Wednesday, December 31, 2008

job search notes - Chris Brogan free e-book

For anyone looking for work, Chris Brogan has some great advice on how to use social media to find your new work.

Chris is a master at the use of social media. How do I know this?
I have had the distinct pleasure of working with him to help organize the PodCamp Boston conferences.

I half read this e-book this afternoon and have some things to work on (including completing the text, which I am sure wil add to the "to do" list). I think you will benefit from downloading this free e-book.

You can obtain the e-book here

Street of Shops, Lewisburg, PA

We visited the Street of Shops in Lewisburg, PA yesterday, cruising amongst some of the 125 stores available.

If you are in the Lewisburg, PA neighborhood, it would be good to count on spending a couple of hours here.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Penguins hockey - final

the last couple of minutes were intense as Philadelphia pulled their goalie to put the extra offense on the ice. The strategy worked as they closed the gap 5 to 4. It also worked against them as the Penguins managed a shot on the empty net to finish the game at 6 to 4.

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Penguins hockey - part 3

the Penguins are leading 5 to 2 with 5 minutes to go in the 3rd.

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Penguins hockey - part 2

the score is 3 to 2 at the end of the 2nd period with the Penguins in the lead. The zamboni's are doing their thing before the 3rd period begins.

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Penguins hockey

The action is fierce here at the Wachovia Arena where the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins lead at the end of the first period, 2 to nothing.
The Baslock reunion had seven individuals out to the game tonight. When the horn sounds for a goal, you'd expect the ship to come through the wall.

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Development 2.0: The Non-Profit Stock Exchange

My daughter Carolyn, a student at Northeastern University sent me this email:
I'm not sure if you've heard, but there's a movement of citizens inspired by the presidential campaign who are now submitting ideas for how they think the Obama administration should change America. It is called “Ideas for Change in America”.

One idea is titled Development 2.0: The Non-Profit Stock Exchange. I thought you might be interested in getting involved and recommend you check it out. You can read more and vote for the idea by clicking the link here
Very interesting concept! Please click through to read more about it and consider casting your support for this initiative.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas 2008

christmas_2008grandchildren, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Eleven of Jerry's thirteen grandchildren were present this Christmas. We sat 24 folks for dinner. There was enough room and there were leftovers. The eclair ring was a big hit for dessert, not much of that remained.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Rapid Fire Learning - December 2008

I wrote these in the comments to Joanna's post kicking off the Rapid Fire Learning for December.

1. The real work in painting your study is in the preparation
2. Time slicing requires focus
3. If "location, location, location" is the word for retail then "family, family, family" is really the word for the holidays
4. The first step is the hardest
5. Music touches more than one sense

You have my permission to click through to read the other learnings gleaned from looking back on this last month of 2008.

Joanna writes about December 26th being Boxing Day. Today is also the celebration for St Stephen.

What have you learned this month?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

SOBCon 2009

Are you going? Why not?

It could be a good thing for you to do.

If you do go, you may find that it was a great thing to do!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

12 Days of Christmas from "Straight No Chaser"

Another good mashed up version, a capella style of the 12 Days of Christmas from "Straight No Chaser"


Michael Graves Coffeemaker - updated

You may have noticed that Michael Graves has some designer goods at Target. I stopped in for only the second time to look for and pickup a new coffee maker as ours decided to quit.

His coffee maker was in the mid-price range and seemed to have some good features to make it worthwhile. It is manufactured by Hamilton Beach.

The water container comes out and makes it easy to load.
He still uses paper coffee filters so it is not very green on that front. And speaking of green, did you notice the blue oval! It is bright enough to light up the entire kitchen in the dark. You could use the coffee maker for the dual purpose of coffee and night light, that might qualify for a little green savings.

Michael Graves design coffeemaker

For all the Michael Graves designed items at Target click here or go to Target and search for "Michael Graves".


I was pleasantly surprised to find this model rated by Consumer Reports as a best buy. I agree it is priced well for the competition. As we have now been using it for a few weeks, the one significant draw back that it has is that the coffee container doesn't sit easily into its slot. Once removed, it takes a minute or so to find just the right spot for it. Why couldn't it have been designed to only go back in one way?

Maybe the next model will do that!

Handel's Hallelujah Chorus

This version of Handel's Hallelujah Chorus is delightfully funny.


Thanks to FUSF Interweave for the tip

Safe party guide from MADD

If you are going to be hosting a party during this holiday season, please check out the Safe Party Guide from MADD here.

It may help to prevent something that would spoil the party or the season!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Great seasonal music

The holiday season would not be what it is without music. Granted some radio stations start playing the Christmas music way too early, but then look at the overall commercial approach, Christmas items were up for sale along with Halloween candy this year. We'll go down that path another time, this time around I'd like to follow the musical notes.

