Friday, December 31, 2010



The other day in devos they talked about trajectory and the idea of "what were you doing 10 years ago?" First off, my brain says "Ten years ago? 1990? Still in high school." I have to really fight with it to get it to agree (and even then, it's begrudgingly) that ten years ago was not 1990. I don't fear aging, I just don't like the idea of being this old. I don't like the idea of looking at the college students who watch our children and thinking that to them we look as old as we must look. Granted, by many stretches of the imagination, I am not really that old. But I'm not 22 anymore, either. When did that happen?
Also in January... Name Calling * Haiti * Taking Back My Name * Started "Odds and Ends" * Several 120s * Phonephobia * Introducing my Friends (wish I had kept that up)


How does she do it? At age five, logic has not fulled forms, she has no concept of the cost of things, and most importantly, compromise is a word she hardly understands at all. To be sure, there are times when she doesn't get her way, but in terms of the big dreams, the big future, everything is possible. The sky is the limit, and if she can dream it, someday it will happen. In her world, tomorrow might be her birthday. Even when shown the calendar, it still might be tomorrow.
Also in February... The Case of the Missing Pockets * Fractured Facebook * Fighting Dress Code Erosion * Overconnectedness


Carol The Cat (April 15, 1997-March 16, 2010)
Carol the Cat passed away today, a victim of two incompatible diseases common amongst cats - hyperthyroidism and kidney failure. Treating one would often result in the other becoming more pronounced and this tug-of-war just wreaked havoc on her frail, aging body.
Also in March... Hope * Five of My Distant Colleagues Killed in Pakistan * Bacon * Daddy/Daughter Day * A Starbucks Original (15th. Ave.)


The Calm of Nothing
The blank page. The unforgiving blinking cursor. Staring you down. Daring you to take a stand, make a move, commit to something. Pick a topic, run with it. Only, that's not really happening. Like the page, my mind feels like a blank slate. I don't know where to start, I don't know where I'm going, so there's no way to figure out what comes in the middle.
Also in April... Pastiche * Dream * Church Groundbreaking * Thin Spaces * Fun with Aluminum Foil (photos!) * Hatred of Logic * Leno Can't Catch a Break * Giving Up at Work


Missing Joe Cool
I was in a funk this evening. I hadn't seen one of these in awhile, but I was feeling sorry for myself in a big way. It hadn't manifested itself as clearly as some of the past cases, but that's what it was, I can see now, now that I'm on the other side of it.
Also in May... Disjointed * Tick Tock * Ending of LOST * Dear ABC * Dinosaurs in the Real World * Respect Mah Authoritah * It was like the difference between day and another day


Higher Standard
It's no secret that I hold certain people to a higher standard. I don't think about it much until they fail that standard. Today someone that I do hold in really high standard said something in my hearing that was rather in appropriate. It was an off the cuff joke. It wasn't like an HR moment or anything, but it was still quite disappointing. I was in a place I wouldn't normally be and they knew I was nearby. I wasn't part of the conversation and but they also weren't in a private location.
Also in June... Couples Only * Late for Home * Rain, Rain Go Away * Rachel's Recital * A Lot of Settlin' Going On * In Plain Sight * Secret Agent Man


So Long, 15th. Ave.
Saddened to learn via Crosscut that 15th. Ave Tea & Coffee is being re-renamed Starbucks. (If you look at the Street View for Google Maps, it's still showing Starbucks from before they renamed it 15th. Ave.) That was quick, articles from July 2009 talk about the pending change from Starbucks. Whiplash. Oddly enough, the domain for 15th. Ave. is Brand confusion, much?
Also in July... Eye-Fi Rocks * Amazon's Marketing Problem * Strike * Comcast Grumbles * What Are We Listening To?


Every time I go on vacation, I come back relaxed, a little more at peace. But all too quickly, reality reasserts itself. I'd rather stay on vacation, thanks. So, what to do, what to do. I know in the past I've looked at the idea of the reset and I've looked at new ways of storing stuff that makes putting away laundry simpler, but there's gotta be more. Frankly, the problem is clutter.
Also in August... A Thing A Day (short-lived) * Stupid King County Street Naming * Popes and Bankers Review


Say My Name, Say My Name
I have this fear. I am afraid I will forget your name or mispronounce your name. So when I see you at work or I see you at church, I just say "Hey" or "Hi" or "Yo." Or if I've had too much candy, maybe a "Hey buddy" or "Howsitgoin'?" It's a stupid fear.
Also in September... Blockbuster's 11 * Where Am I? * Food * Eggsactly * What Kind of Seafood? * Comcast Responds (never did get that resolved, still think they're ripping us off every month)


