Friday, January 30, 2009

Left hand, meet right hand...

Party A has a GMail account. Party B has a GoogleApps for Business account. Why on Earth would Party B need to be invited to join GMail? Both parties are already using Google services. It's like asking someone to switch from a 20-oz Coke to a 24-oz Coke. I guess the logic goes off domain names, not service providers.

Here's a good one

From Garr over at Presentation Zen- writing about inspiration.

Jack of all trades

Some of my favorite quotes & why:

"Your scientists were so preoccupied if they could, they didn't stop to think if they should."
Source: Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) in Jurassic Park.
Reference: During the lunch table discussion of the scientific power used to create the park and its inhabitants.
Why I like it: It is a great filter to make decisions, directly major ones. Look at the financial crisis- just because you can lend money to thousands of risky home buyers doesn't mean you should. Who did the SWOT analysis on that one?

"640 k ought to be enough for anyone."
Source: Anonymous, although incorrectly applied to Bill Gates
Reference: Hardware configurations in the early 80's, and the software to use said hardware.
Why I like it: A great urban myth that attributes Bill G. to a short-sighted quote. The quote, regardless of who said it (or if anyone actually did), serves as a reminder to look at the horizon, not at your shoes, when walking down a path. Myopic vision also introduces walls, restrictions, and a short-term solution.

"You determine the level of your involvement."
Source: Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), Fight Club
Reference: The Narrator finally catches on to what Tyler and his "Project Mayhem" initiative.
Why I like it: It applies to so many things. Political causes. Volunteer work. Paid work. Relationships. Learning. No one can make you do anything great in life. People can help you, mentor, guide, and support, but ultimately you are the one who puts in the effort.

And lastly, almost anything from Liar, Liar with Jim Carrey:
"Garage sale. $10 marked down to $6.50" - Referring to "antique Tiffany" frame
"I don't know whether to pet it, or scrape it off and bury it!" - About co-worker's bad toupee
"Did you see that? He struck the child." - His son was given "birthday" punches by his ex-wife's boyfriend (go ahead, read it again if you have to.)
"I have unpaid parking tickets. Be gentle." - Revealing his glove box stuffed with parking tickets
"Do you mind!? I'm kicking my ass!" - Beating himself up in a courtroom bathroom to avoid a trial, since he can't lie for a day (apparently bad thing to happen to lawyers)
"That's just what ugly people say." - Debunking the "myth" of "Real beauty is on the inside"

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"Where will you be when you need [Ferris Bueller]?"

I'm compiling/absorbing/reading/experiencing a bit of social media right now. Kinda getting a feel for what is useful, and what isn't. I'm hoping that I'll be able to condense the main objectives and purposes in the coming weeks. It's not like it's new to me; I've used MySpace, currently responding to FaceBook emails, and I've had a Twitter account longer than Guy Kawasaki. But how much of it has benefited me or others?

The book I'm reading now during my lunch is about a third done. My order will have some more info to compile, but not necessarily relevant.

The main point of my commentary/observations (I hasten to announce it as advice or guidelines) will be based on the question (a broad question at that) - Why should I and what does it do for me?

A Google search will provide numerous blog posts and articles about that question, but they are pretty superficial and non-specific.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Best Episode Ever! 9/8 central. Live except on West Coast.

I was listening to the radio this morning (far better alternative to the beeping of an alarm clock) when one of the radio personalities started with:

"Did you watch Leverage last week?"

An promptly went into a mini-recap of last week's episode and the episode on tonight. About 15 seconds into her talk, I noticed no one was chiming in, agreeing. Then came the slip.

"Leverage is the best new show on TV." Or something like that. FYI,TNT, no one talks like that. I would think the original copywriters had something better, but I bet TNT's approval board said they liked this line better. It was a great ad until the mucked-up copy.

Oh yeah- I couldn't remember the name of the show, so I looked it up on TNT's site, and lo and behold, their "Quick Links" aren't so quick. Or linky. Awesome!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Another one from Guy Kawasaki

Loop-da-de-loop way of getting there- my bloglines, linked to his blog, linked to his post over at AmEx Open.

But here it is: What CEOs Should Be Saying

I enjoy the fact that Guy uses "bull shiitake" in his posts.

Where's My No Soliciting Sign?

Got an email asking if I wanted to do an "unbiased review" for payment.

Short Answer: Hell No. (Question is down below)

Long Answer: I don't think so, "F B" who doesn't have the courtesy of using his/her own name, less actually use my own (available on my blog).