I got to two concerts this season; one at the Circle of Friends Coffeehouse here in Franklin and the second at Symphony Hall in Boston. Both were good and special in their own way!

1 - Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams did its thing at the Circle of Friends.

What is its thing?
Hard to really describe but it generally is taking two different songs and putting them together to make a third unique song.

For this Christmas show, they brought out some "sissy" classics and intermixed them with their blend of mashup. The best probably was "Angels we have heard on high" mixed with Van Morrison's "Gloria". Yes, something to be heard to be understood.

Note: You can go to Radio-Free Slambovia, navigate to A Slambovian Christmas and select "Angels - Gloria" to hear for yourself.

2 - The Boston Pops did its thing at Symphony Hall.

What is its thing?
Music played to its best in an acoustical gem of a hall.

For this Christmas show, they backed up a reading of "The Polar Express" by Will Lebow. Very well done. The big screen came down to show highlights of C Van Allsberg's illustrations. The way they were shown, it was if they were moving pictures. The life and light depicted by Van Allsberg is all that more impressive shown in this way,

The special treat for me (along with quite a few others based upon the applause) was the new rendition of "The Twelve Days of Christmas". Now, for a song that has been around as long as this one has, what can you do different?

Try singing each verse to the melody of another classic; for example the fifth verse, "five golden rings" was sung to the theme from Beethoven's Fifth (but of course!). From that they segued into "the Surrey with the fringe on top" from Oklahoma to do verse six and then to "My favorite things" from The Sound of Music for verse seven.

Don't worry I won't reveal them all. Not that I could remember, I was torn between amazement and laughter. The vocal performance by the Tanglewood Festival Chorus was simply awesome.

This version was commissioned by the Pops to feature the range of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and it does this very well. Kudos to David Chasse for the arrangement.

Do you enjoy the seasonal music?

What is your favorite?

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

My desk at Burroughs - circa1985

Burroughs_circa1988, originally uploaded by shersteve.

I started with Burroughs in 1982 and moved up to supervisor in either 1984 or '85. I recall this being the Supervisor desk at the Respond Center in the Springfield, NJ office.

The screen on the right was an MT983 (I think) to our B1900 system running the RESPOND application. The center screen was our ROLM call system supervisor view. RESPOND was the application used for taking service requests and dispatching the field engineers. It recorded the details, provided customer and engineering reports, parts usage, etc.

Ah, those were the days.

books at hand

I am continuing to set up the study/office at home. Here is what it looked like this afternoon:

setting up the book shelf

A close up of the books on the shelf:

arranging books on the shelfImage by shersteve via Flickr

The books within reach fit primarily into three categories:
  1. have read, need to write a book review
  2. high on the "to read" list
  3. ready reference for the job search

What books are on your shelf?

Before/after shoveling today

The before shoveling scene:

before shoveling

The after shoveling scene (yes, it took awhile):

after shoveling

Now, time to get warm and enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done!

Pawtucket Times 12/18/1971

Pawtucket Times 12/18/1971, originally uploaded by shersteve.

I knew there was a reason why putting things back together in the newly painted study was going to take some time.

I keep getting distracted by the stuff I find. Like this gem from junior year in high school.

Yep, that is moi. With the ball. So gracefully depicted here.

Those were the days my friend!

It's official

It's official, originally uploaded by shersteve.

There is more snow coming down now here in Franklin.
Like Boston, Summer and Winter Streets intersect.
As it is the first day of winter, how appropriate!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Quote for the day

“Better learning will not come from finding better ways for the teacher to instruct, but from giving the learner better opportunities to construct.”
Seymour Papert

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Symphony Hall

Inside Symphony Hall, it is dressed up for the Holiday Pops performance. My ladies took me there Thursday evening as a delayed birthday present. A wonderful evening of music.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

teenage substance abuse

My mother-in-law once offered to take our daughter from us when she was a teen and give her back to us later. It was a tempting offer that we declined.

Teenage is such a rough age. The struggle between finding their own individuality and growing into a normal separation from the family circle is enough of a challenge. Throw in the barrage of media inputs about the good life with drink or drugs and you are putting fuel to the fire.

How should parents deal with their teens?

Communication. It is as easy and as hard as that.

Not just talking about the weather, but good honest open discussions on all the topics of the day will set the framework for appropriate growth and development of the teenage mind.

This has been reinforced in the past couple of weeks with the W.A.S.T."E".D. Information Session at Franklin High School on December 2 (recording and text available here) and the forum at King Phillip Regional High School on December 17 (notes captured here).

quick reminder

A quick reminder that if you really want to read all that I write, you should subscribe to my Tumblr feed. All my writing goes into this feed. It will save you some time checking each of the places that I do write.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

DELL, Twitter, million what?

