Monday, January 29, 2007

Why the Hipster PDA is Rubbish!

I don’t care if Merlin Mann from 43 Folders thinks this is a good idea – I think its falderal and I’ll give you 43 reasons why!

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, start here:

I just learned about the Hipster PDA (so, maybe I’m behind the curve a bit), and the more I looked at it, the more underwhelmed I was. This idea sucks – and to think there are a bunch of sites about it too! Heck, spend the time solving either how to accomplish world peace (or making a billion dollars – either way) instead of how you can create a LAME D.I.Y. paper organizer people!

Here’s the list

1. Paper cuts. I never sliced a finger on my Palm device.
2. Paper costs. I don’t care if you’re printing out your own cards, they still cost money.
3. Environment: Trees killed (be serious – not everyone or even most people are using recycled paper).
3. Environment: Pens aren’t recyclable.
4. Who wants a binder clip in your pocket?
5. More expensive. This is only cheaper in up front costs.
6. Information doesn’t get lost in a PDA – that’s why there is the search function.
7. Who uses replaceable batteries anymore? Ever hear of lithium ion?
8. Note reliability: Writing by hand is still barely legible.
9. Data Sharing: my writing doesn’t help anyone.
10. Requires “carbon paper” for copies. (what is this, the 1950s?)
11. Carbon paper mess!
12. Have you tried to find carbon paper?
13. Keep carbon paper in the pocket of your nice camel colored cashmere sport coat.
14. Does TOO get ruined by coffee.
15. Card size restricts you from keeping all associated information in one place.
16. Supplies: Who wants to carry 200 index cards in their pocket?
17. Templates: Amateur designers redesigning what Franklin-Covey, Day Planner and scores of other companies perfected long ago.
18. Limit’s scope of notes that can be kept with you for reference.
19. 3 X 5 cards aren’t significantly smaller than anything other than a 7 year old Palm 3 or Palm 7. (Well, excepting most Windows Mobile based devices).
20. Printer ink.
21. Printer colored ink.
22. Fuel costs. What, you think getting to the stationary store – or getting the stationary delivered to you online isn’t going to cost you money?
23. Harm to natural resources: We only have a limited amount of fossil fuel natural resources – why burn them on trips to pick up cards that are created but cutting down tress – which are then delivered by huge logging trucks (burning gasoline) to mills, which then use all kinds of power (coal, oil and nuclear) to turn the raw materials into paper (and create nasty environmental issues as well). Oh yes, and those loggers endanger the habitat of spotted owls too! (Did you know that spotted owls taste a lot like chicken?)
24. Laser toner.
25. Ink printer parts.
26. Laser printer parts. (What? like you won’t use a laser at work to print these things out right? Be honest.)
Note: If you are insistent about using your printer (even if it's for stuff other than these silly paper based PDAs) then
be smart and (a) go laser - it's WAY cheaper than ink, and (b) check out these guys for your printer parts! Really, they're worth the look.
27. Can’t take pictures. I don’t care how good of an artist you are.
28. Doesn’t sync well.
29. Doesn’t provide easy access to archived material with you at all times.
30. Doesn’t network well.
31. Display resolution inconsistent and variable.
32. Doesn’t do word processing.
33. No spell check.
34. Limited database capacity.
35. Limited database design ability.
36. No alarms.
37. Can’t surf the web.
38. Can’t make phone calls.
39. No Bluetooth.
40. Can easily loose critical components – with no backup.
41. Limited calendar views.
42. No security.
43. Can’t listen to music on it.

OK. There are my 43 reasons why Hipster doesn’t cut it compared virtually any modern PDA. Obviously there are many more – but I think that should do. How about you?

Friday, January 26, 2007

Sour Grapes if You Ask Me

Bono, Who Preaches Charity, Profits From Buyouts, Tax Breaks

I'm not sure why Bloomberg is trying to paint U2 or Bono as being evil capitalists in this article. Maybe somehow they don't think it's possible to be good business people and want to make a difference in the world? Just because Bono doesn't declare all his charitable giving - is that bad? I think it's pretty much on record in other various sources that Bono believes in both tithing and giving offerings - in addition to the donation of his time, his name and his talents to all of these charities - many of which wouldn't be seeing nearly the contribution level if he wasn't out there chatting them up.

