Friday, December 10, 2010
Thursday, December 09, 2010
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Saturday, December 04, 2010
Friday, December 03, 2010
Thursday, December 02, 2010
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
This week's app selection is one I've been using for almost a year. Gas Cubby is a simple logging app that allows you to store information related to your automobile's maintenance & gas mileage.
I use it to keep tabs on the gas mileage in my car, and when my wife's car is due for an oil change. Each time you fill up with gas, you enter your odometer's mileage, the number of gallons you put in your car, and the price per gallon. Gas Cubby will calculate your gas mileage between fill ups based upon these inputs. Aside from the basic inputs, you can also record items such as gas brand, payment method, & type of gas.
Using the app is a helpful way of keeping track of gas prices in your area and can give you insight as to whether your car may need maintenance should you see your gas mileage average is dropping over time. It's also useful for budgeting purposes if you want to see exactly how much you're spending on fuel over a given period of time.
You can choose between a free ad-supported version or a paid ad-free version of Gas Cubby. Links to both versions are available at the developer's website below.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Another Sunday, Another Sports Bar
Originally uploaded by Juston Western
This week to see New Orleans take on Tampa Bay at Buffalo Wild Wings. Next season, I think we're just going to pop the $350 and get NFL Sunday Ticket To-Go. That way I can watch on my iPad or hook up my MacBook Pro to one of our home TVs via DVI.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Auburn Game On CBS Sports Mobile iPhone App
Originally uploaded by Juston Western
10 year old Juston with his portable Sony TV would be fascinated by this technology.
While I use Remember The Milk for most of my task management needs, sometimes a full-blown reminder with a priority rating and due date/time is overkill. Usually if I needed to remind myself to do something within a short period of time, I'd just use the iPhone's built-in Clock app. Using the timer function in the Clock app was somewhat inconvenient, though, since you could only set one timer to run at a time, and if you frequently set timers of different lengths, you'd need to adjust the time wheel before each use. Due addresses each of these shortcomings.
Within Due, I've created different timers for each of my frequently used short-term tasks. Such tasks include when to switch my laundry or how long to keep the humidifier submerged in distilled water when I'm recharging my humidor. Once you've configured your timers, you can enable each one by flipping the button shaped like a light switch.
Currently I'm only utilizing the Timers feature within Due, but the app also has a more traditional Reminders section, allowing you to remind yourself after a certain period of time. My mind immediately leaps to using Remember The Milk if I'm going to enter a reminder, though, so I likely won't use Due's Reminders section much. Unlike Remember The Milk, Due doesn't use a Push Notification server to deliver reminder alerts, so in the event you won't be in an area of data coverage, Due's reminders could represent a better solution.
You can read more about Due and find the download link at the developer's website.
This week's Follow Friday entry spotlights the Twitter accounts of notable Auburn University alumni. I'm heading up to Auburn next week for the Auburn vs LSU football game, so it seemed like an appropriate time to point out these Tigers.
Jimmy Wales - Founder of Wikipedia - @jimmy_wales
Jimmy Buffett - Leader of the Parrot Head Nation - @jimmybuffett
Mark Spencer - Author of Pidgin IM client - @markster
Eric O'Neill - Spy hunter & counter terrorism consultant - @eoneill
Jake Adam York - Poet - @jakeadamyork
AUHD - Operator of the giant video screen at Jordan-Hare Stadium - @AUHD
Auburn University - Official Twitter account of the university - @auburnu
Thursday, October 14, 2010
As we approach the 25th anniversary of the release of the Nintendo Entertainment System in North America next week, I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on my favorite games from that generation of video game consoles. While there were several NES games I owned, rented, or played at friends' houses, I've selected five that represent where I logged the most hours and generally had the most fun playing.
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
My parents got me this game for my seventh birthday. I'd become familiar with The Legend of Zelda by first playing it at my babysitter's house in early 1988. After enjoying that game, and then getting sucked into the Zelda II marketing hype from coverage in Nintendo Power Magazine, I knew I had to take the plunge. The better part of 1989 & 1990 I spent playing this game. Even after I'd defeated Shadow Link in the final palace, I couldn't get enough of visiting villages and working to increase my attack strength.
Super Mario Bros 3
Not only was my imagination captured the moment I saw this game portrayed in The Wizard, I don't think I've ever been more excited for a video game to be released than I was for Super Mario Bros 3. My mother patiently put up with my requests to call every video game retailer in the greater Columbus, GA metro area until we finally tracked down a copy at Wal-Mart about a week after the official release in early 1990. World 4 with the giant enemies and pipes/blocks still brings a smile to my face.
I used to play this game in the Diamond Jim's arcade inside Peachtree Mall before it was released on the NES. My dad actually bought me the Nintendo version as a consolation prize for not being able to find us two tickets to the 1989 Iron Bowl (the first ever played at Auburn for you college football history buffs). It worked out for the best, though, because I was still able to watch the Iron Bowl on TV, and then had countless hours of fun with Marble Madness. It's tough to capture in words how happy I was the first time I beat the final level in this game. To call the level challenging is like saying the Mario franchise is kind of popular.
