Sunday, November 8, 2020

Comparing Sonos Playbar to the Arc - Straight across comparison

I recently replaced my Sonos Playbar with the Sonos Arc and want to share a concerning ear's perspective. First let me catch you up on my setup. TV mounted above the fireplace, a first generation Sonos Sub, two latest voice enabled Ones. Replaced the Playbar with Arc in exact same set up and location. Let me also state that I do NOT have a eArc HDMI enabled TV so not maximizing the capabilities of the Arc. Here is what I found. Simple to hook up. Had to pull TV from wall to get the optical out (Adapter included in Arc package) Adapter from Optical to HDMI into the Arc. I then did the Trutune process. One thing I noticed (Admittedly it has been forever since I have tuned my livingroom so) The Trutune had you first tune from where you sit, then the entire room. My opinion, the tune was much better. Better sound balance (High and lows - the old tune was a bit bottom heavy) One big difference in in the highs. The high hat cymbols are much more crisp. The sound stage is MUCH wider and filling. I would say the overall sound is a bit better but not dramatic. I utilize Alexa and moving from the ones to the Arch is a much better experience. Would I recomend this upgrade? Well depends on how you feel about the $'s. Not worth it just to do it. If I was purchasing new then absolutely.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Using Apple Watch for Golf

I found it strange how little information was out there about using Apple Watch for golfing. I have decided to give you my journey and what I have found. To get started, let me tell you about what I started with. I started with a SkyCaddie SG5 (Origionally I was using a 2.5) and the solution worked great! My biggest complaint was that I had to pay $39 plus a year to get to work. As my SG5 was getting older and battery was not lasting half what it used to, I was looking at the newer units. Before I went down this path, I wanted to look at the units that were free. (IE you don't have to pay a subscription) What I found is that the lower cost hardware devices had small displays. With that said, my son has a Garmin It works great however I would lose it! It is super small. All features do work great. After looking at all units that were larger screen and full featured (Showed lay up distances, hole overview and score) I had a thought (Apple was making one of their semi annual product announcements) and was looking at their new watch. I then was thinking, wouldn't it make sense if I looked at utilizing my iPhone and Apple Watch. Beyond that, I really am not a power user of the watch (Heck, when I started digging in, my watch had not been working with my phone for several weeks - heck it still told time right) Let me disclose that I have a version 3 watch with a iPhone 11 Pro Max. The Pro Max is kinda key to this conversation simply due to battery life. I can go several days without charging. Next was what application would I use to work with the Watch. This is where I found that there were a BUNCH of apps. I downloaded and tried several of these apps. Many were free but you had to pay to get the Watch piece or for scoring (Or more) Dang, back to subscription, however if it is on my existing hardware and worked great, I am ok with that. Here is where I landed. Hole 19. You do have to pay to get the watch install. However they have a trial for you. I have now used this app on several rounds and compared directly to my SkyCaddie (Distances and such) The watch was dead on (Or only a yard difference which could be exactly where each unit was) Things that you need to know. 1. To get GPS from watch you must disconnect bluetooth from phone. (Then it uses GPS on watch) It keys you to do this and you just push and hold main screen to get to that setting. 2. Battery on your watch will be affected. I use 3/4 of battery in 5 hours (Versus all day I use less than half usually) 3. Entering scoring is small on my watch. I wish it was larger. 4. Looks like the renewal on subscription is almost double the first year. Hoping for a deal between now and then? 5. The data the app provides is amazing and will really help my game. Hope this has been helpful!

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Bio's are dumb?

It feels like lately I have had more requests for a "Bio". This mainly stems from being ask to participate in on line content. But really do you read bio's? I don't. Here is how I really make a decision.

1. Is it a really long and boring bio? Not going to attend.
2. Can I relate to this person (In my case they are easy to understand) Then I am in
3. Do they post their accomplishments back to potty training? Really? I am out.
4. Are they funny? At least it will be entertaining. I am in.
5. Are they full of themselves. Not a deal killer because the "system" wants us to be full of ourselves in bio's

OK, just a rant but now you know my opinion.

PS My bio

Just a guy trying to help others.


Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Tenacity and getting it done

Not sure how much this weighs but the concrete is about 2' down and I broke a winch cable trying to lift.

Like sales getting this post took a lot of planning and different angles to get the job done. Statistics say that closing a new customer takes 9 different touches. Those might be calls but more than likely it is all different types of touches.
Valuable content about their business

Not just buy, buy, buy.