Stan Schroeder picked up on the VentureBeat headline I saw today and posted at Mashable

MG Siegler over at VentureBeat has an interesting proposition about Twitter’s monetization capacity. Quoting InternetNews, he digs up the claim that Twitter made 1 million dollars in revenue for Dell. Here’s the quote:

“Less altruistically, some businesses have discovered that Twitter is an effective way of communicating with consumers. Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) says Twitter has produced $1 million in revenue over the past year and a half through sale alerts. People who sign up to follow Dell on Twitter receive messages when discounted products are available the company’s Home Outlet Store. They can click over to purchase the product or forward the information to others.”

Siegler goes on to propose that “If Twitter has made Dell $1 million in revenue, imagine how much it’s making for all of the companies it helps promote.”

I’m not convinced.

Nor am I. DELL was successful with Twitter only because that is where some of its customers are. (briefly, tech geeks who buy systems and such.) Other companies, if their customers happen to frequent Twitter may see some success with that tool as well.

Twitter is a tool. It is not a silver bullet.

If your customers are not on Twitter, don't waste your time on Twitter.

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new desk for study

new desk for study, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Some assembly was required and it was completed without too much trouble last evening. I chuckled at the instructions:

"Only one person is necessary for the assembly of this product. However one or more step may need a second person to assist."

I was more concerned because the Allen wrench connections were to be hand done:

"Do not fully tighten Allen bolts until Step 17"

Guess how many steps there were?

Yep, 17. How did you know?

They also instruct on Step 17:

"You may need to go back through the steps to make sure you have tightened them all."

I don't see the need for the "flexibility" that they seemed to prepare for. The tolerance for alignment shouldn't be so loose as to leave the connections incomplete until the end. It would make much more sense to tighten the blots as you go along the way.

Monday, December 15, 2008

job search notes: get in the rhythm

Daily life has a new rhythm for me today.

Work recently had a rhythm based upon the budget and calendar year. The budget cycle was always important. Once it was set, then quarters had some significance but the monthly reporting cycle drove most of the weekly and day to day requirements. One of the responsibilities I had was program management for a set of security initiatives with a monthly read-out to senior management. The week of the read-out was busy as the read-out required the coordination of all the other project status reports (as well as my own). I had a great resource as project manager so he could do our presentation while I focused on coordinating the others to ensure that their story was crisp and to the point.

This was in addition to the normal work required for my own security project. The scope of our project was broad reaching and long term. The problem had built up over the years and wasn't going to be resolved over night. We were making good progress on keeping up with the day to day issues and implementing a more sustainable solution for the long haul. The cooperation and collaboration with dozens of folks made the work relatively easy to do.

All that is past now. The short term focus is on family, the holidays and determining my own work plan for the future. My father's health has required attention. His vision is failing and he shouldn't be driving. Doctor visits and trips to the local mall to do his exercise walks take time, but it is time well spent.

The study (now painted and newly carpeted) will start getting put back together to be the new home office and center point for the job search which will begin in earnest in the new year.

My own exercise routine has been re-established. Narcessian weight work twice a week, running three days a week, and walks with Dolores on the weekend (in addition to walks with Dad) are scheduled and completed.

The ankle brace has been successful thus far. I will face the real test in mid-January or early February when I get up to running more than 5 miles (currently doing 2.5 to 3 successfully). If I get past that 5-7 mile mark with no issues, then I should be able to plan the year with a good 5K a month and revisit my favorites.

Local blogging for Franklin Matters has its own monthly cycle of town meetings.
  • Town council the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays.
  • School committee the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays.
  • Financial Planning Committee 1st and 3rd Thursdays.
The Energy $ense series and other special meetings like WASTED provide additional opportunities.

Bottom line, my time during the day is allocated amongst the family priorities, Franklin Matters, and social networking to prepare for the job search.

Do you have a rhythm in your life?

Do you set priorities for time allocation?

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Circle of Friends: Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams

the next show
December 13th, 8:00PM

A Slambovian Holiday Show GANDALF MURPHY and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams

"Gandalf Murphy & the Slambovian Circus of Dreams is simply one of the finest American bands out there on the road. " -AllMusic Guide

with special guest
Lindsay Mac

Tickets = $20

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job search notes - paradox of learning

There is a paradox in learning. It is the paradox of the two tents.

On one side are those who are content. On the other dwell those who live in discontent. It appears that both have something to teach us about learning.

Before you click through to read the full article here think about which tent you live in? and why?

Friday, December 12, 2008

new carpet

new carpet, originally uploaded by shersteve.

2 hours later, the old is gone, the new has been laid out.

low clouds this morning

low clouds this morning, originally uploaded by shersteve.

couldn't see much out the back windows this morning

the rain was so heavy it brought the clouds down with it