...That Would Be Great
And for as much as I've been self-identified as a pessimist, when it comes to people, I am an incredible optimist. I want to believe the best in everyone. I want to believe they all want to give 100%. They all want to work hard, they all want to learn and grow. They are all ambitious and committed. They all see it more than just punching a time-clock. I should know that's not true.
Also in October... Presentation Zen (Review) * Our Popular Flickr * Falling Off a Cliff * Looking at Isaiah * The Oasis * The Gift * Banned in Kazakhstan


The first time I ever thought maybe I had a weight problem was in college. I think it was the summer between my junior and senior years, so probably 1991. Though I was still in college, I was working for an internet company (pre-startup). I had photoshopped a copy of my student ID and had emailed a copy to a colleague in Wisconsin who I'd (and to this day) never met in person. We were talking on the phone and he made some crack about always picturing me as skinnier.
Also in November... Word (so proud of this post!) * And Again * Trapped in My Head * Me of Little Faith * Vacation * Inertia * Fractured Facebook 3 * I fixed it * Elusivity of Simplicity * Getting It All Done *


How Deep the Rabbit Hole
It's 1:25 am and I can't sleep. I'm going to regret it in the morning, I'm going to be very tired at church. I regret it already. I am tired now. But I can't sleep. I got some disappointing news today. It's not as bad as news some of my friends have received, or even as bad as past news I've received, but at this exact point in time, it's really disappointing news. So here I am, literally laying on the couch. Welcome to my therapy session.
Also in December... Rewired (review) * Hello, Sift * No Cookies * Flash Mob * Survivor Quitters * Nine Days of Vacation Challenge * If It Aint Broken - Break it!

Past years:

2009 * 2008 * 2007a, 2007b, 2007c * 2006 * 2005

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Sift 1-5

The Sift 1

  • Combining Caffeine with Sugar May Improve Concentration
  • Dear Santa - what if you ask Santa for the impossible and he delivers immediately? What does that look like? See here.
  • Seattle to Boston - Read the driving directions.
  • C-Water: Solar Powered Water Desalinator for Life Rafts
  • Top 10 Misconceptions about Photography and the Law: A Conversation with Attorney Carolyn E. Wright


The Sift 2

  • What Ever Happened to Casual Day at Work?
  • Make Ahead Meal Exchange
  • The Trojan App
  • Two Weeks Left to Join World's Largest Real Life Facebook Wall
  • Big Cat Christmas Video


The Sift 3

  • Toyota looks set to launch two new Prius models in Detroit, one's a mystery
  • 10 Predictions for the News Media in 2011
  • Spain says 'Adios' to smoky bars, cafes, eateries
  • Oregon State Tests To Allow Spell Check In 2011
  • Ferret Steals a Christmas Ornament video


The Sift 4

  • Wind Turbines Could Boost Growth of Crops
  • What is your ONE BIG MISSION?
  • Housing Market 2011: As Rough As 2010
  • Align Your Purchases with Your Personal Values for Better Spending Habits
  • Cambridge developing 'mind reading' computer interface with the countenance of Charles Babbage


The Sift 5

  • Organizing from the Inside Out: Form a Plan of Attack for Lifelong Organization
  • CityVille Is Now Bigger than FarmVille
  • Why a Mobile App Does Not Make Sense
  • A Paradox of Expectations
  • Snow Plow Fail video


Monday, December 27, 2010

Review: Rewired

Rewired: Understanding the iGeneration and How They Learn (Larry D. Rosen, Ph.D.)

I'm not sure what I expected, but it was a little more textbook than I was thinking it would be. But still, a very interesting read for people who are interested in technology, education, or raising children.

I thought this summed the book up best: "Aside from the MySpace and Facebook safety concerns, educators should note that teens use their social networks as platforms for creating vast amounts of "content." They write prolifically, post homemade videos and artwork, and spend vast portions of their online time being creative. [...] If educators can set aside their media-driven prejudicies against them, social networks can be fantastic vehicles for providing cirriculum materials both within the classroom and while students are at home. This is also an excellent opportunity [...] to bring their real world into the classroom."

As with any book about modern technology, it's out of date by the time it's written. However, I think the concepts and arguments the author puts forward. I would especially recommend this book to educators who aren't sure about where technology belongs in the classroom.

Stuck in the Middle Again

Sometimes living on the cutting edge is a bit painful.

