Saturday, September 26, 2009

How healthy am I feeling?

Much like the "health o meter" I'm pretty low these days.

Repainting our office at home has zapped up most of my personal free time.

Some new (and great) responsibilities at work have taken out additional chunks of my time.

A have always been best at working out regularly when I had a "something" to drive me. During the summertime it is softball, which may be lame but it gets the job done.

THANKFULLY something appears to have come my way. An old friend from high school may need me to fill in on his Baltimore Marathon 4-man relay team. I am totally unprepared to race, let alone run my 6 miles at a fast clip. But it gives me a reason to get out there on a daily basis.

And with only 3 weeks till the race, I'll need each day for sure. Rain may keep me from running twice today, but I got in a hellacious 3 miles earlier. It featured the nastiest set of hills on a half mile stretch I've ever run. And no, I wasn't being all gung ho, this was the only half mile available to me given our weekend mountain retreat.

Let's see where I am on the "health o meter" in 3 weeks.

What gets you motivated and committed to work out??

Posted via email from Christopher's posterous

Luray drapery

From up close you can really see the texture.

Posted via email from Christopher's posterous

Starr Hill Jomo Lager

Having this in Luray, which is a very quaint town with a few little shops and antique shops.

Posted via email from Christopher's posterous

Luray sarasin's tent

Amazing example of "drapery"

Posted via email from Christopher's posterous

Luray giants hall

Best view in any cavern anywhere.

Posted via email from Christopher's posterous

Friday, September 25, 2009

Luray giant redwood

One of the largest structures in Luray Caverns. It also can look like a giant shaggy dog. Elephant or woolly mammoth.

Posted via email from Christopher's posterous

Luray is #1

Speaks for itself:

Posted via email from Christopher's posterous

Luray by skeleton gorge

Where remains of a 500+ Native American young female was found. Thought to have found its way here by erosion of the burial spot.

But the lack of full remains make the theory slightly doubtful.

Posted via email from Christopher's posterous

Luray upside down

From inside a stalactite.

Posted via email from Christopher's posterous

Luray pluto's ghost

Named for its luminousess quality, and perceived mythical nature.

Posted via email from Christopher's posterous

Luray dream lake

It appears to be a mirror image, or stalagtites going up. But it is actually the largest body of water in the caverns.

Posted via email from Christopher's posterous

Luray fish market

A formation called this for the look of the formation.

Posted via email from Christopher's posterous

Luray natural bridge

Discovered after using a raft disturbed silt.

Posted via email from Christopher's posterous

Luray Stalactites

An example of the naturally forming stalactites. Green colors are "cave moss".

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Luray Caverns

Here you can see the start to the Luray Caverns tour. Up in the top right of the picture with the sign you can see the where the discoverers first enetered the large caverns.

You can also see the first discovery of the caverns, named Washington column.

Posted via email from Christopher's posterous

Luray wishing well

$753,739.32 since 1954. The pool is drained each year and proceeds are donated to charity.

Donations went from $25k in 2001 to $187,000 in 2002.

Posted via email from Christopher's posterous

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Nats win!!!!

No lose #100!

Suck it Dodgers.

Posted via email from Christopher's posterous

Chavez Ravine in DC

Lot of blue in those stands....

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Crowded Nats game....

Or mostly empty, even after the big rally.

Posted via email from Christopher's posterous

Penny candy fail

Penny candy for $1.99?

Wow indeed.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Asking your customers for favors

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Customer service is an interesting term, and it ellicits a lot of strong responses in people.

But what do we call the opposite? Vendor service? Seller service?

Whatever you term it, it is when the seller asks the customer for help. There is no middle ground in this, it either creates a tighter bond between the two ("Help me help you!") or it is infuriating and bothersome to the nth degree.



I'm dealing with the later. I won't name names this time, as last time I tweeted about a complaint it got VP attention at the company and a lot of people got a lot of grief (though it took that tweet to get real customer service sadly).

But if you sell me something, come and install it, and then YOU leave YOUR STUFF with me, don't ask me to bend over backwards to get you your stuff. When you call and say you want to get it back, don't have an attitude. Don't demand that you can come get it today, right now. And then don't give me the "tiniest violin in the world" story about how if it isn't today then it'll have to be in a week, but you really really need it today.

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You just took a sale and turned it into a chore. I'm no longer delighted. I'm frustrated. I'm no longer pleased with the great installation you all did, I'm now spending an extra 2 or 3 hours coordinating you coming back to get your stuf.



Reverse customer service, that might be the right term. It's a fail.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

How do I get Google sports calendar to sync with my Blackberry?

