Monday, March 06, 2006

TiVo = software provider?

Looks like they're still traveling further down the software path according to this bit from Engadget:
TiVo's next act: software only?:
In recent comments to analysts, TiVo CEO Tom Rogers said that he envisions much of the company's future growth as coming from partnerships with cable operators. 'We're a total software upgrade when you think of the cable side of our business. The more that are out there, the more we have an opportunity to roll out to, the more we have the ability for cable subscribers to become TiVo subscribers.' While risky, the strategy might be TiVo's best bet to stay alive in the industry it helped create, given that many cable operators are already providing DVR service using boxes and software provided by companies such as Scientific Atlanta.

Again, this is what I said a while ago... and apparently I was not the only one to notice it.

The problem still remains convincing potential users that the TiVo interface is worth the extra money. Having seen what's available from the cable company, I would say that it is definitely a better solution.

But then, I already have a TiVo that I use every day.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

From Digg: "Alarm Clock - Snooze Button + 4 Piece Puzzle Puzzle = Awake"

The purpose of this entry is two-fold. Firstly, I'm testing the ability to blog items directly from the Digg website. Secondly, because there are days when SigO could really use something like this. >snort<
This mild challenge apparently will wake you up. So, for the snooze button kings, this is for you.

read more | digg story

Well it looks like it takes a bit more work to make it pretty directly from Digg, but it's a good start.

I just need to work on my rudimentary HTML...

Keano! Fergie Still Loves You

According to the BBC, there are no hard feelings from Sir Alex after four months away from Old Trafford for Keano:
Ferguson tips Keane for greatness: Sir Alex Ferguson says Roy Keane will go on to make a fantastic manager.
The love fest continues in the article.

So does this mean that the problem was that Keano couldn't keep his mouth shut when he was unhappy with other players and overstepped his bounds? Or does it mean that Sir Alex was just ticked off that he didn't get in the first public tirade?

Whatever anger or resentment the leaked interview-that-wasn't caused between Keano and the manager, it sure lit a fire under the rest of the players.

And they needed it!

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Modern Life: Disrupted

It's amazing how easily one can adapt to doing things a certain way.

This past weekend I not only had my debit card arbitrarily (as far as I can tell) killed off for "suspicious activity" on Friday, but my car developed a slow leak on the right front tire on Saturday night. Thus, by Sunday morning, I was left with no ready access to my money and a gimpy car.

Fortunately the tire place I use is nearby and was able to repair the flat for free on Monday. Unfortunately, despite a visit to the branch location for the first time in about three years, my credit union was only able to issue an ATM card since a debit card had already been ordered for me. That would arrive in 10-14 business days.

In the meantime, I had to rack my brain to remember what we used to do in olden times when we needed to pay for something. So yesterday, for the first time in perhaps five years, I was forced to write a check in a store. Twice. Don't get me wrong, I still pay rent and other miscellaneous bills with checks, but everything else is electronic or debit.

It really felt like it took forever to sit there and fill out the amount...sign my name...make a record of it... It also made me flash back to an internal discussion I had a few years ago:

Me: "I love bacon. Wonder how I would cook it if I didn't have a microwave?"
Myself: "Ummm.... how about a pan on the stove top? Duh?"
Me: "Riiiight."

Thursday, February 23, 2006

How does one handle disappointment?

How does one handle disappointment?

This is a question that I'm finding myself faced with these days. Yesterday brought less-than-good news on two fronts, and I'm finding myself wondering about this.

Notice the qualification in the description, though -- these are not necessarily tragedies, travesties or life-changing events, just disappointments.

The disappointments in question are the kind that should be relatively easy to get over because they are each part of an ongoing process right now. It just means that I didn't get the outcome that I was hoping for. The results I did get were mainly because of events that were outside my control.

So, I've done a little moping, had some discussion with SigO and am moving on. Sometimes it also helps to have some sort of distraction to lighten the mood.

It strikes me that there are many different kinds of disappointments, ranging from the "I didn't make the team" variety to the more serious Miss Havisham sort. The true test is in how deeply one lets these little setbacks affect one.

Personally, I'm striving for the "I didn't make the team" nonchalance at the moment.

Monday, February 20, 2006

TiVo has Brain Wave, Smacks Forehead

I've written about this before in my blog, as well as about how wondrous and sticky TiVo is. Now they're finally figuring out what one of the big issues is (from TechDirt):

Davis Freeberg writes 'In a candid interview with Bloomberg news, TiVo CEO Tom Rogers...offered a lot of great information, but the most interesting piece is that TiVo is considering offering a subscription only model for their subscribers. Once someone uses a TiVo it will be difficult to go back to the generic PVR. By giving new consumers the opportunity to try TiVo without making a $300 investment, the company can expand their appeal beyond just the early adopter crowd'...That's funny... it's been almost three years since we suggested TiVo should do exactly that and people thought we were crazy.
I've also suggested something along those lines. Once the novelty of recordable TV wears off, there has to be some other differentiator.

