Starting a new monthly tradition, here’s a smorgasbord of thoughts, none of which is significant to merit its own post but all of which deserve mention.
Buying a place in Mexico
I just did it. This one will get its own post at some point as I intend to journal the entire process of what’s involved in legally establishing ownership rights to coastal property in Mexico. Basically, Americans are not allowed to own property within a certain proximity to the coastline in MX (200mi?). The way it’s achieved is via what’s called a “fidei comisso” or a trust established through a Mexican bank with yourself listed as the sole beneficiary. The trust is renewable indefinitely and gives you all the rights of ownership to be able to deed, inherit, sell, whatever. My friend Benny and I just picked up this pre-construction condo in Playa del Carmen (shhhh don’t tell anyone, this place is poised to explode). There are a bunch of great pics from my college reunion trip down there last week that show how nice Playa is. I’ve almost perfected the art of the tripodless QTVR and I shot two down there, one on Mamita’s beach:
oh and here’s a video that shows where the Mayan athlete’s played this wicked game of cricket where the winner got beheaded as a sacrifice to the gods. Talk about motivation for point shaving and throwing the games… jeesh. My plan is to live down in Playa for about 3mos out of the year next year once G7 is in full swing with steady revenues. Their internet is fast and living is cheap.
Airplane headphones off indicator idea
So this is a random thought, but on the way back from MX both times the flight attendant lady had to come by and tap me on the shoulder to say “the pilot has announced you need to turn off your headphones.” I had to take my headphones off and ask her to repeat what she just said- there’s zero chance that anyone with headphones on would hear the pilot tell them to shut them off- they need a visual indicator. I’m thinking every airplane still has the antiquated “No smoking” illuminated signs left over from the 80′s when there were actually times when people could smoke on the plane. These signs stay illuminated 100% of the time- what’s the point? They should really just paint a “no smoking” sign and swap out that illuminated sign with a “no electronics” indicator so that passengers have a visual cue when to disable things like headphones. Audible cues don’t work too well when you’re jamming out…
Art of the Start and Purple Cow
I finished both and they were each good in their own right. I should really write up cliff’s notes on each one but the 30sec take on these books is:
- AOTS – dense book packed with many genuine, actionable insights from Guy Kawasaki – the core essence of what he proposes is to focus on creating meaning rather than creating money. I’m a big fan of this guy and his syle, he was the product evangelist for the Macintosh and he has a knack for slicing through the “bullshitake” as he calls it and getting to what’s real. He’s very 37signals-esque in this respect and anyone who is starting up a business or a project of any kind for that matter would do well to read this book. I also recommend tuning into his blog which is also excellent and obviously interactive and current.
- PC – Seth Godin crams a lot of nuggets of wisdom into this short book. It had aromas of both Gladwell’s books, Tipping Point and Blink and a smidge of Christiensen’s Innovator’s Solution, but the idea is that either your business is remarkable (like a purple cow) or it’s invisible. The covers all the different ways you can transform your idea to be remarkable. It discusses why the traditional evolution of companies cause incumbent businesses to grow complacent and fail to innovate beyond their first home run. Seth recommends poaching from big marketing budgets and channeling those funds into internal skunk works R&D projects. Focus on creating a killer product that people will rave about rather than marketing to people to tell them how good your blah product is.
Grid7 update: McPing and Rawjobs
A bunch of people have asked me what’s up with Grid7- we definitely haven’t kept the homepage current with the progress we’ve been making but in our defense, we’re focusing strictly on development at the moment. We launched the first G7 project which is not sexy in itself but serves as a cornerstone for the bigger picture of the structured blogging initiative in which we’re engaged. McPing is live but not officially announced, you can take a sneak peek and we’ll make the announcement once it’s loaded with useful data (disclaimer: we’ve had server instability issues this past week so the site is intermittently down until we move hosts). Here’s how it works:
Structured blogging is the passion of my partner Kimbro and it’s where blogging/RSS is all headed. There are three moving parts to the structured blogging thing- the content feeders, the notification router and the end-user directory services. MCping is essentially the Ping-o-matic of structured blogging and serves as the librarian that knows where all the feeds are and passes realtime notifications through to the edge aggregators that are monitoring the feeds. Again, it’s not visually sexy (but then again neither is Ping-o-matic) – it’s a foundational piece for us though and finally nice to have something live as our stake in the ground. The first edge aggregator vertical we’re tackling is the job postings market. The site were building is called RawJobs (raw as in, “the stem directly from other blogs using structured blogging to post them, no middlemen involved). To the end user it will function not much different than all the other job sites out there except for one major distinction under the hood: how the jobs postings are acquired – it’s entirely open in its approach and anyone who posts using the jobs micro-content definition format will have their listing appear on RawJobs by virtue of their use of this format. Pretty slick.
