Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Revenge of the nerds

Nerds everywhere are dancing naked around the fire over this one. GirlfriendX.com has software that you can install on a PDA to help you bag that hot cheerleader. It offers a bundle of pickup lines, and if things aren't going well, it can call your cell phone so you can bail out on a date.

If you've already got a girlfriend, it will send you helpful reminders for those little things like birthdays, anniversaries, etc. that guys just never seem to remember.


Manager 2.0

Are you a Manager 1.0, or are you of the 2.0 ilk?

Interestingly, time can march backwards. In the before time, we were a 2.0 company, but SuperMegaCorp in heavily 1.0. Sad.


Worlds collide

Remember Daniel Cook? He's the pint sized TV host who was last seen interviewing the party leaders during the election.

Now, of all things, he's curling!


Monday, March 27, 2006

In the trenches, part three

Our first installment took us to San Francisco, then we were in Chicago.

This time it's Philadelphia. June 2000. We're at the annual meeting of the Society for Computer Applications in Radiology. It's part medical conference, part trade show. Things were going very well on the trade show side of things. Setup was mostly uneventful, but we still stayed up most of the night staging equipment. Far less stressful than RSNA, though, where even the best of us could forget what hotel we were staying in. This wasn't a problem in Philadelphia, since the show was in the hotel. The worst you could do was forget was what room you were in.

We had a fairly new guy working with us, and he was to be broken in by attending the show. The learning curve in our applications is fairly steep, but Greg was working out ok so far. He was picking up the myriad applications and their feature sets, and was doing his best to keep it all straight in his head.

One afternoon in the booth he's approached by a guy with a very specific problem. Greg instantly recognizes that we had a product that would perfectly solve this problem, and spends the next ten minutes describing in great detail the ins and outs of the product. "Finally," he's thinking to himself, "a question I can nail the answer to."

The guy is suitably impressed, and asks how much the product costs. Greg's a developer, so he has no idea. He turns to the sales guy standing next to him (who's in the middle of a conversation with another potential customer) and asks, "Jim, how much does Relay go for?"

Jim looks back over his shoulder and says, "Relay? We don't sell that anymore."

I could actually see Greg deflate, and the guy he was talking to quickly bailed out, mumbling, "Thanks anyway."

Welcome to the big leagues, kid.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Tdignhrae si ahdr

I've been doing some threading debugging lately. Let's just say it's not a happy place to be for hours on end. A while ago we had some performance problems and one guy went off for an hour and "made it better" by sprinkling threads throughout the code. Yes, it was faster, but oh boy did it crash in some spectacularly unexpected places. More on that story here.

Now I'm reading Jon Skeet's "Multi-threading in .NET" tutorial, and Rico's recommendations on locking, and I'm beginning to think these guys were looking over my shoulder this week. Spooky.


Monday, March 20, 2006

College Royal

From the University of Guelph's College Royal website:

College Royal is the largest university open house event of its kind North America. Each March, the University of Guelph is opened to the general public in a campus-wide open house that attracts over 30,000 visitors every year.

I spent all day yesterday wandering around the campus at the University of Guelph. What a fantastic event! The kids loved seeing the animals up close, and spent some time in the teddy bear surgery clinic. We watched the square dancing and the kids burned some energy by spinning around and around like the dancers. The high point for the five year old was the chemistry lab, where she made hot pink silly putty by mixing some potions together. Highly recommended.


Friday, March 10, 2006

The little web site that grew

Today, microsoft.com is the fourth-largest Web site, powered by internal and external servers all over the world and visited by an average of 5 million customers a day.

What was life like in the beginning?


Six Jobs That Won't Exist In 2016

Fast Company ponders on Six Jobs That Won't Exist In 2016.

TV schedulers, A&R guys, Wall Street researchers, cool hunters. As punishment, now it's our turn to ram stuff down your throats. Hope you like Bon Jovi!

Pay someone to write snarky comments? Do you think we're getting paid for this?

Advertising creatives
Talented amateurs making ads for fun and posting them online seem to be better at your job than you are. Bonus: No more "whither the 30-second spot" whining.

Auto mechanics
As cars run on software, the grease monkey will need a makeover.

U.S. high-tech jobs
But software engineers can always get a job down at the garage.

Indian call-center operators
American customer service is rescued from oxymoron status as companies realize that being nice to the people with the money is the only way to win.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Unionize Microsoft

We haven't heard much from Mr. Mini-Microsoft lately. Here's his take on the "unionize Microsoft" effort underway, including the salary leaks. There's also a collection of links to use as a primer, if you're new to all this "stack ranking" madness.


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

New Ad campaign?

Have you seen the Tim's ad where the grouchy grandfather comes to watch his grandson play hockey? Based on a true story, the subtitle says. Heartwarming.

Here's a true story that probably won't make it into a new ad campaign. Schoolyard scrap starts over a Tim's cup. Roll up the rim to litigate!


Take it up a notch

Scoble says he wants someone to take Hugh's Tablet PC away.

I agree. I think Hugh has had it a little easy lately in the creativity department. Artists need to be challenged to come up with good work, and this Table PC thing is allowing Hugh to churn out some pretty dull stuff.

Hugh, take it up a notch.


In Yer Face!

Spelling bee champ gets laced up.

Monday, March 06, 2006

2006 Scott Tournament of Hearts - predictions revisited

Let's take a look at how I did in my predictions, again from East to West.