Among other things, I received a Joss Whedon three-pack (Firefly, Serenity, Dr. Horrible) on Blu-Ray, a few seasons of Newsradio on DVD (*quick, point out the connection. Hint: I also received a Red Swingline Stapler) and iTunes gift card and several music CDs. (Hint #2: Ha. iTunes just started playing The Buffy theme song.)

But there's no one place in my house where I can consume all of these. (Without resorting to gray area technology hacks that are neither straightforward or easy.)

(*Answer: Stephen Root. Played the Principal in Joss Whedon's original Buffy, Jimmy James in Newsradio and Milton in Office Space.)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Bye, Odds. Bye, Ends. Hello, Sift.

This year, I reached my unannounced goal of 365 posts. I don't think that will be a goal for next year. 97 of those posts were my "Odds and Ends" posts - other stuff I found around the web that I thought my friends would find interesting.

However, I know that not all of my friends were interested in these. And that 10 links ended up being a lot to read through to find out if there was stuff they wanted to read.

Therefore, I'm launching a separate site: The Sift. You can find its RSS feed here. It'll be a once a day (or less frequently, never more) list of links I've found interesting. In order to make it simpler to follow, I'll drop it back to only five links at a time.

Once a week I think I'll post a link on this blog to all of the headlines for quick reference. That will sort of bridge for people who don't want to follow both, but cut down on the clutter that appears on this blog. And the amount of clutter that ends up on Facebook, too.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Well, that takes some of the sting out of a rotten day at work.  Don't worry, this has a legitimate work purpose beyond simply improving job satisfaction. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Odds and Ends 97

1. MSNBC -- Will it be a merry Christmas for Borders, Barnes & Noble?

2. LIFEHACKER -- FlashVideoReplacer Replaces Flash Videos with Windows Media, QuickTime Equivalents - I don't use Firefox, but this sounds cool. If you use Firefox, would you let us know how well it does (or doesn't) work?

3. MASHABLE -- Everyone Uses E-mail, But Blogging Is On the Decline

4. SETH GODIN -- Who's On Your List?

5. ENDGADGET -- Wireless carriers openly considering charging per service - super lame.

6. ROBERT CRINGELY -- How to Plug a Leak: Don't

7. GOOGLE -- Free calling in Gmail extended through 2011

8. SEATTLESCAPE -- Uniform Taxation: A TIF Problem to Solve -- complicated, but interesting

9. WSDOT -- WSDOT adds 29 rail cars to Washington Grain Train - an example of good government - collective capitalism that doesn't cost the tax-payers anything, but creates an opportunity for small businesses that they wouldn't otherwise have

10. INHABIT -- Chevy Volt Parts Made From 100,000 Pounds of Gulf Oil Booms

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I Didn't Almost Die (But James Lamb did.)

James Lamb
(of the Lincoln Lambs)
This James Lamb (not me) did.  That is, almost died.  He's from the Lincoln Lambs.  No relation that I'm aware of.

I saw this story come across my Google Alerts a few months ago. Yes, I get an RSS feed of mentions of my name.  No, it's not pride.  It's personal brand management.  Look it up.  Anyhow, I mostly skim because there is a man who shares my name who did things that were not right with children and now can't find a place to live in California and I am tired of reading about him and he comes up often in the news. So I didn't pay attention a lot to this story of the James Lamb who nearly died.

Well, this James Lamb had traveled to Ensanada, Baja on a mission trip in November and then nearly died. At the time when he was popping up a lot in the alerts was shortly after the accident and the stories didn't sound good, so I didn't really pay a lot of attention to it.  I didn't think there was a story there.

Well, I was wrong.  One, he survived, two, he's now returned home, and three, wow, there was a fantastic story involving U.S. Marines in Mexico at the right (divine) place at the right time, not to mention that his journey to recovery is also a wonderful read at Christmas-time, to see the odds he (and the amazing medical teams and his family and friends) have worked to overcome.  Among other things.  But this is a story best told by others who were there.  You can find the whole story from accident to recovery on his Caring Bridge website. This man and his family could definitely use your continued prayers.

And if you are still planning to get me a Christmas gift, please donate to this James instead.  His medical bills... well.... you know how medical bills are.

(And so you might wonder why I'm now posting it to my blog and messing with the Google search results.  Turns out there's already enough on my blog to draw people here who are looking for him.  So I wanted to attract all that errant traffic to this single appropriate page on my blog so that I can deflect it back out to where it belongs.)

Monday, December 20, 2010

If it ain't broke... break it!

What do Evernote, MSNBC and Accuweather have in common? In the past few days, all three have released a significant upgrade. Evernote's PC app to version 4, Accuweather (v4) and MSNBC (v2) upgraded their iTunes apps.

