Thursday, June 30, 2011

What Are We Listening To? (The New Stuff)

We've added 480 tracks in last 12 months. JJ Heller and Glee place high courtesy of my wife, Lady GaGa and that great Elvis track (if there was a whole album like this, I'd buy it in a heartbeat, but it's from a stage production and every piece is imagined differently) are from me. Baby Monkey is from Rachel and I just because it's goofy, but we have to pick our times because Lori's no fan. Beckah Shae's "Life" is a really great upbeat song in my running list and Ashley Cleveland's version of "Christ the Lord is Risen Today" mixes a bagpipes opening with a really modern rendition that I can (and have) listened to over and over and over again.

1. Hey, Soul Sister - Train

2. Baby Monkey (Going Backwards on a Pig) - Perry Gripp

3. I Will Follow - Chris Tomlin

4. Bad Romance - Lady Gaga [13]

5. Hey, Soul Sister - Glee Cast

6. Baby - Glee Cast

7. Life - Beckah Shae

8. Sing - Glee Cast

9. Be Unto Your Name - Travis Cottrell

10. One Love (People Get Ready) - Glee Cast

11. Blue Suede Shoes (Viva Elvis) - Evlis Presley

12. 4 Minutes - Glee Cast

13. Kingdom Come - JJ Heller

14. Love Can Make You New - JJ Heller

15. Marry You - Glee Cast

16. What Love Really Means - JJ Heller

17. Control - JJ Heller

18. Telephone - Lady Gaga (feat. Beyoncé)

19. Christ the Lord is Risen Today - Ashley Cleveland

20. Forget You - Glee Cast (feat. Gwyneth Paltrow)

21. 21 Guns - Green Day

22. Olivianna - JJ Heller

23. Until You Came Along - JJ Heller

24. Today Is The Day - Lincoln Brewster

25. Break Your Heart - Taio Cruz & Ludacris

Previously on tvjames x blog:
* December 2009: What Are We Listening To? (2009 Edition)
* July 2010: General, My List, New Stuff, Christian, Christmas
* January 2011: General, New Stuff, Christian, Christmas

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What Are We Listening To?

It's been nearly 6 months and I thought I'd check in on what our music looks like these days. Amazingly, some items not on the list last time have vaulted to the top. *NSYNC gets there because for a period of time, Ben was demanding it very regularly and wanted to hear repeatedly. Train comes in high as well, a morning favorite to help get Rachel up and out of bed on school days. Many of the songs, though, still enjoy their placement only because they've been in our catalog for a long time. [Represents where these songs fell when we last checked the charts.]

1. Bye Bye Bye - *NSYNC (new to list)

2. Trashin' the Camp - Phil Collins (Tarzan) [2]

3. Hey, Soul Sister - Train (new to list)

4. Who Says You Can't Go Home - Bon Jovi (feat. Jennifer Nettles) [1]

5. My Savior My God - Aaron Shust [3]

6. I Want to Hold Your Hand - The Beatles [4]

7. Jingle Bells - Barenaked Ladies [5]

8. Ancient Words - Michael W. Smith [6]

9. Keep the Candle Burning - Point of Grace [10]

10. I Won't Back Down - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers [12]

11. The Cheap Seats - Alabama [11]

12. You Might Think - The Cars [14]

13. Strangers Like Me - Phil Collins (Tarzan) [9]

14. Heaven - Live [16]

15. Girl You Know It's True - Milli Vanilli [7]

16. Trashin' the Camp - Phil Collins (feat. *NSYNC) (Tarzan) [20]

17. You Give Love a Bad Name - Bon Jovi [18]

18. I Can't Be Your Friend - DHT (feat. Edmée) [15]

19. You Are Holy (Prince of Peace) - Michael W. Smith [19]

20. Deliver Us - Ofra Haza (feat. Eden Riegel) (Prince of Egypt) [17]

21. In Christ Alone - Adrienne Liesching (feat. Geoff Moore) [13]

22. If I Had $1,000,000 - Barenaked Ladies [new to list]

23. Can't Stop This Thing We've Started - Bryan Adams [8]

24. Lean on Me - Club Nouveau [new to list]

25. Free Your Mind - En Vogue [21]

Previously on tvjames x blog:
December 2009: What Are We Listening To? (2009 Edition)
July 2010:
General, My List, New Stuff, Christian, Christmas
January 2011: General, New Stuff, Christian, Christmas

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Partial Review -- Imperfect Birds

Imperfect BirdsImperfect Birds
Anne Lamott

This book is 278 pages and I gave up on page 90. The book very nicely illustrates some characters I could care less about. (Or whom scare me with names too similar to those of my own family.)

