Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Holding off for a bit

A few emails asking if I've switched up to Leopard (OSX 10.5) yet. Nope. I don't usually jump on a new major release right away. I'd rather wait and let all the bugs get worked out before I venture into those waters. Don't get me wrong, I think Apple's releases are better than others by far, but I don't have time to deal with little nagging issues with my MacBook Pro. I know our engineers are looking forward to it - mostly for the integrated virtual desktops. (that is something that should have been in OSX since day one!)

On another front, the 24" iMac that I got for trade shows has LCD burn in! Hopefully running all white on the screen will reverse it. It SHOULD reverse it. (I hope). We're off to Las Vegas for Exchange Connections next week, so I hope its all fixed by then. We're up for an award at the show - wish us luck! (oh, and we're also up for an award from SC Magazine for Best Email Security Solution)

UPDATE - By "holding off" I mean I won't install until sometime around Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Wow, what a game!

Not much more to say. So I won't.

But, WOW!

New addition to the fleet

I got a chance today to ride on the new Embraer 175 that Northwest is bringing into the fleet on my way back home from the Packers game. While its a smaller aircraft, its way nicer than those Regional Jets that I despise so much. The first class cabin is interesting in that there is only a single seat on the left and two on the right. I ended up in 4A, and it was a really nice seat in terms of overall design, comfort, operation and leg room. The storage pouch in the back of the seat in front of me was actually large enough to be useful and the space under the seat was cavernous even for my large laptop backpack.

But the seat! Man, it rocks! Of all the domestic seats that NWA has out there, its easily the best in the fleet. Of course its the newest in the fleet, but even the newer Airbus seats suck compared to these. I didn't want to get out of it when the seat belt sign was turned off and everyone jumped up to get their bags. Being a smaller plane, there is less room in the overhead compartment for bags, but with the plane being slightly offset, the starboard side can actually take a roller bag and the port side will handle small bags, purses, etc.

I heartily encourage NWA to fly this plane more and dump their RJ's. Its a great ride.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Feel the Force Luke...

For those of you so inclined or interested in cluster super computing, then this upcoming challenge might be right up your alley.

I'd talked to some folks in the past who are keen on doing something with clustering graphics processor cards (different type of math, but blazing speed) and this is a pretty cool opportunity. Cool enough that I offered to finance all their hardware just to see what they could do with it.

But when it comes to GPU cluster computing, the hardware is the easy part. It's the coding that separates the wannabes from the geek Jedi. They didn't have the force flowing through their veins so the deal fell through for me.

Are you a cluster coding Jedi? Drop me a note and lets talk.

How much does FREE wifi really cost?

Here's my office. Sure I'm in the WorldClub in Minneapolis, but where ever I've got my laptop and Treo, that's where my office is.

When I leave on a trip, I turn the WIFI on my MacBook Pro off and work 100% off of my Sprint EVDO card (seen on the left of the MBP with the little antenna up). I don't hunt for WIFI hotspots. I don't (and won't) go specifically to a Starbucks or other retail chain that I know has hotspots. The network shouldn't force me to go places just to get a signal. It should follow me, not make me follow it.

Sure I've ranted about this in the past, but I overheard the guys next to me struggling to get on the WIFI network here, and after wasting 5 minutes or so, they were told that indeed the network was down or crippled. Everyone here was abuzz about it not working, and as a result, they couldn't work at 100% and some couldn't work at all.

I could have sold my EVDO card for $1000 to a few of the guys here on the spot.

So, where's your single point of failure when you are mobile?

Living in a sandbox

I was emailing with a good friend this morning about my recent Maui trip and when she heard I was headed to Denver for the Monday Night Football game tonight, she asked, "Is that all you do is play?"

Fair question considering the context. Actually, I was looking forward to this week being a week without travel. I've got a busy week indeed with the closing and upcoming shows, but there's an opportunity to spend quality time with a new large customer and also visit our growing channel in the Denver area, so I'm jumping on it. Thankfully the Packers were able to snag me tickets at such a late notice!

