Forgot my hotel room

So I just posted on how to remember which hotel room you are in.  Yesterday, after 28 hours of traveling and 2 hours of waiting for my room, I finally checked into my room in Melbourne.  I took the room key, got in the elevator, went to the 8th floor and realized I had no idea what room I was in!  I had to take the elevator back down to the lobby …

How to remember the number of your hotel room

If you don’t travel a lot, this may seem stupid, but if you’ve ever stood in the hall and wondered which room you are staying in this time, this tip from SignOnSanDiego is awesome:

Frequent business travelers use phone cameras to help remember which
ubiquitous rental car they’re driving and the number of the night’s
hotel room.

Take a picture of your room number or car!

Excellent Digital SLR article

If you are interested in digital photography and have wondered just what those digital SLR cameras are all about, then A Rookie Guide to Digital SLR Cameras is a must read!  I learned a lot.  But beware.  The article managed to do what Frank has not been able to do for years now: it convinced me that we need a digital SLR camera.  The author even recommended the camera and the equipment, so when I have a spare $1600, I know what I’ll do with it.  (After I buy my Kindle and iPod Touch.) 

One of the reasons I haven’t been blogging much on My Man’s Man about Frank’s awesome meals is because I can’t take good pictures of the food.  The exposure and the flash mess them up.  With a digital SLR camera I could get some much better shots.  (I won’t say awesome, but much better for sure.)  So here’s what I added to my wishlist (at the recommendation of Mike, the author of the article above.)  The links are his:

  • Nikon D80 camera: $760
  • Nikon 50mm 1.8f lens: $105
  • Nikon 18-200mm VR lens: $700
  • Hoya Circular Polarizer: $30

They’re only crayons

From gapingvoid:

6. Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten.

[…]

They’re only crayons. You didn’t fear them in kindergarten, why fear them now?

I think that’s so true.  We are all sure our art won’t be good enough.  Like it’ll be judged.  We’re afraid to draw!  Did it happen in first grade or fifth?

Book Review: The Company

If you ever worked for or with a big company, you’ll find this book Company hilarious.  Things like these will actually make you laugh:

  • Endless voicemail forwards: "This is Greg Smith, Gretchen, can you please forward this to my staff.  <beep> This is Mike Jones, Mary, can you please forward this to my direct reports. <beep> This is …"
  • Nobody really knows what the company does or wants to have to explain it to someone else.
  • All your "customers" are internal customers.  (I remember a big campaign … nobody was allowed to call a company team a customer even though we made tools for other teams.)

Company is a funny book and a fast read.  Good entertainment.

Newspapers with agendas: Would you rather Google or Amazon bought the New York Times?

I read an opinion piece yesterday that speculated that Google should buy the New York Times.  My first thought was outrage that a newspaper would have an agenda.  My second thought was wow, I’m naive, newspapers are businesses and businesses can be companies and companies can be bought.  (Strangely enough though a company can’t own a newspaper and a television station in the same market.)  My third thought was would it be cool if Google owned the New York Times, what could they do?  My fourth thought was why not Amazon?

Google and Amazon may be in different businesses but there’s a lot of overlap.

Amazon Google
Why you use them buy books, store data look for information
Looking in books look inside books you are interested in search inside books for information that you are looking for
Search search for books that have information or stories you want search for information
Publishing publishes author’s blogs
pushes news content and books to Kindle
shows indexes and chapters
serves up all sorts of content, mostly summarized
publishes your documents and email
User data allows you store your own data and search it (S3 storage business)
stores your ratings, reviews and wish lists
allows you to search your data that you’ve stored stored on the web or on your computer
stores your email, contacts, and documents
How they make money makes money from selling things (like books) and content (like newspaper feeds) makes money from selling things (like books) and content (like newspaper feeds)
How they allow users to make money gives referral fees for book sales gives ad money for selling ads on user content pages

So what would owning the New York Times buy them?  They’d be buying a brand.  People respect the New York Times and trust the news it brings them (some people trust it more than others) – it also has a dedicated readership, so they’d be buying readers.  So they’d buy brand, trust, influence and readers. 

What would Amazon do with that?  What would Google do with that?  The scary thing they could do is influence the news and therefore what we know, think and believe, but they already do that.  Getting past that, what cool new things could a Google or Amazon do if they owned the New York Times?  Both could do cool things with old content. Speaking of which, somebody should put all the New York Times photos on Flickr like the Library of Congress photos.  That would be cool.  I think Google would be more likely to do something like that than Amazon. 

What else could they do with it?  They both could help me find news stories I’m interested in but Google already does that and I have my own cool ways of doing that (primarily del.icio.us.)  I keep getting back to seeing Amazon as a content seller so they’d just be investing in the content they sell (not a business they are in) whereas Google is an information finder so they’d have more information for you to find but I feel like I’m missing something bigger. 

There’s an a-hah, big opportunity moment waiting for the person that sees it …

Mommy got it!

Caleb talks a lot and we try hard to understand – but our lack of understanding leads to a lot of meltdowns.

Yesterday Caleb walked over to me, jabbered away and then lifted up his arms to be picked up. I picked him up and went to sit down and Caleb screamed!  So I took a sniff, made a guess and said, "do you need a clean diaper?"  Caleb was so excited he did the happy dance!  He stuck out his chin, bent at the waist, moved his arms like he was running while twisting back and forth at the waist.

I felt so proud I got it!  I also felt stupid that I so obviously don’t understand him so much of the time that when I do understand, it’s cause for celebration!

Of course, this story could be seen from a whole different point of view.  Instead of "Mommy got it," Caleb could be singing, "I co-mu-ni-ca-ted!  I can talk to peo-ple!"  The happy dance might really have nothing to do with me at all!

Amazon is fast!

I ordered a book on Amazon yesterday and it got here this morning!  I used my Amazon Prime, 2 day shipping.  How can you beat that?

Alabama literacy test: would you pass?

Before 1965, you had to pass a literacy test to vote in Alabama.  (The primary purpose was to keep minorities from voting.)  There seem to be multiple variations of the test here, here and here.  Supposedly you had 8 minutes and were allowed only 2 wrong answers.  Frank and I took the 30 question version in Uncle John's Triumphant 20th Anniversary Bathroom Reader and we only got half of them!  Guess we wouldn't have been voting.

It wasn't a literacy test – it was a "do you know the constitution and US government" test.