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Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

Phil Simms Would Make an Excellent Software Consultant

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NFL Football

On a flight from Chicago to New York my seat just happened to be next to former NFL Quarterback Phil Simms. My first reaction was, “How I am going to hold a conversation with this guy?” He played in the NFL, won a Super Bowl and he is now an NFL broadcaster. I will clearly sound like an amateur if I try to have any football related conversation with Phil at all. What a dilemma!

As we were boarding the plane, I noticed that as Phil approached his seat, he was very friendly with everyone sitting around us. He was very helpful and offered to assist any lady within a couple of rows to put their luggage in the overhead bin. Not that I am a bad traveler – I certainly will assist any lady with their luggage that needs help if they ask. But now my approach is completely different. Instead of always trying to be the efficient business traveler, I take the pace a little slower and I am now a better gentlemen and offer help upfront.

Now towards the end of the flight I did strike up a conversation with Phil. It turns out he was watching the Bear’s game, which he just finished broadcasting. He said he likes to watch the games he broadcasts afterwards so he can see things he might do a little differently. That was great to hear from a consultant’s perspective. Clearly Phil was practicing “lessons learned.” Using that as a further conversation starter, I asked Phil how he plans out his week.

Basically Sunday is the end of his week and Monday is his day off. He told me that his initial preparation for next week’s game starts by watching 3 – 4 football games so that he can keep current. We talked about John Madden and his influence on how NFL broadcasting is handled. Phil’s week also includes visiting with the teams in his upcoming broadcasts to gather further detailed information about each team. That clearly is very good preparation.

All-in-all, I was very impressed with his approach to his work. From a consultant’s perspective, Phil’s week is strategically planned and executed. I know my Project Manager would be impressed! And this goes back to my original thought that with Phil’s dedicated approach to work and travel, Phil Simms would make an excellent consultant, when can we sign him up?

Steven J Brenner
Senior Principal Consultant
MIPRO Consulting

 

Casual Friday: Essential Cooking Techniques

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Cooking_School

It’s Friday, we’re heading into a season where food is the raison d’être, and if you’re anything like me, you have no idea what to do in the kitchen. I mean, I can make cereal, even oatmeal, and probably toast. I can also boil noodles and slop a bottle of sauce on them. Sometimes, I manage to scramble eggs without having them turn out like dried paint. But beyond these dishes, my reliability and skill in the kitchen diminishes rapidly. I am not proud of this.

I plan on taking a few cooking classes, but before that, seriously watching every one of these 53 NYTimes videos that teach essential cooking techniques. I do mean essential, too: these range from cutting a mango, to holding a knife (I’ve been doing it wrong, by the way), to poaching an egg to stemming greens.

Literally almost every video in this series taught me something I didn’t know. I would say that’s how good these videos are, but when I’m your control group, well, your cooking study starts off pretty deep in the hole.

(Yes, I watched them all. For real.)

Anyway.

Check these out. Worth your time if you want to get better in the kitchen.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

The Feed: Tech News You Probably Missed (Aug 18-22)

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tech

Tech news and commentary for the week ending August 12, 2004.

The latest iOS 8 beta gives some hints about upcoming iPhone screen sizes and resolutions. It suggests that the iPhone 6 (or whatever it’ll be called) will boast a screen resolution of 1472 x 828 pixels. On a 4.7″ display, that translates to 360 pixels per inch. On a 5.5 inch display (the ‘phablet’, if you will) that’s 308 pixels per inch. For reference, the iPhone 5 family comes in at 325. Link.

The Anker Quad Port Wall Charger takes a single wall outlet and turns it into four USB charging ports. Let me tell you, this thing is the greatest vacation charging hub ever. Link.

If you have to deal with a drowned iPhone and you think the cause is lost, there’s a ray of hope (two, actually) – rice and compressed air. Here’s the best guide I’ve found to resuscitating a waterlogged iPhone. Link.

Android has had the ability to take 360-degree ‘Photo Spheres’ for some time now. Essentially, they’re panoramas, just not limited to the x-axis. Now, Google has released Photo Sphere Camera for iOS, and it’s free. Great stuff. Link.

Steve Ballmer has left Microsoft’s Board of Directors. He writes, “I see a combination of the Clippers, civic contribution, teaching and study taking a lot of my time.” His decision to step down follows his purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team. Link.