Back to the email... To me, life IS play. My attitude towards all aspects of my life is that its just too short to go around with a frown on your face. I had this dream back when I was 16 or 17 that I was laying on my deathbed and lamenting about all the things I never got to do. I awoke that morning with an attitude towards living that's been with me since that day. Tomorrow could be your last day, so get living! No matter if I'm working on a new product, hammering on some spreadsheets or tearing it up on the water - get on it!

Guys who sit around talking and scheming about what they want to do, but never do it are completely useless to me. Stop talking and start doing.

(The shot of me on this post is the work of Erik Aeder. IMHO the best action sports photographer who made us all look good for the magazine.)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Essential travel tools

I get enough comments on the bag when I'm on the road that I figured I'd mention it here on the blog. May I present to you the Patagonia Burrito Suiter bag. I got this one a while ago, and while they don't make it anymore, they should bring it back. Essentially its a hanging suit bag that folds into thirds instead of folding in half. What you get is a minimalist carryon bag that can also get under the seat in front of you in a pinch.

Its a far cry from those massive bags folks try to stuff in the overhead bin for sure, and even when I end up on a regional jet, I don't have to green tag the bag but can also bring it on with me. Not a big deal, but saves 5-7 minutes and sometimes with a tight connection this can make the difference.

Of all the Patagonia bags I've had over the years, this one is positively bombproof. The only issue with it is Patagonia's "human curve" shoulder strap. I've been through about ten of these things. They keep replacing them, but the problem is a design flaw that they refuse to fix.

That aside, the Burrito Suiter bag rocks. I never leave home without it. ;-)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Crazy Talk

This week's show was Interop in NYC at the Javits. I had a few frank conversations with fellow CEO's and investors that came by our booth and almost all of the talk turned to this week's investment (Microsoft at $240 million and two funds at $500 million) and valuation ($15 billion) for Facebook.

I'd say that almost everyone commented at how crazy the valuation came in at. Regardless of what anyone thinks, the reality is that the investors thought it was a good number. After all, they agreed and paid on the line. Nobody put the gun to their head.

Mark has built some serious value in an amazingly short time. But the real question isn't about the sanity or importance of the valuation, its Facebook's ability to sustain. Social sites like Facebook can grow quickly, but just as easily that traffic can get cold and something new can come along. In this case, Mark can pull enough cash from the company to not worry about it again for generations and keep playing the game as long as it suits him. Even if it tanks, he's sittin' pretty.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Waiting in line?

Can anyone answer what the number "74,659" is related to?

Answer : The number of people in line for Packers season tickets.

From a product perspective, ponder the problem. You have a finite number of seats in the stadium (72,928 to be exact) and you have an overabundance of customers lining up to get tickets. Now pile on that the amazingly high number on the waiting list, and even MORE people pile on the list just to be there, etc.

Does your business have this problem?

Even if you don't have a finite amount of product, do you have folks lining up to buy your product(s) or services?

How could you re-create this phenomenon? (and CAN you recreate it??)

Some (smart) products in the past have artificially kept stock low in product to increase demand. Not always to effect price mind you, but to increase product buzz and awareness for the NEED for the product which usually causes even more need for the product.

However, in this case, the need and desire is real. Amazing, eh?

So, how can you create more need or desire for your product or service?

Happy Birthday!

Six years ago to this day the iPod was released on the world. I don't think anyone had an inkling as to where this little device would take Apple, and the rest of the music world on that day.

Happy Birthday to all your first gen iPods out there. May your offspring treat you well into your twilight years.

Size does matter!

As I'm packing up for another trip, I can't help by wish that Apple would bring back the 12" Powerbook. Don't get me wrong, I love my 15" MacBook Pro, but the smaller machine was so much easier to travel with and aside from working on spreadsheets, was a dream to use.

As long as I'm making a wish list, here's what I'd like on it.