What I said: Looked brutal in their first game loss to Quebec, but looked much better trouncing Team Canada. Which team will show up the rest of the week? Bottom Line: Not going to be there at the end of the week.

What happened: The good team showed up. Made it to a tie-breaker, but couldn't get past Quebec. Ended up 7-4. Much much better than last year's 1-10 record.

Prince Edward Island

What I said: Seemed to sleep through the beating laid on them by New Brunswick, and didn't look much better against British Columbia. Bottom Line: Looking more like Gaudet's 2-9 team than her 10-1 team.

What happened: Surprised some people by making it all the way to 4-7.

Nova Scotia

What I said: Colleen calls the best game out there. Should have lost last night, but somehow pulled one out of the fire. Bottom Line: Should be in the top three next weekend.

What happened: Pulled a few more out of the fire, including one on a hog-line violation. Ended up 8-3. Did not look very good losing the semi to Team Canada. Too many un-Colleen-like mistakes.

New Brunswick

What I said: Could be a surprise playoff spot, if they don't get freaked out playing the top teams.

What happened: Ended up 5-6. Give these guys a little more experience and they'll be in the playoffs. Watch for this team in the next few years.


What I said: A real unknown going in, this team looked good. Bottom Line: Keep it up all week and they'll be in the playoffs.

What happened: They kept it up, and made it through the tie-breaker to the 3-4 game. Ended up 7-4. A very good showing for a rookie team. Should help Quebec's bid to hold the Scott in Quebec City.


What I said: This team is all vice and skip - the front end wasn't helping much. Bottom Line: Can't rely on the vice and skip that much. Will be watching from the stands next weekend.

What happened: Ended up 4-7, and watching from the stands.


What I said: Lost a couple of close games before finally winning a close game. If they find a way to turn those close losses into wins, this team could be contending for the fourth playoff spot.

What happened: Turned some wins into more close losses, including one via hog-line violation. Ended up 4-7.


What I said: Looked good against British Columbia. Looked bad against Prince Edward Island. Bottom Line: Will look bad more often than good.

What happened: Looked bad way more often than good. Ended up 2-9.


What I said: Struggled a bit in their opening loss, but rebounded. Bottom Line: Will be in the top three.

What happened: The wheels fell off. Ended up 6-5, just out of a tie-breaker.

Yukon/Northwest Territories

What I said: Skip and vice (who throws the last rocks) are good, the front end looked like they were playing for the other team. Bottom Line: Might win a game or two.

What happened: Ended up 2-9, but seemed to have fun doing it.

British Columbia

What I said: Next to Colleen, Kelly Scott calls the best game. This team is strong from top to bottom. Bottom Line: Should finish the week on top, and after the disappointment of the Olympic trials, should finally win the big one.

What happened: Ended up 9-2, alone on top. Almost let it get away in the final, but managed to squeak it out for the big win.

Team Canada

What I said: An up and down opening weekend. Bottom Line: Need to pull up their socks to have a chance at a playoff spot.

What happened: They pulled up their socks. Ended up 8-3, into the 3-4 game, then on to the final. Really picked it up through the end of the week, and almost stole the big game.


New Year's Resolution

Ok, a little late, but this year I resolve to suck less.


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Curling trivia answer

Yesterday we asked:

There have been a few players to appear in both the Canadian Mixed and Women's, and the Mixed and Men's Championships. Olympic Bronze medalist Shannon Kleibrink won the mixed as a skip, and Colleen Jones and Kim Kelly have both won it playing vice for Nova Scotia. Mark Dacey and Jeff Stoughton have both won the Mixed and Brier. Quebec skip Eve Belisle has been there, as has Olympic Gold medalist Mark Nichols (and his sister Shelly, playing in the Scott this week).

But here's a trivia question for you - who is the only player to appear in all three - the Women's, Men's and the Mixed?

Ok, it was a bit of a trick question. Paul Flemming won the Mixed as a skip, has appeared in the Brier as a skip and a vice for Shawn Adams, and was along for ride in 1968, when his pregnant mother played second on the Nova Scotia Women's team at the Canadian Women's championships.


2007 Curling Calendar

One of the stories my kids like the most is a Winnie the Pooh story, where Pooh flips over the December page of his calendar, and discovers that there are no more months. Distraught, he takes it upon himself to warn everyone that the end of the world is nigh. Christopher Robin sets him straight, and hands out new calendars for everyone, and everyone has a good laugh. Silly old bear.

The point is, there's always another year. And there's always another calendar, which brings us back to the story that would not die.

The year 2006 is flying by, and preparations are underway for the 2007 Team Sponsorship (better known as, Nude) Curling Calendar.

Fancy yourself a model? Head over to http://www.anaarce.com and sign yourself up for consideration. No experience required, but I expect you have to be a curler.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Do you think "startup" or "corporate"?

Don't show this list to anyone at SuperMegaCorp.

We're barely grasping the last threads of our startup life, from the Before Time...


Curling trivia question

There have been a few players to appear in both the Canadian Mixed and Women's, and the Mixed and Men's Championships. Olympic Bronze medalist Shannon Kleibrink won the mixed as a skip, and Colleen Jones and Kim Kelly have both won it playing vice for Nova Scotia. Mark Dacey and Jeff Stoughton have both won the Mixed and Brier. Quebec skip Eve Belisle has been there, as has Olympic Gold medalist Mark Nichols (and his sister Shelly, playing in the Scott this week).

But here's a trivia question for you - who is the only player to appear in all three - the Women's, Men's and the Mixed?

Need a hint?