Like my post getting out of the ground. The work has now just started once you close a sale.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

My Bank wasting our time

Been doing a transaction with a local bank and did all the work virtually (Signatures and such) however to finalize the transaction I have to put some ink physically on a page at their location.

Seriously? Me taking a BIC pen and moving it across some tree pulp makes it official? You know like we did 200 years ago or more?

It wastes a half hour of my time
Has no more authority than a digital signature
Now days exposes me to their team (Virus?)

In the future it will be a requirement of my bank to be able to serve me where I am, not where they are (Both physically and digitally) It is way past time for them to get with the times.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

The virtual meeting or presentation - Intro wasting my time

Recently I have been signing up for virtual events where I have an interest in the topic or the people presenting. Then you get on the call and the person in charge of moderating the call does one of several annoying things.

1. The "we will wait 5 minutes for everyone to join" Sure I am on time but we will wait for those who are late. START ON TIME!
2. Have fluff that is something like "super excited to hear" well so am I, let them speak!
3. Have other content that is on their agenda. You will quickly run me off.
4. Pretend like virtual is the same as in person. Sorry you have to really step up your game.

OK so I am probably a bit on the negative side of things today but if you do not have enough content to fill the time don't waste my time and get to the content and let us out early! Novel thought...

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Is it just me or "Write that down!" really annoying from a presenter?

I feel like I am in a Vanwilder movie . If I am attending your training, class or whatever telling me what you find important to "Write Down" is really annoying! To me this is almost condescending? I do know it is most likely not meant in the way but sure feels like it.

Honestly I believe it is another version of Uhm?

Next time don't tell me to write that down. If anything ask me what I wrote down and that is most likely the most impactful content you provided.

What has been happening at the office?

In the office alone and here is what I learned?

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Sonos - Pairing with outdoor speakers and balance

To cover our patio and pool areas I have been running two Sonos Amps and some speakers. I want to give everyone some options and opinions on the set up.

I did just upgrade my soon to be outdated amp to the newest version. The top speakers I have were from a promo Crutchfield ran some years ago that were free with an Amp purchase. They are these

Honestly not great speakers. They are very bright and treble heavy. So I have mixed them with these

Now these are great speakers and for the money, amazing. I have compared them to the similar in style Bose versions and they match up. Let me be clear, do not buy the smaller woofer units. They do not have the same sound and the pair I did have went bad. I am curious about the new "Premium" versions. If anyone knows about them, let me know!

The issue is that when the above speakers are put to one amp, the white speakers are much louder. So if you look in the middle of the amps you will see this volume control (Only on the white speakers)

This allowed me to set the volume a bit lower and bring better balance.

So now I have a rocking set up on the patio and the pool area! 6 speakers with 2 amps and volume control by each pair of speakers. I am also adding (See previous post) the Move to the back of the pool for Alexa and more sound!

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Sonos Connect (And the little amp that could)

Recently I upgraded my main system to the Sonos 5.1 where before I had a receiver and it was connected to the Sonos system with a Connect. In addition the Amps I had for the pool, garage and patio are going end of life in May so time to do the Trade up for the discount and upgrade. However the Connect I had was not end of life but I needed an amplifier that would work with the Connect. I decided to put the Connect on the speaker on the garage and off to research an amp. But hey I didn't want to spend a ton of money, it is just the garage.

I landed on THIS amp bought from Amazon. Now it says on the description it is 100 X 100. There are a couple of things that effect this number. First is the voltage/amps of the power supply. It does not come with the power supply so I wasn't quite sure what connector it had till it arrived. What worked perfectly was an old Lenovo laptop power cord (The small connector not the larger one) That puts out 3 amps at 20 volts so perfect!. The second thing that effects this is the Ohms load. I had it at 4 ohms (Each channel has two 8 ohm speakers) 4 Ohms produces a bit more power. The honest power output is probably around the 60 watts per channel

Before I hooked up the Connect and new amp I had the original Sonos Amp rated at 50 X 50 which is my comparison point. Honestly this little amp (By little I mean like two decks of cards little) is amazing. I have two Polk speakers and two old higher end book shelf speakers. The sound was a bit bright (But hey the largest woofer in this set up is 5") Bit of boost from the connect and away we go! In fact the amp is set at half volume and the Connect at a high level is less than half so lots of power left!

With all of this said, I do believe the onboard amp of the Sonos is a bit higher quality (Just is warmer than my little amp) but for the price difference and in the garage what the heck.

I would highly recommend this combo!

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

My Review of the Sonos Move

The Sonos Move is not that new. However recently I had to upgrade to keep my system functional for the long term. With that I did get a trade in credit of 30% for their recycle program. There is enough press about that so I will leave that alone.

