Kyau and Albert

November 27, 2012

A Night Like this

And she fell in my arms on a night like this
It felt like never before
I kept her awake for a while
And left her alone that night
up up up up up

Nurses who give flu shots from 7am to 7pm to hundreds of people are real doctors in my opinion. Sure on the surface it seems like they’re just sticking needles in peoples arms, but they are educating the herd, and preventing illness. I respect these nurses, who are typically women. You are the real American heros and I salute you, forget the troops overseas. 

A close second are dentists, dental hygienists, optometrists. Dentists get a second salute from me, honestly the mouth is a filthy place, I’d rather scrub a toilet than work in the small spaces of someone’s mouth. You think it’s uncomfortable sitting in the dental chair, imagine being on the other side, working delicately to clean the gaps of several small teeth, shine them, mend them when they are cracked, replace them ever so precisely and establish maximum comfort for the patient. 

The real “doctors”, you know the ones, those fools with white lab coats and a stethoscope around the neck, typically male the ones who give you a physical exam every year. Supposedly they know everything about you in 38 seconds of meeting you, look and think they are stoic or some kind of healer by making you breath in and out while listening to your heart palpitations and doing as little as possible. “Oh I think we need some blood tests to check your [insert new media scare here]” they say during every visit. 

 
Perhaps the doctors on MASH are real image from OtisFrampton
 
After 5 mins of actual doctor time, the nurses spring back and do the work, they take the blood tests, provide some comfort and actually engage the patient and talk to them. Nurses you make me feel like a person, not an object, for the doctor I must be a car, where they are looking for broken parts or a reason to prescribe a new drug. Why not get rid of the doctor, during a doctors visit, how about a nurses visit, sure she can call this doctor guy for a second opinion, but if you’re going to take my blood and test it, and do all the real work, why not do away with a doctor completely. Doesn’t healthcare cost enough already? 

SEO Over the Decade

August 9, 2012

I remember reading SEO is FUD a while back, and now I can’t help but feel SEO is dead for many! Yep dead as a doornail, we talk about it, and use buzz words, have wet dreams about it, but in many ways we’re back in the early 90s when SEO didn’t exist, here’s why.
The Past
 
During the early years of the internet 1993, there were a few websites or even just portals (remember that word), users didn’t have much choice, and were okay with this concept. We either went to yahoo, cyberchat.com, playboy or Hotmail. The Internet was a new creature and fascinating, we knew what we wanted. It was also slow.
Everyone Gets In
There were few social problems online, there wasn’t much trolling, spam or junk mail. Fast forward 10 years later, say 2003 the content volume goes up, e-business is in full bloom and all the rest of it. The natural thing that was born was SEO, except it wasn’t even called SEO it was gaming the system. I even remember coding websites with Viagra, sex and mp3. it was the way it went. It worked, you’d have been a fool not to stuff keywords and meta content.
Image from seifer-designs
High Ethics
Pretty soon everyone is online, so much garbage on Google’s SERP that Google dings crap websites a notch, the various Panda updates penalize so called “over-optimized” sites. Weird as that sounds it’s a relief to many SEOs and websites. The noise and crap is removed from search. I feel we have a long way to go on this subject, there’s still so much crap and gaming of search that takes place. How does about.com still show up so strongly on SERP? Could it be because NYT own them? Brands control much of the SERP.
Marketing & therapy wins
Today 2012 websites are now focused on being simple and use branding as an instrument. When you hop online you go to your favorite blog, news site, shopping website etc. You’re a mature user and know where you want to go with memorized websites. Sounds eerily like 1993. It’s not even a case of using bookmarks. It’s a little like doing your groceries, you know where to go and what to get, few times are your influences swayed when you’ll get corn flakes vs Cheerios. Search engines serve as glorified directories/yellow pages.

Conclusively marketers are enjoying things by selling expensive and often unnecessary products:
Link building products: Why would you do this when natural link building is the way to go?
Blogging services: Yep just want you need, spew out more spam on the web that will make people hate you. All this in the hope that you’ll show up as #1 on Google
Flash: No comment here, there still are huge flash animation website. They’re awful and clog up the internet tubes!
The above don’t work, so the result is anger and a lot of “consulting” (this is a hot field and consultants are everywhere willing to help and sell you more dreams) and therapy to console the freshly wounded on a failed marketing strategy, perhaps some social media would help their advertising campaign they say and the cycle continues with new products/ideas!
In short we’ve come full circle, your good service and/or product will speak for itself, the website will help people find you. Referrals and buzz will generate excitement, and I’m not talking about social media, this all happens naturally, without your provoking or feeding the beast, just like in the early 90s.