So, here's my advice to Bloomberg - spend a little more time giving and less pointing. It will make this a far happier world.


Winter has officially come to New England. Ah well, the balmy temps in the 50's and 60
s couldn't last forever I guess!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Corporate Process

I'm working a new gig right now (ok, new since the end of November) and it is a bit different than anything else that I've worked on.

I'm in at a large financial services company, which is really cool actually, because I love the industry, stocks, trading, everything. Of course, I get to do none of that. What I'm there for is to be an Information Architect. What I work on is how one of the company's institutional products looks and feels. Some of the stuff is pretty stodgy, but it is in process. I'm responsible for working on new designs, envisioning future designs and shepherding a team of designers (visual design, prototypers, usability experts, editorial, accessibility) through the process of getting a great design that allows the user to get what they want, when they want it quickly, easily and intuitively. If you think it sounds easy - you may or may not be right. For me, it is pretty "easy" but it's because of several reasons. It's actually not easy - and if you don't believe me, sit down with a visual designer (graphics guy) and a usability expert and see if you can get them to agree on something. And, then once I've got the design team to agree, we then have to sell the design (essentially) to the systems team (the developers}, providing of course we can get the business partners to agree on what we're doing too. Yes, if you're thinking that it sounds like it can be a three ring circus at times, you're right.

The worst of this is that during many of the meetings I can have ten people in the room - all with different opinions. Any change that we're attempting to make comes under brutal scrutiny because it all has to be signed off on by the business (which has one objective), systems (which has several other objectives) and the designers (who have five different opinions). Oh yes, then we have to run things by legal. So, there are lots of times when I'm in a meeting when we can burn up an hour just discussing the placement of a label, the name of a label. Yes, ONE.

Part of that reason is because the company is so huge and all of its systems seem to interact. Therefore, anything we change needs to pass muster across almost all systems. It needs to be consistent across several different style guides (one company, several brands that are all a theme of the primary company brand), it needs to be language that is meaningful not only for my product, but several others as well.

The result? I spend much of my day dissecting and analyzing pocket lint.

The Earth is ON FIRE

OK, I'm overstating it a bit, but it is true that the earth is warming up. And listen, I'm a conservative (not to be confused with the neo-cons that are currently running the administration - butt heads)that questions everything that the tree huggers have to say (including all these pseudo one-world government organizations). This stuff is the real deal, there is just too much evidence building.

Say what you will about Al Gore - but his "inconvenient truth" is a lot more truth than not - as much as I hate to admit it!

Q Sighting

I went past Q this morning on the way into work. Well, at least someone posing as Q. Do you think it's possible that an almost limitlessly powerful being would be driving a fairly pimped out Caddy on 495 north outside of Boston?

Sunday, January 21, 2007


I'll admit it, I'm still numb. It's two hours later and I still want to hurl. What was the devastating event? The Patriots loss to the Colts. I know, I'm a bit too tied into my team (he writes as he sits here wearing the official NFL on the field version of a Pats jersey - gotten on eBay by the way for a tenth of the "proshop" cost) you might be thinking - and you could be right. I think I'm more just a little to spoiled by their success.

I'm not going to break down the game, I'm not going to mention that they had the opportunity to put their foot on the Colts throat and crush them in the second quarter -and they didn't. I'm not going to mention that the D was huge in the third quarter TWICE getting the Colts off the field. I'm not going to mention that Reche Caldwell, who had a really good season CHOKED when he didn't catch a ball he was wide open for on the sideline that would have lead to a first down or more. I'm not going to even think about the fact that the Pats got called for the fracking STUPIDEST penalty - 12 men in the huddle - to start a critical drive at 3:39 left in the game. A drive on which they gained more than 10 yards - but couldn't pick up the first down that would have just about clinched the game for them. Nope, I'm not going to do it.