Imperfect Birds, from as far as I read, is the story of a girl in her senior year of high school, her friends, her mom and step-dad, and their friends. The girl does drugs and sleeps around and has body issues and makes dumb choices and lies to her parents. Every time there's a siren, her mom imagines all the ways her daughter could be dead. The two reviewers quoted on the jacket talk about it being "heartbreaking" so all these visions the mom has feels like the world's longest setup to something actually happening to their daughter. But nothing does.

I liked one review on Amazon that said "just a trudging advance across flat terrain."

This must have been one recommended by Entertainment Weekly.

At the time I posted this review (it'll take a little time before it publishes to the blog), here's what my book list looked like:

Currently Reading
  • Brain Tricks
  • Breakfast with Jesus
Up Next
  • Last Night in Twisted River
Just Finished
  • Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Future without Losing Its Soul
  • Poke the Box
  • Everything Explained through Flowcharts

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Sift 166-170

The Sift 166: Google

  • Define, translate and search for words in Google eBooks
  • Changes and improvements to AIM interoperability
  • Google Quietly Protests Internet Censorship in India
  • Google is blocking Android Market movie rentals on rooted devices because of copy protection


The Sift 167: Microsoft and Kinect

  • Hacked Kinect duo teams up with HD projector to make 360 Snowglobe display (not a straight Kinect hack, they're doing other cool stuff with 3D projection)
  • Windows 8 Preview: 23 Potential Features You Should Know About
  • Microsoft’s Web-Based Marketplace to Send Apps to Windows Phones
  • Steve Ballmer's Worst Nightmare
  • All the Amazing New Features in Windows Phone Mango


The Sift 168: Music

  • What Would the Music Industry Look Like if Napster Never Existed? [CHART] - Proof that the RIAA *still* doesn't get it.
  • Real-Time Spectrum Visualization of a Mashup Music Song - fascinating, mesmirizing
  • YouTube Launches Top 100 Chart for Music
  • Anesidora Is the Unofficial Pandora Player for Chrome
  • People of Wal*Mart (Both scary and great music)


The Sift 169: Social Media

  • In Trying to Plant Google Privacy Story, Did Facebook Have a Point?
  • For Students, What is the "Facebook Effect" on Grades
  • T-Mobile's Bobsled voice service returns to Facebook
  • Celebrities on Twitter: 30 Famous First Tweets
  • Introducing the Follow Button


The Sift 170: Transit, Travel, Traffic and Development

  • Keystone Parkway Is the Greenest Highway Intersection in the US - unique design saves many properties from ROW destruction
  • The Differences between the Real London Underground and its Map
  • Proximity
  • TomTom user data sold to Dutch police, used to determine ideal locations for speed traps
  • How to Lie, Cheat, and Steal Your Way to a Perfect Flight


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Giant (not Gentle) Shepherd

Click over to YouVersion for the version with the Bible verses.

Giant (not Gentle) Shepherd (John 10)
Message #15 of "John: A Story to Believe" by Pastor Jeff MacLurg; Our Savior's Baptist Church, Federal Way, Wash.; Sunday, June 19, 2011 (Notes are mine from the 9 and 19:45 am services, I pray that they will be helpful to you)

--- Faux Shepherds (v. 1-6) ---

Shepherds of religion, instead of truth, don't have the best interests in mind - more about performing for their God instead of receiving the gift of grace their God wants to give them.  If only we knew the Good Shepherd, we'd be able to follow him more profoundly.

The well-being of the sheep is not FOREMOST TO THEM.

So... yeah... not living in first-century Israel, how do we relate?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Fast Company - June 2011

Fast Company June 2011 knew how to catch your attention. Its cover alone was three times the normal length - and all Conan. This issue was mostly about their 100 most creative people in business, but here was a couple of other great articles that I bookmarked.

Meet the App Man at AT&T - app stores aren't just the domain of the phone makers.

