Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Blackberry IM

The most comprehensive FAQ about using instant messaging on your Blackberry can be found here on Blackberry Forums.  This FAQ covers not only every carrier, but also different models of Blackberry devices.  If you are a person that likes to skip to the end of books without reading the story, then the editor's choice is Verichat.

Monday, March 28, 2005

5 Things to Do Today

This comes from this post on Seth Godin's blog:

  1. Don't forget to check out the details for: Seth's Blog: Please come to a seminar in my office.
  2. Sign up for an RSS reader. You can check all your blogs at once just by visiting a website or loading a program.
  3. Send a thank you note to three people you work with.
  4. If you live in a house, have your furnace checked. Ours was backed up and almost killed us all. If you live in an apartment, go ahead and get tenant's insurance. It's pretty cheap and you'll thank me one day.
  5. Make a list of the five most useful blogs you read and email the list to six clueless friends. If everyone who reads blogs daily did this, the number of clueless people might actually go down (hey, a guy can dream.)

If you know that you cannot get to Seth's office for the seminar for whatever reason, you may wish to replace number 1 above with this idea from Ideas, Leadership, and Vision:

Over and over I hear how big companies are working hard to activate their corporate sponsorships.  It used to be that a company might just sponsor an event but now they are spending more and more (sometimes 2 to 3 times more then the actual sponsorship amount) to activate their investment.

So, here is a thought.  Activate your own ideas in your own sphere of influence.  Make your ideas have arms and legs.  Take your initiative to the next level.

If all we do is talk about it, then we have only scratched the surface. We need to activate it.  Make it a reality.  I challenge you TODAY to think about an idea or initiative that is important, but for some reason has just stalled out. Brainstorm ways to make that idea into something big, something important, and something that will make it a real success.

If Seth's number 1 is important to you, then you should simply add the few paragraphs above as item number 6 (or perhaps item 0 so that you don't screw up the title of this post).

Backing up PSTs

This post on Lifehacker details a Microsoft utility that allows you to back up your PST (Outlook Personal Folders Files).  I currently save all of my PST files into a folder in my "My Documents" folder and back up the whole folder at least weekly.  The nice part about this MS utility is that you can schedule backup operations within a specified time period to a specific location and even schedule reminders if you have not backed a PST file in a specified time period.

I had at one point hacked the Offline Files so that I could mirror my PST files onto the server, but it caused pretty significant synchronization problems especially if I lost connectivity throughout the day, so I don't reccommend doing it unless you have a bomb-proof, always-up network.

Whatever road you take, make sure that you back things up.  Note that many of you may be using PSTs and not even know it, with the PSTs being stored somewhere in the Outlook folder on your system, so this utility might be just the answer for you.

Firefox productivity

Make yourself more productive using Firefox with these keyboard shortcuts from this post on Lifehacker:

  • Control-T opens a new tab
  • Alt-D jumps to insert into the address bar
  • Control-Enter adds http://www. and .com at the beginning and end of a word

Mac users substitute the Apple key for Alt, and Command Key for Control.

Friday, March 25, 2005

The Company

Looking for a good novel that will last a few days?  Look no further than The Company: A Novel of the CIA by Robert Littell.  This is not a book you can put down for a week and instantly pick back up (lots of moving parts and characters), but it is a very well-written novel about the CIA starting at the end of WWII and continuing through the 90's.

Share 1 folder of music between 2 machines running iTunes

Full details here on Mac OSX Hints.  Doesn't seem to be instructions on a PC and Mac environment.

Ice pellets

The weather in the Tech Center in Colorado today, according to Weather Underground, will consist of "ice pellets."  What's an ice pellet?  Ice pellets haven't started falling from the sky yet, so I don't know that I've ever seen one; I have, however, seen hail before.  Perhaps an ice pellet is what you get when it hails and the temperature is south of 30 degrees.  I'll keep you posted in case I spot an ice pellet.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Verizon + Onstar

Anybody using the Verizon and Onstar service?  Beyond the security blanket feeling of Onstar in my truck, I don't really use it all that much, but it's sort of compelling to think about actually being able to make and receive calls using the installed system instead of my cell phone.  Basically it seems like Verizon provides a phone number for your car and then that number is added in a family plan sort of way to your Verizon bill, meaning that my cell phone and Onstar phone share the same bucket of monthly minutes.  Reading further, it seems that I can forward my cell phone to my Onstar phone when in the car and everything works except voicemail.

