Archive for February, 2007

Original Music for Internet Video

February 11, 2007

I’ve been mesmerized by several really good online videos lately. They are visually stunning but I realize now that I’m attracted to the music as much as anything — original music which really matches the tempo of the video.

I was a big New Order fan in the 80’s so perhaps this is a throwback to New Age music but there’s something new to it as well. For one, I find it a lot more soothing and inspiring. Music for Web 2.0? Music for the last half of the ’00s? I don’t know what to call it, but I like it.

Here’s three examples of incredible videos which are made even better by the music:

#1: I saw this video about to transition from text to hypertext to xml to Web 2.0 on Chris Anderson’s Long Tail Blog

#2: Here’s a great take-off PowerPoint presentations, which I first saw over at Presentation Zen

#3: Another from Presentation Zen which links to a video on Trusted Computing:

Cool Tunes or what?


Regional Airlines and the Classless Society

February 7, 2007

When you live in the sticks, you get served by regional airlines. The favorite jet of the regional airline seems to be the Canadair CL-600. They’re sleek, they’re fast and they only carry 50 people, so I assume they are fuel efficient too. Thanks for keeping my flights to under $2000 most of the time, Air Canada.

There’s some real good news here. First Class? Forget about it! There’s no First Class in the Regional jet. I get to rub shoulders with Captains of Industry, former football greats and former Federal politicians. But do I really have to physically rub shoulders with these people? Elbows, legs, knees and tummies too? I sat beside a guy on the way to Calgary who was at most 175 pounds and we couldn’t stay ‘disconnected’ for more than 30 seconds. The guy behind me (at most 220 pounds) apologized to the guy beside him (at most 6 feet tall) that they were in for a rough flight because neither of them actually fit in their seat.

I can live with the fact that no carry-on bags can actually fit in the cabin on these planes but couldn’t they make the planes even 24 inches wider for our collective buttocks? We can’t all be 4′ 10″ and 100 pounds.

I’m 5′ 8″ tall with shoes on. We can all lose a few pounds, but my belt covers the widest part of my middle, if you know what I mean. But when I fly, I’m a Pro-Bowl linebacker. Who knew?

GTD Podcast Wrapup

February 7, 2007

Some final cool tidbits from the 43folders podcast with David Allen:

-On committing to your organization process: either your head is your organization system, or it’s not. David obviously recommends against using your head, but if you’re going to start getting things out of your head, you’ve got to get everything out. As soon as you track two items in your head you’ll distrust your other system.

– Merlin Mann likes using the phrase ‘Ninja Moves’ for really cool techniques. I like that.

– organization is like training kids and dogs: use as few rules as possible but never break them. HUGE head nods after everything we’ve done training Buddy Dog.

– if you can’t do it [organize] with paper, you can’t do it with ‘e’. You’re going to get paper, and you’re going to get emails. if you can’t deal with both you’re in trouble.

– one crazy, step back from the ledge thought: what if I set up my email / blackberry to only push emails every two hours? Would I get more done? *whew* I need to sit down….

More on Procrastination

February 7, 2007

Another gem. Merlin just referred to one Amy Lamonte, who says “you need to give yourself permission to write a shitty first draft.” Something good will come of it, even if it had nothing to do with the original draft.

On Procrastination

February 7, 2007

My airplane listening (hey, it was a long flight!) was a series of podcasts by Merlin Mann at 43folders with David Allen, the personal productivity guru and one of my heros. I stumbled across David’s email newsletter back in 2001, and printed/saved them until his best seller Getting Things Done came out in print. Heck, GTD was my first Amazon book purchase, OK? So getting to hear the maestro for 90 minutes while cramped in a ‘regional carrier’ was a thrill indeed.

OK, ok, ok. Enough Dave love. What did he have to say about procrastination? Lots, actually. I was just getting around to telling you…

We (you? I?) procrastinate for three reasons: it’s not worth doing anymore but I haven’t conciously killed it yet; I don’t know what the next action is (so I need to figure that out to get unstuck); or I don’t feel confident that I can engage [on the item] with control and success. Zowie! That last one hit me like a ton of firebrick!

Wait! There’s more! He quoted another book [War of Art], (he couldn’t remember the author but he remembered the quote) “the thing that is closest to your soul is the thing that you avoid the most.” Not much you can do about this one, says Dave, other than be aware of it, recognize it and give yourself permission to deal with it anyway.