Just because we live in the information age doesn't give you permission to be completely oblivious in solicitations. As a quick perusal of my blog will illustrate, I have no advertisements, no explicit product reviews or endorsements. I may like something and pass it along, but I do so without compensation for good reason.

This is where someone should read this book and this blog (for starters).

*Note to readers: don't actually click/copy the links. I do not know where they will lead you. Possibly to your nearest IT guy or Staples for Norton AV.

So here's the email:

I'm writing to you to know if by any chance you would be interested in doing an unbiased review of our site on your blog

Here is some information about the site -
Moving home can be a very stressful experience. But this site will make your life easier by taking the stress and hassle out of moving home, and you save your time and money in the process.

The site is organized in a way to help you with everything you need to do when you move home so that you won't have to go through the pain of doing it yourself. They would guide you through every step of the move process with help and advice, lists of suppliers and easy online quotes. They also help with transfer or set up home services like gas and electricity online to save you from call centres and phone queues.

It will help you manage your move, reminding you of everything you need to do with the tools and information to do it .

Click on the link to see a snapshot of the website -

If you agree we will send you a payment for the review. More information about the site would be sent to you along with the payment. Please let me know if you are interested.

If you are interested please click here to receive your money:

If you want to receive more paid review proposals, just click the following link:

If you don't want to ever receive mails from us, just click the following link:

If you have any questions just send a reply to this email.
Thank you

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Reading Comprehension > Financial Statements

Read this (and come back).

Microsoft has been approaching the top of the corporate curve over the last decade. Meaning exponential growth slows. All businesses do this. Long-lasting ones adjust and reorganize, effectively starting at the bottom of the curve.

Enough of that, here's my point: MS had profits of $4 Billion and change. Four Billion. Not $4,000 nor $4,000,000. $4,000,000,000. Of profit- all expenses covered, salaries paid for, building leases paid, etc. (I'll assume it's EBIT, that is left out of the statement).

Revenues were up 2%. And consider they shipped a discouraging product in Vista and the massive push to web applications (which MS has none of), this is a good thing.

So why the panic? Why the layoffs? Because of the "power" of the dollar and Wall Street. Way to focus, guys.

New & Improved! Sort of...

Saw this (and watched the videos) and wondered why haven't they designed a vending machine that will lift the product to a non-bending region? (Yes, make it the ultimate laziness apparatus around.)

I must admit, grabbing something from a vending machine is completely awkward. Bending over in front of lots of people, crack showing, overstuffed backpack high-centered, some mean guy giving you a little push to send you over, etc., etc.

Just a thought.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Do you take requests?

Caught this Honda Civic commercial during the playoffs (pardon the ignorance, I don't waste time sitting in front of a television. I waste it sitting in front of the interwebs).

I thought it was creative. I thought it would be really sweet if they did the William Tell Overture (Lone Ranger theme), or something a bit harder (AC/DC, maybe?). Add in a bass line by cutting the lane down the middle- left side would carry one part, the right the other.

Then I thought more about the ability to hear the tune inside the car. When I'm driving, I have my own music I listen to. And isn't a "quiet ride" part of the expected quality of a car? Perhaps not Civics. Which leads me to my next idea- having a luxury car maker (Infiniti comes to mind first) that spoofs the ad by having its own luxury car travel down the same road, and not hear the tune. In all likelihood you would still hear the road song, but creative sound editing is not foreign to car advertisements.

Here's the commercial:

"You put the wrong em-fasis on the wrong sy-label." ( View From the Top)

Customer service in action. It's the least they could do.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

4+4= 44? 16? 4? What's a ratio?

Here's a cool post referring to a site that explains, visually, movies and the way they will look based on the viewing apparatus.

Monday, January 12, 2009

"Do or do not. There is no try." -Yoda

I updated my blogroll. I trimmed down from over 120 feeds to a manageable 43. I'll probably eliminate a few more in the coming weeks, depending on how much I read. Like Mental Floss- yes it's fun, but I don't have the time to read 100 useless trivia a day.

I eliminated a lot the blogs I inherited from a feller in Idaho, a large number of photoblogs. I also chose Engadget over Gizmodo- really, how many extraneous gadgets do you need, whether you can afford them or not? I just like seeing what's coming out, I don't need to see them twice.

My technology blogs will probably get the axe, too. I don't have an Apple, thus I don't read TUAW, and a few other ones that are maxed at 200 unread posts.