From a utilization of resources perspective this seems pretty cool; I'm just wondering if anyone has any feedback from using the service -- leave me a comment or send me an e-mail.

Where's the damn iPod phone?

Not surprisingly, although Motorola and Apple have the hardware relatively ready, they've bumped heads with the carriers.  Why?  Because the carriers see potential dollar signs in over-the-air downloads of songs direct to phones, a revenue stream that the iPod phone might eliminate.  Lots more about this in this Businessweek article.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Lots of new links

I've been remiss in updating my link list, but here's what I found on Technorati (you will all be added to my HTML blogroll sometime this week):

If I missed anyone, please shoot me an e-mail or leave me a comment and I'm happy to add you in when I foray into HTML in Blogger.

Thanks to everyone for all the links!

Another airline free Blackberry promo

According to this post on BBHub, if you book a round trip flight on Alaska or Horizon and complete the travel segments by April 30, 2005, you can pick between a Blackberry 7100g or 7290 from Cingular (free after $50 mail in rebate).  Fine print: new subscribers only with a 2 year agreement and a voice plan of at least $39.99 or data plan of at least $44.95.  You must also be a Horizon or Alaska mileage program member, but you can sign up for free on their respective websites.

Seems like a pretty good deal if you're in the market for one of these phones and not yet a Cingular subscriber.

More MBA

Lots of MBA-related posts following Harvard rejecting a bunch of people for hacking their site.  I've done a few posts about the value of the MBA (here and here) and I found all the stuff below on other people's sites.  In the comments of this post on my site I have the following response to a question posed about going to school to actually learn something:

What is the real value of a MBA? When I look at all of the business classes that I took in undergraduate, the curriculum looks extremely similar to that of many MBA programs that I have looked at. In fact, some of the undergraduate classes that I took, though not required for a MBA degree, were heavily attended by MBA students because they were so interesting.

I haven't been out of undergraduate school for that long, so I wonder if the value of the MBA is not so much in what is learned (don't get my wrong, I am not saying that I know everything by any means, nor am I saying that I would not learn in a MBA program), but more in the ancillaries.

From this post on Seth Godin's blog:

So, for 119 Harvard MBA students, the phone rings. "Buddy, you're not going to be admitted to the MBA program because you decoded a poorly written website and found out your admissions status too soon." [This means, of course, that for the next two years, you don't have to pay Harvard more than $150,000 in room and board and lost wages, and  you can build your own business or join a non-profit or run for the Senate].

So what's the bad news?

Plenty of handwringing about the ethics or lack thereof in this case (the media loves the turmoil) but I think a more interesting discussion is what a gift these 119 people got. An MBA has become a two-part time machine. First, the students are taught everything they need to know to manage a company from 1990, and second, they are taken out of the real world for two years while the rest of us race as fast as we possibly can.

I get away with this heresy since I, in fact, have my own fancy MBA from Stanford. The fact is, though, that unless you want to be a consultant or an i-banker (where a top MBA is nothing but a screen for admission) it's hard for me to understand why this is a better use of time and money than actual experience combined with a dedicated reading of 30 or 40 books.

Further on the above from this post on Seth Godin's blog:

Let me make my point in a more MBA-esque sort of way:
What if an MBA cost $2,000,000?
What if an MBA took five years?

Would it would be worth it then? Of course not.

So my question really is: is the marginal value (in terms of opportunity cost, time value of money and capital expenditure) higher or lower than the current cost? I think it's pretty close to a no brainer.

From this post on Signal vs. Noise:

Want to succeed in business? Paul Graham argues that an MBA won't help you nearly as much as real world tech experience (from "How To Start A Startup").

If you work your way down the Forbes 400 making an x next to the name of each person with an MBA, you'll learn something important about business school. You don't even hit an MBA till number 22, Phil Knight, the CEO of Nike. There are only four MBAs in the top 50. What you notice in the Forbes 400 are a lot of people with technical backgrounds. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Michael Dell, Jeff Bezos, Gordon Moore. The rulers of the technology business tend to come from technology, not business. So if you want to invest two years in something that will help you succeed in business, the evidence suggests you'd do better to learn how to hack than get an MBA.

Josh Kaufman's "Personal MBA Program":

. . . the MBA is a still a stamp of approval for some careers, like consulting and investment banking. I think that's a damn shame, but I don't run those HR departments. Maybe it's my personality, but I have a hard time working my butt off simply for a "stamp of approval." I think that the primary purpose of pursuing an education is learning something valuable, not adding a line to my resume. (For what that's worth.)