And in my perspective as a regular (probably daily in all cases) user, all three upgrades stink.  And judging from the early results in the iTunes App Store, MSNBC and Accuweather's updates register as a major miss by its userbase. Especially Accuweather.  It's off-the-charts bad. Results weren't great before (36% with only 1-2 stars) but now... wow.... 67% 1 star, 79% for 1 and 2 star.)  

Evernote loses several great features and has a pretty significant bug.

MSNBC sacrifices for ads, showing less content, and in a move that I believe is designed solely to make the ads more prominent, the articles stay grayed out for awhile after you click on them while the ads take up a lot of the screen, slowly retreating. I call "shenanigans" on that.

But Accuweather takes the cake. It starts with a really crummy new icon and gets worse from there. Loses several great features (like the ability to see at a glance the day-by-day rainfall estimates) and a number of other things either take much longer, or require far more clicks to get there.  And so now there's a "1 app to update" badge permanently stuck on the iPhone for the App Store since I don't want to update Accuweather.  So I had to move the icon to a different screen where I can't see it.  And have to remember never to click "Update All"  I have to assume it's temporary.  I have to think they'll put together another reason soon enough because if people live up to their word, they're dumping the product in droves.  I sadly can't, AccuWeather lives up to its name.  AccuWeather is the only one that does a decent job forecasting, the others are wrong a vast majority of the time.  I'm stuck with AccuWeather, and with the exception of this latest upgrade, I've been pretty happy.

I was able to get back to the old Accuweather app: It was still in iTunes, so just deleted it off my phone, re-synced and it came back.

Evernote, I uninstalled and then searched for the previous version and installed it.

MSNBC, no such luck.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Odds and Ends 96

1. INFRASTRUCTURIST -- High-Speed Rail Roundup: Putin Promises HSR by 2018

2. MSNBC -- Critics say Honda may be losing its edge - Thank you. That's what I've been saying. Seen the new Odyssey? Looks like a relative of the Aztek.

3. SETH GODIN -- Lady Gaga and Me

4. MSNBC -- Niagara Falls Without Water (As Seen in 1969)

5. ENDGADGET -- Microsoft releases H.264 video plug-in for Windows 7 Firefox users - this isn't the kind of news I usually pass along, but in this case, I'm mentioning it because I want to give Microsoft some kudos. Well done, Redmond!

6. TWITTER -- Top 10 Most Re-Tweeted Tweets

7-10. Videos after the break... Digital Nativity, Drift Fail, SNC can't get "12 Days" right, but that's ok and some Lego Black Ops

How Deep the Rabbit-Hole

It's 1:25 am and I can't sleep. I'm going to regret it in the morning, I'm going to be very tired at church. I regret it already. I am tired now. But I can't sleep. I got some disappointing news today. It's not as bad as news some of my friends have received, or even as bad as past news I've received, but at this exact point in time, it's really disappointing news. So here I am, literally laying on the couch.

Welcome to my therapy session.

I don't know what to do with it the news I got today, and that's very frustrating. In many ways, the news isn't the end of something, but really, just the beginning. But the beginning of something that for the past two months I had really been mentally planning for, and now, it's the beginning of something that doesn't involve me.

I'm discouraged, I'm disappointed, I'm frustrated, I'm a little embarrassed. I feel foolish, maybe even a little stupid. But at the same time, I don't think I am foolish, I don't think I am stupid. But how could I have been so wrong?

Because that's what it is. I was incredibly blind and wrong. Stupid. Misguided.

Or, a mistake is about to happen, a mistake I've seen before, a mistake I warned against, a mistake I will now be a part of, complicit in. A mistake I'm not sure I can watch happen.

I was so sure of a particular future, one that's now not going to happen. So sure that God was making something abundantly clear to me. Only apparently that wasn't the case.

And that is really, really crushing. I thought that like our move here in 2006, that once again, I was running alongside God, witnessing Him working in my life, getting the privilege of seeing the pieces as they were coming together. Not the typical after-the-fact hindsight where you can see everything He was maneuvering, but an as-it-happens lockstep you-and-God moment. A thrilling experience I thought I was getting a second opportunity at.

Except it wasn't. So what the hell was it? I'm so lost now, so confused. So utterly bewildered at what I just went through.

In the rash, early hours of this revelation*, I feel like I have only one really unpleasant choice. Do I allow myself to be a part of the mistake? I think I do, because it's the only choice I can see. And I might be wrong, it might not be a mistake. I might be relying too much on past performance as an indicator of future success (or lack thereof).

