Friday, January 30, 2009

The 1-second ad

You gotta go here.

I guarantee these will be the most talked-about ads on Superbowl Sunday.

Special thanks to Chris for pointing me there.

Update: I was wrong - no splash at all. I watched most of the Superbowl and only saw one of the 1-second ads. There is not much way for them to make an impact with just one tiny ad! (Did anyone else out there see any more than one?)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The mining cabin

mining cabin officeAndrew Hyde, Boulder entrepreneur, has a mining cabin office. In fact, if you google "mining cabin", his comes up as the top entry. (I guess mining cabins are old enough that they're not on the internet much.)

His office is part of skinnycorp, the host for Blogcamp Boulder last weekend. If you're ever in Boulder, I'm sure they would welcome a visit. And you don't need to be skinny to enter.

Anyhow, I thought it was a very creative approach to office-ness. (How can you make your office space more interesting?)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


obamiconJenny pointed me to the most hilarious site: here.

Yes, you can do this to yourself too. (Maybe someday you can run for president.)

Bad icons and good communication

For Christmas I received an item that came in a carrying case with this little tag inside.

What in the world are these little icons trying to tell me? I don't have the smallest clue.

And that brings me to the question - what are some things that you assume that others know when you're giving a message that they may not understand? Often we can be blind to the bad icons we are putting out there. So it's worth asking others if that "icon" we made communicates what we intended it to. The best "others" to ask might be those outside of our working realm.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A bit of blogging cynicism

These days, there is so much information out there that the chances of someone clicking on your url when you comment on a blog and then becoming a devotee are pretty small.

Questionable space

In contrast to yesterday's post, I was amused (in a critical way) of this section that added another foot to my supermarket checkout receipt... a credit card application form!!

I thought the "credit crunch" was real - we have received about 90% less mail from credit card companies asking us to apply for another card lately. And then this receipt comes my way.

Credit companies take note: doling out applications every which way is not going to help the world economy - at least in the long run.

Monday, January 26, 2009

PodCamp Boulder

podcampI went to PodCamp Boulder over the weekend. It was excellent. Rather than rewrite the book, you can go here for a great review.

Wasted space

taco bellDunno if you have been to Taco Bell in the last year or so. They have a "feel good" micro-campaign on their hot sauce packets - cute little phrases in that space.

This particular phrase always bothers me - I think they should use that little area for advertising. I'd suggest they sell that space to companies for putting only a website address. (I'll take 5% of the profits for coming up with the idea.)

I guess it's a Monk-like trait I have - wanting to optimize everything. I do get offended by advertising appearing everywhere, so I'm not sure why I am OK with it appearing on Taco Bell packets.

Friday, January 23, 2009

300 Words

300 Words is a new blog that Jon Swanson created. Check it out!

Yours truly is the guest writer for today.

Connections, part 2

I just finished skimming a totally boring book: Social Networks and the Semantic Web, by Peter Mika. It might be great if you're into academic language and maybe have a PhD. I don't, so it was not riveting.

The one concept that was sort of new to me is the idea that you can be a unique bridge between various spheres of interest. You might be the only person on this planet that could make an important connection between someone you know and someone they need to know! So the area of social media does have payoffs. Some are financial but the most important ones are relational.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Kenya and Obama

obama kangaKenya has embraced Obama almost as if he is their president. (And I know some who wish he was!) So a big thrill awaited us on inauguration day - this lovely fabric kanga arrived in the mail - sent to us from Kenya by our friends Josh and Audra! What fun!!

A kanga is a piece of cloth that is often worn as a wrap-skirt or a dress. Or used as a baby backpack.

So, the translation: "Congratulations Barack Obama. Love and peace have been given to us by God." (That comes courtesy of Pernille.)

I was amused to see the same kanga in this video.

Finally, here is a perspective from Kenya on life after the party.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Do you make connections?

As I was walking across the Target parking lot, I saw this little connector on the ground. And it got me thinking about connections.

It's always good when we can help others to connect with others. Our lives are so fractured these days that any connections that can be created or encouraged are good.

What ways are you connecting others to others in your life? Professionally? Personally? Are you making any steps to increase the amount of connection you have with others?

By the way, this is one of those posts based on an obvious concept. I know you know my point. I'm just reminding you about it. And asking you to consider doing something about it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Welcome, President Obama

Today is the big inauguration (as you should know).