- 12" LCD display
- 2.4 gHz CPU (speed is life)
- 3 gb RAM (can never get enough)
- 200 gb hard drive (again, more is better)
- DVDR (actually, I could live without this...)
- 802.11x (low hanging fruit)
- Express card slot (gotta have my EVDO baby!)
- DVI out (gotta plug into a large LCD when I'm at my desk)
- Aluminum enclosure (takes the punishment that I dish out)

Now, that's not too much to ask for, is it? ;-)

Storm brewing on the horizon

Silently but steadily, there's been a computer worm working its way through Windows machines across the entire global internet for the better part of this year. Its method of delivery has changed over time and its creators are determined to spread their little demon at all costs. They have even gone on the offensive against individuals or companies who are working to defeat their worm. It was built from the ground up to impact the PC's performance in a way to make it noticeable and the method of control is a decentralized peer to peer system that will make battling this beast difficult at best.

I don't believe that this worm has a specific purpose coded into it, rather its a platform for whatever is required of it.

Estimates on the worm installation base range from 2 to 50 million PC's and anywhere in between.

That's a scary storm indeed.

And all of this is made possible by operating system architecture errors by the fine folks in Redmond. Gee, great.

Monday, October 22, 2007

More than I thought!

During Apple's earnings call, the COO commented that an estimated 250,000 iPhones had been sold to unlockers. (Total sales are 1.4 million units)

WOW. (Wow for the 250k units for unlockers!)

That's more than I would have imagined. Apple is up 7+% in after hour trading and I wonder how AT&T shareholders are taking this news. After all, Apple still made ching on the sales of those 250,000 phones, but AT&T isn't seeing a dime of service revenue. (and yes I know that Apple was getting a bunch of money on the service as well, but they're moving hardware and that's what Wall Street wants to see.)

With the forthcoming iPhone SDK, things are looking pretty rosy in terms of sales since you'll be able to let the dev community loose on the platform.

Now all they need is 3G and I'll be back. (oh yeah, PLEASE fix mail too)

Because you asked

A reader (thanks!) asked what browser I use since the screen shots were "obviously NOT Safari". Yes, quite correct. I don't use Safari. Don't care for it actually.

I use Camino.

I started using it for it's small CPU and RAM footprint and while its grown over the years, its still my preferred browser.

Camino 1.5.2 was just release the other day, so why don't you click on over and give it a try.

Sunset Alert!

The sunset is almost backed all the way to the point south of the house. Its kind of a sad time of year as the days get shorter and the time change for winter is almost upon us.

I almost missed this beauty while I was engrossed with a backup of my MacBookPro after it tumbled out of my backpack last week on my way to Chicago/Denver. (more on that later)

I must have a good 50 shots of the sunset tonight, but this one is my favorite.

Click on the image for a better view.


Its the content stupid! (take II)

Now, lets take a look at Pandora.

Easy. Quick. Reliable.

Best of all - a kick butt music library. While the technology is cool, its the fact that it has an amazing music library to call upon that makes it useful.

Amazingly, they had a library that seemed massive since day one - though I'm sure that wasn't the case. Still, that was the perception and perception IS reality.

I'm sure Pandora is growing like a weed. Why Apple doesn't buy it is a mystery - but every day they don't it gets more expensive.

Yo Steve - get on it!

Its the content stupid!

I like Joost. I like the concept, the application and the way it works. They seem to have it all figured out in terms of slick interface, subscriptions to channels you like and the application works pretty well. There's only one more major obstacle standing in their way to taking the world by storm...


Sure, they have some content, but their library of available videos isn't growing as fast as it needs to. (and the stuff they're adding is CRAP compared to what they SHOULD/COULD be adding ... amazingly lame)

If Joost can't fix this, and fix it soon, they'll be internet road kill. It's like Skype with nobody to talk to. Why bother?

Another way to explain it...

Check out SketchCast - for those of you (like me) who like explaining ideas and concepts on the whiteboard, this is the internet version for you!

I'll put this in the "Why didn't I think of it" category. Brilliant!

Friday, October 19, 2007


Q. What do you get when the city water department screws up?

A. A big friggin' mess.

You've been terminated

NASA formally terminated the COTS contract with RpK today. Thus ends the saga that began with George's acquisition of Kistler's assets early last year. Regardless of the finger pointing going on, I think George made a fatal mistake for Rocketplane by making a run at the COTS program with Kistler's K1 program.

