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A Better Alternative to Ben Gay – Freeze It

Posted on: July 25, 2007 I Written By

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I’m about to admit something that I’ve never admitted before. Well, at least not on this blog and not outside of me talking to myself in the shower. Are you sitting down? I’m serious. This is a big thing for me.

Ok, here goes…

I’m getting old!

Ok, I said it. I got it out there. Now all of you out there stop laughing because I’m only 28 years old. Yes, that is relatively young, but my body is telling me otherwise. Tonight I participated in a summer league ultimate frisbee game. I think that 90% of the people that I’m playing with are younger than me. The other 10% is staying up with me. What happened? I’m just falling apart.

Don’t get me wrong. I still work harder than anyone out there. I still look for the layout defense, dive for the hand block and sacrifice my body for the team. However, I use to go out dancing after playing ultimate. Now I come home with all these aches and pains. Yes, I’m hurting.

My Hand - FreezeIT
My sister always loved using Ben Gay, but I always thought it smelled like an old lady and I hated applying the gel. Luckily I got some samples of a product called Freeze It in the mail which it said had no lingering odor. I decided to give it a whirl since the aches and pains were just killing me. Despite my wife’s laughing I pulled out the Freeze It and applied liberally. It was amazing how quickly this product worked. Bye Bye pain. I sat back and enjoyed a movie with my wife and she didn’t push me away telling me that it smelled. About 30 minutes later I decided to get up for some popcorn. As I got up I could still feel that nice icey burning sensation. Yes, I did just say ice and burn in the same sentence. You know what I’m talking about if you’ve used something like this.

Anyway, a little search online for Freeze It and I found that Freeze It has a roll on version. See picture:

That’s what I’m talking about. I’m one of those people that hates applying smelly lotion, sun tan lotion, or anything I have to rub in with my hands. I like hands free application. I’ve never seen Ben Gay give me that.

Considering I’m playing ultimate frisbee twice a week and basketball once a week to lose some weight. I might want to buy some stock in Freeze It.

A Webcam at Home

Posted on: I Written By

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Today I installed a Logitech webcam on my computer here at home. My wife is in New York and so she doesn’t know about it. We’ve had a webcam a ton of times before, but this one I mounted on the top of our monitor and so it’s like it’s watching us. I don’t really care about that since I’ve had a webcam on my computer at work for the past two years since I use it to login to my computer. I love Facial Recognition software.

Anyway, I think it’s going to stay. My brother finally bought himself a webcam and so I think that we’ll have a number of opportunities to use it. It’s about time that he stepped up to the plate and spent the $20 to get a webcam. Isn’t technology great? Free video conferencing around the world. Can’t beat that.

Much Ado About Nothing – BP Whiting Refinery

Posted on: I Written By

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I don’t know if any of you have been reading the news about the BP refinery in Whiting. Here’s a look at one story that the Chicago Tribune wrote about the situation. Just to be fair, here’s a look at the BP Whiting Refinery fact sheet (Be prepared: this is a PDF). Essentially BP’s take on the situation.

One thing I like about articles like the one written by the Chicago Tribune is that it raises people’s awareness of potential situations. When a big company knows that they are being watched, then they are more diligent about making sure they are doing everything right. Sometimes they might just spend more time covering their tracks, but I’m an optimist and my hope is that most are really trying to do things that are right.

I think that BP makes some important points in their fact sheet that make me feel like there is really no news story when it comes to the Whiting refinery. The first point is that they are well within the legal limits. With the second point being that there is no harm to people or the environment. I think a study on these two points from an objective source would be really interesting. However, the legal one I feel pretty comfortable with since they’d be getting all sorts of fines if they are over the limits. However, for me the most important part is that this refinery is offering a bunch of jobs to people in that area. If people found that it was so bad, then they wouldn’t work those jobs. This is America. If you don’t like what you’re doing, then you can get up and do something else. People have choices and they’ve obviously made them.

Maybe someone has more evidence to the contrary, but I think the Tribune article about the BP Whiting Refinery is just Much Ado About Nothing.

Why Don’t We Tip the IT Guy?

Posted on: July 19, 2007 I Written By

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This was a great blog post

You tip the pizza man, you don’t tip the Fed Ex driver. You tip the bartender at the pub, and you don’t tip the McDonald’s clerk; but you do tip the barrista at Starbuck’s. The United States has ritualistic levels of tip etiquette, which admittedly don’t exist other places in the world but, the question remains; Why don’t we tip our IT service people?

You know just as well as we do, you couldn’t function without your computer. You’d find yourself on the floor in a fetal position, crying and sulking if your PC were to decide to go AWOL at any particular moment. And, much like a herion user out for another fix, you’d wipe your tears and head to the nearest coffee shop with pay access machines to obsessively check your email. We understand, we’d do much the same thing ourselves. If your computer is that important to the fluid function of your day-to-day life, why wouldn’t you slip the IT guy a little extra to make sure you get top priority next time you pick up the phone and scream Mayday?

Perhaps it’s something in the way we view our IT guys. Nerdy, socially inept, awkward in ways your high school science teacher could have never achieved. Maybe it’s time we took a fresh look at the value our IT service men and women make life a little easier; And, even if we don’t offer them a tip.. maybe a hug wouldn’t be so bad?

Trying Out Some Video Advertising

Posted on: July 16, 2007 I Written By

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Today I came across a TechCrunch article about a company called Prerollr. They have a really simple way to put advertising on top of video content that is posted on a third party site. I thought it was a really interesting concept around monetizing videos. We’ll have to see how the company evolves. A quick look at their blog shows that they are a very new company. I love being part of new companies and watching them evolve. However, the real key with Prerollr will be how well they can sign up advertisers and therefore monetize blogs. Targeting the ads to the videos will be a challenge and signing up enough advertisers to make it worth a websites time to use Prerollr will be a major challenge they will have to overcome. Should be an interesting ride.