Taken together, this helped me out quite a bit. The toughest thing about building my brick oven was ordering materials from suppliers who knew everything about their products but nothing about ovens. I could write a whole post just about finding fireclay. In those cases it was my lack of confidence in having a successful conversation with the supplier that caused delays. The thought of being treated like a goof caused huge anxiety. In hindsight, there was more I could’ve done to ensure ‘control and success’ when interacting with suppliers.

Lately however, I’ve been avoiding doing more to get the bakery going. Things like taking two weeks to spend an hour re-assembling the mixer, never chopping wood, etc. In these cases the actual task is easy. So why the delay? I think it’s the last bit — ‘the closest to my soul.’ I’ve still got a ‘fear of something’ with regard to the bakery which I haven’t identified yet. So quit trying to identify it; just recognize that I’ll be nervous about it, and get going anyway.

(Meanwhile, back at home, Cindy just rolled her eyes. Karma. She gets this in her genes. I’m good at other stuff.)

The Problem of Anonymity

February 7, 2007

My airplane reading this for this trip is a book I’ve wanted to read for a few months now: Small is the New Big by Seth Godin. It’s a collection of ‘the best’ of his blog posts over the past 3-4 years. While I spend a lot of time reading online I still appreciate holding some paper in my hands.

He riffs on the troubles associated with anonymity on the internet. Seth’s against it. Says it causes a ton of problems, not least of which are spam, flame wars, trolls and general bitchiness. My favorite line:”anonymity is the enemy of civility.”

You know, I completely agree. When I started this blog I thought about writing under a pseudonym or leaving my blog completely anonymous. But within a week of my first post I read two blogs by people I know in Regina and i was appalled by how cranky the blogs were. Not really the tone [not my style, but that’s OK], but more that they didn’t have the guts to put their name behind what they were writing.

My question: who do you respect/admire more, someone who anonymously puts up a web page criticizing local government, or some kids who recorded a song criticizing local government [click ‘ode to Pasquala’] and perform it live on stage all over the city no matter who attends?

Business Travel Essentials

February 5, 2007

I arrived in San Diego late Sunday afternoon and have checked in at the lovely La Avenida Inn on Coronado Island. It’s a very comfortable (and affordable) little motel which is the perfect place for my psyche. They have friendly staff, clean and spacious rooms and a top notch cable TV selection. I’ve never really felt comfortable at the ‘five star’ accomodations where one usually stays during business travel. I’ve had my fill of Pan Pacifics in Vancouver, Fairmonts in San Francisco or even Marriotts in Minneapolis; lovely buildings with a lobby to match their high pricetag, but no real soul.

La Avenida Inn is exactly the type of hotel I would stay in if I were travelling with my family. However there are two things missing that I now realize are Essentals when I’m travelling on business. The first is an iron in the room. I don’t pack very well so my shirts are creased up pretty good, but a quick steam in the bathroom should fix them well enough. The second missing item is internet access. I’ve grown used to free wireless internet, but I thought every hotel in the planet at least had a for-money broadband service available. La Avenida has neither. So I’ll get to spend part of each day at one of the nearby coffee shops posting to the blog. Not as ‘live’ as I originally planned but I’m adaptable!

For me, it’s worth checking in advance for irons + internet before I book my next hotel.

[Posted at Cafe 1134 in Coronado — worth walking to!]

Heading South

February 1, 2007

I’ve acquired a slight head cold so that can mean only one thing — I’m heading off on an airplane! Yep, I leave Sunday for the Stellent Crescendo conference. I’ll be meeting with some of our hosting customers, the Stellent sales / partner crew and hopefully learn some more about content management too.

The only downside (other than the massive sinus pain I will indoubtably suffer) is that I’ll miss most of the Super Bowl. I’m loading up on pre-game hype instead. My motto is the same as NFL network — everything but the game!

I’ll blog as much as I can from the conference, but I’ll have to split between internal stuff and what I can share publically. Hopefully you’ll get more than descriptions of the beaches and palm trees.

Some extra links: The conference is at the lovely Hotel Del Coronado

I’ll be staying at the even more wonderful (for me) La Avenida Inn across the street. To be honest, I’m not one for ultra-swanky accomodations and this is a great little hotel I discovered when I was here back in 2000. Clean rooms, great location and friendly staff. That’s all I could ever want!

Happy February!

February 1, 2007

I for one am glad that January is over. Nothing but cold and snow with some hockey thrown into break the tedium.

I’ve been a little behind in my posting on this blog since I’ve been getting an internal company blog going at work. I can’t link to it since it’s, well, internal. Sorry. I still think that it’s better in the long run to blog outside the firewall but we’ll start in small steps.