Or do I even have a choice? God has a plan. This is bigger than me, but I now am completely in the dark about what my part in it is. Or if there even is a part for me. Because the only part I can see now is my own complicity in the mistake that hasn't yet happened and my own astonishment at apparently how completely off-base I was.

But that's an incredibly pessimistic view, and one that seems contrarian to any plan God must have. God doesn't make mistakes. Which means my perception, my assessment, my prediction is incorrect. Or a mistake has been made and I'm not wrong. But can that be? As much as I'd like to believe it, it seems bold, prideful, and to fly in the face of the wisdom that's brought all of us to this point.

So I can't question God's plan and I have to assume this is God's plan. After everything I've been through in these few short moments, with regards to this, God is the only one thing I can still hold true. Everything else I thought I knew, I thought I believed, it's all turned out to be wrong. Which leads me back to why I feel so stupid, so lost now.

How could I have been so wrong? And from where I lie tonight on the couch in the dark unable to sleep, what on earth was the point of putting me through all this?

The only answers I can think of are:

(1) In preparation for some wild left turn that's not yet visible to me. And beyond my feeble brain to even imagine. Which is scary. Not that I can't imagine something, but that I can imagine that there's something I can't imagine, because what little of it that I can imagine suggests a direction I didn't think is possible, a direction I don't want to consider. A direction that would mean an upheaval I don't want in my nice cozy little life.

(2) The big, thick, massive, sun-blocking wall of steel, concrete, razor-wire, guard towers with spotlights and machine guns wall that's been erected in my path will crumble to dust. I'm not holding my breath for this one, because it points to several large failures in areas that I think are closer to infalible than the point on which I stand.

(3) It was a mistake, a distraction. Perhaps it's still a point of pride with me, but it's hard to stomach the fact that it was all an exercise in futility, there's nothing to be learned, nothing to apply, that it was a colossal waste of time. That I was staring off out the window, daydreaming, and that I need to come back to reality, realize where I am and stop wasting time. It wasn't a vision, it wasn't a glimpse of the future, it was a fairy tale and a fallacy and a false look that created a false hope that incontrovertibly discolored what had previously been clear. And if that's the case, I'm now guilty of some kind of theft for all that's been invested that wasn't mind to invest and can't be recouped -- plus my perception has been altered, making it hard to reorient back to the status quo.

There is a fourth option, a combination of #3 and #1, one that calls for me to embrace my arch-nemesis, patience. But I don't think that's it. This felt like a "for such a time as this" moment, a non-transferrable "bet on horse #3 in race #7" sure thing.

*Actually, can I even call this a revelation? What's the exact opposite of a revelation? Time to consult failure, mistake, miss, loss, concealment, hiding, secret, doubt, rejection, skepticism, unbelief (disbelief?), ignorance, misconception, misunderstanding, obscurity, vagueness. Ah. Ok, so now it's become clear to me why I'm struggling so much. Thanks,, now I have a vocabulary to describe what I'm feeling and thus we've saved money on therapy.

But, man, that's bleak. No wonder I can't sleep, mourning something that was not to be, trying desperately to scrape and scrap, to hold on to that which I know wasn't to be, wishing I'd never been shown a glimpse in the first place, wishing I hadn't been shown a fantasy that I can now count as loss.

Where is Morpheus with the blue pill when you need him?

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Funny that post #365 for the year is one in which I note that the copy for "When You're Here, You're Family" has vanished.  It was a post about Home Depot. I'll have to retype it later when I have time.  That will make this into post #364 instead.  Unless miracle of miracles, the post comes back.  Right now, it seems stuck or lost -- Blogger's just spinning trying to bring up the edit screen for only that post.  So sad.  Anyhow, the really quick version of the post: I love @HomeDepot.  More later when I have time to try typing it again.

When You're Here, You're Family

Argh.  It ate it a second time.  Ok, third time is extremely brief.  I wonder if it's the photo that's the problem.

Ok, super-quick summary.

Power was out at Home Depot.  Instead of sending all their employees home and closing the store (and possibly not paying the employees) and frustrating the customers, they opened the store anyhow.  They could only take credit and debit (do people still use checks and cash?  Stop it!) and for what I assume were liability and loss-prevention reasons, they provided each customer with an escort.   I liked that - it was like having a personal shopping assistant.  They helped me find things quicker, and even engaged area specialists on my behalf, preventing me from buying the wrong product (they gave me what I asked for, but then gave me enough instruction on how to use it that I realized I was asking for the wrong thing).

