Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Updating the Blackberry Pearl

pearl Continuing on from my post yesterday, I finally gave up trying to upgrade my Pearl on my Mac with Parallels and just installed the desktop software and the update on a Windows machine, which worked perfectly.  I think the problem with using Parallels is the fact that the BlackBerry reboots multiple times during the update process and Parallels doesn't always reacquire it.

The 4.2 update for the Pearl is pretty cool, notably:

  • Updated font settings -- looks more like the Curve

  • Updated graphics generally -- looks and feels more like the newer models

  • Soft power off switch -- this has been missing since the device came out

  • Improved memory handling -- seems to be a lot more free memory, but they may also be due to the fact that I removed all of the non-English language and input support when I updated (I highly suggest doing this if you don't use it)

  • Java exception errors seem to be fixed -- I used to get them occassionally when accessing a contact by typing directly from the home screen

Haven't yet tried it with PocketMac to see if it resolved any of those issues.

Overall I guess I'm pretty happy with the upgrade.

Link -- carrier choice page for BlackBerry upgrades 

Lies of lawyers

lawyer bear

Guy Kawasaki put together a list of the top 16 lies of lawyers -- it's worth reading.  It's especially worth reading if you're a lawyer.

Here's the thing: the opposite of a lawyer is not a non-lawyer, rather it's being an extraordinarily good lawyer.  it's about not lying, it's about not cross-examining your friends and family when you're not at work, it's about not thinking about every conversation in billable increments, it's about doing the opposite of what makes lawyers the butt of jokes, it's about making sure that Guy Kawasaki doesn't have any materials for his list.  This stuff isn't easy; it much easier to simply be stereotypical rather than to be remarkable.  Maybe the place to start is to write a blog (if you can get over the potential liability implications and leave the 3 paragraph disclaimer off the top of it)

Link -- Guy Kawasaki 

Lawyer bear picture by Claire Dancer  

Push vs. Pull

tug of war I vividly remember being asked a question about push marketing vs. pull marketing in a college marketing class and getting the answer wrong; I wasn't paying attention, hadn't studied the material, and was talking to a classmate when I got called on. Unfortunately I don't remember the content of the question, but I didnt' actually agree that I was wrong, the teacher simply told me that I was because the push and pull rules were very clearly defined.

Here's the thing: the traditional world of push vs. pull has been flipped upside down. Seth Godin summarizes it this way:

RSS transforms blogs from pull to push. The web transforms TV from push to pull.

This isn't trivial. It changes everything about the way you market
what you market. I'd spend some time thinking about whether you push or
pull, about whether you can flip that, and about whether your posture
matches your message.

The new paradigm is about opting in. Chances are good that you are reading my blog because you opted into receiving it in your feed reader of choice every day: my content or knowing more or some other reason pulled you to my blog, but the choice you made to subscribe to it know pushes the content to you.

If you find yourself in a marketing class and you're not paying attention, you may wish to remember that what you're being taught about push and pull has very likely fundamentally shifted and the rules aren't so clear cut anymore.

Link -- Seth Godin

Tug of war picture by ~AJ


One of my favorite quotes on the subject:

Everyone has a choice.  It’s just that most people don’t have the guts to make the right one. 


Comes from a book called Flinx in Flux by Alan Dean Foster .

Picture by johnivara  

Building walls

great wallThose of you that have ever been involved with construction know that it is generally easier to demolish something than to build it -- much easier to take a sledgehammer to a wall and knock it down then to level the ground, set the bricks, and add the mortar.

It's interesting, then, that people are so good at building their own walls and aren't so good at tearing them down.  I'm not talking about the wall around your gated community or the fence between you or your neighbor, or the the drywall-covered studs in your house, but rather the emotional walls that all of us build for one reason or another.

We don't start out with walls around us, but things happen in our lives that cause us to carefully and exactingly build up emotional walls.  If you get burned by relationships too many times, for example, you might build a wall that makes it hard for you to let people get close to you.  In business, for example, if you get stabbed in the back enough times, you'll build a wall that acts to prevent people you work with from getting close enough to stab you in the back in the future.

Why is it so hard for us to tear down our emotional walls?  Because it takes us a long time to build them.  Because it's safe and comfortable and easier behind our walls.  Because it's easier to leave our walls up and avoid hard decisions by simply hiding behind our walls.

Please don't misunderstand: I think that some walls are important; they do protect us from things that might otherwise negatively impact us in ways that we might not be able to possibly conceive.  What I worry about, however, is that some people hiding behind walls that are so hard to tear down are missing out on amazing things.

So here's my advice: find your walls, admit that they exist, and figure out how you would tear them down (or at least put a door into it; lock and key is fine) for the right person. 

Great Wall picture from Steve Webel  

Why do you care so much?

tetons Ever had to answer that question?  I have.  There's not a perfect answer, but here's where I net out:

Caring is an easy way to measure the amount of passion that someone feels for something.  For example, the guy at the fast food restaurant that slops stuff together and delivers it to you cold and without a smile -- he doesn't have much passion for his job.  Compare that to the guy at the suit department at Nordstrom that follows up with a phone call and personal letter after every single purchase, and that calls to check in occasionally when he sees something you might like -- tons of passion for his job.

