Category Archives: Tech

Testing commitment

Over the past 6 months, I’ve gone through a number of computers:
– HP 2140
– Viliv S5
– Lenovo Thinkpad X200s
– HP 5101
– Sony Vaio P
– Toshiba NB305
– HP 5102
– Lenovo Thinkpad X201s

It’s becoming clear I have a problem – I can’t commit to my gadgets. While I’m ecstatic that eBay allows me to buy and sell them with few financial consequences, I’m wasting far too much time looking for a miracle. My goal has been to find a perfect combination of battery life, portability, features, and performance. I’m not going to find something that makes me happy.

However, I’ve found satisfaction with my new Apple iPad. It is simply the best portable device I have ever used. The touch features and battery life are in a class of their own. As an e-reader, it can’t be beat; I’ve read more books than I have in years using the Kindle application. I love working on blogs and documents with its gorgeous display. Despite the wonderful applications that can be used on an iPad, it’s clear that it can’t be used for everything. It has virtually no way to connect to any USB devices, no real file system, and there are no applications that allow me to code websites.

A net book is a cheap, slow, and smaller version of a regular laptop. An iPad is something new entirely. Over the past month, I’ve realized that it’s perfect for all my portable needs and I can’t be without it.

I’ve placed an order for a new 15 inch MacBook Pro. I feel convinced that a MacBook plus an iPad will meet all my needs. I’ve decided that I’m going all in with this theory. I’ve purchased AppleCare which is a three year warranty on an Apple product. This MacBook will be my last computer purchase for the next three years. Wow. That’s scary.

I’m getting married this year; commitment is a big deal for me this year ūüôā

Silly Goose!

It’s been an interesting couple of months ūüôā

The first version of the project I was working on in the Gates Foundation was released a couple months ago.¬† The feedback so far is almost universal disapproval.¬† It’s humorous that this response is better than what I expected.

  • The problems that have been identified are fixable
  • The conversations to improve the¬†system have finally taken off
  • Leadership has stayed committed to the goals that were defined

I may have skipped out on an MBA for this opportunity, but there are no classes in the world that could have given me a better business education.  What an incredible experience!

I’m adopting a kitten.¬† My girlfriend and I named him “Silly Goose” months ago and now we finally have him in our hands.¬† Well… I will have him in my hands soon.¬† Megan is on a two month stint as a nurse with Project HOPE in South America.¬† Silly Goose and I are looking forward to welcoming her home.

In my short time as a pseudo-bachelor, I’ve run through an amazing assortment of gadgets:

  • Sold my 17″ Macbook Pro and got an HP 2140 – I love Apple and its eBay resale value.¬† Surprisingly, I sold the Macbook Pro for $50 more than what I purchased it for six months ago.¬† The tiny HP 2140 netbook¬†has proven itself to be a ridiculously cheap and effective replacement.
  • Bought and sold a Viliv S5 – I worked with a tiny OQO machine for over an year and loved it.¬† However, computers that small are not really¬†for productivity.¬† The company is now out of business.¬† I purchased a Viliv S5¬†from Hong Kong to see what the buzz¬†was about and sold it one day later.¬† I¬†couldn’t justify¬†keeping it.
  • Bought a¬†Slacker G2¬†Radio – I’m very impressed with the Slacker Radio Service.¬† I don’t like purchasing music and I no longer have a regular radio.¬†¬†Slacker provides customized music stations and artist discovery for a very reasonable¬†price. You either hate or love the music it plays and it customizes the playlist accordingly.
  • Purchased a Advanced Frames Inflatable¬†kayak – I¬†knew I wanted a kayak but I never thought I would get an inflatable.¬† The Advanced Frames kayak weighs as much as a regular kayak but is infinitely more portable.¬† I take¬†it down to a launching point on Lake Union and¬†inflate it.¬† This is a purchase you can’t¬†justify¬†by dividing the cost of a kayak by the number of weekend kayak rental¬†trips.¬†¬†I simply kayak¬†much more often because I own one.
  • Bought a Kindle 2 eBook Reader – Another purchase that can’t be justified by simple math.¬† With an eBook reader, I just read a lot more books than I would than at a library or through a brick and mortar book store.¬† It’s wonderful!

There are a ton of cool gadgets coming out soon.¬† I’m sure I’ll be checking a few of them out.

  • Palm Pre – I predict that Palm will resurrect itself with this awesome phone and finally give the iPhone some competition.¬† I don’t I’ll get it because I’m not interested in a two year contract with Sprint
  • New Generation Apple Devices – I know a new iPhone is coming.¬† What else could Apple pull out this year?¬† What else will I initially dismiss but eventually buy?
  • Larger Kindle DX – Finally, a full page eBook reader that I can print my work documents to.¬† Who needs a 6″ screen when you can have 9.7″?
  • Nokia N97 – Unfortunately, I’ve pre-ordered this device despite knowing it won’t be a good fit.¬† For $200 off the retail price plus a bluetooth headset, I’m sure it will eBay well.

I’ve also caught up on a ridiculous number of TV Shows:

  • First Season of Fringe – This looks like a cross between the X-Files and Alias.¬† Its one of the best new shows I’ve seen in a while.¬† With all the good shows ending over the past couple of years – the Wire, Shield, Heroes (I like to pretend that ended after the first season), Sarah Conner Chronicles, Battlestar Galactica¬†– it’s nice to have a new show to enjoy.
  • Seventh Season of 24 – Almost too predictable after 7 seasons.¬† It’s still fun to watch, but its novelty is gone.¬† Jack Bauer needs to retire.
  • Dollhouse – It’s been renewed for another season, but I’m not sure if I like this show yet.¬† I’ll give it time.
  • Season 5 of Lost – This is definitely my favorite show of all time.¬† The season finale was another game changer.¬† It’s too bad that there is only one season left.

