Saturday, December 31, 2011

Patching, Updating and Versioning OH MY!

It feels like everything I have now requires an update of some sort. Like yesterdays post on the Harmony Remote. Yep, it had an update.

Lets make a short list of the things in my life that have updates;

Car (They have computers)
Remote
Game system (Wii, Sony, DS, Xbox)
PC
Access Point
Home Server
Synology
Printer
iPad
iPod
Phone (Multiple)
Apple TV
Alarm Clock
ATV
Camera
Video Camera
Sonos
Receiver


Can't we make these things all update automatically?

Friday, December 30, 2011

Harmony Remote Review

It has been a few years ago that I bought my last universal remote (From Radioshack) However my TV downstairs has way too many remotes. Cable Box, Stereo receiver, Playstation, XBox, and of course the TV. Jenifer picked up a Harmony (From Logitech) from Radioshack. It is the model 600 and supports 5 devices.

It connects to your laptop and you use a GUI to setup. It is easy and works well. I have not been able to assign some colored buttons to different functions. I am sure it is just a matter of messing with it.

All in all I would recommend it.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tired of Lego's

I am wore out and I have at least 2 more Lego sets to put together. From putting it together to realize that I put one small piece together wrong somewhere 10 steps ago to searching the hundreds of pieces for that one square but in yellow. Then to get it all done and have to put the stickers on.

The reward? The kids to play with it 2 minutes and then take it apart.

Next time I am going to use super glue.

Merry Christmas Steve

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Kids best Christmas

As always, of all the things the kids get for Christmas the box was the best. OK to be honest our boys are getting past the box but here were the favorites.

Carsen and his MP3 player. Here is a boy that has an iPad yet the 2 GB MP3 player has been a hit.

Caden and his pool table. It is a small pool table about 18 inches by 12 inches. He has played pool with lots of people.

There is more Christmas to come this weekend with Jenifer's parents (When Jamie and Josh) make it home so I am sure we will see more favorites.

My favorite kid gift? The Airhog remote control flying helicopter. It works GREAT!. Shoots missiles (Plastic missiles) and the control is easy and it charges in about 15 minutes and flies for 5. I will update on some of the gifts I got later this week.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

What Frosty can Teach me

We were driving from Great Wolf Lodge to my parents house today for Christmas Eve and every one was excited after a great couple of days at the water park. (PS Jen that was a great idea) Anyway Frosty the Snow Man came on the radio and the kids were singing along. I was listening to the words when it came to me that the song could teach us all somehting. Imaging if you were born and given only one winter to live. Some would be mad at the world. Not Frosty. He was happy to thave the time that he was given and living life to the most. You might even say that when he came to the traffic cop a negative person it barely even phased him.

Make the most of your Christmas, Go laugh and play with the kids and live in the moment. Rarely do we have a chance to just celebrate together.

Make the most of this day.

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Man things

So if you didn't know we had quite a snow yesterday and this morning. This gave me the ability to do a few "Man Things" that I think every man should experience.

First is AWD (All Wheel Drive) or 4WD (4 Wheel Drive) To be able to bust through 3 foot snow drifts and keep on going there is just something manly about this. Watching other cars struggle at intersections, stuck in parking lots and maybe even unable to get out of the garage. Sure, Jenifer drives her Tahoe in 4WD and can easily make it to work. Yet she does not enjoy the fun that can be had with this power.

Second is the ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) In this particular case it is the fun of driving through the snow, blading off the driveway and of definitely pulling the kids on the sled.

If you need to experience either of these give me a call. My neighborhood has plenty of willing driveways and I will be glad to show you how to take the 4WD off road.

Maybe if your lucky I can show you a third later this week and you can take both of these in the MUD!

Monday, December 19, 2011

From 60 to Blizzard?

I worked outside. It was in the upper 50's but the boys rode their four wheeler s and I vacuumed out the cars. It is forecast that we are going to have a blizzard today! Only in KS could this not only happen but almost be expected this time of year. Many times they have forecast the snow and none has come. We will see what happens.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

More Carsenism's


We were looking at this picture earlier and a little later he comes up to me and says that "It takes a lot of money!" I was confused. He continues "We need lots of money to eat and get me toys" I was clueless. "Dad, that is why you have the perfect job, you need to save us lots of money" OK "Yea, you are the money making super hero"

Well duh!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Innovating? Are you?

I work in an industry that if you are not innovating then your going out of business (You may be the last one to know) So the question is how do you innovate? I have been trying to break this down lately.

1. Have creative ideas of new innovation (This comes easy to me)
2. Research the ideas for functionality (Many spend way too much time here and never get the innovation off the ground or they have people telling them that change is bad)
3. Implementation must be proactive, directed and measured.
4. Problems in launch are expected. If your 80% good you can fix the other 20%
5. Fail Fast


More on this later!

Friday, December 16, 2011

TV Repair update?

Wow, I recently have been successful at repairing the Dishwasher and Ice maker. Can I make it 3 for 3?

Of course. Part came in, I took about 5 minutes to install it and perfect picture once again. And Jamie, I did not manage to electrocute myself. That is just a bonus. I think (Quietly knocking on wood) I have everything fixed around the house.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Carsen is cracking me up!

We are sitting in the chair tonight listening to music and he gets real serious and says..."Dad, it is good to be a boy" Me "Why is that?" Carsen "You don't have to lay babies"

Can't argue with that logic.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Selling the value. First you must understand the value

Many times I go back to the hammer. When you buy a hammer you don't really want a hammer, rather you want a nail pounded in. Really you don't want that nail pounded in you want a house built.

Many times in sales we focus on that product that we sell. How many times have you had a client come up to you and ask for a server. People do not want a server, they want to make their business run more efficiently. In both examples if you sell the value of building a house or making a business run more efficiently and you give people what they want this is where the value really is. Don't focus on the immediate question. Figure out what people really want and then you both win.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Only one more day of copying files from the Home Server

It is amazing how long it takes copying almost 2 Terabytes of data. It looks like the data loss is minimal. However it has been painful messing with this. I do have backups that I can go back to however it has not been necessary.

Next time I will not rely on a RAID 5 system and go to simple RAID 1 (Mirroring) system. Faster in operation and easier to repair. Lesson learned.

Meanwhile my operation X-Mas lights has been a bit painful today. It has rained and caused my GFI to continuously trip. I can check in the next couple of days to see where the weak connection is. I feel a bit like Clark Griswald when it comes to finding that one loose connection.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Moving from Appliance Repair to TV Repair?

A while back I bent the HDMI Port on my Big Screen. I have done everything I could but I think I broke the PC board behind the HDMI Port. This causes some lines that show up on the screen. I took out the tools a week ago and opened up the TV. Looks simple enough. Found what needed replaced and found a used part.

I will let you know how it goes. If no one hears from me for a while I probably electrocuted myself, come get me in the basement.

Update on the ICE maker. The part came in and 5 minutes later we were making ice. Whoo Hoo!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Home Server time to go?

This weekend I had a Hard Drive fail on the home server. It is at least 4 or 5 years old and it is amazing how technology changes. I looked into updating to the must current version of Home Server. However when I checked into this there was very little that had changed and if anything they had removed some functionality. However it has been been serving well.

Now that I have to make an investment into at least one new HD I think it is time for a change. The Home Server has increasingly found itself less and less valuable. The PC backups it was doing are really not valuable anymore. The PCs are only running core and more and more I am running most apps in the cloud. As for basic storage, the Synology is much better and easier to use with the mobile apps. Apps for the iPad and Android phone. Plus the removes a piece of hardware that I have to deal with. The Synology does not require AV, maint and constant attention as it seems that the Server has needed.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I think I should have been an appliance repair man.

Or maybe I should wait till I get the latest attempt completed. A while back I repaired the dishwasher. It had stopped filling with water correctly. I found a valve that was worn out, got online and found the correct part and a few days later I was in business. Felt pretty good about that one.

