OK…I might have lied

I might get an iPhone. We’ll see what the geek sites have for news today, and if its even possible to get one tonite…
We’ll see…
PS: Verizon wants everyone to know, that they’re open today too. Good luck with that guys.
Update: Went by the Apple Store and the AT&T store in the mall at lunch today. The AT&T store had about 6-8 people in line. The Apple store had 35-40. The first guy in line was there at 4:45 this morning. Store employees are not allowed to say how many they have in stock, but Steve recently promised iPhones to all full time employees, so it sounds like they’re not hurting for supply. The Apple Store closed at 1:30, and will re-open at 6:00pm when the iPhone goes on sale. All 40 employees are working tonite.
Details aside, this is kinda fun! I’ve been an Apple fan for a good 15 years — through their thin times approaching bankruptcy, and their good times with the success of the iMac and the iPod. But this is the first time they have such a sure-fire hit. Their ideas are usually good ones, but also usually pretty risky. For you sports fans, this is like the season’s underdog that everyone likes, but no one really expects to win, suddenly bursting out of the gate at the play-offs and rocking everyone’s socks off with an unbeaten streak.
Alas, I can’t get in line yet. Got a big demo at work today at 4:30 and some bugs to iron out before that, but once thats over I am gonna at least go check it out! Here’s a picture from the line at lunch. Gizmodo has line-up pictures from all over the country
Update 5:18pm – In line… about #100 out of 101…
Update 5:30pm – The Apple Store took the blinds off their windows so we could see in — nothing new really since lunch. Then all the employees came out with bottles of water and started handing them out to people in line (I declined, because I can’t afford to have to go pee 20 minutes from now!) They seemed to suggest that they’re OK on stock, and will be letting 20 people in at a time.
Update 5:42 – The store has an open WiFi, so I’ve been online. It just occured to me that so is everyone around me — and they all have Macs! So, fire up iChat, turn on Bonjour messaging and now I’m chatting with the geeks around me! This is wayy better than waiting in line for a hockey game 😉

Stuff for Sale

It’s new cell phone/gadget refresh time at our house, so that means its time to liquidate some toys! Let me know if anyone wants to buy anything outside of eBay. As always, I take good care of my gadgets and they’re all in excellent condition…

4338_1.JPG The belle of the bunch, an iPod Video 5G 60GB, in superb condition. Includes the box and the original gear, plus a dock!
2f77_1.JPG Sold! Thanks for the hook-up John!
Only elite Apple geeks need apply. This is the original Apple portable communication device, and its in excellent condition. Its a real collectors item — especially because it includes the original installation media, manuals and box. I also have a Newton keyboard.
4c0a_1.JPG Perfect for hooking up your XBox, PS/2, Dreamcast or any network device without a WiFi card to your home wireless network. The Linksys WGS54G supports 802.11B and G networks and has worked flawlessly for us on a wide array of devices — no drivers needed!

6 months!!!

Wow can you believe that Ben is half a year old already? I can’t! Well this morning we got our last set of four shots and for the 9 month visit all we get a prick on the finger….I’m looking forward to that visit more then the previous ones. Today he weighs 18 lbs and 14 ozs….almost 19 lbs! And he is 26 inches long with very chubby thighs or thunder thighs as the doctor called them this morning. Now I can’t remember what Jon has mentioned in previous posts but I thought that I would let everyone know what accomplishments Ben has done so far.
All right here goes:
– He rolls front to back and back to front and if I’m not careful he’ll roll from the living room to the kitchen
– He eats rice cereal and has tried peas, sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, bananas and honeydew melon
– He also seems to think that he can feed himself by grabbing the spoon but then puts it too far in his mouth
– He has tried apple juice from a cup but still refuses to drink from a bottle
– Everything, and I mean everything, he finds on the floor goes in his mouth….even toes!
– He loves to swim even when the water is too cold and his bottom lip starts to quiver
– He likes to sleep on his tummy, like his mom, now that he can roll around
– He’s been sleeping through the night for 4 months…ya..some nights he just wakes up and we put in the soother and he’s back to sleep
– He can almost sit up unassisted but would prefer to stand with your assistance
– But he hasn’t yet figured out his bouncy seat….he just sits in it and twirls around….he did one very tiny jump but none since
– He loves to chew on his big cloth blocks and chase after his toy truck….and to grab my glasses off my face
– And as you all probably saw he does a pseudo-crawl thing by flinging himself across the floor
– Oh I almost forgot….he talks to his soother and to himself in the mirror…very cute!

How To Be More Effective

I should say right up front that these are not my tips. Rather, they’re bullet points I’ve collected from various blogs around the web because I either already follow them, or because I know I should follow them — because when I do, I’m a more effective person. These are not directly GTD principles, because I haven’t actually found the time to sit down and read the book, but from what I gather, they’re along the same lines.
I have two jobs, totaling 70-75 hours of work a week. I have a beautiful family. And Nicole and I are involved in assorted ministries regularly. We also manage our identity, finances and resources in two different countries. While we’re a long ways away from getting all of those things right all the time, I think we do a pretty good job most of the time. Here’s a couple things I believe are worth the effort to make life more manageable…
Side Note: There’s lots of expensive software and hardware tools out there that claim to be able to help you get organized. In my experience, the best tools are simply a decent mail client and a text editor.