Trading Spaces - crowd-sourcing, people commerce

Friday, June 24, 2011

Keep On Truckin'

My 100 miles in 100 days is coming along well.  I'm a bit ahead of schedule.  This is good as we still don't seem to be free of the rain.  I haven't had to miss a day yet because of rain, but it could happen.  Or today, I have an all-day meeting that goes through lunch, so no run at lunch and something tonight, so not sure if I'll be able to run tonight.  I'm having trouble losing the weight I'm trying to lose this time around, but I was wearing a pair of jeans last night and they were ridiculously loose so I asked Lori what size they were since I couldn't see the tag on the back.  I figured they had to be 36's, but they were 34's.  Perhaps I will see my long lost friend, the 32 inch waist again.  Wow.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Parents Magazine - June 2011

cross-posting on dad2be

I've always intended to read Parents magazine when it arrives (we've subscribed for years), but it usually just ends up on my wife's nightstand and I never get to it. But this time, I left it in my car until I had time to read it. It is obviously aimed at women, from the articles to the advertising.

I don't think they'd show as many ads with women wearing almost nothing if they thought men were reading the magazine. I think more men would read the magazine if they knew how much skin was shown.

The magazine also has a really annoying habit of starting articles on the left side of a page with an ad on the right. I think the whole design of the magazine is to make it as difficult as possible to determine what's an ad and what's content. On one hand, shame on you. On the other, well-played.

I read it rather quickly in one afternoon and here's the stuff that stood out to me.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Sift 161-165

The Sift 161: Art, Architecture, Design, Fashion and Style

  • ResilienCity: A Vision for Boston’s Innovation District Built on Brownfield Sites - self-paced presentation available
  • Paint + Sound = Sculpture? [Wild Photos & Videos Included]
  • See How Celebrity Hairstyles Look on You With InStyle iPad App
  • Top 10 Photography Hacks
  • Classic Victorian Facade Hides Gaping Parking Garage in San Francisco


The Sift 162: Email

  • Gmail's New Ad System
  • Xerox's Business of Your Brain liberates your inbox from annoying coworkers
  • Make Sure Your Email Gets Read with Good Email Etiquette
  • The Past, Present & Future of Email
  • 10 More Experimental Features You Should Enable from the Gmail Laboratory


The Sift 163: Entertainment and Technology

  • Charlie Ergen's War
  • MTV Networks CEO Steps Down, Will Not Be Replaced
  • Not Every Theater Owner Fears Competing With Your Home Theater System - why theater owners who admit to being scared by $30 VOD should just close down their theaters
  • Microsoft Research-backed e-reader prototype can't keep its text to itself
  • ZeroTouch 'optical multi-touch force field' makes a touchscreen out of just about anything


The Sift 164: Finances, Banking, Business and Acquisition

  • Where Did Your Tax Dollars Go?
  • RIM Acquires Tungle To Bolster BlackBerry’s Social Calendar
  • Senators Want Cyberattacks To Be Disclosed
  • The World Bank Shows Where $168 Billion Goes With Interactive Map
  • Isis mobile payment system to work with Visa and MasterCard, shelving plans for its own network


The Sift 165: Food, Health, Exercise and Medicine

  • Another Reason Why You Should Schedule Medical Appointments Early in the Day
  • How Many Calories Would You Burn If You Switched to a Standing Desk?
  • Students Develop Revolutionary Device That Uses the Sun to Sterilize Medical Instruments
  • Training Diet
  • How Many Fruits and Vegetables Should I Eat: A Visual Guide


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Review -- Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul

Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul
Howard Schultz with Joanne Gordon

Starbucks holds a special place in my life. Although my love of all things Seattle (and therefore my admiration of all companies Seattle) is natural considering that's where I was born, it was not until I moved to Los Angeles that I really became enamored with the Seattle coffee icon. Coffee was not something I regularly drank until my senior year of college, and then it was the mass quantity brewed in the cafeteria, and only at those times when papers were due and I was frantically starting to write them. After college, my move to Los Angeles and that's where Starbucks became a part of my life and a ritual for me. In the early years, it was Saturday afternoons in Encino where I would sit at the fountain and read. Later, it was Monday nights in Monrovia where I'd meet with 2-3 guys from church (that cafe always had great notes from teachers and drawings from children on the wall). And Friday mornings in Pasadena where the line was always out the door and the baristas greeted us outside and took our orders, handing handwritten notes to a second barista who would run the orders back inside. And then after we came back up here when a new store opened and I would work there for four hours every Thursday morning to try to get a different perspective on my work (until sadly new management at work put an all-hands meeting on Thursday mornings).

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Little Homework

In early December, we heard of a flash mob planned for that weekend.  My daughter and I were already planning a daddy-daughter for that day so that was a no-brainer.  We had planned to go Christmas shopping so she could find a gift from her and her brother to their mother and so she could find a gift for her brother.

