Year: 2007

A rock band Christmas

Last Friday I got a call from Electronics Boutique saying that I wouldn’t get my pre-order of Rock Band because they didn’t have enough units. Then on Sunday I got another call saying that someone had cancelled, and they had a unit if I was still interested. HELLS YEAH I said.
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Top 5 Gadgets of 2007

This was an amazing year for gadgetry as a ton of stuff that’s been in the pipeline forever has finally made it to retail, and a bunch of stuff that’s been around for a while made its way to the Garside family house.
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Christmas with the bugs

Saturday morning I woke up with a fever and a horrible rumbling in my tumbling. When Char woke up a couple hours later, she had similar symptoms. We were both out of it for most of the day, and my parents had to come over to help us out for a little while while we recovered.

Monday night on our way back from Chatham, Kaylin was the next to fall to the bug, and we’ve spent the last couple of days battling the bugs.

It came on suddenly, neither of us felt bad on Friday night, but by Saturday we were lethargic, and mostly out of it. Sunday was a little better, although we still had stomach problems.

Monday Charlene said she was pretty much recovered. After sleeping for about 20 hours, I felt a lot better, but I had some serious acid reflux and a load of gas. We got through dinner with Char’s parents and I started feeling worse. Kaylin was complaining about her belly (although it sounded more like “beddy”), and after the marathon gift opening session, we headed home to London from Chatham. About 30 minutes outside of Chatham, Kaylin vomited in the car. Char was driving, so I tried to catch, and almost lost my cookies too (I was already feeling woozy). We pulled over and got her cleaned up as best we could, and got her home.

The poor little bean had a fever for Christmas day and was pretty lethargic. She got up around 8, opened a couple of gifts, but left most of them under the tree and then had a four hour nap!

When she got up (in much better spirits), we took her over to my folks’ place for Christmas there. I still felt lousy and didn’t eat much (side benefit of being sick over the holidays is that it’s its own built in weight control plan).

Then it was more presents. Kaylin was so adorable. She was kind of tired of opening gifts (she didn’t open all of her gifts until mid-Boxing Day). At one point when she turned around and saw four gifts on the floor ready for her to open she said “Are you joking me?” totally clearly. She had the room in stitches.

We got her home late and she got to bed. Today she was much better, though still a little out of sorts, and after her nap she was golden.

It sucks being sick any time of the year, but it sucks even more over the holidays.

And I’m back! Optimized and better than ever!

Way back in the middle of October I was brought onto a big project for Info-Tech, a new research product which would provide a whole new way of seeing Info-Tech’s research and be a “disruptive product in the marketplace”. Anybody who knows me knows there’s two things I love to do. 1: I love to do cool new things. 2: I love to be disruptive. It took nearly two months, tons of overtime, but we’ve finally launched and we can all get back to our regular lives!
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Why the music industry sucks: Stupid Old Guys

I just got my first issue of my new subscription to Wired Magazine, and I may have to cancel due to my blood pressure rising. In it they profile Universal Music CEO Doug Morris, who is but the latest in a long line of guys who just doesn't freaking “get it”. The article is about how Universal is the most forward thinking of the labels by releasing DRM free music (about eight years after it is already too late by the way), but the entire article leaves you with the impression that he is the lone voice of reason AGAINST this decision, and it's probably those “uppity thirty something whipper snappers” who are forcing this decision through.

My favourite quote is this:

If you had Coca-Cola coming through the faucet in your kitchen, how much would you be willing to pay for Coca-Cola? There you go

Coca-Cola DOES come through my faucet, in the form of Dasani water…but I still spend good money on bottles of Dasani water.

The problem is that the music industry got focused on making money, and not doing the thing that it used to be good at…nurturing and promoting new artists. That used to be their core business, and the money flowed in. Now their primary interest is in “protecting their copyrights”, and there is simply no money to be made in that. The lawyers, who are getting RICH off of this, have bamboozled the music industry into thinking that this is the thing they've gotta do. SUE PEOPLE!!! SUE INDUSTRIES!!! SUE GRANDMA FOR HAVING THE RADIO ON WHILE SHE WATERS THE GARDEN!

