Category Archives: Just Ranting

This is my catch all category.

Is Pandora Radio missing a big business opportunity?

Is Pandora Radio missing out on a business opportunity? Not knowing anything about the recording industry I’ll admit I might have this all wrong but I was thinking that perhaps Pandora should be using it’s strength in data mining and analytics to sign new recording artists. It seems similar to the challenge that Netflix and Amazon are facing with licensing content… and have since gone after creating their own original content. I would think that Pandora could combine deep analytics and profiles for the music they play along with the demographics of their listeners and the data about likes and dislikes they provide to predict the next big artist or song that has yet to be discovered. They could then sign that artist themselves and license that music at a significant discount compared to what they would pay a current record label? Maybe they could even partner up with “The Voice” or “American Idol” to promote their up and coming artists?

Anywho, that’s what I talk about in this short video post that I recorded after thinking about on my way home from work tonight.

My thoughts on enterprise office computing

Microsoft Cloud Computing SlideI was recently asked by someone to give my thoughts on enterprise office computing.  The general context was around what my perspective was on an “any device, anywhere” type capability inside the enterprise. She was looking to understand what would make organizations more effective and productive?

Below are my inputs on specific questions in the context above:

Q: What are today’s pain points to being productive and effective with today’s office computing hardware and software in the enterprise?

  1. Hardware is lacking in power and performance for our developers and analysts because the enterprise hardware refresh rate is not keeping pace with the big data needs. Enabling these folks to have a yearly stipend towards purchasing their own hardware and self-supporting it would bolster their productivity. Give them an easy way to partition off their work login from their personal login and easy way of migrating their data between machines (see point 2 below) and you’ll have happier employees with a much faster refresh rate.
  2. Keeping the content, settings, and application virtualization in the cloud and prevalent on any device they log into w/int the 4 walls of the enterprise or via virtual walls created by VPN would be critical.
  3. Having a common ‘cloud based’ content enterprise storage across all devices (like Dropbox, evernote, or Google Docs) would increase productivity. Continue reading

Co-working at Second Gear – Lansing Michigan

A screenshot of Second Gear's webpage featuring pictures of the inside of their building. Two weeks ago I found myself headed to Michigan for some last-minute travel that couldn’t be avoided.  I’m fortunate enough to have an employer that supports my working from home so I browsed the web for co-working locations in Michigan.  As luck would have it a local design and development company called Gravity Works was running a “community project” called Second Gear – a co-working space (one of only a handful in all of Michigan) just a few miles from my mom’s house where I was staying.  I thought I’d share with you all a little be about my experience working at Second Gear.

On Monday morning I made the short drive over to old town Lansing through the bustling traffic and crazy road construction Lansing has going on.  It seemed that all of Lansing’s roads were under construction while I was there and no one was in any sort of hurry to wrap up the construction work.  Between the road construction and the one way streets I got a bit lost but quickly found my way using Google Maps and the GPS system in my phone.  I parked right behind the building dropping enough quarters into the meter to keep me safe for a few hours and headed into the building.  At first I wasn’t sure they were still open…  locked doors, and it was already 9am (a full hour after they opened)! Quickly I found a sign directing me to the doors for Gravity Works and I sheepishly poked my head in the door not wanting to interrupt the designers and developers there in the office.  Greeting me at the door was Amelia Marschall who was nice enough to show me around and introduce me to some of the Gravity works folks.

Walking into the workspace area I was introduced to Adam and Scott two Gravity works employees whom are located in the co-working area because they’ve outgrown their own digs next door.  These two outstanding gentleman were nice enough to spend their week with me sitting next to them calling into meetings and bugging them about where to eat lunch and how to avoid the crazy road construction.

The workspace itself was gorgeous! Covered in rich hardwood flooring, a stark contrast from the concrete floors beneath my feet as I’m sitting here at Gangplank writing this post, the floor creeks and echoes off the walls as you walk around. The tables are spacious with power outlets at each table.  Additionally the workspace features some nice touches with an antique looking ceiling and modern lamps at each table.  The front of the workspace looks out over the streets of old town Lansing through some wood framed glass doors that let the sunlight poor in (during the 15 or 20 minutes a week when their’s sunshine :)).  It’s really nice being able to look up and people watch for a bit or see how much rain is coming down throughout the day.  They’ve also got a nice semi-private conference room in the back that can been partitioned off using a pair of french doors… this room doubles as the kitchen and a general purpose meeting room.

The people at Second Gear (really Gravity Works folks) were fantastic… the were super friendly and didn’t mind my questions (or at least didn’t let me know they did) about where to eat, protocol for taking meetings, and how to navigate to the closest BestBuy!  Aside from the Gravity Works folks there weren’t a lot of people there during the week.  One day there was a group of folks that normally work individually from home that all met at Second Gear for some socializing while getting some things done and there was a group of three guys from Grand Rapids that were in Lansing for the day and decided to come in and get some work done.

In terms of getting work done, Second Gear had a great WiFi connection that was fast and easy to connect to.  I did have some problems running remote desktop (from my Macbook Air to my Lenovo work machine) over their routers but suspect an out of the box setting on their router was preventing my connection.  It wasn’t a big hassle and probably not something that most folks do (bring in multiple laptops and remote from one to the other).  Other’s must-haves for getting work done at Second Gear included a couple of restrooms, a nice big whiteboard (that they installed while I was there), and lots of space for sprawling out! Getting work done from Second Gear cost me $15 per day after the first day (which was free).  It seemed like a good value for the money and something I’d do again in a heartbeat!