  • Make a To Do list!
  • Everyone who’s ever written anything on the subject of managing time invariably gets this in there somewhere. Wondering why? It’s because they work! I don’t know how many times I’ve sat at my desk wasting my day because I couldn’t think of what I need to get done. To avoid that, whenever I think of a task, I write it down.
    There’s lots of programs out there to manage tasks. The best apps I’ve ever used are Stickies in OS X, or just plain Notepad in Windows. The more fancy your list system is, the more distracting it is. Keep it simple, keep it in front of you, and most importantly, check things off when you’re done! It’s a huge morale boost to look over your list and see what you’ve gotten done in a day! To that end, if you complete a task that you’d forgotten to put on the list, go back and put it on with a check mark next to it — don’t underestimate how motivating it is to see that you’re succeeding!
    Along these lines: keep, and share a calendar. iCal or Sunbird are two simple and free calendaring programs with WebDAV built-in for calendar sharing, and are a great way to co-ordinate with multiple people. Outlook’s calendars, on the other hand, suck — unless your entire life is lived at the office.

  • Use the “For Follow-up” Flag in your e-mail. And use e-mail!
  • Every modern e-mail client has this feature — its even supported natively in IMAP — and its a wonderful tool. In fact, e-mail is a wonderful tool, despite its problems.
    E-mail creates an audit trail. It lets you see at a glance where a task came from, when it arrived, and even (if the sender practices good etiquette) the priority of the task (don’t get me started on people who mark all of their e-mails as high-priority). If you communicate back with it, you also get a history of the task.
    “For Follow-up” is how I act on e-mails. If an e-mail comes in, I read (or at least preview) it immediately. If I can respond on the spot, I usually do — just so I don’t forget. If an e-mail represents a task being delegated to me, or requires more time for me to act on, I turn on the “For Follow-up” flag (usually a little flag icon, or an option in the context menu). flag.jpgThen I have a Smart Folder (or in Outlook a Search Folder) that shows all mail with the For Follow-up flag on. This folder acts as sort of a smart To-Do list. When I get around to responding, I un-flag the message, and my Smart folder empties out.
    Moral of this story? If you want something from me, the best thing to do is send me an e-mail! If you call me on the phone, your message gets lost as soon as it leaves my rather volatile short-term memory, and odds are good that it’ll never get done.

  • “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
  • clock.jpgMy dad used to chant this too us all the time as kids — usually when he was dragging us out of bed at 6:30 to practice piano. Turns out its not a bad idea. You’d be surprised at how much more you can get done if you start your day earlier.
    I was doing pretty good at this earlier in the year, before I had a run of health issues, and I let myself get a little lazy. I restarted this weekend, disciplining my sleep schedule, and it has been worth it.
    When I’m up earlier, I get to eat breakfast so I feel better; I get to do my stretches so my body is in less pain by the end of the day (I have the world’s tightest muscles); I get on the highway earlier, so there’s less traffic stress to deal with; I get to the office before anyone else, so I get a little peace before the rat race starts; I get home earlier so I get more time with Nic and Ben… the list goes on.
    And it’s not just getting up earlier. Read this article on sleeping patterns — it’s dead-on accurate. If I discipline myself to 7 hours of sleep (enough for 2 REM cycles) I wake up feeling great and well rested. That means I have to get to bed before 11:00, but my days are long enough that usually I’m glad to hit the pillow, and drift off pretty quickly after I do.

  • Avoid Meetings Like the Plague
  • Speaking of being efficient with your time: whenever possible, decline those meeting invites — especially if you’re on the list with a dozen other people! Such meetings, unless they’re being facilitated by a very disciplined and task-oriented person, are rarely fruitful. Most likely you’ll end up wasting hours on personal opinions and unrelated rabbit trails.
    Sometimes you can’t avoid meetings — you really do need to sit down with the interested parties and hash things out. If you can’t do it by e-mail, try a phone call or brief conference call. If that doesn’t work, then resort to the meeting. But do so in a way that is respectful of those in attendance. Have an agenda. Follow the agenda. If you catch yourselves on a rabbit trail, “park” the topic for another meeting. If you make a decision, write it down. If you decide on an action, assign the action item verbally and in writing. Insist that all attendees stay on track, and on-topic. If there’s someone in the room that won’t do so, and you can’t politely cut them off (or if they’re your superior and you’re powerless to stop them) keep that in mind, and try to plan your next meeting for a time that they’re unavailable — if you need their opinion, get it in person at another time.

  • Schedule Your Downtime
  • Or: “Get a DVR/PVR”
    Seriously, you need downtime. It should be sacred, and no one should be allowed to interrupt if you don’t want them too. But you need to control your downtime — you can’t let it control you. Maybe you like watching Oprah, but sitting down at 4:00 every weekday robs you of effective work time (I’m only guessing at that, I don’t honestly know what time Oprah is). The solution is simple: record it.
    The PVR is the one of greatest inventions since the television — and the Internet is even better. Decide you need time to relax between 9-10pm (a good time to do it, so that you can go to bed with your mind numb instead of racing) and make your entertainment work around you.
    Even better than that? Read a book!

