Doing More With Less Since 1972

Category: Thinking (Page 11 of 12)

10 Things From 10 Years Ago I’ll Never Get Back

Are we any better off now than we were 10 years ago? Ok, just had to ask that because it seems like the thing to do. I know that for a lot of people the answer is a definite “no”. As for me, I’m infinitely better off than I was then. The last decade has been one of tremendous technological advancement, but there’s plenty to lament. Here’s my list of 10 things I had 10 years ago that I’ll probably never have access to again.

  1. The ability to remember phone numbers. I still remember both of my grandmothers’ phone numbers from when I was a kid, but thanks to these fancy schmancy mobile devices, I can only remember a handful now. And if I met you in the last 10 years, you’re lucky if I can even guess your area code.
  2. Mix tapes. Yeah, we could burn CDs for some of the 90s, but what the hell were you supposed to listen to in the car? Because chances are you were driving a car made in the early 90s at the latest, and it didn’t have a CD player in it.
  3. My knees. This one is obvious. There’s nothing worse than tackling a young guy, hearing the breath leave his lungs as his back slams into the pitch, then watching from the ground as he trots away on his springy legs. The only thing that keeps me going is the fact that he’s going to get old too and probably won’t fare as well as I have.
  4. Bill Clinton as President. As much as it pains me to type it, I’d prefer any Clinton (Bill, Hillary, Chelsey, George, any of them) to what we have now. Sure, it’s not the optimal situation, but beggars can’t be choosers.
  5. My Thursday afternoon job bottling beer. One of the best jobs I ever had was helping the guys at New Knoxville Brewing Company bottle beer on Thursdays. There was no money involved, but I was promised I’d achieve total inebriation on my death bed. So I got that going for me, which is good. Fortunately, that’s yet to come to fruition, but we were allowed to carry out a couple of cases of “shorties” (bottles that weren’t completely filled and weren’t worth a label) every day. Good times.
  6. Waylon Mothergrabbin’ Jennings
  7. Tables. Back in the 90s, you could load a website down with embedded table after embedded table, then fill those tables with sliced images that the browser magically placed back together and no one thought a thing about it. Put just one table into a site now and you are getting beat with a USB cable.
  8. When a girl could still cook, and still would. I had to throw that in there for Merle Haggard, but actually, this one happens to be the opposite for me. I don’t think I knew a girl in the 90s who could really cook. Not so now. I’m very well fed, and I look the part. But my girl couldn’t cook back in the 90s–this is a newly acquired skill. So if I could go back to the 90s version of her (the one that was over 18), I’d probably be much thinner. That’s logical, right?
  9. New episodes of Seinfeld. I have some of the seasons on DVD. It’s not the same. Scott is gettin’ angry.
  10. Free international travel. During the 90s I got to go to Europe and Asia to work on projects for weeks, which meant weekends on vacation in Europe and Asia. Even better–the companies I was working for footed the bill and provided per diems for expenses. Damn you Webex and remote login. Damn you straight to hell. Just kidding…except for the travel thing, Webex and remote login have made my life better in more ways than I can count.

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I Got Your Augmented Reality

Augmented reality sounds like a really cool thing. And I guess it is. Or am I just obligated to say that?

Being truthful, when I watch videos like this one, there’s a part of me that would gladly pay $20 for a whole seat, even though I’ll only need the edge, to watch monster trucks (real ones, that waste tremendous amounts of fossil fuels) roll over neatly stacked bricks of smart phones.

Disclaimer: I’m astronomically ignorant, so I really like to use the Google Sky app to find constellations and to see what the sky looks like on the other side of the earth by pointing it at my feet.

How The Music App Should Work On Android Devices

htc-heroAt least this is where I hope we’re headed. The coming announcement of a partnership with Google, iLike, MySpace, and LaLa gives me hope this could be happening sooner rather than later. Currently, nothing really syncs up to move music from a computer to the Android phones for music the way iTunes syncs up with the iPhone. But maybe it’s that paradigm that’s wrong to begin with. What if it worked like this…

  • Use the LaLa app to examine my library and allow me to build that library in the cloud. No need to upload any music to the cloud unless it doesn’t already exist there. We’re there already, but…
  • Integrate LaLa into the Android Music app so that I can stream my music from the cloud to my device. Sort of like what you do with Pandora, but it’s YOUR music and YOUR exact playlists.
  • But make it social–show me what kind of playlists other people are making from songs in my library. Throw in a song or two every now and then (if I so choose) as suggestions.
  • In fact, let me check out playlists other people have created with x% of my songs that suggests other songs I might like. And if I buy some music from someone else’s playlist, how about kicking some change into the account of the person who created the playlist as a commission to encourage them to buy some new music too?