In the context of learning useful knowledge that will make you a more productive and valuable employee, I maintain that you can educate yourself effectively for less than a quarter of the time and money spent in most current MBA programs.

Here are the books (and blogs) that are a part of my "Personal MBA" reading list. (Blogs and online resources are marked with a *.) Some are directly related to business, and some are included for a broader understanding of the world and how we live in it.

Also check out the MBA Review blog.


The CSI effect

I was told by someone in the legal profession today that there is an interesting problem occurring with juries: they are expecting police and crime scene investigators to be able to do too much because of what they've seen on the television show CSI.  Apparently in many cases, prosecutors and attorneys are spending time with juries prior to trial to explain what can and cannot actually be done in the real world vs. what is shown on the television program.


Airplane safety videos

Have you noticed that most airplane safety videos feature men and women dressed up?  Men are usually wearing ties and sometimes coats and women are usually wearing business suits.  Ted, United's low-cost carrier, seems to have specifically abandoned this style of dress in their videos, men wearing button down shirts with no tie and women in more casual clothes.

Most people tune out the safety videos, but it is kind of interesting to see when you actually take the time to watch.

TVs on airplanes = LCD screens in cars

I realized today that TV programming in airplanes seems to have the same effect on adults as running a DVD on a LCD screen in your car has on kids -- everyone on the airplane uses headphones to listen to the programming which is very similar to the wireless headphones that come standard with LCD/DVD combo kits for cars.  People on airplanes that partake in the programming seem as zoned in on it as kids in cars that are watching movies do.

I wonder if the airlines, flight attendants, etc. have found that customers tend to be less needy with the programming.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Is it worth putting your LinkedIn profile in your e-mail signature?

It doesn't seem like it could hurt.  Paul Allen explains how to do it in this post.


Are you popular?  Check out Preople that allows you to rank your name based on the number of times your name has been searched for (via this post on Micro Persuasion).

Executive blind spots

Here's an interesting list of common blind spots that executives have via this post on Salesprocessdiva:

  • Avoidance: not confronting issues that need to be dealt with.
  • Being a spectator, rather than taking responsibility.
  • Being too emotional or not showing enough emotion. Both can affect your ability to influence and inspire trust, accountability and staff engagement.
  • Being a compulsive talker.
  • Not communicating enough.
  • Being a poor listener.
  • Listening too much rather than taking action.
  • Being too nice, too soft or too patient.
  • Being too tough, too aggressive or too impatient.
  • Putting up a front, a management veneer that blocks trust.

Anything sound familiar?

Blog stats

Ok, so here are some interesting blog stats from this post and this post (both at Corporate Engagement):

  • 75% are over 30
  • 75% are men
  • 43% have HHI over $90K
  • Most, 14%, are employed in education
  • 71% have signed a petition
  • 66% have contacted a politician
  • 50% (highest of any media) rank blogs tops in usefulness for news and opinion

Interesting.  And then this:

A CNN/Gallup Poll finds that more than three-quarters of Americans - 76 percent - said they use the Internet, but only 26 percent said they were "very familiar" or "somewhat familiar" with blogs. This is hardly surprising. But don't for a second let it fool you into thinking that blogs aren't important. The fact is blogs have a major influence on the press. Just look at MarketWatch's Frank Barnako, for example, He lives in the blogosphere because he knows there's news in thar hills. So even though most Americans don't read blogs, they do read/watch/listen to the media and THEY are certainly influenced by bloggers. Net, blogs are a force of influence on the American psyche. They just may not realize it.

Blogs are certainly becoming more popular, but these are important statistics to bear in mind when considering a foray into blogging.  I do notice that there are many more articles in many more magazines about blogging, RSS, and RSS aggregators -- it feels like blogging is rapidly moving away from the "early adopter" stage.  On a personal side, I have noticed that the number of subscriptions to my blog in Bloglines increase on a weekly basis and the average number of viewers per day has steadily been increasing.

Laminate floor

My wife and I installed a laminate flooring system in one of our bedrooms this weekend.  We used the laminate flooring from Costco called Harmonix as it was about 1/2 the price of Pergo or other name-brand laminate flooring systems.

First we ripped up all of the carpet, padding, and tack strips.  The key when removing the padding is to make sure that you get all of the staples out of the floor.  I reccommend using bent needle nose pliers and trying to pull up as many staples as possible while the padding is still on the floor; if you rip up the padding before removing most of the staples, you will wind up with little tufts of padding all over the place and it just takes longer.  To remove the tack strips, I reccommend getting a medium length crowbar and a hammer -- be careful not to cut your hand on the top of the strips as they are extremely sharp.