More to come on this stuff as we roll out the structured blogging initiative. We’ve setup a Grid7 blog and just need to customize it before adding it to the site. In the meantime if you’re interested in learning more about structured blogging, there are a ton of resources we’ve clipped on our “Tag” page.
Cold Turkey Adult Prom Gig
Cold Turkey played one of the most fun shows of our musical career the night after I returned from Playa. I setup a flickr account for the band and posted a slideshow on our site.It was a wild time and proved that many people (myself included) still have a repressed desire to relive the 80′s hairmetal days. My brother had an emergency come up last minute and we found ourselves scrambling for a bass player the day before the show. Fortunately my boy Manny filled in and turned what could have been a disaster into one of the best performances we’ve had. Big ups to Dixon Oates for organizing this party- it became an overnight legend.
2 iPod Hacks
- Does everyone know you can play audiobooks back at 1.5x their normal rate? The setting to achieve this is under Settings > Audiobooks > Faster – I haven’t figured out how to add podcasts and voice memos as audio books to appreciate this same benefit on other spoken word audio, but I’m sure there’s a way. I would think this would be mega-useful for any student that wanted to record a lecture via iPod and doze off or work on something else- he/she could digest the material in 2/3rds the time at a later point.
- The “Hold” button on the top of the iPod can be used to hold it in the off position just as effectively as it holds it in the on position while working out or doing anything where buttons are inadvertently pressed. Maybe this was obvious but I just discovered it and it saved my batteries this trip (last time it got jostled around in my bag turning it on occasionally so my batteries were dead when I arrived)
Odeo and iTunes store review
I’m in the process of setting up a client with the capability to do weekly podcasts and distribute the audio he currently sells on CD via the iTunes store. I’ll blog what I learn once the iTunes store has been established but I can say that Odeo makes about as simple as it could be to record and syndicate a podcast via your site.
Massive Del.icio.us goodness
I finally got around to one of those much-procrastinated items on my todo list of transferring all my firefox bookmarks over to del.icio.us (btw, does anyone else find it a pain to write the word “D E L . I C I O .U S ?). There is a ton of gems in this pile – I didn’t realize that they had the ability to protect certain bookmarks so now I have all the server maintenance-related stuff in there as well which is nice because I can get to this stuff remotely if I’m not on my own laptop.
The Three Burials of Milkiado Estrada – obscure independent film that slipped under the radar. Well worth renting when it comes out. Also, Why We Fight – another independent that looks at the military industrial complex in the US and traces its origins back to WWII. The old footage of Eisenhower’s speeches cautioning the public to keep the MIC in check are eerily relevant today.
VPC / Eclipse filesave slowdowns
I had a day’s worth of hair pulling associated with this problem I’ve encountered where saving files in Eclipse over a mapped drive to a virtual PC instance takes like 15sec on each save. When you’re deep in development and you’re saving and testing repeatedly, that’s a serious morale killer and causes big delays. After ruling out various culprits, we sniffed the traffic on the network interface and discovered a shit-ton of chatter on the SMB protocol. I disabled the SVN browser plugin I had installed on eclipse and that seems to have helped and gotten filesave time down to about 5sec, but it’s still problematic. I was advised to eliminate the mapped network drive aspect as Eclipse has problems saving this way. I tried UNC paths but that was actually worse for me. My friend Benny recommended NFS which I’ll probably try next but the real solution here it sounds like is to get VMware running on one of the new Macbook Pro’s. Budget-permitting I hope to make that switch this summer…
Stop this ridiculous telcom bill
Take 2min and fill out this petition. It’s disturbing that they have this bill on the ballot and clearly the result of some slimly lobbying by big Telcom companies but this will pretty much ruin the Internet for people if it goes through. It’s the equivalent of asphalt companies in the US suddenly banding together and declaring that all streets are now toll roads… insane.
Avail for consulting
Lastly, my partner Kimbro and I will be available for consulting contracts shortly. He’s big time software architect and knows about 20+ languages. I’m talented with Coldfusion as a developer but my strong suit is in business process analysis and distilling true business requirements and managing the development of a project. Kimbro is avail now and I will be looking for the next contract around mid-may when I deliver the massive extranet we’ve created for ABC that helps them interact with their housing providers and social workers. If you have a relatively-large project and need consulting, get in contact with us.
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