Things I’m Reading Tonight…

Roomba Firmware Update

I’ve been meaning to write a post to rant and rave about how much we love our Roomba. The thing is the cat’s pajamas. We love it so much, that we are going to be selling our traditional upright vacuum and buying another Roomba. Maybe a Scuba. The thing is amazing. It just zips around the house, bouncing into things like a drunk midget. It cleans so well, though, where a drunk midget would just break things.We heard from a friend of ours, who should be chief avangelist for iRobot, that her Roomba got mad cow, the signs of which the Roomba acting out of sort if you will. When she called the customer service line, they sent her a little dongle that updates the firmware of the Roomba.

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We living in amazing times. We don’t have flying cars yet, but in 5 years, I will have a wifi upgradable robot that cleans my house. His name will be Randy5.

34 Years Young

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I had a pretty rockin birthday weekend. I played a very mediocre round out at Cinnabar yesterday, but stayed within my 2-Kid index (which is my regular index plus a few strokes since, with 2 kids, I don’t play often enough to keep any part of my game consistent). It was a perfect weather day and played with one of my favorite partners, so all things being equal, it was damn nice.Holly ran the Rock & Roll marathon this morning and I rode my bike with the Burley in tow to cheer her on at the 11 mile marker (she exercises for both of us).I lounged a bit the rest of the day, went to sushi for dinner and lounged some more. All in all, no complaints from an old man.

Sell Valentine, Sell!!!

In another Bay Area economic indicator, it took me 1 hour to get to Yahoo this morning. 12 miles. It took me 50 minutes to get home last night too. People are back from vacation, companies are hiring and people are commuting like crazy. All signs point to a healthly Bay Area economy. Remember the last time it was like this?

Weird Al, PRI & MySpace’s Effect on Enterprise Development

Well, I’ve been busy the past couple of weeks and unfortunately, this stie has taken a bit of a back seat to other ventures. We’ll, I’m back like little Carol Ann. Here is an update.In a Mark Cuban kind of way, Mark Cuban announced today that YouTube is done for due to the challenge associated with getting the rights to music used in videos. While I agree with Mark that managing the rights associated with all of the music used in videos is going to be tough, I really hope that the record industry, embraces YouTube and doesn’t push this too much. If I want to make a fan video, so what? I disagree with Mark in that no one is going to listen to a bunch of music via YouTube. That doesn’t make much sense. Record labels are dead. The question is do they want to long painful death or a short quick one. Dear Clive Davis, Embrace new media.The new Weird Al video is everywhere and deserves to be. It is hysterical.This video has been removed at the request of copyright owner RIAA because its content was used without permissionD’oh! See above guys. Slow and painful versus quick and easy. Dummies. Millions of people who don’t watch MTV or any other video channel were passing this video around to their friends and posting it on their sites. WTF? Weird Al has this on his MySpace site, but you need to deal with that. I am going to have to rock one of those White & Nerdy pullovers when they come out.Speaking of MySpace, PunkRockIdol has really taken off. Beave and I are pretty excited about it. It’s only been up for a weekend, but the traffic numbers are pretty positive and the feedback that we’ve received has been awesome.This leads me to my final thought for the evening and that is the effect that MySpace will have on the development and usage of enterprise applications. What has amazed me in doing PRI is how much HTML knowledge is needed to build and promote a MySpace page. It is insane. They certainly don’t make it easy. If you’ve never done it, not only is it a lot of HTML, but the text editors are terrible (tiny windows) and you’re never really sure if it works or not. Yet despite all it’s short comings, there are 110 million users all banging out basic HTML.This is really cool to me. In the future, somone in a major corporation is going to tell these MySpace users that something can’t be done in the enterprise and they are going to say ‘Screw you, I’ve done this on MySpace and can do it here.’ A more realistic scenario is that the admin for the local dental office with 11,000 friends is going to be tapped to build a website. In 10 years, this knowledge will have an amazing effect on how enterprise applications are deployed and modified.I haven’t had a chance to play with Salesforce.com and Greasemonkey, but this would be the first area that I could see this massive collective knowledge coming into play. If your company deploys a web based app, it is now very simple to modify it to have the look and feel that you want, not what is deployed by your company. The data that goes in and comes out of the system is the same, it just looks different based on your desires.