Next we removed all of the baseboards and the trim around the door.  You do not necessarily have to do this, but it will make for a cleaner installation with less complex cuts as the new baseboard will be on top of the flooring.

Before we installed the laminate planks, we had to put down the underlayment.  We had purchased the Harmonix underlayment kit that is also sold at Costco; let me warn you to carefully inspect the box to ensure that it has not been opened -- our had been opened, someone had used a small amount of the underlayment, which made us come up short and caused us to have to purchase another kit.  For the first row of underlayment, per the instructions, we had to run 5/8" of the foam up the wall; the best way to accomplish this without too much aggravation is to put a couple of staples through the fabric into the wall (you can remove them later).

When we put in the first row of laminate planks we tried to use the 3/8" spacers to allow for movement and settling of the floor -- that didn't work.  What we found was that we had to get in a few rows of the planks to get some weight to hold the spacers against the wall.

The planks of laminate simply click together, or at least they are supposed to.  We did not follow the instructions and instead laid the planks out and clicked them in 1 row at a time rather than 1 plank at a time -- I reccommend this method if you have 2 people working.  When putting in a row at a time, it is important to use the tapping block that comes in the underlayment kit to fully seat all of the planks.  A good method to ensure that all planks are seated is: (1) the row will lay flat on the floors, and (2) the seams turn a whitish color.  Additional tapping blocks can be purchased at any home improvement store and it is nice to have 2 blocks when you have 2 people installing.  Note that if you use a hammer instead of a rubber mallet with the tapping blocks to hit very gently or you will damage the edge of the laminate plank.

In order to make the floor look good, every other row must have staggered seams.  Because we did not follow the instructions precisely, we staggered the seams by randomly cutting pieces of plank in half.  The room we were flooring used almost exactly 4 planks across, so this method was the most efficient way to ensure the seams were staggered.

The Harmonix laminate product from Costco offers trim, thresholds, and stair nosing by special order, but we were able to match the laminate color for the 2 thresholds that we needed off the shelf at Home Depot.  We are putting in white baseboards, so we did not need to order matching color baseboards from Harmonix; there were matching baseboards at Home Depot right off the shelf.

We were very impressed with the look of the Harmonix and certainly liked the price as compared to other products.  As with many things at Costco, I certainly reccommend buying more than you need because if you wind up short, you may find that they are out of the particular color that you need.  Furthermore, I do reccommend buying 2 underlayment kits just in case you wind up a little short; you can always return the extra one.

Total cost was about $250 for a 11'x11' room.  Took 2-3 hours to tear all the carpet, baseboards, etc. and about 3 hours to lay in the new flooring (not counting the drive time back to Costco to buy another underlayment kit).

If you have the following tools or access to them, it makes the job go much faster:

  • Chop/mitre saw -- for making straight cuts.  This is by far the fastest way to cut planks with perfectly even lines.
  • Jigsaw -- to cut small pieces, L-shapes, or complex cuts.
  • Circular or table saw -- to rip down full planks.  I used a circular saw with a guide, but a table saw would be much faster and a cleaner cut.
  • Staple gun -- to put a couple of staples into the underlayment.
  • Bent needle-nose pliers -- to pull staples out of carpet underlayment (if applicable).  Note that you can lay the flooring directly over existing linoleum.
  • Rubber mallet or hammer -- to use with the tapping block.  I reccommend a rubber mallet.
  • Tapping block -- usually comes with an underlayment kit, but you want to use one so that you don't mess up the laminate by directly banging on it with a mallet or hammer.
  • Spacers -- usually come with a underlayment kit, but you need them to ensure your laminate is spaced from the wall and has room to expand.
  • Tape measure -- to measure.
  • Pencil -- to mark cuts.
  • Tri-square -- to mark straight cut lines.

A few small notes:

  • For any saws, powered or hand, be sure to use a finish blade rather than a normal blade to prevent chipping.
  • Cut laminate planks on the back side rather than the laminate side to avoid damaging the laminate.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Fully upgrading to Firefox 1.0.1

When I saw this post on TUAW, I was a little confused because I thought I had properly upgraded Firefox on several Windows and OSX machines; turns out I had.  Anyway, the post links through to this post on Asa Dotzler's blog that thankfully provides extremely detailed instructions on fully upgrading Firefox on various operating systems.