It's funny because

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mudpies and Miracles

Click over to YouVersion for all the Bible verses

Mudpies and Miracles (John 9)

Message #14 of "John: A Story to Believe" by Pastor Jeff MacLurg, Our Savior's Baptist Church, Federal Way, Wash.; Sunday, June 12, 2011 (Notes are my own from the 9 and 10:45 am services. I pray they are helpful to you.)

--- A Question and a Cure (v. 1-12) ---

A. The Question: "Who sinned...?"

In that day, there was only two choices - if anything bad happened, it was because of sin - either that person or his ancestors.

But the Bible actually offers us four reasons why we might suffer.

1. SIN - if you choose a life of sin, you live in the pain of that sin. (You rob a bank, you get shot, you're to blame.)

2. SATAN - the enemy of Jesus, the enemy of everyone Jesus loves (which is you and me and *EVERYONE*). Satan will do everything he can to cause you pain, to show you his hatred, to try to get you to turn away from God. He's good at making you look elsewhere for a cause or person to blame.

3. SANCTIFICATION (Romans 8:28-29) - God allows things in our lives to mold, shape, break us - some of the pain we're going through is to separate out the good in our lives from the bad, or cause us to grow. (Heating a metal to separate out the impurities. Or pressure to create diamonds. Or to force the fluid in a butterfly's body.)

4. TO SHOW - to remind us that God is in control, to remind us that we need to remain dependent on God -- to show the world His glory -- to show us our weakness without God. Example of Job - Satan wanted to hurt Job. God allowed the pain in Job's life to show God's glory.

Is that "fair"?
This guy went through so much of his life just so that Jesus could show up and show His power. Can we say that God made him blind just so that He could later "fix" him? Like a firefighter who starts fires? That's not what's happening here. He didn't cause this man's blindness, but He allowed it.

* Sometimes Jesus steps back from "HOLDING TOGETHER" (Colossians 1:17)
I did not get a good "why" here. Even with the next point. Why is our son autistic? I don't know. (Even if we're only seeing part of God's plan, it's hard to think that Jesus "withheld His hand" from our son. It would be much easier to hear that our son was created differently for a purpose versus the idea that the way he is is the result of God stepping aside. That doesn't seem fair, doesn't seem right, doesn't seem entirely comforting. Of course, this is our limited understanding thinking "What did this baby ever do to deserve it?" This is a hard sermon to listen to and think about. I guess I want to understand even though that's not guaranteed (see next point).

* We only see part of GOD'S PLAN. (Exodus 4:11)
Reminder that God will take care of us. He's more interested in us accepting God's sovereignty than understanding His sovereignty. If through my suffering and they see my response and confidence in God, will they want to know more about the source of my confidence and come to know God themselves? Pastor says if this is true, then Christians will say "Bring it on." This is tough - I guess we can admit we don't know what will come of our child being autistic, but we can love him and have hope that God will use him in some special way in his life.

B. The Cure: How it happened

This wasn't a snap of the fingers, a bop on the head, it wasn't just a single uttered prayer. This was a process. Sometimes Jesus did just immediately cause things to happen, but sometimes, like this, there was time and effort required.

It took incredible HUMILITY.
The object of all us scrutiny, not as a person, but because of his disability because people wanted to make Jesus look bad, not because they had compassion.

* to acknowledge "I NEED HELP!"

That congressman - denied for days because he was embarrassed and hoped he could cover it up. Pride. Hard to acknowledge when we need help.

This beggar would have heard someone spit. He'd probably been spit at before as he begged. And then all of the sudden someone is touching his face, his eyes.

And then the realization that it was mud and that the mud was made with spit. And now he's been instructed to go to the pool which wasn't right around the corner. He must now navigate the town with this mud now dripping down his face and onto his clothes, probably with people laughing at the poor blind guy who someone has been mean to. Jesus never actually promises the man that he'll be able to see.

* to be seen "IN PROCESS"

It is difficult that we still wrestle with the sin, with the mud, long after we thought we'd been healed. We don't work on anger by no longer finding ourselves in situations where we get angry and have to deal with how we might respond. We don't deal with temptation by no longer finding ourselves in situations where we can be tempted.


It takes deep humility not to have and know all the answers. "I don't know." is a phrase Christians should be comfortable saying. We don't know all the answers but we trust the One who does.