Recently the ice maker has been dripping water down the freezer part of the refrigerator. I had seen the repair man remove it before and replace it in a few minutes a few years before. How hard could it be? 5 minutes later I had it out and discovered the problem. The coating on the ice tray was flaking off. (This explained some contaminants in the water) On line I went and hopefully in a few days we will be back with ice. I will let you know.

PS The dishwasher is still working great!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Register.com great marketing idea.

I had Register.com give me a call this weekend. It is where I have SteveRiat.com and RiatFamily.com registered along with several other services. I was expecting them to want to renew one of the services that I have. Nope, they were offering to design a website for me for free and then do all the services to drive business to my site. Now I am not really interested in more people going to my site other than the ones that are looking to go there and I really am not wanting to have a professional site. However I had to figure out the details.

Like I figured, it was not free. They design it for free and will let you see it. However, you must pay for the service for it to be deployed. Hey, it got my interest.

Beyond them making this offer. The agent that called me had been to my sites and was familiar with the content on it. He went to explain how their service could be better than what I had. I appreciated that they did their homework.

Monday, December 5, 2011

I called that MJ would continue to make albums.

Titled appropriately Michael Jackson Immortal it is MJ's most recent album. Now really it is just a remix of some of his hits. However I have to tell you that it is good. I test drove that on Spottily. The boys liked it so I went to purchase it on Amazon. I had my first problem with downloading from Amazon so I put in a help request. It took a couple of minutes for a response and they enabled it so I could re-download the album. Jenifer and I are becoming fans of Amazon and more specific Amazon Prime (Free second day shipping, movies and more!) If we could not buy a Christmas gift locally than it is coming from Amazon.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I will be posting an update to my Xmas Lights this week

video
video

We have had a few difficulties. Some Windows Exception Errors and the rain on Saturday morning caused some havoc with the Serial connection. All back and running. This is just a quick preview. I will post more later in the week.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

If you think everything has been invented the just look at music.

Recently I had heard a lot about Spotify what I was really thinking is what else could they bring that would be different from Pandora, LastFM, iCloud, Sirius, Slacker, iHeartRadio, Deezer, MOG and the other hundred of services that I don't even know. Well, I added the app to the iPad and to my Sonos and I love it. I test drove it using the new Michael Jackson album (I was right he will be like 2PAC. Anyway it has a good interface and the sound is great.

Take that another step further with all of these cloud storage services. First Amazon, then iCloud and now Google Music. Google Music is great!. Store up to 20,000 songs in your cloud for free, good apps and pin the music to your local device if you want to listen without connectivity to the cloud (Web) it is excellent. Now of course it can't be that easy. Google Music doesn't play well with my Apple device and iTunes does not play well with Android/Google. Each has good and bad points. So for now I utilize way too many of these options.

I do have to say back to my original point look at all of these new options you have for your music and playlists. As for now, it is all good all over.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Pepe Gomez is Kool?

We were setting at the dinner table last night and I am not sure how the topic came up about cool people but Caden tells us all that no one is cool. Carsen immediately responds with "Pepe Gomez is" We had not been talking about Pepe or anything. I guess if a 5 year old says your cool you must be?

Pepe is the Larks Player that we had during the summer. We recently found out that he will be moving do Division 1 ball next year. Congrats Pepe.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dad, are you a Republican or a Democrat?

This from my 9 year old. So I ask him, what are you? He says a Republican. I inquire further, what is a Republican. A Republican works hard and is responsible.

Well, there you go. I can't make this stuff up.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tired of fighting for bandwidth

That is it, I am going to have to put in a QoS (Quality of Service)device to give me internet bandwidth priority at my own house. Until I get fiber and significantly more bandwidth, the current 6mb will not cut it with 2 boys streaming Netflix.

Who would have thought that two children under the age of 10 could eat up enough internet bandwidth to make me suffer.

Things have changed.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Apple TV

I bought an Apple TV a while back. It is just what you would expect from Apple. Simple. A power cord and an HDMI cable (Well and an ethernet port however it is wireless) It was easy to set up and connected right up. Apple Air Play is the best. You can simply touch a button on the iPad and it displays whatever you have on the iPad screen (Via Wireless) on the TV screen along with audio.

This along with access to your iTunes, Netflix, put your pictures on the TV and much more. Pretty good value for less than $100.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Finally Got Blu-ray

And I have to tell you I am a bit underwhelmed. I was expecting some amazing differences in the video, or some amazing features. However it is maybe a bit better than DVD which I never really had much of a problem with DVD.

Maybe I have not seen the right show on it. I will let you know if I find a real reason to upgrade. To be honest, I was expecting to skip Blu-ray and just go to streaming only (Lets face it, it is a matter of time till delivering the media is just old school)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pumpkin Chunkin

Is proof why you would not want to mess with America. Any country that would take this much time, money and effort to see who can sent a pumpkin almost a mile is a country you do not want to mess with.

I can't believe I spent an hour watching this on Discovery to see who wins.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Lighting Update

Things are up and running this year. This year we did a significant update. I went from all enclosed solid state device to a Laptop running the sound and controls a remote switching unit (Via Serial connection through USB). With over 1,000 foot of extension cords, who knows how many lights and LED's it is quite a show. Stop by and tune your radio to 89.5. You will hear some Transiberian Orchestra, Charlie Brown, Knocking on Heavens Door, even some transitions from Christmas Vacation.

Enjoy.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

My annual Thanksgiving Rant

I have to post every year how the day after Thanksgiving still haunts me. It was a love and hate relationship. Go back some 13 plus years with me when I managed a Radioshack. I had to make sure I was back in town and be in the store at like 4 a.m. to put up the "Black Friday" deals. Not to worry, I was not alone. I tried to only have the minimum people before we actually opened. We were always swamped once the door opened. More people than we could help. Anyway, from this day till after the first of the year, 60 plus hours, tons of inventory and paperwork then to end it with inventory on January 1.

I read an artical about Target and an employee that was protesting having to come in at midnight. I understand his concern. However it was part of the job. That part of the job was one large piece of why I left retail.

My understanding of people who get up (Or don't go to bed) to get that super deal is gone. Perhapse I have more money than time.

Just remember that when you are out shopping during the holidays. Have some patience with those helping you. Remember that they gave up family time to help you and earn a living.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Garden City Dodge City

Started early in Garden City. A large crowd for being before 8. The presentation went really well. The Interim Chamber Director stated that "She just wanted to follow me around the rest of the day and hear me talk" I would have to say this was unexpected and one of the best compliments I could have had.

Then Dodge City. The room was not quite as nice however the crowd really filled in. I did have a chance to listen into a sales person (Manager with her report sitting next to her) speak to a large customer right next to me. They had no idea who I was or that I even understood what they were talking about. I want to take a short break in speaking about the presentations and outline the mistakes that were made.

Understand that this was across the table over lunch being served (Large group and serving took a while) They were discussing services exceeding $1,000 per month. Probably one of the most political accounts in town.

1. It was not the right place to have this discussion. Make an appointment at the customer site or at your office. Not in front of others, especially when you do not know who is around

2. Take a moment and actually listen to the customer. All this customer wanted to do is understand what kind of contract they were in. (This was a new manager and not from the area) Explore options. Hey, he may end up purchasing other things if he understood what you did?

3. Don't tell the customer what you can'/won't do. (Especially if you don't listen to them)

4. Watch the attitude. Short and snobby answers won't get you anywhere.

5. Be professional. Choose your words.

I would have loved to lean over the their customer and tell him that there are options in the area other than these folks. (Hey, I might later, this was not the place)

Back to the presentation. I choose to not have them do introductions. I like to have the shock and awe factor. I had a full 40 minutes this time so I could give my full presentation on technology. This presentation went the best, knocked it out of the park. There were lots of people who came up afterwards and judging from the engagement of the crowd I had every one's attention from the beginning until the end. What a rush. Sounds like I will be going back with asks to do this a couple more times in front of other groups.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

e-rate then to Garden City

We gave a bit of a different presentation in Hays to a group of schools. I will leave the boring details out. Darren did his usual great job of presenting and Loren closed it out.

