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Business Evolutionist





Updated: 2009-01-15T05:56:17-05:00

 



Korg nanoKey - Review

2009-09-04T07:15:36-04:00

There are a bunch of reviews of this, and I'd say that most of the ones I read were fairly accurate. 1.) It does, in some ways, feel like a "toy" 2.) The layout of the keys takes some getting used to 3.) It is the perfect size to sit in fron of a Mac Book Pro 4.) It is just cool as crap... and fun! Anyway, enough words... here is quick little snippet I...
There are a bunch of reviews of this, and I'd say that most of the ones I read were fairly accurate.

1.) It does, in some ways, feel like a "toy"
2.) The layout of the keys takes some getting used to
3.) It is the perfect size to sit in fron of a Mac Book Pro
4.) It is just cool as crap... and fun!


Anyway, enough words... here is quick little snippet I did in Garageband:
(embed)

The drums & pad are just loops that I had. I played the little Synth Bass and Synth Lead lines on the nanoKey with stock instruments in Garageband.

All in all I'm digging it, and worth the money for what I do. I just wish I had more time to play with it (work comes first)!!!



Constructive negativity

2008-12-31T09:18:24-05:00

I tend to be overly positive when discussing new ideas, my take is that when you are discussing change, you should always start from a position of anything is possible. It's true that you don't always get to do everything perfectly or as you'd like, however, why constrain something at the outset? I do think about the details and challenges and get that some things aren't possible or there will be cultural or technical challenges...



If only it had... some implicit personalization

2009-09-04T07:15:59-04:00

There are two types of personalization: 1.) Explicit - a person sets some preference or takes some action to make the system more useful to them. 2.) Implicit - the "system" makes some inferences about the person using it based on usage / behavior. I was thinking about this last night when we got home and turned on the TV, there are probably only a handful of channels or even shows that my wife and...



HTML Emails

2009-09-04T07:16:25-04:00

Both of the mail clients I use, Outlook at work and Gmail for personal, strip images out of HTML email... I think most mail clients are doing this now. So, why do people continue to send HTML emails that depend on images? I got this today from a vendor that I've given permission to email me: There was no text in the email, just links to pictures. In todays world of limited attention, why assume...



George Carlin's last interview...

2009-09-04T07:17:05-04:00

My friend Jeremy sent me this link: George Carlin's Last Interview. The guy was a genius. h/t to Jeremy.



Borders Books online

2009-09-04T07:17:18-04:00

I typically buy my books from Amazon... way too many of them, but I digress. During a discussion the other day, the subject of Python (the programming language) came up and since I don't know Python I thought I'd see what I could find to learn more about it. I searched online and found a few good sources, however, I tend to learn best from books. I went to Amazon and found a couple of...



My Muxtape

2009-09-04T07:17:28-04:00

I'm still here... just been busy. Here is some music for you... to apologize for the long absence: my muxtape I did create a twitter account and have been posting to that....



I'm hiring!

2007-12-13T05:40:02-05:00

I've got 3 openings on my team - a full-time Java Developer and two intern positions; one HTML person and one Java person. Details on the full time Java developer position, which can be filled at any one of three levels, is located here. The Java Developer Intern position details can be found here. The Web Developer Intern position details can be found here. No relocation assistance is available for any of these jobs (location...

I've got 3 openings on my team - a full-time Java Developer and two intern positions; one HTML person and one Java person.

Details on the full time Java developer position, which can be filled at any one of three levels, is located here.

The Java Developer Intern position details can be found here.

The Web Developer Intern position details can be found here.

No relocation assistance is available for any of these jobs (location is Central Pennsylvania, Harrisburg area) and the intern candidates must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate program.

Let me know if you have any questions (jstrande [at] gmail dot com)




Keeping Attention

2007-08-13T06:06:26-04:00

Part of my post the other day, What should WSJ.com do?, included a little snippet about advertisements potentially distracting from the readability of the Wall St. Journal online. I understand that companies need to make money, but it never ceases to amaze me how prominently some major sites feature advertisements within their pages. We use to have the "banner ad", which we all learned to ignore, so it makes sense that ads drifted down into...