The question is will Rocketplane get back on track to compete with Sir Richard's Virgin Galactic or have they lost too much headway with the time, money and job losses with the COTS fiasco?

Apparently Rocketplane has (again) made major changes to its suborbital vehicle - which is a modified Lear 25. One of the (many) problems with Rocketplane is that they've never built anything that has flown. Sure, they've had lots of interesting press releases, one even about a couple that plans go get married on their suborbital flight. (which is a problem since the number of people required for this is more than Rocketplane can carry...)

Oh well, at least George is having fun.

UPDATE - I forgot to point out that RpK was NOT required to return the $32 million that they had been given program to date from NASA. Hmmm, wonder where that went....

Travel tools

One of the little things on airplanes that can make a difference is where you sit. Last night I jumped onto an earlier flight and was amazed at the seat(s) I had. It was a DC-9 and I had Row 5 all to myself. Simply amazing that people would sit back in regular coach seats when row 5 (bulkhead) was wide open. Some might see this as no big deal, but I'm 6'3" and its really nice not to have someone recline right into my knees. Its also nice to be able to get off the plane quick - I'm all about minimizing my time stuck in an airplane and airports.

Next time you fly and are picking your seats online, check out They have all the airline's planes mapped out and you can save yourself from being stuck in a really bad seat on your next jaunt somewhere.

There a new trip itinerary service that I just started using that's really sweet. TripIt lets you consolidate air, hotel, car + reservations and builds individual trip itineraries for you on the fly. They were super smart in that all you have to do is email your itineraries to "" even if you don't have an account - they'll get things rolling for you. Super easy and great for folks like me who travel a lot.

I also recommend that 24 hours before your next flight - check in online. This serves you in a few ways. 1) you can get good seating options as Elite fliers are being upgraded to first class, etc. and you can snag a good seat in an exit row or bulkhead. 2) Checking in, even if you don't print your boarding pass will get you past the 'must be checked in 30 minutes prior to your flight or your ticket will be cancelled' issue. Hey - traffic, etc. happens and sometimes a little extra time can make a difference. 3) By printing out your boarding pass you can cruise past the airline check in desk and skip that line. 4) when you print out your boarding pass, you will have all tickets on one page - easier to keep track of. 5) and lastly, while I'm not 100% certain on this, printing your own passes can keep you from the dreaded "special" notation that will cause TSA to pull you aside for "random" security check.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Just a pic

Headed home from a two show trip - Chicago and Denver and came across this nice Lear Jet hanging in static display in the Denver airport.

I'd rather be on that than on my Northwest flight, that's for sure.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Just one comment....

Apple announced an iPhone SDK for February 2008. And I've got just one thing to say to Steve.


Oh yea, and "Its about time!"

Ok, so I had two things to say. Sue me. ;-)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Airplane antics

This article here outlines atypical airline flight attendant mentality when it comes to using ipods and other devices on an airplane in flight. Of course, this isn't true for all flight attendants, but I've seen it enough to know that how the rules are applied depends on the mood and attitude of the airline employee and with where you sit. Up front? The rules don't always apply. Sitting in back? They almost always do. Why "almost"? Because that depends if you are in a premium (elite) section or are sitting back in stowage.

The reality is that if mobile phones (or any device) posed a serious threat to the safety and security of the flight, those devices wouldn't even be allowed on, let alone near a plane. And flight attendant behavior would be as predictable as their pre-flight safety instructions. Period.

I've been on flights where I've been able to use my ipod+Bose headphones right through landings and takeoff. Of course, this is usually when I'm in first class and when you sit up front, where most of the so called "rules" don't always apply.

The best is when someone leaves their phone on in the overhead bin and it rings right after take off. (yes, I've seen this happen) Again, if its such a threat, why didn't the flight attendants spring up to locate and disable the offending device?

In the end, be nice, courteous, polite and smile when you obey their requests. No matter how silly the "rules" are. ;-)

Round two? (or three?)