* to not have all ALL THE ANSWERS

Is there an area that in our life where we're resisting God that's preventing Him from working in our life at all? Sometimes we have to put up with a little mud to get a miracle. Is there pride standing in the way of God changing us?

--- Questions and Criticisms (v. 14-34) ---

They try to:

* discredit Jesus as a LAWBREAKER (v. 13-17)
More concerned about the rules than people. This was a man-made rule that kept people from God.

* discredit the blind man as a FRAUD (v. 18-23)
If we recognize the miracle, then we have to accept that Jesus is not an ordinary man.

* discredit the seeing man as a MISGUIDED FOOL (v. 24-33)

--- Retinal Reactions ---

It wasn't worship when he received the mud, when he washed, or when he appeared in front of the priests. It was when he believed.

Their pride prevented them from acknowledging what they could plainly see. What would Jesus say if He arrived in our church today? He might show some to be highly religious but still spiritually stumbling, refusing to open their eyes and believe and allow Him to change their lives.

--- A Final Question ---

Am I (are we) blind, too?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Inc. Magazine - May 2011: Social Entrepreneurship and Cupcakes

Yes, I know it's June 18. *sigh* I'm having trouble keeping up with all of my magazine reading.

Anyhow, my top picks from this issue:

Are You CEO Material?
Sooner or later, every growing company reaches a point at which the entrepreneur behind it should start wondering whether he or she is the right person to be CEO. Read more...

How to Hire an Assistant
My desk used to have a very large pile of envelopes stacked in the corner. It included notices from various agencies in the states in which our employees live, pitches from would-be business partners, personal correspondence, and too many other things to list. Read more...

The Great Cupcake Wars
You know who plays for keeps these days? Cupcake makers. The stakes are high. Ditto, our correspondent’s blood sugar. Read more...

Adding to "To Read" list: REWORK (Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson)

Go to the online copy of Inc. Magazine, May 2011

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Sift 156-160

The Sift 156: Uncluttering and Productivity

  • Focus on a List of Projects, Not Just To-Dos, to Relieve Productivity Stress
  • Distinguish Between "Idle Time" and "Leisure Time" to Avoid Wasting Time
  • Four reasons you may be missing deadlines and how to fix these problems
  • Introducing Remember the Milk for iPad
  • Three uncluttering projects you can probably do right now


The Sift 157: Web Development

  • How Web Security Will Change With HTML5
  • Top 5 Web Design Mistakes Small Businesses Make
  • The Photoshop Etiquette Manifesto Prescribes Best Practices for Creating PSD Files
  • Find Out Which Add-Ons Are Slowing Down Firefox
  • Updating JavaScript Benchmarks for Modern Browsers


The Sift 158: Social Media

  • An Overview of Bing’s Newest Facebook Features
  • Kraft Courts Mommy Blogger Readers With Online Talk Show
  • The Facebook Like Inspires Baby Name
  • Rate and review places in your Foursquare history with Google Places
  • Social Memories: an Infographic Book of your Facebook Activity


The Sift 159: Apple

  • Lodsys vs. Apple Devs: EFF helps us dig deeper
  • Apple responds to Lodsys infringement accusations, says developers are not responsible
  • Apple patent application suggests partial storage of music to speed up streaming
  • Top 10 Ways iOS Outdoes Android
  • Microsoft launches API Mapping tool to help devs point iPhone apps at WP7 libs


The Sift 160: Friday Fun

  • Ten Funny Vintage Cell Phone Ads
  • Simon's Cat "Hop It"
  • Tribute to Your Friends on Facebook
  • Maz Jobrani: Did You Hear the One About the Iranian-American?
  • Red Pandas Playing in the Snow


Thursday, June 16, 2011

More Mentoring Musings

As part of my mentoring, I was assigned "Becoming a Person of Influence: How to Positively Impact the Lives of Others" by John Maxwell and Jim Dornan. I read the introduction and chapter one, taking notes as I went. Suddenly, a lightbulb went off. Now, I read books on strategy, books on innovation, books on social media, but not too many books on direct leadership-type topics. Not sure why.

But if I was saying the other day that you need to practice and know the rules and that mentoring is coaching, then reading books on leadership is just studying the techniques and learning from others. It's just more mentoring, in paperback form.

So I guess all this time I've just been winging it. I've tried to learn and grow as I go, but like mentoring, books on leadership might just be another help that I've been depriving myself of. Reading books and trying to apply what I'm learning just says that I'm being intentional about it.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Story of My Life

Riddle... how can you tell if it's a weekday?
Answer... if you see this, it's a weekday.

