I don’t normally post a lot of tech advice here. People ask me for it sometimes, and I give it because they ask. I’m stepping outside of that pattern to say that you should avoid Windows 8. It is to user interfaces what being kicked in the face is to life experiences. In case you didn’t major in analogy in school I’ll put it like this: using windows 8 will be painful, unfamiliar, and they have moved all of your cheeses.
Windows 7 was awesome. I upgraded to it the day it was released on all 4 of my family’s computers. It was that good. Windows 8 is a major let down with lots of potential confusion. Windows 8.5 may be better. They may release Windows 8.1 (remembers Windows 3.1?) that fixes some of the major issues Windows 8 has. But for now, stay away from it.
Reasons for this, you ask? 1) The move to a semi-tablet focused interface means that a lot of things you know about Windows are gone by default. There is no small, easy to navigate start menu. 2) The start button is gone if you switch to desktop mode. If you press the Windows key on your keyboard you’ll be faced with the tablet application picker (AKA: Windows Metro). 3) They’re copying Apple and creating a Windows store just like iTunes and the App Store. This will mean that over time Microsoft will limit what developers can publish and will censor material based on their corporate needs and drive. This is unacceptable.
If you make change for change’s sake, you’re just annoying users who have become accustomed to a pattern. If you benefit the user with these changes, then there’s a trade off that hopefully most people will see the value in. This is not that positive change, this is just making change to pretend you’re innovating to ‘lead the market’. Bad move, Microsoft, bad move.
<done ranting, sorry>
I’ve heard from some folks lately that voting third party is a lost vote or a vote for ‘the other guy’. Let’s think about how that plays out. If I talk to a democrat and I say I’m voting third party they say, “That’s a vote for Romney.” If I talk to a republican and I say I’m voting third party they say, “That’s a vote for Obama.” So really I’m voting for both candidates when I cast a third party vote based on this logic. I’m kind of OK with that since a ‘split my vote between these two people’ option doesn’t exist on the ballot.
Or, there’s the other position: a vote for a person that represents (most closely) your views is a vote for that position, even if it carries little to no electoral weight. In other words the larger two major parties will see over time that their platform does not represent the third party position and may come around, over time, to represent other ideals.
Vote third party this next election – or at least split your vote between the lesser of two weevils.
That title is pretty straight forward and is sure to draw fire (no pun intended) from various folks, but let’s be frank: you can’t jump into an argument about gun control (or the second amendment) unless you recognize that rights come with responsibilities. If you’re not going to carefully, thoughtfully, deliberately execute your rights with responsibility, then you don’t get to keep the right. Let me explain:
You have the right to drive a car in the United States starting at about 16 years of age all the way until (depending on the state) they take that license, and right, away from you. You could lose the right for getting DUI’s too many times (I’m all for 1, but let’s say 3 is a safe number to let drunk driving happen on accident the first two times). You can lose the right because you’re too old and you’re dangerous to other drivers. You can lose the right if you speed excessively. In other words, you have the right, but you can lose it if you don’t take responsibility.
I want US citizens to be able to have various weapons for various sorts of safety, target shooting, hunting and of course looking like Chuck Norris:
But after we get over looking like Chuck Norris if you’re not a safe, responsible, rights-aware citizen, then you probably shouldn’t be having a gun. You probably lost that right. As a civilization I’m actually for more citizens having guns. But with training. I really do think every healthy US citizen should be required to go through 2 years in the military and serve the country. I didn’t do this. i was chicken. But I also think that even if you’re cleaning latrines you should know how to handle a weapon, deal with intense situations, and generally be aware. Not that I’m obsessed with war, but that I’m concerned that rights like gun ownership need training, and making it mandatory (like drivers ed) except for those who are really, really fringe, makes more sense than removing the rights.
Now: let the flaming begin!
If you want to drive me bonkers send me an email that is only a subject. It will make me crazy because most of these emails come in like an awkward text message, but instead of using the body of the message to tell me more information I get nothing. Blankness is not boldness in this case. Send me an email with a subject that means something (hopefully within the vein of content that your message body contains) and then a message body that contains full, complete, clear thoughts. I even prefer paragraphs rather than a stream of consciousness email that is about 6 topics, but has no way for them to be found due to a lack of break in contents.
Yeah, if you send me emails with just subjects I’ll be bothered. I won’t tell you, but I will tell the Internet.
I’ve been reading a lot lately. Below is the list of books I’ve read since October, almost all of them have been 4 or 5 out of 5 stars.
The Power of Who [5/5] – a great book on the importance of relationships and their use in our growth and achievements as people. There are people in your life that are willing to help you, are you asking them? Are you settling for “what else” or are you striving for “what’s more”?