What 180 MPH looks like

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Yeah, no kidding.

My neighbor and I took our kids to the San Jose Grand Prix today.  I have to say, it was a lot cooler than I had expected.  First of all, he works for E&Y which is right at the starting / finish line.  It was great as we were able to sit up in a conference room on the 9th floor and look down on the drivers as they zipped by.  The kids loved it too.  It is the only way to go.

Taking photographs, with a crappy point and shoot camera, of something going as fast as these cars were going is quite challenging.  You essentially have to time your shots by the noise of the car coming by.  If you wait for the car to be in the viewfinder, it will be too late to get your shot.  Or, like I did quite a bit, you can get a lot of pictures of the backs of cars.

Once the kids had enough, we headed out to the Discovery Park to watch the freestyle motocross, look at cars and listen to local cover bands.  I’ve never been a big fan of freestyle motocross.  I’ve never liked roller blading either and it’s for the same reason.  When you freestyle on a BMX bike or skate board, you have to do everything.  No motor and the board isn’t tied to your feet, so I’ve always discounted freestyle motocross as kind of the hillbilly cousin of BMX’ing.  I’d love to say that my opinion changed after today, but it hasn’t.  Sure these guys are risking life and limb, but I just can’t dig this new generation of Evil Kenevil’s.  It does nothing for me.

We got lucky today at the races because it was $8 beer day.  So that was nice.  I think tomorrow, I am going to put a keg in a wagon and sell beers for $5 and clean house.  Seems like any easy way to make a grand.

Flickr pictures are at: http://flickr.com/photos/schnaars/sets/72157594216406083/show/

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Old Fart Tees.com

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My dad is a pretty good representative for his demographic. He’s late 50’s, works hard in a machine shop, doesn’t make a ton of cash, probably won’t retire anytime in the foreseeable future, concerned about the future of social security, wondering about the political and ecological environment for his kids and grandkids, worried about his healthcare insurance as he gets older. In general, based on all the jacked up stuff in the world these days, he’s pretty pissed off.In doing some market research, he found that there are a whole bunch of boomers that aren’t portrayed very well in the financial services commercials that play during televised sporting events. Unfortunately, most baby boomers aren’t playing golf everyday into their golden years. Most of them aren’t on yachts or painting in Paris. Most of them are working too hard for too little and they aren’t happy about it. Like the Clash said ’10 years working one machine is 10 times worse than prison’. They are looking over their shoulders to be sure that they aren’t going to get ‘retired’ or downsized due to their age. The baby boomers are pissed and as they start to look at their maturing 401K’s and pension funds they are finding that, due to their extended lifespan, they are going to come up a little light in the pocketbook,  and they are getting more pissed.Bob Schnaars has great little Schnaars-isms that his friends, a.k.a. drinking buddies, keep telling him that he should put on t-shirts. Well guess, what folks, that is what we spent the weekend doing. We created a small store on CafePress that should hopefully be growing over the next couple of weeks. The goal is to create t-shirts that appeal to the over 50 crowd of blue collar and accidental white collar workers that need a little voice. That want to tell the world that they are angry and don’t quite know what to say.I am sure that you know someone that falls into this category. A semi-disgruntled relative.  Think Randy Quaid in Vacation.  Not quite a curmudgeon, but getting there. These shirts make a great gift for those people. If you get weird Uncle Fred in the white elephant exchange, remember OldFartTees.com.  Or, if they know how to use a computer, point them in the direction of this store. It will be changing frequently, so come back often.Old Fart Tees.com