It arrived in typical timely Sonos fashion. The unboxing is a very solid process with everything easy to open and the speaker itself in a cloth bag. Very nice. Firs two things I noticed is the weight of the speaker. It is not something I would travel with (Now the type of travel I do is more airplane so take that into consideration) It does not compete with the Bose travel speakers. The second thing is the bottom of the speaker is rubber and very nice. It provides a solid foundation and ultimately must help the sound quality.

When connecting to the Sonos system it was easy and I did have to do a software update (Just a couple of minutes) My Alexa app found the new device however I did have to activate the feature inside the Sonos app. (This was my first Alexa powered Sonos device) The second Alexa Sonos speaker activated automatically.

For my first trial I took it out to the garage (I am rewiring a Sonos Amp and those speakers are currently down but that is what I am working on) I did not do the Truplay since it is moving in the garage. The sound is very good. Bass and mids are solid, the upper end was a bit muted (But again it was a garage and not an ideal listening situation) One thing I would have thought is with the concrete I would think it would sound hot on the highs. This is a large garage with tall ceilings and oversized 3 car bays. It filled the space very well and at less than 2/3's volume. I listened for a couple hours and had 90% battery left.

The charging stand (Ring, whatever you might call it) is easy to put it on/in. Has a light on front showing charge status along with the exact percent of battery in the app.

I did use Alexa a couple times and responded well from the other side of the room.

When it warms up my plan is to use this by the pool. The pool runs parallel to the house and I have 2 Sonos Amp powered speakers by the house (TIC's that sound amazing) that Amp is getting upgraded to the latest Amp this weekend so we will see but it already sounded amazing. The pool is powered by Alexa (Pump, radio, lights and so much more) so I have had a battery powered Amazon Echo device that has been discontinued that I was using just for Alexa. Now I will use the Move as the Alexa and a speaker in phase with the Amp speakers but on the back side of the pool (Farthest from pool) so we will see but I am guessing the amazing sound I had will be even better! I could run speakers back there (But the landscaping is not real good for that) and besides I would still have to have an Alexa and as far as I am aware there is not a outdoor Alexa device. Other thing I may consider since I have a couple more devices I can trade, is to purchase another Move and have the back in stereo!

In conclusion, it is a heavy but quality (As you would expect from Sonos) device. I would say the $399 price tag feels a bit high but with trade in discount it is less than $300 so that is about right.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Most people don't know how hard it is to make money?

Recently I have been with a lot of people inside of companies that take for granted the revenue produced by the products/services the company produces. I have heard comments like "I don't care about the money" or "that is a lot of work"

Well, yea, making money is a lot of work! If it was easy then every one would start their own company and work 2 hours a week and be living on a private island. Looking at the high failure rates of new companies, it must be hard!

Let me break this down a bit. Lets say you have a small company that sells something for $1000. And for this example you make 30% so you earn $300 off the sale. And lets say you do it 10 times. So you make $3,000! Sounds like a great deal? Well, the above is Gross Margin. Lets really break down some of the other things that you must take into consideration
Business expenses (License and such)
Ordering expense
Cost of money
Your time.
Sending a bill
Overhead (Building, computers and more)

Then break this down even further. Of the 10 you ordered, one came in broken. So you have your time to pick it up, get it sent back to the manufacturer (Assuming that is not you) then getting a new one, maybe loaning them a unit during this time and now you have a used one you have to sell (More cost), lets not take into consideration your time, shipping and more. Most likely you have now eaten into the profit of at least three deals.

It is easy to overlook all the costs associated with delivering even the most simple solution. All of this multiplies at every turn.

Many try an make up with volume and this just multiplies your overhead many times.

Just remember how hard it is to make a margin and respect those who focus on this every day.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The Feedback Loop

For years I looked forward to the annual review. I had worked hard and it was time to hear about the great things I had accomplished and the rewards that came with it. Yet every year I was left empty. Why is that? I would sit through my review hearing great things and then receive the average rating. So first though was "Maybe I am average" Time for the self awareness to take an inventory. Did we hit the goals put forth yes and in many times exceeded (But lets be clear, not always). Job duties, check. OK so lets take a look at the feedback and see where it is that I can improve for this coming year. After the third read and evaluation of the sit down, this is where I am struggling. There wasn't any feedback on what actions, levels of performance is needed to exceed expectations.