One thing that remains consistent is that it seems that when you present to schools you get almost no response from the crowd. If you would have ask me about how it went when I was done, I would have said that I really did not engage the crowd at all. However judging from the amount of people who hung around afterwards and spoke one on one with us I would say it was a success. Who knew.

Well, off to Garden City.

Monday, November 21, 2011

On the road again

Back on the road on the road (yea, I am catching up) We had another busy week. (Realize that the last several posts were on delay) We had an e-rate event on Tuesday, traveled to Garden City Tuesday night, Up for a Chamber event at 7 in Garden City, then travel to Dodge City for Luch Chamber presentation then home. Thursday back on the road to Salina for the final e-rate meeting.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Day 7 IT Nation (And final Day)

Up early to the airport. Unfortunately I had to go from Orlando to Houston to Denver then to Hays.

The Airport was as usual busy. However security went quickly and even the wait for the plane was quick. The trip to Houston was made eventful with Payne sitting next to me. Payne was sitting on her mothers lap and she was 8 months old. She was not happy about the flight. So 2 hours of consistent attention from the mother. The iPad kept her busy for a little while. Meanwhile the 3 year old behind me maintained kicking my chair for about an hour.

The trip from Houston to Denver was one of the roughest I have had in a larger plane. After landing two people rushed to the bathroom to empty their stomach contents.

Last was the flight to Hays which I was dreading due to the previous rough flight. This flight was about an hour delayed. However no turbulence. It was me and three pilots. I was surely covered.

GREAT to be home.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Day 6 IT Nation


I am tired and ready to be home. Poor Jen being home all week making all that needs to happen at home get done. (I am told that Jersey has torn up part of my drip system so that is good to look forward to)

I have this great view out of my window however I have been outside a total of 20 minutes since getting here. I am told it has been in the 80's and nice.

I attended a forum on Mobility and it is clear that this is a game changer. The question is where do we fit. That is yet to see. However there is not doubt that we are only getting started. After seeing my dad get an Android phone and liking it that is will be huge.

I got a chance to catch up with Mike Fafinski from Syand It feels like it has been forever since we have really spoke. We have both been super busy and traveling.

So I started IT nation presenting at the first breakout and ended with the last. Still have a packed room and I have to admit I nailed it. Lots of great feedback and I have had tons of people connecting with me.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Day 5 IT Nation

Had an incredible Keynote presentation from Daniel Burrus. He wrote Flash Foresight if your in the technology business or simply want to see what is ahead for technology this is a great book. I would suggest starting at page 41. (Yea, I am not all the way through the book, but have a good start with all the travel time) Daniel really gave an entertaining presentation and gave a great way of projecting what is coming. It is not guessing rather taking known information and applying it. It is a must read.

I then presented at 1:00 and had a full room. Many comments were made like "Best I have seen at IT Nation" and one of the marketing people from ConnectWise ask for my card and stated that they wanted to do something different next year and believed my unique content would be a great direction for that.

My sessions were recorded so once my good friend Aaron Booker from Varvid gets done producing the video I will post the link.

Then a good dinner and drinks (Maybe not in that order) with friends.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day 4 Orlando

Finished up the HTG3 group today. We went off agenda and instead of breaking up sales and the rest of the group we stayed all together. If I was to go back in time, I would not do this again. We had over 30 people in the room and this was way too many strong personalities. We did manage to have a productive meeting, I just feel that it could have been more productive (In fact double the productivity) if we would have had two rooms. Hey, live and learn.

Ended the evening with the NTS guys who recently lost their leader Scott suddenly. They are working to ensure they have the right mix of sales and products. I was involved in a SWOT of their company in 2010. I wish the best to them to build the future. This just shows the importance of a disaster plan for you personally.

We then went straight from HTG to IT Nation. That is the ConnectWise annual conference. They do CRM software for IT companies. I will be speaking at this conference over the next couple of days. What a great start to the meeting catching up with my friend Raja from London, Fuzzy from Australia and many others.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

Day 3 in Orlando

The first day of the new HTG 3-30 group. The meeting started tentative. New personalities and we spend most of the day getting to know everyone. By the end of the day things started to gel. While definitely not the synergy of the old group we definitely made progress.

We had a lunch presentation that was n impressive. Information that was repetitive, very basic and low in value.

Ending the day with a great dinner out

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Day 2 in Orlando

A full day of HTG Facilitation training. We really got some great training from Dr. Larry Little. From handling difficult situations to making people participate more. It was a full day. Plus I get to spend a day with some great guys that also facilitate.

I then got to spend time with SonicWall and an evening of fun with everyone at the bar.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Day 1 To Orlando

Had a great flight (s) to Orlando for HTG3 and IT Nation (ConnectWise). Right out of the gate I ran into many of the IT people that I know. It was great to connect and have so many things in common.

The flight to Denver was not eventful. On time and quick.

Then Flight from Denver to Orlando is 3 and 1/2. The best part of that flight was that for $6 I got to watch the whole SF 49er game. (Another victory!)

A simple trip to the Hotel and then catching up with the guys I know until Late. It will make for a early morning to do Facilitation training.

Friday, November 11, 2011

I don't know enough to know what is best

After spending lots of time looking at other businesses the one thing I feel confident of is that I don't have one thing! I have heard lots of presentations making recommendations that there is way too many assumptions to really give a professional opinion.

What I have come to realize is that if people are making mater of fact advice for you and do not have the knowledge about you specifically they are most likely trying to sell you something, not mature in their consulting career or simply too cocky.

Next time you hear that mater of fact advice. Do a check of the fact and make your own evaluation of the advice.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Doing a presentation about Sales today

After spending many years in sales and more specifically IT sales I have found many things to be different from company to company. From product mix to management. However there are some trends when looking at sales.

Many times there are obstacles to selling that nobody realizes until it is too late

In IT many times we over engineer solutions. If we are 80% correct then we are more likely to make more money than engineering everything.

Process, Process, Process. You need a consist ant process yet allowing for employees to bring their own personality. If you can't name it and more importantly if your employee can not name it, it is broke.

Too much to sell! I know, that is opposite of what you usually sell. However you need to narrow the solutions so that focus can be brought.

These are just a few topics I will be speaking about. It will be fun, entertaining and of course have value.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Yep, behind on my reading

Thanks everyone for sending me books. I am not ignoring them, rather I am that behind on reading. Right now I am about 15 books backed up. I promise I will review the books you sent me when I get to them. With cooler weather and quite a lot of time off coming up, I am sure to start chewing through quite a few of them.

Friday, November 4, 2011

IT Nation top rated and new blog to check out.

You must check out Ted Hulsy's blog and while you are there he gave me a great compliment of being his number one pick to see at IT Nation. Thanks Ted and I promise it is going to be fast paced, new and as always entertaining!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

From 70's to Snow


On Monday it was in the 70's here (And windy)
Tuesday a couple of inches of snow.

You have to love the weather in KS

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Happy Birthday Jenny!

Happy birthday to my wife Jenifer. Looking forward to celebrating many more with you.

She is such a pain to shop for. I cannot pick out clothing (Never a right answer). So this year she will get upgraded to a smart phone. (Hey I offered a year ago and she didn't want it until she saw what our neighbors were doing with theirs (Facebook Pictures mostly)

And a new exhaust fan in the bathroom. (Not due to me...) The old one made lots of noise. This one is much better)

And a few smaller things..

HB JEN

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween 2011


Captain America and a Foot Soldier visited many houses last night in Hays. They came home with about 3 gallons of candy. No way can these two eat that much candy by the end of the year. Well, ok they could eat that much, however they would be sick.

Hope everyone had a great Halloween!

I did see my first Christmas commercial a couple of weeks ago. Getting earlier and earlier each year. Maybe next year we can start in July!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Music Cloud?

Everyone is creating the "Music Cloud"

Apple's iCloud
Amazon's Cloud Player
Google's Music Beta

These just to name a few. As usual the problem is none of my stuff wants to play together. I am buying my music from Amazon so their music solution make a good solution. However I have to use iTunes for the iPad. So iTunes is a must. Then of course the Android runs Google so good idea there to use their solution.