  
1.    Leave a message after the beep.
Most people who have operated a telephone know how to leave a voicemail, and generally get it, no answer leave a message or hang up and try again. When you don’t answer your phone. You’re avoiding them or your busy or away from your phone.
 2. Please let me know if you have any questions
Ever seen this at the bottom of an email. I don’t need your permission to ask questions. I’ll ask if I need to,  There’s no need to add more text to an email. There are variants to this stupidity, “do not hesitate to contact me.” In 2012 we don’t hesitate.
 3. Fax Number
No one will ever fax you. Contracts are signed digitally or scanned if a hard copy is needed.
please_hang_up_and_try_again_by_deliberated

Image by deliberated

4.    Sorry and We’ll look into it

In the business world, dollars speak louder than fluffy words. Show some action/task items and not just fluffy apologies or putting things of. Of course you can use these, but don’t over use these words.

5.    Leaving a voicemail

Voicemail is dead, if you have someones email send them an email, or if you must leave a voicemail make it short and sweet. If you have a crap voice and “um” and “like” or think while/after you’re done talking don’t leave a voice message.

6.    LOL-ing and emoting on email

You can stop the jk (just kidding also)

7.    Using email babycakes69@hotmail.com as your email

The fact that you’re still using hotmail is indicative of a douche.

8.    Non descriptive or lack of a subject line

If you want your note to be read put a clear short descriptive subject line.

Minnesota Soft

June 11, 2012

The title of my post is not the name of a new software company or ice cream. It’s about the non-confrontational attitude many Minnesotans have, this doesn’t make them “Nice” nor is it helpful when it comes to enforcing rules or discipline.
It is not a case of East Coasters being rude, yes of course you’ll run into a hot head anywhere even here in the midwest. As a general stereotype I don’t think people from the East Coast are rude, nor do I believe Minnesotan’s are nice, they’re just soft or as commonly overstated, they’re passive aggressive. Some examples of what this means; Co-worker stepped not helpful in completing an assigned task, don’t confront your co-worker, tell everyone but your co-worker about it. Similarly when you see your co-worker why not take the opportunity to complain about your husband and how useless he is and doesn’t do his fair share of housework. Makes perfect sense you married the schmuck and now everyone around him has to listen to your woes.
Of course talking about others or telling a story are healthy and normal behavior, this can become destructive during some occasions, here’s an example. I live in a community that has a gated pool, you have to use an electronic key to let yourself into the pool. The message is pretty clear, no key, no pool entry. In case the gate and key didn’t do it, there’s a sign on the gate that reads “Homeowner private pool. Key needed for entry.” There are some kids from the neighborhood and even other families who I am told were evicted from our neighborhood who lurk around outside the pool, these are typically folks looking for an opportunity to sneak into the pool. The non-confrontational Minnesotan sees this and let’s these people in, without question! It’s too much work for the suburban Minnesotan to have the conversation (their dear little voices shake if they have to) stating it is a community pool, and calling out kids not accompanied by an adult. This is a tough thing for Minnesotans, so it is said they’re nice, they’re bloody pushovers if you ask me.

Blog Stats

May 15, 2012

For all the original stuff I post to this blog. The owl getting hosed photo seems to be getting the most attention on this blog. Below are all time searches. Internet, I’m proud of you!

April 3, 2012

In Praise of Freewheel Bike Mpls

Not all Minneapolis bike shops are the same, (you already knew that). Yes they’ll all out to make money and this time of the year is perfect for them, early spring weather, temperatures in the 70s in mid March, 2012; perfect pedaling weather. Here’s my input, I’ve been to each of these shops and bought a bike and spoken to the staff intimately about bicycles. I’m no expert, but I’m representing an above average audience at a bike shop, we’ll start with the best:

Best All Around Store | Free Wheel Bike

Not only are free wheel bike shops in great locations, they hire solid staff. I personally know some of the wrenches and sales staff, although I’m saying sales the team are very knowledgeable and true bike aficionados. You could stop into a freewheel bike shop ask for gear and there’ll be a staff member who’s tested the product personally, and will vouch or tell you to get something else.

If you show you’re savvy they too will bring the level of the conversation to your level, and get a good read on the kind of miles you put on your bike. An intermediate rider will also feel at home here, a beginner who wants to start riding a couple of miles to a coffee shop will also. I’ve sat around their stores long enough to eves drop on the conversations that take place, and had some of my own.