Less junk is coming in. That's a good thing.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Big Vision

I was watching Apollo 13 the other day and a thought came to mind. Today we have no great vision to strive for. Maybe that's too strong, but what I'm getting at is right now there's no vision to go to the moon, end oppressive and dangerous powers, grand quests to discover new worlds. In the past, audacious goals have shocked and inspired generations. We need a leader with the incredible charisma and buy-in to announce a vision that will shift the paradigm of our history. Once the world was flat. We need something to that effect. (The US economy will be the first example that there is a vision, akin to Roosevelt and the Great Depression, but we are nowhere near the Great Depression levels.)

It can be argued the current exploration in the bio-medical industry is such a vision, with mapping DNA, cancer research, and the like. These are no less important, and ground-breaking efforts, but for the average person, it's hard to grasp the tangible result. You don't see a DNA molecule every night in the sky. It's difficult to connect with microscopic materials. Cancer doesn't have a face, but it's victims do. Basically our pursuits have turned towards a microscope instead of a telescope.

It can be hard to be forward thinking about history-making, but we are living in one right now with the Internet. While it doesn't have the nostalgic, Rockwellian feel as the family huddled around the television or radio during an important event, nor does it have a singular pivotal point, but the Internet is an important medium that has changed the world forever. In all the years of mankind we have explored and expanded, finding new territories and spreading across the globe. Now we are shrinking, decreasing distances to others through the Internet. Social media, news access, and personal relationships that have been brought closer with the Internet.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hot Dawg!

Smashing Magazine is highlighting the supported features in CSS3 (Cascading Style Sheets version 3), which is pretty sweet. CSS3 is allowing for rounded corners in blocks, when currently only square corners is available. So everyone can be like, only years behind.

New features include drop shadows, opacity, and my favorite thus far- font specification! Yes! Now web designers can force people to view fonts that are far superior to Arial, Georgia, Tahoma, and Comic Sans (shudder).

On the user side, that feature doesn't really apply to me, since I change my default browser display text I like, and whatever font is intended is a moot point.

On the downside, we are a few years away from total CSS3 acceptance. Plus IE users have roughly 50% of the browser "market". Also, as mentioned in the Smashing post, get ready for a lot of "I-do-it-because-I-can, even-if-it's-ugly" overusage.

So I'm keeping my square corners. I'm going web-retro before it gets in style. Now where are my .wav files at?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Becoming an Expert

Over on The Long Tail, Chris Anderson discussed his experience working for The Economist, and his current corporate efforts.

The 80,000 foot view: He changed jobs every three years until he came to Wired, which he then pushed himself to producing a book every few years. When he worked at The Economist, everyone was required to change jobs after 3 years.

Basically, he correlates Malcolm Gladwell's theory of that it takes approximately 10,000 hours to become an expert with the 3-year rule. Chris says if you dedicate 60 hours a week to your job, the 10,000 hours will take just over 3 years. Then move on to something new.

If you don't want to work 12 hours a day, then the "normal" expert rate would be almost 5 years.

If the 10,000 hour rule is truly accurate, I would think that colleges would need to overhaul the degree structure. In the Junior and Senior years, the time a student is actually in their program is roughly 900 classroom hours. Add the suggested 2 hours for each class hour for homework and studying, that comes out to 1800. So less than 3000 hours are spent honing your "expertness" for your career (hopefully). I would suggest the option of going right into the program instead of wasting time in electives like Political Science or Art. Or my favorite: Post-1940s Youth Culture through Media. That was a gem.

Hot Water!

Not like this is a bad thing. This is why I dislike politicians and unions. Neither have the best interests of the greater good in mind (generalized statement, I don't think ALL are like this). Unions think workers should automatically get pay raises. To help cover the "cost of living" increases, which is a half-lie.

How about getting pay raises for actually doing exceptional work? Merit raises, what a novel concept. And right now our education system needs a massive overhaul. Union contracts are the least of the worries. We need funding for everything, not just salaries. Schools are getting chopped. WASL isn't the stunning benchmark they thought it would be.

How about teachers get a "royalty" bonus when a kid graduates high school? And another with a college degree? Just a random idea to shake things up a bit. It may work, it may not.

There are bigger things to worry about than getting a "mandatory" raise right now in our country.

Idea...and Soccer Moms aren't going to be happy

With the recent closures of Hwy 2 and I-90 for safety reasons, the traffic has been diverted to White Pass, in Central WA. In times of emergency such as this (unexpected closures), WSDOT should suspend carpool restrictions. The added load on the system could lead (and probably does) to more accidents.