Thanks for crashing again, Lotus Notes.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Review -- Everything Explained Through Flowcharts

Everything Explained Through FlowcartsEverything Explained Through Flowcharts: All of Life's Mysteries Unraveled
Doogie Horner

I checked out this book from the library and I recommend it. Checking it out from the library, that is. It's an amusing little book, using flowcharts and graphs to explain all kinds of stuff from Designer Paint Colors to Chain Restaurants Classifications, from Tattoos to Things People Say to My Dog.

It was a quick read, maybe even a "skim" - I will say, though, that the book also had a lot of text. In paragraph form. Yeah, I know! I did not read most of that, I was simply here for the flowcharts. Which were clever, funny and well done. (And often not at all appropriate for my church friends.)

Having Trouble Picking a Major? The College Major chart breaks down your majors into two categories and 9 subcategories - Useless (Easy, Fun, Altruistic, Archaic, Lonely) and Useful (Boring, Difficult, Evil, Will Age You Terribly). And, yep, Communications was under "Useless/Easy". Marketing was in the sub-sub-category "Exploitative" under "Useful/Evil."

Need a quick primer on Doomsday Scenarios for your next novel? This book's got that, too.

And what about if all the U.S. Presidents got in a fight? Learn who ought to be in your bracket.

If you have to use Visio or Gliffy to make swimlanes or flowcharts or decision trees for work, check out this book for some entertainment as well as some practical ways to look at organizing information. (Yes, gasp, it may be slightly educational!)

Paperback, 160 pages

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Sift 151-155

The Sift 151: Sony

  • As Sony Recovers, It Faces Challenges From Hackers, Customers & Congress (05/06)
  • Sony Welcomes Back PSN Users With Free Games & More (05/17)
  • Report: Sony PlayStation Network Password Reset Page Exploited, Customer Accounts Potentially Compromised (05/18)
  • Sony PlayStation Network Fixes Password Security Breach (05/18)
  • Sony BMG Greece hacked, company's security woes continue (05/23)


The Sift 152: Fun and Games

  • Angry Birds as a Web App
  • The World's Biggest Pac-Man game takes over the internet, your life
  • Scarpar off-road powerboard coming December 2011
  • Nintendo Wii 2 Rumors: The Comprehensive Guide
  • The Ultimate MacGyver Recipe Book Rounds Up All of Mac’s Clever Hacks


The Sift 153: Google

  • SyncDocs Syncs Google Docs with Your Computer, Makes Docs the Default Document Editor
  • Using the power of mapping to support South Sudan
  • Google Promotes Google Accounts
  • Summarize your data with pivot tables
  • Top 10 Awesome Android Features that the iPhone Doesn’t Have


The Sift 154: Infographics

  • Apple’s 500,000 Approved iOS Apps by the Numbers
  • Behind the Screen of the Infographic Effects in Tron Legacy
  • Here’s How Corporations Dodge Taxes
  • Skype’s Rollercoaster History


The Sift 155: Transit, Traffic, Travel and Development

  • Choose your Hotel Room with a Perfect View
  • Don't Tax What You Want More Of
  • Add your local knowledge to the map with Google Map Maker for the United States
  • DOT Releases New Passenger’s Bill of Rights
  • If Nothing Else, Maybe We Can All Agree On This: The Viaduct Is Ridiculous


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mentorable Me

If you've read "Outliers," you know that there's a theory that do something for 10,000 hours and you have a good chance at getting good at it.  Were that the case, I'm less than a year away from being an expert employee.  However, it's not quite that simple.  I think maybe 10,000 hours of playing a musical instrument or playing a sport may make you quite the expert, but it also assumes that you've got a good coach, you know the rules and they don't change.  Now, that may have been good enough for Bill Gates to become a really proficient computer programmer.  But I'm not sure it works out so well when it comes to management.

Shortly after I started with my employer, I learned of a mentoring program but was told I couldn't participate as a temp.  As soon as I became a full-time employee, I submitted my paperwork and waited.  I never heard anything back.  It crossed my mind a few times, but it was never at one of those moments where I thought "I should remember to do something about this."  Probably my loss.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


I'm tired of waiting for the weather to improve.  It's mid-June already?!?!?!  I'm not waiting any more.

I'm declaring running season open.  I've decided that I want to run 100 miles in the next 100 or fewer days.  I started last night with my first mile.