Here’s an example of a YouTube video with the Prerollr ad. By the way, this video is of the dance Benji Schwimmer choreographed for Pasha and Sara on So You Think You Can Dance.

I am a little concerned that it doesn’t say how much the pay will be and whether it will be an impression model or a click through model. Although the terms of use seem to indicate impression. I assume some of these details are because the site is so new. Hopefully they’ll get this information out soon. Also, they really need to have a stats page on their admin panel so we can watch our impressions and know how our sites are doing. Maybe they aren’t ready for that kind of traffic. You know we are stats junkies.

Now if Prerollr only had an affiliate program. Either way, I’ll at least give them a little bit of link love.

Incredibly Well Thought Out Uses for a Wiki

Posted on: July 13, 2007 I Written By

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I found a really amazing list of ways that a wiki can be used. I found these 15 uses for a wiki to be informative and interesting. I’ve been considering this type of stuff for a long time. In fact, read about my HIPAA wiki and EMR documentation wiki.

So, here’s the list of Wiki uses:

1) To-do list. Once you’ve learned the simple wiki markup language, creating a list is easy. And the most productive list, of course, is the to-do list. In fact, if you’re into GTD, you can set up multiple context lists for a simple GTD system — try GTD Tiddlywiki, dcubed, or MonkeyGTD for more integrated wiki solutions.

2) Project management. A wiki can be a great way to plan and manage a project, from conception to completion. Assign tasks, make a timeline, add notes, paste images and other media — whatever you need for a project, there’s no simpler way to organize it all.

3) Operations manuals. If you’ve got a company full of web workers, it doesn’t make sense to have a hardcopy or server-hosted version of a manual — put it online, so that it can be updated when things change, so that anyone can view the updated version at any time. Things changes so quickly these days that a printed version of a manual is outdated as soon as it’s printed and distributed.

4) Checklists. Have a process that’s repeated often? If so, create a checklist so you never forget anything, and it’s done right every time. Put it on your wiki, and never forget where it is.

5) Plan an event. Conferences, weddings, off-site meetings, parties … events of all kinds have been planned with wikis, because they’re perfect. Multiple people can access the plans, you can create different sections for different planning areas, create checklists, add notes, ideas, images, contact info, and much more.

6) Log client work. If you do a lot of freelancing, like I do, you know that you need a system of logging your work — either hours spent on a project or number of projects completed (articles written, in my case), along with dates, rates and other notes. There are many tools for doing this, but one of the simplest is adding it to your personal wiki. You could have all your client logs on one page, or create a separate page for each client — the flexibility of a wiki is why it works so well.

7) Track invoices. Similarly, you also need to track your invoices to each client — the work done, dates, rates, etc., along with when the invoices were submitted, when they’re due, and when they were paid. Again, there are other services for this, but if you are already putting your logs on your wiki, why not add your invoice tracking in the same place?

8) Notes and snippets. Web workers take notes, pull snippets from pages, save images all the time … and yet it can be hard to keep track of all of them. Keep them all in one place on a wiki for easy access when you need them.

9) Goals. This can be a work thing or a personal thing, or both, but one of the problems with our goals is that we might write them down, but we might also then forget about them. If you make your personal wiki your place to go for everything, be sure to put your goals here — along with action steps, deadlines, progress reports, notes, etc. Get your life in gear on your wiki.

10) Contacts. Still haven’t found a great online solution for your contacts? If you use your wiki a lot, it can be an easy and quick way to add contacts and find them any time and any place you need them.

11) Workspace. If you use multiple computers, and need a place to do your work that you can access from anywhere, a wiki isn’t a bad choice. Besides being a place to keep your notes and snippets and images together, you can write articles, reports, etc. and keep everything together. You don’t need to do the actual writing here, if that’s not your preference, but it can be where you keep the writing or other work and related items.

12) FAQs. If you get a lot of questions about your work, or product, or just about yourself personally, you can keep an ever-growing FAQ to prevent having to repeat your answers too many times. Then just point people to your FAQ url.

13) Collaboration. There are more fancy, complicated or expensive options for collaborating on something with people in spread out locations … but probably not many things as simple and easy as a wiki. Again, you can work on a project or even just one document with another person or group of people — the entire Internet, in fact, if you want to get global. Changes are made and tracked, and you can revert to previous versions if necessary.

14) Reference. Got a list, document, codes, instructions, etc. that you need to refer to regularly? Keep it here on your wiki, so you never have to go looking again.

15) One place for everything. One of the best reasons to have a wiki is because it can do all of the above, and more. It’s versatile — more so than most other tools on the web — which means that whatever you need to do, the wiki can accommodate. And that allows you to keep everything in one place — which is the key to staying organized. Otherwise, you’ll have things all over the place, and you’ll have to remember where they are, or you’ll forget about them. Keeping things all in one place is a great way to keep productive.

Flosi the Mob Buster

Posted on: July 3, 2007 I Written By

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I went on a mission for my church and Italy and while there I had a mission President who use to be a mob buster. He had the best stories of tracking members of the mob, getting carried into houses in couches and all sorts of great stories.

Well, I haven’t seen my President in probably 8 years. Imagine my surprise when I see him on an ABC News video. Pretty amazing what a small world it is. I guess he wasn’t exaggerating when he talked about what he did for the FBI.

Here’s looking to you Flosi the Mob Buster!!