Though Obama won't save all of mankind, I am hoping for positive things.

Welcome to the helm, President Obama! May God use you for the good, in many many ways.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Black is the new platinum

mercedes SL blackamerican express blackMercedes has a new model: the SL 65 AMG Black. It comes in at a cool $320,000. The "standard" SL model is a mere $100,000. So you pay an additional $220,000 for the 661 horsepower engine and trick suspension, etc.

American Express? This card is so exclusive that you can't even find it on their site. I'm sure it's available "by invitation only".

At some point, the ultra-rich will start wearing black jewelry to keep current.

What price exclusivity? A high price for sure. I'd suggest that you can be exclusive in your humility. Be proud of shopping at "The Big Department Store" (as my aunt and dad used to call The Goodwill). Be proud of re-using something that most people would throw away. Be proud of... ooops, when you're proud, you're no longer humble (as C.S. Lewis once said).

Friday, January 16, 2009

Remember - and be thankful

I was clearing out emails late this afternoon. I came across a message from October 6th - just over three months ago. I noted that the cheapest gas outlet in my neighborhood had a gallon for $3.43.

Today, the same place is selling for about $1.50. Though it has gone up some lately, we have much to be thankful for, at least when it comes to filling our tanks!

Just a little reminder for your weekend...

Cold weather health tip

superglueIf you live in a dry climate, like Denver, your skin may crack. Or a cut may take a long time to heal during the winter.

My big tip? Use super glue to seal up the crack or cut. This allows it to heal. It works! Try it.

(And yes, this post proves that almost anything can appear on this blog.)

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Robert HruzekRobert Hruzek offers you the opportunity to join in a blogging extravaganza extrordinaire.

Go here.

I'm doing it and so can you (peer pressure).

Get rid of the penny

pennyYes, the penny should no longer be part of American life. Did you know that it costs more than a penny to produce one? (Heather and the kids did a tour of the Denver Mint last year and found this out.) Since this extra money comes out of the government, somewhere, it would save some money to not make them anymore.

My suggestion would be to round down 2c and under to zero and up 3c and over to 5c. Electronic transactions could continue to use non-zero and 5 cent increments.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

If you love Starbucks...

Yes, they have a new club. You can join for just $25.

I didn't join because I'm just too cheap. But if you're an extreme fan of Starbucks, it sounds like the way to go... 10% discounts on every purchase, a free "surprise indulgence" on your birthday - and more. It will pay for itself after about 100 grande coffees. (At the rate I visit Starbucks, I'd pay it off in about five years.)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


songsmithMicrosoft came out with a hilarious new program: Songsmith.

If I had a Windows computer, I'd give it a try!

I was particularly amused that the main computers they used in the demo were Macs. (I guess they were running Windows on them. That's something I refuse to do - I just don't want to hassle with virus software.)

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Willie Nelson Museum

If you are driving from Dallas to Austin (or points south), you will pass the Willie Nelson Museum. You may not even know it - there are no signs letting you know of its existence. So, my traveler's tip - if you reach Carl's Corner, exit. Tip number two - fill up with fuel elsewhere.

My kids knew Willie from his appearance on the TV show "Monk". I knew Willie from living in Texas for 14 years.

So - the museum is not very exciting, but the price is right (free). And the restrooms are clean. My brother asked the sales clerk if she got tired of hearing Willie Nelson. She said that his songs were never repeated there, because he has so many albums. She didn't really address the issue of whether she was tired of his music.

Willie staged one of his early "Farm Aid" concerts at Carl's Corner maybe ten or fifteen years ago.

The guy to the left of Willie? That's Carl, looking like a character out of "King of the Hill". (The painting is on the floor.) The album shown? Willie pays homage to an herb he loves so well. I can't say that I have heard the album, or that I'm sorry I haven't.

The dancing frogs? Carl bought them from the Dallas nightclub "Tango" back in the early 80s. He displayed them on the roof of his complex for a few years. Now they are dancing in obscurity - almost around the back of the building.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Texas within Texas

Everything is bigger in Texas. And smaller.

The Gaylord Texan Hotel is pretty close to where my sister lives. One morning we enjoyed a walk over to tour the lobby. Amazing! They have their own indoor riverwalk. The fabulous ice sculpture show was too pricey for us. But it was fun to see the Christmas display above the cliffs.