Other tips for working out of Second Gear:

  • Check out Pablo’s Panaderia for lunch, fantastic authentic Mexican food!
  • Get out and stretch your legs a bit.  There are lots of good people-watching and scenery surrounding Second Gear as you walk around old town.
  • Bring lots of quarters… public parking requires $.25 / hour to park… lost of space available, you just need to remember to bring change!
  • Bring a headset for phone calls… even in the conference room it’s not easy to do a call on speakerphone because the noise just seems to echo in the building.
  • Give Adam and Scott a high-5 tell them Josh said hi!
  • Don’t have $15 in cash… no problem, they take credit cards using Square – VERY COOL!
  • Let Lauren know where you’re from and what your twitter handle is and she’ll give you a shout out from @WorkAtTheGear
To the fine folks at Gravity Works, I appreciate the opportunity to get some work done there at Second Gear and you’ve done a great job setting up a warm and welcoming place to get work done for the traveling (or social) information worker.  Thank you!

Kevin Rose is the man!

A screenshot of Foundation.bz
What a fantastic resource: Foundation.bz

I’ve been watching Foundation lately and it’s got me fired up about entrepreneurship.  I find myself watching these videos and thinking about what I’ve done thus far with my career.  I feel like I have the skills and the big picture product vision necessary for being just as successful as some of these great people.  I’ve just never stepped up to those opportunities.

I’ll be changing that over the next 18 months….

Holy Crap, my website was just featured on Lifehacker.com!!!!

This picture shows  a screenshot of my Google Reader account when I saw this posting.

I’ve had a crazy week.  About a week ago I got sick and because of that I got behind at work… I got even more behind at work afterThis picture shows a screenshot of the lifehacker article pointing to my website attending training for the last three days.  Because of this I’ve been spending all my free time catching up on work stuff instead of doing fun or relaxing things… like catching up on Google Reader.  Finally tonight I had a chance to catch up on my reading a bit and as I was scrolling through my RSS Feed Reader I came across a picture that looked really familiar!  As it turns out the picture was of a template that I feature on my landlord website!  When I clicked on the article it opened up and sure enough Lifehacker featured an article on a topic I cover on the landlord site and a template I have posted out there for free for folks to use.  They pointed everyone to my site.  Here’s a view of the impact it had on my site:

This image shows a trend chart of Google Analytics Impact From 1 article on lifehacker pointing to landlord.ideaboxllc.com
In a single day I received the same number of hits I do in a month!

 

Sand Volley – Week 3

Photo of a volleyball net.
Photo courtesy of Jessica.Diamond

We suffered a loss tonight… we played the best team we’ve faced yet and it was a really close one.

  • Game one: We came back from being down 2-11 and managed to win 19 to 21.
  • Game two:We were up 11-2 and let that game slide 18 – 21
  • Game three: We lost by a landslide after we switched up the rotation.

There were some epic digs in the match tonight and some fantastic hustle by all of the popsicles.  Nice job gang we’ll get em next time!

 

Testing a new tool called “WordBooker”

Please forgive me if you’re seeing a bunch of posts come through from me tonight on Facebook.

WordPress  Wordbooker  WordPress Plugins

I’m trying out a new tool called “WordBooker” that lets me post to my blog and then have that automatically create an entry on my Facebook wall.  Why am I doing that you ask??? Well because over the last year since Leann and I have been using Facebook more and more we’ve been neglecting to use or cross post to our SuperCork blog… which stinks.  It stinks because we used to do this all the time and at the end of the year we were able to use a service called blog-to-book and take all of those posts and pictures and have a physical book printed.  Since we moved most of our sharing of content (pictures & stories) over to facebook we no longer have that data in a format that is easily converted over to be printed in these books.

Some of the problems I’ve been having:

  • Posts written in an offline editor are missing the exerpt (the first 250 charicters).
  • Posts written in an offline editor are missing the thumbnail picture of the posts.
  • Edits are reposting to Facebook wall as a new entry (this is only supposed to happen if the edit occurs 10 days after the original post).

Some cool things this plugin does:

  • Pulls comments from facebook into my blog.
  • Posts comments from my blog into the comments thread on Facebook.

Using speech recognition software [MacSpeech is cool]

I’m writing this post from my computer using my voice. I haven’t done us a long, long time… but I’m trying to get back into doing posts more often, and I think this might help me.

I’ve had this software called MacSpeech Dictate installed on my computer for a couple years now, and I generally pull it out and use it about once every year. I think my issue is training, the software is very powerful but you have to know which commands to use and what to say to get the computer to type what you want it to. I’m sure that once you get to have it it’s much faster than typing. However, right now I’m finding it a bit slow probably slower than typing this on my own.

So that’s it for today, I’ll be sure to let you know how it’s going and come up with the tag on these posts of you know which ones I’ve written by hand versus using this dictation software.

 

Sand Volley – Week 1

volleyfeet
photo by istolethetv

Lots of fun was had tonight at game one of the “spring fling” sand volley league @ Intel’s main campus.  The opposing team had only two folks when we started and we had six, so we leant them two of our folks and played a practice game.  Then they had one person show up and Trisha & Popsi were nice enough to continue playing for the other team rotating every serve.  It was a little strange playing agains some of our own teammates the first night but it was certainly fun poking fun at Popsi the columbian whirlwind while he played for the other team!

Team Popsicles, thanks for a fantastic evening!  Here’s to an awesome season ahead of us!!! You guys rock!