The Biggest Lego Set Ever Made Does Point Five Past Lightspeed

Okay, I was a Lego super freak when I was a kid. I’d fill my entire room with buildings, cars, and trucks. My brother, Jeff, and I had a pretty cool deal where I would do the building, and he would do the playing. It worked out pretty well because he didn’t want to build, and I didn’t want to play.

Anyway, I saw the coolest thing ever on Digg tonight. Lego is making and selling a 5,000 piece Millennium Falcon set. How sweet would it be to walk into a room and see a three foot Millennium Falcon hanging from the ceiling? All I have to do now is figure out how in the world I’m going to get my hands on one of these things.

read more | digg story

Obama ’08

Unless you’ve been buried under a rock since the 2004 Democratic National Convention, you have known that this day was inevitable. Today, from Springfield, Illinois, Barack Obama will announce his campaign to become the President of the United States. I have not been this excited about a candidate since Bill Clinton in 1992. Obama evokes a feeling of hope and optimism for which I have been desparately searching.

Obama for America launched BarackObama.com earlier this morning, and I am very impressed by the website. There is an excellent section of the site called My.BarackObama.com that allows individuals and groups to meet and discuss the campaign. The 2004 campaign utilized the Internet more than ever before, and the 2008 campaign will be the first to be lost or won on the Internet. Today is the beginning, and I can’t wait to see how it all ends.

School District Dropping Macs for More “Appropriate Technology”

I stumbled upon a story on Digg about an IT director for a suburban Chicago school district wanting to get rid of Macs because they’re not used in the “real world.” He wants to replace them with more “appropriate technology” from Microsoft. This guy clearly has not been keeping up with what is going on in the world. Surely he must know that those new Macs that his district just purchased this year can most likely run Windows if they need to. The article is not clear about what kind of computers were purchased, however. Being a daily user of both systems, I prefer my Mac. I also have enough sense to know that I need to know Windows to function in the corporate world. Using a Mac in school provides “appropriate” training to use either Mac OS or Windows. The systems are similar in so many ways that it really doesn’t matter what computer a student uses. Besides, corporate users don’t know Windows. They know Office, and Office is available for both Windows and Mac OS. In fact, the Mac version of Office is easier to use and better designed than the Windows version. The Mac Business Unit over at Microsoft is doing a great job making Office more Mac-like.

Anyway, my point here is that Macs are just fine for school or business or any other activity, and anyone who thinks otherwise has not done enough research or testing to know better. Judging by the number of Diggs this story has already, this guy is going to hear what people think of his grand plan.

read more | digg story

What In The World Happened To Me?

Hello everyone! Well, it’s been over a month since my last post, and boy, has it ever been a crazy month. Some time ago, my wife and I decided that it was best for our family to move back to the Midwest so we could afford to buy a house and settle down so our kids could remember where they grew up. So, over the last couple months, we have been insanely busy with the planning of a cross country move. The first major hurdle was making sure I had a good job in our new location. My company really came through for me and allowed me to work from home in the Midwest. I really can’t tell you how excited I am to have this opportunity.

With everything settled with my job, it was time to find a house. My wife is really incredible. She contacted a mortgage broker who had worked with some friends of ours and had us pre-approved for a mortgage in no time. We then decided it would be best if she went on the house hunting trip, and I would stay at home with the kids. She really was the best person for the job. She’s very organized and focused and did a great job over a long weekend to find the perfect house. She came back with a camera full of pictures, and by the end of the next week, we had an accepted offer on the house we wanted.

Now, you would think all of these things going on at once would be enough to drive a person mad, but the story’s not over yet. We were in a long term lease in the house we were renting and had to find a new tenant so we could get our of the lease. One night, we were just about to cook dinner, and we got a phone call from a family that was parked outside the house wanting to come in for a tour. We almost said no, but luckily we let them come into the house. They were a very nice family and really a perfect fit for the house. The next day, they spoke with the owner of the house and decided to rent it. The craziest thing was their time frame was the same as ours. The situation could not have been better.

With my job, a mortgage, a house, and our lease worked out, it was time to figure out how in the world we would get all of our things back to the Midwest. We had moved locally at the beginning of the year, and we knew how difficult it would be to pack, load, and transport all of our belongings, cars, and kids almost 2000 miles. We decided to hire a moving company, and it turned out to be a good decision. It was hard enough just getting the four of us to our new house. I can’t imagine what would have happened if we had to drive a huge truck as well. We all made it to our new home safe and sound, and most of household goods made it here in one piece. My buddy, Scott, was kind enough to let us keep our other car at his place until my parents got there last week for vacation. They’re going to drive back in a couple weeks, and then we’ll really have all of our things here.