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I love Google Calendar, it helps me keep my life organized. At times I have had multiple calendars:
  • my personal calendar for appointments and reminders, I share this with my wife
  • my work calendar for appointments and due dates of deliverables, I share this with my co-workers
  • a calendar for family and friends' birthdays
  • a list of household chores and when to do them
  • all my MBA deadlines and classes
Quizzically, Google removed the shared calendar feature a while back that let people put up sports and group calendars. I was able to have schedules in my calendar for my favorite sports teams (I still have two legacy one's that are maintained).

But Google has partially fixed this problem, adding in Sports calendars back to the mix! These are seemingly Google maintained, and I think the removal of the prior shared schedules

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I was actually impressed with the wide range of sports and teams. They have the might Bucknell Bison under both football and basketball, I find that to be impressive.

I also use Google Sync to keep my Blackberry up to date with my online schedule and my contacts.

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But Google Sync won't gobble up the sports schedules and add them in to my calendar on my Blackberry. There is a Help item listed for this (the one I found, there may be more), but it doesn't actually address the Sync issue.


Anyone know how to make this happen? Should I just resort to copying the entries to my own calendar, or calendar I can hide online but that will show up in Blackberry via Sync?













Gmail should let users sort email based on last message sent/received in a thread

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Not when the original message in the thread was sent or received. If I sent a message to you on June 15th of 2009, but you sent me an email yesterday that I have dutifully archived with a label, then when I go into that label space I have to remember that I sent the email back in June.

For me, it's easier to go into a label, instead of hoping that search terms I may use will bring up that important message.


Thoughts?





Monday, September 7, 2009

Twitterberry using https or not?

I keep getting asked to approve the data connection for Twitterberry for each Tweet I make, twice each Tweet.

Am I safe to just use the http connection? Should I just deal with the minor inconvenience?

Is there a site or app to tell me when to have wine?

We have a small but growing wine collection. 90% of it from the Finger Lakes of New York (fantastic Rieslings).

But we don't know enough to be sure when the wines are in peak or if they need to age. It'd love a good site where I can log our collection and have it notify me when the wines are reaching peak etc.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

How to use a blog for consulting projects

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by (klaus)

Here are the uses I have thought of to use a blog to connect with your clients.
  • Daily or weekly status, for the client and project team - Helps keep everyone aware of what is going on, and they can learn as much or as little as they want. Added bonus of not blasting emails to people's inbox
  • Posting deliverables, including a description of why they were made, how they can be used, who they are for - Increases awareness of what you as a consultant are producing, with emphasis on the value of those deliverables. After all, we know customers only derive value from you when you physically produce a product.
  • Posting insights or research - You can do this as added value to the client, something you are providing for free. It might be pre-packaged insights from elsewhere in the consulting firm, but by providing it to them on the blog just for them, it is easier for them to see items of relevance. This contributes to increasing your positioning as a "thought leader" (a horrific term)
  • Explain the purpose of various tasks/sub-projects - Helps the client understand better what they are paying for, why you are doing it, and what value they will derive from this work. This should help ensure there are no surprises. That those impacted by the work are more likely to be aware of it, etc.
  • Explain various methodology being used - Many clients (most in my experience) don't want to know how the sausage is made. Methodology is a waste of time to them. Unless they are engineers, then they want to know how you did your work, and will explain to you a more optimal way to have done it ;-)
  • Explain upcoming milestones - This reaffirms that you have a schedule, you are managing to it
  • Explain results of work being performed or accomplished - The ultimate reason you are there, results. Don't just focus on the big picture items, let them know about the smaller day to day things as they have value too.

What else?

Can I use Lijit with Wordpress or Posterious?

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I know I can do so with my Blogger account (check the top right of my page of course). I am hopeful I can for my Wordpress blog, but will it get me better results and/or stats than Lijit? And my guess is that I can't with my Posterous blog because of their desire to keep that service so simple.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Jimmy Buffett loves Jim Zorn

Or so his local lyrics claim.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Trend: Long-term prices are expected to increase as global competition increases

Continuing from the prior post on trends, that construction materials are decreasing in cost in the short-term.

China continues to acquire materials at increasing rates, accounting for 45% of world consumption in 2007. The rate of consumption grew 8.5% from 2006 to 2007. This type of competitive resource acquisition is expected to increase in additional sectors. By 2018, it is estimated that 80% of the world’s construction will take place in China and India.

Comments to the customer:

Prices for materials will increase in the long-term due to resource competition. This is a risk for both prices and procurement of US based construction materials. Recycling construction waste helps reduce costs as well eases the burden of materials acquisition.
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