Categories ArchivesDiversions

Introducing SlideZip! standard

Hello Internet! I had an idea for a product last summer to help with my presentations. I wanted to find a way to allow people to easily and quickly get access to the presentation materials (and other stuff) while keeping the conversation going after I left the stage. Gene Kim and I discussed a number of options, and within a few hours I had something crude cobbled together. Folks at my talks could get the slides by sending a quick text message to an address, and BAM! Slides in their inbox! It worked great for me, but required too much customization to be actually useful. In February after I left RSA, I decided that it was time to re-learn Ruby ...

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A Fun Day with American Airlines standard

It’s no secret around this place that I travel a little. You know, just a few thousand miles a year. Since I live in Dallas, I have two major choices for airlines—either Southwest or American Airlines. I have flown both, but my preferred carrier (by far) is American. In fact, my family has a great traveling legacy with American Airlines. I have flown on almost every single type of plane that American has had in their fleet since the 1980s, including several that are no longer in service (DC-10, Boeing 727, and Fokker 100). I can remember standing outside my dad’s office as a kid learning from him and others every kind of plane on approach to DFW runway 17C. ...

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No such file or directory, RVM and Rubies! standard

This is quite a diversion, but it’s something that I want documented and indexed by the G00gles of the world in case someone else has a problem like me. If you are not interested in Ruby, or Rails, or RVM, skip this and will see you later on in the week! I recently had an issue that stumped me (as well as the great folks in the #rvm channel on Freenode). In the process of setting up RVM, I initially made the mistake of doing it as root on a Debian (Squeeze) machine. Cautionary word, you are good playing with the system rubies provided by APT, but if you want to get to the bleeding edge, do all of your ...

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Garmin’s Missed Opportunity standard

Businesses are moving faster than ever in this digital economy, and entrepreneurs build and showcase new innovative products or business models every day. The term that is thrown around to describe this phenomenon is called ‘disruption’. As an example, the iPod and iTunes Store disrupted the music industry in a way that forced companies to re-invent their businesses. Remember back in the 1990s when you could find an actual record store? Sure, most of us bought CDs, but it was still a store dedicated to the sale of music. I have fond memories of visiting Blockbuster Music and trying out CDs before I bought them. But Apple changed all of that. They disrupted an established market where prices were fairly ...

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The Gotchas of EMV for the US Consumer standard

Update Nov 4, 2013: I was in the UK last week and it looks like the Underground has fixed their terminals to allow the use of the chip at a UPT! This is great news. My guess is there is some upper limit to what can be accepted without signature and it is now implemented. Some of you may know that I spent a little over a week on vacation with my wife traipsing through Europe this month. And even though I was constantly yelled at for walking too fast or running to check out some grey squirrel (they are tan here in the US), we had a fabulous time. We had a few hitches in our travels as any ...

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A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Vatican standard

As a global traveler, I tend to be subject to more than anyone’s fair share of security checks. This means that I am ready for them, and also tend to find patterns in things. For example, if you are in a domestic US airport (where security is TSA, not private), you don’t have to take your liquids out. I have been putting them in the top pocket of my roll aboard for years now and have only been stopped in Bozeman, MT (private security), where all the bad guys go. But try that same trick through London Heathrow, and you are guaranteed a 15-45 minute delay. I visited the Vatican on Saturday, and thought the security was peculiar. For example, ...

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To Catch a Plagiarizer standard

I’m not a young pup anymore. Not that I’m nearing retirement anytime soon, but I find it amazing how much things have changed in the academic world since I first started my bachelors degree in 1996. I can’t prove it (yet), but I can almost guarantee that students in grades six through twelve have no real experience or knowledge of encyclopedias. I remember being envious of friends of mine who had those books in their houses. All that knowledge right at their fingertips, and here I was going to the library, LIKE A SUCKER! Now that I am working on my third spin as a student through the academic world (just under eight years from my last exit as a ...

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How Starbucks is Revolutionizing Mobile (micro) Payments standard

For those of you that have not been living under a rock for the last couple of years, you may have patronized a Starbucks and seen a customer scan their phone at the checkout and then somehow magically get coffee without ever paying. What is this wizardry that is going on? I mean, you’ve seen people pay with pretty looking cards that have a Starbucks logo, but that’s clearly a gift card, not some magical electronic thingie. This magical pay-by-phone is not only a convenience for regular customers, but it’s Starbucks’s way to push mobile payments forward while device manufacturers do their best Benny Hill trying to implement mobile payments. Enter the Starbucks app (and Passbook integration). Sure, techies love ...

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The Phoenix Project, a Novel for Today’s IT Professional standard

Today is a great day for aspiring (and perhaps current) IT leaders as The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford is now finally available and shipping. If you are in any way connected to anything related to information technology, this book should be on your reading list for Q1 2013. I read the final manuscript in a matter of days and could not put it down. This book is modeled after the iconic manufacturing title, The Goal. But instead of an overweight scout causing an enlightening view into the theory of constraints (poor Herbie), it’s a failing IT department in a business outpaced by competitors. All of the classic themes of today’s IT issues are explored ...

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So you want to guest post? standard

Bloggers get pelted with requests for guest posts all the time, and I’ve had a string of relatively strange ones lately. They all start with something like this: Hi, I’m Scheizenfreud McGilicutty and I love to write. I saw your website and I was wondering if you allow guests posts? Here are some samples of posts I have done on other blogs. Let me know if we can work something out. Then this is followed by seemingly unrelated blog posts like “The Top 10 Ways to Check your Email” or “A Home Security System You Can’t Miss!” It’s SPAM, but targeted SPAM. It’s not quite targeted enough where someone had to type out an email specifically for me, but it ...

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