Friday, May 28, 2010

What's in your Bag?

Again having to think about everything that is packed into my laptop case. Do I need all this stuff, why can't I just carry the laptop and power adapter in one of those "cutesy" little sleeves?


That's all i can inventory now, gotta go and unpack it for security.

Laptop life: Clutter

In the Airport again lamenting the fact that I am not one of those people who can survive with only one of those very slim notebook computers, and the power supply. I carry around such a pile of accessories that I just don't understand how some people get along with only one of those neoprene sleeves.

Inevitably I end up having to unpack all the cords, adapters, accessories and other swag at the x-ray belt and end up looking much less like the seasoned traveler I imagine myself to be.

Now I found this wonderful invention. It has elastic loops that are stretched over  the rectangular body. It comes in a variety of sizes to accommodate various laptop cases or other bags.

You use it to take all you cord clutter and accessories that end up floating all over your bag, or collect at the bottom and band it into place.

For the weary traveler with a laptop this means no more over stuffing the few accessory pockets in your case , or leaving to chance the packing of all the cords. Give it a whirl.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Dabbleboard: collaboration tool

I just stumbled upon Dabbleboard and I am immediately blown away

This could be one of the neatest things i have seen on the Cloud yet.

The embedded drawing in this link, is fully editable by guests, sharable but wholly unique. I can save it, store it locally, and distribute it. Just like you see here. Can lock it down as view only, or let others like you draw on it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Re:Focus-- Don't Let The Price Get In The Way

Re:Focus: Don't Let The Price Get In The Way @simonsenik
Makes a good point on the biggest pain in sales, which is dealing with the price question.

However, his dodges to try to postpone the question still seem to be dodges of the direct question.

Would it be better to re:focus on the "Why" and put it back to them with a response like "Less than you risk by not using _____, Buying ________, Hiring ________." Then move the conversation back to Values and the why.

After all they will buy what they believe in, at perhaps a higher cost than you might give them credit for.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Creeping Determinism

Listening to What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures by M. Gladwell and just got the part where he discusses the concept of creeping determinism, where he highlights the pitfalls of the many post-mortem analyses that people do of well documented outcomes and the way people seemingly fail to "Connect-the-dots".

Gets me thinking about how we spend mountains of time and effort dissecting computer simulations and analyses and models after the fact and point fingers at what people did not see. But we rarely talk about the other things that were in the view as well. The mountains of other data and circumstances, and boundary conditions of the day we first do the analysis and interpretation.

Brilliant stuff.... but it hurts my brain a little.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Traveling Teddy bears: Send your stuffed best friend to Europe

Want to give your loved one a special gift--a trip to Europe, sightseeing in Switzerland, Italy, Germany, France, or Spain--but your budget is more in line with a nice bouquet dinner out or something much smaller. How about this send your loved ones a special friend who will send them correspondence from  overseas, daily MMS, e-mails, and a photo-blog of a soon to be new best (stuffed) friend who will soon return home to them?

Following the lead of World-traveling blogger StringGirl and the "Toy Traveling" travel agency in the Czech Rep. Techni-Ho is proud to offer similar world traveling trips for you and your special "friends". Upcoming trips and tours include Switzerland (Zurich, the Alps), Italy (Torino, Milan, Florence?), Spain (Barcelona), and Germany (Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich).  Future trips could include Tokyo, Seoul, Hydrabad.

Contact StringGirl via her blog at to find out more.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Complaining in the public forum: At least do it well

In today's iCommunity where everybody is fewer than 6 degrees of separation from anybody else, why would we post something that could come back to haunt you.

Todays example: Nasty ill informed e-mails bouncing around the PTO

Turns out there is an email campaign in my district where a disgruntled family is trying to get people on board some Quixotic mission to teach either the school or the lunch vendor a lesson; under the heading of "school is starving it's students". You see, the lunch vendor for the district has a policy that if the students account is more than $5 in the negative, the kid does not get lunch. But will instead get a bowl of cereal, milk, and fruit "du jour".

The kid showed up for lunch, repeatedly with his/her account in the negative, and on this latest trip the child was sent to the office to call home to let the parents know of the issue (courtesy not policy). This apparently incensed the family, who has recently been emailing all the members of the PTO board, every teacher in the school, the principal, members of staff of neighboring schools, other districts, and claims that he will notify the press.

Over what?