So, that’s what my family and I have been up to since my last post. As usual, my wife is doing a wonderful job making our house a home once again. My daughter is meeting new friends and getting used to her new school, and my son’s getting used to wearing pants, socks, and shoes. It’s weird to think that he wore shorts and sandals most of his life until last month.

There have been many things going on in the world that I want to write about so check back soon for new posts. It’s good to be back!

How D’ya Like Dem Apples?

Apple Computer had a great day on Wall Street today due to incredible 4th quarter financial results as well as some very exciting news about Mac market share. Apple posted a healthy $546 million profit for the quarter beating estimates by a substantial margin. Separately, Gartner announced that Apple accounted for 6.1% of the PCs shipped in the 3rd quarter of 2006. That’s a 31% increase year over year. These two announcements sent shares of Apple soaring about 6%. After hearing all of the doom and gloom stories back in the ’90s, it sure feels good to see Apple doing so well. I can’t wait to see what happens after the holiday season.

The Lazy Revolution Is Back!

After a two-month hiatus, the Lazy Revolution is back with more wit and wisdom and pokes and prods towards the conservatives of the world. The latest rant takes on the annoying political email forwards we’ve all seen over the last few years. It also has a great picture of TB’s dog driving him home after a night of drunken debauchery. Check out the site when you have a chance. It’s entertaining to say the least.

Happy Birthday iPod!

The iPod and I have always shared a special relationship. We share the same birthday, October 23rd. It’s also Johnny Carson’s birthday, but that’s another story.

Anyway, I ran out and bought the first version of the iPod as soon as it came out back in 2001 because I knew it was something special (I also needed a new MP3 player). I kept asking myself, why in the world did Steve Jobs decide to call this thing iPod? Now five years later, we’re starting to see the reasons: music, video, pictures, audio books, podcasts, contacts, notes, calendar, etc.

I remember people having such a skeptical reaction to the iPod. The Windose disciples at my office shrugged it off just because it was an Apple product although every one of them said it looked and felt great. Most, if not all of them, now have iPods. People on the train would look at me listening to this little white thing and ask me what it was. Being a good little Apple evangelist, I would promptly let them feel and listen to my iPod hoping they would run out and buy one too. Slowly but surely, iPods started popping up all over the train. At first, I would count the number of people that had one (yes, I am a huge geek). After a while, I would count the people that didn’t have one. That is when I knew the iPod had changed the world.

With all of the hubbub surrounding the iPod’s fifth birthday, Newsweek posted a nice Q&A on their website with Steve Jobs that’s worth reading.

Happy Birthday iPod! May you continue to change the world for many years to come.

Google Docs & Spreadsheets

I’ve been checking out Google’s Writely word processor program for a while now, and they have recently consolidated their spreadsheet and word processor programs into Google Docs & Spreadsheets. I have to say that these web applications are very impressive. I especially like the collaboration aspect of both programs. In fact, I am using Google Docs to write this post. Being a long time MS Word programmer, I hope Google opens Google Docs & Spreadsheets so they can be automated using corporate and personal data. Now that would be pretty sweet.

How Things Should Work . . . At Work 1

This is the first in a series of posts about how I think things should work at work.

In the ten years since I completed my undergraduate degree, I have worked for companies of all shapes and sizes. One thing that seems to be consistent between all of those companies is that managers at all levels have a lot of work to do in the area of communication. Communicating with employees is an immensely important part of management, and when it is not done properly or not done at all; employees become disgruntled and less productive.

Passing along bad news is never easy, and this is most likely a leading reason why managers (and companies in general) seem to have such poor communication skills. Unfortunately, it is most important to deliver the bad news as quickly as possible to avoid rumors spreading like wildfire. Employees respect managers that are upfront and honest and will do whatever it takes to help those managers get the job done. Employees that feel they do not have the whole story and do not trust their managers will not work up to their potential, and the company will suffer as a consequence.

So, I guess my whole point is that managers should keep their employees informed to the best of their abilities. If there is bad news, then give the employees the bad news and tell them what needs to get done to correct the problem. If there is good news, then celebrate it with the employees. If someone gets promoted or changes teams, make sure all of the employee’s coworkers know about it.

Communicate!

There Is Hope

In a recent blog post, I commented on how Gmail is not fully supported on the Safari web browser on the Macintosh. Well, there may be hope after all. It looks like Google has formed a Macintosh team. This is great news for the millions of Mac users around the world. Google makes some great desktop and web based solutions, and I am excited that the Mac is getting the attention it deserves from the company. Now, if they could only fix that Gmail mail thing . . .