I carry this forward with every review I write and ones I review today. Are you providing the feedback necessary for your team to exceed or are you saying good job, thanks for being average and keep running around the circle in hopes of exceeding some expectation that isn't clear.

I do truly believe that providing feedback is one of the most important things a leader can do. Don't be afraid of giving direct feedback just don't forget to have some balance of positive and negative.

Give feedback and go lead.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Winter stirr crazy is a thing!

It is cold and icy with a mix of fog, snow and who knows what else. I don't believe that is the problem, it is the short days and the trapped feeling you have being inside all the time. I know this stir crazy feeling is real for me for sure!

I still get that 1/2 hour or more of exercise in per day but definitely is not the same as being outside. Heck, I think our dog is having the same issues. She is breaking all the rules and is constantly wanting out and in and out....

One thing that is beneficial is that I am more productive (Well from a work perspective) getting the paperwork things I dread done early since what else can you be doing after hours!

The other thing that tends to happen is the inside work that no one wants to do. I am off to clean the grout in the tile...

Monday, January 13, 2020

You have to slow down to speed up?

I know, doesn't makes sense. Let me see if I can give some examples. I was watching the big game this last weekend (Chiefs got behind big early to comeback for the win) and the more the Chiefs got behind the more simple pass plays were dropped, runners tripping over their own feet and so on. You could feel the desperation. A dropped kick off return that turns into the other teams points. There was no doubt that every team member wanted to make a difference still it was getting worse.

I have worked with sales people who were having the same issue. Had seen great success yet could not repeat that success. The harder they tried, the worse it got.

There have been times when I was helping my boys and whatever they were trying to do, the more frustrated they got, the worse the results.

Some examples where if you go back to basics; make the simple catch, worry about the yards after later. Follow the sales steps, get the first appointment and work from there and just get the basics first and try scale later.

All these point to something simple. Sometimes you have to slow down to speed up.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

It is that time of year to review the goals and do performance reviews

I can't help it. I am critical. First of myself and second of everyone else.

Guess I am just wired that way? I am trying to do better and put on the rose glasses. I suppose that is my new years resolution.

More than not when I am writing reviews I am really thinking when I write something critical that it is a direct result of my poor coaching or focus. (Almost always) There is no one on my team that doesn't want to do the best so if the goal is not hit it is most likely due to my poor setting of the goal, bad coaching or just lack of focus

No doubt I get better each and every year at this but for now, more improvement is needed (On ME)

Monday, January 6, 2020

Whats next?

You should always have what's next in your mind - or so I thought!

At some level I spent 17 years working towards a painting that each day I filled in just a little bit of color. Every once in a while a bird accidently showed up (This is a reference from Bob Ross when he made a mistake on his paintings) Yet steadily each day there was work to move the needle.

Then one day, and all of a sudden, that painting was complete. If you have followed me for a while you know that I believe it takes 3 years to be good at something (That is simply that you have seen almost everything that will come day to day)

So what is next? Honestly I never thought the first painting would be done.

Ask that question of me right now and I believe it is time for me to work on others paintings. Not to paint them but hand them the colors and cheer them on.

Sunday, January 5, 2020


Over my career the number of people that said "I appreciate your hard work" or "Job well done" is extremely rare.

Now that could be because I didn't do good work! I will also so that I would avoid this feedback. My reaction is yea, yea, what's next!

One thing I have found more recently is how much it does make a difference in appreciating people and especially when they don't think you are watching.

I know I need to do a way better job simply picking up the phone or in person and saying "Great Job" or if nothing else how much you are appreciated.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Communication problems exist everwhere!

Quickest way to see it is at home. Jenifer and I will talk about something and later come to find out she (Or I) meant something completely different. I know it has happened to you.

To me communication is at the root of most business (And personal) problems when dealing with others.

You don't see the other persons perspective
You have different agendas (Or priorities)
So many times people are bringing baggage to the conversation (From last week, year, decade or more!)
It might be communication issues from top down or bottom up
Even the most simple things to communicate can get difficult when you add multiple layers, departments, technologies, systems and more.

Don't forget, it is all about people.

What is the most important thing to help communication? Repeat.Repeat.REPEAT

Maybe verbally, in writing, video, all three at once. In person, over the phone, over video call. Don't over complicate the message. Simple to the point and repeat.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Great business advice I missed from Vanilla Ice?

Sometimes it is as simple as "Stop, Collaborate and listen"

That was his brand new invention?

OK probably wasn't what he was going for however sometimes this helps me when things get tough. I sing the song in my head to remind myself of these simple steps to get us off center and moving (You know versus getting in peoples face and creating tension)