For TiVo, that's going to be their user interface and programming functionality. They need to go this route in order to stick around... because I need them.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Google Does Jeux Olympiques d'Hiver

So Google has gotten into the spirit. Where is Yahoo with this? They usually keep pace.

I like seeing what they do with these things. Google has a whole slew of sketches available here.

The Winter Games are particularly kickas$ in HD.

[Hat tip to the Official Google Blog.]

Review: Dune - Extended Version

In order to continue to maintain my geek street cred, I must confirm that I am in fact a huge fan of the David Lynch film Dune. Call it the product of a Youth Misspent Watching Cable.

When SigO told me that there was a new DVD coming out that included the extended version, I was all over it. Pre-ordered from Amazon, it arrived on its release date, January 31st.

Imagine my surprise when we got the disk -- flashy metal DVD case -- and put on the extended version. I'll just quote from my review over at Rotten Tomatoes:
It's labeled as an Alan Smithee film so that should tell you something... they've recut the beginning to remove Irulan and done some other very strange things, even down to making some soundtrack changes. I don't know the full extent as I was too aghast to make it too far in. Will have to steel myself to get through the rest of it.
Overall, great if you're a fan because of the behind-the-scenes stuff. Otherwise, eeewwww!! And actually, that may be your reaction even if you are a fan.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Review: The Moonstone

Finished reading The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. I can't remember how I got turned on to this book, which is touted as one of the first mystery stories.

One thing that is unusual about it is that it is long. There are still the same twists and turns, but the length is attributable to the fact that a lot of the characters get to contribute their own perspectives and memories about the events.

Bottom line: I enjoyed it, but I kept saying GEEZ this is long!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

brrreeeport lemmings

Q: "So just because Robert Scoble tells you to put brrreeeport on your blog you're going to do it?"

Domnivore: "Yes."

Q: "And if he jumped off a bridge would you do that, too?"

Domnivore: "We're talking a virtual bridge, right?"

How to Blow an Interview

Some suggestions if you'd like to not create the best impression when meeting someone about a potential job for yourself:

1) Show up late
2) Chew gum
3) Roll eyes
4) Respond to all questions with a dismissive "tchuh!"
5) Forget your interviewer's name
6) Eat a turkey lunch right before an afternoon interview
7) Pick out your office decor
8) Ask interviewer: "Are you going to be my admin?"
9) Talk about how much you prefer another company, preferably a direct competitor
10) Ask interviewer: "If I'm totally late a lot, is that like, a problem?"

I avoided most of these things yesterday, fortunately, which means that I am now short-listed for a potential position. Hooray for me!

The one thing I did not get right was the turkey lunch before going in. Sure it's supposedly an urban legend, but couple that with a boiling hot conference room and there's trouble. Somehow I pulled through without a nap -- and I guess it really doesn't need to be on the list since I'm into the finals.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Carrier Lemmings

This article amused me because I find that there are two types of people: those who are consolidating into Treos and whatnot, and those who are just discovering the joy of gadgets like iPods and Crackberries and cell phones and the like.

Interesting angle with the whole "dispens[ing] with sources of shared stability" idea.

Washington Post: Why do we carry so much around?:
Burdens of the Modern Beast


It’s the perfect posture for the Age of Insecurity. We fret about our jobs, families, country, manhood or womanhood, ability to be a good parent. We believe someone is out to get us. And to get our things. So, like the homeless, we carry our stuff with us. Just in case something, or anything, happens.

After all, one must be prepared for any eventuality. Just ask any woman with a purse big enough to carry herself in.

Review: The Philip K. Dick Reader

This book is amazing. I know the name of course because of how many movies have been made based on his stories -- he could give Jane Austen a run for her money.

Each one of the stories in The Philip K. Dick Reader is a morsel of paranoia and fear covered with Twilight Zone secret sauce. It was interesting to read how much he was a product of his time, with plots centered around a world struggling with the aftermath of a nuclear war between the Russians and the States as well as futuristic dystopian societies.

I actually found myself unable to finish the last story in the set, "Second Variety", because the sense of dread was too much for me to bear. I had to stop reading this book before going to bed because it would rev me up too much to sleep.

Another interesting aspect of reading the book was seeing how the germs of ideas were developed into films such as "Total Recall", "Blade Runner", "Paycheck" and "Screamers". The directions that the screenwriters and directors chose to take are enough to make one very cynical about the whole practice of adaptation to the screen.

At the least the original stories are still out there.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Keano! Celtics update

He's still out there kicking ass... I just don't get to see him at work anymore.

