9.30.2005

Creating Passionate Users: Think Young

As I look around work I see alot of the IT folk have desks full of toys. And the stuffy "business" people with desks full of stacks of paper no doubt think we should grow up. They're just grouchy because they continue to grow old.

It would be a sad day if we're not allowed to "play" at work anymore.

9.29.2005

Isn't it ironic, don't you think?

"Live 2 Tell," a script written by late rapper Tupac "2Pac" Shakur, is being developed as a feature film, with shooting set to begin in March.

9.28.2005

Zoom Zoom

Chris pointed out that Mazda is having a Zoom Zoom Live event in Chicago, IL (actually, Arlington Heights, IL). The basic format, as I understand it, is they provide the vehicles (2006 Mazda MX-5 Miata), teach you some basic driving techniques and then let you loose on a small section of a course to practice braking, apexing, etc. Then there is a final timed run of the whole course.

The event date is 10/29-10/30. We're signing up for the 10/29 11:30 AM slot.

Anyone interested in joining us can use the link above to register.

9.26.2005

What Business Can Learn from Open Source

Paul Graham has hit the nail on the head although I would suggest the title should be "What Employees Can Learn from Open Source."

He suggests there are three things to learn from Open Source:

(1) that people work harder on stuff they like,
(2) that the standard office environment is very unproductive, and
(3) that bottom-up often works better than top-down.

1. Duh.

The analogy of a child being told what to do and the postal workers in a mid-sized city is spot on. I've visited several post offices in Madison and been greeted by near zombies. Whereas I took my taxes to a small post office 10 mi. north of the village I live in and was greeted with a hearty "Hello There!" and a smile. Of course I had to wait until 8:45 AM instead of 7:30 AM in Madison but, it was obvious that the postal worker was much happier.

2. Duh.

There is a reason why the average developer loathes meetings and pays a premium for noise-cancelling headphones. Don't even get me started on the topic temperature and overall comfort. :@

3. Wha? Oh, Duh.

The top down model analogy Graham uses mentions an editor who assigns a story and then edits it. He is correct in that model is long gone and has been replaced by a model more akin to a trickle-up filter. A good idea is created and slowly passed up the ladder becoming more "mainstream" and less innovative at each step. The product is more of the same, safe, static ideas that have worked before.

The best real-world example of this is Hollywood. Can you imagine trying to pitch the Blair Witch Project? The insurance costs alone of risking heartattacks and whatnot would kill the idea. And is it any surprise that the big moviehouse backed BWP 2 failed miserably? Not to me...

9.25.2005

Our Hot Air Balloon Ride ...

We received a call at 1:30PM on Sunday. Due to rain and inclement weather our Hot Air Balloon ride was postponed.

Our new flight time has us meeting at a pre-arranged location at 6AM Saturday morning. From there we will be driven to the take-off site. We'll go up between 1000 and 2500 ft for 1-1.25 hours. At touchdown the balloon will be packed up and we will be taken back to our vehicle.

The early flight was our choice although I still don't know why. ;)

My niece, Rianne, came over on Saturday to be babysat. Her mom was cashing in on her mother's day gift of a massage and pedicure.

She found the Growling Tiger flashlight.

And then she dug through the dog's toys. Wrinkles and Hanna are great babysitters. They wore her out to the point she asked if she could take a nap. Of course she asked in a roundabout manner on our way back from lunch and stopping by the DeForest Car Show.

Rianne: Where are your pyjamas?


Jen: They're at home.


Rianne: You gonna put them on?


Jen: When it gets dark out.


...


Jen: Do you want to take a nap on the couch when we get back?


Rianne: Yeah ... with the doggies.

9.21.2005

Critical Section - The Tyranny of Email

Anyone reading this already knows all this, here is a refresher course.

Critical Section - The Tyranny of Email

FIBs brought down the DFI website

A power surge yesterday knocked out power to the downtown Madison area. As I sat at my desk the lights went out followed shortly by the computers, air handlers and other powered systems. Having not much else to do I walked around the floor. A group of people were gathered outside the server room peering through the window.

What could possibly be so interesting? It was raining in our server room. Literally a spring-shower had developed over the server-racks.

I grabbed Garrett and Tim and we went to offer any help we could. The immediate concern was a stream of water pouring through one rack of servers. We needed something to collect water that was no more than 6" tall. The equipment room happened to hold two punch bowls that worked perfectly.

Garbage bags were split to use as tarps to cover machines.

Trash cans littered the floor capturing water.

A valve was finally located that stopped the water. It was an input line to the humidifier. An Illinois valve had failed. Instead of closing when the power went out, it stayed wide open.

Once things calmed down reports began to pour in:

The building across the street is on fire.

There's a car fire in the state law library

Smoke is pouring out from the parking ramp at DFI.


All the symptoms were cause by the power outage.