If you thought the last round of first gen Zunes on Woot! cost too much, then here's your chance to snag one (or three) for a mere $99.99 each.

I think Microsoft should just do a website and shut down all retail outlets as this seems to be the best way to actually sell those things.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Back to reality

Back on the mainland headed home today. While I had an awesome trip (when is Maui not awesome??) I'm excited to get back home. Next week has two shows on tap in Chicago and Denver. On top of that, I've got to select a new location for the businesses and get that whole project off and running on Monday.

I'd love to report that I'm well rested and ready to hit it hard, but I'm beat. Broke. Spent. Surfing, sailing and other dubious activities have taken their toll on me and I'm looking forward to laying low this weekend and letting my body heal.

In typical Maui fashion, I was just coming off the water at 5:15 pm and had to haul ass to get cleaned up and packed to make my 7:25 pm flight. It was a killer last session and it was great to get some of the new north swell before I left. I think I fell asleep before we even pulled away from the terminal.

I always seem to need a vacation from my vacation. And that's just about perfect. ;-)

As I write this its 35 degrees at home. Wind chill feels like 29. Now that's going to snap me back to reality. Doh!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

A little R&R

Yeah, I know. No new posts.

What's going on? I'm in Maui for a week doing a little R&R, a little board testing for WindSurfing Magazine and connecting with old friends and new alike.

While I'm here I'm fixing everyone's OSX machines. Its been a while since I've seen their machines and let me tell you, they need a little TLC. ;-)

The conditions have been good (hey, I was lit on a 4.7, but no swell) , though its turning south, its all good. After all, we're talking about Maui. Even when its bad, its sinfully good.

Catch you all on the back end of this trip.

A quick shout out to Henry at Jaques for his Ahi Poke, Kevin for hooking up my friends from the UK, Hero for his quad walking, Nori for taking Heather for an improptu SUP ride to Kanaha, Peter for the killer wave board, Heather for not breaking any of my fingers when she slammed my hand in the door of the rental van, Eddie for (not!) getting us lost in the rain forest, Eric for making me look good even when I crashed hard and everyone else for their gear, stoke and general all-around "make the best of it" attitude.

And last, but not least, Troy and Cindy (again) for the killer lodging at Specks. Love you guys.


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Brain food

I read. A lot. Not as much as I used to, but I still crank through books and magazines at a pretty good clip every week. My reading can be broken down to two categories; entertainment and business. My business reading consists of business books (print), magazines (print), blogs and the Wall Street Journal (again, print).

Business reading for me isn't really about the actual content of the articles. As weird as that sounds, its true. For me, reading is about using the content as a catalyst for my brain to make leaps and bounds in solving the various day to day and strategic problems at hand. I may be reading as article about unique financing for business growth and have an Eureka! moment with regard to something entirely off topic. Yeah, my brain is weird that way. ;-)

I make it a conscious exercise to go back through books, clipped articles, etc. and re-read my notes in the margins. I never read anything without having a pen handy to make notes and I can't loan out books I own because of all the notes in them. Its not that I'm worried about anyone reading them, to the contrary I'm worried about loosing them! After all, a little bit of my brain is in those notes.

Out of beta

Joost is finally out of Beta and no longer requires an invitation to join. As far as on-demand video services go, Joost is pretty cool, although they're lacking in real deep content right now. I think there's a lot of promise here, especially in the movies on demand market and there are millions of hours of old video content out there that's just sitting dormant that the owners should put into Joost.

Anyway, go check it out. I'm personally fond of watching Rocky and Bullwinkle. ;-)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Can you hear me now?

When I returned the iPhone to the AT&T store, I picked up a Jawbone bluetooth headset for my Treo. I've had a few other units in the past, but none really worked well in terms of volume, clarity and callers always complained of poor audio quality on their end.

I had heard good things about the Jawbone, and decided to give it a try and see if it would life up to the hype. And I can happily report that indeed it does.

Amazingly, the Jawbone provides noise canceling not in your ear, but for the person that you are calling. Kinda like regular noise canceling, but in reverse. Words can't do it justice, so check out the video below. Yes, it works that well.