Massively popular cross-platform messaging app SnapChat will launch ads into its service in November, the WSJ reports. That’ll be an interesting gold rush. Link.

Apple’s next USB cables will be reversible, which means no more maddening flip-flopping of a USB plug trying to find the proper orientation. It’s the little things. Link.

What’s a sticker that’s Bluetooth equipped that you can put on anything and use it as a beacon? It’s a nearable. To see how these might be used, check out this video. The “Internet of Things” is real, and it’s coming quickly. Link.

Thanks for reading, everyone. See you next week.

The Feed: Tech News You Probably Missed (Aug 11-15)

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tech

Tech news and commentary for the week ending August 15, 2004.

Daimler, the German automaker, has a rather strict vacation email policy: any emails you get during your vacation are deleted, and the sender is directed to your alternate contacts you specify in your out-of-office message. On one hand: harsh. On the other, it plays on a hard reality: many backlogged vacation emails don’t get handled, so the sender is left in the cold. Daimler’s logic says to route the sender to a new contact right away, and tell them ahead of time their message will not get a response from the original recipient. Link.

Here’s a memo from the Deputy Editor of Entertainment at The New York Daily lauding his writers on using SEO techniques while covering Robin Williams’ death. Yes, journalism is a competitive business, but sometimes you don’t want to see how the sausage is made. Link.

A report recently bashed ridesharing service Uber for ordering and then quickly canceling thousands of rides from its competitor Lyft. Well, turns out Lyft does the exact same thing. Welcome to competition in a young market with high stakes, I guess. Link.

WIRED’s Mat Honan conducted an experiment: he liked everything he saw on Facebook for two days. What happened? It’s a really long story that you should read, but the bottom line is that Facebook showed Honan almost all brand content thereafter. Meaning: his friend’s content stopped showing up. Yuck. Link.

Nice touch: in Apple’s iOS8, if you use Maps to find a business and the call the business, the business name will show up in your recent calls, making it nice and primed for an easy contract entry. In iOS7, the phone number digits were shown, which made them easy to confuse and forget. Sweat the details. Link.

Microsoft has released an iPhone app called “Snipp3t” that allows you to “follow and track your favorite celebrities.” This, from Microsoft? Hard to believe. Link.

Speaking of Microsoft, they’ve made three new 30-second Surface Pro 3 ads. In a bizarre twist, they all mock the MacBook Air, the world’s far-and-away most popular ultralight notebook. This isn’t clever, this is desperate. Gain foothold, then take swing at market leader – not the other way around. Link.

Thanks for reading, everyone, and see you next week.

Friday Links: Stuff You Shouldn’t Miss

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It’s links day, because it’s that time again. And there’s some pretty great stuff out there.

Since my brain was not functioning last week and I posted something on the 4th of July, which, here in the states, meant exactly three people were on the internet, I’m going to re-link to OK Go’s latest music video. Amazing. Everything was done with a single tracking shot. No edits, no CGI. Nothing.

One woman, 17 British accents. This is rather amazing. Watch:

Life Itself, a documentary about Roger Ebert that’s being met with VERY high praise, is now available to rent or stream. Here’s a trailer. This is on my weekend list for sure. Find it on iTunes or Amazon.

I love this post about the purpose and role of the everyday pocket knife.

Argentina is in the World Cup final this Sunday against Germany. If you’re not a soccer fan, you should know that Argentina is home to Lionel Messi, the best soccer player in the world. He’s not just a little better than his closest rival (Cristiano Ronaldo), he’s dramatically better. Here’s the argument: Lionel Messi Is Impossible. This is the greatest technical breakdown of Messi’s game I’ve ever seen.

Think you know your geography? Can whiz around a map like a boss? Then play SmartyPins, a Google Maps-based game were you drop pins based on trivia questions across several categories. I am utterly, embarrassingly horrible with geography, and I thought this was highly cool. Give it a look. It’s like Trivial Pursuit with maps.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Your iPhone Is a Better Camera Than You Think

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The web has a famous cliché floating about in regards to photography. Hailing from photographer Chase Jarvis, the quote goes, “The best camera is the one that’s with you.” It’s also the title of his book on iPhone photography.