By the way, don't be scared of the detail of the instructions on Asa's site; he decided to go ridiculously detailed rather than risk someone not understanding.

Get tunes off your iPod with OSX -- no 3rd party app required

After a title that long, you probably just want the link -- here you go (post from TUAW).

Do you have the balls?

From this post on Jeremy Wagstaff's Loose Wire:

MANKATO, Minn. — The top editor of The Free Press announced she would resign rather than cut newsroom jobs to meet budget targets.

On Tuesday, The Free Press reported the decision by editor Deb Flemming to leave the company on April 9 as part of a broader cost-cutting plan. She informed her staff on Monday.

"Clearly, my leaving kept additional folks in the newsroom,'' she said. "You need people to do the job. Without people, it will impact the quality of the product you give readers.''

Excerpt from this article on the Star Tribune

What if, instead of cutting lower-level, front-line positions, managers in charge of cost-cutting were to evaluate their own salary instead?  It's unfortunate how few stories we hear about managers firing themselves or, more realistically, taking a reduced salary to attempt to meet budget numbers.

In the immortal words of Paris Hilton -- "That's hot."

TiVo + Comcast = ?

I'm not really sure what it equals, but it's happening.  Certainly it opens up a whole new potential subscriber base for TiVo, but if DirecTV basically abandons their TiVo marketing effort in favor of their own DVR solution, TiVo may just be trading lost DirecTiVo customers for new Comcast customers (although Comcast already has their own DVR solution as well).

If you read this blog, you know my general thoughts on TiVo, so enough said.

RIM and NTP settle

Although this is old news, according to this post on Engadget, RIM and NTP have settled their patent suit.  Lots of cell phone manufacturers have held off releasing the Blackberry (RIM) client in the US until there was resolution in this issue, so hopefully we will see a lot of Blackberry clients for a lot of phones that can support them very soon (it should be really soon because many manufacturers have released or even bundled RIM clients with non-US market models of many of the same phones that we have here).

Blog anniversary

Based on my counter, my blog anniversary was yesterday.  In actuality, I started blogging in July of 2003, but I didn't start tracking visitors until March 15, 2004.  Since I started keeping track of the number of visitors 1 year and 1 day ago, I've had somewhere around 50,000 unique visitors to this site (I have no real idea how many read my blog via RSS).

I would like to thank all of you that read or have been subscribed to my blog for any length of time.  Although I am busier now than I have ever been since I started, I find that I feel the need to blog and so pledge to continue to provide as much content as possible.

Thanks again for reading.

Ross Hollman

Buy iTunes Music Store songs DRM free

Apparently iTMS songs that you purchase have DRM added locally after purchase (or something to that effect).  In any event, the infamous hacker Jon Johansen has created a new interface for iTMS that allows you to purchase songs without DRM (yes, you still have to pay for the songs).  The interface is called PyMusique (the site is getting tons of hits and probably can't keep up with the bandwidth demands) and for the few hours that it works while Apple engineers scramble to block it (and Apple lawyers scramble for an injunction), I'm sure it will be pretty popular.

I will note here that in the fine print of the iTMS user agreement there is this statement:

“You will not access the Service by any means other than through software that is provided by Apple for accessing the Service.”

Thursday, March 17, 2005

iPod to iPod transfer

I've always kind of wondered why you couldn't just "clone" the music from one iPod to another iPod; I will wonder no more based on the information in this post on Engadget:

. . . enter PodShanking into the lexicon. Documented in full is the simple yet effective method of direct iPod to iPod transfer. Please note that this is not an actual file transfer, and it does have to be performed in real time, but then again, it’s sort of nice to occasionally be reminded that things actually still happen in real time.

This is not nearly as slick as some sort of firewire transfer method -- how long would it take to transfer 40gb worth of music via this method? -- but it is nice to know that there is some kind of procedure in place that does not require a computer.

Actually, looking harder at the method in the link above, there are some valid concerns about the recordings only being in mono, a limitation probably imposed by Apple when using Podzilla or the Griffin iTalk.  While the name "PodShanking" is pretty cool, the method is not nearly as cool as it seems at first blush -- I'll wait for someone to figure out the firewire version.

Search other computers with Google Desktop Search

This post on Techdirt reports:

"You can search the hard drives of other computers on your network with Google's new desktop search. I followed the instructions on the site and I was able to search through my roommate's computer. Quite a scary bug in one of Google's fastest growing programs."