I’ve had visits from my friends in other states and countries, and I’ve taken a few trips on my own.¬† Life is good.¬† I will be launching another workoutrageous competition.¬† I’m looking into twitter integration…

eTrade Account minus PS3 = $4.32 and some Wisdom

There are times when I think my life is a sitcom… not a sitcom that appeals to the masses like a Seinfeld or the Simpsons, but a comedy like Arrested Development – a critically appraised hit that never strikes it big and gets cancelled after four good seasons on Fox.

Right now, my life’s worth (in liquid assets) is $4.32. ¬†I have an iPhone with a partially broken touch screen. ¬†It’s good enough to play my music, but I can’t seem to dial any phone numbers that use 1,2,3,4,5, or 6. ¬†I’ve “borrowed” a roll of toilet paper from the workplace. ¬†I badly need a haircut, and some detergent would make my day. ¬†Despite all of this and a lack of decent sleep, I’m feeling pretty cheerful. ¬†How did I get here, and why do I think someone is laughing at me? ¬†How I can prevent myself from being one of the smartest people ever to win a Darwin Award?

I am uniquely talented human being. ¬†I have a rare gift that combines a startling lack of common sense, strange luck, and bizarre assumptions. ¬†Give me a challenge and I will surprise you, but give me something “easy” and you’ll wonder how I make it through the day. ¬†There’s a reason why I never tie my shoelaces in public ūüôā ¬†Why did velcro never catch on?

Lesson of the day: when you use a virtual bank like eTrade, you’ll be fine 9 times out of 10. ¬†On that rare occasion where you get a paper check instead of a direct deposit for your first pay period at a new job, you’ll wish you had a brick and mortar bank to go to. ¬†Especially when it’s Thursday July 3rd and the next business day isn’t until Monday. ¬†Especially when you’ve just purchased a Playstation 3 (on sale) that’s left you with exactly $4.32 in your account. ¬†I don’t even have a TV.

My iPhone? My favorite gadget of all time has never let me down until now. ¬†I’ve bashed it against tables to demonstrate its durability. ¬†I’ve successfully used it as a weapon against a mugger in Melbourne. ¬†It’s even survived a round in a washer/dryer combo. ¬†And now my baby is broken… not the broken that makes you want to replace it with something new, but the partial kind that makes you think it’ll be fine after a few days of rehab. ¬†Physically, it looks as good as new, but every time I press my finger on the alarm clock button (that woke me up every morning to Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal) to no avail, I realize that things will never be the same again. ¬†

It’s been a long week, and I’m looking forward to the fireworks of this weekend. ¬†July 4th rocks! ¬†The weather in Seattle is sensational and I’ve been out running and kayaking. ¬†Workoutrageous starts next week and I just gotten a new gym membership. ¬†Currently, there are 14 quality people signed up. ¬†It will be a spectacular competition!

Workoutrageous Unleashed upon Unsuspecting Public!

Workoutrageous Title Image

I can’t believe it! I’ve actually completed a personal project! It’s been in Beta for so long… 99% complete for almost forever. Now it’s going to get it’s first big test!

I built most of workoutrageous by handcoding. What I thought would be incredibly difficult took me 20% of my time. The other 90% was spent working on bugs with the integration of Phorum, a great open source forum software package. That adds up to 110%… and that’s how much I feel I gave this little gem.

The 90% problem was my fault though. Once again, I suffered from hubris after my brilliant 20% and did not look for free developer help on the Phorum forum. When I finally did, I got the response to my questions within 30-40 minutes. God bless you Maurice Makaay!

eBay Rule Changes: Screwing the Seller

So, I’m selling a few items on eBay this week, and I remember that eBay implemented a few changes this month. The one that affects me the most is the fact that I can no longer give negative feedback to buyers. You live and die by your feedback on eBay.

I’m not going to lie to you. eBay has long been seller-friendly. Most sellers would not provide positive feedback unless the buyer did the same thing. In the good old days, the seller would provide feedback immediately after a person paid for their item. However, this became stupid when eBay went mainstream. There were far too many idiot buyers who would complain about inane problems with their items and retaliate with negative feedback. The system evolved and people only provided mutually negative or positive feedback after they discussed their issues. Sellers would not provide positive feedback unless the buyer had done the same.

Starting this month, sellers can no longer provide negative feedback to buyers. Moreover, only the last twelve months of feedback are counted in your rating. Suddenly, the sellers are screwed. I’ve got 200 positive transactions on eBay and no negatives. However, this does not mean that I wasn’t threatened by a number of douchebags who wanted to slander me. Without the threat of negative feedback, buyers can walk all over sellers. Our feedback is no longer sacred.

I wonder why they are trying to break a working system? My only assumption is that they found a new criteria to indicate that there was a problem. I think the criteria is the buyer growth of eBay. eBay is a healthy community when everyone has positive feedback, but negative feedback would destroy a new buyer. While sellers are an important part of the eBay community, the buyers are what drives growth. . After all, if sellers feel screwed, where else can they go to sell? eBay is a monopoly. There’s no doubt that I could get a higher price on my goods there than anywhere else.

If only a site like craigslist would implement an auction/feedback system. I suddenly feel very afraid for my perfect feedback rating on eBay and I shouldn’t ūüôĀ