I don't know if I'll be able to run every day, and I'm sure before too long I'll be up to 2-3 miles at a time.  So my goal for now is to run 100 miles by September 18.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Can I Get S'More?

I could eat these by the bag.  These are Goldfish S'mores Adventures.  I don't know what makes it an adventure, but these are so good.

There are three kinds of goldfish in the bag - graham, chocolate and tiny marshmallow fishies.

Each serving is 54 pieces for 130 calories.  (That's one serving there in the red bowl.)  Around our house, we go through Goldfish Honey Grahams and Goldfish Vanilla Grahams as well, but the S'mores go so quickly.

Why are these bags so very, very tiny?

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Dear @TacoBell

Dear @TacoBell,

Three complaints and a compliment.

First, why must I choose between healthy and tasty? The tasty food is dramatically unhealthy, the healthy food is rolled cardboard filled with ground cardboard and topped with grated cardboard. You'd think maybe it was time to look at just making your overall menu healthier. I'm not sure I can keep eating there. Now... maybe that's not a bad amount for an item. But when your combo menus all contain multiple items... and it takes multiple items to feel satisfied... and it's cheaper to buy multiple items as a combo... then who are you trying to fool when you list them individually on your nutrition guides?  Also, putting the serving size in grams first is sneaky.  Does the serving size matter when it's not a bulk product like cereal or chips where you pour yourself a serving?  It seems like a sleight of hand trick to mask the outrageous calorie counts.

Second, why is the Fresco menu so plain? Is it designed to appear as unappealing as the food on it? It just looks cheap and dingy, like you actually don't want people to order for it. It doesn't pop or have the wow factor of the rest of your menus and signage.  Perhaps it's supposed to feel light and airy.  To me it feels like you intentionally made it low-rent so people won't look at it.

Third, what is up with the "Why Pay More!" menu? I really continue to be boggled by the idea that you intentionally end this sentence with an exclamation point. I thought it was a mistake on signage years ago when it first appeared. But it persists. Please, stop the insanity.

And now, to leave on a high note - I just tried the new salsas in the brown and green packets - fantastic. Really, really good. I may have found a replacement for fire sauce. Well done.


Wednesday, June 08, 2011

The Sift 146-150

The Sift 146: Apple Store Mystery?

  • Apple Store Rings in 10th Birthday With Mystery Launch
  • Apple granted patent for a 'reduced size multi-pin connector,' namedrops USB 3.0 and DisplayPort
  • Apple Patent Shows Powerful Fitness App for iPhone
  • Apple Looking Into Text-to-Speech Converter for the iPhone
  • Apple gets cozy with EMI, Universal, and Sony over cloud music licensing


The Sift 147: Art, Architecture, Design, Fashion and Style

  • Coca-Cola’s Headquarters Gets 3D Makeover
  • Get Real-Time Fashion Advice Before You Go Out
  • Amphibious 1000: A Design for Qatar’s First Luxury Semi-Submerged Floating Hotel
  • 15 Mesmerizing iPhone Photos of Cloudscapes
  • Lego-style apartment transforms into infinite spaces (9:38)


The Sift 148: Cars

  • BMW i3 Electric Car To Revolutionize Automotive Engineering & Manufacturing
  • e Cygnet: Aston Martin to Release Its First Electric Car Ever
  • The New Lexus LF-Gh Sets the Standard for Hybrid Design
  • Ford, Google Team Up to Make Smarter Cars
  • San Francisco to Allow Electric Vehicle Owners to Juice Up for Free


The Sift 149: Employment and Work

  • How to Survive a Promotion
  • HOW TO: Ask For an Online Recommendation
  • The Five Traits That Get You Promoted to CEO
  • How to Prepare If You Think You Might Lose Your Job
  • Say No Without Wrecking Your Career


The Sift 150:Television

  • TV networks aren’t taking many chances with their 2011-12 lineups
  • FOX, NBC Unveil Fall Shows (with Trailers)
  • ABC's new fall shows dazzle in New York (with Trailers)
  • CBS nips, tucks its fall schedule; also, Buffy is back (with Trailers)
  • Which TV Shows Are the Most Social?


Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Review -- Poke the Box

Poke the Box
Seth Godin

Yay for Poke the Box.  I know sometimes Godin gets criticized for simply taking existing ideas and packaging them up.  But I think that's unfair - I think he reaches into the muck and the mud and pulls out the pearls.  I think if the ideas didn't need his deft touch to make them more accessible and actionable, then he wouldn't be where he is today.