The post goes on to question whether this is an un-documented feature or a bug.  Certainly the functionality would be pretty cool from a network Administrator standpoint or even from a home network standpoint, but if it's a bug, there are some pretty serious privacy concerns.  You would think that if this was a feature that Google would be touting the ability (and probably would put in a opt-out feature that the user could control).

Anyway, if you use Google Desktop Search, be warned.

Monday, March 14, 2005

New Dyson

I love my Dyson vacuum because it works exactly as advertised.  Although spendy, it seems like it will continue to provide quality vacuuming for years to come.  It may seem strange that I would want another Dyson after saying all that, but Dyson has come up with a radically new concept called "The Ball" (technical designation of DC-15).  The official site for The Ball can be found here, but in short, The Ball offers all of the great features of the current Dyson models, but instead of the standard wheels on an upright vacuum, The Ball is maneuvered with, well, a ball.  Imagine if you could move your vacuum as easily as a tennis ball across a floor and that's the idea behind The Ball.

Chances are, after some of the "newness" wears off this model, that you'll be able to pick it up at Costco with lots of accessories for a fairly reasonable price.  Will I get one?  There's nothing wrong with my current Dyson, but you never know when I might have the impulse walking through Costco.

Pictures below courtesy of this post on Gizmodo:

Are wireless voice prices stabilizing?

It sure seems like it and, in some cases, it seems like voice prices are going up.  Companies seem to be very similarly priced for buckets of minutes and seem to be competing on value-added offerings like data, picture mail, SMS, and subsidized phones.  In this post, Om Malik points out:

A quick analysis of the current offerings shows that the hostilities have diminished if not completely ceased in the mobile market. First the fourth quarter the discounts and competition was not as severe as one though. Secondly, in the first quarter of 2005 we have a couple of mobile carriers actually raising prices, instead of the usual marketing madness. Cingular upped the ante and raised the entry point for its family plans to $69.99 from $59.99. T-Mobile, the biggest discounter of them all has ended its 1000-anytime minutes and unlimited weekend minutes promotion for $45.99. Mind you this very same package was going for $39.99 a year ago. Verizon Wireless has some discounted family plans but that’s about it.

Why is this happening?  Malik also points out:

US wireless penetration is running at 61% and any future growth is going to come from adding more lines to older phones (family plans) or selling pre-paid phones. Secondly, Americans have become comfortable in yakking on their mobile phones all the time (well you can judge that by looking around you during commute hour - everyone is on the phone!) and its reflected in marginally higher ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) and declining churn rates.

If the companies are no longer competing solely on price, then I will tell you what I tell anyone else -- pick your carrier based on coverage.  If you travel internationally, you probably need a GSM carrier, so choose between T-Mobile and Cingular/ATTWS (although Verizon does offer a CDMA/GSM combo phone and Nextel is supposed to be coming out with a iDEN/GSM combo phone sometime soon, the phone offerings from GSM carriers are much cooler right now than the combo phones).  If you rarely travel outside the US and don't need cell service even if you do travel, you might look at Verizon, Sprint, or Nextel.  Value-added features and phone hardware may be important to you, but I do no recommend picking a carrier that will cause you sacrifice coverage to get better phones or data features (unless either of those things is more important than being able to talk on your phone; note that data services will usually not work if you don't have enough signal to make a voice call).

Mark Cuban defines his edge

From this post on Blog Maverick comes Mark Cuban's definition of "the edge"; when success = "the edge," then this is how he defines it:

  • The edge is getting so jazzed about what you do, you just spent 24 hours straight working on a project and you thought it was a couple hours.
  • The edge is knowing that you have to be the smartest guy in the room when you have your meeting and you are going to put in the effort to learn whatever you need to learn to get there.
  • The edge is knowing is knowing that when the 4 girlfriends you have had in the last couple years asked you which was more important, them or your business, you gave the right answer.
  • The edge is knowing that you can fail and learn from it, and just get back up and in the game.
  • The edge is knowing that people think your crazy, and they are right, but you don’t care what they think.
  • The edge is knowing how to blow off steam a couple times a week, just so you can refocus on business
  • The edge is knowing that you are getting to your goals and treating people right along the way because as good as you can be, you are so focused that you need regular people around you to balance you and help you.
  • The edge is being able to call out someone on a business issue because you know you have done your homework.
  • The edge is recognizing when you are wrong, and working harder to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
  • The edge is being able to drill down and identify issues and problems and solve them before anyone knows they are there.
  • The edge is knowing that while everyone else is talking about nonsense like the will to win, and how they know they can be successful, you are preparing yourself to compete so that you will be successful.