Currently I use DoubleTwist to sync my iTunes with my Droid. So, I guess I will stick with my MP3's and start to use the Synology for my "Private" cloud.

Anyone have a better solution?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Happy Birthday Caden

Happy 9th Birthday Caden. He had a couple friends spend the night last night and was extra excited. Ice cream Cake, presents and good times!

9 Years ago I had no idea what I was getting into. Sometimes I still think I don't know yet.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Some good marketing by Google

Just a couple of good TV commercials.

First the guy that sends emails to his daughter to her Google Mail account. See HERE

Next is the Baseball commercial telling the story of the guy who pitches the perfect game on the MLB Video game. I could not find that one on youtube yet. It tells the story of a Music Teacher who knew very little about baseball. But for a Million Dollar reward tries to pitch the perfect game (Video Game) He uses Google to find the hitters weaknesses.

These are great commercials because;

1. They tell an engaging story
2. You can relate to the people in them
3. They tell real stories
4. Have an emotional aspect to them.
5. Are simple
6. Have some type of personal reference.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Facebook killed www.riatfamily.com

So when I created the site it was for sharing photos and such. Well, Facebook does that and so much more. So this weekend it will be going away. You may stay tuned however to see what shows up in its place!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

As seen on TV

They have that show (I believe it is with a guy called Holmes) where he goes in to help people who have been taken by bad contractors. You know, contractors that do not do work up to code, start and do not finish, wire an entire house to one breaker, pipe the sewage directly into the basement and such.

I love that show. He shows how much work it is to fix something done poorly in the first place where it probably would be easier to start new!

I figured that we need that type of show in the IT world. Pictures and such of IT work done poorly.

Wiring and cabling
Using home products in the corporate network (Think XP Home)
No backup (Or poor backup)
Telling people "That's just the way it works"
Printers at every desk, but the one on your desk is someone else's
Instead of recommending new equipment they keep fixing old the old stuff (One part at a time) and of course sending you a bill each time
Selling out of date equipment

Maybe this poor install and configuration just runs in business. Next time you need anything fixed.

Car
Appliances
Small motors
PC's
Roof
or anything else

Find a qualified, certified person. Not the cheapest!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Who would have thought 10 years ago.

It was the recent 10 year anniversary of the iPod. Look at the changes that have happened. Sure the Internet was around. However it was mostly 56k dial up, or 1.5 mb at the fastest, single core processors, wireless existed but was not everywhere, no real such thing as smart phones.

Now?

My smart phone has replaced;
Camera
Internet (On the go)
IM (Instant messaging)
planner (Or at least the calendar)
Remote control (House alarm, audio system and more)
Facebook (What is that ten years ago)
GPS



This is just a short list. Not to mention that my phone has more storage and processing power than my home computer had 10 years ago!

What will this technology look like when Caden reaches 18? It could be amazing. What a great industry to be working in. I look forward to the change everyday. Or even every hour. I cant wait to see what is next!

Monday, October 24, 2011

A great fall so far!

It has been a great fall so far. What does that mean? Mild temperatures, a little moisture, late freeze and all around good weather. In Kansas it can be almost any weather this time of year. I remember when Caden was born on October 29th there was an inch or so of snow on the ground. Hard to think about this when I am still cutting grass each week due to the mild temperatures.

I am always sad to see the warmth go. It means being confined to indoors, putting the Corvette away for the winter (Not to worry, I will get it out several times) frost on the windows of the car in the morning and everything goes dormant.

However with that comes Thanksgiving, Christmas and a New Year. It all goes so fast once you get to mid November.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Latest Book Review of It's Not About You

Another great book by Bob Burg and John David Mann. Bob Burg was the author of Go Giver and Go Givers Sell More. Two of my most favorite reads. This latest release is is my most favorite of them all. I have to quote from page 85;

"You can lead only as far as you grow. And you will grow only as far as you let yourself"

"I write to find out what I think."

"I think we live to find out who we are"

"Character is what happens when life scratches itself onto your soul"

"Words are the footprints of God"

All of these great quotes come from 2 back to back pages.

You will have to go buy the book to get the whole value and I highly recommend buying this one!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The bonus morning in Greenville SC


It was up early to go to BMW driving school. To be honest, I was expecting lots of classroom and little in the car. It ended up with no classroom and all car.

Never have I been handed the keys to a $50,000 car on a track and told to give them the best track time. It is a bit scary when you approach the first corner at 60 MPH and have no idea how this car is going to grip the road.

What a great day. Driving 11 different types of BMW's. From convertibles to SUV's and everything else in between. Best part is that the least amount of horse power was 338. They were all fast and fun.

Check it all out here!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Last day at conference


Ended with a great day. It started with a former Blue Angel pilot. He told specific stories of flying in Top Gun, going to Russia during the cold war and shaking down an aircraft. (Sounds like it would end with a sack for me)

Then I had many meetings with a couple of VP's of the company and more. Lots of good information. Ended the day with a good dinner and a concert from the Bare Naked Ladies. Not exactly my type of music, however I can appreciate good musicians.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It is all in the presentation (Again)

As I had a chance to sit in on many breakouts, it continues to amaze me that many of the manufacturers pay people lots of $'s and yet they have some of the worst presentations. An example is when I sat in a breakout having to do with security (Think firewalls). There were three different manufacturers (Competitors) which is different, usually each manufacturer has their own breakout. This was good, I figured that they would point out their differences. I was wrong. Each of the three got up and basically did the same presentation. Security is important, we are the best, we are here for you and you can make money.

Well people, after listening to all three, I could not tell you one thing that was different other than each company had different graphics designers (Their slides looked different but said the same thing.

You would think the last presenter of three would get up and ditch their canned presentation and give their product differences. Hey, even if it was tech speak, at least it was different!

If I was going to make one of these presentations, I would do the following;

1. Start with the differentiators.
2. Provide specific success stories with VAR's
3. Show how existing VAR's have made and continue making money with my product
4. Have one of those VAR's give a testamonial.
5. Quick and to the point
6. Specific follow up items for those who are interested. Have people in the room to capture information, sign dealers up then, make business happen.
7. Make this all informational and entertaining!
8. Do not continue speaking if you have said everything you have. Just end.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Synnex annual conference

Was in Greenville South Carolina which was a beautiful town. It is around 600 thousand people with nice trees, water and mountains. One of the features of the town is BMW's manufacturing plant (More later this week on that). I had a chance to catch up with many vendors, manufacturers and such. Clearly the cloud is still on every one's mind with mostly a lack of what to do about it. There is starting to be some offerings from many areas on different cloud solutions. We will have to see what shakes out.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Indy Car series closes the season with a shock

When driving a car over 200 Mph every one knows there are risks. Dan Wheldon paid the ultimate price.

As a fan of the series and Wheldon you lose sight of the dangers of racing. Next year Indy releases a new, safer car.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hunter Really?


One of our Ceiling Fan / Lights went out and so off to Home Depot I go. Put the fan up in no time and worked great. It came with a "Limited Lifetime" warranty which we all know is more limited than lifetime. Went to fill out the warranty card to send in and it was the above picture. Included;

Household income
Age
Sex
Which room it was installed in
Other like products I may have...

Really? It was "Required" information.

Why?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Face to face meetings.

I recently had a chance to meet several vendors that I usually do business with on the phone. Even with video conferencing, email and many hours on the phone, the face to face meeting still bonds much better. I even had a chance to see many present and while presentation skills are still important, it is obvious who puts together presentations with effort versus others who simply hid slides from the "Corporate" deck.

Every one knows when it is a canned presentation.

If you want to close the deal, get in the car/airplane and make it happen!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Had a great day golfing with Dad.



I think he was standing in the water to make that shot!

We had a great time playing at Lake Perry.

Eastern KS is definitely dry, however the course did manage to have a few water hazards.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I am the best Pitcher ever!

OK that one got your attention. Really I am talking about Pepe Gomez. More specifically his self image.

Happy birthday Jose "Pepe" Gomez. Happy 21st.