I’m sure there’s even more that could be done that I haven’t even considered, but manually moving files over to an Android device seems very 2001. And if you’re like me and have hundreds of gigabytes of music, there’s no way to get it all over there anyway. I want it to always be available. All of it.

The Gov’ment Should Do Something (Part CMXXII)

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Healthcare: Time to Start Over

After all, isnt it better to get it done right than to just get it done?

If I thought it would do any good, I’d link to this article and suggest you read it. I’m worried we are collectively going on several faulty assumptions:

  1. Getting health insurance for people is the primary objective
  2. It’s the role of government to achieve this
  3. It must be done immediately. When I say “immediately” I mean “before the next election.”

I’m On a Mission And I’m Wishin’…

I’m wishin’ someone could explain this to me. It’s been bugging me for about 20 years now. Watch, then read…

If your best friend Harry has a brother Larry who is going to marry, isn’t it weird that Larry would ask you to be the best man at the wedding? Doesn’t it seem like he’d be more likely to ask Harry? I guess it’s plausible that you could be Larry’s best friend and Larry not be your best friend. But it seems like this is a best friend triangle you’d rather just not be a part of, especially considering that Larry and Harry are brothers.

I guess it’s possible that Harry is the one getting married and Young MC just mentioned off the cuff that Harry has a brother Larry…dunno.

Like I said, that’s been bugging me for 20 years. This, on the other hand, has been bugging me for 2 solid days:

Yammer Outlook Plugin – Don’t Tease

I meant to write this post a couple of days ago, but lost track of time when I got distracted trying to find a way to visit links posted in Yammer through their new Outlook plugin. </sarcasm>

Right off the bat, let me say I’m pretty fond of Yammer so far. It’s a very convenient communication tool for work, and the more people use it the more powerful it becomes. So I was pretty excited when they announced a plugin for Outlook (which I’m not a huge fan of). My initial thinking was that the plugin would remind people who were about to send an email that they could just as easily send out a Yam, increasing the use of Yammer and making it more powerful in our organizataion.

The problem is we use Yammer for sharing links a lot at work, both internally and externally. With the Outlook plugin, you can’t click (or even copy) links. MAJOR FAIL!

Hopefully they’ll get this issue resolved in the next release. It seems like a pretty important feature to me.

The Same, But Different

So the big move is (halfway) over, but I’m still not feeling like we actually live here yet. However, I’ve noticed several things that are the same and many that are different:

Same

  • Rain during rugby practice means only 7 people show up.
  • The club is trying to find a lighted field for practice

Different

  • No hills
  • No RSS feed for the local paper
  • Not many people on Twitter
  • Haven’t heard anyone mention firing the coach of the local college football team yet.
  • Property taxes are higher.
  • Sales tax is lower.
  • There is a beach.
  • No red light cameras

On The SEC Giving Fans The Heisman

Not the Security and Exchange Commission–I’ll straighten them out next week. I’m talking about the Southeastern Conference.

Now, these are just the simple-minded observations from someone with absolutely no formal training in marketing:

  • If someone is excited about your product and wants to talk about it, you should be happy.
  • If someone is excited about your product and wants to talk about it, you should encourage them.
  • No matter who you are, you have bigger PR problems than someone who is excited about your product telling the world about it.

Michael Silence has been diligent in covering their decision to threaten bloggers, Tweeple, people with phones, and YouTubers, and you can get a ton of information on this from him and others.

Perspective on Celebrity Deaths

I saw this comment to a comment on Facebook and thought it was pretty powerful…

So far this month, 10 members of our military have lost their live in Iraq, and 22 have lost their lives in Afganistan.

These were mostly young people in their 20s and 30s who put themselves in harm’s way to perform a job most of us don’t have the courage to perform. The fact that they were willing to do so affords us the opportunity to watch 24 hour “news” coverage on the deaths of entertainers who are at least 50 years old.