Why blogging is good for your career

Cutting Through has a great post that lists 10 reasons why blogging is good for your career.  Here's the list (note that this list originally came from this post by Tim Bray):

    1. You have to get noticed to get promoted.
    2. You have to get noticed to get hired.
    3. It really impresses people when you say “Oh, I’ve written about that, just google for XXX and I’m on the top page” or “Oh, just google my name.”
    4. No matter how great you are, your career depends on communicating. The way to get better at anything, including communication, is by practicing. Blogging is good practice.
    5. Bloggers are better-informed than non-bloggers. Knowing more is a career advantage.
    6. Knowing more also means you’re more likely to hear about interesting jobs coming open.
    7. Networking is good for your career. Blogging is a good way to meet people.
    8. If you’re an engineer, blogging puts you in intimate contact with a worse-is-better 80/20 success story. Understanding this mode of technology adoption can only help you.
    9. If you’re in marketing, you’ll need to understand how its rules are changing as a result of the current whirlwind, which nobody does, but bloggers are at least somewhat less baffled.
    10. It’s a lot harder to fire someone who has a public voice, because it will be noticed.

9 bad business habits

From this post on BBHub comes a link through to this article on Askmen.com entitled "9 Bad Business Habits."  Among the list of bad habits, not surprisingly, is obnoxious use of Blackberries.  Check out the article for more business etiquette tips.

Blogging helps speaking

Beyond Bullets has this post that explains how your public speaking can benefit from blogging in these ways:

  1. Express your personality.
  2. Speak truthfully.
  3. Tell us something we didn't know.
  4. Open up a conversation.

Check out the post for ways that your public speaking can benefit your blogging.

Lots of Gmail tips

If you want to be a Gmail power user, check out this list of tips (found at this post on The Tablet PCs Weblog).

AOL IM terms of service changes

Although there a lots of people covering this, the first post I saw was this one at TUAW (so they get the link love).  From the post, here is the concerning change:

”Although you or the owner of the Content retain ownership of all right, title and interest in Content that you post to any AIM Product, AOL owns all right, title and interest in any compilation, collective work or other derivative work created by AOL using or incorporating this Content. In addition, by posting Content on an AIM Product, you grant AOL, its parent, affiliates, subsidiaries, assigns, agents and licensees the irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide right to reproduce, display, perform, distribute, adapt and promote this Content in any medium. You waive any right to privacy. You waive any right to inspect or approve uses of the Content or to be compensated for any such uses.”

This will surely make me re-evaluate my use of AOL IM.  Although I use Trillian to access the AOL IM system, the language above seems to be a blanket for anyone using the service, AOL software user or not (so, as pointed out by TUAW, probably all of the iChat users as well).  This seriously makes me consider just switching to Skype for all of my IM needs; I certainly have no desire to have AOL own rights to the content that I am putting out over IM.

Additionally from the post:

”The following terms and conditions apply to all users who either registered for AIM services or downloaded AIM updates or software on or after February 5, 2004.”

This part is interesting as I have been using Trillian for years and have only downloaded software from them to update the AOL portion of their software -- I wonder if that counts; it probably does.

Max capacity on your iPod

This post on Hack-A-Day links through to instructions on how to get your iPod to recognize a 3.5" external disk drive.  Although not the best solution for portable audio, there are some really cool implications around a car-based or home-media solution.

Rescue and recovery

According to this post on Engadget, IBM demonstrated:

. . . a Linux-based technology that transforms a wide range of portable devices into powerful “rescue and recovery” devices. An MP3 player, a USB thumb drive, or a cellphone can run the software that enables booting a PC from the device, accessing data from the PC’s unbootable drive, accessing backups located on the device, providing an emergency productivity shell — even rebuilding the PC’s drive.

This is a very cool thing to look forward to, especially for people like me that have a laptop without an internal CD-ROM (although my Toshiba can boot from a SD card, it would be nice to have the thumb drive or iPod option -- I've already lost 2 SD cards).

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Why are bluetooth headsets so ugly?

Have you seen someone wearing one of these?  Holy crap!  All you users of these ugly headsets have gone from dorking out your belts to dorking out your face and head.  I understand that these things have to pack a battery and bluetooth radio into the device, but someone has to be able to design something that looks even remotely like it's supposed to fit on your face.