Keane helps Celtic stretch lead as Rangers and Hearts stumble (AFP): Celtic took a huge step towards the Scottish Premier League title with a narrow 2-1 win at home to Falkirk.


LinkedIn: Part Deux

Jeremy Zawodny and Ken Norton put in their two cents on Linked In.

Ken uses it in much the same way that I do:
LinkedIn is becoming people search: I noticed something interesting today. I was introduced to somebody new for a job opening at JotSpot. When I wanted to learn more about them, I went to LinkedIn and searched for them. In the past, I would have used Google to search for somebody, but LinkedIn gives me much more context - where they've worked, what they've done, and - most importantly - how I might know them (and who I know that knows them).
And Jeremy found one of the problems that I've noticed:
I, too, have used LinkedIn to find people a few times. When it works, it works pretty well. But in my limited experience, it only solves half the problem. LinkedIn works well for finding someone when you already know their name. But if you're looking for someone in your network of connections who can help with a woodworking project or has a special skill, it's a different story.
Trying to find the right query to bring up the right contacts can be frustrating, but the search results are also limited by how much the participants want to share about themselves. Especially with folks they don't know. These are acceptable limitations because they show a respect for privacy and for individual preferences.

Not so fun for those searching for something in particular and not finding it.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Gmail even more sticky!

I've written before about how sticky Google is making everything -- including the ability to blog from Google Reader like I am right now -- and they've gone and integrated something that makes complete sense. No more downloading a separate app to chat aimlessly with your coworkers and friends. We relied heavily on YIM during my last full time gig.

Chatting in Gmail: One of the big holes in Google Talk is about to be filled--in a proprietary manner. Google is in the process of rolling out Gmail Chat, a feature that will save chat transdcripts within Gmail, and subject them to search. Saving and searching archived chats was impossible when Google Talk was rolled out. This integration of Google Talk with Gmail also helps explain why owning a Gmail account is a requirement of Google Talk.
I am proud to say that I am one of the few who has seen the intermittent rollout in my Gmail accounts. Now I just need someone to chat with...

Monday, February 06, 2006

Super Bowl XL = Medium.

Sure, I'm ignoring the controversial missed calls for and against both teams. I wasn't really interested in the outcome, I was more interested in the commercials. And even those were a bit disappointing.

After a million hours of pregame coverage, the game and its accoutrements are anti-climactic. At least the Stones were pretty good, and SigO and I went all out on snack foods. Very important.

[Side note: Stones were censored to not say word "cocks" in the context of animals, but a commercial can refer to jackasses (see 3rd quarter CareerBuilder Donkey ad).]

Apple sued over iPod hearing risks

Sometimes I'm not too proud to be an American... even if you discount our questionable activities as the self-appointed World Police Force.
Apple sued over iPod hearing risks:
Just when you thought disgruntled iPod customers couldn't find anything else to complain about, a Louisiana man has filed a lawsuit against Apple, complaining that the iPod can cause hearing loss.
Litigation is not always the answer. And this is why there are gigantic warning labels on hair dryers that say "DO NOT REMOVE".

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Football News: No, the other kind.

Even European football managers sometimes get the blues:
Football: Newcastle sack coach: Newcastle boss Graeme Souness is sacked and temporarily replaced by Glenn Roeder and Alan Shearer.
What's he supposed to do when all of his players develop freak injuries? Might have lasted a bit longer at a team that has a lower profile than Newcastle United.

Meanwhile, Manchester United found themselves the recipients of a 4-3 drubbing at the hands of Blackburn Rovers. I wouldn't have expected it myself, but then I'm biased. And Rio was a -3 for me this week on my fantasy team -- midfield holding player? Not so much.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Job Search Tools: SimplyHired & Indeed

Another tool in my arsenal is the online listing aggregator. I have experience with two of them, SimplyHired and Indeed. Each allows you to create a search and receive email alerts on a daily or weekly basis that contain the latest listings.

What this means is that instead of having to go to CareerBuilder, Monster, craigslist, etc. on an individual basis and do an separate search on each, you can have them all delivered to your mailbox. There is some lag time between the listing and the arrival, of course, which is a risk you must be willing to take.

It gives me some confidence that many of my bases are being covered. I would still recommend, however, that if you are targeting a specific company that periodically searching the company site should be the first step.

Once located, you can use your LinkedIn account to find out how you might be connected into the company. LinkedIn also offers a download called JobsInsider that pulls up a separate frame in the same window that contains that information for any listings on any general job site. Quite fascinating.

Haven't had any slam dunks on that, either, but at least I can feel informed.

More info in an article by SearchViews, available here.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Manolo, He is Opposed!

Scrolling through my Google Reader today and found this.