Keep your head high, fast ball under control and remember to take an extra dozen balls to the golf course. Your going to need them

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Pumpkin Patch


Was a bit disappointing this year. Caden did enjoy the zip line, Carsen the maze. It was bad packaging on the part of the people running the Patch. You had to pay $2 to enter at the beginning. Then immediately as soon as you walk 80 feet into the actual area that is the beginning you are then ask to pay for the activities $5 each. Why not offer the package at the beginning. It felt like we were going to be ask to pay for every little thing. Charge $6 each and you get everything?

Then you go to pick your pumpkins and of course you had to pay for those also. Sure I get that part because it is by the pound.

Anyway it is amazing how packaging makes the user experience change so much.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Why didn't I think of that!

So this summer we had the baseball player (Pepe Gomez, which has wanted a shout out and he will get it on his birthday with all the pictures that I have been saving for a special occasion). Well a week or so ago when Carsen went to a Football game he stated that he wanted to take home a cheerleader for the winter.

Genius.

I will be starting a fall program for this next year!

Thanks Carsen.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Political rhetoric

I know, avoid politics but not this time. I recently had a chance to hear a political leader speak with a room full of other political figures and it took me back to my Political Science roots.

The speech was dead on from a what to do right. You know
Have to cut spending. (However this won't effect you)
Have to raise Taxes (Not yours)
Need more jobs (Other countries are stealing, it is not the government forcing those out)
Education needs help (Needs more money)
It is the other party standing in the way (Not our party)
This year has been the worst in (Insert term) for natural disasters

Ahh Rhetoric.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

First impressions of Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet

First of all it has micro USB charging and standard cable. Thank you! For the good. Reasonable weight, good screen and very fast. As for its ports;
USB (Full Size0
3 in 1 Flash card reader
Dock connector
HDMI and more!

They got all of this right!

It is a bit thick, however for the ports I see the need to be this size. It does have a bunch of junk programs pre installed. Easy to get rid of.

I have two complains. The on board memory of 16 GB. Should be 32 or 64 with my experience of the other tablets. With music, documents and video you will use this. Now the nice thing is you can use the ports for more memory.

THE PEN. This tablet accepts a pen and it can store on-board. Has a nice slot for it. To my surprise it was empty? Come on, now you have to order a $35 pen (Plus shipping) Just build it in.

Otherwise. It is not the most thin. However it has the best configuration and expandability.

Friday, September 23, 2011

How good is Sonos?

(Sonos - My whole home audio system)

It is so good that when I play music recorded live it messes with the dog. It got to the point that I had to put her out because she barked, wandered around looking for people and went into security mode.

Now that is clear music.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lets get Serious Sirius

I was speaking to Loren the other day about Satellite Radio and he suggested this blog. So in dedication here it goes.

Loren a long time Sirius subscriber recently wanted to add a new car to his subscription. He called and they could not add the radio due to it being an XM Satellite Radio instead of a Sirius. Now if you did not know this, they are the same company! See here!

They told Loren he would have to open a new XM account. Well it cost them the business. Maybe they will some day learn about customer service (I doubt it)

If you remember some years ago I dropped my Sirius because the rates continued to go up and then they removed services (In my particular case I wanted the online streaming and it had been removed. It was additional)

Now I get emails from Sirius asking me to come back for rates like $5 for 6 months with no commitment past that. Well if you would have just had the online streaming in my $20 a month rate I would have kept your service and you would have made way more money.

I like the service, it worked well. However I do not see me going back.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

To you Facebook Whiners (Jenifer this is you!)



I am told that Facebook has changed its view. To be honest I didn't even notice. I use the app. However, this is called progress. You cannot live in your old ways. (While I am on the subject of upgrades, you people who are using Word Perfect, just give up and go back to your typewriter (Which by the way they have upgraded to MS Office 2010!))

Anyway I have a few things for you whiners of the new Facebook look.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Me in Education Again?

If you have read my blog before you probably know about my questionable past with Education. I was constantly fighting the system. Few teachers challenged me (Other than giving me those less than perfect grades). I wanted more out of education and felt like I was given less.

Now that I have moved on from High School and College I continue to read quite a bit. From books to magazines and of course the Kindle app. Constantly trying to learn more.

Anyway, I recently learned that I was posted on BCC (Barton Community Colleges) web site. I have been part of this group for a couple of years. Click here to see!

Guess you cannot complain about a system unless you are willing to help change it.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Stay Tuned for after Thanksgiving

Got an early start on the Christmas lights (Did he say Christmas lights) Yep. Really upgrading this year. Multi-core server processing, 1 Terrabyte of storage, more than a dozen channels of lighting pleasure and this would not be complete with out stereo sound.

It is guaranteed to annoy the neighbors (Just a bonus), shock the crowd and wow the children.

Stop by and take a gander after Thanksgiving.

If I get enough comments I may even add a piece for our "Fly Hays" crowd from the sky.

Monday, September 12, 2011

America, The Greatest Country Ever


It feels like everywhere I look or listen you hear how we are spending the country into a third world and how bad things are. However it came through to me this weekend at the Chiefs game that the one thing that people tend to overlook in looking at these details are the people. The Americans. We are what make this country great. Standing up for what is right, defending the poor, weak and taking a stand for human rights. Beyond that we are a people that are willing to do what is needed to get the job done. From building the infrastructure to inventing the next thing. Time and time again we show the world that we are first.

So feel free to copy us. We will stay ahead.
Feel free to say we are not leaders. We will show we are leaders.
Feel free to call us bullies. We will be the first you call when you need help.
You may take sucker punches. We may get a bruise. We will knock you out.

We have the greatest game on earth. Football.

As for the Chiefs. There is always next year.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Learning from a Dog?

Last night Carsen made a good observation. Jersey (Our dog) is always happy.

He is right, she is always happy to see us even if she has been in the trash. Sure, she knows punishment is coming, however the joy of seeing us out weighs the punishment. If you think about it, dogs are most happy when they are working (Playing fetch, rolling around or simply following me when I am mowing)

I remember Molly when she was getting old and things were much harder to do. The vet made a statement like "Dogs do not know or care they are getting old. They just want to do" We could all could benefit from that attitude.

How many depressed dogs have you seen? Dogs with ADD (They own it).

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tablet update

So I have had hands on experience with the
Toshiba Thrive
Samsung Galaxy 10"
Lenovo K1
Archos 101
iPad one and two
Viewpad 7"
HP Tablet
HP Slate

So to compare in order of least favorite to most favorite.

The Viewpad 7" It had Android 2.2. First of all any tablet should have 3.1 or better and the form factor of 7" is wrong. Was slow, wireless was terrible, no GPS. Would not buy this for no price.

The HP Slate. Expensive Windows 7 device with small screen. Worked well, however Windows 7 is not made for the touch screen interface. Again, the device is fine. Windows 7 on this, not so good.

HP Tablet. It WAS good. Lets face it, HP killed the OS and with that it has no future no matter what the price.

Archos 101. Great price and decent interface. However same problem with 2.2 Android as the Viewpad. If it would upgrade to 3.1 it may be ok. However I am betting that it would be slow and need more memory/processor.

From here on, I think that you would like these. There are variations of good.

Lenovo K1. It is running 3.2, has Netflix and other benefits. So first a couple of complaints in general with most of these tablets. Why do they all have some propitiatory connector to charge. Why not use USB Micro connector? (This tablet has that pin thing) They why do many of them not have flash memory slot (This one does not) Anyway on to the specifics of this unit. It is thick. Almost 1/2 inch. It is missing all other types of ports, (Although it has HDMI Mini) feels heavier than most even though it is not. I did the update out of the box to the most current version. It is slow. Does not compare to other tablets. The shell it has from the factory is poor and slow. Lenovo specific store? Why.

Toshiba Thrive and the Samsung tie in my mind even though they are very different. First the Thrive. It is thick, however feels right when you carry it. It has USB, Flash, HDMI (Full size) and decent camera's. It is fast and the cost is one of the best in the bunch.