It's easy not to be passionate about things; being passionate takes work and commitment -- caring takes work and commitment.  I find that it's very easy to by passionate (and to care about) things that you love, which is why I always encourage anyone that cares to ask to do things that they love, to spend time with people that they love.

What does passion (and, for that matter, caring) really net out to be?  Emotional commitment.  Here's one of my favorite quotes from Tom Peters regarding emotional commitment: "People can smell emotional commitment (and absence thereof) from a mile away." (note that this is as important in your business life as it is in your personal life).

Emotional commitment = passion = caring


Ansel Adams picture from  

Tuesday, September 25, 2007



Ok, I think everyone's beaten AmazonMP3 to death -- some songs are $0.10 cheaper than iTunes, all tracks are DRM-free, the interface sucks compared to iTunes, etc.  Here's something that you can do for amusement, however: log into your Amazon account, go to , and click the "recommendations" link.  I'm not sure what sort of algorithm is determining choices, but given the fact that I've only really purchased consumer goods and lots of books, I guess I can't say that I'm totally surprised that they have no recommendations for me.

Did anyone else get any recommendations without purchasing anything?  I'm not sure I've ever purchased a CD from Amazon, so they wouldn't really have any data on previous music purchasing habits, but given the fact that the send me e-mails recommending strange crap all the time based on previous (mostly unrelated) purchases, I'm surprised they couldn't come up with anything for me.

Link -- AmazonMP3 

Upgrading your Blackberry with OSX: painful


In fact there doesn't seem to be a way to upgrade your Blackberry Operating System software with OSX unless you are running virtualization or BootCamp and can actually install the Blackberry Windows client.

If I'm wrong about this and there is a way to do this with OSX without using virtualization or BootCamp, someone please let me know.

Have trouble summarizing? Try haiku.

There are people that have trouble summarizing things: business plans, arguments, feelings, etc. -- I suggest that they try haiku. Haiku requires that you follow a strict structure that consists of the following:

5 syllables

7 syllables

5 syllables

Don't misunderstand my intention: I'm not trying to make you sound like Confucious by strictly adhering to the rules, rather it is the process of distillation that can make for strong summaries (putting a haiku at the top of an executive summary might not earn you too many points, while sending someone you love a haiku might earn you big points).

Often summaries

Are hardest to create

Without discipline

I like to use whiteboards to write down haikus as they can be easily erased, changed, and modified.

Wikipedia -- Haiku 

Thursday, September 13, 2007

What do you do if all your company e-mail is classified as spam?

spamEverything I get from eBay, the phising scams and the authentic e-mails all go into the spam folder in Gmail, so, as a consequence, I delete all of them.  It's interesting to hear companies talk about the number of qualified e-mail addresses they have from their users, but are those companies actually able to communicate with those users?

The number of users that you have e-mail addresses for means nothing if you can't communicate with them, even if they've opted in to let you communicate with them. 

Thanks to Grumbler %-| for the spam picture.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

"Oh, shit!" handles

Does it ever concern you to drive a car that has an "Oh, shit!" handle on the driver's side?  Personally, if I'm driving and in a situation where I might even consider using the handle, I definitely would need both hands on the wheel; similarly, if I'm riding as a passenger in such a situation, I want the driver's hands at 10 and 2.

hand at 10 and 2

Thanks to DefMo for the picture. 

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Windows XP Embedded on-screen keyboard


We've got some WebDT terminals that run Windows XP Embedded and one of the frustrations is the need to keep a keyboard plugged in to interact with some functions in our software.  It's especially frustrating because I see a soft keyboard come up during login, but there is no easy way to invoke the keyboard from the screen.

I did some digging an discovered that there is an Onscreen Keyboard application built into Windows XP, that can be accessed via the Run menu by typing "osk".  I simply created a shortcut on the desktop of the WebDT terminal, pointed it to "osk," and created the shortcut.  Simply tap the shortcut twice on the touchscreen, and the Onscreen Keyboard appears, allowing me to remove the wired keyboards from the terminals.  It does take a little practice to manipulate the keys, but I was flying after the third entry.

Link -- WebDT 500 series 

Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor Day

So Labor Day was initially created to celebrate trade and labor unions . . . what's it become now?  It almost seems like it's now the official end to summer; a time to barbecue, take a day off, etc.

I was going to go to my list of quotes and pull out something inspiring that someone else wrote and tie it back to Labor Day -- I actually went through all of my quotes and earmarked some that seem more than appropriate, and then I stopped.  If we're celebrating working (because it's unlikely that we're still celebrating labor unions), then I have just this to say:

Labor doing what you love.

Sometimes what you love doesn't pay what you think it's worth right off the bat.  Sometimes doing what you love is the opposite of what everyone thinks you should do.  Ultimately people that do what they love get the right kinds of rewards, they love waking up every morning and going to work (read "laboring"), which, in my limited experience, is worth much more than making a bunch of money and doing what you hate.

So, yes, I'm laboring today, but it's because I'm doing what I love to do.