Thursday, 26 July 2007

Well here's news via Digital Media Thoughts that the cost of the HD-DVD player for the Xbox 360 is suddenly cheaper. I bought mine about a month ago. I don't suppose they'll grandfather me in? Probably not...

"Today at Comic-Con International 2007, Microsoft Corp. announced it will lower the price of the popular Xbox 360(TM) HD DVD Player from $199 to $179 ERP (United States only) starting Aug. 1, 2007, and will add five free HD DVD movies for anyone purchasing an Xbox 360 HD DVD Player between Aug. 1 and Sept. 30. In addition, Microsoft further solidified the Xbox 360 as the ultimate high-definition (HD) entertainment platform, with key announcements around the HD DVD launches of "300" from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group and "Heroes: Season 1" from Universal Studios."

This is a great deal, but let me give you even more incentive: most of the Xbox 360 HD DVD drives on store shelves also include the media remote, and King Kong on HD DVD. On top of that, through the Xbox Live Rewards program (which is free), you can get an additional 10% off at Circuit City. So to sum up: the drive, the remote, and six movies, for just $162. Hell of a deal!

Source: Digital Media Thoughts

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Thursday, 26 July 2007 12:30:57 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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CIO Magazine online has a great new article detailing the top ten thing you should never write in an email, as well as some other communication tips for business-types. It's decent advice and worth a read, for sure.

Here are the top-ten items (be sure to read the original story as well for the full meal deal):

Don’t Do That! 10 E-Mail No-Nos

1. Negative comments regarding your firm's executives. Too easy for someone else to forward accidentally.

2. Performance criticism. Seems more "official" than when spoken, causing people to worry too much.

3. Bonus or salary matters. Company plans may change.

4. Racial or gender slurs. Enough said.

5. Details relating to product liabilities. Court trail, anyone?

6. Lies about your company's rivals. Another ticket to legal trouble.

7. Office dish. If people want to spread their own news, let them.

8. Sloppy writing. Your image is at stake, even if you're hacking away on a BlackBerry.

9. Sarcastic humor. Without inflection or visual cues, it's risky.

10. Private matters. Don't e-mail details on any part of your life that you wouldn’t want to see in the newspaper.

Source: Dianna Booh

Been bit before? What else do you think should you never, ever put into an email?

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Management | Random Stuff | Things that Suck
Thursday, 26 July 2007 12:25:54 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Analogies and parables abound on the topics of life and business. One I have told a number of times over the years is the story about the two fire chiefs. Having worked in public safety it's one I can relate to. It's a paraphrase on other tales, and I have no real idea where it came from. Someone probably told it to me at some point long ago, probably to teach me a well-deserved lesson or two.

There are two kinds of fire chiefs.

The first stands on a hill surrounded by his lieutenants, captains, firefighters and others, overlooking the town his department is responsible for. Fires are popping up everywhere, and the chief orchestrates call after call to put out each fire, emphatically choreographing each move and lecturing to everyone about exactly what's going on and why. He is in control. What the townspeople don't notice or see are the captain, lieutenants and in some cases the chief himself running down the back side of the hill and into the town, occasionally tossing their lit cigarette butts into windows of cars and homes.

The second fire chief stands on the hill, watching for fires. They rarely pop up, but when they do his captains, lieutenants and firefighters follow their safe, practiced, professional training. They quickly and efficiently move to the fire scene, take care of business and then get back to the station to continue to stand watch. No one gets hurt, and the people who work at the department are happy in their profession.

Which chief do you think gets the public's attention, the recognition and the accolades? Which one would you trust with your life on the line? Which one would you trust with your job? How do you think each of these people got to be chief?

Talk is cheap, talk can be dangerous, and talk is not always about communicating. Agendas and drama often overshadow the real heroes in our world - those that lead from behind and instill a sense of worth, value and respect in the people they represent.

And therein lies the difference: As a manager, do your workers represent you, or do you represent them? Your answer carries important philosophical meaning, and coming to an honest conclusion might be difficult. Take time for introspection and you'll be a better person for it. But most importantly be honest with yourself, regardless of the answer. Without that, there is no way you can truly be honest with others. And without honesty there is nothing - Just a bunch of burned, smelly, water soaked buildings. But hey, at least the fire's out, right?

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Management | Random Stuff
Thursday, 26 July 2007 12:12:40 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Hanselborg Every now and then, despite the loss you feel and experience when someone leaves your place of work for something new, you get that true sense of "Wow!"

That's definitely the case this time around.

Scott Hanselman, with whom I have had the privilege to work for many years, has accepted a job at Microsoft where he will be diving into technology like never before - and that's really saying something. You may know his weblog and his podcast. Now he'll be inside Microsoft and as such delivering even more useful and thoughtful information and detail.

Congratulations, Scott. It's a big loss for the company to be sure, but a terrific gain for the broader community and a great opportunity for you. You're going to be awesome.

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Random Stuff | Tech
Tuesday, 24 July 2007 07:53:56 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, 16 July 2007

The other day John Batdorf, a sharp guy I work with, stopped me in the hallway and dropped me an email note (which he sent from his iPhone of course) regarding my recent comments about my 10-minute experience with the iPhone. He bought one on the first day and has a great write-up about his experience with the device on his blog.

Specifically, he wanted to get me to check out the on-screen keyboard and the fact that my experiences with key-misses are actually dealt with in software by the iPhone.

Just thought I would mention how great the keyboard really is. Even
when you miss the correct key while typing a word the phone does an
excellent job figuring out the correct word.

I probably missed ten to twenty words above and the phone got them all
right. This entire email took me about one minute to type.


Sent from my iPhone

John Batdorf
I'm glad John caught me, handed over his iPhone for a few minutes, and let me have another go at the on-screen keyboard. Sure enough, for the most part if I hit an adjoining key while typing characters, the device was able to figure out what I'd screwed up and correct it for me. Not too shabby.
So, I stand corrected. The keyboard's quite a bit better than I first thought. One more plus for iPhone.

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Mobile | Tech
Monday, 16 July 2007 22:34:11 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Want to know how many minutes you have used this month? Turns out the mobile phone companies have some not-so-well-advertised numbers you can dial to find out exactly how many minutes you've used. They are:

  • #646# for Verizon and T-Mobile
  • *646# for at&t/Cingular
  • #4 for Sprint

Another tidbit of info to help watch the bottom line... Using directory assistance (411) service through the carrier can be quite expensive. So, consider using the Free411 service at 1-800-FREE411 (or 1-800-373-3411 for us numerically-challenged Blackberry types). The cost of using it is actually free, unless you consider the time it takes to listen to a short advertisement on each call. Heck, to save a buck a call, it's worth it I think.

Google Mobile allows you to send a text message to 46645 (google on the keypad) and get back all sorts of information. Check the Google Mobile page to learn about all the cool things you can do there. 

For business directory information, you can also call Google up at 800-GOOG-411 (800-466-4411)


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Mobile | Tech
Wednesday, 11 July 2007 20:52:08 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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