Speaking as an uppity thirty something whipper snapper, I've got a strong message for all of the 68 year old CEO's out there. If you don't understand it, then shut up and let someone who does explain it to you. If you still don't understand it, then shut up and let that uppity thirty something be the face of this new market. If they fail, you get to pin all of the blame on them. If they succeed, you get to take all of the credit for seeing a “diamond in the rough”. It served you well all of those other times when new things or trends came around and someone explained to you why this was an important thing to latch on to.

Of course, we can also look at this quote to see why he was scared:

“There's no one in the record industry that's a technologist,” Morris explains. “That's a misconception writers make all the time, that the record industry missed this. They didn't. They just didn't know what to do. It's like if you were suddenly asked to operate on your dog to remove his kidney. What would you do?”

Personally, I would hire a vet. But to Morris, even that wasn't an option. “We didn't know who to hire,” he says, becoming more agitated. “I wouldn't be able to recognize a good technology person — anyone with a good bullshit story would have gotten past me.”

I call bullshit on this. Mark Cuban, Shawn Fanning, Michael Robertson, any one of those three could have redefined your business in the 90's. Instead you chose to vilify and persecute them. Of course they showed you by becoming billionaires and millionaires.

Don't look at your falling profits as an example of why this new thing is wrong, look at them as an example of what happens when you don't listen to all of those people around you who are telling you that THIS is the next big thing.

Because let's face it, the last “big thing” that you REALLY “got” was during the Reagan administration.

My wife and daughter

This is more for me than anyone else. Just a reminder what my wife and daughter look like. Way back in October, before I started on this whole Optimize / Website Usability combo massive project, I spent a really nice week off with them. We went to Toronto, had a few fun days at home, K and I played a whole lot and read tons of comics. I even played some video games.

Those were the good old days. These days I just work. I work at home, I work at work, I work during the early morning, the mid morning, the afternoon, the mid-afternoon, the early evening, the evening, and sometimes the late evening (though I often choose to go to bed so that I can begin the cycle in earnest the next morning early).

I found this picture of us picking apples in the apple orchard on my PC's desktop as I cleaned it up in preparation of moving to a different PC.

Good times. Good times indeed.

Department of incorrect conclusions

I read a lot of things about the web. One of my favourite websites, Design Float is kind of like Digg for web design. I like it because while it's updated a few times a day, the content is specific to something I'm interested in (Web Design), and there are at max 3 or 4 articles a day. Now and then though, we get something so incredibly obvious that it kind of irritates me.

Today's conclusion was from Logo Position Orientate Your Users which could also have been titled “The Incorrect conclusion of the day”.

Here's the gist of it. Your logo should go in the upper left hand corner. This is a standard, and allows users to quickly orient themselves with where they are. Further, your logo should not deviate from home page to inner pages (or a user might think they got lost), never mind the fact that a good portion of your users will never see your home page, since they will arrive at your site from a Digg link or a Google search.

Two websites are shown as good examples. Apple and Social Actions. Apple, yeah, pretty good stuff. Social Actions? I'm not sure if their logo is the words sociLActions, or the little green RSS ripoff logo.

This is my favourite quote:

“We know that FeedBurner does not have a great interface. They place the logo on the opposite corner…”

Yes, because the logo is in the opposite corner, their whole interface is crappy.

Jeez.

So what we learned is that the upper left hand corner of a website is where logos traditionally go. If you don't put your logo there, then you're probably dumb and at the very least a poor designer.

Don't challenge conventions kids! Do what Design vs Art tells you!

Also, please walk, don't run, and for god's sakes obey all traffic signals.

Design conventions are a good thing, they help us understand the rules. There's also a very famous saying “rules were meant to be broken”. It's important to KNOW the rules, but it's also important to know enough to occasionally bend them.