Checkout was dreadfully slow (the same thing written down on three different pieces of paper) and no doubt someone else will have to key it all back in later, but the other customers were all cool, so I was able to get what I needed, despite the power outage.  Yay, @HomeDepot.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Free Christmas Music

Garritan is a software company that produces software that lets you create virtual symphonies. This is used by people who are composing music, either to commit to CD or to spec an orchestra piece before paying a real symphony to perform their piece. If you've been to a place like Bed, Bath and Beyond or Target, if you've seen those "Solitudes" CDs where it's like music with wave sounds, the orchestra accompaniment on those CDs are probably done using Garritan software. As a way to promote itself, give back, and give people a chance to play around with their software, they put out a CD each year of Christmas music. It's nearly always purely instrumental, public domain music, but there are still new arrangements and the music is beautiful. I discovered it a few years ago and hurry to their website each season to grab the new songs to add to iTunes.

You can find this year's collection here. There's a link there for the album art, a link to download the entire collection as a ZIP file, and links to their past albums as well.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Odds and Ends 95

1. LAST PERSON BLOGGING -- One of These Things is Not Like the Other

2. INHABIT -- Takayanagi’s All-Electric Roadster Has a 1920’s Twist - cool looking

3. LIFEHACKER -- Simple Desktops is a Hub for Attractive, Distraction-Free Wallpaper

4. MASHABLE -- Insurance Company Tracks Driver Responsibility With In-Car Device

5. ENGADGET -- CE Oh no he didn't!: Time Warner chief likens Netflix threat to Albanian army - Yeah, and I still miss HomeGrocer. Leave it to the big bad media companies to ruin everything in an effort to keep control. Can't stop the signal, dude.

6. MSNBC -- After dozens of deaths, drop-side cribs outlawed

7. CNET CRAVE -- Force is with girl bullied for being 'Star Wars' fan


9. SETH GODIN -- How to Organize a Retreat - sounds like fun.

10. ENGADGET -- Editorial: RIM seems to be as lost as my BlackBerry - sad, but true.

Odds and Ends 94

1. LAST PERSON BLOGGING -- Cookie & Candy Exchange

2. INHABIT -- Central Valley Scores First Piece of California’s High Speed Rail (and California High-Speed Rail Authority)

3. LIFEHACKER -- Why You Should Use Google Apps with a Personal Domain Instead of Your Gmail Account

4. PYSCHOLOGY TODAY -- 10 Tips to Beat Clutter…in Less Than 5 Minutes

5. MASHABLE -- P&G Shifts Marketing Strategy from Soap Operas to Social Media - they have a $9 billion a year marketing budget? day-yang.

6. ENGADGET -- World's first Nissan Leaf delivered -- it's black, like the future of gas-powered cars

7. SETH GODIN -- The Myth of the Simple Business Plan

8-10. Videos after the break... virtual piano fun, Yogi's end, a revolutionary Microsoft ad...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Odds and Ends 93

1. LAST PERSON BLOGGING -- I Need to Get Paid For This

2. INHABIT -- Yunak Evleri Is a 5-Star Hotel Built Into Ancient Caves - including photo gallery. wild. I want to go to there.

3. MASHABLE -- 3 Things Brands Must Do to Reach Millennials Online

4. UNCLUTTERER -- Pursuing the Life You Desire

5. LIFEHACKER -- Drag and Drop Files Into Chrome to Upload Them Faster - small but brilliant tip

6. CLICKER -- The World is Watching: The State of Online Videos

7. CHOW DOWN SEATTLE -- Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars - these look good.

8. LOSE IT! BLOG -- Lose It! 3.5 Available in App Store - some great updates, including the ability to share foods and recipes (and lots more)

9. CNET NEWS -- Blockbuster laughed at Netflix partnership offer

10. ENGADGET -- Chevy Volt starts shipping to customers, most of whom forgot they ordered one last decade

Facebook Messaging (A Work-Related Post)

Update 10/27/2014 - And now it's gone. As of today, Facebook's forwarding all emails to my email address on file.  Below is my original post from 2010 which remains one of the all-time top viewed blog posts, but everything below is now outdated.  Please see my 2014 Update.

So I got into the early testing of Facebook messaging, so I added my address to our mailing address at work.  (Click on any image to enlarge.)

New emails arrive in the "other" folder which is not visible when you first arrive at Facebook.  Does not appear in the dropdown from the message icon above and there's no indication of the new message

until you click on the "Messages" link in Facebook:

I tried to duplicate by sending myself an email from a number of different personal email accounts, but since Facebook knows them all, it kept showing up in the main messages area.   I tried my cell phone and that one successfully made it into the "Other" folder:

Most interesting was the little yellow icon that appeared next to the email address.  (It does not appear next to the one sent by my organization, via ExactTarget.)  