Part of my post the other day, What should WSJ.com do?, included a little snippet about advertisements potentially distracting from the readability of the Wall St. Journal online.

I understand that companies need to make money, but it never ceases to amaze me how prominently some major sites feature advertisements within their pages. We use to have the "banner ad", which we all learned to ignore, so it makes sense that ads drifted down into the content - attempting to grab our attention as we're trying to focus on the content of the page.

The worst offense, however, is that some sites are still sing popup ads - those pesky small new browser windows that open up in front of the page you're trying to look at - even though almost any Usability expert you speak to would tell you how bad they are.

Modern browsers now have popup blockers, which automatically stop the popup ads from appearing. When the browser blocks a popup, the browser reveals a small banner at the top of the content of the page, offering you some options (in case you want to view the popup). The browsers use a subtle animation to reveal the popup blocker, ensuring that you see that some action was taken on your behalf and to undo the action if you so choose.

The subtle animation that browsers use is an example of great design - IMHO - the details (controls) reveal themselves only when appropriate, and, even though the animation is distracting, it accomplishes the goal in that few people will miss it.

My question is, why do sites still use popup ads?

Here are two major sites, CNN and The Weather Channel, respectively, with the popup blocker control revealed:

(image)

(image)

There are two crappy things about this:

1.) The popup blocker being revealed is distracting

2.) I have to take an action to get rid of it (well, I don't have to get rid of it, but having it in the page pushes content down, requiring more scrolling).

Knowing that most people have popup blockers, and that the both popups and blockers are distracting, why do sites still use popups??




Running Towards Pleasure

2007-08-12T09:17:20-04:00

Three years ago found yours truly job hunting. I landed a really cool position very quickly as a business analyst for a global electronic components manufacturer (Tyco Electronics). That position quickly led to a great opportunity to work on the company web site (and eventually the position of Usability Team Leader). I had been working on web stuff for most of my career, so it was a logical move. I loved the work I was...

Three years ago found yours truly job hunting. I landed a really cool position very quickly as a business analyst for a global electronic components manufacturer (Tyco Electronics). That position quickly led to a great opportunity to work on the company web site (and eventually the position of Usability Team Leader). I had been working on web stuff for most of my career, so it was a logical move.

I loved the work I was doing, very much.

The environment on the other hand, was, at times, difficult...

On more than one occasion I said to my wife that I never seem to come home from work in the same good mood that I have when I'm going in - life is too short and we spend too much of it at work to be in a place that you don't love. There are things that I've done that I feel have improved the place, including building some "great mojo" (as my boss called it) for the Usability Team.

So, I was very excited when I got a call about a month or so ago from a former boss at a large, well-known, consumer packaged goods company - he had just gotten some additional head count, 4 new positions to be exact, one that I would be perfect for. So we met for coffee one morning and he shared his thoughts on this job he was creating and asked if I'd be interested. I was.

I went through the interview process back on July 17th and about a week later I was offered and accepted the job.

Despite the fact that I was less than happy with certain aspects of my current job, going back to this previous employer is all about running towards pleasure. I only worked at the company for two years, before leaving to work at a startup, but I'm super excited to go back. Interestingly, I've been back as a consultant with the company 3 times since I've left, so I've kept great relationships with most of my former coworkers.

My new job is Project Manager for Web Applications, basically running the web projects for both internal and external applications - I was a developer in the group when I left the company back in 2001. One of the really exciting aspects of this opportunity is that the company is looking for ways to improve innovation & collaboration throughout the enterprise, and I'll get to play a role in how that is accomplished.

There are a number of people that I'll miss from Tyco Electronics, especially Teresa (her personal site) and Jeremy (his personal site)... they're both extremely talented and the three of us just clicked, we really did have great mojo. Another person I'll miss is Bob, my boss. He brought an incredible mix of caring, discipline, and innovation to the table.

I start my new job tomorrow, but have already begun to dive into a couple of the projects the team is working on... so, time to get back to work. I want to hit the ground running.




What should WSJ.com do?