EntreLeadership [5/5] – Dave Ramsey has been known for his personal finance book, “The Total Money Makeover”, but this book on leadership in small-to-medium business is a must read. Lots of insights into people, planning, and developing a winning culture.
How the Mighty Fall [5/5] – What if you could avoid leading a company into disaster? What if you were able to turn a company headed for disaster around? This book has a lot of good material in it and it may be just the awakening that some company leaders need. Once they read that one, they should read “Great By Choice.”
Great By Choice [5/5] - This great book on what makes companies stand out in a crowd should be read by anyone in the business world looking to evaluate their own company’s success or failure. The illustrations help make the points in this book and engaging research ties into incredible value for anyone who is looking for direction on how to improve their company and their company’s leadership direction.
Kanban [4/5] – This book is about starting up a “Kanban” or LEAN implementation in a software development environment. There’s a lot of good material in here, but some of it went on a bit long for me [thus the 4 out of 5 stars]. However, despite needing to be a bit shorter in a few places this book is a must read for anyone looking to bring transparency to their software development projects in a team environment.
I’m also working on Lean Startup and Passionate Performance. Reports on those are to come!
Remember: if you don’t let people serve you, you’re short changing them.
If you’re not serving people, you’re short changing them.
I’ve had a lot on my mind lately, but one of those things is having a personal vision, having a vision for my family, as well as a vision in my job. The theme has come up over and over again since October when I talked to my friend Dave O’Hara who started the dominoes tipping. I’m not talking about simple goals like, “don’t worry, be happy,” but instead I’m referring to the massively grand vision. Let me explain a bit.
My grandfather, on my dad’s side, created multi-track recording equipment that is rumored to have been used by the Beatles because it was so innovative. He’s created special instruments for all sorts of technological needs. He’s an inventor (still, even in his 80′s). In his lifetime he’s done some pretty amazing things that outstrip most lives in stories and impact. He still has a 5 year plan that involves working on projects as well as ministry and evangelism.
My dad has so far turned around two businesses of two different kinds in ways that were unconventional, but really impacted lives by enabling employees and letting them know their ability to contribute to a grand vision. He saved hundreds if not thousands of jobs. He’s still impacting lives with an even grander vision as an elder at Holly HIlls Bible Church.
I write software for a living. I want to create the equivalent to “something the Beatles used,” or turning an entire company around. My vision for my life needs to be bigger, longer term, and most definitely grand. Personally I need to have areas I know I’m growing. As a husband and leader of a family my direction for my family needs vision so I can make better decisions about our stewardship of finances. As an employee I need to have a vision for the projects I’m given that is bigger than everyone else’s vision for the project because I want to exceed expectations.
Do you have a grand vision? Can you set goals and make plans without one? I would contend you cannot push out into deeper waters without a plan, but you can’t have a good plan without a better vision.
Of course vision requires context, but that’s probably better for another post.
I replaced the door between my garage and back yard today. It was much easier replacing that door compared to the door I had replaced between the house and the garage. Probably because I had the experience of the first to make the second one more direct. I don’t love door replacements as a whole, but I learned a few things. The one thing I wanted to point out which may save some time and money: Many new doors have adjustable/replaceable weather stripping so that if you need to pull the weather stripping out of the crack they’re tucked into just about 1/16th of an inch – you can. If you pull it out that much to create a better seal you’ll have better energy efficiency AND not have spent $15.00 or more on new weather stripping. Pretty cool [or warm, depending on the season].
I haven’t listened to Dave Ramsey in a while. Usually I find his dealing with certain issues legalistically to be a bit rough for me. However, my personal preference for grace aside, he’s got a message that I think is important for humans of the world: grow up. Be an adult. When people call him for financial advice he almost always tells them the same thing after hearing their situation: face it. Face the situation and be an adult. Don’t ignore it any more.
I hate this advice because it usually points out my own maturity problems, but it is what we need to be encouraged to do as humanz. If you’re having a problem in life it is possible it was thrust on you by someone else or out of your control. Doesn’t matter. Face it like an adult. You may be facing a financial or other hole where you’ve got to dig yourself out. Face it. Man up. Woman up. Don’t just ignore it until you’ve really, really screwed things up.
I listened to him a bit this last week via his podcast and I can say that if you’re going to talk about politics, religion, money, sex or any other taboo: don’t be afraid to face the root problem, and don’t be afraid to accept responsibility. You can’t deal with a problem until you’ve owned up to it and understand it. This counts for money, but pretty much the rest of life as well. Trying to do anything else but be an adult about it is just plain stupid. Dave says that, too. I don’t prefer it, but it’s probably true.
Livarot Cheese that is. It tasted like barnyard, all right.
It made the Tawny Porto taste like honey, which was interesting given the manure taste that the cheese left in my mouth by itself. I can’t recommend it, but it was an experience.