I have an idea for troubled on-ramps, since many drivers have a difficult time merging. But it requires artwork (to be done later).

Future recommendations on changing the commute (other than adding more lanes):
1) Carpool lanes are designed to eliminate the number of vehicles on the road. So carpool means 2 or more licensed drivers in the vehicle. That means no mini-vans with kids. Drivers with kids are not carpooling. They are chauffeuring. Kids don't have an option to commuting. And they don't drive.

2) Allow people who commute 20+ miles (one way) the option to pay to use the carpool lane. For people who drive 20+ miles, WSDOT should provide a sticker for the window (so WSP doesn't pull them over), and include a RFID or GPS sensor that WSDOT can track to ensure the commuter actually drives that far. The application process would require a valid living address and work address that is 20+ miles apart. $20 a month for this option.

2a) Obviously some will try to cheat the system. WSP would have the option to spot-check the sticker cars. Those who cheat the system loose their car and license for a month. Give a high deterrent. And if they are caught again, revoke their license for an entire year with a $5,000 fine.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Just wait...just wait

"Hollywood closed out the year virtually tied with its results for last year. Total box-office revenue came to $9.63 billion versus $9.68 billion in 2007, according to Media By Numbers. The slight increase was the entire result of higher ticket pricing, inasmuch as the number of movie patrons dropped 4.3 percent from 2007. In an interview with the Associated Press, Media By Numbers chief Paul Dergarabedian said that the 2009 figures were impressive given the current economic downturn. "The movie industry is totally holding its own in the face of the recession, increased competition from other entertainment options and emerging technologies," Dergarabedian said."

The skinny: While 4.3% drop in attendance accounted for $50 million in business, movie theaters will continually raise ticket prices, the exact opposite of what they should do.

It's the long tail argument, and taken at extreme measures, you could have 100,000 people see a movie for the year at a reasonable $96,000 a ticket. Or have 2 billion people see any one movie and charge $5, which ends up being $10 billion, an increase. Or even $6, which turns revenue into $12 billion. And movie goers would be pleased as punch as it's $4 cheaper per ticket.

Now if only we could get the concessions cut in half.

"It's time to get thing started!"

Mental Floss blog had this recent trip down memory lane.

And yes, there is a Muppet Wiki out there.

Who is the new creative genius for children's fare that will be long-lasting as Jim Henson and Mel Blanc? Is there anyone? Or anything?

Save this for a rainy day

Or just April Fool's: UK Prank.

Since it's the beginning of the new year, lots of people are falling into the old trap of creating resolutions. And the 3-Day Walk is capitalizing on it. Sign up now to train for September's 3-day walk to help support finding the cure for breast cancer.

And no, I'm not being sarcastic. I think it's a great change in marketing strategy. This is the first year I've heard the advertisements.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Minority rules! (Zune owners)

So apparently the 30GB Zune player can't handle the "random" events in the global calendar- leap years. So to "correct" this issue, the solution is to wait and let it solve itself. Apparently Zune owners were to let the battery die, leave it off and don't turn it on until fully charged.

And just for fun, here's the FAQs (from ZuneInsider) regarding said problem, with my translated answers:

Q: Why is this issue isolated to the Zune 30 device?
Because we didn't want to use the same drivers in all Zune products. That would be dumb.

Q: What fixes or patches are you putting in place to resolve this situation?
Nothing. We're all on vacation until the 5th. The problem won't be around then.

Q: What’s the timeline on a fix?
It will fix itself. Because here at Microsoft we create self-aware software.

Q: Why did this occur at precisely 12:01 a.m. on December 31, 2008?
Because the concept of leap years is completely foreign to us.

Q: What is Zune doing to fix this issue?
The nanorobots that act as microscopic DJs within your Zune are working feverishly to repair the issue before the end of the year.

Q: Are you sure that this won’t happen to all 80, 120 or other flash devices?
Because we made it. Should have spent the ca-ching and bought the larger devices.

Q: How many 30GB Zune devices are affected? How many Zune 30GB devices were sold?
All of them. While quantity of Zune devices sold are not broken down by model, it is safe to say there are more 30GB Zune devices sold than Yugos produced today.

Q: Will you update the firmware before the next leap year (2012)?
Yes, we always update firmware. Duh. Will the update include a solution to the problem? Probably not.