  • you don't pay your bills?
  • you did not prepare your kid for school?
  • your kid does not like having cereal? (actually the kid has tree nut allergies so cereal is off limits. Hello, if you child has bad food allergies PACK YOUR OWN LUNCH)
  • the school cannot effect policy with its vendors?
  • you don't take care of your own kids? (yes, that is a second mention)
In case anybody is considering slamming me for not caring about underprivileged kids getting their lunch. NOT THE CASE. Our district fully takes care of those who are in the Gov't Lunch program separately. No this is for the "cake eaters" who can't remember to send in the 2.50 per lunch per kid per day.

Please stop emailing me to prove you are stupid. Please stop CC and reply all, please don't forward me the message. I don't really care. But I do care that you are trying to make your problem, my problem.

p.s. there are only so many days in school. Figure out how many days, figure out how many lunches, and pay in advance. Really difficult. If you spent half as much brain power on solving the problem as complaining, you'll have not problems.

p.p.s. part of me hopes he does get it on facebook or some other forum as they had threatened. A good forum spanking would be very much worth it.

How am I supposed to get more hits without cute cats on my site?

Seems that I can't get a reasonable amount of traffic on my site without tagging posts as LOLcats, or Cutecats or something like that. Why are the leaders for hits always posting something really inane. Okay i accept that this might also be inane, but at least a technical consulting blog was somewhat original.

Any way, I am up to $6.07 in ad revenue so far. Lets see if we can step that up.
No cats were harmed in the posting of this blog.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Working at the coffee shop: how productive is it?
After having to dutifully retreat to the bathroom every half hour I wonder if working at the local Caribou is effective for me.

Free refills!!!
or buy a kuerig for home and pay lots more!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Effective meetings in a distributed organization

Are you a member of a distributed organization?
I am a member of several:

  • globally distributed corporate work group
  • Professional organization
  • virtual team or work group (dashed line hierarchy) 
  • Volunteer organization
  • School parent group
What these groups have in common is the fact that we work independently toward seemingly synchronized goals, with regular face-to-face meetings and web meetings and teleconferences. A pattern that has risen in most, if not all of them is the fact that our meetings tend to focus on updates and not actions.

It seems that without some sort of hard and fast date or meeting time that we are unable or unwilling to keep abreast of others activities; or keep others up to date on our own activities. With my professional organization, I am the chairman of the community as a whole (with 6 other volunteer leaders) and the chair of a technical group with some 6-8 advisors and a silent majority of maybe 300 dues paying members.

We meet for a teleconference monthly to catch up on our activities (or lack there-of) and try to define activities that we will do for next month, only to find next month that we have no progress and have maybe not even thought of our volunteer efforts until the days before the next meeting.

How do we turn this around?
  1. create a method of asynchronously keeping up to date
  2. Set regularly scheduled activity hours, days, weeks to focus on the plans
  3. force the meetings to be action oriented where the time we spend together presupposes that others must prepare for the meeting to vote or input on discussion items
Easier said than done it appears.
Getting the virtual organization to be value added is a challenge as more people telecommute, and rely on Tele-presence instead of co-location.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ask why

Why do you exist? Why do we do what we do?
Inspired individuals and companies know why they do what they do.

Travel planning

Even without the possibility of getting advert or recommendation bucks for this I will proudly say that I use WorldMate for all my travel needs of late. So far it has proven invaluable for my travel needs. Having accumulated 250,000 actual miles in the past year and a half and visiting too many countries to count at the moment, I can say that this app has been a god send for me.

Check out the WorldMate if you travel much and download the app for free.

I have also decided to pull the trigger on this little bag here. After a few too many months of dragging around ill suited bags for travel, I am getting this bag and hoping that it performs as well as the site brags.

So as I get ready for the next round of travel, I hope that Volcanoes don't interrupt my work again. That My bags continue to arrive on time and not too damaged, and that the sky rolls out smooth in front of me and all of you.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

so will we fly this month?

 What s the prognosis for this mother-F keeping our planes grounded this month?
Or will the EU have everybody flying, without knowing for certain the outcome?

Cell phones and travel

Turns out that Verizon is not playing helpful with their Global Roaming capabilities, still no Skype VOIP, dropped the Nexus one from their plans for the Droid Incredible (which will not have GSM cap.) and otherwise are still pains in the but for global roaming.