Saturday night brought us to some graduation parties for some really cool seniors!  We had the opportunity to attend the parties for both Elissa and Maggie who we had the honor of working with for the marketing responsibilities for the Prior Lake High School Robotics Team, KING TeC.  They were phenomenal marketing people and I'm sure they will be successful at college.

We also knew Phillisha from robotics.  She was one of the team's spirit leaders in the past and always lifted everyone's spirits around her.  She told me she's going to study nursing and eventually wants to be a Mid-Wife and help deliver babies.  I admire her ambition!

We ended the night with a trip to see Jurassic World which was a fun, popcorn movie.  The plot wasn't that unique, but the dinosaurs were fun.  If you liked the original movie, you're sure to enjoy this one as well.  One Big Thumb Up!

June 11, 2015

Intel Sharpening The Blade For Job Cuts After Tough Quarter

"The industry's facing a paradigm shift, and everyone in this business is feeling the effects," said Todd Swank, senior director of product marketing at Equus Computer Systems, a Minnetonka, Minn.-based system builder. "Last year we saw a spike with the Windows XP refresh and it doesn't seem that the drive to upgrade this year will make as big of a mark. People are hopeful about Windows 10 and Skylake, but it's not surprising to me that Intel is preparing in case that doesn't happen."

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June 7, 2015

Golfing at Oak Hills in Clear Lake, Iowa

Golfing at Oak Hills in Clear Lake, Iowa
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for June 7, 2015

Friday night brought us the annual Boy Scout picnic which signifies the last Boy Scout meeting of the year before the summer break.  Luke and Avery haven't been able to attend as much this year with other activities getting in the way, but they still really enjoy being part of the troop!

As part of his Fab Lab class, Avery and some other students had to put on a business presentation for some products they developed.  His team designed some unique new shower heads using 3D Printers & Autodesk Inventor.  I'm so jealous of what our kids get to work on in high school.  We never had cool tools like those!

On Friday night, I drove down to Clear Lake, Iowa to meet up with some friends.

Krazy Kory and Ron "Sugarman" Myers met up with me for a little golf at my favorite course in the world.  Oak Hills.  It's a great little Par 3 course where I first learned how to swing a golf club.  

We also played a little bit of pool and I'm sure Kory and Ron will remember the lessons I taught them for quite awhile!

We also stopped and saw some old friends.  We went to high school with Stacy and Ron wanted to stop by and show him his new car.  Stacy is in the process of selling his farm and talking about moving to Virginia.  If you're looking to become a farmer and want to get your hands on a great piece of property in North Iowa, you should think about giving Stacy a call!

We also stopped at the VFW to see our old buddy, Scott Barragy.  This guy always seems to be working!  At least whenever I come to Clear Lake he does.  I guess I'm not there very often so it's quite possible I just get lucky and only see him the one night a week he works.  Who knows.

We also bumped into some friends at the golf course like Famous "Matt" Amos.  That's what I love about Clear Lake so much.  Just good people everywhere you go!

We woke up early Saturday morning to play golf.  Kory was very excited to be out there.

I'm not a very good golfer, but I do love playing at Oak Hills.  The course is just my size so I can keep up with the fellas.  For some reason, when I get on the big courses with the 600 yard holes, my game goes out the window.  One of these years, I'm gonna have to figure out how to drive the ball better than I do.  Then I'll show 'em.

When I came back home, I joined my family to help with Braden Wojahn's eagle project.  He was building an insect habitat at a local school and recruited a bunch of other scouts to help him.

At our house, we're not very nice to the bugs that come to visit.  But Braden wants to be an entomologist and says that a habitat like this can actually be very friendly to the environment.  I guess I'll just have to take his word for it, because they're ain't no way we're building one of these things in my backyard!

June 1, 2015

Intel Ends The Rumor Mill, Plans To Acquire Altera To Spur Internet of Things Business

"This is really about enhancing Intel's technology and set of intellectual property in the data center," said Todd Swank, senior director of product marketing at Equus Computer Systems, a Minnetonka, Minn.-based system builder. "With the Internet of Things, you're taking a device and adding intelligence to that device. Intel is playing into its strength of building powerful technology to process that data stream being generated from the Internet of Things. I think this will help them be competitive in the future to process that data." 

"This is something Intel had to do," he added. "Companies like Altera are being gobbled up as the benefits of high-end computing become apparent. It makes sense for Intel and it is great for Altera, and it will eventually be a good thing for the channel, though it will take time before we see any benefits. Anything that makes Intel stronger makes its channel stronger."

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Windows 10 Available July 29: Partners Cheer, But Say Challenges Remain

Windows 10 brings both opportunity and missed opportunity, said Todd Swank, senior director of product marketing at Equus, a systems builder based in Minnetonka, Minn. "It's been a well-known story that Windows 8 has not been a popular OS. We think Windows 10 will be the OS that finally prompts customers to replace their aging Windows 7 systems." 

 Swank said two things are working against Windows 10 being a money-maker. On one hand, the OS will be a free upgrade for his customers. Secondly, the upgrade to Windows 10 will allow most companies to use existing hardware without the need for upgrading internal components. 

"This is an operating system made for tablets and desktops. It's a sleek and lean OS that doesn't need a big hardware upgrade -- if any at all," Swank said. 

"Prompting customers to upgrade is going to be a challenge for system builders," Swank said. But, he said, Windows 10 opens up an opportunity for his company to spark a conversation with its customers about how they can take advantage of new mobility and cloud-centric benefits of Windows 10, and how it can elevate their business.

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