Bluetooth, in my mind, is very useful for data tethering and some of the speakerphone devices for your car and desk are pretty cool.  Additionally, I think that some of the hardwire or factory-/dealer-installed bluetooth are pretty cool.

I can say that you won't see me wearing a bluetooth headset any time soon.

iPod software decoding

I marked this in Bloglines a while ago to post and am finally getting around to it, but check out this information from this post on Boing Boing:

Some months ago, an enterprising hacker accomplished a key hack in the eventual opening of the iPod: Nils Schneider reverse-engineered the iPod's firmware. This means that hackers now have the means to move data off of and onto the iPod at will, but more interesting is how he accomplished it. He figured out how to get the iPod to convert its firmware to a series of squeaks (essentially, to play it like a piece of music) and then converted the music back into software.

Lots more detail in the original post, but consider the implications.  What if you could defeat the Windows Media Player codec by getting Media Player to convert it to a series of visual colors within a pallet (like 256 level of gray)?  I'm not saying that it would work, but, of course, I am not saying it wouldn't work either.

Star Wars Episode III trailer

If you care about watching the Star Wars Episode III trailer and don't want to have to suffer through the OC tonight to see it, click here.  Resolution's not really the best, but it's not real hard to get the gist of it.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Seth Godin's New Book

All Marketers are Liars is the name of Seth Godin's new book, which is being marketed via this blog.  The book is available for pre-order here on Amazon and will be released May 23, 2005.

As a huge Seth Godin fan, I've already pre-ordered my copy.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Do you know how to tie a tie?

It's been business casual for so long, I know a lot of people that have never learned to tie their own tie.  For those of you that may be a little rusty, check out this resource, complete with pictures.


Someone sent me an e-mail about this -- box.net sells online storage space -- 1gb for $2.99 per month.  I haven't tried the service myself, but I guess it seems somewhat useful.  The best part seems to be the drag-and-drop functionality for getting files into your online storage.


For $15, according to this post on TUAW, you can get accessTunes, which will allow you to share your iTunes library over the web.  Seems to me like this is just creating some sort of server on your machine and might create some kinds of security concerns, but it's a cool idea -- sort of reminds me of the MP3.com service where you could listen to your music everywhere over the web, but not quite as cool.

iPod replacement batteries

I was looking for a replacement battery for my 3G iPod and ran across this place that actually has replacement batteries for 4G clickwheel iPods that apparently has 70% more capacity.  Pretty cool if you're looking for it, but remember that opening your iPod yourself will probably void your warranty.

Working to prevent identity theft

From this post on TUAW:

  1. The next time you order checks have only your initials (instead of first name) and last name put on them. If someone takes your checkbook, they will not know if you sign your checks with just your initials or your first name, but your bank will know how you sign your checks.
  2. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put "PHOTO ID REQUIRED"
  3. When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the "For" line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels won't have access to it.
  4. Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO Box use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO Box, use your work address. Never have your SS# printed on your checks.  (DUH!) You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have it printed, anyone can get it.
  5. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. I also carry a photocopy of my passport when I travel either here or abroad. We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed on us in stealing a name, address, Social Security number, credit cards.

Might as well take as many precautions as you can; see the post for tips about what you can do if you do suspect identity theft.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Cool free iTunes software

Do you have multiple song libraries with iTunes on multiple computers like I do?  Do you hate having to trying and synchronize the libraries by using external hard drives, flash drives, CDs, and other methods?  Luckily for all of you that find yourself in the same situation as me, there is an application called syncOtunes that will synchronize multiple iTunes libraries together.  Available now in both Windows and Mac versions, and the best part is that it's freeware!

The only thing that's not totally clear is whether you can sync together a library on a Windows machine with a library on a Mac machine, but since that's the situation I'm in, I'll be trying it tonight.

Originally found via this post on Engadget.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Tax donation value help

You can find the Goodwill of Tulsa's list of fair market value prices for donation items here.  Bear in mind that the range on the Goodwill list is just suggested, but it's not a bad place to start.

Skype SMS

Just add "smsgateway" to your user list in Skype and SMS away (if you're into that sort of thing) | more at this post on Engadget.

Stream any audio content through your AirPort Express

Only works with the Mac for now, but according to this post on Engadget, Airfoil lets you stream any audio source through to your Airport Express.

Use Gmail as a file server

Great step-by-step instructions here at this post on Engadget (screenshots included).

Use Gmail as a file server

Great step-by-step instructions here at this post on Engadget (screenshots included).