Super Mario Bros
Ah, the first game we all got to play on the NES. Finding my console on Christmas morning of 1987 with this game was like Ralphie receiving his Red Ryder BB Gun in A Christmas Story. Just how ingrained is this game into my psyche from countless hours of gameplay? To this day, I frequently find myself whistling the Super Mario Bros theme song when I'm walking around the house or office. Figuring out how to get to level -1 also made me feel like a rockstar for weeks at school.
This game definitely contributed more to my understanding of the rules of baseball than my limited stint as a tee-ball player ever could. I convinced my parents to buy me this game just as Atlanta Braves fever was starting to sweep the southeast in the early 90s. I always played as Utah on the game, and the player named Auga seemed to always launch home runs when I got him up at bat. The graphics were poor in this title, but it was definitely my favorite multi-player game ever released for the NES.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Saturday, October 09, 2010
Boxcar is the Swiss army knife of Push Notifications for the iPhone. By linking your Twitter account to Boxcar, anytime you receive an @-reply or Direct Message on Twitter, you'll receive a Push Notification on your iOS device.
This makes using Twitter on the go a lot easier, since you don't have to open your favorite Twitter app to see if someone has responded to you or mentioned you on the service.
When you receive a Push Notification via Boxcar and then slide to view, the app will launch and then immediately launch your mobile Twitter app so you can see and respond to the message. If you don't immediately slide to view your message, you'll have a badge on your Boxcar app icon when you come back to your device.
While I use Boxcar purely for Twitter Push Notifications, you can also link it to send Push Notifications for Facebook, Gmail, Growl, or RSS feeds.
Boxcar is a free download and sports an optimized interface for both the iPhone & iPad. You can find out more about Boxcar at the developer's website below.
Thursday, October 07, 2010
A few weeks ago I was approached by one of my managers seeking advice. The topic was Millennials, commonly referred to as Generation Y. This manager, roughly 10 years my senior, was having difficulty understanding what made Millennials tick: what mattered to them from an employment perspective, what (if any) were their common values, and why so many chose to job hop.
I fit into the Millennial age range sweet spot, having graduated high school in 2000. I'm also wildly passionate about technology, a character trait frequently attributed to members of Generation Y. Since I believed this manager was sincere in his desire to learn more about the demographic to increase his effectiveness as a leader, I agreed to put together a crash course on the generation through a workplace engagement lens.
The training program consisted of daily readings e-mailed to him with a brief introduction about the article. At the end of each week, I scheduled an hour long meeting to discuss the readings and answer questions.
While you won't confuse this for the curriculum of a university course, I thought others who manage Millennials could benefit from the information. Below you'll find my e-mails and suggested readings.
For the next two weeks, I'm going to send you a daily reading that gives insights as to how Millennials see the world and the workplace.
Although I've gathered much of the material already, I want to expose it to you in daily chunks so you have a chance to reflect on the content. On Friday afternoon for the next two weeks, I'm scheduling an hour meeting to discuss the readings and what each means to Hewitt and DSS Tech.
If you intend to conduct interviews with members of this generation within the next month, I'm confident you'll be better equipped to market the company and our team after we finish this two week training.
To start us off, we'll use this insightful piece from the New York Times that I ran across this morning. It's not Millennial-specific, but speaks very much to that world view.
New York Times: A Technology World That Revolves Around Me
More to come tomorrow.
Today's installment consists of two bite-sized blog posts from digital marketer extraordinaire, Seth Godin. And while not specific to this Millennial training, I also highly recommend his Purple Cow book if you're interested in new ways to market your company and yourself.
Why jazz is more interesting than bowling
Today's selection comes from Hewitt's own Robert Gandossy, Global Practice Leader for Talent, Leadership, & Engagement.
While this article primarily addresses retention, I think it's applicable for employee acquisition, too. If you've got a dearth of leadership & an uninspirational story, it's tough to sell the organization to either current or future employees. The secret is identifying key talent and then relentlessly marketing the business's opportunities to that pool.
Stay or Go?
(Link omitted due to inaccessibility outside of corporate LAN)
Today's selection addresses the concept of branding. While this article speaks of brands in the context of products, I want you to look at it through the lens of a product being a company. You're selling Hewitt.
What's going to resonate with the prospective employee sitting across the interview table from you? Similar to the lesson from yesterday's reading, the narrative is critical. Fitting the new hire into that narrative in a meaningful way is critical. If the story isn't compelling, you lose.
Millennial Values Behind Lifestyle Brands
I look forward to our conversation tomorrow to discuss the readings from this week.
(No e-mail since the hour long discussion was conducted on this day. I did, however, suggest this for-purchase longer article from the Harvard Business Review as weekend reading: http://hbr.org/product/how-to-keep-your-top-talent/an/R1005B-PDF-ENG )
Two short readings today: the first comes from someone who provides consulting services to companies on how to attract, engage, & retain fresh college grads. The second addresses the belief that Millennials are annoying to manage.