And yet, this is not what he does with Poke the Box.  Poke the Box is, in his words, a rant.  Poke the Box is a call to arms for anyone who feels creative, who feels the need to rise up, the need to break free from the drudgery of the assembly line and truly shine.  And perhaps you don't feel like that.  But perhaps you do feel that there's something a little off, something's missing.  Godin freely admits that his book isn't telling you how to get over your fear, but that he's calling your bluff.

And that's where the elegant simplicity comes through and I'll share two ideas:
(1) You can't start succeed if you never start.
(2) You won't always succeed every time you start, but you fail if you never start.

I recommend this book.  It's a quick and easy read and you can even borrow it from if you don't want to buy a copy.

Monday, June 06, 2011

An Ironic Line

Years ago, I remember my mom saying that she'd never drive a Cadillac because so many people wanted them.  I was thinking about that recently when thinking about how I was scorned for having mentioned Folgers coffee on Facebook.  The coffee snobs were so vicious that I got a little bit offended.  Their vitriol was unnecessary.  And they go to my church!

I'm sorry, but I can't drink Starbucks every day.  The cost (financial and caloric) would ruin me.

And if I did, it wouldn't be the special treat that it is when I do get Starbucks.

And so, I reasoned,

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Why I Drive

This is a cool site - Mapnificent.  I saw this a few months ago and have been looking for it ever since.  You give it a starting point and it will show you everywhere you can get by public transit in a timeframe you select.  So I live on one side of Federal Way and work on the other.  It's less than 7 miles.  About 14 minutes to get to work, 20-24 to get home.   

It I slide Mapnificent out to its furthest (175 minutes), I can get to the far reaches of the map - Snoqualmie, Enumclaw, Everett, Tacoma (it only covers King County transit options, apparently) but I can't get to my workplace in the same town.  Despite the fact that there's a bus stop right across from the campus.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Missed Opportunity (A Work-Related Post)

From CNET. They're notorious at dropping content quickly, so here's the link, but here's also a screengrab.

(click to enlarge)

Ah, busy.  The enemy of innovation, creativity and the ability to react in a nimble fashion.  I don't know whether to be comforted that it even infects Google, or scared.

How are you?  Busy?  Is it the right stuff?  Or is it just the most urgent?  What would happen if you took a day, a half-day, an hour and didn't do any of the stuff that was making you so busy?

What would you do?

Friday, June 03, 2011

The Sift 141-145

The Sift 141: Entertainment and Technology

  • DirecTV's $30 per rental premium video on-demand service launched April 21 - hopefully zero people have checked it out
  • Nielsen estimates show first drop in TV ownership in 20 years
  • U.S. Carriers Begin Blocking Android Tethering Apps
  • Shows wait for bubbles to burst when TV networks unveil fall schedules
  • One-Third of Smartphone Users Load Apps Before Getting Out of Bed


The Sift 142: Social Media

  • LocaModa begins first national rollout of “venue safe” foursquare app
  • Q. How do we get a blogger to write about us?
  • Facebook Now Effectively Paying Users 10 Cents to Watch Certain Ads
  • UFC Fighters To Get Bonuses for Tweeting
  • Set Up "Login Approvals" in Facebook for Better Security


The Sift 143: Cars

  • Ford Cars May Soon Sport Rubber Parts Made From Dandelions
  • Total Cost of Ownership
  • Protean Electric in-wheel motors have the stuff to make an F-150 turn green
  • BMW left turn assistant uses lasers to help you avoid running people over
  • Google Lobbies to Allow Self-Driving Cars on Nevada Roads


The Sift 144: Food, Health and Medicine

  • Drinking Lots of Coffee Linked to Reduced Risk of Certain Cancers
  • New Cotton Candy-Like Material Heals Difficult to Treat Wounds
  • Swiss Inventors Create Blood Powered Turbine
  • Recipe Search Engine Gives Any Recipe a Nutrition Label
  • X-Prize reveals plans for tricorder competition


The Sift 145: News and Media

  • Introducing “News near you” on Google News for mobile
  • AP Stylebook Adds More Social Media Terms
  • Space Shuttle Twitpic Woman Gets Paid, Credited & Snubbed By Media
  • YouTube & Newseum Pay Tribute to Fallen Journalists
  • Kirk Citron: And Now, The Real News (TED.COM; 3:22)