Samsung. Major difference is it is thin. Still has that funky plug thing and no other ports. Feels good and well built. It is fast and has great interface.

iPad. I would say that even the iPad 1 is good in comparison to the rest. The 2 is in my opinion the best. It has the same port problem. Now we are coming down to the Android versus Apple discussion.

Apple;
Larger more complete store
All apps seam to start as Apple then become Android.
Stable

Android.
Not as stable
Playing catch up
Will get better.

Just my view. I know we have some followers that have played with these, maybe they have some input!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Puppy update

So I have had some questions on how Jersey is coming. Her official nick name is JZ. She is learning slowly. After having Molly around and already trained it is difficult to find the patience of training the new puppy.

She really is coming along quite well. She has not destroyed anything of significance, only limited digging in the back yard and she has learned the basic commands. (Sit, come, stay and such)

I took her on a walk tonight without a leash and she stuck by me pretty well. She knows her yard and does really well in not leaving.

So far, so good.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Debit or Credit?

Every time I use the Debit card they ask me this. What difference does it make other than I have to enter my PIN when I say Debit. I assume that Credit means that the company taking my payment has to pay a small percent to the bank. Do they pay both ways?

I don't care so stop asking me. I have to pay both ways unless someone has figured that out also.

(PS I am sure that Jenifer will tell me the difference once she reads this post. I will update everyone.)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Must trim back to grow.

A few years ago when we landscaped our yard, I remember the landscaper telling me about how to trim the bushes and trees. You have to trim these back for them to grow properly. Usually after trimming the bushes will look poor for a few days, then they will sprout new leaves and look much better in the end.

Careers may be the same way. I know that I have taken set backs many times. However after each one of these setbacks, I have learned important lessons and then come back stronger than ever.

Don't quit, grow back better!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Gamefly disappoints

As you know, I love Netflix. On their recent price change, I have no problem with (Sure I wish it would have stayed the same price) the value exceeds its cost by probably 2x.

After seeing all the advertising for Gamefly, I thought this would be great for the boys. They love video games and with fall coming this would be a good source of entertainment. One thing I missed, the shipping times are so long that the cost well exceeds the value. Sure, I live in a "Remote" area, however over a week in shipping (Mostly due to handling) does not meet my expectations.

Guess we will have to rent locally.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Trimming down the noise.

Over the last couple of weeks I have made it a point to unsubscribe to all the emails that come in that are not really important. It has been amazing the quantity of these. Newsletters, blogs and such (Not that you would ever want to unsubscribe to this blog). It has substantially reduced the inbox size. I would highly recommend this to anyone. I will tell you that it does add a couple of steps in the morning (The over night traffic to your inbox) however the rewards are great.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Feeling old

Not physically, not mentally. Going to Carsen's Kindergarten class and seeing the other parents. I had to be one of the 3 oldest people in the room! Recently, I have felt this way several times. Looking around the office, when I first started, I was one of the youngest people in the office, now, I am on the top half.

Last weekend I went to a wedding of a girl that was in class. Was I that young when I got married? Real close.

Good thing is I feel as young as I ever have and can keep up with the best of them!

Monday, August 15, 2011

I actually Painted?

If you know me well, you know I hate painting. However the garage was getting pretty messed up from kids toys, kids and other. The final straw was the black tire mark on the front wall. Jen ask me how It got there. I told her she did it. (OK I did0

Spent the weekend painting and cleaning the garage.

The Vette now has a good clean home.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

What is Wrong with Me Sonos Review

So we built the house 6 or so years ago and I remember when we built it not thinking I would want whole house audio. I strung over 7 thousand foot of Cat 6, 2 thousand feet of RG6 and 2 racks, battery backup...

What was wrong with me. Now I want Whole house audio and have been checking into what it would take. For a non integrated (IE independent system that does not work with my network, security system or anything else for that matter) you are looking at around $3k.

I then looked at my favorite source of audio equipment, Crutchfield Sure you could buy it at a lower cost, however they won my business over 10 years ago when I ordered some equipment and it came in DOA. I called them up and almost no questions asked, they Next Day shipped me a new unit, told me to put the defective unit in the box to send back. Sure, I try and buy local, however some equipment is not available in Hays.

What I found at Crutchfield was a company called Sonos. Rarely do you find a company with almost no bad reviews. I checked the maybe one review that was bad and it was still complimentary of the product, they may have had a problem with shipping or other.

It is expensive...However it says it takes 5 minutes to set up (They all do) and it actually took less! It is a wireless system that sounds incredible, and I am picky on my sound. Many people have commented that it sounds better than their Bose systems or other high end Polk Audio systems. I agree. It can be controlled by my computer, phone, iPad and by the buttons on the front of the unit. I cannot wait to expand the system. We will see after Jen sees the bill! :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Final day at HTG

So final day was on the road a 6am and to Tennessee. The culture did not disappoint (That's all I have to say about that) We went down the Ocoee River. This river is known for where the Atlanta Olympics had their Kayak course. We went right through that section.

This rafting course was the most difficult of all three times I have went rafting. The difficulty was up to class V and I definitely saw several people exit the boat prematurely! I however was not one of them. The rafting company was very good (www.noc.com) what an appropriate name for a bunch of IT guys.

Later that evening I finally had my chance go get those famous Outback cheese fries. (In which someone pointed out were number one on the most calories packed into a single tray)

Early to bed. I was wore out! What a great trip with the HTG crew.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Day 3 (On Delay)

We finished up the HTG meeting with great content and energy. Afterwards we went to dinner at a local Mexican resteraunt and then went and played Whirlyball We had an absoluet blast!

Tomorrow we head to rafting! 5 a.m. will come early!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

HTG Day 2 (On delay)

A great start to our meetings yesterday. We did discuss the moves to new groups and the formation of something new. While there are many concerns, I believe everyone understands the need to form the next piece of HTG.

We discussed sinking boats (You do not take a 18 foot boat on the ocean without enough gas, Dylan informed us on the details) to rising revenues and even many assumptions and how they influence our communications.

A great dinner and a reasonably early night to bed (11:00) I just could not stay up and listen to the Larks game. Found out they lost 2-0.

Monday, August 8, 2011

HTG Day 1 (On Delay)

A great day yesterday. Rebbecca put on a great sales meeting. From presenting the numbers to marketing presentations and Great America Leasing. I always learn quite a bit from observing others doing their thing.

Like yesterday, out to dinner, 20 minute break then out to dinner with those who arrived late.

I finished the start of HTG meetings late last night and then stared at the alarm clock till at least 2:30am. So I am up with 4 hours of inconsistent sleep. I feel for those from West Coast who have to get up at 3:30 (Their time)

Off to HTG Peer Meetings!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

HTG Day 0 (On Delay)

Headed out to Atlanta. Everyone is referring to the heat and how bad it will be. However it shows to be 10 degrees less than home!

This should be an interesting meeting with this being the last meeting with the same members. We will be breaking the group up and forming a couple new groups. This will really make Q4 especially interesting.

Did Fly Hays today. (PS www.flyhays.com) and the flight was on time. They were working especially fast, they didnt even shut down the engine on the opposite side of the door. So load and go. The way it should be. My flight out of Denver was about 20 minutes late, however they made up time in the air.

Brian from UTG picked me up (Thanks Brian) He commented how traffic was not bad. Wow is that one man's perspective! Wow, cars everywhere. I would agree that Atlanta is the worst traffic of everywhere I have been.

Great dinner at BoneFish some great seafood that you cannot get in KS.

Off to an early meeting (and time change) I will get a chance to see Rebecca (UTG) at her sales meeting.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Chrome Update

So one of my complaints of Chrome was that certain sites would not work in Chrome. Thanks to Brian Hoppe I have found the answer. Use the Explorer plug in. Just google it and you will find it. You can simply click a button within Chrome and it converts it to Explorer. You can even make it open certain sites every time within the Chrome plug in.

Thanks Brian!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Dear Windows 7, why are you so slow?