Yeah, 50 is young too. And it’s shocking. But let’s keep this in perspective.

I’m not saying I’m any less guilty than anyone else is of getting distracted by day-to-day life–I don’t mean to cast any stones. But it is shame when so much emphasis is placed on the death of a few celebrities while we all but ignore the sacrifice of people who, at the very least, deserve to be recognized on television/radio/print by news organizations.

I have to give props to George Stephanopoulos. He recognizes all of our fallen service people every week on his show.

How To Draw Flies Like A Pro

I remember watching an episode of Cheers a long time ago, and one of the characters made the remark that, “you can get more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.”

Woody responded, “Yeah, but a dead squirrel gets the most.”

I think there’s actually some wisdom in that statement. A dead squirrel is much more useful to a fly than honey is. Honey just feeds the fly, but the dead squirrel provides it a place to lay eggs and reproduce–to allow its genes to continue. And you get used to the smell after a while I’m sure.

I think what I’m getting at here is that you don’t always have to be sweet, as long as you are useful. Or something like that.

Someone who’s articulate should take that idea, expand on it, and write a book.

I Feel Bad For You Son

A posted this a while back in a longer post over at that other place. Looking back, I think this graph which illustrates Jay Z’s problems is my favorite part of the whole post, and I can’t even take credit for it.

As you can see, “fools” and “foes” seem to be the two major stress points. We’d be wise to take note and do our best to avoid both whenever possible. The bonus is that doing so would leave us more time to deal with paparazzi, riffraff, and critics.

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Time Alone In The Car

Just a few of the brilliant thoughts I had yesterday on my roundtrip journey to the ATL yesterday…

  • If HHH didn’t repeat himself so much, that 3 hour show would only last about 15 minutes.
  • Where did all these people in Atlanta come from?
  • Are they actually going anywhere, or are they just trying to impede me?
  • I’ve never seen so many deer eating on the side of the interstate. Do we need more either sex hunting opportunities to cull them?
  • Why am I not seeing many dead deer? With this many live ones it seems like a lot more of them would get hit.
  • How is it that I always end up stopping at this same gas station coming and going every time I come down here?
  • When you get right down to it, Hank Williams really is still the most wanted outlaw in the land.
  • Carlos Santana–I give him several chances, but he just doesn’t do it for me.
  • What happened to that Seventh Day Adventist billboard? You know the one. It always used to catch my attention.
  • Did we ever learn who it was that let the dogs out?

Blogging, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and More!

From  No Silence Here.

Blogging is often cited in the obits of newspapers. Twittering is often cited in the obits of blogs. And now I’m hearing Facebook and MySpace cited as the killers of Twitter. Some soon-to-be freshmen in high school told me last week they’re not on blogs or Twitter. They’re strictly Facebook or MySpace.

And just wait for Wave to ramp up. I think it may eventually kill email, along with marginalizing all of these other communication tools. Ok, “kill” may be a strong word, but the future of communication definitely lies in a One-Stop-Shop, real time type of communication instead of these various distributed and semi-connected tools we’re using now.

In the future, every communication tool will be useful for 15 minutes.

Meeting Efficiency As Contact Sport

I’ve linked to this Seth Godin post about meeting efficiently before, but it was probably on Twitter. Here’s more than 140 characters worth…

I’ve noticed a typical script most meetings follow:

  • Lots of time spent waiting on people to arrive
  • Meeting then starts with people absent anyway
  • Issues are identified and discussed relatively quickly by the folks who were on time
  • Someone shows up late, and they inevitably want to rehash the issues that have been identified and discussed while they weren’t there.
  • Issues beyond the scope of the meeting are raised, usually by one of the people who was late.
  • At least one person feels the need to continue the meeting for the entirety of its scheduled time with “filler” material.

It all pays the same to me–just some things I’ve noticed over the last 15 years or so. What is strange is that this seems to be a relatively predictable situation, yet there haven’t been many attempts to correct it or make it more efficient.

Maybe if a fist fight or sumo wrestling match were scheduled to begin on time at the beginning and end of every meeting people would be anxious to get their on time and get the meeting over with as soon as possible?

I don’t know what the answer is, I’m just throwing ideas out there.

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