It was incredible to learn that they are expanding the number of rooms. 6,000 just isn't enough.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

17" MacBook Pro Review

macbook pro batterySo, Apple released a new top-of-the-line laptop computer. And they're touting the battery as its outstanding feature! I guess that either shows that they are running out of areas to innovate within or they are betting super-power-users really care about that.

If you go here, you can see an interesting video about the battery and its advantages. If you don't want to watch the video, here are the highlights: it has an 8-hour charge life, 3 times the lifespan of a regular laptop battery and is not user-replaceable. There was no mention of how much the replacement cost is when it finally dies. My guess is that if you can afford the laptop, you can afford the replacement of its battery. (Update: it costs $179 in the U.S. and £139 in the UK.)

The lowest entry point is $2800. Options include a $900 256 gb solid state hard drive. Or if you want an old-style anti-glare display, that is now an option for an extra $50. Finally, a screaming 2.93 ghz dual-processor is now available (at a mere extra $900).

My buddy Jim is a 17" user. He and his wife have two. I know what he wants for his birthday. But 17" is just too big for me. I love the 15" size, so I'll just have to stick with my old MacBook Pro and my home-use external monitor. Sigh.

On another Apple tech note: iLife '09 has an incredible feature - iMovie has an image stabilization feature! That is completely amazing to me - and well worth the $79 price of admission.

Amazon is selling them for about $100 off.

And finally, go here for a hilarious look at Apple's even newer laptop.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Sports on the curb

Yet another thing that I haven't seen in Colorado - one's sports preference displayed on the curb outside one's home, for all to see.

But what should the movie buff do - put a small image of their favorite scene on the curb? The music fan - a picture of their favorite band?

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Texas and The West

Colorado is part of the American west. But somehow cowboy culture is not as much a part of Colorado as it is part of Texas, even though we have quite a few ranchers and the National Western Stock Show. Ronald MacDonald is not sitting on any horses in Colorado. Maybe he should be.

(I spotted this particular Ronald in Amarillo. We didn't eat at his restaurant.)

Monday, January 05, 2009

10 best albums of all time

Over Christmas, we visited my brother in San Antonio. He challenged me to think of my favorite 10 best albums of all time. I thought a lot - and by the end our our long drive back to Colorado, I had my list. Before reading, skip to the end for all my disclaimers & notes.

These are not in order. I didn't want to narrow my choices by ranking them.
  • Mozart 40 & 41 Symphonies: George Szell with the Cleveland Philharmonic
  • Beatles: Abbey Road
  • Bach, Vivaldi - Concerti for 2 Violins: Stern & Zukerman
  • Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon
  • Radiohead: The Bends
  • Pat Metheny Group: First Circle
  • Talking Heads: Speaking in Tongues
  • Elton John: Goodbye Yellowbrick Road
  • Quasi: Featuring Birds
  • Fleetwood Mac: Fleetwood Mac
If you are interested in grabbing any via Amazon, I have provided these handy links below. Used CDs from this list can be had for as little as 62c! (Elton John.)

Disclaimers & notes:
  • Nothing later than 1998 is listed, even though I love a lot of music created since then. I just couldn't come up with anything from that category that I felt was worthy of this list.
  • Lyrics: I am not into lyrics. Some of the lyrics in some of these songs may be offensive (particularly Quasi!) - so if you listen to any of this music and find the words offensive, please don't think that I consider what's sung as my worldview! Nor do I advocate the lifestyles of some of the musicians. I'm just into melodies. (And I know some out there can argue with this point.)
  • I like music from other genres than rock, classical/baroque and jazz (such as bluegrass), but again, I didn't like anything there enough to add it to my list.
  • I am tired of some of these albums to the level that I can't hear them again for a long time. But each has provided more pleasurable listens than albums that are not on this list.
  • Taste is a personal thing - your list would or should look different than mine!
Enjoy. And I would invite you to come up with a list of your own. If you do, please put a link to that list in the comments - so that we all can discover something new and worth hearing.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Smoking allowed

We had lunch at a cafeteria south of Dallas.

There must be different rules in Texas than in Colorado... I don't think there is a single restaurant in Colorado that allows smoking. I didn't see anyone smoking, however. They must have all come from Colorado, unprepared for that unexpected freedom.