What I will do is say that this is a game the Pats should have won - and they didn't. I'll say it was a good effort, in fact a gutty one by the D - a unit that was cramping and exhausted after a punishing game last week against the Chargers. I'll say that I'm thrilled for Tony Dungy who is a class guy that got shafted in Tampa - I hope that he wins the whole ball of wax. Sorry, I can't root for the Bears though I like Lovie Smith. Rex Grossman is just too much of an idiot for me to root for. Not that I'm a Peyton Manning fan - I"m not, I try but I just can't like the guy - but I really like Dungy - so for that reason I hope the Colts win (which it kills me to say, but it's not like I'm saying I hope that the Steelers win).

So, that's the end of the season. I'll be looking forward to the combine then the draft. Hmmm, it seems I remember something else that happens in February... something about pitchers and catchers - nah, can't be important, it isn't football. Here's to next year.

Go Patriots!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

NFL Analysts are LAME - Patriots Will WIN

And when I say lame, I don't mean an mp3 encoder. I'm saying they all are lame. I've just got done watching 2 days of national sports analysts give their opinion of who is going to win the AFC Championship game. Not ONE of them gave a legitimate reason - but they still picked the Colts to win. Horse-hockey.

Listen, I don't care if someone picks the Colts to win if they can give me some reasons, but NONE of these guys have! They've all just said, I'm taking the Colts because they're at home and they can't keep loosing to the Patriots. Or... "It's Peyton's time." WTF? What the hell kind of reasons are those for picking a team?

The Colts defense has had two good weeks. I'm willing to give them that. But, I'm also willing to say that they faced one of the worst head coaches in the league in Herm Edwards (as much as I like the guy personally by the way). KC didn't change a single thing in their offense while the Colts brought 8 and 9 men into the box to stuff the run. Same thing against the Ravens. Better coach, but their offense has sucked all this year. They stuffed the run, again bringing 8 guys up, and essentially dared McNair to beat them. Well, being that he's a mere shadow of the QB he was 3-4 years ago he couldn't. Colts win.

Seriously. Do you think that the Pats are just going to keep running the ball if Indy keeps bringing 8 guys up? You don't think they'll start to play-action them until they stop? And what, you think that Indy's D line will get to Brady when the Chargers couldn't? You're kidding right?

Listen. I'm not saying the Colts suck. That isn't true. They are a good team and the game will be a good one. I am saying that the Pats OWN Manning in the playoffs. I am saying that it doesn't make any difference that the Pats are on the road - they've won two AFC Championship games on the road. I am saying that the fact that the game is in a dome HELPS the Pats - they're a great dome team! I am saying that the Patriots D is decidedly BETTER now than they were when Indy faced them during the regular season. Samuel is much more likely to jump a route. Sanders is now seasoned at filling in at Strong Safety for Harrison and is playing really well.

The end result? Patriots by at least 10. Am I on drugs? Only the legal stuff for sinus headaches - and that won't skew my perspective. Brady wins this being cool under pressure. The Pats D-line forces at least one turnover and they get Manning for at least one big pick. Go PATS. And you can see the date and time stamp - you know this one is on the books before the game!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

A Three Year Old in the Bathroom

Yes, I know I'm on a three year old tangent here. But, for the two of
you that actually visit this page (at least I think there are two ;-)
I'm sure you can bare with me. Maybe someday I'll put up something more
interesting again - but then, I find this interesting.

Standing in the bathroom with Chloe after she's just gone pee and I hear
"Daddy, I need help, I can't get this, it's too slippery..."

Yah, scary, but not what you're thinking.

So, I look over, and there's Chloe just swiping at the top of the toilet
paper roll with her hand - and making this lovely waterfall effect with
the TP falling in a ribbon on the floor. Lovely.

Hmmm. Well that explains the last few toilets getting clogged up now
doesn't it.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A Three Year Old's Song Lyrics

Overheard while Chloe is singing with Grandma...

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake
Baker's man
Bake me a cake as fast as you can

Roll it and pat it, and mark it with a C
And put it in the TOILET for Chloe and me!

- Yet another reason you should never let a 3 year old bake for you...