There’s a good deal of truth to this. As I write this, I have a Canon 5D MkIII sitting next to me, with the venerable Canon 70–200L f/2.8 USM IS II mated to it. All in all, about a $5K piece of kit, more than capable of making professional-quality output.

Problem is, it weighs as much as a sniper rifle, and looks just as imposing.

I don’t carry it with me unless I know I’m going out shooting. That means for most of my life, especially when I want to capture impromptu moments, my big-rig Canon is at home in its bag.

What do I always have with me? My smartphone (an iPhone in my case), and it’s far more capable to shooting quality photos than your Facebook feed filled with blurred cat pictures would have you believe. In fact, on our mantle sits a canvas-printed photo I took in Italy, blown up to about 20“ x 20”. The camera responsible for that pic? My iPhone.

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Spurious Correlations

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The cliché goes, ‘correlation does not equal causation.’ This means, of course, that just because Thing A correlates to Thing B, it does not mean Thing A caused Thing B. Tyler Vigen over at Spurious Correlations illustrates this in hilarious fashion. Here’s an example:

Spurious_CorrelationsClick to enlarge.

This is fantastic on so many levels. Be sure to check out Vigen’s other examples. Great stuff. This is an idea I wish I had.

Casual Friday: Link Pack

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linksHonestly, I save pages all the time to Pinboard (if you collect pages/links for future reference, let me be the first to say this is worth a one-time fee of $10.37), and it’s been quite some time since I’ve emptied my queue. I’ve scoured the entire internet to bring these to you, which is no small feat. You’re welcome.

Anton Checkov on the 8 qualities of cultured people.

I want this hole to another universe for my son’s bedroom wall.

Steve Jobs’s most inspiring quotes.

Nike has fired its FuelBand team and seems set to exit the wearables market. This is interesting to me for two reasons: (1) the FuelBand was widely met with good reviews, and (2) Tim Cook wears a FuelBand. And he’s on the Nike board. My wildly-speculative guess is that Nike knows something we don’t about, um, a disruption in the wearables space. Just a hunch.

The Crossroads of Should and Must: easily the best thing you’ll read all weekend. I mean it.

6 must-read book recommendations from our favorite leaders. Looking for a good book to read, one that comes recommended from someone you respect? Your search is over. (I’ve read Julien Smith’s The Flinch, and it’s one of the ONLY books about self-improvement that has stuck with me. I literally think about it weekly. Oh, and it’s free, too.)

Interesting: Sherpa pay on Mt. Everest is $2k-$4K per season, compared to a median income of $540. It’s a good (but obviously insanely dangerous) gig to have, and their lives are insured up to $23K. Talk about endeavoring risk for reward.

Honestly — no kidding here — I love dodgeball. Yes, I know that’a a terribly awkward sentence for a 45-year-old to write. Nevertheless, it’s too bad the game has been demonized to the point of extinction.

I’ve wondered this myself: why is national anthem singing so much better in hockey than other sports?

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Casual Friday: Starling Murmurations. (Hint: Worth Your Time. Trust Us.)

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murmuration

Stop by here most Fridays and you will see a personal story, a parenting lesson I clumsily try to tie to something that happened the previous week, or our thoughts on leadership, grit and management culture. Sometimes, even though I can’t believe it myself, cat stories.

Not today. Today is a different kind of tangent.

I was recently forwarded this video about starlings and the flowing, bobbing patterns they create in a group (called a murmuration, incidentally).

I get sent a lot of videos and links, and candidly, most of them aren’t worth a Facebook post. This one, however, is genuinely mesmerizing: I watched it twice.

For the uninitiated, starling murmurations are like daytime, avian versions of northern lights: a half million starlings, all flying in tight formation, all following an invisible atmospheric pattern they detect in the air. But the science gives nothing away to the result, which can only be described as art.

I’ve never seen one of these personally, but you know it’s on my bucket list now. Great reason to travel to the English countryside, yes?

So, that said, please enjoy this video (make sure your volume is turned up to hear the narration and music), kick back with your coffee or tea, and chill out for a few minutes. I’m not embedding it here because you need to watch this full-screen, and that link will launch YouTube’s large player.

Have a great weekend.

(Hat tip to Jeff M. for the link)

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