I was looking for grocery panniers, the staff told me what was sensible and what wasn’t “The TREK panniers will carry some bananas and a loaf of bread!” reported one staff member “The JANDD bags will carry three times as much and keep your stuff dry” he added. The fact that he could recite this with a personal story added value and tells you something about their people.

I’ll never forget when I went in to purchase a saddle, I ended up with a chocolate brown Brooks B-17. A classic among bike saddles, the staff immediately profiled my sit bones (that means she took a quick look at my ass and determined it was small and a small saddle would be ideal). This was not an uncomfortable, weird or awkward exercise, she was quick at determining what I needed, and proved it to me. A staff member had the same saddle on his bike (broken in might I add) so this told me how the saddle would “break” and I got to ride his great fixie. It’s now been a few years and the same saddle is performing very well. I’m happy to have supported what I call my Local Bike Shop.

Free Wheel is located on the U of M west bank (where I go most often), the midtown greenway and I actually met Gary Fisher when they opened their newest branch in Eden Prairie. The service has been consistent; their people know their bikes and aren’t pedaling crap (no pun intended).

Other good bike shops

The Hub – U of M west bank
Behind Bars – Northeast
One on One – Washington Ave

I’m not even going to bother with the below shops to avoid at all costs, and don’t believe their lies.

Penn Cycle – Tried to sell me a bike that was too big and also said “single speed is a fad!”
Edina Bike – Terrible liars who make promises they don’t keep. I’ll never go here again
Erik’s Bike Shop – Creepy sales guys

February 27, 2012

The same microwave length

Today I went to heat my lunch as I do on most days, this is done in a common lunchroom area housed with a dozen microwaves, unless I’m summoned to a cold salad this 2minuite microwaving ritual doesn’t take place. Today on the menu, chicken curry, on basmati rice with mango cilantro chutney, if you must know! I often sing songs and write sonnets to my wife about the greatness of her world famous ginger and garlic infused curry. This post isn’t about my lunch, or my wife’s culinary talent, this is the story of the episode that ensued today in the lunchroom.

image courtesy of wikimedia, it’s a whirlpool with the cover open. Blimey!

I put my lunch in a prehistoric looking Microwave Oven and placed a paper napkin over my lunch, the last thing you want is red curry all over the microwave walls. A middle aged lady standing beside me commented “you heat your lunch just like I do, I don’t like using those plastic cover things!” I agreed with “Yes, that’s why I don’t even use plastic containers, I’ve read too much about the dangers!” I use glass containers whenever I microwave my lunch or anything for that matter. I’d invited a conversation, the lady stated she was horrified by people who not only use plastic but will microwave styrofoam and also added the dangers of plastics leaching and contaminating food! All this is happening while people around us are heating food in plastic containers.

She left stating, there’s no harm in reading, or any danger in reading too much!

February 15, 2012

$440 AMD Quad Core Build

Credit to redditor wagnerjr for all the below builds. This is outstanding, and a pretty solid quad core rig at a budget price. I’ve always been an intel guy but this is not bad at all.


Part list permalink / Part price breakdown by merchant

Type Item Price
CPU AMD FX-4100 3.6GHz Quad-Core Processor $99.99 @ Microcenter
CPU Cooler Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 76.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler $19.99 @ Newegg
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-970A-UD3 ATX AM3+ Motherboard $00.00 @ Microcenter
Memory Corsair XMS3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory $24.99 @ Microcenter
Hard Drive Western Digital Caviar Blue 250GB 3.5″ 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $43.98 @ NCIX US
Video Card Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card $141.97 @ Newegg
Case Cooler Master HAF 912 ATX Mid Tower Case $44.99 @ Microcenter
Power Supply Antec 400W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply $46.98 @ Newegg
Optical Drive Samsung SH-222AL/BSBS DVD/CD Writer $17.98 @ Newegg
Total
Prices include shipping and discounts when available. $440.87
Generated 2012-02-15 05:32 EST-0500

Here’s a sub-$400 version.