It took my laptop 15 minutes to boot this morning. I have made sure you have no unnecessary programs running, I have made sure your hard drive is not fragmented and I have made sure you have been taken care of with proper virus protection and malware protection.

Yet you treat me like a Windows XP machine. Fast in the beginning and slower every day. You keep it up and I am going to have you erased. Worse yet, I may water you...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I love you Chrome, I hate you Chrome

First of all for all of my non techie friends what is Chrome? Yes it is what bumpers used to be, but in this case it is Google's web browser. It replaces that e on you computer that gets you to the web (You know, that www. thing)

Loren suggested I try it and I have and really like it. It works well for this blog, google docs and much more. However, Microsoft has clearly written some parts of its world in language that will not work with Chrome. I have found several sites that just don't work with Chrome.

So for right now I am going to stick with both. Maybe in the future I will be able to use Chrome alone. As for my non techie friends, stick with the e.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Finishing what you have started

I was talking recently with someone who was thinking about leaving without finishing their complete commitment. We were weighing the benefits to the consequences. In this case the immediate benefits were probably better than the the immediate consequences. However, one thing that I have always tried to do in business and life was finish what I started. If for nothing else but for principal.

You never know when not finishing what you start would come back and haunt you. You want to be known as dependable and staying till the end.

In the end, we worked out that finishing was the best. I wish everyone would do that!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Taking the mound


Nex-Tech sponsored the Larks game on Saturday and they ask Carsen if he wanted to throw out the first pitch. Without hesitation he was ready.

Many times in life we have unique opportunities to step up and try something different. Will you take the ball or defer and wish you had?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Texting while helping someone?

I have noticed twice at retail stores that the cashier was texting before I came into their lane. They did not stop until they were done even though I was waiting. I am surprised that companies allow people in these positions to use a cell phone at all during their shift. (They probably do not allow it but they do it anyway)

It is definitely poor customer service and creates a bad experience.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Flying High





Had a great time at the Hays Fly In. From checking out all the cool aircraft to cooking hundreds of pancakes and Hamburgers to learning about aviation. What a great, HOT day.

A special thanks to Michael and Pepe the Larks players. They helped out this morning at 7am making it on time and even coming back after having to go down town and doing a signing. Thanks guys!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The new HP Tablet with WebOS

So I had a chance to spend about 5 minutes with the new tablet and here are some of the observations;

Screen is good and accurate. It has a water drop that happens when you touch the screen. Nice touch.

It feels significantly heavier than iPad, several people noted that. It is only fractionally heaver. Not sure why it feels that way.

It is all plastic. More importantly it is that shiny plastic. It shows fingerprints more than the screen. It will scratch quickly and show! The iPad is much better here.

The OS interaction feels and acts good.

Wireless reception is superior to all tablets I have seen yet. It was picking up wireless from across the street.

Only 16 and 32 GB options. Where is the 64?

Charging plug is standard Micro USB. Nice. Many people have cell phones with the same connection.

Number of apps small. Many are not HD. App store is easy to navigate.

I will update when we have a chance to get deeper with the unit.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The best blog ever!

OK I am simply doing marketing with this post. I was reading on some of the search optimization stuff for blogs and the title is one of the most common search entries.

It did make me think about search engine optimization. (If you don't know what this is, a simple explanation is that when someone is searching for you, your site comes up early and often. Many search engines use criteria to move things up in the listings) If you do simple things what I have seen is that you automatically move up in the listings.

My simple list;
Frequent posts.
Well titled information (Simple)
Use site development that is easy for search engines to discover.

My hints are strictly for the amature. If you have a business, I suggest employing a professional like Stuart to get it done right!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

4th of July update

It was full of excitement and fun. We had several of the neighbors over for the traditional barbecue and drinks and then went to set off lots of fireworks. We were a bit hesitant after Kevin had already caught the field on fire and almost got my fence, but with his solid work with the garden hose all worked out.

Caden learned a good lesson about not putting fireworks on top of things as the entire crowd was bombarded with Saturn Missiles. Carsen got the worst of that with a small burn on his leg.

All it all a great time was had by all and the next day was WAY too early for everyone.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Maybe my favorite holiday?

July 4th is definitely the most relaxing. An extra day off, everyone is happy, it is warm (Well ok, hot) and you get to have a few beers with the neighbors and blow some stuff up.

I got a couple of rounds of golf in, good food and some down time. I am getting ready to go into a fast time of the year so this is good timing.

And of course none of this could be done with out freedom.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Saving some money and MP3's so I actually own the music!

I have to be honest, iTunes works really well. However the whole pay $1.29 per song and then it being protected so I could not share it how I wanted was really getting to me.

You say, where can't you use the music? Well, pretty much anywhere other than on an Apple device. I sync my Android phone with iTunes via Double Twist which works great, however only with the non-protected songs. Here comes my solution!

Amazon MP3 store works great. The small application that automatically installs and then automatically adds the songs to iTunes. Best part? The songs are in MP3 and are lower cost than iTunes! Double win!

And as a bonus you get 5 GB of Cloud storage from Amazon. There is a cool app that you can use on the PC and Android that streams from the cloud. Sweet! I am trying out Google's version of the cloud, right now I know you can sync from the cloud to a local device that is nice. We will see...

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Good bye old friend...




I had to say good bye to who has been refer ed to by many as "The best dog ever". She did not quite make her 14th birthday which is almost 100 in dog years.

I remember taking a road trip with my friend Chad Tepe to go get a couple of puppies. He wanted a German Short Hair and I wanted a Yellow Lab. We first went to Salina, then further east and eventually I bought Molly only a few miles from where I grew up in Topeka (Same with Zach the Short Hair) That definitely was a late night!

Me and my pal Molly did everything together in my single days. From trips to the lake to trips home. I knew Jenifer when I got Molly but we were not quite engaged yet (I think). But Molly accepted Jenifer and Jenifer eventually accepted Molly. I think that happened the day that Jen taught Molly to speak.

Then I remember bringing home Caden from the hospital. That crying definitely drove Molly crazy. She wouldn't even look at Caden for several days. The second baby (Carsen) was easier transition.

The last new addition was a bit more annoying to Molly, that was Jersey (The Yellow Lab Puppy) Molly bit Jersey the first night. (My fault, do not put the puppy by old dog when she is eating) However the constant activity did Molly good! She even played ball!

Hopefully Molly had enough time to teach Jersey the right way and gave her some good advice on dealing with me and the kids.

We told the boys what was happening a couple of days ago and they took it well. Thank goodness we had Jersey to help us through this difficult time.

Good bye old friend. I will miss you.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Thinking Too Much?

It came to me when coaching T-Ball. Many times the kids thought too much and ended up doing nothing. If they would have thrown the ball to the wrong base it may have been better than doing nothing.

Work may be like T-Ball. Many times we get advice from all directions and then end up making decisions way too late and nothing gets done, or worse you end up losing out on an opportunity that was in the moment.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

History as important as the future?

In business how a decision was made may be as important as what you do in the future. Why decisions were made, what things were in place when it was made and who made that decision. Maybe it was a reaction to another bad decision. Maybe it is in place for something that people have not thought about in some time yet is still viable. Maybe it was just part of the culture and it has been carried through simply because it was trained that way. These are the ways that the "TPS Report" become every day practice

Next time that someone tells you to do something a particular way, ask for the history, not just the why.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A big thanks to Jose and Michael from the Larks





Caden had Jose and Michael to his school today (For his "Me" day. They made Caden feel really special.

Then tonight at the game, Jose and the rest of the Larks had Carsen and Caden out on the field between the games. They really felt special!

Thanks Jose, Michael and the Larks!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Worthless Warranty


2 years ago Jen and purchased a new Serta Mattress. We spent more than $1,000 on this high end mattress and spent a lot of time making sure it was comfortable.

Well recently it became obvious that it is failing. If one of us lays in the middle of the bed, we are 6 inches higher than the other person!

I called the company (Serta) and they told me to talk the place we purchased it. So I did (Took the pictures in) Here is the definition of a bad mattress.