Hovering over the warning gets a small pop-up that's cut-off in Google Chrome:

Anyhow, on to the main event, the reason you're here...

As I was mentioning, the email arrives in "Other" with a generic icon and a limited amount of text (from the text-version of your email) visible, even though in my case it could have shown more when I maximized my browser.

Clicking in, I see the same generic icon and the first bit of text from the text-version.  The quick-reply feature is enabled and ready to go, the focus of the cursor already in the box.

I did reply back, but I haven't received the response from our Donor Service team yet to see what the response looks like.  But, one thing is for sure - make sure you're watching the reply box and treating emails like part of a conversation.

The "Expand" button in the top right corner brings up the original HTML email in a lightbox.  Everything looked fine (the fact that header extends beyond the light blue bar is a design choice, not a rendering flaw), except that our email wasn't wrapped in gray as designed.  (Which is why you get those two fake corners.)

At 600 pixels, our email seems to fit perfectly.  I don't know if the box expands or contracts in width for other sized emails.

 All of the links clicked through as expected, except a mail-to link -- that spawned my corporate email program, instead of opening a new window in Facebook and letting me reply from there.   That means if I did reply, it would come from a different address than the one that this email was sent to -- and without anything from the original email to help identify what it was in response to.  This will be a problem if anyone clicks the link because they want to complain and unsubscribe or have Donor Service issues they need help with.

At the moment, my address is the only one we have on file, but I wouldn't be surprised if that grows over time as more people get access to the new system.  (By the way, I have four more invites available.  I'll give to the first four people to come find me on Facebook.)

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Guess what I'll be spending my day tomorrow doing.  Well, amongst other things... 10 things on my calendar for work tomorrow (only one double-booking), including a seminar I'm attending via computer/phone at 8 am.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


We learned Thursday night of a flash mob that would be descending on Nordstrom in Seattle today to sing the Hallelujah chorus and since Rachel and I were already planning a daddy-daughter day, we thought we'd see if we could get in on it.  Fun.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Conversation that Did Not Result in Cookies

Lori: "You can have chocolate chip cookies any time."
Me: "I'd like some after dinner.  All those in favor..." (Rachel and I raise our hands.)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Odds and Ends 92

1. LAST PERSON BLOGGING -- Have I Turned a Little Grinchy?

2. ANDY SERNOVITZ -- Give Microsoft a Break

3. MASHABLE -- ViddyJam Is a Pandora for All YouTube’s Music Videos - disclaimer: haven't tried it myself, just sounds really cool

4. LIFEHACKER -- Adopt the 30/30 Minute Work Cycle to Increase Focus -- Interesting idea for students and freelancers

5. CROSSCUT -- Financially strapped Seattle Center is owed more than $1 million in back rent

6. GOOGLE VOICE BLOG -- Santa's Calling (Note: right now, it says "Virginia" if you select "Washington" - I've let them know.)

7. SETH GODIN -- Where's Your Platform?

8. INHABIT -- Earthworms Could Be Used to Clean Up Hazardous Toxins in Soil

Kawah Ijen by Night (The Big Picture)
click to enlarge
9. ENGADGET -- European carriers want content companies and smartphone makers to pay network usage fees - boo!

10. THE BIG PICTURE -- Kawah Ijen by night (photo of a crater lake of sulfuric acid - ON FIRE!)

Monday, December 06, 2010

Odds and Ends 91

1. LAST PERSON BLOGGING -- Always Stuff Going On

2. ROBERT CRINGLEY -- Verizon LTE iPhone 4V

Denver’s Lessons for the North Corridor HCT Alignment
- I wonder if this is, however, how you get stuff built - start by aligning with what people know (the freeways) and then build feeders later?

Activate the New Facebook Profile Layout with Featured Friends, Infinite Photo Scrolling

5. ANDY SERNOVITZ -- Shooting Yourself in the Foot

6. I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER -- You Want to Impress Me?

7. LIFEHACKER -- Don't Make Important Decisions Until Your Decision Time - love it.

8-10 - Videos after the break - it's the Kinect edition - three videos showing some pretty cool stuff people are doing with the Microsoft Kinect.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Odds and Ends 90


2. THE PUGET SOUND TRAIL -- PLU Sets Example with Composting Program

3. FIREFOX LIVE -- Firefoxes (aka Red Pandas) -- adopted by Mozilla (makers of Firefox) - live streaming cameras

4. RAZOO -- We Take Water for Granted

5. SEATTLE TRANSIT BLOG -- Beyond Unbrellas

6. SETH GODIN -- Living With Doubt

7. ANDY SERNOVITZ -- Career Advice: Learn to Edit

8-10 - Videos after the break -

Much better... Candy canes, reindeer, snow flakes... What's missing (maybe another year) are icicles, house lights, etc. 