Part list permalink / Part price breakdown by merchant

Type Item Price
CPU AMD FX-4100 3.6GHz Quad-Core Processor $99.99 @ Newegg
CPU Cooler Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 76.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler $19.99 @ Newegg
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-970A-UD3 ATX AM3+ Motherboard $00.00 @ Microcenter
Memory Patriot Sector 5 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1333 Memory $14.99 @ Microcenter
Hard Drive Western Digital Caviar Blue 250GB 3.5″ 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $43.98 @ NCIX US
Video Card XFX Radeon HD 6790 1GB Video Card $119.99 @ Microcenter
Case Cooler Master Elite 430 ATX Mid Tower Case $37.99 @ Microcenter
Power Supply Antec 430W ATX12V Power Supply $44.99 @ Amazon
Optical Drive Samsung SH-222AL/BSBS DVD/CD Writer $17.98 @ Newegg
Total
Prices include shipping and discounts when available. $399.90
Generated 2012-02-15 06:36 EST-0500

Not a quad core but a dual core intel build

Part list permalink / Part price breakdown by merchant

Type Item Price
CPU Intel Pentium G620 2.6GHz Dual-Core Processor $49.99 @ Microcenter
Motherboard MSI H67A-G43 (B3) ATX LGA1155 Motherboard $59.99 @ Newegg
Memory Corsair XMS3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory $24.99 @ Microcenter
Hard Drive Western Digital Caviar Blue 250GB 3.5″ 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $43.98 @ NCIX US
Video Card Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card $141.97 @ Newegg
Case Cooler Master HAF 912 ATX Mid Tower Case $44.99 @ Microcenter
Power Supply Antec 350W ATX12V Power Supply $30.25 @ Amazon
Optical Drive Samsung SH-222AL/BSBS DVD/CD Writer $17.98 @ Newegg
Total
Prices include shipping and discounts when available. $414.14
Generated 2012-02-15 06:54 EST-0500

On an unrelated note, check out cocquyt‘s very sweet rig on imgur the tidy cable work is great!

Link

February 13, 2012

The Greatness of Steve Jobs

After last years post on the ipad2 Review I am in the process of reading Steve Jobs Biography by Walter Isaacson. I am nothing short of inspired by the man! I can safely say I enjoy Apple products, really like Steve Jobs philosophy and ethos. I cannot stand the Mac/Apple culture or fanbois! I’ll save that negativity for another post, for now I give you the Steve Jobs I admire.
photo courtesy of meltendo

Zen Buddhism

Jobs was a perfectionist, much of this can be attributed to his dad Paul Jobs. Paul would often tell young Steve that a cabinet should look beautiful on the back where no one will ever look as it does on the exterior. It is precisely this level of detail that makes the Macbook Air or the ipad a beautiful and useful thing. People buy things because they are beautiful and because they are useful. Apple products do this, and it is through Steve’s vision, such balance is achieved. The nice people at Arstechnica even seem to think ASUS zenbook is just an imitator of the Macbook Air. Mac goes to market with a solid product. This is very much like Job’s personality; solid, confident, and cocky. It goes outside the norm and suddenly everyone wants to copy it. Invent the future, but keep it simple.

The very thing Steve gave the public is also something he stayed away from. He never clung to or worshiped material things. Materialism is a disease, the world is attached to stuff, be it shiny expensive bits of electronic gadgetry or a wardrobe of clothes. Jobs didn’t have furniture in his house because he simply couldn’t find the right kind of furniture. Jobs never had a fancy house with a lavish state of the art security system like Bill Gates or Larry Ellison (he even had more cash that them) Reed (Job’s son) would often ask “Are we going to the rich guys house” (Larry Ellison) Steve was very wealthy but never gave into superfluous niceties, nor did his parents when he shared some of his wealth with them. Jobs parents paid for their house and went on 1 cruise each year.

Jobs was a life long vegetarian too. Materialism isn’t just stuff, it’s how we treat our bodies.

Lose yourself to material things and you’ve lost your identity.

It was either shit or great

Job’s was a hard man to work for, he spoke his mind and often hurt peoples feelings. If someone brought him an idea he didn’t dance around or beat about the bush, he’d tell them “It’s shit.” We’ve become such a sensitive namby-pamby society, it’s ok to tell a suggestive dirty joke with your peers at lunch and laugh at someone’s expense but if a direct comment is made on performance, by a customer or a boss, feelings and morale are crushed.

Apple products were built by engineers who were used to receiving feedback from Jobs, as I noted earlier Apple products went to market looking good, from the user friendly interface to the packaging.

Everything had to be great!


Someday you’ll die

When Jobs spoke at a Stanford University graduation in 2005 he does mention his own death, and also talks about doing great things before you die. Everyone will die someday, do what makes you happy.

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