The Fashion Police

Under no conceivable circumstance should one wear the slogan-bearing t-shirt to the Statement of the Union Speech. And, if you are silly enough to do this, you deserve to be led out in shame to the Capitol Rotunda where the gay-but-fashion-challenged Fab Five they will publicly make you over into the ridiculous metrosexual. This they should do this even if you are the woman.
I was unwilling to subject myself to the State of the Union Address without my Jon Stewart filter so this is the first I'm hearing of it. Hilarious, in a sad sort of way.

Is this what the Administration's opposition is reduced to? Sigh.

Something had to give... Sharks Win!

Finally managed to pull one out last night against a division opponent, but barely. One of the goals was an empty-netter.

Cheechoo hat trick powers Sharks (AP): Jonathan Cheechoo scored three goals for the second time this season against Anaheim, leading the San Jose Sharks to a 6-4 victory over the Mighty Ducks on Wednesday night. Tom Preissing got the go-ahead goal on a power play with 7:04 left in the game and Evgeni Nabokov made 35 saves, helping end Anaheim's three-game winning streak and the Sharks' three-game skid.

I don't really enjoy close playoff races. Fortunately for me it looks like we may not have one, and not in a good way.

Major drawback to all these three point games. But as a whole, the new rules get a big thumbs up.

Job Search Tools: LinkedIn

I'm six months into my search for a full time job, and I'm finding some things that are very useful in the hunt. One of these is LinkedIn, the online networking site.

I was invited to join by a few of my fellow students in the SCU MBA program about two years ago, and I didn't do much with it until after I left my last full time position. It's a fascinating graphical display of your network, limited of course by the number of your contacts that have signed up for the service and agreed to connect with you. Depending on how your contacts have configured their accounts, you can then see their list of contacts and search through the extended network that you have created.

There is even a job-specific search function, which I am finding useful as I conduct my primarily Internet-based job search. These days online postings mean that HR departments and hiring managers are inundated with dozens, if not hundreds, of resumes for a single opening. With LinkedIn, you can find a direct route to someone in the company, if not the hiring manager. My offline network resulted in a job interview last week, which came about because a friend who worked at the company in question hand delivered my resume to the right person. So one point for the offline network -- and an anecdote that directly proves that human contact is necessary to get any kind of results.

I've upgraded to a paid level of service so that I have more communication options... the merit of that is still TBD. I'm exploring options around the country at targeted companies, and finding the corporate recruiters through the LinkedIn network may be my ticket in.

Update - some tips: if you have recruiters that you have been talking to, see if you can find them on LinkedIn and connect to their networks. Some of them have 100s of contacts, and it will automatically give you that much larger of a contact base. Another idea is to see if there are any groups represented on LinkedIn with which you might be affiliated -- for example, I am in the Santa Clara University Alumni group.

To Be Continued...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Google Reader beta - old news?

I'm fairly removed from the "real world" in my unemployed cocoon these days, which has me wondering how long the Google Reader has been around. I don't know how I stumbled onto it today, but so far so good.

See, when I left my last position, I had to leave behind my Windows-based RSS reader, RSS Bandit. Being a Mac household, there wasn't anything to really take the place of it. Bloglines is kind of eh because it doesn't have the same level of control over refreshing feeds, and it has the slight lag that is fairly standard with web-based apps. Using Safari or Firefox for RSS feeds didn't make much sense to me because I was used to a much more slick interface with better controls... even Bloglines was better than that. (That may be just user error, but I know what I like.)

Google Reader is somewhere between Bloglines and RSS Bandit. Still a slight lag, but at least there's a refresh button. I would have preferred to keep using RSS Bandit, but they're a small outfit -- I don't blame them for not tangling with the Mac OS.

Update: I'm getting sucked in even farther. Google Reader allows you to email interesting stories or blog them with two clicks. Oh that sticky, sticky Google.

Kimono Laptop Accessories - Gimme!

Don't make me go Veruca Salt on you.

Why is this only available in Japan?

Soooo puuurty.

[hat tip to Engadget]

Friday, January 20, 2006

MarketingSherpa Wisdom Report 2006

Believe it or not, I do actually use the Internet for business as well. My former manager introduced me to the MarketingSherpa newsletter, which always has interesting case studies and interviews from the world of marketing.

They've just now published their Wisdom Report for this year, and it's available for download. Definitely recommend it to my fellow marketing types out there.

Wow Mom. Hide from SigO!

Mac Setup and more
Originally uploaded by visualseed.

Oh wait, too late. He is going to want one of these now.

This is why technology is so cool. Not only can this guy outfit his home like this, he can share a picture of it. With the world.

I just hope that SigO doesn't use this as a shopping list (mutter mutter).

[hat tip to Good Morning Silicon Valley]