After asking for a popcicle and being told no. Rachel: "You know, mom, some kids don't have popcicles. Since we do, we shouldn't let them go to waste."


Passing through Bellevue on the 405, underneath all the bridges in the dark.

Rachel: "How come we live in a town instead of a city? I'd like to live in a city."
Me: "Me, too, kid. Me, too."


A little while later.

Rachel: "Is this New York City?"
Me: "No, it's Renton."
Rachel: "It looks like New York City."


Lori: "You know, usually we're both mature responsible parents, but then sometimes you do something and I'm like 'Really?'"

After I'd put a little cotton candy in Ben's mouth after the piece I'd handed him he let drop.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

The Nine Days of Vacation Challenge

I like to take the second week in December off. I did it last year and possibly the year before. It's a great chance for me to get some stuff done around the house, get my Christmas shopping done*, relas a little bit, read some books and magazines, get into the Christmas spirit, etc.

(*full disclosure: this year, it's also when I'm starting my Christmas shopping. Which is sad since I only have to shop for one person. Or ten if I buy my staff gifts. Either way, gifts for my lovely wife who buys for everyone else in our family and then nine identical gift certificates, right? Anyhow, I do this by going to Tukwilla with a long list in hand and then deciding which items off the list make good presents and if anything else strikes me as I travel the mall. It's a day of a lot of walking, snacking, and me-time and the crowds aren't bad mid-week. Very nice.)

This year, I'm going to try to do something more. I am going to try to convince my friends to help me raise $1,000 (or more) to help bring provide clean drinking water for children and families who don't have access to clean water. This is, literally a drop in the bucket when it comes to need, but every little bit helps.

To do this, I've set-up a fundraising page on a site called Razoo. They let you raise funds for any charity registered with the IRS. I've chosen World Vision, of course. The cool thing is that you can set a goal, make a specific plea, they collect the money and pass it on to the charity on a monthly basis. It even allows you to remain anonymous to the end charity if you're worried about ending up on their mailing list.

So you can learn more here or contribute here:

But head's up... day 1, with little effort, I'm at $40. I need to up the average if I want to reach $1,000 by the end of the week. So if you've got a better use for all of your ten dollars and can't spare even one of them, you might want to hide me for a week. But I hope you won't. I hope you'll consider donating $10 and even telling your friends about this opportunity.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Odds and Ends 89

1. LAST PERSON BLOGGING -- Home Sweet Home

2. SETH GODIN -- Your Noise is Still Noise

3. ENGADGET -- MIT developing smart adaptive LED lighting system to reduce energy use by up to 90 percent

4. INHABIT -- Forget Black Friday, Could You Give Up Shopping for a Year?

5. SEATTLE TRANSIT BLOG -- A Glimpse of a More Sustainable Seattle

6. SEATTLE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION -- Design Concepts for Elliott Bay Seawall Project

7. NEWS ON A UNNAMED PORTAL -- Online Feedback May Boost Weight-Loss Success

8. tvjames x blog -- Word - yes, self-referential, but I need more comments and likes on this one. That was a lot of work and I'm especially proud of it.

9-10. Videos - Fun with math and a giggling two-year-old

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

What I Would Have Said

Monty Brinton / CBS (enhanced by me)
Watching Survivor. They're devoting a lot of time to a conversation about the two young women who want to quit. It's really amazing. They are so deluded. They have no clue. I love that the rest of the players are mad at them.

I would have said, "Yes, this may be one the most demanding things we've ever had to do, but we can see the end. There will be times in your future, that while maybe not as physically challenging, they will test you. And here's kicker - you will not know when that testing will end. Also, at least one of you, because you're young and pretty, even if you don't win, have the potential to springboard from this into an entertainment career. The opportunities, if any, available to a quitter will be far less."

Lori adds (and I'm paraphrasing) "Don't think of 11 days. All you have to do is make it one more day. Then tomorrow, you need to make it one day."

And lastly, I wouldn't allow them on the jury. And they shouldn't have gotten a chance to give final words even if the second one got cut off.

They should be shown to their little cabins, kept isolated from the other eliminated players, fed only rice for the rest of the game, then held backstage, their seats left open at the reunion.

(Of course, who are we kidding?  I would get voted out much sooner.  I have no illusions that the game is tough.  But I wouldn't quit.)