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

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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 . . .

Let me start out by saying I am a huge fan of Google’s Gmail service. It provides a ton of storage for free, and it doesn’t have nearly as many restrictions on attachment sizes as the other free email services. I also really like how they have integrated Google Talk into Gmail so I have a record of all of my electronic communications in one place.

One thing that really bothers me, though, is that Gmail does not fully support the Safari browser on the Macintosh. There is no rich text email or Google Talk integration in Safari. What can possibly be so different about Safari that Gmail cannot fully support the browser? It works on Internet Explorer 6, which is really a piece of junk. It works on Firefox on both Windows and Macintosh. Why not Safari?

I’m sure at this point, you might be thinking why doesn’t this dude just use Firefox on the Mac? Well, I do from time to time, but I prefer Safari not only because it is faster but also because of the RSS functionality.

I guess the whole point of my rant is that I want my favorite email service to work on my favorite browser. Is that too much to ask?

Google, get to work!

Well, the talk is heating up again for Apple’s all but certain entry into the mobile phone market.

ThinkSecret reported today that Apple has once again hooked up with Cingular to help them launch the iPhone. While this is great for me and millions of other Cingular customers, my hope is that Apple doesn’t tie themselves down to one service provider for too long. There are just too many potential Apple customers that use the other major cellular providers to ignore them for long, and I don’t really see people switching providers just to get a new fancy phone. It costs too much in fees and penalties to do that.

Of course, because it’s an Apple product, maybe it will be sweet and cool enough to cause a revolution in cellular phones just as the iPod has changed the digital music market for the better.