What Millennials (Generation Y) Want Out of Work
Generation Y Is Annoying to Manage, But That's a Good Thing
Two articles again today. The first appeared in Forbes a couple of months back, and highlights former health care CEO Bill George's thoughts on leadership traits exhibited by younger workers.
The second article struck me by its simplicity. Taken in sum, these questions can sometimes be the elephant in the room, but instrumental in developing trust within an organization.
A Massive Generational Change in Leadership
Love Em Or Lose Em
Today's readings focus specifically on how to effectively manage members of this age group. As we've discussed before, I draw a distinction between "managing" & "leading". These articles aren't as strict in their classification, but still provide helpful guidance. I especially like the approaches outlined in the PricewaterhouseCoopers entry.
Managing the millennials: HR strategies for the next generation of workers
Tips for managing the Millennial Generation
The final reading I've selected for you is an excerpt from an interview conducted with author Lynne Lancaster, who wrote "The M Factor: How the Millennial Generation Is Rocking The Workplace."
It speaks to some of the inherent friction between Generation X & Y, and how each side can benefit from the other's perspective. I think this article is an appropriate one to end our series on, given its optimistic tone.
Why the Millennial Generation Is About to Rock the Workplace
I look forward to our discussion tomorrow.
Today marks the end of our two week research project on Millennials. For your reference, I wanted to provide you with a link to the full report the Pew Research Center published on Millennials earlier in 2010. The first link is to an executive summary of the report, while the second link is the actual 150 page document. You may find these useful if you need hard data points in the future.
Looking forward to our discussion on the readings this afternoon.
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Sunday, October 03, 2010
Saturday, October 02, 2010
I have a problem. Inexplicably, the act of driving causes me to remember tasks I need to accomplish or things I want to research. By the time I reach my destination, though, I frequently forget what that task or topic was, as my mind has moved on to thinking about other things. This used to really bug me, until I found reQall.
The reQall iPhone app itself is practically a full-fledged task management solution. However, I don't really use it that way. When you sign up for a reQall account, you input your cell phone number. You're then provided with a 1-888 number you can call from your linked phone number on the account, and input tasks via voice. reQall will interpret your message, transcribe it to text form, and then e-mail you the content.
As you may have already realized, this is a great solution for capturing thoughts while you're driving. I've programmed one of the speed dial buttons on my car's dash to reQall's 888 number. It initiates the call to reQall's service, and within seconds I'm greeted with:
"Hello, reQall here. Do you want to Add, Share, or reQall?"
A typical response might be:
"Add." Then I'll wait 2 to 3 seconds for the beep and say something like, "Take laundry to cleaners. Friday. 8AM."
I'll finally hit the end call button my steering wheel, and I can forget about it.
By the time I reach my destination, I'll have an e-mail in my Gmail inbox from reQall with a subject line of "Take laundry to clearners. Friday 8:00am."
I've also setup a filter within Gmail that takes any task e-mail from reQall, and automatically forwards it to my Remember The Milk personalized e-mail address. By doing so, the task is added to my Remember The Milk to do list, complete with the correct due date & time.
So by using a combination of reQall, Gmail, and Remember The Milk, I can effectively add tasks to my to do list, all by voice, and without ever taking my eyes off the road. Technology is pretty cool.
To learn more about reQall and find the download link to the app, visit their website below.
Friday, October 01, 2010
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Saint Arnold Booth at The Woodlands Oktoberfest
Originally uploaded by Juston Western
We sampled a pitcher of their Oktoberfest & a pitcher of their Lawnmower brew before leaving this tent.
I've been using Google Voice as my primary phone number since March of 2009. Shortly after switching over, I read an article about Sean Kovacs, an iPhone developer in Florida who was creating a native iPhone application for Google Voice. After a few e-mails were exchanged, he agreed to let me be a beta tester for his app, GV Mobile.
It was a great solution, and I enjoyed using the app for about 4 months. Sadly, towards the end of the summer in 2009, Google & Apple had a falling out of sorts, which ultimately ended in the removal of all Google Voice apps from the App Store (not to mention an FCC inquiry of both companies).
Fast forward a year to September 2010 and Apple announced they were relaxing their App Store approval policies, ultimately paving the way for the return of Google Voice apps to the iPhone platform. Last weekend that finally happened, when Sean's new GV Mobile + was approved and went live on the App Store on Saturday evening.
For iPhone owners who also use Google Voice, GV Mobile + is currently the best solution. Although Google released a fairly useful web interface for Google Voice earlier this year, GV Mobile + is a more elegant implementation since it benefits from running as a native app on the device.
So why would you need a Google Voice app? Well, if you want your Google Voice number to show up as the caller ID when you place calls, you need to initiate that call via an app or the web interface. If you don't, your "old" cell phone number will appear on your contact's phone, leading to the inevitable question, "Hey, didn't you tell me you changed your phone number?" Another benefit is that you can see the transcripts of voicemails within GV Mobile +, making it unnecessary to actually listen to the audio version. And perhaps most useful of all, you can send and receive SMS messages directly from the app, usurping the need for a text messaging plan from AT&T.
You can find out more info about the app and follow its continued development at his website below.