9.19.2005

ye: Definition and Much More

Fascincating.

ye: Definition and Much More From Answers.com: "ye1 (THē, yē) pronunciation
def.art. Archaic.

The.

[Misreading of ye, from Middle English þe, spelling of the, the (using the letter thorn).]

USAGE NOTE In an attempt to seem quaint or old-fashioned, many store signs such as “Ye Olde Coffee Shoppe” use spellings that are no longer current. The word ye in such signs looks identical to the archaic second plural pronoun ye, but it is in fact not the same word. Ye in “Ye Olde Coffee Shoppe” is just an older spelling of the definite article the. The y in this ye was never pronounced (y) but was rather the result of improvisation by early printers. In Old English and early Middle English, the sound (TH) was represented by the letter thorn (þ). When printing presses were first set up in England in the 1470s, the type and the typesetters all came from Continental Europe, where this letter was not in use. The letter y was used instead because in the handwriting of the day the thorn was very similar to y. Thus we see such spellings as ye for the, yt or yat for that, and so on well into the 19th century. However, the modern revival of the archaic spelling of the has not been accompanied by a revival of the knowledge of how it was pronounced, with the result that (yē) is the usual pronunciation today."

It sounded as though a bomb went off...

We were awoken this morning just before our alarm by a flash of light and a loud noise. It sounded as though a bomb went off in our backyard. The dogs started barking and a little bit of chaos ensued.

As it turns out the neigbor's house, about 60 yards away, took a direct lightning strike. De Forest Fire & EMS were still on the scene when we left for work an hour later. It appeared they were sweeping through the house while the rest of the block was lit up like it was high noon from the halogen style light tower they had erected.

So, that's a funnel cloud off the back porch of one neighbor and a lightning strike to another. Here's hoping that mother nature sticks to Yorktown Rd (one block north of our house).

9.18.2005


This weekend we went to visit Emmy and Julio. They got married on Friday. We met Julio's family and were invited to a fiesta to celebrate Jorge's (George's) birthday. They do the same stuff down there as we do up here, it's just the little things. You want an example? OK, how about Skirt Steak Tacos,
Kielbasa style sausage on tortillas not buns. That's no fiction, or pulp... nevermind , nobody will get the reference, and the ones that do won't think it's funny or clever... make sure and take it out.

This is Brownie a flop-ear rabbit with full roam of the flat. He's got a mental barrier that won't allow him to go past the checkered carpet towards freedom.

Behind this cute exterior is a ferocious predator who knows how to use all four of his teeth. While Julio lay on the floor brownie bit him three times, nearly breaking the skin.

I picked up brownie which is apparently a big deal because he doesn't usually let anyone pick him up, even Emmy and Julio.

We attended the Autumn Moon Festival which was poorly named as it took place under the blazing sun.

It looks like things are going to start any minute. Unfortunately, they started 45 minutes late and an hour after we thought the start time was so, we ducked out before the performances began.

I had a decent view of the stage. We were in the back row so, we could have more leg room.

And then this lady with a big hat sat down in front of me.

The stage.

Photo opp near the Chinatown parking lot.

This is pretty much same language barrier that we encountered in Amsterdam. The signs were in their language first, then english. Most everyone spoke english but, there was plenty native tongue flying around.

It's hard to tell your in the midewest as you walk down the street.

A pretty cool scene with Chinatown in the foreground and Sears Tower in the background.

Emmy wanted us to try 'bubble tea' which is sort of deceiving as it's not tea nor does it have bubbles. Think of a fruit smoothie with raisin looking tapioca pearls. This is the inside of the Chinese BBQ where we ordered the bubble tea. Note the squid, ribs, chickens and ducks in the window.

9.16.2005

Cash Usability - Signal vs. Noise (by 37signals)

Justin French, guest author at 37 Signals this month, notes the differences in currency between Aussies and Americans.

I'm not sure I'd like the person across the parking lot being able to tell I'm packing a wad of hundreds but, the probablity of that is low.

Cash Usability - Signal vs. Noise (by 37signals)

9.11.2005

9.09.2005

[Obvious]

Ripped from the DFI Home Page.

http://www.wdfi.org/newsroom/press/2005/LegislatorsTakeAnotherCrackPayday.pdf

9.05.2005

And Yea there was much rejoicing!

We undertook the enormous task of dusting our entire bedroom today, including dismantling the bed.

Lo and behold! What do you think we found under the bed?

...

...

...

You're never going to guess ...

...

...

...

My Wallet! The one that the folks at Jimmy John's claimed they hadn't found in their store. The scenario that Jen and I put together is that I went and got dinner. Came home, changed for the track and in the process of which covered my wallet with a pillow and it eventually worked it's way off the edge of the bed.

I just signed up for a 43things account. Upon successful registration I am greeted with this assertion. That pretty much sums it up.