Anyone else have any life-hacking tips for making your work days more effective?

Not Getting an iPhone

iphone.jpgIt’s not that I don’t want one — really, really badly. I’ve said for years, that if Apple ever releases a PDA, I’d sell my car to get one. But this Friday they’re doing what we’ve all wanted them to do for the past decade, and I’m not joining the party — not yet anyway.
The iPhone has a lot of insanely great features, and knowing Apple (and having watched the 20 minute tour on their site with rapt attention) I’m sure it will have the most elegant and revolutionary interface the mobile phone world has ever seen. I’m totally confident that Apple will do to the cell phone industry what they’ve been doing to the music industry — totally shaking things up and kicking butt. But I’m still not jumping on the bandwagon.
First of all, there’s the list of features that currently are NOT being provided for…
• Songs as Ringtones
• Games
• Flash support
• Instant Messaging
• Picture messages (MMS)
• Video recording
• Wireless Bluetooth Stereo Streaming (A2DP)
• Standard headset jack
Some of these things aren’t a big deal for me. Actually the biggest problems I have with it as a convergence device are its crappy (2 megapixel, no flash) camera and its complete lack of IM support. Plus there’s no API or SDK for developing 3rd party apps, so no one can fill any of these holes.
And of course, there’s the first generation trap. You have to spend $600 to get worthwhile functionality — which you KNOW they’re going to trump in 6-12 months, with a smaller, better and cheaper version. I love my Macs, but Apple is infamous for moving on to the next thing, and expecting all their users to buy in every round. I have a MacBook Pro that’s only 6 months old, but its a CoreDuo instead of a Core2Duo, it has a max of 2GB RAM and won’t run native 64-bit apps, and I’m stuck with 802.11G which used to be “Airport Extreme” until 802.11N came out and the moniker got moved. There’s no upgrade path for any of these things, save for buying a whole new computer. For the average user, this isn’t so bad, but for me… well, it drives me nuts!
I will get an iPhone, eventually. But I’ll wait for at least the 2nd generation — when the bugs are worked out, the price is lower, and the feature-set is more mature. Despite the frenzy of loyal Apple users lining up already to get their paws on the latest thing from His Jobsness, I know that Apple will happily leave these early-adopters behind when they get version 2 out the door.
I might still go by the Apple store on Friday — to take pictures and enjoy the insanity…
Update: I have decided on my new phone. The Nokia N80.

Cliff Jumping

– This place is awesome — totally in the middle of nowhere
– The water is freezing cold
– I look funny in the air, and my butt makes a big sound when it hits
– The place has a very interesting name… which I cannot describe here
Here’s the video — you KNOW you wanna come with us next weekend…
There are plenty of much lower places to jump from, but I figured I should check out all the high places — just to be safe.

Don't Go to Bountiful Bread

I got a free $15 gift card to Bountiful Bread, so I figured I’d check it out. It was explained to me as an “independent Panera.” Now Panera is one of my favorite places to eat, so that sounded pretty good to me. I checked it out today.
First of all, let me say that Panera can be a little chaotic when you go in there at lunch time — but it has nothing on Bountiful Bread. There’s a giant wrap-around counter with people standing all around it — apparently each place they stand has a different purpose, but it was just dumb luck that I picked the right one to order at.
They took my name with my order, and a few minutes later, someone yelled “JON!” at the top of their lungs. Of course 3 people plus myself ran up to the counter to find out if it was our food. Then I took my food to another, seemingly random, part of the counter — where it took 3 cashiers over 5 minutes to figure out how to process my gift card.
Then I went to the most haphazard dining area I’ve ever seen. And it was almost completely filled with women. It was like a testosterone-free zone. Women were sitting on stools, on pillows on the ground, on high benches, and on low couches. One woman was openly breast-feeding her spawn, while two children jumped off the couch she was sitting on. I took my glasses off, to cut down on the sensory overload, and went to eat my food.
I paid $7.50 for a Turkey Sandwich that consisted of: two slices of bread, 3 or 4 slices of turkey, some chunky white substance that could have been butter, or tofu, thinly sliced apple, and liberally applied honey-mustard. It was the most bizarre sandwich I’ve ever eaten. Combined with a fountain drink (the cashier got very confused when I asked for my cup) my meal cost just shy of $10, and took about 3 minutes to consume. Which sucks because I’m still hungry, but is OK, because I really wanted to get out of there. I still have $5 left on my gift card, but I’m pretty sure I’m not going back…


Indiana Jones 4 – Still looks like he’s up for it. I hope I’m still chasing adventure when I’m 60.
Other movies that they’d better not screw up:

  • Transformers
  • Live Free or Die Hard
  • Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
  • The Dark Night

Movies I have high hopes for, but realistically expect to be disappointed:

  • The Simpsons Movie
  • Resident Evil: Extinction