Too Many Good Games, There I Said It

I do have to start this piece with a small disclaimer.  I used to be a game developer and I was disillusioned by my experience in the field, so I moved on to a more traditional job.

That aside, I want to ask a simple question:  Can you have too much of a good thing?

Traditional wisdom would indicate that yes, too much of a good thing is a horrible thing.  Food is good, but eating too much good food is bad for your health.  Having a life partner is great, 27 might be a challenge.

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Productivity Through Tech

Quick disclaimer: I am currently quite pleased with the amount of tech my employer provides me with and fully appreciate the beast of a machine I use to do my job.  Now, let the rant begin.

What is the easiest way to make your employees more productive?  There’s many schools of thought, prescribing a more focused working environment, a more streamlined process for your employees to do their work, better means of communicating business pertinent information and all kinds of other contrived ways of selling expensive products that will in fact result in some gains, but really just serve to sell stuff that people market to businesses.  However, that’s not really what I am talking about here.

My approach to making your employees more productive is much simpler, throw more powerful tech at them and they will have more time in an active work role and less time in a passive work role.   Continue reading Productivity Through Tech

Loyalty Oaths and How They Can Backfire

I recently read about the Virginia GOP’s plans to require a loyalty oath of its primary voters.  I am not going to go into too much detail about it, if you want more info, I think this article sums it up pretty well:  http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/12/virginia-gop-will-require-voters-to-sign-loyalty-oath/

What I do want to talk about is what I consider to be shortsightedness on the part of the GOP leaders in Virginia who approved this idea.  The whole point of the loyalty oath is to prevent the supposed double voting that may or may not be occurring.  The basic idea is that opposing party members would vote in the GOP primary, conspire to vote for a weak candidate and make that candidate win the primary.  This would in theory increase the weak candidate’s chances of receiving the eventual presidential nomination and thus offer less opposition to President Obama’s relection bid.  Or at least that is how the theory goes…

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Leadership and its Glue

I am not a person who banks on the intangibles.  I am more of numbers, statistics, specifications and quantitative results kind of guy.  However, after seeing the streak that Tim Tebow’s unorthodox style of play has the Denver Broncos on, I cannot help but wonder.  What value does leadership really have?  And, more importantly, are we as a society devaluing the intangibles to our own detriment?

The example of Tim Tebow and the Broncos might be a little too narrow minded.  After all, football is a very intangible sort of game.  The narrow victory margins ensure that every year there is some player, some team or in some case even some division that is far too far over in the wins column than in should be.  Some call this luck, others call it fate or destiny, but the fact remains that drawing some sort of scientific conclusion from half a dozen wins in a row might not be the wisest of moves.  What we can however look at is the way in which the team in question has won the vast majority of its half dozen improbable winning games.

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The Flight Paradigm

We all take flying for granted. There are rules that we follow and we expect a certain level of expertise to be offered by the airline staff, ground crews and flight crews of our airlines. However, we often forget how much of a logistical nightmare air travel really is. Next time you try to get the kids in the minivan for a trip down to your local park, imagine that you need to herd 10-20 times as many people and that they all have strange belongings that they must have with them.

Now don’t get me wrong; I am not trying to suggest that the person checking you in is some sort of saint, all I am trying to say is: Try putting yourself in their shoes for a while.

I heard one of the most honest announcements of all time at Gen Mitchell airport in Milwaukee a few months back. A flight to New York had been delayed due to inclement weather and flight control had not pushed back the subsequent flight. The person working the gate for that subsequent flight got on the PA near the time of boarding and warned the passengers that their flight was likely going to delayed, which it ended up being. That is the kind of honesty that I admire, the kind that sets expectations so that customers are not surprised and dissapointed.

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Windows 8: A New Concept From Microsoft?

Those of you who read my articles regularly know that I like to use hyperbole and humor to draw attention to the ridiculous amouns of hyperbole used by the more mainstream media to highlight their points.  This bring us to the title of this article: A New Concept From Microsoft?

Now, I have been guilty of over the years accusing Microsoft of being stale in their UI design, in their feature sets and in how they approach innovation.  However, over the last year or two I must have had someone slip me some of that extra special Microsoft kool-aid, because I get it.  The appoarch is one of well architected systems that for the most part interact with one another quite smoothly.  I will not claim that they are the first people to come up with this idea, after all, the first time I saw someone plug a printer into a iMac (circa 2000) and have it just work I was shocked and amazed.  The trick Microsft has up their sleeve is a slow and steady approach that I think will yield some great results in the long run.

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The Middle Class, Notes for Being It

Well, it is fairly simple, nothing in this world is promised. You have to claw for every inch you get. What do I mean by this? Having people in school will not make them more employable. I know plenty of people with degrees, even master’s level degrees who are stuck in some dead end job that is not in their field of expertise. The trick is to bust ass while in school to get internships so you establish years of work experience before you even graduate. If you finish college and your work history isn’t at least 3 or 4 years long, employers will have a hard time justifying employing you.

On the other end, retirement benefits are what hamstring governments. Yes, they earn votes, but then they have to be paid for out of other people’s profits. Don’t believe me? Continue reading The Middle Class, Notes for Being It

Android Tablets: Missing the Point

This year is supposed to be the year of the tablets. A market has actually developed with multiple competitors and lots of different price points, from the sub $100 range, all the way up past the $1000 range. Android was also supposed to make a big push toward dethroning Apple from its seat as the tablet king which it justly deserves due to its extremely well build and designed iPad range of products.

So, why am I writing this? I believe that Android should not try to steal the high end market from Apple. The iPad, just like the iPod before it, is a premium product, at a premium price. That’s all well and good and the rest of the manufacturers should go after the rest of the market. You know, the majority of the market, which cannot afford to drop $500 or $600 or even $1000 on a tablet device. A tablet is a supplementary computing device. It can replace your notepad, maybe your e-mail app, but it cannot replace your entire computer and to think so is pure folly.

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The Bears, Do You Believe it Now?

The Chicago Bears. Defense, hard nosed, punch you in the mouth smash mouth football. And for once, they actually are. The defense has been amazing this year, keeping them close in games that should have been blown wide open and making blowouts actually only show like moderate defeats on the stat sheet (Giants game comes to mind).

Cutler woke up. That is seriously the only explanation I have. Either that or the man got some very quick lasik. He went from throwing interceptions at a rate that made you wonder if he could tell what team he was on, to throwing TDs at a rate that looks like a hall of famer. Here’s hoping whatever he did sticks and we get more of this Dr. Jay and not Mr. Cutler.

On the other side of the ball, the Eagles and Michael Vick in particular impressed me with their resilience and their ability to make stuff happen. Even when they were down and looked like they were just done, they kept on fighting and made a real game out of it. My hat goes off to Michael Vick and I just hope that he can continue to focus on football and stay away from the bad influences that tainted what should have been one of the greatest careers this sport has ever seen.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 Review

I have to start with a disclaimer. I am not a Harry Potter fan. I do however, believe that the books are well written and that the films are on the whole a good adaptation of the story to the cinematic medium.
With that in mind, let us dive right into Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. Right off the bat, I am bothered by the fact that it is a part 1. What, they couldn’t do a single film based on a single book? The book was rather long, so maybe they didn’t think they could do it justice in the 2 – 3 hours that a typical American film generally lasts. Regardless, I feel that the breaking up of the book into 2 films is a cashing in of sorts that I do not approve of.

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