The funny

Where is the funny? Sometimes it’s very hard to find. Humor can help us
through difficult circumstances. It can help us cope with impending doom,
or overwhelming frustration. It can help us gain perspective when we take
ourselves too seriously.

It is fun to harpoon and lampoon our shared frustrations – it brings us
together. We share a laugh at the expense of our rival, nemesis, or that
other guy or group that makes our life more painful.

I am writing from the Chicago Teen Comedy Festival at the Chicago School of
the Arts. My son is performing with his school’s improv troupe.

I am sure that once I relax I will enjoy the performance and I will laugh
and relax some more. I know that my son has no performance anxiety – so I
have his and mine.

So may you all find the funny this weekend, and make fun of something
painful when the need arises.


Found coupons for additional dollars off my laptop purchase. Pulled the
trigger as I had planned.

Laptop should show up in a couple weeks!

I am looking for a way to extend the life of my laptop. Because I tend to
trial a lot of software – I am subject to rapid registry bloat. This
condition basically slows down your whole windows os and lots of software
that relies on the registry for finding assemblies and settings.

The windows registry is like a giant tree structure that adds branches and
leaves every time you install new software. Problem is that when you
uninstall software it doesn’t necessarily get cleaned out. Even when you
use registry fixing tools like ccleaner it doesn’t shrink!

There is some point of growth where the size creates a pervasive
performance problem. In my experience the only workable solution is to
re-install windows. This solution has tons of risk and pain ‘cuz you have
to backup and restore data (risk) and reinstall ALL of your software

On my current machine I tried partitioning my hard drive to reduce risk – I
even pointed my windows virtual directories at a non os partition. This
was OK, but all windows software – especially open source or free ware does
not use windows virtual directories right. And it still doesn’t solve the
problem of software installation.

With the new pc I will investigate using virtualization to limit the risk
and pain.

I’ll let you know how it goes….


I had a great conversation with a key client yesterday. We realized that
we had been talking about a product release strategy for almost three
months, without being aligned. Yet for three months we agreed with each

When we realized that we did not understand the same things from our
discussion, we had a better release strategy discussion. Each of us heard
the other more clearly – once we stopped talking “at angles”.

It is truly important in our conversation to “square off”. To make sure
that all are thinking the same way. We both realized that we had missed
signals, and overlooked things in e-mail, presentation decks, and documents
that were obvious. Each of our own viewpoints allowed us to overlook facts
that clearly showed that we did not understand the same thing.

Unfortunately this happens frequently because of the imprecise nature of
human communication.

Fortunately, this time we revealed it before any real negative impact was
realized – either to the project or our relationship, which is now stronger
because we solve another issue together!


Today I realized that the entrepreneur in me is stymied by enterprise level
bureaucracy I work in. I send 5 ninjas to assassinate Putin and he sends
the red army to lay siege to my town.

I step on the gas pedal, accepting the risks, while the entire management
hierarchy stands on the brakes, so none of them get hurt.

I get in the car to go to the grocery store, and they insist on paying for
a tune up and oil change each trip – I better really load up the car!

I think I am a good corporate citizen, a wise steward of corporate
resources, but am I really just interested in getting stuff done, and less
interested in getting to done safely. Safely cost extra, and takes longer,
believe you me.

Is it simply impatience that encourages me to accept risk? I don’t think
so. It is more that I have learned to manage risk with transparency and
trust, and history of accomplishment. I also have learned to expect
permission and forgiveness because delivering value is king! But our
increasingly intense regulatory environment is causing others to fear and
spend more on safety.

I’m just saying!

a new computer

I am actively in the market for a new computer.  The notebook that I have been using for the last five and a half years is slowly capitulating to the inevitable.  The HP Pavilion ZV5000Z was a screamer back in the day, and the 1600 x 1050 15.6 inch wide screen was truly a revelation in hi rez.  Software bloat, however has rendered the beast almost useless.  The latest was the 3.0 version of Thunderbird (Mozilla e-mail client).  The 2.x version that I was on was mostly sufficient, but the 3.0 version, just seems to take 10 or 20 seconds for every click. 

Frankly, I think that part of the problem is my windows xp os.  I have not re-installed windows xp for at least three years, and so most of my performance problems probably relate to registry bloat.  This machine is not capable of virtualization, as it cannot hold more than 1GB of ram. 

I like the HP Pavillion series for two primary reasons. 

1) I can buy exactly the configuration that I want (from  While I end up spending more up front, I spend less than if I bought a “store model” and upgraded. 
2) They have the best consumer grade docking solutions on the planet.  For about $135 (149 retail) – you can get a docking station, with its own power supply, so you don’t need your portable power adapter, a wireless keyboard and mouse, and an adjustable stand so that you can elevate the notebook screen to eye level.  The dock has better speakers, and ports for ethernet, extra monitor, usb, and a media bay for a large HD.

The generic usb docking solutions do not provide power, so one either needs to invest in a second power supply, for home use so that one can simply dock and connect two cables to get connected.  And none of them come with a stand, so at a cost of 60 for the dock, 70 for the power supply, and another 40 for the stand, and 50 for the wireless keyboard and mouse totalling $210 HP has an awesome deal, and true convenience.

I would probably pay the extra money for a macbook pro if they had a real docking solution, solving both connectivity and power so that a single connection could really engage the entire machine.

Sony has one, but the stand is inferior, and the overall cost is at least three hundred dollars north of where I want to be.

So congrats to HP who appears to have earned my business again by maintaining an innovative consumer grade notebook option that suits the way I work.

I am looking at a dv4i with an i5- 430 2.53 ghz dual core cpu, 6gb ram, a 500GB hd, and the beloved docking station, with a 1TB personal media drive for under $1200. 

I’ll be sure to let you all know when I decide to pull the trigger.

a new PIM

I am trying chandler – the open source PIM (personal information manager).  I have my stuff for the week in, and will let you know my opinions as I go forward.

I have my to do’s in, but don’t have my who’s figured out yet.  that is an interesting arrangement – because I am responsible for all of these, but I would like to see the (other involved persons) on each task.

I will trial the product for about a week and give a quick daily update.


an interesting model

I was surfing my way through some pages about personal information management software, and I found my self on Mitch Kapor's blog.  Mitch Kapor is the founder of Lotus Corp, and the original author of Lotus 1-2-3 – the spreadsheet that virtually everyone used before Microsoft completely dominated the desktop office software in the late '90s.  I was a big fan of the Agenda product, and have tried the Chandler product a couple times, but it was NRFPT (not ready for prime time).  I am contemplating giving it another go.

Anyway, Mitch has his current blog on and the interfaces is via e-mail…  I thought it was an interesting model, as I can e-mail from anywhere and I can save e-mails easily when offline if I have a longer post.  Having to be on-line to post is a pain.  having to save text or html files to post later is equally a pain.

This is a trial post, so there may be more later, or this could die quickly…