2007-08-11T06:37:01-04:00

Two of my favorite bloggers recently offered up compelling, and opposing, views on what the Wall St. Journal should do with its website. First up, Fred over at A VC, wrote: Rupert Murdoch should make the WSJ as free to use online as Google is. And he should do that the first day he owns the paper. Why isn't the WSJ the force in the online world that is it in the offline world? Easy,...



The truly desirable electric car

2007-08-10T10:32:08-04:00

I first read about the car a year ago, in Wired. A fast, battery-powered, sports car, that looked like a sports car. (check out a video from Sundance Channel - click view more, then Drive 4) Let's face it, most of us buy cars (and almost everything else) for truly emotional reasons. There probably isn't a guy alive who wouldn't love to drive one of these - including yours truly. As cool as this, the...

(image)

I first read about the car a year ago, in Wired. A fast, battery-powered, sports car, that looked like a sports car. (check out a video from Sundance Channel - click view more, then Drive 4)

Let's face it, most of us buy cars (and almost everything else) for truly emotional reasons. There probably isn't a guy alive who wouldn't love to drive one of these - including yours truly.

As cool as this, the idea behind it is incredibly simple: cool car body + rechargeable batteries = a year long waiting list that you have to pay at least $30,000 to get on.

More proof that there are very few new ideas, just curious people who add 1 + 1 and come up with more than 2... (you've got your chocolate in peanut butter... )

My questions are:

With all the trouble the Big 3 US automakers are having, why didn't they come up with something like this? GM did, but then abandoned it.... sadly. It didn't look like the Tesla, but still...

With gas over $3 a gallon, why isn't the government doing more to subsidize development of things like this?




Pete Yorn was great!

2007-07-25T06:14:04-04:00

I went to see Pete Yorn at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster, PA. last night - the show was great! He did many of my favorite songs, including 'Life on a Chain', 'Strange Condition', 'Crystal Village' and even played a great Smiths cover during the encore: 'There is a light that never goes out'. I spent the whole day listening to Pete Yorn yesterday, getting ready for the show. His first CD - musicforthemorningafter -...

(image)

I went to see Pete Yorn at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster, PA. last night - the show was great!

He did many of my favorite songs, including 'Life on a Chain', 'Strange Condition', 'Crystal Village' and even played a great Smiths cover during the encore: 'There is a light that never goes out'.

I spent the whole day listening to Pete Yorn yesterday, getting ready for the show. His first CD - musicforthemorningafter - is still my favorite. Even better is the musicforthemorningafter with Bonus CD featuring 5 cover songs!

If you'd like to hear what he sounds like live, check out the double CD: Live From New Jersey.

Again, great show! I highly suggest seeing him if you get a chance!




What are you listening to??

2007-07-24T14:55:10-04:00

My friend Chris sent me an email this morning: I need some new songs. Any recommendations? Here are five that I put on my latest mix cd. Can you recommend five of your favorites? Cat Empire – Sly Damien Rice – 9 Crimes Pete Yorn – Life on a Chain Tori Amos – Big Wheel Polyphonic Spree – light and day My reply: Hmmm... 5 current faves... lets see... Travis - Selfish Jean Phoenix -...

My friend Chris sent me an email this morning:

I need some new songs. Any recommendations? Here are five that I put on my latest mix cd. Can you recommend five of your favorites?

Cat Empire – Sly
Damien Rice – 9 Crimes
Pete Yorn – Life on a Chain
Tori Amos – Big Wheel
Polyphonic Spree – light and day

My reply:


Hmmm... 5 current faves... lets see...

Travis - Selfish Jean
Phoenix - Too Young
Wilco - ELT
The Doves - Almost Forgot Myself
Editors - All Sparks

So, how about you? What are 5 of your favorite songs right now??




Do Not Reply

2007-07-18T06:00:27-04:00

One of my biggest email pet peeves is when companies send email from a "DoNotReply@SomeStupidCompany.com" email address. Sometimes they even repeat the warning near the top of the message: Please do not to reply to this email address. However, there is alawys some email address somewhere in the body of the message where you can direct questions or comments. Not only is this a pain for customers, it also hurts the company sending the message....