You must lay a level across the bed without any pressure. Then take a ruler and measure the deflection (Again without any pressure) and if it is more than 1 3/4 inches it is declared bad. The store where I purchased the mattress said they have never had a mattress qualify for an exchange. This mattress has a 10 year (Worthless) warranty and we are only 20% of the way through!

Notice that the level is not even close to level and look at the end of the level and notice the gap.

Then also note that they are suggesting that the deflection is only without pressure. Last I checked I sleep with my body pressing down on the mattress!

Thanks Serta. I will be agressively trying to get resolution. I will let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Expectations

Do you set them?

Really it is all around us every day and many times when we have failed it is due to us not setting the proper expectations. Give time lines, set proper monetary expectations and define quality.

We need to do this for customers, family and coworkers. Look back on when somebody failed you and you may find it was not lack of willingness, rather they did not set your expectations correctly and what they delivered compared to your expectations was not in alignment.

Monday, June 20, 2011

I finally figured out who took a bite out of the Apple on the back of my iPad

Or at least now I have an idea? I had a dream last night that my Android and my Apple got in a fight. The Android took a bite out of the Apple. Then Microsoft Exchange got mad at both of its children and spammed them until they hugged.

Something has to be wrong with me when my dreams start centering around my electronic devices.

Then, just like Freddy Kruger movies I wake up and start to wonder if it was real? Yep, there is a bite out of the Apple, the Android seems to have moved a bit and when I go to write down this entry the Windows PC is requiring a reboot. (I am on to you Exchange!)

And right then I realized (After not cleaning out email for 5 days) there really was a Nightmare In My email!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Customer Service is in the details?

Recently I had a problem with one of my many electronic devices. I took it back to the place I purchased it and they had to send it in. A month and a half later I went in to see if it was back. Nothing. The next day it was suddenly back.

They did give me a loaner and the staff took great care of me. But there were a couple of things that should have gone much better.

1. Call me and check in when it became many weeks.
2. Give me the details on what the process is.
3. Know what accessories I dropped off and make sure I get them back.

They did take care of me, it was just a painful process

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Time away at work?

Do you find yourself constantly checking email, looking at the smart phone or distracted by other minute by minute details? I recently was reading an article about taking time off to work from work. It was talking about sabbaticals and such.

I would suggest that you take time off every day. Shut down the electronics an hour a day. You may need to start by doing 10 minutes, cutting conference calls a bit short or simply when you have someone in your office not looking at any of that communication. Many times it can be just noise.

Look, I can be one of the worst. Recently I have found myself looking at the monitor when talking with people in the office. What could be so important that I ignore someone in the office to look at most likely spam.

So, I am going to start taking time off at work to work.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Is small town dead?




I took these pictures this week of a small town in KS. If you took the trucks out of the picture it might as well have been taken 50 years ago. In this town I had no cell signal at all. (A big X)

Will towns like this be around when my kids are my age?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The iPad finds mainstream IT?

There was an email string that I was involved with recently that was only from IT professionals. What I realized is that out of the 20 or so companies represented, about half of the signatures had the "Sent from my iPad" line. So if the question still exists about the iPad being used for business, I believe the resounding answer is YES!


Why?
Long battery
Portable
Apps
note taking
it is the modern day version of the day planner.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Are you making rules to regulate Honesty?

In another way of saying it, are you detailing everything for those around you so they will not do things dishonest? Think about it. You might spend more time trying to regulate this than simply saying be honest. If your not honest your out!

This starts at the most basic level. From taking accounts to claiming things that are not yours (Sales and such) Do you know what that is called? Stealing.

If my 5 year old would understand that it is wrong, than you should not have to write it in a policy.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Even Jenifer wants it now?

Jenifer is not real tech friendly. However after seeing what can be done with the Android she even wants one! I am not sure if this is something I want. She will be able to live on Facebook and I will add another gadget to the Riat household that I will have to train on and support.

While talking about Android, I upgraded my Desire to 2.2 and it is great. A few interface changes, WiFi Hotspot and best yet the ability to move applications to the storage card. Much needed. Due to the amout of email I get along with the number of contacts I pretty much had no applications installed due to no memory. That is fixed.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I read the terms and conditions

NOT

You know the pop ups that come with pretty much everything. Recently I did updates on the iPad and was notified to proceed I had to reaccept iTunes terms and conditions. It is 41 pages. Nsure I read that like everyone else did. It probably make me give my first born.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A new mouth to feed at the Riat House



We have taken in a Lark over the summer. No, not the bird, the baseball player. It has been a good experience so far.

Jose Gomez is our player this year. He is from Arizona. After getting over the shock of being is a "Small" town he has acclimated very well. From Arizona to Hays it is actually cooler (Barely)

Pepe (Jose) pitched his first game last night and broke his own personal best of 93 Mph fastball. Since all I can muster is less than half of this, I find this amazing.

Pepe has done really well with the boys and they are into the whole experience of baseball. I think they have collected a half dozen signatures on their hats so far.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Is T-Ball like corporate America?

Carsen had his first T-Ball game today. Keeping 8 little boys focused and in position is difficult if not impossible. Felt like managing a corporate team?

A great example was first base coach. As soon as the kids got to first I would ask them where they are going next. Every one would point to second. I would then tell them that I would let them know when to run and to watch for the third base coach when they got to second.

What would they do when the ball was hit? Several of them followed the line from home past first base to the out field. In other words they ran towards the outfield not second base? Right after we discussed to go to second.

It did get better as the innings went by.

Like the corporate environment. You train and coach, but when the pressure is on people sometimes follow their instincts. Or the line.

(PS we ran the bases ever practice...)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Deception is not sales (Or is it)

I caught part of a show called Deception on the Discovery TV channel. It directly related to sales. They were working at a car dealership. How to read people, sales people and body language.

One thing that really caught my attention was the guy went to a sales person and said "Go grab the keys of any car on the lot. Don't tell me which one. If in 15 minutes I can not tell you which set of keys you have I will write a check for the value of the car" (And not take the car)

He did it! All by reading the sales person!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

In the day of multitasking and speed

Listening has really become a lost art. Trust me I am one of the worst. Many times I have found myself being called on (Think Leadership Hays) and realized that I have no idea what is going on. I was focused on others around me, something shiny or just in my own world. (Reminds me of School)

You never know when the most important information is coming to you. It most likely is going to come from some unknown source, a vendor or coworker. Taking time to look someone in the eye, shut down the email and focus.

I am really talking about me here. Many time recently I have found myself doing the opposite of my own advice. It is time to sloooow down, focus and pay attention. The next big thing might be right in front of me but I am too busy being busy.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Michael Jackson is alive and well at the Riat Household

The boys are into the Game (Dancing)
The video's
The songs (In the car, house, iPad and more)
Even the less popular stuff.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Is there such a thing as the "Perfect Day Off"?

Yard work
Golf
T-Ball and
Relaxation

Weather? 85 and calm winds.

No worries, no stress and no problem

Monday, May 30, 2011

A quiet weekend

Some 4-Wheeling, having the neighbors over and ended Monday with absolutely nothing. Relaxing weekend.

I added one more day to this 3 day weekend to spend some time with Carsen. While he is at school (Fun school for the summer) I will mow the lawn, then pick him up for lunch and we are going to the driving range and then T-Ball practice.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

iPad 1 Versus iPad 2

So I have had the iPad 2 for a month and decided it is time to let everyone know the differences.

The iPad 2 is;
Lighter
Thinner
Front Camera
Back Camera
Dual Core Processor
Then new "Smart" cover
Tapered edges

These are the real differences
What have I noticed performance wise between them? The new iPad is faster. Web surfing, loading applications and mail. Maybe in the realm of 25 to 40% faster. I have no real purpose for the cameras, however it is nice. The battery is the same, screen is the same and the applications are the same.

Bottom line question is "Is the new iPad worth upgrading from the iPad 1?" Well, if you are a heavy user maybe. Am I satisfied with this? Yes. However the iPad 1 is a great value at the decreased price.

Drawbacks? I wish the "Smart" Cover was not so expensive and the covers and such from 1 would work on 2.